Title: Crisis of the Heart Timeframe: 19 BBY, end of the Clone Wars Genre: Suspense, Angst, Mystery, Romance Canonicity: Canon Compliant Type: Story Characters: Danyal (OC), Sennah (OC), various other OCs (Itanno Clan & friends), Ahsoka Tano (cameo) Summary: Five years ago, after many years of trials and travels, the Itanno Clan arrived on Coruscant. They hoped to once again see their clanmate who Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn took to the Temple to be trained nearly twenty years before. They have yet to see their long-lost daughter... until one night, she appeared out of nowhere and turned one clan member's life upside-down. The events and timeframe of Crisis of Faith, from the Clan's POV. Last updated: 06/18/2019 Status: Complete Other relevant information: Itanno Clan Series. Download Links: Google Docs Though this story is concurrent with Crisis of Faith it is not necessary to have read that story. ----- By the time the Ryn guitarist got to the Ace of Flasks that evening, his Theelin friends, the dancers, were already on stage. The complex rhythms of the pieces they chose never failed to get his toes tapping and tail twitching to the beat. Maybe someday he'd try dancing again. The arm and leg that had been broken in a landspeeder accident six years ago had long since healed up, but his ability to feel that carefree had never really done the same. Danyal set a case on top of one of the many crates cluttering the “backstage” area. He pressed his thumb to the lock's touchpad; it blinked green and the case opened. The instrument inside was incongruously plain, somewhat worn out even, for such a high-end storage case. The care with which the musician lifted the guitar out, however, matched the box well. It didn’t look like much, but it was a treasured possession. Danyal sat, and began a task, a ritual almost. As necessary as it was emotionally painful. Placing the tips of his long fingers on the appropriate holes in his chitinous, beak-like nose, he breathed a note through the natural instrument. He plucked the first string of the instrument with one of the talon-like nails on his right hand. Then he adjusted a tuning peg with his left hand (the nails on that dark brown furred hand he kept carefully trimmed, so his fingertips could press against the guitar’s frets). He plucked the string again, and adjusted the pitch again, until it was perfectly in tune with the note from his fluted nose. The process was repeated for the second string, and the fourth. Tuning an instrument this way was unique to his species, possibly to his clan. He knew the Kull Clan didn't do it this way, but they didn't tend to be as… subtle about their music as the Itannos. Maybe there were other clans of Ryn that did it this way, but Danyal hadn't met them yet. He strummed a chord, trying to “feel out” the tone of the third string. He couldn't breathe the note of that string, not since that same accident that had broken his left arm and leg. The surgeons had done their best reconstructing the broken left side of his face, but the part of his nose that had cracked had never healed quite right. When he tried to breathe that note, it was just empty air, without a tone. This was the moment of pain and memory that came every time he prepared to perform, after so many years it was just part of the ritual now. The loss of the note would have been painful enough for any Ryn, but the tragedy that had caused that loss made it all the more difficult. Danyal tweaked the tuning pin, then strummed the strings again. It isn’t quite right, it never will be, but it's close enough, he thought to himself with a sigh. “It's still a touch flat,” said a voice behind him in Galactic Basic. Danyal jumped in surprise; he hadn’t heard anyone approach. The feminine accent was upper-level Coruscanti. As the Ryn guitarist started to turn around, he wondered what someone high-class like that would be doing in a mid-level place like this. “Yeah, I keep having problems with that one--” Danyal began, forcing his voice to sound easygoing. He looked up at the speaker and froze in shock. She was a Ryn, one of the most gorgeous he'd ever seen, her coloration that rare orangey-auburn-brown he'd only ever seen on his clan’s matron, and one other -- Bright kriffing stars above, it's HER. Danyal stood up so quickly he stumbled and nearly dropped his guitar. He recovered enough to place the instrument carefully on the crate next to where he'd been sitting. She was there, right in front of him, wearing the distinctive layered tunic and long hooded robes of a member of the Jedi Order. Though, he noted in passing, her light blue and maroon ensemble was a bit more colorful than the average Jedi you see in the holos. Apparently even being raised by the Jedi couldn't completely repress the Ryn penchant for colorful attire. She watched him from within