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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
    Thrawnlessness is henceforth an official concept on these boards [face_laugh]

    Close enough on the screaming woman... You'll have to wait until next week to find out though [face_devil]

    I see that I need to get creative with the wroshyr syrup. Up to now, I merely imagined it as something half-way between maple syrup and barley water, but you're light-years ahead of me here =P~

    That was a very sweet comment too [face_love]
    Actually not very long. The beginning of your answer is below :)
    Bad Palps. Baaad Palps [face_shame_on_you]

    Yeah, but Thrawn and Ayesha aren't just about anyone, are they? ;)

    Right. On to chapter 12, with many thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading.

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

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

    Chapter 12: The diner

    Seven months later

    The first rays of the rising sun were barely filtering through Coruscant’s clouded skies when Ayesha entered the small, 24-hour diner in Coco Town. She made her way to her favourite corner table and gave a start when she saw the man lounging on the bench hidden behind the booth panel. She came to stand across the table. “Hullo, stranger,” she said with a wide grin. “Long time no see.” Thrawn’s glowing eyes darted up from the datapad he was studying. “You’re up early,” she added.

    “My shuttle landed very late last night, or rather very early this morning,” he replied in his cool, cultured voice. “I am not up, merely continuing my day. What is your excuse?”

    She yawned. “The pangs of hunger. I skipped dinner last night and I didn’t have enough for a decent breakfast at home.” The droid waitress wheeled over. “Hello, Flo.”

    “Your usual caf, honey?” Flo asked.

    “As strong as you’ve got. And please throw in a few of those mean doughnuts of yours. I need to put some sugar in the system.”

    “Sure,” Flo said. “You joining the Capt’ here?”

    Ayesha turned her gaze to Thrawn. “I am sure no one from the Palace will see you having breakfast with me,” he said with an engaging smile.

    “I don’t care about that anymore. Freedom is just around the corner, I have only twelve days to go.” She slipped off her jacket and dropped it on a chair together with her satchel. Thrawn swung his legs off the bench to make space for her. She sat next to him. “I didn’t expect to find you in this place.”

    “Neither did I,” he countered. “How come you know this diner?”

    “My uncle Quin was a regular. He was friends with the former owner. I came here with him when I was a kid.” Flo brought her a mug of steaming black caf. She took a sip of the bitter liquid before looking at Thrawn again. “It’s nice to see you,” she finally said. “Seven months is a long time.”

    He smiled. “It is.”

    They gazed at each other for a moment before speaking at the same time to ask for each other’s news. It made her laugh. “You first,” she said. “After all, you’re the one who left for all these exciting adventures in the Outer Rim.”

    “The Outer Rim and the Unknown Regions,” he corrected. “I escorted High Inquisitor Jerec for a while, then transferred to the Star Destroyer Admonitor for an exploration mission beyond the known Galaxy.”

    “So you weren’t around when the Death Star blew Alderaan?”

    He looked at her carefully. “Why do you think the Death Star was responsible for that?”

    “I can put two and two together, Captain,” she said tersely. “If the Rebellion really had the capacity to blow up planets as the HoloNet News would have us believe, I don’t think you’d have time to chat about Gungan swamp clay with me.” Her face softened. “I’m happy that you’re safe. Truth be told I was a little worried. The shockwave must have been huge.”

    “It was indeed, but I was nowhere near it.”

    There was a silence. “So you’ve been exploring the Unknown Regions?” she asked.

    “Yes, it was essentially a mapping expedition, albeit limited to the very edge of the known Galaxy. We identified some new worlds and collected data about their resources and technology.”

    “Expanding the Empire, uh? I don’t suppose you brought any samples of art from those worlds.”

    His eyes twinkled. “I actually did. As a matter of fact” – he dug into his pocket, pulled out a datacard and inserted it in the datapad – “I expected you to ask this very question. I have already made a copy of the holos for you.” His lips twitched at the surprise on her face. “I did learn a few things about your indecipherable psyche after all, Miss Eskari.”

    She took the datapad with undisguised eagerness and began flicking through the holographs. She vaguely thanked Flo when the waitress brought her a plate of glazed doughnuts and ate with one hand while handling the datapad with the other, zooming in and out of the pictures and asking Thrawn a myriad questions about the various works and the worlds they originated from. She returned again and again to one particular piece, a rough, spiky, egg-shaped sculpt made of an indefinable black material tinted with shades of red. “This is very unusual,” she said finally, her eyes fixed on the screen. “Where did you say it’s from?”

