Saga - PT But One Hour Mine - OCs

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by divapilot, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Title: But One Hour Mine
    Author: Divapilot
    Era: Saga Prequel
    Characters: OCs
    Genre: Drama, romance
    Summary: A young woman finds love with an unlikely partner as the tyranny of the Empire arises around them.
    Connected works:
    1. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”
    2. “Code Breaker: The Journal of Kash Ferros”

    Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
    With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
    But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
    The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.


    Mirany was in the process of using a multitool to open a shipping crate when she looked up, was distracted by him, and in her distraction, plunged the tool into the palm of her hand. She winced and instinctively dropped the tool, bringing her hand to her mouth and sucking on the stinging wound. Years later, she would note ironically that when love had finally come back into her life, it had brought its familiar companion pain along for the journey.

    She worked at her family’s business, a small boutique that catered to the wealthy vacationers to her ancient seacoast town. It was an adequate job; she liked her hours and was friendly with her co-workers although the work could be a bit mind-numbing at times. But she enjoyed people watching. The wealthy tourists would wander in, perhaps purchase one of the expensive luxury toiletries or designer garments, leaving their money behind like the flotsam on the nearby beach. New customers, wives or lady-friends of the officers at the new Imperial outpost, came in, eager to prove their place in this society by purchasing something needless and expensive. Sometimes a local resident came in to buy a gift for a loved one who would be more impressed by the boutique name etched on the box than by the item itself. Rarely did a man like Kash walk by.

    It wasn’t that he was stunningly handsome, although he was attractive in his own way. But he had something – something indefinable – that she connected to immediately. Maybe it was the wide smile he gave her. Or his almost-trimmed dark beard, scruffy enough to be endearing. Or his striking hair, dark, thick with curls that looped over each other like waves. Or the way he walked with such confidence, unlike his friends who seemed to simply meander through the marketplace like lost pookas. All of that aside, what struck her the most was the way she felt when their gazes met. It was as if when he looked at her in that moment, right before the tool sliced her palm, his dark eyes saw all of her. Every part, in one glance.

    She knew better than to believe in love at first sight. That foolishness was best left to giddy schoolgirls. Mirany was not unfamiliar with the excitement of love, of having a suitor shyly hold a gift in his hand for her, or of the way an awkward embrace could evolve over time to a passion that left her warm and breathless. Let her sister Saphra experience it. It was her turn now; Mirany’s time had come and gone. It was no matter. Mirany’s days had assumed a comfortable rhythm with her job, her books, her home with her parents and sister, even her walks along the seawall with her pet mooka barking ineffectively at the ocean the whole while.

    That she would find a man intriguing based solely on a shared glance baffled her.

    For the rest of the day she muddled through work, smiling her sincerest artificial smile at the tourists, massaging their soft hands with lotion from her bandaged one, answering their prying awkward questions about her traditional Mehrine attire and her starched cap, all the while wondering who that strange man was.

    She had almost forgotten him – or convinced herself that perhaps she had only imagined the encounter – when he showed up again a few days later. She was sitting by herself at a small table in the square, sipping a caf and reading a novel on her datapad while on her break, when a shadow fell on her. She looked up, shielding her eyes from the sun, and saw him standing nearby.

    “I think you dropped this, Miss,” he said, handing her the small purse she kept with her. She frowned. She always took great care of it, and she was certain that it was carefully placed behind her, on the back of the chair. It was unlikely that it had fallen, and yet it must have since he held it in his hand.

    Nevertheless, she had been taught to be polite. “Thank you,” she said. She should have looked away, allowing him to leave. That would have been the proper thing to do. But there was that strange feeling again. She couldn’t explain it. He kept looking at her, in her, through her, as if he could read her thoughts, and most peculiarly, she was allowing it.

    “Are you new to town?” she asked after a moment had passed.

    He shrugged. “I live over in Oestershore. I moved here a few weeks ago.” He paused. “I work at the shipyard,” he added, as if that additional information clarified things.

    She hid a smile. “I saw you the other day with your friends in the marketplace, didn’t I?”

    “My friends thought it would be fun to see what the city of Mehr had to offer, having heard so much about it.”

    Mirany paused. Then she smiled slightly and gestured at the empty seat across from her. “And were you pleased to see what Mehr had to offer?” she asked, raising her eyebrow.

    He sat down and a wide smile spread across his face. “Very much so,” he replied. He held out his hand. “I’m Kash. Kash Ferros.”

    She took his hand and he squeezed it, firmly but not hard enough to irritate her cut palm. “I’m Mirany Lansdotter.”

    They talked for a while, friendly conversation about the history of the ancient city and popular tourist sites that surrounded it, until she excused herself to go back to work. He stood up, thanked her for her time, and said he hoped he would see her again.

    In the past, most men who were interested in her would find some thin pretext to stop by the boutique, claiming to shop for presents for their mothers or sisters (although they never actually bought anything). They would inquire if she were attending the local academy or ask for her comm information (no, and no). But Kash didn’t do that. After a few days, when he didn’t appear again, she found herself glancing out of the doorway, looking for the man with the head of dark curls. She caught herself daydreaming of him when she was running the day’s sales on the computer. When a week had passed, she realized that she missed him.

    She had about given up on seeing him again when she discovered him sitting outside the store one morning, waiting for her to open it for the day. Mirany’s heart beat faster when she saw him. “Did you take the day off?” she asked him.

    He laughed and shook his head. “No, I worked double shifts this week and now I have some free time. I’m actually headed home, except-” he tilted his head toward the south – “home is that way.” He paused, then smiled. “I thought you might be interested in continuing our conversation from the other day.”

    “Well, I wish I could spend some time with you,” she said, “but unlike you, I’m just starting my work day.”

    He stood up and stretched. “When is your work day over, then?”

    Mirany frowned slightly. It wouldn’t be proper for her to be alone with a young man who hadn’t declared himself to her parents, regardless of her advanced age. “As a rule, I don’t go out alone with men I’ve just met,” she said.

    Kash acquiesced with a shrug. He looked disappointed. “I understand. Well, maybe I will see you around.”

    Mirany spoke quickly. “But we could go someplace where there are other people.”

    He seemed to consider this. “All right, that’s fair. How’s this. I would like it if you could show me your city,” he said. “Could we take a walk tonight, if that’s acceptable?”

    Mirany shook her head. “No. Not at night. I don’t go out at night.”

    He frowned. “Why not?”

    Mirany paused. It was best he didn’t know. She decided to redirect the conversation. “As a friend, I would be happy to show you my city. I have to take my mooka for her walk anyway. I can meet you by the western gate.”

