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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. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    What a pal Daric LaRone is! From little things like worrying about Ayesha's health and well being to planning a whole surprise Life Day celebration for her, he's turning out to be a true friend in need. Wish I could have been there to learn some of those dances. And hear the music. I do wonder, though, what caused her to dream of her departed Ata’ right then and there... accident, or necessity? [face_thinking] *files that fact away for later, just in case*

    It's very encouraging to see Ayesha's art analyzing skills back in action, and it's so cool that this is yet another thing she can teach her shipmates (as I guess I might as well call them now). I wonder if we will soon be seeing those skills saving the Galaxy (!) once again, just as they basically did back when she analyzed that Yuuzhan Vong piece.

    Of course, the exchange with Parck and Vermel at the end is a reminder that things are very, very far from perfect. Another "Ochsen am Berge" situation, for sure—both parties are talking past each other and unwilling to budge one bit. And how can it been otherwise, when things have been very carefully engineered (she's absolutely right on that score) so that she really basically is still a prisoner, despite what anyone around her can do or say. What will break that cycle? Something must eventually... right?

    And thanks for further explaining both the brainwave business and the vergence business, both of which I'm much clearer on now. :)
     
  2. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Ayesha's mental link to Vader is very, very troubling. There are any number of people from A to Z (and from the Emperor to Vader himself) who are going to be very unhappy if/when they learn of that.

    Oh boy. I was worried that someone might think this about her hanging around with LaRone & co, but argh. I really hope this is something Parck did of his own accord and isn't Thrawn being jealous -- as in-character as that probably is here from his past behavior -- but in either case it's not doing the situation any good. :oops: Though it hurts to see them separated and at odds like this, I think it's probably good that Ayesha's building a new support network here, both for her own sake and because if there is going to be a reconciliation it will be a lot better/healthier all around if she feels like she's got a life of her own that she can choose to share with Thrawn again -- as opposed to being cut out of her old life and pasted into his domain.
     
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  3. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    “Things didn’t ‘happen’ to me, Commander,” she said glacially. “The arrest warrant didn’t just ‘happen’. The rapes didn’t just ‘happen’. The torture didn’t just ‘happen’. It wasn’t an accident of nature. It was planned, organized and executed on someone’s orders, and that someone is the same person you’re taking orders from.”
    Vermel gave her a baffled look. “You cannot seriously be implying that the Admiral ordered anyone to –”

    Oh.
    My first reaction to this was, now she's gone totally crazy. She's not actually accusing Thrawn of doing this to her? Okay, just drop her somewhere and give her what she wants, she'll see what she gets out of it, this is hopeless.
    On the other hand, no, it is totally not Parck's and Vermel's business to meddle in her personal affairs. And yes, I firmly believe Thrawn had a hand in this. Bad idea, really, really bad idea.

    Now what to do about this?
    Thrawn can't just let her leave and take the risk of her joining the rebellion; she simply knows too much. But that's his own fault, he trusted her and told her everything.
    I guess there won't be a "we can talk reasonably about it" any time soon...
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Loving the last 2-3 reviews muchly. Even if Thrawn wasn't behind the whole Vermel/Parck gooberheadedness [face_laugh] if (and she probably does) Ayesha thinks he was, it's sorta might as well be the same as. :( Foot, and I do, do so want a let's talk reasonably and then get down to - mattress gymnastics [face_rofl] but lord almighty there's a ways to go before that! [face_mischief] [face_love]
     
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  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I left that stupid comment because I could not focus properly throughout last week and that was really the only thing I saw in that particular chapter. And, in response to your on that comment, the answer was onion rings, either way. :D This one is a proper comment & it's hard to follow something so complex at this page, so I am sorry for catching up like this (again).

    Also, in case I never said so before, if I keep on saying stupid stuff, it's because I am not familiar enough with the subject matter. It's impossible to have read everything; so please correct me if I am being too thick.

    Chapter 25

    D'aww at LaRone's lack of sprachentalent.

    Garamond Narrow...does that mean he's hard to read? Given his preference of old datacards, I would assume so.

    It must have been hard for Ayesha to receive that letter from Thrawn. As somebody who threw a couple of unopened letters away in moments of high anxiety, but also had other people do that with letters from her, I can relate to both sides of the story. She obviously still means a lot to him, since he bothered to make it more personal, by writing it as opposed to typing it. A sweet, romantic gesture after the romance has gone.

    Glad that LaRone is understanding, though I am not sure why he shared the entire story with that sausage party when they landed. At the same time, I love how he schooled the said sausage party.

    Love it how the Troukree child [apparently] changes Ayesha's mind about accepting the gift after all. The servile big deal of a dude totally blew it by seeing her as Thrawn's trinket of sorts, so I am glad that this happened. These people, just like she back in the days - or even now - got their second chance. Those rising from the ashes need to support others who are going through the same process. And they are in search of their own (new) indentity themselves and therefore eventually able to understand what it feels like to be one's own person, and something different from what one was.

    Plus, a true girl needs cool knives. :D Wondering if any of them will be important at any given point.

    +1

    Chapter 26

    The contrast between the cheerful party where poor LaRone gets accused of willingly reading Juicy Blabber (why would anybody sane be doing that?) and Ayesha's sudden connection with Darth Vader is great.

    And the latter...honestly, I supposed they had a bond of sorts, but I never saw THAT coming. Then again, who did? A super-famous scene just got a whole new meaning...and now I know why The New Essential Chronology is so important to you. This was masterful in every sense of that word.

    And the GFFA equivalent of a horse head in one's bed from The Godfather films - yikes! I have way too many ideas on who this could be and why, but I am not going to air them publicly, as I already embarrassed myself enough in this thread. Anyway, since Galaxy Watch is known to get things right when least expected to, this was probably Zaarin's final warning!

    Then there is the obvious - that the Empire is crumbling. Passing off losses as victories and giving titles out of nowhere is...well, very familiar. This is not going to turn nice...


    Chapter 27

    Cottle's reveal pretty much confirmed what I thought after I had first read chapter 26 -that Vader left something behind.

    But now I have a bizarre idea - if Ayesha is some sort of a GFFA-ish horcrux, even if it's solely for Vader's thoughts, what will happen to her when he dies above Endor? O___o

    Love LaRone's reasoning about the message possibly falling in wrong hands. That also buys Ayesha - and everybody who cares about her - more time to make sure that she won't be subjected to torture at the hands of the Emperor again.

    And that sheevy sheev...yikes. I did not realise that he figured out Vader helped Ayesha close her mind at that dinner and that this was his own little way to get rid of Thrawn. At the same time, Ayesha's lack of a "barrier" seemed very obvious from when she wanted to protect her head in The Crib. It just...flowed so naturally.

    Chapter 28

    The detail of how the knives were positioned when Ayesha was meditating caught my attention. Is this supposed to mean something VERY specific or is it a standard part of Gyysharria-Ka customs? If so, what do those knives symbolise? Any hint of duality, dichotomy and the like gets me!

    LaRone is getting very, very tender and I assume he expected some compliments, but not a comparison to a missing Wookiee brother. Would've loved to see his face after Ayesha told him that!

    Love the surprise Life Day presentation and the Troukree showing up. Now I am pretty sure that they see Ayesha as a person of her own.

    And then comes that creepy conversation with Vermel and Parck...is this Thrawn's jealousy speaking through them or is this, once again, something from Zahn's books that I am not familiar with?


    ...

    Eagerly awaiting more though, at this point, I am expecting you to break my heart in one of the next chapters. :(
     
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  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! These are going to be very short replies, because I have a raging migraine for the fourth day in a row and I can't connect two brain cells together, but you should all know that your detailed comments are very much appreciated [:D]
    Absolutely! That is so totally what Ayesha needs -- someone whose love she cannot doubt and who could take charge, and that's precisely what is being denied to her on the Admonitor.
    Are you sure? [face_whistling]
    Yes to everything. Oh, and I hadn't thought of pairing Ayesha with Garamond Narrow, but now that you mention it... [face_thinking]
    Spoiler: [hl=black]Of course we will, and big time. It's just a few chapters away.[/hl]
    You're welcome :)
    :oops: just about sums it up! And you're right about the importance of Ayesha building bonds of friendship of her own -- even in the immediate present, it helps her feel like a person.
    Here's a question for you: who are the crew of the Admonitor taking orders from? The explanation lies in the answer ;)
    I hesitated a lot about how much LaRone would share with them of what happened to Ayesha. In an earlier outline of these few chapters, he didn't tell them anything and they came to find out little by little, but, other than making things much more complicated for me :p it also felt a bit out of character. The other four are his closest friends and colleagues, and he knows that they will be spending a lot of time with Ayesha once they all go back to the Admonitor, so I finally decided it made sense that he would want to set boundaries from the start, even if telling them all this on a private comm channel in the middle of a crowd of Troukree probably wasn't his idea of how he would broach the subject.
    Oh, I think we all know who is behind this ;) And yes, Galaxy Watch rules!
    Feels a bit like Balkans, doesn't it? :D As I said in a previous reply, this is the moment when the Galaxy starts going to the canoids. It's not going to be pretty.
    Yay, a reader who connected this scene to The Crib! =D= (Thank you!)
    It's a standard part of the ritual, for which I have pages and pages of handwritten notes that will appear in the Fanon Thread soon. Long story short, the funeral rites revolve around hunting and connection to nature, and the knives are there to symbolise the lives taken and the life returned to nature.
    He liked it, actually. Ayesha told him how much her brother matters to her, so he took it as a compliment.
    No to the second one. For the first one, just read on :)

    Thanks again, everyone. Next chapter up in a few minutes.
     
