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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. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you divapilot Nyota's Heart Findswoman AzureAngel2 :)

    I'm realizing through your comments that, having reworked this chapter so many times, I lost track of the stuff I added/removed from it, so I'm going to have to rework it again at some point -- or to rewrite chapters 10 and 43 to reintroduce the [face_dancing] dancer whose scenes were cut (I feel like GL himself now, cutting people's scenes and everything! :p)
    [face_rofl]
    Argh, this is something I forgot to change! Basically since Thrawn is just a captain and the others are GAs, he can't really jump into their conversation, can he? I need to rewrite that bit. It gave me a hard time already, because I didn't want to turn the chapter into a dissertation about protocol and etiquette, so I thought I'd look into it later and then I forgot 8-}

    He doesn't ;) That's one reason I loved Ian McDiarmid's interpretation of the role. It's a challenge for an actor to depict a 101% evil character without turning him into a caricature, and he did it perfectly.
     
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  2. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I am amazed at the depth that this story has taken. I guess I didn't realize what kind of event it was -- I was hoping to see Aeysha and Thrawn dancing -- maybe another day.
     
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  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, I imagine they will have their chance! Call it a misty premonition, but I have a feeling dancing of one kind or another is going to pervade this story. ;) :cool:
     
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  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    It's coming soon -- chapter 13 :p
    The good news for me this week is that 1. I'm done writing part 1, all it needs now is chapter-by-chapter editing, 2. the fantastic Nyota's Heart is up for accelerated beta-reading. The good (?) news for you, dear reader, is that I'll therefore be able to up my game and post twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. If you guys and gals find that it's too often, let me know and I'll slow down.

    I went back and did some minor edits on chapter 8 as discussed in the comments above to emphasize that Thrawn is still a junior officer at this stage compared to Zaarin. I hope it's clearer now.

    And without further ado, here's the next (short) chapter :)


    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma
    Please let me know if you'd like to be added or removed from the tags list.

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

    Chapter 9: Ted

    The mid-morning sunlight was streaming in the meeting hall through the balcony doors as Ayesha put away the last of her tools and closed her kit. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor, singing a cheerful Corellian song, and her clear voice rang across the room and into the hallway.

    “Someone is having a good day,” an amused voice said from the door.

    She looked up to see Thrawn leaning against the doorframe and gave him a wide smile. “Didn’t you hear? The Zygerrian festival was cancelled. There was a mass break-out of their slaves last night. And if that weren’t good enough, Kchak Pr’ollerg was found dead yesterday morning. He was apparently mugged on his way out of the Emperor’s dance recital.” She stood up and pirouetted, slipping on a drop of oil-wax on the tarpaulin covering the floor and nearly losing her balance. It made her laugh. Her face became serious after she landed before Thrawn. “You must think I’m a horrible person, to be rejoicing over a sentient’s death like that.”

    “It is entirely understandable. I do not normally approve of rejoicing over anyone’s death, but I do hope that there is a special place for slavers in Chaos,” he added with pure loathing in his tone before reverting to his cool, even voice. “I am told that His Majesty is in a fury, particularly over the slave break-out. I understand that it has been claimed by a group calling themselves the Inter-Species Equality Network.”

    She shrugged. “Whoever they are, they have my heartfelt thanks.”

    “You may want to be a little more careful what you say on this matter in the coming days. There will be an investigation and I would hate to see you among the suspects because of a throwaway line.”

    Ayesha laughed. “Can you imagine anyone investigating me? The HoloNet News hacks would have a field day. ‘Harmless twenty-seven year old artist suspected of aiding and abetting the break-out of two hundred slaves. The investigation is still on-going,’” she said, miming a popular anchor’s tone. Thrawn’s lips twitched. “Besides, I couldn’t have done it. I pulled an all-nighter here, every surveillance device in the Palace can testify to that.” She gestured triumphantly towards the walls.

    His gaze wandered to the panels. “So you are done here.”

    “Almost. I have to come back tomorrow for some final touch-ups and set the stage for the big day. Then I’m taking Benduday off. I need to do important things like going to the hairdresser.” She lifted her toolkit and carried it to the service room. “And then, on Primeday at twenty hundred hours, it’s showtime,” she added cheerfully. “You’ll be here, right?”

    “I would not miss it for the Galaxy.” He took a step towards one of the panels. “This is truly remarkable.”

    “Just wait until it’s dry,” she replied. “And there’s an added bonus in the timing of the dedication ceremony.” He gave her the questioning eyebrow. “Not telling. You’ll have to be here to see it.”

