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Saga - PT [DDC 2016] Letters Never Sent (OCs | ROTS) - COMPLETE, PARTIAL E-BOOK

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok Poet, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Brace yourselves - the last entry is coming up after this set of replies. And it's not a light read, neither will the epilogue be one. In fact, I don't know which is worse. Thanks for reading!

    Also, for anybody who was sick of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll, the next DDC's protagonist doesn't drink a single drop of alcohol at any given point - which doesn't mean that she's not messed up in different ways.




    Once again, you're brief, but spot-on. The thing that he does not want to face, ultimately, is HIMSELF. His real self, who he was before this diary. And since that should be obvious with the black stripe reference...



    The baggage had become too heavy - in more than one way.

    I was thinking of Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street when writing this entry. That song portrays an alcoholic who will quit "soon", but it's pretty clear that it's never going to happen. And sadly, there were fresh memories of seeing that kind of stuff happen IRL, and...I channeled them the best way I could. As a straight-edge person, the most I can give to the most one is empathy and I hope that it looked believable.



    Dingo is probably not aware that Lil is a spice abuser, he himself drinks because there's nothing else to do in that vukojebina.

    And if you're looking for strung-out entries, they're 01 and 09:
    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/...ble-new-december-23rd.50037130/#post-53084154
    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/...w-december-23rd.50037130/page-2#post-53309816

    In a way, he's running away from himself AND becoming himself again. If he senses that [hl=black]end is near[/hl], he would probably prefer to [hl=black]go as himself, not Lil[/hl].

    You're absolutely free to state the very obvious right now. :) It was meant to be crystal clear as of that entry.

    Ironically, he's probably seeing twice as many stars as possible. A stereotype, I know, but just...just think of all the possibilities he missed, all the chances he blew.


    That's what his thinking process is like, yes. :D
     
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  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    WARNING: [hl=black]Disturbing content, multiple deaths, protagonist dies![/hl]

    Entry 52

    <<<RECORDING STARTED>>
    <<LOCAL TIME: 00:00>>
    <<GALACTIC LOCATION DISABLED>>
    <<GALACTIC LOCATION MANUAL SEARCH INPUT: WHO CARES, I AM GOING TO DIE>>
    <<SORRY, THERE ARE NO RESULTS. CHECK YOUR TYPING>>
    <<MESSAGE INPUT DETECTED>>
    <<COMMAND ::KRIFF YOU DROID’BRAIN:: WAS NOT RECOGNISED>>
    <<FAILURE RETRIEVING GALACTIC LOCATION. ARE YOU IN SPACE?>>
    <<GALACTIC LOCATION NOT SET>>
    <<ADJUST TIME Y/N>>
    <<SELF-REPORTED LOCAL TIME: 23:26>>

    Ranni, if you’re not listening to this, everything is fine. But you are. Of course you are. I can see your beautiful, dark eyes filling with tears….except that it’s not going to happen, because if anybody ever finds this, they will not know anything about me. Or care. They will just wipe it out.

    This morning, I pretty much realised that I no longer have a choice, other than picking how am I going to die.

    Is Damaé going to shove me into the Glowpoint on the Centerpoint Station, like she promised in the dedication of the book that she returned to me?

    Is she going to take me to Blobbo the Hutt because he would sure want a piece of me, too? If she does, I will go ahead and bribe him with what I have found out. But if she really works for COMPNOR, then she is aware of that as well, so I cannot win. Sure she does. They can trace anything.

    And traced me, she did.

    I woke up late and I went to get my bantha milk, some fruit and a loaf of bread from the herder cottage this morning and there was nothing for me. Only split milk. That didn’t sound like Dayka, she’s caring even when we’re black-out-drunk.

    I rushed to the farmhouse and all I found were four bodies at the outside dining table. Kaleo, Dayka, Raae and Baleah were dead. Dingo was not among the corpses and he could have been taken away or perhaps he escaped… but the others were killed there, right in the middle of their meal. With broken glasses and rotting food everywhere!

    Initially, I thought they were caught in the middle of a gang argument and that would not have surprised me given Dingo’s contacts, but then the centrepiece on the table caught my eye. Who puts this up for dinners? I recognised it as the last thing I ever wanted to see - Triad Mountain replica that Damaé made for me on Aurea, before she left. I got rid of it somewhere on my way during the mud flats on Talus. And given how ugly the bloody thing is, it would have been impossible to recreate it with such…lack of precision. Why didn’t I smash it? And how did she find it in the first place?

    My hands and feet were cold. I got inside, grabbed some food, freed the animals in case Dingo was not coming back, so they would not starve, and then made sure they did not follow me back to my cabin. I have enough to eat and drink until I’m found for one last time.

    Damaé is a dangerous kind of a fanatic. At this point, I think that her relationship with the Admiral Rockblaster on Aurea was how she found out about me. She knew that I was running away all along, she just wanted me to keep running until there is no single spark of hope left in me. Whoever is now training her must be pretty sick – because I cannot possibly be this important. Unless Roula is trying to score a deal with the Empire and she wants it so badly that she is putting up with Damaé?

    Nonsense. The only way Roula would put up with somebody worse than her was if she was to, say, destroy her rivals in the process. And she cannot do that. She is not that powerful!

    The only way I ever wanted to die was in your arms, Ranni. I wanted to spend my last days holding your hand. Perhaps they bring you my hand or something? I miss you. I miss you.

    I miss everybody else, too. Gwynda and Anjie. Zizi and Borgiska. The Caraway-Kaeni family. Coovo and Sayran Ferry. The Nubians. I am even sort of missing Halin and Elamm. If I could contact them, I would at least know that somebody cares if I'm alive or not. If I was cynical like, say, Maris, I would probably assume that nobody ever cared about me anywhere. But the truth is, everybody loved me everywhere I had gone to. The lukewarm reception on the world of our origin was an exception, but they probably loved me, too?!

