1. Welcome to the new boards! Details 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. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    I really like Matt with Ayesha. They're true fun pals. Valeria sounds a smart, beautiful, and principled person. Matt and she make a good pair. :) Love the fact that he's found his special someone. @};-

    Tam is just precious in this. :D He's taken to Thrawn in a big way.

    Love the teasing and the big announcement! =D= :cool:

    Happy that Thrawn and Ayesha can talk about the fine qualities of Matt & Valeria without arousing jealousy. It speaks to their sense of security in the relationship and the other's feelings, particularly Thrawn. [face_thinking]
    But, the last line, squee! [face_love]
  2. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    May 6, 2003

    Haha, while I read this, the Csillan_guy who's sitting here next to me said, "if not for your ears, you'd be grinning around your head in a full circle! Must really be a good story!" :D
    I distracted him from his work (poor hubby still has to get some stuff done before he's finally got weekend, too), because I was laughing so hard when imagining Thrawn with a stuffed Wookiee! And Matt... [face_laugh] SO good! Pretty much liked the relaxed Thrawn among friends!

    And I already like Valeria. Hmmm, I can imagine where she might end up with this talent... ;)

    Nazmat Koch and her colleagues discussing Killik Twilight with Thrawn. Oh my, I can SO imagine this!! Great.

    And nice to see how Ayesha and Thrawn finally got over the whole jealousy thing.
    So Thrawn's planning to go back to the Unknown Regions soon - well, I definitely think he needs someone who helps him decipher the art of some of the species there...
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Love that, Csillan_girl. That little line is going in my sig. :D
    Gemma, Chyntuck and Csillan_girl like this.
  4. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    May 6, 2003

    Well, hubby already knows about this story for quite a while - when we were in Austria in December (without internet in our little log cabin! So no Thrawn and Ayesha!!), he got me an internet connection on my phone even though he had said before, nooo, we don't need that distraction, we're on holiday!
    I just told him that no Thrawn = no happy CG. And as my hubby, it's his duty to make me happy. :p
    Still trying to get him interested in the EU, though; 9 years now, and no success yet. He watches the movies with me, but that's about it.
    And almost all of his friends are into the EU... but I haven't given up yet.
  5. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Matt’s eyes went from one face to another. “You people never saw Senior Captain Thrawn in his work environment, did you?” All heads shook in denial. “Captain Thrawn is known for... being very composed at all times.” He looked at Thrawn again and somehow decided to throw all caution to the winds. “You’ll probably have my hide some day for what I’m going to say, Sir, but I’ll take my chances.” He turned back to the others. “Actually, ‘composed’ doesn’t do him justice. He’s, like, the height of military cool and he’s always going around in this perfectly crisp military step, wearing this perfectly crisp military uniform, and most importantly with this immovable, crisp military expression on his face that’s the stuff of legend in the Imperial Navy. If I told my second-in-command that I saw Captain Thrawn like this,” – he gestured towards the stuffed Wookiee doll in Thrawn’s hand – “I’d find myself relieved from duty at blasterpoint and shipped off to sick bay in a straightjacket to have my head checked.”

    That is indeed hero worship. I bet Matt has a Thrawn poster inside his military cupboard... :p


    Something like THIS painting I did for @MsLanna/ Etain and gave her for the Celebration Europe in Düsseldorf in 2013. (It is a panel of 1, 20 meters to 0,90 meters.)


    (This is the backside by the way!)

    Ewok Poet and Chyntuck like this.
  6. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Hmm, for some reason, I was on the edge of my seat (that is a lie, I am standing in a store at the mall, waiting for a system install) thinking that Tam will blurt out something fairly unexpected. Not that I mind general cuteness. :)

    Should we expect Mara in this? Not sure if she'd outright cause a revelation of sorts, or just know, neutral.
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  7. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Tam reminds me of this:

    There is a sweet, gentle heart beating in Thrawn. And let's face it, no woman looks at her man interacting with a child and does not imagine how he would be as her child's father.

    So nice to see Matt back! He isn't giving up his bachelor days, is he? The elusive space Clooney? We shall see!

    Nice chapter. I know how hard it can be to write a group scene and still have your characters maintain their unique voices. But you have done it here.
  8. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing -- and a very, very, very, very big thanks to all who nominated this story for the awards. I am humbled [face_blush]

    I'm posting the next chapter tonight, because I'll be in a train all day tomorrow, and while there's is 3G along some segments of the trip it's not an ideal setting to post an update 8-}
    I was going to remind you that Matt is the Captain Kirk of Star Wars, but he just got a promotion from divapilot :p I'm still trying to figure out what Valeria looks like exactly, other than being a brunette -- that discussion we had in the OC Revolution thread about matching an actor/actress to your OCs stuck with me, but so far I've turned up empty. Any suggestions are welcome :)

    Minor spoiler: both Ayesha and Valeria will end up in the Unknown Regions. Major tease: it won't happen for the reasons you expect ;)

    She said it and she did it! Always expect Ny to follow-up on this kind of threat [face_mischief]

    Keep up the propaganda. It will work in the end [face_beatup]

    I am so jealous now, you have no idea :p

    Am I really that predictable? Originally this scene was with Mara, not Valeria -- but then the plot thickened and I ended up kicking Mara out of this sub-plot because I'll need Valeria again later on. So no, no Mara in this aspect of the story, but she made a cameo before already and she'll reappear at some point in the future.

