1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Beyond - Legends Saga - Legends Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway | Thrawn, OC, drama/tragedy, pre-ANH to TTT | Epic, e-book available

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Parts I & II can be downloaded HERE in pdf, epub and mobi formats

    Title: Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond sway

    Timeframe: Starts shortly before the battle of Yavin - ends around the time of the Battle of Sluis Van.

    Summary: An artist finds herself bounced around by the vagaries of Galactic history.

    Characters: OC protagonist, Thrawn, + a host of minor characters. The OCs appearing in this fic are listed here.

    Genre: If I really have to pick one, I'll go for drama/tragedy, but there's going to be a little bit of everything, from romance to adventure and back.

    This story is set in the pre-Disney EU, but I'm not really obsessed with canon, so I'll be taking liberties with stuff when I feel like doing it. I will be adding end notes to relevant chapters to explain references to EU material where necessary. Generally speaking, this story assumes that you are familiar with Timothy Zahn's character Grand Admiral Thrawn.
    I'm not a native English speaker, so feel free to tell me to correct what needs to be corrected. You should know however that my mother tongue, Greek, is a very florid language, and that I've never seen an adverb I didn't like ;)
    This story has spawned a number of prequels, sequels, spin-offs and AUs that are listed behind the spoiler tag:
    Outcast – Ayesha’s childhood during the Clone Wars
    The Family Holos – Ayesha’s preteen and teen years with her Wookiee family
    La Bohème – Ayesha and her friends as students of the Academy of Fine Arts
    Awakenings – The happy-end sequel to this story
    The Lost Artist – The next generation, or, how Ayesha and Thrawn’s daughter met the galaxy
    Intermezzi I – Misc. bits and pieces from the Ἀνάγκη!verse
    Intermezzi II – More misc. bits and pieces from the Ἀνάγκη!verse
    Song of Fate – A crossover between the Ἀνάγκη!verse and Mira_Jade’s Song!verse

    Table of contents behind the spoiler tag.
    Part I: Χάρις (Grace)

    Chapter 1: The modified Demahl
    Chapter 2: The fellowship
    Chapter 3: Lesser citizens
    Chapter 4: The raid
    Chapter 5: Zygerria
    Chapter 6: The firestone
    Chapter 7: The Twi’lek Dancer
    Chapter 8: The owner
    Chapter 9: Ted
    Chapter 10: Captain Ruud
    Chapter 11: The gift
    Chapter 12: The diner
    Chapter 13: The self-portrait
    Chapter 14: Anakin Skywalker
    Chapter 15: The colour of sunshine
    Chapter 16: Desire
    Chapter 17: Old Kiffar
    Chapter 18: Tam
    Chapter 19: Contradictions
    Chapter 20: The holosculpture
    Chapter 21: The appointment
    Chapter 22: The duel
    Chapter 23: Japor ivory wood
    Chapter 24: Jealousy
    Chapter 25: Taungsday
    Chapter 26: Qumawarat
    Chapter 27: The bacta tank
    Chapter 28: Nuso Esva
    Chapter 29: The flame miniature
    Chapter 30: The box
    Chapter 31: Major Vermel
    Chapter 32: The study
    Chapter 33: The Empire of the Hand
    Chapter 34: Eighty-Seven
    Chapter 35: The Admiral
    Chapter 36: The vultures
    Chapter 37: Power
    Chapter 38: The new ambassador

    Part II: Ἐρινύς (Vengeance)

    Chapter 1: Broken
    Chapter 2: The father
    Chapter 3: The death mark
    Chapter 4: The uncle
    Chapter 5: Tangled
    Chapter 6: The singing stone
    Chapter 7: The painting
    Chapter 8: Rumours
    Chapter 9: The fellows
    Chapter 10: The Plebeian Exhibition
    Chapter 11: Corulag
    Chapter 12: Potted plants
    Chapter 13: The Canted Circle
    Chapter 14: The funeral
    Chapter 15: The Lifeform
    Chapter 16: Morning sickness
    Chapter 17: Exile
    Chapter 18: The Admonitor
    Chapter 19: Side trip
    Chapter 20: Father and son
    Chapter 21: Hostage
    Chapter 22: Doctor Cottle
    Chapter 23: The Noghri and the stormtrooper
    Chapter 24: Friendship
    Chapter 25: Troukruka
    Chapter 26: Intrusion
    Chapter 27: The bond
    Chapter 28: Life Day
    Chapter 29: Destiny
    Chapter 30: Failure
    Chapter 31: Insurrection
    Chapter 32: Farewell
    Chapter 33: Endor

    Part III: Μοῖρα (Fate)
    Chapter 1: Liberation
    Chapter 2: Confusion
    Chapter 3: The silent stone
    Chapter 4: Threats
    Chapter 5: The jungle planet
    Chapter 6: Life debts
    Chapter 7: First contact
    Chapter 8: The dance slave
    Chapter 9: Deserters
    Chapter 10: Guest
    Chapter 11: Soontir Fel
    Chapter 12: Seeds
    Chapter 13: Nirauan
    Chapter 14: Reunion
    Chapter 15: The Fortress of the Hand
    Chapter 16: Coruscant
    Chapter 17: Homecomings
    Chapter 18: Petty and pathetic
    Chapter 19: The shuttle
    Chapter 20: Underground
    Chapter 21: Healing
    Chapter 22: Rejection
    Chapter 23: Dilemma
    Chapter 24: The plague
    Chapter 25: The fall of Coruscant
    Chapter 26: Observations
    Chapter 27: The tremor
    Chapter 28: Flight
    Chapter 29: The swarm
    Chapter 30: Silence
    Chapter 31: Fire
    Chapter 32: The ambush
    Chapter 33: Recovery
    Chapter 34: The battle of Viezoth
    Chapter 35: Staying
    Chapter 36: The black foal
    Chapter 37: Sacrifice
    Chapter 38: Obsession
    Chapter 39: Ghosts
    Chapter 40: The Chimaera
    Chapter 41: Killik Twilight
    Chapter 42: The vision
    Chapter 43: Betrayal
    Chapter 44: A second chance
    Chapter 45: Roads not taken
    Chapter 46: The mad Jedi
    Chapter 47: Ultimatum
    Chapter 48: Respite
    Chapter 49: The light in the dark


    Part I: Χάρις (Grace)

    "For in your gift are all our mortal joys, and every sweet thing, be it wisdom, beauty, or glory,
    that makes rich the soul of man."

    Pindar, Olympian Ode 14​

    Chapter 1: The modified Demahl

    The dimly lit corridor of the Imperial Palace seemed deserted as she stepped out of the meeting hall and went to the pile of materials stacked against the wall, humming to herself along the way. She added the two empty buckets she was carrying to the stack on the left, tucked the lids behind the boxes and turned to the last bucket that was full. She took a deep breath and went to heave it off the floor to carry it into the room.

