Zahira Talu-Song awoke with a shout as all the self-composure that she had felt in the dream world was immediately torn from her during the abrupt transition from the Void and back to reality. Her panicked yelp echoed through the high ceilings of the classroom. Yet, all she could hear was the pounding of her heart; it boomed within her chest, the sound of its blaring alarum rising up and saturating her eardrums with noise.
Initiate Talu-Song? Zahira?
Somewhere, within the clamor of her own mind, a voice was calling out to her. Tranquil and serene, it seems to be coming from within, filling Zahira up with calm and slowly drawing her back to her senses. It was as if the voice was exerting influence over her emotions, extinguishing her terror and replacing it with clarity. The classroom around her drew back into view, the din in her ears subsided, and she was suddenly aware that everyone's eyes were focused solely on her. Heat rose to Zahira's cheeks, mixing with her naturally green skin. Her eyes darted about, trying desperately to find any angle that did not connect her eyes with any of her fellow students.
"Initiate Talu-Song, are you alright?" a woman's voice called out to her, edged with concern. Jedi Master Lyn Orus stood at the front of the class besides a holoprojected diagram of a chiral molecule, which the Xenobiology teacher had been using to explain the internal processes of species with dextro-amino acid based biology (which was about as exciting as it sounds) before Zahira had fallen asleep. The Jedi Master's face, with its pointed features and stark eyes hidden beneath wisps of sagacious gray hair, was the model of wisdom. However, any apparent sternness was overruled by the care of her voice.
Apprehensively, Zahira rose from her seat and stood before the class. She wondered for a moment which was stronger: her embarrassment or the Force itself. She took a moment to find her voice. "Please forgive me, Master Orus." she said. "I must ask your permission to excuse myself from the lesson."
Master Orus paused for a moment and in that briefest of seconds, Zahira feared that she had offended her teacher. However, the august Jedi Master merely gave a knowing nod. "Permission granted, Initiate Talu-Song." she answered.
Briskly, Zahira made her way to the classroom door, still aware of the the ever present stare of her peers. She stopped for a moment, offering a curt bow towards Master Orus before demurring out into the hallway. She eased her way down the corridor towards the temple's main entrance hall, her footsteps clomping against the cold crag of the stone floors.
Stepping into the grand entrance hall, Zahira was greeted by a crowd of of students streaming towards the general announcements board. She kept her gaze down, gliding through the multitudes and ignoring whatever excitement it was that had captured their attention. She passed through the wide arched entrance to the Educational Center and out into the lush wilderness of Tython.
The expansive green grounds of the Jedi Enclave, with its cool clean air, was a marked change from the Temple on Coruscant where Zahira had spent most of her Jedi training. The high skyscrapers of the city were replaced with tall great trees and the lifeless durasteel platforms were supplanted by wide fields of budding grass. As Zahira walked around the Enclave gardens, she could not help but be amazed at the contrast.
It wasn't that she didn't feel a connection to the now ruined Jedi Temple of Coruscant, it was simply that Tython was something so vastly different that she could not help but find it refreshing. In fact, when Jedi Master Satele Shan had discovered the world and it came time for the initial handful of Jedi and students to transfer to their new home, Zahira was amongst the first to volunteer, eager to aid in the maintenance of the new Jedi Library's archives.
The planet had an energy to it that Coruscant did not. It was vibrant but not in the same way that the city was. The energy was more natural, soothing, and held an odd edge of charisma to it that bordered on the seductive. And nowhere could she feel it more than at the banks of the garden's reflecting ponds. Zahira stood at the water's edge, wanting to look into the pool and perhaps catch a glimpse of a dartfish or silver-backed scalefish. All she could see, however, was her own reflection.
The young Mirialan's emerald face stared back at her, rounded and full of youth. Thin lips and eyebrows made her face look small. Perched above her nose, a pair of wide eyes gawked at her through the water.
They were full of a despondent melancholy that took Zahira aback. She drew forward, examining herself more closely. Her eyes were drawn to the facial tattoos that hung upon her cheeks, which she had added years ago once she had graduated further in her Initiate training. It was a Mirialan custom and although her emotional connection to her people was tenuous at best, she thought it proper to carry on their traditions. Such was the reason that her head was covered in a priestess headpiece. She had started cutting her hair short around the same time she gave herself her first pair of tattoos as a means of discouraging vanity, leaving her head covered instead in order to give off an image of modesty.
She fell back from the pond, sitting on a small patch of grass a few feet back. I can't believe this, she thought. Had she really just had a vision in public? How long had it been since that had occurred? She often would see things if she meditated but it had been years since anything came to her in her sleep. Wasn't her training supposed to keep such things in check? To teach her how to call upon her abilities when she needed them. Evidently not, she concluded.
No. That wasn't it. She had stumbled. It wasn't her training; it was her. That had to be it. She had made a mistake. It was her fault. Other Jedi held a strong talent for Farsight as well and they never made such fools of themselves. Zahira thought of Master Shan, whose talent for precognition was said to be second to none. She never had any trouble.
So, what am I doing wrong?
It was reflexive. She could not help but blame herself. Her only memories from her life before the Jedi were tied up in her "gift". Zahira could see the memories as they played in her mind's eye. She was young, barely a child. She was trying to warn her parents that the boy was going to die. She had seen it. They wouldn't listen. She was running to the boy's father. He wouldn't listen either. The sun was setting. The boy had died; he had fallen out of a tall tree. She was hiding in her house. She could hear the boy's father talking to her parents. He was calling her a "witch". She stared at the same wall for months, ashamed.
That was when the Jedi had finally come to take her away. She couldn't remember what they looked like. Even her parents' faces were lost to her. But she did remember how calm she felt, even as a child, as she left one life behind her for another. She could barely hear a low, deep bass of a voice telling her that everything would be alright.
Zahira let out a long sigh before rising to her feet. Perhaps the answer to her problem was somewhere within the Library archives. As a junior archivist, she would be needed their soon enough for her practicum hours. She cast one more look into the pond back at herself and resolved that the next time she gazed into the waters, she would see someone she was proud of.