    I love that video! I remember seeing it a while back and I thought I'd die laughing (especially when my nephew and niece, who were a bit older already, started miming it for days and days [face_laugh]). Now thanks to you I have it bookmarked.

    So Matt graduated from "SW Kirk" to "elusive space Clooney"? [face_rofl] But yes, you shall see. There's more of this in the future.

    And I agree, writing group scenes is difficult. It always takes me a lot of back-and-forth through the text to decide who says what and when and how, but it's also oddly gratifying when it's done. I'm glad you enjoyed this one :)

    Thanks again all! Next chapter up in a minute.
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma Mando-Man Raissa Baiard
    Please let me know if you would like to be added or removed from the tag list

    And thanks as always to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading!


    Chapter 36: The vultures

    Valeria looked askance as Darth Vader pinned admiral rank bars on Thrawn’s chest and saw that Ayesha was glowing with pride. “Matt’s right,” she whispered with a grin. “You’re completely besotted.”

    “I never denied it,” Ayesha replied. “Come on. Let’s grab refreshments before the blood beetles reach the buffet or there won’t be anything left.”

    The two women weaved their way through the crowd that was flowing out of the High Command Hall of Ceremonies when Ayesha suddenly felt a hand on the small of her back. She spun around and found herself facing Grand Admirals Zaarin and Tigellinus and the Emperor’s advisor Alec Pradeux. Valeria didn’t notice and continued towards the doors.

    “Miss Eskari, it’s such a nice surprise,” Zaarin said, taking her hand and kissing it. “We thought you deserted us, the entire Court missed your presence at the Ball. Can I fetch you a drink?”

    “Thank you very much, Grand Admiral Zaarin, that won’t be necessary,” she replied very formally. “I’ll just help myself like everybody else, you don’t have to go to all that trouble for me.”

    Zaarin didn’t let go of her hand and placed his again on the small of her back to steer her towards the buffet. “It’s no trouble at all, Miss Eskari. Grand Admiral Tigellinus, Mister Pradeux and I would be delighted to have your company.”

    She didn’t bother to hide her distaste as she disentangled herself from his grip. “Thank you, Grand Admiral, the pleasure would be mine. However, I’m afraid it won’t be possible. I am accompanying Admiral Thrawn and I should go and find him.”

    Zaarin’s face contorted in anger and Tigellinus gave her a contemptuous look. Zaarin opened his mouth to speak but she suddenly dropped in a deep curtsey. “Lord Vader,” she said a little louder than necessary. “It’s always an honour.” The two admirals stiffened to attention and Alec Pradeux bowed his head as Darth Vader came to stand among them. He nodded to Ayesha, who noted with satisfaction that he didn’t give them permission to stand at ease. “This was a beautiful ceremony, My Lord,” she continued. “We are all grateful that Admiral Thrawn will now be in a better position to serve the Empire, but I would like to thank you for the trust you place in him on a more personal level as well.”

    Vader nodded again. “Thrawn is the best commander we have in the Navy. It was a waste of manpower to keep him as a Senior Captain.” There was a flash of loathing in the two Grand Admirals’ eyes. Pradeux kept his composure but his stance stiffened ever so slightly. “I am counting on the fact that he will also influence Imperial policy from his new position,” the Dark Lord added. “I have been informed that he is to be inducted in the Order of the Canted Circle at the Emperor’s request.”

    Tigellinus sucked in a breath. Vader’s mask turned slowly from one side to the other to look at the three men. He swished his cape and walked away without another word, but Ayesha heard something in his mechanical breathing that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle. “Thank you for your time, gentlemen,” she said with a courteous bow. “If you’ll excuse me now, I will go and congratulate the new admiral.”

    She had barely taken a few steps when Zaarin grabbed her wrist brutally. “This isn’t over, you little harlot,” he hissed in her ear. “You’re going to regret falling for that alien freak. A day will come when even Vader won’t be able to protect you and when that happens you’ll be begging me for mercy.”

    Her fingers found a pressure point on his forearm and pinched it hard enough to make him gasp. “Thank you very much, Grand Admiral,” she said as indifferently as if she were talking about the weather. “It’s really such a shame that I don’t have the time to enjoy a drink with you. Your conversation is most entertaining.”

    She ignored the stares that Zaarin’s gasp had attracted and made her way to the buffet to join Valeria, who was observing Thrawn accept congratulations from various Navy officers and courtesans. “I lost you,” Valeria said. “What happened?”

    Ayesha shrugged. “I got sidetracked. Are there any drinks left?”

    Valeria grinned. “Too late, sweetie. You were right about the blood beetles, there’s nothing left in their wake.” She pointed her chin at Thrawn. “I’m beginning to understand Matt’s bafflement the other night. This is like seeing a different person.”

