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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. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Actually I am talking about the cantina that Anakin chases Zam Wessel into in ATOC. But you're correct similar writing does appear on Dex's Diner sign -- darn you're good. Here's the link for the Cantina I'm talking about https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/...lwbM2KVydbVTS5GwdYSywj-3UyA0FGMiXefoQX9p3jzIq.

    Okay now my review for this chapter:

    At first I went oh yeah --- then I felt utt-oh.

    Thrawn's declaration paragraph as others said above me ---is beautiful and correct; however when a person is in her state of mind they don't always hear the words. The person has to come to the realization for themselves before they will accept the words as truth and/or let them sink in.
    This made me very sad but I am so glad he is there for her.

    I just adored this statement -- how profound and deep.:) I loved her time she spent doing the other half of the Gree sculpt. Maybe her snuggling on his shoulder was an intentional foreshadow --- I liked how it tied in. And the fact that the sculptures sing when stroked that's really cool and beautiful - touches my heart.[face_love]

    You had me all smiles with this paragraph but the last half of the last sentence, OMG ---I'm fanning myself now as my imagination goes wild because Thrawn heated things up even before they reached the bedroom. WOW!![:D]
     
  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    All right, before I get horribly behind yet again:

    Ayesha's feelings of regret (which seems like too superficial of a word for this situation) about her role in Malki's death are
    so natural yet so heart-wrenching—especially when combined with her ongoing grief over her own "brokenness." When she mourns the loss of part of herself, she certainly means both the particular species of innocence one loses by taking another life and the part of her mind and soul so brutally ravaged by Malki. And another level of realism is added by the way her turmoil of feelings causes her to lash out at her lifemate and friends at the end of the chapter—such a natural reaction. (That said, "mother avian" is absolutely priceless. I will have to remember that one. :D )

    Chapter 5 had me wondering what, if anything, might rouse Ayesha from her disconsolate mood—and whether her avocation as an artist might play any role in that, as well as in her long-term recovery. And chapter 6 shows that, duh, of course it does! For those who practice any kind of art, just the act of practicing that art can be immensely therapeutic, and I love how you chart A.'s progress through that therapeutic journey here. And that you made it a journey for her rather than a sudden burst of inspiration—because those things take time. I adored the whole concept of the singing Gree stone ever since you introduced it, and it's probably my favorite of all the materials A. has worked with in the story so far. (I wonder now if there's a way to "play" those stones to make very precisely organized musical sounds... [face_thinking] ) And I'd love to shake the hand of Matta Thryne for presenting Thrawn with that carving tool—he probably doesn't realize how much of a lifesaver he was in that moment. :cool:
     
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Busy day in the office again -- nothing too strenuous but too many small things preventing me from focusing on this, so post now, reply to your wonderful comments later :)

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

    And the usual thanks to Nyota's Heart for express beta-reading [:D]

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

    Chapter 7: The painting

    Thrawn spent his days sorting and classifying reports and information in preparation for the return of the Admonitor – the task force was still in the Unknown Regions, consolidating gains from the campaign against Nuso Esva – and Ayesha got back to work for the Plebeian Exhibition. She was preparing a series of sculpts made exclusively of varieties of soft wood used to make cheap furniture on primitive planets, and she was intending to display them in an elaborate setup under the title ‘Shadows and Lights’. Thrawn chuckled when he first heard the title. “It is rather unsurprising that you would choose this theme,” he said by manner of an explanation. “But given the endless contradiction you are, I am certain you will manage to surprise me in the end.”

    “Why do you keep telling me that I’m a contradiction?” she asked.

    He cupped her face in his hands. “You really have no idea, do you, Ayoo’sha?” She gave him a furious glare, but he merely added, “I hope you never will.” His tongue explored her mouth very slowly and sensuously, and she went to pull him away from the dinner table. “Not yet,” he said firmly. “Not until you have eaten all your food. Now eat.”

    The only visible remnant of what Ayesha called his mother avian behaviour had to do with her diet. He waited until she filled her plate, then added an extra spoonful of everything and forced her to stay at the table until she had eaten the very last crumb. “You’re going to make me fat,” she told him once.

    It made him chuckle. “You still have a long way to go to be fat, Ayoo’sha’nek. I am glad to have most of my lifemate back, but I want her all back, and then some more.”

    She stared at him incredulously. “You want me to gain more weight than what I lost?”

    He chuckled again. “Ayoo’sha, as you said yourself, you are a grown woman, not a child or a girl. I believe that you should look the part.” Her incredulity turned to bewilderment. “I said a grown woman, not a Hutt,” he added with that amused twinkle of his eyes. “Now if you could please finish your food, I will take you to bed and demonstrate what I mean.”

    They had a few conversations about her episode. Thrawn was tiptoeing around the subject – he was trying to pry from her how much she knew of what Quinlan Vos had revealed – but she did not speak much, other than to express the mingle of loathing and absolute terror that the Emperor inspired her. “He’s evil,” she told him one afternoon as they were having caf on the balcony. “There’s no other word for it. He’s evil. Why does he enjoy hurting me like that?”

    “Why are you so certain that he seeks to hurt you?”

    She shrugged angrily. “I only ever received two direct, personal invitations from him. One was the dance recital, the other the ambassadors’ reception. Can I really believe that both Kchak Pr’ollerg and Paraseel Malki were there by chance? The Galaxy is too big a place for this kind of coincidence. He somehow dug up everything there is to know about me, or he read it in my mind, and now he’s toying with me like an asyyyriak with its prey.”

    He cocked an eyebrow. “This is the second time you tell me that His Majesty reads your mind. How can you be sure that this is the case?”

