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Old 01-02-2007, 10:35 PM   #158
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Thanks for the comments. I was trying to show the friendship that Kirabaros has with Atton. It becomes important for later adventures after this fic. I just wanted to point out that the rice being thrown into the water is an old Japanese custom. It was done to wish the travelers a safe journey home. It is symbolic in that Atton has to make a journey and Kirabaros is wishing it to be safe since he won't be there to tell him.

You know I am surprised you guys don't see that. Then again I don't notice how powerful it is until after I read the chapter.

Well that said and done I have another chapter for you. There is action and reflection. On a side note the action scene was inspired by the fight scene in The Mummy Returns since the action was crisp and the like. Well enjoy...

Chapter 36
Tulre was busy with the blade on his lap. He held a welding tool in one hand and some sort pick in his mouth. He ignored the sounds of the clashing blades in the practice ring as he put the finishing touches on the blade edge he was working on. Morgan was helping him by handing tools and upgrades that he fixed when he needed them after they were scanned by T3. The boys had welcomed the droid with hugs after the adults were out of sight and the droid warbled at them with the same enthusiasm and inquired after any help they needed.

It almost seemed like home but it was dampened by the fact that Revan had not recognized either of the boys. Even after giving her various blades to practice with, it was obvious that her mind was elsewhere. Tulre didn’t let his disappointment show as he fixed the blade that had broken the day before. Occasionally he would lift his head to watch his Aunt Reva practice with one of the blades that he made. It made him proud that the ones he made lasted longer than the ones that the other swords smith made but he would never voice that. Pride was cautioned against, even more so when it concerned the Jedi.

Joran was the swords smith in the hamachi but he was a malcontent old man. For many years he had strove to become a maiko but it never happened. He made good blades and Mamesa encouraged him to continue that line of trade. He noticed that Tulre and Morgan were good with their hands and asked the okâsan to let them enter a term of apprenticeship. He had them for three months and had a further five days with them. He tried getting Mamesa to extend it but she was adamant about the original contract. In the end he piled the work on the boys but they bested him by having it done. So while they were helping the participants in the Shaak Ti, he hid himself in his hut and worked on separating the ores, leaving the boys alone.

Tulre knew of this and plunged into his work. Finished, he and Morgan sat and watched as Revan and Caelos stood off in a makeshift dueling circle. The warriors had been practicing for the past day and Dustil shown some impressive skill and was able to best his father, who admitted that he was better as a marksman. Caelos was undefeated so far. Having been raised as an Avalonian from birth, he grew up with a sword in his hand, as the saying goes. He managed to beat everyone else. Today was his turn with Revan.

The two faced off in the ring with their blades drawn. When Yasha, the ‘referee,’ clapped his hands together, they turned away from each other into a pose. At the call to begin, both combatants turned rapidly and began swinging. No sound was made except for the grunts of the combatants and the clangs of the blades against each other. Caelos had speed and flexibility on his side and Revan had experience. It was a good match and all the maiko stopped from their practice to watch.

Caelos backpedaled quite a bit and stayed on the back foot. Kirabaros had taught him to hold his own and wait and see what his opponent would do. He held against Revan fairly well though her strikes and parries were powerful and could be felt down his arms when her blade clashed with his. In a quick move, he locked his blade with Revan’s and spun behind her. His right hand clasped he right wrist and he tried to wrench her other hand behind her.

Revan countered by bring her leg straight up a kneeing Caelos in the face. She gave a slight grin when she heard him grunt at point of contact. She then turned around to face him and swung in a downward arc towards his knees.

Caelos was ready for her and blocked. He brought her sword around and locked it to the ground. He countered her punch by blocking it with his free hand and locked his hand on her wrist. With a twist, he flipped her over onto her back while freeing her sword so that it fell a few inches from her outstretched hand. Oblivious to the polite clapping from the maiko Caelos looked at Revan and said in Avalonian, “Get up. The Shaak Ti cannot be won by you lying there.”

Revan responded by flipping forward, an amazing feat considering that she hadn’t really been up to date in terms of training. Anyone who was casually watching would have thought it normal since she didn’t appear to be a woman of some thirty years. She twirled her blade in which Caelos responded in a similar manner until they paused into a pose. She led off with a thrust, which he blocked. She then gave off a series of parries and thrusts, trying to get inside. When Caelos came in with a thrust, she sidestepped and grabbed his sword hand. With her blade, she knocked his out of his hand. Falling in motion, she spun him away.

Caelos used his momentum to flip to the edge of the circle where he grabbed a staff. He twirled it and looked at Revan with the unspoken challenge in his eye. He was pleased when Revan threw her own blade into an old table and assumed a fighting stance. Caelos tossed her the staff he had and grabbed another and immediately came forward and twirled it. Not a word was spoken as the wood clunked against each other. It was punctuated by Revan grunting with her swings. She was at a disadvantage since she hadn’t had much practice with a staff like weapon. She lost her staff when Caelos managed an upward hook swing that sent it flying. She countered by managing to grab Caelos’ staff but he flipped her over onto her back and placed the end of his staff near her throat. He smiled at her and spoke in Basic, “You’re good Revan. I think you’ll give ‘em hell at the Shaak Ti,” and moved to help her up.

Tulre and Morgan had watched the entire thing and were impressed with the whole thing. Morgan said, “I wish I were big enough to enter.”

“Me too,” Tulre agreed.

“I bet you would make it into the top ten,” Morgan replied.

“Sure,” Tulre answered. “I’m good but not that good. Besides Mamesa says that it is unbecoming of an apprentice maiko.”

“But we are not…” Morgan began.

“Not what,” a voice interrupted them.

The boys jumped to face Carth who was amused at their reaction. When they didn’t answer, he asked again, “You aren’t what? Maiko?” He then kneeled next to them so he could whisper to them, “You are not maiko but you are missed.” He smiled at them and went to greet his wife who was taking her licks from the lighthearted jabs of the maiko.

Tulre and Morgan watched as Carth walked away. Some how their day just became brighter. At least one person knew who they were and it meant a lot more to them than anything in the world. Morgan smiled as he raced off to get his pack. He was to go into the settlement and pick up some more power cells for Tulre.

Lady Mara was not a cruel woman. Indeed she tried to make concessions for everyone to the best of her ability. Even a person with a vast store of patience has limits. After the fiasco during in the Senate, she couldn’t stand the presence of arrogant Republics. True that there were those who were sympathetic and supported Avalon and they weren’t classed with the others but the accusations were an insult to the integrity of the Avalonian people. She wasn’t going to take it any more.

As soon as she and the senator left, she immediately cut all trade to the Republic except the sympathizers. The effects were immediately felt and the retaliation began. In one day there were reports of revolts against the Avalonians as they pulled out. Some were gravely injured but Lady Mara didn’t respond with violence. That was not the Avalonian way. It wasn’t until the reports of an unprovoked attack on a camp in the Yavin system that she ordered the fleet and the ground troops to mobilize. It was because of that she was called to the Chancellor’s office to explain the unusual activity.

“Lady Mara, you do understand that I am a supporter of Avalon being a member of the Republic?” the Chancellor asked.

“I do Chancellor,” Lady Mara replied, “That is why those systems that support our inclusion have not been affected.”

“Your quarantine affects everyone,” the Chancellor countered.

“It is unfortunate and true but after seeing what the other members of the Republic think of us, I cannot help but wonder if it was wise in the first place.” Mara didn’t want to admit it but that very remark spoke of doubt in Kirabaros since he began this.

“My Lady,” the Chancellor began.

“Chancellor, I understand that there are bound to be disagreements. All the senators try to balance their own ideals with what is good for the people and that often is a basis for disagreement. However, to openly insult Avalon’s representative, therefore insulting us as a whole, questioning our very existence, it hurts,” Lady Mara looked across the desk at the Chancellor. She could see the desperate plea in his eyes, begging her to not be so harsh, to end this by leaving well alone and take the kicks as they come.

“Insults must be taken as they come,” the Chancellor admitted. He hoped that the Lady Governor of Avalon would see that he wanted her to back down. He didn’t want another war as much as she but her persistence in wounding the Republic like this was taking it a bit too far in his mind.

“You mean take it lying down,” Mara clarified.

“If that is how you see it,” the Chancellor replied. “There are some battles that you can’t fight at the moment. Pick and choose them.”

“I can’t do that,” Mara looked at the Chancellor. The regret was plain in her eyes. “You cannot ask me to ignore this and I cannot ignore it.”


