Before Letting Their Armor Down (The Old Republic)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by SabyneAmberle, Feb 14, 2014.

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  1. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Title: Letting Their Armor Down
    Author: SabyneAmberle
    Timeframe: Before the Saga, The Old Republic era
    Characters: Torian Cadera, Ky (Kybrina) Gammon, Gault, Mako
    Genre: Romance
    Summary: Ever since he had joined their crew back on Taris, Torian and Ky had been gradually growing closer. Now comes an unexpected invitation...and two crew members who decide to help out by playing Matchmaker.
    Notes: Thanks to playing TOR, I'm back to writing again! This is an idea I've had kicking around for a few days now, and just in time for V-Day, too. I wanted to play with the 'first date' they bring up in conversations, so here goes. (Also, ignore the thread title. That was my working title for this fic, but I thought of a better one.)
    Last edited by SabyneAmberle, Feb 19, 2015
  2. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    To Ky, nothing felt better after a long day chasing bounties than to take a seat and grab a drink at the nearest cantina. She never remembered the names of the small cantinas and outposts she frequented; with all the worlds she had visited -not to mention passing through the various cities dotting each of those worlds- the small haunts usually blended together until they all seemed the same. The Poison Pit became the Nexus became the Shifting Sands became...she couldn't even tell anymore. When her minds was on a target, her surroundings often passed in a blur.

    This time, however, was an exception. This side-trip to Dromund Kaas had been brief, a quick stopover to do a favor for Crysta. Her former handler had asked for all due discretion in the task, which Ky was happy to provide. It was the least she could do to repay the woman who had guided her through the Great Hunt. Once the task was finished and her fee paid, Ky retired to the Nexus for her standard post-job drink. She sat in one corner of the cantina, alone for the first time since she had arrived on Hutta all those months ago. Normally, Mako joined her for these post-job drinking sessions, but the girl had declined the invitation in favor of running errands to restock the Mantis' provisions. Ky didn't argue, knowing all too well the importance of a well-stocked ship. In the past, she had had to tighten her belt on more than one occasion between jobs, so these rare boom times were good to take advantage of, lest the day come when the credits stopped flowing.

    Looking around the cantina, Ky noticed it was largely empty. This really didn't surprise her. Dromund Kaas was not a heavily populated world, and the bulk of its population were Imperials. She was sure the busy life of an Imperial soldier or officer precluded sitting in a cantina drinking the day away, even if it was a well-lit and well-stocked one. Continuing to scan the room, she easily spotted Gault sitting at the bar; the one-horned Devaronian was apparently telling a story of some sort to the person sitting at his left elbow. Judging by his grandiose gestures, Ky silently wagered he was telling of their exploits, with a...heavy slant toward his contributions. She didn't care, as long as he did the jobs assigned to him he could tell whatever kind of exaggerated tales he wanted.

    “Hey.” The single word, followed by the scraping sound of a chair sliding against the floor, startled her out of her thoughts. She looked over to see Torian sitting diagonally across from her, drink in hand. She was glad the lighting in this corner of the cantina was such that it hid the slight blush on her cheeks, and she tried to put on a casual act.

    “Torian?” she asked, taking another sip of her drink. “Where have you been? I haven't seen you all day. Even Mako had no idea where you ran off to.”

    “Didn't run off anywhere. Hiked out to the Mandalorian camp. Wanted to check things out for myself,” Torian replied. He downed his drink in three gulps, then gestured to have another brought to him. “Thought I'd mentioned that to you. Sorry if I didn't.”

    She waved it off. “No need to apologize. You probably said something about it, but I was too wrapped up with helping Crysta to recall,” she said. “I'm just glad you're back in one piece. What are your impressions of the encampment?”

    He shrugged, picking up the drink as it was placed on the table. “Seems like a good camp,” he said, taking another long swig from the glass. “Observed it from a distance. Didn't want to get too close, in case they were hostile.”

    “Does that happen often? Clans being hostile to members of another clan, I mean.” She finished off her own drink, and gestured absently for another, attention still focused on the young Mandalorian warrior. Ever since her adoption after successfully completing the Great Hunt, she harbored a curiosity about the Mandalorian people, wanting to learn more about them. Torian seemed like the best person to learn from.

    “From time to time. Rival clans don't always get along with each other. Sort of like rival bounty hunters, I wager.”

    She laughed a bit. “Safe bet,” she replied. “If that were a real bet, you would be collecting right about now.” Gingerly, she flexed the fingers on her right hand, feeling a flash of pain from her forearm. During her travels about the planet, she'd run into a rival hunter. Words were exchanged, threats issued, fighting began, and his vibroknife had found a weak spot in the armor on her forearm. Had it sunk in any deeper, she might have lost the arm completely. The Kolto was working, Mako had seen to that. But there were some things that only time could heal completely, a stab wound apparently being one of them.

    She knew he was watching her. “How's the arm?” he asked.

    She gave a small shrug. “Still attached,” she replied. “It hasn't turned black and fallen off, so I think it'll be fine with time.” She felt her heart race slightly when she noticed the small smile cross his lips. Try as she might, that smile always made her feel...strange. She focused her attention back on her arm, trying to hide the blush that tinged her cheeks.

    She felt him watch her keenly. “Dressing need to be changed?” he asked. She shook her head no, Mako had already helped with that earlier. He nodded, but didn't say anything.

