The S’airé Festival was one of the many celebrations held on the planet of G’wenee. The entire plot and choreography of the festival was a manifestation that mixes religious and profane elements, starting with the raising of two poles decorated with regional fruits, in which men and women compete separately, followed by folklorical dances performed by citizens of Bel-Parah.
The festival attracted several tourists, but still less than the Carnival. This year, Senin had decided to visit Bel-Parah to participate in the celebrations. His friend Einês was going to dance in a presentation of Carimbó and she asked him to see her dance. Ever since what happened in Dantooine, the Acolyte wasn’t in the mood for parties. However, he couldn’t deny it to the girl.
While he walked through the streets of Bel-Parah, Senin looked at the tourists and the stalls that were everywhere. Some were selling food, souvenirs and collars of the festival. Seeing it reminded the Acolyte of when he wanted to invite Malou to this festival, but everything went wrong during the party at Castle Wessex. These memories only worsened his mood, making him want to go back to his hotel room.
Senin was dressed like any other tourist, while his hair was dyed dark brown. The last thing that he wanted to do was attract attention. While he walked through the streets, Senin looked at the stalls. Perhaps he could find one that was selling some drinks and get drunk.
Malou had stopped on G'wenee to refuel her ship, but had stayed once word of the S’airé Festival drifted her way. The last festival she had gone to was interesting enough. She had the time, so she figured, why not just stick around for a bit?
G'wenee was much hotter than Serenno, so Malou forwent her usual sweaters for a tank top and pants as she wandered Bel-Parah's streets. Her curly hair was pulled up into a loose bun at the nape of her neck, and a colorful scarf covered her eyes. With all the commotion going on in the busy streets, the Serenno native blended right in as she moved from booth to booth.
Though she was aware that G'wenee was Senin's home planet, she had only thought of her former friend once since she'd arrived. Though he had hurt her, she had done her best to ignore what had happened and continue on with her life as if she'd never met him. With the size of the planet and the size of the city, what were the chances of her running into him anyway?
"How much are these?" asked Malou of a vendor as she gestured to a pair of rectangular earrings. The man behind the stall blinked at her, then smiled and spoke to her in a language the Miralukan did not comprehend. For a moment there was an awkward silence between the two, but it ended with Malou presenting him with thirty credits and him eagerly accepting the amount.
'Good grief.' Malou began to fasten the earrings to her lobes as she walked away, her sight searching for a place to grab a bite to eat.
Senin continued walking through the streets, at least he was trying to do it. The place was so crowded that it was difficult for him to move. As it was custom for this festival, there were speakers spread across the city playing regional songs. Some tourists were also dancing in the middle of the street, making the movement even more difficult.
Looking at the tourists dancing, Senin thought how ridiculous some of them looked. There was a fat male Mon Calamari trying to do some movements of Carimbó, but only was able to look like an idiot. When he fell with his butt on the floor, the Acolyte smirked. Several beings started to laugh, including the guy that fell. This made the G’wenee think that he should have some fun like them.
Perhaps he could start tasting some of the regional food. Senin liked to stay in good shape, but occasionally he would eat something a bit more caloric. He would make up for it with more exercises and training later. Stopping at one of the stalls that were selling food and drinks, the Acolyte looked at what he should buy. There were so many delicious options.
In the end of his brief scrutiny, the young man chose a beer made of a native fruit called açaí and a tapioca filled with dried meat. After paying the vendor, Senin turned to walk back to the street. To his surprise, he came face to face with a very familiar Miralukan. He stared wide eyed at Malou.
He was filled with a turmoil of feelings, with a mixture of surprise, rage and shame. Senin didn’t know what he should do. The last time that they saw each other, Malou was furious at him for having tried to kill her. Now thinking about that, it was a stupid idea. He blames the Eternal.
“Hello there.” he said to the Miralukan. Senin wondered if she was going to attack him, he would not blame her if it happened. However, he would defend himself. His right hand was carrying the tapioca, while the other had the beer bottle. Perhaps he could throw it at her face.
