Ever on the look out for suitable babysitters and possible future masters, Aura Ta’var has arranged for Zoe Ta’var to be watched by Elyon de Neverse. The two adults had arranged to drop her off at a nearby wildlife preserve. A hover car descended and the two Zeltrons strode out to meet their fellow Odanite. Little did Zoe know she would soon be left alone with the fellow Jedi.
Elyon de Neverse was already waiting for them. Dressed in a delicate green robe, she sat on a huge rock. As soon as the hovercraft landed, she got up and jumped down to greet them.
She approached them and bowed to them after the Jedi tradition.
“Master Aura, thank you for the opportunity to visit this nature reserve with you,” Elyon said to Aura and then looked at Zoe.
“You young lady must be Zoe, nice to meet you.” She said and smiled at her.
“Pleasure is on our side,” Aura replied with a smile, motioning for them to disperse toward the reservation. Zoe looked at Elyon and then said, “Nice to meet you, too, Elyon.”
And all three ladies stepped forward.
“Zoe, this is my friend Elyon. She likes animals a lot too.”
“Really? I have a pet wolf. Maybe you’d like to meet him some time.”
“I would love to. We might meet some more soon. What’s your favorite animal?” asked Elyon.
“All of them,” the young girl said with a smile. “You know I can talk to them?” she asked, trying to impress the older Jedi.
“Well done,” replied Elyon as the group continued walking up the dirt path to the first enclosure. “Have you ever met this creature before?” the Jedi asked as she gestured to a four-legged repativan herbivore called a Varactyl.
The green and blue plumage along with its aquamarine scales reflected in the early day sunlight.
“Ooo. No. What is this? Can we go near it?” asked Zoe.
“This is Varactyl. It comes from the planet Utapau,” Elyon told her as they approached the paddock.
“I think so, if we’re careful,” Elyon said, looking at Aura.
“Good, but be careful,” Aura said, motioning for them to approach the creature. Zoe walked to the gate of the paddock and stepped carefully, followed by Elyon.
Elyon watched Aura, who didn’t move and stood still. That’s why she turned her full attention to Zoe and the creature in front of her. She opened herself carefully to the Force so as not to frighten Vatacryl, but at the same time she was ready to take control of him if Zoe was in danger.
The young girl was almost at the creature when she stopped, and Elyon watched as she raised her right hand. At that moment, she felt how Zoe try to make a connection between her and the creature. Elyon walked slowly past her, where she stopped and waited. Because she wanted to be close in case of conflict and at the same time be able to watch Zoe’s abilities.
Zoe closed her eyes and reached out to the Force as her hand reached towards the creature. She could feel the animal in front of her, somewhat scared but curious all the same. She could feel her new friend, Elyon, patiently waiting for her but alert. She could feel her mom, trying her best not to be scared. The young Zeltron rolled her eyes under her eyelids and smirked as her cape caught the breeze.
I can do this.
Breathing in she reached out and touched the Varactyl with the Force, saying a pleasant hello as she introduced herself. Zoe focused on calming emotions as projected them outwards, letting them wash over the animal itself. She could feel it calm down finally. Smiling, she spoke to it through feelings. Hello there, can I be your friend. I promise I won’t hurt you. Maybe we can ditch these two and go have some fun, she added mischievously.
A heartbeat or two went by and finally the Varactyl approached, lowering its head so the young Zeltron could pat it on the head. Zoe smiled and willingly obliged, carefully stroking its feathered head. The animal purred contently. The Jedi padawan smirked.
“See. It was easy,” she said to Elyon with a grin.
Elyon watched Zoe with interest. Her new friend was the daughter of two Jedi, which Elyon found unbelievable. Because she was always exhorted that Jedi should not fall in love, be dependent on anyone, or even have children.
This is a different time and different rules apply. She thought as she watched young Zeltron stroke the creature’s head.
“Good job, Zoe. You have talent,” Elyon said, smiling as she walked slowly to Vatacryl and repeated the procedure her young companion had used.
