I can't believe it. I finally updated the story.
So about reviews giving me motivation to write faster. It doesn't work that way. You do however have Kallizakat's and Rainkit's more recent reviews and this month's 6 new followers, to thank for me posting a part of this chapter though. But still, my speed depends on how inspired I am to write something and how long it would take to know where to stop.
As of the 18th of December 2013 the chapter is worth the length of 20 500 words. Part 1 is around 16 500 words long, since there was only one point in which I thought cutting the chapter was suitable. The worst part is that so far I haven't done 30% of what I intend for the chapter, so I fear that I might have a wrong idea of how to format everything, so hopefully I did a decent enough job.
Anyway, in Part 1 of Shared Memories and new Acquaintances, Ahsoka meets Dumbledore and finally is able to share her story with the two wizards, through a special kind of magic of course. They begin to unravel the mysteries of her past and how she ended up with them, and soon start to realize that they may stumble onto something very unsettling.
(1*), (2*), etc. - Comments on a particular part that will be posted at the end.
A Padawan no More
Chapter 2. Shared Memories and new Acquaintances
(Going to be in here for a while.)
"Good evenin' Professor Dumbledore, sir! What can I do for yeh?", grumbled the anxious voice of Hagrid, as he greeted the elderly wizard into the small hut. Both of them just stood there at the entrance, bathing in the slight light coming from the shimmering flames of the fireplace, which was casting their dark, morphing shadows at the ceiling.
Ahsoka threw an inquisitive look at the Headmaster's direction, noting his tall posture, albeit nothing compared to the giant's height. She was peering at the long silvery beard, which was draping down his screaming-purple robe and seemed almost luminous in the darkness. Even the Jedi Masters, no matter how stoic and collected they were, would have probably envied such a magnificent example of facial hair. Ok, maybe with the exception of Master Kenobi, because he is... well simply put he's just Obi-Wan, and besides he had already begun to grow quite the beard.
"Ah, Hagrid. I'm only passing by to check if everything went alright in the forest.", came Dumbledore's cheerful reply, and then he inclined his head slightly, peering with a piercing gaze from under his half-moon spectacles.
"You seem to be in high spirits today, so I reckon that there weren't any complications. At least nothing too dreadful, considering the sky was, how do they say... falling apart?", he said, regarding the giant intently with his bright blue eyes.
Even though the Headmaster's look was warm and gentle, Ahsoka knew for certain that no lie could escape it. He was obviously suspecting that something was off with Hagrid, and she had a very good hint who was responsible for the giant's change in mood.
The girl gulped a little, glad that she was still unnoticed, sitting on the couch in the darker corner of the hut. She hoped inwardly that Hagrid would explain what happened on her behalf.
Fawkes on the other hand was preparing himself to be embarrassed by something and seemed determined to hide from the elder wizard behind Ahsoka. "Just great! Way to draw the attention on me Mr. Bird.", she groaned in her mind.
"Everythin's under control Headmaster. In fact I found meself a new fr... ", began Hagrid.
But he was interrupted when Dumbledore's pointy wizard hat had a sudden start and jerked itself to one side. Ahsoka pursed her lips, her hands held over her mouth firmly to prevent herself from bursting out in laughter at the bewildered expressions on their faces, ending up releasing nothing but a silent snigger. No one seemed to have noticed her, or so she'd thought.
The Headmaster pulled his hat off carefully, cautious not to let the creature inside run off. He peered in it and chuckled. It took just a few waves of his wand to conjure a tank, floating midair, which was filled with crystal clear water and held a miniature castle - richly ornamented with different sized shells, multicolored corals and luminous seaweed. Then he floated the little golden fish out of the hat and into his new home.
Ahsoka couldn't help but let an elated gasp escape her, looking amazed at the magic unfolding in front of her. "Is he trying to show off on purpose or what?", she thought. At the same time Fawkes finally relented and quit hiding from his caretaker, nesting himself contently in the girl's lap and allowing her to stroke his fiery feathers absentmindedly, letting out a smug tweet. This scene, of course, finally drew all the attention to them, yet again everyone with the exception of Fang who failed to notice all the commotion, curled up sleeping next to the fireplace.
Dumbledore shifted his gaze towards them, landing it straight on Ahsoka's sapphire-blue eyes. It was just for an instant, but the girl could have sworn she glimpsed a brief period of recognition in the old wizard's eyes, whose mood shifted dramatically, plunging into self-loathing and despair as he drew in a ragged breath. The Headmaster, however, was quick to recover from his reminiscence, focusing on the worried look of dismay spreading on the child's face. He was sapient enough not to dwell on the child's otherworldly look, for all it's worth he still had his manners despite being curious.
"And who might we have here?", he asked, giving Ahsoka a warm smile as he walked up to the girl, and then crouched down to her eye level, putting the mini-aquarium opposite her at the table. Dumbledore didn't miss her faltering to answer the question, or the fact that she was hugging Fawkes tightly in search for some comfort. The phoenix was responding encouragingly by nuzzling a beak against her neck. The Headmaster also caught sight of the letter from Hogwarts, which lay forgotten on the table. At once he knew that this particular recruitment wasn't going to go without a hitch, as if dealing with someone so blatantly out of this world wasn't a delicate enough situation.
He sat on an armchair opposite Ahsoka, watching her expectantly. The little girl was giving him uneasy glances, visibly uncomfortable as she took in a timid breath, seemingly at a loss about how to respond. Dumbledore had a sneaking suspicion, carefully scrutinizing the confused expression which was spreading over her alien face, that she had no clue whatsoever what he had just asked her. But he could also tell from the cautiousness she was exhibiting towards him, that she'd noticed his stark relapse at the sight of her haunting blue eyes.
He mutely cursed himself for letting his inner demons scare the girl, who he'd hoped to make a bit more comfortable by using his new fishy friend from the lake in a fancy display of magic. But who could blame him as she turned out to be most observant for someone her age, and not even human at that. In fact he couldn't think of any magical beings that resembled her in the slightest. What had his gamekeeper gotten himself into this time?
"Ha-Hagriid...", the little girl stammered out, a note of pleading in her tone as she shifted her gaze towards the giant, who was now fueling the fireplace, too busy concentrating on making some acceptable tea for the guest. He was still oblivious to her awkward predicament and probably expecting her to acquaint herself on her own initiative. She flinched a bit as her voice came out a bit more fretful than she would have liked.
"Great job Ahsoka, now they'll think that you're a whiny youngling!", she berated herself inwardly. Dumbledore, however, didn't seem to think less of her or mind her insecurity, as he was giving her a kind, reassuring smile. The girl swore that this wasn't the first time that the Headmaster was in this kind of situation, or at least mighty similar ones. Maybe he was understanding, just like her Jedi teachers.
In fact, Ahsoka couldn't help but feel very self-conscious under the keen view of the wise elderly wizard. It was as if Master Yoda was reading the depths of her soul or Master Windu... no not him, he's just plain scary and his stare could probably kill a rancor. Dumbledore's thoughtful look was nothing like the Korun's contrastingly strict and demanding one.
"Oh, right! Err, Professor...", faltered Hagrid, finally realizing the extent of the situation and abandoning his attempt at making some reasonable tea. He'd already grown too comfortable with his silent communication with the girl, probably used to such companionship coming from Fang.
"This here's Ah'soka. She's a natural at magic!", he continued enthusiastically, scurrying to show off the rose. "She made it bloom, just by floatin' it in the air an' not even usin' a wand! Bless er, beau'iful little bein'.", he said as he patted her on the striped head. Dumbledore noticed how the giant threw a look at the letter. Obviously he was trying hard to vouch for the little girl, even though he knew what stance of the ministry would almost certainly take.
"I – I found 'er alone at the crash site.", Hagrid added glumly, in a very muffled voice. "If it hadn't bin for yeh sendin' Fawkes...", the giant was tearing up now. "She might have... she...", he managed to sob out as Ahsoka was holding his hand tightly in a vain attempt to comfort Hagrid. She felt rather guilty for making him worry about her.
"It would be best not to ponder over what could have happened. Ahsoka's here now, safe and well.", Dumbledore stepped in to reassure the host. "Now I understand why Fawkes was ready to peck me to death earlier this evening.", he gave a wry remark, his eyes twinkling in amusement at Fawkes, who was playing innocent, still nested in Ahsoka's lap.
"Yeh're right Professor.", the giant settled down as he sat on a chair next to the Headmaster, which let out a loud crunching noise.
"She can't understand us, sir. She ain't from round 'ere.", Hagrid blurted out the obvious, which earned him the bird version of a you-don't-say look from the phoenix. "But she's a fast learner. She knew that the letter is for 'er.", he added proudly, making Ahsoka blush with embarrassment as he motioned towards her with both of his hands, as if wanting to put her under a spotlight. "I don't reckon she knows tha' she's a witch yet though."
"Firenze claims she's a star child... He told my that he saw 'er get out of the wreckage. And – by the way he said it, it sounded like he had no intention to help 'er!", the giant grumbled loudly, fuming with aggravation.
"I swear sometimes he's even worse than Peeves! Doin' nothin' but gazing at the stars!", he yelled out furiously. "At least he gave 'er a gift.", Hagrid finally relented, ending his complaints as he rummaging for something he'd left in one of the numerous pockets of his humongous coat. He then pulled out a wisp of sparkling silvery strands and presented them fondly to Ahsoka.
The Jedi youngling accepted the glamorous tuft with unconcealed curiosity and traced her fingertips over the silky smooth fibers, which gave off a soft eerie radiance at the contact. They felt strange under her touch, eliciting a feeling of serene calm that flowed into her. She could feel a lingering trace in the Force from a beautiful being, tranquil and pure by nature, an entity which was engulfed in the embrace of the Light Side.
Ahsoka hadn't realized when all of her worries and unease had left her. She just sat there with the silken strands in her teeny clasp, completely attuned to the memory of their former bearer, which was still ingrained in them. The girl didn't even notice when or how she had closed her eyes and lifted her lips into a blissful smile.
But nothing had escaped Albus Dumbledore, not the implications of the thrilled rant of Hagrid, whose tirade had stopped in favor of him paternally observing Ahsoka's reaction, nor the child's newly found calm and sensitivity to the magical substance. Not even the tribal headdress adorning her head, perhaps a memento which held deeper meaning for the girl, could stay hidden under his calmly discerning gaze. He had to learn more about the child and he knew just the right way to get through to her.