As her sight fell upon the curly-headed once-friend of hers, the sound of his greeting was drowned out by the last words he had spoken to her. Yet, there was no anger that rose in her chest. There was a deep-seated aching in her chest, but nothing angry.
'Why here? Why now?' As much as she just wanted to forget he ever existed, she couldn't do much of that with the man standing right in front of her. It'd been months. She was a champion now. Technically, she didn't even have to acknowledge his existence if she didn't want to. It was hard to ignore someone right in front of you though.
He didn't seem like he planned to attack her. Malou wouldn't expect it either, in such a dense crowd. In fact, he looked just as surprised to see her as she was to see him. Again, the Miralukan was thankful that her blindfold hid the way her eyes might've widened otherwise.
"Excuse me," Malou spoke as she stepped to the side and moved past him. She kept her sight on him as she ordered from the stall. She ordered a sort of fried cheese pastry, received it, then paused before turning back around to face him. While she paused, the Miralukan took a breath to herself. 'Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.' Senin was not a friend. She wasn't sure if he was an enemy, either. Time to find out.
"Hello, Senin." Her voice came out casual as if she wasn't all that surprised to see him here. Perhaps she had even intended to run into the acolyte. Who was to say that she hadn't known where he was going to be? "Would you like to talk?"
If there was any chance of them rekindling a friendship, it rested on his shoulders.
The few seconds that they stayed facing each other in silence could only be described as awkward. At this moment, several thoughts crossed Senin’s mind. Did Malou know that he was there? Was she going to attack him? Could he defeat her if she did it? He had heard that the Miralukan had become a Champion, but maybe he could still fend her off.
When Malou moved past him, Senin tightened his grip on the beer. If she tried anything, the red-haired man was already prepared to hit her head with it. The Acolyte relaxed when he heard the Miralukan asking for food at the stall. If she was going to eat, that would mean that the Champion would be too busy to attack him. Unless it was some trick, he would not let his guard down.
Then, Malou talked with him. Senin was never able to read the Miralukan’s emotions or reactions, she seemed to be so calm with this meeting. Perhaps she really expected to find him there. This could be part of her plan of revenge because of what happened at the ball in Serenno.
Apparently, she wanted to talk. Senin suspected that it could be another attempt to make him lower his guard, but refusing the invitation of a Champion could cause problems for him. And a part of him really wanted to know what Malou wanted to talk with him. The G’weneen wouldn't admit it, buta part of him hoped they could fix their friendship.
“Yes, I want.” he said to her. Like Malou, Senin had decided to act in a casual way. “Do you want to talk there or in a less noisy place?” the street where the two were was full of people and there was also loud music. “We can talk at the lookout.” if she acceptd, he would guide her there. There would still be some tourists there taking pictures of the great river and its beaches, but it would be far less noisy.
So he did want to talk. "The lookout would be more convenient." She, for one, did not want to have to strain her voice to be heard above all the noise around them. So the Miralukan would quietly follow behind Senin as he led her to the river's viewing spot. It was indeed less noisy. There were tourists snapping photos of the colorful river with handheld cameras, couples talking quietly amongst themselves, and a group of children psyching themselves up to leap from the platform into the water below. It was still busy, but she felt like she could hear her own thoughts now.
'How in the world do I begin this conversation?' If she had anything, it was a certainty that Senin was at least willing to talk. In her opinion, should he had not wanted to, he would've denied the offer or smacked her with the beer can he had a vice grip on. 'Do I ask for an apology?' No, that would antagonize him for sure. Malou was sure he probably felt as if he had been in the right. 'Men are like that,' she thought pessimistically. 'They will never admit they are wrong, even if they know they are.'
This left her with a few options, but she held firm onto her casual, nonchalant appearance. Again, she was grateful for the blindfold.
