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ysonesse ([personal profile] ysonesse) wrote2013-07-26 08:51 am

The Message

Real World: Tatooine

Two suns...one coming over the horizon, followed closely by its twin. It was dawn on Tatooine.

Once again, Nalieza stood near the house she had seen during her first visit here. The reason why she had that out-of-body experience then never showed itself. But now, there was an important task to accomplish. A message needed to be delivered.

She approached the entrance with caution. This duty had to be performed in the appropriate fashion. Which meant not drawing attention to herself until the right moment. And even then, she had to remain invisible. That was part of a set of protocols set in place for aidents that had existed for millennia. The aident had to remain detached yet also stay connected while assisting in a dream journey. Remaining in such a state was a difficult balance to maintain. But delivering a message to someone in the dream world was important. Since she was doing this while the recipients were awake, then it was absolutely essential to do this right.

She reached the doorway, and then entered the house. She hovered at the top of the steps, and gazed down into the large room. Skywalker was in the center, kneeling down in front of a small blue astromech. Standing in the back of the room, leaning against the worktable, was the same dark-haired woman she had first seen in that long-ago carbon chamber dream. The princess from Alderaan who had taken Han's heart and soul and transformed it into something different and better.

"Now that Lando has gotten in there and sent the signal, the rest of our plan can come together," said the young Jedi.

"After all of this time, can we be sure anything's going to work?"

"We've come this far. So giving up hope now..." Skywalker closed an access panel on the front of the droid. "That isn't a choice I'll give into. And neither should you."

"I know. It's not what I want to do either. But trying to have faith that it will be over with soon...it's getting harder to do." She rubbed her eyes. "I try to tell myself that it's only a little bit longer. Just a few more days, and then it will all be over. He'll be out of the carbonite, and he won't have to suffer anymore."

Skywalker patted the top of the little droid's dome, and stood up. "It will happen, Leia. We just have to be patient. Rushing into the palace won't help Han or us very much."

"Still, I have a hard time getting past the frustration," the princess replied. She walked over to a long bench set into the wall close to the steps. "Now that Lando's gotten into there, what comes next?"

"I'm going to record a message, and Artoo's going to the palace with Threepio to deliver it."

Nalieza floated down to the bottom of the stairs, and took a seat on the last step. Delivering messages...sounds like a running theme.

"That sounds rather simple," said the princess, scooting over so Skywalker could join her on the bench.

"I wish it were simple. But it's not. After the droids get in there, one of us will have to find a way into the palace to rescue Han."

"That's my responsibility," the princess replied.

"Of course."

"The question is how to do it, though."

"In disguise, I suppose. Perhaps at night."

"A disguise? What am I supposed to be, a dancing girl?"

Skywalker shrugged. "I'm not saying that. Although Han might appreciate the gesture..."

For a moment, Nalieza thought the princess might try to throw something at him, based on the shocked look that came across her face. Instead, something unexpected happened. She laughed. A short chuckle, followed by a smile and a small shake of her head. "It's fortunate that was a joke. Otherwise there would be major repercussions for that statement."

Skywalker looked to the ceiling with a dramatic sigh. "Oh, thank the Maker." Then he grinned.

From her vantage point over by the steps, Nalieza watched this easy rapport between the two young Rebel warriors. It was an interesting experience to see individuals about whom so many legends and rumors had sprung up since the destruction of the Death Star, acting normal. Ordinary individuals in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. Even someone who had been slightly famous (like herself) could find the lives of other well-known people intriguing.

"I had that dream again last night."

Nalieza leaned forward. The princess had been dreaming, too? Dreams...another running thread through this journey.

"I was in that garden again. It was dark, just like always. And Han was there." She leaned her head back against the wall. "Or at least I thought he was there. Just like the other times I've been there. I can see him, but I can never reach him." The princess closed her eyes. "It sounds ridiculous, but it felt real."

So Han had seen her in the garden between the two worlds.

"Maybe it was real. A sign that he's still alive."

And that was why Nalieza was here. And now was the best time to deliver her message to them.

But how am I supposed to do it?

She focused on the floor, staring at the small grains of sand strewn across it. Could she kick up a small whirlwind to get their attention?

What a stupid idea.

Was it possible to find an object and throw it across the room? That might work, if she was able to touch anything with this spirit body.

She kicked at the sand with her etheric foot. While the aident traditions had detailed accounts of message visitations, not one of them ever went into detail about the mechanics of presenting the message. At least the process itself was shown in some detail, enough to provide a model on how to deliver the message. Basically, the aident was supposed to come in, establish contact, say whatever needed to be said, and then leave. No imprint of the aident was to be left behind in the mind of the recipient, or in their physical location.

But throughout these accounts, the matter of remaining detached was always emphasized. The aident was simply a vessel, carrying the important matter of the message.

She might have to go up against tradition, and change the rule to better fit the situation. Making contact with them was going to require a huge mental effort, and the energy for this would have to come from a collected center of her will. It looks like I'll have to put myself into this after all. Sorry, tradition, but sometimes you aren't any help.

The sound of the princess' voice pulled Nalieza out of her reverie. A question about...a lightsaber?