    “I’m not making this up, Thrawn,” she said a little anxiously. “You have to believe me.”

    “I do believe you, Ayoo’sha. You forget that I did not grow up with a Jedi uncle and still have much to learn about the Force. I am not doubting you, only asking for more information. How are you sure that His Majesty is reading your mind?”

    She shuddered. “I can feel it when he does it. I don’t really know how to describe it, it’s like grubs are digging into my brain.” She took a deep breath. “And sometimes he shows me things inside my head,” she whispered. “Like the night we were in his auditorium. I saw myself with a slave collar, and I was all beaten up and bruised, I had blood here.” She showed her brow. “And no, before you ask, it wasn’t an image I made up because I was afraid. It came from outside my head. It was like when Lord Vader shared his memories with me, but he didn’t mean to hurt me, he just lost control. The Emperor on the other hand... I can feel that he’s enjoying it.”

    There was a long silence. “Perhaps you should stay away from the Palace as much as possible, Ayoo’sha,” Thrawn said. “These emotions at the mere thought of him cannot be doing you any good.”

    “I am staying away from the Palace already, and I never go near him as long as I can avoid it. I was even thinking of going back to Kashyyyk at the end of my fellowship exactly for this reason.” She smiled. “But then there was you, so here I am.”

    Thrawn smiled back and put an arm around her shoulders. “If you still prefer to return to Kashyyyk, I could accommodate my travels to come and visit you there.”

    “And see you twice a year?” she snorted. “No way. You’re here, I’m staying here, and that’s that.” She stood up. “Let’s go back to work. And tomorrow, we’re not spending our caf break talking about that horrible man. I can think of much nicer and more interesting things to talk about with you.”

    The Admonitor finally arrived and settled in orbit above Coruscant. Captain Parck and Major Vermel were due to come and debrief with Thrawn in the afternoon, but he was suddenly summoned to a holoconference with Darth Vader and asked Ayesha to keep them busy until he was done. She greeted them at the door and found Corporal Prashat behind them, who was pushing a floatpad loaded with a crate. He turned crimson like every time he saw her and gave Parck a grateful look when the senior officer dismissed him. “The young corporal is quite taken with you, Miss Eskari,” Parck said as she served caf. “He has the entire task force in a buzz. It was almost a relief when he followed the Admiral back to Coruscant.”

    Ayesha smiled. “Yes, Thrawn told me. I’m not sure what happened. The poor young man seemed so terrified the first time he came here, I was just trying to be nice.”

    Vermel smiled back. “Nicer than usual, Miss? That’s difficult to imagine, but it would certainly explain why Prashat worships the ground you walk on.”

    She blushed a little and the conversation turned to the subject of their tour of duty. Parck gestured towards the crate. “These are datacards and documents for the Admiral. I think he will show you some of it, there is a large collection of art holos that you would be interested in, as well as an original piece.”

    He was interrupted by Thrawn, who came out apologizing for the delay. Vermel took over the floatpad and the three men disappeared in the study, but not before Ayesha insisted that they stay for dinner. The two visitors looked at Thrawn hesitantly. “You don’t need Thrawn’s permission,” she said firmly. “I also get to make decisions in here, you know. Now why don’t you go and save the Galaxy, I have some cooking to do.” Vermel and Parck were struggling not to smile, but Thrawn merely chuckled and led them down the hallway.

    She went to the kitchen to improvise some dinner and returned to her potter’s wheel. She finished carving a piece and was polishing it, thinking about the absolute devotion Thrawn seemed to inspire to those who served under him, when a soft knock on the doorframe pulled her out of her reverie. She looked up to see him standing there. “Can we disturb you for a moment, Ayoo’sha? I would like to have your opinion about the painting that Voss and Meizh brought back from their mission.”

    “Of course.” Thrawn gestured behind him and Parck and Vermel walked in, the latter carrying a frame about as wide as his chest. She fetched an easel and unfolded it for him, fiddled a little with the lights to illuminate it adequately, and took a step back. The rugged white canvas was chopped with black lines tinged with red that glittered so intensely they seemed to move. After a moment, she went back to the easel and turned the painting upside-down.

    “Is this how it should be looked at?” Parck asked.

    “I think so,” she answered. She observed it in silence. “This is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said finally. “It’s alive.”

    “Alive?” Vermel exclaimed.

    She licked her thumb and ran it over the surface of the image. “Yes. The material is a lifeform, at any rate, but there’s something unnatural about it. Like it’s been engineered somehow. Bioengineered. I don’t think this artist uses any sort of mechanical technology. As a matter of fact, I think she hates it.”

    “She?” Thrawn asked.

    “Yes, my guess is it’s a female, but that’s a gut feeling more than anything else. I can’t really tell you why.” She paused for a moment. “She’s humanoid, that’s for sure. Taller and more heavily built than a human. The imbalance in the picture suggests that one of her eyes is damaged or it’s a prosthetic of some kind. And her hands are different from ours. Either she has wider gaps between her fingers, or she has more fingers.”

    “How do you know that?” Parck asked.

    She pointed at a set of five lines on the painting. “These were traced in a single move, but there’s no thumb and the spacing is wrong. Either there is a gap between the third and fourth fingers, or there are extra fingers there that she didn’t use.” She looked more closely at the lines. “It also looks like each fingertip is different, although it could simply be clip-on tools, but I think they’re actually grafted to her hand.” She paused again. “That is, if her hand is even hers.”