    Ayesha looked at Thrawn, who was standing straight-backed with his cool, calculating mask and distributing crisp bows left and right, and her face softened. “It is,” she said. “This is what he was like the first time I met him. It was a little intimidating, you know.” The throng around Thrawn was thinning and she saw Zaarin and Tigellinus edging their way towards him. Her gaze hardened imperceptibly. “Valeria, do you mind if I leave you here? I’m feeling a bit tired and I’d like to go home.”

    They exchanged their goodbyes and she was standing at Thrawn’s side and smiling politely when the two Grand Admirals reached him. Zaarin pretended to notice someone else and stepped away without even looking at them, but Tigellinus delivered a long-winded, oily compliment. She had to work hard not to wrinkle her nose in disgust. “Can we go now?” she whispered as soon as he was gone. Thrawn arched an eyebrow in question. “We have some celebrating to do in private,” she answered with her sweetest smile.

    He offered his arm in the regal gesture that made her feel like a princess. “Did something happen?”

    “You’re officially an admiral,” she replied airily. “Does that count as something?”

    They flew back to their apartment in silence. Thrawn closed the door behind them. “Are you now going to tell me what had you in such a hurry to leave the Palace?”

    “Nothing,” she said as she took off her shoes. “I just wanted some time with you.”

    He waited until she straightened up and lifted her face with a finger under her chin. “The crisp immovable expression is my department, Ayoo’sha’nek. You need to work on it some more if you do not want me to notice that something is troubling you.”

    It made her laugh. “Am I really that obvious?”

    “Only to me, Ayoo’sha, only to me. Now let us change out of these formal clothes and you can tell me about it over a drink.”

    Ten minutes later, they were sitting on the high stools of the kitchen counter, Thrawn with a tankard of Forvish ale and Ayesha with a snifter of cortyg brandy, and she recounted her conversation with the vultures, as she called them, word for word. Thrawn’s eyes were swirling with molten lava when she was finished, and he stared at her silently for a long moment. “You should not have provoked them,” he finally said in a tight voice.

    She looked at him, completely flabbergasted. “I beg your pardon?”

    “You should not have provoked them,” he repeated. “There was no need to emphasize in every possible way that you were there with me and for me.”

    “What did you expect me to do? To stay there and let them paw me until you were done with the well-wishers?”

    “I would expect you to accept the drink politely and make your escape at the earliest opportunity,” he said coolly. “The way you handled the situation tonight will make my work more difficult than it already is.”

    “There’s no such thing as a polite drink with Zaarin, if you still harbour any illusions about that,” she countered. “And I didn’t realize that we were keeping our relationship a secret because of your work.”

    “Ayoo’sha, you know very well that we are not keeping our relationship a secret at all. However, displaying it prominently in front of three men who are among my worst enemies in Court and in the Navy may not be the wisest of moves. It is bad enough that they seek to undermine my career at every turn. Please stay out of the way and let me do my work.”

    “You make it sound like I go looking for them in these receptions,” she retorted angrily. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m doing my best to stay as far away from them as I can. And I’m glad to find out that your concern about the vultures actually has to do with your career.”

    “My career and my work matter to me a great deal,” he snapped. “I would hope that they matter a little to you too.”

    She stared at him in disbelief. “You know, I didn’t want to tell you how Zaarin threatened us because I thought it would make you angry and I didn’t want to spoil your big night, but I never expected that it would make you angry at me. I always thought that your arrogant crisp military character was only that, a character, a role you’re playing, but now I’m seeing that it’s part of you. It’s an important part of you, and I can’t say that I like it so much.” She downed the rest of her brandy and stood up. “I’m going to bed. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and find out that all this never happened.”

    She took a long hot shower and slipped under the covers, but sleep did not come and she was tossing and turning restlessly when Thrawn joined her more than two hours later. He laid a hand on her shoulder and asked, very softly, “Can I talk to you?”

    “I don’t want to continue that conversation now,” she mumbled without turning around. “I don’t think I know how to handle it.”

    “I do not want to continue that conversation now either. I want to apologize.” She sighed in her pillow. “Ayoo’sha, you have every right to be angry at me, but can you please look at me while I ask for your forgiveness?”

    She rolled on her back and gazed at him timidly. “I’m not angry at you. It’s just...”

    He silenced her with a finger on her lips. “If you are not, you should be. You should be angry and disappointed. That vile predator threatened you in the crudest possible way, and I made it sound like it does not matter to me. But it does, of course it does. It matters to me like everything about you matters greatly to me, far more than my career or any personal ambition I may have.” He took a deep breath. “I must take the time to explain to you the circumstances under which I work and the reasons why I fear that you may become a target for political machinations. However, that can wait until tomorrow. For now, I simply wanted to say that I was angry at those vultures and I took out my anger on you. That was wrong and hurtful and unnecessary, and for that I apologize.”

    She stared at him for a moment. “I’m sorry too,” she finally whispered. “I realize that I overdid it a bit and...”