    Kash smiled and her heart skipped again. He had such a lovely smile. She immediately scoffed at her foolishness. “I’ll see you then,” he said. He bowed slightly and turned away, heading down the ancient main road. She had the distinct feeling that he knew she was watching him, although he didn’t turn around to see.
  2. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    That's a nice and sweet story.
    Nice to see a fanfic about the normal people in the GFFA and their lifes, not always the know heroes.
    I enjoyed it. :)
  3. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    A very nice meeting between Mirany and Kash that looks to eventually be leading to more for them.
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and divapilot like this.
  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    I recently read an article titled "How do you like a girl who doesn't know how to be liked" and it's a great coincidence that this story came right after it. While I obviously don't think that everybody needs somebody, Mirany obviously needed Kash and the Force and the destiny or whatever led her to him and vice-versa...which is dead-romantic. [face_love]

    The last sentence in the first paragraph didn't even have to be there, at least as far as I am concerned. The symbolism spoke for itself. The life Mirany and Kash had when we were introduced to them in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark required them to master many tools of the trade and the way it [hl=black]ended[/hl] was as abrupt as Mirany's cut.

    Kash sounds handsome, too. Lean guys with curly dark hair, dark beard and a wide smile...yeah. [face_love] Would totally not mind if somebody drew him.

    Another thing that I wonder after having read this is if these two are slightly older than two people expected to fall in love. It's hinted that Mirany's time had come and gone and that it's Saphra's turn, and we know that Kash [hl=black]was a Jedi at some point, the upcoming DDC name makes it even more obvious[/hl]. Hmmm. And it's funny how much Mirany tries to rationalise it - she forgot about him, yet she thought about him all along. He-he.

    Glad to know how they met and wondering about your fanon for this city and the planet. Can't wait for the DDC!
    Kahara and divapilot like this.
  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Yay, so this is how they met! This is a very sweet story, and as usual with you the devil is in the details. Am I correct to guess that Kash [hl=black]Force-threw Mirany's purse on the ground so as to be able to talk to her[/hl]? Or that you chose the toponyms Mehr as a reference to [hl=black]the French word mer[/hl] and Oestershore as a reference to [hl=black]Ouistreham[/hl]? And of course we still don't know why Mirany is [hl=black]afraid of the dark[/hl], but I imagine we'll find out in the DDC, which I'm off to read now!
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    So, I was excited to jump into one of your new stories from the beginning - it's been much too long, really! - and so when I saw that your new diary had companion pieces, this seemed to be the place to start.

    I really, really like your Mirany (her name is absolutely lovely, on a side-note [face_love]), and I am really interested in the soft, almost hazy kind of world that you've constructed for her. You were able to say a lot - and build quite a bit of character, at that - with just a few words, and I felt that was masterfully done. Her relative comfort in life without necessarily looking for anything more; what looks like a prior love gone sour; and the day to day life of an 'average' citizen of a world under Imperial occupation? Yeah, you most certainly have me hooked, and I loved seeing her character 'wake up' in a sense, with her connection to Kash. He's caught my curiosity, as well, and I really enjoyed seeing Mirany take an interest in him. It seems like they have a good start to go from, and you have my interest piqued for more. [face_thinking]

    Am I reading this right, and is there going to be more? If so, you definitely have me interested in the ride. :)
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  7. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005

    Thank you! I’ve been hooked on OCs for a while now, and these characters seem to demand a bit of a back story. They are, as you put it, normal people in the GFFA, but it’s the regular, ordinary people whose stories are as important as the known heroes. They don’t get their chance to shine but they matter, too.

    Thank you for replying! Yes, there will be more for them. I’m kind of telling their story in reverse.

    Thank you for your response. I always look forward to your comments! You’re right, the idea that everyone needs someone is a bit overrated, the idea that there is that One True Love can be hard to realize, but these two have an intertwined destiny.
    I wasn’t sure if I was being heavy-handed (no pun intended) with that line; maybe it was, but I was trying to get the “told from a distance” kind of vibe and also hint at the [hl=black] idea that the beginning is also the beginning of the end[/hl] with them.

    I did envision them as being a little older. They’ve had some significant life experiences already, and because of this they have learned that when good things come you take them because nothing is guaranteed. Mirany tries to rationalize her attraction to him, and she tries almost to talk herself out of it, but it’s too late. She’s smitten.

    Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. As for your questions, first, yes. A guy has to have some excuse for talking to the pretty lady he saw. He took advantage of an opportunity. One quick little Force nudge and suddenly he’s holding her purse, with an excuse to speak with her. Yes, you are correct, I used the French word for “ocean” as the name of their city, but I just pulled the other name out of my imagination. The city where Mirany lives, however, is based on St. Malo in Brittany. As for why Mirany hates the dark, I had originally planned for it to be just a phobia, but Ewok Poet gave me an idea that perhaps it was more. The idea that there is a more grounded reason for her fear of the dark actually plays better in the plot.

    Thank you! I am very flattered. This is high praise from a writer as talented as you. I hope you continue to be entertained.

    Thank you! Mirany is a tricky character to write. She is, like you said, comfortable where she is and not looking for anything more. But she is also aware that comfort can become stagnation. She loves her home and her family and her city, but she knows that she could easily become trapped by the routine that this live affords her. Kash is, in a sense, a “wake up.” She doesn’t expect to be attracted to anyone, especially as you noted the “prior love gone sour,” and she is very surprised at her feelings. This in turn causes her to rethink what she wants in her life.
    They each have secrets to reveal, but there is genuine affection growing between them. There will definitely be more; I have four chapters written and a plot mapped out. I am still refining the details so it may take some time between posts, but I hope to develop their love story in such a way that it reflects the companion stories too.
  8. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Chapter 2.

    “Where have you been?”

    Mirany held the door open to let her mooka enter. With her right hand securely clutching the mooka’s leash, she used the left to slide the stiff white cap off, uncovering her brown hair as the creature yelped and spun in circles around her legs. She bent down and unclipped its leash, and the little canine raced for its favorite spot on a chair near the front window to catch the last sunshine of the day.

    Mirani placed the cap on a shelf and hung up her jacket before answering her father. She exhaled slowly, put on a gentle smile, and walked into the kitchen. Papa sat at the heavy wooden table, his beefy hand around a mug of spiced ale, while Mama placed leafy greens onto a plate. “You’re late for supper, Mirany,” he chided. “Mama saved you something. Where have you been?”

    Mirany kissed her mother as she took the plate, then sat beside her father. “I was with a friend.”

    Mama half-turned from the stove. “A friend? Do you mean Kyana, or Noenni? Which one?”

    She shifted uneasily and picked at her meal. “No,” she said slowly. “Someone else.”

    Now Mama turned all the way around and faced her. “A man? Were you with a man?”

    “Who is this man? Why don’t we know about this?” Her father looked at her with interest and his face slowly broke into a satisfied smile. “Is it Jens Marnson? His father told me that Jens might be interested in courting you. It’s Jens, isn’t it? He’s a good match for you.”

    “Papa,” she began, then she sighed. She looked at her father. “Papa, it isn’t a man from Mehr. He lives in Oestershore and he works at the shipyard. I met him a few weeks ago at the shop.”