"What were you wanting to talk about?" She would place the burden of the topic of conversation on him. She herself was unsure of how he felt about her, so she wanted to see if she could get him to express that. After she said this, she brought a piece of the fried cheese bread to her mouth while she waited for his response.
After they arrived at the lookout, Senin turned to Malou. Even with the voices of the tourists, there was silence between the two that was so awkward. The Acolyte didn’t know if he should start by saying something or wait for the Miralukan. Perhaps he should say that what happened at the Wessex Castle was stupid.
When Malou asked him what he wanted to talk about, the Acolyte said the first thing that came to his mind. “I’m sorry.” it probably was strange for a Sith to act this way, but he had spent several months thinking about the events of that day. Senin had concluded that he had overreacted, at least in trying to kill the Miralukan. He was still mad with Artorigas, but he shouldn’t discount it on the girl.
“I’m sorry, ok? I wasn’t thinking right that day. Your Master had hurt me and the Eternal’s presence was messing with my mind. I was furious with him and when you stopped Xeno from attacking him, I became furious with you too.” this was the best apology that he could formulate. He wasn’t going to tell her why he became out of control when his hair was cut.
While he waited for her answer, the Acolyte brought the bottle to his lips and drinked some of the beer. Even if Malou forgives him, Senin had doubts that they would be friends again. He wasn’t mad at her anymore, but he still wanted to make Artorigas suffer a little bit. At least make him feel a bit of shame and pain.
"I'm sorry." At these words, the piece of bread she was about to pop into her mouth instead lowered with the hand that held it. 'He's sorry?' She expected something so far from straightforward that the two words had caught her off guard. His explanation seemed so simple that she was almost offended that it had taken so little for him to abandon their friendship and attack her. 'Were we ever friends?' Malou thought she knew what a friend was now. Ashla, though strange in more ways than one, was her friend. Cairo and her she might even consider friends, though something about him made her stomach flutter. She wasn't sure yet if that was a bad feeling about him, or something else. 'Ask him. Ask him!'
"Did you ever consider me a friend?" She forced her voice to steady itself as she inquired her curiosity upon the G'weneen. As a result, while there had been a casual sort of emotion in her previous questions, there was nothing to be deciphered in this. It came out entirely monotone. "I considered you a friend, you know."'And you hurt me.' She wouldn't say it. She would never admit to his face that he had hurt her. It was not wise in her eyes to admit to anyone they had power over you. That was something she had learned secondly as a Sith, but firstly as a member of the Serennian nobility.
Malou finally raised the piece of fried cheesy bread into her mouth and chewed quietly while she waited for a response. She wanted the most she could get out of him before she said her bit.
Once again silence fell between the two. Once again Senin strengthened his grip on the bottle. He wanted some reaction from Malou. She could forgive or attack him. The Acolyte only wanted her to react in some way. Anything would be better than its damned silence!
When she finally spoke, Senin felt shame overcome him. He always thought that she was his friend. Since they met for the first time, the G’weneen thought that the two would have a good and long friendship. Very different from the relationship of their Master, but then came that party and he allowed his rage to overcome him. Well, he did only what any other Sith would have done.
However, it made him feel terrible. He hurt a friend and nearly killed her. “I always thought that you were my friend, never doubt that. But what your Master did to me at the party, it made some memories from my childhood to return.” he stopped talking. Does he really want to reveal such weakness to another Sith? Something that he hid even from his Master.
Taking a deep breath and summoning all the courage that he had, Senin walked toward Malou. When he was close to her, the young man started to confess one of his secrets “I told you that I was an orphan, remember? I lived on the streets before I was adopted and not in an orphanage.” his voice was shaking and the grip on the bottle was even more strong.
“While I lived there, I was found by a man that did terrible things to me.” Senin didn’t have the strength to say what these things were, he only hoped that the Miralukan would understand. “When he did these things, he would pull and cut pieces of hair. The maldito would say that it was because it smelled good.” the Acolyte stopped with a sob, only now noticing that he was crying “I know that your Master cut my hair by accident, but it made all these feelings come back. Then the Eternal was there too and I became furious and I did this stupid thing against you.”