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  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    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 as usual, thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [:D]

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

    Chapter 29: Destiny

    Ayesha was so incensed by her meeting with Parck and Vermel that she was still seething when she met up with the Hand of Judgement the next morning, and despite her best efforts her anger was getting the better of her. “What the blue blazes is wrong with you?” LaRone asked when he saw her pouncing on Brightwater as if he were responsible for all the ills in the Galaxy. “We said that we can get brutal during training, but what you’re doing is beyond brutal. It’s like you’re trying to kill him.”

    It didn’t take much prodding for her to explode in a furious rant, and once she had vented to her heart’s content the stormtroopers managed to get her to repeat her conversation with the two officers word for word. They stared at her in disbelief when she was finished. “You must be kidding,” Marcross grumbled.

    “Not one little bit,” she replied bitterly. “I can’t say I’m surprised though, it’s definitely the sort of thing Thrawn would instruct them to do.”

    LaRone snorted. “Now that’s the stupidest thing you said in a long time. I was there when the Admiral gave us his instructions about you. All he said was to make sure that you have everything you need and that you get self-defence training so as to be able to move around the ship on your own.”

    The expression on her face went from tense to suspicious. “You became friends with me on Thrawn’s orders?”

    There was an ominous silence. “I take it back,” LaRone snapped. “Now you said the stupidest thing in a long time, and I’m mildly offended. Scratch that, I’m outright insulted. I came to train with you on his orders, yes, and I can’t thank him enough for it, because becoming friends wasn’t part of the plan. I would’ve hoped it’s the same for you.”

    He spun on his heel and strode out of the room, with Quiller and Grave trotting after him. A discomfited Ayesha went to follow, but Brightwater caught her arm. “Not now,” he said. “You never saw him angry before, didn’t you? He won’t listen when he’s like that. Go to his room this afternoon, he’ll calm down by then and you can talk to him.”

    “You can apologise to him,” Marcross corrected sternly. “It wasn’t fair what you said.”

    By now Ayesha was beet red. “No,” she mumbled. “It wasn’t.”

    She took a step towards the door, but Brightwater caught her again. “Training’s until noon. We’re sticking to the schedule. Now get on with your exercises. You still need to kill me.”

    The scout trooper was relentless in his attack strategy for the remainder of the session, and she was sweat-soaked and panting when her comm pinged as she walked back to her quarters an hour later.

    “Miss Eskari,” Ensign Washeeya’s voice said. “Captain Niriz is requesting an appointment with you at your earliest convenience.”

    She gave the small device a perplexed look. “Should I go to his office?”

    “The Captain would like to come to your quarters, if you would accept him,” Washeeya replied respectfully. “Would sometime this afternoon be convenient for you?”

    Her perplexity increased to bewilderment. They agreed to a time, and at fifteen hundred hours sharp, the doorbell rang and a middle-aged officer stepped into her lounge. His demeanour was formal but she didn’t miss the twinkle of – was it irony? amusement? – in his eyes. “Captain Dagon Niriz, at your service, Miss Eskari,” he said with a crisp bow. “I regret not coming to introduce myself earlier, as you have been on this ship for several months already.”

    She nodded awkwardly and led him to the small sofa. “I understand that you had a rather unpleasant exchange with Commander Parck and Major Vermel yesterday,” he began after sitting down. “As the captain of this ship, I owe you an apology for the behaviour of my subordinates. It seems that they took the initiative of talking to you on their own, believing that they were acting for the best. It is clear however that they overstepped their boundaries and sought to meddle in your private affairs, which is in no way acceptable. I assure you that such a thing will not happen again. I would have ordered them to apologise to you in person, but I thought it preferable to give them strict instructions never to disturb you again. You should feel free to report to me any further misdemeanour on their behalf, or of any member of this crew.”

    She nodded again, visibly unsure what to say. “I also regret to inform you that you will not be seeing Commander LaRone for the next few days,” Niriz continued. “I had no choice but to confine him to the brig until we reach New Alzoc.” The corner of his mouth was definitely struggling against a smile now. “Although you will be pleased to hear that the Wookiee wrestling moves you taught him did not go to waste. Vermel and Parck never knew what hit them. I am certain Mr. Quiller will greatly enjoy describing the scene to you in detail.”

    At this Ayesha couldn’t suppress a grin. The Captain smiled back and stood up. “I must leave now. With two of my senior officers in sick bay and one in the brig, running this ship has become a far more tedious business than it ought to be.” She followed him to the door. “There is one more thing I wish to tell you, Miss Eskari,” he said as it slid open. “I am an Imperial Navy officer and I am under orders to keep you here, which I will do. Please believe however that this is a duty that I take no pleasure in. Have a nice day.” And without waiting for her answer, he gave her another bow and left.

    * * *​

    The Admonitor finally settled into orbit around New Alzoc and Ayesha was in the docking bay, helping Grave and Brightwater load the luggage and supplies in the Baratta, when LaRone arrived from the brig. He was still wearing his training jumpsuit and a three-day stubble had formed on his cheeks. She walked straight up to him. “I’m sorry,” she said. “What I said was nasty and poodoo-headed and hurtful and wrong in every possible way, and I’m ashamed for even thinking of it. I don’t know if you can forgive me, but I’d like you to please, please accept my apology.”

    The stormtrooper looked at her for a moment, then pulled her in a hug. “Your apology is accepted,” he whispered in her ear. “But just so we’re clear about this, we still need to talk.” He let her go. “Not now, however. Now I need a sonic. I stink.”

    The Suwantek soon left the Star Destroyer that was now floating in space among a flotilla of alien frigates in what looked like a shipyard and headed for a settlement in the northern hemisphere of the white planet. “I told you it’s cold down there,” Quiller told Ayesha as she stared at the thick flurries of snow floating past the viewport. “And believe it or not, this is what they call the summer. You don’t want to know what the winter is like. We’ll be using snowtrooper gear to disembark, but they’ll have fur coats and snow boots for us in the guesthouse.”

    He directed the transport to what seemed to be a sculpted ice dome on the edge of the town. The structure vanished as he brought the ship to the ground and materialised again above their heads. “Astral, isn’t it?” the pilot chuckled when she gasped in wonder. “It’s based on their own technology, our people just helped them improve it. The weather shields used to be a bit iffy and we stabilised them. But they insisted to keep them artistic like that. They love sculpting ice. Maybe you can learn their techniques, it will keep you busy, because frankly there isn’t much to do down here.”

    The cold was so bitter once they stepped outside that Ayesha didn’t have the energy to focus on the three towering, furry beings that led them to what was to be their residence for the duration of their stay. The guesthouse was a low dwelling built from ice that was protected by a weather shield on the outside, while its inner walls were covered in an insulating agent that allowed its inhabitants to regulate the ambient temperature at will. Each room came with an en-suite ‘fresher where hot water was available in abundance – the source was geothermal, she was told – while there was a shared kitchen down the hallway. “There is also a common room over there,” one of their guides articulated in oddly-accented Minnisiat. “We hope that you will be comfortable here. We sought to adjust the dimensions of this facility to beings of your kind, but” – he glanced at Ayesha and blinked his two pairs of eyes one after the other – “I fear that we might have slightly overestimated your size.”

    She gave him a self-deprecating grin. “That’s fine. It’ll feel just like home.”

    Ayesha hardly saw her friends in the week that followed – they were exceedingly busy with arrangements for the recruitment of candidate stormtroopers – but she was introduced to a community leader and shaman of sorts named Reis Azada. The elderly Talz took a liking to her and invited her to spend her days in his kashana – it was the Talzzi word for dwelling, she soon learned, and a word that the Talz refused to translate to any other language, because their homes were the only item they defined as private property. “We have no concept of individual ownership,” he explained. “Everything but our kashana belongs to our species as a whole. Which is why you should keep your door locked, lest one of us borrows your personal effects.”

