Mentor's Song (The Story of Menarte Tillata)

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Mentor's Song (The Story of Menarte Tillata)

Post by Jolie Zindargo on Mon May 28, 2012 12:07 am

Prologue

The tiny girl, her dark wavy hair flowing behind her, skipped down the path towards the Temple of Illumination. The city of Jordir was quiet for a metropolitan area, its occupants moved at a sedentary pace. They did not hurry towards any urgent destinations. Such was the serene Chalactan way of life and so it had been for thousands of years. Happy children played in the cities many parks accompanied by adults. But crime was almost unknown here, the little girl had no fear of danger as she wandered alone. Such was her daily routine. She came to see the Temple wondering when the day would come for her to enter it.

Menarte’s parents were of the merchant class and owned a fine clothing store at Jordir’s center. They were well off and had plans for their daughter’s future. Mizrah and Hadresh Tillata wanted their daughter to become a Chalactan Adept and achieve Enlightenment. As of the present she was still too young to enter the Temple, yet already she had been noticed by the Convocation.

Chalactans were a very spiritual race of near humans and some had great gifts of telepathy. Though Menarte had just turned four her gifts had already been noted. She could communicate with animals easily, sense the feelings of others and often read the thoughts thoughts as well. She would sometimes bring pieces of clothing to customers before they asked to see them. The customers would smile, it was not such an unusual gift on Chalacta as it would be on other worlds. Another aspect that made her different was that her mother was lighter skinned than most Chalactans. Still Menarte’s skin was a beautiful tawny gold and her eyes liquid black, as dark as a starless night. In their depths shone a piercing light.

Menarte’s parents had a secret however which they hoped to keep from the Adepts. The child had also begun to display other powers. She could move objects with her mind. Recently as a shelf had been about to fall on her mother, Menarte had waved her hand and the shelf had flown backwards. They knew then that she was force-sensitive.

Though there were many Chalactan Jedi, the Tillatas wanted their daughter to remain at home and attend the Temple. Achieving Enlightenment was the greatest honor a Chalactan could attain. Menarte would be highly respected if she did so. So they had decided to hide their daughter’s abilities. If discovered she would be sent to the Jedi Temple and enter training as a youngling. She might still achieve Englightenment one day as Depa Billaba had, but it would not be the same.

The Temple loomed ahead and Menarte slowed as she came off the path. She had chosen to cut through the park and the wooded area between it and the Temple. She loved to hear the singing of the many birds that inhabited the woods. Woods were not common on this planet of oceans and plains, but many species of trees had been introduced into Jordir from other planets and thrived here. Now the shaded parks were a favorite place for children to play in.

A group of older children were playing in the field not far from the Temple grounds. They were running and laughing but stopped when they saw Menarte. She also stopped, one of the children had the reputation for being a bully. A boy of ten with a dark braid and a scowling face stepped away from the other children. His name was Sindal, and he was known for being unkind. Such behavior was frowned upon on Chalacta, but still a few children and adults were not well-behaved. Adults who acted in such a manner were ostracized from Chalactan society but children of course were not.

Sindal approached Menarte who stood still, frightened. He spoke to her in a mean voice. “Well if it isn’t the strange one who talks to animals” and he began to laugh. “Maybe she’s really an animal herself and should go live in a pen with them!” Then he unexpectedly pushed Menarte, knocking her to the ground. One of the other children said “Sindal leave her alone, we’ll get in trouble!” But Sindal went over to Menarte and kicked her. “She’s not one of us, she’s an animal!” He went to kick her again.

Menarte lay on the ground, her hands bleeding from being scraped and grass was stuck in her hair. As Sindal went to kick her a second time she reacted. She waved her hand and the bully flew backwards

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Re: Mentor's Song (The Story of Menarte Tillata)

Post by Jolie Zindargo on Mon May 28, 2012 12:26 am

landing hard. The other children gasped and Sindal got up shock written on his face. Embarrassed he screamed at her, “I’m going to tell!” He then turned and ran towards the Temple. The other children backed away from Menarte, frightened. Menarte got to her feet, tears streaming down her face. Her telepathic and empathic gifts told her of the fear the other children were feeling. She turned and ran for the woods, her cheeks wet as she cried. Menarte found a hollow in a tree and climbed inside curling up into a ball. There the little girl laid sobbing uncontrollably until she fell asleep.

