Okay so I saw Avatar and while I didn't totally love Jake and Neytiri, I did really like Tsu'Tey. And I also totally was intrigued by Neytiri's mention of an awesome female hunter named Piral. So here's a new fic! Its kind AU but hey, when you've got Eywa and an imagination, anything's possible. Also all Na'vi words come from an online dictionary that seems pretty accurate.
So Piral is NOT an Original character, though I've taken serious liberties with her since she's just a mention. Oh and this takes place after the movie (obviously) so all the characters are going to be there but Piral and Tsu'Tey are the main two.
Ash lingered in the air.
The smell clung to the forrest like a child refusing to let go of its mother. Glory still burned in the hearts of those who had fought, of those who had survived. Their cries of pride to Eywa still filled the air. The blood that had been spilt, blood that still stained the grass under their feet, it had all been for something. In the end the People had won and the Sky People were forced out. Eywa was safe, even at such a terrible cost. And in saving Eywa, they had saved all those who had died in the fight. As long as Eywa was safe, so were they. They were a part of her now, as everyone in the People would be one day.
Trying to take comfort in the thought, Piral pushed further into the forrest.
The last of the white and yellow paint still clung to her skin, removed by her journey not scrubbing. She scarcely had time to rest, much less to bathe. But time was short, precious even and she saw no point in wasting it on washing away one thing she had worn with honor. The beaded bracelet her mother had given her the eve of her first hunt, the bow she had carved with such pride--all of it was had barely survived, with her wounds now even Piral did not know when she would fly again. Still she was grateful to Eywa that Tanhi had survived, countless other Ikran had been taken back to Eywa. Whispering a prayer of thanks, Piral continued through the underbrush, careful to keep her steps light. There was no telling what awaited her further in, she had to be careful to remain as quiet as she could.
Piral had always preferred to hunt alone. Hunting with others, especially through the forrest, meant that there was a chance the prey would become aware of them before they were ready to be seen. Hunting with others meant that she had to depend on them. Piral had never been terribly good at depending on the other Hunters in the Clan--in spite of what she had been taught as a child. She hunted with others because it was expected of her but she relished the times when she was allowed to hunt alone. But there was nothing to be relished now, not while Eywa still collected the souls of the dying. Not while the smell of ash and blood still stung her nose.
The terrain under her feet changed.
Piral bent down, looking at the odd ridges in the landscape. Reaching out she pressed her hand into the soil, allowing her eyes to close. The ground she stood on had once been smooth, full of life. Eywa had been strong here, once. But now the soil under her fingers was filled with nothing but pain. All the life that had grown here, it had been destroyed by the Sky People and their machines. Eywa still was strong in this place but it was because of that strength the pain was so much greater. Piral felt her fingers curl in the dirt as anger surged through her. There was so much pain here, so much sadness--so much death. Everything in her, it shouted for her to return. There were better hunting grounds further back. It was doubtful that anything survived to hunt here. She could return, go back, find her prey closer to the Tree her people called home. There was space between this place of death and the Tree, space enough to hunt.
Releasing the dirt she held, Piral withdrew her hand. Her fingers left behind a mark in the soil. There were other marks, marks by feet and by things she did not recognize, things that had to be from the Sky People. Her finger mark made no difference. Yet Piral still reached out and covered it, moving the dirt until it was gone. She would not mark this place as carelessly as the Sky People had. Drawing herself up, Piral glanced behind her at the way she had come before turning and moving further along the ruined landscape. No-one had ventured into this place since the battle with the Sky People. Nothing but death would greet her but death was something Piral had become accustom to existing with. The dead were not to be mourned, they were with Eywa now. What was left behind was nothing but a shell. What truly mattered, that was with Eywa.
The smell made her ears flatten in anger and disgust but Piral ignored the impulse to depart. She would not run from what frightened her. Running from fear did nothing. Facing fear, that was what conquered it. Facing what she was afraid of was what had made Piral the best huntress in the Clan. It was what had made her fight the boys who had tugged her braids and stolen her su'shiri t'acto sa when her father had told her he would not tell them to give it back. It was what had made her bond with Tanhi even after the Ikran had given her the four long teeth marks she still bore on her right shoulder after the lasso had given way. Now it was what drove her forward. There were still too many unaccounted for, too many who could not send their loved ones off to Eywa. Eywa accepted all but there were ceremonies, things to ease the passage, things they had been taught were owed to the dead.