    Reis Azada had been a slave of the Empire for many years until sheer luck enabled him to steal a recently-completed corvette and escape from the Bilbringi shipyards to return to his homeworld, only to find his community devastated by the Empire’s enslavement policy. “Peace and faith in a better future is the way of my people,” he explained sadly. “Most of us merely hoped that the Empire would not return every time a slaving raid was over. It was difficult for me to convince even the small number you see here to follow me on the ship and seek a better life elsewhere. The few who did started this community, a few more came later and we are still hoping to rescue even more. But for this, we need to be better established. There are many threats in these parts of the Galaxy, and we would not want to bring more Talz here to see them enslaved by another master.”

    She told him of her life among the Wookiees and how her adoptive brother had been caught by slavers as well. He blinked his smaller eyes knowingly. “Yes, there were many Wookiees in Bilbringi as well. The Empire is always looking for species that are suitable for manual labour. They prefer to target the most peaceful cultures. A day will come when they will pay the price for this.”

    She summoned all her courage to ask him what he thought of being under the protection of what was essentially an extension of the Empire in the Unknown Regions. “Our experience with the Empire of the Hand has been entirely different,” the shaman answered firmly. “They first came here six planetary cycles ago, when we were threatened by Nuso Esva. He had destroyed our only ship and we were ill-equipped to resist a ground offensive. We would be labouring for him now, had Padshah Thrawn not intervened. Not only that, the Padshah helped us build the fleet you saw and he is now teaching us how to better defend ourselves. We are honoured to be under his tutelage.”

    Her face became clouded. “There is much anger in you,” Reis Azada said thoughtfully. “There is much darkness, but there is also light. I hope for your sake that the light will overcome the darkness.” He patted her gently on the cheek. “Now come. You must learn how to walk with snow shoes, lest you want to spend your entire sojourn among the Talz locked up in a kashana.”

    The settlement’s tailor had readjusted the fur cape that he had made for her – in its first iteration, it would have fit a grown man – and she was now equipped to confront the merciless weather of New Alzoc, but she still shivered every time she had to step outside. “You will get used to it with time,” Reis Azada told her with the chirp that she now understood to be the Talz equivalent of a chuckle. “These temperatures are mild. Next time, come and visit us in the cold season. Then you will understand the true meaning of being a Talz.” She progressed however quickly on how to handle herself on snow and ice, and by the fifth day her new friend offered to take her on a hunt outside the settlement, to remind her of life on her home planet. “We will trek to the first shelter,” he explained. “It is only a few hours away, half a day at most if you become tired. We will set up our traps as we march, and we will collect our prey on the way back the next morning.”

    Ayesha would have been hard-pressed to explain the sense of intense anticipation that filled her when she went to Reis Azada’s kashana at dawn to leave on the hunt, but her feeble attempt at hiding the confusion of her feelings from the elderly shaman was lost. “You are not yourself today, kookud,” he told her as soon as she walked in. “Another soul has taken possession of yours during the night.”

    He went to place a paw on her head. She took a step back. “There is nothing you can do about it,” she said. “There is nothing you should try to do about it. It is a curse.”

    She suppressed a wince of pain as a flare of eagerness that wasn’t hers flashed across her mind. “It is a curse indeed,” the Talz answered. “You cannot control it, but I can try to remove it.”

    She shook her head. “No. I don’t know what he’ll do if he finds out. He could destroy you if he becomes angry.”

    There was a pause. “Do you know what you are talking about?” Reis Azada asked gently. “Do you truly know, do you truly understand what you are talking about?”

    She shook her head again. “Not really. But I know that it’s dangerous, and I don’t want to share the danger with you. Let’s go. He’ll leave me alone in the end, he always does.”

    The shaman’s four eyes widened in a gesture of disapproval. “We will not go on a hunt when you are in this state. The wilderness of New Alzoc is not for those who cannot focus their thoughts. If you are determined to wait this out, return to your kashana. We will hunt tomorrow.” She went to protest. “This is not up for discussion, kookud,” he said firmly, emphasising this time the Talzzi word for child. “You will not hunt today. Leave your gear here and return to your kashana.”

    A disappointed Ayesha abandoned the pack of extra clothes she had prepared in a corner and left sulkily. But Reis Azada is right, she chided herself through the flurry of emotions that assaulted her as she walked in the alleys of the settlement. Ada’ Yakooboo would never let me go on a hunt if he felt I wasn’t all there. Of course it’s the right thing to do. She stifled another moan of pain and trudged along, trying to fight back against the onslaught.

    The short distance to the guesthouse seemed endless, and she emerged a few times from her reverie only to realise that she had taken a wrong turn and was striding away from her destination. Red and blue lights began to flash in front of her eyes, and the agony became such that she stopped resisting and surrendered to the flood of foreign thoughts completely. It was a wonderful sensation. She was all-powerful now, her body flying despite its cumbersome weight and the world around her obeying her commands, ripping itself apart at her will as limitless ambition drove her to dominate every element of her surroundings. Sometimes she experienced smug satisfaction, sometimes surprise and even pride for the son she didn’t have, until a sharp jab of pain to her upper arm pushed her into a mindless frenzy. The fur cape fell off her shoulders as she flailed about furiously, the image of a mechanical hand popped into her mind, and soon she was screaming victory again, only to feel that the ground was snatched from under her feet. It was cold now, she thought dimly when her eyes saw the white surface of New Alzoc, millimetres away from her face. She had failed, she was rejected, she was alone. She would be alone forever. It was so cold.

    She woke up huddled on Reis Azada’s lap, without any recollection of how she had found herself there. The shaman was hugging her tightly to warm her up and murmuring incantations in her ear. She looked at him haggardly. “He almost killed him,” she whispered. “He almost killed his son again. He thought it was their destiny.”

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

    Author's notes:

    Most of the background about the Talz is borrowed from canon (see here). I added some bits and pieces, most notably the planet itself (Alzoc III is canon, but New Alzoc isn't), the idea that homes are the only thing considered private property and the various words, which are all borrowed from (botched) Persian. I was going to go for Arabic, because of Muftak and Foul Moudama, but I already used a lot of Arabic in this story, so I went for Persian instead.
     
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Simply loved the entire exchange with Captin Niriz and yay for him and LaRone clearing things up as to who was behind what bone-headed things and that you cannot order someone to be your friend (Duh.)

    If you gain/win a friend, it's because you're likeable. @};-

    Liked Reis Azada's warmth and support and oh my! The ending thing that Ayesha got a "glimpse" front row seat into! Wow, just wow. =D= =D=

    ~

    Feel better soon, pls!

    :eek: [:D]
     
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  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    If there is anything I am a sucker for in GFFA, it's magic boys, headstrong women, gentle parents and wise shamans and you...you just included the very last here. A cosy sweet yeti-type-of-a-thing shaman. Niiice. Though I don't think one would have needed two pairs of eyes to see that Ayesha was ruled by her anger. Then again, I have never seen a picture of divapilot who claimed the same long before Reis Azada did - maybe she is a four-eyed cat-human.

    Also, Alzoc III is a former Rakata enclave? The Galaxy Watch fan in the gang might as well go pine nuts. :D

    With these funny and semi-funny comments to cheer you up tossed aside, this was a gorgeous chapter.

    Ayesha's emotionally immature handling of the events in the beginning came partly as a surprise and partly as what I assumed earlier - a logical consequence of being a prisoner without actually being a prisoner, while being pulled in an out of Darth Vader's mind. Anybody would go nuts and be aggressive, lacking trust and coming up with odd ideas on how things happened.

    LaRone is fascinating. She insults him, his close friends know it and then he basically goes and has a revenge on Parck and Vermel because he can and she can't. At this point, I think he's managed to figure out how she functions and that he needs to cut her even more slack. Now, the thing is, EDIT: whatever I wanted to say here, I forgot to finish the sentence and I don't remember.

    Captain Dagon Niriz is either completely oblivious to the whole jealousy game coming from, at this point I think Thrawn himself, or he's pulling a Clone Wars on Ayesha, by essentially being on both sides, while he really supports just one. Ignore me if I am beating the everybody-is-against-everybody dead horse again.

    Wonderful worldbuilding for Alzoc III. The only thing that lacked was the description of the guesthouse, but I imagined it to look like that "ice hotel" in one of the Scandinavian countries.

    Loved the parallel between Reis and wonderful Yakoboo. The healing tradition, the warm lap of a gentle giant...seems to be the same in his species, regardless of their cultural differences. Then again, Jedi healers do that, too.

    She woke up huddled on Reis Azada’s lap, without any recollection of how she had found herself there. The shaman was hugging her tightly to warm her up and murmuring incantations in her ear. She looked at him haggardly. “He almost killed him,” she whispered. “He almost killed his son again. He thought it was their destiny.”

