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Saga - PT Crisis of the Heart [OCs, Itanno Clan series]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by TheRynJedi, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful reading this from Danyal's point of view =D= His happiness at seeing Sennah again is undisguised as is her understandable sense of being overwhelmed.
     
    TheRynJedi and Findswoman like this.
  3. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Will be adding a header saying this at some point when I have a computer and not just my my phone or tablet (which are difficult to edit stuff on), but this is just chapter one of maybe 5 or 6. Not sure how many it will eventually be.
     
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Finally getting a chance to write up a proper review. This is off to a wonderful start, and it’s always such a pleasure to read of your Ryn characters and the continuing saga of the Itanno Clan. Danyal and Sennah’s brief encounter at the Ace of Flasks is so wistful, so full of that “so close yet so far” feeling on so many levels: she’s clearly the same red-orange-furred girl he remembers from so long ago, the one his songs are addressed to (and even the dancers and other performers can pick up on that). But she speaks like a Coreworlder now and doens’t know the Ryn language—plus the whole Jedi thing on top of that. I don’t blame Danyal for going all awkward around her and even HUGGING! her (shocking! :eek: ), though he shouldn’t blame himself for the fact that she left before he could really talk to her much; there were many other things at work there, most of all Sennah’s own feelings of uncertainty at the process of forming this new attachment. (The A-word!) I’m glad that she did at least give a time when she’d come back—that will give both sides time to think on this for a while. It’s nice to see Danyal has a friend and confidant in Oali; even if she’s maybe teasing him about the hug just a tad too much, she still is clearly supportive of him, and she’s no doubt glad to have news of her cousin. I’ll be curious to hear what they say to each other when she catches up to him, and to see what happens two days from this; I’m pretty sure Sennah will be back, though even then things may not go exactly easily for any of the parties, just because it’s been so long. So definitely keep it coming—always a treat to read of these thoughtfully crafted and well-formed characters! =D=
     
  5. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    ***Part 2***

    The Itanno clan home was in a portion of a building that had originally been built as dormitories for a university. The university had long ago gone defunct; but an enterprising being had turned the dorms into housing for species that preferred a more communal style of living. There was a central kitchen, a gathering area with a retractable table, and a study nook with couches and holonet screens. From the central area, hallways stretched to either side, leading to four mini-apartments each. Each dormitory had its own 'fresher (adaptable to whatever species might inhabit the space), and plenty of room for a bed, closet, shelving units, and a desk. At the end of one of the hallways a door led to a balcony that looked out into the busy Coruscant skyways.

    Eda was in the kitchen, packing away the leftovers from dinner. The Itanno clan matron had decided it was late enough that any of her children or clanmates who were still out and about had probably gotten their own food. She wished more of her clan, the younger ones especially, would stop spending their hard-earned credits on other beings’ cooking when there was plenty of food here at home. Well, at least there would be leftovers individually packaged and ready for them to grab in the morning.

    The front door security panel beeped. Eda looked up to see Danyal enter, carrying the case that held his mother's guitar. For the millionth time, she thanked Fate and the Force that they had been able to salvage the instrument from the ruins of their camp so long ago. The guitar was now the only thing the young man had left of his immediate family, besides his memories.

    “Welcome home, son. Have you had dinner?” She called out.

    Danyal was, of course, not actually her son, but she called all of his generation of younglings 'son’ or 'daughter’. No matter that their actual relation was second cousins once removed, or third cousins, or completely unrelated by blood or marriage. The mostly-orphaned group of Ryn had all become her and Gandan's children when they recovered them from the slave compound ten years ago. Only a few of the children had decided to continue on to Coruscant with them five years later, though. Many had found homes, families, or true loves among the Kull clan, who had helped the Itannos find and rescue their scattered clanmates.

    Danyal shook his head. That somewhat ridiculously long hair of his rippled from the movement. “No, thank you, Aunt Eda, I'm not hungry.”

    “What's happened?” Eda asked, wiping her hands clean on a towel before tucking back a few wisps of her silver-frosted auburn hair. The boy looked troubled, like he had something he wanted to say, but was hesitant. She needed to get that boy talking more. There were deep wounds in his soul that needed healing, and if he kept trying to bury them, they'd fester forever, and he'd never be whole again.

    He opened his mouth, but before he could speak, the door chimed again. Oali, who was one of Eda's actual daughters, entered.

    “Danyal! Listen, I'm sorry…” Oali began.

    “Ask Oali,” Danyal said, in answer to Eda's query. “I don't feel like getting laughed at some more.”

    Danyal started to stomp towards his dorm, but ran into Gandan, the clan patron. He was just slipping out of the nursery after putting his grandson Candun to bed. The toddler’s mother, Fina, was newly pregnant and was suffering from the resulting nausea and fatigue; Candun's father Aandon was working late that night.

    “Ah, Danyal. Welcome home, son.” Gandan's gaze was sharp and intelligent, despite the loss of his sight in one eye nearly twenty years ago. He quickly took in the situation and the looks on his family members’ faces. “What's going on?”

    “Danyal saw Sennah this evening.” Oali announced.

    “You did? Where? How?” Gandan asked excitedly, clasping the young man's shoulders. “How did she look? Is she happy, is she well?”

    “I don't know!” Danyal replied in a low but increasingly frustrated tone. “She left before I even had a chance to really talk to her. I was stupid and scared her away.”

    “Scared her away?” Gandan asked. “How?”

    “Ay!” Eda exclaimed softly as she came over and placed a calming hand on both men's shoulders. “Let's all go sit, relax, and we'll hear Danyal's story, ok?”

    The matron shooed them all over to the comfortable couches in the sitting area.

    “Now, tell us what happened, Danyal. There will be no laughing-” Eda eyed Oali sharply, her daughter covered her mouth and made a sign of promise. “-No blame, just the story.”

    Danyal re-told the night's events, of arriving at the club to perform, of tuning up, and of finding the clan's lost child standing right behind him. Eda smiled when Danyal confessed to hugging the Jedi Knight, it was probably what she would have done too.

    “I don't know why she left,” Danyal concluded morosely. “Aster said she looked scared. What could possibly scare a Jedi? Except me being too friendly, and being told some stranger was writing songs about you.”

    Eda nodded, Danyal's friends, the Theelin dancers, had become friends of the clan as well. They had come to a few clan celebrations and delighted them all with their talent and grace. Eda trusted Aster's assessment, the man was quite observant and sensitive to emotional situations.

    “Did she say anything before she left?” Gandan asked, probing for all the information he could glean.

    “Aster said she'd told him to tell me she'd be back in two days,” Danyal answered.

    “Two days,” Gandan repeated. “Well, I guess we will wait and see. Eda and I will come with you to the club, in the hopes that we may speak with her. Any more folk than that might cause a stir.”

    “It's late, loved ones,” Eda said. She stood up and held her hands out to help pull the two men off the couches. “Let's all go to bed, eh? We will see what the morning brings.”

    Oali tailed Danyal to his dormitory.

    “What do you want, Oali?” The musician asked, stowing his guitar case on a shelf and tossing his jacket in the vague direction of the closet. Danyal's dorm was decidedly untidy, especially for a Ryn, they were an almost obsessively clean and orderly people.

    “I'm sorry for laughing at you. It just struck me as really funny after a long boring day of work.” Oali used the tip of her tail to sweep some empty food wrappers off Danyal's desk. She perched atop it in a somewhat clean spot. Her elbows planted on her knees, chin resting in a taupe-furred hand. “But, really, Dan? You've written songs about her?”

    “Who did you think 'Maiden in the High Tower’ was about?” Danyal muttered as he collapsed onto his small cot and stared up at the ceiling.

    The female Ryn shrugged. “I dunno, that fairytale? About the princess who is taken away and locked in a tower, until her true love comes along and…”

    Oali trailed off, watching Danyal's increasingly embarrassed expression.

    “Damn, you are a stargazing fool, aren't you?” Oali sighed.

    “Blame your father,” Danyal retorted bitterly, gesturing towards the common room. “He's the one who dragged what's left of the clan halfway across the Galaxy to sit at the foot of the tower to wait for a possible glimpse of his special niece.”

    “But why are you obsessing?” Oali asked. “Is it that old Iktotchi's 'prophecy’** still?”

    “I don't know,” the Ryn shrugged. “I still can't help but think that since the rest of his predictions came true, that maybe mine will too…?”

    “Don't you think you're reading too much into that night? How do you know you're even remembering it correctly? You told me yourself you were half-drunk and high on who knows what.” Oali sighed and rubbed at her eyes. “How could you possibly be destined to be with a Jedi? Stars above, they're kriffing ascetics, they're not even allowed to have relationships with their families, much less lovers.”

    “I know.” Danyal growled, covering his face with his hands. “Fate damn me, I know all that. I still feel like there's something to the old man's words. Actually seeing her tonight, standing there like some kind of dream… you have no idea… I had this feeling of, I don't know, hope? A small glimmer of sunshine warming the depths of my soul. She's... damn, she's beautiful, Oali.” Danyal continued, running his hands through his hair then interlacing them behind his head. “You'd love her. She must be how your mother looked when she was young. Same color of skin and fur, same gorgeous reddish-brown hair.”

    Oali shrugged. “My aunt was that same rare shade too. I remember her, I was eight when she was killed. You were barely two. I remember her little Sennah was that color under her baby stripes. Used to envy her. Dunno why none of my sisters or I inherited it, too much of my father in us I guess.”

    “Two days…” Danyal muttered to himself. “Do you think she'll actually come back? She told Aster she would. What if she doesn't?”

    “Jedi have a reputation for keeping their word, she'll probably come back,” Oali responded. She stood up and absent-mindedly began to tidy up the clutter on and around Danyal's desk. “Whether she sticks around, that's the question… How much will she want to disobey her superiors? To bend or outright break her vows to the Order?”