    “Allow me.” A cool, cultured voice behind her caused her to jump in fright. A blue hand protruding from the olive-green sleeve of an Imperial Navy officer’s uniform grabbed the handle and lifted the bucket with ease.

    She followed the blue-skinned man back into the meeting hall. His glowing red eyes swept the room once and came to rest on the tarpaulin covering the floor and the tools laid out at the foot of the wall panel she was working on to the left of the balcony. Without a word, he carried the bucket to that corner and set it down as casually as if it were empty.

    “Thank you,” she said. She presented him with a basket of wipes. He took a towel silently while she also cleaned her hands as best she could and gave a cursory wipe at her mud-smeared face. He was standing in front of her in the straight-backed posture of a military man as his red eyes wandered around the room, going from one panel to another and lingering on the unfinished one before returning to her. He arched a single blue-black eyebrow in question.

    “You seem... perplexed.” She appeared to be a little intimidated but there was a hint of amusement in her tone.

    A small twitch flickered at the corner of his mouth. “I came here for a meeting with High Command,” he replied in a deep, even voice. “I was expecting a roomful of stiff senior officers. I will admit that to find instead a woman in Berchestian artisan trousers running around barefoot and carrying buckets of Gungan swamp clay is... intriguing.” His eyes glittered with their odd inner light. “Especially when the woman in question is obviously neither Berchestian nor Gungan” – he took in the room once more – “and she is no mere artisan either.”

    Her face broke into a warm smile and she held out her hand for him to shake. “You’re right on all three counts. I’m Ayesha Eskari, I’m the Palace’s... let’s say, resident artist until the end of this year.”

    He executed a perfect military bow as he took her proffered hand. “Senior Captain Thrawn, at your service.” His gaze flitted to the panel briefly. “Are you related to the poet Namajib Eskari?”

    She eyed him curiously, apparently surprised that he had made the connection. “He was my father.”

    The red eyes stared at her for a moment. “Interesting.” He gestured towards the wall panels. “May I have a look?”

    “Of course. Please don't touch that one,” – she pointed at the panel to the right of the double doors – “the clay isn't dry yet.”

    Thrawn gave her a curt nod and absorbed himself in a careful examination of the panel mirroring hers across the transparisteel doors leading to the balcony. With a slight shrug, she returned to the bucket he had carried, removing the lid before flipping it over. The clay slipped out of the plastoid and landed on the tarpaulin with a soft thump. She selected a potter’s wire from her tools and sliced off a chunk of clay that she added to the basin of water in front of her. Kneeling by the basin, she set about flaking the clay in the water, dissolving it until the mix acquired the creamy texture of liquid mud.

    Humming to herself, she turned to a box and extracted a cupful of white dust, which she poured into the basin. She swept her hand across the liquid a few times, careful not to spill any onto the floor. She pulled yet another measuring cup from another box, adding this time a shiny, granular substance to the mix. With a satisfied smile, she went to pick her potter’s wire again when Thrawn’s voice broke into her thoughts.

    “Is that the modified Demahl technique you are using?”

    Her eyes shot up and she looked at him with renewed curiosity. “I think it is my turn to say that you seem perplexed, Miss Eskari,” he said. His lips were definitely twitching into a smile now.

    “Impressed, really,” she replied earnestly. “Most people wouldn’t know a Demahl, modified or not, if you gift-wrapped it and served it to them on a platter.”

    There was a twinkle in his eyes. “Perhaps I am not most people.”

    “Apparently not. Are you an artist yourself?”

    “I am a Captain in the Imperial Navy.”

    “I didn't know that art and the Navy are incompatible,” she countered. “After all, I am redecorating this room for High Command.” The twinkle in his eyes was still there, but his expression remained cool and calculating. “Well, to answer your question,” she continued once it became clear he wouldn't say more, “I modified the modified Demahl.” There was that questioning blue-black eyebrow again. “I decided to add pseudolime to the mix. I find it makes the clay adhere better.” She sliced off another chunk of clay and lowered it in the basin. He was observing her with great interest. “So you could say that this is the recently invented, top secret and otherwise perfectly obscure Eskari technique,” she added with a grin.

    He chuckled softly. “Indeed. I will make sure I look it up in art books in a few years from now.”

    She laughed and set back to work. “Oh, I doubt you’ll ever find it anywhere. Nobody bothers with Gungan mud anymore.”

    There was a long silence during which he went back to his examination of the lightning pattern she had created on the wall panels that were dry. When he turned again to look at her, the mud in the basin had become thick and sticky. The muscles in her shoulders and arms were tensing as she kneaded the mix, and sweat was beading on her forehead.

    “Could you not use a duracrete mixer?” he asked.

    She shrugged without looking up. “Machines are for lazy people.”

    Amusement seeped into his voice. “I have no doubt that you are a very hard-working person, Miss Eskari, but would you not obtain a smoother, more consistent texture if you were to use one or another of the oh-so-reprehensible mechanical contraptions available to sculptors for this?”

    She shrugged again and wiped a drop of sweat from her cheek with the back of her hand, smearing a little more mud on her face. “Smoothness and consistency of texture... they don’t make a work of art special. These new alloys that artists like to use, the perfect mix, calculated with absolute precision by the foundries down to the last molecule... yes, they’re smooth, and consistent, and malleable, and some would argue beautiful. But I find they just produce soulless works.” She paused to run her forearm across her brow and push out of her face the short, beaded braids that were hanging in front of her eyes. “What makes a sculpture worth looking at is in the imperfections, in all the little signs that the sculptor tried – and failed – in his or her struggle with matter. In his or her attempt to take still matter and make it express life.” She paused again and stared at the contents of her basin. “To have a machine shape your material for you... there’s just no challenge in that,” she added with a sigh. She suddenly looked up at Thrawn, as if remembering that she was talking to him. “I’m sorry, I’m rambling and I probably don’t make much sense.”

    He was fixing her with his glowing red eyes. “On the contrary, Miss Eskari, you are surprisingly eloquent.” He took one more look at the room. “Now as much as I would like to continue this conversation rather than engage in discussions on war and strategy, I am afraid that I must go and find out where the High Command meeting is being held before I am late.”

    She smiled again. “It’s in the Naboo room. One floor up, across the hall. All the meetings have been moved there until I’m done here, which should be another five to six weeks.”

    “Thank you.” He took a step towards the door. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Eskari.”

    “The pleasure was all mine, Captain.” She stood up and wiped mud off her fingers before gesturing towards the now-empty bucket of clay. “And thank you for your help.”

