Looking Glass: Part 2
Madoka's plain brown Jedi robe swished around her ankles. Although many Jedi Knights across the galaxy tended to keep their dressing habits the same after becoming Jedi Knights, Madoka felt a certain sense of ease and peace when wearing the traditional Jedi robe. The soft material flowed around her as she paced back and forth outside the Massassi Temple. Where was Cirsee? They always met here just after sunrise to do some meditation. But the sun had been rising steadily for at least half an hour now, with no sight of her apprentice.
The young woman stretched out her sense and searched for Cirsee. She thought she felt the girl's presence for a moment, but as quickly as it had appeared her presence disappeared.
Typical. Madoka thought with a mixture of pride and worry. She's shielding herself again.
Thinking back to Skywalker's words, she hoped Cirsee wasn't getting into any trouble. It was so unlike Cirsee. It was true that the girl was emotional and passionate. mistrustful of strangers and pessimistic, but she had never been one to provoke others on purpose, as she had been doing to Jaina over the last few days.
Yesterday, Madoka had gone to talk to Cirsee. But as she had neared her apprentice's quarters, Cirsee had burst out and rushed down the hallway with her lightsaber gripped in hand. Face flushed, she exclaimed that she was going to practice with Tahiri, as the girls usually did. But Tahiri implied other companions as well, most notably Jaina Solo.
Why is she doing this? wondered Madoka with puzzlement. From the moment Cirsee had laid eyes on Jaina she had felt nothing but anger and resentment for her. But Madoka couldn't figure out why. Despite Cirsee's less than perfect childhood, there was nothing that suggested a reason for this behaviour.
Maybe there's something I'm missing. Madoka decided to once again go over everything Cirsee had told her.
Born to a widowed mother in the underbelly of a Corellian slum. Life from the start had been harsh for Cirsee. There was little food, the poor excuse for a house that she stayed in was far below living standards and there was violence everywhere. Cirsee's mother would leave the house at the crack of dawn to work at a hazardous factory, all for barely enough credits to raise the family that consisted of Cirsee, her mother and her older sister Japhia. Many days, as their mother toiled in the factory making parts for turbolifts, Cirsee and her teenage sister would cower in a dark corner of their house, the sound of blaster fire from opposing warlord gangs screaming in the streets.
But Cirsee struggled on. Apart from her ability to mask her presence (which she learned later) she was also an unnaturally strong child. She tackled jobs that a normal child her age would have failed at. She once picked up a steel shelf and placed it upright with ease when she was only two years old, much to the surprise of her protective mother and sister.
But one night her life took a turn for the worse. Cirsee's mother took her daughters to an old yet kind doctor who worked out of an abandoned office building. On the way back night had fallen, meaning the streets had become more dangerous. Unfamiliar sounds echoed through the alleyways as the woman and her children scurried homewards.
Suddenly they were surrounded by a pack of men brandishing vibro-blades. Mocking jeers on their scarred faces, they circled the vunerable trio.
The mother's face was full of fear, but also determination. She passed the anxious Cirsee from her arms to Japhia's. "Japhia. Take Cirsee and run home. I'll take care of these thugs."
Japhia knew her mother could not possibly take care of the thugs all by herself, but was old enough to understand the sacrifice she was making for her children. She held Cirsee close and ran, never looking behind her. Tears streaked down her face without her knowing it and her long brown hair flew about as she sprinted through the filth ridden streets. When at last they stood in front of their ramshackle house, Japhia put Cirsee down and looked the child in the eye.
"Cirsee. I'm going to find mother and bring her back." Japhia explained, pulling a small blaster out of her pocket. "I want you to go inside and wait till we come back. Okay?"
"You'll come back with momma?"
The promise was never kept.
Madoka sighed at the injustice of the world. Little Cirsee had waited in vain for four days for her sister and mother to return, sitting quietly in her room without food or water. One of the kinder neighbours had found Cirsee and tried to tell her what had happened, but the information was too much for a small child. Cirsee had ran away and stumbled into a group of child thieves, who eventually became her pseudo-family.
That was when she had started to perfect Force techniques. Other thieves would watch Cirsee walk past store clerks and steal money underneath their noses. That was evidence enough of her ability to hide her presence and image. Agile and clever, she befriended older kids who held her in high esteem as a thief. And if she ever did end up in a fight with someone older than her, her superior strength in the Force made up for her age.
Somewhere along the lines, she had realized that the Force flowed within her, and made steps so that she could somehow get the the Jedi Academy. One day Master Skywalker had stepped outside the temple to see a beaten up cargo ship drop off an eight year old girl in tattered clothing and a triumphant grin on her face. And so Cirsee had arrived.
Madoka thought over the the information and realized there was something strange about the way Cirsee had told her about her past. When she told the part about being left at the house, waiting for her mother and sister, her expression became highly unemotional and she shielded her feelings and thoughts from Madoka a bit.
I'm going to ask her about that. Madoka thought with resolve. She knew Master Skywalker would approve.
"Master Natalya!" Cirsee walked into view with Luke Skywalker trailing behind her. "Sorry I'm late, but Master Skywalker was teaching me a technique to increase my ability to sense other people's thoughts and feelings."
Madoka smiled. "It's okay Cirsee. Were you successful in learning the technique?"
"I think so." Cirsee glanced questioningly at Skywalker.
"She did. She's a fast learner, your apprentice. She picked it up in no time." he replied. I thought that increasing her ability to sense what other people feel might increase her empathy for people, something which she could work on. Skywalker told this to Madoka and Madoka only.
Madoka smiled sadly at the comment. She was aware of how self-centered Cirsee could be. But what would you expect from a child who had to fend for herself for the last five years? Still, Cirsee's lack of empathy had been one area Madoka trained Cirsee tirelessly in. It was what she partly used the meditation time for. Getting Cirsee to sense the forest life around her, the animals and the plant life, the Jedi trainees and the Jedi Knights, it helped the girl undestand other people.
If she only understood that Jaina meant her no harm...
"Cirsee. Do you mind if we talk to you for a moment?" Skywalker asked.
The girl's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "This is about Jaina, right?"
Skywalker was calm. "Yes, it is."
Cirsee scowled. "You don't know her! You're her uncle and you're blinded by it. I'm the only one who knows how horrible she is! I can't believe how everyone else can't see it!"
Madoka suddenly caught something from Cirsee's mind that confused her. "What about your sister?"
Cirsee froze. Her eyes widened with so much anger that Madoka took a step backwards.
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Cirsee screamed. The air seemed alive with electricity. Without another word Cirsee turned and ran into the jungles, tears streaming down her face.
TO BE CONTINUED...
So, whaddya think? How'd you like dem apples :) I'm not quite if I've got a good idea here, but the next chapter should have quite the revelation. Please R/R!