    “Why am I even still thinking about her like this?” Danyal fumed, sitting up and resting his head in his hands. “You should have heard her, Oali, she talked like an upper-level Coruscanti, not a trace of Ryn in her voice. I spoke to her in Ryn, but I don't think she actually understood anything I was saying. She's not really one of us, she doesn't know our language, or songs, or traditions, or stupid superstitions.”

    Oali tossed her handful of garbage in a basket and came over to stand by Danyal's cot. “Oy, move your tail,” she instructed softly. He complied without looking up. She took a seat next to him.

    “Why am I so messed up?” Danyal whimpered, leaning over onto Oali's shoulder.

    “Because we've been through Hell, little brother.” The older female responded, putting an arm around his shoulders. That term was the best she had to describe the affection and protectiveness she felt for her clancousin. He wasn't her blood brother, but there wasn't a word for the relationship they had. What did you call someone with which you'd been forced, under threat of torture, to share intimate relations normally reserved for loving spouses? There was no word for it, there were no words for much of what they'd experienced. It had been almost eight years that the children and most of the women of their clan had been captives in the mining and slave-breeding compound.

    The kidnapped Ryn had been separated from each other, the males sent to one part of the compound, the females to another. The children under six were kept in a nursery, cared for by the females who were past breeding age. There were multiple species among the slaves, but it was predominantly Ryn. The agile, hard-working, deft-fingered species was useful - and rarely missed when they disappeared from the Galaxy at large.

    The slave masters considered Ryn old enough to be bred at barely twelve years old. Oali had been sent directly to the breeding deck when the clan had been sold to the compound's masters. Danyal, who had been too old for the nursery, had been sent to the worker's area, to be trained to strip-mine asteroids for precious materials.

    Once he'd come of age a few years later, Danyal had often been paired with Oali. They apparently had a combination of genetics the breeders’ analysis droids had liked. Over their years of enslavement, Oali gave birth to only one child who had survived long enough to be sent to the nursery. The rest of her pregnancies had been miscarriages or stillborn. After so many unsuccessful pairings she had eventually been declared a non-breeder and sent to work in the compound Master's quarters. There, she was used as a personal maid and plaything. But between the tortuous nights and endless days of menial labor, she managed to hijack a computer terminal and send coded messages that eventually led Gandan and his Kull clan allies to locate and rescue them.

    Oali had already not been developing much of a romantic interest in men when she was brought to the compound. She had come away from it with a deep, nauseating aversion to even being touched by any male, save for a few select family members (basically only Danyal and her father).

    Oali's oldest sister Fina, on whose wedding day they'd all been kidnapped, had given birth to multiple children during their captivity. It had taken years for her to recover from the guilt she felt for betraying her newlywed husband. The fact that she had not willingly violated their unconsummated marriage vows only slightly lessened her shame. It had taken her a long time, and a good deal of long-suffering patience on her husband Aandon's part, for her to feel worthy to have children of the couple’s own. They had three children now, with another on the way.

    Their middle sister Rhianna, she had died in childbirth, according to their Masters. Sometimes, in her darkest moods, Oali wondered whether Rhianna had been the lucky one.

    Danyal, for his part, had found that in addition to being a brief reprieve from the back-breaking labor of mining; the rush and endorphin release of those breeding-room encounters were one of the few things that would bring him out of the darkness his mind, heart, and soul regularly inhabited. For a time at least, until the feelings faded and he was faced with the reality of their existence once more.

    At barely sixteen years old when they were rescued, Danyal had not adjusted to a normal life very well. He sought out excesses of all kinds to continue to try to chase off the darkness. Within a year of being reunited with the clan, he had taken one of the clan's few recovered heirlooms (his late mother's guitar, which he had been adeptly learning to play) and ran off in search of excitement. He found a band looking for a string player, and spent almost five years touring the Corellian Way with them. Making music, which had its own way of relieving the darkness, but also partying in the hardest ways.

    Six years ago, Danyal barely survived a tragic airspeeder accident; his bandmates had not. He had returned to the clan a much more sober, if still troubled, young man.

    “It's late, little brother,” Oali murmured. “Do you want me to get you something to help you sleep?”

    “No, I shouldn't, I've been taking too many of those lately.” Danyal replied, more responsibly than usual.

    “Ok, then,” Oali said, giving Danyal's shoulders a squeeze. “Why don't you turn on some music, get a hot shower, and then crash. Or at least, clean up this dorm a bit? You'll feel better if it's tidy, I promise. I'll check with you in the morning before I go to the shop, ok?”

    “Yes, big sister,” Danyal said, in lightly mocking obedience.

    She smiled and gave Danyal another hug before standing up and heading out the door.

    ---

    ** See "A Little Bit of You"
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful to read about the reactions to Sennah's reappearance.
     
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  7. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    ***Part 3***

    “I'm sorry, teacher, did you say that was a major fourth, or a major fifth?” The young Gotal asked, her hairy eyebrows knitting in confusion.

    Danyal plucked the chord again on his guitar. “Sorry, yes, you're right, Maari, major fifth.”

    “Are you ok, teacher?” The girl asked, her voice sounding distinctly concerned. “You seem really distracted.”

    Danyall ran his hands down his face, trying hard to rid his mind of the distractions, well, distraction singular, that had plagued him for nearly twenty hours now.

    “I'm sorry, Maari. I am distracted today,” Danyal sighed. “I don't think I'm going to be able to focus very well on teaching your lesson.”

    “We can skip the lesson today,” the girl whispered. “I won't tell my Maa if you won't.”

    “What would you want to do instead?” Danyal leaned over, whispering conspiratorially.

    “Tell me a story!” She replied.

    “A story?” Danyal chuckled. “About what?”

    The kid grinned. “The person you're thinking of, the one who's distracting you.”

    “How do you know it's a person distracting me?” Danyal replied, smiling at the child.

    “You have the same look Maa gets when she's remembering Daa.” Maari replied astutely. “Faraway, and kind of sad.”

    “Alright, little mind-reader, I will tell you a story.”

    Danyal played a few notes of a song, it was cheerful and playful, a child's nursery rhyme.

    “Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Sennah. She was very smart, and very special. She could do amazing things that no one could explain.”

    “Like a Jedi?!” The girl exclaimed.

    “Yes, exactly like a Jedi.” Danyal confirmed, strumming a few chords that were low, mysterious and powerful. “One day, some teachers saw what she could do and asked if they could take her to their school. They wanted to help her learn and give her the chance to help people across the Galaxy with her special power. But, if she went with them, she would never see her family again.”

    Maari's face, which had been beaming at the thought of new adventure, suddenly fell. “Not even her Maa?”

    “Not even her Maa.” Danyal replied, the notes from his guitar alternating between excitement and sadness.

    “What did they decide to do?”

    “They decided to let her go,” the musician replied, with a chord from that same mysterious but powerful motif. “But secretly, they planned to go the planet her school was on and visit her.”

    “That's good!” The girl clapped her hands.

    “But then, the girl's family got lost.” Danyal continued, playing a sad, searching song. “It took them a long time to find each other again. But when they did finally, they kept their plan and went to the planet Sennah's school was on.”

    “Did they get to see her?” Maari asked hopefully.

    “Not until many years later, when one of the family members saw Sennah in the city outside the school.” Danyal's hands played a happy, surprised tune. “He even talked to her a little. But, Sennah didn't know her family's language any more, and got scared and ran back to her school.”

    Danyal and his guitar fell silent.

    “What happened next?” The girl prompted.

    “I don't know,” the musician shrugged. “That was yesterday. She told my friend she would come back in two days. That's tomorrow. But I don't know what's going to happen next.” Danyal smiled at his student. “What do you think will happen?”

    Maari scrunched up her furry flat-nosed face in thought.

    “I think,” she said finally. “That if I was Sennah I would do what I said I would, even if I was scared. I would want to see my family again.”

    “I hope you're right, Maari.”

    ***

    The three Ryn clanmates waited. Gandan and Eda stood, side-by-side as they were in all things, each with an arm around the other's waist. Danyal sat on a crate facing them, leaning back against the wall of the alley behind the Ace of Flasks.

    “When do you think she's going to be here?” Gandan asked.

    Danyal shrugged. “It was about this time of night I last saw her, two days ago. She said she'd be back in two days. Hopefully that means here and now. According to the Holonews, there's been a lot of excitement at the Jedi Temple the past week or two with the bombing and the hunt for the suspect. She could have changed her mind and isn't coming.”

    Danyal tapped his heel against the empty crate nervously. He was trying very hard to stay calm, but internally, he was rapidly cycling between excitement, dread, and the hopeless futility of it all.

    There was a movement at the end of the alley. Danyal looked up, and there she was.

    She was not wearing the full Jedi robes she had worn two days ago. Today she had a simple dark blue tunic and pants with a satchel slung cross-wise across her chest. The deep blue fabric complimented her light auburn hair and fur beautifully. She really was as gorgeous as Danyal remembered.

    Eda saw Danyal look up and turned to follow his gaze. The matron gasped and lifted a trembling hand to her mouth as she caught sight of her niece. The girl was the exact image of Eda's late sister. It had been so long. Would she even remember them?

    “Sennah!” Gandan called out excitedly as the young woman approached. As one, he and Eda reached out and pulled her into their arms. They hugged her fiercely.

    “Ah, my sister's daughter, how are you? Are you well? You look healthy. Have you learned many things? Do you remember us?” Eda's questions tumbled out of her in a rush. “Ay, Gandan, doesn't she look just like her mother?”

    “She does, very much.” Gandan agreed. “And like you did when we first met. Come, greet her, Danyal. Eda, let her breathe, give her a chance to talk. How are you, my not-so-little Sennah?”

    Gandan and Eda stepped back and looked at Sennah expectantly. The Jedi Knight stared back, a look of both confusion and concentration on her face.

    Finally she shook her head. In the cooly accented Basic of the Coruscanti elite, she spoke: “I am sorry. I do not speak your language.”

    “See, what did I tell you?” Eda heard Danyal mutter behind her.

    “Oh, not a problem, dear one,” Gandan said, switching to Galactic Basic. He smiled, but Eda could hear the sadness in his voice at knowing the girl had lost so much.

