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Saga - OT Conversational Mando'a for Beginners | OTP 5+1 Challenge| Wren/Kaz

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Conversational Mando’a for Beginners
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Genre: Humor, fluff, AU
    Timeline: Ca. 28 ABY, in the Marzra-verse continuity
    Characters: Kazuda Xiono, Wren Ordo (OC), Sabine Wren, Maximus Ordo (OC)
    Synopsis: Kaz is learning Mando’a to impress Wren; five times he gets it wrong and one time he gets it right.

    Notes: Written for the OTP 5+1 Challenge; I’m also double-dipping on @Findswoman’s Joys of Yiddish challenge, where my prompt was “ shlemiel: A person who always has bad luck, born loser, hard-luck type, doofus” :D

    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta reading. @};-
    Intro: Conversational Mando’a for Beginners

    “Soo COO-ee gar? Soo coo-EE gar? Soo coo-ee GAR?” Kazuda Xiono murmured to himself as he waited on the shuttle platform at the Candera Inter-System Spaceport, using the last few moments before Wren and her father arrived to brush up on his Mando’a. Languages had never really been his strong suit; verb tenses and adjective placement, participles and pronouns all got jumbled up his head until what came out was a hodgepodge of words that might or might not actually make any sort of sense. He’d barely scraped a passing grade in his required courses in Old Coruscanti at the Hosniana Young Leaders’ Academy, and he was thankful that his coursework at the New Republic’s Flight Academy on Lothal did not include any more language classes.

    But Mando’a was important to Wren. Even though she spoke Basic, she’d frequently toss in a word or phrase in Mando’a, seemingly without even thinking about it. She’d explained to Kaz once that knowing and speaking Mando’a was one of the Six Actions, the code of what made a Mandalorian a Mandalorian. And since Mando’a was important to Wren, and since she was important to him, Kaz had made an effort to learn a few words and phrases. He’d applied himself to the task with a dedication that his Old Coruscanti teacher would not have believed possible. He felt that his first attempts at speaking the language had been an unqualified success (judging by the fact that they’d led to his and Wren’s first kiss), and now that he’d been invited to spend the weekend at Clan Ordo’s Stronghold, Kaz was hoping he could build on that success.


    Kaz looked up from his last minute language lessons to see Wren, her golden-brown beskar’gam gleaming in the sunlight, sprinting across the platform towards him. He hastily stuffed his Conversational Mando’a for Beginners holobook back in his duffel, grinned and waved. “Wren! Soo COO-EE GAR!”

    Part 1: That Does NOT Mean What You Think It Does

    Kaz exchanged greetings with Wren’s father, Maximus, as he climbed into the cavernous passenger area of the Ordos’ massive Ori’tsad speeder--“Soo coo-EE gar! Meh-VAR tee-GAR?”--and was pleased that he’d gotten his pronunciation right (or at least close enough that Maximus hadn’t either laughed or asked him to repeat himself).

    “How’s the rest of your family?” Kaz asked as he settled onto the bench seat next to Wren--close but not too close since her dad was sitting right in front of them. “Your mom, Bellona, your shabuir--”

    There was a noise somewhere between a stifled snort and a choked-off chuckle from Maximus in the driver’s cockpit. Wren’s jaw dropped and she stared at Kaz as if he’d just said something unspeakably foul. “My WHAT?!?”

    “Shabuir?” Kaz repeated tentatively. What had just happened there? Had he inadvertently trespassed on some obscure Mandalorian custom? Was he being too familiar by using that term? Were outsiders not supposed to speak of honored elders? What? ”Your grandmother, right?”

    Wren blinked, the insulted I-should-punch-you-for-saying-that tension relaxing from her shoulders and clenched hands. “BA-buir,” she said, heaving a huge sigh as she slid back against the seat. “‘Grandmother’ in Mando’a is babuir, not…” She shook her head, wrinkling her nose as if the mere thought of the word had a stench to it. “ an insult…”

    “It means someone who does indecent things with their own parent,” Maximus supplied helpfully from up front, and Kaz thought there might have been a bit of a chuckle in his voice.