    He chuckled softly and looked at her as she put away her ladder and rolled up the tarpaulin. She keyed for the housekeeping droids and came to stand in front of him. “I owe you a very big thanks for putting up with me the other night,” she said. He went to speak but she continued. “Actually, ‘putting up’ doesn’t begin to describe it. I was moody and rude and I kept complaining and moaning, and you were very, very kind to me. If you hadn’t been there I would probably have gone off the deep end, and I want you to know that I am grateful.” She gave him a small smile. “I hope I can make it up to you some other time.”

    “Nothing could be further from the truth. I consider myself privileged that I was able to visit your workshop and spend an evening with you, regardless of the circumstances.” He hesitated. “However, if you really want to make it up to me, perhaps you will allow me to take you out to dinner tonight.”

    She blushed a little. “I’d like that very much, Captain, but I don’t think it would be appropriate right now,” she said cautiously. “You saw what it's like when I find myself on the receiving end of the Emperor’s prodding and I’d rather avoid giving him pretexts for more... unpleasant situations.” She smiled again. “But I’ll be very happy to accept your invitation when I'm not in indentured servitude to this Palace anymore.”

    He looked at her for a moment. “You are right, of course. I am leaving for a tour of duty on the Star Destroyer Vengeance next week, so I will invite you in the new year.”

    “It’s a date then,” she said happily, and she disappeared into the service room to change.


    * * *​

    It was Benduday afternoon and Thrawn was running along an alley in the Imperial Gardens when he heard someone call his name. Looking around, he saw Ayesha waving at him. She was lounging on the lawn, basking in the sunshine. He walked over and crouched at her side.

    “It’s the first time I see you in civilian clothes,” she said.

    He brushed some nonexistent dust from his jumpsuit. “I am sure I would cause quite a sensation if I came jogging here in my uniform. And it is rather pleasant to escape from the training room from time to time.”

    She pulled at the grass. “I like it here. It reminds me of home – inasmuch as anywhere in Coruscant can remind me of home. I miss the plantlife and the open skies sometimes.”

    A handsome man in his late twenties came along with two disposable cups. He gave Thrawn an annoyed look and sat down next to Ayesha. “I found the cafeteria.”

    “Thanks,” she said, taking a cup. “Ted, this is Senior Captain Thrawn.”

    The man named Ted held out his hand reluctantly for Thrawn to shake and remained silent and brooding as Ayesha and Thrawn made some more small talk. Thrawn finally stood up. “I should be going. It was nice seeing you.”

    “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she called behind him.

    He glanced over his shoulder as he walked away and saw Ayesha and Ted engaging in an animated conversation.
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I am as relieved as Ayesha that the festival has been cancelled. Thrawn's gallantry made me drool, not the least reason of why is he meant every word. :) [face_sigh]

    LOL didn't miss him glancing back to look again at Ayesha chatting with Ted. ;) :)
     
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  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Definitely a happy surprise and a great relief that A. won't have to endure the humiliation of the Zygerrian festival and that K. P. is out of the picture. Though... given Ayesha's surreptitious exit from her apartment in the previous chapter, I can't help but wonder whether she had more to do with it than she lets on (and if so, good for her!). [face_thinking] The scene with Ted ("...part of United!" :D) hints at an interesting disconnect in the way Ayesha and Thrawn see their relationship to each other—to her it's all casual camaraderie (that doesn't preclude her counting someone else as an actual boyfriend boyfriend), but he's clearly interested in it becoming more serious. Much to think about in ths short chapter.
     
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  7. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    You know, it can't be anything serious with Ted if Ayesha calls Thrawn's name when she sees him!
    And hmmm. Foul play after the ballet recital? I wonder.... At least it made Ayesha happy that there is one less scumbag in the galaxy.
     
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  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Thrawny in civilian clothing.

    *has a reason to be smiley despite all the sorrow & havoc the local tax office brought her today

    Ah I wish I would be in that garden, too...
     
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  9. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I am loving this and I adore this whole interplay between Aeysha and Thrawn.
     
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  10. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    OK I've just finished chapter 8 and I have to say your attention to detail is amazing. Add me to the tag list!
     
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all! Mando-Man, welcome to this story [:D]

    There's not much point in answering your comments ινδιωιδθ;λλυ individually, since answers are coming in today's chapter, so I guess I'll just post :p

    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma Mando-Man
    Please let me know if you want to be added or removed from the tag list.