    Maris would claim that nobody loves me, like she would always say when it turned out that she heard us. Like that one time when she claimed that you were in it just for the pity, even though she had overwhelming evidence that you loved me? I…could have not made it up. Uh, Maris! I can't believe it, but I also miss people like her. I feel for her, you know? She is a fragile young woman who would have done so much better on about any world other than Sacorria. This way, she is going to turn into a permanent grey shadow of herself by the time she's thirty. And it's not like she wasn't already a shadow, compared to most. An angry shadow that tends to suck life out of everything close to her, but a shadow, nevertheless. Being raised with no father and with a mother like Yola, who was never around for her, receiving conflicting signals from Larax, how could she have turned into something, anything else?

    I just hope she never marries that Elesandre Vorr. Who knows, maybe she left him by now? What did he say he would do if she did the most recent time I can remember? Can he at least turn out to be infertile? If I could pick somebody who should never have younglings that would be him. He is unable to listen to others, he will never take any kind of a job seriously and all he has is superficial charm and a good singing voice. There is nothing more to him than that. Why do women still fall for unprogressive types, even when the system is brainwashing them? Why would any woman find a man who puts up a fight just he could have an interrogation anecdote interesting? And that thing with Noleria? May whatever powers are real have mercy on Maris with him! Even Larax was against it.

    Larax…Larax, Larax, Larax. No matter in how many different tones I say her name, there is always a hint of all things wrong in my voice and I just cannot get rid of that impression. She got us all in trouble in the first place. I hope she is happy with Denaro on Vagran. But he is, what, seventy now? Selonian males don't live long. She will be alone for decades to come.

    Stupid me. "Larax" and "alone" in the same sentence. That is not going to happen.

    Many things are not going to happen anymore. All of them but one, actually. Whatever happens, I’m a former being. And I hope somebody delivers this to you someday. And then I count on you to somehow tell Zizi. Korgah. Gwynda and Anjie. Coovo and Sayran. Pulott and Crixa. The strange boy from Corellia who wanted to go to the shipyards of Saberhing. Anybody!

    They will forge history just like they did in that book, but the reason Roula wanted to get rid of me will, hopefully, become clear to you as the time goes by – it was not my art. My art was so easy to replace with similar, less reactionary pieces. It’s something far worse, it concerns you in a way and it could destroy lives of everybody who was ever connected to me in any way, their families, spouses, and friends. And you hold the key to it. I so, so wish that you could trace my clues and stop it before it happens, but you won’t. I will die and you will not know about the destructive power you and only you have access to.

    I am not being poetic. It’s not the power of love. But the power of love is what lead me to you and what got me into all this.

    Wherever I pass on to next, if we’re going anywhere at all after we die, I’ll be telling the dead about my girl in red, from that one snowy morning in Sublata, to the very last thought I had of her, seconds before I turned off the holorecorder and tucked it below the floorboards to recite Karihn until the moment my brains are blasted. Because I want to irritate them so much that they kill me immediately. That is the second best way to go – not accepting their Empire and Roula’s Sacorria.

    Goodbye, Ranni, my love. I always loved you. And I always will. I loved you more than my freedom and that will be the death of me.

    Give me the sky
    Where the ibbot flies
    And the day never dies
    In vain.

    Give me the lands
    Where no one stands
    With their back bent
    In pain.

    Give me freedom
    I want wings below me
    And the blue above me.

    <<DISABLE STOPTRIGGERS. ARE YOU SURE?>>
    <<STOPTRIGGERS DISABLED>>
    <<ENABLE AUTOMATIC CLIPPING. ARE YOU SURE?>>
    <<COMMAND ::STOP THOSE STUPID QUESTIONS:: NOT RECOGNISED>>
    <<ENABLE AUTOMATIC CLIPPING. ARE YOU SURE?>>
    <<AUTOMATIC CLIPPING ENABLED>>
    <<DISABLE SIGNAL LIGHT. ARE YOU SURE?>>
    <<SIGNAL LIGHT DISABLED>>
    <<DISABLE IDLESTOPS. ARE YOU SURE?>>
    <<IDLESTOPS DISABLED>>

    <<<<LOCAL TIME: 156:00>>
    <<FAILURE UNDERSTANDING THE TIME FORMAT! NO DATA OF A PLANET WITH SAID ROTATION PERIOD!>>
    <<FAILURE CONTINUING THE RECORDING!THERE IS NO MORE SPACE ON YOUR DATACARD!>>
    <<FAILURE! UNSPECIFIED FAILURE!>>
    <<FAILURE! UNSPECIFIED FAILURE!>>
    <<FAILURE! UNSPECIFIED FAILURE!>>
    <<FAILURE! UNSPECIFIED FAILURE!>>
    <<FAILURE! UNSPECIFIED FAILURE!>>
    <<RECORDING STOPPED>>>

    If I am listening to this, then he is most certainly dead! And he recorded his own death! And he is most certainly the guy from the stupid propaganda book that I once burned. Anra would know, but ANRA IS IN A SACORRIAN JAIL. IN THE KRIFFIN’ DORTHUS TAL PRISON. Now I wish I had had the courage to actually burn the book on kriffin’ Sacorria. Just how much did they ruin this man’s life? And what has happened before he departed? Sure, he wrote about it, but just HOW do we find his original book? If it’s supposed to be in this building, sure the place has been refurbished since then?!

    And there was nobody called Branna or Ranni in that book! That sort of bothers me. Another Sacorrian job there? Hmmm.