    Totally...saw this coming at some point.

    Feel better soon and thanks for clarifying things in your response to me (and others). [:D]
     
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    She woke up huddled on Reis Azada’s lap, without any recollection of how she had found herself there. The shaman was hugging her tightly to warm her up and murmuring incantations in her ear. She looked at him haggardly. “He almost killed him,” she whispered. “He almost killed his son again. He thought it was their destiny.”

    The dark side really turns folk into fanatics. Their destiny! Nonsense!
     
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  11. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I thought this was really nice and special -- but I also look forward to their 'talk'.

    I loved the explanation from Captain Niriz and the fact that LaRone must have used some Wookiee moves on Parck and Vermel - they deserved it - even though it got brig time for LaRone.
     
  12. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    “You became friends with me on Thrawn’s orders?”

    Well, this seems to be Ayesha's way of coping at the moment: lashing out at everyone, even those who mean well, because if you are angry, it numbs the pain for a while. Of course, in the end, it only leads to more trouble and pain...

    And, oh, I liked Niriz immediately!
    Hope to see more of him...

    And I, too, like your description of New Alzoc. Great worldbuilding indeed :)
    I have a feeling that Ayesha's way of healing finally starts there.

    “It is a curse indeed,” the Talz answered. “You cannot control it, but I can try to remove it.”
    Hm - personally, I don't think he really could - but who knows?

    She woke up huddled on Reis Azada’s lap, without any recollection of how she had found herself there. The shaman was hugging her tightly to warm her up and murmuring incantations in her ear. She looked at him haggardly. “He almost killed him,” she whispered. “He almost killed his son again. He thought it was their destiny.”

    Wow - speechless.
    What a powerful scene... ^:)^
     
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  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Some very quick Monday morning replies...
    Yeah, Ayesha needs someone to set things straight for her from time to time, doesn't she? Like EP said, between what happened to her and the Vader thingie, there are reasons she's losing it, but she's also making things worse for herself.

    Hmmm... you might be onto something here. divapilot declined to be interviewed for this issue of Ἀνάγκη, so maybe the Juicy Blabber would like to conduct some research? [face_laugh]
    Even that horse's bones have turned to dust now, and you're still beating it. Poor little thing... :( Now seriously, when Thrawn left the ship, Ayesha was locked up in her room refusing to talk to anyone. Would jealousy be high on his list of priorities?

    Well, Darksiders... You write them, you know what they're like ;)
    You will :)
    Hehe. Just read on.

    Thanks again, everyone! Next post up in a couple of minutes...
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    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 as usual, thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [:D]

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

    Chapter 30: Failure

    “Is she going to be alright?” LaRone whispered in hesitant Minnisiat. Ayesha was slumbering on Reis Azada’s lap while the stormtrooper applied bacta salve to her frostbitten hands and feet.

    “I do not know,” the shaman answered. “It is a heavy burden to carry another’s soul within your own. The one she is carrying is as black as a starless night.”

    LaRone’s eyes narrowed. “Do you know who it is she is carrying?” he asked cautiously.

    Reis Azada blinked. “No, I do not. She does not wish me to know. But I cannot help but feel things.” He placed a paw on her head. “It is the soul of a man who has committed evil deeds, so many that he cannot even bear to think of the light anymore. It blinds him. Yet he misses it, and I believe this to be the reason he latched onto her. For her light is still there, under the shadow of the darkness that has taken hold of her.”

    LaRone gave him a puzzled look. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said bluntly. “But then, I don’t think I’m even able to understand.” He hesitated. “Can you make the second soul leave?”

    The Talz blinked again. “I thought I could, but now I know that I cannot. It is a powerful presence, far more powerful than me. I am merely a shaman.” He caressed Ayesha’s hair. “I fear that this is an unbreakable bond,” he added sadly. “Only death can part them now.”

    There was a heavy silence. “What will happen to her if the other dies?” LaRone asked.

    Reis Azada let out a whistle in the Talz equivalent of a sigh. “Her soul is there. It is troubled, it is maimed, but it is there. Let us only hope that he will not have corrupted her entirely.” At these words the stormtrooper paled visibly. “She matters a great deal to you,” the shaman added. “I will put her to bed. You can lie at her side, to let her feel your love and warmth. It will help her.”

    LaRone shook his head vehemently. “That’s not possible.”

    This time the Talz blinked his four eyes at once in astonishment. “Is she not your friend? Do you not want to help her?”

    “She’s more than a friend,” LaRone said, switching to Basic. “She’s family. But she’s a woman and I’m a man. For us Humans, sleeping in the same bed means that we’re mates. The last thing we need right now is this sort of misunderstanding.” Reis Azada went to protest. “It’s just not possible,” the stormtrooper went on firmly. “I’ll sit by the sleeping mat and hold her hand. But I’d be grateful if you could keep her here for the next few days. There’s more you can do for her than I ever will.”

    Ayesha spent the next few weeks in Reis Azada’s home. LaRone came to visit her every evening and often brought along one or another of his friends, and they chatted about the training programme the Hand of Judgement had put in place for the Talz stormtroopers. After a few days, Quiller started popping round in the middle of the day. “There’s not much for me to do,” he explained as he laid a pile of newsflimsies and holozines by the bedside. “They don’t need pilot training, and the guys are far better than I am at everything else.” They read and commented on the news from the Core for an hour or so before she fell asleep again – the major dailies were now reporting heightened tensions within Imperial High Command, and all indications were that Grand Admiral Zaarin had indeed broken off communications with Imperial Centre. “It’s weird, you know,” Quiller said thoughtfully. “Those lunatics at Galaxy Watch sometimes get some things right. I wonder if what they said about the threats against Zaarin was true.” He looked up from his holozine to see that Ayesha had dozed off again. “You couldn’t care less and you’re probably right,” he whispered with a chuckle. “Come on, get well soon. I want to teach you how to pilot the Baratta. It’s a lot more fun than reading stupid flimsies about stupid people.”

    Her physical condition was improving by the day, and soon she was able to get up to eat and bathe by herself, but Reis Azada was still overly worried. He did his best to hide his concern when she was awake, but he often came to lie at her side when she slept and placed his paw on her head to pour peace and light into her. “It is not much, but it is helping her,” he explained to LaRone when the stormtrooper came one night to find him cradling Ayesha on his lap. “I may not be able to remove the other soul, but I can fight the darkness that is her own. She has much anger that she needs to let go of. Perhaps someday we can get her to talk about it. She will not heal if she cannot voice the source of her pain.”

    “Let’s go to the ship,” Quiller proposed a few days later when he came around to find her wearing clothes instead of her nightdress. “What?” he interrupted her when she went to protest. “You’re all dressed up and ready to go. You can’t stay locked up in here all the time. You need some fresh air, and believe me, the air outside is fresh.”

    He helped her slip on her boots and fur cape, and soon they were trundling through the snowy alleys towards the landing pad. “You really need to get the Talz to show you their ice sculptures,” Quiller commented as he reactivated the weather shield after they had stepped inside the Baratta. “There’s no space to set up a workshop for you on the Admonitor, but this planet is one giant workshop. I can’t believe you have such an opportunity to practise your art and you’re not taking it.”

    Ayesha shrugged. “I’m not an artist anymore.” He looked at her with raised eyebrows. “I’m not,” she repeated sadly. “My drive is gone. I wouldn’t even know where to start if you gave me tools and materials.”

    “You’ll never find where to start if you don’t try,” Quiller answered. “That’s pretty much all I can tell you about it though. Now let me show you how to fly this baby. You’ll see, it’s great fun.”

    He walked her through the steps of the pre-flight sequence, then explained the various controls. “Seriously, piloting a Suwantek is for younglings,” he said as he showed her how to manipulate the throttle lever and the helm. “This ship does pretty much everything for you except the steering, and once you’re in hyperspace, you don’t even need to steer. The nav computer we installed is top-of-the-line. You just give it your destination, and it will calculate the best itinerary for you. You ready to give it a try?” She nodded hesitantly. “Don’t worry, I’m right here,” he said with a chuckle. “Let’s go.”

    He deactivated the weather shield again and directed her to lift the Baratta off the ground, keeping all the while a hand on the helm to nudge it and adjust the direction as necessary. “That way,” he said, pointing at an empty area of space once they reached orbit. “You don’t want to go near the shipyards. Best to make sure we can’t collide with anyone, right?”

    He had her spin and swirl the ship as if it were a mere toy for more than an hour, but despite his child-like enthusiasm, Ayesha remained reluctant throughout the ride. “I’m sorry I disappointed you,” she said when he took over the commands to bring the Suwantek back to the ground. “I’m not a good student. The truth is that I don’t like being in space so much.” He gave her a questioning look. “It’s the void,” she explained. “There’s no matter. I used to look at the world and wonder how I can shape it. I can’t do that in space.”

