I stood in the stadium. The ‘leaders’ of the my people arrayed behind me. The massive gleaming, metallic walls filled with seats made me feel small. The orange sun beat down relentlessly, as we were standing in the middle and none a touch of shade got near us. I wish I’d brought a pavilion. The Jirth had brought a large selection for their own people. I saw Miek along with the other Leaders on the platform. A few Einlari the Jirth had judged worthy were sprinkled through out the crowd. The Council hadn’t arrived yet. I wondered which Councilors were coming. They hadn’t told me.
Leader of Jirth stepped up the podium. “Teacher of Einlari, you need to be on the platform. The Council requested you.”
I swallowed hard. Toff patted me on the arm. I took a fast walk and made onto the platform. “When are they getting here?”
“Council will be here soon.” Leader of Jirth looked away. As did the rest except Miek.
Shouts caught my attention as arms pointed upward, Einlari arms. I caught the word “Shuttle!” as I looked up. A small land ship was descending in the only open area in the stadium floor. A flutter started in my stomach. The door swung upward as two armored figures stepped out in full armor. I couldn’t tell their race but if I had guess they’d be Gamore: big, stupid, and powerful.
A Daie stepped out. The short, barely up my hip, featureless, flat face with slits for a mouth and eyes. Then, a Runnil with furry bodies, and large antlers. A large bulbous, slimy creature with spindly arms, a Groanic. I have never seen one in person before. A slithering, scaled creature with thousands of eyes and arms arrayed on his back, an Iijii. Last, a large eye creature with ten arms with suction arrayed in them and two fingered hands. I wasn’t sure of what race it was. My knowledge of the galaxy wasn’t as extensive as it should have been.
The Daie approached first and rest formed a line behind it. They moved onto the platform. “I shall be the speaker for the Council.”
A Jirth ran up and placed a some steps so the Daie could reach the top of the podium. It struck me as funny, I managed to not actually laugh however. Daie stood for a moment in silence and then the strange, lilting voice echoed across the stadium. “People of Einndias I require your attention.”
The whole place stilled. The quiet hum of life ended. The only sound was the remembered echo of the Daie’s words. “I am from the Intergalactic Council. I am the ranking senior member. Twenty-six standard cycles ago Rilas, Teacher of Jirth, Member of Go On Don came before the Council and requested her people be freed. The speech was full of passion, and desire. It drew the interest of many members of the Council. But, her commitment did not end there. She pushed on many of her contacts forcing them to bring up the agenda to keep it fresh with in our minds. It is solely by her effort that the Council stands here today. Her commitment, and desire to protect her body has led to this decision.” The tension felt thick, and I could hardly breath. I suspected the answer, but I still did not know it.
“We have agreed to allow the Einlari to go free. And, in addition to be acknowledged as members of the Intergalactic community. They may have one representative on the Intergalactic Council, and they may bid for spaceships as their resources allow. There is one stipulation. Rilas, Teacher of Jirth, and Member of Go On Don must stay planet side to assist with integration process. Therefore, she can not serve on the Council.” The Daie turned toward me. “Do you agree?”
The shocks of the last minutes caused me stuttered out, “yes.” Cheering began to rise up in the stadium. I glanced over at the group of Einlari I brought and they looked ecstatic.
Miek took the platform. “Einlari debt is paid in full.” It stepped down. More cheering rose up at its proclamation. I doubt they knew what it meant.
I did. We were not only free, but an acknowledged race. We would never have to be worry about being enslaved again, it was prohibited by Intergalactic Law. A race on the same level of the Jirth. All I had wanted to do was to give them freedom, instead I had earned them a place in the galaxy. My knees gave out as I landed on the hard surface. The pain barely registered. All those years had meant something. Tears raced down my face.
Strong hands cupped my face, lifting it so I looked into Juin’s eyes. Those soft brown eyes filled with the same happiness. “Rilas, you did it. You did it. You more than did it. We are free, forever and ever.”
“I love you.” I said then blinked. I hadn’t meant to say it. But, I decided to let it stand. “I have so many decisions to make, but this burden is gone. Now, all my toil will be building something greater.”
Author’s note: This is the end of the Planet of Jirth. I hoped you enjoyed the story. I’ll be starting another long fiction in a couple of weeks about Gulla Valik, whom there are a few flashes. Vallen’s Freedom and Gulla, The Rebel.
Also, I hope to have a free ebook of Rilas’s Saga available by November 31st.