    “You are most welcome, Miss Eskari. With your permission, I will visit you again in the coming weeks, to watch our meeting room transform under your care.” And with another military bow, he turned on his heel and left.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2023
  2. Viridian-Maiden

    Viridian-Maiden Jedi Master star 1

    Aug 14, 2013
    So, I may be hitting on something unintended, or maybe it was intended...but the first thing that comes to me is that it's interesting that her name is Eskari. Since it's close to a word that means someone from the military but she's the artist and he's the soldier...suggesting maybe that a love for art isn't everything they share?
    Ewok Poet, AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  3. Viridian-Maiden

    Viridian-Maiden Jedi Master star 1

    Aug 14, 2013
    I take it back. If her name is Ayesha and her father's name is Namajib, then I think the name Eskari was also quite intentional. ;)
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Viridian-Maiden Given the title, you can safely assume that a lot of stuff is intentional ;) I'm impressed you noticed it from page 1 though. You're an attentive reader!
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  5. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard FFoF Artist Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Nov 22, 1999
    Ooh, young Thrawn! Interesting :)

    I like the fact that your OC is an artist . The GFFA is well populated with soldiers, pilots, and Jedi. It's refreshing to see someone who breaks the mold. I studied art in college, though I worked more in 2D media. I have to agree with Ayesha; seeing an artist's hand in her work is much more interesting than perfection. :) Looking forward to seeing more!
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    A young Thrawn and an articulate and gifted sculptress - what an intriguing combination. They impressed one another and I'm impressed with this plot premise. One would never know English is not your first language Chyntuck @};- @};-
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Off to a very intriguing start indeed, Chyntuck. :cool: The details of Ayesha's artistic materials, process, and philosophy are just really amazing—I'm guessing you must have some experience working with clay, too? As Raissa Baiard says, it's a refreshing change to meet an artist in the GFFA. Beautifully written too—much kudos. @};-

    Viridian-Maiden, out of curiosity, what language is it you were referring to when you were mentioning the meanings of Eskari, Ayesha, and Namajib? (Arabic would be my first guess, but I'm not sure...)

    Looking forward to more of this—I'd love to be tagged on future updates. :)
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  8. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you! One of my grievances with the SW universe is the fact that strong female characters in particular are too often geared towards the "warrior woman" type, so I wanted to write something from the perspective of a civilian who's essentially a bystander to the upheavals of history. As for art, "seeing the artist's hand" as you put it is what matters most to me. My friend is a potter and I find it very moving when I can see his fingerprint on his works. It makes me feel like he actually put a little bit of himself in them :)

    Now these are probably the two most encouraging things you could tell me! It's what I was aiming for in this chapter. :) :) :)

    I wish I did, but unfortunately not. I did pester my potter friend a lot for this chapter though ;)

    Full marks! 'askari means "military" in Arabic and Ayesha is a fairly common name that means "life". Namajib I just made up so it would be phonetically consistent. :p However, when I chose "Eskari" I was thinking of the meaning we give to the word in Greek (we adopted it via Turkish.) It translates quite accurately as "host" in English, meaning both an army corps and a large number of people.

    I might be able to update as early as tonight. Mr Chyntuckopoulos is away until tomorrow, so I have extra time on my hands :D

    Thank you for reading!
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Very cool linguistic side notes. :cool: I love fanfictional names that are intentionally based on RL languages and words. There do seem to be a good number of Turkish and Arabic borrowings in Modern Greek—is that true, or am I pulling things out of my ear? (The examples I know of are mainly in the realm of food—things like dolma. ;) )
    Ewok Poet and AzureAngel2 like this.
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Success! Chapter 2 is up.

    Yes, there are heaps! One of ma personal faves involving 'askari is "rembet-asker", which means "a bunch of ne'er-do-wells" [face_laugh]


    Chapter 2: The fellowship

    Ayesha was uncomfortably perched on the top of a ladder, struggling to insert her carving tool behind one of the lightning-shaped clay lines to scrap away an unnecessary blob on the otherwise smooth surface of the panel. She interrupted the song she was humming to let out a satisfied grunt when she finally succeeded and dug into her apron pocket for the fine-grained sanding sponge.

    “I am afraid you dropped something, Miss Eskari,” Thrawn’s voice said somewhere below her. She twisted on her perch just enough to see a blue hand holding up the sponge.

    She beamed at him. “And the Imperial Navy comes to the rescue.” She slid down the ladder to stand in front of him. “Thank you.”

    His eyes were sweeping the room, taking in the panel that she had already finished carving to the right of the balcony, the three that were still in a raw, unfinished state and the one she had just been working on, on the back wall. He finally returned to her and pointed at the various styluses hanging from her apron. “This is quite a collection you have. Schenor, I suppose?”

    If she was surprised, this time she didn’t show it. “Mostly, yes. But this one is my favourite” – she held out the tool she had been using – “and it’s from Bimmisaari.”

    He cocked an eyebrow. “How interesting. I did not know that the Bimms produce any clay works.”

    “They don’t. This is normally used for wood, but it turned out it suits my purpose here well enough.”

    He turned the small stylus in his hand before giving it back to her. “You do not like to do things the, shall we say, traditional way.”

    She laughed and offered him a hand wipe. “One of my professors in the Academy used to tell me exactly the same thing.” She clipped the stylus back in its place on the apron and took a towel for herself.

    He stared at her for a moment. “I take it that the absence of a mechanical sander has to do with the no-laziness rule?”

    “There’s that,” she admitted. “Also that those blasted things generate even more dust, if you can imagine.” She was indeed covered in dust from head to toe, her whole being an indefinable colour of ghostly grey matching the clay panels on the walls. She dropped the hand wipe in the wastebasket and took another one to clean her face.

    His lips twitched as she cautiously removed the speckles of dust from her eyelashes. “It must be quite something.”

    “You have no idea,” she said with a sigh.

    His gaze returned to the panel she’d finished carving. “May I?” And without further ado, he absorbed himself in its examination while she worked her way through another three towels, managing only to smudge the caked dust on her face and neck.

    “It is really quite intriguing that there should be no Corellian influence in your style whatsoever,” he finally said. He was standing straight-backed with his hands clasped behind him, his eyes still fixed on the panel.

    She frowned. “Why should there be anything Corellian about my style?”

    He turned around to face her. “Is Namajib Eskari not commonly referred to as the Corellian poet?”

    “Oh, that.” She gave a small shrug. “Well, yes, you’re right of course, although it isn’t entirely accurate.” The eyebrow crawled up on his forehead. “My father’s family hailed from Corellia, but he left the planet as a young man and as far as I know, he never went back. I’ve never been there myself, actually.”