    The pilot grinned. “See, you’re still an artist. You’re still thinking like one, at any rate. Now that flying lessons are out, maybe you can take up ice sculpture after all.”

    The escapade into space had tired her greatly, and she spent the next few days resting again, but she knew that it was time for her to return to her room in the guesthouse. “I’ll miss your gentle presence, neeya,” she told Reis Azada, addressing him with the Talzzi word for grandfather as she collected her belongings from his home one evening when LaRone came to pick her up. “But you need to go on with your life and I need to go on with mine, as confined as it may be.”

    “Your life would be less confined if you did not confine it yourself, kookud,” the shaman chirped. “You are letting your anger control you and you are limiting your own horizon a little more with every day that passes. You must let go of the darkness.”

    She shrugged. “How am I even supposed to do that?”

    “You could start by talking to us,” LaRone interjected. “Reis Azada wouldn’t even know how you came to be here if I hadn’t told him. And I wouldn’t know either if I hadn’t been around when you came on board.”

    Her entire body stiffened. “I don’t want to talk about that.”

    “Tsk,” the stormtrooper said. “You owe me a talk, remember? Let’s have it now.”

    “No!” she shouted. “I don’t want –”

    The Talz pulled her to sit at his side and placed his paw on her head. “Do not let your anger speak for you, kookud,” he said firmly, pouring as much as he could of his own serenity into her mind. “Is this man not your friend? Has he ever shown anything but love and compassion for you? If nothing else, give him the respect he deserves. Talk to him.”

    There was a long silence as they waited for the tension to drain from her face. “Okay,” she mumbled sheepishly. “What do you want to know?”

    LaRone looked at her straight in the eyes. “I want to know why you’re so angry at Thrawn.”

    “He’s keeping me prisoner,” she snapped. “What else is there to say?”

    “I’m keeping you prisoner too, for all practical purposes,” the stormtrooper countered. “I’m a military man and I have the same orders as him. You know it wasn’t his decision, don’t you?”

    “He was my lifemate,” she retorted. “You’re not. It’s not the same thing.”

    “It isn’t,” LaRone conceded. “But the orders were there anyway.”

    “Yes. And he chose to follow them.”

    “What about us, kookud?” Reis Azada asked softly. “What about the hundreds of thousands who are under the Padshah’s command? What about the millions of sentients who depend on him for their safety and well-being? Those he protects from the likes of Nuso Esva, but also from the Empire? Was he to abandon us and go with you?”

    Ayesha blushed intensely. “You know he was in an impossible situation,” LaRone said. “And frankly, if it had been me, I would have made the same choice. The way things are, and in the state you are, there’s no safer place for you than the Admonitor.”

    She stared at him in disbelief. “You’re defending him,” she blurted. “You’re trying to justify him. He doesn’t get to take decisions for me. You –”

    The pressure of the shaman’s paw on her head increased. “I’m just telling you that he had no good options, and you know it,” LaRone said calmly. “Which is why I don’t believe that this is the real reason you’re angry at him, and by extension at me.” He paused. “Be honest with me now. Be honest with yourself. Why are you so angry at him?”

    There was another long silence. “He said he would protect me,” Ayesha finally whispered with tears in her eyes. “He said that he had it all under control, and that he would protect me and he would protect the baby. And...”

    “... and he failed,” LaRone completed for her.

    She wiped her cheeks angrily. “He failed abysmally.”

    “Failure is not betrayal, kookud,” the shaman said after a pause. “Perhaps the Padshah was overly confident when he claimed that he could protect you. Perhaps he was even arrogant, for I have seen him act in such a way. Perhaps you have good reason to blame him for his failure. But he did not betray you, that I am certain of.” He patted her hair gently. “However, I sense that there is more. There is something you have not told us yet.”

    “Is there?” LaRone asked when she failed to answer. She looked up at him. “This is the time to get these things off your chest, Ayesha,” he said engagingly. “Tell us. Is there something else?” She remained stubbornly silent. “Tell us,” he insisted. “What is it? Do you think he was otherwise negligent, or that he did something on purpose? Do you think he betrayed your whereabouts to COMPNOR? You know how well-connected they are, if they wanted to find you Kashyyyk would be the first place they’d look, they –”

    “I never made it to Kashyyyk,” she interrupted.

    LaRone couldn’t hide his surprise. “What do you mean, you never went to Kashyyyk? I saw your arrest warrant, it says –”

    “I don’t know about the arrest warrant. They never even presented me with one. They just took me from my home on Coruscant.”

    “Wait a second,” the stormtrooper said. “You’re saying that COMPNOR arrested you and then came up with a fake warrant –”

    “I don’t know what COMPNOR did!” she shouted. “And I don’t care one little bit. It was the Royal Guards who came for me. Don’t you understand?”

    LaRone gave her a baffled look. “The Royal Guards take their orders from the Emperor,” he muttered.

    “Thank you, Captain Obvious,” she said scathingly. “Yes, I know that. They take their orders from the Emperor. Like Thrawn.”

    The pregnant pause that followed was finally broken by Reis Azada. “Does the Padshah know this?”

    “He always knows everything that’s going on in the Imperial court,” she snorted. “Of course he knows.”

    “Did you tell him, Ayesha?” LaRone asked. “We’re exiles, we’re at the back end of space in the Unknown Regions and we receive news from the Core every twelve weeks. There was no way he could know. Did you tell him? Last I saw him, he was holding an arrest warrant signed by Zaarin.”

    She shrugged indifferently. “You must talk to the Padshah,” the shaman said. “He was your lifemate. Give him at least the benefit of the doubt.”

    “He’ll be here in a couple of weeks,” LaRone added. “Vermel came back from the Core last night and he said that the Admiral is on his way. We need to tell him about... well, you know, the other thing, but you should tell him about this too. I’m sure he doesn’t know it.”

    Ayesha stiffened again. “I’m not talking to him. Whatever I tell him, the Emperor will find out and he’ll take me back.”

    “Enough of this foolishness, child,” Reis Azada snapped. “You are letting this madness eat away at your soul by keeping it within you. You will speak to the Padshah. If the idea of surrendering you to the Emperor even crosses his mind, he will have to deal with me. But you know, and I know, and the Commander here knows, that he will never surrender you to the Emperor if he is aware of the situation – and the only reason he is not is that you have not informed him.” He turned on his side to face her and placed his paws on her shoulders. “Look at me, kookud. Look at me. And listen carefully. The Padshah has failed you once. Do not set him up to fail you a second time. Do you understand?”
     
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I was thinking of that very thing over the weekend. [face_batting] This fic is a happy preoccupation. And that was the question that Azada just answered: can the bond be broken and what could sever it?

    Ah! So Vader latched onto our nexus of light, huh? [face_thinking]

    Ayesha's assertion to Quiller that she is no longer an artist, not buying that. She's one down to the marrow of her bones and the literal flow of her thoughts and free associations.

    ~

    I very much enjoyed the candid talk. Lots of things uncovered and revealed. =D= =D=
    I agree entirely with the exhortation by Azada about sharing things with Thrawn. :)

    So now, speaking of whom, the truth comes out, the true and actual source of Ayesha's continued burning ire. In a single word, the chapter title. ;)

    ~

    Eagerly awaiting more!
     
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  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Yoicks, catch-up time!

    OK, like others here, I like this Reis Azada (no, autocorrect, not azalea!) very much. Ewok Poet points out the similarity to Yakooboo, and indeed his large, fuzzy "space sasquatch" characteristics (to borrow a term from Kahara ;) ) is probably no small part of what's helping Ayesha let him get through to her, however slowly. I love too how no-nonsense Reis is with Ayesha in both these chapters, even as he's being utterly compassionate toward her and helping her take steps to overcome, or at least cope with, the huge mental burden that's oppressing her. Both are things she really needs in her current state. (I would after being forced to witness something like the ESB Luke-Vader showdown right inside my own head!)

    Ditto for the continued brotherly friendship of LaRone. I loved that he had to give that little explanation about what it means to sleep next to another human—just such a cool way of highlighting just one of what must be many differences between these two oh-so-different species.

    Of course I always love hearing about the mystical and shamanistic traditions of other alien cultures, and seeing them at work—you have me curious to read more about the Talz now. :cool: Reis Azada versus Thrawn is definitely a striking mental image, and as stolid and steadfast as the latter is, he most certainly wouldn't come through such a confrontation unshaken! [face_laugh]

    As Nyota's Heart says, we are definitely getting to the bottom of Ayesha's anger toward Thrawn in chapter 30: he failed to protect her. He did indeed fail miserably in several ways, and of course it was, in many ways, his own silly fault for biting off more than he could chew and trying to outmanipulate too many already very manipulative people all at once. But Reis speaks absolute wisdom when he says that "failure is not betrayal." There's a lot to think about in those words.

