Author: Findswoman Title: “I saw the wolf…” Era: Saga—PT, no later than 13 BBY Characters: Ezra Bridger (6 or younger), his parents, some animals, some other Lothali citizens, maybe even the Force Genre: songfic, childhood, kind-of-drama Summary: Little Ezra sees the wolf, the fox, the hare… and sets them dancing. Notes: A belated birthday gift for my very good friend @Raissa Baiard, whose birthday was on the 11th. Happy belated birthday, dear Raissa, and enjoy! Also, a songfic of sorts, based on the old French folk song “J’ai vu le loup” (I saw the wolf), which seemed perfect for a young Ezra discovering his beastwarden talents. The notes at the end of the song give the translation of the quoted verses. Spoiler: Recording by the Baltimore Consort (There are many, many recordings of this song on YouTube; I’m just sharing one I especially like.) J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre, J’ai vu le loup, le renard cheuler. C’est moi-même qui les ai rebeuillés. J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre, C’est moi-même qui les ai rebeuillés. J’ai vu le loup, le renard cheuler. Little Ezra Bridger couldn’t sleep. So he did what he always did when he couldn’t sleep, which was look out the window. He pulled open the curtain with its cord (he’d seen Mama do it before). The moons were shining. They were full tonight and made a lot of light, which he always liked because he could see better that way. He climbed up on the chair and looked out over the tiled housetops of the edge of Capital City. He looked out over the grassy land beyond them. He looked out over the stream that ran through the grassy land. He looked up the stream and down the stream. And that is when he saw it. An animal. Drinking from the stream. It was a pocket hare. He liked them, because they were so fluffy and their long, floppy ears were so cute. Ezra watched it for a few moments, and listened, too. Lap, lap, lap. Thirsty after long day of running and jumping and eating grass. Mmm. Then another animal came along and started drinking from the stream. It was a Loth-fox. It was bigger, brownish, with long, pointy cat ears and a long snout. When it came up the pocket hare ran away. And then it, the Loth-fox, was drinking by itself. Ezra watched it for a few moments, and listened, too. Shlop, shlop, shlop. Thirsty after long day of harrying the hare over the steppes. Ahh. (What was harrying? What was steppes? Ezra would ask Mommy tomorrow.) And then another animal came along and started drinking from the stream. It was big and majestic and silver-white and almost like a dog with kind of scales on its head but much bigger. Ezra didn’t know what it was; he only knew that it looked kind of like one the mythical Loth-wolves in one of his fairytale picture books, and he knew those didn’t really exist. Anyway, when it came up, the Loth-fox ran away, and then it was drinking by itself. Ezra watched it for a few moments, and listened, too. It made no sound as it drank. But Ezra heard something else: Sense presence. Nearby. Hmm. Who? And then it looked up. It had huge, shining golden eyes like fireballs. Shining golden eyes that stared right at little Ezra Bridger. And Ezra ran back to bed as fast as he could. —But I was watching and listening, too.— * * * J’ai ouï le loup, le renard, le lièvre, J’ai ouï le loup, le renard chanter. C’est moi-même qui les ai rechignés, J’ai ouï le loup, le renard, le lièvre, C’est moi-même qui les ai rechignés, J’ai ouï le loup, le renard chanter. Every night after that, little Ezra Bridger watched and listened. Sometimes he saw the pocket hare and the Loth-fox down by the stream, sometimes not. Sometimes only one of them. But every time he did, he heard them, too: Mmm. Hungry, tasty grass. Ooh what was that a bird AAH! Never mind, back to nibbling. That was good, now drink. Lap lap lap. Arright, hare! Could be tasty nibble… AAH, RUN! LOTH-FOX! Ah, stang, hare got away. Never mind, thirsty. Drink now, shlop shlop shlop. You know, sometime soon, need find new den. Need find someone share it with. But later. After drink. Shlop. Mmm. And now and then the big, silver-white animal would come up to the stream too, sniff the air, and drink. One or both of the others would scatter, but Ezra stayed and watched and listened: Sensing it again. Near, very near. Strong, but still small. Biped? Not usually so strong. And yet… hmm... Ezra didn’t really know what the big one was talking about. But it was still so cool and fun that he could hear him, that he could hear any of them. So he decided to try talking back: Hi! Hi, hare! Hi, fox! Hi, big... dog thing! See me? I’m over here! The fox and the hare ran away the first few times, but the big animal stayed and listened and thought hmmm to itself, whatever that meant. But Ezra kept trying. Hey there, fox, hare, big guy! How are you? My name’s Ezra! And soon the fox and hare would stay and listen, too, and sometimes they’d talk to each other, without words but still with speech. Hey there, everyone! Hey there, Ezra! How are you? Just fine. Come down, have drink? Nah, Mom and Dad’d get mad, but hello anyway! Hello right back! Lap lap lap. One night there were no animals at the stream at all and Ezra found himself feeling a little lonely. But he remembered how he had talked to them and thought to himself, why not try? So he put out a little Hey, where is everyone? Hare? And the hare ran up. Wow! Uh, how about you, fox? And the fox ran up. Wow, wizard! Uh… um… big guy…? What about you, big guy? Big guy…? And after a few moments, slowly, purposefully, the big silver-white animal loped up and looked little Ezra in the eye with those big, golden fireball eyes. IT IS YOU. I AM HERE. Woohoo! It worked! They were all there, hare, fox, big-wolf-thing. Ezra whooped and jumped for joy. Look what he could do! So wizard! And just then Mommy bustled into the room and hustled him into bed with an Ezzie sweetie what are you doing it’s way past your bedtime. And closed the window. But even as he nodded off to sleep, little Ezra Bridger remembered. —And I remembered, too, and I was ready.