    “Really?” Curiosity crept into his otherwise expressionless features. “So where did you spend your younger years?”

    She shrugged again and looked away. “That’s a rather long story, but to make it short, the place I call home now is Kashyyyk.”

    “Kashyyyk?” This time there was no mistaking the surprise in his voice.

    “Yes. I was adopted there after my parents passed away when I was a child.”

    “I see,” he said in a tone that clearly showed he didn’t. “I was not aware that there are any humans living on Kashyyyk,” he added tentatively.

    “It’s unusual,” she countered. “But it’s not unheard of either.” Her eyes moved back from the sleeve of his uniform to his blue-skinned face and she somehow seemed to relax. “Besides, I’m only part human, so that may be your explanation.”

    His obvious next question – that she looked perfectly human to him – was interrupted by a prissy voice. “Mistress Ayesha?” A silver protocol droid pushing a hovertray was standing by the door.

    “Thanks, Ceetoo! Could you please put that on the balcony?” She stifled a giggle as the droid waddled through the room, muttering about dust and servomotors and how he would need an oil bath, and then turned back to Thrawn. “Would you like to share my lunch, Captain? It’s not much, just sandwiches, but they’re usually quite nice.”

    He took a glance at his chronometer. “That would be with great pleasure, Miss Eskari, but I would not want to deprive you of your meal.”

    “That you won’t,” she said with a hearty laugh. “The kitchen people seem to believe they’re feeding a hungry rancor.” She nodded towards the transparisteel doors. “Just help yourself to a cup of something. I need to clean myself up some more before I’m fit for any civilized activity.” And she bounced off towards the small service room where a portable ‘fresher station had been set up for her.

    She came out again a few minutes later and found Thrawn lounging in one of the balcony chairs, his long legs stretched out in front of him, one ankle crossed over the other and a cup of strong, black caf in his hand. She unwrapped the massive plate of sandwiches and set it on the table next to him, poured a mug for herself and stood against the balcony railing. He looked at her carefully. She had removed her apron and replaced her dirty long-sleeved shirt with a plain white sleeveless one. There was still dust on her forearms, trousers and bare feet, but her face and neck were now clean, revealing a woman with olive skin and sparkling black eyes underlined by a yellow Qukuuf mark on her left cheekbone. She was of average height and had generous curves, with a little bump of tummy fat that stretched the waistband of her trousers, yet she still had about her the slenderness of adolescence that sometimes accompanies women until their mid- to late twenties. Her neck and arms were lithe and gracile and her hands and feet were small and delicate like those of a child. While she was not a beauty by human standards – her nose was a little too big, her mouth a little too wide – there was something powerfully attractive about her.

    “Would you like to sit down?” he asked after a moment.

    She chuckled. “I just spent my morning sitting sideways on the top of a ladder. I need to stretch my legs a bit.” She leaned against the railing, basking in the sunlight that filtered through the clouds. He was still staring at her silently with his glowing red eyes. “What?” she said finally. “Did I forget some dirt somewhere on my face?”

    His lips twitched. “Not at all. I am simply enjoying the pleasure of making your acquaintance in person, so to speak.”

    She laughed again. “Between the mud last week and the dust this week, it takes the glamour out if the job, doesn’t it?”

    His eyes twinkled. “You could say that.”

    She reached for a sandwich from the table and leaned back against the railing. “So,” she said, “tell me how it happens that you know so much about sculpture.”

    “Oh, there is not much to say. Military training on my homeworld includes a strong component about the species and cultures of neighbouring systems. We study their art as a matter of course. When I came to this part of the Galaxy, I took the time to learn about the art of the various species here.”

    “And your homeworld is...?”

    “A planet called Csilla,” he replied curtly. “In what you would know as the Unknown Regions.”

    “Your training can’t possibly go into the level of detail that you seem to know about techniques and tools,” she said when it became clear that he wouldn’t elaborate. “Unless your military academies churn out more art historians than soldiers.”

    His lips twitched again. “Of course not. It is something of a personal hobby for me to learn about these things. Knowing the techniques and the tools enables me to understand the art better.”

    “And what do you gain from that?”

    “A better understanding of the artist and his or her species, and, therefore, a better understanding of their needs and psychological blind spots.”

    She made a face, half frown, half curiosity. “So what does my work tell you about me?”

    He glanced at the room behind him before returning his gaze to her. “Not much, to be honest with you. Which is what makes it so intriguing. Other than the obvious fact that it exudes a powerful sense of confinement, of limitation.” He paused to look at her for a moment. “May I ask you a question?”

    She smiled. “Again?”

    His face went expressionless. “I apologize,” he said a little stiffly. “I do not mean to pry.”

    “Not at all,” she protested. “It’s just that you’ve probably already asked me more questions than the rest of the Imperial Palace put together. People here don't seem too interested in what I do.” He remained silent. “Please, go ahead and ask. I’ll be happy to answer you – if I know the answer, that is.”

    His face remained unreadable but the tension in his body eased a little. “My first visit here told me that you are obviously a very talented sculptress,” he said, choosing his words with great care. “I assumed that you are a well-established artist to be commissioned for redecorating rooms of the Imperial Palace. I was therefore rather surprised when a HoloNet search for more of your work came up empty.”

    She smiled. “That’s rather easy to explain. I’m not a well-established artist at all. I'm the current Emperor Palpatine Fellow for the Arts.” He arched an eyebrow in question. “It’s a three-year fellowship granted to a graduate of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, to enable young artists to develop their style. I’d just graduated when they called for applications, and one of my professors put down my name for it. I thought of it as a great honour at the time, so I didn’t even think to decline.”

    “Are you implying that you do not think of it as an honour anymore?” he asked, somewhat sternly.

    She blushed at little and bit her lip. “Of course it’s an honour. But now I realize that it comes at a price.” He remained silent again, but his unwavering gaze was clearly asking her to say more. “The fellowship allows for virtually unlimited resources,” she said cautiously. “Being here, I had access to historical sources and opportunities for travel that I never even dreamt of, and I got to experiment with all sorts of new materials and tools.” She fiddled with her cup. “But the condition is that I can produce works only for the Palace, at the request of the Emperor or those he selects among his courtiers or senior officers. I’m very... limited in what I’m allowed to do.” She gestured towards the room. “So your reading on my work was spot-on,” she added with a small smile.

    His expression softened. “I can see why you would find that frustrating. Which other rooms of the Palace did you decorate? I have been off-world for a long time and I would very much like to visit them.”

    She sighed. “None, actually. This is the first time the Emperor asked me to do something for the Palace. For the first two years of my fellowship he just gave me on loan to his advisors and Grand Admirals, and all they were interested in was having their portrait made.” There was a hint of distaste in her words.

