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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
    Since we've been discussing how to develop OCs, I'll give you the trick I used for Onion: imagine Thrawn, take the opposite ;)

    ... and I didn't even choose that one consciously! I need to scour my fic and eliminate all further references to onions, before Papa Freud has something to say about it :p

    Thanks!

    The funniest bit for me was trying to picture Thrawn's reaction to finding himself with a one-year-old on his lap [face_laugh] Imagine the awkward, stern, impassive face... I thought of writing it down, but then there was something so obvious about it that I thought I'd let the readers imagine it on their own.
     
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  2. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    *sits down with a mug of hot chocolate and patiently waits for the next chapter* :)
     
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  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Haha! You even know my schedule [face_laugh] It's a bit messed up today actually, because I'm in an airport between two flights, but this is as good a time as ever to post ;)

    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.

    Dear beta-reader Nyota's Heart [face_love] [:D] ^:)^

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

    Chapter 19: Contradictions

    Their life settled into a pattern over the next month and a half. Ayesha went out with friends on Centaxday and Taungsday every week – she was a creature of habit, she said, and that particular habit dated back to her time in the Academy – and Thrawn spent those nights alone in his quarters in the Palace. On every single other evening, he came to her as soon as his working day was over. He rang the doorbell and stood outside the transparisteel panel until she ushered him in. Her door was always open when she was at home, as was custom on Kashyyyk, and she asked him once why he didn’t just walk in. “I am here by your leave, Ayoo’sha,” he said in his even voice. “It is only fitting that I wait until you allow me into your home.”

    When she gave him a perplexed look, he pulled her into a spine-shattering kiss and left it at that.

    There were a few times when there was that swirl of molten lava in his eyes after he had spent the day in meetings with senior officials and Grand Admirals. On those nights, Ayesha pulled him to the ‘fresher without saying a word and stayed with him under the hot water until his anger washed away. On most evenings however, he simply hugged her tightly and disappeared to the bedroom to change out of his uniform. They had dinner out when he could free himself early enough, but more often than not, his obligations kept him in the Palace until late. He would collect the plate of food waiting for him on the stove and bring it to her workshop. She cleared a corner of the table for him and he sat there to eat, watching her work at her potter’s wheel and listening as she chattered away.

    Ayesha and Tashi had secured together a commission for three monumental pieces from the Coruscant Public Transportation Authority, and Ayesha did not hide her relief when she told Thrawn that she wouldn’t have to worry about making a living for the coming year. “This is like pulling an Idiot’s Array when the sabacc pot is overflowing with credits,” she said with a radiant smile. “It’s not much effort, it’s obscenely well paid and the deadline in ten months is ridiculous.” The commission left her plenty of time to busy herself with works that were dear to her heart, and he observed with fascination as the most astonishing pieces materialized under her deft fingers.

    Sometimes one or another of her close friends dropped by to borrow some exotic tool or simply to chat. Ayesha brought out a bottle of cortyg brandy and Thrawn participated actively in the animated discussions about sculpture and art. His knowledge of the subject was as vast as it was detailed and his heated arguments with Onion soon became a ritual – “or rather one-sided arguments,” Tashi said with her wide grin. “Onion has as big and dirty a mouth as any Dug but the Capt’ never loses his cool.”

    Ayesha was particularly cheerful when she was experimenting with a new variety of wood, and she spoke at length of life on Kashyyyk and the elaborate yet utilitarian carvings created by Wookiees. She showed Thrawn once a flat wooden box where she kept a small bowcaster and a miniature Kashyyyk clarion. “My brother Rabarruk made these for me so that I could go hunting with him. I’ll never be strong enough to handle the Wookiee ones, so he decided there should be some my size. Not that I’m much of a hunter but I like having them.” She caressed the surface of the box with her fingers, her face taking that particular softness she reserved for her younger brother. The lid was carved clumsily in the same pattern as her lineage shield. “This was Rumpy’s first carving. He made it when Ada’ Yakooboo was working on my khraashyr. He says he wants to be a hunter but I think he’ll become an artisan. He’s very talented, you know.”

    Thrawn had learned his lesson since their conversation about Old Kiffar and the Kiffu Guardians and he carefully avoided the subject of her childhood despite his lingering curiosity, until he found her one afternoon working on a piece that she was intending to donate to a fundraiser for street younglings. Under his gentle prodding, she spoke about her time in the Coruscant Underlevels. She told him a little haltingly of the mixture of fear and elation she had experienced when she’d had to defend her newfound freedom by scavenging in dark passageways haunted by shady creatures where help had always come in the most unexpected guises.

    He chuckled when she told him how, as a child, she had wanted to dye her hair purple like Khaleen Hentz, whom she had seen as the most beautiful woman in the Galaxy because of the star-shaped tattoo on her stomach. “Please let me choose the dye when you go ahead with it, Ayoo’sha,” he said with a twinkle of his eyes. “Some shades of purple can be quite jarring when displayed next to light blue and my reputation as an aesthete might be at stake if I were to be mismatched with you.”

    She also told Thrawn about her Jedi uncle Quinlan Vos. She worshipped the ground he had walked on, and she spoke of the Jedi in general with unrequited admiration. She shrugged when Thrawn asked for her opinion of the official Imperial line that the Jedi had been traitors to the Republic. “How could that even matter to me, Thrawn? The Jedi in my life shone like a light in the dark.”

