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Old 01-08-2007, 06:48 PM   #162
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Well here it is another chapter. I know it's a long story but when you have many subplots coming together it takes up a lot of space. To hold the suspense, it contains the answer to igyman's questions about the Blood King and maybe a few predictions of what's to come.

I'll just say it I am making the manuscript fly again over your eager heads.

Chapter 37
The fires were burning as members of both sides were driven by the power of the temples. Each side fought with fury, bent on destroying one another. The rivers of blood flowed everywhere. The once life giving rivers were now stained with blood killing everything. The fires burned with an intense heat and the bodies stared out of their lifeless eyes.

Kirabaros stood in the middle of the field. The smoke swirled about him as Outcasts, mercs and bounty hunters ran past him to meet the Bushida warriors. He walked as the mortars exploded around him, gazing at the dead and the dying. He continued walking, following this shadow that led him deep into the thick smoke into a clearing. There was fighting on both sides as they clashed and the rivers of blood flowed freely but it didn’t affect Kirabaros as he walked freely between the bodies and the chaos. The shadow that he had been following stood clearly in front of him, grinning as if he had been waiting for him.

The Blood King stood his full height, the height of classic Avalonian, and grinned a sardonic grin at Kirabaros. He said, “Once again we meet at the field of battle. Such is the destiny of people such as us.”

Kirabaros, against his better judgment, responded, “The future comes of its own accord.”

The Blood King chuckled, “The words of a Jedi: always preaching to accept that which comes.”

“I take it that this meeting was not by chance and you have something to say,” Kirabaros said, annoyed at the mockery.

“I wouldn’t have been able to meet you under normal circumstances,” the Blood King replied almost bored as he approached closer. “That, whatever it was, was able to allow you to see me though I must say that you haven’t coped very well.”

“I don’t think that was the maker’s intention,” Kirabaros grumbled. He had no fear of this person anymore. Then looking at the battle around them, he asked, “Is this the future?”

“You tell me. I’m from your past as well as he,” was the reply.

“Who? Draconis? Nah, he’s one of many who hated me after your time,” Kirabaros answered as if the conversation were a friendly banter between friends.

“Still, if you want this new world that you hoped for, you have to fight it.”

They were stopped by a sight that had Kirabaros open his eyes in shock. The three human children were running through the middle of the battle followed by an alien child. Tulre was tugging on Lilah and Morgan with both hands while a fourth, unmistakably a Cathar, followed them and they were running from Draconis. They were ignoring the explosions as they ran into one of the temples. The Blood King looked amused as he said, “Cute little sprats.”

Kirabaros said nothing as he watched Draconis wielding his heavy blade with a malicious intent chase after the children. It was obvious that Draconis intended to murder them or something. He began to chase after him, leaving the Blood King standing there. He heard nothing as he ran across the field. He then began to see images of death, those that he knew covered in blood, screaming. It was deafening to his ears so that he put his hands over his ears. He squeezed his eyes shut and the darkness consumed him. A voice called his name, “Kirabaros…”

“Kirabaros?” Mission shook her friend’s shoulder. When he nearly fell, she steadied him, trying to get him to sit. He kept grasping his head as if there were a loud noise. She knew that he had sensitive hearing and wondered if it was something that he could hear but they couldn’t. When he finally opened his eyes, she smiled in relief and said, “You scared the poodoo out of me.”

Kirabaros looked around before replying, “Sorry Blue.”

“You wanna talk about it?”

“Not really.” Then seeing the look on her face, he acquiesced, “I saw what is to come but not really. Bah, it sounds like the ramblings of a crazy man.” He then got up and went to the door. He paused to tell Mission, “Tell me when we dock.” He then left and disappeared down the corridors. He ignored Juhani as he passed her into the cargo door where he shut the door and sealed it. Right now he just wanted to be alone, in the dark.

Tatooine, a planet of sand full of moisture farmers for the most part and a few space ports that are havens for those who didn’t wish to be found. Michaela found none of these things to be a problem. The immediate problem lay in their supply stores particularly their power sources and charges. The detonation device she had used on Nar Shaddaa consumed much of their demolitions supplies, more than she anticipated. The other problem lay in their finances. Though they had Republic credits, they were virtually worthless. They were somewhere between a rock and a hard place.

