Balsa must return to her homeland to clear Jiguro's name and restore her foster father's honor.
It was time for Balsa to leave New Yogo and everyone she loved, and return to Kanbal, her homeland. She had tried so hard to forget Kanbal. Thinking about it hurt, like touching an old scar. But the scar was on her heart, her soul, and the only way to help it heal was to face it, head on. To do that, she had to return to Kanbal.
She'd left Kanbal when she was only six. Jiguro, her father's closest friend, took her away secretly, because her life and her father's life were in danger. It was Jiguro who brought her up and taught her to be a warrior. He also told her about what her father had done, why he was killed, and why they'd had to leave Kanbal.
Over the years Balsa had watched as one at a time, eight warriors from Kanbal found them, and tried to kill them. Eight warriors who'd been Jiguro's closest friends, eight men who believed that Jiguro had committed a terrible crime, and deserved to die. But Jiguro was stronger than all of them, and one by one he killed them, and wept over their bodies, to keep Balsa safe, and to keep the promise he'd made to her father.
After Jiguro's death, Balsa realized that she had an unpaid debt to him. She decided to return to Kanbal, find his family, and clear his name. She would put his ghost to rest, and then go on with her life. She expected to find rest and reconciliation, but instead discovered that the lies, the intrigue, the plotting had continued. Once again, her life was in danger.
But she wasn't six any longer, and she was a strong and confident warrior, able and ready to do whatever was necessary to clear Jiguro's name, so he could rest in peace.
This booktalk was written by Joni Richard Bodart, university professor, writer, consultant, and booktalking expert.