    Parck didn’t even try to hide his astonishment. “What are you talking about?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t know how to explain it. There’s a disharmony in this piece. As if, when it was created, one being was looking and another was painting. Maybe the whole hand is a graft, not only the tools on the fingers.”

    There was a long silence. “In your opinion, is this a recent work or an antique?” Thrawn asked.

    “The painting is recent,” she said without hesitation. “The frame is old. They’re made of the same material, but the frame lived its life and now it’s dead.” She pointed at gnarled protuberances on the frame. “These were not shaped as part of it. It grew them.”

    “What about the species’s psychology, Ayoo’sha?”

    She sighed. “That’s difficult to tell, there’s only one artist here, or rather one and a half because someone else made the frame. But...” Her voice trailed off and suddenly she was shuffling through a stack of datacards. “You remember the holos you brought from that mission when I was finishing the fellowship? The ones you gave me when we had breakfast at Flo’s?”

    Thrawn nodded. “Are you thinking of that piece from Sernpidal?”

    “Yup.” She extracted the right datacard and inserted it in the holoprojector. The spiky, egg-shaped sculpt materialized near the easel. “Yup, yup. Same material, same technique, same species, different artist.”

    Thrawn’s eyes were glittering with concentration as they went from the holo to the easel. “You are right,” he said. “The artists have at least seven fingers, possibly eight, and each fingertip is different. I also agree that their hands are a graft of a living entity grown separately from the artist.”

    “Yes,” she said. “And we can confirm that the material is alive and continues to develop after it’s been shaped into a work of art.” She took a deep breath. “About their psychology now. This species have a deep reverence for the cycle of life and death as it happens in nature. I’d say they’re fanatical about it and that they seek to destroy anything that doesn’t fit in it. So technology as we know it – mechanical technology – would be something they loathe and are driven to annihilate. I’d venture that the material these pieces are made of is the building block for all their technology and culture, and that it’s all organic.”

    Thrawn nodded again. “It seems that this is indeed the species I was thinking of.”

    Ayesha looked at him curiously. “You know them? Where are they from?”

    “I believe they came from beyond the edge of the Galaxy. We do not have a proper name for them, so we call them the Far Outsiders.”

    Her eyes turned sharply to the two works. “That explains a lot. There’s this disconnect about these pieces, as if they don’t belong, or as if their makers lost part of themselves. That’s what makes them so creepy. That, and also the fact that these sentients obviously worship pain. Not only to inflict pain on others, but also on themselves, like it confirms to them that they’re alive. They must be terrifying warriors, because they revel in their own pain as well as that of their adversaries. And I wonder if the grafts and the prosthetic eye have to do with... I don’t know how to call it, maybe aesthetic or faith-driven reasons and not only medical or utilitarian ones.” She looked back at Thrawn and added firmly, “What I’m sure about is that I never want to meet these beings. They’re horrible, and I don’t think we should even keep this painting in the house.”

    “We will not,” Thrawn said. “Voss and Meizh will take it back to the Palace storehouse immediately.”

    She smiled. “Not immediately. I have a reputation as a hostess to keep, so if you’re done with your work, we’re going to have dinner.”

    Thrawn’s lips twitched. “We will. Just let me show you two more sets of holos.”

    He removed her datacard from the holoprojector and inserted another one Parck gave him. “This is Nuso Esva’s species,” she said as soon as the holoshow came to life.

    “Indeed,” Thrawn replied. “These are the most recent pieces the task force has collected. Does anything indicate that they have had contact with the Far Outsiders?”

    She looked at the series of holos carefully. “No,” she said finally. “I’m quite certain they haven’t.”

    Thrawn inserted yet another datacard in the projector. “What of this species, Ayoo’sha?”

    She let the entire holoshow play once, then restarted it in a loop. “Now this is tenth-rate stuff if I ever saw any,” she said contemptuously. “These sentients got it all wrong. They’re nomadic, they’re violent and I’m pretty sure they’re slavers. They never took care of developing their own civilization, just of pillaging others. These works aren’t all from the same period, are they?”

    “Unfortunately not,” Thrawn said. “The entire species disappeared in interstellar space some thirty years ago, and we only collected the bits and pieces we could find. As you see, I sorted them chronologically.”

    She shook her head and pulled her stool to sit in front of the holoprojector. Vermel and Parck watched in fascination as she keyed commands to rearrange the series of holos. “This is the right order,” she muttered as the holoshow played one more time.

    Parck threw away all pretence at military decorum. “How in the blue blazes do you know that?”

    “It’s easy,” she said absent-mindedly. “Every time there’s an extra influence that isn’t there in other works, the piece has to be more recent. I’m surprised Thrawn didn’t get it right, it’s quite obvious.”

    Both Parck and Vermel looked at Thrawn, who didn’t even try to conceal his smile. “You know what they say, Voss,” Vermel whispered to Parck. “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman. I think we’re seeing evidence of that right now.”

    Ayesha keyed forward to the last pieces of the series. “I think they did have contact with the Far Outsiders,” she muttered. “They seem to have adopted the concept of organic grafts and they associate them with violence. But then, they’re also obsessed with obtaining some form of mechanical technology. These guys are a lesson in contradictions.” She paused and played the holoshow in its entirety again. “Or maybe not. They just want anything they can use as a weapon, really. Can I say again that these are sentients I never want to meet?”

    Thrawn switched off the holoprojector. “You certainly can. Thank you very much, Ayoo’sha, this was most illuminating.”

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

    Author's notes

    "Far Outsiders" is the name given by the Chiss to the Yuuzhan Vong in Outbound Flight. The mystery hand is a Yuuzhan Vong Shaper Hand.