    “We are so glad to see you again, Sennah.” Eda's husband continued. “Do you remember your Uncle Gandan and Aunt Eda?”

    Sennah closed her hazel eyes (so like her mother's). Her brow furrowed for a moment, as if straining to hear a distant tune. She hummed quietly, a short snatch of a somewhat familiar song, then nodded and opened her eyes again.

    “I do, a bit.” The Jedi replied. “Though I did not know it was your presences in particular that I have been remembering all these years.”

    Danyal felt a small bit of hope start to build as he listened to the clan elders question Sennah. Perhaps he might still get a chance to know her better. They asked how she was, if the Jedi had been kind to her, if she had learned to use the abilities they had seen in her as a child. Her responses seemed guarded, as if she did not want to give more than basic answers.

    When Gandan told Sennah that the clan had been on Coruscant for over five years, she looked surprised for a moment, then sad. It was quickly covered by Jedi stoicism again, but for a brief second, Danyal had seen a flicker of real emotion. She seemed sad about not having met them until now. Danyal let spark of hope grow a little more. He closed his eyes and wished to the Stars, or Fate, or the Force, or whatever powers might be listening, that he was not hoping in vain.

    “Ah, it is late and we are huddling in a dark alley like thieves.” Eda suddenly announced, clapping her hands together. “Come dear one, we will have some food. You can see your cousins again, and meet their little ones. There is a dozen people waiting for us at home.”

    Sennah was quiet for a moment. Danyal opened his eyes and looked at her. The Jedi calm slipped again. He saw it, just a flicker, of sorrow. Danyal's heart began to sink again.

    “I am sorry,” Sennah said finally, her voice firm and polite. Too polite, especially in that damned accent. “I thank you for your dedication, and your perseverance in wanting to see me again. But I cannot. I am already breaking the Order’s rules in meeting you here tonight. I came because I told Danyal’s friends I would, and a Jedi keeps their word. But I should not have even sought you out in the first place. It was a moment of weakness after a time of great stress. It would not be fair, or right, for me to be able to have a relationship with my birth family when every other Jedi cannot. It is simply what you agreed to when you sent me away with Master Qui-Gon Jinn.”

    “How is Master Qui-Gon Jinn, by the way?” Eda asked brightly. Danyal could tell she was trying to change the subject, to keep Sennah talking. Maybe she'd change her mind. “Has he taught you many things?”

    “He was killed, about thirteen years ago.” The Jedi replied matter-of-factly, but Danyal heard her voice waver slightly at the end.

    “May he forever dance among the Stars in peace.” Gandan and Eda recited together in Ryn, glancing up to the distant, barely-seen Coruscant night sky. Danyal made a quiet humorless snort. As if you could see any stars from the surface of this cursed city-planet of a billion lights.

    “He… he is, actually, I think.” Sennah replied thoughtfully, glancing up at the sky herself. “Out there somewhere, keeping an eye on me.”

    Danyal saw Eda clasp Gandan's hand in excitement. Sennah had understood at least part of their words.

    “I have to go,” she said then. “I will be missed if I stay much longer.”

    “Is there anything we can do for you, dear one?” Gandan asked in desperation.

    “No, there is not,” she told them, her accent getting even crisper. She paused for a moment, however, looking thoughtful. Her voice softened a bit as she continued.

    “But there is something you can do for a friend.” The Jedi reached into her satchel as she spoke. “A young female Togruta is without a home tonight. I do not know where she may have gone after leaving the Temple this afternoon, or what friends she might have in the City.”

    Sennah retrieved an item from her satchel and held it out to Gandan and Eda. “But if you can locate former Padawan Ahsoka Tano, please give her this datachip. Let her know it is from me. Whatever love, caring or resources you would give to me, please, give to her. She has suffered a great betrayal and needs some friends right now.”

    Gandan took the chip from his niece.

    “We will find her, dear one,” he said with a decisive nod. “We have many contacts among the kinder folk of the lower levels. Someone will have seen her and be able to direct us to her.”

    Sennah retreated a step and thanked the Ryn while giving a small bow. Danyal finally stood, he took a step towards the Jedi, his hand stretched out towards her imploringly. Then, without more than a glance Danyal's way, she turned, walked briskly back up the alley, and was gone.

    “I guess that's that,” Eda whispered sadly. “At least we know she's alright.”

    Hot, angry tears welled up in Danyal's eyes, his outstretched hand lowered, turning into a fist at his side. “Kriff her-.”

    “Danyal!” Eda gasped. “Language!”

    “-and kriff the Jedi too.” Danyal continued, ignoring the elders’ disapproving looks. He made a rude gesture in Sennah's direction and spat on the ground. “What have they ever brought us but sadness and trouble?”

    “Son-” Gandan began.

    “No!” Danyal interrupted, whirling around and kicking over the empty crate with a resounding crash. “I’m not your son, I’m not anyone’s son. There’s no one in this Galaxy I really belong with, and I don’t know why I even try any more.”

    Danyal stalked down the alley, the opposite way Sennah had gone. Eda took a step as if to follow him, her hand outstretched. Gandan stopped her with a gentle hand on her shoulder.

    “Leave him be, Eda,” the Ryn elder murmured. “He needs time to cool, we’ll talk to him when he gets home.”

    But what if he doesn’t come home? Eda worried to herself as Danyal disappeared around the corner.
     
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb reading this tumultuous experience from Danyal's POV. It puts the entire thing in poignant context knowing how on the brink of couple-ness the two of them were.
     
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  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Catching up, catching up, catching up, up, up! I hope my long silence hasn't given you the impression that I've in any way lost interest in these characters and their story, because I most certainly haven't—it's always a joy to read about them. <3

    2: After an evening of so many mixed emotions, it's such a blessing that Danyal really has such a wonderful family to come home to, from Gandan and Eda's loving concern for all their clan's "children" (and I bet they fix them some truly wonderful home cooking, too!) to Oali's sisterly sympathy. Even the former dormitory building sounds like it's become a haimish (to use a Yiddish word) and cozy place through their efforts (and very cool descriptions there). WONDERFUL conversation with Oali; she's a strong, sisterly presence with real sympathy and understanding for Danyal's mixed-up feelings about Sennah, even if she teased him a bit about it at first. And oh my gosh, it they really have been through hell together—what horrendous experiences during their slavery! :eek: Though from that we also learn so much about where they're both coming from, and about some of the things that caused Danyal to go somewhat "wild" to begin with in his pre-"Little Bit of You" life. And naturally his music has been his stay and his solace through all of it, as we know it will be wherever he goes in life. @};-

    3: Aw, the lesson scene! :D You are so kind and so cool to implement that little suggestion of mine; Danyal is a fun and sympathetic teacher and Maari definitely quite the perceptive "little mind-reader" here, both in guessing that something's on Danyal's mind and in her "like a Jedi" guess about Sennah. :) I have a feeling she'll also ultimately be right in her guess about Sennah eventually coming back to her family despite maybe being scared to do so. I just love Danyal's musical retelling of his story; we can see from it how much his mom's guitar really is an extension of him, and how playing it comes as naturally as speaking.

    And then what a bittersweet meeting with Sennah! So close, yet so far away! Gandan and Eda are so filled with joy to see their long-lost niece again and Danyal clearly is hopeful that she's back for real—yet Sennah is clearly deeply conflicted about the whole thing, and of course the barriers of language and culture make things doubly awkward, because she can sense that she's no longer "one of them." (Though it says a lot that she does sense that, and that it does bring on a feeling of discomfort for her.) Gosh, I wish I could hug all of them after that meeting, especially Danyal! =(( Though in a way I don't totally blame him for his moment of anger at the Jedi: this is now twice (sort of) that they've taken Sennah away from her people, and this time she's actively choosing to go. What a cliffhanger as he goes after Sennah—I'm very curious to see what will be next, so don't keep us waiting too long! Wonderful work and a very enjoyable and heartfelt read, as always. =D=
     
  10. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Will get back to this story eventually, when OC revolution story is done, will get to responding to comments, but one quick thing: Danyal went the opposite direction Sennah went, he's decided he's done with her.

    -----
    Ok, back to do some replies:
    Very much so. Home is wherever your Clan is, for nomads like the Ryn, so places you settle for a while quickly become adapted to their lifestyle.

    I've been wanting to tell this bit of their past for a while, it colors so much of their outlook. This was a good spot to throw a bit in. I will someday be writing the whole story about their rescue, but there are details about it that Danyal doesn't even know that he will learn about later in this story.

    It was an excellent suggestion, thank you :)

    He wants to get to know her better so badly, but with how everything in his life has gone so far, he's reluctant to hope too much, because he knows how bad things can get for him when he loses hope.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  11. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    ***Part 4***

    “Whatcha got for me, sexy-lady?” Came a bright, high voice as a pink-furred Squib stepped through the doorway of Oali's Repair Shop.

    Oali looked up from her shop terminal and glanced around nervously. “Not so loud, Kemmie.”

    “Your Clan not around.” The Squib laughed a bubbly giggle. “Relax, silly-silly.”

    Kemmie pulled a stool over next to Oali’s and sat down. She draped an arm across the Ryn woman’s shoulders, giving Oali a fond hug as she leaned over to see what Oali was working on.

    “I'm trying to find someone who might be hiding in the lower levels.” Oali replied.

    The rodent-like alien let out a long whistle, her large ears twitching in amusement. “Whew, that hard. There billions and billions a beings on Big-City-Planet.”

    “My father is spreading word through his contacts, but I thought I'd try a more technological approach.” Oali tapped a few more keys on her terminal. “I'm not getting very far.”

    “Yep-yep, you need my help, babe.” Kemmie grinned and patted Oali on the back. “You doing it slow-slow way. Here, lemme help.”

    The Squib pulled a small cobbled-together electronic box out of one of the many pouches on her patchwork outfit. She pulled a bundle of cables from another. She connected one cable between the box and Oali's terminal, then another from the box to the custom-built tech bracer on her arm.