    As they finished their drinks, they both fell quiet. Only the cantina music and voices of other patrons filled the silence that had sprung up between them. After several minutes, Torian spoke again. “Ever eaten Mandalorian food?” he asked. “At your adoption, maybe?”

    “Couldn't say,” she replied. “I was so overwhelmed with everything that was going on that I could have had some and don't recall. I've always meant to track some down, regardless.”

    He let out a soft laugh. “Understandable,” he said. “All the activity surrounding the Great Hunt can be pretty intense. Now that things are a bit calmer, want to try it?”

    Now it was her turn to laugh. She met his eyes with hers, one eyebrow raised. “Is that your way of asking me out?” she asked.

    “Maybe,” he said with a shrug. “Thought I might make you some tiingilar, see what you think.”

    Her head spun a bit as she considered his question. Of all the things she had expected him to ask her, a dinner date ranked pretty low on the list. She thought he would remain the same combat-focused individual he had been when they met, upholding honor and tradition above anything else. Did this mean his time spent with the crew was changing him? She didn't know, but she was willing to find out.

    “Pick a time,” she answered with a smile, “and we'll have dinner.”

    He returned her smile, this time more fully. “Good. Plan on it later,” he said. “Think of it as a challenge. They say any woman who can survive a plate of tiingilar is a keeper.”

    “Oh, do they now?” Ky's tone was teasing. “And how did I miss this particular nugget of information? Had I known that a long time ago, it might have saved me some trouble, you know.”

    “I imagine it would have. I'll fix you some, soon as I can get back to the galley.”

    She was about to continue her thought when a wave of dizziness swept over her. The events of the past couple days were catching up to her, it seemed. She clutched her forehead in one hand, giving her head a brisk shake to clear it. “I think that's my cue to take it easy for a day or two,” she said. “I should head back to the ship and get some rest.”

    “Good idea.” Torian rose from his seat, offering a steadying hand. Ky began to wave it off, but when her knees buckled as she tried to stand, she decided to take his hand. He firmly gripped her shoulders, allowing her to acclimate to the change in posture, only letting go when she seemed steady on her feet. “I'm going to scout around a bit more,” he said. “Should also pick up supplies for dinner. I'll be back to the ship in a couple hours.” He gave a reassuring smile and a squeeze to her shoulder before he exited the cantina.

    Gault appeared at her elbow almost instantaneously. “You two sure seem to be getting along,” he said, keeping close in case she started to feel dizzy again. “He's a good kid, though he needs to loosen up here and there.”

    Ky nodded her agreement. “He's come a long way already,” she replied. “The rest should come easy for him.” She leaned back against the table as another wave of dizziness hit, though this one only lasted a few seconds.


    “All right. I think that's a sign you need to head back,” Gault aid, reaching for his comm. “I'm gonna radio Mako, see if she'll come give you a hand. By the way, the ship's mine if you die on me, right?”


    Ky rolled her eyes. “I am not going to die,” she replied. “Even if I were, you're a bit late. Already promised it to Mako. You want it after I'm dead, you'll have to take it up with her.”
    Last edited by SabyneAmberle, Feb 14, 2014
  3. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    I like the characters and their interplay already =D= Especially between Ky and Torian. :)
  4. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3

    Thanks, Nyota. Dialogue and interplay are some of my favorite things to write. Torian has proven pretty tricky to write, since his manner of speaking is a little unusual. I keep telling myself not to write him in my usual style. [face_blush]
  5. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    And now, the next part. Enjoy!
    ************************************

    “Are you serious?” Mako turned back to face Ky, who was stretched out on one of the beds in the crew quarters. “Torian asked you out on a date?”

    Ky looked up from the imaginary trail map she was drawing on the sheet with her fingernail. “It's not a date, Mako,” she said. Having rested for an hour after returning to the Mantis with Mako, the dizzy spells and fatigue were all but gone, replaced by her usual feisty stubbornness. “He asked me if I've ever tried Mandalorian food, then offered to fix me some.”

    “Uh-huh. That sounds suspiciously like a date to me,” Mako replied. “And if it's not, I'm a Twi'lek dancing girl.”

    “If that's the case, I'll be happy to find a Hutt to sell you to,” Ky responded dryly. She stood up slowly, stretching her limbs. “Because your calling it a 'date' doesn't make it one.”

    “Oh, come off it, Ky,” Mako retorted. “You can deny it all you want, but one would have to be blind to have not seen the way you two interact. Gault remarked to me the other day the two of you were practically giving him cavities, you were so sweet together. And between you and me, I've seen the looks he gives you when you aren't paying attention. He's interested in you, Ky, though I doubt he has the courage to come out and say it.”

    “All right, all right! You've made your point. I'll call it a date if it makes you happy,” Ky resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Damn, she had forgotten how persistent Mako could be! “Sorry, the term just feels a bit odd to me. When Mother was trying to arrange a match for me a few years back, she called our little meetings 'dates'. Kinda ruins the term, y'know?”

    “Makes sense. So, what are you wearing tonight?”

    “Wearing?” Ky raised an eyebrow. “Am I supposed to dress differently from how I usually dress? This is Torian we're talking about, not some Alderaanian noble. I highly doubt he's going to notice.”

    “For frag's sake, Kybrina. He's a man, he's going to notice. Even I know that,” Mako shot back, slightly frustrated by her friend's stubbornness. The only time she slipped and used Ky's full first name was when the other hunter was being particularly grating. Like right at that very moment. “Luckily for you, I know just the place in the city to help with that.”