    Mama came over and sat beside her. “Mirany, I’m pleased that you are rediscovering joy, but you know as the oldest child, the tradition requires you to wed someone from the city. He can’t be more than a friend to you, daughter. Otherwise how will we keep our holdings here?”

    Mirany threw her hands up defensively. “Who said anything about marrying him? He’s just a friend, Mama, nothing more.” She lowered her head and returned to her meal.

    “Who’s just a friend?” a female voice asked. Mirany cringed. Her sister Saphra entered the room and sat across the table from her and their father. She straightened her skirts and smoothed her long blonde braid, then pulled a plate toward herself.

    “Nobody,” Mirany replied quietly.

    Saphra reached for a slice of bread. “If you’re interested, there are lots of men at the garrison. Some of the officers are quite handsome. Not Mehrine, of course, but if we aren’t talking about marrying anybody…” She smirked and raised the buttered slice to her mouth.

    Papa frowned. “I don’t want either of my girls to get involved with any of the soldiers –“ he then directed his gaze to Saphra, who rolled her eyes “- or any of the officers at the garrison. I don’t trust these Imperials. They’ve taken over the nicest hotel in the city for their headquarters. What will that mean for next tourist season when our best customers find their favorite rooms aren’t available for them?”

    “If you don’t like them taking over the hotel, then you should see what they’re doing in school, Papa,” Saphra said. “Each instructor must follow a script now. Seriously! The Department of Youth Instruction and Morality gives them a weekly script. We were in the middle of a project in Master Dorras’s class on the history of Mafran civil disputes, and we had to leave it mid-way.”

    Papa frowned. “What are you learning instead?”

    She made a face. “How the agricultural products of Marfa support the glorious efforts of our great imperial army. How boring.” Saphra rolled her eyes and turned to Mirany. “So, Mirany, what is this I’m hearing? Do you have a special friend?” Her tone softened. “It’s about time. Live a little. You’re still young.”

    Mirany sighed. “I don’t know. He’s just a friend. Please don’t rush me.”

    Papa looked at her compassionately. “We understand. Take things at your own time, dearest.” He rose from the table, leaned over and placed his hand on Mirany’s shoulder. “And if you are ready to start seeing a suitor, we can always talk about Jens Marnson.”

    Three days later Mirany looked up from her work and was surprised to see Kash standing in the shop. She had not even realized he had entered the building. He held a delicate glass item that he turned around in his hands, watching the colorful patterns that appeared as the light reflected off it. She smiled to herself as she watched him. “That’s very expensive, you know,” she said dryly.

    He put it down quickly but carefully, then ambled over to the desk where she had been going over a set of figures. “How have you been?” he asked her.

    She smiled and put down the datapad. “Good, I guess. It’s been a little quiet here. Papa is concerned because we have taxes due soon and there haven’t been that many sales lately, and this year we’ve been hit extra with taxes to pay for the expenses of the garrison.” She shrugged. “Then again, it’s always slow during the misty season. Wait until the warm weather brings the tourists back.”

    Kash started to say something but was distracted by a holo portrait of a smiling young blond man that sat in the corner of Mirany’s desk. She followed his gaze. “That’s Adan,” she said quietly.

    He raised an eyebrow. “Who is Adan?”

    Mirany reached over and turned off the holo portrait. “Someone from my past. But that part of my life is over now.” Her voice held sadness in it.

    Kash looked at her, his eyes narrowing, as if reading her emotions. “Are you all right?” he asked.

    She sighed softly, then turned back with a deliberate smile. “Yes, I am. I have my family. My sister and my parents. And I have the shop.” She gestured around her at the shelves that displayed colorful items for sale, and her mood lightened. “Did you know that it’s been in Papa’s family here in Mehr for seven generations? Someday, when he retires, this shop will be mine. It’s my birthright as the oldest of the family.”

    Kash nodded. “And where is your papa now?” he asked nonchalantly. He stepped away from her desk and began to wander the store again, tracing his hand along a set of luxurious sweaters, jostling some out of position.

    “At a civic meeting. He’s on the board of city leaders. He’ll be here in about an hour.”

    Mirany rose from the desk and went over near him. She straightened the sweaters, and when she finished, she rested her hands on the shelf. She felt his gaze on her. He moved a little closer. She should have moved away, but her feet seemed locked in place. His fingers touched a strand of hair that had slipped out of her starched white cap. “I enjoy our walks and our comm conversations. I really like being with you,” he said. “I want to see you again.”

    Her heart began to beat harder. She turned to him, and his hand moved to rest on her shoulder. “I’d like that,” she said softly. She looked up into those dark eyes that seemed to pierce through her.

    “Mirany.” He whispered her name and she felt the warm exhalation on her cheek. “I’d like to kiss you.”

    She smiled. “I’d like that, too.” She put her hand gently on his arm.

    He placed his fingertips under her chin and tilted her face upward as he bent down to her. His lips met hers and she closed her eyes. His kiss was warm and gentle, like a slow, comforting caress. She kept her eyes closed for a moment even after the kiss was over, savoring the moment, feeling a warmth rekindle inside her that she had assumed had long gone cold.

    Something was gently pressed into the palm of her hand. Mirany opened her eyes and looked down, then she released her fingers to look at the object. It was a clear crystal flecked with brilliant green points. She looked up at him, surprised. “It’s warm!”

    Kash smiled. “Can you hear it? It hums.”

    She frowned as she placed it to her ear. “I don’t hear it, but I feel it. It feels nice,” she said, slowly gliding her fingertips over the shard. She looked at it again in her palm. “It’s… comforting. Calming, even. What is it?”

    He wrapped his hand around hers again. “It’s my heart. I want you to have it. It’s yours now.”

    Mirany stood still for a few moments. She closed her hand around the crystal again, feeling the tingle of its mysterious warmth, and contemplated his words and actions. It had been so long since a man had said anything like this to her. It was not in her nature to believe such talk, especially from a man who was a stranger to her mere weeks ago. She knew that so much, so very much, hinged on what she did next.

    She focused her breathing, calmed her mind, and found a stillness within her. From that source, she reached out to him with her mind and her heart. She found Kash’s own spirit waiting for her– kind, loyal, and sincere – and then she knew. Not just what she would do next, but where her own spirit belonged.

    Then she reached up to touch her hand against his unshaven face, and she drew him closer. She put her hand behind his neck as his arms wrapped around her, and she fervently kissed him again. She stayed in his embrace after the kiss was over. “Thank you,” she whispered.