    He told her how his first and only encounter with a Jedi had entailed Master Jorus C’baoth turning to the Dark Side and seeking to choke him with the Force. “Yes,” she said with a shudder, “the Dark Side of the Force is a terrible thing.” And she returned to her work. There was the haunted look in her eyes again and Thrawn dropped that line of conversation.

    He managed a few times to take Benduday off – there was not much rest to be had in the Imperial Navy. They paid a visit to Nazmat Koch. The eccentric old lady’s health was deteriorating and she couldn’t pull herself to her feet to greet them, but her gaze remained sharp and her wit even sharper.

    “Your Master has a way of making me feel like a schoolboy who has not done his homework,” Thrawn told Ayesha as they left.

    “Yes, she does that,” she said with a hearty laugh. “If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. I saw her talk to the Emperor once, and even he was cowering under her stare.”

    A few weeks later, they took Tam to the Holographic Zoo of Extinct Animals and the little boy spent his afternoon squealing with delight on Thrawn’s shoulders at the sight of the various long-gone creatures that populated the museum. There was an entire new section dedicated to now-defunct species from Alderaan, and Tam was cheering as they weaved through the holograms of great thrantas flapping their wings. Ayesha kept her smile on for Tammy until they dropped him back at his parents’ home, but she declined Mira’s offer to stay for dinner and her face was dark when they reached her apartment.

    She usually avoided questioning Thrawn about his work – she understood that, as a civilian, she could not be privy to military matters – but after returning from the zoo, she cornered him and asked unrelentingly about the Rebellion, the Death Star and the destruction of Alderaan. He reverted to his arrogant Navy officer persona and answered her questions with curt, precise sentences. He explained about the Tarkin Doctrine of intimidating rebel systems into submission – a strategy he personally disagreed with, he said, it was sometimes counterproductive, but law and order were paramount given the various threats in the Galaxy and, for better or for worse, the Tarkin Doctrine was the policy of the Imperial Navy.

    Ayesha shrugged angrily. “There is no better or worse in such a matter, Thrawn. That Death Star was an abomination. No one would build such a weapon if they didn’t think it’s okay to blow away billions of lives just to make an example.”

    He gazed at her for a long moment, then pulled her into one of his sudden, lingering kisses. She was so startled that she asked what took him. “You reminded me that I have a soul,” he said cryptically, and without another word he lifted her in his arms and took her to bed.

    Their nights together were moments of exquisite delight, a fine balance between intense passion and delicate tenderness. Thrawn was a different man every time he bedded her. There were days when he was possessive and dominant, almost brutal, yet never unkind. There were other days when he was languid and teasing, stroking her with expert hands and nibbling her with gentle lips, his caresses growing to a frenzy as she whimpered for more. Sometimes she decided that she should be in the driver’s seat, and she woke him up in the small hours of the morning for what she called an after-midnight. She let her small hands run over his body, moulding his every muscle like one of her sculptures, and she teased him with touch and sound until primal instinct took over and they exploded together in a supernova of lust.

    She soon noticed that he was at his most vulnerable when, sweat-soaked and panting, he was murmuring in her ear in Cheunh, and she shamelessly admitted to taking advantage of it to get him to talk about himself. He told her about his childhood on Csilla, his adoption by the Eighth Ruling Family of the Chiss Ascendancy, his commission in the Chiss Expansionary Defence Fleet and his years of exile on a jungle planet. He spoke of his brother’s disappearance with a deep sense of loss. He remained however tight-lipped about the circumstances and no amount of cajoling would pry another word from him. He told her instead how he had stowed away on the Strikefast to escape from exile, and the story of how he had kept a team of His Majesty’s finest troops running around in circles had her roaring with laughter.

    When she tried to broach the subject of his brother’s disappearance again, he entwined himself around her and said, “It is my turn to ask you to drop this matter, Ayoo’sha. There are stories that are simply not to be told. There are beings in this Galaxy too vile for you to know about, and if I can protect you from even hearing their name, I will.”

    “I’m not a fragile doll,” she snapped angrily.

    He pulled back a little to gaze at her. “No, you are not. You are a contradiction.” She gave him a look that was half curiosity, half fury. It made him smile, and he hugged her tighter and lulled her to sleep.

    There was an indefinable sense of puzzlement emanating from him, an uncertainty, a hesitation that perplexed her. He surprised her more than once by acting with the formal politeness of a perfect stranger, in the first week going as far as asking for her permission to do something as simple as to help himself to a glass of water. She would sometimes catch a glimpse of him staring at her with his trademark arched eyebrow, even though she was merely in the middle of some chore in the kitchen or simply putting a datacard back on its shelf. Or he would stop speaking and tilt his head to the side in the middle of a sentence, and gaze at her for a moment before resuming his train of thought. One morning she woke up to find him at her side, propping himself up on his elbow with his head in his hand and looking at her as if expecting an answer to some unspoken question. She stretched and yawned, and, now wide awake, she asked him why he was always scrutinizing her like an art expert authenticating a piece for an auction.

    “Because you are a contradiction,” he said again, as if it were the most obvious thing in the Galaxy.

    She grimaced. “Would you care to elaborate?”

