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Old 02-23-2006, 12:58 AM   #27
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Chapter 8: Defeat to Victory, to a Good Tomorrow
Time seemed to go by in a blur up until the burial of Master Cronus. He himself was an Argonon so they claimed the right to bury him. I was to later find out that he once was a close friend of Michaela’s father. That information came to me through Morrie who, by Grace and the will of the Force, managed to escape that night alive. He suffered a broken arm but was there with me at the burial. Haras was there as well, how he got out of prison, I had no idea.

The ceremony was rather lavish to honor Cronus’ accomplishments. Many came to witness, Argonons and Belosians, mostly from the school. It was a sharp contrast for the boys from the school were dressed in their uniforms while the Argonons seemed to have worn light tunics. I stood apart but visible to everyone and was sporting a cut over my right eye where I got hit with a good punch from an officer. Morrie didn’t look that much better as he was sporting a black eye and a cut. Behind Haras and us were some of the native Belosians who had known Cronus from his days as a Jedi at the enclave.

Closer to the burial, where the coffin was being lowered, were Michaela and her father. She was all right and didn’t physically show any signs of what happened two nights ago. She glanced at me and smiled a reassuring smile. I believe she could sense that I was hurting but I was not admitting it; I felt numb. Her father was tossing handfuls of dirt into the hole with a shaky hand. When he saw me standing there just watching, he lost his self-control and he grabbed the nearest thing, which happened to be a shovel. He was all set to hit me with it but was held back by friends of his. I vaguely remember Haras putting a restraining hand on my shoulder, which I removed promptly. The two of us stood there, looking at each other.

Then off in the distance, a song was being sung. From the fields near the burial, a ways apart, the People were coming. I saw Manda, his wife Miria, Hiros and those that had come to the school at the enclave. There were others too. I realized that Master Cronus had gone and seen the tribes after I had left and made friendships that he had kept the past year. They had all come to sing and honor him, singing a mourning song that reflected their sorrow. I noticed that it was not just the Lordos tribe, but all the tribes within the township. Each was singing the mourning song of their tribe; all extolling what Master Cronus had did in life. It was neither sad nor joyous, but both of the same.

Michaela’s father was moved by the singing, which saved my head from the shovel. He moved back to his place next to Michaela. Then for the first time since arriving, I moved to get a better view of the group. I realized that they were not just singing for Master Cronus but for me, for my bravery in trying to help the People. Even though he had died, to them it was a victory. For the first time, in a long time, I cried.

After the burial, I went back to the enclave to clean up the mess. Among the garbage, I found Master Cronus’ primer book for beginners. I remembered that he would work with a smaller group on basic reading skills. As I glanced about the gardens, I noticed that some of the wild flowers that I used to bring to Tergis were trampled on. I carefully removed them and buried them in the ground to give life to the rest of the gardens. My heart felt heavy.

Master Cronus’ death shattered me like nothing had before except for when my father died. I was defeated; I no longer had the will to resist. I had to tell Manda that I was leaving for Koron. I rode the same beast that I took to Michaela’s home to the township, feeling like a dead weight. This defeat made my body hurt with sadness and despair, the same that I felt after I buried Manzibique. My shou was wounded and it felt as if I was destined to forever be alone, to lose everything. It was at that moment that I felt my master’s presence when he first tried to make me laugh.

My heart had lightened a bit by the time I arrived in the township. Manda greeted me with the traditional tribal greeting. He looked good considering he lost his eye in that exchange at Haras’ training facility. He was happy to see me and eager to show me a surprise. He led me to the center of the township where ceremonies and announcements took place. I was not in the mood to but I knew well enough of the customs of the Lordos tribe and followed him. I was not prepared for the sight that I saw.

All twenty of the teachers that I had instructed were in front of their own class, some children, others were adults all learning. Manda was particularly proud when he led me to where his wife was teaching the children. She was sitting very properly in her chair while a boy was reading to her. She said to me, “Please. Listen.”

The boy began to read a book of poetry, in particular poetry that spoke of freedom. I was familiar with the book having read it as a boy and I had Master Tergis’ copy at my dorp. To hear the boy read a particularly moving piece, I felt slightly recharged but still willing to go through with my decision.

Unable to hold back my pride I said, “It works. It really works. Well done little one.”

Manda then began to talk really quick, full of zeal, “Now we need to work I Pretora and the Cape. We leave in the morning.”

“Manda I can’t.”

“What’s the matter Kirabaros? Tell me is the work wasted? Did Cronus die for nothing? Tell me,” he said softly for he knew I was still hurt.

I thought about his words and the choices that I had made. I saw in my mind that this was just the beginning. I also thought about Master Cronus, Tergis and Michaela. In my heart, I knew what I must do. I replied, “Alright Manda.”

That evening the tribes were having a dance and music. I was invited to partake which I did joyfully. That evening my heart was feeling lighter. Imagine how it flew when Michaela showed up in the township wearing traveling clothes. She said that she decided to do her part in helping all the people. I think she was hurt to mention it and I suspected that it didn’t go well with her father. Still it was a happy time as we all danced and sang the tribal songs. Many of the young girls were trying to have a turn to dance with me because I was the Heart of the Guardian, as their families told them. I willingly danced with them for it was a happy time.

Our happiness was interrupted when we heard a tribesman shouting, “Police! They coming for you J.C.!”

