Disclaimer: Don't own, never will, sadly.
Authors note: Finally the long awaited chapter 11! It's a really long chapter, over 8000 words =) So I hope it was worth the wait.
The laziness of this chapter was a minor writer's block and a period of four days of sickness (bad cold), which I still am struggling with. So some minor parts of this have been written in feverish deliriousness, so forgive me for any sentences that is weird and misspelled words. I have had my spelling checked by two different programs, but since they are made by humans, there might be some missed things.
Enough of my chatter and enjoy the chapter.
Ps. Give me many reviews *grins* I deserve it for giving you a chapter this long :P ds.
Chapter 11 – Resting, Trials & Prelude to Iknimaya.
As soon as Jake had dumped her at Hells Gate, a small horde of doctors and scientist wanted to get her inside of the medical facility, back to the room she had first woken up in.
They, three of them, not including Max, followed her, writing down notes as they observed her while walking, discussing everything they thought important.
She put up with it, but now she realized how the Na'vi must feel when the scientists came to poke and prod them. The final straw came when she was inside the sterile room, when one of the males grabbed hold of her tail, wanting to get a better look. Whipping around, Sarah grabbed the, in her viewpoint, little man and lifted him up above the floor.
"Don't ever pull my tail." She hissed, baring her fangs and making the man shake his head hurriedly while she set him down slowly on the floor again.
Max stood in the link room, looking down through the reinforced observation window, he grinned and shook his head at Sarah's reaction.
'Take it easy Sarah. He's not gonna dissect you or anything.' His amusement was heard through the com system and Sarah turned around to glare at the scientist.
'He better not. And no touching more than necessary, only those scans you needed, then you'll let my body rest without interference.' She retorted, glaring at the small doctors with a 'touch me and you're dead'-look. They wisely backed off, letting the tall Avatar driver sit down on the bed and arrange her tail comfortably, not wanting it to get squished between her and the bed.
Before she lay down, she pulled off her leather pouch from her hip and gave it to one of the doctors.
"Take this with you to the link room, don't open it. It's just a few trinkets, but I want them with me while I 'rest'. Okay?"
The man nodded and walked through a smaller door, leading to the link room, waiting for the transfer to be broken.
Sarah sighed and lay down on the bed, closing her eyes and felt the familiar pull. And in a second, she was in the grey dream box, feeling weaker than she had ever done before. Reality hit her, and she knew that she would really need this rest, Max would probably insist on more rest than a measly week. But she had to go through with the final step and make everyone proud.
Pushing up the lid, she groaned when she got out, finding her slippers she used when she was indoors and shuffled in them. They were the standard issued slippers that the RDA had provided, they were an ugly grey color with yellow stripes, but they were rather comfy.
"What's in the pouch?" Max asked as he came up to her link, looking her over and seeing the fatigue in her eyes.
"A fixer-upper, something for me to do while I'm here, so I won't go nuts." She picked the pouch up, opening it and saw that everything was still there. "Call it 'therapy' if you'd like."
Max shook his head at her implication that she was a patient that needed therapy to get back to health. A part of it was true, but her injuries to the Avatar body had come at a good time, forcing her to rest and exercise her human body.
"No therapy today though. I want you to eat, shower and get an IV inserted before you go to bed and you will sleep until noon at least." He said with a no nonsense tone in his voice.
"Fine." She grumbled and felt like she was eight and being put to bed by the babysitter way too early, according to her.
The days went on rather quickly after her disconnection with her avatar body. The second day she had actually tried to get back in the link, only to find that her key-card didn't admit her entrance into the link room. Asking Max, he confessed to having suspended her access to the link, since he figured she would try to get back in. She wasn't the first reluctantly disconnected driver he had dealt with. She let it be then and went for the second best, being outside with the other drivers and the few Na'vi that lived with them.
She had been with a Na'vi woman, Tse'nire, for the most time. The female knew how to braid things, mostly hair, but Sarah had pulled out the scorched necklace she had found and asked the braider to show her how to repair the necklace and make into more of an arm bracelet than a necklace. Thinking that kind of jewelry would suit the fierce warrior more than a necklace. He wouldn't have room for one anyway, as he had his big beadwork neckpiece on most of the time.
First she practiced with regular beads, so she would get the technique of braiding the beads into the pattern she wanted. When she got the hang of it, she took a picture of the scorched necklace, before she cut away the old leather, so she would know how the pieces would sit. She then made sure all the holes in the small beads, for a Na'vi, were clean and then she made sure the beads were clean, washing them and drying them individually, caring for them one at a time.
She then slowly began to braid the beads and the new leather and twine together, making a bracelet take shape. When she was done, it was a bit crooked, said Tse'nire, but she did braids and jewelry with perfection, as she had many years of practice, but for a beginner, it was really great work.