    “A planet called Sernpidal, on the border between the Outer Rim and Wild Space. However, this is not the work of a native artist. I have not identified the species that created it yet, at least not with certainty.”

    She rotated the image. “There’s something about this piece that makes me deeply uncomfortable.” She sank into silence as she keyed forward to other, less disturbing images and finally looked up at Thrawn to see that he was staring at her, his eyes glowing with an unusual phosphorescence. She realized that she had been licking her sugary fingertips absent-mindedly and turned away in embarrassment to wipe them with a napkin.

    “I think it is your turn to answer my questions now,” Thrawn said. “How have you been?”

    “The usual,” she replied with a slight shrug. “Mostly working on my final exhibition. I got sidetracked a few times of course – most notably for a piece for the Imperial Opera Company, for the premiere of an opera called The Agony of Tarkin. I had to sit through the rehearsals, I never thought anyone could cook up such a heap of pompous bantha poodoo.” Thrawn stifled a chuckle. “My exhibition is in twelve days, I need to make sure you get an invitation.”

    “I would be very grateful. Where will it be?”

    “The preview for the Emperor and his guests is in my place, then it will be added to the permanent collection of the Galactic Museum.” The blue-black eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Yes, it’s another perk of the fellowship. I’m trying not to get too used to them, seeing as I’ll have to start selling my art to make a living soon.”

    Thrawn smiled. “I have no doubt many art collectors will be interested.”

    She waved her hand. “I don’t know and to be honest it doesn’t matter to me so much right now. All I’m concerned about is surviving the coming two-and-a-half weeks and finally working my way out of indentured servitude to the Palace.”

    “I take it from your tone that the situation on the vulture front remains unpleasant.”

    She sighed. “Can being around Grand Admiral Zaarin ever not be unpleasant? But it’s not as bad as before.”

    There was another silence. “I am told you have been seen quite often in the company of Captain Ruud, or rather Senior Captain Ruud,” Thrawn finally said. She looked at him questioningly. “News travels fast in the Imperial Fleet, Miss Eskari, especially when it comes to pretty women and up-and-coming young captains favoured by His Majesty.”

    She grinned. “And here I thought that men don’t gossip. Well, yes, it’s true. I actually decided to follow your advice and not attend Palace functions on my own. Matt’s nice, he’s my age, give or take a few years, and as you said he has the Emperor’s favour, so it gave me a measure of protection against the vultures, and the Emperor kind of stopped egging them on. And the fact that he was promoted didn’t hurt. It made my life much easier and we’ve become quite close. Close friends,” she added in response to a microscopic twitch of his eyebrow. “Believe it or not, I’ve been celibate for almost eight months now, and I can tell you that’s a first for me.”

    Flo came around to collect the empty plates and refill their mugs with fresh caf. “What about your family?” he asked.

    Sorrow washed over her face. “Ata’ Messiri passed away. She became ill during the blockade – you know, after Alderaan – and it was too late for her when the blockade was lifted.” Her eyes were welling up. Thrawn offered her a napkin to wipe the tear that was rolling down her cheek. “Thanks,” she said with a small smile. “It was bound to happen anyway, she had this chronic condition, and at least we got to be there for her before... before she was gone. But it’s just... Well, I miss her.” She took a deep breath. “What about you? Did you get to visit your homeworld while you were in the Unknown Regions?”

    “That is not possible for me anymore. As I told you I have been exiled.” The glow in his eyes had become dull and he uncharacteristically avoided her gaze.

    “It must be difficult,” she said softly after a while. “Not to be able to go home.”

    “It is,” he sighed. “Although after so many years I am not certain whether I should call it home anymore. It is rather about wondering what could have been.”

    They finished their caf in a heavy silence and Thrawn asked for the bill before offering to drop her back to her flat. She slipped a hefty tip to Flo on her way out. “Flo doesn’t like bad tippers,” she whispered conspiratorially as they climbed into his speeder. “And I want to make sure they keep making my doughnuts the way I like them.”

    The speeder landed on her pad a few minutes later. Thrawn stayed at the wheel while she climbed out. He pointed at a large bouquet of Ithorian roses in the middle of the platform. “It seems that you have a secret admirer.”

    She buried her face in the blue flowers and inhaled their scent deeply. “Oh, I think this is from a not-so-secret one.” She detached the card from the bouquet. “Yup, I guessed it right. It’s Matt asking me to be his date at the New Year Fete Ball next week.”

    Thrawn nodded, his face as impassive as ever. “I will see you at the Ball with Captain Ruud then.”

