Lost Tribe of the Sith
By John Jackson Miiler
Source : via Malachi
5,000 years BBY
“Good to see you too, Mother,” Adari said. “Did the children behave?”
The door hadn’t fully closed when the smaller child was in Adari’s arms, shoved there by Eulyn. Adari’s older boy bounded into the room, hobbling her. Under attack from four purple arms, Adari staggered toward the wall, looking for a spot to drop her nonliving cargo. The canvas bag thudded against the wooden floor.
“Heretic! That’s what your uncle says they’re calling you,” Eulyn said. “He was here-and neighbor Wertram, the tailor. And his wife, too-she never leaves the hut for anything! Eight people have been by today!”
“Well, don’t look outside,” Adari said. “More followed me home.” She shooed the gangly older child away and tried to rescue her silvery hair from her toddler’s mouth. Short hair wasn’t the fashion for Keshiri women, but for Adari, it was self-defense. Where her youngest was concerned, it’d never be short enough.
“Is the stew on?”
“Stew?” Eulyn yanked her little grandson back, only to see Adari dart into the kitchen. Flushed with aggravation, Eulyn’s skin took on a violet hue that almost matched her daughter’s. “You’re worried about dinner! You don’t have any idea what’s been going on around here, do you?”
“It’s a dinner break. I was working.”
“Working, nothing. I know where you were!”
Adari stared into the clay crock full of boiling meat and vegetables and sighed. Of course her mother knew where she’d been. Everyone did. Adari Vaal, collector of rocks and stones; young widow of the valiant uvakrider on whom so many hopes had rested. Adari Vaal, enemy of right and order; absent mother and misleader of other people’s children. Today had been her third day of testimony before the Neshtovar. It had gone as well as the other two.
“What is that sound?”
“They’re hitting the house with rocks,” Adari said, returning with a steaming bowl that she set on the table. Standing
back, she swung the front door wide and watched as several gifts from the community bounced over the threshold. She slammed the door quickly. A peppery stone under the empty cruche drew her eye. She reached for it with a sinewy, scratched arm.
“That’s a nice one,” she said. “Not from around here.” She was apparently drawing people from all over. She’d have to look around, later. Who needed expeditions when you had an angry mob to collect samples?
Adari knelt and put the discovery in her pouch, already overflowing with stones of every shape and color. Above, the clatter grew louder. The younger child wailed. Eulyn’s huge dark eyes widened further with horror. “Adari, listen!” she said. “They’re hitting the roof now!”
“That’s actually thunder.”
“It’s proof, that’s what it is! The Skyborn have forsaken you.”
“No, Mother, it’s proof that they’re protecting me,” Adari said, eating standing up. “If it rains, the mob can’t set our house on fire.”
That wasn’t likely to happen-the widow of a Neshtovari was a protected person, unlikely to be killed in a riot. However, there was nothing wrong with making her life miserable, and since her sin was against the Neshtovar themselves, no authority would stop them. In fact, little displays like this were good for public order.
Adari poked her head into the backyard. No rocks there. Just the uvak, doing what he had done all year: taking up most of the place and being unfragrant.
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