    He leaned to kiss her shoulder. “You are a unique, a beautiful, a luminous contradiction.” She gave him a glare of impatience when he didn’t say more, and a scathing retort came to her lips, but his mouth was already over hers and there was no need to talk.

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

    Notes:

    About Thrawn's encounter with C'baoth and his brother's disappearance, the explanation is in Timothy Zahn's Outbound Flight (chapters 22 and 24 respectively)

    To find out how Thrawn stowed away on the Strikefast, you want to read (if you haven't done so yet) a short story by Timothy Zahn called Mist Encounter, originally published in the Star Wars Adventure Journal 7. It's one of my favourite Zahn stories and it's absolutely hilarious.
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I loved how they wove their days and nights together with talk, domesticity of dinners in or out, with friends or not, how they can be so candid, passionate, and vulnerable. :)

    That last line was full of poetry, besides being true. =D= I think that level of fascination with what makes a person tick lends itself marvelously to the friendship and then to the romance. [face_thinking]

    [:D] !!!
     
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  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Nice to see how these two have molded their lives and daily routines around each other by now. And of course they continue to learn more about each other; like Ny says, their deep interest in each other as people is what makes their bond strong. Interesting (but of course not surprising) that Thrawn has his own secrets, too, and to compare Ayesha's response to them to the way Thrawn repsonded to her secrets—almost polar-opposite reaction in some ways. I wonder if there will be a sort of Bluebeard's Castle effect (on both sides) in store for these two eventually... [face_thinking]

    And I must say, as a mom myself, that even though her face was dark afterward, it was awfully, amazingly good on Ayesha to take Tam out for a day at the holozoo, no doubt allowing Mira some much-needed mom alone time. (I would mention that, wouldn't I? :D ;) )
     
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  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I love her being his contradiction, his reminder to have a soul. Such relationships are unique and need to be cherished!

    @};-
     
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  7. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I like the introspection here. They are still learning so much from each other.
     
  8. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    Sorry I am a little bit behind in reading. I do love a woman who know what she wants and is not afraid to voice it to her man. I remember you telling me to be patient --- wow has it been worth the wait!!! Loved how their lives have become intertwined. I too especially love the shower invite. And how he cuts off her words with a loving kiss. I also loved the little sized bowcaster that her brother made her -- sweet.
     
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the nice comments, and of course for taking the time to read!

    I forgot yesterday to include a few notes about references to Timothy Zahn's works (that'll teach me to be posting from airports [face_shame_on_you]) so I edited my post to add them.

    Findswoman I'm not sure I understand what the "Bluebeard's Castle effect" means. Is it to find out things you'd rather not know? (and yes, you'd definitely mention mom me-time ;))
     
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  10. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Still here, still love this story! Especially liked the intro of Ayesha's old friends. I think Thrawn passed some tests there. (Onion! :p) And the development of their relationship is always a treat; they are so wrapped up in each other but can never entirely know what is going on in the other's mind. It's sad to think that this would become the Thrawn we know from the books -- whom I liked as a character, but cannot think was talking much about souls by that point in his career.
     
  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Bluebeard is a French folktale. A young woman marries a much older man who is cloaked in mystery. He is not good for her nor is her own curiosity about him.

    The wonderful Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés puts it this way in her book "Women who run with wolves", which I have read many years ago during my kindergarden job training:

    "Many women have literally lived the Bluebeard tale. They marry while they are yet naive about predators, and they choose someone who is destructive to their lives. They are determined to "cure" that person with love. They are in some way "playing house." One could say that they have spent much time saying, "His beard isn't really so blue."
    While it may be the woman's actual mate who denigrates and dismantles her life, the innate predator within her own psyche concurs. As long as a woman is forced into believing that she is powerless and/or is trained to not consciously register what she knows to be true, the feminine impulses and gifts of her psyche continue to be killed off.
    The deceitful promise of the predator is that the woman will become a queen in some way, when in fact her murder is being planned. There is a way out of all this, but one must have a key.
    The key is both permission and endorsement to know the deepest, darkest secrets of the psyche, in this case the something that mindlessly degrades and destroys a woman's potential.
    Asking the proper question is the central action of transformation —in fairy tales, in analysis, and in individuation. Questions are the keys that cause the secret doors of the psyche to swing open.
    • Where do you think that door is, and what might lie beyond it?
    • What is behind the visible?
    • What is it which causes that shadow to loom upon the wall?
    • What is not as it appears?
    • What do I know deep in my ovaries that I wish I did not know?
    • What of me has been killed, or lays dying?
    Those who would develop consciousness pursue all that stands behind the readily observable: the unseen chirping, the murked window, the lamenting door, the lip of light beneath a sill. They pursue these mysteries until the substance of the matter is laid open to them."
     
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, AzureAngel2, that's quite a deep analysis! :cool: Yep, that's exactly the story I was thinking of—just because our two protagonists both have a lot of secrets and are very curious about each other's secrets, and what might happen if the curiosity on one or both sides gets satisfied...? :eek:
     
  13. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Findswoman You and AzureAngel2 have expressed summed up what I was thinking far more eloquently than I could. (My thoughts were more along the lines of "keeping secrets like that is going come back to bite them in the butt.")