    “Hush,” he said, placing again a finger on her lips. “There is nothing you should be sorry about and you should certainly not accept the company of those sordid men when you do not want it.” There was a long silence. “Can I hold you now?” he asked hesitantly.

    She gave him a smile that lit up her whole face. “Of course you can hold me,” she said. “You’re Qubshi be-khadeeb, you can always hold me.”
  10. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh no he DIDN'T. Don't you DARE ever tell a woman who is being harassed that her mere presence provoked it.[face_not_talking]

    Thrawn really does have two sides, it seems, and the militaristic side does not easily integrate Ayesha.

    (P.S. Congrats on the nominations!)
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Yoicks! I'm behind again! And here I had planned to spend this evening writing out a nice, reasoned comment to chapter 35—but I completely forgot about your going out of town. [face_blush] I'm sorry, I know it's annoying when I do this twofer commenting business, but here goes once again:

    35: Congrats to Thrawn on his big promotion! =D= I love the various interpersonal dynamics in this chapter: the repartee between Ayesha and Matt, meeting Valeria (whom I like too—and her high-up position in Sate Pestage's office makes things quite intriguing story-wise), the grumpy stylings of Onion (Thrawn's got his number now), and just how Thrawn is becoming integrated into Ayesha's circle of friends—because at the heart of things, he is a good friend to her, not just a good lover. As a mom I just love how he's hitting it off with Tam (and I must say that the image of him with the stuffed Wookiee doll makes as much of an impression on me as it apparently did on Matt :p ). And after the events of the previous chapter, it's so refreshing to see Ayesha back to her cheerful self—though I can't help but wonder how many of her friends know of her hidden mental trauma... [face_thinking]

    36: As soon as I saw the title of this one I had a feeling things would get tense... and indeed they do, in a couple different ways. Those horrible, fawning, pawing excuses for men! I hope their threats are just empty ones; they really could make things very miserable for both Ayesha and Thrawn, especially given the latter's new rank. As divapilot points out, this chapter brings to light some possibly insurmountable differences in viewpoint between our two lovers, and I'm curious to see what will come of them, both in the military and personal arenas.

    Plus another wonderful cameo by Vader—the dynamic between him and Ayesha is one of my favorite aspects of this story. And I'm glad that our heroine has gained a new pal in Valeria. :)
    Ewok Poet, AzureAngel2, Gemma and 4 others like this.
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, that was off the chain, chain priceless! Calling in Vader for backup! Serious, serious! =D= =D= =D=
    The Thrawn/Ayesha row - brilliant and intense writing but this:

    She gave him a smile that lit up her whole face. “Of course you can hold me,” she said. “You’re Qubshi be-khadeeb, you can always hold me.”


    Congratulations on the nominations, so totally a duh moment. [face_love] [face_love]
  13. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Just started this right now, Chyn. Wow, I love your style and detailing. :D =D= I am very curious about your Captain Thrawn. :) Bravo about art as well. Cushy agrees it's about striving and heart not perfect lines or texture. :)
  14. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Congrats on the nominations. I'm just barely caught-up on the updates to this & hope to comment in more detail at some point. But for now, I'll just say that it's splendid.
  15. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Cushy just finished 2. I find it interesting the tone the dynamic appears to be taking. It's rather unexpected for Thrawn.
  16. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    May 6, 2003
    Oh, now that's a contrast to chapter 35!
    But then, we are talking about Thrawn here, right? ;)
    Great how you show the different sides of his personality!
    Haha, I guess he had to get some priorities straight...
  17. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    3. Makh is just a jealousy stint for Thrawn waiting to happen. Not too keen on Ayesha's manner so far but I hope it smooths out. I find it quite curious it looks to be heading that Thrawn will be the more submissive in this bond.

    4. Okay, a bit surprised you didn't have Thrawn deduce her family are Wookiees...Thrawn is sweet willing to be her clown. I like how you support adoption across species in this. Ah, a commonality of missing loved ones. Thrass, yes? Well, given the Chiss are rather isolationist it makes sense. Trying to impose one's will on others usually ends up in conflict.
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  18. K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku

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

    Apr 18, 2000
    Ok, I'm way behind on the commenting, so I'll just say this is magnificent! I love the writing and in this last chapter, for the first time EVER, I really see Anakin in Darth Vader. Thank you for that! [:D] I also loved how Thrawn's strategic thinking gets in the way of his relating to Ayesha's interaction with the vultures. I'm surprised Ayesha didn't deck him. He certainly deserved it.

    Bravo! Would you add me to the tag list? Thanks! :D
  19. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Yay, Cushy can comment again. :)

    5: I like Voss Parck. :) Banning of books, a touchy topic. Brave of you to address it. I think both men's species are actually very interesting visually. Wonder how long it'll be before Makh and Thrawn truly lock horns...

    6: Good to hear that the family's safe. I think I will like Rumpy. :)

    7. Uh, huh. I didn't expect the Emperor yet but when he got here Cushy not surprised at all with the tone he takes. :( I am glad Thrawn seems to enjoy her playfulness (if that's what it is) but I find her very difficult to relate to. So far, I am enjoying your take on Thrawn, however. The ending of the chap was nice.

