Rey abandoned scavenging for the day and set out just before dawn on the Pilgrim’s Road before the heat of Jakku became unbearable. Unkar Plutt had given her one whole portion to investigate the fireball that had lit the horizon the previous night. He’d promised her two full portions if she returned with any droids – intact or in pieces. His thinking was that a secret fuel supply, or even a ship, had exploded in one of the Sacred Villages and the villagers were all dead or the survivors would be in need of water, food, and shelter. More indentured servants for him. So, she still expected to do some scavenging, but technically, it was a reconnaissance mission.
Rey accelerated her speeder past the Graveyard of ships along the old happabore trail to the far side of Kelvin Ravine where the village of Tuanul lay. She only knew one person there – an old explorer of the far reaches of the galaxy who was a font of esoteric wisdom. Lor San Tekka belonged to the Church of the Force, as did most of the villagers, and Rey had in the back of her mind to seek him out some day. He undoubtedly had some great stories to tell to pass the time – stories about the evil Empire, the First Order, and the Resistance. He probably even knew the legends of the Jedi. She didn’t really care about the mystic spiritual stuff, but the stories she had heard of the Jedi were exciting. And if anybody knew what was going on in the region, it was Lor San Tekka.
She hoped nothing bad had happened to him.
As she approached the huddle of huts and hovels that made up Tuanul, she eased back on the throttle to take in the lay of the land. Something had happened here alright. The place was deserted. As she brought her speeder to a halt and dropped to the sand, the sun was a hand-span off the horizon – high enough to reveal scorch marks on rocks at the village’s edge. Here and there she picked up chunks of fused sand – evidence of blast bolts from high energy weapons? Sand had begun to drift over piles of rubble and ash that had once been houses. Shreds of tents and poles were strewn everywhere, but there was no one about. Not even any stray animals.
For a moment, she thought the village had simply caught fire – the fused sand the result of nothing more than a lightning bolt – and the people and herds moved on. But then a tiny glint of stone caught her eye. She stooped to pluck it out of the sand. It was a handmade necklet of chain links interspersed with milky white stones and smoky blue crystals. The necklet terminated in front with two loops of leather, one hanging off the other. She recognized the artifact at once and knew that the rightful place for the Chain of Wisdom was around the neck of Lor San Tekka.
A shiver went up her spine and splintered through her mind. She heard voice – a man and a woman’s talking low – and a second later she saw them beyond an arched doorway hung with beads in a dimly lit room.
“I know it’s asking a lot,” the blond woman said, laying a hand on the old man’s arm, “but if you could find a place for her here and keep an eye on her, we’d be very grateful.”
Lor San Tekka’s eyes narrowed. “You say she has Force capabilities?”
“Yes. Her parents were Dark Side adepts, but they’ve been killed. Luke Skywalker took her under his wing for a time but fears the terrible power that is now hunting Force-sensitives. That power could easily ensnare her.”
San Tekka nodded. “The Dark power behind the First Order,” he confirmed.
“Precisely.” She gave him an imploring look. “Will you help us?”
He rose slowly to his feet and poured two cups of spinebarrel juice and handed one to her. “Yet since she arose from the Dark Side, they thought it merciful to bring her here, where she might endanger all of us?”
Amanda Snoke accepted the cup. “She is untrained and does not comprehend her powers. She’s not even aware she has them.” She took a sip. “We’d like to keep it that way.”
The voices began to swirl into a cacophony of distant babble and Rey put out a hand to steady herself as the vision faded. She blinked in the growing sunlight, suddenly aware of an overpowering presence of another who had been there that day – a dark-haired boy, a teenager, who had sat with her on the floor playing a game of Dejarik.
“You’re better at this than you think, Rags.”
His smile was a galaxy wide.
@MyKyloRen 31 May 2016