    Agree with this. Thrawn was a great villain; that you've so successfully made him a romantic leading man is a testament to your skill =D=

    Now I need to read "Outbound Flight" and find Zahn's short story, so I can figure out Thrawn's secret before Ayesha does. :) ETA: yay! My library's e-book site had "Outbound Flight," and double yay, the short story is included!
     
  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Findswoman: Oh, thank you. I really, really seem to have deeper thoughts again now that I am on my well deserved Christmas holidays. I love working with kindergarten kiddos (starting from age 2 up to age 6), but it happens very often in the evening that I just crash down on the sofa or the bed. Not much thinking going on there. Just sleep.


    Raissa Baiard: I find your short analysis very sharp and witty as well. :D
     
  15. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

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

    Here's a bulk answer about the Bluebeard Castle's effect -- thank you for this, it's very interesting! I knew about the tale, but it isn't a very popular one out here (not in my family/school at least) and I kind of had it in the back of my mind without ever really thinking about what it meant. And yes, there's an element of that in this story (although I had it phrased like Raissa Baiard ;) ), but I'm not going to say too much more because it would be a major spoiler :p

    A question to you all. Should I include more about Thrawn's backstory in my posts? I read and re-read Zahn's books so many times while writing this that I've pretty much memorized them by now, but I imagine not everyone has. I don't want to integrate it in the narrative so as not to overload it, but I could put end notes behind a spoiler tag. Please let me know if you think it's necessary.
    I hope you enjoy them! I quite liked Outbound Flight, although I find that the Anakin/Obi-Wan subplot was superfluous, but I loooove that short story. And you don't need to read OF first, it's a good standalone that you can read in less than an hour.



    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 I luuuuv my beta-reader Nyota's Heart as always.

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

    Chapter 20: The holosculpture

    Ayesha collected her luggage and gazed at the crowd in the spaceport until she caught sight of Thrawn. He’d been assigned to the Emperor’s Retreat on Naboo for two months and insisted that she join him, at least for a short while. She was reluctant at first – she avoided the Imperial Court like the blue shadow virus since the end of her fellowship and declined invitations to official events whenever possible – until he told her that the Emperor was not expected in Naboo for at least three weeks. He then buried his face in her neck and murmured, “I remember you mentioning that I should not leave your bed empty, Ayoo’sha. Do you really wish to be left to such a lonely fate?” It made her laugh, and she rearranged her work schedule with Tashi to allow for a five-day trip.

    She gasped with admiration as they flew across the lush countryside. Her face darkened a little when she saw the Retreat in the distance – there was something ominous about the place, she said – but Thrawn steered the speeder across the gardens to a small house beyond the main building. It was obviously intended to be servants’ quarters, perhaps a gamekeeper’s, and she gave him a curious look.

    “Some members of the Inquisitorius who are currently in residence did not want my company,” he explained as he lifted her travel bag and carried it to the door.

    She shook her head, understanding full well the unspoken implication. “Sometimes I wonder how you can serve with those people,” she said bitterly.

    “Did it even occur to you that I might not want their company either?” His lips were twitching into a smile, but there was a thread of steel under the humour in his voice.

    The house was comfortable, the Fijisi wood self-portrait she’d made for Thrawn was on the table and the little balcony off the lounge had a lovely view to the lake, but Ayesha remained moody and brooding until Thrawn came behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Given our plans for the coming hours, I expect that you would not want their company yourself, or any company at all for that matter,” he breathed in her ear, and he whisked her off to the bedroom. She soon forgot about the Emperor and the Inquisitorius and prejudice against aliens and decided to enjoy her stay.

    Thrawn’s schedule was much more relaxed at the Retreat. He still had to take comm calls at odd hours, but he managed to free himself in the afternoons. She spent her mornings sunbathing on the balcony until she saw him walk back from the main residence. He changed out of his uniform, abandoning his military persona as if shedding a skin, and they took off to visit the sights. She’d already come to Naboo to harvest Gungan clay, but she’d spent most of her time in the marshlands and hadn’t seen many of the planet’s most remarkable buildings. Thrawn guided her through the palaces and the museums. They discussed Naboo architecture and roamed the streets of Theed for hours on end before finding a small restaurant for dinner. She stopped every now and then to pull her sketch pad out of her satchel and make some indecipherable drawing – “ideas for later,” she said – and Thrawn was left staring at the jumble of lines with a cocked eyebrow, clearly wondering what in the Galaxy she was up to.

    “It is quite fortunate that I will never be in the position of running a military campaign against you,” he told her as she finished a particularly intricate sketch that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the mausoleum they were visiting. “I would be at a complete loss to predict your next move.” She explained that she had been trying to capture the flutter of the willow trees behind the stained glass window featuring some long-dead queen of Naboo. He stared at the pad some more and shook his head. “Name your terms for my surrender, Ayoo’sha. This campaign is lost before it got past the planning stage.” She gave him one of her mischievous smiles and he added, with a twitch of his lips, “It is good to know that your terms will be painless – and perhaps even enjoyable.” They skipped dinner that evening and ended up ordering food from the Emperor's kitchens in the middle of the night.

    She complained when he woke her up early the next morning to insist that she could not leave Naboo without seeing more of the Lake Country. She buried her head under the pillow but leapt out of bed when she heard that he had swapped shifts with another officer and had the whole day off. There was a glitter of bewilderment in his eyes as she jumped in the shower, got dressed and gulped her caf in less than ten minutes. “What?” she asked when she caught his gaze. “A whole day just the two of us and you expect me to waste time? Let's go.”