    8: This not going to end well...

    9: It's nice she expresses her gratitude for Thrawn's care. :) I am curious if reform regarding specim will be a later topic.

    10: Somehow I don't think she'd get far with Anakin. :p

    It begins to make sense why Ayesha is so touchy and fiercely defiant. I hope she heals.

    11: Something to keep Thrawn occupied. Makes sense.

    12: The explosive power of losing both Alderaan and the Death Star I must have been devastating to anyone in surrounding space. Cushy actually finds the Agony of Tarkin a fascinating concept given his performer in the film. :)

    13: He's protective, hardly a bad thing. :p

    14: Interesting recollection of I believe Dooku. Firmus is a nice man. :) Given what Thrawn just saw I can understand his caution.

    15: Cushy suspects strongly the dancer is Mara Jade.

    Thrawn wondering if they're moving too fast? I can understand that. I think Thrawn is being too self-critical. He shouldn't fret so about age. Some of us are drawn to it. :)

    Mmm, Thrawn's falling hard. I'm guessing rocky path ahead. Is she always going to be the leader?

    16: Cushy can. Some don't care for strong drink per taste or like Cushy rarely drink at all because of personal history.

    Ayesha seems very similar to Cushy in a key facet: every piece of art conveys and harbours a portion of her heart, yet precious, precious few even bother to stay long enough to learn what motivates it. She is a complex person with cause. Gentling her won't be easy. I hope Thrawn sees her through the storms. Likewise I hope she starts to ease up on her distrust and control of men.

    I really don't see how what Ayesha endured during the Fellowship is Koch's fault. I believe she is wrong. She needs both, she simply can't admit it yet.

    17: Nothing wrong with shy. I don't like this. She keeps on throwing him off kilter with very little compassion. Sighs Wow, she IS touchy.

    Thrawn's a sweetie trying so hard but I really think he cedes too quickly. She needs to start dealing with stuff.

    18: Whoa, Ayesha is a bold one. I always thought Dugs were lizard-like. Interesting take saying equine. I think trouble is about to hit. Probably big.

    19: He needs to stop stalling out every time she gets the least bit uncomfortable. This continues she'll never heal. Erm, I have to admit you really startled me with this one. I do not agree with Alderaan but nor do I agree with Ayesha's accusations.

    Why should she make all the rules? Ayesha could be a little more understanding.
  20. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 25, 2013
    I was shocked at Thrawn's reaction to her telling him what happened with the vultures. I know his career is a tough one -- but this is your lady being threatened. Glad it worked out for now.

    I loved the last two lines.

    I often wonder about men who can't put their lady first in their life and not second to their jobs.
  21. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    May 6, 2003
    Hm, it was him trying to say, "well, you could have handled this a little more professionally, just for me..." - and it came out all wrong.
    Nice touch. Ayesha is not a Chiss woman, after all. (and had I been in that situation, I would have kicked Thrawn for that, too... [face_whistling])
  22. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    20: Is the artist Anakin? That went entirely as expected.

    21: Can't say I blame him. Ayesha is bull-headed. This pattern isn't gonna hold.

    Very few understand the absolute NEED to produce something and do it RIGHT or the creative will become lost in distress. Too often, friends and family meaning well, tell them to take a break or stop altogether when that is the worst thing that can happen. She needs a guide and she needs to start facing her scars. Cushy has so been there many times with needing to do my Good Words for Sir. I do understand it's frustrating for all sides though. Something, I'm not certain Ayesha does. Cushy often reads or watches vids pertaining to topics of Words but yep, so know what it feels like to have nothing come. It hits...took longer than I thought.

    I completely empathise with Thrawn's motives they are sound but that didn't go well. Ayesha is being unreasonable but I can understand why. She's misreading Thrawn and not even stopping to consider that because she's so wrapped up in herself.

    22: I hope she'll finally start her path of healing now that she seems near her bottom.

    23: It's not as simple as that. Demanding Thrawn fix her doesn't help anything. A support can only do so much. Ayesha HERSELF has to overcome. Till she realises that she's gonna be miserable.

    I am so glad Thrawn has reached his limit. She needs this.

    24: Amen to that. Very few are willing to see us damaged and delicate ones through our worst and STAY. That's precious.

    Why would he? Not everyone is suited to commanding a SD.

    She's a little full of herself. Well, she's being incredibly insensitive to all she's putting Thrawn through. He has cause to be uncertain again.
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks all for reading and reviewing!

    This is again one of those days when 1) I'm posting early, 2) I apologize for not replying now -- it's nearly midnight, I had a very long day, I'm having another very long day tomorrow, etc, etc -- so I'll write the replies you all deserve as soon as I can :)

    Cushy -- Welcome to this story [:D] and thanks for the very detailed and thoughtful comments!

    K'tai Of course I'll tag you, I'll be honoured!


    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Mando-Man Raissa Baiard
    Please let me know if you would like to be added or removed from the tag list.

    And thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading!