    The door chimed as a customer entered. Kash quickly backed away from her and Mirany opened her eyes and glanced to her right to see that an older woman had begun to wander about the front of the room. She turned back to see Kash headed for the doorway. He stopped and smiled at her, then he was gone, as silently as he had appeared.
  9. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    A beautiful romantic encounter between Mirany and Kash that is definitely developing into a serious relationship.
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  10. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Ch 1

    As much as it's bittersweet to see the early days, I'm still looking forward to seeing how Mirany and Kash's relationship progresses. As others have mentioned, it's neat to see characters who are hinted to be a little older than the usual teens/early twenties in romance plots, and I'm really curious to learn more about both of these two. (Also enjoying Kash's diary, by the way. :) ) One thing that stood out to me is how Mirany's home town seems to have a unique character of its own, even though it's not all outlined at length. There's enough information to fill in, and I love the idea that she grew up in a tourist town of sorts -- with all the benefits of a nice location and drawbacks of annoying tourists/few local jobs that aren't about those annoying tourists. And we get some hints of the social customs there as well with her concerns about where and when she ought to be seen with Kash.
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  11. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    Nice chapter :)
    I liked the talk between Mirnay and her family. Nice to see how the empire affects their daily life more and more.
    Also good to see Kash again.
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Just like Kahara said, this is bittersweet, but - at the same time - there is nothing wrong with cherishing memories of what must have been the most beautiful time of one's life; and whoever would be the in-universe narrator here: Mirany herself, her future son or somebody else, they're doing the right thing by writing it down. ;)

    I have lived in a metropolis all my life, but from the little time I spend in a small town whenever I can, I'd say that you got the noisy small town mentality perfectly. Everybody thinks they know everything about you, they make plans and set goals for you and they absolutely, totally know everything about you. If you follow their helpful advice, you'll be A-OK....

    ...yeah, right. :p

    Now, what is significantly interesting here is that Mirany's family is very traditional and old-fashioned, BUT they display those traits in a quite flexible system of morals, so to say. Mama is overly protective of her adult daughter, papa is literally thinking of a courting arrangement, and Saphra would totally go for a soldier - because girls love men in uniforms, right? It's a mishmash of priorities and "priorities" here.

    Now, that would be completely normal elsewhere. :p

    Kash's likely use of the curiosity suppressing power to sneak in was...creative. And the romantic melty-melt interlude Mirany shares with him is like a breach of every single thing he was ever subjected to and implied breach of every single thing she was ever subjected to. The presence of a shard that changes colours as Kash's proverbial heart is something I expected - I thought that one of the objects in the shop will break to shreds to signalise an end to their structured lives in corps and under whatever rules of Marfa's tradition there are beyond what we have already seen...

    ...but this is even better. And romantic in a way that's not cheesy and saccharine. I loved every single word of this. [face_love]
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  13. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 26, 2016
    Oh diva, this is very good. A very natural start that pulled me in immediately. It all looks so nice until that "It's better he doesn't know" part. And then the reader starts asking all the questions in their mind. Nicely played, very nice.

    One of the things I like about this forum is the variety of different tales that everyone comes up with - I know I stick to the boring old standard blasters & sabers action stories that are standard SW fare - but here we have the start of a love story without a stormtrooper or a sith in sight. It really all adds to the "lived in" atmosphere of the GFFA that Lucas always tried to establish.

    I'll be back for chapter 2.

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  14. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, this chapter was a wonderful follow-up to the first. [face_love]

    I really enjoyed this glimpse of Mirany's family. There was so much warmth in her mother's concern, and in her father's hope for her happiness with his not-so subtle matchmaking. :p Her sister had a subtle sort of Lydia Bennet vibe that I very much enjoyed. She definitely seems to be a foil to Mirany in terms of personality - clearly in ways that grate, at times, but there seemed to be an honest affection in her wishes for her happiness in that last line. I am also very much interested in the tradition of her birthright - it seems that a relationship with Kash flies in the face of both his upbringing and hers. I am curious how that will play out in the time to come. [face_thinking]

    It was unerring, as well, to see the influence of the Empire spread - leeching into the schools, stifling the commerce, and burdening the citizens with taxes for their own 'protection'. All of it was uncomfortable and chilling to read. I do hope that her father's place as a city councilman - and one already disgruntled with the Imperial occupation, at that - doesn't mean too much trouble for her family in the time to come.

    But the highlight of the chapter was the interlude between her and Kash! How beautiful! Their connection was almost tangible, without being overly sweet or saccharine - I have to echo earlier posters to agree on that point. I loved the gift of the crystal - [hl=black]with it giving a hum she can't hear, and being 'his heart', could it be a Kyber crystal for a Jedi in hiding? [face_thinking].[/hl] That small gesture said so much! And:

    She focused her breathing, calmed her mind, and found a stillness within her. From that source, she reached out to him with her mind and her heart. She found Kash’s own spirit waiting for her– kind, loyal, and sincere – and then she knew. Not just what she would do next, but where her own spirit belonged.

    Oh. [face_love] Is that a trait of her people, the ethereal awareness and spiritual connection? Or does she have a bit of Force sensitivity, herself? Even if it's just a 'sixth sense' of things, it was still a beautiful passage to read.

    This was a fantastic update, once again, and I look forward to more. :) =D=
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  15. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Replies chapter 2

    Thank you! They are definitely falling for each other, very quickly too.[face_love]

    Thank you! Glad you like the companion diary, too. (That’s kind of the prequel to this one.) Kash and Mirany are older; they have been through their own challenges and they are established in their own lives at this point. In my notes, at this point Kash is 28 and Mirany is slightly younger at 27. They know who they are, they know what they want.

    That’s where I was headed. In a sense, the town itself is a character. It forms Mirany’s values and it is how she defines herself. She takes a huge step outside her familiar surroundings to embrace Kash into her heart. In a way, it shows how deeply she cares for him.

    Thank you! Mirany is very close with her family and the idea of leaving them is completely foreign to her. She knows exactly what her life will be – living in the same town, working in the family business, staying close to her family. Then along came Kash.o_O

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply! You’re right, those first months of falling in love are precious. Then life interferes and makes everything so much harder. I am not sure who exactly the in-universe narrator is here, although this comment makes me think about it.

    I live in a smallish town, but I’m close enough to the seacoast to be very, very familiar with the tourist situation. Finding parking, trying to get through the camera-toting, gawking crowd – that’s summer for you around here. It wasn’t that hard to write. And living in a small town like I do, well, everyone is related eventually so you have very little privacy. Saphra is a foil, in a sense, to Mirany. Mirany is quiet and serious, but Saphra is a flirty girl who loves male attention. She’s young, she hasn’t been hurt yet. o_O

    Kash did sort of sneak in. Mirany was distracted by her work but he also kept himself quiet. I’m glad you saw that conflict with them. She “shouldn’t be” attracted to him – he’s not from Mehr, she doesn’t know his family, he is a total stranger to her. He “shouldn’t be” attracted to her – he’s [hl=black] a Jedi in hiding who has been told all his life to avoid attachments. [/hl] The crystal is obviously symbolic of Kash’s devotion to her, as you note. It has a tremendous significance to him, and it shows that they are willing to break the rules for each other.[face_love]

    Thank you for your reply, and I hope you continue to enjoy the story. :) Mirany’s got some secrets she hasn’t shared with Kash yet (a big one gets revealed below). One of them, the one she refers to in the part you reference, will actually bind them together instead of driving them apart. I tend to write romantic stories; I joke that I write romances, I just set them in outer space. I like to explore the idea of regular people who live in the GFFA and how the chaos of the wars and cruelty of the Empire affects them.