    The boat dropped them off at a small pier and they took a long trek across a landscape of hills and waterfalls before reaching a sumptuous lakeside estate. Ayesha hesitated when they found the gate but Thrawn walked in, explaining that it was considered a historical monument and that the outdoor area was open to the public. They wandered in the gardens and climbed the stairs around the building up to a large terrace overlooking the lake. The view was stunning but Ayesha’s eyes remained fixed on a life-size holosculpture in the middle of the terrace. It represented a woman lying in a casket. Her hair was fanned out around her body and studded with small water flowers, and her hands were folded above a bulging belly that suggested she was pregnant. The sun rays filtering through the thin mist clouding the sky played across the pale shine of the hologram, adding to the eeriness of the scene.

    Ayesha's gaze moved to the base of the funerary monument, which was carved with the words ‘Padmé Amidala Naberrie, Queen of Naboo, Senator of the Chommell sector,’ together with a date of birth and a date of death some twenty years prior. “Isn’t this the queen whose mausoleum we visited yesterday?”

    “It is,” Thrawn said. “It is said that she was much loved by her people and that they mourned her passing greatly.”

    “They did,” Ayesha said absent-mindedly after a long silence. “Can you feel the serenity of this place?” She pulled out her pad. “Do you mind? It may take a bit longer than usual, I’m not sure what I want to do.”

    Thrawn nodded and moved to the edge of the terrace to enjoy the vista while she settled on a windowsill and set to work. She pencilled several abstract sketches but was happy with none, and was flipping back and forth through the pages to understand what she was doing wrong, when a voice broke into her thoughts. “Are you an artist?”

    Ayesha looked up to see a pretty young woman smiling at her. She smiled back. “I am. I’m a sculptor but my kit is a bit difficult to carry around, so I settled for a sketch pad while I’m visiting here.”

    The woman smiled again and went to say something when Thrawn appeared at their side. “Good afternoon, Senator Naberrie,” he said in his cultured voice.

    “Private citizen Naberrie,” the woman corrected. “As you know, the Senate has been disbanded. But your exquisite politeness is always very much appreciated, Captain.” She held out her hand. “Welcome back to Naboo, it’s been quite a long time.”

    Thrawn introduced Ayesha to Pooja Naberrie and the two women chatted for a while. Pooja explained that her family owned the estate and that Padmé Amidala had been her aunt. She spoke of Padmé’s role in the history of Naboo, particularly the events surrounding the Trade Federation blockade, which had led to a mending of ties between Gungans and Humans, an alliance that lasted to this day and that she viewed as Padmé’s greatest achievement. Ayesha explained in turn about her interest in Gungan art and finally asked the question that was burning her lips. “Who made this?” she said, pointing at the holosculpture. “I looked at the base but I didn’t find a signature.”

    “The artist wanted to remain anonymous,” Pooja said as they walked over to the statue. “He said that the monument should be purely in honour of Aunt Padmé’s memory.”

    Ayesha gazed at the figure lying in the casket for a moment. “He must have loved her very much.”

    Pooja gave a sad smile. “He did. She had a way of doing that to people. A little bit like you, probably.”

    Ayesha blushed and looked at the statue again. “I’ve never seen a holosculpture so delicate. The level of detail is simply astounding.” She pointed at a carved chip of wood hanging from a leather thread entwined around the dead woman's fingers. “Is this a japor snippet? You have them on Naboo? I thought japor ivory wood is found only on Tatooine.”

    Pooja seemed a little surprised but answered nevertheless. “It was indeed given to her by a little boy from Tatooine. He was a slave there and Aunt Padmé was with the party that freed him when she had to flee Naboo during the blockade. He became a Jedi later and was assigned as her personal bodyguard when she became the Senator for this sector.”

    Ayesha stared at her in disbelief. “There was a Jedi who had been a slave?”

    Pooja eyed her curiously. “Yes. At least so I am told, I never got to ask him in person. My sister and I were completely enamoured with him when he accompanied Aunt Padmé here, but he never even looked at us. We were just children and he was simply too smitten with her. I think she liked him too, you know.”

    “Do you remember his name?”

    Pooja laughed. “Of course, how could I not? His name was Anakin Skywalker.” Ayesha’s face turned deathly pale and Thrawn took a brisk step towards her. “Are you feeling alright?” Pooja asked.

    Ayesha ignored the question. “You wouldn’t happen to have any holos of him here, would you?” Pooja eyed her with renewed curiosity and without taking a breath she told the story of her liberation from Zygerria and how Darth Vader had said that the Jedi was Anakin Skywalker. Pooja winced a little at the mention of the Dark Lord’s name but composed herself quickly and took Ayesha’s hand to lead her to a cosy lounge with a fireplace. There were several holographs of Padmé in stately robes on the walls and in one of them, a young man barely out of his teens with a long Padawan braid was standing behind her. Ayesha grabbed Thrawn’s arm in a vice-like grip. “It’s him,” she stuttered. “He was older and his hair was different, but I’m sure it’s him. I’ll never forget that face. It’s him.”

