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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. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I'm a bit surprised Ayesha gave this up so easily, since they are not her secrets to tell - but I suppose she doesn't know Luke from adam and with Vader and the Emperor both dead...I do wonder if this will have repurcussions later on.

    Her still having to live with Vader's pain is troubling, and I'm intrigued as to where this goes - did Vader intend this to happen? Will this affect Forceghost!Anakin in any way? Very interesting (but awful for Ayesha!)

    And Thrawn is indeed another mystery...the assumption is of course he took a slower shuttle to deliberately miss the battle, but what was his reasoning? [face_thinking]
     
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    It would have been too perfect if the death of both the Emperor AND Vader/ Anakin would have ended all the hardship for our heroine. Life is not fair. And now Thrawn seems to be missing. [face_nail_biting]

    I hope the next update can give us all more clarity & serenity once more.
     
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  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Like AzureAngel2 - I was thinking it would have been too "easy" for all her travails to end, but to have them continue so intensely and without the external source is heart-wrenching and confounding. That is why I hope and pray Ayesha reaches for the literal therapy that art has always been.
     
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  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing!

    Well, as you probably heard Greece is having elections again, which means that by now I'm pulling my hair out (I guess it's lucky I cut my hair very short so I can't clutch it, because I'd be bald) and Greece is also facing an influx of refugees that's growing by the day... So anyway, we're back to erratic updates, but this time I'm only a few days late [face_blush] Also, I've already written chapter 4 as well, so with some minor tweaking it should be posted sometime later this week.
    Thank you! In a way, Ayesha has her mind back, or as much of it as she ever could have given her looong history of people messing up with her head. But she still needs to figure out how to process all this, and it will take her time.

    Would you? [face_laugh]

    Parck and Niriz have basically no idea what Ayesha is talking about. All they know is what Cottle told them -- that was a scene I thought of writing actually, Cottle barging in the captain's office and telling him that the Emperor is dead, and minutes later the official message coming in, but as changes in style and tone go that would have been an even bigger U-turn than chapter III - 1. They have to believe that it's true, because Cottle couldn't have known otherwise, but no wonder that they're kind of... puzzled by the whole thing.
    Thank you [:D]
    Hehe. But she will manage to let it out, sooner than you expect [face_whistling]
    Also, answers begin sooner than you expect :p

    Actually, we still have at least 4 years to go, and I already have a mini-sequel in mind, so much can still happen [face_party]

    Thanks! And wow, so many questions! The good news is that the answers start now. The bad news is that I'm not going to write them here, because the next few chapters would be entirely meaningless if I did.

    Just one point, Thrawn's orderly is the ever-blushing Corporal Prashat -- and he'll be back soon.
    [face_shhh]




    To your question: [face_shhh] To your comment: she needs to mourn him -- after all, he was part of her when he died. And of course, she will find a way.
    My idea was that Ayesha needed to somehow rehabilitate Vader by giving him back his real identity -- but then of course, how Niriz and Parck would understand it is another matter altogether. And of course, since they're stuck in the Unknown Regions, no one else will ever find out :p... or maybe they will.
    Thrawn was going for revenge against the Emperor, so he didn't really care about being there for the battle... but then of course, the outcome of the battle might not have been what he expected.

    I think it will :D

    Ask and you shall receive [:D]


    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming up straight away.
     
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  5. 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.

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

    Chapter 3: The silent stone

    The Admonitor’s specialists got to work and life aboard the two Star Destroyers ground to a virtual halt as the crews waited for the new communications relay to be established above Matta Thryne so that the exploration mission beyond the Gree colony could begin. Niriz and Parck kept their personnel busy with drills and Ayesha finally resumed her teaching duties, but it was obvious that her heart wasn’t in it anymore. Her Chiss students or her friends from the Hand of Judgement would turn up full of pep to find her staring pensively at her datapad, and her mind was visibly elsewhere throughout the lesson. Cottle allowed her to return to her hand-to-hand combat sessions, only to see her come back in the afternoon with several bruises, and LaRone’s account of how she had very nearly crushed her own foot by dropping the barbell when her comm rang was enough to convince the Doctor to ban her from the training room until further notice.

    “I need to do something,” she told him when he came around for her evening check that night. “I’m going around in circles. I don’t want to be this person anymore, it’s happened to me too often already.”

    Her communication with the Doctor had improved as she slowly opened up and spoke about how she had experienced her mental bond with Darth Vader – or rather, Anakin Skywalker, as she called him now. She explained how Skywalker had freed her from slavery on Zygerria all these years ago, she described the memories he had shared with her when she had watched him train with his lightsaber, and she chronicled in as much detail as she could how he had progressively taken over her mind and let her feel his every emotion, every thought, every concern and every aspiration as he marched to his end. In their earlier conversations, Cottle sought to shift the subject to the matter of her own childhood – in part because he thought that he could help her manage her deeper traumas, but also because he was appalled by her empathy for a man that was widely regarded as one of the most evil individuals in the Galaxy – but she steadfastly refused to discuss anything else and, with time, she had convinced him that processing the pain that she had endured as if it were her own was a necessary step for her recovery. “And someone has to grieve for him,” she repeated stubbornly. “He spent his life in pain and he lost everything. He deserves to be remembered.”

    “But that can’t be your role, Ayesha,” Cottle objected. “He died in his son’s arms. Surely his son will remember him.”

    She shook her head. “His son only ever met him twice. The first time, he cut off his arm. The second time, he watched him nearly die at the Emperor’s hand. His son knows nothing about him. Someone has to tell his story.”

