Thread: [Fic] A Soul Adrift
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:53 PM   #27
Endorenna
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Chapter 3

A Promise


Sri’lo became conscious, vaguely aware of being held by someone. The little girl heard a man’s voice. She gave a sigh of relief when she recognized the tone as Gaeva’ib’s.

“Here you are, Jehal, as promised.”

“Excellent work, Gaeva’ib! Just drop her over there with the other females.”

Sri’lo suddenly realized what she had just heard. She struggled to free herself from the man’s arms. Gaeva’ib dropped her in surprise, and Sri’lo leaped to her feet. She looked up at him, horror stretched across her face.

“Uncle, you—you—“

Gaeva’ib’s face creased into a casual smile. “Helped the slavers?”

Sri’lo nodded dumbly.

“Yes, I helped them. Helped them arrange the whole attack.”

A few tears crept out of Sri’lo’s eyes, and she exclaimed, “What? But—but Mama and Daddy both died! I saw them die! I—I got their blood on my hands, I—“ She starting backing up. “How could you—it’s your fault, I—I trusted you, t—they trusted you, I—I hate you! I’ll always hate you!” Sri’lo whirled and saw Nya’van sitting with a group of women, and she ran to her, burying her face in her shoulder.

Nya’van hugged Sri’lo tightly. The little girl felt a tear from her teacher’s face drip onto her shoulder. Sri’lo swallowed hard and tried to process the emotions she felt running through her. There was grief, grief that made her want to cry until she could cry no more, but there were other things too. Anger...anger filled her. Anger at her parents’ deaths, anger at the slavers, anger aimed in many directions, but mostly directed towards Gaeva’ib. He had betrayed her! He’d worked with the slavers! He’d given her to them! He caused her parents’ deaths! He caused everything! Everything! She felt a tear run down her cheek. Gaeva’ib had been like a second father to her, and then...then this happened.

There was more talking, she could hear. Gaeva’ib was speaking, and she pushed herself away from Nya’van so she could turn and watch.

“Now, the money.”

Jehal, obviously the leader of the slavers, smiled. “Of course. Two thousand credits, was it?”

“You know how much you owe me.”

“Two thousand credits...or—“

“Or what?” A dangerous look crossed Gaeva’ib’s face.

“Perhaps you would consider a different offer. One thousands credits, and a place in my little band. I could use a man like you, Gaeva’ib. A man willing to sell his own flesh and blood for a few paltry credits.”

A grin spread across Gaeva’ib’s face. “Done.” They shook hands, and Jehal walked away to attend to other matters.

Sri’lo glanced around, suddenly feeling very small and insignificant. They were all in a large metal—thing. It was a bit dark, and panels covered with flashing lights covered much of the wall space. Sri’lo bit her lip and tried to remember what her parents had taught her. This...this was a space ship, and those panels were consoles. Those strange weapons that the slavers—and Gaeva’ib—had used were called blasters. She saw that she and all the other captured Twi’leks were sitting in an octagonal area. There was a metal post at every corner of the shape. Sri’lo shivered. This was called a Force Cage. Her mother had told her about them, but she’d only said that animals were kept in them.

Sri’lo glanced at Gaeva’ib, and her eyes hardened with hatred. He had sold her like an animal. Her hand closed around the bracelet her uncle had given her just a few hours before the attack. Her mouth twisted, and she ripped the jewelry from her wrist and threw it on the floor. Sri’lo’s hand found the necklace that her parents had given her and closed on the crystal pendant. Her emotional storm seemed to calm slightly as she fingered it, knowing that Taisan’kye had worked for hours to polish it to perfection.

A few moments later, Gaeva’ib walked over and squatted down in front of her. Nya’van put a protective arm around Sri’lo and asked tersely, “Must you torment her even more, traitor?”

Gaeva’ib laughed. “Nya’van, I meant to thank you. You helped increase my little girl’s value.”

Nya’van’s eyes were icy cold. “Leave Sri’lo alone.”

“You taught her to play the flute. That could easily add a thousand credits to her price.”

“Filth!” Nya’van hissed.

Gaeva’ib shook his head. “I didn’t come over here to talk to you.” He picked up the bracelet he’d given Sri’lo and glanced at her. His face took on another smile. “Sri’lo, thank you for reminding me. I almost forgot.” His hand brushed hers from the pendant. He took hold of it and gave the necklace a swift jerk. The Twi’lek held it up, inspecting it. “Yes, Sri’lo, my dear departed brother-in-law did a fine job with this. This crystal’s valuable. I should be able to sell it for a good price.”

Nya’van slapped him as hard as she could, and she exclaimed angrily, “Can’t you see you’re hurting Sri’lo! Go gloat somewhere else, and leave us in what little peace we have left!”

Gaeva’ib’s eyes took on an evil glitter, and he crooned softly, “Careful, Nya’van. Your next master won’t like it if you start hitting people. Do you know what happens to troublesome slave girls?”

Nya’van’s eyes met his firmly. “I know well enough. At least have the decency to leave before Sri’lo does.”