    Her eyes sparkled with mischief. “You’ll see me at the Ball, but not necessarily with Captain Ruud.” The blue-black eyebrow travelled up. She shrugged casually. “Well, I don’t know. Someone else could ask me to the Ball before I reply to Matt. You, for instance.”

    The second eyebrow joined the first for a second. He composed himself quickly. “Very well, Miss Eskari.” He got out of the speeder and gave her a formal bow. “Will you do me the honour of allowing me to escort you to the New Year Fete Ball?”

    “I will be delighted, Captain,” she replied with a mock curtsey.

    “I will pick you on New Year’s Eve then,” he said with a smile, and he began manoeuvring the speeder off the landing pad.

    “Come early,” she called after him. “We can have a glass of decent cortyg brandy before we go.”

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

    A/N: If you don't know what's so special about Sernpidal, you need to read Vector Prime (or just its summary on the Wook, because I hate the book and never finished it myself.)
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I loved them accidentally? [face_laugh] running into each other again, the nonverbal sparks and the warm and easy way they talk about all and sundry stuff. :D And the way [face_dancing] she dropped a fat hint that she wanted him to ask her to the ball. [face_love] In Ep7, Luke needs a wife, just like that, just very much. Complicated, vivacious, and bold. ^:)^ Anything else would feel rather bleh-ish. [face_laugh]

    =D=
     
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “I think it is your turn to answer my questions now,” Thrawn said. “How have you been?”

    “The usual,” she replied with a slight shrug. “Mostly working on my final exhibition. I got sidetracked a few times of course – most notably for a piece for the Imperial Opera Company, for the premiere of an opera called The Agony of Tarkin. I had to sit through the rehearsals, I never thought anyone could cook up such a heap of pompous bantha poodoo.” Thrawn stifled a chuckle. “

    Loved the romance and the heartbreaking honesty going on between Thrawny & her. BUT the thought that Tarkin could get an opera... that is so spooky.
     
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  4. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Uncle Quin...I can't wait to see how that turns out. I wonder how Ruud is going to respond to Thrawn showing up with Ayesha
     
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  5. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Very uplifting and sweet chapter --- loved it all --- especially when she hinted for Thrawn to ask her to the ball. Yay!!!
     
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  6. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Matt will be surprised that he isn't taking her to the ball! I am a bit worried about what will happen when her connection to Uncle Quin comes to light.
     
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  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    So thanks to Darth Real Life and a a computer stealing Youngling, I seem to have fallen waaaay behind with my reviews..... Let me say that even though I haven't been able to write as many reviews as I would like, I have really enjoyed reading your story, Chyntuck. Ayesha is a wonderfully interesting OC. You've definitely created a strong, well-rounded heroine without making her a warrior woman. :) She's very convincing as an artist-- you've really captured the "glamorous" life of an artist, constantly covered in something icky (and probably toxic) and dependent on the whims of patrons. Watching her backstory unfold is intriguing-- I'm interested in seeing how her relationship with Uncle Quin plays out (and if this explains them Kashyyk connection.)

    And Thrawn.... I recently finished reading the Thrawn Trilogy and certainly would never have expected to sympathize with him, but I do! You do an excellent job of portraying a younger, less hardened, and even a little romantic Thrawn who is still very much the Thrawn we all know and love (or love to hate). =D=

    Please add me to the tag list!
     
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Nice little "unexpected" ( ;) ) breakfast date with Thrawn at one of Uncle Quin's ( :) ) favorite joints. Sad to hear about Ata’ Messiri's death; I was hoping to meet her and the rest of Ayesha's adoptive family sometime, though maybe we'll still get a chance with some of her survivors. The red-and-black spiked egg is very intriguing, and even more so is the uncomfortable feeling that it gives our heroine; I wonder if we'll find out more about what's behind her reaction. And fun to see her "stepping up her game" in her courtship of Thrawn, as I think we can rightly call it—nice to see her acknowledging his affection in a more forthright way. How will Matt react? I too am curious to see. :D

    Oh, and here's a question I've been meaning to ask: In Wookiee names like Ata’ Messiri and Ada’ Yakooboo, are Ada’ and Ata’ titles of some kind, or part of the name? And whichever they are, is their use based on official sources, or is it a Chyntuck Original?
     
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

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

    I'm answering today, because tomorrow will be hectic with my upcoming trip and all, so I probably won't do anything more than copy-paste the next chapter.
    Hey, this story is called Anánke. Nothing happens accidentally. Just blame it on the Force ;)

    Tarkin getting an opera is actually canon [face_laugh] Not that I knew it, I need to thank ThreadSketch for letting me know about it ^:)^ I just played around with the dates a bit, since in canon it's staged only in 4 ABY.