    Chapter 37: Power

    Thrawn brought her breakfast in bed the next morning. They ate in silence and, when she was done, he pushed the hovertray aside, pulled up the sheet to cover her bare chest as she sat back against the headboard, handed her a fresh mug of caf and settled at her side. “If you have no objection, I will tell you now about one of the most distasteful aspects of my work,” he said. “I understand that this is not pleasant early morning conversation, but it is a conversation we must have, and I would like to have it sooner rather than later.”

    Ayesha listened carefully as he explained the delicate balance of power, the intrigue and the rivalries that ruled everyday life in the Imperial Court. “Your master Nazmat Koch called the Court a swarm of mynocks the first time I met her here, and she was right. It is an apt description in more ways than one. Imperial... courtiers, for lack of a better word – this includes political advisors, senior Navy officers and wealthy businessmen and socialites such as Xizor – Imperial courtiers are always vying for more power, leeching it from one another and most importantly from His Majesty the Emperor. The only man in the entire Court who seems immune to this, and there again only up to a point, is Lord Vader. In his case, this would have to do with his mastery of the Force, the terror he instils in people and his special relationship to his master. With this single exception, everyone is constantly competing for more favour, more attention and ultimately more power.”

    “Are you like that?” she asked.

    He gave a mirthless chuckle. “I wish I could say that I am not. Unfortunately, that would be a lie. However, I like to think that I am not as repugnant as Zaarin or Tigellinus.” He paused for a moment. “You understand that this conversation must remain between us. Should a single word make its way back to the Palace, years of painstaking work will be undone.”

    “I’m not stupid, Thrawn,” she said impatiently. “I never took much interest in Court life, even after I met you, because I assumed your work to be a straightforward Navy job, but I know when to keep my mouth shut. Don’t treat me like a child.”

    Thrawn smiled and caressed her face. “You are right, of course. I always forget that this innocence you have is not to be confused with naivety, but I should know better. Another item we can add to your long list of contradictions.” His eyes twinkled at her furious glare and he sat back to continue. “The upper echelons of the Navy are far from being exempt from the petty bickering of Court politics. The Grand Admirals are among the most power-hungry individuals in the Empire, and they did not necessarily attain that rank on sheer military talent. Tigellinus for instance has only a mediocre understanding of tactics and strategy, but he is a master politician and it was, and is, therefore in His Majesty’s best interest to promote him to the Council of Twelve.” Ayesha gave him a quizzical look. “His Majesty’s mastery of political games has no rival, Ayoo’sha. He created the Council of Twelve in order to better control the Navy, but also to better control the men he appointed as Grand Admirals. He lets them fight among themselves over the crumbs of his power and, megalomaniac as they are, they believe that they have become nearly as powerful as him, without seeing that he can undo them as easily as he made them. It is a very clever way to channel their self-aggrandizing energy into fulfilling his will. Had he not found such a way to manipulate them, they would constantly be demanding for more.”

    Ayesha looked at him carefully for a moment. “That’s why they don’t know about your work in the Unknown Regions. The Emperor wants it a secret so that they can’t make a grab for the territory you opened up.”

    Thrawn’s lips twitched. “You may want to try your hand at Court politics, Ayoo’sha’nek. You are catching up fast and you would be quite formidable.” The comment earned him another furious glare. “Yes, you are absolutely correct. A Grand Admiral with the military acumen of Zaarin would be a considerable threat if he were in control of the resources of the Empire of the Hand. A triumvirate such as the one harassing you last night, with Zaarin’s military mind, Tigellinus’s political connections and Pradeux’s communication skills, would be virtually unstoppable, and this would not be in your or mine or anyone’s best interests. They would seek to dominate the entire Galaxy instead of preparing against the threats that will come and face us from the Unknown Regions, and the consequences in the long run would be disastrous for all.”

    “It’s the second time I hear you mention these threats,” Ayesha said. “Are they really so terrifying for you to take them so seriously?”

    “They are more terrifying than you can imagine, Ayoo’sha, and I truly hope that you will never have to find out exactly how terrifying they are. However, this is an entire new conversation, and unless you insist, I would rather focus on the matter at hand.” She nodded. “Returning to this infamous triumvirate and the Council of Twelve, you need to understand that I do not hold much favour with them. Zaarin in particular is envious of my tactical and strategic skills, he hates me for being an alien, and the fact that you have chosen me over him despite the fact that he outranks me and that he is human has added to his insane jealousy. As for Tigellinus, he is also a human supremacist of the worst sort. He may have been all compliments yesterday, but you and I both saw right through it, and, because he was recently inducted in the Order of the Canted Circle, he probably perceives my upcoming induction as a great affront. Do not be fooled by the fact that he has a better control over his libido than Zaarin. Given a chance, he would force you to his bed in a heartbeat, if nothing else to take what he believes is his by right of rank and race.”

    There was a silence. “So that’s what has you worried,” Ayesha said. “You’re concerned that they’re going to hurt me to get to you.”