    Thrawn placed a hand on her back to steady her while Pooja disappeared in another room to fetch refreshments. She then pulled Ayesha to the couch and told her everything she could remember about Anakin Skywalker, from the moment Padmé found him on Tatooine to his disappearance at the end of the Clone Wars. When colour finally returned to Ayesha’s cheeks and Thrawn stood up to leave, Pooja removed the holograph from the wall, gave it to her and, ignoring her profuse thanks, hugged her warmly. “Please be in touch next time you come to Naboo. I’ll introduce you to my mother and I’m sure she’ll tell you a lot more.”

    Ayesha didn’t sleep that night. She lay in bed, Thrawn’s fingertips grazing gently the skin of her belly as she stared at the ceiling. Her eyes took from time to time the glassy texture associated with memories of her childhood, but she did not seem particularly troubled, rather thoughtful and pensive. The sun was rising when she finally spoke. “You know, I’ve been thinking for a while that I should sculpt something for that Jedi. Maybe this is the right time to do it.”

    Thrawn lifted himself on his elbow to look at her. “That may not be a good idea, Ayoo’sha,” he said cautiously. “The Jedi are enemies of the Empire. Lord Vader struck one down on the Death Star less than a year ago.” She gave her I-don’t-care shrug. “Ayoo’sha, please,” he pressed, “please do not do this. You are treading on dangerous ground.”

    She sighed. “It’s been so many years, I have a new life, I have a wonderful family... I have you,” she added. “Kchak Pr’ollerg is dead, I have a name and now even a holo to go with a face that’s been haunting me for virtually as long as I can remember, and I still can’t find closure.” She sighed again, then smiled, as if making up her mind. “I’m going to do this.” She looked at him with another smile. “Nobody needs to know. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.” He went to argue with her, but she suddenly pulled him closer and planted a kiss on his lips. “No more talk, Qubshi be-khadeeb,” she whispered. “I’m leaving back to Coruscant today and I want something to remember you by.”
     
  16. Csillan_girl

    Csillan_girl Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    May 6, 2003
    Yesss, I'd love more Thrawn backstory! :)

    Another great chapter!
    "Name your terms for my surrender, Ayoo'sha". SO cute...
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh I love the visit to Naboo, the relaxed part and the discovery and revealing side of things as well about Anakin and Padme =D= I can absolutely understand Ayesha wanting to commemorate this pivotal personal moment in her past. [face_thinking]

    Yet, I can also understand Thrawn's caution. @};-
     
  18. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    LOL -- I noticed that someone else caught that quote too. It's fantastic. [face_laugh]

    Liked Ayesha's interest in the monument and her fascination with the hologram of Anakin. It totally has the potential to bite her if she makes some kind of memorial, but it's lovely of her to want to.

    You're very good at building up a subtle sense of background menace; little things here and there hint that the danger of the Emperor is always present.
     
  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Envious of Ayesha and Thrawn—wish I could take a trip to Naboo, too! It's long been one of my "most wanted" GFFA destinations. But thanks to your beautiful descriptions, I almost feel like I am there. Love Ayesha's responses to the beauties of this beautiful world; I can almost hear the gears of artistic inspiration whirring in her head. Wonderful to meet Pooja and hear her impressions of meeting the famous Anakin (I'm so sad that scene was cut from Ep. 2!). What amazing feeling for Ayesha to be slowly but surely putting together all these puzzle pieces about the Jedi who saved her from slavery so many years ago! I wonder what form her artistic tribute will take—definitely will be an ambitious (&, as Thrawn points out, likely a dangerous) undertaking.

    Edit: I think I might have a small guess as to who made that holosculpture... [face_thinking]
     
  20. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Loved the interconnecting of Anakin's and Ayesha's lives again. Pooja is an incredibly generous woman. And there might be a bad backlash if she makes something to commemorate Anakin -- Vader may find it hits a bit too close to home.

    ;-) I bet I know who the artist was, too.
     
  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Credit to Mr Chyntuckopoulos, who is my special consultant on romantic Thrawnisms ;)

    No kidding :p

    Thank you [face_blush]

    Your guesses are as good as mine, because I haven't really decided who it would be [face_dunno] [face_laugh] But I'm leaning towards an OC whose story may or may not be written at some point in the future. Until that happens (if ever), we can all let our imagination run wild.
     
  22. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    [​IMG]
    I take it back, Findswoman's guess was waaaay better than mine. She suggested Palo, whom is briefly described as Padmé's childhood sweetheart in AOTC. I hate that picnic scene, so I had pressed the "delete" key and erased it from my mind, but it's a better idea than anything I would ever have come up with. Divapilot, was that your idea too?

    On to the Christmas chapter of this story. Thank you all for reading!

    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 a very special, Christmas-themed thanks to Nyota's Heart for beta-reading.

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

    Chapter 21: The appointment

    When Thrawn returned to Coruscant for a brief visit a few weeks later – he had to report on the investigation of Captain Dolmen’s shuttle crash near the Retreat – Ayesha looked a little tired but she greeted him with a squeal of delight that made Tashi laugh. The two women had been sitting in the workshop and Thrawn followed Tashi to his usual place while Ayesha vanished to the kitchen to fetch the cortyg brandy. “She’s so totally into you, Capt’,” Tashi said with her wide Sullustan grin. “I don’t think she ever made that kind of sound for a man before.”

    Thrawn gave an embarrassed shrug and enquired politely how their work for the Coruscant Public Transportation Authority was going.