    Dear fellow Quin fan, you need to update your own fic. We had a deal about this, remember? [face_idea]

    I like gentlemanly guys who bring flowers to girls, but I like girls who ask guys out even better. And Ayesha has got to be this kind of gal, don't you think?

    Ah, yes, but Matt is SW's Kirk, remember? Maybe he knows something we don't :p

    Thanks :) I also re-read bits of TTT while planning for part 3 of this fic, and he's really a likable villain, but a villain nonetheless (and he'll become more villainous as this story goes along [face_mischief], but I tend to root for the villains anyway.)

    I need to say at this point that, being a detective story writer at heart, I have this bad habit of mentioning something in passing in chapter 1 that pops up again in chapter 232 (okay, I'm exaggerating, this story won't have 232 chapters :p) I tried to discipline myself a bit for this story, since I'm publishing it bit by bit and I can't expect you to remember a tiny detail from six weeks ago, but reading your comments I see that nature reared its ugly head and that I did it again. Sigh. Writing fan fiction is really an acquired skill.
    That's definitely a Chyntuck Original! Ata' and Ada' mean mother and father, but I can't remember right now if I decided that Ayesha called her adoptive parents that way because she was an adopted child or if it was a rule in Wookiee families. I need to do some digging in that chaotic pile of handwritten notes that's somewhere on the floor under my desk at home [face_blush]

    Thanks again [:D] Next chapter up tomorrow!
     
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    You like writing detective stories, Chyntuck? Oh, you shouldn't have mentioned that. [face_dancing] I'll have to run something by you once Jan. 2015 starts, since December will be ultra busy for you. [face_batting]
     
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  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Sorry, I didn't mean at all to put you on the spot by pointing those things out! It's just that I love little details like that in fanfiction stories, and you have a real talent for them. :cool: I'm fine with finding out about them whenever the time is right, on the story's own terms. :)
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Agree with Findwoman - such minute details give richness and depth. :cool: =D=
     
  13. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Chyntuck I know I need to update Something to Fear, I have the next update near completion and I haven't forgotten our deal ;)

    With the holidays coming up and Red Fang being my primary story, Something to Fear just got pushed back a little,
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh yes I do! And I'm open to all suggestions, however indecent, starting 01 January :p

    Thanks both! And no, Findswoman, you really have nothing to apologize for -- quite the opposite, it's exceedingly flattering to see that I have such attentive readers [:D] I was just commenting on the fact that writing something that you'll publish in a serialized way comes with its own set of rules, but even though I know that, I don't seem to be able to follow them, but I'll get there (someday, maybe... ;))

    I was teasing you :cool: I never tried working on two entirely different stories at the same time and I imagine it must be a complicated process. I'd really like to know what happens next in Something to Fear though [face_nail_biting]


    On to tiny chapter 13 -- with this, the primarily-romance part of this story comes to an end, and starting on Monday we'll be going in the primarily-drama phase :)

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

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

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

    Chapter 13: The self-portrait

    Ayesha rushed through the atrium to answer the doorbell and came to a halt at the foot of the three steps leading up to the door. Thrawn was standing just outside the open transparisteel panel, looking very formal and elegant in his dress uniform. His glowing eyes swept over her. “You are beautiful,” he said.

    “You like it? I designed it myself, you know.” She spun around gracefully, the luminous layers of her skirt’s zoosha fabric flaring around her ankles to reveal high-heeled dance slippers. The off-the-shoulder, tight-fitting blouse enhanced the line of her neck under her new pixie haircut, and her arms were covered in matching opera gloves, contrasting with her bare midriff. There was a soft blush on her cheeks, she was positively glowing.

    “Very much. Although I fear I will spend my evening keeping the vultures at bay.”

    She grimaced. “You’re such a killjoy. Just ask Matt to give you a few tips, he’s good at it.” She ushered him in. “We have time for a drink.”

    The apartment was eerie. The furniture and decoration had been removed and replaced with statues and flats wrapped in white dust sheets. She led him to the high counter separating the kitchen from the dining area and poured two glasses of cortyg brandy. “Sorry about the mess,” she said. “I started setting up for the exhibition, so it’s all a bit chaotic.”

    The red eyes wandered around the ghostly shapes. “You made all this in the past seven months?”

    “This and more. Some will be displayed in the hallway and the little lounge in the back.”

    “I cannot wait to see it,” Thrawn said after taking in the room one more time. “Is there a theme to these works?”