Then, there was the sound of glass shattering and Senin felt pain in his hand. “Merda...” he muttered. He finally had broken the bottle and now blood was coming from the cuts there. He felt so ashamed due to all of it. What type of Sith was he?
Malou listened quietly as Senin explained himself. He did consider her a friend, but he blamed her master for everything that had happened. All because of his hair?
Why he had reacted so violently to his locks being sliced away made sense to her a few moments later. Her jaw clenched as she struggled to maintain a neutral expression. Though Senin had not been explicit in his explanation, there was no need for him to be. She felt for him then, even if just for a few moments. It was a testament to the way she used to care about him, those few moments. Even though he'd hurt her, she couldn't deny the good bits of the past.
Alas, Malou was still Malou after all. She was willing to forgive, but forgetting was an entirely different issue. The champion was relieved to hear him admit he regretted his actions and that what he'd done was stupid. 'Yes, it was stupid,' she wanted to tell him. 'I accept your apology, but I don't think I can be your friend after this.'
Malou paused before she spoke those words out loud. Could she be friends with him again? The Miralukan studied the shameful look on Senin's face and flinched just slightly when the glass broke in his now bloody hands. She- 'I-'
"Senin?" Malou would stay quiet until he lifted his head to look at her face. "If I accept your apology, would you like to be friends again?" She allowed the tiniest speck of emotion into her voice this time. It was soft, tentative, and almost a little hopeful. It was his decision though. If he said no, she would stand up and leave him to mull over his choice. If he said yes, the girl was ready to pull the wet-eyed Senin into a hug.
She didn't really care if she got blood on her clothes.
Even after he revealed this part of his past to Malou, Senin didn’t expect that she would forgive him, even less want to be his friend again. It wasn’t the way of the Sith and the Miralukan was more advanced in the teachings of the Dark side. She would never show this signal of weakness.
To his surprise, Malou seemed to want to forgive him and be his friend again. Senin would look at her with his wet eyes, while a large smile appeared on his lips. “Yes! It’s everything that I want!” after saying it, the Acolyte would hug her and continue crying. The tapioca that he bought was thrown on the floor, untouched.
While he hugged the Miralukan, Senin would mutter “I’m sorry.” several. Even with her forgiving him, the Acolyte still felt ashamed with what he had done. Without him noticing, his bloodied hand would leave marks on Malou’s clothes. During this hug, the G’weneen felt the same safety and happiness that he used to feel with his mother when he was still a child. These feelings would slowly make him calm down and drag his traumatic memories back to the depths of his mind.
After he finally calmed down, Senin let go of Malou. His eyes were still wet, but he wasn’t crying so much anymore. Then he looked at his hand, only now seeing how bad the cuts were. There were even some pieces of glass stuck on it. “Uh, I think that I need to go to the hospital.” he wondered if the Miralukan would want to go with him.
Malou pulled Senin into the hug and ignored the warm blood she could feel staining the back of her shirt. She could always buy more shirts. Even though she had spoken with soft words beforehand, Malou felt nothing for him as she held him there for the minute. Her mind was racing with arguments and debates between forgiving him or not. She wanted to forgive him, but she wasn't convinced that she should. Sure, it was quite the Sith thing to do, what Senin had done. 'But I don't care about what the "Sith thing" is. I only care about what's best for me.'
As much as she wanted their friendship to rekindle, Malou wouldn't stand to accept his apology without conditions. A condition.
"Okay, we can be friends again. I accept your apology, but on one condition." She spoke after he stopped muttering "sorry" under his breath and after he seemed to have pulled himself together a bit. As he pulled away from the hug, she would stop him just for a moment to speak about her condition. "If what happened on Serenno ever happens again, I will kill you." And then she let him pull the rest of the way away. There was a sort of somber smile on her lips. There would be no doubt from the tone of her voice that she meant what she said, but there was no malice in it either. Even with the blindfold covering more than half her face, Senin would see that the Miralukan looked very happy. Malou had decided to give Senin another chance, but just one. She really hoped he would never betray her like that again.