    Just…just knowing that the woman I met yesterday is his lover makes me feel dirty. Like…lady, I read about somebody desiring you. I read about somebody cheating on you with what was almost certainly a result of complete despair. And then I witnessed endless silence with screams in the background. They killed him while this was still running! Do I tell her now, or later? She needs to know about this, but…how? With everything that happened to her recently, this could kill it. She is, like, close to seventy. I don’t want her to die in my arms or something like that. She needs to see the end of the Empire and, hopefully, the end of Sacorria as we know it.

    Damaé Hoove has got to be alive. And if she has a thing for killing people while they’re eating, then…guess what? Then she is involved with this, too.

    This should be a turning point for me, a fork stuck in the road? A literal fork, it seems! And why am I such a melodramatic fool? Is it the missile that was flying towards me or...? I don't know!

    I should tell Laoda and Emy about this. They would know who this is, there is no way that they would not.

    But Blobbo.

    I should use Dede's connections to call mom and confront her about dad's death. Why was she keeping the truth away from me? He's a hero. And I just told somebody that he wasn't one, hours ago! Mom, why? Why?

    But Blobbo.

    Maris should know what Lil thought of her husband and how he should have not had children...but they Doria...perhaps she could become one of us after all? If he was mischievous, she's got to have a mischievous strike underneath. She said that she was willing for something more. And if I told her that everything she thinks is not true...what would she say?

    But Blobbo. But Blobbo. I must survive Blobbo. Kriff this. I have one of the best things ever right in my hand, yet I can't reveal it to anybody.

    - Breakfast time, Valorum. You comings?

    - Huh? You’ve been awake all night, sweetcorn. Good morning!

    Yes, “I’m comings”…can't you speak Basic like everybody else?

    - Why can’t you be nicer to her?

    - Trust me, I think all the best of her.

    - Then stop mocking her accent. And stop having a go at Emy. I heard you call her a “corridor ghoul”. Sure she’s better than that?

    - Okay. You go, and I will follow shortly.

    Hey…wait…if there was no more recording space, then how did I record all these annotations? I hope I didn’t remove anything he said! I’d better stop now!




    Footnotes
    Want more of Lil?

    The DDC has had a prequel all along and it was up to the readers to figure out that the protagonist was the same.

    Want more of the Mysterious Listener and the characters he mentions? The DDC is being read in-between chapters 14 and 15 of The Black Star.
     
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  3. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Aaugh ... :(

    Well ... he tried to die on his own terms. That, in many ways, is sometimes the best someone can hope for.

    You've crafted a masterwork here, EP. Yes, it's sad - and may Damae Hoove die HORRIBLY, if she hasn't already in a previous story! [face_skull]- but it's that sort of anguish that's ... it's moving, and you get to the heart of the characters, and ... well, it's just very well-done. =D=

    - Onderon1
     
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  4. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Poor Lil. :( Hated to see him lose hope so completely over the last several chapters. In a way, I have to wonder if the cancer he had was something almost psychosomatic in cause (though medically real). Though I'm sort of glad on his behalf that contrariness was the last thing to go, and that he made his last stand on his own terms as much as was really possible at that point. I'm remembering the reference to Karihn in that other story you linked to, and it's somewhat comforting that those words stayed with him for all this time.

    No wonder [hl=black]Charon[/hl] is now so freaked out about Anra being in Dorthus Tal Prison; given what he's learned of Sacorria and its associated murder-spree-lovin' flunkies from Lil's diary, he probably has some idea how deep of a shavitshow he and his friends have stepped into. Not that they didn't know there was some peril involved, but still. Different orders of magnitude than what they were expecting, probably! [face_nail_biting]
     
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  5. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Bravo! A highly engaging story, and very well written.

    And now that I have read the whole thing, am I or am I not correct in assuming that the ship that brought Lil to Correllia was the freakin' Millenium Falcon, and the tough Correllian kid was none other than Han Solo himself?
     
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  6. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Okay! I have this weird, weird superstitious belief whereby I have to finalise my word count for the year before midnight, so I hope that my beta forgives me that I'm posting this before she's commented on it. There will be plenty of time to comment on both the last entry and the epilogue later...I think. And my concentration is, as usual, not the greatest ever.




    "Tried" being the keyword here. Then again, it was on his own terms, to a certain extent...which matches his personality. He had some principles he was sticking to, until the very last moment.

    Damaé Hoove has not appeared in stories other than this silly vignette, but I will see what I can do. ;)

    And thank you, so much. This story was definitely more demanding that I had expected, but it gave me a chance to meet some new folks through it and polish the microuniverse I had created in 2015. I am glad that you enjoyed it and I do hope to see you reading the related works, though it's - of course - not obligatory.


    I'd say that contrariness never went away.

    It was not cancer. Prostatitis is not cancer and there will be a scary explanation for it in the epilogue - perhaps even bizarre, so hold on.

    And those words probably marked his life, in a way - just like the black stripe did. With the black stripe and the old addictions - he gets to die as his actual self, Dyeke, not his invented self, Lil. Of course, we could go on and on about Sacorria having brought out the worst in him and the other worlds having brought out the best in him...

    No need to spoiler that anymore.

    And yes...this is a chilling read for him. He knew that a huge mess was ahead, but...THIS HUGE? Now he's a part of the secret.



    FINALLY, SOMEBODY NOTICED IT. :D Woo-hoo!

    I thought the Falcon was more than obvious in the first entry, but nobody noticed. And then I made a reference to it again, near the end, and nobody noticed again. Glad that somebody finally did! :)

    Of course that was Han, though that was apparently easier to figure out than the thing with the Falcon.

    And thank you so much - it probably took ages to go through something THIS long and I appreciate it more than words can say! [face_blush]
     
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  7. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Epilogue

    Many thanks to Findswoman for beta-reading.

    WARNING: Some violence.