Meanwhile back at the clothing store, her parents were becoming worried. Menarte had been gone much longer than usual and Mizrah her mother was pacing as she looked out the window for her daughter’s return. “Husband, I am growing concerned, where is Menarte. She is never gone so long. Where can she be all of this time?” Hadresh sighed. He had been busy unpacking the new merchandise which had arrived. As they priced and placed it on the shelves, he too had been watching for his daughter’s safe return. “I will go look for her if she does not return soon my wife.” The shop door opened a few minutes later and an Adept entered. Koratat was a member of the Convocation of Adepts and he wore both the Greater and Lesser Marks of Illumination. His face was stern as he entered and closed the door behind him.

Koratat carried a sense of spirituality and serenity about him which was palpable. His achievement of Enlightenment was obvious in his peaceful expression. No worry touched him, no worldly concerns drove him. He looked at Mizrah and Hadresh with soft eyes full of kindness. “I have come to discuss your daughter Menarte with you and to see her if you will allow it.” He would not force them to comply, but few would refuse the request of an Adept. “It seems that there has been an incident between Menarte and one of the other children. I am here to discuss the matter with both you and her. But first I have a question. Please answer it truthfully.” He paused momentarily, studying the two parents faces. This would be hard for them he knew. They had such high hopes for their daughter and her future. The two shopkeepers looked at one another with wide eyes. Both had an idea of what was about to come.

Koratat spoke in a quiet voice. “Sindal as many of us know is a bully. He does harm to other children frequently. We of the Adepts know of his problems and are keeping an eye on him. His parents have been spoken with and he was to begin coming to the Temple to learn self discipline next week. Not as Adept training, but as life training. So that one day his behavior will not lead to ostracization. He did harm to Menarte today I am afraid. He called her names and then pushed her down and kicked her.” Mizrah gasped audibly, but the Adept held up his hand. “Then he went to kick her again. When he did she waved her hand at him and he flew backwards landing on the ground. Like most bullies, when confronted he fled, running to us as a tattletale. He did not realize I think, what his words would mean for Menarte and you. I then spoke with the other children who had witnessed the affair and they verified it to be true. He of course did not tell what he had done to her first, but the others did. How long have you known that your daughter is force-sensitive?”

Mizrah and Hadresh looked at each other both with filling eyes. They could not lie, it was not the Chalactan way. Hadresh spoke first. “We have known for several months. She moved a shelf that was about to fall on her mother. But we wished for her to enter the Temple and become a Seeker. You know her gifts are great.” He bowed his head knowing they had done wrongly not to report her force-sensitivity. Then Mizrah spoke her voice cracking with emotion. “Please do not blame my husband. She is our only child, I could not bear to send her from me. Without her my heart will be broken.” She began to cry and Hadresh wrapped an arm about her shoulders in a gesture of comfort.

Koratat spoke firmly, but his voice was kindly. His tall frame stooped down and touched the sobbing mother’s hair with a gentle hand. “I am not angry with you, I know your omission was done out of love. I also know she is your only child, and you are raising her to be wonderful in every way. She is gifted and you have nurtured it, gentle of heart and you guided her to be so. Even today she only acted out of hurt and fear. But you must also know that we have a policy to send force-sensitive children to the Jedi for training. It has been our way for hundreds of years. We will send for a Jedi Master or Knight to come here. If her midchlorian count is high and I suspect it will be, then she must go to the Jedi Temple. It is a great honor. I know it is hard for the two of you to send her away and my heart sorrows with yours. It is a great loss to us as well at the Temple of Illumination. She may still achieve Enlightenment one day though and she can return here. There is also someone I would like you to meet. She can not replace Menarte but you may be

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Re: Mentor's Song (The Story of Menarte Tillata)

Post by Jolie Zindargo on Mon May 28, 2012 12:30 am

comforted by her presence if Menarte does go. Where is she?” Mizrah looked up her eyes full of sadness and grief. “I don’t know we haven’t seen her since this morning. I am concerned at what may have happened to her especially since I know now what Sindal did. Where could she be?” Koratat frowned now his usual calmness broken momentarily by worry. “We must begin searching for her. I do not want her out in the dark. No Chalactan would harm her but there are animals. The other children said she was upset and they had reacted fearfully which is to be expected.”