    She rolled her eyes. “Desire. The Emperor chose it. That was before he gave up on turning me into a Palace whore.” Thrawn’s eyes flashed but he remained silent. “I’m a bit concerned about the fact that these pieces are going to the Galactic Museum, you know. I’m not sure I want posterity to see me as the artist who poured all the contempt in her heart into her sculptures. But I just couldn’t help myself when I thought of the vulture-in-chief.”

    He chuckled. “I have no doubt that there is much more to your sculptures than that.”

    She downed the last of her brandy. “I think we should get going. Let me grab my stole and earrings and I’m all set.”

    She went to walk away but he caught her wrist, placing a flat box in her palm. She looked at him curiously and opened it. Inside were a necklace and matching earrings of shimmering snow crystal threads encased in a glassy material that looked like molten ice. She stared at the jewels in wonder. “This is beautiful,” she finally whispered. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    “A small gift for you from Csilla. I ordered it before my latest tour of duty. I was hoping to have it for the dedication of the Northern Lights room, but unfortunately it did not arrive in time. Or rather fortunately, I should say, since this is the perfect complement to your dress tonight.”

    He watched her put on the earrings and turn around for him to tie the necklace. She heard him suck in a breath as he fiddled with the clasp. His finger traced the curve of her shoulder and came to rest on a round scar on her shoulder blade. “I am so blind,” he muttered.

    She spun to face him again. “The Fijisi wood piece you gave me,” he said uncertainly, “the bust of the screaming woman... is it a self-portrait?”

    She held his phosphorescent gaze steadily. “Yes. And I didn’t just give it to you, I made it for you.”

    They stared at each other a moment longer and suddenly they were kissing passionately, drinking life from each other as if their mouths were parched from a long trek in the desert. He wrapped his arms around her in a bone-crushing embrace while she cupped his head in her hands to pull him closer. The need for oxygen turned one kiss into several, and when they finally parted, the glow in his eyes was so intense that it made her turn crimson.

    “We should go,” she said with a timid smile. “The Emperor will have my head if I arrive late at the Ball.”

    She fetched her stole and walked with him to the landing pad. The sun was sinking under the Coruscant cityscape with glorious colours. He put an arm around her shoulders and kissed her again, demandingly, possessively, before he helped her into the speeder.
     
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    How gorgeous she is and how lovely his gift... but that kiss or several of theirs - made me a happy squee-ing puddle. I was so stoked to read that he had purchased that lovely jewelry set way, way back before. :)

    (Stop reminding me of Sarek/Spock [face_laugh] or I'll never be able to think of Thrawn as anything but lurvable.) =D=

    [:D]

    [:D]
     
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  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “The Fijisi wood piece you gave me,” he said uncertainly, “the bust of the screaming woman... is it a self-portrait?”

    She held his phosphorescent gaze steadily. “Yes. And I didn’t just give it to you, I made it for you.”

    They stared at each other a moment longer and suddenly they were kissing passionately, drinking life from each other as if their mouths were parched from a long trek in the desert. He wrapped his arms around her in a bone-crushing embrace while she cupped his head in her hands to pull him closer. The need for oxygen turned one kiss into several, and when they finally parted, the glow in his eyes was so intense that it made her turn crimson.

    THAT is true passion... [face_love]

    Now their relationship enters new waters. ;)

    I am still mad for the Emperor trying to turn her into a palace whore. :mad:
     
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  17. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Well, about time. Artists are passionate people, after all.

    They belong together! And now it's going to be hard to break them apart. I just hope all thse pheromones don't get the vulture-in-chief thinking of more casually malicious evil to do to them, just because he can.
     
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  18. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Better late than never I guess, you're starting to give me a new image of Thrawn.

    I wonder how Ruud is going to respond to this
     
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  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    We-e-ell. [face_batting] What a lovely, passionate moment—not just the kiss, but also the moment when he traces her shoulder and presumably notices the similarity in shape to the wooden statue. This definitely heralds a new phase in their relationship. Love how the passion adds extra glow to Thrawn's eyes. These two will be the beaux of the ball for sure. Though like many of the other commenters, I'm now all the more worried about what's next for them, particularly once they arrive back among the vultures and His Imperial Highness...

    And I see I was at least sort of right about the screaming-woman statue! [face_dancing]

    Edit: Between the description of Ayesha's ball gown and the earlier descriptions of her more workaday attire in this an "A Tree Dweller in Imperial City," I almost want to try making an Ayesha Eskari custom doll! (Which is a sort of hobby I had once upon a time...)
     