    “I am concerned that they will hurt you, period,” Thrawn corrected. “And if the sculptures you created for the final exhibition of your fellowship are anything to go by, they have already tried. I fear however that you may have given them yet another incentive to cause you harm by... by rubbing in their collective face the fact that you are giving me what you have constantly denied them.”

    “Well, I wish them luck if they think a woman would ever choose them for their good looks and charm,” she muttered. “They’re really as disgusting as Utapau rock-vultures. All they miss is the ugly leathery head.” Thrawn went to speak but she raised her hand. “I’ll deal with that poodoo if and when it happens again, and I promise I won’t go looking for it or incite more. What I’d like to know is why Lord Vader took such pleasure in provoking them. I swear I heard him laugh at the look on their faces.”

    Thrawn smiled. “As I remember telling you once, Lord Vader has a soft spot for you, Ayoo’sha, if any such thing can ever be said of that man. I had a private meeting with him in his palace yesterday in the morning, and I was more than a little surprised to see your Japor woodcarving inside his meditation chamber. I believe he wanted the triumvirate to know that you are under his protection.”

    She studied his face for a moment. “Your legendary crispness is failing you, Admiral,” she finally said. “There’s something more to this.” Thrawn shrugged casually but she felt him tense up a little. “You should tell me. If we’re going to be having arguments about this stuff, I should know what’s going on. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation we had last night, you know.”

    “No,” he sighed. “It was not.” She was still looking at him inquisitively. “Very well, if you must know, I also participate in these political games. I need power and the support of those in power in order to achieve my goals. In this context, I have chosen to ally myself with Lord Vader.”

    “Really?” she asked with genuine surprise. “I thought you didn’t like him. You told me that he’s... unbalanced, I think it was the word you used.”

    “He is unbalanced,” Thrawn said, “although given his personal history that should not be unexpected. But he is also intelligent and brave, and he is a powerful ally. Zaarin and Tigellinus have been trying to push him aside, even though the idea is simply laughable, and he enjoys, shall we say, teasing them. I, on the other hand, always understood that he has a unique place at His Majesty’s side, and I know how to make my relationship with him work in my own interest.” He hesitated, then added, “I also happen to know something about him that no one else does, which gives me a distinct advantage.”

    He remained silent for a few seconds. “What is it?” Ayesha asked. “This isn’t just some state secret. You almost seem embarrassed.”

    “It is a state secret, but I am also a little embarrassed, or at least somewhat uneasy. I do not want you to... to misinterpret what I will say.” He took a deep breath. “Since the Battle of Yavin, Lord Vader has been obsessed with the Rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star. I recently found out that the young man’s name is Luke Skywalker.”

    She clapped both hands over her mouth. “The baby lived?” she spluttered. “Padmé’s baby lived? He thought he killed her. He thought he killed them both.”

    “So it seems, Ayoo’sha. Or at least so Lord Vader believes. He says that he can sense the boy’s presence in the Force, and that he can thus identify him as his son.”

    The bed sheet fell off her as she pulled her knees to her chest. “This is so sad,” she whispered. “This is so awfully sad. That poor man...” She abruptly turned her gaze to Thrawn. “You’re using it against him,” she said angrily. “I told you the memories he shared with me, and now you’re using that to... to manipulate him.”

    “I do not manipulate Lord Vader,” Thrawn said coolly. “Nobody does. However, having this information does give me, shall we say, a bargaining chip in my alliance with him. I can help him find his son.” His tone softened. “I did not betray your trust, Ayoo’sha. I am not throwing his past in his face. As a matter of fact, I have never told him that you shared his story with me, although it is quite obvious that he is aware of it nevertheless. But I need something to bargain with in order to ally myself with him. I am of no use to him when he believes I am merely leading a mapping expedition in the Unknown Regions.”

    “I still don’t like it. He’s in terrible pain and you should at least respect that. Why do you need this alliance so badly that you would... I’m not sure what to call it, that you would meddle in his private affairs.”

    “Ayoo’sha, let me first clarify that Lord Vader’s private affairs are not private when the future of the Empire is at stake,” Thrawn said coldly. “In any case however, I also need power and allies in Court. If I do not remind His Majesty of my presence and role, he might give in to his own speciesism and be rid of me to hand over my project in the Unknown Regions to someone who would make a mess of it.”

    She stared at him. “You’re really arrogant, you know. You seem totally convinced that no one can run that project but you.”

    “No one can. I am not saying this to brag, but I assure you that no one can match my skill with tactics and strategy. Furthermore, I have been working in the Unknown Regions for decades, both with the CEDF and with the Imperial Navy. Such knowledge cannot be replaced at the drop of a hat.”

    There was a long silence. “Why do you want to be inducted in the Order of the Canted Circle?” she asked suddenly.

    He shrugged. “It is a society that influences developments from the sidelines. They help maintain order in the Galaxy and they can provide me with some of the means I need to achieve my goals. I want to join them for the same reasons I chose to join Lord Vader. They are a source of power.”

    She sighed and hugged her knees tighter. “You really like power, don’t you?”

