Okay so Piral's back this chapter and we begin the healing process! Don't worry we're not gonna get right to rainbows and kittens but I do want to begin a more positive part.
It was midday before Piral set foot where the people were gathered at the base of the Tree.
She ignored the looks she received as she walked through the groups going about their daily task. Baskets were starting to appear and Piral knew soon grains would be dried and collected for storage. They had been living with the bare minimum for a long time now, their stores had been completely reduced and even with their fewer numbers, too many were wounded to collect the amount that would be needed to create stores. But now it seemed like that would change. She did not know which was worse, the idea that they were accumulating stores of things that they had no place to put them or the idea that soon there would be no excuse to go out hunting and she would be stuck there. This was the Vitraya Ramunog, a place for the People to connect with Eywa. It was not their Kelutral--or any Kelutral. It was not a place to live. What would happen when the rains came? Or the wind storms? They had no protection here. The People had to know, they were going to begin to wonder when the search for a new Kelutral would begin. It would have to be soon--very soon.
"Piral, Piral!" Piral turned sharply as A'win came running up to her, "Oel ngati kameie," she greeted quickly before her tone became sharper, "where have you been?"
"Oel ngati kameie," Piral quickly replied out of respect for the fellow taronyu, "that is not important."
"Kawkrr ronsem," A'win said shaking her head, "jakesully has begun his training. We have heard no shouts but he has been with our Olo'eyktan all morning," she touched Piral's arm, her voice lowering,"the taronyu are unsettled. They do not understand why jakesully is able to see Tsu'Tey before they can."
"It is Tsu'Tey's decision when the taronyu will see him," Piral said, "and no-one else's, not even jakesully."
"Of course," A'win said, "and Ninat has not been seen last night."
"What?" Piral demanded, her senses instantly on alert, "what do you mean Ninat has not been seen since last night?"
A'win glanced on either side before she grabbed Piral's arm and pulled her away. Clearly she did not want to be overheard. Piral held her tongue and let the other Taronyu take her into the forest. She pulled her completely out of the Tree and almost halfway to the ikran's nest. Piral tensed at the feeling of her hand on her arm but did not draw back, A'win was surprisingly strong and fast. She easily pulled Piral the entire distance before she could even move away. The moment they got there A'win stepped back, her hands lowering to her sides as she turned her head around to look around once more before looking at Piral.
"The other Dream Walker, the one who studied plants, he was planning to Walk again. They asked Ninat to help," A'win bit her lip momentarily, her tail lashing back and forth as her ears twitched almost guiltily, "there is more--"
"A'win, nitam," she said sharply, "ftang. Just tell me what it is."
"Ninat went to see Tsu'tey last night," A'win said, "word has traveled between the taronyu--"
Piral felt her ears press back against her skull angrily. She did not know why Ninat had gone to see Tsu'Tey, but from her close association and barely hidden interest in the Sky People, Piral had a sinking feeling it had nothing to do with Ninat's position as one of those with a strong connection to Eywa. She had a feeling it had much more to do with Tsu'Tey's knowledge of the Sky People. Between his standing anger at the Sky People and the conflict between the taronyu, the last thing any of them needed was for Ninat to let her curiosity get the best of her, as it had done so many times in the past. From the anxiousness in A'win's eyes, the discord was worse than she thought. Piral looked down at her feet. She knew she should help with the discord but her own anger, it was so great. How was she supposed to help the other taronyu understand what she herself could not accept? A'win's eyes locked with hers, the gold searching Piral's face as if she could see the answers there.
"Ninat went there because of her connection with Eywa," Piral said, "the other taronyu should know that Ninat's connection to Eywa has her do things that the we do not always understand," A'win nodded her understanding, "have the others began to ask about where she is now?"
"Kehe, and if she returns soon, they may not. But with the Tsahik and Neytiri in training, they will look to those like Kame and Ninat for guidance."
"And they will be in good hands," Piral said. A'win nodded again, "we can do nothing until jakesully comes from the training."