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  20. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Had to check this out after your Tree-dweller entry in the challenge and I'm so glad that I did! It's beautifully characterized and Ayesha is such a lovely person that I want her and Thrawn to win against the odds (unfortunately, the hints of doom aren't exactly going away from what I can tell.) All the details of various cultures (especially her Wookiee family) are so real-feeling. Generally, just everything about this has a sense of substance. I'm really enjoying the development of Ayesha's relationship with Thrawn and dreading that something will happen to ruin things. The Emperor's unsettling interest in tormenting Ayesha just doesn't bode well. (And I can't help but wonder what was going on with the Zygerrian festival thing. I have a couple of suspicions but don't want to speculate before we know.)
     
  21. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Lovely update - I liked how he touched her shoulder while putting the necklace on her and then the heated kisses of passion. I hope there is more, please.
     
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  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    It seems that this was squee-ing puddle week on the boards. There's a very crowded puddle in ThreadSketch 's fic as well :p

    Save your energy on that one. You might need it again later ;)

    [face_laugh] I'd actually be grateful if (at least one of) you guys and gals told me if I let this drag too much. I never wrote anything with a love story as a backdrop to the main plot, so I'm not too sure if any of this should be re-written and shortened.
    Hey, Thrawn is still a villain -- he's not a villain to Ayesha, but he's still a villain in general ;)
    I wish I could have that sort of hobby... Unfortunately I was born with two left hands, as they say in French -- in my case it might even be four left feet -- so anything manual is a hopeless endeavour for me. Did you check out Azure's art thread? She's pretty talented in that department too.

    Welcome to this story [:D] and thanks so much! I hope you continue enjoying it.

    Ask and you shall receive :)

    On to chapter 14. This chapter contains spoilers for the Slaves of the Republic comics series.

    Tags: AzureAngel2 Findswoman Mando-Man Raissa Baiard
    Special tag for [face_love][face_love][face_love] Gemma [face_love][face_love][face_love] who has been waiting for this scene.
    Please let me know if you want to be added or removed from the tag list.

    And as always, thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading [:D]

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

    Chapter 14: Anakin Skywalker

    The ballroom of the Imperial Palace was glittering under the light of the chandeliers as hundreds of elegant men and women milled about the sumptuous hall. The Emperor’s advisors and the Grand Admirals were already standing on the stage behind the throne, waiting for His Majesty to arrive. Thrawn led Ayesha to one of the tables on the far side of the room, where Senior Captains were to be seated. Many faces followed them as they wove their way through the crowd, mesmerized by the sight of the only alien officer of the Imperial Navy and the radiant woman who was holding his arm.

    Laughing blue eyes greeted them when they finally reached a table in the far corner. “Captain Thrawn, sir,” Matthias Ruud said with a crisp bow, “I should’ve known that you’d steal my date as soon as you got back.”

    Ayesha gave him a wry smile as she folded her stole on the back of a chair. “It’s nice to see you too, Matt.”

    “And I believe there is no need for you to call me ‘sir’ anymore, Captain Ruud,” Thrawn said in his even voice. “My congratulations for the promotion, I have not yet had the opportunity to present them to you in person.” He let go of Ayesha for a moment to shake hands with Matt, then somehow made sure that her hand was once again warm on his arm.

    “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, sir,” Ruud said, emphasizing the address. “I learned more from you in Carida than from all my other instructors put together. So you can forget about me not calling you ‘sir’, sir.” He turned to Ayesha with a broad grin. “And the best part of it is that, because he’s not a sir, he can’t order me not to call him ‘sir’ anymore.” She laughed. “So how are your preparations going?” he asked, changing the subject.

    She shrugged. “Seven days to go and a million things to do. It’s panic time.”

    “You poor thing. You didn’t come to the Shaldania Parade this morning, did you?”

    Her answer was cut short by three loud bangs announcing the Emperor’s entrance. She dropped into a deep curtsey together with all the women in the room while the men bowed in unison. The Emperor made his way to the throne and gave a brief speech before finally announcing that the festivities had begun.

    A middle-aged, rather nondescript Navy officer joined their little group and was introduced to Ayesha as Captain Firmus Piett. They were in the middle of inconsequential small talk when the three men stiffened to attention. She looked askance and saw that Darth Vader was standing at her side.

    “You were a slave of Zygerria,” he said without preamble. His gloved finger was pointed at the brand scar on her shoulder blade.

    She swallowed. “Yes, My Lord.” Captain Piett gave her a startled look.

    “When were you freed?”