    “That is neither here nor there, Ayoo’sha. What matters is not so much if I like power, but if I need it and how much of it I need. Knowing what I am up against, both here in Court and out in the Unknown Regions, I need quite some power not only to survive but also to move forward. However, I am not a megalomaniac like Zaarin. I do not seek power for power’s sake.”

    There was another silence. “But you’re ambitious,” she said.

    “I am,” he replied evenly. “I am ambitious, arrogant and proud. Rumour has it that I can also be rather crisp,” he added with a twitch of his lips before becoming serious again. “I plan carefully my every move and I seek to out-think and outwit my opponents, and when they cannot be salvaged I seek to destroy them. I can be quite ruthless when I find it necessary. But, to come back to the reason I wanted to have this conversation with you, you should know that I am nothing of all this when it comes to you, and truth be told I do not know how to handle that very well.”

    She gave him a puzzled look. He smiled. “Ayoo’sha, there is a part of me that I have been trying to silence all my life. I focused exclusively on my work and my career, and I eschewed bonds of love and friendship as weaknesses that would stand in my path. I stifled that part of me as a Chiss, I strangled it as an Imperial and I had persuaded myself that it was dead. That you brought it back to life is one of your greatest gifts to me. You are making me a better man, even though I still have a long way to go, and for that I am grateful.” He reached to caress her cheek. “I convinced myself, misguidedly I may add, that I could shelter you forever from the ugliness of Court politics. There is this purity about you, this clarity of the morning sunlight, that I do not wish to see tainted by these machinations. And,” he added a little hesitantly, “I was afraid that you would think less of me if you perceived me as another participant in this game of intrigue, and seeing your reaction today, it appears that my fear was justified. I should have known that you would see right through my half-truths, and when push came to shove, I handled it very poorly and I made a fool of myself. I apologized already for my unacceptable behaviour last night. I also apologize for what essentially amounts to a small deception about who I am and what I do. I know how much you value openness and honesty, and I truly wish that I had the luxury to be as selfless as you are. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Now I can only hope that you will forgive me.”

    Ayesha was still hugging her knees as he sat back against the headboard. She suddenly moved to face him and straddled his outstretched legs. Her hand went to the Japor snippet engraved with a flame that was hanging around his neck. “You’re not going to become like them, are you?” she asked uncertainly. “You’re not going to become one of those powerful men who get drunk on their own power and who will do whatever it takes to obtain more.”

    Thrawn smiled. “I may well have become one of those men, Ayoo’sha, but then you came along. The risk that I go down that path is null as long as I have you by my side. Even if I wanted to, I know that you would not let me.”

    She continued scrutinizing his face, so lost in thought that she didn’t notice that his fingers were crawling up her waist. “Stop that,” she snapped. “We’re talking seriously here. Don’t you ever think of anything else?”

    His smile widened. “I often think of a great many other things, Ayoo’sha’nek. But it is difficult to think of anything else when you are sitting naked on my lap.”

    She looked down at her body, as if remembering that she was wearing no nightclothes. “Okay,” she said with a grin. “You may have a point after all.”


    A/N: I should probably insert a few notes and references here, but they'll come when I'm less tired :p
  24. Cushing's Admirer

    Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost star 7

    Jun 8, 2006
    Chyn: You're welcome. You are very brave to tackle the topics you do even if it is unnerving a bit sometimes. [:D]

    25: Cushy understands how vital Pillars are, I have two, but they need time to be on their own and do what they need/want. Ayesha I hope will find this balance. I am striving for it too. I hope she starts being less selfish soon. Her cutting comments are getting thin.

    I like Parck but that could be crossing a line.

    Sighs in relief Good to see Thrawn tells her to cool it. Not really because Ayesha instantly roars and extends her claws at him any time he dares react at all. It's about time this starts to balance out. The more she persists this way the more likely it is Thrawn may leave because she's not giving him much reciprocation.

    He already is and her manner is simply exacerbating it. This is very dangerous ground. I believe it will end badly.

    26: Why would Thrawn know every policy of the Empire? The strain is getting to Thrawn, I believe it.

    27: Good to see Ayesha grant Thrawn a bit of ground. :) Though her constant barbs and lack of trust has got to be wearying to poor Thrawn. I want to hug him.

    28: Good on Rumpy. :D Car'das is mentioned at last. Raised brow Ayesha tells Thrawn far less than he tells her. She growls more often as well. It appears she is likely always to lead. Unsurprising but saddening. I wish she'd relax. :( Must she start at everything her man does without her prompting?
    Nice that Ayesha helped him set the missing piece in place.
    AzureAngel2 and Chyntuck like this.
  25. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    A little digression, before I re-read 35 and read 36 and 37.

    This story has the best comment threads BY FAR. I see three different approaches collide, from three different points of view, and this is something I would love to see in comments to other epics; as that's what makes people people! I'm slightly jealous that nobody ever questioned my approach to writing like this; as I love being challenged. This is healthy and good and it can lead to totally defying the purpose of those little cliques etc etc etc.

    (edit: the third point is mine, as I represent a strange combination of traits, conditions and characteristics and sometimes things are too normalified to me)