Before Up To Our Neks (c. 487 BBY; OCs, Yoda; concluded 3/26)

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  1. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Author's Note: Hi, all - I'm Onderon1, usually a poster on the Beyond the Saga boards. :) I've had a plot bunny for some time now that wasn't set in a period when the Sith were causing trouble, and figured if I was ever going to write it, I'd better get started. [face_blush]

    DISCLAIMER: LFL's are LFL's. OCs are their own. No money is being made off of this. This is a work of fiction. Please don't sue.

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    The Jedi Archives hold many tales of past Knights and Masters. Some are held up as inspiration for our younglings and Padawans, shining examples of Jedi service to the Republic.

    There are also the warning tales - Ulic Qel-Droma, Exar Kun, Githany, and others. Near-horror stories, of what happens when pride and recklessness lead Jedi down the wrong path.

    But ... between you and I, fellow Jedi? Most Jedi just end up doing the right thing, live lives of service, and pass into the Force. And that's as it should be, in my experience.

    And then ... there was Donal Milthiad, and his Padawan, Tiegan Ormbin.

    If ever there were better examples of "A Jedi craves not adventure" than those two, I'd be hard-pressed to find it.


    - Recording in the Great Holocron by Jocasta Nu, c. 50 BBY

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    Chapter 1:

    Coruscant, 487 BBY:
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    All the stories Tiegan had heard during his 11 years of life - well, that he remembered - of Jedi were of the right words being said to reassure those in need. Of Jedi wisdom.

    At the moment, however, all the human boy could come up with as he raced from Tierka'nas' Market with the soupbone Master Vo'dil had insisted for the evening meal was:

    "AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!"

    A Jedi knows not fear. Whatever ...

    Nobody had warned Tiegan about Tierka'nas' new nek.

    "WOOF! GROWWWLLL-AWOOF-WOOF-WOOF!!!" the great beast - and it was NOT a puppy, Tiegan could tell - bellowed; he'd paid for the bone, why was the dog chasing HIM?

    Use the Force - but to do WHAT?!

    Tiegan wasn't going to use a lightsaber on an innocent animal - as if the nek was likely going to fall from a Padawan's bondar-crystal stun-saber anyhow - and he'd never learned how to affect animals with mind tricks.

    How'd it get off its chain anyway? Tiegan thought, his sandy Padawan braid trailing behind his buzzcut head as he vaulted another food stand, his blue eyes darting left and right for a way out.

    The nek leapt after him - and Tiegan stumbled; he clutched the bag containing the soupbone to him, rolling as he'd been taught.

    That was when he looked up and saw where he'd landed in front of.

    Hutuun's Bane.

    Not the roughest place in the mid-levels, but neither was it a smart place to be a Jedi - because it was run by Chaar Varnas, a Mandalorian, the older students had said.

    Worse, standing right on the front step, was a black-and-gold-armored Mandalorian, holding his helmet - short grey hair, male human, looking at Tiegan like the youngling had gotten dirt on his armor.

    "What kind of jetiise brat wanders all the way down here for - what is that, soup stock?" the man growled in accented Basic, picking Tiegan up by the scruff of the boy's tunic and looking at the bag with the soupbone.

    "I'm sorry, sir. This nek from Tierka'nas' is chasing me - please, may I use your comsuite?" Tiegan asked, trying not to be more afraid. He'd heard the stories about the Mandalorian Wars, and even if they'd BEEN a few millennia ago ...

    well, Mandalorians were Mandalorians for good reason.

    "Chaar, you osik'la cheapskate! Set the boy down and get me my ale!"

    "In a minute, you. You recognize this sprog? You can take care of him," Vornas said, handing Tiegan off to some man standing in the cantina doorway wearing a traveler's robe-

    no, a Jedi robe, and Tiegan blinked as the man set him down and looked at him.

    He was human, male, maybe mid-20s, with spiky brown hair and slightly-bloodshot br
  2. CanisBlack Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2008
    star 1
    This...this looks amusing. But since I almost never leave the Beyond the Saga board, could you possibly PM when you update this one?
  3. Raphire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2008
    star 4
    Lol. Ok this looks like it could be very worth my while.
  4. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Canis - no problem. :)

    Raphire - thanks. :D

    And - assuming my computer cooperates [face_frustrated] ...

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    Chapter 2:
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    He doesn't know who I am.

    Donal wasn't entirely surprised by the boy's ignorance of which Knight he'd stumbled across - most of the Masters and a good portion of the Knights liked to pretend that "Milthiad the Masterless" was just a story told to scare misbehaving younglings.

    But the Council knew better. So did Tharmag Elender.

    And, of course, dear Dierna ...

    "In here!" Donal said, grabbing the youngling by a tunic sleeve and pulling them into a narrow alley - he concentrated, projecting a not-here sense into the Force ...

    Donal was more worried about Dierna than the neks or the bounty hunters. The woman had the midi-chlorian count of the average rock, but she could find him well enough.

    When she wants to, Donal thought, smirking a little.

    If Dierna would've been in one of those moods, Donal would've gladly surrendered to her. The chaos made their marriage, a political alliance though it was, all the more interesting.