    “Daaaad!” Wren wailed, covering her face with one hand and slumping down further in her seat.

    “Oh…” Kaz had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, as if the engines in his racer had given out at the top of the last leg of the atmospheric dash. Wren’s grandmother, Demetria Ordo, was a petite woman. She kept her sleek silver-white hair neatly pulled back with a black velvoid headband, and had a pleasant, matronly expression. She always seemed to have a smile and a piece of warm uj’alayi for Kaz. In short, she looked very much a grandmother, even though she wore armor.

    But despite her mild disposition and charming smile, she had, in her youth, defeated twelve men to hold the regency of Clan Ordo for her son. And since turning clan leadership over to Maximus, Demetria had become proficient in both uses of the bes’bev--a peculiarly Mandalorian wind instrument that doubled as a weapon. She could probably handily skewer an opponent in the middle of a solo and never stop playing. And Kaz had just called her a... “Oh. You’re not….you’re not going to tell her I said that…?”

    “I’m fairly sure she’s been called that in earnest somewhere along the line.” This time Maximus’s chuckle was obvious.

    “DAD!” Spots of red had blossomed high on Wren’s cheeks and she looked like she would rather be eaten by a ravenous terentatek than be there in that speeder at that moment having that particular conversation. (Not that Kaz could blame her.) “No,” she told Kaz firmly. “We are definitely not telling Grandma Demetria.” And, having settled that, she asked, in the tone of one who was changing the subject, “So which team do you like for the Galactic Cup?”

    Part 2: Art Is Subjective

    Once they reached Clan Ordo’s Stronghold, Wren showed Kaz to one of the guest rooms. He stowed his duffel bag and then headed back downstairs for a snack, stopping by her mom’s art studio on the way to say hello.

    Sabine Wren Ordo’s studio was not neat; it wasn’t exactly messy either--more like well-organized chaos. The canvas covered floor was splattered with a veritable rainbow of paint. There were racks of canvases in the corners, both finished and blank, tables with small sculptures and other colorful knick-knacks, and holos of landscapes, figures and creatures large and small. Several easels were in the center of the room; Sabine was working at one of them; she put down her brush and smiled when Wren and Kaz entered. “Hello, Kaz. How was your trip?”

    “Good, thanks. I mean, JOT-ay, vor-eh.” That, at least, Kaz knew he’d said correctly (more or less). “What are you working on? Is that one of your new paintings?”

    Sabine stepped back so he could see what was on her canvas: abstract human forms surrounded by swirls of gold and blue with tiny, glittering flecks in the thick daubs of paint. “It’s a design for a mural for the headquarters of the Order of the Ka’ra,” she explained. “A representation of our honored ancestors as guiding stars.”

    Art was almost like another foriegn language as far Kaz was concerned. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it, it was just that he didn’t always understand it. Like why drippy splatters of paint or arrangements of squares were supposed to be great art when they didn’t really look like much of anything. He wasn’t exactly sure he understood Sabine’s painting, either, but it was pretty with all the colors and sparkles and everything. And she was a Famous Artist--and his girlfriend’s mom, on top of that--so he felt like he needed to say something intelligent and thoughtful, something that didn’t make him look like a totally uncultured moof-milker. “It’s very...I mean...ori--” That was “very” in Mando’a, also “much”, “many”, “a lot”--the language was confusingly non-specific as times--”ori... jot-nee-ness!” Jate was “good”, and -ne was an intensifier...or was it -nese? He couldn’t remember, so he added both, just for good measure. “Very, um, ori--” Kaz wracked his brain, trying to remember all the vocabulary words from Conversational Mando’a for Beginners. He thought that tranyc had something to do with stars, so that seemed good, and shal was “color” and you added -yc to make it an adjective, so--”Ori tran-EESH and um... shal...shal-eesh,” he managed.

