Reflection in the Garden (July 2003)

Dana Terry

Alida found a quiet corner of the garden as her mind went back some sixty years to Coruscant, when the Jedi Temple still stood as a beacon of peace and Light to a galaxy that had only the vaguest recollection of what galaxy-wide strife was like. Certainly, each planet had its own share of conflicts, but these rarely touched the rest of the galaxy and, once settled, life continued on.

She smiled slightly, remembering the gardens within the Temple. The coolness of the artificial breeze that played with her braid as she strode through the doors had been a source of amusement for Alida. She had traveled enough with Master Aaro to know that regardless of how much work was put into any of the indoor gardens on Coruscant, they would never match nature in its true state. The breeze carried nothing on it but a faint wisp of scent from the flowers and plants that lay spread out ahead of her.

Alida closed her eyes and allowed herself to become immersed in the memory; a time before all here but Xanatos and herself had been born. She sighed. At that point, Xanatos had been 'dead' for five years.


She opened her eyes. "Good morning, Master." At seventeen, Alida was far too old to be smiling broadly, even when she was as happy as she was at the moment.

"I'm pleased to see you've chosen to spend your extra time wisely this morning, Padawan. Are you ready to leave?"

She nodded. She'd been ready since he'd told her two days before that they would be traveling to Mrlsst. She had spent all of her time since then re-familiarizing herself with the culture and the language of the Mrlssi, eagerly anticipating a visit to the Planetary University. The business she and Master Aaro had there would not take long and the president of the University had graciously invited them to remain for some time after their duties were complete. There was so much Mrlsst had to offer!

The trip out had been spent with her Master making sure her Tsi was up to his exacting standards. Like most Jedi trained as field agents, Alida had learned at least the basics of well over a dozen of the most common languages, but for certain diplomatic events, such as this, she was expected to be fluent in the language of the people they would be working with, even if it was one not heard commonly in the galactic arena. And it was those languages she enjoyed learning the most, for it meant travel to planets far from Coruscant; travel to planets where nature had been allowed to thrive.

When they returned, it had been to the garden she had ventured once more. Alida had always felt closed in on Coruscant, surrounded by the towering spires of the cityplanet. At least in the gardens she could imagine herself back once more, surrounded instead by the towering greenstalks. In the distance she could almost still hear the gentle patter of the artists and poets, living in their communes.

Alida opened her eyes again. Some things did not change. She could still 'hear' the musicians of Mrlsst, when she listened hard enough to her memories. And she still preferred being out of doors, something reinforced even further by decades on a dead planet. She wondered if the gentleman she, Jennifer and Everard had spoken with the day before truly had any idea just how important the work he and those like him were doing in keeping Shardakour's natural resources pristine.

She could even appreciate the mountains of Telos, for as many lives as they had claimed and for much as they seemed to be feared. Yes, they were harsh, but they were natural. She smiled to herself, wondering what Everard's reaction would be if she did suggest a hike up through that area. Perhaps after their son was born, she thought to herself.

Alida stood, looking across the gardens to the palace. Inside that building, things were happening, lives changing. Out here, it was quiet; a place for reflection and meditation. Alida headed back inside. Just as meditation was good for the soul, so was change.

Go To:
Cantina Archives
Members Only Main Page
What's New Page