    He bit the smirk off as he looked at the boy beside him - the kid really was terrified, and he gestured for the youngling to be quiet as the racket from the neks crescendoed, then went past.

    Finally, Donal thought it was safe, and he asked, "What's your name?"

    "Tiegan Ormbin, Master. I'm part of Borrat Clan," the boy said, while Donal leaned against a wall - the Force-effort to hide them had tired him a little.

    Or I should've skipped that fourth ale ...

    He looked at Tiegan and half-smiled. "Gilt's bunch. Good man - er, Iktotchi. Hard as nails, never lets the smart-mouths get away with anything, but that's a telepath for you," Donal said.

    Tiegan nodded; he was getting his breath back, and a bit more courage, Donal could see. "Master - Donal? - thank you. I ... I shouldn't be afraid of neks, but ..." Tiegan said, blushing a little.

    "Hey, they're big and hungry. I recognized Tierka'nas' guard dog - the stupid Dug lets him out, so I suspect the rest are probably pups of the big lug. Somebody's gonna have to do something about that someday ... just not me, not tonight. Welcome, by the way," Donal said.

    He blinked; he was rambling again. Definitely should've skipped that fourth ale ...

    Oh, hells. Admit it, Milthiad. You do like to hear yourself talk ...

    Donal looked at Tiegan and asked, "You don't recognize me, do you?"

    Tiegan squinted, and admittedly, the lighting was bad, except for a neon glint from an alley entrance to an establishment Donal rapidly eliminated as a hiding spot - the kid couldn't be more than 12, and ...

    well, Smorgasborga the Hutt's den was no place for a youngling.

    Or me; if ol' Smorgy realizes I'm on his doorstep ... shab, I've gotta keep better track of my acquaintances. The friends, I can count on one hand, Donal recalled with pleasant anguish - bittersweet.

    Bittersweet was as good a word for his life as anything else. Or maybe the Mando'a word, aayhan - yeah, aayhan.

    Force knows I've got enough dead friends to count on to pop up at perfect moments ... that's aayhan's essence, Vornas tells me ...

    Tiegan shrugged. "I'm sorry, Master Donal, but you don't seem familiar. That's not that strange, though. I work a lot in the kitchen for Master Vo'dil," he sighed.

    "Not punishment duty? You don't seem like the type. You're determined to get that bone back to Vo'dy, after all. Most younglings would've given up by now," Donal said.

    Tiegan's eyes widened, and Donal chuckled. "Yes, I knew Vo'dil when he had a nickname - 'Rolly Poly Vo'dy the Ortolan.' And chartreuse fur. He wasn't always the blue master chef whose cooking we all dread," he remembered.

    Shab, that'd been a lifetime ago.

    Back when I wasn't the Council's Verpine Army vibroknife a
  5. Thrawn McEwok Co-Author: Essential Guide to Warfare

    VIP
    Member Since:
    May 9, 2000
    star 6
    Onderon: This is a lot of FUN, but clearly Dona's also messed-up by any sane Jedi standard... which is part of what MAKES it fun. :D o_O :eek:

    Is it healthier to be the crazy Jedi? [face_thinking]

    - The Imperial Ewok
  6. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks, Thrawn. :)

    And I agree; Donal's more ... expressive, than most Jedi - he vents more, and with far less damage, than most others in the Order, I think. He's learned to get his feelings out, and to also think things through.

    He has a life outside the Order, which as he notes, makes him a topic to be either avoided or used to scare younglings ...

    and those of his peers who do talk about him don't find much middle ground. [face_thinking]

    More on this in Chapter 3, as Yoda finally makes an appearance. :D

    - Thanks again, :D
    Onderon1
  7. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
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    Chapter 3:
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    I know we're supposed to not stereotype our fellow Jedi ... but only an Ortolan could make mealtime a Force lesson.

    The thought wasn't entirely surprising to Taeryn Hiiril; she'd known Vo'dil since they were both younglings, along with the other Knight in the room, Tharmag Elender.

    Like Taeryn, Tharmag was human, although he was dark-haired and rather pale, where she kept her blonde locks cropped short for her preferred method of negotiation - with a lightsaber.

    While Tharmy's a paranoid, arrogant, short-sighted, 'dark-siders-in-every-corner' pain in the -

    "Knight-Guardian Hiiril? A little help?"

    "Ahm. Yes, Knight Vo'dil," Taeryn coughed, helping distribute stirring spoons to the members of Borrat Clan. The younglings were learning basic soup-making skills as part of their survival lessons.

    Master Riedis Gilt, their Iktotchi overseer, had decided that the smartest way to learn what was edible and what wasn't - and when to blur the line in the face of starvation - was to have his charges visit "Rolly Poly Vo'dy's" kitchen on soup night.

    It was proving ... more educational than Taeryn had expected; she and Tharmag had been roped into helping keep the kids focused, although being Gilt's bunch, they tended to only need a gentle reminder now and again.

    Well, maybe Taeryn had gotten the best behaved of them. Tharmag was muttering under his breath and glancing in corners, giving an occasional scowl to the now-scared group of four whom he'd been asked to assist.