    Sabine gave him an odd look. Not, fortunately, the kind of what-the-kriff-did-you-just-say look that Wren had given him when he’d called her grandmother….well, that, but the kind of look his Old Coruscanti instructor had given him during his oral exams when he’d told her that one of Hosnian Prime’s main exports was spatula wart engines instead of starship drives.

    “Well...thank you,” she said at last, still looking a bit bemused. “But I’m not quite sure what you meant by ‘tran’yc and shal’yc’?”

    “Sparkly? Starry?” It was something like that, right? “And colorful? Why? What...what did I say?” He almost hated to ask, but he needed to know how long he was going to have to hide in the guest room in shame.

    “You said it was very sunny,, at-like. Sal is the word for color; shal means ‘at’.”

    “Oh.” It could have been worse, Kaz supposed. He could have said it looked like spatula warts. Or people who did indecent things with their parents. This was not as easy as last time, when he’d memorized a few important words and phrases. “I guess I need to reread my Mando’a for beginners holobook, huh?”

    “It’s all right. It was a good try, and you’re still learning.” She patted his shoulder with a smile that made Kaz wonder if Maximus had filled her in on the whole unfortunate “shabuir” incident. He felt a slow flush creeping up the back of his neck.

    Wren sighed and tugged at his hand. “Come on, Kaz. Let’s get downstairs before our shig gets cold.”

    Part 3: Hey, Pip-squeaks!

    Fortunately, the shig—a tea with a sort of citrusy flavor—was still warm when Kaz and Wren got to the kitchen, and so was the pan of uj’alayi that went with it. After pouring themselves mugs of shig and cutting liberal slices of the syrup-covered cake, they decided to take their refreshments out to the veranda that overlooked the Stronghold’s vast lawn. It was a beautiful day, sunny--tranyc, Kaz thought--with a light breeze that carried the scent of sun-warmed frond grass with it, and he was determined to put all his stupid language slip-ups behind him. And for her part, Wren didn’t seem inclined to dwell on them either. They talked about school and family, particularly the trials of having perfect older sisters. They caught up on the latest news about their vode from their mission on Korriban. Humoo, the Squib scavenger, had sent them holo-postcards from all over the Outer Rim with details of his latest finds. Ronen and Noemi were back at the Temple on Lothal after a short reconnaissance mission to the edge of the Unknown Regions; he and Wren speculated on when the two Jedi would finally be getting married and what a Jedi marriage ceremony might entail.

    They were on seconds of shig and uj’alayi (well, Wren was on seconds of the cake; Kaz was on fourths…) when a dozen or so kids wearing tesh-tunics emblazoned with a stylized hawk logo burst around the corner of the Stronghold like a herd of wild bantha. A tall, curly-haired boy about twelve years old was kicking a limmie ball across the lawn while the others jockeyed to catch up with him. He waved when he spotted Wren and Kaz. “Wren! We made it to the playoffs against the Ruus’oriya Strills!” He stopped in front of the veranda and kicked the ball towards her. “Can you teach us some new moves?”

    “Eep!” Kaz threw up his arms as the ball came hurtling at them, but Wren caught it handily. Some of the children, who had gathered around the tall boy, gave Kaz sidelong looks and smirks, some snickeried a little, but Wren seemed not to notice as she stood, passing the ball from foot to foot. “Oya, Quintus! That’s great!” She grinned and kicked the ball back to him; he, of course caught it as neatly as she had. “And I’d love to...but I’ve got company right now.” She gestured to Kaz. “Guys, this is Kazuda Xiono, my ori’vod. He was on Korriban with me. Kaz, these are my cousins on the Candera Jai’galaare mesh’geroya team.”

    The children’s expressions changed from smirks and grins to various shades of interest as Wren introduced him. A girl in the back poked another girl at the word ori’vod and whispered something to her that made them both giggle; several of the kids perked up noticeably when she mentioned Korriban. Kaz shifted a bit uneasily under the gaze of so many inquisitive eyes. He knew they weren’t all Wren’s cousins in the strict sense of the word, but Mandalorians considered anyone in their clan family whether they were directly related or not, and he wanted to make a good impression. His Conversational Mando’a for Beginners holobook had an entire section on useful phrases related to limmie--mesh’geroya in Mando’a--but he’d largely skipped that part. Limmie wasn’t nearly as popular in the Core as it was here on the Outer Rim; Kaz’s preferred sport was the Sabers-class racing circuit.