For a moment they both stood beside the creature, stroking its armored head. “We should move on so we can see more creatures,” the young Jedi said, waiting for Zoe to say goodbye. Then she bowed to the creature and followed the girl back to Aura.
“Elyon, could you watch Zoe for the rest of the trip?”, asked Aura referring to their zoo outing.
“I would love to,” replied Elyon.
“Thanks, Elyon. Teikhos says there is an emergency back at the house. I’ll be back in a few hours,” said Aura before she quickly hugged Zoe, who was mildly embarrassed, and taking off for the shuttle.
Zoe sighed. Her new brothers got all the attention lately and she wanted to spend more time with her mom. She had thought the zoo was the perfect place but clearly next time she would have to chuck her mom’s comlink out an airlock or perhaps her pet wolf could eat it for a few hours…
“Zoe, you okay?” asked Elyon with a slight smile.
“Yeah, sure,” the girl said somewhat dejectedly. She had hoped to show off her skills some more.
“Which animal would you like to see next?”
“I don’t know…,” said Zoe.
“Hmm, how about the Stroilik? It’s very much like your pet wolf,” offered Elyon.
Zoe thought about it for a moment and then nodded yes. Elyon showed the young Zeltron the way there, probing the Force around the child to see if she could find a way to get that charming smile back.
Elyon walked beside Zoe, still thinking of a way to cheer her up. But it was clear to understand her feelings about this problem even though Elyon had no siblings herself. Both girls came to the Stroilks enclosure.
“These creatures inhabit the icy moon Kaerls,” Elyon said, explaining the domed shape of the enclosure.
“Do you want to look inside,” she asked her companion. Zoe nodded silently and followed Elyon inside.
A chill of cold passed through Elyon, forcing her to shake a little.
“We should be quick or we’ll freeze here,” she said, turning to Zoe. But young Zeltron was already paying attention to the creatures walking toward them.
Elyon touched the area around the creature lightly to sense the problem, but she didn’t feel anything. And that is why she stood closer to her new friend. Zoe repeated the same procedure as Vatacryl. And everything seemed to go smoothly. The opposite was, but true. Other creatures rushed at them from both sides and ran to them. Elyon and Zoe did not quickly repel the attack and began to back away from the paddock.
After several more throws, they managed to get out of the paddock. They both sat on the stone beside the entrance, breathing faster.
“Ice welcome,” the young Jedi smiled, but Zoe frowned.
Elyon took off the top of her robe and threw it over her friend.
“Zoe …” she began cautiously, “I understand your feelings. You miss your mother, but believe that she still loves you and she tries to divide time between you and your brothers as best she can. Your brothers are small and they need more care.” Elyon paused for a moment, watching her reaction. Zoe continued to sit, looking ahead.
"Then we’ll take it differently. You said you wanted to show off, but I believe it’s not necessary. Your mother knows that you are capable and that one day you will be a strong and proud Jedi like herself. Every time she is forced to leave you unattended knows that you are strong enough, handy, and that you can take care of yourself. " The young Jedi soothed Zoe.
“But she asked you to keep an eye on me,” the young Zeltron countered.
“If something happened that you wouldn’t know how to deal with, I am here for you to give you advice or help you. I see it as I have a wonderful new and capable friend next to me and that we’re on a trip. And that we can still enjoy it together. What do you think?” Elyon said, looking at Zoe.
Zoe avoided Elyon’s eyes for the moment and crossed her arms in silent annoyance. The young girl felt as if she had too many emotions coursing through her. There was righteous anger, sadness, and a gnawing sense of doubt that crept towards her from the shadows of who knows where. She cried silently for a moment or two, not sure how to react. She did her best to look away from her new friend. Crying was for babies, she insisted to herself mentally.
