Chapter 5--part 4
“I’m afraid the accommodations on the Ebon Hawk will be rather more ‘humble’ than what you are used to, Ithra,” Berland said, as the two of them trailed behind Juhani who was escorting them to board the Ebon Hawk. “In fact, I’m very sorry that our duties are forcing us to experience such a disagreeable environment.”
“Duty is the hinge of Balance. Balance is the Keepers’ mandate,” Ithra said rather automatically.
Berland sighed as if he’d heard that saying one too many times. “Yes, my lady. But I just want you to be aware there may be potential hardships ahead for you. For us.”
Juhani glanced over her shoulder at the pair, then shook her head in disbelief. “I’m sure Rade will see that all of your needs are adequately met.”
“Nothing aboard that dilapidated scow will ever be adequate,” Berland commented snidely. “Though I suppose we should applaud any efforts to try.”
The three of them boarded, and Juhani led them through the main hold towards the port dormitory. Zalbaar and Mission stood off to one side, watching with interest as the three passed by them and into the corridor.
Ithra’s nose wrinkled. “Berland,” she whispered. “What is…that…that ghastly odour?”
Berland sniffed the air, then grimaced. “Which one?”
“It’s…biological,” Ithra said, gingerly raising the hem of her cloak up off the floor as she cautiously continued forward. “Like the lingering scent of a beast.”
“Ah,” Berland said knowingly. “That would probably be the Wookiee that was standing near the young T’wilek female we just passed in the main hold.”
“Wookiee?” Ithra shook her head. “I see no valid reason for the T'wilek to be allowed to bring her pet on this journey,” said Ithra. “It can only serve as a distraction from our quest. Berland, you will instruct Rade Chano to order her to leave it behind.”
Juhani abruptly stopped just short of the port dormitory’s door, and then turned and gave Ithra an odd look. “Zalbaar is *not* Mission’s pet,” she said defensively. “He is her friend and part of this crew.”
“Part of the crew?” Ithra said incredulously. She snorted. “I find it hard to believe how such a beast could be of any value whatsoever on this mission.”
“And I am finding it hard to believe the same thing about you,” Juhani countered.
“You will not address Keeper Ithra in such a disrespectful manner, Cathar!” Berland snarled. “She is here to observe and learn, not to be insulted by the likes of you.”
“Then she should observe quietly and learn to keep any prejudicial thoughts to herself,” Juhani said with controlled calmness. She opened the dormitory door. “These are your quarters. Please let me know if you need anything. Anything I can reasonably provide, of course,” she added with afterthought.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro. (I came, I saw, I stuck around)