When Senin looked down at his bloody, glass-ridden hand, Malou took notice of how bad the damage was. "Wow, you really did a number on yourself," she exclaimed. The Miralukan unwrapped the scarf from around her neck and handed it to Senin. "Hold onto that so you don't get blood everywhere," she told him. "C'mon, where's the nearest place?"
Senin nodded at Malou. “I understand.” It was already a surprise that she had forgiven him, he didn’t expect that it would happen a second time. The Acolyte knew that they were Sith and betrayal was part of their life. However, he hoped that it would never happen again. He didn’t want to lose this friendship.
He accepted the scarf that she was offering to him with a smile on his lips. “Thank you! I’ll buy a new one for you later.” he would really do it. After all, it was his fault that the scarf was going to be totally covered with blood. If he wasn’t stupid, it would not be necessary for her doing that.
“There is an UPA near here.” then he remembered that the Miralukan didn’t know what an Unidade de Pronto Atendimento was. “It’s a type of medical post that exists in several cities of G’wenee. I think that we can go there for me to have some stitches.” after saying that, Senin would guide his friend through the crowded street.
While they walked, Senin remembered the conversation that they had during their trip to the mall. The Acolyte said that he was going to invite her to this same festival and she came due to her own desire! “After my hand is stitched, would you like to have a trip through the river? There is a boat that goes through it with tourists and stops near the jungle. If we are lucky enough, we can even see some uiaras in the water.”
"Okay, lead the way." She moved quickly and gracefully behind him, her Sight allowing her to avoid collisions and slip easily through the dense crowd. Several concerned looks were shot their way as passerby's noticed the Senin's bleeding hand and the bloody smear on the back of Malou's shirt. As she was unable to see color through her Sight, she did notice the stain.
Malou would be quiet for most of the way—as per usual—until Senin spoke up to ask a question. "Through the river?" she repeated as she pondered the question. "Sure. That sounds like it would be fun." She decided that she wouldn't care either way, so there was no harm in going.
When they reached the medical post, they would both be able to observe that many of the attendants were already occupied with other patients. All but one were busy, and the unoccupied attendant quickly gestured for Senin to come over to her. Malou muttered someone to Senin about waiting in the waiting area, then left him to take a seat in said location. The Serennian sat down next to a woman who seemed to be right around her age. She greeted Malou in G'wenee's local language, but when the Miralukan gave her a shake of the head, she repeated it in Basic.
"Hello there! Are you visiting for the festival?" she asked.
"I am. I am here with my-" She paused just before she went to call Senin her friend. Though they had decided to be friends again, she found it strange to call him that so soon. "my friend," she continued.
"Wonderful!" the girl exclaimed with a happy clasping of her hands. "It is good to go with a friend! It is much safer that way."
Malou made small talk with the girl while she waited for Senin. When the G'wenian reappeared, Malou said farewell to the girl and made her way over to him. "All better?" she asked. Her tone was indicative of her wanting to get a move on from this place.
Senin guided Malou through the streets toward the UPA. The Acolyte was still holding the Miralukan’s scarf, in an attempt to stop the bleeding of his hand. Even with the pain that was coming from there, he couldn’t stop smiling. His happiness for the returner of their friendship was greater than any pain.
His smile grew even more when she accepted to go with him on a boat trip. “You will love it! You will be able to see how much nature is there and we can even see the meeting of the waters!” the excitement was evident in his voice. He hasn't felt this way since the invasion of Dantooine.
After they arrived at the medical post, Senin noticed that the place was crowded. It was normal for this time of establishment, things were worse during holidays. However, there was a free attendant. The Acolyte nodded at Malou and walked there. After giving his personal information, he was guided to a room where a doctor was waiting.