    Ky sighed, Mako just wasn't going to give up until she agreed. “All right, I'll play along,” she said. “Should I be worried about this place?”

    Mako shook her head. “Not at all. You might find it fun.”

    As the two young women left the crew quarters, they spotted Gault leaning against the opposite wall. “So...preparing for a date with the kid, huh Ky?” he asked.

    Ky blushed, knowing the Devaronian had overheard everything. “Yeah. Want to come with?” she asked, trying to keep her tone casual.

    “Nah. While I do love the finer things, I find picking them out to be a tedious process. I'll just stay here and help the kid out when he gets back.” Gault reached into his pocket, producing a credit chit. He tossed it to Ky, who caught it easily. He laughed as she scanned the chit, eyes widening upon seeing the amount contained on it. “Go pick something nice out. My treat. It's the least I can do to thank you for letting me tag along.”

    “Uh, okay. Thanks.” Ky was a bit uncomfortable, but she slid the chit into her pocket and turned toward the door.

    “Oh, and Ky?” Gault's voice stopped her as her hand rested on the metal of the door. “I think dark green would be the perfect color for you. Just a suggestion.”

    She was infinitely glad her back was to him at that moment. No need to show him the intense blush that now colored her face. “I...I'll keep that in mind. Thanks.”

    Once they exited the ship, Ky gave Mako a look that clearly said I'm not sure whether to be amused or horrified by that. Mako laughed gently, patting her friend's shoulder.

    “I don't know how to respond to that, either. Trust me. Anyway, come on, let's not let that gift of his go to waste.”
  6. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Enjoyed the snarking and also can understand Kybrina's reluctance to call her dinner with Torian a 'date' - after being 'matched up' with who knows what [face_laugh] Dark green-- sounds gorgeous. :cool: Made me grin to realize there's already subtle sparks between Ky/Tor. @};-
  7. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3

    Personally, I am a huge magpie when it comes to colors and shiny. So deep, rich colors really draw me in. (Plus, my trademark with characters is to give them red hair, which goes wonderfully with dark colors.) It's also always fun to write the sparks/chemistry/interaction between characters, there's so many nuances to explore. And fear not! A future prompt will have Ky talk about her prior 'dates'.
  8. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Morning, world! Rare busy Saturday for me, so have another part.
    ******************

    The first thing Torian noticed when he returned to the ship was how quiet it was. No chatter from Mako about bounty targets or her latest Holonet find, no called-out greeting from Kybrina. Just silence.

    “Anyone here? Kybrina? Mako?” he called out as he set his pack in the galley.

    “They'll be back,” Gault stood in the doorway to the galley, arms folded. “When Ky told Mako you asked her on a date, Mako insisted they head into the city to get ready. Women. I tell you. They're so predictable.”

    Torian blushed as he unloaded his pack. He paused briefly, inhaling deeply of the mixture of spices that he had procured. They were hard to find -some he had had to call in favors to get his hands on- but they were all here. He would make this the best meal he possibly could, if only to impress her. He worked quickly, cutting the meat and vegetables as he had been shown. He then carefully added the spices, noting all it would take was a pinch too much or too little of any one spice and the flavor of the entire dish could be ruined.

    Gault, who had left the galley while Torian was unpacking, had reappeared. “That smells really good,” he said, inhaling deeply. “You're a natural cook, kid.”

    “Have to be, when you're out in the field,” Torian replied. “Try to save you some, but no promises.”

    “Fair enough.” Gault said with a shrug. “You know, Mako said something to Ky earlier that made a lot of sense. We may not be nobility here on this ship, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be without some standards. While you were prepping things in here, I went and pulled out some clothes of mine that I could spare. Why don't you let me keep an eye on the dish while you clean up and change into them?”

    “Not sure that's a good idea,” Torian said.

    “Why not? If nothing else, it might please Ky to see you clean up for her like that.”

    Torian thought about it for a moment. While being out of armor would make him more vulnerable to an attack, it was hard to resist the thought of pleasing Kybrina with different clothes. Even if they were borrowed. “Okay, make sure the tiingilar doesn't overcook. Won't be long.”

    He left Gault in the galley and headed for the crew quarters. There, he spotted the aforementioned garments. There were simple enough, a plain ivory-colored shirt and coordinating dark gray pants, but the fine silkiness of the materials under his touch belied their true quality. Mandalorians owned few garments besides their armor, and none of as fine a quality as these. Picking up the garments, he headed into the fresher, deciding a shower after a long day scouting wasn't a bad idea.

    As the water hit his skin, his thoughts turned to Kybrina. He smiled, closing his eyes as he thought about those intense blue eyes -like the clearest afternoon sky on Dxun- and that pale skin. He didn't mind the trio of scars that ran down the left side of her face; if anything, they were scars from battle that should be worn proudly. He admired the straightforward manner in which she handled things, without being flustered or getting needlessly angry. She was just as composed and focused as some of the best Mandalorian generals he knew. The more he thought about it, the more he realized everything about her made her an honorable and worthy companion. He just hoped she thought the same about him.