Her days were also filled with sessions in the workout room, where she tried to get more muscles on her and she ate protein drinks and food, so she would get some more fat for her body to burn off when she was in active. After four days, she looked much healthier than she had done, her skin glowed again, no black circles around her eyes and she felt less fatigued.
On the afternoon of the fourth day, she was allowed back into her avatar body. She had argued that she needed to see if the wounds were healed and if they were, she needed to exercise her muscles, so she would be able to survive out in the jungle.
Getting back to her blue body, she felt like she was home again, like the human body she had come from wasn't really her. Not her true self, not anymore.
Removing the bandages, one of the nurses cleaned up the shoulder and saw that new skin had formed and though the area was a bit tender, it was healed. Following an exercise routine the nurse showed her, Sarah felt her muscles slowly ease up and her arm felt better after a while. She took a walk outside around the compound, with Gina, telling her about the whole palulukan incident and other things she wanted to know about the life in and around Hometree. She also was talked into re-braiding her braids, as her hair had grown quite a bit since the last time Tse'nire had made them the first time. Sarah had let another female braid her hair about two months ago, but apparently with everything that had happened since had made her braids loosen up and it didn't look too good, at least Tse'nire thought so. So now she sported freshly braided hair. All of her hair was done into long braids, reaching down over her shoulders, slightly longer than Neytiri's, and Tse'nire had respectfully asked if she also would be allowed to braid the hair covering Sarah's queue, which she had been allowed to do.
After the long braiding session, almost eight hours, it lasted to late night. But Tse'nire didn't mind as they talked the whole time about everything and nothing. She also made Sarah promise to return when she had gotten her ikran, so she would see the new hunter on her mount.
Then finally, the fifth day arrived. Sarah made sure to bathe her Avatar, clean her Na'vi clothes, eat well and exercise her arm. She wanted to be ready when Tsu'tey came to get her.
Around noon, she was sitting under one of the few big trees with Gina, lounging about with her, when a loud shriek rang above them in the sky. Looking up, they saw an ikran getting closer, closing in fast and shifting into a landing stance, before he began to flap his wings hard and land on the big lawn.
Tsu'tey swung off Ralu with ease, his back all better now, though his skin was still tender and he had promised Mo'at to be careful and not do anything rash yet. He scanned the area, a bit annoyed when he didn't see the female at once, waiting for him.
Then, a movement from the shadows of a big tree, two females moved with grace out in the sun, one dressed in human clothes and the other dressed in garments of a Na'vi. At first, he didn't recognize the Na'vi female; she was rather attractive at this distance. Then he did a double take, seeing that it was her, the female. She had obviously benefitted from this respite, looking rested and alert, just as a hunter should be.
He saw her hug the other female goodbye and then she began to approach him. Taking in her appearance, he couldn't help but notice the actual grace she had in every step she took, how her hips moved in a rather enticing way. When she got closer, he also saw her hair was different, less disheveled than it had been five days ago. Someone must have re-braided it for her, he determined.
The white beads in her hair had also been moved around, alternating between sitting in groups and being one by one.
"Kaltxì, Tsu'tey. Had a good flight?" She greeted as she came closer, stopping a few meters away from him and Ralu, wary of the ikran's mood.
"It was uneventful. Has your tawtute body stopped rotting?" He asked politely, but he really wanted to know if she would stay dreaming.
She smiled at him, happy that he cared for her wellbeing.
"For now, I might have to go back after Iknimaya though, but then I will have my own mount to take me here."
"Good." He nodded and was about to say something more, when Max came running over the grass, making Ralu hiss at the fast approaching human.
"Skxawng! Do not approach ikran like that!" Tsu'tey yelled at Max, who stopped behind Sarah.
She turned her back to Tsu'tey and Ralu, looking annoyingly at Max.
"Did I forget something?"
"Well, eh… could you bring this to Norm? He needs to read this. It's what we have figured out so far." He held out a small, in her eyes, data pad, with buttons to scroll up and down, made to work for a Na'vi.
"Fine. If Jake asks, I'll tell him you smuggled it into my bag." She pulled off the leather pouch she had tied over her shoulder and back, opened it and let Max put the pad inside.
"I'll see you later, Sarah." He smiled and returned towards the compound.
Tsu'tey saw the smile the little human male gave her; he liked the female. That made Tsu'tey angry, wanting to hurt the little male for even looking at the female. One thing that stopped him was the annoyance she radiated when she spoke with him and her tail showed that she really was upset with the little male, meaning that she wouldn't consider being more than a friend to the small human male.
Bonding with Ralu, Tsu'tey felt irritation coming from the ikran; he also didn't like the human male.
'Child male leave friends mate be.' He hissed, tensing his muscles as to pounce on the retreating male.