    A couple of months later

    “Nothing, Sir.” The young lieutenant turned to Trigger, the group leader. “No signs of any life, whatsoever.”

    “Thank you, Vox. Let’s go.”

    The Stormtroopers boarded their dropship and moved away. Once the cold, grey flying object was a mere dot in the sky, two beings crawled out of the remains of the nearby shed. A rigid-looking blue Pho Ph’eahian and a thin, green whatever.

    The two walked to the log cabin where they had learned that their friend, whom Korgah knew as Lidgrain or Lil, used to hide. Just as the conversation they overheard had implied, the whole farm seemed to have been deserted. This building was still standing, unlike the nearby charming farmhouse that seemingly disappeared from the face of the less hospitable of the Twin Worlds and appeared to have been purged by a molecular bomb to boot. Perhaps it was meant to provide a false sense of sanctuary to whatever runaway or refugee came across it next and then dealt with the same way once the poor soul had been caught? What if this had been a trap all along and they were to be the next prey? What if the gangs on Talus had lied to them and they had somebody in their network on Tralus, too - somebody who would deal with naïve tourists who played with fire?

    Still, they could not possibly give up at this point.

    …​

    Their search had been long.

    The last time they saw their friend, whose real name Zizi never revealed to anybody else, he had been about to leave Nubia for Aeithera in the Colonies, where the Pho Ph’eahian wanted to convince him to stay with him and help him settle without the fear of being discovered. But something had gone horribly wrong, somebody had betrayed the Drall. Ever since then, Zizi and Korgah had been trying to get a hold of him, knowing that his life had been in danger. Their new friends, Coovo and Sayran Ferry from Aurea, had been expelled from the Mardri Soulworks Collective by the Imperial puppet who had forced Ciaramida Larga and Vaylo Rongis to resign from their positions. The last thing Zizi knew was that Coovo had recently given birth to a daughter named Deeina.

    It was only by accident that they learned where Lil had gone after Nubia – Korgah was no longer allowed to work as an artist in Nuba City and she spent a couple of weeks as a substitute teacher at a basic school in an industrial backwater town of Ronto. There she met the three Valorum sisters who were taking their baby brother, Charon, to classes, because their mother Crixa worked double shifts at the Shorn Stabiliser to support the family and could not afford a droid to babysit the boy. Korgah then learned that the father of the family, who had a somewhat better job, had been killed in a dogfight in Nubia’s orbit while escorting a very short black Drall to Vagran.

    That’s got to have been Lil, she thought.

    Upon finding this out, Korgah holocommed Zizi and they met up at the new Vagran spaceport. There were more thugs than the Pho Ph’eahian could remember from his stop on this planet before departing to Sacorria, and the spaceport was ridiculously small. A talkative, cigarra-smoking worker did not strike them as an Empire-loving man and they showed him their only holo of Lil, holding an angleberry-blonde boy, a young Anjie Mencuri.

    The worker took them to Anaslinea-Hoc, where a nice lady named Laoda owned a cheapish hotel. She directed them to her prepubescent daughter, Morusalba, who then told them a barely believably story, involving a fairly bizarre creature that nobody else considered sentient. Her pet knew everything about the black Drall, even what kind of food he liked to eat for breakfast, but she wasn’t quite able to decipher it beyond “angleberry and swamp grape jam” and her sisters, now away for the university, were not willing to help. Korgah was close to swearing at the child and leaving.

    However, the Pho Ph’eahian decided to believe her. Most of the things that had gone wrong in his life were somehow related to the world seeing him as a bizarre creature and now, with the xenophobia becoming more normalised than ever, he was mocked everywhere he went. On the contrary, the green whatever’s ways of thinking were bizarre to begin with. She was up for anything that smelled of thrill, at any given time. And Force knew her sense of smell was stronger than her logical reasoning!

    Laoda said that Lil had gone to Talfaglio about a year earlier and that he had mentioned the Twin Worlds as his possible next destination. She tried to persuade Zizi and Korgah to stay for a bit longer and observe some sort of a dance festival, but they had no time. On top of it, the Pho Ph’eahian feared that Blobbo the Hutt, who now more or less ruled the tiny refugee town, would be able to recognise him from back in the days when he worked as a musician in his joint on Corellia.

    The crowd on the volcanic planet was unpleasant, but – strangely enough – it was the only place where the two were not harassed. That had its costs, though. They spent Korgah’s entire savings to bribe a couple of individuals who claimed that Lil might as well have been lost in whatever skirmish had recently taken place in the Abrion Sector, before Roon was liberated from the Empire (according to some), or captured by the Baobab Merchant Fleet (according to some others).

    The next spacer took Korgah’s beloved necklace, the only memory she had ever had of wherever she was from, but confirmed that a black Drall male had headed to Centerpoint Station. The timeframe matched what Laoda had said before.

    The ancient space station presumably built by the Celestials was crowded with Stormtroopers when Korgah and Zizi’s borrowed runabout docked near the tourist town of Hollowpoint. Everybody except the poorest of the poor nerf-herders living close to the North Conical Mountains was poking fun at the “strange-looking aliens”. No hotel or cantina owner wanted them in their establishments, so they literally ended up sleeping with some cattle. Their host was a Human woman whose partner had been taken away for being of a lesser species and who was too poor to even consider a trip to an actual planet. She promised to help as much as she could, in exchange for some help with the nerfs and her six half-breed children, at least for one week. Zizi would recall the week of working as a herder for many years afterwards. Korgah had the easier job, she was with the younglings!

    For both of Lil’s friends, that must have been the longest Galactic Standard Week ever. But it was not futile, by any means.