    When he felt he had been in the shower long enough, he shut off the water and stepped out, grabbing a large towel that lay nearby. Drying himself off, he looked around the small room for a comb; not finding one, he ran his fingers through his damp hair until it looked as he wanted it to. He then slipped on the garments Gault lent him, unable to suppress a small shiver as the soft fabric brushed his skin. His hunch had been correct, the fabric and quality of these clothes were exquisite. He studied his reflection in the mirror as he fastened all the small buttons that closed the cuffs and collar, smiling at what he saw. He would never think himself strikingly handsome, but he thought he looked pleasing enough. Once finished, he returned to the crew quarters, where he pulled a pair of boots out of his footlocker. He remembered when Kybrina had picked them out, just after they were paid for taking down Jicoln on Taris. This would be the first time since that he was wearing them. He sat on his bed and pulled them on, marveling at how perfectly they fit. It was as though they had been made for him.

    Leaving the crew quarters, he thought to check on dinner in the galley. He looked through the doorway to see Gault slowly stirring the pot's contents.

    “How's it looking?” he asked.

    “About as good as you right now,” Gault replied. “I doubt she'll be able to keep her eyes off you, let alone her hands.” He laughed as he watched Torian blush and turn away, it was always so much fun making either of those two embarrassed. “Jokes aside, it smells like dinner is ready. Now, you just have to wait for Mako to get back with Ky, and your little dinner date will be all set. I'll even make sure Mako and I make ourselves scarce so you two can have some alone time.”


    Torian looked back over his shoulder at the Devaronian. “Appreciate that,” he replied with a nod.
  9. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Hi, loved the bonus post. =D= Yum, at the mental image of Torian all spruced up LOL [face_mischief] Eagerly! awaiting this not-date [:D]
  10. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Hey, I'm loving this! My Bounty Hunter in SWTOR is a male and the romance with Mako is great; it's nice to see the other side. :)
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  11. earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    A lovely story with nice characters and names
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  12. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Thank you all very much! This has been a fun fic to write. Now, this next update got rather out of hand, I think. But I wanted to both indulge my love of descriptive scenes and show some more about Ky, so the length was worth it.
  13. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Ky had never expected two hours to pass in such a blur.

    After they left the Mantis, Ky had brought her to a small shop in the heart of Kaas City's shopping district. Mako had told her the Holonet was abuzz with stories about this particular shop, and how it seemed to work 'miracles'. Ky wasn't totally convinced, yet she wasn't about to ruin her friend's fun, so she allowed Mako to guide her through the streets of Kaas City until they found the shop.

    Upon reaching their destination, Ky entered first, and was instantly taken aback by the wares it contained; racks of gorgeous gowns in every color imaginable, tables and cases filled with jewels, an entire vanity covered with cosmetics and perfumes...it was all enough to make her head swim. One of the tables alone appeared to hold enough jewels for her to live on for a year without taking contracts. Even her own mother didn't own a third of what this shop had available!

    They had only been inside for a few minutes when Madame Ricell, the matronly shop owner, emerged from the back room with her four assistants. Once they were informed about the reason for the hunters' visit, the group went to work. Ky found herself whisked from one spot to the next like she was trapped in a sandstorm on Tatooine.

    She was first taken to the racks of gowns, where she was asked what color and style she was seeking. Remembering Gault's advice, she asked for a gown in dark green, in any style. There was murmuring amongst the assistants for a few moments before the one called Nera explained that, although dark green was out of fashion for that season, she was sure Madame had a few gowns from the prior season in that shade.

    “I will be more than happy to look in our storage for a gown that will be perfect for you, Miss,” Nera said. Ky gave a nod, and the young woman disappeared into the dimly-lit back area.

    Though her next stop should have been the jewelry tables, Ky declined politely. The silver circlet she already wore, along with the necklace she kept tucked beneath her armor, seemed sufficient enough adornments for the evening. Jenae, the assistant who was most experienced with jewelry, requested permission to polish the pieces; after a moment of thought, Ky removed both and handed them to the eager girl. As she sat down to begin cleaning, another assistant carrying an exquisite silver bracelet walked past Ky. Instantly, the young hunter stopped her, picking up the bracelet and fastening it around her wrist. Both Mako and the other girl oohed and aahed over it, and at Ky's nod the bracelet was quickly removed and whisked away for Jenae to polish up as well.

    Her final stop in the shop was the well-stocked makeup table. Once Ky was seated, Madame sent over her last assistant, a willowy Twi'lek girl called Seb'ia. She gently ran a comb through Ky's deep red hair, tugging and twisting it into a style that would flatter the young hunter's face. Once finished, she then moved in front of Ky. She took each of Ky's hands, smoothing a cream over them to soften the skin. Years of built-up callouses acquired from fighting would not simply vanish in a minute, but she was able to work most of them until they were smoother. When she was satisfied with their condition, she stepped aside to allow Madame to apply the cosmetics she had carefully selected.

    “You see, my dear,” Madame explained as she smoothed a light cream over Ky's skin, “Here in my shop, my assistants and I have taken a vow. Any woman who walks through our door shall be pampered and transformed into a lady so fine she should be the talk of Kaas City.” Ky would have responded, except that Madame gently hovered two fingers in front of her lips, indicating she should remain silent for the time being.

    Mako, who had spent the entire time sitting in a chair near the window, looked around the shop. “Excuse me, Madame Ricell, but why are there no mirrors in your shop?” she asked.