    “It was in the second year of the Clone Wars, My Lord. During the Auction of a Million Souls.” Darth Vader’s black mask nodded, prompting her to say more. She bowed her head as her voice became a whisper. Captain Piett leaned closer to listen despite himself. “I was a child at the time, I was being trained to become a dance slave, and my owner...”

    “Your master?” Captain Piett interjected.

    She raised her chin and gave him a fiery glare. “He was my owner, not my master, Captain,” she hissed fiercely. “He may have owned my body but he never, ever mastered my soul.”

    Piett took a step back. “You are right, of course, Miss Eskari,” he mumbled contritely. “Please accept my most sincere apologies, I did not intend to offend you.”

    She stared at him for a moment, until Thrawn gently touched her hand to remind her that Darth Vader was waiting. “My owner was trying to sell me to the Zygerrian queen. I was in her throne room in the palace and I was chained in a corner. I was being punished because I had been headstrong.” She took a deep breath. “An old man, I believe he was the Separatist leader, had a big argument with the queen. He swept her guards away and strangled her with his mind. And then the Jedi came. He simply raised his hand and the old man flew in the air and crashed against the wall. The Jedi tried to heal the queen but she was already dying. And then he saw me. I was cowering in my corner and crying, I was so scared.” An eerie smile floated over her face. “The Jedi waved his hand and my chains clattered to the ground. That moment... it was like seeing the sun for the very first time.” She paused and steadied herself. “And he told me to run. I hadn’t even made it to the door when a bald woman sprang in from the landing pad and assaulted him with two lightsabers. The old man came to and attacked him as well. He was battling both of them at once, the red and blue flashes of their lightsabers were flaring in all directions. It was like being caught in the middle of a firestorm, it was the most terrifying and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. They were going to overpower him when he leapt out of the window to escape. I was crying so hard that I passed out. Later, other Jedi and clone troopers came and took me and they brought me to Coruscant. And that... that is what happened.”

    Only Darth Vader's mechanical breathing could be heard over the ballroom hubbub as the three Navy officers stood in stunned silence. “Did you ever find out the name of the Jedi?” Matt asked.

    Ayesha shook her head. Darth Vader finally spoke. “His name was Anakin Skywalker.” And without another word, he turned around and strode away, leaving Ayesha pale and trembling, clinging on to Thrawn’s arm for dear life.

    “I think you should sit down, My Lady,” Captain Piett said. There was deep respect in his voice.

    She lowered herself into a chair and a glass of wine materialized in her hand. She was still trying to pull herself together when a young ensign came to fetch Thrawn, saying that the Emperor was requesting his presence. Concern crept into his gaze; he had not taken his eyes off her since Darth Vader had appeared at her side. She waved him away. “I’m fine,” she said. “Don’t keep the Emperor waiting.” Thrawn’s glowing eyes moved to Matt. A nod of understanding passed between the two men, and he turned on his heel and left.

    Matt crouched next to Ayesha. “You never told me this.”

    “Of course I never did. It takes the threat of Lord Vader’s wrath for me to talk about it.” Her tone was terse and wry at the same time. Piett gave an embarrassed smile but relaxed as Matt's infectious laughter caught upon him. He soon warmed to the conversation. He had served with several Jedi as a young officer during the Clone Wars and regaled Ayesha and Matt with tales of deeds so astounding that they often had to ask him if he was pulling their leg. Ayesha had recovered now and was listening to him with great interest when she caught a glimpse of a white uniform in the distance. The piece of music performed by the orchestra was coming to an end and Grand Admiral Zaarin was bowing to the woman he had been dancing with and edging their way. She tugged Matt’s sleeve and pointed her chin fractionally.

    “Captain Piett, will you do Miss Eskari a favour?” Matt asked.

    Piett nodded. “Anything.”

    “You just remembered that you have something very important to tell to Grand Admiral Zaarin and you’re going to keep him as far away from here as possible for as long as possible.” Piett gave him a knowing look – Zaarin’s predatory attitude towards women was legendary in the Palace. He bowed deeply to Ayesha and walked away in long strides, catching the Grand Admiral before he could leave the dance floor and engaging him in an animated conversation as he casually steered him to the other side of the ballroom.

    Matt turned to Ayesha. “You have a new ally,” he said with a grin. “Knowing him, he’ll never forgive himself for that blunder and he’ll bend over backwards for you. You okay now?” She nodded. He pulled her to her feet. “Then I get to steal a dance or more before that dashing blue Captain of yours comes back.” And he swept her to the dance floor.