Elyon merely sat by her side and said nothing, casting a warm glow in the Force, a glow that Zoe could acutely feel like the sun’s rays on warm summer’s day. It was a glow that reminded her of her mother and father. The young Zeltron focused on it and breathed in and out, letting the Force wash over her. She eventually calmed down enough and a new emotion set it, boredom. Wiping her face discreetly with her Jedi padawan sleeve, she looked up at her smiled new friend and couldn’t help but slightly smile back.
“Yeah, I’d like that. Can we try to say hello to those stroliks again? Can you teach me how to make them like me?” asked the young padawan anxiously.
“We can try our best. Follow my lead this time, okay?” asked Elyon.
“Alright. I’m ready,” said Zoe with renewed energy as she hopped back up on her feet and bounced towards the enclosure’s entrance.
Elyon followed her immediately.Then she walked around her to go first if she needed to react quickly.The creatures meanwhile, returned to their hiding places, as Elyon sensed through the Force. The Strolik which Zoe was trying to connect, walked toward them.
Elyon reached out her right hand and closed her eyes, because at that moment she joined the almighty Force. She could pinpoint exactly where all the creatures stood. She felt their presence as well as Zoe standing behind her. Elyon bowed to the creature through the Force, and with that bow she sent images and feelings that radiated respect and friendliness. At the same time, she introduced herself by showing images of her life associated with feelings so that they could know that her feelings were true.
The creatures watched the two girls from their hiding places, but did not attack. So Elyon accepted this calm in accepting their presence and continued to make contact. Through the Force, she sent pictures of the friendship she and Zoe had made with Vatacryl a moment earlier. To prove their intention to know them.
Nothing happened for a few minutes.Both girls have already started to shake a bit since the winter, which in this environment was really well below freezing. Elyon stood with her hand outstretched, feeling her fingertips begin to cool. Strolik straightened even more in front of them and it looked as if he wanted to attack then bowed his head in a bow to show respect for them. Elyon smiled and opened her eyes.The other creatures began to climb out of their hiding places to meet them.
Elyon then turned to Zoe and said, “now it’s time for you to introduce yourself.”
“But we should hurry, because it’s cold here like on the planet Hoth. And neither of us have the right clothes.Your mother wouldn’t praise me much if you have frostbite,” she said, smiling at her young companion.
Zoe, who had been watching Elyon closely, walked forward. “How did you do that?” the young girl asked as she stood next to the older Jedi, and reached out with her right hand.
“Well, you need to tell them about you. Imagine you were sharing family pictures,” Elyon explained patiently with a smile."
“But I don’t have any pictures,” said Zoe.
“Use the Force to do it,” Elyon responded.
“Okay…,” said Zoe with a hint of uncertainty in her voice as she reached to the Force and focused.
The young Zeltron’s face was determined as she fought to pass along mental pictures of herself hanging out with her family. Images such as hanging out with her parents, playing with her younger siblings even though they still didn’t do much, fighting with her younger sister for taking her saber without asking first, and finally watching the holonet with her wolf Sasha by her side as she petted his back. Heartbeats went by and by but the Strolik didn’t seem to get any of them.
Zoe kept trying, breathing in and out to calm her mind, like she had been taught in classes. Finally, she remembered what her teacher had said. Start with something simple first. Emotions can be powerful by themself. The young focused on what she felt when she was with her family instead and despite it taking her full concentration it worked. The Strolik tilted its head and relaxed enough for Zoe to approach.
This time she used the Force to connect with its presence in the Force, speaking in ways no words would require. It was a much easier task than sharing memories, that was for sure. The Strolik finally let her touch its shoulder. Zoe smiled but only momentarily.
“I couldn’t share the memories like you could. But it let me do this instead. Could you teach me how to talk to it like you did?” she asked, not taking her eyes off the Strolik, just in case.
“Direct communication is more complicated than sharing memories. I’m happy to help you with that, by leading you step by step, just as my master led me many years ago,” Elyon said, smiling at Zoe.