"Mawey Ralu." Tsu'tey said, patting his neck soothingly.
"I guess he wants to leave?" Sarah had turned and interpreted the hiss and the movements of Ralu to be antsy and wishing to fly away from the open area.
"We both do." He jumped up, urging Ralu closer to her and reached down one hand to help her up.
"Thank you." She grabbed his hand and let him swing her up behind him. Holding on to his torso, they flew away from Hells Gate, returning to Hometree.
While they were flying, Sarah saw his newly healed wounds up close and felt really grateful for him trying to save her that day. Letting go of his torso with one hand, she softly traced the scars over his back.
Tsu'tey felt her soft touch, decided that he didn't mind that much and turned his eyes forward.
After a while she stopped, returned her hand back around his torso, making him want more of her soft touches.
Neither said anything for the rest of the flight.
Two days after Sarah had returned to Hometree with Tsu'tey, it was time for another experience for the males and females that were to be hunters. They were to experience a group hunt, led by Olo'eyktan and Tsu'tey.
The prey they were after was, at least one of them, the big Talioang, or sturmbeest. To take down one of these, they needed to be great in number, as the big animal was a force to be reckoned with.
It took more than half a day to locate a rather big heard, their number was about sixty, and they decided to stay the night, climbing into trees and settling down for the night.
During the night, it was two of the party that held guard for about one hour. Sarah sat with Rai'nek during her hour in the middle of the night and when they would change, he gave her the task to wake Tsu'tey. He grinned as she trudged towards the tree the warrior slept in. Giving her a fair warning first, that Tsu'tey could be a real grouch when woken in the night.
Silently she climbed up and sat on a slimmer branch next to the spacious one he rested on. Reaching out her hand to touch his shoulder, she paused and observed him for a moment. In his sleep, Tsu'tey was more relaxed than she had ever seen him before. He even almost smiled, but that might be her imagination playing in a bit. He slept on his back, signifying that he was confident in himself and not fearing the animals that might come in the night to attack him.
When he suddenly shifted a bit, she held her breath, but when he didn't wake up, she continued to look at him, seeing his bioluminescent spots shine in the darkness, making her fingers itch to touch them, drawing patterns between them. She was most fascinated by the dotted lines that were on his abs and stomach, leading down over this torso to his hips; they were forming a diamond shape, the tip starting just over his navel and the lines disappeared under his loincloth. She was very curious to see the whole pattern.
Reaching out her hand once more, she touched his shoulder gently and nudged him softly.
Faster than she could see and react, his hand shot out and took a hold of her hand that had touched him, holding it very hard, until he saw who it was, then he let her go.
Her wrist throbbed and she pulled it close to her body, looking at him with both a bit of fear and respect of his strength.
"It's your turn to guard." She said softly, rubbing her wrist with her other hand.
Tsu'tey knew he was a real grouch when woken up like this in the middle of the night, even if he knew that he would be woken like this. Seeing her hold her wrist, he got up, crouched on his wider branch and reached out for her. He got hold of her elbow and pulled her down to where he sat and without a word, he took the wrist he had grabbed and looked it over, smoothing his thumbs over the soft skin.
She didn't really know what to think of his tender behavior, it was very similar to that time when the other clan had come for a visit and she had almost gotten her queue ripped off. But his behavior was not undesirable, quite the opposite in fact. He really could take care of her, if he wanted to. His soft movements made her sigh softly, the pain ebbing away and she felt much better.
"Thank you, Tsu'tey…" She said, giving him a soft smile and her eyes showed him gratitude.
"Sleep." Was his reply, indicating that she could take the branch he had been sleeping on, as he let go of her and jumped with ease to the branch she had been on.
He disappeared in the night, leaving her wondering if these things meant something from the view of an unmated female. She still thought like a human, not knowing everything about how an unmated female should act; only if she still were human, she would have probably considered this male as a mate. Maybe she should?
Adrenaline flowed through her veins; her slight fear and respect for the big animal made her focus more than she had ever done before. She was sitting in a tree, seeing how three big talioang males ran around, trying to catch the four Na'vi hunters who ran in front of them, luring them closer to the trap they had set up.
Keeping her bow tight, an arrow already notched, she waited with the others to get a good aim on the beast, Jake and Tsu'tey had already explained which areas to shoot on. She would try to get a bull's eye on the eyes of the animals, hoping to repeat her luck she had had before.
Tsu'tey sat in a tree above her, placed so he could see both her and the animals coming closer. He saw her close her eyes for a short moment, then she opened them, exhaled and let her arrow fly. It hit the slowest of the three animals, just above its eyes, in the soft skin there. It roared in pain, picking up speed and ramming the tree in front of it, fortunately there wasn't anyone sitting in it, or else they would have fallen down.