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

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

    Chapter 10: Captain Ruud

    Row upon row of military officers stood to stiff attention as the Emperor gave his speech for the dedication of the Northern Lights room. The speech ended and Ayesha took the stand. She looked a little nervous in her dark green, delicately embroidered tunic and matching trousers. Her hair was braided close to her scalp in an upwards helix-like pattern, with the tips of the braids tucked under a small, golden cap on the top of her head. She took a deep breath as she began to speak and saw Thrawn giving her a reassuring glance from a row towards the middle of the room.

    As expected given the formality of the occasion, she thanked the Emperor for granting her the fellowship and the privilege of decorating a room to be used by the key defenders of the Empire. She ran through the courtesies with ease and grace, and finally took another deep breath and pressed her small hand to the release panel on the podium.

    There was polite applause as the drapes fell to the ground to reveal the pale, shiny grey lightning pattern on the wall panels. The snow crystal threads were shimmering softly in the room’s light. The applause increased slowly as the panel behind her came to life. The last rays of the setting sun licking the wall caused the crystals to flash with a brilliant blue-green glow, and the reflection of their sparkle made the other wall panels glitter in turn. By the time the aurora had made its way around the room, the applause was deafening. She blushed and smiled, and gave a small bow before directing the crowd to the hallway, where refreshments were being served.

    She stepped off the podium to see Grand Admiral Zaarin taking a determined stride towards her. She dodged him with equal determination and dropped into a deep curtsey in front of Darth Vader, who was standing near the double doors to the hallway, his arms crossed on his chest. She noticed in the corner of her eye that Zaarin had stopped dead in his tracks.

    “Lord Vader, I am deeply honoured that you could join us today,” she said. He merely gave her a nod of his black mask, his mechanical breathing echoing in the room as the last officers in attendance filed out. “I wanted to tell you that your information on Gungan clay was very valuable,” she went on timidly. “I adjusted the mix after our conversation and I think it made a real difference. You can see the little corner up there, where there are still traces of the original mix. It doesn’t reflect light the same way.”

    The black mask turned slowly to take in the room. “The result was obviously worth it,” he said finally.

    She stayed at his side silently until Thrawn walked in with two glasses of wine in his hands and made for the balcony. His lips were twitching and there was a twinkle in his eyes; he was obviously greatly enjoying himself. More officers and some Palace courtesans came back with their drinks and started wandering around to examine the panels. “Thank you, My Lord. It has been an honour and a pleasure.” He gave her another nod and turned on his heel, his black cape floating behind him as he left the room.

    She made her way to the balcony, accepting graciously compliments from various Navy officers. Thrawn handed her one of the glasses and touched it with his own. “Congratulations, Miss Eskari,” he murmured. “That was quite a display.”

    “It wasn’t such a surprise for you,” she countered. “You’d already had a pretty big sneak preview of the main attraction tonight.”

    “I did not know that you actually managed to create a living aurora out of mud. I must say that I am very impressed. However,” – his eyes twinkled again – “for once I was not referring to your art.” She looked at him in question. “Your idea of chatting up Lord Vader to avoid Grand Admiral Zaarin was, to say the least, unexpected. Most people” – he emphasized the words – “would value their life far too much to risk such a trade-off.”

    She shrugged. “Well, as you know...”

    He smiled. “I know.”

    “Besides,” she added, “Lord Vader has never done me any ill. Quite the opposite, he actually gave me the idea of modifying the modified Demahl. Zaarin on the other hand... he’s just a vulture.”

    He took a look at the small crowd milling about in the meeting hall and turned his gaze back to her. “You would probably get much less hassle in Palace functions if you came accompanied. Perhaps you should have brought along that lucky young man I saw with you yesterday.”

    She laughed. “Who, that nitwit from the Imperial Gardens? I met him about half an hour before you came along and I left him on that lawn less than ten minutes after you were gone.”

    Both eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Really? You seemed very much at ease with him, one would say even familiar.”

    “I’m a twenty-seven year old woman, Captain,” she said tersely. “I flirt. But when the idiot I’m flirting with asks me why I’m talking to an alien...” There was a flash in Thrawn’s eyes. “Don’t worry, I asked him in turn why he was hitting on an alien. You should’ve seen the look on his face.” She chuckled a little, then added, “There’s really no escaping the bantha poodoo on this planet.”

    They stood in silence as more people joined them on the balcony. An officer in his early thirties detached himself from a group and came over to them. He gave Thrawn a crisp salute. “Captain Thrawn, it’s always a pleasure to see you, sir.”