Hadresh hurried to find some portable lights in case the search continued into the night, then the three adults headed back towards the Temple. Koratat went to get some of the other Adepts and they in turn went to get some of the neighbors to aid in the search. Soon a fairly large party was searching the Temple grounds and spreading out into the woods, calling out Menarte’s name. The child however had cried herself into exhaustion and remained deep asleep, unaware of the frantic search around her.

Far into the night the search went on when suddenly one of the searchers let out a yell. Menarte’s parents and Koratat hurried towards the voice and found another Adept kneeling near a hollow tree trunk. There inside the trunk, curled up asleep was Menarte. Mizrah cried out with relief and reached inside lifting out the small figure of the sleeping child. The two parents tenderly kissed her on the forehead and Menarte’s eyes opened, shining in the artificial lights. Murmurs of relief came from the other searchers and Mizrah hugged her daughter close cradling her. Hadresh sighed and turned to the searchers thanking them for their help. They then carried Menarte home not letting go of her. Koratat followed them into the shop, their house was behind the store on the same lot. Mizrah looked up at the Adept pleadingly. “Can not the discussion wait for tomorrow? Menarte is tired and hungry.” At that Koratat agreed, but said “For tonight it is best left alone, but tomorrow I will return.” He then left the parents to take their daughter home feed her and tuck her into bed. They sat beside her all night speaking in quiet voices and watching over her.

The next day in the mid morning, two people came to the clothing store. It was dark and still closed. The two figures went to the residence at the rear walking along a beautiful stone pathway. Koratat knocked briskly, the sound echoing across the yard. Mizrah came to the door and opened it. She was stunned for a minute. One of the two individuals was Koratat, the other was a female Jedi Master. Mizrah knew from the simple Jedi robe the woman wore.

Kennell Shamolin smiled at Mizrah. Her elderly lined Cerean face was captivating because of her brilliant blue eyes. They twinkled with joy and their depths were full of wisdom. She had been a Jedi for over one hundred years and now her time to pass into the Force was coming. Yet she had one more task to do. She was psychic and had been dreaming of Chalacta. She was a Jedi Seeress and a renowned one. Most of her time was spent at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant but once in a while she would train a padawan. She had learned over the long years of her life not to ignore dreams and immediately set out for Chalacta. Upon her early morning arrival she had gone to the Temple. There Koratat and the rest of the Convocation had taken her arrival as a sign. The told her of Menarte and the elderly Jedi Master had smiled a wry smile. “I knew there was a reason for my dreams. I am glad I followed the path they have led me on. Let us go meet this child.” Now she stood before Mizrah compassion showing on her face for the woman’s pain. She spoke softly, in her musical voice. “I am Kennell Shamolin a Jedi Master. I dreamed that I was supposed to come here and so I have. It seems the Light Side of the Force has led me here for a reason. I would like to meet Menarte if it is possible.” Though wishing to turn them away, Mizrah stepped aside and nodded at them, granting entry.

By Chalactan standards the Tillatas were very well off. Some of their patrons were among Chalacta’s wealthiest citizens. Their home was exquisite. Built of rose-colored stone it was all on one floor with wings set in a pinwheel. The couple loved one another greatly and had planned on many children. Fate however had brought only Menarte to them. The house was large, having been designed for the sound of many little feet. The residence’s architecture was graceful with rounded doorways and fluted columns. The furnishings were simple yet elegant. The center of the pinwheel was the heart of the house. Here the sitting area, the dining area and the family area were located. Some of the wings were sparsely used, mostly for storing items for the shop. One wing held the family bedrooms, the other guest rooms. An indoor large bathing pool and sauna area were located in each of the two bedroom wings. One wing had a room for their household staff. A married couple kept the house and the grounds as well as assisted in the shop when needed. Mizrah and Hadresh liked to wait on customers themselves, ensuring good service. Now Mizrah

