The Judan blossoms were in full bloom as the gentle breeze carried their softened petals upon its wings. The plains shown forth in a shimmering green glassy like the waters of Aztlan and were accentuated by the flowing of the Chinooka River. It was a gentle and fine day only to be marred by the hints of impatience that shouted through the trees.
The room of the house was in disarray as if one of Tatooine’s infamous sandstorms hit it. Clothing was knocked astray and covering just about every surface in a mad scramble to find something. The man who was digging through the clothing was exasperating and getting flushed from the heat of wearing his uniform. There was a hint of desperation in his search that led to frustration which gave out as he stood and scowled at the floor. His emotions were not echoed by the young man who was leaning in the doorway and smirking at him. The young man said, “If you keep this up I’m going to have to take cover from the storm.”
The man in the uniform glanced at the young man smiling at him and retorted, “This was your idea Jacen. To think that I can’t find what I need.”
Jacen Cirrus Credo, better known as J.C., gazed at his new friend with amusement and pity. He was the one who made the arrangements after both parties involved agreed and he had hoped that now after his hard work, he would be able to sit down and watch the show. After five years a special thing was happening and right at the last moment they were in the middle of a crisis. Having pity, he spoke softly, “Relax Carth. You didn’t lose it. I came in early this morning and took it. I needed to make some final adjustments.”
A flood of relief cascaded over Carth Onasi’s face as he let out a deep sigh. He replied, “I don’t know J.C. It’s what we wanted but now that it’s here, I can’t help but wonder if she changed her mind.”
“Paranoia?” Jacen’s green eyes were twinkling with mischief. He put his hand in a pouch that hung from his belt next to his lightsaber and katana blade. Standing an inch shy of six feet, he looked like a wiry twig but lean and strong. That much was evident after the battle at the Jasilyn Plains when he fought Eómeros in spite of a head wound. He knew how much this day meant to Carth and he hoped to be able to help quell the fears and doubts he had. He did this by relaying his humor in spite of other events that were swirling around him.
Carth replied, “Don’t chalk it up to that yet. I…”
“Don’t worry about it. After five years, it is still there. Believe me I know,” J.C. replied still smiling. He shifted his position before saying, “You better fix your collar and everything else. There are still one or two things to do before the main event.”
“Everything’s entertainment to you isn’t it?” Carth asked, fumbling with his buttons and straightening out the uniform.
“Nope. Just keeping everything nice and light,” he grinned. When Carth finished, he surveyed him up and down. Pronouncing him ready, he led the way out of the house and towards a small hut near the river. He glanced at Carth’s questioning look and responded, “We have plenty of time. She’s busy fussing with Michaela.”
That relieved Carth a bit as he followed J.C. to the hut. They entered the hut and were welcomed by the strong smell of Judan blossoms and dried herbs. In the center of the main room was a fire pit that was gently roaring with life. Sitting or kneeling was old Petronius staring into the flames. He turned to look at them as they entered his hut. He said, “Young ones enter and sit.”
J.C. guided and motioned Carth as where to sit and took his place in the kneeling sitting position. Carth may have had his doubts but J.C. had his. It was an ancient tradition and he spent countless hours with Petronius learning about it. It was said that this tradition was a promise, an honor bound oath sealed in blood that could never be broken. It was believed that even if the one who made the vow dies, they keep it beyond the grave. It was rather terrifying to think of but J.C. knew that he wanted to do this. Sitting there kneeling he spoke the opening line to begin, “As another year passes, a season comes.”
Carth for his part remained silent. Part of him wanted to ask J.C. what was going on but he got the feeling that everything would be explained. He turned his attention to Petronius as he replied, “And so begins a time anew and the pledge is spoken.”
That was the cue for J.C. to turn towards Carth. Traditionally there was some formal language in Archaic Avalonian but knowing that Carth wouldn’t understand, J.C. decided to say what he wanted to say. It would still hold true. He put his hand into the pouch and pulled out what Carth had been looking for earlier.
It was a simple gold band; simple but of the finest quality. He held it between his forefinger and thumb, looked Carth in the eye and said, “Today you give this to her and bind your lives together.” He then let the band lie in his open palm and continued, “Though it is simple, it is of the finest quality. As I give this to you I make this vow: Though we are different we hold the same spirit and the same truth. I give this band as a symbol of my honor that it may be used to protect and defend that which is dear to me. As Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice may I be the guardian of my family.” Then with a quick slash from a small knife that he whisked from his belt, J.C. made a slice through his palm, drawing blood. Squeezing tightly so that the blood oozed forth J.C. continued, “I swear this upon my own blood and honor.”
Carth didn’t know what to say. He was aware that when Avalonians invoked things in the name of honor, they took it seriously. It seemed that words were not expected of him. Instead, J.C. reached out and took his hand and upturned it. Gently the gold band slid into his palm and it rested there gently. In the dim of the fire, he could barely make out the Avalonian phrase that declared the love bond. He looked at J.C. who gazed into his eyes. Neither of them said anything until Petronius replied, “So as it has been uttered, let it be upheld. Through wind and rain, hurt and pain, this vow shall remain until the end of time.” Then he took a jar of purified water and beckoned Carth to put his hands over a basin palm up. Petronius did the honor of pouring the water and proclaiming, “Water may wash the blood away but the oath still remains.” After he finished his task, he gave a nod to the both of them and left.
After Petronius left, Carth asked, “Why? Why did you do it?”
J.C. regarded Carth for a moment. He then uttered, “You are my family. She is my sister and now you are my brother. You are family,” and then stood up. He finished wrapping his hand up in a bandage before slipping on the traditional glove he was to wear. He then went to the door to usher Carth out who followed still clutching the gold band in his hand. They walked in silence until they neared where they were supposed to be.
They stood at their respectful places and waited for the bride. Carth silently handed back the ring to J.C. so that he could hand it to him later. He then asked in a slight smile, “Are you ready?”
“I will always be ready to defend my family. That’s a promise and one that I intend to keep.” J.C. gave a smile, the scar upon his left brow standing prominent yet not marring the good looks he had.
Carth looked at him with understanding. He didn’t understand fully Avalonian honor but he knew that when a promise was made, it was kept. Deep down he knew that no matter what was to happen, J.C. would always keep his promise.