I walked into the office thinking that it would be chaos and was pleasantly surprised to find that my droid had actually done a passable job of sorting out most of the silliness that usually ended up on my desk. He had simply left all the more important or confidential things to one side for me to deal with when I returned. Once, I had waded through that pile and done all that I was supposed to do with it, I read the mail that was actually for me. The letter from my father had finally found me. There were several notes from Shiv asking where I was until the last one which said;
‘Okay, be all mysterious then. Let me know when you are back and we can maybe steal away to Theed for lunch.’
I had to smile, hadn’t I said almost the same words to Thrawn? There was a letter from Lt. Jorae and a short note from Master Kjestyll about a training schedule that needed to be approved and a small package with no return address or name on it.
I answered Master Kjestyll’s message first and looked forward to training with him again. I hoped that he would read and answer the message swiftly and we could start as soon as possible. I felt I needed to get back to some sort of normal life. Was there such a thing when one worked for the Empire?
Then I answered Lt. Jorae’s letter. I was surprised to hear from him actually because he had not written after I had left the Devastator. I had just assumed he was happy enough not to be babysitting me any more. However, he had written to say that they had been busy and he had also been caught up with his studies and was working hard at his job. That, I certainly understood.
I answered my father’s letter even though the news was no longer new to me. I had both Bel’s and Thrawn’s words in the back of my mind about keeping in touch. So I wrote a long letter home, about mostly nothing, lots about the weather and scenery in Naboo and the social life and even some about my job and so on. I sent Shiv a short message telling him I was back on Naboo and lunch in Theed sounded nice. At some point I had to go to Theed anyway. The Japor snippet that Lord Vader had given me burned and I wanted rid of it as soon as I could. Then, I opened the small, long and flat unmarked box.
I was not certain how to react. What lay inside the box was wrapped in a piece of what I could only imagine was some sort of silk which shimmered and was all blues, greens and something I could not quite sort out all at the same time. It was exquisite and exotic and I knew exactly who this gift had come from but the silk was only the wrapping, and when I uncovered what it hid my heart skipped a beat.
It was a hair stick. It had a flat, triangular top and a long slender needle and had been created from a piece of bone. In the top was carved an intricate pattern, one I remembered seeing before on the bone mask that had been part of Thrawn’s disguise. A small hole had been carved through the base of the triangle so that a strip of leather might be pulled through it to hold it even more securely in place. The piece was a small work of art in its own right, the carving beautifully done and the whole hair needle polished so smooth it felt like water on glass. Underneath the silk that had wrapped it was a note on expensive of paper, written in the most elegant of hands.
A’mia Tekari, Akiana’myshk’apavjäska
There is a saying amongst my people,
Amdau’inte mikka-mawri’Ka. Kiatsu’inte amahned-mawri’Ka. Amdau’inte asahae-entwyr’ka zallwyn’te. It translates roughly into basic as; ‘Do not forget where you have come from, do not worry about where you are going to, do not forget the lessons learned along the path in between.’
This piece, unlike the necklace given to you at the site of the hunt, was made only for you to mark a rite of passage that few would understand. Aside from the hands of its maker, no one else has touched it. It is yours and yours alone.
The symbol carved is an ancient one for fire and water, the flame and the wave intertwined in a complex knotwork of paths from which they emerge separate but not untouched by each other. As you can imagine both these elements are vital to any Hunter for he or she could not survive long without either, yet given a chance both could be deadly. It is a delicate balance, an elegant dance.
The fabric that wraps this gift is a small piece of a silk that is found only on my home world. It is produced by tiny worm like creatures that live in the ice. They are hard to find and greatly treasured. The harvesting of their silk thread is done in such a way that the creatures themselves are not harmed. Both the Dantassi and the Chiss consider them sacred. While the creatures are known as Kiemur’abwyr’kuinyn-ta, which translated, as best as possible, into basic means little creatures that spin light from the darkness of the ice, the fabric itself is called T’zakoyr’a silk, because of the ceremonial piece of clothing it is used almost exclusively to make. The colour reminded me of the way light plays with the glacial ice, blues and greens and something indefinable, much the way light dances with the ma’arilite stone you love, in essence it reminded me of you.
Akiana’myshk’a, do not forget your past for it is the ground upon which your feet stand. Do not look too far into your future, the future is fickle and subject to change. Do not forget the lessons learned along the way for they are your guide when all else is dark.
I sat staring at the bone hair needle. It was truly exquisite. My fingers traced the carved pattern on the head of the hair-stick and relished the smoothness of the polished bone. The needle was strong and sharp and with new eyes I suddenly saw it for what it really was, not just a beautiful ornament for my hair but also a weapon. I wrapped my hand around it and noted how the curve of the top allowed a place for my thumb, and that even with my hand grasping fully about it, there was enough length left of the needle part to seriously do some damage to anything or any one that was stabbed by it When I laid it upon the tip of my finger, using the small hole as a guide, it sat perfectly still, a delicate balance just as he had written. This gift was beautiful, functional and deadly.
The bone was still white, new. This had been recently made. Old bone yellowed with age and use. I wondered about its maker, had Thrawn as Za’ar carved this for me, if not then who? He just got more and more complex and the more I learned about him the less I felt I knew him. I sighed as I contemplated all these things with the bone hair stick in my hand. It was a work of art in its own right and I was completely lost in thought when the comm beeped and Lord Vader barked into it that he wanted to see me. I jumped with fright. I answered him and then packed the gift away, carefully wrapping the silk about the needle and slipping it into the box which I hid in my desk drawer. It was already starting off to be an interesting day. I grabbed the data pad I had prepared and hoped that Lord Vader was in a decent mood.