The next day, Dennethom began making the necessary plans to leave Skora. He made his excuses to Nyal, claiming that they had joined the Boentu monk order to get away from warrior life, and they needed to earn forgiveness for killing the crew of the raider ships.
When Dennethom returned from his meeting with Nyal, he found Arjuna holding Nerita in her arms. As she saw her brother approach, she handed her daughter to Yasana and requested they go out and talk privately. Dennethom noticed the grave expression on his sister’s face but said nothing until they were outside in the brisk evening air. He waited for her to speak which she did after taking several deep breaths.
“I don’t know where we plan to go next, but I need to make a stop, first.”
Dennethom tilted his head in curiosity. “Where?”
“The Gaian System.”
“You want to go to Delphin Prime?” he asked.
“Yes,” she confirmed.
“Of course,” he replied. “I don’t blame you for wanting to introduce Nerita to her father.”
Arjuna rubbed at her eye furiously and snarled in frustration. “I don’t just want to introduce them.”
“I want him to raise Nerita,” she replied. Realising that what she had said was still confusing to Dennethom, she elaborated. “I want Nerita to live on Delphin Prime with her father.”
Dennethom was unsure how to respond. “Why?”
“Because this is no life for a child.”
“Because of the raiders?” he asked, incredulously. “We fought off the attack from the raiders.”
Arjuna threw up her hands in frustration and started to walk away but Dennethom stopped her.
“Explain it to me, Arjuna.”
“I want to send her away because of all of it. The raiders, Lossepharr, the living on-board ships for moons-”
“It won’t be moons. We’ll find another small outpost like this!” Dennethom interrupted.
“The running and hiding!”
Dennethom didn’t know what to say. “Arjuna, what about Arkaya? Arkaya’s going through the same things as Nerita. I would never put him in danger. And Arro’s about to have a child, too. We all understand your frustration.”
Arjuna shook her brother away. “Yes. But you don’t have a choice. I do. Nerita could be safe. Nobody knows about Markenn. Nobody’s looking for him. He could protect Nerita. I would know she was safe with him. I….” her voice faltered and for a moment Dennethom thought his sister would break down in tears. “I wouldn’t have that knowledge if she stayed with us.”
Dennethom encircled his sister in his arms, a gesture that was most unusual for him. He was always used to Arjuna being the tough one. He held her for several minutes before saying, “I’ll tell Jora to plot a course for Delphin Prime,” he promised.