    “Likewise, Captain Ruud,” Thrawn said. “I believe you have not met Miss Eskari yet?”

    The young officer shook Ayesha’s hand as Thrawn introduced him as Captain Matthias Ruud. He was extremely good-looking, with sparkling blue eyes and an easy charm. He held Ayesha’s hand a moment longer than necessary as he spoke. “It’s an honour to meet you, Miss Eskari. I wanted to thank you in person for your work. I have now a valid reason to look forward to High Command meetings. And it will always be a pleasant memory to think that this was created by such a lovely woman.”

    They went on chatting for a few minutes, with the occasional interruption of an officer or a courtesan who came to offer Ayesha their compliments. Captain Ruud told her of his service in the Outer Rim and she asked him many questions about the various worlds and cultures there. He then asked about her art and the conversation finally turned to the subject of her fellowship.

    “So there’s no chance I can convince you to create something especially for me,” he said teasingly.

    “Not at this time, unless the Emperor requests it,” she answered with a smile. “But I will consider your application when the fellowship is over.”

    “There will be no need for Captain Ruud to wait that long, my dear,” the Emperor’s voice said behind her. She spun around and dropped into a curtsey while the two men stood to attention. The Emperor waved them permission to stand at ease, then raised Ayesha’s chin with his wrinkled hand. “I believe we can add Captain Ruud to the list of the happy few who can enjoy your work and your company. I would do the same for Captain Thrawn – but I strongly suspect you did not wait for my permission.”

    Ruud gave Ayesha a curious look at this last comment, then caught himself and turned to the Emperor. “Thank you, Your Majesty. I am far too junior for such an honour. Miss Eskari was telling me that she has done work for the Grand Admirals and...”

    “Not at all, my dear boy, not at all,” the Emperor interrupted. “This young lady has a way of attracting the best and brightest of my officers. I believe we should all take advantage of her fine taste in men.”

    Ayesha blushed a little but managed to keep her composure. “It will be my pleasure to make Captain Ruud's portrait,” she said with a stiff bow.

    Ruud laughed. “My portrait? I wouldn’t know what to do with my portrait. I see myself in the mirror every morning.”

    The Emperor chuckled. “Then what would you like, my boy? I have no doubt Miss Eskari can create it for you.”

    “That’s quite a question, Your Majesty.” His eyes returned to Ayesha. “I guess what I’d like is... something to remember you by.”

    Ayesha swallowed uncomfortably. “That’s a difficult request, Captain,” she said, trying to match Ruud’s easy tone. “I hardly know anything about your interests and preferences.”

    “Perhaps you can take Miss Eskari to dinner then, now that our guests are leaving,” the Emperor told Ruud. He turned his yellow eyes to Ayesha. “Captain Ruud will tell you all about himself, and I am certain you will come up with one of your usual masterpieces. These young people should be given an opportunity to enjoy themselves, don’t you think so, Captain Thrawn?”

    Thrawn nodded curtly. Ayesha swallowed again. “With pleasure, Your Majesty,” she mumbled.

    The Emperor chuckled and left, leaving behind him an uncomfortable silence. Ayesha fiddled with the hem of her tunic until Ruud spoke. “So you’re free to go to dinner then? We could do it some other day if you had plans for tonight.”

    She forced a smile. “No, tonight is perfect. Should we get going?”

    He gave her a boyish grin. “That’s great. Give me a moment to talk to Admiral Ozzel and I’ll come and fetch you.”

    She watched him walk back in the almost-empty room. “You know,” she muttered to Thrawn, “I think that chatting up Lord Vader isn’t enough. Maybe I should start dating him instead.”
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous auroral display and Ruud does seem a charming gentleman, humorous and courteous and not full of his own importance. :)
     
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  13. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Dating Lord Vader? I don't know if that's such a good idea. Great update Ruud seems like one of the better male callers Ayesha has had.
     
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  14. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I would have preferred her having lunch with Thrawn.
     
  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks all :)
    Probably not. Last time somebody tried, it didn't have a happy end :p

    And yes, Ruud is a nice guy. It's just that he has this sense of entitlement that's common in male-dominated environments (in my experience at least), so he never even thought of asking Ayesha if she actually wanted to go to dinner with him.

    Gemma don't be so impatient! ;)

    PS: I'm not sure why the word "individually" came out in Greek characters in the post above, but I fixed it :confused:
     
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  16. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Rudd is kind of a SW James Kirk. He's handsome and witty and he knows it. The painting sounds gorgeous! Nice update!
     