It only took a soft cough from the ever watchful Headmaster to rouse the couple out of their musings. Hagrid's head snapped up from looking at the child and shifted wildly, scanning the room for the sound of an intruder until his gaze landed on the elder wizard, and then he blushed furiously, murmuring an embarrassed apology underneath his beard.
Ahsoka, on the other hand, jumped a bit with a shrill yelp (started out of her meditative state from the sudden noise), and gave poor Fawkes a sudden jolt, which made the exotic bird glare at Dumbledore for scaring his cushion. The girl then exuded her full attention to stare bashfully at the mini-aquarium, well aware of how undignified her startle looked like. "Is he able to become invisible or what?!", she pondered.
The Headmaster just smiled at them with a wide grin, mischief written on the crinkles of his glinting eyes. He stroked the phoenix playfully to avoid provoking any further feud.
"I believe I have a solution.", he told Hagrid. "She'll simply need to remember how to speak."
The giant looked at him quizzically, not fully comprehending what the old sage had in mind.
"But Professor, how...", he started, but was cut short when Dumbledore pulled out his wand and let it's tip touch the space above his temple.
Ahsoka looked at his actions as if mesmerized, not daring to blink and miss out on the magic unfolding. All eyes in the room were set intently on the Headmaster's mystical performance, as he used his wand to siphon wisps of misty strands, of what seemed to be a weaving silvery substance with looming outlines, out of his forehead. It was as if a cobweb (made out of dim, faintly luminous fumes, neither liquid nor gas), was flowing gracefully, shadowing after the movements of the magical rod.
Dumbledore reached out to Ahsoka with his free hand and then tenderly traced his long fingers over her face, making her close her eyelids. The girl simply complied, deeming Hagrid's friend trustworthy and sensing no malevolent intentions. In fact she felt as if no harm could befall her as long as she was within the welcoming presence of the elder wizard.
The Headmaster then brought his wand and tapped it slightly over Ahsoka's forehead, right in between the white couple of diamond-shaped birthmarks. The instant the overly extravagant stick touched her head, the trailing silver smoke swirled like a whirlpool, almost as if being sucked into her mind.
The girl felt a cool tingling sensation, which spread like lukewarm water across her montrals and down her lekku, eliciting a few uncontrolled giggles. Then, just for a split second, there was a sudden flash of light and striking cold, which made her let out a hiss and left her head spinning in a dizzy haze as she snapped her eyes open. Ahsoka felt a steadying touch on her shoulder, or rather a shovel sized palm supporting her whole back, and heard muffled voices as she tried to regain her senses.
"Is she goin' to be alright Headmaster?", came the worried voice of Hagrid.
"I'm afraid that I might have overdone it. When I think back now, maybe putting in memories of multiple languages wasn't my brightest idea.", Dumbledore answered furrowing his snow white brows and examining Ahsoka attentively. He knew the girl had the mental strength and peace of mind to cope with such intense magic, but couldn't help but feel a bit apprehensive about how it would affect a non-human.
"Don't worry Hagrid, she'll come to it in a moment, but it might take a while for the effects to take place. With the amount of information I more or less crammed into her head it might take two weeks for her to..."
"...to recover!", the girl finished the sentence in her mind for him.
Ahsoka's spooked eyes darted towards Dumbledore at the mention of 'two weeks!', and then she blurted out in a hoarse voice.
"NO!...", she coughed out. "Ugh!... I mean... Headmaster Dumbledore, I'm fine. Please, I don't want to go to the healing ward... sir." , she ended up groggily, holding her aching head as resurfacing scrambled sentences and thoughts were making it spin.
The youngling tugged at her pounding lekku, producing a loud grunt of frustration as words which made absolutely no sense to her whatsoever flooded her mind, and the resulting clutter was threatening it to explode. "What the kriff is a hippogryph... Or is it called 'ein Hippogryphen'?!" She quickly tried to disperse her overwhelming confusion into the Force and soon enough the strain on her face visibly relaxed.
"Ah'soka, it worked!", came the delighted, albeit alarmed voice of Hagrid. "Are yeh sure yeh're goin' to be alright?", he then added a bit too anxiously. "It looked like yeh're trying to tear yer head off."
"Yes, I'm feeling MUCH better!", was her exaggerated answer. "Thank you Hagrid, but it's only a tiny headache. You don't have anything to worry about! I'll be just fine.", she answered anxiously all in one breath, trying with all her might to convince the giant NOT to drag her into a medical bed. Hagrid, however didn't buy her wiliness for a moment.
"Oh no yeh don't little missy. Yeh shouldn' be hidin' when yeh're feelin' sick...", he started his lecturing, tightening his sturdy hold on her back, almost as if afraid she would collapse at any point.
Ahsoka just stood there listening, settled firmly on the couch and looking very flustered, with eyes downcast as a creeping flush made the stripes of her head-tails turn the shade of midnight-blue. She was observing Fawkes, who had thoughtfully repositioned himself on the couch as to not encumber her any more, and whose eyes were glaring daggers at a very amused Dumbledore for giving his patient a headache.
A sudden realization hit Ahsoka like a truck and before she could spare herself any further embarrassment she looked straight at the Headmaster and blurted out in a hurry.
"Wait! How come you can understand me now? I thought you didn't speak in Galactic Basic?"
"No, we don't speak your tongue. You are the one speaking in our language.", Dumbledore stated simply, giving her a pleased smile. And as he observed the confused guise spreading on Ahsoka's face he continued.
"And as for what I was trying to say before you expressed a most passionate displeasure towards hospital wings," he winked at her playfully, at which point the young girl's cheeks had turned bright scarlet, "it should have taken you at least a few weeks to draw a parallel between the words from my shared memory and the knowledge you already had from your native speech."
"I must say that I'm quite impressed with how well you adjusted Ahsoka. Do you think there might have be anything in particular that helped you adapt so fast?"
The little girl pursed her lips, apparently in deep thought over the Headmaster's explanations and then she shot out in a rather proud and bubbly manner, what she deemed to be the solution of the puzzle.
"I think it is because of my lekku!", she exclaimed, grabbing at her head-tails and wiggling them in quite a wild fashion in front of the onlookers. "Jedi Master Shaak Ti told me that Togrutas and Twi'leks have a better memory than humans after their head-tails have grown up enough.", she reminisced.
"Stop flailin' 'em around like that then, or yeh're gonna hurt yerself!", grumbled the giant.
Ahsoka immediately stopped fiddling with her lekku at the reprimand and felt a wave a dizziness hit her.
"Oh! Uhm... sorry Hagrid. Master Ti might have mentioned that too... on a few occasions...", she said sheepishly, knowing very well that she'd been lectured on the subject far more times than she would like to admit... fond times that were so close to her heart, yet sealed away in another, as if very distant, lifetime.
At this point the little girl felt like being ripped away from her home for a second time, just like on Shili. There was a noticeable shift in her mood as she started thinking back to her days at the Jedi Temple, myriads of conflicting and extrinsic emotions were resurfacing, that did not concur with the vivid recollections of her life until one blank point. It felt as if almost a decade of change had passed unnoticed since she'd walked through the Council's door and found herself trapped on that wretched ship. The whole foundations of her life had crumbled in that fateful moment.
The girl's small frame shuddered violently as she drew in the implications of her current state one after another, icy needles of dread prickling down her spine. Ahsoka could no longer keep herself calm under a cheery facade, fooling herself that everything is going to turn out alright. Not even the distractions this new world provided her with could prevent her mind from slumping into the gloomy abyss of despair and uncertainty.
In her stupor, Ahsoka could only faintly sense the shock that radiated through the room at the abrupt, yet inevitable downward plunge of her thus far cheerful spirit. Despite knowing this shift was to be expected, even Dumbledore fell daunt when the color from the child's face drained, the stripes if her curled lekku taking the shade of sickly gray. The speechless Hagrid felt like his heart was being ripped apart as he watched the girl's head droop, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. She furiously blinked away the flooding droplets, refusing to cry like a helpless child.
A sudden sweet and very appetizing smell, that spread around the room, made Ahsoka twitch her nose in the direction of the Headmaster. She looked up at him as he silently handed her a steaming cup of... caf? Not that she cared what it was as long there was something to take her mind off of her dark thoughts. In fact any distractions were welcomed.
"Here, have some chocolate milk It will help soothe your headache.", he said kindly as Ahsoka accepted the suspiciously-delicious looking caf-milk-whatever with a timid "Thank you.", and gave it several wary sniffs. "Hopefully it will improve your mood a bit.", was a clear thought that she felt cross Dumbledore's mind. The child took a few sips, which transformed into large gulps as she tasted the sugary glory of the 'yummiest nectar ever'. Moments later she was staring at the empty bottom of the cup, feeling slightly calmer than before, but the warm drink wasn't enough to settle the child's ongoing series of sniffles.
"Ahsoka you don't need to face this alone. Me and Hagrid are here to help. When you feel better you can tell us what happened and we'll figure everything out.", Dumbledore regarded her patiently, bringing himself to smile at her encouragingly, regardless of knowing it wouldn't be enough to fix anything.
The girl looked back at him, responding with a lopsided grin. She opened her mouth to say something, yet nothing but a stifled sob escaped her. He could see her lips trembling as she struggled to say something, anything.
"I'm – It's just that – I feel so... s-so lost...", was what she finally managed to moan out. Everyone knew she meant that in more than one way – stranded, confused, helpless, desperate to find a way out of the confines fate had led her to. It wasn't fair for a child to have to endure such hardships.
At that point Ahsoka was beginning to get increasingly more aggravated with herself. "Stop being so weak! You are a member under the sign of the Clawmouse clan and we always adapt, we find a way to survive no matter what. You can make it through this, you are a Jedi!", her thoughts boomed through her mind.
She did not go so far in her Initiate Trials to give up now, she didn't face her fears at Ilum to abandon the Jedi Teachings, and she most certainly will not give in to self pity and disgrace the faith that Master Plo has placed in her. Ahsoka steeled her resolve to stop herself from breaking down completely, to prevent staining the memory of the Jedi by giving into the fear and anger at her loss. (1*)
"Here little 'Soka have these.", murmured Hagrid, as he handed her the clasp of silvery strands, which until now lay neglected on the table. "You looked so happy an' peaceful with 'em. I figured they'd help yeh." He smiled at her hopefully and she could feel his want to comfort her.