"Yes, just a few days ago before you arrived." Nalieza looked down at his waist and saw the object that was attached through a loop to the Jedi's belt. A distinctive silver shape...the saber she had witnessed him constructing many weeks earlier. Now completed...it looked ordinary. But she knew that it was far from that.

"Now you can understand why I needed to come here."

She could certainly understand the reason. Part of any spiritual journey required a period of baptism by solitude. It almost seemed like a requirement.

"I can't say that I completely understand what compelled you to come here by yourself. But the Jedi ways aren't familiar to me." The princess shrugged. "You'll have to forgive me for being a common mortal."

Skywalker smiled. This simple gesture caught Nalieza off guard. A smile...so simple, yet it had such a captivating grace about it...

What? Where did that come from? Stop getting distracted, girl! You're on duty!

"Leia, I don't think you qualify as an ordinary being," he said. "An ordinary woman never could have resisted Han for so many years."

The princess laughed. "Oh, you think so?" Then she sighed and nodded. "But you're right. It's definitely not something I imagined ever could have happened."

He opened the trunk. "Call it one of those things that happens to a person every so often when they least expect it."

"Something you can't plan for, but when it happens...it's astounding."

"Love is strange that way." Skywalker peered into the trunk and moved some things around. "I guess. I can't claim to understand how it feels. I'm not familiar with how love works, and I probably never will."

"Luke, how can you say that for sure? You've said more than once in the past few months that no one can see the future. If the future is indeed always in motion, then how can you say what's likely for you?"

"I can't. Yet I know there are things I have to give up in order to be a Jedi."

The princess shook her head. "You sound so much like me when I was younger. I spent too many years dedicated to the Rebellion, and I never thought of much else. I definitely never let myself have some kind of a real life." She stood up and walked over to the single window facing out onto the desert. "It's so strange to think it wasn't so long ago I didn't know what other options I could have." She turned her head and looked at Skywalker with a steady gaze. "Don't let yourself get so caught up in duty that you push life away."

Nalieza stifled a gasp. For her to come out and make this declaration to another person, even if it was Skywalker...it could only mean one thing. Wow. She loves him. Han needs to know this.

As for the meaning of her last statement...it felt like something unseen had brought these people together. With so many differences scattered amongst the trio, there were some essential similarities. The most obvious was bravery...but the trait not so easy to spot, which they shared, was fear. In particular, it seemed that Han and his beloved's shared fear of love had rubbed off on Skywalker. Or perhaps the twisted road his own journey had dragged him along molded him into the kind of person who would stay away from personal attachments. Maybe it was a Jedi rule he had discovered...if that's true, it sounds like a stupid rule. Why should any Jedi not get involved with someone if they want to? Closing yourself off even if it's not your choice...isn't that wrong? Denying a chance at love if it shows up?

Hey, look who's talking about shutting out love! Take that logic and apply it to yourself, kidlet!

There was a lesson here for more than one person. And once again, she was being told something that didn't make sense. It was more than likely a lesson to be kept in her memory, and the meaning would come to her later in life.

Good enough. For now, I've got something to start...and finish. It's time to say what needs to be said.

Nalieza decided to aim her message at Skywalker. Since he was Force sensitive, it would make her task much easier communicating with someone who could speak through a mind link.

She stood up and moved over to the right edge of the trunk. Then she closed her eyes, folded her hands over her stomach, and cleared her mind. This was her first time at a conscious telepathic communication, so a great deal of concentration was necessary.

Moments passed...then she sent out a thought into the currents of the Force. One word, very simple, but good enough to establish contact.

Hello.

Skywalker stopped looking in the trunk. His head turned sharply to look up in her direction.

Holy Creatrix, those eyes are amazing.

Nalieza bit her lip. She hoped he didn't hear that.

If he had, his reaction did not show it. The only response she received was a question. Who are you?

Good, he was getting right to business.

I'm here to tell you that Han is all right. He's still alive.

Skywalker looked suspicious. How do you know that?

You'll have to trust me on this. It would take too long to explain, and I'm running low on time. And she was...already, the feeling of her spirit body being pulled back towards her physical self began. Her focus started to fade...and then her invisibility dropped. For just a second, she was visible to any eyes that could see a transparent living ghost. She looked down at her hands, and saw the sandy floor clearly through them.

Skywalker could definitely see her, considering how startled he looked.

Time to make the dramatic exit. She turned away quickly, and floated towards the door.

Wait. His unspoken statement made her stop midway on the steps.

Tell me who you are. And how you know about Han.

Nalieza looked at him. He had jumped up from the floor, and was standing up. Behind him, the princess was looking over his shoulder. "What is it, Luke?"

"There's someone here..." He pointed in Nalieza's direction. She was still visible to him.

"I don't see anyone."

"Leia, there's a person standing over there. She just told me Han is still alive."

"She?"

Nalieza wondered if she could throw one hard mental push out enough to let the princess see her. It might exhaust her for a few hours when she dropped back into her body, but it was worth the effort if it meant that both of them got the message. She concentrated, and waited for a few seconds until her etheric body began to feel more substantial. It was obvious her effort worked, though, judging by the shocked look on the princess' face.

The pull back to her physical self was now growing stronger. She looked at Skywalker and the princess once more, and said through the mind link to him, I have to leave now. She waved and gave them a little smile. Then she turned her eyes forward, and headed out the door.


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