A general cacophony followed as several speeders drove in, positioning to strike. I had grabbed Michaela’s hand and followed Manda to get out when a speeder stopped us. The commander shouted at us, “Halt! You are under arrest for violating the location regulations act!”

I had my eyes locked on Tvark until everyone started to move and I pushed Michaela towards Miria. I went the other way with Manda. Tvark gave chase through the township. We had rounded a corner and stopped to hide in the shadows. A woman and her child who stood in front of us saved us from being found. I heard the screams of terror and I felt the People’s fear. I didn’t want lives to be lost on my account so I spoke to Manda, “Look I can’t let this happen. It’s me that they want.”

“It’s not about you. Giving them what they want won’t help the struggle or us any,” Manda knew that even if I turned myself in, the police would continue the violence against the People. He then pushed me to go, indicating that he was going to get me out by a side route that was rarely used. We were running when we came face to face with Tvark. Before I knew it, Manda had pushed me aside only to get a blaster to the leg.

I don’t remember much through the entire running, seeing death. I did run by some of the police who had been killed by the People. They were fighting back to keep me from being taken, risking their own lives for me. I felt a sudden sense of pride but it was overshadowed by sadness at what I had started by teaching to the few. Later I found out from Manda that he had been trying to find me before the police after seeing Miria away with the children. Somehow Michaela became separated from Miria and was somewhere alone in the township. I was just about to find out where.

I was hiding between the buildings when I heard dull thuds of someone being slammed into a wall. It was Tvark slamming Gulas into the wall of a hut demanding to know where I was. I was hidden and couldn’t see clearly but I heard a woman’s voice say, “Leave him alone!”

Michaela had found Gulas and what was happening. I sensed that she was more afraid than brave and yet she had a bearing I had never sensed before but recognized well. Tvark was telling her he would do as he pleased and called her a traitor to her people. She attempted to grab his pistol away but was given a smack across the face and she fell. Tvark was saying that he was the law and aimed his pistol at Gulas but never pulled the trigger.

After Michaela had been hit, I moved right behind him and gave him a hard shove, allowing him to release the pistol. I said, “Alright Tvark. You’ve caught me. Call them off take me in!”

“I’ll call them off when I’m finished with him,” and he made a move towards Gulas.

“No,” I said and received a punch on the face that knocked me over.

“You, I’ll take you in when your dead, you lowdown schutta,” and he swung but missed as I ducked and landed a punch to the jaw. He gave me a good punch that made me see stars and he took out his standard issue melee blade and tried to run me through with it. I gave a side step bringing my hand to my belt and withdrew the saber I had not drawn for the past year. The blade still glowed a brilliant bronze and I could feel Master Cronus’ long hours of working me through the forms and saber techniques.

Tvark looked a bit shocked. I think he didn’t know I was a Jedi because I kept it so well hidden from everyone. I know Michaela was shocked. Tvark began to swing his melee. Giving myself to the Force and the dance, I moved countering his strikes. As the blades clashed, there were sparks and smoke from the heat of my blade. At one point, he managed to knock my saber from my hand with a deft twist of his blade but I disarmed him. He gave me a kick and then rammed me into the side of a building. He spat blood in my face saying while I was moaning from pain, “Now you little schutta, let’s duel,” and gave me a head butt that would have broke my nose if I hadn’t moved my head to the side.

I was on the ground being kicked by Tvark as he screamed, “You’ll ruin the planet you bastard. You and the Durais sangtahut. Get up!!”

I got to my feet and began to fight with the head then with the heart. I landed a few punches that knocked Tvark out. I went to where Michaela and Gulas were. She was trying to staunch the bleeding from his head and I was tearing bits of my tunic to use as bandages. She didn’t say anything but I felt the need to ask, “How did you find me?”

“I felt that you would need help,” she replied rather low and continued to help Gulas.

I didn’t see Tvark point the blaster at me; I felt it happen. With a summoning of the Force, my blade flew to my hand and I ignited it. With one hand I pushed Michaela and Gulas down and with the other, I threw the blade till it lodged itself square in Tvark’s chest, killing him. The blade returned to my hand and I shut it off. Manda had seen the entire thing and was looking at me with the same look that he had the night we had dueled. Michaela began to sob because she was scared.

Without a thought, I pulled her to me and began to hug and kiss her. She responded, “You, you saved me. A Jedi.”

“I would die for you,” I said. We just continued to kiss, our love for each other bonding us together that would last all our lives.

The buildings in the township burned and lasted till morning when they were nothing more than smoldering ruins. Manda, Michaela and I hid in the bush and began to make our way towards Pretora. Michaela knew that she could never go back and Manda began to immediately teach her the language of the tribes and we just talked. We waited for the speeders with the police to pass us before getting on the road. The morning sun was just beautiful as it rose, giving strength to life on the plains. It gave a ray of hope as we walked towards our future.

Walking, I remember something Elias once told me, that if I listened I would hear the voices of my life. I listened and heard Tergis talk about justice. I heard Zoran talk about hope. I heard Inkosi Kanji, the old medicine man talk about courage. I heard Master Cronus. These are the voices of my life, the voices of Mikkado. I carry them with me as the three of us set out together to help bring our planet closer to a good tomorrow.

As Book One has ended, the second one will begin. Book Two will begin soon so wait and see, what young J.C was meant to be.

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