    The red eyes seemed to bore into her head. “You seem not to like those people very much.”

    She sighed again. “You don't miss anything, do you?” she asked. He simply sat there and waited for her answer. She sank into the chair next to him and took another sandwich. “No, truth be told, it was not always pleasant. Powerful people in this Palace think of me as some sort of servant. It leads sometimes to... awkward situations.” The red eyes glittered ominously. “But it’s fine,” she spluttered before he could place a word. “It’s just annoying, and I can take care of myself. I’ve become pretty good at dodging the likes of certain Grand Admirals,” she added in a clumsy attempt at humour. Thrawn didn’t smile. “Really, it’s nothing, I shouldn’t even have mentioned it. I just find it annoying and... I guess, disappointing, that some senior Navy officers can be so... arrogant and dismissive.”

    There was a silence. Thrawn’s voice was tight when he next spoke. “I truly hope that is not the impression I am giving you.”

    She burst out laughing. “Not at all. You looked at my work before you even looked at me. That earned you a galaxy of brownie points in my book. Besides,” she added with a grin, “you know what a modified Demahl is. You can’t be all bad.”

    He gave her for the first time a smile that lit up his whole face before reverting to his cool, calculating expression. “I am sorry to hear that you are not enjoying your time in the Palace.”

    She waved her hand. “It’s okay. I have just under a year to go and I won’t be spending much of it here anyway. I have to start working on my final exhibition after I’m done with this room. But your two visits made my day, you know. You’re only the second person since I came here who expresses any interest in my work at all.”

    “Who was the first?”

    “As surprising as it may seem, it was Lord Vader.” She was clearly not disappointed with the baffled look that flickered across his face.

    “Lord Vader?” he repeated. “You were asked to make his portrait?”

    “No, unfortunately,” she said with undisguised longing in her voice. “He just happened to pass in this corridor on my second day here and he heard me sing, so he walked in.” She gave a slightly embarrassed shrug. “I like to sing when I work and on that day I guess I was louder than usual because I really thought I was alone in this part of the Palace.”

    Thrawn had regained his composure, but there was no mistaking the curiosity in his eyes. “And...?”

    “And, nothing. He came in so I went to get off my ladder, but he told me to carry on. What was a bit weird was that he asked me to finish the song. So I did and I just kept working on the panel, and then he told me a few things about Gungan clay and left. He’s quite knowledgeable about Gungan culture. That’s pretty much it, really.”

    “Out of curiosity, what were you singing?”

    Atitcha apaksha. It’s a Jawa lullaby from Tatooine.” She hummed the first stanza.

    Thrawn gazed at the cityscape for a moment. “Very interesting,” he muttered to himself. He looked at her again. “And you would like to make his portrait?”

    “Oh, yes, very much so,” she said eagerly. “The way he moves, that odd combination of grace and clumsiness in his step... that’s something I’d very much like to try and capture in a sculpture. I really wonder what he was like before... well, you know, before the armour. He must have been quite a graceful man. And,” she added wistfully, “I’d give a lot to be allowed to watch him wield his lightsaber for five minutes.” He stared at her in utter disbelief. “You think I’m crazy.”

    The red eyes twinkled. “I would not go quite that far, but you do have a rather unique way of looking at things. The mental image of Lord Vader with lightsaber in hand is more than enough to send most people cowering under their beds.”

    She gave him a wicked grin. “Perhaps I am not most people.”

    And for the first time, Thrawn laughed. He laughed openly, warmly, without even trying to maintain his usual cool demeanour. “No, Miss Eskari, you are most definitely not.” He glanced at his chronometer and stood up. “I am afraid I must be going. Thank you for lunch, I had a most enjoyable time.”

    “You’re most welcome, Captain, thank you for stopping by.”

    She followed him back into the room. He stopped to take one last look at the panels and turned around. “I assume I would have to tour the private residences of the great and mighty of this Palace to see the portraits you made?”

    She nodded. “I did keep holos though, if you want to avoid the tour. I can bring you a datacard. But they’re really not that interesting.”

    “That would be very kind of you, Miss Eskari. I would very much like to see your take on my colleagues. Could I come and pick it in the coming days?”

    “Sure. I’ll bring it tomorrow.”

    He nodded his thanks, shook her hand and turned crisply on his heel to leave.
    Snocone, JadeLotus, Ewok Poet and 5 others like this.
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    I enjoyed reading more of Ayesha's back story and her opinions of LOL Grand Admiral types and courtiers and Vader too. Thrawn's personality and qualities are strongly etched -- bravo on that! You've really made him vivid for us. :cool: =D=
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Gemma like this.
  12. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    Yes, this is quite a different view of Thrawn - nicely done. I liked the part about Vader and the Jawa Lullaby -- nice story point. Tag me in please.:)
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  13. Viridian-Maiden

    Viridian-Maiden Jedi Master star 1

    Aug 14, 2013
    Thank you. I actually don't know any Greek so I have no idea what the title says. I just figured Greece is close to the Turkey and....

    Yes indeed. :D

    Chyntuck likes this.
  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks Nyota's Heart Gemma!

    Viridian-Maiden Ἀνάγκη (Ananke) was the goddess of fate in Greek mythology. She isn't often depicted in Greek myths, but she's often referred to as a power so absolute that even the other gods had to submit to her will.
  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 3 is up! Thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading (with amazing efficiency, I may add.)

    Tags: Findswoman Gemma


    Chapter 3: Lesser citizens

    The swoop was hovering near the railing, close enough for Makh’s head tentacles to tickle Ayesha’s bare arms as he leaned closer to murmur to her. She caught the tip of one of them and stroked it playfully when he suddenly pulled away. His eyes had moved to a spot behind her. She spun around to see Thrawn stepping onto the balcony.

    “Hello, Captain! Please come over.” She gestured towards the Nautolan on the swoop. “This is Makh Vrill. Makh, this is Senior Captain Thrawn, I think I told you about him already.”

    The blue-skinned officer stepped forward and shook hands with Makh. His gaze locked on the Nautolan’s bulging black eyes, and the two men seemed to size each other up for a moment.

    “Makh is a philosopher and a writer,” Ayesha said to fill the silence. “He recently published a book about...”

    Lesser citizens: the place of non-human sentients in Imperial society,” Thrawn interrupted. “I am well aware of Mr. Vrill’s work. I am currently reading your book,” he added with a nod towards the Nautolan. “Very interesting so far. Although I must say that I disagree with the distinction you make between the statuses of near-human and non-human species.” Ayesha nodded in assent.