More arrows flew through the air, blinding the three animals, but it didn't make them stop rushing about, trying to find someone to kill. One of the bigger ones knocked over a tree, which regrettably Norm was perching in. He fell down with a terrified scream, landing roughly on his ass, but he was not injured and could get up, diving for cover in some bushes when a talioang came rushing by. Sarah shifted in her place, wanting to get down there and help her brother. She was about to put her bow over her back, beginning to climb down, but then she heard a raged cry echo over her, and she saw Tsu'tey jump down, his face twisted in focused rage. He had his spear pointed downwards in attack, and he flew through the air, landing on the back of the biggest animal, and drove the spear through its neck, twisting it hard and made the beast fall down dead.
The whole thing was over in less than a minute, but in Sarah's mind, everything was repeated in slow-motion. His muscles had been tensed, showing off his strong and lean body. His strong arms that had gripped the spear, the strength needed when he had driven it through the thick neck of the animal, his determination when he had twisted the spear around, efficiently ending the animal's life. His tail swished wildly, showing his excitement of the hunt and the kill he had made.
When she looked at him, she felt flushed, a warmth flowing all over her body. If she had been in her human body, she would most defiantly be very horny and wanting to go somewhere private and take care of business, so to speak. Licking her lips, she felt parched and uncomfortable, rising to stand up, she then felt strange down there, feeling like she would have done in her human body; moist and unfulfilled.
Biting back a frustrated groan, she jumped down a few branches, hoping no one would notice.
But two people had noticed. The first was Norm, he had seen his sister's eyes glaze over, while she was looking at Tsu'tey and how he made the big kill of the day. Seeing her lick her lips while she looked at the warrior made him get queasy and lightly angry, not knowing what she saw in the rude male. She was too good for him, if she even considered to mate him, or he her.
The second one who noticed her dreamy eyed look, was the object of her admiration, Tsu'tey. He grinned appreciatively when he realized she admired his strength and capability to take down an animal with greater size than himself. Making sure she really watched, he pulled out his spear from the thick neck, blood oozing down over the animal's skin, covering the ground in its red color, he held the spear high and cried out in victory. He thought he saw her shudder with ill concealed excitement when she leaned to the trunk of the tree she was standing in, holding herself up.
Jakesully then called all the hunters down, when the last animal had been taken care of. Now began the tedious task of cutting the meat in pieces quickly, before any scavengers came to try and claim some of the meat.
Sarah took a deep breath, hoping no one would notice her 'condition', before she got down on the ground and looked around to find her arrows she had released. It was good she had marked them with her own signature colors – white and blue stripes, made of string she had taken from Hells Gate, around the upper end of the arrow, with dark yellow feathers. Almost the color of Tsu'tey's eyes…
She found three of the five she had released, thinking that the other two must have been crushed under some of the animals. She then walked to the big beast Tsu'tey had put down, and brandished her knife and began to help out with cutting the meat into pieces, carrying them to the skin of the animal they had cut off, using it for a big sack, which the ikran would carry later, when Jake and some of the other hunters would call for their rides.
Getting her hands, arms and chest covered in fresh warm blood, Sarah took many carrying trips to the skin, deposing the meat in a pile. It was hard work, but when they were done, it would feed the clan for many moons.
After about two hours of cutting the meat, they were almost done, when Sarah took one of her last carrying trips, she saw several dark shadows move about in the bushes, and it was still early afternoon, so that would mean…
"Nantang!" She hissed loudly and turned to her fellow hunters, Jake and Tsu'tey was by her side in an instant, looking to where she pointed. They both nodded, seeing the small beasts lurking around, waiting for a chance to get to the meat. Jake called out for everyone to hurry and then he and Rai'nek cried out, up in the sky. After a few minutes, their two ikran came crashing down through the trees, landing in the center of the area, both getting fresh meat for waiting around and for the task they would now do.
It would be heavy, but the two ikran would make it back with this meat, they had before. While Jake and Rai'nek strapped on a specially made harness on their friends, Tsu'tey ordered the others to be on their guard, especially with this much blood around and on them.
Hurrying her steps, she carried more meat to the skin, constantly watching the undergrowth and the shadows that moved there, with their gleaming eyes watching them. When they figure out that the Na'vi won't attack them just yet, a few steps out in the sun, sitting down and watching them in the open, growling and hissing, trying to get the blue people to go away from the fresh meat.
In her hurry to the skin, she stumbled and landed with a thud on the ground, the smaller pieces of meat was thrown out of her hands, making the nantang growl excitedly and a few younger, more reckless ones, saw their chance and made a dash for the scattered meat, snapping their jaws at the blue female, the female covered in fresh blood.
