The Butcher of Krant
Atonement Seeking Pathfinder & Companion to Sid
Growing up with a father who dragged me across the galaxy hunting, trapping, and selling exotic creatures, I never had the luxury of being ignorant of the brutality of nature—-or men. By the age of 12, I had learned how to turn my heart off to the pitiful moans and bellows that escaped the captured beasts. By 18, I didn’t make a distinction between living and non-living cargo. It was merely a thing that needed to be moved from here to there, and we’d be compensated to see it was done correctly.
Life was simple, but empty; a fact I wouldn’t realize until after a particularly challenging capture and sale of a black acklay—-in which all my father’s hired help “unfortunately” died. The stable master of the Hutt colosseum paid us handsomely for the the delivery, and he threw in a pair of tickets, promising a spectacle unlike any we were likely to see again. He was right, but not in the way he had intended. Rather than charging the gladiators, the black acklay continuously shifted, parried, and dodged, always keeping it’s abdomen away from the attackers. Then taking a brief moment to look around, its eyes met mine, and it let out the most pitiable cry before laying on the ground with its head turned slightly away from the oncoming assault. It didn’t move as they descended upon it with pike, sword, and hammer. It was over in an instant, but the crowd boo’d and jeered. My father hastened us away—-worried he’d catch flack for a defective “product.”
We got back to the ship, but I couldn’t help feeling that something wasn’t right. The look in its eyes kept returning to my memories. I had to see the body again. It didn’t take long to find where they tossed it, but now there was a faint glowing in the abdomen. A bright ball of increasingly radiant gold. People passed by without offering it a glance, I don’t think they saw what I saw. I had to know more. Walking over to it, I put my hand on the chitin armor and felt a connection to that shining dot. It felt immediately warm to my touch, but then I began to be flooded with fear and anxiety. I felt like I was suffocating. Lifting my hand, the connection broke, and the feelings faded away. I took out my knife and wedged it between two of the pieces of natural armor and heaved with all my strength. It took several tries before it finally came free and rattled to the ground. Caustic smelling silver blood poured from the creature, but the golden ball seemed slightly less constricted and a little more at ease. With some careful knife work and only one passerby’s glare, I had the source of the golden orb in my hands—-a silver acklay egg. Guessing at it’s value to a beast hunter, I hurriedly wrapped it in my cloak and made for the ship.
I knew that I couldn’t keep it’s presence from my dad. He was aware of everything that happened on his ship, but I did wait until we had left the planet to tell him. To be frank he wouldn’t have talked to me sooner anyway. He was already furious that I wasted time looking for the dead beast. But to my surprise, he was happy that I had the egg. He said that it would basically double the payout for the first job once it hatched. What he and I didn’t know at the time was that something was changing in me.
In my mind, our cargo wasn’t merely potential credits. It was individuals with lives, feelings, and thoughts that father simply didn’t understand. I couldn’t help him trap and enslave anymore. While trying to find a way to tell him that I needed to leave, I had avoided helping him, but he was still successful in his trapping—-until Krant.
What was supposed to be an easy grab, changed everything. He simply never returned. I couldn’t understand, there were no recorded predators on the planet. Nothing here should have been hunting him. But unlike his body which was never found, it didn’t take long for his creditors to ferret out our ship’s location. They claimed the vessel as payment and I barely got out with the egg hidden among some scant provisions.
So began a 6-year-long self-exile in the wilderness; the last of which, has been far less lonesome. I’m not sure that I’ll every be able to atone for the sins of my youth, but Sid and I are certainly going to try!