    Thank you so much! Mirany’s family is very close and there is great love between them. I hadn’t thought of Lydia and Elizabeth, but Mirany and Saphra really seem like it, don’t they? Saphra is young, light-hearted, flirty; Mirany is more grounded, serious, and older. As much as Saphra meddles in her sister’s relationships, she does it out of love for Mirany. (The same goes for her dad’s rather obvious attempt at matchmaking. Bless him, he means well.) Mirany and Kash are unexpectedly falling for each other. They will have to create a new way to interact since the relationship is unconventional for each them.

    Thank you! They took a huge risk, sharing that moment. But they realized their connection was much stronger than they knew. The crystal has tremendous symbolic meaning to Kash, and to give it to her is to give her everything he has. [hl=black] and that crystal has already been seen in Kash’s diary, where he is a Jedi. It is indeed his Kyber crystal. She can sense it too, just not as strongly as it calls to him. [/hl]

    It's both. Mehrine citizens are, through their close marriages, often somewhat Force sensitive. In the past, they had obstinately refused to allow anyone to test for midi-chlorians because they did not approve of the Jedi taking their children away. This refusal has become an accepted norm, therefore nobody is actually sure anymore who is Force sensitive and who isn’t. Mirany isn’t Force sensitive enough to be a Jedi but she has a bit of an active “sixth sense.”
    Thank you so much for your support and your kind comments! [face_love]
  16. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Chapter 3.

    “Mirany, who was Adan?”

    They had shared a kiss in the shop a few days prior, and Kash’s schedule finally allowed them to meet up again. It was late afternoon; a quiet, damp day with few people around which afforded them the advantage of privacy. Mirany had unleashed her mooka on the empty beach, and they stood close to each other and watched as the creature delightedly chased the sea birds. At his question, she sighed and looked away from Kash, toward the sea. “Adan was a young man I once knew. He’s gone now.”

    “Gone?” Kash frowned and tilted his head.

    “Gone. He died.” She shifted her weight to the other leg. Mirany was quiet for a long moment before answering. At last, she spoke. “Adan was my husband.”

    Kash stared at her. “You were married?”

    “I still am.” She turned to him. His face was frozen in stunned disbelief. “Legally, anyway. Until I sign the papers to legally terminate the marriage, we’re still married. It comes from a very old Mehrine tradition. Ships would go out to sea and not come back, and you just didn’t know. Sometimes there would be a shipwreck and the missing spouse would show up months later, sometimes they never showed up. It was decided that the land-bound spouse would make the decision whether or not to declare the marriage over. When the land-bound spouse wants to move on and to marry again, they sign the papers and terminate the first marriage. I haven’t done that yet, so yes, legally, I am married to a dead man.”

    Mirany’s expression turned wistful. “We married quite young. We had known each other for many years – we went through school together. And when we turned 19, we married. It was a good match. Our families arranged it but we liked each other very much.” She turned to face Kash, who kept his face impassive as he listened to her. She tucked a windblown strand of dark brown hair back into her white cap. “We were married for three years before he died. He went out to sea one day like he always did, and he never came back. I’ve been a widow now for almost five years.”

    She turned her face back to the ocean. She was quiet for a moment, and the only sound was the call of the sea birds and the soft murmur of the waves. He moved closer and gently placed his arm around her shoulder, and she slipped her arm around his waist. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he said softly.

    Her voice dropped to a whisper. “We were young. We didn’t know anything. We thought we would have a long lifetime together. Someday, later, we would have a family of our own. We always assumed that there would be a ‘later.’”

    “That must have been very hard on you.” Instinctively he held her tighter, and she leaned into him.

    “It was. I missed him. But my family helped me through it. At first they tried to give me hope that maybe he would come home, but I knew he was gone.”

    “How did you know?”

    She laughed, a short, bitter sound. “I knew. Trust me, I knew.” She drew a deep sigh then composed herself. A gentle expression came upon her face and she raised her gray-green eyes to meet his dark ones. “Adan was part of my past. I’ll always care about him. But I’d like to think that the rest of my life holds more than grief.” She reached out and he met her hand with his own, and his laborer’s hand curled around her soft, perfumed one. “I was reluctant to go out in public with you without declaring a courtship since I’m technically still in mourning. But it’s time for me to think about where my life goes now.” She smiled at him. “That’s why I want you to meet my parents.”

    “When do you want me to meet them?”

    She laughed again, this time with a sense of genuine pleasure. She tightened her grip around his hand and pulled him closer. “You should come to my home for supper today. You can meet Papa and Mama and my sister. They’re very curious about you, you know.”

    They stayed on the empty beach a while longer, watching the mooka scurry along the shore. The breeze brought the sharp scent of the ocean and coated everything with a thin film of salt spray. A soft fog diffused the edge of the water, although they could still hear the gentle rhythm of the waves. She kept his hand in hers and they stood closely together, feeling the warmth that passed between them. When the little pet finally flopped down on the sand, Mirany walked over to it and reattached the leash. They climbed the worn stone stairs that led up the side of the walled city’s ramparts, then made their way through the narrow side streets until they came to a multi-story building.

    Mirany stopped and retrieved a keycard as Kash stared at the imposing building. The stone walls reflected the building’s age. Traces of thin trailing vines curved around the stonework, suggesting a full foliage cover when the warm weather returned. Empty white flower boxes sat securely under the windows, and a wall rose protectively around a private yard. “Your family has an apartment here? It’s so nice.”

    She smiled and opened the door that led into a foyer. “We don’t have an apartment. We have four apartments, one on each floor. We own this building.” She then unlocked the interior door. She held the door open and the mooka raced in, off to her favorite chair by the window again. “My parents and sister live on the first floor, but I have my own apartment on the second floor. Adan and I used to live there. I spend a lot of time with my family, though.”

    They walked into the warm entry room and Mirany led him through the kitchen to the sitting room, where her father and mother were watching a holovid. They looked up in surprise when they saw her guest.

    Mirany approached him, and Kash followed closely behind. “Papa, Mama, I want you to meet Kash Ferros. He’s the man I’ve been spending my afternoons with.”

    The older man stood up and came over to them. “I’m happy to finally meet you,” he said, extending his hand in greeting. Mirany slipped her hand out of Kash’s and stepped aside, and Kash offered his free hand to her father. “I’ll let you talk,” she said quietly, and she stepped out of the room and back into the kitchen.

    Kash watched her leave the room. “You’ve been spending time with our Mirany,” the older man said, drawing Kash out of his distraction. He gestured for Kash to sit in one of the side chairs. Mirany’s father then sat down next to his wife again, who turned off the holovid.

    “Mr. Lansdotter—“ Kash began.

