Yarin Dahl



The suns shone brightly down upon the plain. As the wind picked up to a strong breeze, the scent of the wildflowers washed over, pervading the senses until there was no other scent. The grasses swayed to and fro, rustling out a familiar song. It was almost as if they were whispering, calling, saying….


“Yarin Dahl! Stop looking out that window and pay attention!” The loud snap of a ruler striking his desk broke Yarin out of his reverie. He was not out in some far distant field; he wasn’t even outside. What he was in was trouble.


“Well, Mr. Dahl, what do you have to say for yourself this time?” Yarin looked up at his teacher, Mrs. Shiang, always a terrible sight when she was angry, and this time she was livid. Before he could formulate an answer, she squawked, “Don’t give me any of your excuses! I’m sick to death of them. You’re going to see the administrator, young man!”


The low murmuring of his classmates did nothing to ease his anxiety as Yarin stood up and exited the classroom. The silence that filled the halls on the way to the administrator’s office was little better remedy. His only solace on these journeys was the always-friendly face of the school secretary, who greeted him as he entered the office.


“Hello Yarin, daydreaming again?” Miss Brom asked good-naturedly. Yarin’s only answer was a shy nod. “Well, just have a seat and I’ll tell the administrator.” He went to where he was told and sat down. As he sat down, Yarin thought about how unfair it was that when you had to wait for something you dreaded, the waiting seemed interminable to boot. He wished things like this would just happen quickly and be over with.


After an eternity, Miss Brom said the administrator would see him. After a moment’s hesitation, Yarin slowly paced the length of the room and opened the door. a deep-set voice greeted him. “Come in, Mr. Dahl, and have a seat.” With a silent sigh, Yarin did just that.


“So, I’m told you were caught daydreaming again.” The administrator leaned forward toward the boy. “I thought we were going to get this under control. What happened?”


“I tried, sir, really I did. It’s just that…”


“Go on.”


“Well, it’s like I hear…well, it’s like I’m called outside. I’m just minding my own business, and trying to pay attention in class, when I suddenly get drawn to the window.” Yarin shifted in his chair, knowing that this was an inadequate explanation. “And then, it’s like I’m out there, smelling and feeling and…hearing. It’s almost as if…”


“Continue. As if?”


Yarin searched for the words and found none. “I…can’t explain it. I’m sorry.”


“No matter. However, these episodes do cause a disruption in class, and I am going to have to assign three days’ detention. I’ll tell Miss Brom to give you a slip. Go on back to class now.”


“Yes, sir. Um, sir? That plant…” Yarin indicated a potted plant that was residing on a table in one corner.


“Oh, yes, it’s not doing so well, is it?”


“You’re giving it too much water. It only needs about half of what you give it.” Yarin cocked his head to one side. “And it’s getting too much shade. Perhaps you should move it nearer to the window.”


“How can you know those things from all the way over here?”


“I don’t know…I just do, sir.”


“Well, class is changing. You’d best hurry if you don’t want to be late.”


“Yes, sir.” Yarin got up and quickly left the office.


                                 *     *     *


The suns shone brightly down upon the yard. The sparse tufts of grass were always thirsty in this dry soil, but seemed resigned to accept what they could get as they went about their business. The large old jatangu tree dwelt among them, always a figure of age and wisdom, a home and livelihood for more than he could count, for as long as anyone could remember.


Yarin liked to come here, out well behind the house, when things like school got to be to much of a hassle. Here he could forget all of his problems and be at peace, if only for a little while. He didn’t know why, it just was so.


“It is nice here, isn’t it?” Yarin hadn’t noticed the stranger’s approach into the clearing, so when he spoke Yarin nearly jumped out of his skin.


He got up and quickly started getting his things together. “I’m sorry for trespassing, sir. I’ll just go now.”


“You imply that someone can own this land, can own any land. That is not possible. Please sit.”


Yarin sat without hesitation, almost before he had told himself to. The man’s tone made Yarin want to listen to what he had to say.


“Yarin, have you ever felt different, out-of-place, like you did not belong?”

“Yes, sir. All the time. But I don’t…”


“Do not elucidate. Do not speculate. Yarin, what I am about to tell you is very important. Have you heard of the Jedi?”


“Just stories, sir.” Yarin was about to add more, but decided against it.


“Relax, close your eyes, and tell me what you feel.”


It was a strange request, but Yarin did as he was told. “It’s…kind of hard to explain…”


“Tell me.”