her raised hood, her gaze curious, and more than a bit uncertain. “Oh stars, after all this time.” Danyal murmured, speaking to her in their native Ryn tongue. He reached out towards her with an unsteady hand. “Waiting, hoping someday I would-- ah, the clan would-- get to see you again. It's you, it's really you.” He had to touch her, to feel her under his hands, to make sure she was real, that this wasn't some kind of... hallucination, or hyper-real hologram. The next thing Danyal knew he was moving forward, wrapping his arms around the woman's shoulders in a tight embrace. The movement pushed the hood off her head. “Oh, Sennah…” he whispered beside her ear as the hood fell back, draping over his arms. The woman tensed, made as if she was going to pull away, but paused. She drew a deep breath and released it slowly, he heard it whistle slightly as it briefly passed through her own nasal instrument. The Jedi hummed a few notes quietly to herself, almost subconsciously, it seemed. The tune was just starting to sound familiar somehow when she abruptly stopped. “Dan-Dan?” she murmured questioningly. Danyal began to laugh. He released the Ryn woman and moved back a step. “Dan-Dan? Damn, I haven't been called that since before I grew out of my stripes.” He grinned at her. “Do you really remember me? Your friend Danyal?” He gestured to himself as he said his name, searching her face for any sign of recognition. Sennah just stared at him, her eyes searching his. She looked confused, and more than a bit overwhelmed. “I’m sorry, I probably shouldn't have hugged you without asking. Jedi probably don't do a lot of hugging, or maybe they do? Just not, uh, other stuff?” Great, now I’m rambling, he thought, running a hand through his long tan hair. “Do you, Stars, do you even understand what I’m saying?” Did she even speak their people’s language any more? Danyal took his other hand off the Jedi’s shoulder and waved it in front of her face. The woman blinked, finally, and took a deep shuddering breath. “Hey, are you ok?” Danyal asked. “You look a little shaky. Do you need to sit down?” She nodded absently. Danyal gestured to the crate he'd been sitting on a moment earlier. She sat down next to his guitar. “So, wh--?” Danyal began, but just then the music on stage ended. Danyal looked up as Aster and Palla stepped through the curtains and off the stage. Aster waved at Danyal. “You're up, Danny Boy,” he said. “Dammit.” Danyal grabbed his guitar and strummed it, checking its tuning a final time. He heard a note. The Ryn woman was breathing the note for the third string through her own nose. The string was a bit flat. Danyal smiled at Sennah as he adjusted the tuning pin and strummed the chord again. She nodded, it was in tune now. Danyal put a hand on her shoulder. “I gotta go make some credits,” the musician said. “Wait here for me.” He jogged the couple of steps to the stage, but paused at the curtain, looking back at Sennah. It was like a dream, seeing her sitting there, smiling back at him. He winked, then slipped out onto the stage. I’ll play something special for her, he thought, a Ryn classic, something she probably hasn't heard since we were little. *** Aster looked curiously at the Ryn woman as he and his dance partner did their quick costume change. She had moved to the edge of the curtain where she could see Danyal, playing his guitar like the kriffing masterpiece of a musician he was. He was singing in his people's language, Aster realized. Danyal didn't do that much in public; his club songs tended to be in Basic, or occasionally that trade language from the corner of the Galaxy he'd grown up in. There must be something special about that woman; she was boosting the guitarist's confidence. Wait... those clothes... was she a Jedi? Could she be Danyal's mystery girl? The one Danyal's clan had come to Coruscant to be near? Aster had a pretty good finger on the pulse of fashion on Coruscant; no one would be copying that distinctive style. No one wanted to be mistaken for a Jedi in this political climate. Only an actual member of the mystical Order would be dressed like that. Aster saw the Jedi smile at first, as she watched and listened to the Ryn man’s performance. The woman even seemed to be humming along. Suddenly though, she visibly shuddered and started backing away from the stage. There was a frightened look on her face. “Hey, are you a Jedi?” Palla asked, with her usual lack of subtlety. She was a dear girl, and a wonderful dancer, but could be as blunt as a bolt-driver sometimes. “Of course she is, Palla,” Aster spoke up, gesturing with hands that were pale white dotted with blue on the backs. “Who else wears robes like that? Welcome, honored Jedi, to our little corner of Coruscant.” The Theelin made a small graceful bow, his dark purple hair falling down between the horns on the sides of his