    “Most near-humans seem to adopt your point of view,” Makh replied with a glance at Ayesha. “Although your particular opinion on this matter may be biased by the fact that you are quite well established in Imperial society,” he added with a hint of sarcasm. He was staring contemptuously at the rank bars on Thrawn’s uniform.

    Ayesha gave Makh a nervous look. “Makh, don’t get started now,” she whispered as he laid a proprietary hand over hers on the railing.

    Thrawn’s even voice interrupted her. “I may not be as well-established as you would like to think.”

    “Really? That’s a conversation with an Imperial officer I’ll be looking forward to,” Makh countered nastily. “However, it will have to wait for another day.” He turned back to Ayesha. “Half an hour on the South landing platform?”

    She nodded stiffly. He gave a mock salute to Thrawn and revved up the swoop to leave.

    Ayesha turned back to Thrawn. Embarrassment was written all over her face, clearly visible under the grime covering her. “Sorry for that,” she mumbled. “He’s had a hard time since he came to Coruscant. He still has to work menial jobs despite his success as a writer, just because he’s not human. It makes him a little... abrupt sometimes, especially with near-humans.”

    He waved it off. “Nothing to worry about. I take it that you already had this discussion with Mr. Vrill in the past?”

    She sighed. “I’ve been trying to explain to him that near-humans get harassment from both sides – from humans for not being quite human and from aliens for being too human.” Thrawn nodded knowingly. “But he just doesn’t get it.”

    She walked back into the room, keyed for the housekeeping droids to come and set about wiping her tools and putting them away. Thrawn watched her silently for a few minutes. “May I ask you a question?” he asked finally.

    She smiled. “Interrogation time?”

    “It would be rather personal in nature.”

    She sat cross-legged on the floor and looked at him. “As long as it’s not too personal, I should be able to cope. Fire off.”

    “This is the second time you mention being of mixed heritage,” he said cautiously. “However...”

    "However, I look perfectly human to you?" she completed for him. She rubbed the dust off her cheek to reveal the yellow Qukuuf mark under her eye. “My mother was from Kiffu. The Kiffar people are not considered properly human.”


    “Really, though for the life of me I can’t understand why. The differences between the Kiffar and baseline humans are minor. I think it has to do with the isolation of Kiffu, with the electrical storms and all that.”

    The red eyes swept the wall panels. “Well, that certainly explains something,” he muttered to himself. She looked up questioningly but he didn’t elaborate. With a slight shrug, she returned the last of her tools to the kit and sealed it.

    “May I ask you a second personal question?”

    She gave him a wry smile. “Go ahead.”

    “How come you settled on Kashyyyk instead of Kiffu? My understanding is that the Kiffar clans are tightly knit and that they take care of their own.”

    The sparkle vanished from her eyes for a fraction of a second. “The answer to that, Captain,” she said airily, “is long and complicated.” She stood up. “Will you please give me a few minutes? I need to clean myself up for the normal world.”

    She disappeared in the service room while he looked again at the wall panels. She was now halfway done with the one at the back of the room. Where her stylus had passed, the edges of the criss-crossing lightning-shaped clay lines were sharper and tiny grooves had been carved along their length. The surfaces had been sanded and were now perfectly smooth. This was obviously the result of a slow, time-consuming process.

    She emerged from the small service room a few minutes later. Her face, hands and feet were now clean and she was wearing a light dress that hugged her curves. The sonic shower had even removed the dust from her hair, revealing short, jet-black braids contrasting sharply with the coloured beads tipping them. A jacket was swung over her shoulder and she carried a satchel in her hand. She dug into it and handed him a datacard. “Here you go, the holos you asked for. Can you please make sure you return this to me? I ran out of datacards and didn’t have time to make a copy.”

    “Of course,” Thrawn replied. “Many thanks for this. Will you allow me to accompany you to the South platform? My speeder is parked there.”

    They walked silently to the turbolift. “May I ask you a personal question now?” she asked. His eyes glittered as he looked up sharply. “You got to ask two today,” she pointed out. “And I promise it won’t hurt,” she added with a small grin. He nodded with obvious discomfort. “I don’t think I ever saw anyone of your kind before. Do your people have a name or do you consider yourselves human?”

    “We call ourselves the Chiss,” he replied stiffly as the turbolift started moving. “Until a few decades ago we did not even know that humans existed. Although given the similarities, of course, there are good chances that we have common origins.”

    The silence that followed was awkward but Ayesha decided to plough ahead regardless. “You really don’t like being asked things about yourself, do you?”

    To her great surprise, Thrawn laughed. “Your power of observation is remarkable, Miss Eskari.” He paused for a minute. “In my culture it is greatly frowned upon to ask personal questions and to talk about oneself. It took me a while after I joined the Empire to adjust to the way humans openly express their curiosity. I cannot say that I have completely adapted yet.”

    It was her turn to laugh. The turbolift doors opened. “It seems to me you adapted a lot better to asking personal questions than to answering them. My power of observation also tells me that you’re something of an information junkie.”

    Thrawn’s lips twitched as he walked over to a small speeder in the left row. He pointed at a silhouette in the distance. “Mr. Vrill is waiting for you over there, Miss Eskari. You do not want to keep him waiting.”

    He watched her skip away to the end of the platform after they exchanged their goodbyes. Makh pulled her in a tight hug and gave her a passionate kiss, his head tentacles twitching over the skin of her arms as if tasting her. He helped her slip on her jacket and handed her a swoop helmet. As she pulled herself onto the swoop behind him, he glanced at Thrawn, who was still standing straight-backed near his speeder, and gave the other man a glare of pure loathing.

    A/N: Canon information about the Kiffar here; my elements of fanon here.
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoying the interaction between Ayesha and Thrawn - as they balance confiding with totally in-character reserve. =D= Makh is intriguing ... seems a little bit uptight about the alien-versus-not thing and a bit on the wild side for Ayesha ...
  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh my, sorry I've gotten behind! These are both fantastic updates—intriguing and well-written story.

    Chapter 2: Loved reading about Ayesha's chance encounter with Vader, her impressions of him as an artist ("He must have been quite a graceful man"), his reaction to her work and her song, his (to her) unexpected knowledge of things like Gungan clay and Jawa lullabies. And of course, as a music person, I squee'd heavily at the latter—nice touch. :cool: Great description of Ayesha as a pretty much "average Jane"—it's refreshing to see a character who looks, sounds, and feels like a "real person." :)

    Chapter 3: This Makh fellow is most intriguing; I'll be interested to see how his role in this story pans out. Interesting points on the ideologies behind prejudice against near-humans—food for thought there, especially since it's a topic particularly near and dear to our heroine. Glad she got the chance to interrogate Thrawn a bit too ("Quid pro quo, Clarice!") and call him out on his inquisitiveness (which I am almost certain must have some ulterior motive, this being Thrawn and all ;) ).
  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks Nyota's Heart Findswoman !

