The sand is everywhere. Tahiri had turned down mouth wrappings and eye goggles for both of them, but did accept shoes for herself. Anakin asks her if it’s always so quiet here.
She tells him it is which is why she usually talks so much at school. The Tuskens are very practical. They are experts at survival in this harsh environment and do not tolerate weakness. Outsiders are of no concern to them.
Anakin points out that she is an outsider. Tahiri knows this and that, in some way, Sliven cares about her which is why he raised her and taught her how to live in this place. But he’s never told her about her family. She’s sensed that he knows more than he’s telling. If he really cared for her, he wouldn’t leave it a mystery.
The remainder of the tribe appears and Tahiri is unhappy to see a female Tusken named Vexa who expresses her surprise that Tahiri has returned. She hadn’t expected that.
Years ago, Sliven showed he was weak by bringing an outsider into the tribe. At that time, he was forced to make a promise. When Tahiri returned to the tribe, she would be given a test of her survival skills. If she fails, then he will die and another leader will be chosen. If she survives, he will remain the leader, having been proven right in his decision.
As her test, she will be taken to the Dune Sea where she was found as a young child. She will be forced to make her way back to the tribe on her own, without food or water provided to her. She must go alone, but she can choose to take her friend, if she wishes. Vexa advises against it as Tahiri has some skill and the boy will only be a burden.
She has one week to return to the tribe. They will wait her for her. If she doesn’t return or is late, she has failed. Sliven will be put to death.
She doesn’t have to do this. She can go back to the Jedi academy, but it will also cost Sliven his life.
Tahiri asks Sliven why he made this agreement. Sliven tells her it was the only way he was allowed to keep her. She would have died in the desert otherwise. He was also forced to withhold her family information, too. It punished him because they knew he would want to answer her many questions. It is also intended as a reward for her keeping this promise.
Tahiri agrees to honor the promise and wants to know her story.