    The species that "disappeared in interstellar space some thirty years ago" is the Vagaari (another reference to Outbound Flight) who in Legends meet the Yuuzhan Vong only in 23 ABY. The idea that they have adopted the concept of organic grafts as weapons comes from a scene in Survivor's Quest where a Vagaari warrior "hosts" a sort of galactic killer bees in his arm and it's one of the most :eek: [face_sick] things I ever read.
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh this is off the chain cool! :D :D She is a contradiction, in the best of ways! [face_love] How cool is that, about the analyzing of art and the disecting of character of Palpatine! Bravisimo!
     
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  5. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Oh oh - Vong!! :eek::D
    This is beyond cool!
    I SO loved to hate them in the NJO - I practically devoured that series back then, oooh, memories! :D (was it really that long ago? Eeeks! :eek:) Back then, I always thought, "what would Thrawn have done with them"? But hey, what Mara said at the end of Survivor's Quest! O:)
    Now I really hope to see them in action...

    And Ayesha - smart girl, not even wanting their painting in her house! Who knows what this sort of biotech can do... [face_worried]
    And her analysis, spot on!

    Also loved Vermel and Parck - just great!
    Oh my, I'm repeating myself... [face_blush]
     
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  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Harry's herself again! :D So good to see Ayesha fully back in action again, Galaxy-saving art analyses and all. All the while she was analyzing the strange "living" painting, talking about the grafted hand, the distrust of mechanical technology, the worship of pain, I kept thinking "Could it be... could it be..."—and your notes at the end confirmed that it was. :eek:

    And now that the Yuuzhan Vong are in the picture, it of course introduces a whole new level of scariness to the story, but it's also rather cool because now we get to see a specimen of their art and find out what art means to them; I'm now almost curious to meet this YV artist. I too wonder how Ayesha could tell it was a she—is it someone from the official books? Maybe this dame?

    It was instructive to hear more from Ayesha about the Emperor's invasion of her mind, because it also seems to illuminate more about her own idiosyncratic connection to the Force. She has a good point that each of the two times the Emperor has invited her to something, some horrible person from her past (K. Prollerg or P. Malki) "just happened" to be there too. Makes me wonder whether there's a third invitation on the way that will be even more horrific...

    And just on one small detail that may or may not be important... I also wonder if there's more to Prashat's infatuation with Ayesha than meets the eye. It seems to be getting to the point where it's interfering with his everyday performance. I hope too that Vermel's "nicer than usual" comment won't lead to something ugly... [face_nail_biting]
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: Findswoman has mentioned something that now has me worried. A third invitation? Yes, I was thinking earlier today that Thrawn needs to take her with him on the Admonitor since they're life-mates and her artsy contracts are done with. :D She'll be out of the Imperial clutches then.
     
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  8. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    A third invitation??
    My heart!! :eek:
    But then - perhaps she will be part of Thrawn's "falling from grace" at Court, who knows?

    At least she won't have to worry any more about a certain vulture soon, if you think of the timeline... [face_devil]
     
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  9. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Oh I love how this man kisses his lady.
    You really know how to tease a reader.

    It took me a bit but when she said that the whole hand may be a graft -- my mind instantly thought Vong. I loved hating them in the books too. I found them to be such an interesting foe for the Jedi.

    Yeah, I think if her contract is finished - she should go with Thrawn to the ship.
     
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  10. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Excellent chapter. The description of how she feels when the Emperor mucks around in her mind - "it’s like grubs are digging into my brain” is creepy. There is a reason why the Emperor wants her near and in a constant state of agitation, but feels she is too valuable to simply kill. He is either keeping her around for a purpose or for his sick amusement. I wonder if he too can gain some kind of reflective power from her, as if she channels and amplifies the Force. [face_nail_biting]

    And speaking of creepy - that painting is like a horror show. The fact that the actual painting is alive is bad enough, the fact that it was created with a grafted hand just blows it away. Ayesha's right - get that demon thing out of my house!:eek:
     
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  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    She stared at him incredulously. “You want me to gain more weight than what I lost?”

    He chuckled again. “Ayoo’sha, as you said yourself, you are a grown woman, not a child or a girl. I believe that you should look the part.” Her incredulity turned to bewilderment. “I said a grown woman, not a Hutt,” he added with that amused twinkle of his eyes. “Now if you could please finish your food, I will take you to bed and demonstrate what I mean.”

    I enjoyed the sweet mockery between them, even though there is much darkness in their lives. The Emperor and the Vong, who lurk in the distance. Very well written as usual! @};-
     
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  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    He chuckled again. “Ayoo’sha, as you said yourself, you are a grown woman, not a child or a girl. I believe that you should look the part.” Her incredulity turned to bewilderment. “I said a grown woman, not a Hutt,” he added with that amused twinkle of his eyes. “Now if you could please finish your food, I will take you to bed and demonstrate what I mean.”

    Dear force, I love this man. I really, really do. [face_love] This was just perfect. [face_love]


    She shuddered. “I can feel it when he does it. I don’t really know how to describe it, it’s like grubs are digging into my brain.” She took a deep breath. “And sometimes he shows me things inside my head,” she whispered. “Like the night we were in his auditorium. I saw myself with a slave collar, and I was all beaten up and bruised, I had blood here.” She showed her brow. “And no, before you ask, it wasn’t an image I made up because I was afraid. It came from outside my head. It was like when Lord Vader shared his memories with me, but he didn’t mean to hurt me, he just lost control. The Emperor on the other hand... I can feel that he’s enjoying it.”