In an instant a very happy orange girl lunged forward, enveloping the kind giant in a tight hug. It took a long while before the child to let go of the surprised host and sat back down on the couch. Hagrid beamed at her, his heart filled with joy.
Ahsoka beamed back at the giant gleefully, with a large, wide, toothy, genuine grin, as she finally let her brimming tears stream freely, expressing all the affection and gratitude she felt towards him. Was it the simple gesture or the valued nickname, she couldn't tell, but Hagrid had managed to cure all of her ill feelings at once.
The giant was fondling away her happy tears with a heavy thumb as Ahsoka leaned her cheek against his palm, still grinning wholeheartedly.
"Yeh don't need ter worry. I'm here for yeh.", he repeated amiably, encouraging her in a most devoted, fatherly way.
Ahsoka couldn't stop repeating "T–Thank you!", over and over again in between hiccups, as she laced her tiny fingers through the lucid wisps – which were now glittering, as if strewed with dew. With each stroke she felt ever more placid and serene, until all of her fear and uncertainty was lost in the flow of the Force.
The girl then finally straightened up, having regained her composure, and called out in firm confident tone.
"I'm alright now. Thank you Hagrid. You really helped me.", she reassured, not a trace of her previous turmoil left in her calm voice. "You have no idea how much I appreciate you for supporting me. It means everything to me!", she said, as she graced him with another grateful smile, very conscious of how close she'd been to fully falling apart.
"Oh, it's nothin'! I'm jus' glad yeh're feelin' better 'Soka. You have the cutest smile when yeh're happy.", he said, obviously content that he had successfully cheered her up and returned back to his seat, now positive that she felt better.
Dumbledore, who was still baffled as to how Hagrid had so readily stepped in, easily managing to avert the whole disaster, cocked an eyebrow at the giant's last comment.
"Yep, sharp pointy teeth according to Hagrid make their bearer all that much cuter. If only I had his kind heart back then, maybe things would have turned out differently", he rued.
"I hope yeh don't mind my callin' yeh 'Soka. It's just that I have a hard time sayin' yer full name.", continued Hagrid rather apologetically, maybe a bit worried that he might have offended her.
"I like it! It's very nice of you Hagrid. Master Plo always calls me that.", she answered truthfully. She then looked back at Dumbledore. "Can I ask a few questions? I'm ready to answer any that you might have towards me too."
The Headmaster examined her thoughtfully. This girl had far more self control than anyone else at her age, a remarkable amount bearing in mind the circumstances. Not that the situation was clear enough to draw the full picture, but being left alone in an alien world would be a solid premise for anyone to full-on panic.
"Of course Ahsoka. Go ahead.", he said freely.
"Which planet are we on?", she asked inquisitively. "And is there a way to go back to Coruscant?"
Dumbledore felt his mouth go dry as he answered. Hagrid just stood silently, observing Ahsoka with a sad expression. Yes, she did look outlandishly unusual, even if you were to consider the vast variety of magical beings, but her being literally out of this world, was really complicating things. Despite them wishing things were different and they could help in some way, the truth lay cruelly dire and grim.
"We are on Earth. And – I'm afraid we've never heard of your home world. The farthest that Muggles have reached is our own moon. This is the first time we've met your kind.", said the Headmaster, dreading that the news would unleash another wave of fear into the girl.
"Thought so!", she chirped smugly. It was quite clear to her that the small hut they were in would be considered ancient by galactic standards, but some more secluded tribes of her own people lived in similar conditions, so the concept didn't phase her. Obviously the Muggles weren't so advanced, in fact at an very early stage of their development, and this idea was quite exciting to Ahsoka. "Being in a position to see a glimpse of the past, who would want to skip that?"
"So you're called Muggles? I thought you just looked like normal humans. Is that just a different name? ", she noted, quirking up a white eye marking. "Are there only Muggles on Earth?", she shot out the questions before any of them could give an remark or stop gawking at her babble.
"We're no Muggles!", snorted out Hagrid, barely holding back laughter. "That's what we call them nonmagic folk."
Dumbledore, who had gone mute in his initial relief-filled befuddlement over her cheery response, jumped in to clarify.
"Ahsoka, most of us are human. A Muggle is just a person who can't use magic like witches and wizards do. And there are other species on Earth like the goblins, centaurs and other magical beings. I just came from the lake filled with merpeople. Hagrid for instance is half-giant.", he said.
The girl stared at their large host in amazement.
"So that's why you're so huuge!", she told the uneasy giant animatedly, stretching out her arms to emphasize on the word, and then turned back to Dumbledore. "And Fishy was in your hat because you went underwater?! And – and both of you are wizards and you can do anything with magic?!", her eyes went wide, sparkling with childish curiosity.
"Well not exactly anything, there are certain limits to magic, but there are also many fascinating spells that can prove to be very useful. You can think of something for me to charm if you want.", he told her, quite amused by her anxiety when it comes to magic.
Ahsoka thought for a moment until her mind settled on something that had been bothering her since she entered the hut.
"Can you make my robes fit? I have no clue how I ended up wearing them and Hagrid only managed to mend them...", but before she could finish all of her clothes had already shrunk to the perfect size. "Thanks! This is awesome!", she exclaimed, amazed at the wavering feeling imprinted on them in the Force.
"Now wait there a sec'! 'Soka, yeh're the one who bewitched yer clothes when yeh tried to brush all the dust off o' 'em. Yeh also made the flower float an' bloom.", called out Hagrid, visibly annoyed that she was still in denial as to what had happened.
"B-But that's diff...", Ahsoka started to object.
"No buts! Yeh're a witch, simple as that.", he grumbled loudly. "That letter," he pointed at the parchment sprawled on the table, "is fer..."
But Hagrid had to cut his sentence short as the papers shot up, whipped whizzing loudly through the air, and landed right into Ahsoka's outstretched hand. She proceeded reading hungrily, eyes glued to the sleek emerald letters, which were written with a slanted handwriting. It was strange looking at the new symbols at first, but it felt as if her mind was working to translate them subconsciously.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed.
The girl gave a short glance at the Headmaster, brows arched disbelievingly at the amount of nonsensical titles he had, and then she buried her nose back into the parchment. Dumbledore seemed pretty jolly at the short spurt of attention and one wouldn't have guessed wrong if they said he was quite proud with how good his memory charm turned out to be.
Dear Ms. Tano,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. You can expect a visit from the Headmaster, who will explain everything in greater detail.
"Accepted in a Hogwarts? A school for witches? How is that possible? How did they even know to send it to me?! How can I be both a Jedi and a Witch?!", these and a multitude of other questions were swirling through Ahsoka's mind.
"See! She can't deny tha' she meant to get the letter! Even Harry knew tha' there was somethin' special 'bout 'im.", Hagrid expressed his complaints to Dumbledore rather loudly. This girl was far too stubborn for her own good.
"But Hagrid, I'm a Jedi. I just used the Force to...", she tried to argue but stopped when the giant hurled a stern look at her. She rolled her eyes back at him.
It's at that point the Headmaster had to step in and settle the situation, immediately instilling respectful silence in the room as he spoke up.
"Ahsoka, I think we might have gone a bit sidetracked. There is no point in you two arguing if we don't fully understand all of the circumstances."
"Would you be nice enough and answer my following questions?", he asked in a light tone, but he was peering straight in her sapphire-blue eyes with a serious, yet kind expression, that did not tolerate any negligence.
"Yes, of course Headmaster.", she responded obediently, bowing her head slightly both in shame of her childish demeanor and as a sign of respect for the elder wizard. Master Yoda gave him lessons, she was sure of it.
"Now then.", continued Dumbledore rather cheerfully. "Could you tell us more about your home world."
Ahsoka perked up at the question and started at once. It wasn't often that someone would ask her about her roots, since the Jedi usually avoided the subject to prevent her from forming any attachments. Yeah, as if that would work on a Togruta.
"I was born on Shili and so was Master Shaak Ti. In fact it is the native planet of all Togrutas, where they survive by hunting in tribes and breeding livestock. Master Plo found me there while he was on a mission and brought me to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.", she shared enthusiastically. The child stopped a bit as if contemplating over something.
"I really liked it when I went back there for my trial, because the nature is open and beautiful. It feels quite similar to Earth in a sense, with all the life surrounding you, but I think there are more grasslands than forests on Shili, and far less mountains. You could just lie down in the milky-red turu-grass and gaze at the twin moons rising, and I've never seen the stars so bright... well except in space.", Ahsoka smiled at her recollection but then her tone turned serious.
"But you need to be very careful if you want to go out in the open, particularly when you are alone at night, because of the Akul!", she pointed out sternly.
Hagrid looked too engrossed in the story to comment so the Headmaster cut in.
"So who or what are these Akul?", Dumbledore asked, already suspecting the answer.
"They are savage predators that cause a lot of trouble, especially when they raid villages at nigh and drag away stray banthas from the herds. Sometimes they are a real scourge, especially when working in packs, in which case they dare to attack the tribe itself, stalking and pouncing on the unaware. The younger and weaker members are the first to fall prey to these monsters if there are no elders around to protect them.", Ahsoka said passionately, a disgruntled look flashing on her face when mentioning the merciless tactics of the beasts.
"The Akul are really big, at least two times bigger than Fang,", she pointed at the enormous boarhound sprawled in front of the fireplace, "but they have rusty colored fur and most are feral, and not at all cute. They also have very strong jaws with rows of serrate teeth, that won't let go of you before you are too mangled to run away.", she warned fervently.
"So you shouldn't let them catch you off guard and always be vigilant, ever watchful for any sign of them. Listening carefully and being aware of your surroundings, is what will make all the difference between you preserving your life and becoming their meal, and it is especially essential to be prepared when you go out to hunt in the open.", Ahsoka advised, tapping lightly on her montrals as to make a clear point.
The girl saw Dumbledore's eyes stray away from her horns and onto her headdress and gave him a smug and proud look.
"This," she dangled the ornament on her head, "is my traditional Akul-tooth headdress. I took the teeth as a trophy to serve as a testament of my prowess after I finished my trial on Shili, per our custom of course."