The doctor removed the glass that was still on his hand and cleaned the wounds, then stitched it. After enveloping the hand with bandages and recommending what should be done so that the wounds do not become infected, the doctor liberated Senin. The Acolyte walked to the waiting room, where he found Malou.
“Yes, I’m!” he answered her, while showing his bandaged hand. “Unfortunately, I think that I’ll not be able to dance this year.” an important part of the dances during the S’airé Festival was the clapping. With his hand immobilized, it would be impossible. “Anyway, let’s go take the ship!” saying that, Senin would guide Malou out of the post and toward the docks.
Using his influence as a Sith, Senin was able to arrange for them to enter in the next ship that was going down the river. While the waited for it to leave, the Acolyte decided to talk more with his friend. “I heard that you became a Champion. Congratulations! How do you feel being so important?”
"No dancing? Damn." Malou was pretty neutral on dancing. It was fun while she was doing it, but she considered herself in the middle of the road when it came to liking or hating it. From what she knew about Senin and G'wenee though, dancing was pretty important to both him and his culture. She could see how that would suck for him.
She followed him to the boat and settled onto the water vehicle without saying much along the way. There was a lot going on in her head, though. Everything from observations of the people around them, to her thoughts and feelings about Senin, to what she thought the girl meant by safer were all running through her mind. Once they reached the boat, she led Senin over towards the front railing. Her hands found the metal edge and curled around them as the G'weneen beside her spoke up to ask her how she felt about being a Champion now.
So important? The Mirlukan let out a short hum as she thought about what her answer to that question was going to be. Do I even feel important? The more she thought about it, the less she felt as if she felt any more important at all. If anything, she felt like she just had more responsibilities. "I'm not sure if I feel any more important, per say," she finally answered. Doing missions for the Empire was more of a chore than anything else because there were so many restrictions and protocols. Now that it was on her mind, she felt most important when she was doing things for Avillion. Invading Rago? Annexing Aeten II? Reclaiming Exegol? Those made her feel important. When Artorgias told me to see with closed eyes? That made her feel important.
"I had so much freedom as an acolyte. It doesn't feel much different now. It is nice to have new privileges, but I have many more responsibilities, too." Though she disliked some of the missions she had been assigned to, she also had the ability to set out and make changes herself. Her interest in that was growing. She even had something planned for the future, though it was still in the works.
She would turn the question back to him. "What about you? Do you think you're close to finishing your training?"
”Yes! Can you believe it? The worst part is that I had promised Einês that I was going to dance with her after she finished a presentation.” then Senin remembered that she didn't know what he was talking about. “She is the daughter of the governor of the city and one of my friends. I think that I told you about her when we were at the mall. I’ll present you to her. She is a nice girl and I think that you’ll like her.”
While the ship started to move, Senin paid close attention to the Miralukan’s answer. “I think that you are going to be a very good Champion. You were always efficient and already did so much for the Empire as an Acolyte.” he was being sincere with his words. The G’weneen really thought that she was going to be great with her new position. And when she becomes a Sith Lord, Malou would also be very good, far better than her Master. At least she would not adopt nudism during all her missions.
Her question to him made the Acolyte stop and think. His training with Xeno was going well, at least in his opinion. Senin was learning how to use his rage to fuel his strength, like how his Master used to do. However, he still thought that he wasn’t prepared to become a Champion. See the fiasco that was his participation in the invasion of Dantooine. “I’m doing well on it, but I still think that I need more training before becoming a Champion.”
By this point, the boat was already away from the city. If they looked at the riverbanks, it would be possible to see the buildings being replaced by trees until there was only a dense forest on each side. While Senin looked at the sight, he overheard the conversation between a couple of Muun tourists.
“While I was buying some souvenirs, I heard that there were more disappearances in the forest in the outskirts of the city.” the female said, she was obviously afraid of it. “Really? This is the third this week! When we return to the hotel, I’m going to call the spaceport and book a new flight for us back to Scipio. I’m not going to stay in this city with several tourists disappearing.” the male answered her. He didn’t want to put his wife at risk.
