This is the first chapter of a story in which most of the characters are of my own creation. Any others e.g. Yoda, Mace Windu belong to George Lucas.

Disclaimer: STAR WARS and certain characters (e.g. Yoda, Windu) belong to George Lucas.


CHAPTER 1

First Meetings

Her bare feet made no noise on the cool marble floor of the corridor. The dimly lit lights did little to disperse the darkness of the night but she did not mind the dark. Only at night were the halls and corridors empty so that she could do whatever she pleased, providing that no one heard her.

Maia Vestarii liked walking around the Jedi Temple at night. There were no Masters or Knights walking down the corridors frowning and lecturing each time you ran, even though you were in a hurry. At night, no one would tease her, pull her hair and comment on its flammeous colour. And best of all (in her opinion), at night there were no lessons.

She padded down the corridor leading away from the Initiates' quarters towards the staircase nearby. Usually, the stairs were only used during emergencies or when the turbolift broke down. In Maia's lifetime, none of those events had ever happened before. Nevertheless, she avoided using the 'lift because one could never predict if someone did step in, even if it was in the middle of the night.

In the past, she had been caught twice during her nocturnal wanderings. She had no desire to receive another of Master Narista's lectures. Nor receive the scornful looks of the Masters that had found her wandering.

Maia's feet made a pattering noise against the floor as she moved from one shadow to another. Slowly she approached the training halls. A bright light glowed in a few of the halls. Some Knights and Masters wished to practice katas or spar in peace without being watched by gaping Initiates, admiring Padawans or inquisitive Knights and Masters.

So now Maia had to very careful to avoid being seen, let alone let her presence be detected. She could have avoided the halls of course, but part of the reason for her nightly wanderings was to watch the Jedi spar. Who knew, there might a particularly interesting move she could learn to use against her opponent during sparring lessons.

Unlike her fellow Initiates who slumbered soundly after another tiring day of lessons and sparring practice, Maia found it hard to find sleep. Despite how tired she was, slumber always eluded her. So instead of staying in her room waiting for sleep to come, she went for nightly strolls around the Temple which took her past training halls, classrooms to the Temple gardens and even the Room of a Thousand Fountains. Usually an hour or two of walking made her tired enough to fall into a doze until she was forced to rise to face another day of lessons.

Footsteps approached. Maia slipped behind a pillar and raised her mental shields to hide her presence. Two Knights walked past, a Whipit and a human both talking in low voices, not noticing the small human girl hiding in the shadows. Their footsteps receded and she let out a breath that had not realised she had been holding.

There was only one light left on, coming from a small hall nearest to where she was hiding. From the shadows cast by the bright lights she could see that there was only one person in the room. A human male, she realised noticing the shadow's sharp outline. Slowly, tentatively she risked a peek.

A lone Knight was inside. The girl watched fascinated as his lightsaber whirled through the air. The green glow of his blade cast strange shadows on the wall. Amazed, Maia's eager eyes followed every move as the young man wove his glowing weapon in intricate moves, whirls and spins that she had never seen before.

The intricately beautiful display of lights, grace and dexterity took the Initiate's breath away. Maia's fresh young mind had never seen such a thing before.

At one point of a rather complicated kata, the Knight stumbled, and almost fell. Maia could not help but gasp out loud and a little too late, clapped her hand over her mouth. The Jedi regained his balance without breaking the flow of the kata. Absorbed in his practice, had not noticed her sudden intake of breath.

A few more minutes passed, with Maia still watching the Jedi Knight with wide eyes. Suddenly, as though he had sensed her presence, the knight froze in a defensive position and looked up. Maia withdrew her head just in time to avoid his searching gaze and pressed her back against the wall, holding very, very still. She did not even dare to breath for fear that he may hear her.

After a minute or so passed and no annoyed or angry Jedi came out to lecture her, Maia relaxed and risked another glance into the room. The room was empty; the Jedi had disappeared.

Suddenly, a shadow loomed over her. She whirled around and let out a squeak of the surprise. The Jedi Knight was leaning casually against the opposite wall with his arms crossed over his bare chest.

Unlike the other Jedi Maia had crossed paths with during her nightly wanderings, this Jedi did not look at all annoyed or irritated as the others had; in contrary, he looked very amused. The corners of his mouth twitched as though he was trying to suppress a smile.

They regarded each other for a moment, and then the Jedi squatted down so that they were face to face. He regarded her with a friendly stare. "What are you doing here, little one?" he asked.

She bristled at his name for her. "I'm not little!" she retorted without thinking. Then she remembered whom she was addressing, blushed and looked down at her feet. "I couldn't sleep," said Maia in a small voice. "Sir," she added. The Knight made a movement and she looked up.

One of his hands covered a smile that had come to his lips. Then to Maia utter astonishment his smile grew wider and his lips parted in a laugh. His laughter was not loud, it was more of a chuckle, but it was an expression of amusement nevertheless and he looked as though Maia's statement was the punch line of a very funny joke.

The Initiate was astonished to the point of disbelief. Is he mad? she asked herself. In the past times when someone had found outside the Initiate quarters past curfew, both Jedi had looked stern, even scornful. They had asked her what she was doing, ignored her answer, asked her for her name and marched her back to see Master Narista. Neither of them had found anything funny about the entire situation.

And this seriously weird Jedi just sat there and laughed.