TITLE: "Jen & Kira: A New Beginning" Part 2

A Vignette by Kirajenlove

RATING: T/PG-13, for adult content

SUMMARY: Continuation of the story after the healing of the Dark Crystal. WARNING!! SEQUEL SPOILER!!

DISCLAIMER: The Dark Crystal and all characters belong to Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Jim Henson Home Entertainment, and are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit is being made from their use.

PART 2

Aughra's home was almost complete. With the help of the gelflings and podlings, she had managed to clear the debris from the Garthim attack and rebuild the dome, but she knew it would probably take years to rebuild her model of the solar system. That's all right, she thought. What else have I but time?

Presently, the geometric door slid open, and in stepped two familiar friends. "Aughra! It's great to see you! Hope you don't mind us dropping in like this," called Jen.

"No, no, gelfling, come on in. Seldom have visitors, I do," she said. "Babies doing well?"

"Yes, Aughra, they are growing like weeds, and very smart. We see ourselves in them every day. They're quite a blessing. Kira's mom is babysitting them right now," said Jen.

"Hmph. Too bad. I would have liked to have seen them. Long time since I have seen gelfling baby. Perhaps next time."

"Yes, I'm sure they'll be old enough to travel next time we come. We'll bring them then," said Kira.

"Aughra, I came today because there's something I hoped you could teach us," said Jen. "Do you know anything about gelfling biology?"

Aughra thought for a moment. "Hmph. Know enough."

"Why does Kira have wings and I don't?"

"Because you are boy."

"No, no, I mean why does ANY girl gelfling have wings, and males don't? If females need to fly, why not males? Even Kira couldn't answer this one."

"Gelfling, wings serve more purpose than just parachute. Has to do with making more gelfling. That's why Kira have it and you don't. Didn't your master, Wisest of the Mystics, teach you anything important?"

"They thought I was the only one," said Jen. "I guess they didn't see the need to teach me this."

"OK, gelfling, I know that you know nothing, so I will make it simple. You stroke wings, you get egg for baby. No stroke wings, no egg, no baby."

Apparently, gelflings were induced ovulators. The hands of a male gelfling contained a hormone that caused a chemical reaction through the wings when they were stroked, which induced ovulation. If intimacy followed, a pregnancy would result. If not, it wouldn't. This made sure that things like her wings just rubbing against clothing would not cause ovulation, and if a male accidentally touched her, no pregnancy would result. It was like a built-in, humane form of birth control for gelflings. However, the last thing the gelfling race needed right now was birth control.

"Then how did we get our children, if I didn't know about this before?" Asked Jen.

"Well, Jen, I remember, you did touch my wings. Remember, you were checking them out," Kira admitted.

"Oh, yeah," said Jen. "Well, in that case, I'll remember to stroke your wings more often!" he smiled at her.

"Yeah, yeah, OK you two, save it for bedroom," Aughra interrupted. "I have seen vision concerning you two. You must return to castle. Kira, you are queen. You belong in castle."

"What? Me?" questioned Kira. "I'm not royalty."

"You are now."

"But what about Jen? If I were queen, would that make him king?"

"No. Gelfling society matriarchal - mother rule. Always ruled by queen. Jen can be queen's consort," Aughra countered.

"If Jen cannot rule by my side as an equal, I don't want any part of it," said Kira. "Jen deserves to be king. Even though we all had an important part to play, it was Jen who healed the crystal and brought peace to the land. Can't we just change the rules?"

"You're the queen, you can do whatever you want, Kira," Aughra shrugged.

"Kira deserves to be queen," stated Jen. "If she hadn't given her life to retrieve the shard, I wouldn't have been able to heal the crystal. Her role was just as important as mine." He then turned to her and took her hand. "You are my queen, Kira, no matter what you decide."

"I'll need some time to think about it," said Kira. She had never had so much responsibility thrust upon her so suddenly. She remembered back when she and Jen had visited the ancient gelfling ruins. Inside, she found a vine-covered stone throne, and she sat upon it. It was a perfect fit! Was that prophetic? She knew that long ago, a winged gelfling much like herself sat upon that throne, peacefully ruling over her court and land. Is that what is in my destiny? She thought. Am I to rule from the Crystal Palace? It did look much more beautiful since the crystal was healed and all traces of the Skekses were gone. It might not be so bad to live there, and it was big enough that she could invite the podlings to live with them, if they so chose. But what do I know about running a kingdom? Jen is more scholarly than I am, and he would have more access to that kind of information. But if he were by my side, I think I could find the courage to do it. Yes, I think I can!