    “It is not that there are no mirrors, young one,” Madame answered, dabbing a brush into a pigmented powder, “It is simply that they remain hidden until the time is right to unveil them. You see, my assistants and I are as artists. We work in pigments, scents, and jewels, but we create masterpieces nonetheless. When I first opened my shop, I had many mirrors in plain view of my clients. I soon found, however, that their visions of how they desired to look conflicted with my own. My visions are fragile things, you know. Quite easy to damage with too many conflicts.”

    She paused briefly to mix a few things together, then began to work a mixture of powder and cream along the scars on Ky's face. “It was then I decided to hide my mirrors when clients are present. That way, my girls and I can work our magic without interference. It appears to have worked well, as I have yet to have an unhappy customer when the time comes for the unveiling.”

    She had just finished applying lip color when Nera reappeared, holding a long, flat package in her arms. Madame clapped her hands with joy, then crossed the room to take the box from her assistant.

    “Well done, Nera! I knew entrusting you with knowledge of my gowns was a wise decision.” She set the box on a nearby table and opened it, revealing the rich emerald folds of fabric within. Nera quickly removed the gown and its accessories from the box, hanging them behind an opaque screen. When ready, she leaned out from behind the screen and gestured for Ky to join her. Ky looked over at Mako, who nodded and gestured for her to do as the girl asked.

    Once Ky was safely behind the screen, Madame and Seb'ia worked to unveil the large mirror in the center of the room. It was not an easy task, for the mirror was cloaked in heavy draperies to block all light and reflections, thus requiring the two women to be careful not to damage the mirror. They were successfully removing the last layer of drapery when Ky emerged from behind the screen.

    “What do you think, dear?” Madame Ricell stepped aside to allow her to approach the mirror. “I told you we could make a lady out of you, even for only one night.”

    Ky gasped softly as she saw her reflection, saw the magic the shopkeeper and her assistants had worked on her. “Is...” she stammered. “Is that...me? I look...I look so different.” Slowly, she approached her reflection, turning in a slow circle to see the entire dress. That dress was everything she hated about dresses: too snug on her torso, cut low enough to expose cleavage, a skirt long enough to stumble on were she careless...

    And she loved it. Gault had been right, dark green was definitely her color. Jenae approached with her jewelry, and with a nod from Ky the pieces were quickly back to where they were when their owner had entered the shop.

    Ky approached the mirror for a closer look at her makeup and hair. She typically kept her hair short, all the better to fit it under a helmet. But Seb'ia had done wonders with it, all the same. Strands of her bangs framed her face, while the rest had been smoothed back into a sleek style. Her makeup was completely flawless, and she found herself unconsciously reaching up a hand to touch her left cheek.

    “Be careful, dear. You wouldn't want to smear the powder, would you?”

    Shaking her head, Ky continued to study her reflection. She couldn't remember the last time she had worn cosmetics, maybe it was one of the times her mother had tried to arrange a marriage. Being exposed to the elements as a bounty hunter meant makeup of any kind would last all of an hour, so she eschewed it. Staring at her reflection, she wondered if that was a wise decision.

    As she studied her face, she saw what Madame Ricell had done. Removing the scars and metal hardware on the left side of her face and jaw would have been impossible, so she had worked around them. The hardware had been cleaned of grime, and now it sparkled like onyx against her pale skin. The scars had been blended over with a mixture of powder and cream, which was then smoothed to closely match the texture of her skin. The scars could still be seen, but they were far less pronounced-looking.

    Feeling tears in her eyes, she turned to Madame. “It all makes me look so beautiful,” she whispered. “Thank you.”

    Nera shook her head. “No, Miss,” she replied. “The dress, the cosmetics, the jewels...they are simply 'things'. Things that augment the beauty of the one wearing them.”

    Ky was about to reply when Mako stood up abruptly. “Ky! I can't believe it's this late,” she said. “We need to head back before Torian and Gault start wondering what happened to us.” She quickly crossed the room, picking up Ky's civilian clothing. Reaching into the pocket of the pants, she produced the credit chit and handed it to Madame Ricell.

    Madame scrutinized it for a moment before turning and handing it to Nera. “You are paid in full,” she said simply. “I hope you enjoy your evening with your young man.”
  14. earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    A very nice description. Now she is dressed to meet Torian
  15. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    What a wonderful, indulgent experience for Kybrina and for the reader. :) =D= Even I feel pampered reading it [face_laugh] [:D]
  16. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Thanks, both of you. That was a fun bit to write. So I took yesterday off from writing to recharge a bit, but here's the next part.
    ***********************************************

    Torian stood again, pacing the small confines of the ship's lower deck. Periodically, he would pass the doorway to the crew quarters where Gault lay on one of the beds; each time, he paused briefly to look in at the Devaronian before resuming his pacing. He would then return to where he was previously sitting, only to stand and repeat the entire process again a minute later. As he paced, he tugged gently at the collar of the shirt he wore, wondering if it actually was a bit snug or if he was just nervous.

    He paused his pacing yet again in the doorway. “They're late,” he said. “Think something happened?”

    Gault sighed, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. The kid was nervous, after all. It really couldn't be helped, even if it was trying his patience. “Torian, you've asked me that four times in the span of two minutes. It's as I told you before, they're young women. Sometimes, when young women are off on a task, they get distracted and they run a bit late.” He shrugged. “If they ran into trouble, one of them would have called. Just be patient, kid.”

    Torian moved away from the doorway, resuming his pacing. “Hard to do when you're on edge,” he replied.

