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01.22.2012 , 01:44 PM | #6
Master Pol would not proceed any further without tending to Zahira's wound. Despite the girl's protestations to the contrary, her current state of being was less than unimpaired. The injured girl had only taken a few limping steps before stumbling to the forest floor as the adrenaline that had previously numbed her senses vacated her body and called up a sudden paroxysm of burning pain.

"Hold still." the Jedi Master commanded. Or was it a request? The Ithorian's rich voice lacked any pretense of authority and was instead filled with a friendliness that made Master Lyn Orus' seem downright apathetic. It held Zahira still and kept her as ease as he began to heal her with the Force.

Hands outstretched, Master Pol narrowed his eyes, focusing intently on the deep gash in Zahira's side. There was nothing else to even hint that the Ithorian was drawing upon the Force. No mystical glow or magical sound. That was reserved for the holodramas. There was just the Girl, the Master, and the Force. His focus called on its power; its power allayed her wounds and in doing so, a permanent thread was woven between the three.

Zahira could feel life itself flow back into her as the Force, through Master Pol, stunted her bleeding and brushed pain aside. She gave a soft breath inwards, drawing the world into her body.

"Thank you." she said, rising to her feet renewed.

"Unnecessary." replied the Master. "Let us proceed."

The young girl said nothing, nodding her head and remaining close to the Ithorian's side. Together, they made their way through the dark woods, ambling over unbeaten paths and trudging into the wilderness. The night was no less dark, cold, or unknown than when she had faced it alongside Nema and Genti but she felt no apprehension. The Master led the way and she followed. They walked in a long silence, basking only in their shared company for untold stretches of land.

Finally, seizing upon her curiosity, Zahira voiced the most pressing of her questions. "How did you find me?" she asked uncertainly.

The Ithorian gave a playful, contralto chuckle which echoed through the forest. "Does such a thing matter, I wonder? I found you. Would you rather I hadn't?"

"Of course not." she replied. "If you hadn't shown up when you did, I wouldn't be talking right now. I was merely curious how..."

"How is a question only less problematic than why." Master Pol mused as he cleared a path through the thick foliage ahead of them with a sweep of his hand.

"Do you have an answer for either?" Zahira said. Pol's philosophical waxing might have had some veneer of truth but it lacked anything resembling a concrete explanation.

"I've only observations." he admitted, the deep laughter rising from his throat once again as the pair pressed forward. "Not answers."

"And?" she pressed. While the Master might have found his rhetoricals and half answers amusing, Zahira certainly did not. If she hadn't be indebted to him, she doubted that she'd even consider tolerating his games.

"You spoke well before." The statement was simple enough. A meager and honest complement which held more than just friendly sentiment. Dispite what Master Pol might say, the observation was an answer in itself.

"Y, were in the cave before?" Zahira said embarrassedly, looking down and hiding her gaze from the Jedi Master. "Then you must have saw me make an idiot of myself."

"Must I?" the Master retorted, leading the girl further through the dark forest. In the distance, the faint lights of the Jedi Temple flickered through the trees, beckoning the pair onwards.

"Listen, I don't know if you're trying to make me feel better or whatever but stop it, okay?"

"I am not trying to do anything." he half apologized to Zahira, the generosity of his voice reaching its apex. "I certainly didn't see an idiot. I saw someone who was being honest."

"Idiots can be honest too." the girl murmured.

"Ho. Ho. Ho. Very true. Although I don't know if an idiot would realize that." the Master said chipperly. "Besides, I am not convinced that the fact that idiots can be honest also means that honesty is idiotic. Then again, I'm not so convinced any of us are particularly wise either."

"Another observation?"

"One I hope never changes." he admitted truthfully. "Why live if not to learn? And how can we learn if we already know? It it no different than you speaking up in the cave. You provided contrast. Variance. And it is good you did. What else were they going to do? Sit around and tell themselves how much they agree with each other? That would be...rather dull, don't you think?"

At this, Zahira managed to laugh along with the Master. Their shared amusement lightening her steps and speeding the journey. They traveled forwards towards the Jedi Temple, its light cutting through the forest and illuminating a path that had previously eluded them. As they drew closer, Zahira realized that is was not artificial light. It was dawn.

Eventually, they reached the edge of the forest and stepped on to the fresh grass of the training grounds. Cutting across the sunlit fields, the Master escorted the girl towards to the steps of her dormitory building.

"It would seem that we must part ways here." Pol observed, his deep voice carrying a hint of discontent. "Rest. You have been through much tonight."

"I'll be okay. Thank you once again, Master Pol."

"Unnecessary" he echoed. "Farewell, Zahira."

"Good bye, Master."

The Ithorian tilted his head slightly but said nothing. He simply turned and walked away towards the main temple. Zahira smiled, turning to enter the dormitory. Walking up the stairs, she found her floor and entered her room. It was sparse, free from personal affectations or needless accouterments. Yawning, she eased herself into her bed and closed her eyes.

Thinking of Master Pol, Nema, and the other faces of Tython, she truly felt for the first time that she was home.
'Jeos Dinas'-Ebon Hawk
Manager, The Ebon Hawk Bounty Board
"Perception Problem."