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Old 11-21-2006, 05:58 PM   #100
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Eh, I have pity on Pottsie though he is offline now so I will post the next chapter. this one has some shockers and some references to The Return of Kirabaros who's last words are in my siggie. Some of these ideas I got from other fics and the scene playing out is based upon Memoirs of a Geisha since I did mention that the kiddies would meet Mamesa again. Well here ya go and don't bother me anymore until I post a new chapter.

Chapter 24
The ship had landed in the middle of the night and the port was quiet save for the occasional rustle of the trees around. Standing on the ground floor two figures were standing waiting for the ship’s ramp to drop. The taller of the two signaled the pilot and the ramp dropped and the door opened. At the top of the ramp stood a figure that they both hoped to not meet again for a long time. It was confirmed when the figure spoke, “Observation: The Mandalorian Meatbag does not appear to be pleased. Perhaps a Bothan stunner will set it to rights?”

“HK-47, it’s been some time but not long enough,” Canderous replied with annoyance.

“Statement: While that is true I myself have missed the months of carnage we shared and hoped that we might engage such sport again.”

The person who was with Canderous let out a giggle at that and said, “I doubt that.” She hid her smile behind her hand.

“Pleasantries aside, did we come here for nothing or do you actually have something for use. I have no time or patience,” Canderous said gruffly.

“Uncle Candy?” a small voice piped up. It was followed by three shadows coming into sight followed by the pilot who pushed them down.

It was the woman who went to them. She kneeled in front of them and told them everything would be everything all right. Morgan, peevish demanded, “Where is my papa?”

Sarna looked at the little boy with a look of tenderness. She whispered, “Your papa is on Coruscant. He sent you here so you can be safe because he loves you.” She wiped way his tears with a gentle hand while Canderous picked up Lilah and gently pushed Tulre down the ramp. She continued, “We are going to take you to some friends who will watch out for you in a place where you can hide. OK?” She held out her hand.

Stifling his sobs, Morgan reached for Sarna’s hand. He allowed her to pick him up and carry him to the speeder that was waiting for them. He stuck his tongue out at HK for telling him that his papa was a fool or something. He clung to Sarna who soothed him. He had no idea where he was but he sensed that she and the one that Lilah called ‘Uncle Candy’ were good people.

The three kids settled down along with the droid, they took off deep into the forests of Amshrey. They were quiet, struggling between wakefulness and sleep until Sarna turned to them and said that it was all right to sleep. Encouraged, they drifted to sleep with HK scanning the landscape with his sensors. Sarna leaned against Canderous who was driving. Resting her head on his shoulder, she said, “I wonder what Kirabaros was thinking when he thought of this.”

“He was thinking like the tactician he is as only a good warrior can. The boy should have been born a Mandalorian,” Canderous replied, the pride obvious in his voice. “Defiant yes but fearless.”

“But to send them here to Amshrey to the hamachi? It’s as if he doesn’t want them to be found. Makes you wonder if something is up.”

“Kid knows what he’s doing. You gotta give ‘em credit.” He said nothing more until they reached their destination.

The hamachi was a peaceful looking village, not unlike the tribal villages but it was characterized by a constant soothing sound of music and singing. This particular hamachi housed some of the greatest of geisha, maiko and, of course, the rare geima. Before the hamachis became permanent villages, they traveled frequently to find ideal settlements and it was evident by the number of draigons, stallions and transports that this one was quite large. Canderous stopped at the outside of the largest of huts and jumped out. Together, he and Sarna roused the children and walked them to the door when it opened to reveal a painted lady stepping out towards a transport followed by an elderly woman who stopped to look at them. She asked, “These are them?”

“Yeah,” Canderous replied. “I expect them to be treated well.”

“Of course Mandalore. The Heart of the Guardian is the most honored,” she replied and motioned them in.

The children were hesitant until Sarna told them that they would be taken good care of there and that she and Canderous would visit as often as they can. Only then did Tulre took the step forward with Lilah’s hand clenched in one hand and Morgan’s in his other. The elderly woman ushered them in leaving Canderous and Sarna standing outside. They headed back to the speeder with HK in tow.

On the trip home, Sarna spoke, “I hate leaving them there alone. They are only children.”

“They need to grow up,” Canderous replied, “No use babying them too much.”

The resounding smack to his arm made him jump and nearly swear at her. She retorted, “Heartless Mandalorian.”

“And you love it.” He grinned at her, “Don’t worry about it. The kid’s got it planned out. When he needs to, he’ll tell us.”

“ I do worry. What if it were one of ours?” Sarna asked.

“What do you mean? We don’t have any,” Canderous replied.

“We will soon.”

Tulre was nervous but he had to be the brave one. His Dada told him once that there would be a time that others would have to look up to him and he had a choice to make. He could either turn tale and run or bury his fear and lead. It came to mind as the elderly woman led him and Lilah and Morgan through the hut to a main room. The lady was saying, “You three no speak. I’ll answer for you.” She then kneeled outside a sliding paper door and called, “Mamesa.”