"When we went back home to the temple Master Shaak Ti showed me how to craft it with the help of the Force and according to my Togrutan heritage. Master Plo was very proud because I wasn't led by anger when I slayed the beast. I didn't kill it as a way to get revenge, but only because I sought to help the people in the village and prove myself..."
"Yeh did WHAT!", came the shocked roar of Hagrid, after he took a while to process the information. "Just look at 'em!", the giant nearly shouted, pointing at the giant inlaid fangs circling the whole width of her forehead, only seven in total. He was giving her a worry filled look that expressed both disbelief and admiration.
"What? What's wrong with them?!", Ahsoka said a little bit panicky, trying to get a good look up at her headdress, but failing to do so, figuring it had somehow gotten damaged in the crash.
"What do yeh mean what's WRONG?! The SIZE o' 'em o' course!", Hagrid grumbled incredulously. "What's WRONG is yeh could have had yer head CHOMPED OFF!", he stated bluntly, still staring disbelievingly at the fangs, whose former bearer could have easily savaged anyone's limb off.
"Oh don't worry Hagrid the Akul tried," she said smugly, crossing her arms and veering her nose up, "but I made sure it would have a hard time eating me with a spear stuck in its mouth. It thought it could feast on me me, just like it did with the defenseless children in the village, but I guess I gave it more than it could chew on.", she finished with a smirk. "Plus, Master Plo was there observing me and he would have prevented the Akul from harming me."
Hagrid just stood there speechless and gave her a small nod. But then then he looked at her plainly in the eyes and said in a gruff voice.
"He still shouldn'ta made yeh fight that monster! Yeh're too little. Yeh could've got hurt!", he protested. The giant was obviously regarding her as one of those vulnerable children.
"Hagrid you don't understand. It was part of my training and I needed... no, I wanted to prove myself as a good Jedi. It was my choice to go hunt for the Akul and Master Plo wouldn't have let me try if he wasn't confident that I'm more than capable of handling it by myself.", she tried to bring the worried giant to understand.
At last Hagrid relented and fell fully silent without any further comebacks, but still was obviously disgruntled by the notion of Ahsoka having to fight a giant beast.
"And why did Master Plo give you this trial? What difference does it make if you killed the Akul out of revenge instead of doing so to protect the villagers, if in the end it still led to the creature's demise?", asked Dumbledore, looking at her thoughtfully while stroking his beard.
"It makes all the difference!", Ahsoka squeaked out, as if it was the most obvious thing. Dumbledore just motioned for her to continue and elaborate further on her belief, an indiscernible smile playing on his lips.
"Master Plo wanted to test the strength of my will and how well I could control my emotions. I needed to stay calm and focused without letting any pointless anger cloud my judgment. The reason why I should have wanted revenge would be because it was a pack of Akul raiding our village that was responsible for the deaths of my parents.", she said in a serious tone.
"But then yeh have all o' the right to be angry! That beast was nothin' but a ruthless killer!", thundered Hagrid, unable to refrain himself from expressing his disgust with the Akul.
"But if I had killed it only to quench a blind thirst for vengeance it would have been for a completely wrong reason! I wouldn't have been any better than an bloodthirsty Akul!", Ahsoka argued back heatedly.
"What about yeh're family 'Soka?!", Hagrid asked disbelievingly. "Aren't yeh mad that the Akul took them away from yeh?"
The giant was now peering at her with a confused expression, trying hard to understand her reasoning. Dumbledore, however, knew exactly how important the intention behind ones actions was.
"I didn't know my parents Hagrid. I was too little to remember them when the raid happened, only a few months old. But what I know for sure is that I would have disgraced their memory if I killed in search for revenge.", she answered truthfully.
"And why is that?", asked Dumbledore.
"Because they were the leaders of our tribe and they sacrificed themselves while defending their people. They didn't do it for selfish reasons, but for the good of others. That's why I hunted down the the feral Akul – yes Hagrid we have tamed ones too." she answered the giant's raised eyebrows. "I did it to protect others and to prove that I can become a worthy Jedi. I hope they would have been proud. Do you think I did well?", she finished hopefully, rubbing at her forearm.
" 'O course they would've bin proud. I don' think I could've done better meself with me lousy temper.", Hagrid reassured her.
"I would have to agree with Hagrid. You did the right thing Ahsoka.", added in Dumbledore. "But you mentioned that you only visited Shili to finish your trial. Can you tell us more about the Jedi Temple and these Masters you speak so highly of. I believe they were your mentors?", he regarded her, the tips of his long fingers pressed together as he considered the small girl.
"Sure!", Ahsoka declared all too giddily. "I can even show you the temple if you want?! But I'll need your help.", she said all too excitedly.
Dumbledore could take a clear guess where all of the heated eagerness was coming from as the eager girl waited for his answer expectantly. He smiled at her pleasantly and then inquired in a rather conspiring manner, almost as if being initiated into her little scheme.
"And what exactly would you need my help with. Is it a secret?", he whispered surreptitiously, which sounded so ridiculous that Ahsoka couldn't help but burst out in giggles. He had a smirk tugging at his lips when she tried to respond.
"No – no – It's nothing secret. I just – ", she could barely mutter out in between laughter. "It's just that I need to use a sandbox to show you. Can you magic it out please?", she spluttered out at last, looking at the couple of wizards with pleading eyes.
Both of them looked at each other with raised eyebrows at the strange request. There was obviously no way to decline the girl's wish and risk disappointing her.
"Of course I can. Now behold magic unfolding!", came the melodramatic announcement of Dumbledore, as he pulled up his sleeves and tilted his wizard's hat, waving his wand in a most exaggerated fashion. There was a sudden loud pop and Ahsoka gasped at the sight of a large crystalline vessel, which materialized almost as if out of thin air. The container was made out of glass, elaborately engraved with dozens of stars.
With another swish of his wand the Headmaster made made sand pour down, as if a miniature sandstorm was spewing out of its tip. Ahsoka could detect the sounds of crackling as each grain burst into existence thanks to her horns. Her spatial perception was as if the air around the wand was condensing into solid matter, not freezing, but transforming in a completely different substance. And just like that the 'sandbox' was filled to the brim and Dumbledore gave her a slight bow at the end of his performance.
"It was amazing!, Ahsoka burst out, still looking at the elegant crystal tank which now appeared as if harboring a mini desert biome, its landscape filled with small dunes which spread along its length in a serpentine pattern. "I think I know how you did it!", she exclaimed.
"Oh, do you now? How?", asked Dumbledore, quite intrigued as to how the little girl would catch on to what exactly was happening.
"I listened very carefully with my montrals.", she explained tapping her horns. "They aren't just good for detecting Akul. I heard how – ", she staggered at exactly how to explain the phenomenon she observed, " – how the air itself was concentrating and then morphing, as if changing its substance, like it was transfiguring into something completely different."
"That was a great observation then. Alteration of an object's form is exactly what the Transfiguration branch of magic encompasses. Of course conjuring something out of thin air is a more advanced form of this practice than, for example, shrinking your clothes was. In fact Transfiguration was the former subject I taught at Hogwarts before I became the Headmaster.", he explained dearly, almost as if he was back conversing with a student in one of his classes.
"You must have been the best teacher if you became Headmaster. Even Grand Master Yoda can't do something like that and he's almost nine centuries old.", said Ahsoka in wonderment, at which the elder wizard smiled dearly.
"Almost nine hundred years old! Not even Nicolas...", exclaimed Hagrid, but stopped himself in time when Dumbledore gave him a sharp jab in the ribs with a long finger.
"He's not human. I'm not really sure what race he is though.", Ahsoka added thoughtfully. Then she turned back to the Headmaster.
"Can you make the sand colorful? I think I can show you the temple better that way, but it might be a bit more difficult."
"What exactly are you planning on doing Ahsoka?", he cautioned, suspicion was evident in his tone. He really hoped they wouldn't have to stay in the hut beyond midnight. In fact he was beginning to reconsider if giving her a sugar filled drink wasn't having unexpected side effects.
"You'll see. Please, Professor Dumbledore, it will be worth it. I promise.", the little girl implored, looking at the elder wizard with puppy dog eyes.
"Fine.", he breathed out and with yet another intricate movement of his wand the sand had turned into a spiral of colors, encompassing every rainbow hue possible.
" 'Soka are yeh goin' ter try and make a sculpture or somethin'?", questioned the giant, not quite sure what the girl's intentions were as she traced her fingers through the sand.
"Something like that Hagrid.", she answered gleefuly, still sifting through the sand and getting a good feeling of its texture. "This is just perfect! It's going to look great."
Neither Dumbledore, nor Hagrid looked very convinced, watching the child fumble with the sand. So far all she'd done was get a feel of every color, grinding pinches of the arid dust in between her fingertips and generally making the biggest, most vivid mess to behold in the fancy sandbox. The little girl was obviously buying herself time to heighten the anticipation of the two onlookers. It was almost as if she was sensing their impatience and slowly testing her boundaries.
By now Dumbledore was squeezing the bridge of his long, crooked nose, hoping that Ahsoka would actually do something soon, but he narrowed his eyes as he noticed her impish smile while she was feigning to still be playing around with the sand.
"Ahsoka we would really like to see what you wanted to show us. Can you please continue with your story."
"Alright. First I'm going to present to you planet Coruscant, which houses Galactic City – the capital of The Republic.", she said timidly, all pretense vanishing, and then fell silent chewing on her bottom lip worriedly.
"Well, whatcha waitin' for?", Hagrid rushed her on, quite eager to learn more of her past.
"Please don't laugh if I don't get it right. I've never tried doing it with colors before and there are a lot of details.", Ahsoka urged, still biting at her lips and clearly uncertain of her abilities.
"There is no way of us knowing if you made a mistake, so do not fret.", said Dumbledore reassuringly.
"Yes 'Soka I'm sure yeh're goin to draw it just fine.", added the giant just as encouragingly.
"Draw!...", the girl snorted a snigger, clearly both relieved and amused by his comment. "I wouldn't have needed a sand box to make a painting Hagrid, this is much better. Just watch!", she commented joyfully.
Ahsoka fell silent, a look of intense concentration replacing her jovial nature, as she outstretched her arms, palms pointing towards the micro desert. Immediately torrents of flurry spiraled up from the multicolored miniature dunes, gusts of sand being lifted up with each grain stopping at a predetermined position. Streams of color were cascading upwards one after another, openly defying gravity and building up in layers to form the proper tone of hue.