“So the first thing you have to learn is to completely clear and calm your mind. Breathing exercises are great for this purpose. But I have further improved this technique. Please close your eyes.” Elyon waited for her young companion to close her eyes, then continued,”now focus on your breath, feel your breaths and exhales. Once you feel fully focused on your breath. Add the rest of your body to it. Feel your hands and feets. By doing this, you concentrate on your whole body and thus purify your mind and prepare your body. The last step is to put the mind in the Force and let it be fulfilled."
Elyon opened in the Force to feel Zoe’s progress through her attempt to calm her down completely. Before long, Elyon sensed that Zoe was fully focused and immersed in the living Force. The Force radiated directly from her.
“Good job, Zoe. You can do a lot in the name of light in the future,” Elyon complimented her and smiled. Then she put her hand on Zoe’s shoulder and summoned the Force to herself and let herself be filled then she raised her hand to creatures. She closed her eyes, then opened her mind toward Zoe and the creature and spoke through Telepathy in the Force. “This is Zoe, a young Padawan and a great friend. She would also like to greet you, so please be patient.”
Then she turned her attention to the young Jedi. “I’ve shown you direct communication now. It’s like talking to me. Stay calm and be led by the Force,” Elyon said, sending all her forces now to Zoe to reassure her of her actions.
Zoe reached out to the Strolik once more.
Hello, my name is Zoe. Can I pet you? asked Zoe through the Force, using the connection forged by Elyon that already existed.
The Strolik paused for a moment before giving a small huff and sitting down, his head equal to Zoe’s height. The young Zeltron approached and held out a hand to the animal. After a few heartbeats, the Strolik leaned forward in petting range. Zoe smiled warmly and pet the side of its face, the Strolik leaning in for a moment before turning way to go lay down. The young Jedi beamed at Elyon.
“Did you see that?”
“Yes, very well done,” replied Elyon.
Zoe found it hard to contain her joy as she skipped out of the enclosure and the pair walked back to the warm shuttle waiting for them. The young Zeltron insisted on a blow-by-blow account until it came to the part that Elyon had contributed.
“I’m going to train enough to do that by myself one day.”
“Of that I’m sure.”
“Can we come here again and try tomorrow?”
“I’m afraid not. I’m due to report to the Consular Conclave,”
“Aww-” the young Zeltron started to say but was then interrupted by a new presence in the Force. Zoe whipped her head around, immediately recognizing it.
“Mom!” she said, running to meet her at the shuttles. "Can we come here tomorrow with Elyon? Please? " she asked with her best smile.
“No, you get assigned a Jedi Master tomorrow. Now, thank Elyon and we’ll be on our way.”
Zoe rolled her eyes as the three boarded the shuttles and was content to relay her adventures to her mother with much fanfare. Aura smiled encouragingly and asked for more details, which Zoe was happy to provide. Elyon merely soaked it in, happy that both were so happy. Eventually, the pair of Zeltrons wished Elyon the customary Jedi greetings goodbye and everyone went home.
========Next day at the Jedi Praxeum=========
Zoe stood outside the Jedi Council doors at the Jedi Praxeum and paced impatiently. She wanted to know who her master would be and get started already. She secretly hoped they wouldn’t make her do as many lightsaber drills as her mother did. Would she get paired with her mom? She silently hoped she didn’t. None of the other padawans were paired with their moms.
“Come in, Zoe,” said a voice as the doors opened, revealing many of her former teachers seated around a circular room. Aura met her in the middle of the room and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Zoe wondered if nonstop lightsaber drills were in her future.
“Padawan Zoe, you have completed your trials and are ready to learn for your own Jedi Master. We had carefully considered who would best suit you but another came forth to request you as a student. We think it will be a good pairing. Zoe, your new master will be Jedi Neverse. You will travel with her and she will train you the rest of the way. She’ll meet you tomorrow at the training center. Learn well and may the Force be with you.”
Zoe bowed, wondering who this Jedi was exactly.