Before the conversation could continue, some loud shouting was heard from the other end of the ship. Jehal was ‘addressing’ some young, scruffy-looking punks of various species.

“Don’t you have any brains? I said to set your blasters on stun, not kill! Do you know how many valuable Twi’lek girls we lost today because of your stupidity? Do you? We lost thirteen! We’re lucky we didn’t lose the Lethan, but we would’ve if it hadn’t been for Gaeva’ib! Follow orders next time! If you don’t, you’re out! Permanently! Now are you all sure we picked up all the live girls?”

A Twi’lek slaver spat on the floor and growled, “We got ‘em all. Let’s get off this rock and into space.”

“Fine, then. Someone turn on the Force Cage, don’t want anyone getting any bright ideas and trying to crash the ship like last time.”

Gaeva’ib darted back just in time to avoid a yellow, glowing force field that was activated between all of the pillars. Sri’lo watched him as he turned and walked towards Jehal. Her lips pursed tightly. Nya’van tried to hug her again, but the little girl pushed her away. The teenager nodded and moved a foot or two back. There was a gentle jolt as the ship lifted off the ground.

Sri’lo sat staring at the floor for the better part of an hour, thinking about what had just happened. Her thoughts dwelled on Gaeva’ib, what he had done to her...and the growing hatred that was consuming her. It was enveloping her from the inside out, clinging to her like a sweaty garment. Her black eyes closed for a few minutes, and she concentrated on her hatred. It made her feel—better, somehow.

Finally, exhaustion took her, and she slumped down to the floor, asleep.

A few hours later, the force field snapped off. Sri’lo was jerked awake by the sudden noise, and she glanced up to see Gaeva’ib approaching with a human man she’d never seen before.

“Lord Kazic, as I told you, we have only one Lethan, and she’s just a little girl. However, we do have several other slave girls that you might be interested in.”

“Shut up and let me see them.” He stopped a few feet in front of Sri’lo and began glancing over the captured Twi’leks with cold, heartless eyes. Sri’lo glared at him, the hatred inside her spilling out onto her face. Kazic sighed and asked, “Did you say these were Kamalan?”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“Hmph.” He was about to continue when he noticed Sri’lo glaring at him. Kazic saw the look in her eyes, and he studied it for a moment. He suddenly turned his gaze back to Gaeva’ib and said shortly, “I’ll take the Lethan.” He glanced down at Nya’van. “And that one. My master will be most pleased with her.” Nya’van cringed slightly and glanced at Sri’lo, a worried expression on her face.

Gaeva’ib flashed the perfect businessman’s smile and said smoothly, “Excellent choices, My Lord. This female is skilled with the flute, perfect for soothing your master’s nerves when he’s ill. And the Lethan is also skilled with the flute, for her age.”

“Save it. I’ll give you ten thousand credits even for the both of them.”

Gaeva’ib’s eyes glistened greedily. “You are most generous, My Lord. I’ll have the men place your purchases on your ship immediately.”

“Just make it quick. I need to get back to Rattatak soon.” The human whirled and strode away, his very walk proclaiming his arrogance. Sri’lo winced as a slaver’s large hand closed over her arm and jerked her to her feet. Gaeva’ib took a last look at Sri’lo, and he gave her a broad wink and flashed a smile. Sri’lo cast him a hate-filled glare as three slavers hustled Nya’van and Sri’lo away to Kazic’s ship.

Everything happened too fast for the young Twi'lek to take in, but when she finally got her bearings again, she found herself in a small, dark metal room with Nya’van. The door clanged shut, and there was a loud click as it locked.

Nya’van shuddered and pulled Sri’lo closer to her. The little girl whispered into the dimness, “Nya’van, where are we going?”

After a moment, she replied, “We’re going to a planet called Rattatak.”

Sri’lo said after a moment, “We’re going to be separated, aren’t we?”

Nya’van bit her lip and bowed her head, her face twitching with emotion. She nodded. “Yes.”

Sri’lo gritted her teeth and snarled, “I hate them! I swear, Nya’van, one day I’m going to kill them, and then I’m going to find you and rescue you!”

“No!” Nya’van exclaimed. “Don’t say things like that, Sri’lo! You—you never know who might be listening.” She glanced around fearfully and lowered her voice. “Sri’lo, promise me something.”

“What?”

“When we get to where we’re going, I want you to try to escape.”

“I will—as soon as I kill them all.”

“No! Don’t kill them all, they’ll just kill you! Get away, far away!”

“And go where?” Sri’lo asked bitterly.

“Go—the Jedi. They can help you.”

“They didn’t help when our village was attacked!”

“Please, Sri’lo, promise me!”

Sri’lo reluctantly replied, “I promise.” Her eyes lit with fire again. “But I’m going to come back and get you!”

Nya’van shook her head gently. “No—no, don’t. Stay away. Don’t give them a chance to catch you again.”

“But—“

“I’ll be all right, Sri’lo. Just worry about yourself.”

“Nya’van, I’m not going to desert you!”

Nya’van exclaimed sharply, “Sri’lokamala!” The little girl stopped her tirade. “Sri’lo, I want you to do as I ask. Don’t return for me. Leave me behind.”