"Don't move." Tsu'tey hissed, seeing how a large nantang slowly got closer to the clumsy female. The beast sniffed, determining if the big blood covered thing was edible or not. Slowly a long tongue reached out and licked her outstretched arm, tasting the blood.
Sarah just stared at the black dog licking her arm, considering if she was the next meal on his menu. Really hoping she wouldn't be bitten to death by this one and his friends, she was rather surprised to see him cough and then make a retching sound, before backing away and rejoining his pack. Slowly she got up on all four and backed closer to her friends, keeping a close eye on the bushes, so she wouldn't be jumped at when her back was turned.
Tsu'tey shook his head, not knowing what to think about this. He was glad she had not been attacked, but he was also puzzled to as why the nantang had not wanted to eat her, when she was dipped in fresh blood and smelling like the meat they took from her as she fell.
She passed him and gave him a puzzled look.
"I must taste badly." She said with a smile and a shrug. She then lifted her arm and sniffed on the blood that covered her. "I reek." She hissed and turned her face away, shuddering at her obvious foul smell.
"Lucky for you then." He said coldly and went back to guard the meat.
She huffed and began to help out tying the meat sack together, so Jake and Rai'nek would be able to fly back Home.
After an hour of gathering the last items they wanted from the three carcasses, the hunting party left the clearing, leaving the remaining flesh for the scavengers. They would return in a few days, to get the bones they wanted for weapons making and other things they used them for at Hometree.
When riding back, Tsu'tey led them to a lake with a big waterfall, telling them all to get in and wash off the blood and grime, so they would look somewhat decent when they returned later that night. And so they would not permeate his nose with their foul stench.
The three females, including Sarah, that were about to become hunters of the clan, smiled at the prospect of getting clean and when they saw the lake glitter in the sunlight, they urged on their pa'li and rushed past the others and Tsu'tey that rode in the front, making him yell at them for not doing as they were told.
The other males just chuckled and enjoyed the view of the three females riding into the lake, water splashing around them as they rode in. They then got up on the backs of their pa'li, disconnected and dove in, swimming under the water. Then they resurfaced, big grins was plastered on all three's faces as they swam back to their waiting pa'li, heaving themselves up and they were almost clean, a few stains were left, but nothing a little syulang'yur could fix.
After the bath and a rest for totally an hour, they began their journey back to Hometree.
One early morning, a few days after they returned from the hunt, Sarah was poked at by the blunt end of a spear and as she rubbed her eyes from sleep, she saw Tsu'tey stand on the branch over her, motioning for her to come with him. He disappeared then, and she assumed he was waiting for her on the ground.
When she got up, she felt how moist the branch were under her feet, it must have rained during the night, as fog was covering her normal view through the branches, covering everything green she normally saw each morning when she got up.
It was a gloomy morning to wake up to; it reminded her of looking out through her window back on Earth every morning of her life there. Stretching her body, she picked up her bow she had hanging on a smaller branch next to her hammock, as she hadn't got her own P'ah s'ivil chey, or chey to hang her belongings on. Norm hadn't started on one as she knew of, he was as busy with his training as she was and she hadn't begun to work on one for him. Only family or loved ones were allowed to make one for her as it was said to strengthen the bond between family and clan.
Hurrying down to the ground, she saw Tsu'tey stand and wait for her, his posture strict and serious and then she knew. She was going to make her hexapede kill today. If she succeeded and Tsu'tey saw her ready, they would soon leave for the Iknimaya.
"I am ready, karyu." She greeted him with a bow.
"We shall see."
He then turned and ran ahead, not looking back to see if she followed him.
He had taken her to a waterfall where the hexapede used to drink. From there, she was on her own, he would only observe her.
Finding a fresh trail in the mud, she began her trek down streams, remembering that tall grass grew there, a place favored by the animal, excellent for hiding in. Following the stream; she soon led them to the tall grass, where the trails entered. Now came the difficult part, to find the animal without getting noticed and making it run away.
Glancing around, she saw a tall tree grow a bit from where she stood, grabbing hold of one vine, she climbed up quickly and as silently as she could, getting a bird's view of the area with tall grass.
Looking out over the landscape, she suddenly saw movement in the far off part, and saw that the hexapede, a young male, was on its way through the tall grass, making its way out of the area. Seeing that the trees grew in a circle around the area, Sarah began to swing, jump and climb through them, so she would get to the other side in time, before the hexapede ran away.
Tsu'tey was on her tail the whole time, seeing that she used all the things he had taught her. He was pleased with her; she would be a fine huntress when she made it through Iknimaya.
Arriving to the tree she had deemed her 'final stop', she silently climbed down and hid in the bushes below. Then she saw it, the hexapede came strolling out through the tall grass, not a care in the world, though he had his attention on the surroundings, watching his steps carefully before he dared to leave the tall grass.