    Oali's terminal screen blinked as Kemmie's slicer rig took over the search.

    “So, you looky for this Togruta girl? Damn, she the Pada-Jedi who was in big-trouble for booming the Jedi-Big-Building.”

    “The ‘Jedi Temple’, Kem.” Oali corrected with a long-suffering sigh.

    “Hey, I tell you many-time,” Kemmie grinned. “You have your kind's funny-talky, I have mine.”

    Kemmie's deft fingers tapped some commands on her bracer's display, and a holovid from the trial came up on the terminal.

    “Other Pada-Jedi actually did the booming, Pada-Ahsoka Tano went free.” Kemmie scrolled through news reports. “Holonews talky-heads don't say what happen to her after.”

    “She left the Jedi Order.” Oali replied.

    Kemmie whistled again.

    “She's somewhere in the City.” Oali shrugged helplessly. “My cousin, the Jedi, asked us to find her.”

    Kemmies bright eyes opened wide in surprise. “Wow, someone talked to Jedi-cousin?”

    “She showed up at a club Danyal was playing at three days ago.” Oali explained. “Then, last night, she met with my parents and Danyal. She told them she couldn't see any of us again, but there was a young woman who could use our help.”

    “The Pada-Jedi.”

    Oali nodded in agreement. Kemmie pulled up the holovid of the trial again and began extracting the Togruta's image from it.

    “How handsome-and-moody taking it?” Kemmie asked as she worked. “Meeting-and-then-losing dream girl?”

    “I don't really know, no one's seen Danyal since last night.” Oali replied worredly.

    “Okee, got her specs,” Kemmie announced. “Now we looky-find.”

    “What's your plan?” Oali asked, eyeing the Squib's equipment scattered across her counter.

    “Slice into CSF watchy-eyes.” Kemmie whispered.

    “Wait, seriously?” Oali replied, a bit alarmed.

    “Not big-deal, done before to help family find good-loots.” Kemmie shrugged and tapped a few more buttons on her bracer, starting the search algorithm.

    Kemmie's people were scavengers. The Squibs were dealers in the useful, and not-so-useful, discards of Upper Level civilization. Oali met Kemmie over three years ago when the tech-scavenger came into Oali’s shop looking to sell some of the better pieces the Squibs had acquired. The pair had grown very close over the years. Oali had been invited to, and attended, many celebrations with Kemmie’s family. Oali had yet to even introduce her girlfriend to her own Clan. She was too afraid of what their reaction would be. The family, the Clan, was everything to her father, and that included continuing its existence by siring the next generation of Itannos. He would never understand her feelings, he would only see the betrayal of their traditions and her sacred responsibilities to the Clan.

    The thought reminded Oali that she was going to try to comm Danyal again when she got into the shop this morning, but she’d gotten distracted by her search. She pulled out her comm unit and dialed in his frequency.

    Suddenly, Kemmie’s ears twitched, zeroing in on a distant sound. “Babe, do you have alarmy-beeper up in your hidey-room?”

    “No, but I am trying to comm Danyal,” Oali replied. “Be right back.”

    Oali went into the back of her shop, to the storage area. In the corner above some shelves was a meter-high, meter-wide, by three meter long loft-like space. It was intended for further storage, but Oali had put a small cot up there for nights when she was working late on a project and needed a place to crash for a few hours. (It had also occasionally been the site of a few of Oali and Kemmie’s nights in).

    There was a muffled beeping coming from the pile of bedding on the cot; there was also a long, dark brown tail with light tan hairs at the end. Oali reached up and gave the tail a tug, a muffled groan came from the blankets.

    “Oy, Danyal,” She grumbled in their native tongue. “It’s nearly midday. Time to get up, no more hiding up here. How did you even get in?” She pulled the covers off him as she climbed the ladder into the space, intending to chide him for being avoidant (and somehow breaking into her shop). What she found, however, made her sigh. Multiple empty bottles of some pretty strong varieties of alcohol lay strewn around on the floor under the cot.

    “Dammit, Danyal.” Oali started gathering the bottles and chucking them across the storage room to a rubbish bin. “What are you doing? I thought you were over this stuff.”

    “Go away,” came Danyal's groggy voice from where he lay, facing the wall. “Just let me be miserable and alone, like I'm going to be forever.”

    “No, you're getting up.” Oali said firmly, picking up another bottle. “Come on, little brother.”

    Kemmie stuck her head into the storage room doorway, and quickly ducked back as a bottle came flying past her nose. “Everything okey-dokey back here, babe?”

    “It will be, once I get Danyal's hung-over pity-partied ass out of my cot.” Oali replied in Basic, her voice more disappointed than angry.

    A tone sounded and a light began to flash on Kemmie's tech bracer. “Ooh, got a hit. Maybe found her.” She backed up into the workroom to check the terminal.

    “Going to give you five minutes, Danyal,” Oali said, switching back to Ryn. She chucked the last bottle into the bin. “Then I'm sending Artee up here with a liter of water to dump on your head.”

    Oali climbed down the ladder and pointed a finger at a small droid sitting in a charging unit on top of a shelf. “You hear that, Artee?”

    RT-22 beeped in the affirmative, adding that it had already begun a countdown timer. It disconnected from the base and hovered off on anti-grav emitters towards another shelf to get a small bucket.

    Oali joined Kemmie at the workroom terminal and they began sorting through the data the algorithm was bringing up.

    Exactly four minutes and thirty-two seconds later, there was the sound of water splattering and a string of curses in Ryn.

    “I was up, you stupid droid!” Came Danyal's voice from the storage room.

    The droid beeped and warbled.

    “I don't care that my ‘ass was technically still on the cot’, I was sitting up, dammit!”

    A minute later Danyal appeared in the doorway, shaking water out of his hair and grumbling about clancousins who programmed their droids to be so snarky.

    “Glad to see you up, Dan.” Oali said (in Basic for Kemmie's benefit), still looking at the terminal screen.

    “Yeah, yeah, I'm up.” Danyal replied, his accented Basic thicker than usual. “So what have you and your girlfriend found that's so interesting?”

    Oali froze, her brain scrambled to think of what she or Kemmie might have said or done to give a hint…

    “What are you talking about--?” She began, but Danyal interrupted her.

    “Oali,” he sighed quietly, gathering up his tangled damp hair into a loose top knot. “You've already dragged me out of a perfectly good hole I was hoping to spend the rest of my pitiful existence in, don't insult my intelligence, too.”

    “Don’t be silly,” Oali said, desperate to change the subject. “I’m not going to let you live in my back room for the rest of your life.”

    “Who says that’s going to be very long?” Danyal murmured, sitting down in a corner of the workshop and leaning his aching head on his hands.

    Kemmie’s cleared her throat, getting Oali’s attention. “I think I found a lead on the Togruta Pada-Jedi lady your clanmate want you to find. Here, sending info to you, babe, go look-see what you find, I'll watch the shop.”

    “Come on, Danyal, you’re coming with me.” Oali urged, and all but dragged Danyal to his feet. As she herded him out the door, she looked back at Kemmie, worry in her eyes. Kemmie pointed two fingers towards her eyes, then towards Danyal. Watch him, her gesture said. Oali nodded in agreement and left her shop.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Nice how this ties into the search for Ahsoka and Danyal's feelings of dejection.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  13. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Yay, Squibs! :D I like Kemmie—she's a fun complement to the more placid Oali, and her bubbly, "Squibbish" nature and "funny-talky" belie some true cleverness and resourcefulness here as she uses her skills to hunt for A Certain Togruta Former Jedi that we all know. And she also shows genuine concern for the family drama that's going on Oali's end with the finding of Sennah: "how is handsome-and-moody taking it?" And then what should happen but "handsome-and-moody" himself turns up right there on the premises, and we can see for ourselves just how he's taking it—oh man, not at all a good sign that he's turning to drink (and from what Oali hints this doesn't seem to be the first time—and we do know he has prior history of party-animalism). :( I almost hated to laugh at the water-dumping from Artee, but I just had to, because in a way Danyal is in a pretty ridiculous state right about now. :p

    It didn't escape me that another dimension of the family drama might be beginning as Danyal picks up on the fact that Oali and Kemmie are girlfriends—and says so. I'm guessing this is the first time one of Oali's clanmates has learned the nature of her and Kemmie's relationship, and in the volatile emotional state he's in, I almost—almost—worry about Danyal doing something, well, rash with that piece of information. :eek: Kemmie's absolutely right to advise Oali to keep a close eye on him.

    And a lead on Ahsoka on top of it all! Really looking forward to seeing how all sides of this will turn out—keep up the fine work, and keep it coming! =D= =D= =D=
     
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  14. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    ***Part 5***

    “So, where are we headed, exactly?” Danyal asked Oali as they stepped into one of the many lifts that carried beings up and down between the thousands of levels of Coruscant.

    “Somewhere here,” Oali said, showing Danyal the map Kemmie had sent her.

    Danyal swore and reached into the top of one of his boots. His hand emerged grasping a small holdout blaster.

    Oali gasped as Danyal did a quick check-over of the weapon, making sure the emitter was clean and the charge was full.

    “Why do you have this?” she demanded, snatching the blaster from him. “You know how my father feels about weapons! Fates know what he might do if he found this in the Clan home.”

    “Yeah, probably give me a very stern talking-to,” Danyal replied, rolling his eyes and snatching the blaster back. He finished his check in a much too practiced manner for Oali’s taste. "But you’re not exactly one to lecture me on what Gandan would approve of, now, are you?”

    Oali’s simmering anger turned to ice and dropped into the pit of her stomach. Her hands, which had been planted on her hips in righteous indignation, unconsciously shifted to fiddling with a setting on her tech bracer’s readout.

    Danyal shoved the blaster into a pocket on his jacket. They rode the lift in awkward silence for a while, lost in their own guilty consciences as they thought about how much of a disappointment they were to their clan Patron. His rules and expectations were not even that oppressive, just rooted in what he considered a clan and its members ought to be. But even so, they were unable to be the beings he wished them to be.