    The search further led the two to a droid living in the high-gravity area named Null Town. She was a decommissioned medical droid who introduced herself as Toowanna and she begged them to take her along. She did not want anything else. It turned out that her decommission was a result of accidentally hiding their friend's traces by giving him a new name. She feared being captured by criminals, taken back to the authorities and scrapped for parts for revenge. Korgah held Toowanna’s cold mechanical hands and promised that she would pick her up and take her to Ronto, at any cost.

    After this promise, Zizi and Korgah departed for the Federation of Double Worlds. Their destination was a place Zizi swore by, a secret art trade business named The Drall’s Shop in the city of Dearic on Tralus. The owner, whose name, Vikigard, the Pho Ph’eahian knew from the spacer tales of the drunkest among the drunk patrons of his restaurant in Citta dav Ilo, turned out to be a hard case to crack. He hinted that he knew something about a black Drall, but he was not willing to talk about it.

    Korgah then pinned Vikigard against the wall and gave him a warning bite on the neck. Zizi covered his face with both of his hands – he never knew that his friend’s former lover had such great strength and that she was so, so blood-thirsty. But she was very convincing, indeed.

    Vikigard showed them two large synthleather cases. They were half empty, though one of them was stained by painting supplies and artists’ charcoal. After Korgah hit him once again, he confessed that he sold all the paintings and two glass figurines that ‘Kastaynick’ left him, in order to make up for the burning of his house that took place after his contact, a Zeltron prostitute named Krall, was killed by an ISB agent. This, he said, happened a couple of weeks after Kastaynick, who initially did introduce himself as Lidgrain, departed for the mud flats. Krall was convinced that he had managed to throw COMPNOR off track, but a mole in Qaestar Town spotted an exhausted Drall male who matched the description. This mole was, Vikigard said, known for inserting tracking devices in bodies of the beings that he found suspicious.

    Zizi was baffled. He apologised to the old Drall and assured him that he could sell the rest of paintings, but he asked to keep the two glass figurines. Korgah asked him and he could not explain why. It was a long story for some other time and she was not the kind of audience he had in mind for it. It was something to sing about in some, perhaps, happier times.

    The mole in Qaestar town was a medic named Foggo, a Drall with a very Hutt-like name and Hutt-like morals. Korgah stomped on him with the force of a whole herd of nerfs until he confessed to having inserted a tracking device in Lil’s body. But he also swore that it took him months to get it to work, because it must have been damaged somehow.

    “Don’t kill me,” he begged. Korgah was not inclined to oblige, but Zizi begged her not to dirty her hands, since Pulott Valorum and Krall had already paid the prize for associating with their friend. She outright refused – she wanted to strangle this awful creature and her hands were soon on his short neck.

    “I know his last location,” the medic said, his eyes almost bulging. “I don’t know if they removed the device from his body, deactivated it or killed him, but I reported his last location to my contacts and they probably went there.”

    Korgah dropped the treacherous Drall and spat on him. That was enough. And he was willing to have his protocol droid give them a datacard with the location.

    “You were lucky,” the green whatever said on her way out. The medic yelled after her and Zizi, saying that he could not feel his limbs, but that was no longer Korgah’s concern. She and the artist-turned-restaurateur had some further searching to do and she did leave this piece of rotten scum alive, after all.

    …​

    And that was how they ended up in front of the log cabin in the steppe. There was an arachnid sleeping in the large hammock outside. They recognised it as a domesticated dalyrake, a common sight on the Twin Worlds. But there was no sign of a herder.

    The door was open. There were no signs of anyone breaking in. Once again, Zizi feared that this could be a trap, but Korgah had already kicked in the wooden panel to get in. He shrugged his upper arms and followed her inside.

    The dwelling occupied a single space; a small refresher with a dual-power sonic shower was separated from the rest of the humble home by a duraplast curtain. The cooking unit was right next to the bed. There was something resembling a bookshelf, but the only thing on it was a crudely made clay sculpture.

    “Zizi, are you sure we came to the right place?” Korgah was suspicious. “Perhaps he moved somewhere else?”

    The Pho Ph’eahian’s eyes shifted to the clay sculpture and he picked it up. “Now, what is this? It reminds me of something I saw in the past, but one would have to be absolutely talentless to…”

    Korgah cut him short. “What does it remind you of?”

    “The Triad Mountain in Sacorria, looming in the distance over the northernmost large city of Sublata. It represents the first Sacorrian Triad – Taranya the Drall, Dorthus Tal the Human and Roofus the Selonian.” He stopped. Korgah seemed to be expecting a longer story, but once she gave him an impatient shrug, he had to disappoint her. “That’s all I know. My memories of the months I spent on Sacorria are not something I would like to bring up right now. It still hurts and sometimes I feel like it will hurt forever.”

    He sat down and continued to observe the crude sculpture from all possible angles. Korgah was not good at comforting anybody whom she did not feel attracted to and he was well aware of this. She walked towards the conservator and opened it.

    “Zizi! Zizi!” She yelled. “Come here.”

    He swallowed a lump. He had this unreasonable fear that he would find his friend mutilated, in pieces or something similar. His heart was beating fast and his steps were slow.

    “It’s not like they stuffed him in here, if that’s what you think…” Korgah attempted to crack a joke. “But look at what’s left here.” She pointed to the half-finished jar of angleberry and swampgrape jam. “That’s what Emy said he ate for breakfast every morning at her mother’s hotel. There’s precisely one town in the Sector where this is made!”

    “Looks like he had some of their wine, too.” Zizi was looking at the couple of remaining drops on the bottom of the bottle with one eye closed. “Oddly enough, it smells of bad Corellian whiskey. Maybe he just liked the bottle and did not want to dispose of it.” His lower right hand moved to a moulding loaf. “This bread appears to be homemade, so…I guess he got it from that farm house that no longer exists. That means the molecular purge took place…after….after whatever happened to him.” He absentmindedly put the empty bottle back in the conservator. “But either way, Emy’s little friend was right. Everything fits; he lived here. The medic did not lie to us, either!”