"You must speak to Tsu'Tey," A'win said to her, her voice low and urgent, "even those who accept the Law and trust jakesully will not go against a direct order from Tsu'Tey or--"
"That is enough," Piral cut her off, "we must stop the divisions before they get worse. We have lost too much, we cannot loose more. Not now. Not because the Taronyu were divided."
"You do not hide your emotions that well, Piral," A'win said with a shake of her head that had her beads rattling, "we know your unhappiness, that you do not like jakesully--"
"Ftang!" Piral snapped cutting her off, "I will not be reprimanded for expressing what we all feel--not by you, A'win. Go to the others, try to keep them from arguing amongst themselves and if anyone should ask tell them Ninat is out gathering grain."
A'win looked at her but A'win was not a Tashik, she was an Taronyu. She did not command the same respect Piral was obligated to show to Neytiri and Mo'at. Anger showed in both of their expressions though A'win showed it in the tilt of her chin and the press of her ears while Piral revealed her anger in the whip of her tail and the glare in her eyes. Tempers were high for all of them but they were especially high between the Taronyu, all of whom had been taught to express their anger through violent means. Even the war they had just come through was not enough to stop instinct to fight each other. Now as the two of them blared angrily at each other, both thought of the knives that were held on stout leather belts across their chests. Both had lost their bows, the knives weren't even really theirs. Like all the Na'vi, they carried their dead with them even now.
"Very well," A'win said, tension moving from her body though her tone did not change, "but if she is not back soon people will ask questions and I will not be the one to tell them lies."
Piral said nothing as the other Taronyu turned and left. Anger pulsing through her, Piral took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Tsu'Tey's words echoed in her head. She was angry but it was no longer just at the Sky People. She was angry at the rest of the Clan. At Ninat for being so irresponsible and letting her curiosity get the better of her. At A'win and Kame and Istep who did nothing wrong. Nothing except accept the change that was happening. Piral knew the anger she felt was misplaced but it was there none the less, throbbing through her like a wound. She felt like a pot of stew over the fire, one that was not bubbling yet but that soon would be. And what then? When she did finally boil over, when the anger and the hurt got to be too much, what was she going to do? She could barely hold her tongue around the Tsahik now, what if she began to break the laws of the People? She had responsibilities, she had duties--she could not be acting as she was.
A whoop of joy jerked her out of her thoughts.
Casting her gaze skyward, Piral watched as the Taronyu and ikran spiraled seamlessly through the air. The cry was musical, echoed by the ikran and Piral knew instantly who it was. Wincing she thought of A'win and the lie she had just directed her to say. SHe could only hope the other Taronyu had not told the People what she had ordered. Quickly Piral took off for the place the Taronyu had begun to land their ikran. It was a flat strip of ground that made even the harder of landings easier, though the ikran still wished that they had trees. Keeping an ear on Ninat and Tirol's loop through the air, Piral increased her speed and arrived right before the ikran tucked her wings and dove down in a move notorious among the Taronyu. Perhaps it was because of her size or maybe it was something else but earth bound landings had never given Tirol the same kind of trouble it gave the other Ikran. Piral could only think of Tanhi's displeasure when she began to fly again.
Tirol landed easily as Ninat jumped off the ikran's back. Exhilaration showed on every facet of Ninat's face. The white shells that decorated her braids clinked together as she moved without a thought to stealth or silence--despite the fact she had been gone since the night before. She rubbed the spot between Tirol's eye and queue as her ikran settled down, clearly proud of the landing she'd executed. Piral strode forward and Tirol, sensing her anger, quickly turned and fixed Piral with her gaze. At her ikran's behavior Ninat stiffened as well, quickly turning around as Piral reached the two of them. Ninat easily disconnected herqueue from that of her ikran and turned to face the Taronyu.
"Have you lost your mind?" Piral demanded, "you have been gone since last night!"