    "Do you think we will need a weapon?" Oali asked quietly.

    “You’ve never been down in the Undercity, have you?” Danyal asked in response.

    "I've been a couple hundred levels down." Oali shrugged. "Down where Kemmie's clan lives is pretty rough, but I've never felt like I needed a blaster."

    "Where we're heading, the 1300s, it's bad."

    "How do you--?" Oali began.

    "I don't want to talk about how," Danyal interrupted, raising a hand as if to push the question away. "Just… trust me."

    The lift doors opened and the Ryn were assailed with the sights and smells of desperation. Danyal motioned Oali to follow as he adopted an air of purposeful direction, not drawing attention to himself by either hurrying or dawdling too much. As they crossed a walkway across the gap between buildings, Oali looked up, through the criss-crossing walkways of the thousands of levels of city above, towards the 2000s levels she called home. Sometimes, on clear days, you could see a bit of blue between the buildings at the level where she lived. Here, there was no glimpse of the sky. These levels lived in a perpetual gloom of artificial lights and hazy air only barely adequately cleaned by sputtering scrubbers in the windows of the shops and tenements they passed.

    "Let me see your map, Oali," Danyal murmured. She handed her datapad over distractedly as she watched a small Devaronian child begging for credits get nearly run over by a speederbike that swerved dangerously through the narrow street.

    Danyal studied Kemmie's notes. Oali looked around nervously, wanting to keep an eye on everything and everyone all at once. She knew many Ryn across the Galaxy were perfectly at home in surroundings like this, but the Itanno clan had worked very hard to stay as close to the upper levels of Coruscant as possible. They were by no means wealthy, but after the terror and squalor of the slave camps, the Itannos were determined to maintain a safe, comfortable home in the middle levels.

    "A few of the hits are just around the corner ahead," Danyal announced quietly. "Come on."

    Oali followed, still trying to keep an eye on her surroundings. Danyal tugged on her sleeve to get her attention.

    "Quit staring at things," Danyal muttered. "Don't make eye contact with anyone, they might think you're paying too much attention to them."

    "Sorry."

    After an hour of visiting cluttered alleys, a stall selling unidentifiable food, a mechanic shop, and a residential block where scrawny children of multiple species played a ball game together, they still hadn't had any luck finding the Togruta. The few beings who they could get to talk to them all denied seeing someone of her description. The Ryn ended up on a narrow street, leaning against a wall between a burned-out cave of a former community med clinic and a shop selling basic groceries. They studied Kemmie's map, trying to find some other clue.

    "I've got one last place we could try," Danyal said finally, his voice had a note of sad resignation. He did not move away from the wall to go anywhere, though.

    "What's wrong?" Oali asked, trying to read Danyal's guarded expression.

    "It's…" Danyal shook his head. "Kriff it, you'll see for yourself."

    He turned and stalked away, Oali hurried to catch up to him. After weaving and turning through a few alleys and side streets. Danyal stopped in front of a nondescript door, hesitated, then knocked in a staccato pattern.

    A small window slid open and a pair of reptilian eyes gazed out. Danyal said something Oali did not understand in a hissing sibilant language. The window closed, and the door slid open with a grinding of poorly-oiled gears.

    The dim room beyond smelled of stale smoke and an acrid, spicy scent that made Oali narrow her eyes.

    "Back already?" The scaly Saurin female asked as the door ground shut behind the Ryn. "What can I get you thisss time--?"

    "Just information," Danyal interrupted, his still somewhat bloodshot eyes darting towards Oali and quickly away. “We’re looking for this woman, do you know where we might find her?"

    Danyal held up the datapad with the picture of the former Padawan. The alien nodded slowly in recognition. "Yesss. I do know of her. Ssshowed up down here once sssearching for sssome ssstolen property, then, not that long ago, returned.”

    "Where might we find her?" Danyal asked hopefully.

    "Well, if you have been asssking around about her," the reptilian replied with a sharp-toothed grin. "You will have either causssed her to flee thisss area, or... ssshe may come looking for you. Try visssiting the mechanicsss beyond Vorok Ssstreet."

    Danyal thanked the Saurin and hit the button to activate the sliding door. Oali quietly fumed as the door ground open. She a deep breath of comparatively fresh air as she stepped out onto the filthy streets again.

    "Danyal…" She began, trying to keep her voice even and calm as she noisily whooshed a breath of air through her nose, trying to clear out the scent of smoke… and other substances. "Why did I just end up in a spice den? Where the proprietor recognizes you?"

    Oali turned to glare at her younger clancousin. Danyal flinched, his shoulders hunching as if to ward off a blow.

    "You're not just drinking again, you're back into this?" Oali growled.

    Danyal shrugged and pushed past, muttering something under his breath.

    "What? I didn't hear you, little brother." Oali demanded, catching up to Danyal and grabbing the collar of his coat.

    "Leave me alone, Oali." The musician moaned, pulling her hand off his collar. "I don't want to discuss this, not now, not ever. Let's just find this woman and get this over with so I can find a hole somewhere to die in."

    Danyal pressed forward again, his cousin hurrying to catch up, continuing her angry and concerned questions as they made their way down the streets.



    The hooded figure slipped from the shadows into the glare of a flickering hologram. With a slight wave of her hand she redirected the attention of a pair of would-be muggers in the alley ahead. Her eyes, however, stayed locked on the two beings she had been shadowing for the better part of an hour, ever since she had been told they had been asking about her. Her informant had warned her to be careful of “their kind”, that they could be devious.

    The pair were of a species she was not familiar with, which was surprising to someone as well-traveled as she was. The longer she followed them, however, the more she thought she had perhaps seen one of their kind before.

    The question was, who were they, and why were they looking for her?

    The pair were making it extremely easy for her to follow unnoticed. They were arguing softly, yet heatedly, in a language she did not understand. Absorbed as they were in their exchange, they did not even notice they had turned into a dead-end alley. It was time to make her move.

    She slid out of the shadows behind the taller of the two. He heard her, and started pulling a blaster from his jacket pocket. She quickly knocked it from his hand and in an instant had him pinned against the wall of the alley. She pointed a small blaster at the female.

    “I don’t want any trouble,” she announced. “But if you insist on pursuing me, I will have to dissuade you.”

    “We don’t want trouble either,” the male replied urgently, but she felt his fear ease as he saw her face under the hood. “Someone sent us to offer you help, Jedi Tano."

    Ahsoka narrowed her eyes, curious, yet wary. “Who sent you?”

    “My cousin,” the female answered. One of her hands remained raised to show she held no weapons, the other reached carefully into a pouch on her tool belt. “She is a Jedi, in the Temple. Here, she gave us this data chip to give you. It has a message.”

    The former Jedi Padawan considered the pair for a moment, reaching out into the Force for a sense of their intentions. She didn’t feel any ill intent, just nervousness and an eagerness to complete their task. Though there was an odd undercurrent of sadness also. Ahsoka decided to trust them, for now. She slipped her blaster back into its holster and stepped away from the wall, letting go of the male.

    Ahsoka accepted the chip from the female, retrieved a somewhat battered data pad from a pouch, and slipped the chip into the reader slot.

    A face appeared on the screen, a female of the same species, but golden-red colored. As the image began to speak, Ahsoka suddenly recognized where she had seen their kind before. It was this Jedi, she was a healer in the Jedi Infirmary, she had treated Ahsoka’s injuries a few times, and had been among the medics attending the victims of the hangar bombing.

    The two beings in the alley leaned in eagerly, trying to see the image on the small viewscreen. Ahsoka sensed sadness and longing coming from them as they watched, especially from the male.

    <Hello Ahsoka, I don’t know if you remember me, my name is Sennah. I wanted to offer my sympathy for what you have been through these last few weeks, and my support of your decision to leave. I have begun to question the Jedi’s place in this war as well. I cannot and will never condone Bariss’ decisions, but I believe I am coming to understand her concerns. If I wasn’t so sure that I am needed here… I - I don’t know… The ones who brought this message to you are good, kind people who you can trust and rely on. They crossed the Galaxy on the hope of just being able to see me again. But I have to follow the Code. Please let them help you in whatever way they are able. If there is anything I can do, or any messages I can pass along to anyone in the Temple, please contact me at this frequency. May the Force be always with you. ... Tell Danyal I am sorry.>

    At the final sentence, which was spoken in a whisper, almost an afterthought, the male turned away, muttering to himself in mingled sorrow and anger.

    "Would you come back home with us? For dinner tonight at least?" the female asked pleadingly, glancing at her companion. "My father and mother gave their word to Sennah that we would deliver this message and do whatever we could to help you."

    Ahsoka pondered for a moment before replying: "I could use a good meal, to be honest."
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
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  15. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Yay, so glad to see this updated! [face_dancing] I love that Danyal and Oali go to find Ahsoka together. Even though there are uncomfortable moments for both of them (and oh, ouch, especially for Danyal as we find out that he's grappling with addiction again! =(( ), given the subject and the setting, I'm still so glad that they are able to have an easy, familial relationship with each other, even after all the horrendous poodoo they've both been through. Interesting switch to Ahsoka's viewpoint as she meets up with the two Ryn and takes stock of their Force presences and emotional currents—I can imagine that it's a lot to take in, especially the mixed bittersweet emotions emanating from Danyal, and that especially when Sennah's message is played back! =(( @};- (And it's very intriguing to note how these two are going way out of their way to help deliver Sennah's message, even at a certain amount of risk to themselves—continuing the tradition of the way the entire Clan Itanno went out of its way to try to find her again. It shows just how much they love her, yes, but that kind of love is hard on one!)

    I'm looking forward to Ahsoka's meeting with the rest of the clan; I wonder if she'll be able to help bring them any closer to their goal. Keep up the great work, and keep the story coming—always glad to see these characters back! =D=
     
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  16. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    ***Part 6***

    It was a very good meal. Ahsoka recognized most of the ingredients, but the preparation and spices made an amazing combination that was like nothing she had ever tasted.