    I know we need Jedi Sentinels, but he takes it a little too far ...

    The old divisions - Consular, Guardian, and Sentinel - were less and less adhered to, these days, and Taeryn sometimes wondered if that was weakening the Order. True, Jedi needed to know more than how to keep from chopping their hands off with a lightsaber, but a little specialization played to a Knight's inherent talents.

    'Many skills, the Force can augment. Find your unique ability, and use it, you should, to help the Order as a whole,' a familiar voice rang in Taeryn's mind, and she smiled a little as she looked at the younglings she'd been asked to assist.

    There was a young female Khil, Zargan, and an Ithorian boy, Ruumaw, and a Togrutan youth, Rihan, all of whom were doing well. But the fourth was the one whom Taeryn had been asked to evaluate in terms of suitability as a Padawan - she suspected, for her to take as a learner.

    The dark-haired human girl's name was Ridinia Basever; brown-eyed, alert, kind, patient to a fault, and agile. All good traits for any learner, but "Ridi" had a ... disquiet about her, a simmering energy in the Force that Taeryn had almost laughed at when Master Yoda had first introduced them.

    The girl is a fighter. And like I did, she needs to learn how to deal with it, Taeryn had realized.

    Yoda was always doing things like this - just happening to introduce Jedi to those whom they'd eventually need to know, arranging for seemingly happenstance connections. His foresight was, after all, among the best in the Order, and he was expected to someday step forward and lead the Jedi.

    Grand Master O'val was rumored to have already pretty much left the running of the Order to the younger Master - but then, Caamasi Jedi sometimes just went into meditative trances to solve some philosophical issue, and left the running of things to the more active members of the Order.

    Not that everyone approves, Taeryn noted, glancing at Tharmag as he lectured a Corellian boy on the dangers of pointing knives at others - the poor kid looked to be on the verge of tears, and Gilt was too busy with his group to step in ...

    Delegate. Good lesson to learn, Taeryn decided, and she said, "Ridinia? Why don't you lead the others in that root-carving exercise Master Vo'dil showed us? Focus on even spacing of the slices, and I'll be right back."

    "Yes, Mas
  8. JediKaren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2007
    star 3
    Yoda leapt back down and watched with Taeryn as the kids brought their vegetables to the waiting pots. "Resilient, children are. But too many harsh words, or too few kind words - or too much loss - and scarred, they can become. Draw into themselves, they can," he observed, glancing at Tharmag, then at Taeryn.

    I love this line. It's really great and deep and true. Thank you!

    Please keep writing. You have a great story going on here.
  9. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks for reading. :)

    I hope to have Chapter 4 posted sometime in the next few days; the fate of Donal's first Master, Torman Marnis, will be revealed ...

    as will how his fate started the split between Donal and Tharmag, and, as Yoda notes, scarred Donal. [face_thinking]

    - Thanks again, [face_peace]
    Onderon1
  10. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Chapter 4:
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    The walk from the market district to the Temple shouldn't take that long - but Master Donal was wobbling, and he had to lean against the occasional building.

    I wonder what he drank that's keeping him from using the Force to clear his head? Tiegan wondered, watching the Knight pinch the bridge of his nose; Tiegan tried to keep his mind clear, keep aware of -

    Neks!

    The hunger was more clear in the Force than the growling - Tiegan still couldn't affect the neks with his mind tricks, but he could sense their emotions.

    One of them leapt onto the top of a nearby wall, and two more came around the corner; Tiegan looked at Master Donal, who'd closed his eyes.

    Is he ASLEEP!?

    Tiegan gulped, once, then closed his eyes, and concentrated on the Force ... it was hard, with the neks' hunger and his fear ...

    but he opened his eyes, and tried to trust the Force.

    He drew his lightsaber, and the neks stopped for a second as the blue blade flashed in the growing dark.

    Then the one on the wall bayed, and leapt down.

    Tiegan didn't want to hurt the neks, and he tried to use telekinesis to catch the leaping one - he dropped on top of one of the other neks, but the third one kept coming.

    They can't bite what they can't reach -

    Tiegan sprang over the nek, trying to save the Force for his landing; it was gonna be tricky, with his lightsaber.

    That was when Tiegan saw a fourth nek come around the corner - the one that'd chased him from Tierka'nas' store.

    It sat on its' haunches, and yawned, panting, as Tiegan's leap carried him straight toward its' mouth ...

    'bye, Ridi, Tiegan thought - he'd tried to do what a Jedi would do, he'd thought; he'd tried all his options, tried not to hurt the neks too badly but not die from not acting, either.

    But now -

    "YOU SHALL NOT HAVE HIM!"

    Tiegan felt himself stop in mid-air - someone else'd caught him telekinetically - and he looked.

    There was a flare of the Force, a blur of orange and brown ...

    and Master Donal moved.

    Whoa ...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Donal'd thought just a minute to focus on biofeedback would help; give him enough time to channel the Force and clear his body of the booze.

    But then the silly kid had gone and been all Jedi about dealing with hungry neks.

    And for an instant, as Tiegan had fallen toward the maw of the alpha nek, Donal had been back on a Kerensikian ice field.