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Re: Mentor's Song (The Story of Menarte Tillata)

Post by Jolie Zindargo on Mon May 28, 2012 12:32 am

needed. Mizrah and Hadresh liked to wait on customers themselves, ensuring good service. Now Mizrah was the model of a good hostess. The housekeeper a middle aged Chalactan with early graying hair offered them tea and pastries. Koratat accepted tea but declined the sweets. Kennell however accepted a honey cake with delight. After the initial pleasantries Kennell finally spoke. “I would like to meet Menarte if I could.” At that Mizrah rose and left the room returning a few minutes later with her daughter in tow. Menarte hid shyly behind her mother at first. Koratat rose and went over to her first. “Menarte I have someone I would like you to meet. You don’t need to be afraid. You know me and I would not allow anyone to harm you. Please let me introduce you to my friend. He reached out his hand and Menarte took it tentatively. He gently drew her to him and then over to the Jedi Master. “Menarte this is Kennell and she would like to meet you. Kennell this is Menarte.” He spoke the introductions lightly, hoping to dispell the child’s fear. Menarte’s uplifted face and dark eyes were full of trepidation. Her upper lip trembled but she remained still. Kennell smiled tenderly at the terrified little girl. “Menarte I am Kennell a Jedi Master. I had a dream about you and came to meet you for myself. It seems I was destined to come here and become your friend. Would you like to be my friend? Friends get acquainted with one another. So if you would like, why don’t we take a little walk together and have a chat. We won’t go far and we’ll come right back. I heard you had a trying day yesterday and you need rest. Would you like to come with me?” She spoke in a soothing voice and smiled as she did. Menarte looked towards her mother for permission,

Though it grieved her, Mizrah nodded for her daughter to accompany the Jedi Master. Kennell stood and took Menarte’s hand. The two went outside and began to walk on the stone pathway, talking as they went. Hadresh entered the room he had been in his office working on the shop’s accounts. He greeted their guest with a lack of enthusiasm which Koratat noted immediately. He decided to meet the issue head on. His kindly eyes looked at the two parents moving between them. “I know this is difficult for you, but it must be done. If Menarte is force-sensitive it is best we face it now. We on Chalacta believe in the achieving of Enlightenment. Part of that is being as successful as possible. To become a Jedi would be a great honor for both Menarte, and you. It would bring honor to Chalacta. Do not begrudge the child her birthright. Be proud instead, though I know you will miss her. While they speak, I would like you to meet someone for a few moments. A second Adept arrived not long afterwards bringing with them a toddler wearing a simple robe. “This child’s name is Bizet. Her parents died in a speeder accident two weeks ago. They had no family who were willing to raise her and so Bizet was taken into the Temple. Her life would be good and she would not be mistreated. But we are monks and she would not know the love of a true family. She would however if you would consider taking her into your home. Bizet could never replace your daughter, but her becoming part of your family would benefit both her and you. Think upon it, even if Menarte is not force-sensitive. Then both would have a sister.”

Mizrah struggled internally with anger. Bizet was being offered up in an attempt to mollify her at perhaps losing her daughter. She bit back a retort, just barely. Hadresh said nothing his eyes more sad than angry. There was silence for a bit, then Mizrah rose and invited Bizet to sit. She went and got the child a cool drink and offered her a cake. Bizet bit into it with relish eating the whole thing in just a few bites. Mizrah brought a wet cloth to wipe the child’s hands. Koratat informed them of Sindal’s punishment. “Sindal with his parents’ permission now lives at the Temple. He is in the kitchens, learning discipline. There he will be taught kindness and how a Chalactan behaves. Between his duties and studies, he will have little time for bullying anyone. Perhaps his attitude will improve." Shortly after Kennell and Menarte returned.

