Building a Home

(Karran Val'teo) #1

The morning air carried a cool breeze as Karran slowly piloted his new Joben T-85 along the plains toward his new plot of land. He was not an experienced pilot, so he kept a leisurely pace so as to not risk crashing into anything, also, it allowed Baby to keep up with him. The Zabrak looked over his shoulder to see the large Reek trotting along behind him, her heavy footfalls leaving tracks in the dirt. Karran had felt bad not giving her the freedom to run around and stretch her legs, she never seemed to mind too horribly though, she was content lazing about, cuddling up against whoever could take her massive head laying on their legs. Most people said that they couldn’t tell if a Reek was smiling, but Baby was different, it was easy for him to see when she was happy.

The rolling plains slowly shifted into the jungles and forests that he had found to be so peaceful. He eased on the throttle of his speeder, as he wove between the trees, the silence only being broken by the large beast pushing past trees. The wood creaked and moaned, occasionally one of them fell, sending a crashing noise echoing throughout the jungle. Finally, they came to their new home.

Karran set down the bike and dismounted. He strode around the surrounding area, testing the ground, figuring out where it was the most solid. Baby wandered around, sniffing a few trees, marking one or two of them. Satisfied that he had found a level place with solid, packed dirt, he returned to his bike and removed a saddle bag of borrowed tools and carried it back over. The Zabrak let out a whistle and Baby came galloping over, skidding to a stop a few feet away from him, she pushed her head against his chest and her large tongue lapped out at his face. Karran placed a hand on the central horn that protruded from the middle of her head and focused for a moment, communicating his will between them.

The first time Karran met Baby, the breeder had said that he wouldn’t want her, “She’s too rambunctious and too big,” he had said. Karran just walked up to her, made eye contact with her, and put his hand out. The big Reek bounded up to him sniffed his hand and gently pressed her center horn against his palm and held it there for a moment, before pushing forward and knocking the Zabrak onto his back. As he hit the ground, Karran laughed, “No more words. I will take her.”

Baby pulled away from Karran’s hand and looked up at him before trotting off to her task. She placed her head against one of the trees in the selected area and began pushing against it. The wood cracked and creaked before the ground bulged up as roots broke up and the tree fell. Baby walked over to the side and pushed it to a designated area where Karran went to work stripping the branches off and setting the leafiest ones aside for his companion. They went about their work silently, every few hours taking a break to go down to the stream and refresh themselves.

By sundown, they had erected the beginnings of a simple elevated house. The ground was soft underneath, with enough space for the Reek to go under and sleep. Karran ascended the simple stairs up to the main platform, and surveyed the layout. He visualized the potential of the space and laid down. He would have to hire technicians to do the technical work for computers, but…that could wait. For now he lay in the open-air platform and felt the fresh night breeze flow over him, a sensation he had not had the opportunity to enjoy since joining the Brotherhood, and drifted to sleep.

When morning came and the sunlight broke across the sleeping Zabrak’s face, he woke peacefully. Karran sat up and once again surveyed the peaceful forest. He stood, stripped off his robes, leaving only his pants and boots and made his way down to the stream to bathe. He waded waist deep into the water and splashed it up onto his body, taking a moment to examine the scars he had earned since joining the Brotherhood. The traditional tattoos that adorned his chest stood stark black against his tan skin. He looked back up to the bank and saw Baby standing there, shifting side to side, watching Karran. The Zabrak signalled for the Reek to come into the stream, and she took a few steps back before bound forward and jumping in, suddenly displacing a massive amount of water, sending Karran tumbling a few meters downstream, before coming to a rest and floating, laughing at her antics and swimming up to the bank.

Karran dried himself with his outer robes and hung them on a branch before returning to work. He had not called anywhere home for a long time, but finally, he felt that this was a place he could rest his head and build a life.