    “Hutt's breath, you're driving me up the wall, kid! Go...go take a walk outside or something. Get some air, clear your head.” Gault was getting a bit annoyed, in site of his best efforts. Torian was a master fighter with a killer shot, but give him three tasks to work on when his mind shifted to Ky, and he was a lost cause. “I would really hate to have to explain to Ky why I tied you up and locked you in the cargo hold while she was gone...”

    At that moment, his communicator beeped, indicating an incoming call. He pressed the button, and Mako's image slowly appeared. “Ah, there you are, Mako,” he said cheerfully. “We were just talking about you and Ky.”

    “I hope you were saying good things about us,” Mako replied. “I doubt Ky would be too pleased with you if you weren't.”

    “Oh, no. All good things, I assure you.”

    “Good. How's Torian doing?”

    “About as jumpy as fleas on a bantha,” Gault said, casting a look toward the doorway where Torian was standing again. “He's starting to get me edgy. Please tell me you two are on your way back.”

    Mako laughed. “Yes, we're on our way back,” she said. “Sorry about that, we...kinda lost track of time. You'll understand when we get there. Mako out.”

    “There, you see?” Gault asked Torian as he put away his comm. “I told you it wasn't anything serious. Just a couple women wandering in a city with a lot of shops. Happens to the best of us.”

    Torian nodded. “Sorry. Just can't be sure sometimes,” he said. “Especially in her line of work. Already had one bad run-in on this planet. Would hate to see there be two.”

    “You and me both,” Gault stood, stretching his limbs. “You know, I've been cooped up on this ship all day. Why don't we both step out for some air while we wait for them to get back?” he asked. “We won't go far. Promise.”

    **

    “This is such a bad idea. Why did I agree to it?” Ky murmured as they turned toward the outer wall of Kaas City. Every so often, she forgot how long her skirt was, and caught its bottom edge beneath the toe of her shoe. The only thing standing between her and a bad nosebleed upon hitting the walkway was Mako catching her before she fell. Even now, the young slicer walked a foot ahead of her, looking around at the various sites the city's outskirts held.

    Mako rolled her eyes. “Oh, stop it,” she replied. “You've been saying that over and over again practically since we left the shop. You agreed to it because I suggested it, and possibly because you secretly wanted to.”

    Ky folded her arms indignantly. “Oh, fine. Can I at least carry a blaster?”

    “No.”

    “Why not?”

    “Because it ruins the whole illusion.” Mako stopped and turned to face her, hands on her hips. “A fine lady of Dromund Kaas does not feel the need to carry a blaster. Besides, it would clash with your dress.”

    “But...but I feel so exposed like this,” Ky folded her arms over her chest. “I really feel vulnerable. I'd prefer carrying some kind of weapon, especially if some thug mistakes me for a noble and decides to try robbing us.”

    “If anyone tries, leave them to me,” Mako replied.

    They walked in silence the rest of the way out of the city. Ky didn't look around the way Mako did, but she swore she received the oddest looks from others they passed. She studied their faces briefly whenever their eyes met hers; some were puzzled as to who she was. Others looked almost enamored with her, as though she were a goddess gracing their presence. The faces of still others will difficult to read, so she simply gave up. Her nerves were talking, she always studied faces when she was nervous as a way to calm her mind and sharpen her thoughts. But she was thankful that no one approached them, let alone tried to bother them.

    Ky nearly cried with relief when she saw the ship slowly coming into view ahead of them. Because Crysta had asked them to be discreet, they had not landed the Mantis at the spaceport. Instead, they had touched down in a lightly-wooded area a short distance from Kaas city. It was perfect for discretion, not so perfect to hike back and forth from, especially when one was dressed in fine clothing. With only a few feet to go, she was already getting tired, something that almost never happened when she was in armor.

    “Home sweet home,” Mako said. “And look. It seems the boys got tired of waiting inside.” She pointed to a spot a foot or two from the ship's loading ramp, where Torian and Gault were standing.

    Ky blanched, slowing her steps a bit. She hadn't expected them to be standing outside; in fact, she had hoped for a few minutes of alone time in the crew quarters to allow herself to acclimate to her current state of fine clothes and no weapons. She suddenly felt even more exposed, and her eyes began scanning her surroundings, seeking a hiding spot.

    Gault had spotted them by then, and before she could move a muscle he had approached. “There you two are,” he said. “We were starting to wonder if something had happened.”

    “Yeah, sorry about that,” Mako replied.

    Gault held up a hand. “No harm done, as long as you're both safe,” he said.

    His attention then shifted to Ky, who blushed under his gaze. “Ky, I would tell you that you are a vision, but even that seems inadequate,” he said, taking one of her hands and raising it to his lips. “I know I told you dark green was your color, but even I had no idea it would look this perfect on you. He really won't know what hit him.”

    “Th...thank you,” Ky replied softly.

    Gault smiled, releasing her hand before turning back to Mako. “Mako, weren't you telling me there was a holovid you wanted to see while we were on Dromund Kaas?” he asked.

    “Holovid? I don't...” Mako caught the look Gault gave her, one Ky was likely to miss in her embarrassment. “Oh, right! That vid! I'm so glad you reminded me, it totally slipped my mind.”

    “Wait, what's going on?” Ky cut in, confused. “Holovid? Haven't you've seen that one a dozen times on the Holonet, Mako?”