Piral glanced up at the canopy of trees. So many had been burned by the fire of the Sky People but her eyes found the arrow marks of her own people. Their war had hurt Eywa and that was the greatest tragedy of all. The People had been as focused on death as the Sky People. She knew that even her arrows had hurt Eywa. Hunting was much easier. War with the Sky People was difficult. There was too much going on, it was too confusing. People had gotten hurt, Sky People had gotten hurt--there was too much hurt, too much pain. And Eywa had fought alongside them. At the time, like the other People, Piral's heart had been filled with joy. But now looking up she wondered if Eywa had been right to fight. Her teaching told her to trust Eywa. Her heart told her that even the greatest of warriors needed time to recover.
The greatest of warriors.
Piral's footsteps faltered. Tsu'Tey's body still had not been recovered. Jakesully had ordered search parties out and Neytiri had led more than Piral could count but none had been able to find their former Olo'eytkan. Eytukan's body had been found and he had received the burial of an Olo'eytkan but Tsu'Tey had not. No matter how short his time as their leader had been, he had been their leader none the less. Long before that he had been their greatest hunter, the one they had all trusted and respected. She had rejoiced with them all when he had been named Neytiri's mate and their future Olo'eytkan. Tsu'Tey was worthy of the title, more so than anyone else in the Clan. Even in the sadness of Eytukan's death, Tsu'Tey had led them to the Tree of Souls, to the Vitraya Ramunong, where they would be surrounded by Eywa, to be reminded of the All-Mother's presence.
The hunters grouped together naturally. Training was anything but easy, especially for those who were good at it. She had known Tsu'Tey since they were children and he had jumped into the fight on her side when she had bloodied a boy's nose for pulling her tail. From the first cuts on their fingers from holding bowstrings improperly to the final climb to the Ikran's nest, Tsu'Tey had always been a part of her life. Their bond as fellow warriors, as hunters, had been strong--as those bonds tended to be. But he had been the first to fight alongside her and she him and their bond was, perhaps, a bit stronger than the others. Or it had been. Until he had been chosen to mate with Neytiri, until his training with Eytukan had taken more and more of his time. Until the Sky People filled his heart with anger. Now he was with Eywa.
His death was the hardest to accept.
They had trusted Tsu'Tey. The People had learned to believe in him and he in them. Now they were to follow the Dreamwalker Jakesully. Piral had lent her strength to his transfer, as had all the People and he had fought with them as only Toruk Makto could. But even so, he was what had brought the Sky People to the Home Tree. He was the one who had live among them lying for so many nights. Piral had heard him claim love had changed him but she could not see how anything like that could make a person so different. A few months and they were supposed to follow him like the Clan followed an Olo'eytkan. It took years to be ready to be Olo'eytkan, not months. Not even for Toruk Makto. Every order he gave made Piral's ears flatten and her muscles clench like she'd eaten something she should not have. She followed--they all followed but every word he spoke made her wish to Eywa that it was Tsu'Tey who was speaking to them.
Piral tried to force the anger that filled her aside. Anger made you clumsy, like a Sky Person and she could not be clumsy, not when she was in the place of death. She was the first to dare to enter this place and she would not subject the Clan to more loss, even if death meant she would go to Eywa to be with the others who had been killed. Piral was not one to hide, not one to run, even from something as sad as being without those she had cared for. But the loss could have been worse. If she had mated--Piral cut herself off, shaking her head as if she could clear the thoughts. It was a good thing that she had not been mated. The cries of those who had lost their other half, they had been worse even than those who had lost their Ikran.
A shadow moved to her right. Instantly Piral moved her bow off her back and into her hand, her fingers twisting instantly up and back, drawing the string taut as she stepped back carefully into the shadow of the charred canopy. The shadow to her right continued to move in a circle. Large, but too small to be a Toruk, Prial did not need to look up to know it was an Ikran. That was nothing comforting. She had brought a wild Ikran down before but she had always been on Tanhi's back. Could she do it on foot? Keeping her bow taut, Piral watched the creature circle. It would be hard but yes, she could. When it landed she knew the best shot would be to the roof of its mouth. If she shot it now and missed, it would kill her before she had a chance to attack it once more. The Ikran let out a loud screech, tucking its wings and dropping to the ground. Piral adjusted her stance and positioned herself so the moment it landed and gave her an opening, she would take it.
The Ikran landed and turned towards her immediately, letting out another sound.
"Iheyu," Piral gasped, lowering her bow instantly.
Iheyu shrieked again, his keen eyes locking with hers. The Ikran looked terrible, his saddle little more than tatters. The spiral pattern he had been known for was smudged and dirty, the tie little more than a strip of leather dangling limply across his neck. Piral shouldered her bow, moving forward. Iheyu whined, the sound almost mournful as he looked at her and Piral felt her heart tighten at the look in the Ikran's eyes. So many of the People were without their Ikran, Iheyu was without his Taronyu. Even without the connection the Ikran did not attack her. Piral continued forward until she stood in front of him. Reaching out she gently grasped the crest. Iheyu made another sound, softer now as he bent his head. Taronyu's took care of their own Ikran but they all had spoiled each others. Iheyu had been no different. Spoiled by all of them.