"Others have gone out on much longer hunting trips--"
"Others do not go to the Sky People's Home," Piral hissed furiously, her ears laid flat, "and you are lucky the others have not found out. Someone saw you go in to speak to Tsu'Tey. And then you disappear for a day to visit the Sky People. This is not the work of Eywa--"
Ninat watched the naked anger on Piral's face. She knew Piral had a right to her anger, anger was more than justified now. Everything they saw was a reminder of what they no longer hand, of what had been taken from them by the Sky People. And for one like Piral who had lost so much, Ninat knew that the anger was the easiest emotion to go for. It was such for all the Taronyu. If you were hurt, you got angry and you got better. If you were sad, you got angry and you fought to destroy what made you sad. Any situation could be turned into anger. The Taronyu knew the danger of emotion, even the more useful ones like anger. Anger was what they reached for, it was how the dealt with their other emotions. And if Ninat knew anything, it was that anger she was showing was how Piral was reacting to feeling something completely different.
"Maybe it is," Ninat said finally, "just because we haven't heard of everything in the universe does not mean that Eywa is not a part of it," she gave Tirol a final pat before sending her off to the rest of the ikran, "perhaps it is Eywa's will that the Sky People are here," she fixed Piral with the most infuriating of smiles, "it is not for us to know Eywa's will, Piral."
"I do not pretend to know Eywa's will!" Piral objected loudly.
"Then why are you so angry?" Ninat asked.
"I am not angry!"
"Yes you are," Ninat said, "but your angry because of you feel something else and until you figure out what that is you are just going to stay angry and be nothing but trouble. Now I have an alphabet to go and practice because Norm says my hand writing is ill-eg-ible."
"Your what is what?" Piral asked as Ninat walked off but her friend offered no response, "Sky People," she muttered looking up at the sky.
She could not know Eywa's will, she had accepted that as all the People had. But no matter what Eywa had asked of them before, it paled in comparison to what had happened, to what she now asked of them. Had she known what fate would befall her People? What would be asked of them even after everything they had known and treasured was left to turn to dust in the ground? If Ninat was right and Eywa did have a hand in everything, even the things they could not understand or know, then did she have a hand in the Sky People coming? And if she had known, if she had understood what would happen to them, why had she not stopped them? Why had she only fought alongside them after so much had been lost? Piral had always always had faith in Eywa but now she felt that faith shake. Why would the All-mother ask of them what she had? Piral knew she could have stayed there all day thinking of the questions in her head.
Then she remembered what she had told A'win to tell the others.
"Skxawng!" Piral swore at herself.
Turning around, she hurried back towards the encampment. She had to get back there and stop A'win before she wound up telling everyone a lie. The last thing they needed was for the Taronyu to become even more suspicious of their senior members. Breaking into a run, Piral bolted back towards the camp, desperate to get back to the rest of the Omaticaya . Out of the corner of her eye she saw a flash of blue. Out of pure instinct her feet dug in and stopped her run even though the moment she did she wished that she had not.
Standing in the woods were none other than Tsu'Tey and jakesully.
Instantly Pirla's hand was on her knife, her eyes going to the weapon. It was no bow but a knife thrown properly would eliminate anyone. It would eliminate the former Dream Walker. And without jakesully, the Clan would once again follow Tsu'Tey There would be no more questioning, no more chaos, no more fear. It would be as they had planned their entire lives to be. How many hours had they trained? How many tears had they shed and how much blood had they spilt, all for a man who Eywa never intended them to follow. But if she did this, if she took away the Dream Walker then it all went to how they had planned it to be. Tsu'Tey would be Olo'eyktan for his entire life and lead the Clan to prosperity. Perhaps Neytiri would even take up the mantle of Tsahik, or perhaps her grief would be too great and she too would fade. But the Clan would be with their leader, their rightful leader and even as Piral knew her action would mean her death, would that really be such a bad thing if it meant the Clan could live on? Live as they had always been meant to live?