    I'm realizing, as I make progress on writing this story, that choosing Thrawn as the main canon character wasn't a very smart idea. It's a lot of work to figure out how he would behave in a private setting with someone who's not a pawn of some sort :p I'm glad you seem to think I'm getting it right, but I'm open to criticism and suggestions about that.

    Oh, and since we talked earlier about "normal people" characters in the SW universe, I'll mention this very interesting piece I read recently on Eleven-Thirty-Eight: The Case for The Common Man

    I'll be back with a new chapter on Monday :)
    AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.
  19. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    Very interesting update with Mahk. He sounds a bit possessive. I am enjoying seeing Thrawn in the setting with Ayesha. I always find it intriguing to seeing a bad guy's other side - that is if he has one.
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  20. K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku

    K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Apr 18, 2000
    Enjoying this very much! The interaction between Thrawn and Ayesha is intriguing. As Gemma said, it's cool to see a villian as a complete, complex character. Looking forward to more!
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku ! I always thought Thrawn can't be all bad, since he likes art so much (although Palpatine likes going to the opera, and he's as evil as it gets ;)). But generally I find Thrawn to be interesting. I know that Zahn took a lot of flack for "whitewashing" him in Outbound Flight, but I didn't mind. I actually liked the evolution from the high-minded young Thrawn to the ruthless, cunning Grand Admiral in TTT. I found it mirrored Vader's turn to the Dark Side nicely and gave a bit more depth to the character.

    Okay, new chapter up. Tagging Findswoman and thanking the amazing Nyota's Heart for beta-reading again :)


    Chapter 4: The raid

    A soft knock on the doorframe alerted Ayesha to the presence of a visitor. She stood up from the corner where she was crouching and found herself in the presence of Senior Captain Thrawn.

    “Thank the stars,” she muttered.

    He cocked an eyebrow. “Did you fear I would disappear and take your datacard with me?”

    “That’s not what I meant.” She picked a towel from the basket and began wiping her hands and face. “I need a break because I’m so totally fed up with the dust, and you’re the perfect pretext to take a break. You have a moment?”

    He followed her on the balcony and settled in a chair. “I don't have much to offer you,” she said. “The choices are water, cold caf and leftover sandwiches from lunch.” He accepted a glass of water and watched as she poured herself a cup of caf. She took a sip and grimaced, put her mug down on the table and stretched before leaning against the railing. “How was your trip?”

    “Fairly interesting. There was some pirate trouble in Malastare that needed sorting out.” He pulled a datacard out of his pocket and laid it on the table. “I apologize for the delay in returning this to you, I had to leave on rather short notice.”

    “No worries, Ceetoo told me. Did you learn anything interesting about my psyche from these?” she asked, a little teasingly.

    His eyes twinkled. “My dear Miss Eskari, your psyche is indecipherable. I did learn a great deal about some of my colleagues and superior officers from your portraits though. Your depiction of Grand Admirals Tigellinus and Zaarin is particularly merciless.”

    She shrugged contemptuously. “As long as they can’t see it...”

    “I am quite certain that they are not the only ones who cannot see it. And they are most unlikely to learn your particular language to express such things. I would recommend however that you tread carefully around them. They are both powerful men who could make your life rather difficult.”

    She shrugged again and stretched, stifling a yawn. “Sorry for that, late night,” she said by way of explanation.

    There was a silence. Thrawn glanced at the room over his shoulder. “I see you made quite some progress in the last week.”

    “Yes, the carving phase is finally coming to an end. Just one panel to go. I’m so tired of it though that I might do some dusting first.” She brandished a soft, palm-sized sweeper that she pulled from her apron.

    Thrawn’s lips twitched. “No vacuuming, no laziness?”

    “No laziness,” she repeated. “But it also serves another purpose. I actually want some dust to remain on the sculpts before I apply the oil-wax. It just needs to find its... natural place.” She shrugged once more, as if realizing that she wasn’t expressing her thoughts very well, and stifled another yawn.

    There was another silence. Thrawn looked at her intently. There were black circles under her eyes and her face seemed to struggle against a constant frown. “You seem tired,” he said. “And troubled.”

    She lowered herself in the chair next to his and sighed. “I am. There was a Trandoshan slaving raid on Kashyyyk four days ago and I haven’t heard from my family yet. My adoptive family,” she added in response to his cocked eyebrow.

    “I am sorry to hear that,” he said kindly. “But it is not the first time such a raid happens. I am sure your family knows how to deal with it to remain safe.”

    She sighed again. “They do. We normally go down and hide in the Fifth Level, and we wait for the slavers to leave, but that’s hardly what you’d call safe with all the predators there. And I’m worried about my little brother, he fancies himself a great hunter and he might go and do something rash...”

    “I am not sure I understand,” Thrawn interrupted. “Are you telling me that your family live in one of the treetop settlements?”

    She blinked at him. “Of course. Where else would they live?”

    Thrawn opened his mouth to speak and closed it again. “I did some research about Kashyyyk after you mentioned it last week,” he said finally. “I must say that, to my great shame, I knew very little about the planet. I was told that what few humans live there are gathered in a settlement on the coast because of the dangers in the forest.”

    She threw her head back and laughed as the credit dropped. “My family are not human, Captain. They’re Wookiees.”

    The red eyes glittered. “You are certainly full of surprises, Miss Eskari. Most people...” He caught himself as she burst out laughing again. “I must remind myself never to use the phrase ‘most people’ when talking to you.”

    It made her laugh even harder. “Please don’t take this personally,” she hiccupped, “but your reaction is priceless.”

    “I do not. And if it will keep you from fretting, I will happily accept much worse.” He looked at her as she sat up in her chair, finally catching her breath. “However, like most people,” – he added special emphasis to the words – “I find it extremely difficult to imagine a delicate person like you surrounded by big, shaggy Wookiees.”

    She reached for her satchel under the table and extracted a handheld holoprojector. “Here.” She switched it on. “Something to feed your imagination.”

    The image flickered to life. Ayesha appeared to be ten or eleven years old in the holo. She was sitting in the arms of a tan-furred Wookiee who was cradling her as if she were no more than a toddler. She was looking away from the camera, an absent expression on her face, her cheek resting on the massive, furry chest, while the Wookiee gazed at her with an expression of deep compassion. “This is Ata’ Messiri,” she said. “She’s the healer of our village. This was on the day they adopted me.”