    “Not much,” Tashi answered. “There’s something on her mind. But it’s okay, we have plenty of time.”

    The workshop was unusually tidy. The holograph of Anakin Skywalker and the abstract sketches of Padmé Amidala’s memorial were displayed on an easel but the random assortment of tools that normally occupied the edge of the table was missing and the potter’s wheel seemed abandoned. As soon as Tashi left, Ayesha pulled a folder from a shelf and spread a large collection of drawings on the table for Thrawn to see.

    Some were those incomprehensible jumbles of lines that left him utterly clueless, but there were also several portraits of Anakin Skywalker, his face harder and his hair longer and more unruly than in the holo, as well as sketches of a three-way duel. “I told you, I’m keeping this a secret,” she said when Thrawn gave her a disapproving look. “Now help me with these drawings. The movement isn’t right.”

    Between his uneasiness and her impatience, their conversation was fruitless. He left back to Naboo early the next morning.

    On his following trip nearly one month later, Ayesha was pale and drawn. The little bump of tummy fat no longer stretched the waistband of her trousers and her collarbone seemed more prominent under the shoulder straps of her tank top.

    “We’re worried,” Lamtee told Thrawn on the second night, when she left the lounge to check on the bruallki roast. “She always looks tired, she doesn’t eat, she hasn’t sculpted anything in weeks, and it’s all very unlike her.”

    Dacco looked at Thrawn hesitantly. “Is everything alright between the two of you, Capt’? I’m sorry for asking this, but Tashi says that she keeps staring at a holo of another man. For us Zeltrons that’s completely okay, but it’s really not her style.”

    Had Thrawn wanted to answer – the flash in his eyes clearly indicated that he did not – he would have been prevented from doing so by Onion, who stood up on his front legs and insulted the Zeltron copiously in Huttese. “You leave that woman alone,” the Dug barked. “She’ll find her way, she always does, and she doesn’t need a nanny.” There was an uncomfortable silence when Ayesha returned to the lounge, but Onion blurted one of his jokes and the conversation resumed.

    She showed her drawings to Thrawn again. The folder was considerably thicker now, but her shoulders were sagging in defeat. “I keep getting it wrong,” she sighed. “There’s something missing.”

    “Perhaps you are not ready to do this yet,” he replied. “Perhaps this is not the right time.”

    He had given up the frontal approach a long time ago, but the hint of disapproval was there. Ayesha shrugged angrily. “You’re saying that because you don’t want me to do it at all.”

    “I want you safe and healthy, Ayoo’sha. Right now it seems to me you are neither. Your friends are concerned about you, so am I, and they do not even know that you are tempting fate.” She gave him a furious look but he scooped her up in his arms before things got out of hand. “Do not waste all your thoughts on some long-gone Jedi, at least not while I am here,” he murmured as he laid her on the bed. “Unlike him, I am very much alive and I intend to deliver a reminder to the best of my ability.” For the first time in two days, her face broke into a smile that actually reached her eyes and the games were on.

    By the time his stint on Naboo ended and he returned to Coruscant for good, Ayesha was a ghost of herself. The circles under her eyes had become darker and she had lost a lot of weight. Thrawn was looking at her with genuine concern as he lay at her side, his fingers counting her ribs. “It’s not coming,” she finally whispered. “It’s just not coming.”

    “Why can you not simply let it go, Ayoo’sha?” he asked. “Not because of the risks it entails,” he added quickly when she glared at him. “This project is consuming you.”

    “I need to do this, Qubshi be-khadeeb. I just don’t know how. Why can’t you understand that?”

    Tears were shining in her eyes. He entwined himself around her and tried to lull her to sleep, but she was still wide awake when the first rays of the morning sun found their way through the blinds.

    They settled back in their three-nights-a-week pattern but they were now spending their evenings in an uneasy silence. He watched over her shoulder as her pencil ran on sheet after sheet of flimsi. She was sometimes so frustrated that she would throw away an entire day’s work before going to bed. She engaged in several pointless arguments over unimportant things, and always ended up apologizing profusely, but she would not hear that she should give up.

    On one particular night when she had simply stared at a blank sheet of flimsi for hours without saying a word, Thrawn asked her if he should come less often.

    “Please don’t do that,” she said with anguish in her voice. “I can’t do this without you.”

    He gave her a perplexed look, his eyebrows almost reaching his hairline, but then he shook his head and kissed her.

    His step was a little more hesitant as he arrived and waited outside the transparisteel door, and his hug was a little tighter, but she didn’t seem to notice and went on with her work.

    She decided to try a different approach and read up about swordplay and fencing – literature pertaining to lightsaber combat or anything remotely connected to the Jedi arts was banned and hard to come by – but it didn’t get her anywhere.

    She was increasingly tense, her mood bordered on desperation, and things finally came to a head on a Zhellday evening. They went together to an official function she hadn’t been able to avoid, and when they arrived home from the Palace, she told Thrawn that she had requested and obtained an appointment with Darth Vader.

    “Absolutely not,” Thrawn thundered, uncharacteristically letting go of his well-controlled temper. “You will go nowhere near that man.”

    She shot him a scathing look. “Says who?”

    “I do,” he snapped. “I will not allow you to do something so foolish.”

    His answer had her seething. “When did you start thinking of yourself as Kchak Pr’ollerg?” she asked nastily.