He walked softly over the moss, passing by Sarah's hiding place and continued down a softly trampled path. When he had walked about twenty meters, he stopped and looked around, before he began to eat from a bush with berries, relaxing a bit as he didn't feel threatened.
Slowly crawling out from the bush, she came up in a crouch and slowly raised her bow and notched an arrow.
The young hexapede never saw the arrow as it sunk into its side, hitting its heart.
Sarah ran up to the shuddering animal and brandished her knife quickly, laying her hand on the side and began the prayer.
"I See You, brother, and thank you. Your spirit goes to Eywa and your body stays behind to become one of the People." She said hurriedly and let the knife sink into the side, next to the arrow. A soft sigh was heard and the hexapede stilled forever more.
Tsu'tey saw that she was ready, ready to face a possible death.
He walked up to her as she pulled out her knife, tenderly stroking the soft skin of the animal's neck, knowing he would feed the people and his spirit would go to Eywa and never lack anything.
Crouching down next to her, he saw the female she had become, and the female she would be, once she had her ikran.
"You are ready." He said softly, making her turn towards him.
Their eyes met, he saw the respect she held for him there and also something more. Her pupils dilated, letting him know of her excitement. Glancing down, he saw her pink tongue dart out, wetting her lips, drawing him closer. Placing one hand on her shoulder, he felt her skin burn.
Sarah saw into his eyes, seeing the pride he felt for her, for making her kill. He also held a certain degree of admiration in them, and then her eyes were drawn to his lips, from which his tongue came out and moistened them. His hand burned on her shoulder and she felt him pull her closer to his frame, almost letting their lips touch, but not yet, she only felt his breath on her lips.
He felt her breath on his lips; she was just a short distance away from him. His mind battled in which decision to make. To kiss a dream-walker, or to kiss the female in front of him, which was the right decision?
Neither could take the final step, so the decision was made for them, by Norm.
When he came rushing through the jungle, shouting at his sister that he had made his kill and he would soon go through with his Iknimaya, he didn't absorb the scene in front of him completely, as the two, almost kissing, moved apart as quick as they could.
Tsu'tey stood up and turned away from her, turning to look at her brother with a murderous glare and then he sees his Olo'eyktan come behind Normspellman, smiling at his friends antiques. When Jake sees the glare Tsu'tey gives Norm, he looks at Sarah, who is still crouching by her kill, but her bioluminescent spots are shining as bright they does in the night.
Looking back to Tsu'tey, he suddenly made the connection and a big goofy grin was plastered on his face. Wait until Neytiri heard of this. He then wiggles his eyebrows to the warrior, and then winks.
Tsu'tey has been taught by Jake what those things mean and growls at the childishness the Olo'eyktan shows. If only he could strangle them both.
Behind him, Sarah was pulled up from the ground, being congratulated by Norm and still she blushed, thinking of what may have happened unless they had been interrupted.
Norm was so happy that they both could go through the Iknimaya that he didn't notice the mortified condition his sister was in. He was overjoyed and the whole way back to Hometree, he explained how he killed his hexapede.
They followed Tsu'tey and Jake back to Hometree and all Sarah could think of was what would have been.
The day for going through the final step was here.
The one event that would precede the second birth or lead the way to Eywa.
She was scared.
But she would go through it.
One week before the climb up to the ikran nest, they all had practiced with the Meresh'ti cau'pla, the banshee catcher. And they had also wrestled with each other, one playing the ikran and attacking, the other one trying to catch and subdue.
On the morning of the climb, Sarah told Max to not disconnect her no matter what happened. If she died, then it was meant to happen. She made him promise, though the scientist did so reluctantly. He knew that she may not return at all, or the avatar body would be killed and she would live in her human body for the rest of her life.
That might kill her, not being able to return into the jungle.
When they left Hometree, the rest of the clan both wished them luck and bid them farewell, if they wouldn't see them alive again. It was sad to think of that, but that was the truth. All eight that were hoping for bonding with their ikran might not return to Hometree alive.
The night before, Neytiri and Sarah's other friends had made sure her hair was secure, so that it might not hinder her when wrestling with the ikran that choose her. Sarah told them that if she would not return, the white pearls belonged to them, signifying their friendship.
As sad as it was, they promised to honor her wish.
When riding up to the pathway that led to the nest. Sarah could just feel excitement and fear in her blood. She did not know how this day would end. In tears or in laughter?
Looking up ahead, she could see the large floating mountains, tied to the ground with large vines, as big as tree trunks. Her pa'li felt her fear and neighed, telling the rider to decide to go or stop.
"Mawey… Ko…" She urged and calmed down enough to keep going.
