“I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road.
I said: What about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning.
I said: What about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: Pain and sorrow.
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
There is a girl. She is sometimes seen wandering the public gardens in Theed, a dreamy look on her face, wearing a black shirt that hangs to her knees, tied tightly at the waist. She wears an air of deep sadness, of stillness, of another world, or perhaps this world, only connected at a different level. Sometimes she talks, as if to someone else, though there’s no one there.
Often she is seen in the archives, deep in study from open until close, surrounded by stacks of scrolls and books and disks, which she cross references with her own set of books, more ancient than anything in the archive. She doesn’t stop to eat or drink, and every once in awhile, she looks across the table and smiles, or asks a question, her fevered hazel eyes lighting up at the answers she receives, from whatever source, though sometimes they cloud over and she drops her gaze, focusing extra intently on whatever text she's perusing, her wide mouth set in a thin line.
If you ask a librarian, they will tell you that mostly the girl looks at anything having to do with the Force, laying credence to the rumors that she is a Jedi, or at least fancies herself one. Some of the elders will tell you that she does have that look about her, one they haven't come across in decades, the very air around her swirling with unseen energy.
If you’re lucky enough and show up at the Veruna Cantina in Old Town on the right night, usually when the sky is clear and moonless and all the stars are out, you might see her sitting at the bar. If she’s had more than a few pints, she may start spinning stories. Most of them are too fantastical to believe, but there’s sincerity in her eyes that makes you want to follow her anywhere, even if it’s down a path paved with legends, lined by tall tales.
There is one particular story that she will only tell on the dreariest nights, when fog creeps along the edges of the streets and drips off the eaves, as though the story will warm her as much as the mug of caf wrapped in her work worn hands.
It’s a simple story at its heart, of a boy and a girl and a war and a love so profound it stopped the war. It ends with a kiss.
“They lived an entire lifetime together in that kiss,” she always says, the smile on her face fading and the light in her eyes leaving.
If someone asks her to continue she’ll plaster on another, different smile and tell you that the tale is told, her voice frail as sun bleached bones.
But most nights, she sits in her little rooftop room, among her plants, books and gadgets, studying until her vision blurs. Then she sits, legs crossed, hovering inches above her bedroll as she implores someone or something to be with her.
Sometimes it appears to work and the girl stretches out on her side on her bedroll, gazing tenderly at the being beside her until she drifts off to sleep. Other times she gives up, despondent, tossing and turning in a fitful facsimile of sleep and waking up bleary eyed to pack up her books and begin the cycle again.
One afternoon a yelp is heard coming from the study room of the archive, and before the librarian can come to find out what the ruckus is about the girl has thrown her books into her bag and is rushing out the door.
There are some who would say that she runs from the archives to the spaceport faster than a human should be able to run. When she arrives, she boards an ancient Correllian freighter and takes off before she’s given clearance, expertly weaving the creaking ship through traffic.
During the long sublight crawl, the girl meditates, or sedates herself into longer periods of deep sleep. Sometimes she powers on the dejarik table, playing both sides, as it appears her mysterious companion is not along for this ride.
Her destination is a tiny blue planet in the western reaches, known on most charts by a numbered designation. It’s ancient name is Aru.
She sets her ship down on a narrow strip of land jutting into a calm, clear sea and sets out inland on foot. The air is sweet with the scent of warm grass and a gentle breeze ruffles the girl’s hair. She is drawn inexorably toward the center of the island, to a freshwater pond dotted with floating pink flowers nestled between leaves cupped like hands.
She sits on the pond’s bank and closes her eyes, breathing in time with the crash of the surf. Soon she opens her eyes to the soft fall of footsteps on the grass. A tall being stands before her. They are humanoid, long of limb and face, with hair that changes shade as the wind blows through it. They tilts their head and stare at her with one bright blue eye.
“Are you the Guardian?” the girl asks.
The being nods. “Why have you come?”
“I’ve come for someone. His path wasn’t complete. There’s still so much work to do.”
The Guardian nods again and holds out their long fingered hand. They hold it above the girl’s head, then press two fingers firmly between her eyes.
“Hmmm,” they say. “Are you in pain?”
The girl opens her eyes. “Every day,” she whispers. “It’s unbearable.”
“Yet you’ve born it.”
The girl looks down. “Does that mean you can’t help me?”
“On the contrary, dear. I must help you. This wound, it’s not just in your soul, it’s a wound in the Force itself.”
She looks up, her eyes full of tears and hope. “What do I do?”
“Enter the water, keep walking and at some point you’ll simply slip through. But do not linger. You must come back as soon as you find him or you both run the risk of being lost.”
The girl nods and places her weapon and her boots on the grass. She enters the water, flinching at the cold, and walks forward, eyes on the horizon. Several steps past the midway point, she vanishes. The pond stills.
The sun rises and sets twice before the Guardian begins to worry. By the third sunrise they’ve begun to despair. The sun sets again and the sky is blanketed in stars, the spaces between filled with swirling purple dust.
As Aru’s moon reaches its apex, the water ripples once, twice, and with a final push and a gasping breath the girl bursts to the surface.
She is no longer alone.
The girl returns to Theed accompanied by a tall man with dark hair and a sardonic gleam in his eye. Some say he's descended from one of the great queens of the golden age. Others say he's got a scoundrel's bearing. What's irrefutable is that he's the boy from the girl's story, or at least the inspiration.
He moves into her little room and it is full; of life of laughter, and sometimes tears. Soon there are more plants, more books, and the beginning of a plan.
At night, occasionally, a gasp or a scream is followed by a soothing whisper and a murmured promise. Mostly, however, the night is filled with the sweet exhalations of love.
If you listen closely, you might hear the girl say, “Be with me.”
The boy says, “Forever.”