    Silence. Both beings were closer to the realisation that their friend could have been killed and disposed of, or taken back to Sacorria.

    “He’s a secret message type. There’s got to be a secret message here somewhere.”

    “Tell me about it. So, what are we looking for?”

    “Emy’s…creature hinted that he had a holorecorder that he carried around. Wondering why we never saw it before.”

    “But you know how he used to hide spice from Gwynda and Anjie, right?”

    “Right. Somewhere in the vents.”

    “Is there anything resembling vents here?”

    There was nothing resembling vents there. Zizi sat down on the floor and put his head in his upper hands. Korgah was nervously circling him. For about ten minutes, they had no idea what to do next, until she stepped on a loose floor board and fell on her back.

    “Korgah, my friend, are you OK?” Zizi got up to help her up, only to get one of his feet in the hole. “Eee, I stepped on something!”

    He managed to get his foot unstuck and retrieved the small object. It looked like an outdated sound recording device. It was labelled, too.

    “Besh resh aurek nern…nerk aurek.“

    “Branna?”

    “That is the name of…Korgah, I am not sure if I should tell you…

    “Tell me something I don’t know, Zizi. The man I loved is dead, dead, dead.” Her mood changed from erratic to deadpan pretty fast. “Are we going to listen to that stuff?”

    “No.” Zizi put both pairs of arms on his hips.

    “He was probably saying things about me, what I was like in bed!” Korgah protested. “I want to know!”

    “I…didn’t know him that way and I don’t think I have ever wanted to.” The blue-furred alien made a scolding gesture with all four of his index fingers. “We’re not going to touch it! If it says ‘Branna’ on it, we need to get it to Branna and she’s the only being who would have the power to deal with whatever is on it, anyway!”

    Surprisingly, Korgah didn’t want to know who Branna was. After all, it was always about her, not Lil. But she had ideas, and that’s what counted – that’s why Zizi had brought her along, after all.

    “So, this is my plan.” She put her hands on her hips and spat on the floor again. “You’ll take this back to Aeithera. Then you will seek somebody who knew him. That could get us in trouble and it’s not like we’re not in trouble already!”

    Zizi Pao was never the kind to ask why him and not somebody else. He nodded, but there was something that didn’t quite buzz right with him.

    “You taught alien children in Ronto. You know smugglers, perhaps Crixa could…”

    “I would rather that this Branna you told me of does not find about me immediately.”

    Zizi shook his head. “Okay. If that’s what you want. But please, promise me that you will save that droid, if nothing else, and return the runabout to Darlah, she and her adopted Duro orphan need it. I will find a shuttle and contact the Ferrys somehow and tell them what we know and perhaps they can help me get this to Branna or give me an idea what to do.”

    “I promise.”

    They went back to Rellidir, not saying a single word. And then they parted, Zizi carrying the small holorecorder and Korgah taking the bottle and the jam jar from the conservator along, as well as the runabout belonging to Crixa’s neighbour, Darlah Kreme.

    She departed for Centerpoint Station in search of Toowanna.

    He took a risky trip back to Aurea to find Coovo Ferry and ask her for her sources on Sacorria.

    They had not seen one another since.


    18 BBE//14 BBY, Northern District, Saccorata, Sacorria

    “Tesarr?”

    The handsome Human man observed the Drall youngling who opened the heavy wooden door of the only proper house in the Northern District of Saccorata, conveniently located across the speeder lane from the apartment block he lived in. He was lazy, he didn’t like walking and this useless fact was making his life easier.

    “You are wrong, Comrade Vorr.” The Drall youngling said, giggling. “I’m not Tessar. I’m Gredda, his twin sister.”

    He had never known who was who. But he was pretty sure that the girl was the more responsible of Kutya’s twins. That’s what his wife said, anyway. Not that he listened to her most of the time, but that was one thing he could remember, yes.

    "I am looking for your aunt, Branna."

    "She is not here. She has taken a trip to Sublata. She needs something for her inauguration ceremony.”

    "Yeah, yeah, okay. Can I come in?" Comrade Vorr was clearly not patient. His bass-baritone was tremulous in a way that was threatening to the little Drall.

    "If you really need to, Comrade Vorr." Gredda sighed. She did not appreciate being interrupted, despite her young age of eight. "But you see, Aunt Branna is going to be inaugurated as the next Duchess of R'vanye and she is going to be very busy for the next couple of weeks."

    Elesandre Vorr was relieved, to a certain extent. Branna was not there. He could not stand her to begin with. Blabbermouth, likely a Drallist...of all the R’vanye clan people that his wife's silly aunt made friends with during her university studies in Sublata she was the one he liked least.

    “A couple of weeks,” he said to himself more than to her. “I cannot possibly deal with this that long. Say, Gredda, you’re responsible, right?”

    "If you say so, comrade Vorr.” The dralling’s face pulled into a small smile. “Why?"

    “I just came back from what was supposed to be a business opportunity away from AARIS, on a planet in Colonies called Aeithera. I thought there was going to be contracts and credits, but I ended up at this suspicious-looking tapcaf. I sat down and waited for the investors who were interested in my proposal, but ugh…a furry guy with two pairs of arms brought me this old holorecorder. He said that he had found me in the company registry and that he realised I could help him out by relaying that holorecorder to your aunt. He reimbursed me for this round trip, thankfully. I would have hated to waste Imperial Credits in these uncertain times!”

    “But who was he?”

    "He did not want to tell me his name, he said he was just 'Zee' and he wanted me to relay this to Branna of R'vanye and nobody else.” Elesandre then pointed to his speeder waiting outside. “And I got a great, great deal on fabric over there, as well as discounted ‘ANGRY MACE™’ artificial milk product. Stock supplies, that’s what my mother said!”