"Jen, Aughra," she said, "I'll do it. But only with Jen at my side, ruling as king with me." Jen smiled at her, and reached out to embrace her. "I'm so proud of you," he said. "I'll be happy to rule by your side, and help you any way that I can."

"Good, that's settled," said Aughra. "When you king and queen are, I come and help. Need the company I do, after 1,000 years."

"Aughra, we would be honored if you would be our mentor and counsellor. Come to the castle anytime. You'll get to see the babies more, anyway!" said Jen.

Aughra chuckled. "You keep making lots more babies, OK? You need good population base for future generations. Otherwise, who you going to rule? Aughra live long enough to see your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren. Teach them all, I will!"

Jen and Kira smiled. They were happy that someone with so much knowledge would take such an interest in their progeny for several generations. It was nice to know that someone they cared about would always be there for their children.

"Well, Aughra, we'd better be getting back; we are already missing the children," stated Jen. Both Jen and Kira came up to her and each gave her a big hug. "Thanks for thinking about an old woman," she said. "Come back again soon and let me know when you have settled into that castle!"

"We will", said Kira. "Goodbye!"

"Goodbye, Aughra. We'll miss you."

"Be prosperous, you two," said Aughra. "I see in the vision that you will live to a ripe old age, almost like Aughra!"

The gelflings then stepped toward the sliding door, which opened suddenly and let them pass through. Then they hopped on their new recruits, a new pair of landstriders, and headed back home to their little pod house.

Upon arrival at home, Ydra ran out and greeted them in Podling. "Keeeera! Jen! Mosei ameenya!" Kira jumped from her landstrider and ran over to greet her mother with a big hug, with Jen close behind.

"How are the babies?" Kira asked in Pod language.

"They are taking a nap, right now," her mother answered in Podling.

The three of them went inside and saw the two little ones asleep in their crib, which had been fashioned out of wood by Jen himself, who was beginning to be quite skilled at woodworking.

"They're so sweet when they're asleep, aren't they?" Kira asked Jen.

"Yes, and they can be a handful when they're awake," answered Jen. "But I still love them dearly. How do you think they will adjust to living in a castle, after being in this little pod all their lives?"

Kira answered, "Oh, I think they will do well. They'll probably explore all over the place; they're quite inquisitive. We'll just have to do some baby-proofing."

Kira turned to Ydra and switched to Podling. "Mother, there's something we need to tell you. We're going to be moving back into the castle to live."

Ydra seemed a bit shocked. "But why?" was her pod response. "Don't you like your new home?"

"Oh, yes, mother, we like it very much; the problem is, Aughra told me something that will change our lives forever. I'm going to be queen, and I can't rule from here. I need to be in the castle."

Ydra looked even more shocked. "My daughter, a queen? How can this be?" Kira explained to her what Aughra had told them about her vision.

"Just so you know, mother, I will never expect you to genuflect to me. You are my mother. I don't want this to change our relationship." Kira reached out to hug her mother tightly, to reassure her that she was still the same old Kira…..but with power! "All podlings will be welcome in the castle, of course," she said. "And Jen will rule by my side as king. I wouldn't do it without him."

After Ydra composed herself after this bit of shocking news, she said, "You deserve it, sweetie. I always knew there was a special purpose for you; a reason why I found you in that tree stump so long ago. You have a special destiny, and now you will fulfill it, with your greatest love at your side. Be glad, Kira. Few people are half so lucky as you."

"I will, Mama, I will."

Ydra turned to Jen, and spoke in her best broken Gelfling, "Jen, you be good king, take care of my Kira. Take care of babies. You good gelfling."

"Falyu vam, Mama," he said. It was the first time he referred to his mother-in-law as "mother". In fact, it was the first time he ever called anyone "mother". It felt good.

The next day, Jen and Kira began packing all their basic necessities for their trek to the castle, leaving behind furniture. They put everything in large packs that fit on the backs of the land striders. Jen had fabricated two special slings for the babies to ride in on each of their backs. "Riding these landstriders with the babies on our backs makes me nervous," said Jen.

"I know, me too," said Kira, "but we've never fallen off yet, knock on wood. Just hold on tight."

Soon the landstriders were off and running across the countryside toward the lush valley where the now-beautiful, white, Castle of the Crystal stood. When they finally approached the castle entrance, Jen dismounted by sliding down the landstrider's leg, rather than jumping down, because of the baby on his back. He then helped Kira down in the same way. Then he said, "We need to remove the seals we put here earlier. Can you give me a hand, Kira?" With their offspring still strapped to their backs, they both pulled and yanked on the boards until they finally gave way, and soon the entrance was re-opened.