    For a moment his face was like an open book as pain and sorrow washed over him. He took a deep breath to steady himself. “Ayoo’sha, please, please, listen to me. Lord Vader is a brave and brilliant man but he is impulsive and unbalanced. He was the main executioner during the Great Jedi Purge, it is very possible that he is the one who killed this Anakin Skywalker, and he might be responsible for the disappearance of your Jedi uncle as well. He is a user of the Dark Side of the Force, he chokes people routinely to express his displeasure at the most trivial things and it would be, to say the least, unwise to approach him with this misguided project of yours.”

    “Lord Vader has always been kind to me,” she countered. “He’s the one who told me about Anakin Skywalker, so I don’t see why he’d choke me for asking about him. And my project is not misguided.”

    “I stand corrected. Your project is not misguided, it is suicidal and insane. You are willing to risk your life over something that happened more than twenty years ago.”

    She rounded on him with such fury that he took a step back. “Do you know what it’s like?” she hissed. “Do you have the slightest idea what it’s like? Not to have a name, not to own your body, to be an object that can be branded and traded and sold on a whim? I spent the past twenty-one years trying to come to terms with that and everything that happened after I came out of it. Yes, I am insane. I struggle every day to be a person, not a broken doll, and now that I might be able to put one of these horrible things behind me, you want to deprive me of it? What sort of man are you?” He opened his mouth to speak but she held up her hand. “This is not up for discussion. I asked Lord Vader for an appointment and he granted me one. I’m going to his palace tomorrow morning at nine hundred hours, and the only way you’ll prevent me from doing so is by having me thrown in a high-security prison.”

    Thrawn held her that night as if his life depended on it. He entwined himself tightly around her as soon as they slipped under the covers and watched as she fell asleep in his arms. He was still staring at her when she woke up in the morning and, once she was showered and dressed, he helped her in the speeder and flew her to Darth Vader’s private residence. He kissed her deeply under the mildly shocked gaze of the security guards, his tongue savouring her mouth as if it were some rare delicacy, and left without saying a word.
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I absolutely empathize with Thrawn's deep and ardent concerns. [face_thinking]

    I also understand Ayesha's determination and need to pursue this artistic and personally relevant project. Her emotions are real and poignant. =D=

    Have I mentioned that Ayesha clicked with me like Mara and now like Nyota? ^:)^ :* [:D]
     
  24. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    This could be really bad.... Ayesha has become obsessed, neglecting even her own welfare, and that kind of obsession in tandem with her already passionate personality can be terribly self destructive.

    Vader could have turned down the appointment request. I wonder what he hopes to get from their meeting.
     
  25. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The boat dropped them off at a small pier and they took a long trek across a landscape of hills and waterfalls before reaching a sumptuous lakeside estate. Ayesha hesitated when they found the gate but Thrawn walked in, explaining that it was considered a historical monument and that the outdoor area was open to the public. They wandered in the gardens and climbed the stairs around the building up to a large terrace overlooking the lake. The view was stunning but Ayesha’s eyes remained fixed on a life-size holosculpture in the middle of the terrace. It represented a woman lying in a casket. Her hair was fanned out around her body and studded with small water flowers, and her hands were folded above a bulging belly that suggested she was pregnant. The sun rays filtering through the thin mist clouding the sky played across the pale shine of the hologram, adding to the eeriness of the scene.

    Ayesha's gaze moved to the base of the funerary monument, which was carved with the words ‘Padmé Amidala Naberrie, Queen of Naboo, Senator of the Chommell sector,’ together with a date of birth and a date of death some twenty years prior. “Isn’t this the queen whose mausoleum we visited yesterday?”

    “It is,” Thrawn said. “It is said that she was much loved by her people and that they mourned her passing greatly.”

    “They did,” Ayesha said absent-mindedly after a long silence. “Can you feel the serenity of this place?” She pulled out her pad. “Do you mind? It may take a bit longer than usual, I’m not sure what I want to do.”

    I needed handkerchiefs when reading that. The serenity and sadness of the entire scene. And Pooja showing up.

    But like Thrawn I am nervous about the Anakin Skywalker art project.

    “Lord Vader has always been kind to me,” she countered. “He’s the one who told me about Anakin Skywalker, so I don’t see why he’d choke me for asking about him. And my project is not misguided.”

    “I stand corrected. Your project is not misguided, it is suicidal and insane. You are willing to risk your life over something that happened more than twenty years ago.”

    She rounded on him with such fury that he took a step back. “Do you know what it’s like?” she hissed. “Do you have the slightest idea what it’s like? Not to have a name, not to own your body, to be an object that can be branded and traded and sold on a whim? I spent the past twenty-one years trying to come to terms with that and everything that happened after I came out of it. Yes, I am insane. I struggle every day to be a person, not a broken doll, and now that I might be able to put one of these horrible things behind me, you want to deprive me of it? What sort of man are you?” He opened his mouth to speak but she held up her hand. “This is not up for discussion. I asked Lord Vader for an appointment and he granted me one. I’m going to his palace tomorrow morning at nine hundred hours, and the only way you’ll prevent me from doing so is by having me thrown in a high-security prison.”

    To freely quote Sir Christopher Lee from the BBC production "Glorious 39": "It is a dangerous place to visit... the past."