Yarin tried again. “Dry..it’s dry. The suns feel good, but the small one, that gives life.”


“Can you discern the tree from the rest?”


“Uh…yes, yes I can. It is strong, and old. It was here before the grass came.”


“Very good. Open your eyes.” Yarin did so. “What you have felt, Yarin, you have felt through the Force. The force is what bind us all together, and ties you to me, and you to the grass and tree. Do you understand?”


“A little.”


“That is enough for now. Come, let us explain to your parents why you will be leaving.”


“Leaving?! What..?”


“In order to train you properly, we can not have distraction. I have a feeling that your home would provide many.”


“Train me?”


“As a Jedi, of course.” He made a glance in Yarins direction, and Yarin remained silent. “The Force runs strong within you. That is why you can feel the plants as you do. That is also why they can call you into distraction, so much so that you have been labeled ‘daydreamer’. You must be properly trained in order to control these urgings.”


“And I have to go away to do that?”


“Yes, it is imperative. Come, let us go to your home to get your things.” The man rose and started walking off. Not really knowing what else to do, Yarin followed him.




                                 *     *     *


Over the next several weeks, Yarin learned from Master Cho’on, as Yarin learned to call the man. He taught him how to meditate, in order to, ‘achieve peace, and regain the Force energy.’ From him Yarin learned the intricacies of lightsaber combat, first with Master Cho’on’s own lightsaber, then with one Yarin constructed for himself. He thought he had learned a great deal, but one fateful morning changed his thoughts and quickly.


While eating breakfast, Master Cho’on broke the silence with news of a ‘test’ of some sort. “You have grown in your abilities, now we must see just how much.” Yarin was about to ask questions, but was told simply to finish his breakfast.


When he was finished, Yarin asked his master what he was to do. Master Cho-on instructed, “Do not stand. Your food was drugged; you will become unconscious quite soon.” Before he could protest, blackness overcame him.


                                 *     *     *


The screaming in his head was the first thing Yarin awoke to. Hundreds of voices crying out in anguish, despair, and pain subsumed him. He couldn’t move. He could hardly breathe. All he could do was lie there, curled up in a ball, clutching his head, until he got up enough wind to start screaming himself.


Through the screaming he could barely hear something else, which was growing in strength. Yarin recognized his master’s voice as it said, “You must exercise control!”


The screaming continued, in his head and from his lips. He attempted to get up to his knees, but just fall back down onto his side. He heard his master again, “Concentrate!”


This time Yarin managed to pry a hand from his skull in order to help himself up, but only collapsed to the ground even harder. He heard his master a third time, this time almost pleading, “Yarin! You must master yourself! Only you can do this!”


Trying to concentrate, Yarin attempted to remember what he was taught, to meditate to achieve peace. And, although he tried, he couldn’t concentrate through the screaming.


But then he came upon a seeming random thought and focused on it. He started to think about the clearing, with the dry grass and the jatangu tree, and how they made him feel. Soon, the feeling of peace from those memories washed over him, and he was able to sit up. The screaming was still just as loud, but he was now able to keep it from completely taking him over.


After a few hours, Yarin slowly opened his eyes. He was in a forest of trees, but they were all diseased, twisted, and rotting. Their screams were still echoing in his head. He turned to see Master Cho’on, who had a rarely seen pleased look on his face. “This whole forest has succumbed to diseases and parasites, and is dying slowly. When I found this I knew that this should be your test. You have done well. Let us return now.”


Yarin slowly stood up and followed him out of the forest. He wondered if he would ever be able to help the trees, even though it seemed far too much.


                                 *     *     *


Another month more of training, Master Cho’on had some unusual news for Yarin. Bidding him to sit by the fire one evening, he started, “Yarin, you have come far in your training, yet there is so much more for you to learn yet.”


“Yes, Master, I am still ready to learn.”


“Yes, you are, yet you have learned as much as I can teach you. I must send you to those who can complete your training.”


“Who, master?”


“There is a place called Ossus. There you will be taught to better hone your abilities and learn about the Jedi who came before us. You will leave in the morning.”


“But master…”


“Do not fear, Yarin, for I feel we may well meet again.” With an unprecedented wry grin he added, “The universe is not as big as all that.” With that he put out the fire and went to sleep.


                                 *     *     *


The suns shone brightly down on the spaceport. Yarin looked up toward them, perhaps for the last time. As he boarded the passenger ship, he briefly wondered what the suns were like on Ossus.