“I can’t just—“

“Yes, you can! You must! Please, Sri’lo! I don’t want them to catch you after you’ve escaped! Promise me you won’t come back!”

Sri’lo pursed her lips, and her jaw tightened. She nodded once and said stiffly, “I promise.”

A relieved smile crossed Nya’van’s face, and she hugged Sri’lo. A tear found its way out of her eye, but she wiped it off before it dropped onto Sri’lo. Sri’lo pulled away from her and said flatly, “We need to rest.”

Nya’van started to say something, but she stopped herself and nodded. “You’re right. We do.” The Twi’leks each lay down, Sri’lo keeping to the wall away from Nya’van. The teenager watched her back for several minutes before closing her eyes and falling into a troubled sleep.

Sri’lo wasn’t asleep. Her mind raged as she thought of Nya’van’s words. Why couldn’t she come back and help her! She’d lost everyone else! Why was Nya’van insisting so hard! It wasn’t fair! She could save her! She could! If only she had a chance!

Several hours later, Sri’lo felt the ship shake again. They had landed.

Nya’van sat up and broke the sudden silence with the frightened whisper, “We’re here!”

Suddenly, the door burst open, and two guards walked in. One of them grabbed Nya’van and dragged her away. The teenager shouted back to Sri’lo, “Remember what I told you! Rememb—“ The guard struck her and pulled her around a corner.

Sri’lo started after her, but the other guard grabbed her arm and yanked her after him. After a few twists and turns through the narrow corridors of the ship, Sri’lo felt a hot blast of air hit her face and saw a ramp leading out of the ship onto a dirty metal floor. She was pulled down the ramp by the guard, and she saw the surface of Rattatak. It was hot, dusty, rocky, barren, devoid of almost all life. Sri’lo felt a pang go through her. This was much like Ryloth. The guard yanked her around and strode towards a door in a nearby wall. He entered, taking Sri’lo with him, closing the door behind them. Sri’lo shivered. It was cold in here, especially after the heat of the outside. She glanced from side to side as she and the guard proceeded down the hall. The walls were made of rock. There were metal grates on the floor, and every heavy footstep of the guard clanged loud and clear, echoing far down the tunnel. Every now and then they passed a side hall, stretching far out of sight. Several minutes later, the guard stopped at one of the intersections. A tall, rough-looking Twi’lek walked up and asked the guard a question in a language Sri’lo didn’t understand. The guard nodded. The Twi’lek grabbed Sri’lo’s sleeve and started down a side hall, leaving the guard behind.

The Twi’lek girl glanced from side to side, a chill of fear creeping up her spine. There were cages lining these walls. Many of them were empty, but some held animals. They all had a hungry, lean look about them, and several of them snarled and tried to attack her through the bars. Finally, Sri’lo spoke up.

“Where are you taking me?”

The Twi’lek struck her hard across the face and growled, “You don’t have permission to ask questions!”

“I—“

He struck her again. “You will not speak unless spoken to!”

Sri’lo bit her tongue hard and shut her mouth.

A few twists and turns later, the Twi’lek opened one of the empty cages and threw Sri’lo in. She looked up at him, startled. He slammed the door and locked it.

Sri’lo exclaimed, “What’s going on?”

The Twi’lek snickered. “Lord Kazic told me to make special preparation for you!”

“But why a cage?”

“Arena slaves deserve no more! Be silent, or I’ll come in there and make you silent!” The Twi’lek stomped back up the hall. Sri’lo crept over to a corner and glanced around. Three sides of the cage were made up of bars. The side she had her back to was solid rock. She slid into a sitting position and hugged her knees to her. Sri’lo felt empty inside, as if her heart had been cut out. The little girl glanced around. There was a loud growl from down the hall, and something roared in reply. She shivered again and wished that she were back home. Her eyes darkened. Gaeva’ib...

Sri’lo felt angry tears well up in her eyes. She had trusted him so much, and then he had sold her! Nya’van might’ve made her promise not to rescue her, but she hadn’t made her promise not to kill Gaeva’ib! She didn’t care how long it took!

The faces of the slavers passed into her vision. The slavers—half of them had been Twi’leks.

Sri’lo felt the anger inside her threaten to explode, and she ground her fingernails into her palms until she felt blood flowing. If that’s what regular Twi’leks were like, she couldn’t trust any Twi’leks, not now, not ever! She whispered fiercely under her breath, “I want nothing to do with them!” The girl slammed herself into the bars and screamed furiously at the hall where the Twi’lek guard had gone, “I want no part of you!”

She remembered that once, Taisan’kye had told her about a punishment reserved for the worst of Twi’lek criminals. They were exiled, cast out into the Bright Lands or the Shadow Lands to die. But before they left, their names, the very things that identified them, were broken, and they were forever separated from their people.

Sri’lo’s eyes darkened as she said out loud, “My name is Sri Kamala.”







_________________________________________________


There ya go, BFA.

Last edited by Endorenna; 03-10-2009 at 09:08 PM.
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