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forward to stare at the droid clipped to his webbed belt. He issued a series of soft, sharp mutters.

"Oh! Oh, dear me," Em Teedee replied in an enthusiastic though much quieter voice. "I do beg your pardon. I did not fully com prehend that you didn't intend to share your discovery with everyone present."

"Discovery?" Jacen said. "What did you-"

But Master Skywalker chose that moment to make his entrance. A hush fell over the crowd, putting an end to all hope of Jacen satisfying his curiosity before the meeting began. Luke mounted the steps to the wide raised platform, closely followed by a slender woman with flowing silvery-white hair and huge opalescent eyes.

"Thank you for gathering here on such short notice," Luke began. "I received news this morning of a pressing matter that call me away."

As if from a pebble tossed into a pond, a series of surprised murmurs rippled through the room. Jacen wondered if his uncle's im minent departure had anything to do with the messages brought by his father on the Falcon.

The blue eyes that looked out over the audience-kind eyes that seemed wise beyond their years-gave no hint of what the Jedi Master's mission might be.

"I don't know how long I will be gone, so I've asked one of my former students, the Jedi Tionne"-he gestured to the slender, shimmering-eyed woman beside him-"to supervise your training while I'm away. Not only does Tionne know my teachings almost as well as I do, but she has a rich knowledge of Jedi lore and history. As you are about to find out, she's well worth listening to."

This intrigued Jacen. He remembered hearing that she was not a particularly strong Jedi, but from the warm smile that passed between Luke and Tionne, he could tell that they understood each other well, and that Master Skywalker
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