    “Thank you so much for your hospitality,” Ahsoka said to the Clan matron. The meal was winding down and some of the Ryn clan were starting to leave the table. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer very many of your clan’s questions about your niece. I really only met her a few times, and most of those times, I was a little more focused on the issue that had brought me to the infirmary in the first place.”

    “Oh, do not worry, dear.” Eda replied. “We’re happy to get any information you can give us. We have not seen our Sennah since she was a toddler, except for that one brief meeting when she gave us the datachip to give you. We do not want to cause her trouble with the Temple, but we miss her badly.”

    “I should be going, I have a project I need to get back to,” Ahsoka said as she started to stand up.

    “No, please stay a while, the evening is just beginning.” Eda gestured over to her husband, who was opening a case and retrieving his fiddle. Another clanmate had a small hand drum. He had been introduced as Aandon, the father of the three younglings who were starting to excitedly bounce around the room as the instruments were gathered.

    Ahsoka decided she could stay a bit longer. Her newly purchased, badly used speeder bike would still be waiting for her to tune it up in the morning, no matter how late she was out.

    The music began. The Ryn clan sang, played, and entertained long into the night. Songs of laughter and happiness, with dancing on flashing feet and swirling skirts. Songs of trials endured and overcome. Ahsoka couldn't help but clap along, and even once, at the younglings' insistence, somewhat awkwardly joined in on a dance. Eventually, the young ones began to tire and be rounded up for bed.

    “So, show us what you have been working on, Danyal,” Gandan said, nudging the young man. He had his instrument beside him, but the guitarist had not joined in very much that evening. “You always have something bubbling in your mind. What do you have for us that is new?”

    Danyal shrugged noncommittally.

    “Come, play something for our guest.” Gandan said with an encouraging smile.

    “It’s ok, he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t feel up to it.” Ahsoka began.

    “Oh, you need to hear him sing,” Fina insisted from where she was nestled on the couch across the room. “He’s amazing. He plays gigs in clubs all over the City.” Ahsoka had learned that the woman was Gandan’s daughter, Oali’s youngest sister, and the mother of the three children who were now being herded to bed by their father and Grandmother Eda.

    “Alright, alright, there is something I wrote late last night.” Danyal admitted with a sigh. "I can't exactly refuse a pregnant lady's request can I?”

    Fina playfully tossed a pillow at her clanmate’s head, Danyal caught it and tossed it back to her. “Hey, you need that more than I do, Fina, prop your feet up or something.” The woman laughed, but did what he suggested.

    Danyal picked up his well-used guitar and checked its tuning. “Frankly, I don’t remember writing half of it, but it was open on my datapad when I turned it on this afternoon. I don’t know if you really want to hear it, though. It’s not exactly a happy song.”

    “How many of our people’s songs are?” Gandan asked rhetorically. “One last song, eh? Then we will see our new friend home.”

    Danyal sighed, but began to play. The guitar’s notes sang a wrenching, plaintive cry. The musician’s voice joined in low, then soared high, then fell down deep again. Singing words that spoke of a heart in anguish. A heart that had fallen for someone who would never, could never, love him the same.


    No one spoke as the last chord faded. There was an awkward, heavy silence that was only broken by a quiet sniffle from Fina.

    “Yeah, I told you,” Danyal murmured awkwardly, standing up to take his guitar back to his room. “I’ll see you home, Ahsoka, let me just grab a jacket.”

    “You don’t need to trouble yourself, really,” Ahsoka insisted. “I can see myself home.”

    “Nonsense, friend,” Gandan said, giving the former Jedi a small bow. “It is our pleasure, as was having you to visit us this evening.”

    Danyal reemerged from the hallway, sliding his arms into a well-made, but well-worn, nerf-leather jacket. He met Ahsoka’s gaze and tilted his head towards the front door. “Come on, I need to get out of here for a while, anyway.”

    “Here, dear, please take this.” Eda said, hurrying over from the kitchen and pressing a wrapped package into Ahsoka’s hands.

    “There’s really no need--” Ahsoka began.

    “We insist, friend.” Gandan interrupted, his visible, undamaged eye shining with unshed tears. “It was Sennah’s last instruction to us, to share with you what we would have shared with her. So please, for our sake, take it, with our love. And let us know if there is anything we can do for you. I have many friends in the lower levels.”

    “Thank you.” Ahsoka said, putting the package into one of the cargo pockets on her jumpsuit. “Thank you all for a wonderful evening.”

    With a wave to the rest of the clan members, Ahsoka walked out the door and into the turbolift with Danyal.

    They rode in silence for a while, before Ahsoka broke it with a small cough. “Um, so, was that song about her? Your clanmate Sennah?”

    “What was your first clue?” Danyal replied sullenly as they exited the turbolift and walked to a nearby public transport stop.

    “Have you had a chance to tell her how you feel?” Ahsoka asked.

    “A chance? Yeah, I had one, but I kriffed it up,” Danyal growled. “She didn’t give me another chance the second time I saw her. She was too busy turning her back on the clan and doubling down on being a Jedi.”

    “Let me give you the comm frequency she gave me.” Ahsoka said, fishing out her datapad and pulling up the message from Sennah. “You really should tell her how you feel about her.”

    “What do you know about what I should do, Jedi?” Danyal snorted, the air whistling an off-key note through his nose.

    “More than you realise,” Ahsoka murmured. “I have seen too many times when honest communication between two people could have saved them a lot of heartache.”

    Ahsoka copied the message from the datachip and pulled it out of the reader slot. She held it out to Danyal. “Take it, please. You don’t have to do it, but with this you will at least have a chance.”

    “Alright, I’ll take it.” Danyal agreed. He took the chip, turning it over in his long-fingered hands. Maybe she was right. What was the worst that could happen? All she could really do was crush his dreams again, he couldn’t get that much lower.

    “My transport’s here,” Ahsoka announced. She held out her hand to Danyal. “Thank your clan again for the wonderful evening. I almost felt like I had a family again, for a little while.”

    Danyal nodded, clasping the former Jedi’s hand in farewell. He returned to staring at the datachip as Ahsoka boarded the transport and it sped away into the Coruscant night.

    ---

    That night, Danyal spent the first of many sleepless nights trying to decide how best to tell Sennah what he felt. There were just so many unanswered questions. Was what he felt for her truly love, or just some sort of childish infatuation he never grew out of? How much of this obsession with her was the cause of his depression, and how much was caused by it?

    How secure was the frequency she had given Ahsoka? If he poured his heart out in a love letter, would it get her in trouble with her superiors? How much would she hate him if his message of undying love got her kicked out of the Jedi Order? Maybe he could encode it somehow, in some way that…even one of the most well-connected groups of beings in the Galaxy couldn’t decode? No, that wouldn’t work.

    He could write it in Ryn. The language didn’t show up in any universal translator program he had ever seen. The chances that the Jedi could translate it were slim. She had said she did not speak their language the other night, but a few minutes later had understood Gandan and Eda’s prayer for the dead. So maybe she did remember but wasn’t confident in it. He could write her a song, maybe. No, a love song could be almost as bad as the love letter. Music had its way of conveying meaning without even being able to understand the words the musician sang. It would have to be unaccompanied. A poem, then.

    Many more sleepless nights followed as he searched for just the right words. After uncountable discarded drafts, he did it, he crafted the perfect poem that expressed his feelings. Danyal put the words into a message, directed it to the frequency Sennah had given, whispered a prayer to Fate, to the Force, to anyone that was listening, and sent it.

    He waited for a response, any response. It was weeks before he even got a ping back indicating that she had viewed the message. Danyal waited eagerly for a response.

    It never came.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2020
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    What a wonderful evening for Ahsoka, with good, good music, good company, and true-blue Clan Itanno hospitality! Though of course the icing on the cake is Danyal's song, and the hush that falls after he finishes it just goes to show how deeply it touches everyone present. Of course, how could Danyal's situation not touch the heart? I enjoyed his conversation with Ahsoka as he walks her to the transport stop; she is an understanding, sympathetic listener, and I love that gets to play such an important role in bringing him closer to the lost Sennah—not only by giving him the frequency by which he can comm her, but also by encouraging him to take the plunge of doing so. Which he does, and it isn't easy, and he throws his all into it, and... no response comes. Oh, my heart, what a note to end on (but in a good way, of course). =((

    But... two steps forward, one step back, right? If she's not answering right away, it might be because she's just as nervous as he is, if not more! Of course, Danyal isn't really in the mental zone to be able to see that just yet (and understandably so), but hopefully he'll get there. More hopefully, the message will lead to, y'know, an actual reunion for these two lovely characters—fingers very crossed, and very looking forward to more! =D=
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
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  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent pair of updates. Danyal's in a right mess for sure and not just over Sennah. :eek: Ahsoka is compassionate and candid, just the kind to be a go-between. [face_thinking] She definitely knows the sad consequences of noncommunication. :p
     
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  19. Mira_Jade

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

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh but this is just a lovely story! [face_love] I have to admit that I actually caught up on reading your fantastic Crisis of Faith last year, but due to DRL reasons I never got around to leaving a proper review, which is just shameful on my part. Because your entire Itanno Clan Series is just full of so much heart and warmth and awesome characters and marvelous world building! I'm glad that WIPmonth gave me the opportunity to catch up on reading things from Danyal and the clan's POV now! I really can't tell you how much I am enjoying this story, and wish you all the best on reaching your goals this June! [face_dancing] [:D]

    In particular, I enjoyed . . .

    Oh! =(( Sennah forgetting the language of her birth - or perhaps just not remembering enough of it to feel comfortable - was just heartbreaking. As much as the Jedi can hold onto certain aspects of their heritage, they really are their own community beyond the families of their birth; they lose as much as they gain, depending on which POV you look at. I appreciate just how other the Jedi seem to those beyond the Order, here. Especially for a species like the Ryn, to whom bonds of clan are everything - and especially to this clan, who has been through such a horrifying, traumatic ordeal - it must be all the more difficult!