    Mako shook her head. “No, no. It's the other one,” she replied, as she and Gault began walking away.

    “What other one? Can someone please fill me in here?” Ky turned to watch them leave, her hands held up in sheer confusion. What the hell was going on?

    “I'll fill you in when we get back,” Mako called over her shoulder as she and Gault quickened their pace. “Enjoy yourself, Ky! We'll be back in a few hours.”


    The pair was quickly out of sight, leaving one very well-dressed, very confused bounty hunter wondering if she had just been outwitted by her own crewmembers.
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  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Oh, this post was cuteness and LOL-ness all over! :D :D Gault and Mako - in trying to be inconspicuous and casual are as fun to read as K/T. ;)
  18. earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great post with all the intrigue. Gault and Mako are fun setting things up
  19. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    I love writing the companions. Thinking up ways for them to interact and show they care is so much fun.

    And on that note, next part!

    **********

    Torian leaned against the hull of the ship, the durable metal feeling cool against his back. He barely noticed, however, as his nerves kept him slightly on edge. He was surprised by them, they had never affected him like this before. True, he had gotten some jitters prior to a big hunt or after the announcement of a tournament, but those had helped him. He was able to channel those nerves, was able to utilize them to fight more efficiently and with more strength.

    But this? This totally threw him for a loop. From the time he had reunited with Kybrina on Taris -when he learned that the champion of the Great Hunt was actually a woman- she had occupied some corner of his thoughts. True, Mako had flirted with him a bit initially, but he just couldn't bring himself to return her interest. It wasn't anything against Mako, really. His mind was set on Kybrina, and short of her outright rejecting him, there was no changing it. And ever since then, he hadn't been the same. He found he was a bit shakier when fighting, maybe missing two or three hits where before he was only missing once. It wasn't enough to put him in any danger, but it was a bit surreal to feel himself affected in that way.

    Gault, who had been standing a few feet from him in the shade of the ship, suddenly looked up. “There they are,” he said. Torian looked in the same direction, and saw Mako approaching. A few feet behind her was....

    His eyes widened. Any thoughts he had at that moment were in frenzied Mando'a, and were likely unsuitable for mixed company. She was...she was...

    “Hey, kid.” Gault's voice shook him out of his stunned state. “Walking works better when your legs are actually moving. For someone who was so worried, I would have expected you to be running to meet her.” Gault turned away before Torian could reply, walking toward the pair. Taking a few moments to shake of his hesitance, Torian eventually followed, his nerves starting to resurface with every step.

    He was close enough to hear Gault praise Kybrina, and he felt a prick of envy. It was clear the Devaronian had a way with flattery in Basic, one that he couldn't hope to match. If it were in Mando'a, sure, he know more than his fair share of flattering words and phrases. But he knew that praising Kybrina in his native tongue would get him confused looks at best, an argument about what he was saying at worst.

    He only caught the tail end of what Gault said to Mako, something about a holovid. At first, she appeared to be confused, then she quickly changed her tune, agreeing to go with Gault. While he was initially confused, Torian then realled Gault's promise to let him have alone time with Kybrina. He smiled, silently thanking the Devaronian a second time for the kindness.

    Evidently, Kybrina had not been given the same promise; even as Gault and Mako walked away, she was still visibly confused as to what was happening. She had turned away from him, calling out questions that Mako easily deflected. When their two companions had vanished from sight, Kybrina stood quietly with her back to him, clearly not sure what to do next. This allowed him to analyze the lines and contours of her back, normally obscured by the bulky armor she wore. He stood like that for a few moments before realizing that, as nice as her back was, he still had yet to really see her face.

    When he cleared his throat, he noted by the slight stiffening of her spine that she must have forgotten he was standing there. He slowly watched her turn to face him, which allowed him to admire her figure in the green gown she wore. When she raised her chin and locked eyes with him, he noticed the slight widening of her eyes as she took him in for the first time. Hastily, she dropped her chin, but not before he thought he saw the tinge of a blush on her cheeks.

    Or maybe it was all the cosmetics she wore. He almost didn't recognize her like this, everything he thought the most beautiful about her had been covered up or minimized in some fashion. The only familiar things were her eyes, and even they looked slightly alien to him with the vivid pigments surrounding them. Her hair was slicked back and posed in a way he wasn't used to seeing, she moved in a fashion far stiffer than her usual easy gait...everything seemed off about her.

    But then, was he any different? There he was, in clothing that was neither his armor nor his own civilian garb, hair arranged in a way he didn't normally wear it, walking a bit stiffly in both borrowed garb and new boots. Was he really any different from her, any less self-conscious?

    Gently, he reached out and lifted her chin so they were looking into each others eyes again. “Kybrina...” he whispered. “Look...lovely. Different, but lovely. Hardly recognized you.” He spoke the truth, she did look very different from what he was used to, but she was still the same beautiful woman he knew and followed.

    She smiled. “Thank you,” she said softly. “I admit, I barely recognized you, either. I mean, I recognize the boots, but where did the rest of this come from?” She suppressed a giggle as she took a step back, giving him a more thorough once-over. It was clear the clothes were borrowed, the shirt was slightly loose around the shoulders and the pants were a bit baggy where they tucked into the boots. Still, having barely seen him out of armor, it was a pleasing change.

    “Gault,” he said simply. “Offered to lend me these. Said they might impress you.”