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  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =P~ ;)
     
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  18. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Congratulations to Ayesha for her artistic triumph with the Northern Lights room; lovely to see the finished product, with Gungan clay, snow crystal threads, and all. As Thrawn rightly observes, she's definitely got no small amount of guts to make small talk with Vader as a way to avoid Zaarin—but it's to Vader's credit that he's secure enough in his own badassery that he feels no need to make passes at twenty-something artists-in-residence.

    And nice to see an officer who's, well, less of a vulture than the others, with some humility thrown in; definitely very Kirk-Like. :D Though the emperor's little matchmaking maneuver seems very much like he's deliberately trying to push her away from Thrawn toward almost anyone else—perhaps out of anti-non-Human prejudice—and I think Ayesha may be getting that vibe too. Will be interested to see what, if anything, comes of this dinner date, and what the impact will be on Ayesha's growing friendship with Thrawn.
     
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  19. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Your Vader is a Vader that is definitely well written. Witty and intellectual. It shows that Padmé saw more in him than is good looks. :D

    The Emperor tries to play with Thrawn´s feelings. Very dangerous! [face_shame_on_you]
     
  20. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm beginning to believe that you're inside my head. I've been trying to formulate to myself for months which film character Ruud is supposed to remind me of. I had this idea nagging at me in the back of my head, just out of reach, and you found it for me. Thank you! ^:)^
    Yes, that :p
    Armour-clad Vader making passes at anyone... Ewww. I didn't need this image in my head! :eek: But seriously, Vader making passes at women would be totally out-of-character for me. It would ruin his whole story arc if there was another woman in his life after Padmé.
    Thanks! I think I said this already, perhaps in another thread, but when I started working on this story, in the very beginning it was going to be about a Padawan who dropped out of Jedi training to become an artist, and I was planning to have a lot of stuff about Jedi education that would include culture and the arts. As you can see, the story has changed quite a bit since then, but I did keep some bits and pieces here and there, and one of them is the fact that Jedi were taught about a lot more than just the Force.

    On to the next (short) chapter -- but don't worry, from next week on they become longer.

    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Gemma Mando-Man
    Please let me know if you want to be added or removed from the tag list.

    Special thanks (again!) to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [face_love]

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

    Chapter 11: The gift

    Ayesha’s bare feet pattered on the floor as she ran out of her workshop to answer the doorbell. Thrawn was standing in his straight-backed military stance just outside the doorway on the landing pad, despite the fact that it was wide open.

    “I am sorry to turn up unannounced,” he said. “I do not have your comm details. I hope I am not disturbing you.”

    “Not at all,” she replied. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

    “I have come to say my goodbyes. The Vengeance is leaving to the Outer Rim tonight. I should be back in seven months, when this tour of duty is over.”

    She pouted her lips. “Seven months?”

    “It is not unusual for an Imperial Navy officer. But as I already told you once, it is nice to think that I will be missed.”

    She smiled. “Why don’t you come in.” She took a glass from the tray on the table of the Alderaanian conversation circle and waved him towards the workshop. “Let’s sit in here. You don’t mind if I work while we chat, do you?” She pulled a stool from under the table for him and wiped it with a piece of cloth, then poured two fingers of a thick white liquid in the glass and diluted it with water before offering it to him. “Wroshyr sap syrup,” she said. “Ata’ Messiri harvests it from the wall of our house.” The questioning blue-black eyebrow inched upwards. “Our house on Kashyyyk is built inside the tree trunk. She just wedged a tap into the wall of the kitchen, and voila.” He took a cautious sip. “Do you like it?”

    “This is excellent. I must tell you that I have entirely reconsidered my view on Wookiees thanks to you. The description provided in the Navy Handbook on Species does not remotely do them justice.”

    She sat down on the stool in front of the potter’s wheel. The Fijisi wood bust of the faceless woman was gone, replaced by a chromed metallic sculpture that looked halfway between a fish and a spaceship. There was a childlike cheerfulness to it. She took a pair of pliers from the table and twisted gently the fin on the top, then picked a microwelder and a pair of goggles to adjust the welding.

    Thrawn’s gaze travelled from her hands to the mess on the table. There were several preliminary sketches of the sculpt under the tools that were spread around, together with books about crystals and the Rathalayan firestone. “You have been researching the carving of crystals,” he said.