    However, one thing Mandos valued even more than their “beautiful game” was military discipline, and that, as a cadet at one of the New Republic’s military academies, Kaz understood. He stood and snapped a jaunty salute at the team. “Hey, vaar’ike! Lookin’ good!”

    Curious and friendly expressions turned stony in the blink of an eye. “Hey, yourself, besom,” Quintus, the curly-haired boy, retorted and launched the limmie ball straight at Kaz. It beaned him before he even had time to duck; Quintus caught the ball as it bounced off Kaz’s head. “Ke ba’slana, vode!” he called and began kicking the ball across the lawn again. The others followed, shooting a few last, contemptuous glances at Kaz as they went.

    “Ow.” Kaz rubbed the top of his head. It wasn’t the hardest he’d ever hit it (he was depressingly used to banging his head on things), but he was going to have a lump. “That wasn’t very nice.”

    Wren gave him an odd look, her lips pursed. Not quite I-should-punch-you-for-saying-that, but close. “Well, what did you expect when you called them a bunch of runts?”

    “Runts?!?! No!” he protested.”I called them little soldiers! It’s a compliment!”

    Verd’ike. With a 'dorn'. Vaar’ika is ‘runt’ or ‘pip-squeak’. Verd’ika is ‘little soldier’,” Wren sighed gustily, something Kaz noticed she’d been doing a lot that day. “I’ll explain it to them later; right now we should probably get you some ice for that head.”

    Ke ba’slana, vode: Let’s go, guys!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Oh the linguistic goofups. =D=
    Kahara, Raissa Baiard and Findswoman like this.
  3. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    He's trying very hard. I'm sure he'll get it eventually.
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, what a wonderful idea for a 5+1! And so perfect for this pair, coming from such different backgrounds and consisting, as they do, of a very Mando young Mando and a young very, very non-Mando with definite shlemiel characteristics! (So glad you contributed this to my little Yiddish challenge, too!) I’ve really been enjoying the “culture shock” dynamic between Wren and Kaz, and this takes the cake—you’ve chosen some wonderful different Mando’a word mixups and scenarios, from the exceedingly mortifying shabuir/babuir thing to the odd compliment on Sabine’s Ka’ra mural to the mega d’oh of calling all those proud Mando tween athletes runts! :oops: You know, if Grandma Demetria were told about it, any of it, and I could see Embarrassing!Dad!Max doing so, somewhere down the line—I bet she’d probably just have a good laugh, just like I’ve been having! And let me say that I do love Embarrassing!Dad!Max—that’s a role that really suits him, somehow, and of course it’s all the more so when you add in the Mando factor. And once again, as in all your Wraz stories, you’ve really got that Mando factor down, and I love how it’s such an integral part of the Wraz relationship—so much so that Kaz goes to these lengths. Thanks so much for sharing another wonderful chapter in the life and love of Wraz—can’t wait to see how it continues! [face_love] =D=
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wraz--now that is quite the OTP name blend.
    Kahara, Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.
  6. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Yep, Kaz runs the gamut from :oops: to :eek: with his mix ups. And @Findswoman is the queen of the OTP name smush! :D ("Wraz" is at least better than the alternative "Ken" [face_laugh])
    Kaz is nothing if not persistent, especially since he's doing this for Wren. He will get it--it'll just take some more practice!
    Thank you! Kaz was the first character that came to mind for the "shlemiel" prompt. He does have that tendency, unfortunately, but even though he does, he's so earnest and good-hearted through it all that you can't help but feel for him. I have a lot of fun with these two and their very different backgrounds, so I'm glad that you enjoy them too. Kaz goes all out to demonstrate his feelings to Wren, and so even though language isn't his strong suit, he's going to give it his best shot. I think you're right that Grandma Demetria would get a good chuckle out of it, and much as Embarassing Mando Dad does :D (Max's sense of humor definitely leans that way. and has since he teased Sabine that he could hit on her a bit if it would make her feel better ;) )I have to say I'm sort of nerd for linguistics and Mando'a is one of t he most developed languages in the GFFA, so its been fun to really get into their language for this story. I can swear quite profusely in Mando'a now![face_laugh]
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    To my beta-reader, @Findswoman -- Vor entye, ner vod! @};-

