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Our initial meetings with the locals was aided greatly my Iraio’s prior visit and relationships. We have learned a bit of their history that seems to support the existence of this cleansing ritual but not enough to determine where. We are told that the Great Eastern Tribe has longer histories and it is there that we may find what we seek.
With a small escort of tribe notables Sek’nos, Tur’sa and Key’sa we set on beast much like tontons. Which I should note I have yet to learn how to ride which created some amusement to the locals and Kip. The latter still whispering poisoned words into Leeloo’s ear with mixed results. I have found my center and his words do not bother me… much.
On the way to the to Eastern tribe we encounter a group of mando’s and are impressed with Sek’nos combat prowess. He in turn is quite proud of himself and that he has proof the “stone men” can be killed.
Our reception at the Eastern Tribe was quite different than that of the Western Tribe. It seems that these locals were far more aggressive and suspicious towards strangers. It seems that we would have to first prove ourselves in the Pit of Innocents. The name itself serious lacks any feel of impartiality. A fact that became all too clear.
First Sek’nos and I entered the pit. I was striped of my robes and tossed in giving a far less graceful entrance than the Nal’dobbian warrior at my side. We were beset by 3 of the Easterners with there odd shaped staffs. I did what I could not to cause lethal damage to these warriors and after Sek’nos had killed one I convinced him that the lethal force was not needed for the others. We won our “innocents” with only the single loss of life.
Key’sa and Tur’sa are in next against the larges Nel-dobbian I have seen. A low-lander they are called. The warrior was large and strong but slower. The pair staying agile and working together were able to bring the beast low if barely.
Leeloo and Kip were next and also striped of their garments. I was surprised to see Leeloo wore no small clothes under her robes. The mud of the pit, along with her long hair kept most parts concealed, however to her credit she did not let the experience phase her. So calmly stood to face he opponent only with Kip he thankfully was still shackled.
Unlike the rest of us, their opponent was not another warrior but a vicious creature called an Alpha Nighthound. While I was not concerned about the beast as Leeloo has always been able to handle animals, I was annoyed that these natives thought a ferocious animal, one that killed a handled as it exited its cage, was the right opponent for a naked woman and handcuffed man.
Still after some, unusual pantomiming along with the force Leeloo was able to control the animal and send it away. A feat the natives instantly recognized as something special. Stunned silence slowly changed to chanting of Woola, Woola. The title used for Nal’dobbian priestess. This fact changed the demeanor of the locals almost instantly. We, presently, were no longer threats and Leeloo now an honored guest.
I would love to say we were invited to see their histories but that was not the case. The Eastern Tribe had many neighboring tribes in attendance to discuss the “Stone Men” problem. Leeloo was granted the honor of sitting in the inner circle right next to the High Chief with Ker’sa acting as translator. I endured the company of Kip as he through insults at the locals and comparing them to beasts.
I was distracted my Kips words and missed what happened in the inner circle but the meeting was adjourning. Speaking with Leeloo it seems we had been committed to proving the Mando’s could be killed and in helping defeat them before the locals would share their histories with us. I was further disappointed that Leeloo didn’t see the danger of taking Kip into combat with us. Perhaps she knew something I didn’t but the prospect have Kip being loose made me uneasy.
Still what was done was done and the next day we set off to find and defeat some Mando’s. We come across a group of them attempting to bring down a Ferngiant and use the distraction to our benefit. We know the challenges of fighting Mando’s and attempted to take care. The wildcard was Kip as he instantly started using the Darkside. Something I instructed him not too. I began making my way towards him to “persuade” to stop when mando’s began to regroup and we had a real fight on our hands.
Although victorious, the win felt tainted. I was not the only one to feel that way. Iraio approached me on the ride back with deep concerns about Kip using the darkside as well. I restate the ground rules to Kip in no uncertain terms. A conversation that caused some concern and explain with the Tur’sa. Again I was disappointed in Leeloo as she did not seem to have the same reservations Iraio or I had. Could Kip be getting to her?
The thought was interrupted by details of an attack nearby. Iario had agreed to stay behind with Kip allowing Leeloo and I to go to the aid of the village. Leeloo felt we should take kip as his lightening goes right through their armor and would be very effective. A statement echoed by Tur’sa. I stood my ground on the matter and received a tongue lashing from Leeloo regarding it along with her refusal to go. She declares she will stay and guard Kip will the rest of us go to the village. Admittedly I was surprised but arguing, as Leeloo pointed out was just putting more lives at risk.
We turned and left but I made a mental note to revisit this conversation. Leeloo is not being herself. Or is not being completely honest with me. We have never been so divided on things as we have been regarding Kip.
At the village we encounter Gamorean slavers and a neo-crusader. We devise a quick plan and set to it. Sek’nos, Iraio and I draw attention while Tur’sa and the witnesses free the captives. It was a very violent affair but another victory for us. We were able to guide the woman and children back to the great eastern tribe and were welcomed heroes.
After another meeting of the chief’s war was declared possible and that the Woola would lead them. This was not ideal as we still had an uncured Kip. But again the decision was made so we could only move forward from here.
The next day we marshaled in the tree line with the Mando compound in sight. Waiting… waiting. Then a low thump could be heard, then another, and another. Like approaching footsteps they grew louder and in number, until their source could be seen. Leeloo, the Woola riding atop one of the 2 ferngiants. Along with several of the native creatures ready for battle.
I could not help but smile. Leeloo really knows how to make an entrance.
Ever since Dathomir I have not felt the same connection with Leeloo. Rather it has been hit or miss. Perhaps it is my doing. Perhaps I was just naive to think things could be the same. I mean how could her time Dathomir on not change her. It had changed me and I was only there a few weeks.
Still its disconcerting to feel that she is keeping things from me. That… or Kip really has found a wait to manipulate her. Sad thing is I’m not sure which thought alarms me more.
No, this too shall pass. Leeloo and I have been through too much together and apart. This situation we are in is beyond challenging, stressful and there is bound to be some fraying from it.
All will be better once we cure Kip. I am sure.