— * * * J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre, J’ai vu le loup, le renard danser, C’est moi-même qui les ai revirés, J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre, C’est moi-même qui les ai revirés, J’ai vu le loup, le renard danser. “Friends, inaction is no longer possible. Indifference is no longer possible.” Daddy spoke, and everyone nodded and murmured in agreement. Little Ezra Bridger clapped, too, but he was scared. Mommy and Daddy’s meetings at Chapel Street Marketplace were always kind of scary, because sometimes those troopers showed up. And he thought he had seen some on the walk over… “We can no longer stand idly aside while the Empire tramples our lives and freedoms underfoot. We must resist them with all our strength. We must stand tall against them and never back down.” Of course, Ezra knew his mommy and daddy were very brave to stand up there and speak up the way they did. They were speaking up so that no one would ever be hurt by those troopers, or that evil Empire they were part of, ever again. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t scary. “We are Lothali. We were born to stand tall, like the spires in the steppes. No storm can knock them down. And, by the moons, it’ll take more than a few stormtroopers to knock us down!” At this the people clapped and cheered. Ezra clapped, too, but he was still scared. And then— “WHAT’S ALL THIS?! What d’you think you’re doing here?!” Oh no. Oh. No. The troopers were here. A whole lot of them, too. One of them had gone right up to Daddy! Ezra clutched Mommy’s hand. But Daddy spoke up, of course. “Nothing you need to concern yourself with. This is a peaceful gathering, and we are permitted by law to be here.” He held up his commlink, whose screen flashed a permit pass. “That permit is invalid,” barked the trooper as he smacked the commlink from Daddy’s hand. “Those regulations have changed,” “Oh? Since when?” “As of yesterday, the Imperial sector authority has determined that public gatherings of over ten beings pose a threat to the safety and security of…” And then the trooper rambled on with a lot of technical government talk. Ezra clutched Mommy’s hand tighter, because he knew that kind of talk was never a good sign. He knew the others thought so too, because of the way they glanced around and shuffled their feet and whispered to each other. Then an idea hit him. It was a crazy idea, but he was going to try it anyway. He closed his eyes and thought very hard. Uh, hey… hare? Fox? Big wolf? Could you… uh… help us? But nothing happened. And now Daddy was arguing with the trooper, and the Sumars and Doueks and old Professor Yuhallam had joined him, and everyone was just getting madder and madder... and Ezra knew what was probably going to come next, because last time this had happened the troopers had arrested Daddy, and Mr. Sumar and Professor Yuhallam, too, and had kept them for a whole week before Governor Azadi had been able to appeal to get them out... it had been so scary! So Ezra tried again. Hare? Fox? Wolf? Help? Please? Still nothing. Ezra hid his face in Mommy’s side as he saw the trooper grab Daddy and two more grab each of the Doueks... ...and then he heard it. A kind of rumble far away, like thunder but not really... We’re coming! We’re coming, too! WE HEAR. WE COME. And then, in a cloud of dust, a crowd of beings came stampeding down Chapel Street, straight for the little marketplace where the people had gathered! In no time it was swarming. All the other troopers scattered or tumbled or fell (or all three) as the stampeding animals plowed into them, bowled them over, snapped at their ankles, not minding the hard plasteel armor. A whole herd of pocket hares, a whole skulk of Loth-foxes! And— —This is where I stepped in. This youngling was now beginning to learn of his own strength, but it was not yet time for Lothal to know of her full connection to me. That could only be when her true freedom is at hand, ready to spring forth like a nova. So let Lothal believe the ancient guardians long dead, a little longer. Their time will come.— —and a roaring growling flash of light that flew through the marketplace like a starship through hyperspace, leveling everything in its path! The trooper holding Daddy yelled a curse and let go and ran. So did the troopers holding the Doueks. Daddy and the Doueks and everyone else stood agape in astonishment. Were they safe now? Where’d the troopers go? What had just happened? How? Why? And little Ezra Bridger jumped and danced and clapped with joy. Because he knew. J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre, J’ai vu le loup, le renard danser, C’est moi-même qui les ai revirés, J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lièvre, C’est moi-même qui les ai revirés, J’ai vu le loup, le renard danser. Spoiler: Translation of the song verses I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare, I saw the wolf and the fox drinking. I was the one who spied on them. I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare, I was the one who spied on them. I saw the wolf and the fox drinking. I heard the wolf, the fox, the hare, I heard the wolf and the fox singing. I was the one who imitated them. I heard the wolf, the fox, the hare, I was the one who imitated them. I heard the wolf and the fox singing. I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare, I saw the wolf and the fox dancing. I was the one who set them dancing. I saw the wolf, the fox, the hare, I was the one who set them dancing. I saw the wolf and the fox dancing.