=====================Later that day=======================
Zoe had spent the rest of the day pretty well, that is until the message. She would be picked up to go away for a while, apparently to the Consular Conclave. Her new master was stationed there and she would have to go with her. The young Zeltron was somewhat forlorn and spent much of her remaining hours with her family. She found it odd since she had wanted an adventure this entire time but not that she had got it she was already missing her family. The Force willed it but what if she didn’t want to go?
“Zoe, what’s wrong? You have been excited about this for weeks,” stated Aura as they watched the holonet together. Zoe was snuggled up against her.
“You sure? I’m sure its something.”
Zoe sometimes wished her parents weren’t Jedi or Zeltron. She sighed and shared before they prodded further.
“Well what if I don’t like my Master? What if they won’t let me take Sasha? What if I don’t like the Consular’s Conclave? What if I can’t wear my capes? What if…what if I miss you all too much?” she finally added.
Aura merely smiled and patted her daughter on her arm reassuredly. “I think you will very much like your new master.”
“How do you know?” Zoe asked.
“Because you’ve already met her, silly. Jedi Neverse is Elyon from the zoo yesterday.”
Aura looked down to see Zoe’s shocked face turn into joy. “Maybe she can show me the zoo again one day. Do you think she will let me bring Sasha? Can I pack a few capes? Have you visited the Consular Conclave yet?”
Aura interrupted what she assumed was a long string of questions. “Pack what you wish and you can ask Master Neverse tomorrow when she picks you up. I haven’t visited the Consular complex yet so you’ll have to tell me about it,” smiled Aura.
“Okay,” said Zoe. The young Zeltron thought for a moment and then frowned. “But where will you be?”
“Oh, home or at the Guardian Conclave. Don’t worry, we’ll visit each other.”
Zoe’s frowned turned sad and then a tear started to form. “But what if I miss you or dad or my brothers and sisters?”
Aura reached out to Zoe with a calming presence and hugged her. “You will hear from me plenty. I imagine you’ll tell me to leave you alone. You’ll get to come home sometimes too. Don’t worry.”
Zoe remained silent but seemed mollified.
“You’ll see us plenty. But for now, you must go with Elyon and learn how to be a Jedi Knight. Keep that
comlink and datapad around and we’ll be able to talk to you every day if you want. And maybe stop hiding mine. How does that sound?” asked Aura with a faint smile.
Zoe thought it over for a moment and sniffled. “Okay, I like that. I’d like that a lot.”
“Good,” said Aura as she kissed Zoe on the forehead. “Now finish packing yourself and Sasha so we can all hang out as much as possible before you go.”
“Okay!” she said as she ran off, finally motivated to pack.
Once done the Ta’var family spent the rest of the evening and following morning spending time with Zoe as much as possible. Her younger siblings didn’t quite know what was going on yet but the house was excited. Aura found all her missing comlinks conveniently back on her nightstand just in case she needed them. She also later inspected Zoe’s pack and deeming it well she made her daughter’s favorite breakfast: pancakes with sprinkles on top. Teikhos helped Zoe narrow down her cape choices as she couldn’t pack them all, a serious discussion in and of itself. So many scenarios, each demanding a different look. At the end of it, Teikhos promised they would all visit her and bring her some capes from home. Sasha had his own backpack with his essential needs but clearly didn’t like it.
“No, Sasha. You have to carry some of your stuff too now. We are going on missions. Keep it on,” said Zoe.
Aura marveled at how well the animal listened to her as she walked over to the pair and put his collar around the canine. Sasha would have to like this as well, especially since Aura had placed a tracker in it. The wolf looked at Zoe, who shook her head no, and then huffed before walking off and laying on the floor.
“Zoe, I’d like you to wear this for me when you go off on missions,” said Aura as she offered her a small necklace with a small jedi pendant on it. It was simple but served a similar function via the Force. “If you ever get lost, it will help us find you. And make sure Sasha keeps his collar on. Can you do that for me?”
“Yes,” said Zoe confidently as she put it on, unease settling in again.