The four gelflings cautiously entered the castle; the last time they entered, it was still occupied by the Skekses, and, although they knew they were gone, they didn't know what to expect. As they moved up the corridors, they saw that all the debris on the walls and floors was gone, and the whole inside shone with a bright white light, reflecting the light of the Crystal of Truth. Jen and Kira explored each room and corridor slowly. The dining hall was no longer filled with a filthy table and floors full of rotting food; it now contained a beautiful dining table, clean and white, and the floors were clean. It will be nice to eat here, Jen thought. Next, they came to the Crystal chamber. The Crystal still hung over the shaft, glowing a brilliant white and resonating with power, the geometric designs still on the floor, and the triangular window high overhead. they were here not long before; this was where Jen's destiny was fulfilled, and he healed the crystal; this was where Kira sacrificed herself for him and the mission. He still couldn't believe that she would do that for him. A stab of emotional pain tore at his mind as the image of her falling into a crumpled heap on the floor after the Ritual-Master struck her with the stilletto, and he, on top of the crystal, helpless to stop it. His eyes welled up.

"Jen, are you OK?" asked Kira, concerned.

"Just some unpleasant memories in this room, I'd just as soon forget," he said.

Immediately, she knew what he was thinking about. She turned and embraced him with a warm, tight hug. "It's over, Jen. I'm alright. I love you."

Jen wrapped an arm around her shoulder and started walking out of the chamber. "Let's go check out the rest of the rooms." They continued down the hall to the next room, which was previously the Emperor's bedroom. This room had contained a large, ornate bed in which the dying Emperor crumbled into bits before the eyes of the Skekses. That dusty old bed had now been replaced by a beautiful, new, large white bed. Hmmm, I know what we could do there later, thought Jen.

Kira seemed to read his thoughts. "Later, sweetie," she remarked, giving him a smile.

They continued down the hallway until they reached the throne room. Inside, they found not one throne, as had existed with the Skekses, but two; two beautiful white thrones, just their size, maybe a little bigger.

"Are these for us?" wondered Jen aloud. "I suppose so," said Kira. I remember they weren't here before. I was brought in here by the Chamberlain when he captured me, after he buried you in the rocks. There was only one throne then."

"Then, we must surely be intended to rule here," said Jen. "The Urskeks and the Crystal created all of this. This must be our destiny."

Soon, a whimpering was heard. The babies on their backs were waking up. "Sounds like someone needs a feeding and a changing!" Jen said. They removed the little ones from their slings, and Kira nursed both of them in turn. While she did that, Jen put them in clean diaper-cloths taken from a bag. When they were both clean and fed, they set the babies on the ground to see what they would do. The girl set about to crawling on the floor as fast as she could go, while the boy attempted to stand up using the wall as a brace. Jen and Kira watched them with love, chuckling at their antics.

Presently, they heard noises down the hall. Spooked, they gathered up the babies and hid behind a column. Soon shadows and the noise of talking could be heard coming from down the corridor. Kira thought it sounded like Podling. Sure enough, into view came dozens of Podlings! Many of them were some of the same podlings who had earlier been slaves in the castle. Kira and Jen ran out to greet them.

"Keeera! Mosei ameenya! Toye Jen!" shouted the Podlings.

Kira switched to Podling, greeted them and asked, "Why have you all come?"

"Ydra told us the wonderful news!" they jabbered excitedly in Pod. "We have come to serve our queen!"

Kira felt grateful for their offer for help, but embarrassed. "But we are not like the Skekses - we don't want or need any slaves!"

"Kira, we are not here because we MUST be, as when we were the slaves of the Skekses, but because we WANT to be! We love both of you and want to serve you any way we can. We do this willingly. You are family. This part of the village has volunteered to live here at the castle and serve you, and keep you company."

Kira translated to Jen. They both turned to them to say, "Falyu vam, Falyu vam." Then they took turns hugging all the Podlings. In addition, some of the podlings brought forward the crib that Jen had made, and left behind. They had disassembled it for the trip to the castle, and lovingly carried it the pleasantries had been exchanged, all the Podlings shouted, "LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!! LONG LIVE THE KING!!" in their native tongue and bowed graciously to them. Jen and Kira returned the bow. Today would be the beginning of a new life for the Gelflings, the Podlings, and for Thra. Who could tell what the future may bring?

END OF STORY

This is the end of the vignette. The story will be continued in (and corrected by, if necessary) the movie sequel, "THE POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL" - coming soon! See you at the theater :)