    The tip of her tongue was sticking out of her lips, her face twisted in concentration as she scraped the traces of scoring off the metal fish-ship. “Yes,” she answered finally. “I don’t have much experience with crystals, so I need to train myself. I don’t want to waste the wonderful present you gave me.” She swivelled on her stool to look at the shelf behind her and selected one of the carefully catalogued tools before returning to her piece.

    He looked at the sculpt she was working on. “So you work metal as well.”

    “Not very often. I tend to prefer materials that most sculptors don’t consider noble. My favourite is wood, of course.” There was the eyebrow again. “Living on Kashyyyk will do that to you,” she added with a smile before carving a last notch in the fish-ship. She flipped a switch under the wheel and rotated her piece for Thrawn to see it from all angles. “What do you think? It’s what I made for Matt Ruud.”

    Thrawn examined the sculpt carefully. “I take it that you had a good time with him.”

    “I did, actually. He’s a very nice man and he has a wonderful sense of humour. And the fact that he’s really cute doesn’t hurt,” she added with a grin. “If the Emperor is going to be organizing my dinner dates for me, I’d rather it not be with ugly vultures like Zaarin.” She ran the tip of her finger over the fin. “Captain Ruud is from Kuat and he told me that when he was a kid, he would mess up the words ‘fish’ and ‘ship’. This is just a toy, really, but it kind of matches his personality. And it does fulfil the ‘something-to-remember-you-by’ contract. Do you think he’ll like it?”

    “I am certain he will,” Thrawn murmured.

    There was something indefinable in his voice that made her look up at him. His slightly embarrassed smile caused her eyes to sparkle with mischief. “You’d like to have a present too, wouldn’t you?” His smile turned sheepish, making her laugh. “Who said you won’t? It should already be waiting for you in your quarters on your ship.” She got up and started putting her tools away before turning back to him. “Please don’t tell anyone. Technically I shouldn’t have done this. I’m sure the Emperor knows, seeing as he always knows everything, but I’d rather not shout it from the rooftops.”

    Thrawn nodded and stood up. “To my great regret I must be going. I still have some packing to do. Thank you for the syrup, it was most refreshing.” She escorted him to the door. He stopped on the landing pad and looked at her. “I wish you all the best for the coming months. Please do stay out of the vultures’ way.”

    She smiled. “That I will, Captain. That I certainly will.”


    * * *​

    The young ensign set Thrawn’s bag on the floor and turned back to face the Senior Captain. “The update on the status of the Vengeance is in the datapad on your desk, Sir,” he said. “Lord Jerec will be waiting for your briefing in his private office in one-and-a-half hours. And this came for you this morning.” He handed Thrawn a large parcel.

    “Thank you, Mr. Washeeya. That will be all.”

    The ensign gave a crisp military salute and left. Thrawn set about unwrapping the parcel carefully. The spicy scent of Fijisi wood wafted in the room as the fine tissue paper fell to the floor, revealing the bust of the faceless, screaming woman. It was now shined and polished to perfection. He ran a finger over the shoulder to the only irregularity in the smooth surface, a small circle protruding on the shoulder blade, then lifted the sculpt to examine the markings carved around the base. They read: ‘Ayesha Eskari of clan Vos, of the tribe of the Green Vines of Rwookrrorro.’
     
  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ohmigosh, seven whole months? That'll be a long time for our heroine to go Thrawnless! :eek: Perhaps the sculpture of the faceless screaming woman expresses some of Ayesha's own feelings at that prospect—along with the fact that the piece apparently has great personal meaning for her, since she started out making it (as I recall) for herself, to represent her own feelings about her fellowship. [face_thinking] Well, I guess we'll see if "Matt" (tee hee! :D) ends up being an acceptable substitute... at least he's likable and pleasant, and Ayesha enjoyed her time with him.

    And the syrup sounds tasty... I would love some of that in an Italian soda, perhaps even in a float with ice cream. Not at all surprised that a Chyntuck story would have fascinating details on food as well as art and culture! :cool:
     
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  22. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Aw, how sweet! He will think of her every day. Her talent will inspire him.
    I hope she has a great time with Matt, but not too good a time that she doesn't miss Thrawn.
     
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  23. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    "Ayesha Eskari of clan Vos"

    Does she share a bloodline with a certain Jedi Knight in hiding? I'm going to have to wait to find out aren't I?
     
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  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Oh, seven months. That is a bummer! I hope he will find her safe and happy at his return. The Emperor has too many plots running here and loves to hurt people.
     
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  25. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I like that Thrawn was able to come and say good-bye in person. I adore that she made a gift of the piece that he had seen. 7 months seems like a long time -- but I think it depends on the person.
     
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