head. “Are you her?” Palla asked with a gasp, her eyes wide in her pink-speckled face. “The Jedi woman Danyal's songs are about?” The Jedi's look bordered on panic. Aster winced. That was not the best way to learn that someone, even sweet, moody Danyal, was somewhat obsessed with you. “I need to go, I’ve stayed too long already,” the Jedi murmured in an increasingly frantic tone. She started looking around for the nearest exit. “I shouldn't have come.” “Please don't leave.” Aster said, as soothingly as he could. “Danyal would be so disappointed, please stay and give him a chance to talk with you.” “Tell him I... I’ll come back. In, ah, two days.” The Ryn Jedi all but ran to the back exit of the building and escaped into the alley. “Did I say something wrong?” Palla asked. “Well, you certainly didn't help the situation,” Aster said with a sigh. On stage, Danyal's song ended with a flourish, it was time for their joint performances to start. As Aster and Palla slipped back onstage, Danyal looked concerned. “Where did she go?” he asked, under the cover of the applause as the dancers took their places. “I’m afraid she left.” Aster whispered. “What?!” Danyal almost shouted. “Music now, talk later,” Aster replied. “I’m sorry, dear.” - - - “So, what happened?” Danyal demanded as the trio stepped off the stage, their performance done for the evening. “I think I scared her off,” Palla said sadly. “I told her you'd written songs about her, I’m sorry.” “You WHAT?” Danyal asked, horrified. “Actually, Palla, she was already quite frightened when she started backing away from the stage.” Aster explained gently. “If anything, it looked like it was Danyal she was afraid of.” Danyal muttered a series of curses in Ryn. The tuft of stiff tan hairs at the end of his long brown tail twitched, much like an angry tooka cat. He knew he shouldn't have hugged her, but he'd just been so... overjoyed. “Did she say anything?” The musician asked hopefully as he packed away his guitar. “Yes, she said she would be back in two days,” Aster answered. “I guess that's something.” Danyal sighed. *** A chime sounded at the front of Oali’s droid repair shop, letting her know that someone had just passed through the doorway. It was late, but she had left the shopfront open as she finished up one last project for the night. “Be right with you!” Her softly accented Basic echoed out from the back room where she was micro-soldering a cleaning droid’s central matrix. “It's just me, clancousin,” said a familiar voice speaking in Ryn at the doorway to her workroom. “Hey Danyal, what's up?” Oali asked. She pushed her magnifying goggles up onto her taupe-skinned forehead, where they rested against a shock of off-white hair that stuck straight up from her head. Ryn hair did that when it was cut short, but then most Ryn women wore their hair long and slicked back - Oali didn’t. She closed up the access panel on the droid and hopped off the stool at her workbench, muscles cramped from hours of hunching over her detailed work. She was only in her early thirties; she really shouldn't be aching like this, but her body had taken a bit more punishment than the average being of her age. Eight years of slavery would do that to a person. “I saw Sennah tonight,” Danyal murmured. The Ryn droid mechanic froze, mid-stretch. “You what?!” “Saw Sennah, your cousin who was given to the Jedi twenty years ago.” Danyal leaned back against the door frame, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket. “Stars, Dan, I remember who Sennah is,” Oali rolled her brown eyes. “I just wasn't sure I’d heard you correctly. Where did you see her?” “She was backstage at the Ace of Flasks,” he replied, staring at a scuff on the floor. “Wow.” Oali breathed an amazed whistle through her nose. “How did she find you? Where is she now?” Danyal shrugged. “She disappeared while I was on stage. One minute she was there in the wings, listening to me perform ‘Desert Wind’. When I looked again, she was gone.” “What did she say? What did you say to her?” Oali inquired, starting to pack up her tools as she listened eagerly. “Honestly, I don't remember,” Danyal answered with a sigh of frustration. “I was so surprised. I was rambling pretty bad.” The Ryn woman’s thin lips quirked up in a smile as she locked her toolbox. For all his eloquence as a songwriter, her clanmate was easily flustered speaking on the fly. Danyal ran a hand through his long mane of hair. “I may have, um, hugged her, too.” Oali's laughter filled the small workshop. “Oh, Danyal. You stargazing lunatic…” She pounded her workbench, gasping for breath through her giggles. “You hugged... a Jedi…” Danyal glared at his clanmate, snagged his guitar case and stomped out of the repair shop. “Wait, Danyal!” Oali called out, sobering at seeing his anger. But he was already gone. She quickly locked up the shop and hurried after him.