    Gredda was baffled. Had this man spent all of his money hoarding very, very random things on another planet?

    Elesandre continued. “And for Branna, I got this towel. It’s red, like the clothes she used to wear when we met her.” He handed the tiny piece of fabric to Gredda.

    “Did you bring something to my brother and me, too?”

    “I had no more credits. You know, my wife and I, we have a baby at home. I had to buy some things for her, too!”

    “So, you didn’t bring anything to Doria, either!" Gredda thought and cocked her little head. “Didn’t you just tell me that this ‘Zee’ reimbursed you for the trip to Aithera?”

    "What?" Caught in yet another of his commonly told lies, Elesandre was trying to look surprised. "I brought her…vitamins. That’s right! Prematurely born babies need…vitamins.”

    “A baby can choke on a pill.” Gredda shook her head.

    “Know what? Just forget that I was here, but make sure your aunt gets this.” Elesandre stuck the recorder in Gredda’s palm and stormed out of the house.

    “Ego waffles is what he had for breakfast this morning.” Gredda shook her head and headed upstairs to her room, where her twin brother, Tessar, was sleeping. She didn’t like him very much; he was never going to be as smart as her. And those who were smart like her, such as this Elesandre, were wasting their time on wrong things, she thought.

    “So, this is for aunt Branna.” She observed the object Elesandre brought. “And it has her name on it. But I am a member of her family, right?”

    Just like Elesandre, she was not above lying and using something that was clearly not intended to be used by her. Her curiosity and far-above-average smarts had made it almost impossible for her to have a clear set of morals and, as a dralling, she could still get away with it.

    The holorecorder model was old, and it appeared to have had a factory error. She heard of that series of ProSper brand non-Saygo-things, and how bad they were. The droids would attack their owners, the holorecorders would record the ambient noise while the audio clips were being replayed. If there was one thing she knew, she had to put it in a small isolbox in order to give it a listen. So, she did so and grabbed a pair of earphones.

    Kriff this, how do I turn the location feature off?

    Ranni, Ranni, Ranni...you must be waiting for me at our secret place and I'm light years away - which is not a metaphor by any means, but how could you know? We always tend to think the worst about those we love, especially in a relationship like yours and mine, where we always had to be so secretive in a world where secrecy has become the breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions. Maybe even a twenty-three hundred snack, one of those dehydrated, vile rice crackers that I don't think anybody actually likes. That said, I was offered a bunch of those with some sort of a slightly spiced tea.

    “Spices are bad! So is swearing!” She shook her head. This was already scary. But her aunt did not like being called Ranni and this being had called her Ranni a total of three times. And he mentioned a …relationship? Wasn’t her aunt a spinster, which mom could not understand? What was going on there?

    Gredda took a stylus and started scribbling notes about what she heard on the blank flimsi. After all, her dreams of building special, terraforming lasers that could shape barren rocks into planets full of life were far more important than whatever next thing Elesandre Vorr, the man who once wanted to “learn the Force” in order not to have to get a droid and fetch his beer himself, was likely to come up with.

    THE END




    Footnotes
    Molecular purge bomb is canon.

    Aeithera is a planet in Colonies, created by leiamoody for her stories. Zizi Pao does end up living there, in the said Citta dav Ilo. Fanon entry.

    Angleberry and swampgrape jam is a local specialty in Anaslinea-Hoc. Obviously fanon.

    Darlah Krome is the adoptive mother of Anra Renek, whom you can see in The Black Star.

    Elesandre Vorr goes a bit too far when he accuses Branna of being a Drallist.

    Isolbox is fanon. Basically, a box that isolates the object from outside noises.
     
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  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Kessel Run Champion star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. Lil, my man. :(

    This ending is soooo incredibly sad. And that, along with the usual "beta who already read everything" syndrome, is part of the reason it took me so inexcusably long to comment—a combination of "I need time to process this" and "I want to do this justice." Now that there are less than four hours left of this year in my time zone, I figure I'd better just do the best can. So here goes:

    Given that Lil spent pretty much this entire part of his life on the run, I guess it was always out there as a possibility that his pursuers would catch up with him at last. But having it actually happen, and to have it happen this way—at the hands of that utterly despicable Damaé Hoove and her henchfolk, with the stupid Triad statuette stuck in the middle of it all, adding insult to injury—turned out to be more of a gut-puncher than I expected.

    Lil comes close to succumbing to despair here, which follows from his descent into drink in the previous few chapters, and the knowledge that his end is near is leading him to say some extreme things, some of which he would certainly regret if he lived longer (such as his remark about the two people we now know are Doria's parents—ouch!). But he stops short of actually succumbing to despair. Because he's not "cynical like Maris," he sees that he was loved and cared for during what time he had in the galaxy, and that he will be missed.

    And because of that, he goes down strong, in his own Lil type of way. He prepares himself mentally and spiritually with those beautiful verses from Karihn and with thoughts of his love for Ranni—the love which has been the mainspring of his existence. But, more importantly, even in these last desperate moments, he's a man with a plan, and he puts his plan into action. He programs the recorder to continue running no matter what happens, so that the truth of his end will eventually become known. "Hope" is the word of the moment in the SW fan world thanks to Rogue One, and Lil's plan is based around hope: the hope that someone will find the recorder, learn his story, and learn from his story, which will then truly be "a cautionary tale for whomever" (per the subtitle of The Light Is Me—and I can mention that connection "out loud" now that the reveal has officially been made). I seem to remember, too, that storytelling is an important part of the Drall culture—will Lil's tale provide material for his people's future ta'sharras? [face_thinking]