    Matt was a very good dancer. She lost herself to the music as they weaved in and out of the crowd, her layered skirt flaring around her legs to reveal her small feet flying over the ground. Matt’s running commentary on the various people swinging around them made her laugh and the soft blush was back on her cheeks when the corner of her eye finally caught a blur of pale blue and glowing red on the edge of the dance floor.

    The last notes of the Alderaanian waltz were fading away when the lights suddenly went off and the transparisteel panels on the wall slid open. The crowd applauded politely as fireworks blossomed in the skies of Coruscant to signal the passage of the New Year. Matt pulled her closer with the arm that was still wrapped around her waist and planted a long kiss on her temple. “Happy New Year, little woman,” he whispered in her ear. “May it bring you the love and joy you so deserve.”

    Thrawn looked on impassively as they made their way to him and gave them a curt nod when they finally came to a halt. Matt complimented Ayesha on her dancing and took off to catch up with some friends who were waving at him. The red eyes followed him in a long, hard stare as he walked away, then returned to Ayesha.

    “Is there something wrong?” she asked after a moment.

    “I am not sure,” he answered, tilting his head slightly to the side in an unspoken question.

    She looked at him in puzzlement until the orchestra struck up a new tune. It was a duple-step from Corellia. “Aren’t you going to invite me to dance?” she asked to break the awkward silence. “You’re my date tonight, you know,” she reminded him with a small grin.

    Without a word he took her hand and led her to the dance floor. The music picked up pace as they moved through the steps of the dance, sometimes together, sometimes apart, never taking their eyes off each other. She was flying now, defying gravity, her feet barely brushing the polished floor as she circled and twirled and bowed around him like the winds of a storm unleashed. She raised her arms gracefully to the ceiling and brought her hands down around his head, as if to pull him into a kiss. His face was millimetres from hers when he caught her waist and pushed her in a deep back bend, her frame arching over his knee, one hand warm between her shoulders and the other on the swell of her hip as the music faded away.

    Thunderous applause echoed across the ballroom and Ayesha realized that they were alone in the middle of the dance floor. She blushed crimson and gave Thrawn a shy curtsey as he pulled her up and escorted her to the side of the room. The Emperor’s yellow eyes followed them from the throne and she could feel the weight of hundreds of stares as they reached their table. Before she knew it, Grand Admirals Zaarin and Tigellinus were standing in front of her, asking her for a dance.

    “I’m afraid that won’t be possible tonight, gentlemen,” she said politely but firmly. “It is already past midnight and, as you both know, I have a rather busy week ahead.”

    Thrawn placed her stole over her shoulders and offered his arm again, standing tall and regal in front of the two admirals. She heard Zaarin mutter something about cheap sluts and uppity aliens to Tigellinus as they walked away, and turned around to give him a look of utter contempt. To her great satisfaction, she saw that several younger officers were also staring at him with expressions ranging from disappointment to loathing.

    They flew back to her flat in silence. She slipped her hand in Thrawn’s as he helped her out of the speeder and led her to the door. He gazed at her with his glowing eyes and suddenly pulled her in a tight embrace. His tongue explored every corner of her mouth until he finally let her go.

    “I should leave,” he said.

    “No,” she whispered, pulling him inside. “You should stay.”
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Loving the process. Love stories as a backdrop are my cuppa tea. :D And this chapter was worth the wait =D= Ayesha's continued revelations make me admire her all the more. @};- Her dance with Thrawn - quite the picture I know they made. :D

    Matt is a gallant and true friend. :)

    I know she won Piett's genuine respect. He'll have her back with the vulturistic crowd too. [face_thinking]

    ~

    Perfect moment to fade to black Chyntuck. :) =D= A very natural and fine progression to this point. The friendship-building and undertones of romance up to now were very well orchestrated. Authors can make them feel rushed or artificial. But 99% of that is having a likable romantic interest for the canon character, which Ayesha totally is.
     
  24. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Lovely - I especially loved the description of her escape. After all he has done, Vader still wants a part of him to be remembered for doing something good.
     
    Kahara, Gemma, AzureAngel2 and 3 others like this.
  25. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow. :) Most definitely the beaux of the ball, even more so with their chance to shine on the dance floor by themselves. Yet more fascinating insights into Ayesha's past, which also show us the glimmers of good still present in Vader. Nice Kirk-like moments with Matt Ruud, who's a surprisingly good sport and definitely a true friend. The romance between Ayesha and Thrawn really and truly has entered new, climactic territory here [face_love], but with the vultures and the Palpster looming in the background... what will the implications be...? [face_thinking] Still, main thing for now is that these two belong together.
     
    Kahara, Gemma, AzureAngel2 and 2 others like this.