    Watching another Jedi fall to his death, as muzzled faces watched.

    "YOU SHALL NOT HAVE HIM!" Donal roared -

    His lightsaber's focusing crystal wasn't a typical Ilum choice. Donal had picked it from a volcanic vent on Kerensik during his year surviving in the world's underground, and the blade it produced was a distinctive orange.

    The color was perfect for him:

    Odd, defiant, attention-grabbing and often clashing with the rest of a Jedi's usually-drab ensemble.

    Donal more or less lunged - setting Tiegan aside out of the way, he threw himself into the rapidly-forming center of the neks' attack.

    It was less the Force that drove Donal than the consequences of trusting in it too much; his first Master, Torman Marnis, had been nearly arrogant in his trust in the great energy field.

    That trust had led Marnis into the line of fire between two warring parties ... and then ...

    No one else becomes a critter snack on my watch. NO ONE.

    The first nek, the alpha, Donal hit with another mind trick, but not the fake bone smell he'd tried earlier. He just willed the nek to back off, and the canine turned and ran.

    But the others were young, stupid, and hungry.

    Fine.

    The second nek leapt, and Donal kicked it across the face, making it yelp as it ran off; the third, he let bounce off of a Force shield he hastily formed around himself. The canine howled in frustration, d
  11. HelloKelly Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2009
    star 3
    I like this story a lot please add me to the Pm list as well.
  12. JediKaren Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2007
    star 3
  13. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Author's Note: I apologize for the lateness of this update; RL and some computer issues have delayed it ... [face_peace]

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    Chapter 5:

    487 BBY, Jedi Temple Front Hall, Coruscant:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Ah, the scent of home. A heady brew of judgement, self-righteousness, and the occasional person who likes me ...

    Donal shook his head at his cynicism - or maybe self-pity - and walked with Tiegan toward the entrance to the kitchens. Really, there were more Jedi who liked him than Donal usually admitted.

    I just so rarely see many of them ... but speak of the Sith ...

    "THERE you are! Together, no less - Tiegan, we're having charrba root stew, so just put the bone on the counter. Thank you for getting it, though," Vo'dy honked, waving and expressing good greetings in the Force - Donal smiled back at the Ortolan, grateful for his old friend's welcome.

    "Thank you, Master Vo'dil. I'm sorry I'm late - we were chased by neks," Tiegan said, sincere respect in his tone as he set the bone on the counter. He smiled a little as some of his clanmates in Borrat Clan waved or nodded as he walked by.

    Good to see he has friends ... Donal thought approvingly.

    Aloud, he said, "Tiegan, meet me in the Great Hall," and the boy nodded, catching up to him.

    "And why should he listen to anything you say?"

    Donal fought back a very bitter curse - and an even more bitter desire to condescend to the snide tone of the person who'd come up behind him - as he turned around to look at Tharmag Elender.

    "Knight Elender. Learner Ormbin asked about my past, and I plan to fill him in on it. Preferably without holding court, since that would smack of arrogance, and I've no interest in being accused of that," Donal said, forcing politesse into his tone.

    Tharmy - even with all the bitterness between them, the childhood nickname still came easily, although now as a slap in Elender's face - crossed his arms and scowled.

    "True. You're so rarely around to share any lessons that it would be hard to accuse you of much of anything. But then, you've ... other commitments," he said in his usual greasily snide tone.

    Is there ANYTHING he can't turn into a confrontation? Donal groaned inwardly.

    "Perhaps, Knight Elender, Knight - Donal - was investigating something?" a far more welcome voice - female human, resonant and supportive - replied, and Taeryn Hiiril slipped between Donal and Tharmy.

    "The bottom of an ale glass in a Mandalorian cantina, perhaps," Tharmy growled, and Donal shook his head, starting to slip past the Jedi Sentinel.

    "And undoubtedly leading this scullery boy into thinking that he'll achieve much as a Jedi if he follows 'Donal's example -"

    Later - after the recriminations and lectures - Donal wouldn't be sure if he'd had just too much of Tharmy after a particularly long day, or if it'd been Tiegan's sad ripple of hopelessness in the Force that set him off.

    What Donal DID know was that before Elender could finish speaking, he was snarling as he slammed the Sentinel against the wall physically, his right arm across Tharmy's throat and his left pinning Tharmy's right wrist.

    "You want to keep blithering your petty little non-Jedi feud with me, fine. We've got our issues - blood - between us, and we're grown men. But you pick on a youngling, and you're scum. The kid held his ground against three - four - full-grown neks, and he's more of a Jedi than you've ever become!" Donal spat as Tiegan watched, shocked.

    "KNIGHT MILTHIAD!"

    Donal released Tharmy - I can still pin you, you petty chakaar of a jerk, he thought, remembering the last time he'd fought Tharmy physically - and bowed to the stern glare of Riedis Gilt, proctor of Borrat Clan.

    OK. Been here before. Only Gilt can do the whole Iktotchi 'I've survived sandstorms louder than you, punk,' stare ... and I survived that when he was my proctor ...