    The epilogue is wrenching, too, in a completely different way. It's interesting that, of all the friends and acquaintances Lil made over his travels, the two people who go in search of him are (a) the one he probably considered his best friend of all, to whom he revealed his true name; and (b) the boorish ex-girlfriend he was always so keen to distance himself from after that one fling of theirs. They are opposites in temperament and personality, but they manage to cooperate here—all because of their common friendship with Lil. Korgah is rough and a bully (even the "treacherous" Foggo didn't deserve being treated quite like that!), but, as I remarked in the beta, it's neat that she too manages to turn up integral clues about Lil. And once they trace the trail to Dingo's house, it's neat that the things they notice are keyed so closely—the artistic Zizi notices the statuette, and the sensual, thrill-loving Korgah notices the angleberry-swampgrape jam (and then Zizi, who once owned a bistro-type place of his own, notices the wine). Also as mentioned in the beta, it seems very typical of Korgah that she would be most worried about someone out there learning about her fling with Lil—and that selfishness results in the recorder taking the most roundabout route possible to get back to Branna. So even after his death her selfishness is having an effect on him! But didn't everyone Lil knew, whether in a friendly or an unfriendly capacity, end up having an effect on his "afterlife"?

    But the very ending of the story takes things to a whole other level altogether. The precocious Gredda (known and loved from The Black Star) is handed the recording device—the "baton" of sorts—by one very familiar Elesandre Vorr (and his cheapskatish behavior and lame excuses are familar, too), and of course what does she do? She starts listening to it—and taking notes and forming observations! Though she's obviously a very smart eight-year-old, she's clearly not capable yet of understanding the full significance of what it is she's listening to (e.g., she seems to think it's all a fabrication by Elesandre—maybe?). But now we know that, besides Charon's (inadvertently) recorded observations, there is yet another completely different set of commentary on Lil's story floating around out there in your universe—and it will include a commentary on Charon's commentary, no doubt. Layers, layers, layers... Borges would have a ball with this! :D It would be cool to see her notes resurface again in a future story (where someone else entirely will no doubt comment on them).

    More importantly, though, we know from TBS that Gredda will grow up to be a perspicacious young lady, and certainly later on she will come to understand the true significance of Lil/Dyeke and Ranni/Branna's story. What will she think of it all? How will it shape her own attitudes and decisions? I imagine we are seeing some of that in progress already. :cool:

    Bravissima on wrapping up this tour-de-force of a diary—a diary that was a true epic! =D= =D= =D=
     
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  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Was typing a long response and then the Curse of Random Refresh happened. Ugh. Anyway...

    The voting is on for the best diary of 2016. Check out this post or, if it redirects you to the beginning of the thread, look for the post #71. Only five DDCs by four authors made it to the very end and this diary is one of those five. Do not forget to PM Diary_Challenge_Sock once you have made up your mind about whom you're going to vote for. You have until January 15th to vote.

    I will wait for the rest of you who didn't catch up yet to respond to comments on the epilogue. :D
     
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  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    You did it justice. I was...floored when I saw that comment. Absolutely. Don't worry.<3


    That was the idea from the very start. :(

    Mistress Hoove was invented along the way, as a character with such a silly and harmless-looking first appearance, and then she became the #1 villain here, to the point where she is more into it than the notorious folk like Blobbo the Hutt and Roula of Pelayn. And she can shove that statue where [insert the nearest sun here] doesn't shine, that's a given.

    Maris can see that she's loved, but she chooses to think it's not real, much like her namesake from Frazier.

    And yes - he was not aware of their marriage, but he would have been against it, at the times when even Denaro accepted it. And that says something!

    That is how poets die in dark times, and everybody who loves poetry. There is this old WWII partisan song that goes "Our fight demands to sing when you're dying" and Marija Bursać, one of the heroines of those times, died singing it. :(

    What inspired the recorder thing is the audio footage that did not up in Werner Herzog's film, Grizzly Man. I thought that somebody filming and/or recording everything would HAVE to go that way.

    And yes - there is hope in it. While he could not have predicted that somebody would come after him (and I doubt he would have expected Korgah, out of all beings!), he hoped that they would.

    As for the rest, it would be a spoiler. [face_whistling]

    (See above)


    She is a barbaric seeker - 'nuff said.

    And [hl='black']Foggo reappears in the next chapter of Doria's diary![/hl]

    Both of these things were on purpose, yes. :D Gooooooooooood catch!


    I believe he would have confessed Branna about Korgah, if he had a chance to see her again. But Korgah...she might as well be imagining an all-powerful Sacorrian weapons fanatic or something, ready to take her out and, by that, I don't mean for a girls' night together. :p


    ^^

    Borges would have a HEADASPLODE moment, fo sho.

    And yes, Charon only picked something he could use as evidence...and ended up with the best thing in the whole room. So, we'll see how it all ties together.

    It's the foundation for EVERYTHING in her life. And by EVERYTHING, I mean every single thing, ever.



    Thank you so much! I took the seat of pants approach and then it became complex...but it was like a sweater knitting itself. Not sure how to explain otherwise. [face_blush][face_blush]:luke:
     
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  11. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    After this story won the 2016 Dear Diary Challenge, I did not expect much more to happen and I am very humbled to say that it received a total of three nominations at the 2017 awards.

    They are:
    • Best Story in PT
    • Best Epic
    • Best Original Character (Lidgrain "Lil")
    And since there's a huge twist in this universe

    ...the prequel the story, Midday Darkness / The Light is Me, I am the Light also received three nominations: for the Best before story, best drama and best villain, for Roula of Pelayn.

    Thank you once again, so much. [face_love]@};-

    If you want more of this 'verse, pretty much all my stories other than the crack!fics are it. There, I told you. :D

    P.S. I promise to finish that gosh darned to the heck e-book #soon. It's been, err, a year or so.
     
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