    The Doctor looked at her meditatively. “Would writing it down help you? Once the Grand Admiral is back, we could figure out a way to send it to the boy.”

    Ayesha shrugged. “I don’t have words for it. I was never much of a writer anyway, I used to speak through matter. Now... I don’t even have that anymore.”

    “You don’t have it because you don’t even try,” Cottle replied sternly. “By seeking to avoid failure you are setting yourself up for perpetual disappointment.”

    She shrugged again. “Haven’t we had this conversation already?”

    “We have,” he said with a chuckle. “Not only that last bit, all of it. And we will keep having it until you find a way out.”

    A few more days went by without any progress. LaRone and his crew were away on a mission to Matta Thryne and Ayesha was increasingly bored aboard the Admonitor where she had little to do, until a morning when Captain Niriz turned up in the med lab as she finished combing her hair. “I need an interpreter and you need a change of scenery, or so the good doctor tells me,” he said without preamble. “Therefore you will be accompanying me to the planet today. I must introduce myself to the Gree leadership, and then we can visit the sights.”

    Ayesha hesitated. “I can’t come, Captain. I am meeting the Chiss pilots today and –”

    “Tsk,” he interrupted. “I cleared your schedule.” He held out his arm. “Come on, young lady. I’m old enough to be your father and I promise you, your reputation won’t suffer from this escapade. Besides, your stormtrooper friends will be there to chaperone us.”

    She didn’t miss the wink Niriz exchanged with Cottle as they walked out of the lab. “You’re up to something, aren’t you?” she asked. “You’ve been planning this with the Doctor and Daric.”

    The Captain smiled. “Yes, I have. But I really need an interpreter.” He stepped aside to let her enter the turbolift. “And after I came and harassed you with my ridiculous questions on the morning after you nearly died, the least I can do is to offer you a pleasant day off.”

    There was a silence between them as the door slid shut. “Still no news from the Grand Admiral?” she asked timidly.

    “Not yet, but I am confident we will be hearing from him soon, one way or another. However, this should not be your concern today. Do you realise we will be meeting the last representatives of an ancient civilisation that is virtually extinct in the known Galaxy? Had I known that this was what I would find when I was exiled here with the Grand Admiral, I would have signed up voluntarily.”

    Matta Thryne was a pale green planet shrouded in yellow mists, and Niriz explained to Ayesha as the shuttle manoeuvred to the surface that it had a Type II atmosphere, yet one whose composition was inadequate for the Gree as well as for Humans. “I’m told they wear some unusual spongy devices over what they have for a mouth in order to filter out the unwanted gases. We will also be using breathing masks. Fortunately, we were supplied with a recent model when we left Coruscant last year and they’re not too uncomfortable.” He pointed at a monumental arch near the landing pad. “It’s said that this used to communicate with Asation and that in the heyday of Gree history you could travel there without a starship. Parck told me that this gate is thought to be operational, but the Grand Hypergate at the other end hasn’t been activated for millennia. The residents of this colony thus lost contact with their brethren in the Gree enclave.”

    “Didn’t they have starships to travel there?” Ayesha asked.

    “That’s the irony, isn’t it? The ship that brought them here fell in disrepair because of the gate. By the time the Asation Hypergate began to malfunction, they had converted the vessel into the seat of the Council of Administrators – I imagine it must be this building over there – and Matta Thryne found itself isolated. However, in an unexpected twist of fate, this isolation allowed them to preserve various forms of technology that other Gree worlds have lost.”

    The five stormtroopers of the Hand of Judgement were waiting for them on the landing pad, together with a three-member committee of the strangest beings Ayesha had ever seen. The Gree were a race of particularly ugly, six-tentacled cephalopods whose brain appeared to be hanging in an odd-shaped sack behind their heads, yet everything about them, from the elaborate robes they wore to the delicate finishing of their staffs, belied the clumsiness of their appearance. The introductions were short and soon she found herself sitting in an amphitheatre in the building Niriz had pointed out from the shuttle, translating dutifully from Basic to Minnisiat as the Captain discussed with an assembly of elders the recurring visits to the planet of a race of unidentified aliens whose existence both Imperials and Gree found exceedingly worrying. From what she could understand, Voss Parck and LaRone had already negotiated the presence of a contingent of stormtroopers on the planet, and once Niriz agreed to summon a fraction of the task force to patrol the skies when the Star Destroyers would leave, the consultation was over and a guide was allocated to them to show them around town.

    The visit began from a sprawling low building beside the Administration Council where the Crafters had their central workshop. Their guide explained that the Researchers were hosted in a facility outside of town, where new technologies were developed before being brought to the relevant team of Crafters who would then create the artefacts. The Gree of Matta Thryne differed however from their counterparts in the known Galaxy in that their works were not always utilitarian but also sometimes purely aesthetic; at any rate, whatever their intended purpose – and with this the guide let them through a door beyond which the din of discordant notes and melodies could be heard – all Gree techniques were based on music, and tools were to be played as instruments, where the harmony of the sound generated indicated to the Crafter that he or she was working in the right direction.

    They were now in a gigantic hall where hundreds of Gree in uniform orange robes were building, assembling or carving items of all shapes and sizes. Some of the cephalopods, whose robes were of a lighter hue with a dark green hem, patrolled the alleys between the workbenches and stopped occasionally to whistle advice to one of the workers. “The lighter the colour of their robes, the more experienced the Crafter,” the guide explained, bowing deeply to a particularly ponderous Gree who was coming in their direction, his bright yellow clothes dazzling in the penumbra of the room. “This here is Grandmaster Crafter Maxak’k, who is the supreme authority on all matters of...”

