Pottsie: This is not the end. I am slow posting me chapters. There is at least 20 for this part. No it hasn't been reviewed yet because I keep adding to it. Well Here is another chapter since I am quite slow.
Chapter 9: Understandings
The next month brought in change, some seasonal and some organizational. We managed to get the people most vulnerable of the tribes into the trees. The communication network improved between the tribes and the resistance as we sought to rally more people to take back Belos. The snows were starting to fall indicating that winter was near for Belos. There were still some things that needed to be worked on; one was my relationship with Kiara.
After learning that she was the last surviving member of the governor’s family, I sought different ways to get her to talk to me about her pain. She always managed to avoid me or if we did talk, it became a shouting match on her end. I just took the brunt of her frustrations even when some of those verbal exchanges became violent. She would often take a swing at me and I would dodge them. I had no desire to have another sore jaw so I would dodge and on occasion block them.
Serena seemed to notice this and would beseech me to leave her alone. Carth knew of my stubborn tendencies and tried to explain that to her. Seeing as she was getting nowhere with her lectures, she started sending us out together on missions. More often it was to ambush the Rashikian patrols that dared to wander through the forest paths. It was on one of these such missions that I finally made a break through with Kiara.
We were hiding in the trees over a camp of Rashikians. I was closer and my hearing was better so I could catch what they were talking about. Aside from the distasteful banter in their cursed language, they were discussing about plans from the head man to seek out the last of the governor’s family and kill the resistance, the same stuff we had been hearing for awhile. The difference this time was that they were getting ready to mobilize and destroy the resistance within a few days.
After hearing all that was important, I gave the signal and I lightly landed a few feet behind the group. I said, “Hello there.” They turned to see me and drew their weapons. Then Kiara jumped down from behind and started slashing with her blade. I drew mine and again went into battle. Kiara did whatever she did when she was angry and that was give it all she had. I on the other hand, wanted one alive. I actually did manage to get one and had my blood soaked tip pointed at him. I said, “You go back and tell your people that we will be waiting.”
I spoke in the warrior dialect, one used in reference to war poetry and the like. The Rashikian I think was more scared of Kiara than me or something of that nature for he readily agreed and took off running. Kiara gave me a glare. I swear the woman didn’t approve of anything I did. I didn’t say anything and neither did she as we continued our trek back to camp. It was going to be a long trek since we had been going down one of the older trails that led towards Gao-Lin, a small town to the east of Xao Lin. Kiara finally broke the silence with a terse query, “Why did you let him go?”
Knowing that nothing I said would please her, I decided to be honest about it. I replied, “There has been enough bloodshed for now. There will be more later.”
“They deserve to die. They deserve no mercy!”
I stopped to look at her. He intense hatred was strong, too strong. “You say that with such…hatred.”
“No matter. A spoiled little rich boy like yourself would never understand,” was the retort.
“Will you stop calling me that?” I said it rather firmly. “I am not rich. I took a vow of poverty.” I meant it as a joke but I was also mad at her.
“Yeah right. The great Kirabaros took a vow of poverty and yet he still manages to dress finely.” It was a reference to my robes from the Academy, which still looked fairly nice considering that I had gotten into a fair amount of scrapes.
“You know you have been entirely hostile to me ever since I gave my name and I just want to know what your problem is.”
“Forget it,” she said and stomped forward through the snow. She wasn’t watching her footing for she stepped in a mound and it gave way. She slid down the embankment, rolling with the snow and some debris. She came to a hard stop when she rammed into a tree. I called down that I was coming but she said for me to shove off. Little did she know until she moved that she had startled a lone female wolf who bared her teeth at her and was growling.
I could sense her fear as I slid carefully down the embankment, trying not to scare the wolf any further and provoke her to attack. I came up to Kiara who was trembling with fear but too scared and in too much pain to move. I slowly approached the wolf, looking at her in the eyes. I put myself in between her and Kiara and crouched down. I kept looking at her. The wolf continued to growl and snarl. I was whispering phrases for her to calm down and such. I slowly reached in my belt and pulled out a piece of jerky and held it out to her. The female sniffed and her growls subsided. Her eyes never left me as she took steady steps closer towards my outreached hand. With a quick move, she had the piece of jerky and she took off back to the woods.
Kiara was still trembling when I turned back to her and checked her ankle, which had been sprained in the fall, but the contempt was no longer there. She regarded me curiously as I applied some kolto medpacs to her ankle and as I helped her back up the embankment. Once I got her on a draigon I was able to call by whistling did she speak. She said, “Thanks.”
“Your welcome,” I replied as I led the draigon down the trail. It was even slower considering that she was injured but I thought that it was a good thing since now she wouldn’t have to lash out at me.
“You’re a Jedi Knight aren’t you?” The question broke the silence.
“What makes you say so?” I asked.
“The way you looked at that she-wolf. Some Jedi I have met have that affinity for animals.”
“Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I live with the Zherron tribe,” I replied. It was wrong not to say anything but I wanted her to be comfortable talking to me without it becoming a shouting match.
“I don’t think so. That move you did when you fought Serena, only a Jedi could do that. Besides if that’s the case, I should be asking for your forgiveness seeing as you deserve better treatment than I have given you.”
Now comes the tricky part. “I’ve had worse. Believe me there are plenty of my own people that dislike the Jedi.”
“I used to think that they cared for nothing of the people. I always thought that they let my family die even though I am not recognized by the family.”
“What changed your mind?” I asked.
“You did, when you just helped me. I thank you again, Master Jedi.” She smiled at me.
I decided to risk it. I spoke, “I was orphaned too. When I was seven. I never knew my mother because she died giving birth to me. My father was trampled by a bull kataran. I had no one except Master Tergis but even that was not the relationship a child wants from a parent.”
It was silent after I said that. I just continued to trudge through the snow leading the draigon. I stopped often to check the trail and to use the Force to make sure that we were heading in the right direction. It was easy to get lost and to be lost meant death especially in the snow anywhere on the five planets. Kiara broke the silence by saying, “My family was killed by Rashikians, not the royal one.”
I merely nodded my head. My intention was to allow her to continue which she did. She said, “So we are both orphans but under different circumstances.”
That last statement was more of a thought. I could sense her confusion and humility. She had anger against the Jedi but more so at the fallen ones. She had carried it for so long that she didn’t know how to react when a Jedi saved her. Her emotions troubled me but I could sense that she had a lot to give and would do it well.
We had stopped at the top of a hill when I heard a low growl and a moan. The she-wolf had been following us with a lone pup. We turned to look at her as she traveled a distance behind us, watching us. I turned my attention back to the road and smiled. I had a feeling that we would arrive back at camp all right.
True to my instincts, we rendezvoused back at camp with no problems. The she-wolf stayed at the boundaries eying everything warily. I gave Kiara over to the hands of the healers and Serena and went to my tent to warm up. It had been a cold journey and I was feeling the effects of it. I sat in front of the fire and stared into it as I warmed myself with some of my favorite tea. I didn’t notice that the she-wolf had followed me with her pup until she came into the tent. She nuzzled her pup towards me and with a look into my eyes; she turned and left heading straight for the forest. The pup whimpered and I picked him up and held him. He was falling asleep when one of the maidens brought me a datapad.