But his Taronyu had been Tsu'Tey.
"Where have you been?" Piral asked, stroking the Ikran, "you had us all worried."
Iheyu vocalized again, nudging against her hand. Piral frowned as she looked at him. Usually when an Ikran Makto died, their Ikran took off, free of their bond. But Iheyu had not gone back to the Thundering Rocks, he was here, by where the Home Tree and the Tree of Voices had been. Did he think that if he waited long enough Tsu'Tey would come back? As if sensing her question, Iheyu nudged her hand, more insistent this time. Piral frowned as she released her hold on the Ikran's crest. Iheyu turned his head and nudged her, this time on her side. Piral stepped forward, towards the Ikran's ruined saddle. Looking at him she looked back at the saddle. Tsu'Tey had made the saddle, as they all had for their Ikran. She knew Tanhi was going to need a new one before she flew again. Reaching out Piral grasped the saddle, her fingers finding the buckles but Iheyu nudged her again, vocalizing as he did.
"What are you doing?" Piral questioned, looking at the strangely behaving Ikran. She had ridden Iheyu before but only when she hunted with Tsu'Tey. Iheyu nudged her sharper, lifting with his head in a clear demand, "Iheyu!" she moved with him, landing half in the saddle. She swore as Iheyu moved to take flight, barely managing to swing one leg over the other side of the saddle before he kicked off the ground and took to the skies.
Piral held the saddle as tight as she could, whispering every prayer to Eywa she knew. She dared not make Tsahaylu with Iheyu so all she could do was hold on and hope he knew what he was doing. The Ikran flew purposefully deeper into the place of death, along some path known to him. Piral held tight, her eyes scanning the ground through the lattice canopy, looking for some sign of where the Ikran was taking her. She had never heard of another flying on an Ikran that did not have the Tsahaylu. But Iheyu swept along the skies, his speed very quick. He had always flown that way, with a purpose. Unlike Tanhi who seemed to only fly with a purpose if Piral bribed her first. Iheyu took her towards a dark shape on the horizon, a shape she knew to be the ruins of the Home Tree. Her stomach turned as she stared at it, her fingers gripping the saddle. She was not ready to face her ruined home, no-one was.
Before they could reach it, Iheyu banked to the right. Gently but Piral still found herself gripping the saddle harder. The Ikran descended with another loud sound, landing in the soil. Piral looked around, knowing that they were at the ruins of the Tree of Voices. This was where they had learned of Eywa on their mother's knees. This was where Neytiri had chosen Jakesully as her mate, where she had defied everything to follow her heart. This was the first to be destroyed by the Sky People. Piral slid off Iheyu's back. He vocalized behind her, a sharp cry that had her ears pressing flat in an effort to block the sound out. But Iheyu continued.
"Skxawang," Piral hissed, "be quiet, do you want to wake the forrest?"
Iheyu did not look at her, though Piral was sure he had understood the insult. Frowning she followed his line of sight. Once more her bow was in her hands, her arrow ready as she looked at the shape in the ruins of the Tree of Voices. Iheyu shrieked again. Awkwardly the creature moved past her, crossing the distance to the shape and nudging it frantically. Piral's eyes widened as she gripped the bow tighter, her heart pounding. The bow slackened in her grip as she ran forward, her feet sliding over the broken landscape. The shape became clear, defined as she dropped to her knees beside it, training making her shoulder her bow instead of casting it aside. Her fingers fumbled at the threads cocooning the body, pushing when she realized she could not tear. She did not have to move much before the familiar ornaments of the Queue were laid bare to her eyes.
Throat burning, Piral sat back on her heels as Iheyu screeched mournfully next to her. She felt her eyes sting, threatened with tears she had held back for so long. She looked at the familiar lines of the body, of the hard won ornaments that named him first Ikran Makto, then Olo'eytkan.There was no doubt who lay before her, held in Eywa's embrace. This was why Iheyu had brought her here, why he was screeching beside her in a desperate bid to wake the dead. Piral looked up at the Ikran through tear fogged eyes. His sharp gaze was locked on his Taronyu. Piral looked helplessly down at the body in front of her, unable to remove more of the fibers that covered him. Closing her eyes tightly she reached out, her hand falling short of him and laying on the ground.
Okay so I know that ikran's bond for life with one rider but this one didn't bond, he just needed to get Piral there. Also I'm referring to Jake as Jakesully because that's how the People kept talking about him and Piral's a little bitter. A few words you might not know: