“Yes, your father will be back in time, now stop asking Kalla.” Katyrra said for what she felt was the hundredth time that day, although she could not blame her son for his persistence and worry. She knew Dryshhk would return home to them in time for Kalla’s ceremony, he had promised him and her he would return. Kalla stared up at the sky waiting to see his father’s ship returning from a trip.
He fell asleep in the tree waiting for the ship to arrive and was woken suddenly by feeling himself falling to the ground. He quickly used his arms, hands and claws to try and stop himself from falling and after about twenty feet of falling, he was luckily able to grab onto a branch that was big enough to stop his fall and also for him to latch onto.
Or so he thought…He heard the branch cracking as he held onto it and looked down to see how far down of a drop it would be. Realizing it was still too far down Kalla began to swing his body as he held on to the branch, hoping to quite literally fly through the air to a bigger branch not more than five feet away. He heard the crack getting louder and felt the branch giving as he swung.
Feeling and hearing the branch starting to crack from the tree, Kalla swung his body back and forward one more time as hard and as fast as he could. He put all his strength in his arms and body as he flew in the air to the other branch. His arms and legs flailed a bit but then he reached out with his claws and dug them into the larger tree. He slid down the tree a bit but found a branch that was much bigger and could support his weight.
He tested the branch by bouncing on it while holding onto the tree to see if it would support his weight as he tried to figure out where he was in the trees and where his home was. It was dark now and he was a bit shaken up by the fall.
As he looked around, he heard unfamiliar noises. He heard crashing through the bushes below him and cries from an animal that wasn’t familiar. He looked up the tree and used his claws to climb higher up in the tree until he saw the ropes and vines that would get him back to his home.
It took him several minutes of using the ropes, trees and vines to actually figure out where to go but he found one of the familiar bridges to his home. He ran past some of the other older wookies, darting around their legs and heard their yells at him about slowing down or next time he may find himself falling off the bridge.
He didn’t pay any attention to them, he wanted to go home and see his father and talk to him about tomorrow. All the fear was gone now, now it was anticipation and adrenaline pumping through his body. His stomach growled and he was sure his family already ate without him and was probably wondering where he was.
He burst through the door to find his mother standing there holding a pot in her hand. He stood in the doorway almost afraid to go in. He wasn’t sure if the pot was meant for him or for the table. He stood there breathing heavily as his mother stood there glaring at him.
He was startled and jumped from the suddenswat to his ass. It wasn’t meant to hurt but surprise the young wookie. He heard his mother laughing and his father behind him. He turned to find his father towering over him and laughing at the startled wookie.
Kalla stood there and if a wookie could look embarrassed, he did. His mother told him to sit down and he did. He mumbled under his breath as his mother called the other children to the table. Kalla hoped none of his brothers or sisters saw what happened or he would never hear the end of it.
His father hit him under the arm playfully to get his attention “How do you think you are going to survive out in the real world if you do not pay attention? I could have easily knocked you out and carried you off if I were a slaver.” He shook his finger at Kalla “You must always pay attention no matter what the situation or you will die.”
Kalla nodded and knew his father was right. He had been stupid and wasn’t paying attention. He would have to prove to his father, he was better at paying attention and could learn from his mistakes tomorrow.
The next morning, Kalla was tired. He yawned, rubbed his eyes and stretched out. He hadn’t been able to sleep because of his excitement of his father teaching him today. He went downstairs to the kitchen and his mom had breakfast on the table already. He looked around wondering if he woke up late and his father left without him.
But his father put his large hand on Kalla’s shoulder “Today I teach you all I know. Are you ready?”
Kalla nodded and started eating when his mom put some food on the plate in front of him. He was eager to go and start his ceremony and learning. After breakfast, his brothers and sisters were there and of course when their parents were looking, they smacked Kalla hard and told him they hoped he never returned.
Kalla put his head down and wanted to leave and for a moment, never return to his home. His siblings had always picked on him and he felt like an outcast among his friends and tribe members. He never really fit in and was always the last to be picked for any games or teams. Maybe it was because he was smaller for a wookie his age. He wasn’t as tall, broad or weighed as much as the others his age. He looked like a wookie several years younger than his age. He had one true friend who was a year younger than he, Tarbaca. Even though Tarbaca was bigger than Kalla, they were friends since each of them could walk and talk.
Tarbaca wouldn’t go through with Hrrtayyk Ceremony until next year. Kalla had talked to Tarbaca for the past month about it and Tarbaca gave him encouragement to do his best and return to home so Kalla could teach him a bit about things he didn’t know.
Kalla stood in the doorway a moment before leaving. He turned to find his mother standing there, with her arms around his younger sister, Chenara. His sister glared at him as he stood in the doorway and his mother said “We’ll see you both soon. Be careful and listen to your father.”
Kalla nodded and thanked his mother as he walked on the bridge with his father. They walked for what felt like hours to Kalla and then his father asked him “What way is home?”
Kalla looked around a moment and realized he was lost. He hadn’t been paying attention again. He had been so lost in his thoughts of what his siblings said to him. His father was patient though, luckily for the young wookie. He bent down and pointed to the sun and told him how long it had been in the sky and how to judge how long before the moons appeared in the sky by where the sun was.
Kalla nodded and took it all in. His father told him they would go to the ground so he could show him how to track, hunt and find food to eat. They climbed down the wroshyr tree they were in, his father showing him how to use his claws a bit better when climbing down.
His father told him ‘Put your hand and feet like this and claws like this.’ He spread his fingers out more than what Kalla had been doing and showing him to bend his knees and almost hug the tree while climbing. Kalla found it much easier and used less strength once his father showed him how to climb.
Once on the ground, Dryshhk and Kalla walked for about an hour. Dryshhk pointed out flowers, trees and mushrooms to Kalla. Kalla knew he would be asked later what the plants were and he was. When his father pointed to a flower and asked Kalla what it was, he would reply and his father would nod. Dryshhk pointed to one and when Kalla answered, his father stood there a moment and Kalla looked at it again thinking he may have answered wrong but his father laughed and nodded he got it correct.
Kalla laughed and the two went further in the woods. Kalla had no idea where he was or what was even in the forest. He heard stories from other wookies older than him of hills so big they made even the wroshyr trees seem tiny. And of lakes, that were called oceans, that you couldn’t even see the other side of land.
Kalla wondered what these places would look like and wondered if his father was going to show him these things, when suddenly Dryshhk stopped and bent down behind a shrub. Kalla immediately knelt beside his father, peering through the shrub to see what had his father’s attention. Dryshhk immediately put a hand over Kalla’s mouth as he pointed to a giant red spider.
Kalla’s eyes widened as he watched the spider creating a massive web. He was fascinated with the creature and couldn’t believe how such a big creature like that could move so lightly on such small strands of the web. He couldn’t believe the webbing didn’t break and the spider didn’t fall. They watched it for several minutes until another spider came and Kalla wanted to watch to see if they would fight or what would happen but his father put a hand on his mouth again and carried him quietly away from the spiders.
When they were a safe distance, Dryshhk set his son down and knelt in the ground to look him in the eyes “Those are giant weavers and very dangerous.” He explained how they could hunt their prey for miles and where there was one, there was always more. His father explained they would have to be very careful in going through the forest now and he would have to be more alert than ever. If he stopped, Kalla was to remain still and silent, no matter what.
The two continued through the forest, Kalla trying to match his father’s footsteps but every step Dryshhk took Kalla had to take three steps to his one. They walked parallel to the weavers for quite a while, Dryshhk constantly checking the ground and trees for any signs of more weavers.
The two walked for about a mile before turning to go north. They walked for several more hours and Kalla thought he would die from exhaustion when his father stopped. Kalla looked around him and stood in awe. He was standing and looking out at the ocean.
Dryshhk let Kalla look at the ocean even he was in awe of it when he came here. When they were done, Dryshhk showed Kalla how to find the materials needed to fish and some bait to use. They put their lines in the water and Dryshhk showed Kalla how to start a fire. They would fry their fish and after eating, he would show him how to build a shelter. They were going to stay here a few days before starting on the next part of his ceremony.
The two caught several large fish and a lot of smaller ones. They cooked and ate the fish, Dryshhk foraging for some fungus and other things to eat with their fish. After eating, Dryshhk showed Kalla how to build a crude shelter while still trying to camouflage them enough to not be seen or smelled by other predators.
Dryshhk knew if his son was to survive on this planet or others, he would have to learn how to use any of the environments around him to stay alive. Dryshhk had Kalla show him what he learned over the days and once he was satisfied with what he had taught Kalla, they started on their next journey.