Senin thought that it was strange. He didn’t hear anything about disappearing and Einês also didn’t tell him about it. With her father being the governor, she would know about it. THis was really something strange.
Malou half-listened as he spoke, instead staring off into space, studying the ripples in the river and the swaying bodies behind the two of them. She nodded when he said he still felt like he needed more training, not in agreement, but to acknowledge his answer. She felt like that too, sometimes. It had been a while since she'd last seen her master. A big part of her missed him, but their communication was sparse and she could only assume he was busy.
"Did you hear that too?" Malou asked of Senin after the voices of the couple died down. Her Sight traveled out to the forest along the banks of the river, searching through tree bark and vines on the edge of the water. "I wonder if the disappearances are related to the festival at all."
Just as she finished speaking, the boat lurched forward as the hull slammed into something under the water. The impact nearly sent Malou into the water, though she was saved by the rail. Commotion unwound across the deck, stopped only by the loud sound of the captain blaring over the speakers. He spoke first in G'wenee, then in basic: "EVERYONE CALMLY MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE LIFEBOATS!"
"Oh, great." Malou stayed still, using her Sight to dip beneath the water to assess the damage. There was a decent sized hole in the hull, caused either by a tree or a rock—she couldn't tell. After letting out a sigh, she turned and followed the crowd to the boats.
”Yes, I heard. It’s strange, the father of my friend is the governor of Bel-Parah and she didn’t tell me anything about tourists disappearing.” perhaps the governor was trying to hide it, so the tourist would not be afraid of visiting the city for the festival. With most of the economy of it coming from tourism, these disappearances could be catastrophic.
Before he could answer Malou, the boat hit something under the water. The impact nearly caused several of the tourists to fall. When it happened, Senin held the rail as fast as he could and turned to look at the Miralukan. He was relieved to see that she was safe. The Acolyte knew that there were dangerous predators living on these waters, some were even capable of cleaning their prey, only leaving the bones.
“Are you fine?” he asked his friend, while trying to see if she had any wound. “This route was used by these boats everyday. I don’t know how the captain could have hit something. It doesn’t make sense!” it wasn’t even the monsoon period, when the heavy rains would drag dead trees to the water that could cause accidents like this one.
Without any choice, Senin walked with Malou to one of the lifeboats. They would never be able to reach the city in one of those and the captain knew it. He ordered them to stop at one of the river banks, where they should wait for a rescue team that was going to arrive in two hours. Now, Senin and Malou were forced to wait.
“I think that we should have stayed in the city.” Senin said, while he stared at the jungle. For some reason, he had refused to turn his back to it. He felt in the Force that there was something strange happening there. “Don’t you think that it’s too silent?” there weren't any birds singing right now and it was still day.
Then, as if hearing his comment, from the depths of the jungle came a loud whistle. This sent shivers down his spine. He had never heard this sound before and for some reason, it was like the sound was also in Force. An oppressive presence that came and disappeared quickly.
“Did you feel that?” he asked Malou. However, before she could answer a scream would interrupt her. Turning, he saw a woman crying and screaming that her husband had disappeared. Senin stared wide eyed. What was happening there?
Malou nodded; she was alright. A bit frustrated that they were going to have to wait around on the shore of some dirty river by a forest that had apparently led to disappearances, but alright nonetheless. She didn't bother to tell Senin about the hole in the ship, or her assumption that it had been caused by a rock or sunken trunk. It didn't really matter what caused it, in her opinion.
"I think so too." That was her answer to both of his questions. Not only did it feel too quiet, but she could feel some sort of presence beyond the treeline. When she went to search the treeline with her Sight, she swore she could see a flash of movement, but she was distracted by a woman's scream.
"I wasn't paying attention. DId you see what happened?" She had a bad feeling about this.