    Part 4: Cute Is a Four Letter Word

    Things weren’t going well. At all.

    Kaz had messed up again, only this time he’d managed to insult Wren herself, and he had no idea how he’d done it. He frantically paged through Conversational Mando’a for Beginners trying to figure out where he’d gone wrong. He didn’t dare ask any of her family members for help. What if whatever it was he’d said to her was as bad as calling her grandmother shabuir? What if it was worse and they told Wren she ought to find some nice, polite Mando boy instead of dating the stupid outsider guy who had the worst ’fresher mouth this side of the Core? Kaz groaned and threw his holobook onto the bed. He was getting nowhere.

    Fortunately, there was someone he could turn to who wouldn’t laugh. Too much. Probably. Kaz rummaged through his duffel bag until he found his commlink buried beneath his extra socks; he tapped in the comm-code for his friend Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus. Ronen was a Jedi, so he was good at solving problems. He had a girlfriend—a fiancée now!—so he obviously had this whole women thing figured out. And most importantly, he was Wren’s cousin, so he knew her even better than Kaz did. If anyone was qualified to help him out of this predicament, it was Ronen.

    Ronen picked up before the commlink even chimed once—could Jedi sense their incoming comms in the Force? “Kaz? What’s up? I thought you were visiting Wren on Ordo this weekend.”

    “Yeah, I am...but, um, I could use some Jedi advice. Wren’s...kind of angry with me and I don’t really know why.”

    There was a pause and a slight exhalation that was not quite a sigh. “Kaz, you know how Wren is. Give her a day or two and it’ll all blow over.”

    “I don’t have a day or two! I’m only here for the weekend and then it’s back to comms and holo-text!” That was the downside of dating a girl who lived on a different planet—in a different system, even. Not that Kaz didn’t enjoy their comms and texts—any way he could spend time with Wren was great—but actually getting to be with her was rare and special, and he didn’t want to waste time with her mad at him for some stupid thing he hadn’t even meant to say. “Anyway...I already insulted her grandmother, her mom’s art, and the entire Clan Ordo youth limmie team; I need help!”

    “All right,” Ronen said with a definite sigh this time. “Tell me what happened.”

    Kaz gave him a quick recap of all his mangled Mando’a mix-ups, from shabuir to vaar’ike, concluding with Quintus nailing him on the head with the limmie ball. (It was still kind of sore; he felt sorry for the poor Ruus’oriya Strills who had to face that menace on the limmie field.) “And then it was time to get ready for dinner. When we met up again, I told Wren she looked nice and she looked at me like I’d insulted both of her grandmothers and stomped off! All I did was give her a compliment!” Though with the way his luck had been going today, he’d probably accidentally discovered the Mando’a equivalent of “nerf’s backside”.

    “What exactly did you say?”

    “I told her she looked cute!”

    “Cute? What word did you use?”

    “Umm…it was copikla.”


    Ronen’s groan was not reassuring. “What?!”

    “‘Cute’ is fine in Basic, but copikla--Mandos use copikla for babies and small animals. Not women. Never women.”

    That, Kaz thought, would have been nice to know a half an hour ago. You would have thought that Conversational Mando’a for Beginners might have included a note to that effect in its entry for the word, if for no other reason than to keep hapless guys from getting shot trying to score a few points with their Mando girlfriends.