    Her voice trailed off and she stared in astonishment as the senior Crafter extended one of his middle tentacles to touch Ayesha’s shoulder, then bowed to her, his brain sack wobbling awkwardly on the back of his head. “You are the Crafter,” his muffled voice said through the spongy breathing mask. “Will you help me?”

    LaRone and Niriz gave Ayesha a puzzled look, but neither had time to react as Maxak’k wrapped the tip of his tentacle around her wrist and tugged her gently towards his private workshop at the back of the hall. A boulder somewhat taller than her occupied the middle of the room. It was of the same black stone that Thrawn had brought for her for New Year Fete two years earlier, and as she circled it she saw that a protuberance on one side had been carved and polished in a replica of the blank face of the Fijisi wood self-portrait she had given him, but the sculpt stopped at the chin and the surrounding stone was raw and had visibly not been touched. The Grandmaster let her go and brushed the tip of his top tentacle to the stone. The silence that followed was deafening. “It is not singing to me,” he said contritely. “I sought to re-create your work, but it has remained silent. Will you make it sing?”

    An embarrassed Ayesha pressed her palm to the stone, which exploded in a cacophony of notes. Maxak’k and the guide shut their eyes tightly, as if trying to block out the dissonance. She pulled back sharply. “I changed,” she said. “I can’t create that piece anymore.”

    “Yet the stone responded to you,” the Grandmaster Crafter answered as he reopened his large, sad-looking eyes. He pulled a tool that looked like a miniature lightsaber from his robes and handed it to her.

    She activated the keys on the small handle to reveal the familiar laser beams in the shape of a blade, a hook, a pointed stylus, a round-tipped stylus and a brush, and she touched lightly one of the jagged edges to make it melt away. “But it won’t be me,” she said. “It will be something else, someone else.”

    The Gree whistled to the guide, who scooted away and returned with a set of white robes that she offered to Ayesha. “Let it be what you need to express. The stone wants to be shaped. You cannot leave it silent.”

    Ayesha took the robes and stared at them in silence. “Was this part of Cottle’s plan?” Niriz whispered to LaRone.

    She shook her head. “No, it wasn’t,” she replied before the stormtrooper could answer. “He couldn’t have known. But...” She looked up at the stone. “I think this is meant to be. Maybe it’s a good idea. Maybe this is the place to remember him and give him a voice.” She paused again and turned back to look at the Captain. “Can I stay?”

    In the week that followed, she settled into a new routine, leaving the Admonitor to the planet on the morning shuttle and returning in the evening, and she spent her days in the Crafters’ workshop. LaRone or some other member of the Hand of Judgement, who were still stationed on Matta Thryne, popped by at some point during the day to check on her. “Stop complaining that they didn’t set up living quarters for you,” Quiller snapped when she said that she was wasting time flying back and forth from the ship. “We’ve been sleeping with breathing masks for almost a month, and I can tell you, you don’t want to try that.” Sometimes they found her contemplating the boulder or watching as one of the Crafters worked on another piece, sometimes she was in such a frenzy of activity to rough-hew the stone that she didn’t even notice their presence, but she always appeared to be in high spirits and Doctor Cottle regularly gave a satisfied grunt when he completed her brain scan before putting her to bed.

    “You’re doing better, much better, young lady,” he told her one night. “If you keep it up I might allow you to return to your quarters. Now go to sleep, you have work to do tomorrow.”

    There was an evening when she flew back from the planet to find the Admonitor’s central docking bay in an uproar. “We got news from the Grand Admiral,” the deck officer told her happily as he led her past a heavily armed shuttle that was being loaded with supplies. “Prashat arrived an hour ago and he’s debriefing with the Captain now. He brought all sorts of goodies from the Core and there was even a letter for you, I think the crew put it in your room.”

    She nodded politely but indifferently – her mind was visibly still on the sculpt back on Matta Thryne – and went to her cubicle in the med lab, where a beaming Cottle was waiting for her. “Good news!” he began. “The Grand Admiral...”

    She nodded again and listened to him distractedly as he explained that Thrawn and Prashat had arrived in the Endor system too late to participate in the battle and couldn’t but watch helplessly as the Imperial Fleet was routed after the Death Star’s destruction, and that Thrawn was now on a top-secret mission in the known Galaxy. “Prashat is leaving again tomorrow morning,” Cottle concluded. “So if you want to write to the Grand Admiral, now’s your chance.”

    Ayesha yawned and shrugged. “I’ll talk to him when he’s back.” The Doctor went to object but she interrupted him. “From what Captain Niriz said, I’ll be around for quite some time, aren’t I? So I’ll see the Admiral later. Now I want to finish Anakin’s sculpt, and it’s not coming easily, you know.”

    Grandmaster Crafter Maxak’k was still intensely puzzled by the boulder she was carving. As Ayesha made progress on the sculpt, it started responding and emitting sounds when he touched it, but the notes he was able to elicit were faint and incoherent. However, the contact of Ayesha’s hand would cause it to erupt into multiple, overlapping melodies, and more than once he expressed his doubts whether she was labouring in the right direction. “I told you, this isn’t only me at work,” she answered invariably. “I am purging another from my soul. It’s bound to be discordant.” And then, there were the seeds that she extracted regularly from the cracks in the stone – tiny, spiky spheres of red-black material that, according to Maxak’k, didn’t belong on the planet. In the early days she merely threw them away and continued her work, but as time went by Maxak’k started asking her to collect them and he regularly travelled to the Admonitor with her to show them to the Star Destroyer’s scientists and discuss the issue with Captain Niriz. His concern that the presence of what he thought to be an alien material on Matta Thryne soon occupied most of his time, and Ayesha was left alone in his private workshop, chipping away at the stone in her attempt at offering Anakin Skywalker the monument she thought he deserved.