And then, hand on her knife, Piral looked at the two of them.
The light was even less forgiving to Tsu'Tey now that it was not dappled with shadows. His frame was not lean with muscle but almost downright thin with his lack of movement. The bandages that wound around his frame looked as though they had been changed, but Piral knew it was not by her own hand. His own injuries and emaciation was highlighted by the presence of the man next to him. Jakesully looked as most of the Taronyu did, his body all lean muscle and decorated with the ornaments of his rank in the clan. But there was something, something that Piral could not place. It did not have to do with his fingers or toes or any of the things that marked him different from them. This was something else. Something that meant that even if he was surrounded by the other Taronyu, eyes would go to him, ears would be turned towards his words, even the other Clans would listen, perhaps they would even follow his words.
Piral stared at them and felt as though she was seeing not one time but two. She felt as if she was seeing the path they had thought they would walk and the path they now found they must. Past and future, united in the present as they only could be. All the anger, all the hatred--all that she felt, it was there still but what she saw in front of her, for the first time, was not a reminder of all that had been lost but, perhaps for the first time since the destruction of the Hometree, she saw a glimpse of what had been gained. It was not much, not enough to make up for all that had been lost. It was as if they had traded their Kelutrel for the smallest and youngest of utrals. But it was from an ultral that a Kelutrel came into being. Even now as she watched Tsu'Tey speak and jakesully listen, she saw the passing of knowledge from one to the other. There was no struggle, Tsu'Tey did not look at him with betrayal and jakesully did not look like a petulant child, at least not as much as she was used to seeing him look.
Piral's hand fell silently from her knife to come and rest at her side.
She felt floored by what she saw. It was so simple to look at, something that should not have effected her and yet she found herself floored by such a simple sight. It was like the first time she had ridden on Tanhi. It was not a rush, not the pure adrenaline she had been expecting with her heart beating out of her chest and her eyes stinging with sweat. No what she felt was lucidity and peace, as if everything that she had been unable to see was suddenly laid bare to her eyes. All the anger, all the hatred, all the mourning and sadness--all the things that clouded her eyes were gone. She was above them, like she was flying even though her feet were on the ground. For the first time since the conflict had begun Piral felt as though she was not seeing a glaring reminder of the past and what had been lost but of good things that they should remember. Things that would lead them to the future.
She did not know how long she must have stood there staring but eventually Tsu'Tey's eyes went to her. Piral quickly tore her gaze away, feeling her cheeks burn with the embarrassment of being caught staring so openly at the two of them. Running away wasn't an option, not for her and not after all the rumors that were bound to spring up. Instead she moved quickly forward until she stood right in front of them.
"Oel ngati kameie, Piral," Tsu'Tey greeted, his voice holding a note of wariness in it Wariness on how she would treat jakesully no doubt.
"Oel ngati kameie, Olo'Eyktan," Piral replied, lowering her head in greeting. She turned towards jakesully, "Oel ngati kameie, Toruk Makto."
The surprise on both of their faces in response to her greeting of jakesully was both shameful and exhilarating. Fighting the smile that tugged on her lips she turned towards Tsu'Tey.
"The Taronyu are asking when they may see you. Word that you spoke to Ninat last night has traveled quickly and the others now ask why they cannot lay eyes on you as well," she held his gaze with her own, "when should I tell them they may see you?"
"Txon," Tsu'Tey said, "I will speak to them tonight."
"Very well," Piral said, "I will tell them. Eywa ngahu, Olo'Eyktan," she bid him farewell before turning to jakesully, "Eywa ngahu, Toruk Makto," she finished, turning around to leave.
"Eywa ngahu,"jakesully said quickly, before she could get out of earshot, "Taronyu."
Piral acknowledged his farewell before hurrying off towards the camp.
Tonight promised to be very interesting.
Next time the chapter's going to be almost completely from Tsu'Tey's point of view.
Please PLEASE review! The jump in faves and alerts is making me happy but your feedback would make me even happier.