Those were thoughts running through Michaela’s head as she walked with Kiera through the market area of Anchorhead. They had just come from the third dealer they had been in and they had decided to take a shortcut to the cantina for a drink. They were crossing the street when Michaela abruptly stopped, causing Kiera to bump into her. Kiera responded, “Hey, what gives?”

Michaela wasn’t listening. She sensed something through the Force, something that was familiar but changed. She calmed her mind and stood there, reaching out as she did when she looked for Atton. She didn’t close her eyes but actually moved them along with her head as she scanned the street. She said to Kiera, “Someone’s here,” and she smiled slightly.

Kiera interpreted the response to mean that a threat was coming and she had her hand near her blaster and looking around. Seeing that no one was approaching, she was becoming increasingly aware of a feeling of embarrassment. Kiera looked at Michaela who had stopped scanning and was focusing on a small boy with messy hair. She then realized that Michaela was some sort of Jedi and suspected that the tall man was one as well. When Michaela started to move towards the boy, Kiera stopped her and asked, “The kid?”

“He’s the one,” Michaela calmly answered and continued towards the boy.

Morgan had stopped at the favored junk dealer who sold good power cells and blade upgrades for reasonable prices. He purchased what Tulre specifically asked for and some things extra, things that would impress Tulre. He was telling the merchant that he wagered that the duelists from the hamachi could best the bounty hunters and the mercs in the Shaak Ti. It was a friendly wager of trading goods which the crotchety merchant took part in with great pleasure. Morgan said, “I wager three chargers that the hamachi has the best warriors.”

“I’ll take that bet Chiyo and I’ll throw in my best vibro cell for good measure,” the merchant, an elderly Ithorian, spoke with a chuckle in his native language.

“You’re on Habas,” Morgan pointed in good humor at the Ithorian. He packed the last of the cells into his pack and slung it on his little shoulder. “See ya at the match.”

“I’ll be there,” Habas replied before returning to work.

Morgan left the shop and became aware immediately that someone was following him. It wasn’t that Rodian that had bothered him and Tulre whenever they went into Anchorhead; it was warm and loving. He decided to stop at an outdoor vendor for a treat for Tulre, Kimiko, and Lilah. He was aware of the presence and it wasn’t alone. The second one was strange to him but he sensed that it meant no harm. He waited, patiently.

Michaela followed the little boy to the vendor and watched him as he made his purchases. She was almost to him when she tripped over a womp rat. Looking up, she saw that he was gone. She looked around, reaching out with the Force to find him only to find that she couldn’t. She continued her search, puzzled.

Kiera managed to catch up with Michaela’s fast pace. She almost tripped over her when Michaela tripped on the womp rat. She stumbled to maintain her balance and asked, “Why did you stop?”

Michaela stood there looking around. She then replied, “He was here but now he is not.”

“Who are you talking about?” Kiera asked rather impatiently. She was already annoyed at being led on some Bantha chase. Michaela’s vague talk was annoyed her more.

Michaela didn’t answer as she continued to look around. She thought that she was losing her mind but it had been an unmistakable signature within the Force. She was about to give up when a little voice piped up behind her, “Have you come to take me to my papa?”

Morgan had recognized the woman who had been following him but he wanted to be sure. After buying the treats, he managed to duck behind passer-bys and, using the trick that he, Tulre and Lilah had learned, circled around to behind the woman. When she turned around, he knew that the woman was Tulre’s mother. He could also sense that she knew about his papa or had seen him. He had to ask though he had learned not to dwell on it.

As he approached from behind, he grew more confident and comfortable with the one who had been following him. The other one he wasn’t sure about but she was friendly. Morgan let his natural curiosity guide him as he camouflaged himself within the Force. It was a trick he used when he wanted to hide from Joran or Mamesa but that was only to tease her. It was neat when Tulre and Lilah joined in for even old Tante didn’t know if they were there or not.

He had this in effect as he planted his two feet firmly behind the pair of women who were scanning the settlement in front of them. His pack hung across his chest by its strap as he waited. He waited while the two women exchanged words with each other. He waited until the strange woman finished her question and his new aunt paused to answer. In a strong voice, he asked, “Have you come to take me to my papa?”

Michaela spun around and saw a small boy with messy dark hair, brown eyes and a face that could work its way into a smirk if given the chance. She recognized that face and smiled warmly at the boy. In response to his question she replied, “I can’t take you home but I can bring him to you, Morgan.”

