Posted by: Natasha A. Morea | 11/15/2010

Kashyyyk part 6

I had impatiently waited for night to fall. I was anxious and a little bit uneasy at the thought of my confrontation with Vel. Now, Aiden and I moved slowly through the night-time crowd of the tree city, headed for the lift location that Salova had given us. I didn’t want to arrive too soon. I wanted to know what Vel was up to and I wanted to catch him in the act. The crowds dwindled as we got closer to our destination. Aiden walked ahead of me, as we approached the basket-like lift that would take us into the lower levels of the Wroshyr forest. He stopped me, putting a hand on my arm and pushing me behind the corner of a building.
“Aiden, what is it?” I whispered, trying not to let him hear the nervous lilt to my voice.
“Either we are early or you friend is late. Take a look.”
I leaned out from behind the corner and turned my head in the direction of the lift. (Haar’chak! They had not gone down yet. Nothing to do now, but wait and watch.) We positioned ourselves as well as we could, watching the party make their way to the lift. There was no one in this particular area of the city, at this time of night. All people going to the lower levels had to have special clearance. I could see perfectly from where I was hiding. There were two individuals in the lead, obviously Czerka employees. I noticed that they were heavily armed with blaster rifles and what appeared to be some sort of restraining devices. I made myself a mental note of their weapons. My advantage would be knowing what to expect. I wanted them to carry on their mission, thinking they were safe, not knowing they were being hunted. I felt the anger swelling inside me, as I saw Vel sauntering smugly behind them, his hand on Sinka’s arm. She looked worried. My HK-50 walked close behind them. Osik! I had hoped not to have to deal with HK. I could only hope that in the end, he would still be loyal to me. Aiden must have felt my anger. He put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. His way of calming me down and telling me that he was here for me. It helped a little.
A dark-colored Wookiee, who I assumed was the lift operator, motioned the group into the basket and slowly began to lower them down, into the intense blackness of the night.
After I was certain they could no longer see or hear anything above them, Aiden and I abandoned our hiding place. We carefully walked up to the Wookiee. I leaned over, removing my helmet, and looked down into the eternal blackness of the forest. Our guide, Salova’s son, Liakkat, arrived at that moment and I looked up at his approach.
“I apologize, for being late.” He growled regretfully. “ I was detained.”
I told him, that the other party had only recently gone down. Liakkat walked over to the other Wookiee and carried on a conversation. Aiden and I stood in silence, wondering what we were getting ourselves into. After some time had passed, the Wookiee began to hoist the basket back to the platform. It was a long wait. As the basket arrived, I realized just how anxious I was. I wanted this to be over with. I wanted to put this all behind me and get back to my life.
Liakkat called for us to get into the lift. The wooden basket creaked and groaned under our weight as we stepped inside. It seemed sturdy enough, but I couldn’t help but have a fleeting thought of the lines snapping and the three of us plummeting to our deaths. I shook off the thought as the operator began to lower us down. The basket jerked once, and then began its long journey to the bottom.
After only a few minutes, the darkness seeped in, to engulf us. Liakkat didn’t want us to use any light until we reached the bottom. I agreed. We did not need to be seen by people or any other creatures. I had heard tales of parties of men and Wookiees that had come down here and were never heard from again. The animals were fierce and dangerous. Even the plant-life could take you down.( The last thing I needed right now was to be eaten by a plant!)
The farther down the basket dropped, the less light there was. Eventually, there was no light available. In the beginning, I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. Aiden and I stood close to one another, keeping silent, but each glad that we could feel the other one nearby. As the minutes passed, my eyes adjusted to the darkness. It was still as black as the blackest night, but to my eyes, it seemed to have a slight bluish hue, making the shapes of the leaves and tree trunks outlined. I hadn’t put my helmet on yet. I could have easily used it to see what was going on around me, but this was a once in a lifetime chance. I doubted that I would ever have reason to be this deep in the Wookiee forests ever again. I would put my helmet on when we were on the ground. For now, I wanted to experience the depths of the Wookiee home-world with my own eyes.
The minutes seemed like hours and eventually, I completely lost track of time. I listened in silence to the sounds of distant creatures, bellowing out of view, in the darkness. Their cries, sent chill bumps all over my body, each sound, an eerie, yet beautiful addition to the shadowy world. Just when I felt that this planet had no ground, the basket none too gently hit the bottom, knocking me off-balance. I bumped into Aiden as my hand reached for the lip of the lift.
I eased my helmet into place and followed Liakkat and Aiden out of the basket and onto the forest floor. I tilted my head upward as I did so, wondering just how far we had come. I could see nothing but blackness and intertwining branches going up into infinity. I knew that Vel and the others had a good, long head start on us now and I wondered how we would ever find them down here. I thought about waiting for them to come back to the lift, but as the thought crossed my mind, Liakkat spoke.
“My friend, Kaarrrk, the lift operator, overheard the Czerka employees say, that they were heading to the northern sector, to retrieve something that belongs to them. Czerka has a small work-camp down here in that sector, about three clicks away. I suggest that we start looking there.”
Aiden and I agreed that it sounded like a plan and the three of us, Liakkat in the lead, headed off in the general direction of the work-camp.

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