    But Gilt wasn't alone, Donal noticed, sensing ano
  14. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Chapter 6: 487 BBY, Jedi Temple, Coruscant:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I've got a Jedi Master. I'm really a Padawan.

    Even with as weird as things were - the neks, seeing Jedi Knights yelling at each other, and Master Donal's complicated life - Tiegan was excited and happy and a little nervous.

    Master Donal must've picked up on it, because he smirked at Tiegan while they headed to the motorpool - Tiegan had noticed that Master Donal smirked a lot. "You know now that you can expect things to be difficult with me as your Master?" Master Donal asked.

    Tiegan nodded. "But that's OK, Master. I'll work hard, really," he promised - he'd worked to improve his lightsaber technique, and his Force skills weren't too bad ...

    Master Donal stopped near one of the hovercars, then shook his head and waved for Tiegan to follow him. "Oh, I'm sure of that. You've got 'eager new Padawan' coming out of your Force aura. I meant, are you OK with the fact that I have issues?" he asked, heading for a small, cordoned-off area of vehicles.

    "Uhm, well ... I know they're not all your fault. You told me about Master Marnis, and he sounded overconfident - no disrespect," Tiegan said; he didn't want to start out as a Padawan by being a brat.

    "None taken," Master Donal said, kindly - he could be friendly, Tiegan had noticed. It was just that Master Donal had said he thought he was cursed ...

    but Master Elender said Master Donal wasn't cursed. The Force is ... bigger than we are. We can't hope to understand it all, Tiegan figured.

    Or ... and this was a scary thought ... like Tiegan had thought before while listening to Master Donal talk about Kerensik ...

    maybe the Force couldn't fix everything.

    "Master ... is there ever a time when ... well, I know we're not supposed to over-use, or misuse, the Force. But we're supposed to trust in it, too ... is there ever a time when even consulting the Force is ... the wrong thing to do?" Tiegan asked.

    Master Donal stopped in front of some tarp-covered vehicle, and looked at Tiegan - he felt tired, in the Force, and Tiegan guessed Master Donal was remembering something ...

    "Consulting the Force isn't a bad idea, Tiegan. It's when you assume that it has all the answers that it gets you in trouble - and if it cuts you off from your feelings, then you ARE in trouble. Gut instinct isn't always dark, and it isn't always wrong," Master Donal said, quietly.

    He grinned, then, and got a kind of ... sneaky feeling in the Force - Tiegan could tell, some of the other guys in his clan felt the same way right before they were going to break the rules.

    Master Donal pulled the dust cover off of the vehicle, and Tiegan's eyes bugged out -

    there's a speeder bike in the Temple motorpool ...

    and Master Donal handed him a helmet, before saying, "Get on. I've sobered up."

    "Lesson # 3: There is no uptight monasticism - there is fun."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    "Uhm, can I -" Tiegan asked over the helmets' intercom, unable to hide his excitement.

    "Go for it," Donal chuckled, spiking the throttle and edging the repulsorlifts - he could just see the look on Tharmy's face when he heard this baby's growl ...

    and Donal gunned his pride and joy - a D'ArsanCorp X-575 speeder bike nicknamed Leash Breaker - out of the Temple garage.

    "YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" Tiegan whooped from behind Donal, while Donal steered the ridiculously-overpowered bike into the traffic stream and hauled shebs toward the Desevran embassy.

    "Uhm, won't CSF kind of be upset that we're speeding?" Tiegan asked, but Donal just grinned again.

    "My young apprentice, Lesson # 4: Diplomatic immunity is a very, very handy thing to have. Technically speaking, I am - and have been, for almost seven years - Lord D'Arsan of the D'Arsans of Maslovar, the capital city of Desevro," Donal said, dodging a rather large truck.

    And a speeder.

    And several others
  15. Ceillean Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 5
    I've read the first two chapters so far and this seems quite amusing. Donal -- I love him already. :D

    And his last name is beautiful. Love it.

    I'll catch up eventually. ;)
  16. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks for reading. :)

    Donal is a lot of fun to write; even with his somewhat angsty past, he doesn't let it break him, and he has friends ...

    and sometimes one too many ales ... :p

    - Later,
    Onderon1
  17. CelseteAntola TF.N Books Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 3
    Well now, this is an interesting bit of fanfic!

    I love it! :D

    Donal's personality is such a breath of fresh air from the studied monasticism of most Jedi characters, and his unusual situation makes for an intriguing storyline. I really liked what I've read so far!

    If you have one, could I please be added to the PM list? Thanks!

    ~Celeste
  18. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    Author's Note: Holiday business and whatnot has kept me busy, but I've not abandoned this. [face_peace]

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 7:

    487 ABY: Coruscant Lower Levels, near Tierka'nas' Butcher Shop:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Donal brought the Leash Breaker to a stop, whipping off his helmet before he set the repulsor-brake and the anti-theft taser alarm. This wasn't the roughest neighborhood, but it wasn't the Temple District, either.

    Not like I haven't seen worse, Donal mused as Tiegan took off his helmet and looked around, then sniffed the air. "I think I smell ... eeugh," the boy said, looking at something near the bike's front vanes.