    That said, I just loved Danyal's voice here - such an awkward, loveable tooka he is. :p

    I liked this bit. :D TCW is one of my absolute favorite time periods in the GFFA, and you captured the pulse and the feel of Coruscant at war awesomely here and throughout the story. =D=

    Oh such a smitten stargazing dear. My heart just broke for Danyal - and the clan - to have Sennah so close but so far away! (And Oali probably is my fave, for obvious reasons! [face_mischief])

    I also appreciate how crucial music is for Danyal expressing his emotions and working through his grief and pain, especially in the face of some of the other vices he's wont to turn to. Music being his voice and second self was so beautifully portrayed, even with his injured fingers and that note he just can't quite reach - touching and pivotal details and character marks, all.

    I LOVED that you included Ahsoka - both in Crisis of Faith to begin with and then here. She really was done wrong by the Jedi and Barriss, in particular. Yet many of Barriss' reasons for discontent were valid, no matter the choices she made for the worse. I appreciate Sennah reaching out and helping Ahsoka in this way. There are still good people in the galaxy, and seeing them help each other here just made me smile to read. [face_love]

    Isn't that just the truth?? [face_plain]

    I can't wait to see Sennah's response to Danyal reaching out, and remain riveted for more! =D=
     
  20. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    So, I noticed when re-reading the entire story while brainstorming bits of the last chapter that there were places where descriptions of characters and actions could have been a bit clearer. So, a few of these chapters have had some tweaks (including more description of what Oali actually looks like, @Mira_Jade). Also, if you would like to read the entire story without interruption by commentary, I have put a link to the Google Docs version in the header for the story.

    And so, without further ado, the final chapter of the story, and it's a big one...
     
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  21. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    ***Part 7***

    “Yes, officer, I will be taking him home right away, and we will keep a very close eye on him.”

    The elder Ryn took Danyal by the upper arm and led him out of the detention center. Danyal stumbled slightly, blinking in the lights of the street outside. He was limping, hung over, and had a bruised cheek and bloodied knuckles. The musician vaguely remembered getting into some sort of brawl, but that could have been the previous time Gandan had bailed him out of this detention center. It was all blurring together.

    “Our people do not need this kind of attention, Danyal,” Gandan muttered harshly in Ryn as the pair began walking down the street towards the nearest public transit station. “You have had your down times, I know. But these past few months have been the worst I have ever seen. You have lost gigs, come home drunk, gotten injured from fighting who knows who, not come home at all for days at a time!" Gandan paused and took a calming breath. "This all began when we said goodbye to Sennah. Is this because of her?” Gandan eyed the silent man beside him as they continued. “Are you throwing your life away because she said goodbye?”

    “Life? What life?" Danyal blurted. "We’ve been here on Coruscant for five years, Gandan, not really living, just... biding our time until we could see her again."

    "We have built lives here as we waited, Danyal. You have built a music career, though that may be rapidly disappearing with your recent behavior." The clan chief frowned as he gestured to his companion's disheveled and dirty appearance. "Oali has her repair shop, Eda has the jewelry she makes and our friends sell for us. We've done more than just bide our time."

    "She didn’t even respond to the message I sent her.” Danyal whispered morosely. “She turned her back on us, Gandan, what do we even have left without her?”

    “We have each other.” Gandan replied. “Our family. Clan is Everything.”

    “What about her?” Danyal countered. “She's family too!”

    “Not anymore.” Gandan replied, his throat tightening with emotion. “We have to accept that. Sennah made her choice. She returned to her Jedi family… the only family she has ever really known.”

    Gandan walked in silence for a moment, outwardly calm, but his tail lashed in frustration.

    “I should never have gone chasing this dream,” he muttered at last. “Should not have dragged my children across the Galaxy on this fool's errand. If I had not chased this dream… You - you would not have run away from it for five years and come back to us permanently damaged by your excesses. You could have found a wife among the Kull Clan like many members of our Clan did. Perhaps Oali would have found a husband. Who knows, maybe you would have settled for having each other? You two would be happily singing with your children now. Instead you are both alone and hurting. You, getting yourself thrown into prison. Her, spending all her time working at her lonely shop--”

    “She has a girlfriend, Uncle.” Danyal whispered.

    Gandan froze in the middle of the walkway. Danyal continued a few steps before he noticed Gandan had stopped.

    "She what?" Gandan sputtered in shock.

    “Your daughter. Oali. Has a girlfriend!” Danyal shouted, whirling back to face Gandan. “Who's not even Ryn. Who she’s been with for nearly three years!”

    Danyal glanced at the passersby, a few had paused, taking notice of his outburst. Danyal took two furious steps back towards his elder and lowered his voice to an angry mutter. “Oali is scared to death to tell you about her. Scared that you will be so blinded by your own dreams of how things are supposed to be in your Clan to see things as they really are.”

    “You have no idea what kind of reality I have faced,” Gandan whispered angrily. “No idea what Eda and I and the Clan have done for you.”

    “Sure I do, dragged us across the Galaxy, like you said,” Danyal sneered, his tone dripping with sarcasm. “Chased a dream that will never come true. Wasted our lives as we--”

    Gandan leaned in, a long, taloned forefinger pointed at Danyal's chest. “We KILLED for you, Danyal.”

    Now it was Danyal’s turn to be shocked. “You what?”

    “Do you think we just danced in and asked nicely for the slavers to give you up?” Gandan struck a mocking dance pose, then shook his head in exasperation. “The Kull Clan is mercenaries as well as miners. They were not going to risk their valuable clanspeople if we were not willing to risk our own as well.”

    Gandan began walking again, his pace brisk, as if trying to outpace his memories. Danyal hurried to catch up.

    “Our remaining free clanspeople, Eda and I included, trained with the Kull. We were there beside them when they invaded the compound to free you. It was not the first time we had done it, either. There were many slave compounds we raided and slaves we freed, trying to find you all.” The Clan elder's voice rose in anger. “The slavers we killed may have been the furthest thing from innocents that has ever existed under the Stars, but we are guilty of their deaths all the same. Eda--my beautiful, kind Eda--” Gandan's voice became sorrowful. “She blasted a hole through the Master of your compound's chest when she saw what he had done --was doing-- to Oali. The Master had discovered Oali's hidden messages to us, and was torturing her.”

    “I... didn't know.” Danyal stammered, his bloodshot eyes wide in astonishment.

    “Of course not!” Gandan waved his hand to the air dismissively. “We hid our sins so that you, the innocent children could be free of their burden. We did not want you to know what it had cost us to rescue you. In truth, we didn't care at the time. All that mattered was gathering those we had lost, rebuilding our clan, making us whole. And now… now that will never come to be.”

    Gandan continued in silence for a few minutes, then spoke again, softly at first, but with increasing fervor as he continued.

    “Maybe it's time we both started living in reality, Danyal. Stopped waiting for dreams that are never going to come true. I will never have my family whole again. I have been chasing this dream that if I can get Sennah back, it will somehow make everything that has happened worth it. The deaths. The injuries.” Gandan’s fingertips brushed the patch over his damaged eye. “The years my clanspeople spent in slavery. The lives we took to rescue you. Leaving behind the children...”

    Gandan's voice began to waver, sorrow bleeding through his determination. “Those innocent, unclaimed children that were born in slavery. Some of them were my grandchildren, my own flesh and blood, and we couldn't bear to try to sort out who belonged to who. We just left them all for the Kull Clan to care for.”

    “And a score of them alone could have been mine...” Danyal replied, his voice rough with emotion, so many emotions. “We couldn't have cared for them all, Uncle, even if we could have sorted out who had sired them. We certainly couldn't have cared for them all and still made the journey here.”

    “How do we know?” Gandan cried out, taking hold of Danyal’s arm. “How do we know what kind of Fate we left them to? We don't!” Tears were beginning to streak the smoke grey fuzz on Gandan’s cheeks, dripping into his long white mustache. “I focused on Sennah instead. I felt that somehow, all the suffering, all my poor decisions... As if they would all be erased if I could just get back the first child lost under my care.”

    Gandan’s hands clenched into fists, he felt his nails digging into his palms. “But they will not be. Getting her back is not going to fix any of us, Danyal.”

    “What do we do, then? How do we live with what was done to us, what we have done.” Danyal stared down at his bruised hands with their bloodied knuckles. “And what we're continuing to do to ourselves?”

    “We are Ryn.” Gandan began in a whisper, but his voice grew stronger as he continued, uncurling his fists as he spoke. “We dance. We sing. We weep. We breathe our anguish and sorrows into our songs... and we let them go. Let them float to the Stars that have forever cursed and blessed our people in the same breath—”

    Danyal closed his eyes and nodded.

    “—And we invite my daughter's girlfriend to dance with us.” Gandan finished resolutely.

    Danyal looked up at the elder in surprise. Gandan smiled and placed a hand on Danyal’s shoulder, squeezing it fondly. “It is time we accept our lives as they are, Son, and stop trying to bend Fate to our will.”

    ---

    There had not been such a party as this in the Itanno Clan since Aandon and Fina's ill-fated wedding. Tables had to be borrowed to hold all the food cooked up by Eda and brought by family and friends. There was music the whole day long. Everyone participated, from little Candun, the youngest of the Ryn younglings, to Danyal's friends Aster and Palla, to Kemmie's many younger brothers and sisters. They sang of love and laughter, of hardships and trials. They sang of the gathering of family and friends, and of building a new future. Though the Galaxy was still in the middle of a war, the holoreports of clone troopers and Jedi generals were far away, too distant to bother them today.

    "How are you doing, Danyal?" Aster inquired, handing his friend a cup of something fizzy but non-alcoholic. The dancer had found the guitarist taking a break out on the balcony.

    "Better," Danyal remarked. The lights of a thousand levels of Coruscant traffic flickered down on the Ryn as he lifted a deep brown skinned hand and flexed his fingers. "The bruising's mostly gone, but I've been doing a lot of playing today. So, a little sore."

    "Hm, I'm sure..." Aster replied, resting his blue-speckled alabaster forearms on the porch railing. The Theelin took a sip of his drink and looked askance at his shorter friend. "...But that's not what I was asking about, dear, and you know it."