In the end the flow of morphing sand settled down, finally coming to a stop in the shape of what looked like a large metallic globe, maybe a bit too rusty colored, with two white ice caps at the poles. Along the whole surface of the sphere there were myriads of concentric lanes, concentrated in what seemed to be large circle shapes - seme with structures as tall as mountains, that housed a multitude of levels. The strange thing was that not a shade of green could be found, as if everything was fabricated artificially, following a predefined layout to create one sole giant structure.
"It was easier than I expected! The Force is really strong here.", she proclaimed with relief.
"Merlin's beard!", exclaimed Hagrid, nearly breaking Ahsoka's concentration and making the whole miniature planet bob up and down. Even Fang jerked up from the sudden noise and took in the new sight sleepily.
"Hagriid!", hissed out the annoyed girl. "Don't startle me like that."
"Sorry.. sorry.", the giant murmured, apologizing in a hurry. "But gallopin' gorgons 'Soka, how are yeh doin' this without a wand. And this, uhm, this planet...", he said eying the floating metal globe disbelievingly. "Where are the forests, the mountains? There ain't even a single river or any water at all!", he said still bewildered. "I bet yeh it was the work of Muggles!", Hagrid grumbled out.
"Well Hagrid the whole of Coruscant is an ecumenopolis, which means that it is basically one extremely large city. And yes ordinary people, or however you'd like to call them, created it thanks to advanced technology. I would have preferred if it was a bit more green like Earth too, but aside from a few parks it has to be that way, since it is the capital of the galaxy and there are over 1 trillion people of all races who live there.", the girl explained to him calmly.
"And I presume humans are quite common amongst all of the other races if you aren't bothered by our appearance.", noted Dumbledore.
"Oh there are plenty of humans from all over the galaxy. There are Alderaanians, Nubian, Correlian and even the people from Naboo, and also...", Ahsoka started listing out diligently, but was cut off by the Headmaster's gesture.
"I'm sure you can recite all of them, but it wouldn't do us any good in figuring out how you ended up here.", he stated.
"Oh, alright then. But Professor Dumbledore, you should know that you have the longest beard I've ever seen on a human. Do all wizards usually have their beards grow so long?", inquired Ahsoka, eying the Headmaster's who began coiling his silver whiskers around a finger, all of a sudden quite bashful.
"I'm quite flattered really. This must have been the biggest compliment I've received in a while. And no, not all wizards need to have beards at all.", chortled Dumbledore.
"But please Ahsoka, tell us more about how you ended up on Coruscant. Also who taught you how to control the sand like this?", he prompted after regaining his composure. "I must admit it is quite a fascinating technique. Professor Flitwick would be quite impressed.", he added thoughtfully.
Ahsoka pondered for a little and then grinned mischievously as she thought up of an amusing way to show them. It would only take a bit of back story. She let go of her hold on the sand, lowering her arms and guiding it into neat piles of their respective colors.
"Of course Headmaster. As I told you before, Master Plo Koon is the one that brought me to the Jedi Temple when I was three years old. He found me while he was on a mission to help Shili. After he discovered that I was Force sensitive, he convinced my tribe to let me go with him to Coruscant and learn the ways of the Jedi."
"At first it was a bit scary to leave so suddenly, but I just felt that I could trust Master Plo."
"Just like I know I can trust both of you.", a thought crossed her mind.
"And when we took off on his ship, we went into space and I saw Shili with all of her six moons. You could see her deep green rainforests, the red turu-grass prairies and I would have never thought that the first time I saw the oceans would be from orbit."
"But after that we used hyperspace for my first time and we traveled faster than the speed of light, with all the stars blurring around us... It was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. And when we arrived on Coruscant... I'll never forget the sight of the temple.", she reminisced happily.
"And he took yeh when you were so little? So far away from yer only home? Why did they make yeh go if you were scared?", Hagrid asked disapprovingly. The giant was beginning to doubt that Ahsoka even had a proper childhood.
"Oh Hagrid, it is good that the concept of someone taking her away sounds so wrong to you.", Dumbledore mused, but he knew that there had to be valid reasonings behind those actions, likely in Ahsoka's interests.
"It was for the best Hagrid. I would never regret going. If it weren't for the Jedi I wouldn't have had the chance to learn about the universe. They have taught me so much about the Force and how to use it. The temple became my new home. Without their protection I might have even been killed."
"Who... why would someone even want to harm you?!", bellowed the giant.
"Pirates, slavers, or even other wild beasts of that kind...", she quipped. "They do like to prey upon defenseless people, especially those whom are a part of the more isolated tribes on Shili.", the girl added nonchalantly, as if that was something well known. "In fact, if it wasn't for Master Plo's assistance, our village would have sooner or later been pillaged by pirates, suffering the same devastation as our neighboring tribe..."
"Not only that, but he also explained to us that my presence there put everyone else in danger. If a Sith had found me, he could have killed off the whole village just to cause me pain, trying turn me into his puppet. But it is just as likely that I would have been killed off outright, to save his trouble and stop the Jedi from recruiting any more Force sensitives. Heck, I'd rather die than serve the Dark Side! When I say it was for the best that the Jedi found me I mean it Hagrid.", she shot out all at once, rendering the giant completely speechless.
"That escalated... quickly.", were the thoughts of the Headmaster, judging by his raised eyebrows.
"Besides I'm in the same situation right now. This world is my new home and there is no point in me being scared or angry. That would do neither of us any good, would it?", Ahsoka concluded her reasoning, and smiled victoriously as she observed the host's jaw drop, now hanging wide open.
Apparently he hadn't expected such severe arguments and all of a sudden the resentment he held towards the way she'd been taken away from her home world, had vanished completely.
"Thank goodness the Jedi found yeh then 'Soka.", he finally stated, voice barely above a whisper. "And I'm glad that I came across yeh.", he said with a smile.
As usual Dumbledore found his moment to jump into the conversation.
"So am I Ahsoka. But if you may, I would like you to briefly elaborate on the meaning of some foreign words you used. Hyperspace, the so called Force, the Jedi and the Sith. GO!", he piped up.
"Hyperspace is something like another state of the universe, like a different dimension, where you can defy the laws of space and time and travel faster than otherwise possible. It is a paradox in and of itself, and scientists still don't fully understand the phenomenon.", the girl explained, to the best her knowledge could offer.
"The Force is one whole entity that encompasses all. It is the primordial power that is responsible for everything in existence that ever was, is and will be. It's ever present in all living beings.", she continued in a droning tone. Something in how bored she sounded told the listeners that the girl had to recite this a lot.
"Both the Jedi and the Sith are people who have the ability to sense and manipulate the Force. It gives them guidance and insight. However, the Jedi only use their gift to do good in service to others, and are led by compassion and selflessness. While the Sith mainly exploit it, and lust for more power, blinded by hatred and fear.", she answered readily.
"At least that's the gist of it.", she shrugged. "Was that concise enough? Master Yoda would probably lecture me for a whole day if he ever found out how tersely I told you everything.", came Ahsoka's expectant query as she finished.
Dumbledore looked at her smiling and then nodded.
"Yes, it would suffice well enough. You gave me just the information I needed to set everything so far clear.", he acknowledged reassuringly. "So, Master Plo brought you to the temple to become a Jedi and... then what? I believe you were excited to show us something.", Dumbledore remarked.
"Yes Headmaster. You wanted to know who taught me the sand levitation. So let me introduce you to Grandmaster Yoda.", she bawled exaggeratedly as she motioned for the sands to shift again. Steadily they formed into a small green figure, mantled in a brown robe, which was barely more than 2 feet (60 cm.) tall. The strange lime hued alien had a wise wrinkled face, pointy elongated ears and its hands bore only three clawed fingers. He really looked ancient.
"I feel like he's missing something.", Ahsoka muttered under her snub nose.
"Shouldn' he be be a bit... erm... taller?, offered the giant.
"That's his actual size Hagrid. You really shouldn't have said that...", she whispered. "I think he heard you!", warned the little girl, mock caution obvious in her voice.
Just then the minute form of the Jedi Master shifted extremely realistically, a walking cane forming in his right hand with which he jabbed at the giant's chest playfully.
"Size matters not. For the Force, strength and insight it gives.", Ahsoka imitated her teacher scolding. That earned her a few hearty laughs from the giant.
"He's right. Professor Flitwick wouldn' be too pleased either if I told 'im that.", he conceded. "I apologize Grandmaster.", Hagrid joined in the act beaming.
"Accepted, your apology is.", the wannabe Yoda blabbered in a impish voice and put down his cane. Ahsoka was already finding it extremely hard not to burst out into laughter.
"I knew he wasn't complete without his gimer stick. It just isn't the same if it isn't poking around with it.", she lilted joyously.
At that point Fang was wide awake and sniffing at the small sand statue with suspicion. A nervous growl was beginning to build in the back of his throat. Ahsoka noticed the mutt's unease and quickly dissolved her unnaturally lively sculpture back into heaps of dust.
"Sorry Fang, I didn't mean to frighten you. No more scary strict Jedi Masters.", she promised, waving a hand in its direction.
The mutt seemed to calm down instantly at hearing her voice and Ahsoka heartily went back to telling her story.
"Master Yoda was also the one that assigned me as an initiate to the Clawmouse Clan, because, just like the clawmice of the desert planet Dreighton, we were born resistant and enduring. We can adapt to any challenge.", the girl proceeded. "Maybe that's why all of a sudden I ended up here.", she pondered out loud.
"And what do you mean all of a sudden?", asked Dumbledore, glad that they had finally reached the core of the problem.
"Well, it doesn't make any sense to me, really. I just went through the Jedi Council's door and I'm not even sure if I entered. Then, all of a sudden, I was crashing on a battered ship and had to eject with an escape pod. The strangest part is that I have no idea how I got there in the first place. Everything was burning and falling apart and to top it all I hit my back lek, because the kriffi... Sorry! I mean, because the escape pod wasn't responsive enough during the landing."
"Can you retrace your actions before reaching us? Anything unusual or out of place that might have caused this... paradox?", the Headmaster requested.