    "Yep - nek dung. Our canine targets have been near here ... let's see ..." Donal mumbled, kneeling to examine the droppings after putting on some gloves.

    Tiegan didn't make a face, but Donal could sense the boy's surprise with the Force, and half-smiled over his shoulder at his Padawan. "You'd be surprised what you can tell from stuff like this. For example ..." Donal said, squinting ...

    He dropped the dung and threw the gloves in the nearest sanitation unit, then glanced at Tierka'nas' shop. "The dung's fairly fresh. Which means at least one of the neks is still around here - and since our grumpy Dug butcher owns the nek that first chased you and which also tried to gobble you up, we should start with Tierka'nas," Donal explained.

    Tiegan's eyes widened as he asked, "How'd you -?"

    "Something I learned on Kerensik when I was living with the Botori. You didn't think I got back to the Order on my own wits when I was just 12, did you?" Donal chuckled.

    He could laugh about it, at least, since it'd been so many years ago ...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    500 BBY: Kerensik, Core Worlds:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    "GHNYEAAA - !"

    Where am I ...? Donal wondered - he was in some kind of hut, wearing his Jedi robes, with a fur blanket thrown over him.

    And a Botori - THE Botori, the shaman who'd summoned the giant ursine that'd ... killed ... Master Marnis ... looking at him ...

    The bear-like non-human tilted his head and looked at Donal; the Botori's muzzle had silver among the black fur, and his eyes were a deep brown.

    An intelligent brown.

    "H ... hello?" Donal asked - his lightsaber was missing, but it'd been a training weapon anyhow, Master Marnis hadn't had time to make Donal a real one.

    And any Force adept who can summon a giant bear that eats Jedi Masters can handle one loser Padawan, Donal figured, sadly.

    "You belittle yourself. Why?"

    "E-excuse me?" Donal blurted - that'd been a voice in Basic, but inside his mind -!

    He looked at the Botori shaman, who sort of ... well, smiled didn't seem like the right word, since the Botori had so many fangs. But it wasn't a mean kind of expression, either, Donal figured.

    "You're ... a telepath?" Donal asked.

    "In the same way you are. This is more meaning than speech, but we both use what you call the Force. You and your Master are not the first Jedi my people have encountered ... but your Master's death was the first time we crossed that particular line. His death was unintended," the Botori said.

    "I ... think I understand," Donal mumbled; he wasn't going to cry. He wasn't.

    But the robes were making his eyes water, and maybe if he had to wipe his eyes on his sleeve, he'd do that.

    "Sir? I ... am I a prisoner?" Donal asked. "The Dauferim -"

    "Are trespassers. We settled Kerensik long before they did; we live in harmony with the snow banthas. This hut, the bed you rest on, the robes we wear, my staff - all are taken from the banthas whom the Dauferim men would hunt and corral. This world belonged to the Botori long before the men of the Daupherm States cried to the Republic and the Jedi," the sham
  19. CelseteAntola TF.N Books Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 3
    =D=

    Great update! I thought the flashback was really cool! I'm really starting to like these Botori creatures!! They're really neat and you write them so well!

    However, that cliffie you left us with was rather evil! [face_shame_on_you] You must update soon!!!

    Great job & thanks for the PM!

    ~Celeste

  20. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks for reading. :)

    The Botori aren't mine - they, with the Dauferim humans and Kerensik, are from canon EU. But they've not been very deeply explored, AFA I can tell. [face_thinking]

    And I wanted to touch on some worlds we rarely see in canon or 'fic - Kerensik is a Core region world, but galactically "south" of Coruscant, while Desevro is both on the Outer Rim and in an area more famous for Ossus ... [face_thinking]

    I'll try to update more often. [face_blush][face_peace]

    - Thanks again, :)
    Onderon1
  21. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Author's Note: An apology - RL, and a computer that's been misbehaving, have kept me from updating this. [face_peace]

    That said, I'm going to try and update more frequently, although they might be shorter updates ...


    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 8:

    487 BBY: Coruscant:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm going to strangle Tierk'anas with his own feet ...

    Donal shoved the uncharitable thought back down as he dodged the tuk'ata's leap - wondering how the Sith hound had gotten to Coruscant, much less why it was lurking in a butcher shop run by a Dug with black market connections, wasn't going to help right now.

    Master Yoda and a baradium missile, on the other hand, might not be so ill-advised, Donal thought, not wasting much effort on trying to use the Force against the tuk'ata. The beasts had an unhealthy degree of resistance to Force powers, which meant -

    "Tiegan! Get Tierk'anas out of here and I'll handle the friendly neighborhood puppy!" Donal ordered, hoping for once that the boy's loyalty would carry over to quickly following instructions.

    "Yes, Master," Tiegan called back - a little nervous, but Donal hardly blamed the kid.

    That just leaves me and a drooling, Force-resistant, psycho canine, Donal mused, watching as the tuk'ata paced him.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    "My SHOP!" Tierk'anas complained, as Tiegan tried to drag him - kark, the Dug was strong!

    "Sir, please, we can't stay - uh-oh," Tiegan said, gulping when he heard howls fill the air ...

    the neks are coming back ...

