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Old 02-18-2006, 04:06 PM   #22
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Chapter 7: Love and War
After the closing of the night school, things began to get worse for those around me because of me. Yet for some reason, the People were willing to side with me for to them, I was the one who could speak the languages of the tribes and could fight the dreaded Argonon. To them, I was Kirabaros; the Heart of the Guardian and that was what had me worried. The first of these incidents was on the day I was training with Manda at Haras’ facility.

Haras was able to get away with the mixing though I could never figure out why. It wasn’t until he explained it to me that I got the general picture though it still confused me. According to the Argonons, outside the duel ring, a tribesman is not an equal but inside he is. The catch was not in public only in private. Generally, the police were willing to turn a blind eye to the mixing because the commander was a dueling man and followed up on the sport. It was one of those things I could not help but raise a brow to. Looking at it, I guess I was rather lucky that Haras was one of those Argonons who didn’t believe in the segregation.

On the day that the police raided the facility, Manda and I were in the ring and I was showing him a complex defensive maneuver that Master Cronus had taught me when I was a boy. The leader of the raid was none other than Tvark Sigun and I could sense that he was out for blood. The only problem for him was to incite an incident for him to get it. He and his men came barging in and he positioned himself in front of the door. He started to speak, almost yelling, “I owe you something you bastard. My father beat me for the shame of being expelled, made to live in the barn. I was not allowed to go back to school, you made my life kak!”

My blood was rising and I tried to be calm. I took no notice of Haras as he motioned to try to keep me from jumping out of the ring, “You can’t be serious. You tried to kill me!”

“I was branded an idiot by everyone that knew of that night.”

“That knew what,” and before I knew it, Manda was climbing out of the ring to walk right up to Tvark. I saw the danger and tried to tell Manda ‘no’ by following and trying to grab him. Haras tried to stop Tvark with reason but was met with a punch in the gut that had him doubled over. I was met with a painfully blow to the stomach by a blaster rifle. I fell to the floor and was given a well-placed kick that had me groaning.

Manda had been grabbed by Tvark and was being hit repeatedly in the left eye with a punch. If allowed to, I think Tvark would have killed him had it not been for a well-reputed duelist who grabbed his wrist and simply said, “No more.”

Tvark was still angry but he stopped and released Manda with a push and gave him a kick in the stomach. He looked at Haras and said, “I’m going to make sure that this race mixing hole of yours is closed down.”

Haras full of pain and fury retorted, “You want to close this place down, go ahead an try. I don’t need animals in here.”

“It’s already full of animals,” Tvark replied with a smirk on his face. He then walked to where I was writhing in pain. Morrie was trying to help me up.

Tvark then said in a rather menacing voice, “I’m not finished with you. Or the Durais girl.”

It was then I saw that he was out for blood and that blood was going to be spilt no matter what anyone did. I was struggling against the pain and my anger when again I heard my master’s voice in my head, There is no emotion, there is peace. The time will come when you have to draw your lightsaber but you must control your thoughts and think. I calmed down but was still hurting from the kick as I watched Tvark and his men leave.

I went that night to Michaela’s school that night to talk to her. I couldn’t find her in her room and I didn’t want to risk being seen by any of the girls so I went to her father’s house using a kataran beast to ride. I’ll admit that I was in over my head about seeing her in these dangerous times for she was an Argonon, born and bred while I was one of the despised Belosians who could speak the taal, their language. That alone put me in a position of limbo, not one or the other. To top it off, I was a Jedi, though I made myself to look like I wasn’t by not carrying my lightsaber or wearing the traditional robes of the Jedi. I knew the danger but my emotions carried me on this, not logic or the tenements of the Jedi Code.

I found her father’s estate easily enough in the dark and waited till I was able to toss pebbles at her window. I was relieved to find her in her room. She opened her window smiling and signaled that I could come up but to be quiet.

Unable to contain myself I grabbed her in a hug while saying, “I couldn’t find you at school, where have you been?”

She replied after giving me a hug, “My father is sending me to live with my aunt in Pretora. He said that if I ever saw you again, he would have you arrested and ruin your life.”

I could see that she was concerned so I replied, “He can’t ruin my life. I’ve been accepted as a teacher at the Koron port school. Come with me.”

She was bewildered and it echoed in her response, “To Belos?”

“Yes. Away from here.”

“I go to Pretora tomorrow first thing.”

“My preparations will be done next month, I’ll come fetch you first thing.”

She grabbed me in a hug, “You promise.”

“I promise.”

I knew I was being foolish and had been trying to let go of my feelings for her. At first when I said my words, I thought I was betraying the People. When Morrie and I moved the school to the enclave, we had nightly lessons without interruptions. I suspected that I was being followed after night school was closed at Lords of the Realm so I took to changing my routines gradually and using my Jedi senses. I was successful for we were not discovered. Master Cronus had begun to attend these lessons and became a well-loved teacher. I knew that if I left, Master Cronus could continue the school without me. He told me after the incident at the training facility that I would be better if I left to avoid anything bad happening to the People. I was concerned with how I was going to present this to them but that melted away for those few moments in Michaela’s room. Love doesn’t lead to the dark side…control your passions, I vaguely heard my master’s thoughts about that lesson he told me long ago.