They walked and camped for almost a week, Dryshhk showing his son how to forage, hunt, kill, skin and cook whatever they could find. Dryshhk took Kalla to the city known as Kachirho where Dryshhk explained to the other wookies in the city how Kalla was undergoing his hrrayyk ceremony. The other wookies slapped Kalla’s back and wished him luck, many telling him their story of their own ceremonies. Kalla listened to every word from the wookie’s stories as they were told.
After a few nights of staying in Kachirho, Kalla woke up to find his father gone. He looked around and waited for his father but after several hours of waiting, he went out to find his father. He asked the other wookies if they had seen him but none of them had. Kalla wondered if maybe this was another test from his father and began walking from the city without realizing it.
He walked for hours, trying to look for any tracks or signs of his father when he was suddenly hanging in the air in some sort of net. He tried to fight and use his claws to cut the netting but it had no effect on it. He tried to call for help but no one came. He was expecting his father to come into view and tell him how stupid he had been but he never came out of hiding, if it was. He was scared and feared what would happen to him now. He thought for sure he was captured by slavers and he would never return home to his family or finish his ceremony. He would forever be an outcast to his people.
Eventually exhaustion took its toll on the young wookie and he fell asleep. When he woke, he heard laughter around him. He opened his eyes to find himself on the ground staring up at other wookies but none of them his father. He felt ashamed and embarrassed. One of the wookies offered his hand to help Kalla up. Kalla took it and each of them introduced themselves. They told him it would be nightfall soon and he should come back to their home. He could stay the night and eat with them. Kalla felt he had no choice and asked the wookies if they had seen his father. He told them his name but none of them saw him.
Kalla went with the other wookies and followed them down into an underground cavern. They made their way carefully through the tunnels and Kalla drank from the water he found down there. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was until he started drinking. When offered food, Kalla ate it like a ravenous beast. He was starving and exhausted.
He talked to the wookies about his ceremony and told them his father was gone and didn’t know where he went. The wookies offered to let him live here, he could call it home if he wished to stay with them. Kalla did think about their offer. He was different from the others in his home town and he seemed to fit in here. He wasn’t picked on or made fun of, he was made to feel like he belonged.
He fell asleep that night and dreamt of home. He remembered his siblings telling him they hoped he would never return and threw stones at him, even his mother and Tarbaka were there laughing at him. When he woke, he decided this was going to be his home. He stayed several years and learned new things with the Myyydil tribe. He would think about his home land and thought one day, he would return but only to see Tarbaka.
The years past and Kalla grew stronger, taller and broader. He was taller than most of the wookies in the city and helped many of them with the harder work. He was adored and loved by everyone down there but there was still a small piece of him that needed to go home. One of the older wookies, Grabukk, wiser than any of the wookies talked to Kalla about what troubled him. He could tell Kalla wasn’t happy as he looked at the families when they were together or at celebrations.
Kalla told him everything, even when he was younger and how he would be picked on and about the dream he had the night he came there.
Grabukk told Kalla that he should return to his homeland to seek his friend and family. If he wished to stay there, the tribe would miss him but if he returned, he would be most welcome. But no matter where he stayed, he should be home and know that he could call it his home and his heart should be at peace.
Kalla nodded and thought about what Grabukk told him that day. He began his long journey home the next day. It took him several weeks of traveling to find his homeland but when he was close, he knew it. It was still the same but it wasn’t. The trees were larger than when he left but he recognized a lot of the trees he climbed when he was younger.
His heart was heavy but inside he was happy. He felt a happiness inside him that he hadn’t felt even while he was younger and lived here and called it home. He walked along the bridges and stopped, before him at the other end of the bridge stood his childhood friend, Tarbaka, with a young wookie.
Tarbaka laughed and practically ran to Kalla, where they embraced for a brief moment. Tarbaka wanted to know what happened and where he had been for all these years. Kalla didn’t know where to start and asked about his family. Tarbaka told him his father was on a mission but his siblings had gotten married and had children. They did miss him and felt guilty for what they said to him before he left.
It made Kalla feel a bit better inside but then he noticed the young wookie coming to stand between the two friends. Tarbaka introduced his son, Gorrkazza and said proudly he was taking him out for his Hrrtayyk Ceremony.
Kalla asked if he could walk with him and he would tell him all about what had happened over the years. Tarbaka agreed and the three set out from the village. Kalla started to tell him where he went with his father, the weavers and the ocean and the city, how he couldn’t find his father the one morning and ended up in a net where he stayed with other wookies.