    The communications relay was almost operational and the technicians were running the final tests when Niriz and Parck, who had come to the planet for a last consultation with the Gree leadership, found on the landing pad a radiant Ayesha who announced to them that she had completed the sculpt. Despite their insistence, she declined to accompany them to see it, and she boarded the shuttle to wait while the two Captains and the five stormtroopers of the Hand of Judgement left to the Crafters’ workshop. The monumental black sculpture was spinning slowly on its rotating pedestal in the middle of the vast hall. The front would have been an exact reproduction of Ayesha’s Fijisi wood self-portrait, had the faceless head not been letting out a sigh of relief rather than an anguished scream. The soft, round shoulders swelled into muscular lines as they reached the back, and the nape of a very masculine-looking neck was half-hidden behind the brim of Darth Vader’s helmet.

    Maxak’k held out a tentacle timidly to brush the stone as the little group of Humans walked in. The shiny stone broke into a series of dramatic, ominous notes that soon evolved into a mournful chant while a shrill childish tune seemed to compete to overtake the main piece of music. The Grandmaster’s brain sack wobbled in dismay. “This is not her work.”

    LaRone stepped forward. “You’re wrong. It’s the work of the person she had become. All we can do is hope that this person will stay behind now that we are leaving.”

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

    Notes: The Gree are a Legends species, but Matta Thryne and the elements of Gree culture described in this chapter are my personal fanon, which will be summarised here when I finally get around to writing it up.
     
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  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Maxak’k held out a tentacle timidly to brush the stone as the little group of Humans walked in. The shiny stone broke into a series of dramatic, ominous notes that soon evolved into a mournful chant while a shrill childish tune seemed to compete to overtake the main piece of music. The Grandmaster’s brain sack wobbled in dismay. “This is not her work.”

    LaRone stepped forward. “You’re wrong. It’s the work of the person she had become. All we can do is hope that this person will stay behind now that we are leaving.”

    Now I have goose bumps on my skin. But I think it is better for her working away her fears, her horror via this work. And expressing Vader via art always contains some darkness.
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Exquisite! =D= =D= The Gree way of creating artistic pieces is incredibly fascinating :D And Ayesha as the Crafter I like that! [face_dancing] Like Zuckuss is the Uncanny One. :p @};-

    And gracious but I cannot wait for her to read Thrawn's letters for crying out loud!

    Oh, you don't know how breathtakingly essentially wonderful this fic is and shall likely always be. [face_love] [face_love]
     
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Well, of course I'm not at all surprised to receive so many "[face_whistling]'s" and "[face_shhh] 's" in response to my previous reviews. :D Nice to see Ayesha creating art again, even if (as she claims) it is different from what she created before. It is most appropriate somehow she does so using the Gree singing stone, and the fact that it still responds to her touch is most encouraging and seems like a good sign. Though it seems to be making some different and more complex sounds than before (I don't think you described them previously as constituting an entire "piece of music"), and the reasons for that are no doubt still to unfold.

    I'm very intrigued by the fact that Maxak'k recognized her so quickly as the Crafter—as an important, perhaps quasi-messianic figure (yes, perhaps indeed like the Uncanny One, as Nyota's Heart says)—and that she's presented with white robes that bespeak a Crafterly rank as above any of the Gree Crafters around her. (Much fanon, yes! And that goes for this whole enclave of Matta Thryne Gree. :D) It is somewhat of a bummer that he seems so disappointed by the Anakin piece that Ayesha does create, but of course he can't necessarily be expected to know everything that's happened to her and changed her since the time he first came into contact with her and her work.

    If this is what will lead to the "answers" promised in your last group of replies, then it will be a rich and stimulating journey indeed! :cool:
     
  9. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I love the concept of singing stone, and this was much-needed therapy for Ayesha and hopefully she has purged Vader's memories from her mind as she poured them into the stone.
     
  10. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    =D= So I've been waiting to see what happens when and if Ayesha begins to make art again, and this absolutely lived up to the anticipation. The eerieness of that merged, tormented figure she creates is goosebumps material and it was great to see the reactions of the Gree crafters (who are wonderfully cool in their instinctive recognition of a fellow artisan and how they worry over the changes in her art -- the concern that this is not her work is both disturbing and perfect, and I love LaRone's interpretation). I too hope that he's right and that this is a step towards her finding a bit of peace.
     
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  11. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Aah, finally. :)
    Ayesha is creating art again. And not only that.
    "I am purging another from my soul".
    I hope so much that she will be able to do that...
     
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Art is her voice, and her mind has been an occupied country to Anakin's psyche. Hopefully she has purged Anakin's mournfulness from her mind and from her life so that her own mind and her own life can continue. Until then, everything has to be on hold.

    Your description of the Gree keeps reminding me of the [link=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ood]Ood [/link] from Dr. Who.:p

    I'm a bit concerned about this:

    And then, there were the seeds that she extracted regularly from the cracks in the stone – tiny, spiky spheres of red-black material that, according to Maxak’k, didn’t belong on the planet. In the early days she merely threw them away and continued her work, but as time went by Maxak’k started asking her to collect them and he regularly travelled to the Admonitor with her to show them to the Star Destroyer’s scientists and discuss the issue with Captain Niriz. His concern that the presence of what he thought to be an alien material on Matta Thryne soon occupied most of his time


    -- this is sounding pretty Vongy to me. I don't like the Vong that close to our heroes.
     
