Not For Me
Let’s get one thing straight: I ain’t a Hero.
I just know what I have to do, that’s all.
Let me tell you a story that will explain my sudden overbearing need to not associate myself with the “Hero” type. Hopefully it will explain everything…
It was a night just like this one. Cloudless, humid, and even though there were no clouds, there was the faint scent of rain in the air. I couldn’t explain it then, and I certainly can’t explain it now. I was walking down one of the back streets of my home, Khoonda on Dantooine. It had been twenty years since the Jedi Exile had liberated our planet from the clutches of Azkul, the mercenary leader and still his impression left its mark on the earth.
But that’s mostly due to the large statue he had made us build in memory of him. I was only six at the time and my father had been involved in the construction and it just made his back problem worse.
I did not really like the Exile after that.
Anyways, that’s not the point of this story. No, what I’m going to tell you is a lot different.
A year back, there was some raiders that came by here and thought that they would set up shop. They started pillaging surrounding farms and making our lives miserable. Being a sole person, I couldn’t do much by myself so I had to try and rally the other farmers.
That didn’t work.
I know what you are wondering: We’ve got a plentiful of homes and streets and neighbourhoods around Khoonda now, we’ve expanded pretty darn well. What about the local Militia?
Pfft. They couldn’t hit a Kath Hound with a blaster rifle if it was ten yards from them dancing and wagging its tail at them. I know, I know: they’re the Militia; they have to have some
training in combat, don’t they?
Well, they do, but the thing is … they ain’t that good.
Even a farmer such as I can best them at their own game, but hey ... I did get special training from my father who was also in the Mandalorian Wars. I’m ‘more than meets the eye’ if you will.
OK, now … these raiders were also part of the same era as my father so they had more experience than today’s militia. They couldn’t stop them even if they wanted to.
I say that because these raiders went unchecked for so long I began to think that Khoonda had been overrun. I had secret meetings with other farmers to try and build up their courage to help fight these invaders, but to no avail.
I put up with it.
A long time.
Six months in fact.
But one night after I had made the rounds for my farm, I lost it.
I was walking along a small ravine so I could cross a stream the blocked the way from the grounds of my farm to the plains of Dantooine. There was a small stone bridge up ahead and I knew exactly where it was so I didn’t really keep notice of that. What I was taking notice of however were my surroundings. And that’s why I heard it.
A shrill horrified scream that alerted me to something that was happening just over the hill to my left.
I ran in the direction of the scream, pulling out my vibro-knife as I went.
I reached the top of the hill and looked down in shock. There was a blown up speeder, fire everywhere, a motionless body near the scene and various raiders taking hold of a woman and a couple of children. I ran, held my knife in one hand and took the first raider by surprise. I was able to drag my knife up and down along his back and gut before he even noticed. But after his screams of agony, my visage of secrecy was gone. The others had noticed me and turned their attention my way.
They came all at once and whilst one was throwing a fist that would’ve hit me square in the jaw, I ducked and drove my knife into his abdomen. I spun around and kicked another in the ribs whilst pulling my knife out of my last victim and driving it into the chest of the man in front of me.
I hate killing. I despise it in every way possible, but this had to be done. I forced myself to do this dirty and despicable work.
There was one left but he turned and ran. I put the blade in between my fingers and threw it as hard and accurate as I could.
I was aiming for his back, but I managed to stick it in the back of his knee.
He fell and I ran over.
I pulled out the knife, turned him over and held it to his throat. “Tell
me,” I said, “why I shouldn’t kill you right here and now?”
“Because -,” spluttered the raider, “- because I can help you!”
“Help me with what?” I asked. Not lifting my eyes from his gaze.
“I can get them back for you!”
I lifted my eyebrow. “Get who back?”
The raider laughed at this. “You still don’t know do you?” he asked me. I pushed the blade just a little harder against his throat. He stopped laughing and said, “Your daughters. This was just a ploy to get them from you. We know you have been the one that has been trying to get rid of us. We didn’t like that.”
My heart felt like it was in my throat. “You will help me get them back,” I whispered. “Or I will gut you so bad, not even the kath hounds will be able to get a decent feed out of you,”
The raiders eyes grew wide and he nodded his head slightly. “I will help you,” he said. “I’m kind of sick of this life anyway. I want a more peaceful and less bloody one, I think,”
I stood up and wiped the blood of my blade as the raider gingerly stood
to his feet. Wincing as his knee shot streaks of pain up his side. “If you even look like you’re thinking about doing something stupid,” I said, “don’t think that I won’t kill you. I want you to understand that.”
The raider nodded his head.
I walked slowly backwards so I was near the mother and children. “Are you, OK?” I asked.
“Y-yes,” they replied. The mother walked next to me. “Thank you Jorin! I don’t know what we would have done without you!”
“No worries,” I said. I refrained myself from saying that my daughters would probably been safe if I didn’t help them. “Go home, Sara,” is what I did say. “Lock the doors and make sure no one goes in or out. I will check on you later during the night, OK. Haros is only knocked out by the looks of it. I can see him breathing from here,”
Sara blinked and looked over to her husband and shrieked. Apparently only realizing just then that he was alive. I walked towards the raider once again and said, “lead me to your camp. I need a talk with your leader.”