    In a lot of operas, if one of the main love leads gets the impression that he or she has been betrayed by his or her lover, all it usually takes to clear up if for some third party to come along and say, "But so-and-so really does love you!"—and then the supposedly jilted lover goes right back to his or her beloved as if nothing happened. I like that you have this reconciliation process (and it looks now like it is going to be that, in some form) taking much longer than that, and that Ayesha so far hasn't been convinced by people just telling her Thrawn still loves her. Not even "failure is not betrayal" does the trick right away, as wise as those words are. We're seeing now that it will probably take something much bigger and more pressing—the revelation that no one else knew she never actually made it to Kashyyyk (and truth to tell, I didn't know for sure how many people knew that at this point)—to start mending that bridge if it's ever going to mended.

    I'm all for Ayesha following Reis's and LaRone's advice and sucking it up and talking to Thrawn. Just talking a misunderstanding through with the person with whom one has it (if that makes sense) can be a supremely helpful thing to do. But her fear about the Emperor eventually getting hold of anything she says, whether through Thrawn or through her directly, is not at all invalid. In any case, my guess is that said conversation will come within a chapter or two, and I will be curious to see what will lead to. [face_thinking]
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    What it will doubtless lead to is a very unabashed, loud SQUEE! LOL [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Happy wriggles!
     
  18. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Yes, failure is not betrayal.
    I am so, so looking forward to this conversation.
    And I'm hoping for the best... =((

    It will be really interesting to see Thrawn's reaction to the mess he created.
    We have seen Ayesha struggle with the situation; Thrawn has been away for a while now, I'm curious what my favourite blue Admiral will make of it.
    He had time to think, and that's something he's exceptionally good at; did he also have the time to come to terms with the emotional side of it?
     
  19. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Shivers, shivers, nothing but shivers! What a chapter!

    Even that horse's bones have turned to dust now, and you're still beating it. Poor little thing... :( Now seriously, when Thrawn left the ship, Ayesha was locked up in her room refusing to talk to anyone. Would jealousy be high on his list of priorities?

    Now it makes more sense. Failure does not equal jealousy and/or betrayal. I guess that the beauty of stories like this is that it would attract a spectre of people from the outright "Thrawn in leather pants" types, to those who just like the character and, eventually, those like me, who draw a clear line between villains and heroes, for whatever reason that's probably deep in my own psyche. If we all had the right clues, it would not be as fun to love, hate, doubt and criticise the characters and then be proven wrong. So, sorry that I was a PITA (not the bread, not a pie) all along. The horse has now taken some cool drugs and gone to heaven. This hooorseee has gooone to heaven.

    What helps a lot is to read the story from Ayesha's perspective, not a more general one.

    ----

    I am becoming more and more attracted to Reis Azada. Four eyes or not, he's a fluffy shaman. [face_love]

    Reis Azada blinked. “No, I do not. She does not wish me to know. But I cannot help but feel things.” He placed a paw on her head. “It is the soul of a man who has committed evil deeds, so many that he cannot even bear to think of the light anymore. It blinds him. Yet he misses it, and I believe this to be the reason he latched onto her. For her light is still there, under the shadow of the darkness that has taken hold of her.”

    This is what I've been wondering for a while:

    The Talz blinked again. “I thought I could, but now I know that I cannot. It is a powerful presence, far more powerful than me. I am merely a shaman.” He caressed Ayesha’s hair. “I fear that this is an unbreakable bond,” he added sadly. “Only death can part them now.”

    There was a heavy silence. “What will happen to her if the other dies?” LaRone asked.

    Reis Azada let out a whistle in the Talz equivalent of a sigh. “Her soul is there. It is troubled, it is maimed, but it is there. Let us only hope that he will not have corrupted her entirely.” At these words the stormtrooper paled visibly. “She matters a great deal to you,” the shaman added. “I will put her to bed. You can lie at her side, to let her feel your love and warmth. It will help her.”


    Is he...err...storing his darkness in her so he could try and concentrate on the light? Or something equally weird? Changing the percentage of dark and light in both Ayesha and himself? HEAD.SPINNING. Shiversshiversshivers. 4 ABY is close. Yikesyikesikes.

    Also, in response to Findswoman's comment about "pretty much saving the Galaxy", I wonder how will Ayesha's ability to read from art and channel her emotions through art clash with Vader in her.

    Can't wait for Thursday now!
     
  20. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I like how it is pointed out to Ayesha that she needs to talk to LaRone and to give Thrawn a chance for her to talk and him to listen and vice versa. Not talking causes great confusion and misunderstanding. But I agree she feels like her protector failed her and the loss of the baby on top of that and the physical assault was all too much to bear and then there's the connection she has with all of that darkness along with her own ---- she needs to talk it out.
     
  21. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Sometimes dear friends can put more sense into a person than a partner. I am glad LaRone is there for her as a pal-

    I also appreciate the shaman being there! He is a source of wisdom and council.
     
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  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    It's Thursday! Thank you all for reading and reviewing [:D] I'll do my best to reply without giving away the big-dramatic-end-of-part-II climax that's coming up next week.
    Totally :D I'm thinking that it could be fun to write a few extra scenes from his perspective, actually -- now that there is this bond to Ayesha, it works both ways, so it could be interesting to write what part of her thoughts seeps into his mind [face_thinking] Plot bunnies galore!
    Now that's the sort of autocorrect fail that could span a crack!fic on the scale of MESA JAR JAR [face_laugh] And yes, other than being a wonderful, kind sentient, Reis Azada has a lot in common with Yakooboo and Ayesha herself, but also with someone else, as we will find out in the upcoming chapter.
    There's a tidbit about that in the coming chapter too :) My idea about the Talz and physical contact is that, being from a frozen world, they huddle together to protect themselves from the cold, like my cats do in the winter (which is something I need to take a picture of, because it's hilarious -- heads, tails and legs emerging from a furry pile :p ) Bottom line, for them sleeping close to each other is the natural thing to do to give each other comfort.
    Sadly, there isn't much about the Talz in Legends as far as I know. I'll write at some point yet another Fanon post about them, someday, maybe, when I have time...
    I can't really answer the details of your comments about this, because it's all in the next two chapters, but I can confirm that it's happening soon :)
    [face_rofl] Save that squee -- you'll need it... at some point. [face_whistling]
    That is a very good question -- and one that will be answered next week [face_whistling]
    I think we need to organise a summit of fluffy shamans. We can call it "The Fluffy Shaman Dialogues" or something like that [face_laugh]
    Again, [face_whistling] [face_shhh] 4 ABY arrives next week, so you won't have to wait too long.
    Shes does, and she will -- but not yet. Now they're still waiting for Thrawn to arrive (or maybe not to arrive).
    LaRone and Reis Azada are an immense help to Ayesha on a personal level right now. They're also the elements that her kidnapper(s) hadn't quite planned for when they came up with this grand scheme... [face_devil]

    Thanks again, everyone! And now, on to chapter 31...
     
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  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    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 as usual, thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [:D]

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

    Chapter 31: Insurrection

    The Admonitor’s central docking bay was bustling with activity as Quiller brought the Baratta to the durasteel floor next to a Lambda-class shuttle that was being prepared for takeoff. “Do you know what’s going on?” he asked, pointing at what was at least three squadrons of stormtroopers deployed along the gangways.

    LaRone shrugged. “No idea, but we’ll find out soon enough. Let’s go now. You take care of the supplies and I’ll escort Ayesha to the med lab before I go and see the Capt’.”

    They disembarked the Suwantek to see a line of heavily escorted men trudging towards the shuttle. They had long, dishevelled hair and beards and were chained to each other with a thin cable that ran through their wrist and ankle irons. The one in front had one leg amputated above the knee and replaced by a crude prosthetic. LaRone gestured for Ayesha and Quiller to stay in place and walked up to the trooper on duty at the foot of the boarding ramp. “What’s up?” he asked.

    “I don’t know, Sir,” the guard answered in the impersonal voice that came out of stormtrooper helmets. “We were ordered to ship these prisoners to the Core as soon as possible.”

    “I can tell you what’s up,” the amputee said as he reached the shuttle. “We’re being taken for execution, that’s what’s up.” LaRone spun on his heel and recognised a very diminished Balam Hartsil. “Your boss said he’d call for us when he needs us,” the prisoner continued. “Apparently he needs us now. When he doesn’t need us anymore he’ll space us.”

    LaRone stared at him for a long moment. “For your sake, I hope he does space you. At least it will be fast.”