Kennell looked knowingly at Koratat her eyes alight. She spoke to Menarte. “Perhaps you and Bizet whom I have already met can go play for a bit. I would like to speak with your parents. Menarte took the little girl’s hand and the two went to play. Kennell moistened her lips before speaking. She turned towards Mizrah first. “It did not take long to know that your daughter is highly force-sensitive. She has the gifts of foresight, empathy and telepathy. Already the physical force powers are developing at a remarkably early rate. She belongs at the Jedi Temple. I will tell you something. Though I know you are grieved I will make you a promise. I have trained many Padawans over the long years of my life. Few have shown as much promise as your daughter. Though she will be a youngling for a while that does not mean I can not mentor her and I shall. My long service to the Jedi Order and the Republic gives me the right to ask to guide her and become her Master when she is ready. I would be pleased and honored to do so. She is a beautiful, wonderful child full of possibilities for greatness. I will nurture her towards that goal. I will also make certain that you are kept informed of how she is doing. I swear it.” Then she sat quietly sipping a fresh cup


Last edited by Jolie Zindargo on Mon May 28, 2012 12:36 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mentor's Song (The Story of Menarte Tillata)

Post by Jolie Zindargo on Mon May 28, 2012 12:33 am

of tea. Mizrah began to cry, her fears had been realized. Menarte would be leaving them, they could not refuse. Hadresh bowed his head yet he was resolved to do the right thing. He hugged his wife close and nodded at the Jedi Master. “How soon would she leave.” Usually the separation was done quickly but Kennell decided she had time to allow for proper goodbyes and for them to get used to the idea. “I can wait a few days while you explain it to her and I will help. You can pack a few things for her and put in items to remember you by. Then we will leave for the Temple. Again I promise you she will be alright.” Then Koratat collected Bizet from the play room which was full of toys and they left.

The next few days were full of sadness for the Tillata family. Menarte cried when told of the decision to send her to the Jedi Temple throwing herself on her bed and refusing to eat. Her mother sat with her for hours, consoling the girl’s fears and sorrow. They packed a rucksack with Menarte’s favorite items and a few clothes. Kennell and Koratat came to visit each day, though at first Menarte would not speak to them. But as the days went on she became more accepting. Finally the day came when they would depart. Mizrah got up early and cooked the little girl’s last breakfast at home herself. Then she bathed and dressed her. Hadresh did not open the store, instead staying to spend the last few hours with his daughter. He sat with Menarte on his lap reading her stories and telling her how much he loved her. He and Mizrah had stayed up long hours talking into the night. Finally the time came. Koratat and Kennell arrived and the family hugged in a circle for what might be the last time. Hadresh tenderly kissed his daughter’s cheek and Mizrah held her close. Menarte clung to her parents crying. Then Kennell took her hand and Koratat lifted the rucksack to his shoulder. Menarte turned and waved at her parents a solemn movement of a tiny hand. Then she turned and the three got into a transport vehicle heading for Jordir’s spaceport. She gazed back wistfully at her parents, black eyes streaming with unshed tears. The two parents stood holding one another and crying uncontrollably. But they knew that they had done the right thing. Menarte belonged among the Jedi. Walking across the grass came two figures, one large and one tiny. Wiping away her tears, Mizrah turned to see little Bizet coming towards them. She thought to herself. ‘This child can not replace Menarte. But she can fill a space in our hearts and we can fill one in hers. She needs a home and we can give it to her.’ She looked at her husband, the unspoken question revealed in her eyes. He studied her face for a moment then his eyes found Bizet’s. The loneliness of the little orphan was obvious and they could help take that look away. He nodded at his wife. She walked forward towards Bizet who shook off the Adept’s hand and ran towards the woman. Mizrah opened her arms and gathered her in.

Menarte, along with Kennell and Koratat arrived at the spaceport. There Kennell’s personal shuttle awaited them. A Republic pilot waited to fly the craft. Koratat hugged Menarte close and kissed her brow. He handed Kennell the rucksack. He watched as the two entered the shuttle and Kennell strapped the little girl in near a window so she could see as they left the planet’s surface. Menarte had never flown before and she was delighted as the ship lifted off. Koratat whispered a Chalactan blessing for the child’s well being then turned to go. Kennell sat beside Menarte pleased with the child’s joy. As the ship approached the edge of Chalactan space panels closed across the windows. The pilot engaged the hyperdrive and the ship jumped to hyperspace.

Menarte’s new life had begun.


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