Wren followed her lead and turned toward the greenhouse. “I would like that very much. I have a weakness for green things— they are so very rare on Pantora.” He smiled briefly. “Most of the year it is too cold for most plants. Only during the wet summer months do they emerge.”
As they approached the greenhouse, Wren spotted a figure leaning easily in the crook of an ancient, twisted tree. He wore plain brown robes, like the older guardian who was following them, but this one was much younger and even relatively attractive by most standards. His brow was furrowed as he spoke into a comlink, his thoughts obviously deeply preoccupied. As they drew closer, however, the young man looked up and seemed to lose hold of whatever he was talking about on the comlink. He stared at the Pantoran and the Duchess for a long moment, and then, as though suddenly remembering his place, shifted and turned his attention back to the comlink. He continued to pay close attention, however, and his interest was not lost on Wren.
“Ah, purple saxifrage,” he remarked with a smile, stooping to admire a bed of delicate star-shaped flowers. “One of the few precious flora native to Pantora.”
Satine didn’t see Obi-Wan, her mind was occupied with her new…friend. She reached out to touch one of the flowers and it curled in on itself, as if in fear. ”They’re one of my favorite flowers,” she said softly. ”When I was a girl I thought them shy.” She laughed a little at her own folly. ”But they aren’t. It’s a defense mechanism, but you know that. I’m rambling, aren’t I?” her cheeks colored a bit and she stood up strait, rubbing at her own arm, a bit uncertain.
Wren chuckled and watched as she struggled with casual conversation. “Not at all. I find it interesting.” He got the impression that she wasn’t accustomed to just talking to people— especially about anything that wasn’t related to politics. He didn’t mind. She would learn.
“When I was a boy, I read a story about a legendary botanist who prized his daughter above all other things. He had a plant which produced a toxin so deadly, so much as a touch could kill a man. So when his daughter was born, he very slowly weaned her onto this poison, enabling her to build an incredible tolerance. He fed her this poison, kept it steadily flowing through her veins, to the extent that if she touched another living thing, it would instantly die. The story illustrated how, when she reached out to touch one of her father’s flowers, it immediately wilted under her touch.”
He smiled down at the saxifrage. “As a child, I too had my fantasies about this flower. I pondered what it would like to have such a deadly touch. Such ponderings taught me many things about myself and my life.”