We walked for what had to have been a standard hour before we reached the line of hills that circled the raiders camp.
“Where are my daughters being kept?” I asked my hostage. I know I said hostage, and in this case, he kinda was. I was thinking of trading him for my girls and my silence. Good enough trade, right?
“There,” he pointed towards the far end where a lone tent stood amongst a circle of spotlights. “Right,” I said. I prodded him in the back. “Move,” I said. “We’re going to pay your leader a little visit.”
“Fine by me,” he replied as we started walking. “I just hope that I survive this little meeting.”
I silently scoffed. What a nerf herder. Typical raider, thief and scoundrel: always looking after himself first. Forget about any others.
We walked up to the gate and there was a sharp whistle and spotlights were pointed directly at us. I held the knife to the raiders throat and yelled. “You wanted me, I’m here. Now let me in so I can speak to who ever is in charge.”
Sure, it was a little melodramatic, but I wasn’t worried about that at the moment.
There was several groaning noises of wood against steel as the gates were opened and we walked slowly. I didn’t have to walk far. We reached a center circle where a fire blazed brilliantly and standing next to it was a man in a hooded cloak.
… And I thought that I
“You’re Jorin I expect,” stated the man.
“And you are – Sorry,” I said, “I didn’t catch your name. I was too worried about my daughters that you kidnapped,”
The man smiled underneath his hood. “Something had to be done to get your attention and make you realize: we don’t like interferers in our work.”
“And we don’t people who try to rule over us with threats of violence,” I spat. “You cannot just come in here and expect to take over everything! We can and will stand against you.”
“And you will fail,” replied the leader.
“Not if I kill you,” I said.
This hadn’t been my plan: to fight this man, but seeing him standing there acting all smug and overpowering made my blood boil. If this was what had to be done, then I would do it.
“Kill me?” laughed the man. “What makes you think you could do that?”
I pushed the raider I had to the side and said, “I’m the good guy. We always win,”
The man laughed and pulled out a vibro-sword. “Let’s do this then. I need a work out.”
I put the blade of my knife between my teeth and lowered myself into a fighting stance. The man rushed towards me, swinging his blade downwards. I dodged and rolled around and grabbing the knife in my hand I jumped up and sliced his back. He screamed and swung his elbow backwards knocking me in the jaw.
I felt a small crack, but thankfully it wasn’t broken. A went back a few steps and smiled. “Two seconds into the fight and already you are injured. Would you like to continue or quit now?”
In answer to my query, the man stabbed forwards. I dodged once again, but this time it was a feint by my opponent and I was greeting with a palm slamming itself against my nose. I could feel the cartilage crunch underneath the force. Pushing blood out of my nostrils. Dazed, I gathered my feet again but had to quickly dodge under three slashes from the sword.
I rolled backwards and jumped up. He ran towards me but I lifted myself as high as I could up in the air and extended both of my legs so they caught him in the chest: pushing him back and making him fall to the ground. Noticing the sword slip from his grasp, I quickly got back up and lunged towards it. His hand reached the handle a split second before mine but I threw a fist into his knuckles. I felt them break. He groaned in pain and withdrew his hand, giving me the time to grab the sword and point the very end at his throat.
“It’s over,” I said. “I could kill you right here and now but I won’t. I’ll let you live on one condition: Leave here, and never come back to
Dantooine, otherwise you will find I will not be so generous next time,”
A few moments passed and he nodded in agreement.
“A fine trade,” he said. “A fine trade, indeed!”
I nodded and stood to my feet. I slowly turned and took a step towards the tent in which my daughters were in. It was then I heard a shout.
“Watch out!” cried out the raider I had held hostage only minutes beforehand.
I dodged to the side and felt the heat of a blaster bolt streak past me. I brought the blade of the sword around and felt it run through flesh: I cleaved off the head of my attacker.
“Fool,” I said as I watched the head of my opponent roll away.
I walked over and picked it up by the hair. The look of shock still imprinted on its face.
I looked around at the circle of raiders and asked them: “What now? Do I have to fight each and every one of you until there is none of you left? Will it only be then that we on Dantooine will have peace?”
“I am leaving,” replied the raider who had saved Jorin. “You have spared my life, and I warned you in kind. Our link is severed. No reason for me to stick around here any longer.”
Another stepped forward,
“And you?” I asked.
“I am the second hand man of our dead leader,” he said. “Shuno is my name,”
“And where do your allegiances lie?” I asked.
‘With the highest bidder,” replied Shuno.
“I have your leaders head in my hand,” I stated.
“Then that makes you the highest bidder,” answered Shuno with a small smile.
“Good man.” I said, nodding. “Now take me to my daughters, I want to get them home,”
I will always remember that night. I took my daughter’s home and the next day the raiders left Dantooine. My fellow farmers considered me a Hero.
But here’s the kicker of my story. I don’t want to be a Hero.
If I have to slaughter other beings to be called a Hero, then I want nothing of it. To me, a Hero is a person who answers violence with smart mindedness. Not violence in kind. I love my daughters, and I will always make sure they are safe, but if I have to kill people for that to happen, then I am no Hero.
I am just a simple farmer living a simple - yet gore-filled - life.