Ahsoka scrunched her white brows in concentration, tapping a finger thoughtfully over her pursed lips. Something about what Dumbledore said reminded her of an holofilm trailer that she caught sight of. And then the greatest idea ever, at least in her own view, dawned on her.
"Alright, this situation calls for an thorough investigation. Agent H. and agent D. ," she pointed and Hagrid and Dumbledore respectively, "your task will be to observe for anything magical, because I'm no expert on the subject."
"And both agent F's can watch too. Their perspectives are valued as well.", she said fondly to the other two creatures in the room. Fang barked at the attention, while Fawkes looked like he needed a pipe, or so thought Dumbledore as the phoenix suddenly had an unlit smoke held in its beak. There weren't any objections, it seemed, since the fiery bird was falling into its newly appointed role eagerly. Fawkes' chest was swelling in pride, as he let out a haughty squawk, conveying his readiness to give input.
"We are ready agent Tano. Let the investigation commence.", said Dumbledore in a mystic voice, giving a slight roll of his eyes. This girl was just too entertaining not to join in the fun.
"Right away, agent D. !", declared Ahsoka joyously, earning a few chuckles from the two wizards.
For the third time that evening she controlled the sands, in this case to form a scaled down visualization of the Jedi temple, with its five peaking towers, four smaller ones surrounding the main spire. This colossal structure looked like a vast fortress with its hundreds of floors, an indestructible bulwark that holds knowledge as ancient as the pyramids.
"Our first point of interest is the landing pad.", she announced, pointing at the long platform which extended from the enormous entrance way and ended with a circular deck. Just as she said that, the scene shifted, zooming on the tiny model of a shuttle, which touched down on the landing zone.
"My clan and I had just returned from our trip to the caves of Ilum, where we finally achieved the task of finding our focusing crystals and constructing our lightsabers.", the girl shared, sticking out her chest proudly, while she made a gateway on the spacecraft open and a group of younglings were led out of the ship by a familiar green figure.
Dumbledore decided not to remark on all of their strange appearances, as it would have given a reason for Ahsoka to comment on every member separately. He could easily tell that her world was far too diverse to discuss overnight. Instead he mentioned.
"This is some new information. What are these lightsabers you speak of?" If he had expected another short explanation, the Headmaster stood to be corrected.
The moment he completes his question, a muddled expression crossed Ahsoka's face, which quickly transformed into a look of sheer terror, her complexion paling significantly. As she was no longer concentrating on holding the scene of the investigation together, the whole makeshift projection fell apart, collapsing into dust. The girl then began searching her mantle frantically.
"No. NO! Where is it?!", she was muttering to herself repeatedly. Just then she felt her hand sweep across something cylindrical under her outer garment and she immediately tugged the whole robe off herself, discarding it unceremoniously on the couch..
There, attached to a simple, practical, yet very sturdy looking metallic belt, next to a small leather kit, was her lightsaber. Ahsoka quickly snatched it off her waist, clearly relieved for the moment.
"It's still here! I thought I'd lost it running away from the crash site.", she cheered happily. In the spurt of the moment she hadn't noticed the two wizards briefly staring at her, that is until Hagrid grumbled disapprovingly.
"Why are yeh wearing these kinda clothes fer!?"
Ahsoka gazed puzzled at the giant, and then at Dumbledore, but for some inexplicable reason both of them were avoiding looking straight at her, sights directed in the corners of the room.
"What do you mea...", the girl began to question, till she caught sight of what she was wearing. Being in a one-piece velvet outfit, sleeveless mind you, and with her whole bare back exposed, wasn't something she was expecting. At least that's what you'd think judging by her shocked look. Not to mention that her dress also had a cut out in the front, which made it, embarrassingly enough, even more revealing. (*2)
Ahsoka let out a shrill squeak. In one fell swoop she unclasped her newly acquired utility belt, slipped her Jedi robes back on, and re-buckled it back on over them. Then she proceeded to stare at an undefined point of space, sitting cross-legged with her face alight in bright ruby red.
"I – I have no idea h-how... R-really, I swear it wasn't – I'm...", she stuttered, coming to a loss for words. "Sorry... I really don't know how I ended wearing this.", she finally said, unmistakably ashamed by the attire. "It wasn't even the proper size to begin with.", she noted meekly.
"It's alright 'Soka.", softened Hagrid after noticing her turmoil. The poor girl looked mortified. "It's gotta be another clue 'bout what happened."
"Let's pretend this didn't just occur and note it as just another unusual circumstance.", offered Dumbledore. "So, what can you tell us about lightsabers agent T.", he tried his best to improve the young girl's mood and spare her the humiliation.
Ahsoka let out a puff of breath and relaxed visibly. She was relieved they didn't shun her for this unanticipated turn of events. They were definitely as accepting as the Jedi Masters.
She grabbed the hilt of her lightsaber in a sturdy hold and presented it to them.
"This," she announced gingerly, "is my lightsaber." As she did so, Ahsoka pressed the activation key and, with a snap-hiss, a shimmering emerald blade materialized. It was emanating its malachite light, leaving a green tinge on the bystanders.
"It is the signature weapon of the Jedi and is only to be used for protection and in self-defense. The blade is made out of pure super-heated plasma and is contained by a strong electromagnetic field.", the girl explained sternly, handling the light-sword with confidence. "Wielding this weapon requires extreme caution, because one wrong move and you can get a limb seared off. So if you aren't experienced, you really shouldn't play around with it.", she stressed further, if that was even possible.
Hagrid gulped audibly at this notice and Ahsoka had to giggle at his concerned expression, catching his thoughts.
"Don't worry, I was trained to use it for practically most of my life. I'm not going to impale myself on accident.", the youngling comforted the giant. He didn't look all too convinced. "Fine, I'll set it to safety mode.", she said, as she flicked a few switches on the device and the blazing glow dimmed. "Now it'll only sting and I won't have the accident you're so worried about."
"Wait, how'd yeh know what I was thinkin' 'bout?, asked the very perplexed host.
"Well, if I ignore the fact that you were screaming it in your mind and your emotions were sending tide waves through the Force, it was plain obvious just from the look on your face.", she quipped.
"I'm tha' easy to read am I?", sighed Hagrid. Both Ahsoka and Dumbledore smiled at him affectionately, answering his question without a doubt.
"And yeh knew how I'm feelin' simply like that?, he wondered.
"Yes, I can sense your emotions, as well as those of everyone else in the room. Professor Dumbledore for example is calm and collected, if not a bit amused. I think he's steadily piecing the whole puzzle together.", she reckoned.
"That I am.", the Headmaster offered leisurely, giving her a soft smile. He glanced quickly at one very disgruntled Fawkes, signaling Ahsoka to take another guess. She winked back at him and said.
"And Agent F. is very disappointed that we cut off the investigation so abruptly. And he..." The phoenix looked at her imploringly and then motioned towards the lightsaber. "And he wants me to give you a demonstration. Sure thing, Fawkes!", the girl cut off her chatter, standing up on the couch enthusiastically and gracing the exotic bird with a slight bow.
The instant she ended saying that Ahsoka leapt from the sofa, swishing over their heads and eliciting nothing but a slight creak. Mid-jump she somersaulted, while still in the air, and then landed in a crouched down position at the entrance way, barely producing any sound. During the whole demonstration her lightsaber was held fast in her grip, as she expertly avoided grazing anything or anyone in her path.
Ahsoka then flipped upside down, balancing herself on one hand with the blade still secured in the other, her lekku dangling comically as she looked up, or was it down, at Fawkes.
"Still want to see more?", she piped up, with a bit of strain in her voice from the athletic display.
The bird looked at her, tilting its head up challengingly, beak clamped on the provided pipe. It spread its magnificent wings, flapping them pointedly at her to continue. Ahsoka narrowed her eyes at the dare.
She rolled to an upright position, placing herself in a ready stance for a series of katas. Then the girl released a sequence of lightning fast strikes against an imaginary opponent, her jade lightsaber diminishing to nothing but blurry streaks of light.
Ahsoka continued her deadly dance with a barrage of jabs, feints and slashes, twisting her body nimbly along every swirl and slash, grace embodying each strike. She began averting an invisible assailant, foiling them with steady parries and speedy dodges. Her act had reached such intensity that her blade was now forming a buzzing rhythm, whizzing and humming with an eerie tune.
With one final stab at the nonexistent adversary, the spectacle ended, her extinguished blade retracting back into its hilt. Ahsoka bowed graciously at the phoenix, looking quite pleased with herself, and clipped the lightsaber back to her belt.
"Are you satisfied now Fawkes?", she gasped out, sweat still trickling down her forehead, courtesy of the intense exercise. "I think I'm really getting the hang of it!"
He just gave her an unimpressed tweet, intending to get on her nerves. "What are you expecting me to do then?! There is no room for me to jump or maneuver!", she hissed out agitatedly.
"Wait, you're just acting like this to tease me, aren't you?, Ahsoka realized as she sensed the element of mischief in the sly 'Mr. Bird'.
Fawkes was about to give her another vacant chirp, when the Headmaster charmed the pipe to yank out of his nib and give him a hard swat on the head.
"It looks like agent F. has forgotten his manners and gained quite an unbecoming attitude. Hopefully now he'll snap out of his role.", rebuked Dumbledore sternly. The phoenix glanced at the girl apologetically.
"As for you," he turned to Ahsoka, giving her a conveniently appearing white handkerchief for the girl to wipe the sweat off her face, which she accepted gratefully, "you performed magnificently. Don't give Fawkes so much attention though, it can get to his head. And avoid wearing yourself out needlessly.", he advised.
"I'll keep that in mind Headmaster. Thanks.", Ahsoka whispered, blushing at the praise. "I could have done better though."
"Nonsense, yeh was amazing 'Soka!, commended Hagrid in awe. "I've never seen anythin' like that."
"I'm glad you liked it then.", she breathed happily. "Now, I guess we should go back to the investigation.", she noted, sitting back on the couch and resuming the landing scene.
"Yes. Preferably with less distractions.", teased Dumbledore, as he gave both her and Fawkes pointed looks.
'Uhm... Yes, sorry about that.", Ahsoka coughed out, regaining her composure. "So. Me and my clan arrived back from Ilum with our newly built lightsabers.", she said proudly, tapping at the metal cylinder. "Then we headed back to our quarters, to stash away all of the winter gear we had to use for the cold climate.", she explained as the group of younglings were led towards the entrance by Master Yoda.