    “I hope not,” Ayesha’s voice hissed behind him. She came to stand at his side and looked at Hartsil straight in the eyes. She was exuding pure loathing. “I hope he makes it last. Seventeen days.”

    The prisoner bowed his head in defeat. “I guess I deserved that,” he muttered. He tugged lightly at the cable tying him to the others and trundled up the ramp.

    LaRone led Ayesha to the turbolift and keyed their destination. “What?” she asked when she noticed that he was scrutinising her face, as if trying to decipher her emotions.

    “You didn’t really mean that, right?” the stormtrooper said. “That you hope the Admiral tortures them.”

    “Of course I meant it,” she retorted. “What, you think I’m above wishing others harm?”

    “It just doesn’t sound like something you’d say,” LaRone answered cautiously. “And you’ve been through a lot lately.”

    She let out a bitter laugh. “You think I’m losing my marbles, don’t you?”

    He stepped closer to her. “No, but you’ve been having those visions,” he whispered. “More than usual, I mean. Two weeks ago you were asking me if something happened on Coruscant, and bang – three hours later we get this message on the emergency relay about Xizor’s skyhook blowing up. And yesterday you saw something again.” She went to protest. “Don’t lie to me, Ayesha,” he said firmly. “Your face is an open book when you have visions. You saw something yesterday, something important, and today I’m summoned here by the Captain because it’s so important that he can’t communicate it to me even on an encrypted channel.” He lowered his voice again. “I just want to be sure that you’re still aware of the moments when Vader is messing around with your mind, because wishing people a slow and painful death... it’s something I’d expect from him, not from you.”

    There was a long silence. “I don’t know,” she said finally, suddenly sounding very vulnerable. “I just don’t know. I can’t tell where my mind ends and where his begins anymore. The only moments I feel like myself is when Reis Azada is holding me. And I don’t know what Doctor Cottle will find, but I don’t think I even want to know.” She sighed. “I’m scared,” she added in a small voice. “I’m really scared.”

    The turbolift door swooshed open to allow them into the sick bay. “Don’t worry,” LaRone said as reassuringly as he could. “Just let the Doc run the tests like every time. I’ll be back after you’re done and we’ll talk about it, okay?”

    The medical wing was crowded that morning with dozens of crewmen coming for their yearly check-ups, and Cottle was only just completing Ayesha’s brain scan when LaRone returned from his meeting with Niriz. “I still believe that we should inform the Admiral sooner rather than later,” the Doctor said in his usual grumpy tone as he stared at the results on the monitor. “I won’t beat around the hyperlane here, it’s getting worse. The two thought patterns are so closely interconnected that I can’t even tell them apart.”

    LaRone glanced at the hallway outside the transparisteel cubicle, where crew and officers were still milling about, waiting for their turn to come. He was visibly on tenterhooks. “This isn’t the right time and place to discuss it, Doc. It’s too crowded here. Meet us in Ayesha’s room when you’re done, will you?”

    Ayesha’s quarters were immaculately clean but her personal belongings had been left untouched, showing that the housekeeping droids had been thoroughly briefed not to disturb anything while she was away. There were fresh supplies of wasaka berry jam and chyntuck chutney in the refrigeration unit and a thick envelope sat in the middle of her desk. “You have a new letter,” LaRone said as he sat on the little sofa. “It must have been around for a while already, Vermel was here three weeks ago.”

    She shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t read them anyway.”

    “Then why don’t you throw them away? You have a whole collection of them now, you –”

    She cut him off. “What’s happening? You look totally keyed up.”

    The stormtrooper leaned against the back of the couch and exhaled loudly. “There’s been an attempted coup on Coruscant. Zaarin. He tried to kidnap the Emperor.”

    Ayesha was stunned. “How is that possible? They were the best of buddies just eight months ago.”

    LaRone raised his hands palms upwards in a gesture of surrender. “Don’t ask me. That’s politics for you, and there’s a good reason I’m not a politician.” He paused. “The Empire’s going to the canids. They were in this battle in the Ottega system with some admiral who defected to the Rebels, and when Zaarin’s forces turned up, supposedly to help, they attacked the Imperial ships instead. Then they kidnapped the Emperor from his private ship, just above Imperial Centre. Apparently it was Thrawn and some guy called Maarek Stele who saved the day.”

    Ayesha’s entire body jerked. “Thrawn went to rescue the Emperor?”

    The stormtrooper arched an eyebrow. “Would you rather he’d sided with Zaarin?”

    “No,” she snapped. “I’d rather he let them kill each other.”

    LaRone sighed. “Ayesha, we’ve discussed this many times already. Thrawn has every reason to believe that Zaarin was behind the whole scheme –”

    “Even after several months in the Core?” she interrupted. The stormtrooper went to speak. “Forget it. It doesn’t matter. What happens now?”

    “I don’t really know. Niriz says that Thrawn went after Zaarin and all indications are that it will be a difficult campaign.” He sighed again. “This is bad, you know. This is really, really bad. Zaarin has lots of troops on his side, and he’s got lots of very advanced equipment too – he was managing so many big research projects for the Empire. This uprising of his... it could turn into a full-fledged civil war.”

    There was a pause. “Maybe the Rebellion can take advantage of this to overthrow the Empire,” Ayesha said finally. “About time too.”

    “Or maybe it could all turn into a galactic disaster, like the Clone Wars,” LaRone countered. “You know better than to wish for that to happen.”

    There was another pause. “Anyway, the good news for you, I guess, is that the Admiral won’t be back anytime soon,” he said. “And there’s no way we’re contacting him now on the HoloNet or sending him a hand-carried message, so that conversation with the Doc will be really short.”

    The conversation with Doctor Cottle was indeed short, and by mid-afternoon LaRone and Ayesha were heading back to the Baratta. “Zaarin doesn’t stand a chance against Thrawn,” she blurted as they boarded a turbolift. “He doesn’t know anything about Thrawn. He kept interrogating me about him when he had me on his space station, and I didn’t tell him anything. Thrawn on the other hand... he has those prisoners. And I don’t think they’ll be as loyal as I was stupid.”

    The stormtrooper placed an arm around her shoulders. “You weren’t stupid, kookud,” he whispered. “You weren’t even being loyal. You couldn’t give him what he wanted. It wasn’t about Thrawn, it was about you. You were defending your dignity, and you were right.”

    * * *​

    As the days went by on New Alzoc the little troupe finally settled into a routine. The Hand of Judgement had completed their recruitment drive among the Talz – it would make a smaller battalion than the Imperial standard given the limited pool of candidates, but an acceptable one nevertheless, and a force to be reckoned with – and they had begun their training programme to great success. They regularly received visits from the specialists of the Imperial Department of Military Research who were stationed aboard the Admonitor, and the scientists’ puzzlement as to how to adjust stormtrooper armour for the furry giants soon became a running joke.

    Ayesha meanwhile had returned to her room in the guesthouse, where she could see her friends every evening. “You have no idea how grateful we are for this,” Grave said one night as they tucked into the scrumptious dinner she had prepared. “I love the hairy beasts, but cooking human food isn’t their strongest suit.”

    She gave him a self-deprecating smile. “I know. You should see the stuff Reis Azada makes for lunch, and it isn’t half as bad as what you guys get. He’s trying hard, you know, he lived among Humans for ten years.”

    She still spent most of her days with the shaman. Quiller joined them a few times when they went on hunts, but the cold season was drawing closer and the temperature had dropped even further. “Going out in this weather isn’t my idea of fun,” he grumbled on the morning when he announced he was bailing out. He turned to Reis Azada. “You take good care of our girl here, neeya, or your five grandsons are going to be very angry at you. You got that?”

    “I would never risk such a thing,” the Talz said with the shrill buzz that signified a hearty laugh. “Come now, kookud. Let us show these Humans what we furry species are capable of.”

    The shaman often took Ayesha on his lap when they were alone and hugged her tightly. “Do not argue with me, kookud,” he told her when she protested that she wasn’t a toddler. “I may not be much older than you in standard years” – he had explained to her that his species were not particularly long-lived – “but among those of my race I am positively ancient. I never had any younglings of my own, but now I have you, and you will give me the respect an elder deserves.” Her objections never lasted long however, because a mere touch from him could soothe the thoughts that were churning relentlessly inside her head, and she usually ended up dozing off in his embrace.

    “Are you a Jedi?” she asked him once point blank. The four eyes blinked in astonishment. “There’s only one other person who can appease my mind the way you do. That’s my uncle and he’s a Jedi,” she explained. The Talz’s proboscis twitched uneasily. “Well, he isn’t really a Jedi Knight anymore, you know, with the Empire and all. But he uses the Force. Are you using the Force on me?”