I took off the draigon pearl bracelet that I had worn since I was eight. I put it around her wrist saying, “It was my mother’s. My father gave it to her when they first fell in love.” Gazing at her eyes I said, “I love you.”

She felt the same way and hugged me long and deep whispering, “I love you too.”

Two mornings later, I was riding a bike to the training facility to see Haras. He was sitting outside his shop painting on the wall next to the door; a tribesman and an Argonon in combat position. I thought it rather bold so I asked, “Tribes and Argonons together. They’re not going to like that.”

“Blast with what they like. I train warriors not blery schuttas. I can’t teach one way and behave another, not any more I can’t.”

“You know the commander of the police is a duel man. He wouldn’t shut your place down; he'd just turn a blind eye.”

“I don’t think so sonny. Not anymore the way this planet is falling apart,” he then glanced at my hands and asked, “Know how to paint?”

“A bit, but not very good.”

Haras handed me a brush and indicated the tribesman I was to paint. Many thoughts were racing through my head as I was painting. I had a feeling that something would come out of this and it wasn’t going to be a pleasant ending. Nothing more was said between us as we painted the wall showing our defiance by allowing tribesmen to train with non-tribesmen.

Later that evening when I went to train, there was a huge crowd outside the facility. I saw Haras being dragged out by Tvark’s men and I went to try and help him. He told me to stay back and continued to struggle against his captors. Tvark was backing out pouring fuel on the floor. It was clear what his intentions were and Haras was not going to stand for it. With a burst of energy, he somehow broke free and punched his captors and then he managed to land a good one on Tvark before he was grabbed and thrown into the prison vehicle.

Tvark then insulted Haras in the taal and fired his blaster in the building to start the fire. Haras was shouting back calling Tvark rubbish and other names. In the flicker of the flames I saw Tvark give me an evil grin. I said nothing but stared in a stony silence but my appearance was that of a calm and experienced master. I had found my shou, my inner flame, something that was only described in legend but claimed by many that it came to those destined for struggle. I knew then that the masters on Coruscant were right in sending me here. They must have sensed a need to grow but more likely to protect one of their Jedi from the threat that came later when another walked on this planet and the others.

The finding of my shou marked the next phase of my life. I didn’t know exactly remembering that always in motion was the future. I did know then that I had to do something. That something was the school Morrie and I were conducting right under the very noses of the government. I was going to fight this war not by force but by resistance.

As usual, Morrie and I welcomed the ‘class’ and ushered them into the enclave. I made sure to lock the main door and thanked everyone for having the courage to come. Master Cronus was there as well and said that he too was glad that they could come. Miria asked, “Michaela, is she coming?”
I replied, “No, her father sent her to Pretora.”

I could tell that Miria was not pleased for she had grown fond of Michaela. I think she also suspected the reason because she knew of Michaela’s lineage. She didn’t say anything as we went over the lesson in the conjugation of verbs. I had Hiros, a rather bright young man and a quick learner, start with the basic words. We were going along well until we heard a knock coming from the side door. Morrie left saying that it was probably an animal. Lo and behold, I got a surprise when he said, “It seems we have a visitor.”

There she was, standing in the side door with a shy smile as she offered a small package of books and pencils. I walked up to her and said, “You’re mad.”
She just draped her cloak over my arm and said knowingly, “There’s work to be done.”

I was pleased but a dark thought crossed my mind. Normally when she would come, it was with me. I never gave her the reason, preferring not to worry her. How could you tell someone that you were trying to avoid detection even though the enclave had been abandoned when the Jedi left? Instead I preferred to have her think that it was because I wished to be in her company. This was true to some extent but I wanted to protect her from her father’s wrath for he was strictly against race mixing and the equality of all the people. I pushed these thoughts aside though I kept them in the back of my mind as we continued the lesson.

Hiros had not gotten more than halfway through the present tense when we heard the unmistakable sound of speeders approaching. Not a word was said as Michaela looked at me with a look of terror. Then there was a crash as the police barraged their way into the enclave. Standing my ground I spoke firmly, “You’re violating the sanctity of the enclave.”

“No you aren’t boy, with your damned mixing ideas. And the enclave has been abandoned so the sanctity doesn’t hold,” the commander spat back.

“I’m Durais’ daughter, leave us alone!” Michaela shouted. I think she hoped to get us off easy or something.

“Sergeant, take the girl.”

The kerfuffle started. Everyone was moving, the tribesmen trying to get out and I was trying to get to Michaela who was demanding to be let go. I was concentrated on getting to her that I didn’t see the officer coming up from behind with his arm raised to strike me with a baton. Michaela managed to grab me but something happened. In all the confusion, I had forgotten about Master Cronus. Before the baton hit Michaela, a blow that would surely have killed her, Cronus stepped in between the both of us and pushed us out of the way taking the full blow on his skull.

The sickening thud of his skull breaking sent a stream of pain through my heart as I felt him become one with the Force. Michaela tried to keep the officers away and ended hitting her head on the wall, knocking her unconscious. My senses were deadened as I stared at the lifeless face of Cronus. At first I felt rage but I became at peace. For the first time, in a long time, he was able to fight to save the ones he loved and for his beloved Mikkado. For the first time he was whole. The war had claimed its first casualty in a struggle that would continue for a further two years.
Love causes pain. How you deal with the bad part of love determines your character.

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