  13. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    This chapter is, in some way...like spending one's time in another world and going back to your own world. While portrayals of some things turned out a [really tiny] bit awkward; the way you perceive artists and their lapses from this or that world is SPOT-ON. Sometimes, the one who has the talent just cannot do any kind of a mundane job, plain and simple. People don't get it, they cannot put themselves in the shoes of any kind of a free spirit or artist, they think artists are lazy and this is so annoying. Ayesha is really lucky that her friends support her and that she can - literally, for the second time - pour her soul and every single trace of Anakin left into a singing stone sculpture of him. Goosebumps!

    I know your fanon on the Gree is yet to come, but I can see that they have some sort of intriguing castes and I totally want to know more about that.

    The Grandmaster Crafter recognising that Ayesha herself is an artist freaked me out. In a good way. :)

    The miniature lightsaber-esque tool can be read in so many ways, despite being basically a Swiss Army Knife.FOR ARTISTS.IN SPACE. I want a fanon bit on that...thingy.

    LaRone's end comment and the thing divapilot pointed out are making me really, really concerned about what happens next. On the other hand, there is that option that Ayesha left this changed person in the stone.
     
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  14. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I'm here! First off, I have to thank you for continuously tagging me; every time I caught up I seemed to fall behind again, and I shamelessly made use of your break in the story to catch up completely.

    To surmise my thoughts for most of Part II - which so many reviewers have already so eloquently conveyed - I love how you are handling Ayesha's healing. She is becoming her own person again, focusing on her own friendships and bonds with others (especially with LaRone - I don't have the words for how much I adore that man), and I think that is really helping her begin to move on even more so than her romantic ties with Thrawn. She has been through so much, and it is amazing to see her start to pick herself up yet again. Then, I've said it before, and I'll echo so many others by saying again: her psychic relationship with Vader was a masterstroke, and wonderfully woven into what we already know about canon to a fault. More than being an OC, it's now completely accepted in my mind that she was a part of the story all along, and I have been glued to the screen to watch her journey unfold thus far. =D=

    But to jump back into the regular ways of reviewing with this chapter:

    It was excellent to see Ayesha return to her art; it has always been such a solace and form of expression for her before and it looks like it is not going to fail her again.

    “I changed,” she said. “I can’t create that piece anymore.”

    “Yet the stone responded to you,” the Grandmaster Crafter answered as he reopened his large, sad-looking eyes.
    ...
    “But it won’t be me,” she said. “It will be something else, someone else.”

    The Gree whistled to the guide, who scooted away and returned with a set of white robes that she offered to Ayesha. “Let it be what you need to express. The stone wants to be shaped. You cannot leave it silent.”

    I swear that my heart twisted in my chest there, in the best of ways. [face_love] Having her new self portrait be a way to purge and mourn Anakin all at once was brilliantly conveyed, though I, like diva above, instantly thought Vong with the foreign substance she kept on encountering. That was another worrying bit upon a story full of such bits. But, now that Palpatine is dead, it is time for another Big Bad to show their face, and enter stage left it looks like we now have this to eventually contend with . . . [face_worried]

    But, now that I've caught up, you have me on the edge of my seat for more - especially as for what Thrawn is up to [face_batting] - and I can't wait for the next update. :) =D=
     
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  15. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I have not caught up yet - just read chapters 1 and 2 - I feel so sorry for the girl - I thought Vader and the Emperor's death would free her mind.

    WOW - just read chapter 3 -
    This part is kind of scary to me --- there's nothing like being trapped in a vicious circle or cycle. It's truly hard to explain to others when you are stuck like this.

    I wonder what the note from Thrawn said that Ayesha probably did not read?

    I hope LaRone's last comment is correct.

    When the spiky seeds were mentioned from the black rock my mind gravitated to the Kaibarr Crystal. hmmm...
     
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Well, I really shouldn't be posting, because I don't have my buffer of chapters yet to feel entirely secure, but Nyota's Heart beta-read this on the spot [face_love] , and now I suffer from can't-wait-to-post-itis :p So here is chapter 4 (only one month late!) and I'll be back with big fat replies tomorrow.

    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.

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

    Chapter 4: Threats

    The Admonitor and the Grey Wolf left Matta Thryne and began their slow journey into uncharted space. Planets were few and far between this close to the edge of the Galaxy, but the feasibility of hyperspace travel remained limited as it was unknown what obstacles lay ahead. The two Star Destroyers soon settled into a routine of remaining in interstellar space and launching probe droids towards the neighbouring systems while a small, one-man craft scouted the way forward for the next jump. Celestial bodies and space anomalies were carefully mapped, inhabited worlds were registered in the Admonitor’s database for future exploration, and any sign of technology warranted a quick survey which usually produced disappointing results. “There really isn’t much,” Quiller told Ayesha on an afternoon when he dropped by for caf. “As far as we can tell, the civilisations we find are primitive. On the other hand, there’s enough bits and pieces of tech to prove that we weren’t the first to get this far out. Someone was here before us. We’ll have to come back and have a closer look.”

    Doctor Cottle had at long last cleared Ayesha to return to her quarters. “The work you did on Matta Thryne did you a load of good,” he told her as he keyed his authorisation code to discharge her. “Now I want you to continue focusing on your art, okay? I understand that there isn’t much you can do on the ship, but get yourself a sketchpad and draw what you see. Even if it’s not too exciting, it’s better than nothing.”