    Eck. [face_worried] I believe the Emperor truly capable to cause pain for pain's sake - especially what you characterized of Sith feeding off of the pain of others. I too wonder if this is any way related to her being a 'bright spot' in the force to attract Palpatine's attention so, and worry for how far his nettling her will go in the future. :(


    She licked her thumb and ran it over the surface of the image. “Yes. The material is a lifeform, at any rate, but there’s something unnatural about it. Like it’s been engineered somehow. Bioengineered. I don’t think this artist uses any sort of mechanical technology. As a matter of fact, I think she hates it.”

    Ack! This whole section just gave me chills - I love how perceptive she was, and how unerringly accurate her gleanings were. Thrawn's ability to read so much about an artist/race through their work was one of my favourite parts of his character in canon, and, once again, it is one of my favourite threads in this story. Also - the Vong! Just: endless applause for this passage. =D=

    Both Parck and Vermel looked at Thrawn, who didn’t even try to conceal his smile. “You know what they say, Voss,” Vermel whispered to Parck. “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman. I think we’re seeing evidence of that right now.”

    Aren't we all? [face_love]


    This was a wonderful update, once again - and over all too soon! ;) =D=
     
  13. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    A bit off topic, so I hope you will forgive me, but...

    I was at Lush the other day, and this happened:
    [​IMG]

    So I bought it (it's supposed to help with old lady wrinkles). I'm wearing it right now, in fact. My face may look like a gungan's after a swamp romp, but it was so artistically done...


    edit: Got it! 8-}
     
  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I am a former Lush employee and a hoarder fanatic enthusiast, so just message me or tag me in the social thread with specs on your skin and hair in case you need something. Happy to help. :)

    *this comment will be edited to include comments on the three most recent chapters because I am so behind...huh-huh, she said behind*
     
  15. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    "But it was so artistically done"... [face_laugh]

    Haha, that made my day!!
     
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  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Reply time! It's lucky that I started replying over the weekend and saved what I had written :) Thanks all for reading and reviewing [:D]
    Thank you and welcome to this story [:D]

    Chapter 6
    Thanks [face_blush]
    It seems that the dead page issue has been resolved -- but let's take it easy in any case, we don't want this thread to crash [face_worried] ;)
    I've read Clash of Fates (which I loved) and I'm still hoping that someday the author of Hitchhicker will come back and finish it, because it's an amazing story, but I haven't read Politics of Exile -- thanks for the reference, I need to catch up on that!
    This will be a great opportunity for me to dip my toes in the NSWFF boards :) There's also a great discussion about this in the Beta Readers Thread (starts here) -- some of it is truncated because it's really old stuff, but there are a lot of interesting ideas in there.
    This thread has an unlimited supply of brooms and dustpans to collect reader puddles from the floor :p Thank you [face_blush]
    Right now I'm picturing an owl flying around and bashing a Jedi ghost with a leather-bound Jane Austen omnibus [face_laugh]
    ^^ This -- it's exactly what I was aiming at since part I. I'm happy it came through as such [face_dancing]
    I need to look up the basic alphabet in the Wook. If the same sign appears on both, it must mean something [face_thinking] but in any case it's a sweet irony of fate that the title of this fic would "appear" on Dex's Diner! Thanks for pointing it out :)
    Ooh, "singing stone" is a wonderful phrase. I need to go back and edit the title of that chapter.

    About "playing" the stones, I didn't develop on that, but it should be a possibility since all Gree tech is meant to be "played".
    Erm, don't. It's not a hand, it's a tentacle and I imagine it must be quite slimy [face_sick]

    Just to clarify, Matta Thryne isn't the Gree's name (I am yet to name him, but I probably will), it's the name of the planet. And no, don't run off to the Wook, I made it up ;)

    Chapter 7
    Thanks both.
    Aaand Findswoman scores! Yes, that's the character I used as a model for the artist here. It doesn't have to be Mezhand Kwaad herself though -- as I said, we're going to see the Vong close by, but not that close *shudders*
    [face_shhh]
    You're something of a mother avian too, you know? But don't worry. Prashat is just a nice kid who has a crush on his boss's partner.
    [face_shhh] [face_shhh]
    [face_shhh] [face_shhh] [face_shhh] [face_shhh]
    This reminds me that it's been a long time since I mushified a chapter for you. I'll get around to doing one asap [:D]
    Palpatine definitely gets (or is trying to get) something from her, but you'll have to wait until the second half of part II to find out what [face_mischief]
    Thanks [face_blush]
    :D To go back to one of your earlier comments, though, when you said that "of course they bonded over art" -- when I decided to have Thrawn as the main Imperial in this story, I did have to re-work Ayesha's personality and traits a bit. She wasn't so frighteningly bright in her previous iterations, but once Thrawn came into the picture, I had to make her exceptionally smart, because I just can't picture Thrawn falling for a woman who would be anything less.
    [face_laugh] I got that too when I went to France last year. I don't know if it works on the wrinkles, but "Gungan swamp romp" is a pretty good description! And you should definitely get a free consultation with Ewok Poet, she knows all the details about all the fancy Lush products.

    Oh don't worry about that. I'm, like, a dozen chapters late on every fic I'm reading (or supposed to be reading), so I can totally empathise!

    Thanks again! Next chapter coming right up.
     
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Okay, this chapter is a little bit of fluff, because after all these emotions we can all use a break :) But worry not, on Thursday it'll be back to our regular angsty programming! (Which reminds me, I'm starting in my new job on Wednesday. Hopefully everything will go smoothly, but the Thursday post may or may not turn into a Friday post.)