    She pressed a key on the base of the disk. The holo changed to a family picture. She was a little older in this one, perhaps thirteen, standing on a chair between two adult Wookiees and staring very seriously at the camera. She was holding a newborn Wookiee in her arms. Another young Wookiee was crouching in front of her. “Ata’ Messiri again. This here” – she pointed at the other adult, who was darker in colour and had a baldric slung across his chest – “is Ada’ Yakooboo. He’s the village chieftain. The one crouching in front is my older brother Rabarruk. The slavers took him two years ago.”

    Thrawn turned his eyes to her sharply. She shrugged. “It happens a lot on Kashyyyk,” she said, trying to sound casual. She gazed at the holo again and her face softened. “And the fur ball is my little brother Rumpy, he was just one day old. You should see him now,” she chuckled, “he’s the tallest in the family and the females in his age class are all over him.”

    She moved the holoprojector to the next image. Here she was sitting on Rabarruk’s shoulders. Her delicate feet seemed tiny under the large paws holding her ankles. A Wookiee pup was riding on her own shoulders and all three were roaring with laughter. “This was on Life Day after Rumpy was born. He’s maybe six months old in this holo.”

    Thrawn took the small pad from her hand for a closer look. “This is an exquisite image. You all seem very happy.”

    She sighed. “We were.” Thrawn keyed forward. The new holo showed her standing in profile. She was wearing a plain grey jumpsuit with a leather bag strapped to her back. The dark-furred Wookiee was kneeling in front of her, his paw caressing her cheek as if she were a frightened child, even though she was visibly an adolescent now. “This was the first time I went to school. I was a bit nervous.” Thrawn arched an eyebrow in question. “It was the aftermath of the Clone Wars. I missed out on education when I was a kid, so I had to catch up. I was fourteen when this holo was captured.”

    She reached to key for the last holo. She was a young woman in this one, her arms around the neck of a chestnut-furred Wookiee slightly taller than her who was holding her by the waist, her lips outstretched to kiss the tip of his nose. She was wearing a short leather dress and sandals, and her feet were lifted slightly off the ground. Her adoptive parents were looking on in the background. “Rumpy and me on the day I was admitted to the Academy,” she said. "Wookiees normally hate it when you touch their nose, but Rumpy lets me do it because he’s my little brother. He keeps saying that this’ll change after he takes his Adulthood Trials, but I don’t believe him.” She lingered on the image a little, then took the device back from Thrawn, switched it off and tucked it back in her satchel.

    There was a long silence during which her face darkened. Thrawn’s voice finally broke into her thoughts. “I am sure they will all be fine,” he said reassuringly. “But I do understand how difficult it is to wait.”

    She sighed again, as if she were carrying a massive weight. “It’s not like we’re not used to it, you know. We’ve been waiting for news from Rabarruk for two years. But it doesn’t get easier with time.”

    “No,” he said thoughtfully, his eyes unfocused in the distance. “It never does.”

    She looked at him questioningly but he didn’t elaborate. She shook her head as if to remove that train of thought. “Did I convince you that Wookiees are not mindless brutes?”

    He gave her a warm smile. “You certainly did.”

    “Then this is a good day.” She stood up. “I need to get back to work. Makh’s picking me up early today and I really want to finish this panel before I go.”

    They walked back into the room. She crouched under the panel she had been working on and resumed her scraping with a vengeance. Thrawn lingered briefly to look at the three panels that were already carved and sanded, then walked to the door.

    “Captain?” she called without turning around. She heard him stop mid-step. “Do your people keep slaves?” she asked timidly.

    He took a deep breath. “They do not. Unfortunately however, they are not willing to do what it takes to prevent others from taking slaves.”

    She sighed. “That’s as good as it gets, isn’t it? Thank you.”


    A/N: Thrawn's comment on the Chiss's lack of willingness to confront slavers outside of Chiss space is a reference to Outbound Flight.
    JadeLotus, Ewok Poet and AzureAngel2 like this.
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoyed the sweet family holos. True keepsakes to treasure. I am quite sure Ayesha is worried about Rumpy, especially in light of the fact that nothing's been heard of the earlier capture. [face_thinking]
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck and Gemma like this.
  23. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I adored how it made Ayesha laugh that Thrawn did not realize her family were Wookiees. And I too loved how she shared her family holos and the proud stories she told.
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  24. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Very fascinating glimpse into Ayesha's family on Kashyyyk through the alternately joyous and poignant moments captured in the holos. I bet there is a very interesting story behind she came to be adopted by them. :cool: Fingers crossed that both her brothers will be all right and that she'll have news of everyone soon. And as always cool to hear all the details of Ayesha's artistic process: the carving stage, the dust, the oil wax, etc. And Thrawn's final enigmatic statement on not preventing others from keeping slaves... very intrigued to see what form that may take later on in this story. [face_thinking]
  25. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    I am happy and sad at the same time these days. RL is very demanding, yet very witty and gorgeous fan fic keep popping up here in the fan fic section. Perhaps I can manage to read all the stories that I want to follow at least once a week without forgetting my own update. (My story about Palp´s niece is put on hold for the present, because I seldom have time to sit in front of my desk. But my other story "Human heritage" will go on, also due to my brilliant beta SWpants and my loyal readers... @};- )

    Anyway, your story sucked my right in because I love and adore Thrawn. And I could not care less if he is part of the canon or not. He is a fascinating character. As clever as Spock. Intellectual as Hannibal. Witty as Sherlock. And with a dark edge like Jonathan Reese Meyers in most of his roles.

    I also love art. (For which I have very little time these days either. I hope my fanart account will not be shut down! [face_blush] ) This is why I changed from Catholic Education to Art Education during my Germany teacher studies. (Okay, one of the reasons. Let us NOT deepen that one.) Having two of your characters sharing their affection for art made me read on your fic very happily.

    Being a kindergarten teacher in Germany again, after 6 years of "slavery" as a substitute teacher in the educational system of Netherlands, gives me the opportunity to give children their first contact with art materials and encourage them to explore themselves as little artists. (Like with sand paintings or water paint.) To witness the joy that Ayesha has when she creates something reminds me of my wards.

    Perhaps I can even chat up @MsLanna/ Etain to read your fic. I happen to know that she is also a great Thrawn fan and that she will soon have internet again in her new home. (But you seldom find her in the JC any longer. She is also too busy for Fan Fiction Net. As I am too busy for a skype video call so she is glad to catch me on my mobile now and then.)

    And on top of all I am curious how this story will go on. I love that Ayesha was brought up by Wookies, that you discuss the non-human issues of the Empire and that we also got a glimpse into Vader´s head. At least Thrawn did for us. Jawa lullabies, hein?

    Please, put me on your update list.