    “Okay,” Ronen continued. “I know this seems bad, but I’m going to teach you the one phrase in Mando’a that should solve all your problems: Ni ceta. It means “I kneel” and it’s the most groveling apology you can make. Don’t ask why I know this.”

    Grovelling was good; Kaz was fully prepared to grovel if it saved the rest of this weekend from disaster. He grabbed his datapad and stylus. “How do you say that again?”

    Part 5: I...Know You

    Ronen’s advice proved sound--not that that was really surprising, given that he was a Jedi and all that. Ni ceta got Wren’s attention—along with the fact that he had actually knelt, just to make sure she knew he really meant it—and Kaz was able to plead ignorance of the fact that copikla was never used to describe women. (His previous mortifying errors only helped his case here. For once, being a moof-milker paid off. Kind of.) He further assured Wren that he did not in any way put her in the same category as small children or fuzzy animals. She’d sighed and punched his shoulder, but it was more of a “fond exasperation” sigh than a “you absolute nerf-brain” sigh, and a very light punch—more of a nudge, really. And since, from a Mandalorian, even a much harder punch could be a gesture of affection, Kaz was pretty sure that things were okay between him and Wren again.

    It was a relief to have things straightened out before dinner so he didn’t have to sit in awkward silence wondering if Wren and her entire family hated him. Kaz did feel a little uneasy about facing Grandma Demetria at first, but she only gave him her usual grandma smile—and for that Kaz wasn’t about to complain. He managed not to say anything too egregiously moof-milkerish during dinner, mostly by sticking to Basic. And he distinguished himself by making it through an entire serving of Sabine’s honest-to-goodness, not served to aruetiise Real Mando Tiingilar without choking, dying or passing out. Kaz was rather proud of the fact that he only had to drink five glasses of ice water during the meal, and thought with sufficient practice he could probably get down to three.

    After dinner, he and Wren went back out onto the veranda with what was left of the uj’alayi, this time with mugs of hot chocolate. The weather was just as perfect as it had been that afternoon. The sky was clear and bright stars were starting to speckle the endless expanse of sky that stretched out over the fields of bas neral. So many stars and so much open sky...more than you could see anywhere on Hosnian Prime or even on Lothal. It was one of Kaz’s favorite things about being on Ordo...except, of course, for Wren.

    Her hand was warm in his, her head nestled against his shoulder. A light breeze ruffled her hair, stirring the scent of lavendula and mint into the air. It was a perfect night, a perfect moment—the kind of moment Kaz had been hoping for, the right moment to say…

    Kaz hesitated. Maybe he shouldn’t say it after all. His luck with Mando’a had been pretty abysmal so far, and this was too important to mess up. No… No, he’d practiced this, a lot, repeating it to himself until Hugh, his bunkmate at the Academy, threw his pillow at him and threatened to sabotage his flight simulator the next day if Kaz didn’t shut up and go to sleep. He had this one, definitely.

    Kaz leaned in towards Wren; her lavendula-mint-scented hair brushing against his lips as he whispered, “Senaar’ika, ni kar’tayli gar…”

    There was a moment of silence that stretched out far too long. Wren looked up at him, her expression mildly puzzled and expectant.

    Which was not the reaction Kaz had been hoping for. He’d thought—hoped!—she might say it back. Or kiss him. Hug him, at least. Something that would indicate that she returned the sentiment. Oh…

    “...darasuum?” Wren suggested at last.

    “Huh?” The word sounded familiar. Possibly it was Mando’a for “what were you thinking?”.

    Ni kar’tayli gar darasuum?” she repeated, a small, hopeful lift to her voice. “Ni kar’tayli gar means ‘I know you’, but if you add darasuum...”

    “It means ‘I love you’...” Kaz groaned and dropped his head into his hands. All that practice and he’d still botched it. He’d ruined their perfect moment here under the stars, because he was just that much of a moof-milker. “I can’t do anything right!”

    Part 6: Terms of Endearment

    “Kaz! You can, too!”