After reaching a set of white stone stairs, on both sides of the red walkway they were surrounded by immense gilded statues, a grand display of former Jedi. They went through the colossal doorway and ended up in an even more tremendous hallway, supported by numerous pillars. While they were heading to their dorms, Ahsoka had made it so that the whole floor in her alter self's immediate vicinity was visible.
The level of detail in the architecture was astounding, every structure a masterpiece, all seamlessly complementing with one another. The group was passing under magnificent archways, their looming forms high and stooping. Columns plated in gold and bronze were supporting the long passages, whose floors were covered with cozy carpets. They had just progressed to a hall, the ground of which was embellished with intricate mosaics made out of different colored marble, when the scene melted away to the strong displeasure of the viewers.
Hagrid let out a slight huff. Dumbledore was a bit more tempered and didn't express his feelings, but too looked a bit mopish. Ahsoka didn't seem to notice, as she tried to muffle a yawn.
"If you are too tired you should say so.", advised Dumbledore, noticing her fatigue.
"No! I'm fine.", admonished Ahsoka with a new wave of energy. "I want to conclude the investigation and there are lots of other things I want to show you." No one objected after her insistence.
"Anyway...", she murmured. "I went to my dorm, changed to a set of suitable attire.", the girl described as images formed and scattered, missing out some essential parts. Her room appeared to be quite small, but somehow she'd still managed to make a mess with stray clothes and sketches, notes and leafs in corners, shiny rocks and Force knows what else, laying scattered everywhere.
"I was going to clean up later!", she convinced nobody. "Honest!", Ahsoka defended, but was only met with two equally amused looks. "What's wrong with collecting stuff... ", she mumbled to no one in particular. "Fine, be like that... Then I proceeded to the mess hall." A scene formed where Ahsoka had a brief conversation with another youngling.
"I tried to eat a potato, since Gungi made a dare, but my tummy hurt after that. I knew I should have just stuck to meat and drinking juices, but I had to step up to the challenge, because he called me a coward.", she complained. A three dimensional image of the accused boiled root-vegetable was now rotating in front of them. "Do you think the potato has anything to do with this?", the girl looked like she was considering the possibility of being poisoned.
"There's no reason why it should have.", said Dumbledore, trying to keep a straight face.
"Why can't you eat it?", asked Hagrid, baffled.
"Because I'm a carnivore, since my ancestors evolved from predators.", Ahsoka answered plainly, baring her sharp teeth to illustrate. "And I can't fully digest the cellulose in plants.", she explained, rather regretfully. "Although, fruit sap is just fine and sweet!", the girl rallied quickly. "Like the one you gave me, which was like a mix of... hmm. Of Muja and... "
"It's called orange juice 'Soka. Like yer color.", Hagrid obliged.
"That's a strange name for a fruit.", she observed. "Aren't there a lot of orange plants?"
"I've never thought 'bout that actually.", pondered the giant. "Yeh make a good point."
Dumbledore cleared his throat, looking a bit weary.
"Please focus on the task at hand. If we protract this any longer it will be way past midnight before we come to a conclusion.", he implored weakly. Hagrid swallowed guiltily.
"Right away!", cried out Ahsoka, inwardly admonishing herself for being so absent minded.
"So then I went for a stroll through the Room of Thousand Fountains and it was peaceful and relaxing as usual.", the girl noted, briefly displaying the gigantic hall, littered with waterfalls and lakes, along with all kinds of exotic flora, cobbled roads snaking around everything. She even used some of the water from the mini aquarium to make the scene more realistic.
"We planted a new batch of Felucian flowers last week. So I wanted to see how much they've grown ever since we used the Force to help them nourish and adjust to their transition. And it worked! Some of the shrubs were already blooming. At least all of mine were!", she didn't skip to mention jubilantly.
"But, then I passed the training rooms and headed towards the Council Chambers. And that's the last thing I remember from the temple...", Ahsoka said as the improvised hologram disappeared from view.
"Do yeh remember being hit by somethin'. Maybe yeh lost yer sense?", Hagrid took a guess.
"No it wasn't anything like that.", the girl said, pouting thoughtfully. "It is as if there is a big gap and it feels like... like a lot of things that should have happened are missing. It was very similar feeling to waking up from a long dream, but with no recollection of it.", she elaborated. "The change to the ship was very startling. From everything being peaceful to outright chaos only in seconds. And I just panicked...", she continued, her voice barely audible as her shoulders slumped in shame.
"Easy now. 'S normal ter be scared.", the giant tried to encourage her.
"NO! I am not afraid!", Ahsoka stated curtly, with such vehement conviction seeping in her tone that it deterred any further arguments. "Jedi don't fear anything. I don't want to be treated like a frightened child.", it seemed like she was trying to both persuade herself, as well as the elders. The non-child recoiled as she realized her sudden outburst, her face flinching slightly, a guilty look erasing the passionate glint in her eyes.
"That is good to hear then," declared Dumbledore in a serious tone, "because you will tell me everything that you remember after that transition. You will show me every last detail that you saw and describe what is happening. This is the only way we'll find answers.", he detailed earnestly, regarding her with a piercing look.
Ahsoka stared at him with disbelief. It came as a shock that someone would actually treat her like a grown up after she requested... more like demanded it. She'd have to prove herself.
"The first thing I remember is me standing in front of a control panel. Something had gone horribly wrong, because I was holding my lightsaber and all the power lines of the hyperdrive were sliced through. Which could only mean that there must have been a serious malfunction and I guess I resolved it manually.", she smiled sheepishly. "Maybe this is why I am stranded on such an isolated planet... I mean – no offense.", she added quickly.
"None taken.", Dumbledore assured calmly. "You said that you only think that you've cut the power lines – aren't you sure?", he asked to verify.
"No one else could have. There was nobody on the ship except for me and only one escape route. I know it sounds strange, but it was as if I was thrown in the middle of something that was already unfolding.", Ahsoka deduced.
"What is weirder is that the ship was badly damaged and falling apart, even before it entered the atmosphere. Then the turbulence started, and everything was heating up because the descent was out of control. In fact I'm sure that it was heating too fast because the hull had been breached."
"There were alarms blaring and I realized that I had only one chance to evacuate before getting splattered on the ground." the girl explained baldly, as the two wizards cringed at the unwanted mental image. Dumbledrore reminisced that sinking underwater wouldn't have been a better option either.
"But then I tripped, since I was wearing someone's shoes that were too big for me, just like these clothes were, and I almost sprained my ankle." While she was telling this, the vessel's interior shook and the small figure in the corridor stumbled.
"So I hurled them off," Ahsoka described, as her avatar launched the boots off her feet unceremoniously, pelting them in random directions, "and then I reached the escape pod, boarded it, crashed it, lost consciousness, regained consciousness, realized that it was about to explode with all of the leaking fuel, ran for it, tumbled down a hill and passed out again on a fluffy thing after Fang found me.", she finished at a fast pace, as everything developed in a matter of seconds, and then she let the shifting sands trickle back into their container, rubbing at her hands with relief.
"That fluffy thing was type of poisonous moss 'Soka. It's called the Final Rest, 'cause it leaves yeh paralyzed you see. I oughta teach yeh these things.", explained Hagrid obligingly. "Yeh really shouldn'ta bin lyin' on it.", he said with caution.
"I figured so too Hagrid. But my wound stopped hurting after I rolled on it and I felt so tranquil that I didn't notice anything until it was too late.", Ahsoka said sadly. "I really owe you, Fang, and especially Fawkes, everything.", the girl conveyed her gratitude by fondling the phoenix on the head, all ill feelings between the two fiery personalities gone.
"You owe me nothin' .", Hagrid shrugged off. "I'm just glad we found yeh in time."
"Yes, a most fortunate turn of events.", agreed Dumbledore. "Now, there are couple of final questions I'd like to ask before I can offer my conclusion on what might have happened."
Ahsoka looked up at him with eagerness shining in her eyes. "Ask away!", she said, excited to figure things out.
"Are you old enough to fly that ship?", he queried seriously. The girl's eyes widened at the implications.
"No, yes... No! – I mean...", she stuttered. "What I meant to say is that we've learned flying in simulations, but no one would have let me fly a real spacecraft on my own, even if I'm quite good with speeders.", the girl boasted, hoping she hadn't just ruined her chances to use any local air vehicles. "But still, none of the Masters would have let me fly, especially on that rusty old ship."
"I see. So you aren't familiar with the type of ship you were in.", Dumbledore continued.
"Not at all. It isn't one that any Jedi would have used unless they were in a rough situation and with no other means for transport. It was more like a badly maintained smuggler ship by the looks of it.", Ahsoka figured. "But for the life of me I can't think of a reason, how, or why I would have ended up on it."
"The you now might not have had a reason to, however we can't say the same for an adult version of yourself, can we?", asked Dumbledore in a contemplating tone.
"Wait, what?! What do you mean. I'm me right? What does an older me have to do with this?", questioned Ahsoka, seeming quite boggled by the Headmaster's reasoning.
"A lot, in fact everything.", Dumbledore answered plainly. "You said that there is a big gap that you don't remember; you wore clothes that didn't match your size; you were alone on a ship, that you couldn't have possibly piloted without any previous experience; said vessel's hyperdrive had malfunctioned. Is it that irrational to suppose that tampering with space and time could have caused an some kind of anomaly."
"You mean to tell me that not only did I travel here, but I also traversed through time?", Ahsoka asked, still remaining undecided. "But that's unreal! The chances of that happening without me dying in the process would be close to nonexistent.", she said incredulously.
"Then you might as well deem yourself very lucky.", the Headmaster noted suavely.
Ahsoka seemed to be engrossed by the concept of her older self going back in time, although she wasn't fully convinced yet.
"But how can we prove that that's what actually happened? Sure it sounds awesome, and you have valid reasons to support your theory, yet I can't think of a way to get actual undeniable proof. Especially since by now, both the ship and pod are far beyond salvage.", she reasoned.
"Could I take a closer look at your lightsaber?", requested Dumbledore, outstretching one long fingered hand. Ahsoka hesitated slightly, but then handed her weapon to the Headmaster. He began inspecting it thoroughly under his watchful gaze, producing a satisfied humming tune.