    Danyal took a slow deep breath and let it out again. "I don't know. Resigned? Resolved? Rebuilding? I've been clean and sober since coming home with Gandan that night. It's been a rough couple of weeks working out all the poisons -- mental and chemical. I still think about her, though. I mean, not obsessively, but she still haunts my dreams some nights. A couple of those in the first few days coming off the stims were… interesting."

    "Oh? Do tell." Aster replied, raising a purple eyebrow. Danyal coughed in embarrassment and fell silent. The dancer grinned teasingly and murmured something about 'boring cultural taboos' into his raised glass as he took another swallow of his drink.

    Danyal sipped his own drink for a moment, staring out at the constant flow of traffic. Aster watched him quietly; he could tell when his friend was working through something in his head.

    "Hopeful." Danyal finally said. "Life has been dark --stagnant-- for me, and for the Clan, too. We were waiting for 'someday' to happen, for a perfect moment to arrive. It's never going to happen. So for the past few weeks, we've all focused on living in the moment, looking at what is right in front of us instead of what we wish we had." The musician looked up, beyond the traffic, to the barely-seen Coruscant sky. "There's light ahead. It might be as difficult to see as the stars are from the Lower Levels, but it's there."

    "Hey you two, get back in here, there's a party going on," a voice called out teasingly from the doorway.

    "Still resting my hands, Oali," Danyal called back over his shoulder in a similarly flippant tone.

    "Get him!" another voice that was unmistakably Kemmie's called out.

    Suddenly Danyal was nearly knocked over by a mixed mob of children: Ryn, Squibs, and a few other species, all squealing and laughing as they grabbed whatever part of him they could reach and started tugging him towards the doorway.

    "Come dance with us." "Come dance!" "Let's go!" they begged, pleaded and cajoled.

    "Whoah, whoah, kids, calm down. I just play and sing, I don't dance," Danyal tried to explain. The younglings continued to tug and shove him towards the doorway back into the building, where Oali and Kemmie stood, laughing out loud.

    "Best not to argue with a mob, Danyal," Aster called out over the din, beginning to laugh at the scene himself. "Especially when one of them's got hold of your tail and isn't afraid to yank on it."

    Danyal turned and caught six-year-old Glora, Fina's middle daughter, about to do just that. Glora let go of Danyal's tail as he lifted her up and spun around with her in his arms.

    "So, you want me to come dance, little Glora?" Danyal asked, in a mock serious tone, touching his forehead to the girl's.

    The girl nodded excitedly. "Yes! Mama and Auntie Oali said to get you and bring you back right away."

    Children's voices all around Danyal chimed in: "Yeah, they did." "Come-come dancey-dance! It's fun!"

    "Uh oh, it's a conspiracy, Danyal," Aster warned. "This mob was orchestrated."

    "I don't know..." Danyal said to the children. "I haven't danced for years. I will probably be so clumsy that I will trip and fall, or step on all your tails."

    Aster snorted. "That's a load of poodoo, I've seen how well you move. Get in there and dance with your family, Danyal. Shoo!"

    Danyal gave a large, over-dramatic sigh, but left the porch with a smile starting to twist his lips. Oali and Kemmie stood aside to let him and the mob pass by them, laughing all the while.

    The younglings swept him along down the hall in their wake, cheering and giggling. Danyal felt his smile growing as he emerged from the hallway into the common room. Music filled the open space with a bright, effulgent sound that sent the little ones spinning and leaping in all directions. Danyal twirled and lowered Glora to the floor. He caught her hand and raised it above her head. Spinning her around, he sent the skirts of her party dress swirling. Again and again, Danyal spun and danced with the children of the clan and of friends. Together they laughed and sang, stomped and clapped, until their joy filled him. A pure childlike happiness he hadn’t felt since he was a little boy climbing the rocks outside the Itanno camp over twenty years ago.



    It could barely be heard over the music, voices, clapping hands and stomping feet, but a tone sounded from the front door security system. Someone was outside the door requesting entry. Gandan looked across the crowd towards the door, Danyal and his impromptu dance crew were cavorting nearby. It took him a few tries to catch the young man’s attention, but he eventually succeded. Gandan gestured towards the door. Danyal acknowledged with a wave and extricated himself breathlessly from the little mob of dancers, who continued on without him.

    As he thumbed the panel to open the door, Danyal wondered who would be outside, just about everyone the Clan knew was already crammed into their home. The door slid open, but there was no one to be seen in the doorway. Danyal stepped out onto the landing to look down the hall towards the turbolift. The door slid shut behind him, muffling the sound of the party.

    There was a quiet sound of clothing brushing against clothing as someone moved right beside him. Danyal turned, and standing there against the wall beside the door, looking anxious and lost, a satchel of her few personal possessions slung over her shoulder, was the clan’s lost child.

    “Sennah?” Danyal gasped. He had still been breathing heavily from dancing, but he was shocked to stillness at the last sight he had ever expected to see outside the door.

    “Danyal- I-” the Jedi Knight began haltingly. She turned away from his stunned, silent gaze and looked at the floor, nervously twisting the strap of the satchel. Sennah took a breath, steeling herself before continuing. “I- I am so sorry for what I did, to you, and to the Clan. Can you ever forgive me?”

    Danyal couldn't move, he couldn't breathe. He didn't know what to say. So many conflicting thoughts and emotions were trying to escape him at once that he didn't dare speak, lest the wrong thing escape and scare her away again.

    Quickly, Danyal's pounding heart caused his body to beg for oxygen, and he couldn't stop himself from taking a huge breath. The breath came out again as laughter. Incredulous, bewildered, gasping laughter that tumbled out of him, past the hand he pressed to his mouth to try to stifle it.

    "Oh Stars and Fates," Danyal gasped in Ryn. He pressed a hand to his aching chest, and tilted his head back and spoke to the air: "That was it? That was all I had to do all along? Learn to let go and be happy on my own? Damn. You could have told me sooner!" Danyal continued to laugh, through gasps of air.

    Sennah watched him in confusion. Twice, Danyal tried to speak, but was overcome with laughter again. He leaned back against the closed door, focusing on controlling his breath. The muffled sound of wild music drifted through behind him.

    "Are you... ok?" Sennah asked, reaching a tentative hand towards Danyal. Danyal caught it as he straightened. He swiftly brought her hand to his lips, kissing the velvet-soft fuzz on its back.

    "I’ve been more OK today than I have ever been in my life." Danyal smiled, looking into Sennah's still somewhat bewildered hazel eyes. "And then somehow, beyond all imagining, you appeared."

    He took the satchel off her shoulder, and hit the panel to open the door behind him. The portal opened and the full force of the music filled the air around them. Danyal set the satchel down just inside the door and took both of Sennah's hands in his own.

    "Come dance with us, Sennah." Danyal said, backing into the common room, pulling the clan's long-lost child along. A ripple of recognition and gasps of wonder spread around them as the clan and friends noticed the newcomer. The musicians' music stuttered and fell silent.

    Suddenly, Danyal's little mob rematerialized, jumping, squealing and spinning around the pair. Sennah looked around her in confusion, clearly overwhelmed and unsure what to do.

    Danyal moved his hands to Sennah's waist and pulled her close so he could lean down to speak in her ear. "Don't think. Just move. Hear the music, feel the rhythm, and follow my lead." Sennah hesitated, leaning away to look him in the eyes. Danyal gazed back, feeling more carefree than he even thought possible, even ten minutes earlier. Gandan and his fiddle began a slow, building lead-in to a song. Hands, feet and drums joined, beating out the rhythm. Soon, the whistles of a Ryn breathing notes through their unique instrument joined in.

    Danyal lifted one of his dance partner's hands in the air and spun her around, catching her by the waist again as she came back to face him, and together, they began to dance. No thought, no concern for the wondering crowd around them, no worry about how badly out of practice either of them truly was. They abandoned themselves to the rhythm. Danyal and Sennah's dance brought them closer and closer as the music swelled.

    Until suddenly, the song ended in a resounding crash of sound, and before either of the dancers knew who had truly begun it, their lips met in an ecstatic kiss.

    *To Be Continued in Another Story...*
     
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful candor with Gandan and Danyal and sweet with Sennah's return. Congratulations on completing a story. With RL woes, these days, that's quite the accomplishment.
     
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  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    SQUEEEEE and BIG congratulations to you on finishing this very pivotal installment in the saga of the Itanno Clan! =D= We couldn’t have asked for a more fitting and beautiful wrap-up. Danyal and Gandan’s conversation at the beginning is just WONDERFUL. They are so honest and open with each other and really do reach a new understanding with each other: Gandan realizes how much he has succumbed to his regret over the past, while Danyal learns what his clan members really have gone through in order to help their own. (Oh my gosh, everything Gandan said about the lengths to which he and Eda went to rescue Danyal, Oali, and the others from their enslavers was news to me, too! But that definitely shows that when the going got rough, Clan Itanno didn’t just sit around and bide its time—and it won’t this time, either, though in a different way.)
    I especially adored this bit, where Gandan sums it all up:

    Just perfect! That could be the official motto of the entire Itanno Clan series, right there! [face_love]

    And the living-in-the-moment exuberance of the dance party scene was just plain so much fun, with Oali and Kemmie and little Glora and all the other youngsters collaborating to bring Danyal into into the heart of it all! There couldn’t be a more perfect setting for the INCREDIBLE unexpected reunion. [face_love] [face_love] [face_love] It’s almost as if this shift In the clan’s decision to embrace the joy of the future is what draws Sennah back into their midst—and even as she dances in Danyal’s embrace she too becomes part of that joy and that future, part of that dance! Indeed, I’m just realizing now, as I write this, that it’s precisely at that point where Gandan’s wonderful quote from above comes true! (Not to mention huge SQUEEE for that final kiss! [face_love] [face_dancing] )

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. @};- Congratulations once again on finishing this, and thank you so much, as always, for the gift of this beautiful series! =D=
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
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