Installment 5:Nickel Back-Saving Me
It's 3:20 in the afternoon,4/15/06,and I'm eating peanutbutter crakers and a tall glass of ice water sits infront of me.I wonder what it will turn out to be
The small child run ahead of the aging woman.Too carefree and too wild to notice how much distance that she had placed between the women,men,and children that traveled with them.They were nomads traveling to a new grazing ground for their herd of camels and the harvest grounds of their clan.During the winter the clan split into smaller groups so as not to over hunt one area when game had grown scarce but during the spring,summer and fall the clan stuck together.
"Adrian!Slow down,"called the middle aged woman.The woman's honey blonde hair was streaked with silver and was pulled into a harsh bun of the desert people.She wore a white sari-the color of mourning and heavy silver anklets that jingled and clancked to the rythm of her step.Her skin was the color of her tanned sandles,the dark polished color of the desert people.
The child heard her adoptive mother call and hurried over to Sakura,"Uma,how much farther?I want to get there soon,"she said quickly trying to recapture her breath.
Sakura,or Uma,laughed.It was a cheerful laugh,not the forced ones that Atin,or Adrian, had grown acoustomed to,"We'll get there when we get there,child.Not any sooner.Though we should meet up with Devon's clan near Saline's first phase tonight."Sakura knew why Atin was anxious to get there.Her only friend,Sabati,had gone with Devon to their winter grounds.The two eight year olds were inseperatable.Every where Sabati went Atin was there and vice versa.
Jahji,Atin's adoptive uncle,punched the child lightly on the shoulder and teased with a deep chuckle,"Atin and Sabati sitting in a ..." Jahji never got to finish the old ryhme because Atin had popped him in the mouth lightly but with enough force to get him to shut up.Atin put her hands on her hips,"I'll have you know that I only like Sabati as a friend and that Sabati likes..."her hands jumped to her mouth as she realized that she had said too much and fell silent."Sabati likes?" teased Jahji.Atin glared at him but didn't say anything.
"Ah,Jahji,leave the girl alone!"called his wife,"Don't ask me why I married him,girls.I love the oaf but sometimes..."she didn't have to finish because the other women began to laugh with her."But you said it yourself,ya love me,"Jahji said kissing his wife on the top of her head.
Atin looked up at her adoptive mother and smiled," Aliit iru'shya tal'din.Family is more than bloodlnes."Sakura nodded,"You may not be of the clan by bloodlines but you are in spirit,"she said looking at the setting sun.
Vod reached for the door of the dining room and caught a glimpse of herself in a hanging miror.She had changed quickly into her armour and was astonished by the change in herself.She no longer looked like the poor desert peasant she had grown up as but instead she looked like a warrior of either Devon's or Spinx's army.Vod had decided to wear her cape-it was a beautiful silvery blue color of her clan,Ne'tra, and had their symbol running down the left edge.It was a simple star and flame design-the eight pinted star was encased in a swirl of flame.She had put her saber haning from her waist,her dagger was still strapped to her shin,she had slung her rifle over her shoulder,strapped her grenade pouch also at her waist and had tied her gauntlets on tightly.The only thing comical about her appearence was that she had no shoes on.Her feet were bare execpt for the entricate tribal tattoos she had recieved from the village shaman just after her birth and her heavy silver anklet cuffs.
Sighing she pushed open the door and braced herself for the worst.Instead the three people were laughing like nothing had happened.She took a seat and realized the the laughter had subsided when she sat."My brothers will be here shortly-they'll be dressed as I am."The man named Jag nodded,"Seraphim,my squad of fighter pilots will be here shortly."
As the words left their mouths the flat's doorbell rang and C-3PO shuttled into the room with a mixed group of Chiss and human fighter pilots,a few military officials,Mandalorian warriors and Jedi.
Vod looked at her brothers with a mixed look of love and apprehension.Love could get you killed or endanger those you loved.She would know from experience.
Lavar was the easiest to spot with his blood red armour.The top of his helmet was decorated with a white sunburst and that design was encorparated throughout his armour.on his knees,forearms,gloves,and grey cape.He had two belts crossing his chest and his rifle was aslo slung over his shoulder and his dagger was at his at his waist.Lavar was the tallest of the squad but Atin was a close second.
Creed wore sea green armour that was covered in purle waves and the wellknown simple circle that lay in each crest of evry other wave-the decoration of the royal guard.The curving waves were on his legs,chest plates,and forearms.He wore his purple cape with sea green waves along with his jetpack.Instead of a ammopack he stored his ammo in a waterproof pouch and his pistols were slung low on his armoured thighs.Creed was the shortest of the squad but like with Spinx,he was a force to be reckoned with.