    She nodded obediently and followed his instructions to the letter, but within a few days she had grown frustrated and restless. “I don’t have anything to say,” she explained to him on her next check-up. “I don’t have anything to express. Since we passed that nebula last week, all I’ve seen from my viewport was space. Empty, black space. There are hardly any stars. Where am I supposed to find inspiration?”

    “Draw the ship,” the Doctor countered. “Draw the crew. Make portraits of your friends.”

    “Why would my friends need me to make their portrait? They can see themselves in the mirror every morning,” she replied with a wistful smile. Cottle went to speak again. “I’ll do it to pass the time. But that’s not art. That’s just being a scribe.”

    “Scribe is good enough,” Cottle said. “I just don’t want you to lose contact with the medium again. Just listen to the good doc and do as you’re told.”

    LaRone tried – unsuccessfully – to convince her to draw caricatures of the Admonitor’s senior officers, but she just wasn’t in the mood. “I’m better than that,” she told him. “I can do better than that. Besides, they don’t deserve it. They’re good people, even if they’re sometimes a bit clumsy.”

    The solution came, unexpectedly, from Captain Niriz, who requested a meeting with Ayesha on a quiet evening three weeks into the trip. “I would like to request your help, Miss Eskari,” he said as she stepped into his private office and Ensign Washeeya closed the door behind her. “However, to avoid any misunderstandings, I will clarify something straight away. Should you agree to provide me with the information I need, it will be used for the purposes of the Empire of the Hand and ultimately the Galactic Empire, is that understood?” She nodded and he activated the holoprojector on his desk. “These are images our probes have collected from the various worlds we surveyed. Our analysts have been sifting through them to gather as much data as possible, but no one on board has the talent of extracting information from art like the Grand Admiral does – except you, that is. Would you be willing to have a look?”

    The greedy spark in Ayesha’s eyes didn’t escape his attention, and he chuckled softly. She was staring at the holos, completely mesmerised. Some of the images were blurred and nearly all were poorly centred, but many revealed the intervention of a sentient hand in what otherwise appeared to be pure wilderness and one in particular clearly depicted some sort of totem pole on a mountaintop. “I’d love that, Captain,” she said finally. “Is there something specific you would like to know?”

    Niriz smiled. “Anything you can tell me, really. The species’ physiology, their psychology, what tools they may have used, if they were ever in contact with other species from neighbouring planets... I should confess that, of the thirty-seven thousand crew on this ship, I am probably the most ignorant about art. But I have seen the Grand Admiral perform miracles, and I am told that you are even better than him.” He switched off the projector and extracted the datacard from its slot. “Here you go, these are all yours. I will be sending you more as we receive them.”

    In the weeks that followed Ayesha immersed herself in the holos. She spent every free moment of her time between language lessons and sports studying them, and she reported every now and then to the Admonitor’s analysts to explain her findings. The scientists were at first a little dismissive when she turned up with a batch of her incomprehensible sketches and argued that two worlds several systems apart were populated by the same species – one was a colony of the other, she claimed – but she insisted until they agreed to cross-reference all the data they had about the two planets, and the analysis of the soil samples, seeds and bones the probe droids had collected confirmed her hypothesis. “You were right after all, as unlikely as it seemed,” the lead scientist told her after scanning the final report on his monitor. “I’ll know better than to challenge you now. Tell me, what else did you find that we missed?”

    The holos turned out to be a true cornucopia of information and soon the science team started calling Ayesha to have a first look as soon as they received a new set. Sometimes there were clues to the existence of defunct civilisations, sometimes indications of the recent introduction of sentient life on a planet. Sometimes the species were reptavian, sometimes amphibious mammals, sometimes humanoid. Many of the cultures were peaceful and isolated, but some worlds appeared to have been devastated by a recent cataclysm or even a war. “This is unnatural,” she told them once as they looked at images of a volcanic planet. “Look at this. It’s as if some sort of giant worms chewed the crust to let the magma spill.”

    “Impossible,” an old geologist snapped. “Such a thing is unheard of. No lifeform could do that and survive.”

    She shrugged. “The cracks in the planetary crust are straight and there are slither tracks in the magma. You're the scientist, you tell me how that’s possible if it wasn’t done by design.”

    “She is correct,” a stern-looking Chiss interjected in Cheunh. “And there is only one species that can wreak such destruction.”

    The lead scientist scratched his head. “Even if we admit that it’s them, this would have taken time. Ten, maybe even twenty standard years.”

    “My people met them more than thirty years ago, and the Chiss Ascendancy is quite far from the edge of the Galaxy,” the Chiss retorted. “In these parts of space, they had all the time they needed. You are underestimating the immediacy of this threat.”

    “There are no indications that the planet was inhabited before, or at least that any inhabitants it may have had were a spacefaring species,” a young Human piped up from the back of the room. “Why would they destroy it altogether if there was no real enemy?”

    There was a heavy silence. “An experiment,” Ayesha blurted angrily. “This was an experiment. Like the Empire did with Alderaan.”

    She suddenly bit her lip, expecting the analysts to reprimand her for her bluntness, but to her surprise they didn’t react. “It could be,” the lead scientist muttered. “It could be. We need to analyse those lava samples. Thank you, Miss Eskari, that will be all for today. Here is your datacard, I will be looking forward to your report.”

    They didn’t summon her for the next two weeks, and she was beginning to wonder if it was a result of her outburst, but they finally called her again to look at a new set of holos. “This planet was colonised recently, and then abandoned,” the young Human told her. “We have a betting pool going about who was there and we’d like you to confirm it for us.”