The noise from the other side beckoned them in. The elderly woman opened it and pushed the children in, ordering them to kneel and not look at her in the face. Mamesa responded with, “It’s all right.” She got up from her seat and padded towards the children. She looked at them and marveled at the likeness that they had to their parents. Her eyes lingered on Tulre and noticed his eyes. She gently grabbed his chin and asked him to look at her. Her face didn’t give anything away when she said, “So much earth.” Then looking at Lilah’s eyes, “Too much fire,” and Morgan got, “So much wood.” She then backed away and looked at all three, “You will stay here.” Then to the elderly woman, “Take them to their rooms.”

Minutes later the boys were put into one room and Lilah was placed into another room with another little girl named Kimiko. Morgan didn’t stay on his bed but instead sat next to Tulre and asked, “Everything goin’ to be OK now?”

Tulre thought for a moment, “Yeah. That lady is nice.”

“Will Papa know I am here?”

“I think so and he’d want you to stay here. Get some sleep.”

Morgan padded to his bed and snuggled under the blankets. It wasn’t until he was asleep that Tulre got up and proceeded to find Lilah. He found her in the next room with another little girl and asleep. Satisfied that she was fine, he crept for his room and went to bed. Now that they were on their own, he had to watch out for his friends. He fell asleep sure that Mamesa would look after them.

Meanwhile Mamesa was in deep conversation with an old friend. “They have arrived safely. Your friend brought them a few minutes ago.”

The image nodded and with a smile gave thanks. If the transmission were in color, she would have sworn to see the old flicker of green in them much like when she first met him on Mikkado. He said, “Mamesa, you are like a lantern in the dark.”

“You are most kind,” and Mamesa bowed. “I shall endeavor to keep them safe though I am sure that their parents will try to come.”

“True which is why I hope their exploits on the Outer Rim will detract attention.”

“Isn’t that manipulation?”

“Sadly yes, but there are some demons that must be met and eventually my sister and I will need to make a run for it.”

“I see.” The conversation ended with Mamesa bowing and wishing her friend farewell. She reflected on how Karas first approached her. She had warned him that the hamachi would move frequently and he readily agreed. Even her old friend agreed. It wouldn’t be unusual to have children around the hamachi. Geisha and maiko were often brought in at young ages, often sold by their families or orphaned. She went to bed thinking that tomorrow would start the first lesson.

Morning found the children, with the exception of Kimiko, being scrubbed clean separately by the maids in the hut. Mamesa herself brought their new clothes, cotton like kimonos, to each of them telling them, “Outside you wear these,” and she held a pair of sandals, “Inside these,” and motioned with a pair of socks. Then pulling the robes on she continued, “We don’t show our bare feet like Shreyites. This is a geisha and maiko house. Remember to always honor this house by listening and learning.” Once she tied the sashes she motioned them to get to work, sending the boys to the maiko and the girls to handle chores around the house.

Tulre felt stiff in his new clothes as he tugged on Morgan’s hand to head to where the maiko were practicing. It shocked him at the manner Mamesa put them to work but he didn’t expect that it was to be easy. Morgan followed because Tulre was going, not a good thing but at least he would stay close. Together they looked like brothers but certainly weren’t treated that way when they were greeted by the adult maiko teaching the new ones. They were immediately put to work lugging blades or cleaning things, a difficult thing for Morgan since he was little but he had his father’s scoundrel luck and spirit, meaning that he never gave up. They were placed with other boys that were a few years older and under consideration for Maiko School.

Lilah was only two so she couldn’t do much in terms of work so she was placed with the elderly woman called Tante, meaning ‘auntie,’ in simple household chores and learning how to fold the many kimono that belonged to that house. Kimiko, being five, could do more and was left with the brunt of the harder chores but she did them cheerfully and teaching Lilah when she asked to learn. Kimiko enjoyed telling Lilah about geisha and what they did.

It became a routine with the boys heading out in the morning to Maiko School and Lilah and Kimiko working in the okiya, or their house. At night, the boys returned tired but they were made to eat their evening meal and to bathe and then go to bed. Only on festival days did the boys not have to go to Maiko School for the maiko were performing and only the apprentices could help. On those days, they helped Kimiko with the cleaning of the okiya. Tante would tease Tulre and say that the earth needs to be firm because of his eyes. Sometimes Mamesa would help them after her time with the books. She loved the children and made sure that they were healthy and would ask often if they were happy. They were to continue that routine for the next few months until the boys became a year older and Lilah turned three.

It was then that the three of them were to go with Tante and Mamesa along with a few geisha and maiko to the capital city Miako to entertain the people. It was there that they met Mandalore or Canderous again who didn’t recognize them until Lilah tugged on his arm. He hadn’t been to the hamachi but Sarna had as often as could be spared and she told him how they were. It was there with HK that he was able to give news to them about their parents. Afterwards, they went back to the okiya feeling happy yet sad that they couldn’t go home yet. Mamesa told them that they should not be sad but to keep busy. They trudged along back to routine learning what they could at the hamachi until they moved entirely to a new planet.

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