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

    And thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [face_love]

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

    Chapter 8: Rumours

    Parck expressed his amazement at their capacity to extract information from art as Thrawn served an aperitif on the conversation circle. “This is a skill I will never have. I just have no idea how you do it. If you ever choose to change your career path, Miss Eskari, I have a standing job offer for you with the task force.”

    She laughed. “I can’t imagine any part of the Navy, even your task force, paying someone to look at alien art all day long. That’s really all I’d be able to do, you know.”

    “I’m sure you have many more hidden talents,” Parck said. “The Admiral has been bringing up your example every time he chides me for my lack of progress in Cheunh.”

    “And then you blame poor Corporal Prashat for starting rumours about me,” she muttered to Thrawn. She stood up. “Let me just make a salad, and we can have dinner.”

    They moved to the dining area a few minutes later and she served an interstellar garden salad, spicy bantha roast and chyntuck-and-topato mash while Thrawn opened a bottle of Jhantorian wine. Vermel looked at her curiously when she passed around the breadbasket. “Forgive my curiosity, Miss, but do you have a special connection to Kashyyyk?”

    “It’s my homeworld,” she answered. “Why do you ask?”

    Vermel pointed at the various dishes. “Kashyyyk bantha, chyntuck, Kashyyyk wheat flour. You don’t use those gut-perforating Wookiee spices, but it’s not common for a human to be so deeply into Wookiee food.”

    She smiled. “It’s not. How do you know about this, Major?”

    “My first tour of duty as a young ensign was on Kashyyyk at the end of the Clone Wars. Fighting side-by-side with the Wookiees was an unforgettable experience.”

    “Indeed,” Thrawn interjected. “Every survivor I met from that battle agreed that the Wookiees are superior warriors.”

    Vermel nodded. “They were incredible. The Army of the Republic was poorly organized until the Jedi generals came. Our clones were outgunned, out-manoeuvred and outnumbered by the droids, and the Separatists would’ve rancor-rolled us if it hadn’t been for the Wookiees. They were amazingly fierce and fearless, they took the droids apart with their bare paws.”

    “Yes, they have a reputation for being quite brutal,” Parck commented with a derisive snort.

    “Oh no,” Ayesha said with genuine pain in her voice. “Wookiees are kind, gentle sentients. They value life above all else. If you could see how they care for their young and their elderly, or how they mourn their dead, you would understand how unfair it is to call them brutal.”

    There was a heavy silence. “Ayesha’s adoptive family are Wookiees,” Thrawn said. “Her father was here recently to look after her when she was ill. I also saw last year a Wookiee mother sacrifice herself for her pup. I do not know if Wookiees can be brutal, but that it is presented as their main characteristic in the Navy Handbook for Species is certainly undeserved.”

    Parck turned beet red. “I am so sorry, Miss Eskari. You must think me incredibly rude and prejudiced.”

    “It’s okay,” she mumbled. “I guess you haven’t had many opportunities to meet Wookiees anyway.”

    “I haven’t,” Parck said. “Nor have I ever met anyone who actually lived with them. Can you please tell me more?”

    She started talking about life in Rwookrrorro, timidly at first but she slowly warmed to the subject as Vermel interjected snippets of his own time on Kashyyyk. She fetched the little holopad with her family pictures and described at length the sophistication of Wookiee culture and society. “And you must remember that Wookiees are arboreal,” she said. “They may seem ungainly and clumsy when you see them walking in cities or in spaceships, but in the trees they’re actually quite graceful.” Vermel spoke about how he had seen Wookiees use their claws to carve wooden artefacts. “Yes, like the khraayashyyr Thrawn and I have. Only adult Wookiees carve them and they’re not allowed to use anything but their claws. Mine was made by my Ada’. My little brother and I cheated a little for Thrawn’s, because I carved his name and I obviously don’t have claws, but it’s okay, no one will complain since Thrawn wasn’t formally a Wookiee then.”

    Parck looked at Thrawn questioningly. “Then?”

    “I was recently adopted in the tribe of the Green Vines by Ayesha’s father,” Thrawn replied. “This is why I also have the twisted vines on my lineage shield now. But when Ayesha had the khraashyr made, I was still an old-fashioned Chiss.”

    Vermel gave him a bemused look and Parck shook his head before taking another look at her family holos. “So what did you say your family’s profession is?”

    “My Ata’ was a healer. My Ada’ is a hunter and village chieftain, and my little brother finally decided to become an artisan.”

    “What about your older brother?” Vermel asked.

    She sighed. “He’s a hunter too, but he’s also very good with ship mechanics. Unfortunately, the slavers took him four years ago, and we haven’t heard from him since. Thrawn asked around Imperial shipyards and other installations, but we didn’t find anything. We don’t know for sure that he was sold to the Empire, and in any case I don’t think the Empire bothers keeping records of slaves’ names, especially unpronounceable Wookiee ones.”

    There was a pause. “I’m sorry to hear that,” Vermel said. “Slavery is a despicable practice, and I’m always deeply angered when I see how some of our colleagues and superior officers treat the sentients who have been brought as slaves to our bases.”

    Ayesha sighed again. “Treating slaves badly is part of making them slaves. You don’t become a slave because someone captured you and put a collar around your neck. You become one when you start thinking of yourself as one. Slavers want their captives to forget about freedom. To forget what it means to be a person. They seek to break us.”

    Vermel looked at her carefully. “Forgive my indiscretion again, but you speak of slavery as if you have your own experiences with it.”

    Thrawn put his hand protectively over Ayesha’s, but she raised her chin a fraction and answered. “I do. I was born a slave on Zygerria. I know exactly what it means to be deprived of yourself.”