Morgan rewarded her with a hug. He then said, “Here my name is Chiyo. Okâsan says so.” Then noticing the other woman he asked, “Who’s she?” and pointed at Kiera.

Kiera was stunned at this little reunion. At first she thought that maybe the boy belonged to Michaela but upon closer inspection, she recognized the scoundrel that she traveled with. The boy could be a spitting image of him but only cuter, as children could be and she had a weakness for children. When the boy Morgan asked who she was, she was at a loss for words. She fumbled at something decent to say, “I…um…I’m…”

“She’s a friend who is helping us. Her name is Kiera,” Michaela rescued her.

Pleased with the answer, Morgan didn’t question any further. Instead he asked, “You want to see Shang?”

Michaela was puzzled at first by whom Shang was. She lifted an inquiring eyebrow at Morgan but all she got was his little face staring back at her, waiting for an answer. It then struck her that he didn’t go by Morgan here nor did Tulre and Lilah go by their names here. Her face then bloomed into a smile and she replied, “Yes Morgan and I am sure your papa will want to see you too.”

Morgan returned the smile and said, “Follow me. I am late getting back to the hamachi.”

Michaela nodded and beckoned him to show the way. She was glad that at least Morgan was safe. That meant that Atton would be a hair’s breadth less anxious. She smiled slightly at the thought for Atton hid it well behind a mask of sarcasm when it suited him. She had no doubts that the others were fine as well. She was thinking of this when Morgan interrupted her thoughts by saying, “Everyone’s good. My name is Chiyo.” He beamed as he said it.

Michaela said nothing but smiled. Kiera wasn’t satisfied with the answer and asked, “Why Chiyo? I thought your name was Morgan?”

Morgan stopped to look at Kiera. He regarded her like a wolf pup looking at a fish in a river and cocked his head. He then replied, “Okâsan said that was my name for the hamachi. Like a secret.” He then continued along the street.

Kiera became thoughtful about the response. It was obvious to her that he was in hiding but from what and why were still questions running through her mind. True that she had part of the picture when Michaela told her and what she rung out of the scoundrel but she was curious especially with the boy. She wanted to know who the others he was talking about were. The words he used were different too and she was at a loss to what he meant. She worded her question carefully, “Why do you need to keep a secret?”

Michaela answered, “Not here in the open,” then seeing that Kiera was going to protest, “I’ll explain when we are amongst friends.”

Kiera saw that Michaela meant what she said. Well, she knew that when Michaela asked or implied something, it was followed to the letter. She found out from Rowan that Michaela was someone to be obeyed especially when the situation was serious. She nodded and followed the little boy to this place called the hamachi.

When they reached a series of huts, Kiera’s eyes opened. The settlement of Anchorhead looked like a sleepy town chock full of unscrupulous characters but here it was…different. The huts didn’t look like they blended in with the landscape and the people were upright, not downtrodden. It was well, peaceful. Her eyes roamed a bit until they fell on the boy who beckoned them to follow.

Michaela was delighted that Kiera was amazed by her people and seemed to like what she saw. She herself saw that the head of the hamachi was a good leader. Michaela also sensed that there were friends here as well. She guided Kiera to follow Morgan who led them to the back of the largest hut where another boy was sitting, sharpening a blade. Her heart warmed at the sight of her son and was aware that she wasn’t displeased by what she saw. She didn’t move but Morgan called out in Avalonian, “Shang, look who’s here.”

Tulre knew his mother was there before he saw her. Even after Morgan called to him, he took his time. He loved his mother dearly and desperately wanted to run to her and give her a hug but he kept his reserve. He greeted her calmly and gently, “Hello, mother.” He then noticed Kiera but he didn’t worry. If Morgan thought it was all right then so did he.

Michaela said nothing but smiled at her husband’s son. She then replied, “Shang, I see that you have become accustomed to life at the hamachi.”

Tulre smiled but didn’t reply. Instead he beckoned the two women to follow him inside. They followed his movements as he removed his shoes and led them to the main room where there were voices coming through the thin wood walls. He kneeled by the door and spoke that there were visitors in Avalonian. He slid the door open and let them in but didn’t go in himself. He remained with Morgan kneeling by the door until he heard his Aunt Reva exclaim, “Michaela!” He and Morgan both smiled big.

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