Sabati wore ice blue armour that carried the silver eight pointed star and flame insignia of their clan.It was located on his ice blue cape,knee guards,the brim of his t-visor and his forearms.He had two sniper rifles that were tied across his back-one of which was Atin's.He was the middle man when it came to height and the leader of the four man squad.
Each warrior bore the jai'galaar's eyes and wings on at least one shoulder and then either their clan's insignia or if they were like Atin and were of mixed decent they had their own personal emblem.
Both of the Chiss were almost exactly alike to the untrained eye.They both wore the exact same gray coveralls,military issue boots,and both of them had had their heads shaved.But spending almost all her childhood and service she had to learn how to distingish(sp?)each man and woman by their voices and armour.Already she had labled each Chiss' rank in the Seraphim squad.
The one on the far right-he was the musscle of the group with his burly stature and thick neck.He was the leader,when the man named Jag was not around,of the group no doubt;the others looked like they respected him and would follow him to their deathes.
There was one sitting at the table,the other stood behind him,he was a beanpole compared to the leader.He wore rectangular glasses on the brim of his nose and was a paler blue than the other-there had to be some reason that the other was directly behind him.
Directly at the scrawny Chiss's left shoulder stood a Corellian.He was shorter than Spinx which put him at maybe 5'7'' ,he was as nondescript as anyone cold be.His chesnut brown hair was pulled into a sloppy tail and his skin was as pale as a glow worm,his eyes were almost the hazel green that Sakura had.(the main color is green and is flecked with brown.My eyes are this color.)
Sitting at Organa Solo's right was a Ghilsser.She was about the same size as the Corellian and was thinner than a toothpick.She had dark green hair that contrasted her pale green skin.Her eyes were the most peculiar colors-the left one was a warm blue and the other was a dark chocolate.
And the last member of Seraphim was a very tall Shistaven.He was taller than Lavar and that made him the tallest anything she had ever seen,he was a plain blue color and had silvery blue fur matched by a long tail at the base of his skull that met two curved ram horns.On his ears he had multiple golden hoops that matched his liquid golden eyes that lay behind half-moon specticules.The thing that caught Vod's eyes were the black arrow tatoos over his body and face.
Although all six of Seraphim's members were all eyes and ears for the Mandalorians,the Mandalorians were focusing their attention on the Jedi.None of them knew weither to drop to a knee or to shoot them.Jetii and Dar'jetii-jedi and sith-had no distinictions on their home;both were enslavers and were to be respected.Lavar turned to Vod and said on the group's private comlink,"Dare you to walk over to him and say hi."Atin looked from the sandy and dark haired jedi and then back to Lavar,"Leia's Noghri were easy,these Jedi will stand no chance if they anger me,"she said with a bravado that she did not feel.Jedi and their cousins were not to be trusted.For all their proposed justice they did not live up it-they and dar'jetii were killers and enslavers without provication.
Sakura took Atin's plate back from her,trying her hardest to keep the smile that was blooming on her face a sercert.Atin looked up at her with a quizical look on her young face,Sakura's eye flickered for the breifest moment away from her and Atin looked over her shoulder to see the beginings of Devon's band at the crest of the dune behind them.
"Sabati!"she yelled through a mouth full of churros.She washed down the churros with a swing of water and ran toward her friend.Who was waiting for her halfway across the spread of coarse sand.
Her friend was taller than she was but she was sure that she would eventually get at least an inch on him sooner or later.He wore a faded blue tunic and a pair of animal skin breeches almost identical to her own,his dark brown hair was swept up into a tail like her own,the difference between the two friends was their skin color.Atin was mixed and Sabati was the polished sandal color like Sakura.
"So,"she began,"where's Lilia?" "Atin!"Sabati cried and began chasing her across the sand torward Jahji's band.
Devon listened to his son's laughter as he chased his best friend.His heart broke for Sabati when the time came for Atin to be given either to a man as a wife or if she decided to train for Devon's army.Either way Sabati would be seperated from his friend.
He felt Sakura's presence creep up on him and asked,"How are you,Sakura?" She shrugged,"I'm better.Atin takes up most of my attention during the day and then I sleep at night.I don't really think about my husband anymore,"she explained."That's good," he said wrapping an arm around his first love.She looked into his gray eyes,"You worry about Sabati or Atin?"