Tsu'tey rode in the front with Jakesully, and he heard one pa'li neigh in mild distress and he glanced over his shoulder to see and saw the pa'li the female rode on was torn between decisions, probably caused by her fears and excitement to go through this final step.
Her eyes showed her thoughts, pending between fear and anticipation, just as he had done many years ago.
Finally arriving to the starting point, Jake ordered the younglings to dismount and gather by the largest vine and to look up to their goal.
"Come with me!" Jake commanded and began to climb up on the path to Heaven.
Falling in line, Sarah ended up behind one that Jake had trained and behind her came Norm. And though he was her brother, she was glad she had her Na'vi made underwear on, it would not be a good climb to know someone could look up on her ass.
The one in front of her was different, one quick glance made her focus on the climbing, and where she grabbed on to. She didn't want to look up on another male's ass. Or any other bits.
Whilst climbing, she sometimes felt like she was climbing a completely vertical wall, and she really was. To lose her grip would be devastating.
When coming to the highest point of the first floating pathway, the climb had taken roughly a half-an-hour to complete and Sarah felt really winded and hoped they would have a chance to rest some before they tried to catch their ikran.
Seeing Jake jump off the cliff he was standing on above her, her breath hitched in fear, but then she saw him cling to a vine and the others after him followed quickly. When she got up, the male before her grabbed the last vine and they had to wait for a few minutes before the next set came in range for them to jump to. The rock they stood on tilted forward as the others came up behind her, shifting the weight.
While waiting, she dared a glance down and saw a few ikran fly beneath them and it looked beautiful.
"Kivä ko!" An annoyed voice told her, Tsu'tey, and she looked up to see that the closest vine almost was in her reach.
Focusing on that vine, she waited until it was almost right in front of her, then she jumped and got a hold of it, but she slid down a meter, before she remembered to use her feet.
Tsu'tey held his breath when he saw her slide down the vine before she began to climb upwards, using her strong legs. She climbed with long, confident movements and didn't look down once.
Soon they all reached the long bridge, which was the final obstacle to pass before they reached the rock that held the nest of the ikran.
Sarah couldn't help but to stop for a moment, to take in the beauty of it all. On the other side of the long vine-bridge, she could see another big piece of the mountain float, gently pulling in the bridge they were about to walk over. It was frightening to know that if she made one faulty step, she would plummet to her death; no one would be able to save her.
"Go faster." Tsu'tey urged as he passed her with the others he had trained with her.
"Just admiring the view." She mumbled and jumped down and ran after him.
When she looked out to her right, she could see the gas giant – Polyphemus, looking like perfect circular cloud in the sky. It was one thing to see on a picture, but here, it was something magnificent. Next to the giant orb, another smaller orb was visible, one of the other thirteen moons that was visible to Pandora.
She also saw the other floating mountains, many without any kind of connection to the ground; therefore only ikran riders could reach them and explore them.
Where the bridge ended, it connected with the mountain that held the nest and they had to climb again. Like ants they scurried up along the vegetation, finding nooks and crannies to place their hands and feet.
After that climb, they found the entrance to a cave, which were enlightened with natural occurring holes from the roof, letting the sun shine through. The rocky path was hard on her feet and she wanted to find some soft moss to walk on, but found none. The echo of their feet was heard in the cave, and finally they saw the end of it, the sun shining through a larger opening.
There was a small waterfall inside the cave, the water coming from the roof and it had formed a small natural pool in there. To their left a bigger waterfall was seen.
Suddenly, they could hear the cries of the ikran and they all hurried to the edge and saw hundreds of ikran fly about, old and younger. It was a most magnificent sight.
"Take off anything that will get in your way." Jake said, pointing to a wall, which had a natural made shelf that would fit their weapons. "When you have caught your ikran you return here and get your things."
Sarah lifted her bow off her back and felt if she would remove her knife too, but Tsu'tey passed her and shook his head.
"You might need it." He said and walked up to Jake, discussing which of their groups that would go first.
After a moment they both nodded and Jake looked on them.
"You four trained by me, will go first. You other will wait here or watch." He pointed at the bigger waterfall and made his group follow him.
Everybody followed Jake through, except Sarah, who stood looking out on the flying ikran. And Tsu'tey, who looked at the female, seeing her shiver slightly. He turned to go through the waterfall, but was stopped.
"Tsu'tey… may I speak with you?" Sarah said softly and looked at the warrior. She held her hand on her leather pouch on her hip and fiddled with the string to it.
He nodded and walked closer, but she looked to the waterfall and he understood she wanted a bit more privacy, if someone came back. He pointed to where they had come from and they walked to stand in the opening, before it began to descend.
"You know that I might not make it through this, but I want to, I need to feel everything you feel when you fly with your life-friend." She started and pulled loose the string holding her pouch to her hip and opened it.
