28: Nice to see Simon resettled on Naboo and Uumana given a proper burial in a beautiful and serene place. Nice too to see Ayesha and Simon interacting as friends again; she has a point about wanting to be treated as a friend rather than as a patient. Though I'm trying to make sense of the reason she gave for not going to see Luke in person. It seems as though she fears that she will cause the death of more of her friends if she goes and sees him—but I guess I just don't get how she makes that jump (though I certainly understand her grief over Tam's family's fate). She seems very much to be letting her fears—irrational and otherwise—stand in the way of her taking any real action toward healing or seeking help, which worries me. I hope at least that her time back on good old Nirauan, as I think we can now call it, will be a helpful change of scene. The way things have been going with all Ayesha and Thrawn's friends back in the Core Worlds (more on that later), it's at least good that they have a sort of "reserve" group of friends way out here, though other menaces certainly loom (like these Far Outsiders), and I hope some of them come back from their various commitments soon so that Ayesha can be refreshed by their friendship. Especially if she's going go off on somnambulistic excursions around the Fortress grounds—very curious indeed, making me think that there is something more at work here than just another episode (as if one can really say "just" about those). 29: And the plot thickens as said somnambulistic excursions go on for four whole days... and then, OH NO, RUMPYYYYYY!!! At least he went bravely, helping his Rryi-Bashi to safetly—but oh gosh, what a way to go, eaten to the bone by those horrid... things that came seemingly out of nowhere! (They reminded me a bit of [hl=black]those mysterious black nit-like things Ayesha saw back in that Yuuzhan Vong painting, only on a grander scale[/hl], and I can't help but think that their presence means that [hl=black]those same Vong are not far behind[/hl].) What will it mean for Ayesha to be without her tender brother—the very last surviving member of her Wookiee family? No wonder she wishes it were all just a terrible dream. Thank goodness for those leathery avians, though—what a blessing that they were there to help her. They seem almost like a silent version of the eagles in The Hobbit, and I am intrigued to see whether we'll learn more about them later. (Are they in canon?) You know, I have to say—between Onion, Tashi, Kal, Mira, Tam, and now Rumpy, there's been a lot of death over these last several chapters—and that all comes on top of Uumana's and Yakooboo's untimely deaths earlier in the story. Of course dire times do lead to dire events, as we saw on Coruscant under the Isard'shchina (to borrow Russian terminology of a certain period), but to have yet more of it happen just as we thought our hero and heroine escaped all that... oh man, that made it hit especially hard. (I'll also say that it was right after reading this that I learned of David Bowie's death, too.) Knowing (or at least guessing) that [hl=black]the very violent and gruesome YV are just around the corner[/hl] makes me doubly worried, but I'll try to brace myself for more to come.