    Wren hated to see him looking so forlorn. Because there were lots of things he did right! He was a great pilot—making top marks on flight sims at the Academy--and he’d already placed in a couple juniors’ circuit races on Hosnian Prime. He was a good friend who would go to any lengths to help the ones he cared about, and a good person—brave, kind, honorable. And as a boyfriend... Wren wasn’t like Bellona; she didn’t have a large survey sample to compare Kaz to. But she didn’t really need to have one. Kaz made her happy—his smile, his goofy jokes, the way he put his whole heart into everything he did. And when he kissed her, it made her feel like the time she’d sneaked a shot of tihaar at her cousin Octavian’s wedding feast—warm inside and a bit lightheaded.

    So even if it had been silly or annoying at the time, it didn’t matter to her that Kaz had mixed up a few words in Mando’a, because she knew he was doing it for her. Plenty of aruetii guys wouldn’t have bothered, given that Mandos spoke Basic perfectly well. But Kaz was really trying, and his efforts made her feel special, important, like she wasn’t just drab little Wren, the plain, boring Ordo sister.

    She wished she knew how to tell him all of this, but the words were all jumbled up inside her. All she could manage was “Did you call me senaar’ika just now?”

    “What?” Kaz looked up but didn’t quite meet her eyes, his shoulders still hunched in a sad kind of slump. “Oh...yeah. Yeah, it means—”

    “Little bird.” He’d learned the diminutive suffix from his Mando’a holobook, at least.

    “I guess I thought… Sometimes you call me ad’ika...” Kaz shrugged a little, rubbing at the back of his neck, which was starting to flush an uncomfortable red. “And Wren...little bird….I know, it’s silly—”

    “I like it.” It surprised Wren a little because it was the kind of thing she would have snickered over if one of Bellona’s boyfriends had said it. But coming from Kaz, it was actually kind of...sweet. Like, no one else had better try to call her that, but she didn’t mind the idea of being his senaar’ika.

    He shook his head. “You don’t have to say that just because—”

    “Kaz—” A little tsk-ing sigh escaped before Wren could stop it; she was going to have to work on that. Sometimes it felt like she was still getting the hang of the whole boyfriend thing. “Do I ever just say anything?”


    There was, she thought, one way to convince Kaz.

    She kissed him, putting all those feelings she couldn’t express in either Basic or Mando’a into it. And in a way, the kiss was a language, too--one she was still learning, but she seemed to be getting her message across to Kaz just fine. Her lips strayed to his cheek, his jaw, his ear...and Wren whispered, “I love you, Kaz’ika.”

    Kaz held her close for a moment without saying anything—and that silence, too, was its own language—before he answered, “Ni kar’tayli gar darasuum, senaar’ika. In any language.”
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2021
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Your stuff is like literal oxygen. SQUEE!
  9. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Kaz and Wren are so sweet together. Have I mentioned before that I ship it?
  10. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 11, 2016
    This kinda reminds me a lot of my early days at the boards when I wasstill struggling with english. Probably said a wrong thing more than a few times.
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Wonderful second half and PERFECT conclusion is PERFECT! [face_love]

    I have to say that I love that Kaz looks to Ronen as a friend and an authority on The Whole Women Thing—and I bet Ronen would be gobsmacked to know that he is being regarded as such an authority! And I also have been loving how the nature of the mixups continues to be different each time, and that Wren continues to be good nature and about it all—I knew she wouldn’t stay mad at Kaz long about the “copikla” business, and I love how Kaz is willing to go all out and kneel (literally, too) to make amends. (And you’re right, I hadn’t thought about it before, but I agree that his previous mistakes must actually have helped his case! Which I’m sure Wren saw, too.) Even when he (in his estimation) muffs his declaration of love, she can tell exactly what he means, which means he has not really muffed at all—he got the most important !