    He activated the monitor to display the panoramic image of a settlement. The shot had visibly been captured as the probe droid landed. “This was Nuso Esva,” she said without hesitation. “Look at this radiating pattern, it’s typical of his kind’s art, I saw it when –”

    The young man pumped his fist in the air and turned to his colleagues. “Cough up. I win this round.”

    “He wasn’t alone though,” Ayesha went on as the monitor shifted from one image to the next. “There was a battle here. Or rather, there was no battle. He fled, but his base was systematically looted.” The analysts stopped dead in their tracks and turned back to her. “Can you zoom in and enhance this bit?” she asked, pointing at the screen. “There’s something there that was made by someone else.”

    The Chiss scientist keyed a few commands, and the blurry image of a pyramid appeared. “The spoils of war,” she murmured. “Thrawn told me about these sentients a couple of years ago. They’re a nomadic species of slavers. He said they’d been hiding in interstellar space for decades.”

    The Chiss gave a start. “Are you speaking of the Vagaari?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t know their name. From the art I saw, they’re humanoid in appearance, but they’re incredibly violent. Their purpose in life is to pillage and plunder. They steal from other cultures, they don’t really have their own.” She scrunched her eyebrows in concentration. “Oh, something else. Thrawn said they have two mouths.”

    The Chiss nodded slowly. “The Vagaari fought Nuso Esva and won?” the young Human spluttered. “I’m not too sure how I feel about that.”

    “Me neither,” the lead scientist said thoughtfully. “It would be too much to ask that they fight each other to the death, wouldn’t it?” He turned to Ayesha and pointed at the pyramid. “You think this is the loot they didn’t take?”

    “It’s the stuff they have no use for. They recycle it to build a monument like this, it shows that they claimed this world. It’s very common among nomadic cultures. If the probe droid is still on-planet, direct it to get a few closer shots. What they left behind and the way they built it would tell us a lot about them.”

    He turned back to his younger colleague. “Transmit that. And then, run a search in the database. Anything that matches the profile of this pyramid. Let’s see if they were anywhere else we’ve been to.”

    The computers beeped and whirred, and the room transformed into a holographic map of the Unknown Regions, with a trail of flashing lights among the stars. The young man let out a victory whoop and the lead scientist beamed at Ayesha. “Miss Eskari, you are a genius. We’ve been trying to find them for years. Now we know where to look.” He patted her on the shoulder. “I’m getting you a drink in the mess tonight. You just saved me a hundred credits and I need to spend them.”

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

    Note: The concept of giant worms that can chew a planet's crust is inspired from Chom-Vrone.
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent! Ayesha's skills at deciphering the psychological meanings behind art forms is fascinating to read and makes her feel a part of things without being heavy-handed about it. :cool: I am glad Dr. Cottle verified that the shaping with the Singing Stone seems to have restored a bit of mental equilibrium. I read Survivor's Quest and the Vagaari - they're enough to give anyone the complete willies! :eek: So I'm glad that the EoH have a strategic edge on them. [face_relieved]
     
  18. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Such a relief that Ayesha has found a purpose again! The dangers of space seem pretty scary, though.
    I like that she is developing an identity of her own - she is the artist, the interpreter. She is not the Admiral's .....(fill in the blank). This is what she needs most: her self back, not just in the sense that her mind is no longer being sublet to Vader, but that she has the respect of the crew for her own skills and insights.
     
  19. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I am glad Ayesha is using her art talent again and being interactive with the crew and they appreciate her talent for determining things about a species from their art, etc. But I want her to talk to Thrawn.
     
  20. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Whoop, update, update! :D

    Yes, good to see Ayesha having found a purpose again and slowly becoming a member of the crew in her own right - but hey, the Vong, Esva, the Vagaari - oh my!!

    And yes, what Gemma said. I want her to talk to Thrawn... ;)
     
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  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    And yes, what Gemma said. I want her to talk to Thrawn... To start with. [face_mischief] 'Bout time for some roof-raising couple time! LOL
     
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  22. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    “Why would my friends need me to make their portrait? They can see themselves in the mirror every morning,” she replied with a wistful smile. Cottle went to speak again. “I’ll do it to pass the time. But that’s not art. That’s just being a scribe.”

    Ack, I know she is frustrated, but that really raised the hackles of the artist in me - sweetie, there is art in capturing another person's likeness and character in your medium. It's not simply transcribing if it's done right. Don't be an art snob. [face_shame_on_you]

    That said, her frustration with her lack of inspiration was really palpable and completely understandable, and it broke my heart to see her struggling. But! Talk about being the perfect outlet for her with the work she was doing there - she found her niche. Translating a race/being's motives/inner-thoughts through their art was one of the first things that fascinated me about Thrawn way back in the day, and it completely fascinates me when Ayesha does the same - especially to this degree! Once again, she's making incredible strides in finding her sense of self again - and, the more she can do that, the healthier her relationship with Thrawn will be - if and when they ever get to talking this out, that is, you are being a wonderfully cruel writer that way. ;)

    But eugh, what she deduced from the artwork . . . the Vagaari and Nuso Evsa . . . they are never good names to play around with. In some ways, I much prefer the Emperor as a villain. :p


    As always, this was an excellent update, and I can't wait for more. =D=
     
  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I have to say, I had the same reaction as Mira_Jade to Ayesha's "just being a scribe" comment, though from a different angle: I'm someone for whom a simple croquis drawing of a character's face is a major effort, so if I manage to pull even that off you better believe I consider it art. There definitely seem to be elements of the humble-brag here, given our heroine's already considerable talent. But how did she develop that talent in the first place? Probably through all those early art classes, sketches, studies, etc. Her "I'm better than that" comment on LaRone's caricatures idea struck me a bit that way too, but, like Mira, I can sympathize with her frustration.