    There was another, pregnant pause. Parck finally spoke up. “Thank you, Miss Eskari. You just gave me a lesson in dignity and decency that I am not going to forget. I’ve walked past many a slave in the nearly thirty years I’ve been in the Navy, and I never felt anything but mild indifference. I am now very much ashamed of myself. It serves me right for still being, at my age, a Core World military brat.”

    Ayesha smiled at him. “You were better off ten minutes ago, Captain. It’s better not to know about these things at all. Now it’s your turn to answer questions. Which Core World are you from?”

    Thrawn cleared the plates and fetched dessert – wasaka berry pudding and Wookiee-ookies – while Parck explained that his family hailed from Corulag. “It’s a beautiful world. Peaceful, temperate, with its fair share of cities but also extraordinary forests. Have you ever been there?”

    “Not yet,” Ayesha said. “But I’ll be going soon. I’ve been commissioned to create a monument to the Perlemian Trade Route in Curamelle.”

    “Is it you?” Parck asked. “My cousin is the Deputy Governor and he told me about this project, but he didn’t mention the artist’s name. I will make sure that you are well taken care of while you are there.”

    Vermel asked what she had in mind for the monument and she explained that she was planning to draw on her experience working with Tashi for the Coruscant Public Transportation Authority. “This is a real challenge for me. For the Perlemian Route I need to create something about trade and industry, which is very different from what I normally do. Wood is my favourite material but I’m not sure it’s appropriate for that.”

    “You could use Corulag bamboo,” Parck interjected. “They can become huge, as wide as this table.”

    “That’s an idea,” Ayesha said thoughtfully. “I never heard of any sculpture made of Corulag bamboo. There must be specific difficulties with it, I need to look it up.”

    She sank into a meditative silence. Thrawn’s lips twitched. “Voss, if Ayesha’s expression is anything to go by, I believe that you just made an unexpected contribution to the Curamelle monument. Meanwhile, I will send both you and Meizh an invitation to a collective exhibition Ayesha and her friends are preparing. They have recently found an adequate venue in The Works, and I am hopeful that the inauguration next month will take place before we leave to the Unknown Regions again.”

    He explained the concept of the Plebeian Exhibition, but it was clear that the two officers didn’t quite understand how the choice of non-noble materials could be revolutionary. “You’d laugh yourselves silly if you knew the debates about what is appropriate for art,” Ayesha said. “I took a lot of flack when I chose Gungan swamp clay for the Northern Lights room in the Palace. COMPNOR were shocked, absolutely shocked, that I would go for such a lowly material that’s normally used by an alien species. It’s lucky Naboo is the Emperor’s homeworld, because they wouldn’t have let me go ahead with it otherwise.” She chuckled. “I’m pretty sure every single piece in the Plebeian Exhibition will get one of those scarlet holo-reviews of theirs, but we don’t care. As a matter of fact, the more scarlets we get, the better. This idea that a central system can rate the quality of art is so ludicrous that drawing a scarlet is a sure way to attract attention to your work.”

    Parck smiled. “I see that you are working hard to undermine the Imperial Order.”

    She smiled back. “That’s one way of putting it. I actually think that we’re doing the Empire a favour. Please make sure you come to the inauguration. I saw some of the exhibits that other artists are preparing and there’s amazing stuff in there. And we’ll also have music and dancing and good food from all over the Galaxy. It’s going to be great.”

    Her enthusiasm was infectious. Thrawn’s face had lit up and both of their visitors were grinning widely as they stood up. “If we are on planet, we will certainly be there,” Parck said. “Now, however, we should be going before we abuse your hospitality. Thank you for a lovely dinner and a lovely evening, thank you for teaching us so much about art, and most importantly thank you for making me a better man. That specific lesson was invaluable and I promise you I will not forget it.”

    Thrawn was already in bed when she came out of the shower and slipped under the covers. “The Admiral’s wife made quite an impression again tonight,” he murmured as he turned on his side to caress her belly. “I dare not imagine the buzz when we return to the Admonitor.”

    “That’s your fault,” she said with a smile. “You go telling Captain Parck that I speak Cheunh and other such nonsense. That’s how rumours start, you know.”

    Thrawn propped himself up on his elbow. “Of course. It has nothing to do with the fact that you decoded in minutes some pieces of art that I was poring over for hours. Or that you whipped up a scrumptious dinner without batting an eyelid. Or that you politely chastised Voss for his speciesist ignorance, and that you put his thoughts straight about slavery. Or that you piqued their interest about this exhibition of yours. Or that you are beautiful and luminous, and that you were smiling.”

    His fingertips were now trailing teasingly on her thighs. She let out a breath that was half sigh, half whimper. “How long do you intend to keep me waiting?” she whispered.

    His eyes were phosphorescent as he brought his lips millimetres from hers. “Until you ask for what you want in Cheunh, Ayoo’sha. Voss believes that you are fluent, and you would not like the Admiral to turn out to be a liar, would you?”

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

    Author's notes: Some background on the section of COMPNOR dealing with art here.
     
  18. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    As much as I can never catch up to this story for long, I'm glad it's as often-updated as it is. Because every time I do start reading, I get completely immersed in it and end up wishing for the next part to arrive! ;)

    The scenes with Ayesha's introduction of Quinlan, and the later conversation between Thrawn and "Uncle Quin" were golden. Scruffy Jedi exile making himself at home and lecturing a Grand Admiral on his love life. [face_laugh] And Thrawn listens, if not entirely patiently, because on some level he's realized that this person is important to Ayesha and has the key to parts of her history that he doesn't yet understand. I like the fact that Thrawn seems to get a different reaction from each of his collection of peculiar in-laws. Someday, they'll have to hold a family reunion. :p

    I hadn't predicted that Quinlan would be the one to kill Malki, but it works and makes an interesting dilemma -- he's certainly got a ruthless side and has no doubt done similar things in the past, but there are always consequences. Even if he's adapted to them, and maybe especially. (On a tangent, there was a story I read on FFN a while back where Mara confronted the others about sending her on tasks where something needed killing -- not even deliberately, but due to a subconscious assumption that she would be more okay than others because of her past. Thinking about this reminded me of that.)