    And that’s why the switch to her viewpoint in the last part is such a wonderful touch. He may still have some Mando’a linguistic fine points to learn, but Wren knows—and loves—the way he’s got the really important things down, namely, taking her seriously, going the extra mile for her, and coming up with a term of endearment that is just for her, and in the native tongue that she treasures so much. That must indeed mean the world to her, especially given how she feels constantly in the shadow of her glam sister—but this time she knows she is someone’s Number One. It’s new for her, just like it is for him, but it is a language that they will learn together—as are those kisses and those beautiful moments of silence. [face_love] And all of it goes to show what a perfect match these two are, and have been from the start! Congratulations on an absolutely awesome contribution to this challenge and another Wraz triumph! =D=
  12. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 3, 2003
    I second @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha's SQUEE! [face_love]:D This is so funny and sweet and warm and I'm just sitting here smiling now.

    I feel so much for Kaz and his slips of the tongue, and I love how he's trying so hard for Wren, and I really love her response in the last section!

    Perfection! [face_love]

    This was beautiful, thank you for sharing it! =D=[face_love]
  13. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I loved all of it (and apologies for being late to the party - again!) I especially loved the way the relationship is shown to be growing in both learning the language and accepting the mistakes that people make along the way.

    I laughed at this line - as that's definitely something you don't want to say accidentally - even if you are learning the language
    Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.
  14. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 9, 2002
    This was hilarious and incredibly sweet. :D


    I love Kaz's voice in this. His thoughts are so self-deprecating and funny.

    This awkward boy is pretty endearing. ;)

    Poor Kaz. I really feel for those outsider types when it comes to relationships, and he's no exception. Fortunately Wren was quick to realize he didn't mean anything by his linguistic slip-up. :p

    Aw, she really does love this boy. :)

    What a perfect term of endearment. [face_love]

    These two are so sweet together. Such a funny and heartwarming response to the challenge. Nicely done!
  15. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    I'm currently catching up on all of the wonderful stories I missed over the last few months, and I was SO EXCITED to see more Wren/Kaz from you. They're one of my favorite original pairings on the boards, and this story was overflowing with everything that makes them so endearingly loveable! [face_love]

    KAZ! I can't even with him, he's just such a dear. Isn't this the ideal goal in any strong relationship? Taking bits and pieces of each other and making them a part of yourself. He doesn't have to learn to speak Mando'a, technically, but the tenants of Resol'nare are important to Wren. Thus, they are important to Kaz. [face_love]

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    I don't know what was better here: poor Kaz's unwitting linguistic slip, or Wren's mortification over her dad being oh so embarrassing in front of her boyfriend. (Maximus HAS to be enjoying every moment of this, that said.)

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl] AND THEN IT JUST GOT BETTER!

    You know, besides the usual relatable struggles of learning a second language, I feel like every one of us who've tried to include Mando'a in our stories have felt like this at one point or another. I really identified with Kaz's pain! 8-}

    Aw! I love Kaz applying what he learned.

    Oh no, KAZ!!

    From what I remember about the early days of Ronen and Noemi, this just made me chuckle. :p

    OH NO!!! HE DIDN'T!!! [face_rofl] :eek: :oops:

    You know, I thought something similar myself. There should have been a big ol' red warning sign explaining just when that's an appropriate word to use and when not.

    There was such a great mix of heart and humor here - which really is a trademark of all your stories. Ronen's advice is spot-on, even if I'm left wondering just when he's had to use this particular apology before. [face_mischief]

    Aw! Well done, Kaz. [face_love]

    Nope! I think he got it just right there.

    This was a beautiful bit of introspection!

    [face_love] [face_love]

    Yep, that's why I just adore this pairing. They really SEE each other, and love each other for how uniquely wonderful they both are. [face_love]

    The true message of this story, I feel. :p [face_love]

    I was just grinning like an idiot by this point. THESE TWO!! [face_love]

    Really, actions speak louder than words - especially for Mandalorians! In this way, they can communicate perfectly. [face_love]

    I still have so much catching up left to do in this 'verse, but I have to take a moment to applaud, again, your wonderful cast of characters and the clear heart and soul you've put into developing this world. Thank-you for sharing this, and all your stories with us!

    =D= [:D]
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021