The return to the deary, soggy Jinara was uneventful. At kept quiet and I had nothing to say. Priest of Jirth met us at the landing. “Is Teacher of Einlari now of Go On Don?” It asked.
At bowed. “We have confirmed her abilities. It may be years before her training is done, but I have returned her to you.”
Priest of Jirth skin flushed as it shifted positions. “Jirth is happy to return the Teacher of Einlari to her homeworld.”
A feeling of doubt, and suspicion flowed over me. I realized it didn’t come from me, but from the Priest of Jirth. Why would it be suspicious of At or me? Until I knew more, I decided to ignore it. “Thank you for your warm welcome. When are we leaving for the homeworld?” I had come to care for At and Jiirra, but I longed for the company of my own people.
Priest of Jirth blinked several times. “Jirth ship leaves as soon as you board.” It lifted the three pronged fingers at a small transport craft on the other side of the field. “Teacher of Einlari luggage is being moved now.”
The sudden move surprised me. The Jirth never seemed to move with any speed. “Oh…” I trailed off before I smiled. “I’m glad.”
At brushed my arm. He transferred his feelings to me, full of worry, and anger. “I’ll shall miss you Rilas.”
I turned and wrapped my arms around him. Even after these long months it felt strange to hug something rail thin, and furry. “I’ll miss you to At. I promise to use the communication device you gave me whenever I find the time.” I lifted my head to look in his warm brown eyes. “Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten Jiirra either.”
He stepped away with a nose wiggle. His powerful mental voice boomed in my skull. “Be careful the Jirth are up to something.” He spoke out loud. “I’ll see you later, Rilas.” At twisted to look at the Priest of Jirth. “And, thank you for allowing me her company for these past few months.” He bowed, then stepped back up the ramp into the ship.
Priest of Jirth signaled for me to follow. In silence we made our way to the ship. I focused my mind. Unlike my friends in Go On Don I couldn’t read minds. However, being empath allowed me to feel emotions. Priest of Jirth felt anxious, fearful, suspicious, and worried. The question I had was why? I’ll admit I was not happy to serve as the vessel who would enslave my people. Neither had I truly fought against it either. The only time I threatened to make it difficult, because Priest of Jirth tried to block my desire to train as a Mental.
I mulled on it as we got into the transport vessel. I settled into a chair. The strange smooth movements of the Jirth struck me again. Priest of Jirth body did not bend as it sat down. “Priest of Jirth, what do you want me not to know?”
The brown spots darkened as all of its skin flushed to a deep red. A touch of fear filled me, because I’d never seen its skin turn such a color. “What did the Go On Don tell you about Jirth colonization?”
“Nothing.” Not completely true, but they didn’t tell me anything but vague warnings to be careful. Remembering how little they told me put me in an annoyed frame of mind.
It brushed the fringe of hair on top of its elongated head. “Why did they tell you nothing?”
“They said the Go On Don must be careful about involving themselves in politics. Especially in delicate matters such as this one.” Whenever I asked they all said the same thing. Viirra, the one I judged to be the least cautious, said the same. “They did say there was more to this than you have let on.”
“Jirth forbade me to say more. I serve Jirth. All Jirth must choose the greater good. Einlari are Jirth now, they must serve.” The doctrine was the same last time I talked the Priest of Jirth. I should have felt relieved that we were going to be included in Jirth society as normal. Instead my concern increased.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “What do you mean we must serve? Serve how?”
“I did not know who you would serve until today.” Priest of Jirth skin paled a bit to almost normal color. “Einlari will serve as labor to build a great space station, and resort for travellers and traders.”
“Laborers.” The word echoed over and over in my head. Something about it seemed important. “Wait, isn’t that class of people in Jirth who have only work. They can’t create art, make music, be educated, or anything but physical labor.”
Priest of Jirth dropped its head. “I am sorry, Teacher of Einlari. You are correct.”
A rage bubbled inside me. Too late for me to go the Intergalactic Council. They either lied, or kept the knowledge from me. My people would be treated almost like animals, and everything that made our people what they are would be gone. The feeling went cold and dormant. Patience, I counciled myself, patience.