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Old 08-28-2006, 09:48 PM   #13
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Chapter 12: Unexpected Visitors
The next morning was the last day of training for Ashira before she was to go on the hunt to search for the missing kataran. Lardonis was to show her how to relax in order to allow a better killing range with the bow that Moira had given her. She awoke sensing that something was going to happen but she didn’t voice it. If anything she went by one rule: if it wasn’t clear enough when she first received it, then she would not worry about it. That’s the way it was with all her visions, something that Master Yoda understood when she first told him about it. She smiled at her memory of her first vision as she got dressed in the warrior clothing that Moira had given her. Today was definitely going to be different.

The morning routines were passed as usual with a light breakfast since Ashira had given up trying to eat regular portions. A bad habit but she felt her nerves too frazzled and high strung to eat properly ever since she began her training. She had lost some weight but her body was slightly more muscular and hardened. In a sense, she lost the girlish face she had when she arrived and replaced it with a woman’s face in every sense of the Belosian way. After breakfast, she and Lardonis set out for the forest with their bows in hand. They were heading for the target and practice glen on the other side of the river.

Obi-wan had forgotten how easy it was to control the prized Saluki stallions but his fears were assuaged when he started heading for Fa Zhor’s estate on his way to see Moira Landstar of the Haida tribe. It came back easily as he remembered how it was Ashira who taught him and Siri to ride even though she had never ridden herself. He reflected inwardly how she always was there to help no matter how simple or mundane it was to her. Immediately he felt bad for he knew that all she ever did was try to help; she gave more of herself to others without any thought of reward. He felt bad because they had parted on such bad terms.

He was thinking of what he would like to say to her as he approached the estate. He found Fa Zhor in his usual spot, sitting on one of the numerous stone benches under the Judan trees. He approached respectfully and addressed him, “The years have kind honorable Fa Zhor.”

Fa Zhor glanced at him with his gray eyes. He smiled slightly as he replied, “You know you don’t have to be so polite. You’re not a Belosian boy that’s coming to call on my daughter.”

The comment made Obi-wan want to blush. He cleared his throat slightly before replying with, “I just came to see an old friend.”

“And you want to know if she’s been here,” Zhor replied. He glanced at Obi-wan and felt amusement at the faint blushing he was seeing. He continued, “To give you an answer without having you to ask it, she has been here and she has left. To the cabin near the river. Perhaps she is still there.”

Rather uncomfortable at the sudden knowledge, Obi-wan was silent for a moment. He then spoke, “I was on my way to meet with Moira Landstar. I just wanted to stop by.”

“I see.” Fa Zhor wasn’t blind as his adopted daughter and the Jedi before him was. He decided to not call Obi-wan on it. Instead he replied, “The Haida tribe is somewhere near the river. You might want to start from Reed Moat, a small outpost town five clicks south along the river.”

Zhor turned to look back at the lake. Obi-wan took that as his cue to leave and he backed away with a respectful bow saying, “Thank you for your time.” He turned to walk back to where his stallion was.

Before he reached it, Zhor called out, “She misses her friends. She’s just too proud to admit it.”

The target was straight ahead, not moving. It was minding its own business, without a care in the world. The wolf watched from a distance, eying her prey. Moving swiftly and silently, she inched her way closer. The target was in her sights. She drew back slowly and struck.

“Wow. I have never seen anyone move like that to get close to a target without so much as a peep.”

Ashira looked at the target she had just hit. It was about a good ten feet away but the shot had been made at an obscure angle. She just stared at the arrow that marked the killing shot for a long time. Her normally amber eyes were clouded as if she were thinking. She was actually remembering those that she had killed in various battles she had fought. Killing was so easy but how do deal with it was something else. She almost lost her train of thought but she heard the comment Lardonis. She responded, “Jedi reflexes. Remnants of the Jedi Watchmen.”

