I roll over on to my side and blink my eyes open. Sunlight streams in through the window. Thank the Force for cooling units. Though rooms furnished with their own temperature devices cost more and I'm low on credits, I had decided to spend one last night in comfort. Besides, as of this moment, I'm not really sure when I'll get to sleep again. Stretching, I push that thought aside and look out the window. It's already mid-morning and without the cooling units, the heat would have been suffocating in this small room.
I sit up and push the white sheets aside. I move to the edge of the bed and set my feet on the floor. With a sigh, I run my hands through my hair. My mechanical hand feels stiff, and despite that it's been apart of me for a tenday now, it still feels foreign. I hold the hand before my face, studying it for a moment. I flex my fingers and wrist, hearing the faint sounds of gears and motors.
Looking down at my hand, I'm reminded of the time I spent on the medical frigate. I think back to Leia, and I feel a pang of guilt. I should have told her I was leaving. Even if I thought she was going to try and stop me, she deserved to know. I wonder if she's worried. I wonder is she found Han. I hope she's safe. I've considered returning, but I can't, not yet. I'm sure she'll be alright. She can take care of herself.
Shaking my head, I rise, knowing that I can't put this off anymore.
I had spent the night at the local inn, because I know better than to set out into the desert in the dark of night. Dressing and packing my things, I find the lightsaber that I've finally finished. I had made adjustments last night, after my run in with Dax. I had decided to make sure my weapon is ready, in case the next stranger isn't as friendly.
Finally dressed and packed, I leave the inn and set out in the heat of the day. I walk into the pub, considering this to be a good place to start.
It's morning, but the place still has patrons. Not as many are here now as in the evenings, but there are still plenty of scum that, being low on "business", have nothing better to do than sit around drinking. I take a seat in the back of the cantina, hoping that I can gather my thoughts.
I barely sit down, and when I look up, I find a woman standing before me. She's dressed in a simple gray dress, which looks worn. The collar and the end of the sleeves are frayed and the material, though thick and sturdy, is rough. Her boots are dirty and scuffed. In contrast to her clothes, her long brown hair is brushed out smooth and neat, and her brown eyes are alert and focused. Her appearance vaguely reminds me of Leia or the picture of my mother. Either way, the familiarity isn't comforting, more like disconcerting.
"Morning, Skywalker," she says kindly, handing me a plate of food. "Dax," she says gesturing to the plate. "He said to make sure you have a good breakfast. Something about you having a journey ahead of you."
Great another stranger who knows everything about me. I look back at her, doing my best to hide my annoyance. "Really?" I ask dryly. "I don't suppose he told you anything else I should know."
She shakes her head. "No."
I turn to my attention to the food. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice her take a seat across from me.
I look back at her, trying to look patient, but I'm not really in the mood for company.
"Listen," she says. "To save you from the mistake you made last night, my name is Lina. I know about you because of Dax, and you're welcome for breakfast."
"Thanks," I say, half-sincere and half-obligated. "Dax didn't give anymore directions?"
Lina inclines her head, looking at me thoughtfully. "He said you knew where to go."
"I do, but-"
"Then there isn't anymore to be said. This is your journey, and if someone holds you hand, guiding you the whole way, you won't learn to trust your own faith."
Faith in what? I shake my head, refusing to ask this question out loud. While most of Mos Eisley is filled with thugs and lowlifes, there are a few like this. Hopefuls. Despite how dark things get around them, they always seem to think that things will get better. No doubt this Lina has big dreams for herself, like I used to. She probably wants to get off this rock and find something better. I wish I could tell her that in this age there is no where that is safe or good. You will always have to struggle and fight. You can't look for perfection, just strive for your own peace. Even a city in the clouds has its hell.
I sit on top of the dune, watching the suns set in the distance. There is nothing for miles, at least nothing in the way of permanent settlements.
Several meters behind me is the shelter I've set up. Nothing fancy, just a tent and blankets next to the bag of supplies. I hear a whistle behind me. Artoo. I had him retrieved from the hanger, since I'm not sure how long I'll be on this journey.
Despite that it's usually best to travel over this terrain without droids, I can't leave Artoo with the ship any longer. A good astromech droid is hard to find, and getting one for free is an opportunity no thug would pass up. I look back toward the land speeder. Artoo's next to it, whistling excitedly about something. I don't know when he'll realize that without C3PO I can't understand what he's saying.
Rising, I go and join him next to the speeder, looking over the craft. After a few moments, I notice it, a leak in the engine. Kicking the speeder, I turn away. Returning to the edge of the dune, I sit down. I won't deal with this now. I want to meditate, escape from this for just a while. Maybe I can find the guidance that I so badly need somewhere in the force.
Night in the desert is cold. Pulling the blanket more tightly around myself, I try to find sleep. Artoo whistles something quietly. "Save you're power, Artoo." I reply. "I doubt you'll be able to recharge off the speeder's battery."
Artoo whistles, sounding annoyed, but after a few moments, I hear him power down. I'm not sure if the speeder can be fixed, and if Artoo doesn't conserve power, I may find myself dragging a broken down droid across the dunes.
Rolling over again, I settle against the soft floor of the tent. I'll give the desert one thing, it's a lot more comfortable to sleep on sand than rocks. At last sleep makes it difficult for me to keep my eyes open. Dozing off, I finally find peace but not for long.
A strange dream takes hold of my mind. Something terrible is hunting me. It's drawing closer and closer. Some dark and wretched thing growls in the night, and suddenly it seems to find me. There is a loud roar, and pain rips through me.
I sit up with a start in a cold sweat. Breathing rapidly, I try to steady my heart. It was just a dream, I scold myself. It was just-
That same haunting roar echoes over the dunes. It was no dream.