    Anyway, there's a lot of art in what scribes do: "transcribing" something is never simply transcribing. Every transcription is in some way or other editorial. But that's a discussion for another day. :p

    But that aside, it's wonderful to see her hard at work again on analyzing alien races and cultures through images and artwork. Besides the fact that it's just a really good spirit-lifter for her right now, she's just so in her element when she does this sort of thing—almost as much as when she's really creating an artwork with her whole heart, and that's saying a lot. And the whole way she makes these amazing leaps of deduction and analysis from purely visual details invokes Sherlock Holmes for me—which in my case is occasion to say "[face_love]."

    That one Chiss who confirms Ayesha's hypotheses fascinates me for some reason. He clearly knows the threat they're up against better than some, and I hope we will see more of him and hear him elaborate. (And maybe learn his name, though I could see where that might be a spoiler for now.)

    The most harrowing line: “An experiment. . . . This was an experiment. Like the Empire did with Alderaan.” Though whatever the Vagaari did here almost makes the destruction of Alderaan look like a child stomping on a beetle. I haven't yet read any of the books where they or Nuso Esva come up, but from what people have said here, and from what Ayesha and the others say about them in this story, they definitely give the impression of meaning business. On tenterhooks to see what will come next, because I bet an all-out confrontation of some kind is right around the corner.[face_nail_biting]
     
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  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    This thread is officially one year old today [face_party] Thanks so much to all for reading and leaving such detailed reviews! I'm posting chapter 3 replies now, I'll be back for chapter 4 tomorrow.
    Ayesha will always be stuck with a little bit of Vader in her mind -- he was part of her for too long that she can erase him completely. On the other hand, Anakin returned to the light, and she may have managed to purge the darkness with this sculpt, so things are looking up for her now.
    [face_laugh] She will read them... eventually. [face_devil]
    Heh. Given your talent at spotting the right questions to ask, it's likely that you will receive many more in the future :p Am I really that predictable?
    If you look back at part II, chapter 6 (for which incidentally Gemma and you provided the title [:D]) you'll see that the music becomes louder and more coherent once Ayesha has completed her sculpt of Thrawn's shoulder and set it next to the original one. The idea is basically that, the more complete the sculpt, the more harmonious the music. I think you can draw your own conclusions here...
    I still need to write up the Fanon post I reserved more than a month ago [face_blush] but it's on its way. About Ayesha being the Crafter, again, it's a throwback to part II, chapter 6 -- Thrawn tells her how the Grandmaster was so impressed with her self-portrait that he decided to go against Gree rules and give him the laser tool. But then of course he was bound to be disappointed -- he expected Ayesha to produce an Ayesha sculpt, but what he got was a part-Vader sculpt, and he doesn't understand that.
    She has purged a lot of Vader's emotions, yes, but his memories are still there. Who knows, though, they might come handy at some point.
    The more time I spend on these boards, the more I'm convinced that I should watch Dr. Who :D I read through that article and yes, they are similar, especially in the physical characteristics. The Gree of Matta Thryne would never let themselves be enslaved though -- they're too proud for that.
    Well, erm, yes. This is the Unknown Regions, so they're bound to be around. Now that Ayesha is done staring at her belly button, maybe she'll start paying attention and noticing that the Admonitor is out there for a reason, not only to be a prison ship for her.
    The castes are actually canon, see here. But of course, since this enclave has been cut off from the Gree homeworld like, forever, I'm planning to tweak it a bit in my fanon post.
    AT LAST! someone catches the Swiss army knife reference! I was beginning to wonder if I should put a Swiss flag on it next time I describe it [face_laugh]
    No probs at all (I'm one to speak, falling off the radar for months at a time) and welcome back! We missed you, I hope the madness is over now.
    Struggling to be "her own person" is the story of Ayesha's life. She has spent too much time being owned -- physically and mentally -- by other people, between the Zygerrians, Paraseel Malki, the Emperor, Zaarin and then Vader. The people she bonds with are those who consider her as a person, and LaRone is definitely one of them -- when she arrived aboard the Admonitor, he was the only one who was thinking of her as an independent entity from Thrawn (which is why I love that man too!)
    Thank you! I'm trying, as much as I can, to stick to canon for this story, and just to fill the gaps when canon doesn't specify what happened :) I have a bit of leeway for the next few chapters, because canon simply doesn't deal with the Unknown Regions in this period, but then it will be back with a vengeance.
    Oh yes. The Vong are here, and they're not alone. You already read the next chapter, so you know what I'm talking about ]-}
    And it's typical of Ayesha, isn't it? She bottles things up until they explode, or until she finds a way to let them out. She managed to let Vader out for now, but Cottle is right to be worried about the rest. There's so much buried inside her that she can't process, at some point that will come and bite her in the butt.
    Just wait until Thursday. Part of the answer will be there ;)

    Thanks again, everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with replies for chapter 4 [:D]
     
  25. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Ah, those letters, yes.
    You've got one curious CG here... :D
    One curious CG who has still not given up hope for the big happy end.

    You know, I always wanted to know more about the Empire of the Hand and what they encountered out there in the Unknown Regions.
    That's the unwritten novel I was always hoping for. So yesss, I love it, I love it! *jumps up and down*
     
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