    This part was one of my favorites. And makes me more optimistic for the at-least-for-now survival of Thrawn and Ayesha as a couple. Also, Quinlan being hilarious again.
    This was a beautiful scene, and I love how the imagery of the sculpture seems to work on many different levels to show Ayesha's feelings about their relationship.

    This was one of my favorite bits of conversation in this chapter. I just love the casual "you know, back before your Grand Admiral became a Wookiee." [face_laugh] And the updates on what's going on with the khraashyr. As far as I remember, this might be the first that we've seen of the outcome of that unless my memory fails me again. Thrawn has pretty good taste in Imperial allies -- they aren't offended by Ayesha's honesty about the Wookiees and slavery in the Empire, even thought the information surprises (and somewhat embarrasses) them. Which for Parck especially makes a lot of sense. If I'm remembering right, he was the one who found Thrawn, wasn't he?
     
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    "The Singing Stone" Perfection as a title!!! @};-

    Enjoyed very much Parck's realizations and Vermel's earlier experiences meshing to make a very enlightening discussion. =D= =D= Ayesha is a breathtakingly great and poised hostess; she is forthright and tactful at the same time. :) And SQUEE for the last bit there. Always. [face_love]
     
  20. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “Thank you, Miss Eskari. You just gave me a lesson in dignity and decency that I am not going to forget. I’ve walked past many a slave in the nearly thirty years I’ve been in the Navy, and I never felt anything but mild indifference. I am now very much ashamed of myself. It serves me right for still being, at my age, a Core World military brat.”

    She is indeed undermining the Empire with her charm, her wits & her artistic skills. Unfortunately, the Emperor does not fall for it. He is, in the best case, a collector of beautiful items. And in the worst case scenario...

    What he is NOT aware off, somebody like our heroine has powerful allies. And they seem to be getting more and more by the hour. It is not only Thrawn(y) who is smitten by her for 1.001 reasons.
     
  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Yup, I'm a proud mother avian, and I make no excuses. :D

    And I must say, I am now super-intrigued by all the "quiet faces" you put in your responses to our comments. Especially where the possible Third Invitation is concerned... [face_thinking]

    After all the drama of earlier on and all that heavy-duty art analysis, it's nice to see Thrawn and Ayesha enjoying a little sociable downtime. It would certainly be amazingly cool if she ended up doing her art analysis in an official capacity for the Imperial Navy—I wonder if that's in her future, and if so, where it might lead. (Though given the Emperor's twisted interest in her, it could be very dangerous, too.)

    Parck certainly got schooled here on both Wookiees and the true meaning of slavery, but I appreciate very much how humbly and gracefully he took it. Knowledge of them ad Kashyyyk is now something he and Ayesha have in common. Ayesha's mention of her enslaved big brother has me wondering if he will ever be found, which of course I have wondered since I first read about him. [face_thinking] But of course don't give anything more away than is ready to be given away. ;)

    And I now know at long last why Yakooboo took Thrawn's khraashyr off the wall. The detail hound in me can sleep easier now! :D

    Finally, I just have to say how much I love the descriptions of the food in this chapter. Sounds like yummalicious foodie heaven, even the "gut-perforating Wookiee spices" ( [face_laugh] ! ) You're right that we've got to get a Fanon Thread food discussion going, asap—I demand, in the fullness of time, to see a fully detailed post on Wookiee cuisine. With recipes adapted for the use of curious Earthers. :p
     
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Just the whisper of a rumor of a third invitation is tweaking my final nerve. [face_nail_biting] [face_nail_biting] Instead of [face_rainbows] it's [face_edge of seat] [face_laugh] [face_love]
     
  23. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Okay this one had me laughing a bit hard. 'Wookiee-ookies' --- I edited a fanzine a millennium ago and the author never referred to Chewbacca as Chewie --- it was always 'the Wookie' and I pointed to my darling Star Trek fan 'Wookiee' is spelled like cookie, but with an extra 'E'. This was before we did things on computer --- I painstakingly retyped ever sentence on clear copy-on and whited out the line and pasted it over 75 times to correct the spelling of Wookiee and when I saw 'Wookiee-ookies' --- it reminded me of that.

    This is a naughty tease --- what if he has not taught her those intimate words yet?

    You say here when 'we' return to the Admonitor. Is she really going to travel with him?? I hope I hope.:)@};-
     
  24. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Haha, yes, I caught that, too - "when we return to Admonitor". :D
    That would be so cool!

    And Thrawn, the Wookiee - oh my, this had me laugh so hard!
    But now I have to re-read the Kashyyyk scenes in TTT with Leia - this will be an interesting contrast indeed... [face_thinking]

    Aaah, the last sentence had me melt again! [face_love]
    Just perfect...
     
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, cool catch there, with the we! [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Let me set the record straight. LOL For all these years, on the SW side, Luke has been the man with the sweetest most endearing words of love and tenderness. Thrawn has blown that right out of the park! [face_love] [face_love] Who would have guessed? Ah, well. Guess he's inspired. ^:)^
     
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