They walked and talked until the evening where they made camp for the night and continued talking. Tarbaka told him about his wife, sons and daughter and what happened with Kalla’s family until all of them fell asleep.
Tarbaka asked Kalla if he would like to go with them and Kalla said yes. They traveled for several days, teaching Gorrkazza how to use the land to survive. As they were showing him how to make a net out of vines, Kalla heard a twig snap out in the forest. He motioned for Tarbaka and Gorrkazza to be silent and looked out in the forest. They saw movement and realized it was slavers out there.
Kalla looked at his friend and his son. He knew what it was like to not have a father and didn’t want his friend to lose his son or his son to lose his father. He motioned for Tarbaka to take Gorrkazza to the trees and stay hidden in the trees that he would lure the slavers away from them and return to the village after so much time passed.
Tarbaka shook his head but Kalla pleaded with him and took off running in the forest, yelling as loud as he could to get the slavers’ attention. Kalla realized it had worked and turned in time to see Tarbaka carrying his son to the safety of the trees. Tarbaka turned to look for Kalla and nodded to him in thanks for saving them.
Kalla ran through the trees, yelling as loud as he could to keep the slavers on him and not his friend. He ran until he thought his heart would burst and thought he would need to find shelter now until the slavers were gone. He spotted a tree that was hollowed out at the bottom and started running towards it. He didn’t even notice the slavers in the trees holding a net until it was on him.
He felt the net of vines falling on him and realized he was trapped again. He felt a sting in his back and tried to fight even as he fell to the ground. He looked up to find several slavers staring down at him and then a gun pointed at him before everything went black.
When Kalla woke, he realized he wasn’t in the forest any more, there were others in the cell with him, his hands and legs were bound and he was starving. The others in the cell were races he didn’t recognize except for a couple humans who couldn’t understand him. They offered him a piece of food but tried to keep their distance as they had to actually feed it to him. They obviously realized having a wookie on their side, was for their best benefit.
He realized he was on a ship of some sort and when it finally landed, he had a collar around his neck and was told to move. When he didn’t, the man used a long stick to shock him. He cried out in pain and was helped up by some of the humans who fed him their piece of bread.
They were all taken to a stage where they were flaunted in front of a large audience. Kalla didn’t know what was being said but watched as one by one the humans who helped him were led off the stage until he was the only one standing. Cheers rang out from the crowd as they bid on him and finally when it was over, he was led off stage where he was then drugged again and taken away.
When he woke, he was in a dirty cavern with one other wookie and several humans. One of the humans told him not to do anything stupid and do as the masters told them or he would get them all killed. He was then brought to the mines and forced to work in the caverns with other wookies and humans. His job was to bring out any of the full barrels of rocks and dump them.
He spent months working in the mines, and as he walked out of one of the tunnels to unload the rocks, he noticed movement all around him. He realized who they were immediately and ducked as one of them pointed a gun at him. The laser struck the slaver behind him and killed him instantly. The people moved up to him quickly and freed him.
The one who undid his chains took him away from the mines and through the grass and forest where a ship was waiting for them. When he was inside the ship, his father looked at him from his seat in the front and immediately started to fly away from the planet.
When they were safely away, Dryshhk came back to Kalla and told him how happy he was to see him and that Tarbaka had told him what happened that day in the forest. Kalla was never so happy to see his father and when his father returned to pilot the ship, Kalla asked if he could join him. His father laughed and told him to join him. He showed him how to pilot the small ship, much like he taught his son how to forage and hunt all those years ago in the forest.
Kalla returned home but not to his original homeland but to the place in his heart he knew was home. He stayed there for years working for a small cargo shipping company, until he missed the feeling in his heart again and knew where he needed to go and what he needed to do.
Kalla had been piloting a light transport/cargo ship for a small shipping company. He had also been smuggling to make enough money on his own so he could buy a ship eventually. This would prove to be his downfall, because he eventually got caught. Having the ship impounded was bad enough, but then after all the fines and the charges for the lost cargo and his own smuggled goods his stash of funds was depleted to nothing. His boss fired him and still wants payment for the impound fees he had outstanding for the ship. Kalla of course wasn’t able to pay so he left the outer fringe and decided he would travel and eventually find a way to his home.
This puts him on a transport landing at the Sel Zonn Station orbiting Brentaal IV. Ready to start the next part of his journey.