    “Oh, is that right?” she asked. “Well, you more than impressed me way back on Taris, so I would say you've already got that covered. Besides, since when has Gault started being a matchmaker? A smooth talker and con man I get, but a matchmaker? That came out of nowhere.”

    “Mako, too. Never thought she'd be so eager to leave us alone.”

    “Me neither. Guess we don't know them as well as we thought,” Ky replied, shrugging.

    “Guess not. So, are you ready for that dinner I promised you? It's been waiting for you to get back.”


    She gave him another smile. “I've been waiting since you made that promise,” she answered. “Standing out here in the sun is getting tiresome, anyway. Lead the way.”
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  20. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    LOL! Love their compliments and first impressions of one another. :) I love the fact that their friendship and comradeship-in-arms lends them a natural ease with one another already, which is a giant leap from Ky's past 'matchmaking' debacles [face_laugh]
  21. earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great to see the reactions at coming together. I love the pair
  22. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Sorry this took an extra day. I'm also writing another fic idea that came from playing this game.

    So I wanted to take some time and focus a bit more on Gault and Mako. I really like their characters, and since they're part of the crew I wanted to make sure they got more than a sliver of spotlight in this.
    **********

    “So how do you think it'll go?” Mako asked as soon as they were out of sight of the ship. “I mean, do you think this whole dinner thing will go over well?”

    Gault shrugged. “Not sure,” he replied. “That'll depend on them. I know Torian is interested in Ky, and I'm pretty sure she's interested in him as well. So maybe things will pan out.”

    “You're probably right,” Mako sighed, feeling a slight prick of jealousy. When Torian had first joined their crew back on Taris, she made no secret of her interest in him. He had turned her down gently, but it stung a bit when she subsequently saw how he and Ky flirted back and forth with one another. She had told herself it was fine, that he had been honest, and that she simply wasn't his type of woman, yet the disappointment still tried to rear its ugly head anytime she saw the two of them interacting.

    Gault gave her a sidelong glance. “You're not still unhappy that he turned you down and went after Ky, are you?” he asked, only getting a shrug from her in reply. “Look, Mako. If I know anything about Mandalorian men, it's that there are certain traits they like their women to possess. He didn't feel you possessed them, or felt that Ky made a better show of them, I guess.”

    “Yeah, you're right,” Mako said. “When he joined up with us, I was swayed by a cute face. Nothing more. I figure he noticed that, and didn't want to lead me on or anything.” She stifled a soft laugh. “Besides, I would make a pretty terrible Mandalorian. Since she chose to be adopted into Mandalore's clan and all, I imagine Ky is much more amiable to the idea of being Mandalorian than most.”

    “Trust me, I was as surprised as anyone that she agreed to it,” Gault answered. “Ky always struck me as being the independent sort, always wanting to live on her own. Seems even she needs to feel like she belongs somewhere in this galaxy. Poor girl's got more baggage than a dockworker droid on Coruscant.”

    At that point, they had entered Kaas City, and Gault paused to get his bearings. “Well, we're here,” he said. “Now, did you want to validate our little charade by going to see a holovid, or do you want to skip that and grab drinks in the cantina?”

    Mako grinned. “I've only ever watched vids via the Holonet,” she answered. “Seeing one in the city would be great.”

    As they headed deeper into the city, Mako was still full of questions about their crew mates. “So what do you think of Ky and Torian? Together, I mean,” she asked.

    “I think anyone who crosses them should be afraid. Very, very afraid,” Gault answered. “You've seen how the two of them fight, haven't you? They're so in sync with one another they almost seem to read each others minds.”

    “I've seen that!” Mako replied. “It's almost creepy how well they work together. And I remember how he was when he first joined us. I'm not sure if it's because she's more his 'type', or if it was him being in awe of her status as Champion, but he was silently worshiping the ground she walked on. Ever see that?”

    “Oh, yes. It got rather tedious after a while,” Gault said. “I remember Ky calling him out for it, too. She appreciates attention, just doesn't seem to appreciate worship. She explained it as something about worship implying perfection, and how she was the last person anyone should expect perfection from...personally, I would have taken worship over honesty.” He shrugged. There were many little things about Ky that he didn't understand. But, so long as she never blew his cover as Tyresius, he was okay with a little bit of disagreement.

    A few moments later, they arrived at Kaas City's holotheatre. It was apparently the center of activity for many young city residents, as groups of them filled the walkway leading to the entrance. Mako quickly checked the listings until she spotted a film she thought they would both enjoy.

    “So, a holovid now, then a meal before heading back to the ship. Sound good?” she asked.

    “Sounds good to me, Mako,” Gault replied. “Gives those two more time to be alone together.”

    “Yup. Even if she won't call it one outright, I hope they enjoy their date.”


    “Likewise. Oh, and I hope they enjoy the little gift I left in the galley for them. It should go along nicely with their meal.”
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  23. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Liked the backstory on all the crew interactions. You can tell Mako and Gault are caring types; they might eventually work as a couple too? ;)
  24. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2004
    star 3
    Mako definitely is more than Gault in the story, though you can tell at points he's got those hidden depths to him as well. I'm leery of pairing them up romantically, both for canon reasons and for my own reasons (mainly their age difference and the fact it's a con man and a slightly naive techie hunter girl), but I may explore other ways their relationship could go. F'rinstance, I could see them as partners.
  25. earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Great to see more about Mako and Gault. They are nice characters
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