Lady Mara studied the surface of the desk before looking at the Chancellor. “We are proud people, much like any other. We believe in acceptance based on the deeds one does. What the one you call Darth Revan, we have never met that person. The Revan we see and live with is a loving, caring wife and mother who is devoted to the Jedi Order though not all its principles. You say that Kirabaros is a legend. He is a man who has done a great service by first uniting the dissident people within our own system before bringing us to the Republic.”

“So you do this because of them?” the Chancellor asked.

“We have done this because they are a part of our people, our way of life. It makes us who we are. I think some of your senators forget that,” Mara replied softly. She then got up and with a rustle of skirts, made her way to the door. Before exiting, she paused to face the Chancellor. She said, “We bear you no ill will but we must protect that which is a part of us,” and she turned and left, leaving the Chancellor watching her retreating figure.

The Chancellor sat down and remained in his seat until Admiral Keegan came in. The first words out of Keegan’s mouth were, “Well, are they going to back down?”

“No,” the Chancellor replied, “They are going to continue their selective trading.”

“The biggest bunch of hypocrites and traitors if I ever saw one,” Keegan spat with such vehemence that the Chancellor glanced at him with surprise mingled with suspicion.

“Perfectly within their providence,” he cautiously replied.

“So you are going to let them do whatever they want without any regard for our laws?” Keegan questioned the Chancellor.

“The Republic more or less doesn’t exist out in the Outer Rim yet we still have merchants coming from there,” the Chancellor stated a fact. He was suspicious at Keegan’s bursts of anger towards the Avalonian.

“So they are above the law? You can’t allow that. The Jedi already do that and it wouldn’t do to have the Avalonians be in the same rank,” Keegan countered, “They have been lying us from day one trying to get more concessions.”

“Possibly but now I must go. I have a meeting with a committee,” the Chancellor allowed, uttering the lie to be out of Keegan’s presence. He needed time alone to think so he politely showed Keegan out. Out of Keegan’s presence, he decided to head towards his favorite spot. They said that he was welcome to come as often as he wished. To him that was proof that the Jedi were not the animals that Keegan believed them to be. He was met along the way by one of the lieutenants that acted as a courier between him and Admiral Dodonna. The courier handed him a datapad over which he frowned over the rest of the way there.

“Milady, if we mobilize, we risk getting into armed conflict with the Republic,” Senator Amstar was saying to Lady Mara in the privacy of the apartment.

“We have no choice. The Republic must see that we will fight to preserve our way of life, the one that he brought us,” Lady Mara replied.

“I seriously doubt that he would want us to go to war over this,” the senator countered.

“He would want us to share our ways. Not change them because they appear strange to the republic,” Mara retorted. Her temper was starting to flare a bit. “To join was probably not the wisest of ideas.”

“Do you doubt him?” Senator Amstar queried.

Lady Mara regretted what she said. She turned and placed a hand over her eyes as if she had a headache. “No, not him.” She turned to face the senator and said, “I don’t doubt him but I doubt his faith in the Republic. After what I have seen, I cannot help but determine if he had been misled.”

“What if one of our own has betrayed us?”

“How so?” Mara asked interested.

“Who else knows about our laws in detail? Whoever it was could have fed it to that admiral that despises us and hates the Jedi,” the senator replied. “This could not merely be a troublemaking person.”

“No. This is about revenge,” Lady Mara looked at the senator. “The forces that attacked the settlements on Yavin IV. The reports said that they were composed of mainly Outcasts but also there were bounty hunters and mercenaries amongst their numbers.”

“Traditionally traitors have used the Outcasts for they are driven solely by a lust for revenge,” the senator added.

“Before he left for Coruscant, Kirabaros said that they had been attacked by bounty hunters, one who especially was skilled at tracking Jedi,” Mara thought allowed. She had begun pacing with her hand to her chin.

“He has had many enemies since he ended the segregation and he has made many strange requests…”

“Very clever,” Mara mused not entirely listening. She turned towards the senator and said, “We will continue as planned. We will defend our settlements.”

Senator Amstar watched with a look of astonishment as Lady Mara sauntered to her bedroom. Somehow she thought that Mara hadn’t heard a word that was said. She wondered if Mara had become as narrow minded as some of the senators.

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