“I don’t think so. The way that you moved and the way you shot, it’s as if you had shot a bow before. Strange,” Lardonis replied.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Ashira replied and looked at him in the eye. She gave a look that told him to drop it. No way did she want to talk about her time spent on Andorra and the excessive training she had growing up. Too many painful memories even though some were good.

Lardonis, seeing that, changed the subject. Instead he opted to help her with long range shooting. He showed her how to follow her target and lead it a bit before taking the shot. He also made her shoot while there were distractions going on. He sensed that she knew a lot of these things but she preferred to forget it and allow him to teach her. He was amazed at the progress she made and thought that it was because of her Jedi training but he saw that she must have had at least some Bushida training.

The day seemed to drag on and Lardonis decided that there wasn’t much point in training Ashira anymore. He could see that she was a capable warrior. He considered that Moira had requested this because Nekang needed it, mostly to deal with memories. After watching her shoot from long distance for what seemed like the thousandth time, he called it a day and led her the way back to the settlement. He decided to ask, “Why do you want to gain Lilah’s respect?”

“She saved my life and I behaved badly,” was the answer.

“She is like that with anyone who is an outsider. Haida women respect battle, not kindness,” he said.

“That and she has suffered loss through the starvation,” Ashira replied.

“How did you know that?” Lardonis asked.

Ashira tapped her slim index finger to her temple. It was her way of saying that it was her Jedi senses. She rather liked Lardonis and sensed that he just wanted to help her. She smiled and began to speak in Avalonian to which he eagerly responded. She spoke of the old tales of the Jedi that existed long ago, particularly when Avalon joined the Republic. If anything, she knew how the young warriors loved to hear the legend of Kirabaros, the Heart of the Guardian. She should know, because she used to tell bits and pieces to the younglings. Mostly it was the pieces that conveyed a lesson, lessons that adhered to the Jedi Code, at least the code that Kirabaros lived by.

They passed the clearing where Daranka was playing with his friend. When they approached, both stopped and began to follow. Ashira held a piece of the jerky that she liked to munch in place of a regular meal out in her right hand. Daranka took it gently and ripped half of it off. The other half, she offered to the other wolf which she accepted gratefully. Ashira felt slightly better than she had since she arrived. She continued to tell of tales as they walked towards the settlement.

Governor Gisan was pacing on the platform very perplexed. He had sent Jedi Obi-wan on one of the Saluki stallions to speak to Moira. He had known the woman for years and hoped that Jedi diplomacy would convince her to at least accept some aid. He was pacing for another reason. He had been asked by Jedi Korin to stand at full alert for possible attack. He was wondering how in the Four Winds his people were going to survive an attack. True that the other governors were ready and on alert themselves but they were not composed mostly of tribesmen who were dying because their diet was being compromised. He was in despair over the whole affair when a soft voice sounded from the shadows, next to the draigon statues. “Hello Gisan.”

The governor turned to see an old friend. He replied, “I thought Amshrey would not get involved Selene.”

The woman stepped out to reveal a woman clad in black, similar to the garb of the Haida women. She had bright blue eyes and dark auburn hair and possessed a body that could be lethal. She replied, “That may be the official position but you and I both know that loyalties lie strong. Besides, we are helping because of her.”


“Yes, because of her and who she is.”

“I fear that reasons such as this would provide an unnecessary burden. She has had enough.”

“Perhaps but she is of a long line of stubborn women.”

“I hope you are right, Selene.”

The settlement was bustling with the normal activity of preparing for the evening meal as Ashira and Lardonis approached. There was a small crowd gathered near Moira’s hut and there was talk circling through the camp. Mostly jabbering about a visitor. Lardonis thought it was the one who would come by with supplies and argue with his aunt. Ashira couldn’t figure out what the excitement was all about. As they got closer, she found out why.

Lardonis saw the male Jedi and thought that maybe he was here to help too. He turned to say something but the look on Ashira’s face was enough to realize that she knew the Jedi there.

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