    “I am,” he answered after a silence. “At least, I believe I am. There was a male of my kind who was a Jedi. His name was Foul Moudama. I met him once when he visited us on Alzoc III. He said I was far too old to be taken for Jedi training, but that I was able to use the Force.” He tilted his head to the side. “Is that a problem?”

    She snuggled in the warmth of the furry chest. “Not at all. Quite the opposite in fact. I like it. You make me feel much, much better. Like I’m almost myself again.” He placed his paw on her brow once more, and soon all tension had drained away from her and she was sleeping serenely.

    News from the known Galaxy was sparse, even more so now that a major military campaign was under way on the edge of the Unknown Regions. Quiller flew Ayesha to the Admonitor every two weeks for a check-up with Doctor Cottle, and LaRone usually caught a ride with them to debrief with Captain Niriz, but there was little to be known of the Zaarin insurrection. “We have no idea what’s going on,” Cottle said with his usual bluntness as he removed the narrow band of metal from her head when the brain scan was complete. “And I don’t know if and when we’ll have news. Vermel should be back for Festival of Stars, and he usually brings newsflimsies with him, but this time he has to fly through enemy lines. I don’t know if he’ll make it here, and I’m not sure he should even try.” He looked at her results on the monitor. “You, on the other hand, seem to be doing much better, young lady. I don’t know if something happened over the past few weeks, but the air of New Alzoc must be good for you.”

    LaRone winked at Ayesha over the Doctor’s shoulder – they had agreed not to tell anyone of the presence of a Force-sensitive shaman on the planet below – and soon they were back on the Baratta, flying towards the small settlement.

    The Festival of Stars was a big deal for the Talz, especially in a year when it would coincide with a moonless night. “Our homeworld has no moon,” Reis Azada explained to them one evening when they had all gathered around the fireplace in his kashana. “The nights were black, so black that you could see every star hanging like a pearl from the sky. Here such nights happen only twice a year, and we hardly ever need to use our larger eyes to see.” He pushed around the incandescent stones in the hearth to release more heat into the room. “But you came among us at the right time, for you will enjoy the Feast in all its glorious beauty this year. Make sure you cover up properly – the winter nights are unbearably cold, even for the Talz.”

    There was a flurry of activity in the settlement over the next few days as the little community prepared for the big night, and Ayesha found new ice sculptures on the roadside every morning when she trekked to Reis Azada’s home. “I’m sure it’s okay to touch them,” Quiller said when he caught her staring at them longingly.

    She shrugged. “I don’t need to touch them. I can feel here” – she tapped her fingers to her chest – “how they were made. I just miss the... whatever it takes to make them myself.”

    The eve of the Festival came and Reis Azada collected the six Humans from the guesthouse to lead them to the settlement’s central square where the celebration would be held. The Talz had built a pyre of the lava stones they used for heating around the open expanse, and they had burnt the stones for several days to warm the ground until the snow and ice melted away and evaporated. The entire community was gathered there, and they simply lay flat on their backs on the dry soil, huddling against each other to keep the bitter cold at bay while they admired the stars. The silence was only interrupted by the occasional chirp of a youngling who had dozed off and called for its mother in its sleep, and by the deep, slow incantations of the shamans who were dispersed in the crowd.

    “That wasn’t at all what I expected,” Brightwater said when they returned to the guesthouse at dawn.

    Reis Azada’s fur rippled in a gesture of concern. “Was it unpleasant for you?” he asked. “Were you cold?”

    The scout trooper’s cheeks turned bright red. “Not at all. It’s just that... for us Humans, celebrations mean noise and loud music and dancing. This was...”

    “This was peaceful,” Ayesha completed.

    Marcross nodded. “That’s the right word. It was peaceful. It was the very essence of peace.”

    * * *​

    Ayesha woke up mid-afternoon and slipped a robe over her nightdress before she headed to the guesthouse’s kitchen, where an animated conversation could be heard. She stepped inside to find her friends. They had a fresh batch of newsflimsies spread out on the table and were deep in discussion with Meizh Vermel. The Major turned beet red when she walked in and stood up. “I’m sorry, I should go. I’m not supposed to be here anyway.”

    The disappointment on the stormtroopers’ faces was plain to see. Ayesha shrugged and helped herself to a cup of caf. “It’s fine, Major, you can stay. Just pretend I’m not here. I’m going to sit over there and eavesdrop, okay?”

    Vermel hesitated for the briefest of moments and sat back on his chair when LaRone gave him a microscopic nod. “So you were saying...” the stormtrooper prompted.

    Vermel collected his thoughts. “I was saying that most of the action this month took place in the Omar system. Zaarin’s been attacking the Deep Space Manufacturing Facilities we have there. He’s basically hoping to secure a strategic advantage by limiting our access to the most advanced tech like the TIE Avengers.”

    “Makes sense when you think that the Avengers were his baby,” Quiller commented.

    “And he’s determined to take them down with him,” Vermel added with a faint smile. “The Admiral managed to take and hold a couple of plants, and then Zaarin came back and destroyed them. If he can’t have the Avengers, he’d rather we don’t either. Production’s down to zero now.”

    “That’s too bad,” Grave said thoughtfully. “Our TIE pilots sure as hell would’ve liked those shields and hyperdrives.”

    “We have alternatives, though,” Quiller interjected. “The Chiss clawcraft are equipped with both and our military researchers managed to retrofit the shields on a standard TIE. It’s not like the Admiral to send his pilots in combat naked – and for all practical purposes, that’s what those old TIE models are like. No protection for the pilot’s life whatsoever, zilch. The pilots are canon fodder.”

    LaRone looked up from the newsflimsi he was perusing. “What I don’t get is how Zaarin can keep going for so long. I understand that he took quite a few people on his side, but how does he have supply lines to sustain all this? He must have been planning this insurrection for ages.”

    “He was,” Ayesha said with a sigh. “I remember questions he asked me when he was keeping me hostage. If the Emperor was in good health, why his relationship with Lord Vader was strained... I didn’t realise at the time, but now I understand. He was planning to take over the Galaxy already.”

    Vermel gave her a curious look but lowered his eyes quickly. “Well, to answer the first part of your question, Daric, he’s apparently in league with the Rebellion, and they’ve been helping him capture supplies and weaponry from us. They –”

    Ayesha nearly spilled her caf. “Why would the Rebel Alliance side with Zaarin? He stands for everything they hate.”

    “I imagine they are following the old saying about the enemy of my enemy,” the Major answered. “Perhaps they believe that they can use Zaarin to overthrow the Empire, and then they will turn against him. Or maybe they’re desperate. They had a string of defeats recently, from Derra IV to Hoth, and the identity of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star is now known. You’ll see the newsflimsies, there’s a ‘wanted’ poster on every other page. Not that we’re anywhere closer to catching him.”

    Ayesha shook her head, visibly utterly appalled. “There’s just no way out, is there? Everyone is conspiring to manipulate everyone.” She suppressed a wince of pain as an unbidden thought shot through her mind and stood up. “I’m off. Reis Azada is waiting for me, he said we’d play in the snow today. Anyone want to come?” She ignored the five stormtroopers’ dismayed looks and left with a chuckle.
     
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  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ah, so Azada is like Vos. :cool: Force sensitive enough, at least, to have that avenue of contact besides the literal warmth of touch and personality. Love the festival. I like the idea of it being a time of communal serenity in lieu of loud clamors. :p

    I do not know whether to be appalled, surprised, or what, about the thing with Zaarin and the Alliance. [face_thinking] :eek:

    I am totally and optimistically intrigued by the fact that Ayesha didn't trash the letters. ;) Yay. :D
     
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  25. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    The Force sensitives who were not discovered at the right time and never became Jedi - they saved themselves from a horrible death, but at the same time gave the room for numerous different Force traditions to develop in the Galaxy. And they're my favourites! Therefore, folks like Reis Azada can do more than a Jedi would, in a way.

    Now, with Vader being connected to Ayesha, I slightly fear for Reis Azada, given that Vader hunted Force sensitives for so many years. Of course, that would depend on the nature of the said connection.

    There was a pause. “Maybe the Rebellion can take advantage of this to overthrow the Empire,” Ayesha said finally. “About time too.”

    Things are getting more and more complicated and while I cannot possibly catch up with all the Thrawn books, I looked up things on Wook and...once again, I'm amazed with how you put the whole freakin' 3 ABY together.

    On the other hand, it really does seem that Ayesha is more and more hateful as the time goes by. Really intriguing. And LaRone is sweeter and sweeter.

    Roll on 4 ABY and all possible what-even-ess that may take place. Hope the Thursday's chapter will be posted while I'm still in Serbia, as I don't feel like buying a roaming flat rate thingy and my last one expired, err, a year ago. I could not possible wait for two days if this is where it's about to get super-weird!
     
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