Avenger: Chapter 9

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Joalla-Ki and Amanda sat in the grassy courtyard, watching the children playing. The mid-afternoon heat only intensified the energy of the little ones. Joalla-Ki held a length of pale blue silk in her lap, working silver threads through it. When finished, it would appear solid blue or solid silver under the proper angle of light, ever changing as the wearer moved. Amanda learned from her, but the women were more prone now to laugh over her efforts. She did well, but this was a skill that took years to learn properly. Joalla-Ki told her so as she put down her work to help Amanda yet again.

"Perhaps I'll have it right by the time we are finished here," Amanda responded, laughing.

"I know our world is very different from Vulcan, but we hope you find your stay here pleasant. You wish to leave, yes?"

"Canris is beautiful. I'm happy to finally see Marakil's home," Amanda hastened to assure her. "Vulcan is my home, with Sarek, but there are things I miss very much." She nodded toward the children. "Simple things, like children laughing. I never realized how much, until I heard them."

"Then share them with me. Store the memories in your heart and let them be joy to you." Joalla-Ki squeezed Amanda's hands to empha­size her words. "Vulcan cannot be such a cold place, for Marakil to love it so."

"Your daughter understands Vulcans as few others can."

She put a few more stitches into her work. "Amanda, my friend, may I ask you of personal, private things? If you do not wish to answer, tell me, and I will not ask again. Was it very hard for your son to walk between two worlds?"

"He had difficulty, growing up, yes." Amanda sighed. *Children can be cruel, even to their best friends. When one is different ... Spock was the first Vulcan-Human child. It will be easier for others, because of him."

"But you still grudge the pain he experienced."

"Of course. I am his mother -- however emotional I may be."

The two women smiled at each other in perfect understanding.

"Thank you for telling me these things. Things a mother needs to know." She paused. "I can see Sojar is a good man and he will take care of Marakil. But will she be happy on Vulcan?"

Amanda had to think on that. Marakil did fit in well on Vulcan. The people accepted and helped her. Perhaps the unexpectedness of her gift opened doors closed to other Humans. Vulcans understood her difficulties. Pity was the wrong word. They made allowances for her that few other Humans earned. Her teachers had made greater effort to bring her understanding, for her life and sanity depended on it. Marakil had learned quickly, with endeared her to her teachers. She tried with her whole being. Marakil would find life good on Vulcan. Whether she wanted it was another matter. Amanda tried to express such things to Joalla-Ki.

"Yes, that is the problem. My greatest fear is that she will marry Sojar because that is the only life she sees available to her."

"But she has so many other possibilities. Starfleet, other worlds."

"Yes, possibilities. But see from Canris' view. Purity of blood is a great treasure here. Breeding for a long time was controlled, to avoid sickness and mutation. Now, as the Federation approaches, Canris holds purity even more dearly. I have learned some consider my daughter tainted by her experiences. Who will marry her, fearing her talent will go to their children? Even if a man could see past the foolishness, he must consider the children, who might not find spouses. We have learned to think many generations into the future before we take any action."

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