    “Mr. Baransen,” Mirany’s father corrected. “My name is Lan Baransen. Her name is Mirany Lansdotter.” He gestured to Mirany’s mother. “And her mother’s name is Irina Castalsdotter.”

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t know how names worked here,” Kash said.

    Lan smiled in understanding. “It’s a Mehrine tradition. Most families on Marfa don’t follow this format, but that’s what we have always done here.”

    Kash blew out a long breath. “Mr. Baransen, I’m clearly not from Marfa. I don’t understand Marfan culture all the time, and Mehrine traditions are even more foreign to me. But I want to do the right thing. I want to respect you, your family, and your city.” He held his chin up. “Mr. Baransen, I want to court Mirany. I care about her. I really do.”

    Lan sat back, raised his hand to his graying beard, and rubbed his chin. “Interesting. What can you tell us about yourself?”

    He shrugged. “I grew up on Coruscant, then I lived on Salliche for a while, then I came here. I never went to university. I work with my hands.” He looked at Mirany’s father. “I don’t have much. All I own fits in one case. I can’t give her anything. But I know that Mirany and I are supposed to be together – I can’t tell you how I know, but she’s the one I’ve waited for. I can’t make her wealthy or give her a better position in your society. But I think -- no, I know – I can make her happy.”

    “She deserves to be happy,” Mirany’s mother said quietly.

    Her father was silent for a moment. Then he smiled slightly and nodded. “Kash, I love my daughter very much. She’s been through a lot, and she has seen many dark days. But lately I’ve seen her laugh again like she used to, and I know it’s because of you. Thank you for coming to talk with us. I hope that you and Mirany are very happy together.”

    Kash closed his eyes and breathed out. “Thank you for giving me permission to court her. I promise I’ll treat her right. I won’t let anything happen to her.”

    The older man laughed gently. “You can call me Lan. And trust me, you have nothing to thank me for. Mirany is a grown woman and she doesn’t need her parents’ permission to court anyone. It’s just a formality, and she’s always been a bit on the traditional side.” The younger man looked at him, surprised. “I think she just wants us to know who you are,” Lan said. “That’s a good sign, Kash. She wants you to be welcomed into our family. She’s a sensible girl. If she approves of you, then I approve of you too.”

    Lan smiled and gestured with his head toward the kitchen. “Go tell her that her parents recognize the courtship.”

    Kash sat still for a moment, then he rose from his chair. He turned around and walked to the small kitchen. When he got to the doorway he stopped and knocked on the door frame. Mirany looked up at him when she heard the knock. “Well? How did it go?”

    “Your father said to tell you that they recognize the courtship.” Kash frowned. “What was the point of me speaking with him if you never needed permission from him for us to court anyway?”

    “I never asked them for permission. I want them to know who you are. I want them not to worry about me or who I’m with. It’s proper. You’re welcome in our home now. And now that we are courting, I have more independence. It doesn’t matter where we go or who sees us together.”

    “If you feel more comfortable, then I’m glad,” Kash said. “So we’re courting now? Officially?”

    “Yes, officially.” Mirany took a deep breath, reached up, and slowly removed her white cap. She folded it and placed it on the table, then stared at it a moment. Then she looked up at him. “I am done wearing this widow’s cap. I don’t want to be Adan’s widow any more. I want to be myself again. I want love in my life again.” Before he could say anything, she stood up and reached for his hand. He came over to her and took her hand in his. She glanced back at the neatly folded cap for a moment, then looked at him and smiled. “Come on,” she said. “I promised you supper.”

    Kash looked confused. “We aren’t eating here?”

    She shook her head. “I want to make you a meal in my own apartment. I happen to be an excellent cook.” She led him back through the kitchen and back into the entry room, then they went through the door to the main foyer. Across from them was a narrow set of stairs. Mirany led the way to the landing at the top, where she stopped at a door and pulled a keycard out of her jacket pocket. The door slid open and they walked in.

    The room was neat and attractive, with a small sitting area that led to an open kitchen. Mirany strode across the room towards the kitchen. “Make yourself comfortable,” she said as she began to pull cooking items out of the cupboards and assemble them on the cooking unit. Kash sat down on the sofa.

    She looked over at him, then got two glasses out of the cabinet. “You should try this. It’s from a vineyard in the next district. We have family friends who make the best wine.” She took out a bottle and opened it, then poured one glass for him and a glass for herself.

    Mirany walked back to the sofa, sat down, and handed him his glass. She took a small sip and watched as he tried his own glass. His eyebrows went up. “It’s good,” he said, laughing. “Strong, but good.”

    Kash put his glass on the table in front of them and smiled as he watched her. She took another sip, then realized what he was doing and began to laugh. “What are you looking at?” she said.

    “You. You look so beautiful.”

    Mirany laughed gently and shook her head. She put her glass on the table next to Kash’s wine glass, then turned to face him. “I have some steak that I can make for us. Unless you would prefer seafood.”

    He continued to look at her, studying the details of her. He reached over and gently placed the palm of his hand against her face, stroking her cheek with his thumb. “I’m not really hungry,” he said quietly. “Maybe later.”

    Mirany sat still for a moment as Kash continued to caress her face, then she moved closer to him. She traced her hands over his chest, then began to slowly unfasten the closures on his shirt. Her voice was quieter, lower. “I can cook later,” she said.

    Kash drew her tightly to him, and his hand slid up her leg to rest on her thigh. He brushed her dark hair out of the way and placed little kisses against the soft skin of her neck. Mirany drew a sharp breath and held him closer. “I’ll cook later,” she whispered.
  17. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    A very beautiful courtship that is starting to begin as Mirany introduces Kash to her parents and they approve of their relationship.
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  18. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    A nice chapter.
    I'm a little suprised that Mirany's parents now approve of her relationship but its nice to see they care for their daughters happines more than for the traditions. Sad to hear what happened to Adan though, it reminds me of these old stories about lovers being separated by the sea.
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  19. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004

    That's so fascinating, and entirely believable. I read up on your fanon entry too, so now the world is all the more enriched for me. The time and effort you're putting into your world building is fantastic!

    Once again, I love the softness of this story; there's such a beautifully hushed feeling to it. A part of me wonders if it's just the calm before the storm, but for now I am just letting myself enjoy it.

    It was sad to read about Mirany's past, but I am happy for her that she is moving on and finding love in her life again. Something tells me that Adan would have wanted that for her, as well. The bits of 'knowing' Mirany had about his death, and even her feelings on the bond between her and Kash - and vice versa - were a great way to hint at the Force being at work between them. I love it when elements like that are mixed in to a romance. [face_love]

    And, oh! I was not expecting such an easy capitulation from her parents, but it's like they said - technically she doesn't need their permission, and they just want to see her happy again. Kash makes her happy. And, she's clearly a bright spot on his days. His speech about having little but wanting to take care of her with what he had was beautiful. No parent could turn down sincerity like that.