"Both...I want my son to be happy.He never smiles anymore since he lost his mother-I don't think the shock of finding her while he was at the river with Atin fishing ever left him.And now,when he sees Atin he laughs and smiles,"he said tiredly.Sakura looked up at him,"And Atin?"asked Sakura."She's either going to be married off to a Racin because of who her mother and father are or she's gonna go off and train for my army because of her attitude.Either way Sabati will be heartbroken-he's already told me that he won't fight..." Sakura looked at her adopted daughter and her best friend.both were playing a game of tag with the other children but both seemed to be the only ones playing,"Your son will follow Atin into servitude,I've seen it...as for them marrying...I highly doubt it," Devon turned away from her and whispered,"We had a fight this winter over Lilia...and now he won't speak to me.I accused him of using her as wall so no one would say that he ever loved the daughter of Him and he looked me square in the eyes and denied it and now you've seen that he won't marry Atin..."He felt a hand on his shoulder,"He'll forgive you,you're all he has left.Say hi to him tonight for me."
* * *
"Atin,"panted Sabati,"I wanna ask you something,'he said plopping himself onto the sandy ground."Shoot,"she said sitting next to him close to the fire."Did Sakura have any visions concerning me?" Handing him the pottery plate that was meant for him she said,"Nope.She saw Jehji and Firsh having a daughter and son in the coming years,Devon fighting Spinx over some marriage arrangement and me getting my first rifle for Rist Alt.but,no,nothing about you this winter,sorry." Sabati shrugged,"Its okay."
Nugding him softly him in his ribs she asked,"So what about you and Lilia?Anything I should know about?" "Nah,nothing.Verd swear."
"Atin,it's time to go to sleep,"called Sakura.Atin turned to Sabati and said goodnight and followed Sakura into their tent.
* * *
Atin awoke to the sounds of men arguing.Three of them were Devon,Jehji,and Spinx,two were city accented voices she didn't recoginize."Sa..."Atin began and was stopped by a child's hand."She's out there with them,"began Sabati,"we've gotta hide.The two city voices are either jetiise or dar'jetiise-I cant tell."The hand loosened and Atin peeked out of the tent.
Sakura,Spinx,Devon,Jehji and the other adults were sitting around a small fire while two Force users were talking to them in a nasal tongue that was not Mand'a.She could only pick out a few words and those were names.Lavar,Creed,Li,Aylien and both her's and Sabati's names were mentioned.
Sabati grabbed her,pulled her back into the tent and hissed,"What do you think you're doing?Those two either want us dead or,worse,to become on of them.Neither of us know a Lavar,Creed,Li,or a Aylien.We need to get away."
Atin nodded,"Firsh tied the camels near our tent.Follow me,"and with that Atin slipped out of the tent's back flap.
Out of the corner of her eye Sakura saw Atin and Sabati leave the safety of the tent.May the gods be with both of you,she prayed.And she turned back to the jetii and awaited her fate.She could do nothing for herself now,she had to trust in Arasuum and Kad Ha'rangir now that both Sabati and Atin were safe from the slavers.
* * *
"Ushushshsh,"she whispered to the dolice female.Slowly the old camel rose to it's feet surprised by the small weight she had to carry.Wrapping her hands twice around the reins Atin trotted the camel quietly out of the camp.Sabati was tense against her back,"I was born on a camel Jahji says that all the time.I've driven camels since I was only three-I know what I'm doing,"she whispered in time with the camel's padh-padh-padh-padh rythym.
When the had gotten over the first crest away from the camp she heard the first screams.Atin didn't wait for the camel to stop to jump off.She tumbled for a few paces and ran to the crest until Sabati knocked her down,"Atin!,"he hissed,"Are you trying to get us killed?" "Sakura is down there,"she struggled.
Sabati pushed himself off Atin and handed her his rifle,"Look,they're dieing so we can get away...so we can get to Orihji and train for warriorhood."
Looking through the scope she saw the tents burning as the smell of burning hair and skin reached her nose and she barely held her lurching stomach.The elderly and sickly were placed into the burning tents as the Force users' friends came to help against the fighting men and women but in the end it amounted to nothing-the warriors stood almost no chance against Force weilders.The slain were saved from a fate worse then death.The wounded,childern,and those who could not defend themselves were shoved into cages that were loaded onto wagons.It all added up to one thing-slavery.
Atin turned back to the camel and wept only one tear.Only one for her people-one that sealed her vow to have revenge.Turning to Sabati she tore of her medallion of Arasuum and Kad Ha'rangir and threw it at him.he caught it and handed it back to her,"Keep it,"he said folding it into her hand,"Sakura gave it to you.When the time comes for you to get your suit of armour melt it down and mix it with the metal you use for the piece of breastplate that will cover your heart." She nooded,"Promise you'll do the same."Sabati nodded,"I promise Adrian Fett or AtinVod."
They say that dreamers are an extinct breed. I say they're wrong.