Tsu'tey knew very well that she might not make it, but he did not wish it, no, he wanted her to make it, to make him proud to have been her teacher and friend.
"I want to give you this before I go out there." She nodded to the waterfall behind her and then pulled out an arm bracelet with white and green stones.
He found it pretty and he saw that it was made by a beginner, rather than one who had made many bracelets before. It was a bit uneven and the beads did not sit perfectly aligned, but it had its charm.
"It is rightfully yours, Tsu'tey." She stepped closer to him and raised her hands slightly, indicating she wanted to put it on him. He turned his right side to her, giving her permission to put it on his right arm, where it would fit above his other arm bracelet, made of simple brown leather.
Moving as close as she needed, she lifted the bracelet up and placed it on his arm, gently tying the strings together with a knot she had been shown, which would not irritate and would let the bracelet stay on until the wearer decided to take it off.
He felt her soft fingers touch him and glanced down. Then he saw the beads and the formation they sat in, making him recognize it.
"Female, where did you get this?" He asked seriously, as he had thought it was lost in the flames.
"I found it, on the day the ele'wll stung me. We passed by the old Hometree before that and a few atokirina showed me to it." She looked up at him, making him see that she spoke the truth. "I took it, cleaned it and made this for you. I think your father and mother would have wanted that." She smiled softly at him and finished the knot.
He looked at her, surprised that she knew it had belonged to his mother, then his father, as she had given the original necklace to his father as a gift when she accepted him as her mate. If the female in front of him knew that, then maybe…?
"How did you know it belonged to my father?" He wanted to know, why would she know this?
"I dreamt, on the day after you yelled at me." She said, thinking back on his harsh words, which she had forgiven him for, but not quite forgotten.
He remembered he had been angry, angry that she might leave them, when she had barely begun her journey with them and him.
"They, your mother and father, visited me in a dream. And there I saw the necklace around his neck. They were happy, Tsu'tey." She smiled and saw that the warrior's eyes got blank; showing her that he still missed them, like she missed her parents.
"What did they tell you?" He wanted to know more, they had not visited him since they died and he wanted to see them again.
"To stay with the Omaticaya. Though your mother suggested that I should take another teacher, since you behaved like you did. But I understood that you only looked out for me, as a student and as a sister in the Clan."
Tsu'tey couldn't believe that they had visited her and not him after all these years. He was jealous of that, but they might have a reason to do so, one that they didn't tell her.
He was about to speak with her, when Jake's voice echoed through the cave.
"Brother, it is your younglings' turn in a moment."
"Oìss." He hissed, not liking the fact that soon she would be out there and might not come back.
Sarah looked at the waterfall; where beyond her future was waiting for her. She then looked back to Tsu'tey, who looked really upset. Not knowing if she would ever do this again, she walked up to him, met his confused eyes when she laid her hand over his heart and reached up on her toes and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. Then she let her cheek come closer to his, gently touching it with hers and whispered words she had never told him in his ear.
"I See You, Tsu'tey."
She then withdrew from him, gave him a last look and turned to walk through the waterfall.
He touched his own cheek, feeling the lingering warmth from her lips and skin. Her breath had softly tickled his ear and made him feel like he would soon lose his most precious possession. Cursing, he took two steps and grabbed hold of her upper arm, pulling her close to his frame. He saw her shocked expression and heard her gasp when she collided with him. Not caring what she would do or think, he grabbed her other arm and pressed her to his chest, bending down his head and covered her lips with his.
She stood like a yerik frozen in front of the palulukan, not knowing what to do at first. After a short moment, it felt like that, he let her lips go and he met her confused gaze and then his serous expression turned into a smirk and he wrapped his arms around her, freeing her arms and kissed her again, nudging her closed lips open with his probing tongue, making her gasp against his mouth when his tail wrapped around her thigh and the tip caressed her ass lightly. He took advantage of that, pulling her closer and kissing her like there was no tomorrow, only today mattered.
Her arms then found their way around his neck, holding him to her, not wanting to let go of him, her warrior. This might be their first and last kiss.
Knowing that he had a role to uphold, Tsu'tey made the really hard decision to push her away, ending the kiss way too early. He then knew she liked him, but did she like him enough? Enough to consider him as a potential mate?
"Go, you have an ikran to tame." He gave her a push towards the waterfall, her confusion obvious in her eyes, but she obeyed him, turning and disappearing through the water.
Tsu'tey remained for another moment, evil images flashed through his mind. Images of her heart being pierced of the sharp claws of an ikran.
If that happened, he would never know what might have been.
Authors note: Sooo, whaddya think? This is one of the longest chapters, couldn't find a good place to cut it, it would have made you guys very upset, right?
Next chapter – Sarah tries to tame her ikran.
Please give me long reviews! =)