Healing Old Wounds
|«Where We Belong|
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There you are. As I told you before, Knem wishes to speak with me about Skip's staying here at the Crystarium.
If you would also hear what she has to say, meet us over at the rookery.
Thank you for coming. I would have you hear this as well.
What do you suppose she has to say?
You've come. Good. Before we begin, I would thank you again for the Berube feed you prepared for the amaro.
It was most excellent, and the other amaro enjoyed it as well.
Ahem. But I digress. Now, as you may or may not be aware, Knem is the stable master here at the rookery.
It warms my heart to see you well again, Skip.
I have given the matter of your staying much thought, and there is no denying the value of your presence here at the Crystarium.
Then I have your leave to stay?
In a word, yes.
However, everyone here must do their part. To be certain that you too are able to contribute, I would have you undertake a test.
Yes. Two in fact. First, I would have you partake of the food we provide to the other amaro here at the stable. Being of a different breed, we must be certain our feed is suitable to your constitution.
That seems reasonable enough.
I do not wish to alarm you, but the staple fare of our amaro is the same as that used by the poachers who poisoned you.
Must we really subject him to this now? It's not his constitution that concerns me, but the trauma of his experience.
There's only so much we can do to accommodate a single amaro of many. It would be impractical to maintain a separate stock of food for him alone.
If he proves comfortable eating it, we can discuss the next test.
If there is no other way, then I must try.
I believe in you, Skip!
Forename, would you be willing to prepare the feed? Perhaps it will assuage his fears if he senses it was made by your hand.
If you have need of supplies, you need only ask. When you have finished, bring the feed to Bethric.
In need of more supplies? Here, take this.
The mere thought of those poachers and their poison makes my stomach turn, but if this is what I must do to stay at the Crystarium, I will give it my all.
You have done fine work, my friend. I pray Skip enjoys it.
We're counting on you for that feed.
Another culinary masterpiece. This looks fantastic!
You are quite skilled to master our recipes so quickly. Such quality would normally require years of training.
Are you certain there is no other way? Already I can feel my stomach turning in protest.
You can do it, Skip. Remember: Forename prepared this especially for you.
More than good─this is delicious! I regret not partaking sooner!
Thank you, Forename.
That's the spirit. And imagine how much more enjoyable your meals will be in the company of the other amaro.
Well done. We may move on to the next test, then.
Yes, of course. What would you have me do?
You must fly from the Belt to the Amaro Launch, carrying a passenger.
Ah, of course. To prepare him for the work the other amaro carry out, yes?
Precisely. All who live here at the Crystarium must do their part to support our community. For you, that part will be the transport of goods and people.
I've not had a rider since the Flood... Still, I am an amaro. Such a task should prove a simple one.
Come, Forename. Let's be off.
No. You must take Bethric.
It is clear you have formed a strong connection with Forename, Skip. But you are not like to share any such bond with riders in your day-to-day work.
B-But... It's been too long since I've ridden. What's more, Skip has but recently recovered from his illness. Perhaps one of your stablehands, one proficient in─
Such a skill is not easily forgotten. You will ride him, Bethric. My decision is final.
You may stay to observe, if you like. Perhaps your presence will settle their nerves.
If you will be watching, then I cannot fail.
Provided I don't make a mess of things, of course. I'll try not to let Skip down.
Landing at the Amaro Launch is more difficult than one might think, but I'll guide him as best I can.
We'll be waiting for you at the Belt.
We can expect your attendance for this exercise, yes? I know it would mean much to Bethric and Skip both if you were there.
This place again...
This is it, Skip. How are you feeling?
Equal parts terrified and excited. It was here that I was assailed by the poachers, but as we take to the sky and fly back to the Crystarium, I intend to leave those painful memories behind.
Hold on a minute. Isn't that...?
Well I'll be! It's that talkin' amaro what got away from us the other day.
No... No, it can't be!
Don't you two move, you hear? We don't want any trouble. Just your feathered friend there.
They say the tongue from an amaro like that can cure any illness. Should fetch a nice price from those overfed prigs in Eulmore!
Tupaq Amaro tongues have never been proven to possess such curative properties!
Well it don't matter what we think. If they're willing to pay gil hand over fist for a sliver of that there tongue, who are we to argue?
We need to alert the guard somehow. If they can be apprehended and questioned, perhaps we can locate their hideout, and put an end to their entire operation.
It's somewhat of a gamble, but I have an idea.
Skip, do you think you can lift me up into the air?
No... No, not again. I can't!
What's that? Best speak up now while you still can.
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! You have to trust us. ! Chin up, Skip. We'll get through this.
You... You're right. I cannot squander all you and the others have done for me.
You... You're right. I cannot squander all you and the others have done for me.
Wait here, Forename.
What are you lot up to now?
Out of the way, maggot!
We're havin' that tongue!
You piddlin' streak o' piss!
You gormless pile o' Mordshite! Don't you dare lay a hand on my Skip!
Wh-What in the hells?
Ahhh! My legs! I can't feel my legs!
Out of the way, Forename!
Damn it all. You'll pay for this!
Phew. At last they're gone. Are you all right?
The plan was a success, and it's all thanks to you, Skip. You were so brave up there!
You should be thanking Forename, not me. He helped me find the strength to cast away my fears.
And now I'm ready to complete Knem's trial. To the Crystarium!
Knem is sure to be impressed.
Skip took to the sky as if it belonged to him, and Knem bore witness to it all, from takeoff to landing.
I had my doubts at first, but he has grown so much in such a short time.
Khrrr! Soon I will call the Crystarium home!
And after I inform the guard of our recent encounter with the poachers, I should hope that will be the last we hear of them.
Let us return to the rookery.
Home at last.
It is good to see you are returned safe.
Bethric offered us a rather lengthy retelling of your confrontation with the poachers, and from the sounds of it, they can't have gone far. It's only a matter of time before they're found.
There you are. I insisted we wait for your arrival before Knem announced her decision.
After bearing witness to Skip's flight from the Belt, and his outstanding bravery in the face of danger, I hereby declare him fit to join the amaro here at Temenos Rookery.
Thank you! Thank you all so much!
I promise to do all I can that my gift might bring man and amaro closer together, as they once were in the days of Ronka.
From what you told me earlier, you were no slouch either, Bethric.
Yes, well, I'm merely grateful I had the opportunity to overcome my apprehension of riding amaro. How fortuitous that you chose me rather than one of your stablehands...
I'm not sure I understand what it is you're implying.
More importantly, this whole ordeal has taught me that it requires more than knowledge to be skilled in medicine.
If I'm ever to be a truly great veterinarian, I have to let go of the past and my fears of failure. It has kept me from fully committing to the care of amaro despite my love for them, and I suspect they could sense my trepidation.
A lesson I think we all would do well to learn.
Thank you again, Forename, for all your help.
And you as well, Bethric.
If your intention is to be more committed to the care of the amaro, I hope that means we can count on you to prepare our food in the future.
For you, Skip, anything.
What do you say we return to the Mean, Forename? The amaro's medicines want for mixing and they won't do it themselves.
The future looks bright, old friend...
You'll come back to visit, won't you?
Skip will make for an interesting new addition to the rookery. No doubt the stablehands will appreciate his ability to speak to the other amaro.
Oh, Forename. You've done so much for me and the amaro, I'm at a loss as to how to repay your kindness.
Skip wouldn't be alive if not for you... And like as not, I would've placed the blame on anyone but myself.
That all ends now. I will do whatever it takes to ensure the amaro never again want for succor.
I have my work cut out for me, but don't be a stranger, all right? Perhaps I can even help you with something for a change.