“Relax, and eat your pancakes. Elyon is joining us for breakfast before you head out,” she said as she heard a knock at the door.
After a while, the door opened and Aura stood inside. “Elyon, may the Force be with you and welcome to our home,” Aura said, bowing her head to show respect for the Jedi tradition.
“Hello Aura, may the Force be with you too and I’m honored to be here,” said Elyon with a deep bow, dressed in a classic Jedi robe, because she wanted to make a good impression.
“Please come in,” Zeltron urged, closing behind her.
“Thank you very much,” the young Jedi replied, looking around. It was the first Jedi’s household she saw. And she was carried away by what she saw. This was what the Jedi were losing when they forbade relationships, Elyon thought as she entered the main room and dining room at the same time.
“May the Force be with you,” Elyon said with a deep bow as she entered the room, greeting the members of Aura’s family inside of the room.
She recognized Teikhos, whom she met at Jedi Praxeum and then Zoe. Her little siblings were now obediently sitting at the table. The last inhabitant of the household was the wolf Sasha that Zoe told her about. Elyon also bowed to the wolf and used the Force to greet him.
Young Jedi will then ask permission from Zoe for closer contact. “Please sit down with us,” Teikhos said, pointing to an empty chair ready for her. Elyon smiled and walked over to the table, where she sat down.
Aura placed a plate of breakfast in front of her. And Elyon felt at home at that moment, because the atmosphere in their home was warm, friendly, and there was a sense of love and cohesion from the members of this family. The young Jedi summoned the Force so she could better sense everything around her. In addition to the friendship that included Elyon, she sensed the rift that was now erupting in Zoe. She understood her feelings. Elyon was to take her away from her family and everything she was dearest to her. The young Jedi remembered her own departure from home.
That’s why Elyon focused on the connection of minds she had with Zoe yesterday and spoke to her through the Force: “everything will be fine, don’t worry. Your family will always be here for you and I won’t stop you from contacting its members. I won’t make the same mistakes like the Old Jedi Order, which forbade family relations.” The young Jedi smiled at Zoe and sent a positive energy to her to reassure her of their words. Zoe returned the smile.
“So Zoe, do you have everything packed? I mean you and Sasha, who as I was informed would like to accompany us,” Elyon said, winking at Aura.
“Mom, you said that to Elyon,” young Zeltron turned to her mother.
“Yes, it was important to you, and Elyon unconditionally agreed,” Aura replied, watching Zoe’s surprised expression.
“Of course I agreed. From what Aura told me, you belong to him and Sasha belongs to you. I couldn’t divide you two,” the young Jedi said, smiling and then adding, “you still have something you want to talk to me before we go?”
“Actually, yes, can I take my capes, please,” the young Zeltron asked, looking at Elyon pleadingly.
“Of course you can. The more comfortable you will feel, the more you will pay attention to what awaits us on our missions,” Elyon replied, pleased when a cheerful look appeared on Zoe’s face.
After breakfast, Aura cleared the table, and Elyon thanked them for their hospitality and for kind welcome with sharing breakfast and family circle with her, then walked down the hall to the front door and turned to Zoe.
“It’s time to go. We have to report to the Consular Conclave base, and the sooner we get there the better. But I know you want to say goodbye. I’ll wait for you outside. May the Force be with you and let the stars watch over you.” Elyon said then she bowed to them and left the room and their home.
It wasn’t long before the front door opened and Zoe came out, followed by Sasha. Elyon sensed her current rift as she felt sad to leave them for the adventures she was looking forward to.
“They are never and will not be far from you,” Elyon said, looking at young Zeltron.
“Through the Force, you will still be with them even if you are at the other end of the galaxy, and in addition you have them in your heart and from there they will never disappear and never leave.” The young Jedi reassured her, then put her hand on her shoulder to make Zoe feel like she wasn’t alone. The two Jedi then left in the direction of Elyon’s shuttle toward a common adventure.