    In short, I am happy to see their relationship progressing. They're official now! You did a wonderful job handling the escalation of their physical relationship, too. That was a beautiful few lines at the end - it's one of my favourite 'fade-to-black' scenes I've read, that's for certain. [face_love]

    (A side point, but I liked the naming traditions too! It had a wonderfully Scandinavian flair - again, excellent world-building.)

    Wonderful update, again! I look forward to more. =D=
    Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  20. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005

    Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. :)

    Thank you for your reply! :) Like her father said, Mirany’s a traditional person and she wants to do things the proper way. She is also a grown woman and she can make her own decisions without her parents’ permission. If she had been her younger sister it would be another matter, but Mirany’s already been married before and she is much more mature. Her parents trust her decision.

    Adan will always be a love in her heart, but she knows that it’s time to find a new love to share that space. I can imagine it must be awful to be a young widow surrounded by couples who are excited to begin their lives together.

    Thank you! I appreciate your thoughtful response. The setting is one of an established, peaceful city, where Mirany feels completely at ease. However, there is definitely a calm before the storm, and the storm clouds are beginning to gather. [face_worried]

    Mirany’s had it tough. She had to deal with a tremendous loss just as she thought her life was beginning on its course. It’s taken her five years to stop identifying as a widow and start thinking of herself and what she wants, and what she wants is a relationship with Kash, on her own terms. Mirany has certain talents in the Force, even though she is herself only vaguely aware of them. In fact, they frighten her more than anything, and Kash has the knowledge to help her control them. They are incredibly well suited for each other – each has exactly what the other yearns for. (more on that later.) O:)

    Kash has been waiting a long time for this love, and he wants to make sure he does everything right. Mirany has been waiting years for someone to make her feel desired and loved, and she wants to make sure it’s by the book, too. They are both cautious people in a way, both have suffered terrible losses and they both know to appreciate it when life brings happiness their way. Mirany’s parents love her dearly and they want the best for her, and they trust her decisions even if they aren’t necessarily the same ones they would make.
    And as for the fade to black – let’s just say it was a very late supper that night. o_O
    AzureAngel2 and Ewok Poet like this.
  21. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Chapter 4.

    Mirany held his hand and led him through the narrow streets of the market district. “This is where Noenni’s shop is. She’s an excellent jeweler. You’ll be amazed at her work.” Mirany smiled brightly at Kash. “Noenni is my oldest and dearest friend,” she said. “Her father is Falleen and her mother is from Mehr. Her parents met when they were at university together in Coruscant, then they came back here after they married and her father became a citizen of Mehr. Noenni is their only child. She’s like a sister to me. She’s been with me through all the worst days.”

    “Then I can’t wait to meet her,” he replied.

    They soon came upon a neat storefront. Jewelry designs of all styles adorned the front window – delicate necklaces, bright armlets, and bracelets glittering with colorful stones and metals. Kash barely had time to glance at the work before Mirany tugged him into the store.

    A young woman about the same age as Mirany looked up from her counter. She broke into a wide smile when she saw them. “Sweetheart!” she cried, coming around the corner to wrap Mirany in a tight embrace, and Mirany kissed the woman’s cheek. The woman turned to Kash and smiled at him.

    “This is Kash,” Mirany told her. She turned to Kash. “And this is my oldest, dearest friend, Noenni Krixarsdotter.”

    “I’m happy to meet you,” he said politely. He extended his tanned hand and she grasped it with her greenish-tinted one.

    Noenni’s smile widened again. “I’m so happy to meet you! Mirany can’t stop talking about you. You’ve made quite an impression on her. When she told me you were courting, I was thrilled. Our Mirany deserves to be happy again.”

    Suddenly Noenni turned to Mirany. Noenni beamed as she placed her hands on her abdomen. “And speaking of being happy again –“

    Mirany’s eyes widened. “Are you expecting? Noenni, that’s wonderful! Little Radin will have a baby brother or sister now. How does he feel about that?”

    “We haven’t told him yet. In fact, Evan and I have only told his parents and my dad. You’re the first to know.”

    Noenni chattered on about her new pregnancy, the latest thing her son had done, and her husband’s law practice. Occasionally Mirany glanced over at Kash, who watched the two bemusedly. She smiled at him, and his smile in return filled her with warmth and contentment. Eventually Mirany placed her hand on Noenni’s shoulder. “I have a job for you, friend,” she said.

    Noenni raised her black eyebrows. “Really? Show me!”

    Mirany took a cloth out of her pocket and unfolded it. Inside was the green-flecked crystal that Kash had given her. She handed it to Noenni, who examined it curiously. “It’s lovely, Mirany. What would you like to do with it?”

    “I’d like to make a necklace out of it.”

    Noenni studied the crystal, holding it up to the light. The bright green flecks sparkled in the sunlight. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stone like this before.” She frowned, then consulted her datapad. “I wonder… If I scan it, I can probably figure out its planet of origin.”

    Kash, who had been sitting in a chair nearby while the women chatted, spoke up. “It’s not necessary to find the planet of origin in order to make a necklace out of it, is it?”

    Noenni looked at him as if confused for a moment, then slowly answered. “No, not at all. It isn’t necessary to identify the stone to make a necklace.”

    Kash nodded, then grimaced and rubbed his forehead. “Are you all right?” Mirany asked quietly.

    He nodded and waved his hand as if to indicate that she should continue. “I’m fine. Make something pretty.” He smiled reassuringly at her.

    Mirany paused for a moment, then turned back to Noenni, who was measuring the crystal with a caliper. “You know, I think this would look elegant wrapped in cupitirn wires. Cupitirn acquires a soft green patina as it ages, but it won’t irritate your skin.”

    Noenni looked up at Mirany. “I have enough wire in stock to wrap it and create a really pretty case, and I can put it on a nice chain for you.”

    Noenni turned around to retrieve a set of necklace chains from a case. While she was occupied, Mirany went over to Kash and placed her hand on his shoulder. “What’s wrong? Are you ill?”

    Kash took a deep breath, then opened his eyes and smiled gently when he looked at her. “Really. I’m fine. I just have a little headache. It will go away. Can she make the necklace for you today?”

    Noenni returned to the counter with a collection of necklace chains on a tray. “I can make it for you this afternoon, if you’d like,” she said cheerfully.

    “That would be wonderful,” Mirany said. “We’ll be back before you close for the day.”

    Noenni gave her a brilliant smile. “No worries, my friend. I’m not that busy. Misty season and all. Come by later and I’ll have it for you.”

    Kash and Mirany said their goodbyes and left the jewelry store. They walked leisurely together down the narrow street toward Mirany’s boutique, their hands lightly clasped, passing various businesses and their colorful displays. Above them, brightly colored banners that stretched from one ancient building to another waved in the gentle breeze. They passed an old man seated at table outside a nearly deserted café, his collar turned up against the damp chill. He nodded at Mirany, who waved at him in return. Mirany turned to Kash and smiled. “Noenni’s been married to Evan for years.” Mirany sighed contentedly. “I’m so glad that she’s pregnant again; she and Evan are wonderful parents.”