"This doesn't look like a newly constructed lightsaber to me, if the tiny dents and scrapes are any indication.", he quipped with an air of smug delight. Ahsoka looked ready to argue but then Dumbledore returned the device back to her and continued.
"I would dare say that it has gone through quite the adventures since its creation and still it's owner preserved it quite well.", he smiled at the girl as she surveyed her prized belonging, an aghast look spreading on the her face only to quickly be replaced by one of shrill wonderment. Moments later, she finally clipped her weapon back on the belt.
Ahsoka tried to say something, but all she managed to do was open and close her mouth mutely, doing so repeatedly and looking remarkably like the little orange fish in the tank. At the voice of Dumbledore, she finally snapped out of her befuddlement, becoming uncomfortably aware of her brief involuntary space out.
"Can this be considered as irrefutable proof then? Your reaction certainly states so.", he pointed out jokingly.
"I guess so.", Ahsoka relented. "It's just that the whole notion sounds so incredible though. To be able to travel back through time and apparently become my young self again. And yet I don't feel any different from when I left the temple – at least I don't think so...", she stopped herself at a sudden thought. "But then how will I remember what happened to me... well – the older me?", she asked ruefully. "On second thought, I'm not sure if I want to find out. It'll be easier to move on that way – to live in the moment.", she said softly.
"True, in your situation not knowing might be the best choice, since by the looks of it, you were pressed into this outcome without any consent. However, I can still try and retrieve those memories if you'd allow me.", offered Dumbledore. "I promise that unless we need it as proof, the information we manage to unlock from your subconscious will stay confidential between the two of us.", he clarified, with a look of utmost seriousness.
"And we can share with others that you trust.", he added, noticing Hagrid's desolate look.
Ahsoka, however, didn't seem to be too bothered by the concept of someone rummaging through her thoughts. The same couldn't be said for the method they would use to do so.
"And you are going to use that memory magic again? The one with the silvery smoke!", she blurted out excitedly, at which the Headmaster nodded. "I'm ready – I trust you. What do I have to do? Are you ready? When do we start?", she shot out, without the slightest worry. In fact, the girl was practically skipping on the couch, lekku swaying from the totter. Her eyes were fixed on the exquisite wand in eager anticipation.
"How about right now.", Dumbledore said merrily, as he conjured a crystal phial out of thin air and unplugged it's cork tap with one rap of the enchanted rod.
"What do we need the pretty glass for?", asked Ahsoka, gaze glued onto the shiny bottle.
"To store the memory in – also, it's nice eye candy.", he answered with a wink. "Now, when we begin I'll need you to concentrate on your walk through The Room of Thousand Fountains. Try to be mindful of all details, just as you were when you showed it to us, but this time be sure to recall everything you saw and felt from your personal perspective, as if you actually are there.", the Headmaster explained carefully.
"But why do you want me to start from there? I thought that it doesn't bear any significance in the long run.", said Ahsoka, missing out on the elder's purpose.
"Well, lets just say that it's a way to get you focused and set things in motion, so that later on your subconscious mind would be able to retrieve the missing links in the events that followed. And besides, the room looked gorgeous, you can't blame me for wanting to see those Felucian flowers more closely can you?", answered Dumbledore.
"Of course not. You'll really like it! When do we start?", hastened Ahsoka.
The Headmaster brought his wand to her forehead and whispered. "Now."
Feeling the light touch, she closed her eyes. As soon as Ahsoka dived into her memory, a misty strand began to form, however, this time it wasn't just the bland hue of silver. Instead it was a haze of pond green color and soon after the wisp elongated, shifting into turquoise. Protracting even further it melted into a deep shade of indigo blue.
The further Ahsoka went into her recollection, the more variations of tones there were. Each change of mood was reflected onto the misty substance. Soon enough she had progressed to just before her blank out, and the memory projection was already streaking a good 20 inches (50 cm.) or so. A goofy, jaunty smile had spread on her jolly face, sending warmth like rising sunshine.
In the instant she reached the threshold of that mental block, the ribbon shot out at an lightning speed, amassing the imposing length of... no one could tell how much, because at that point it looked like a ginormous pile of coiled audio tape. What seemed apparent though, was the fact that the latter portion of the strand had lost its glamor, and was was now painted in gloomy dark tones. Even worse the smiling and excited girl had gone, replaced by a scared child.
Ahsoka was instinctively clutching her arms in a tight hug, seeking warmth, unaware that she was now curled up into a tight ball. Her brows had scrunched up, crinkled into worry lines; her face was downcast, eyes sealed in a nightmare. The girl was starting to tremble, when she felt a warm hand bracing her left shoulder and woke from her stupor.
Ahsoka opened her eyes and blinked, taking in jolty breaths. She focused on the two very worried Dumbledore and Hagrid staring at her. Blinking again, she realized that they were wreathed in a rainbow of floating strings, to be precise, the better part of the room was wholly coiled with them.
The girl let out an unrestrained guffaw at the sight of them, which seemed to make them relax a bit.
"What – what hap-pened to both of you?", she managed to burble out in between snickers.
"You might have gone a little bit overboard with the amount of details. This, and it seems that a lot more time than we expected has passed between your last two conscious points.", explained Dumbledore half-amused, half-serious.
"Really? How long?", asked Ahsoka, curiosity shining in her eyes.
"Years.", was the simple answer of the Headmaster, as he dealt with the mass of nebulous memory, compressing it into a cloud of what looked like a very turbid Aurora Borealis. Somehow he managed to siphon all of it into the vial, where it took the consistency of thick, rather flamboyant ink.
"They could range from several to maybe even a whole decade.", he said to a gawking and very flustered Ahsoka. "However, one must note that part of these memories could be damaged, even incomplete, since you can't access them freely. Are you feeling alright?", he asked abruptly, obviously concerned.
"Why wouldn't I?", wondered Ahsoka, just now taking notice of the wetness on her cheeks. "Wait, don't answer that.", she sighed, wiping away the unwittingly shed tears.
"Do you want to talk about what you felt?", Dumbledore insisted, growing more troubled of what the memories held.
"You were shakin', Soka.", added the anxious tone of Hagrid. "Don't bottle up yer emotions like that or yeh're goin' to burst.", he advised.
"We're here to lend an ear.", agreed Dumbledore.
"At first all was great. I was at peace, complete and everything just felt right. Like if you were doing what you were meant to do, being fulfilled...", Ahsoka conceded, words spilling out of her mouth like through a shattered dam. "But then the whole balance began to dwindle.", she said, looking at the murky ink, settled like a sludge at the bottom of the vial, below the dashing nebula of colors above.
"And then all I felt was spanless sorrow, grief and regret, like I was at a loss for what to do. No belonging. Just sadness and that wretched sense of loneliness. To be forsaken, forlorn from everything you've ever loved and known. It's so dismal, desolate ", she heaved, willing to get the sickening feeling of despair off her chest.
"I don't know how to explain this. It's like all of the light and happiness were gone and I was stranded in a dark abyss alone. It was the worst feeling in my life. I – I never want to feel like that again. ", she mumbled out the last sentence in one shaky breath, bottom lip quivering.
"And yeh won't.", Hagrid said, voice unwavering "I won't allow it!", he claimed, determined. "I already told you, I'm here for yeh.", he said, snatching her hand and giving it a firm, yet gentle squeeze, as if to prove his point, before his arm slipped away.
Ahsoka gave him a feeble smile. Having kind, sympathizing people to share her pain with really consoled her. Speaking of her true feelings for the first time in what she didn't realize were years... it helped her immensely that someone cared.
Dumbledore sighed heavily and decided to speak out. He wasn't enthusiastic to find about the ill omens her past held, not keen on it at all if he was earnest. But he wouldn't make the same mistake , turning a blind eye. No, he would do everything in his power to help mend Ahsoka'a life and support her. He truly hoped that even if this wasn't enough to redeem him from his neglect towards his little sister, then at least the good deed would temper the strain on his gnawing conscience.
"I take it you don't wish to see what's inside.", he stated more than anything else as he flicked the vial, making a tarry cloud of ink stir from the bottom, muddling the otherwise pristine contents. The portentous dark taint made his gut clench. Hagrid too, was eying it with a distrustful, grave look.
The girl shook her head slightly, dismissing any such notions.
"I just want to live in the now.", she said plainly. "To have a new start." Ahsoka smiled as Fawkes pecked her slightly, his fiery spirit rekindling her own tenacity.
"Then I think it is high time we discuss something more cheerful. A change of subject towards matters that are more present at hand.", the Headmaster announced, concealing the flask under his cloak. He eyed the letter from Hogwarts contemplatively. The giant seemed to agree wholeheartedly, as he gave an approving grunt.
Ahsoka perked up at the notion, but her attention was quickly stolen by an intriguing sound, or rather a slight tremor which came in pulses, resounding in her montrals. Her lekku sent a low quiver as she scanned for the source of the sound, looking up at the small open window above the entrance. It appeared that no one else noticed it.
"Now here's an idea! How about we introduce you to Hogwarts. It would be only fair, since you did tell us plenty about the Jedi Temple.", continued Dumbledore, which grabbed Ahsoka's attention at once. But as if on cue a sudden commotion took precedence.
A sporadic rustling and flapping of wings came from the ajar window, and seconds later a blob of black and auburn streaked down, diving in an uncontrolled swoop and crashing right into the sandbox amidst gales of dust. Three sets of curious eyes peered the queer sight.
Chapter 2. Shared Memories and new Acquaintances
Can you take a guess at what's going to happen. What or who landed in the sandbox?
Anyway, in Part 2 there will be a new original character that would play a role in the development of the story and lots of other visitors. Also something, or should I say plenty of unexpected things would happen concerning Ahsoka and magic. Hopefully I'm being vague enough here.
Feel free to leave comments on what you found to be good/bad, what you enjoyed and on what you'd like me to improve on. You still have time to give original ideas and your view on what should/could happen that might or might not influence the story.
(1*) Bear in mind that Ahsoka doesn't remember her reunion with Master Plo in her vision, at least not consciously.
(2*) Basically google 'Ahsoka season 5 outfit'. It's practically the same thing minus the boots and vambraces and the proper size since Dumbledore did shrink all of her clothes to fit her perfectly. That doesn't mean its adequate for her to wear something like this, but don't blame me. The metal utility belt is something that a clone trooper would wear.