    "Master Donal!" Tiegan warned - he could sense the neks approaching - !

    "I hear them too, Tiegan. Tierk, if you've got a speeder - DOWN, doggy! - now would be a GOOD time to give up the garage access code ...!" Master Donal yelled, dodging the tuk'ata when it tried to leap at him again.

    Tierk'anas didn't get a chance to yell an answer, because that was when the neks came running down the street.

    Right at the tuk'ata ...

    and past Master Donal ...

    and they weren't happy, Tiegan could tell THAT much.

    They're ... fighting it? Tiegan realized - it looked and sounded pretty nasty, all the neks leaping and biting and pouncing on the tuk'ata.

    Master Donal ran toward where Tiegan still had a hand on Tierk'anas' shoulder, and Tiegan was glad of the distraction. That ... dogfight felt ugly, in the Force.

    "My puppies are loyal, eh?" Tierk'anas laughed, and Tiegan glanced at him - so the neks were Tierk'anas' dogs.

    The Dug blinked, then, and Tiegan asked, "So when you let them out earlier ..."

    "OK, I wanted to scare you off! The tuk'ata's not mine; I'm keeping it for a business associate," Tierk'anas yelped.

    Master Donal leaned forward, with that smirk he had a lot, and said, really reasonable - maybe too reasonable, Tiegan wondered - "A business associate who's got a line on Sith hounds?"

    Tierk'anas sweated a little, but that was when an AWFUL "YOUWLLP!" rang out, and Tiegan jumped - he couldn't help it, some poor animal'd gotten really hurt.

    "KARK!" Master Donal yelled as the tuk'ata ran off, and he ran over to the neks; some of them were bleeding, and one lay on the ground, panting.

    "Is he ...?" Tiegan asked, trying not to tear up. Even if the neks had chased him, he didn't want them hurt, and he could feel the one's pain, in the Force.

    "Let me concentrate - call CSU, tell them we have someone for questioning about illegal movement of Sith materials," Master Donal said. Tiegan reached for his comlink, but Tierk'anas squirmed, and Tiegan had to try to hold onto him.

    "I didn't DO anything illegal! The tuk'ata belonged to Chor'dos Al'rev!" Tierk'anas yelled.

    Master Donal closed his eyes, and Tiegan could almost see the Force flowing through him as he healed the nek. It did seem better - at least its' pain stopped, and Master Donal stood, a little tired.

    He sighed and said, "Turn him loose, Tiegan
  22. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Author's Note: I'm finally able to update again ... [face_blush]

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 9:

    487 BBY, Coruscant: Z-4705 Traffic Lane, headed upside:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Al'rev ... why did it have to be Al'rev?

    "Master? Who are the friends you were talking about?" Tiegan asked Donal over their helmet comlink; it had the effect of also stirring Donal from his reverie as he let his Force-senses handle the piloting.

    I can't keep doing that, especially now with a Padawan to think of, Donal reminded himself. Tiegan was a good kid - he was forcing Donal to be responsible without being obnoxious.

    Another layer to Master Yoda's plot ... Donal thought, smirking bitterly inside his helmet as he adjusted the Leash Breaker's flight path.

    "One of them, you met - Chaar Varnas, the barkeep at the Hutuun's Bane. He's Mando'ade - sorry, Mandalorian. Born on Vorpa'ya, and a stubborn cuss - but a good guy to have at your back in a fight," Donal said, his smile becoming warmer.

    Truth was, Chaar was like a brother to Donal - especially after the mess on Vorpa'ya ...

    and what happened to Master Vah'lis, my second Jedi Master ... Donal remembered - there it was, aayhan, bittersweetness again ...

    but as with most of Donal's friendships, it was complicated. Especially where the other friend-and-near-brother Donal had mentioned came in.

    "The other is a Bothan Jedi, Kelnam Vah'lis. Good pal, better slicer, but don't think he's less a Jedi for it - he's more Jedi than I am. We'll see him first," Donal said, making the turn - Kel kept an apartment away from the Temple, given some of his clientele.

    "But if Mr. Varnas is a Mandalorian and works near Tierk'anas' shop, shouldn't we see him first to check if he has contacts about Al'rev?" Tiegan asked.

    "Logically, yeah. But logic doesn't apply to a Mando drink mixer and a Jedi whose slicer friends wouldn't be welcome at the Temple," Donal said, smiling.

    "Besides, Kel's more likely to listen to me when I ask him to help - if I ask him first. He gets touchy if I go to Chaar first. They ... have bad blood between them."

    Tiegan seemed to ponder that - the kid's Force-signature flickered with confusion and curiousity - then he asked, respectfully but bravely, "Is this about more of your issues?"

    Donal laughed, proud of his Padawan - kid's got guts, he thought, letting Tiegan sense his pride as he answered, "Oh, yeah."

    "But first, I think I need to tell you more about my time on Kerensik. It applies to how I met Kelnam, and his aunt, Kle Vah'lis - she was my second Jedi Master."

    And arguably one of the best ...

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    499 BBY, Kerensik:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Has it really been a YEAR?