    “Did they marry at the same time you and Adan did?” Kash asked.

    Mirany nodded. “We married at the same ceremony.” She looked up at the surrounding buildings in the marketplace, as if seeing them in a remembered vision. “It seems so long ago. Everything was so romantic then. We were young and brave and anything was possible.”

    Her momentary wistfulness retreated, replaced by a mischievous little smile. She whispered conspiratorially in his ear. “Let me show you something. Only native Mehrine know about this.”

    She led him down a side alley, which wound its way between the stone buildings, and they stepped into an alcove, unnoticeable from the street. “These are the secret entrances to the tunnels. During the Great Burning, they created these tunnels to keep the citizens safe from invaders. Now they’re places where lovers can steal a kiss, away from the eyes of their parents.”

    “What a wonderful idea,” he said. Kash smiled at her as she leaned against the wall. She placed her arms around his neck and he slipped his hands behind her back. They kissed, a tender pressing of their lips that grew in intensity, then he held her tightly.

    She broke away and looked up at him. “I guess we’re too old to be sneaking kisses in the shadows,” she said ruefully.

    Kash quietly laughed again. Then he grew serious as he slowly drew his fingers along her face. “Mirany, I have to tell you about me. You need to know--”

    Her gray-green eyes met his dark ones and she shook her head. “No. Not now. Let me live this moment. Let me have this.” She took a deep breath, rested her head against his shoulder, and spoke again. “I took time for granted when I was with Adan. I thought we would have a lifetime together. I learned the hard way that when happiness comes into your life, you don’t ask questions or put things off, you take it. And Kash, I want you to know that I have found myself in love with you. I don’t know why or how, but you make me feel young and alive again.” She lifted up her head again to look into his face. “I love you, Kash. Before you say whatever it is you have to tell me, let me tell you that first.”

    Kash studied her face for a moment, his own expression one of tenderness. He kissed her again and held her tightly. “I love you too, Mirany. You have my heart. You always will.”

    She stepped away from him and smiled. “Whatever we have to tell each other, whatever secrets we need to share, we will say them. But now, right now, I want us to be happy first.” She took his hand and intertwined her fingers with his as they left the privacy of the alcove and stepped back into the alley and then into the market square. The old man who had greeted Mirany earlier nodded knowingly at them and grinned, and Mirany blushed as she grinned back.

    They arrived at the main street and approached the boutique where Mirany worked. Suddenly Kash stopped and gripped her hand more tightly. Sensing his alarm, Mirany turned to him. “What is it?” she asked quietly.

    He frowned. “I’m not sure. Something is going on. Be careful.”

    Mirany slowly entered the store, with Kash behind her. He put his hand on her arm protectively. The store was empty except for two people, Mirany’s father and another man. The stranger wore a crisp military uniform, his short black hair neatly combed under a dark green cap. He turned at the sound of their entrance, then the man narrowed his eyes as he assessed Mirany and Kash haughtily.

    “So this must be your lovely daughter,” the man said. His voice held a tone of distain.

    Mirany’s father’s expression was somber. “This is my daughter Mirany. My other daughter is at school.”

    The man came over to her and silently stared down at her. Mirany stared back. “I see she has the same Mehrine insubordinate streak that we had just been discussing.” The man then looked at Kash, who glanced away without making eye contact. The man huffed. “At least this one knows how to respect a superior.”

    The man looked back at Lan. “You would do well to consider what we discussed, Councilman. I will expect more… positive results than those we have seen lately.”

    The officer turned and walked out of the building without a further word to any of them. A distinct chill and an uncomfortable silence remained in the room when he was gone. Lan let out a deep breath as Mirany went to his side. “Papa, who was that? What did he want?”

    Lan was silent for a moment. “That was Commander Holt. He runs the garrison now.”

    Mirany frowned. “Whatever did he want? Is it something to do with the city council?”

    “In a way. He is dissatisfied with the way things have been run here, and thinks that Mehr is not cooperating with the Imperial forces the way we should. He feels that the city council is not enforcing discipline, as he calls it.”

    Mirany stared at him and scowled. “What do we owe them to cooperate? We don’t need the Imperials. We are Mehrine. We govern ourselves. We mind ourselves and they mind themselves.”

    Lan shook his head sadly. “That’s exactly it, my dear one. Commander Holt isn’t like the old garrison leader, who didn’t bother us much. These officers are different. They were not happy when we refused to replace the Mehrine banner with the Emperor’s. They don’t want to listen to any complaints about the increase in taxes and the extra patrols. People have objected to the surveillance recorders that have been put in the public areas. There have been some reports of vandalism and acts of disobedience. And as I am a councilman, Commander Holt expects me to make them comply.”

    She laughed incredulously. “Comply? How does he expect a Mehrine to simply comply? We are of pirate blood. Our ancestors were smugglers and mercenaries who were feared throughout the northern sea. Our history is a celebration of independence. No one banner has ever defined us but the banner of Mehr. Even the Marfan government makes accommodations for our laws and customs.”

    Her father’s face was lined with concern. “All true. But this is different. The Imperials believe their law takes precedence, and Commander Holt tells me that they will have compliance or there will be consequences.” He looked at Mirany and Kash. “He’s threatened martial law if we don’t fall in line.”

    Mirany was silent for a moment, then she smiled and held her chin up defiantly. “Ah, Papa, what can they do? We are Mehrine. We are strong. They can’t hurt us.”

    Kash finally spoke, his voice bitter and quiet. “Yes, they can. Oh, yes, they can.”
  22. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    Sounds like some danger may be in store since the Imperials are flexing their muscle and I do expect the martial law to be put in place no matter if they fall in line or not.
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  23. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    No, no, no, listen to him Mirany!!! Putting it off until later only prolongs the facade of present happiness! Keeping secrets can kill love (see: Anakin/Padme). Argh!

    (I want to whack the girl)

    I did like the little peeks at the subtle ways the Empire was taking over, absconding with the hotels for Officer's quarters (shades of Paris ca. 1940!), new schoolbooks, etc.
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  24. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    I like this chapter. It gives a little more insight into how the empire changes the lifes of the people step by step. Its intersting to see this happy daily life in the city next to the growing opression.
    I hope Kash will tell Mirany who he really is, she defenetly should know.
    A nice chapter :)

    BTW I'm guessing the crystahl is from Ilum? ;)
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  25. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 26, 2016
    OK, chapter 2: Continued the high quality writing. I'm impressed, a lot of us (including me) put everything into the 1st "hooker" chapter and it's hard to maintain that level. You did it. And pretty racey stuff! I hope that's as far as we go on the physical side of the romance haha. I liked how you centred everything around her reaction to the present - focusing the importance. It was quite dramatic. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not much one for romance stories personally, but I am starting to see how they are so popular. Espceially when they are done and paced well, like this.

    I'll be back for 3.:cool:

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