    Donal looked at himself in the giant crystal near the Botori encampment - the winter had been longer than anyone had thought, and the shadowport had been closed for months longer than anyone'd thought. Grrollwor had told him it'd been a standard year since Donal had come to the Botori, and he'd just turned 12 before his mission with Master Marnis ...

    I don't look really Jedi anymore, Donal thought - he wore a tunic and leggings of bantha hide, with an overcoat of snow bantha fur. His hair was grown out into a tangle of brown, and he'd been stumbling over his feet more often than not lately.

    "Growth spurt?" Rroolwor chuckled, and Donal just laughed; he understood Botori as a spoken language now, even if he communicated more with his hosts - his adoptive family - with the Force.

    "Better hope not. Your mom'd have a fit. She just made me a new set of clothes," Donal teased his foster brother. The Botori had accepted him, although it'd taken a while for them to be really comfortable
  23. CelseteAntola TF.N Books Staff

    VIP
    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 3
    Wow!

    Two great updates!!! =D=

    You certainly know how to weave the suspense, Onderon1! This story just keeps getting more and more intriguing...

    I really liked how you wrote the relationship between Donal and Kelnam. Their antagonistic camaraderie really came through really well. I could totally hear their banter! :D

    Keep up the fantastic work, and thanks for the PM!

    ~Celeste
  24. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks, Celeste. :D

    I'm having a lot of fun with Neks; Donal's a combination of a lot of different influences (some Qui-Gon, a little noir, and maybe a bit of Han) ...

    I described Kelnam to a friend as rather like Shado Vao to Donal's Cade Skywalker (although hopefully Donal's healthier than Cade :p), and there'll be more about that in the next excerpt.

    And, also, a lot of Mando'ade ... good and bad alike. [face_thinking]

    - Thanks again, :)
    Onderon1
  25. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Author's Note: Apologies for another long delay ... [face_blush]

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 10: 487 BBY, Coruscant:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tiegan blinked - had Master Donal REALLY just said - ?

    "Bartender Varnas' clanmate - this Al'rev - KILLED Master Vah'lis? And Mr. Varnas is - protecting Al'rev?" Tiegan asked - how could anyone protect a murderer?

    Master Donal looked tired as he poured himself some kind of drink he'd found in a pitcher in Knight Vah'lis refrigerator. "It was in a firefight. And it was complicated ... for me, anyhow," he said, looking over at Knight Vah'lis - Master Donal felt sad, almost embarrassed, in the Force.

    Knight Vah'lis looked up from his computer screen and felt ... frustrated, and tired. "You'd been technically adopted, Don. I SAID I understood. Varnas is the one who let Al'rev walk."

    Tiegan was really confused, now, and watched Master Donal's expression change in a bunch of different ways. He was really thinking about what to say, and Master Donal finally took a long sip of his drink before he cleaned off some machine parts from a couch across from Tiegan.

    He sat, then looked at Tiegan and said, "This is why most of the rest of the Order stay away from attachments. Because it can get really tricky balancing out honor and family and all the different definitions of those words. And it's a BIG part of why I upset so many Jedi - I don't put the Force first."

    "You've got close friends and family ... but it doesn't seem ... bad," Tiegan said, trying not to judge - Master Donal seemed like he had more fun, even if his life was really hard to understand.

    Master Donal smiled, and felt a little better. "It's not. But it's definitely more complicated than being a Jedi, yeah," he said, taking another long sip of his drink.

    Master Donal looked off into a corner, and Tiegan thought he was trying to remember something, before he looked back at Tiegan. "I need to explain more about how Master Kle helped me, before I can expect you to understand how difficult her death was. Your crazy Master's going to have to ramble a bit, OK?" he asked, kind of joking.

    "Uh - sure, Master," Tiegan said - he thought Master Donal was joking, anyhow. Master Donal just laughed, then took a deep breath.

    "Where did I leave off? Yeah - I'd been rescued from Kerensik by Master Kle and Kelnam. We came back to Coruscant, and the Council wanted answers ..." Master Donal began to remember.

    ***************************************************************************
    499 BBY: Coruscant, Jedi Temple:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Donal tried not to be scared - the Council just wanted to talk to him, after all ...

    And I look like a Jedi again. Kind of, Donal thought as he finished checking his new robes. The healers had checked him over, making a few noises about how he'd grown and how he'd changed, and he'd gotten a haircut - he looked like a Padawan again, with close-cropped hair and a new braid.

    Even if ...

    Donal tried not to cry - again, because he'd bawled a lot on the way back from Kerensik. He was still confused about whether he even wanted to be a Jedi anymore - he'd seen how the Botori lived, they had families and used the Force and seemed OK.

    But the Jedi are like my family, too ...

    Donal took a deep breath and tried to meditate a little, holding the orange crystal he'd picked up on Kerensik. It helped him focus in the Force, he found, and he was able to call on the good memories from when he'd been a nomad.

    He sensed, before he heard, a knock at the door of the quarters he'd been assigned - he hadn't been given a bunk back with Clan Borrat, since he had been a Padawan when he'd left, and not a little kid anymore. "Hey, you ready?" Kelnam asked, watching Donal get up from the meditation mat he'd been sitting on.

    "Yea
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