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Saga - PT Saga - OT [DDC 2018] Shaman, Traveler, Oracle: Journal of an Exile of Lasan (OC; Lasan Series)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman, Jul 8, 2018.

  1. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    O ASHLA SOVEREIGN AND SUBLIME O SPIRIT BEYOND ALL SPIRITS what is this you have told me? Can it be, can it really be?

    But it must be—for you tell no lies, O Life of the universe—

    You, my love, my mate, my mighty bristlecone—crown of all Lasan’s warriors and her prophesied Last Warrior—oh, do I dare write it?

    Oh, how my whole being is a storm! Thunder and lightning fill me! My head—and oh, my currents—


    Hmmm. [face_thinking] I think she's trying to tell us something. :p



    —and just then all the sacred lightnings burst forth at once in a whitegold blaze and the Ashla itself and the entire universe proclaimed YES—YES HE IS—YES HE LIVES and in return my whole being said YES and my whole being was YES—Ai rrhu’khu’ Ashla’ka lira y-khi rrhava—

    Visions. [face_batting] Were they good for you? ;) o_O



    Then she swung a hand towards me, as if swatting away an insect.

    To her, you are an insect. :p


    As to who wrote the other part of the journal, I think the Ryn might have had something to do with it. Just a hunch. Now, she only has to find Zeb. Oh, and help take down the Empire. :D
     
  2. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Hah, typical, blame everything on the Ryn, the eternal scapegoats for everyone's problems--

    --wait, this is a good thing to be blamed for...

     
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Many thanks, as always, you wonderful readers, you! @};-
    Oh, thank you! I am so, so glad you enjoyed this climactic moment in the story, which it was definitely a huge YES to write—to finally give Shulma a little inkling of real live HOPE after all these long years! [face_love]
    Yes! She finally has that critical bit of certainty, after all those years—and it’s precisely the fact that it was so critical, and such a long time in coming, that has made her react so strongly. I do have every confidence in these new friends of hers, though. :D Thanks so much for commenting and for continuing to follow this; it’s always good to have you here! :)
    Hmmm, I think you’re absolutely right! :D She’s just stammering for the right words both from the intensity of the emotion and from her own incredulity—can this be real? :eek:
    They were something for her, indeed! But yes, long-term, I’d say knowing the truth is pretty much always good for one. And this is good news, for sure, even if it has somewhat of an intense effect on our heroine!
    Ah, so is that one guess about who’s speaking here? ;)
    [face_whistling]
    All in good time—that is, of course, one of the next steps. It will take some time, of course, but going into it even with just this little bit of hope still counts for a lot. Thanks so much, as always! :)
    Oh yes, I would say so, for sure! :D

    Thank all of you wonderful readers for sticking with me and Shulma to this pivotal point! @};-
     
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Sennah, Candun (the younger Ryn), Danyal, and the Second Chance are all borrowed with immense gratitude from @TheRynJedi. If you guessed that she was the fantastic guest writer in the previous chapter, and if you guessed that Sennah was the main guest OC in the last chapter, you were absolutely right! Many thanks once again to Ryn for a wonderful collaboration, and to @Raissa Baiard for helpful and supportive beta-reading, as always. @};-


    23.

    O Ashla, how the most painful torment blossoms from the most joyous portent!

    The vision shock is finally gone. When I suffered from it back on Lasan, it almost never lasted more than a day, perhaps a day and a half. This time it drew on for four days. I spent those four days in a half-conscious delirium, plagued by a jumble of visions and near-constant head pain. At least part of that time I was in the care of a healer—a healer who may have saved my life. I only know the details of what happened because the others have told me.

    I fell unconscious during my meditation with Telfien in the Temple of Mak-Gu-Fina, and she had to call Glockel and Rika to bring a repulsorsled to carry me back to the Rose Evergreen. I awoke briefly while we were in hyperspace en route back to Bonvika’s residence on Nal Hutta, long enough to write the entry just before this, but then I passed out again and was restless and delirious for hours following. Glockel told me Telfien almost never left my bedside, even doing her customary hyperspace meditations there instead of her own ammonia-filled quarters. She has some healing talent herself, it seems—Glockel says her Gand colleague has healed of her several sprains and small wounds by touch—and she apparently tried several times to use that talent to mitigate the mental torment I was suffering. But she was able to do no more than temporarily soothe my headaches or temper my fever. The real cause of the torment was threaded too deeply within my mists, as she put it, for her to be able to touch it in her usual way.

    Meanwhile, I was getting worse, slipping deeper and deeper into feverish oblivion and barely responding to outside stimuli. I’m told I was constantly calling my husband’s name and alternately mumbling and shouting various strings of words no one else could understand, probably words in my own language. (Rika claims she recorded me on at least one occasion, though I am in no hurry to listen.) The others were not sure what to do, and they doubted there was anyone on Nal Hutta who could help me. Fortunately Telfien knew of another healer who was likely to be traveling in this part of the Outer Rim—a Ryn woman who was part of a musical troupe that had once been in residence at Bonvika’s villa, and whom Telfien said had mystical talents like mine and hers.

    So Glockel and Rika brought the Rose Evergreen out of hyperspace near Akrit’tar in order to attempt to contact her. It took some time, but a response finally came: the Ryn healer and her band, called Alloy, were then on Dubrava. That was about five days’ hyperspace journey from us, but they agreed to rendezvous with us roughly halfway, near Aduba. In the meantime, the healer advised Telfien to continue her ministrations and try to keep me as calm as possible. We docked with their yacht, the Second Chance, two days later.

    Most of my memories of the illness are uncertain, but I do remember the healer. Sennah was her name. She the first member of the Ryn species I had ever met—about the size of a smaller Human, but with striking orange-tawny fur all over her, a long tail with a brushlike tip, and a somewhat beaklike nose with what looked like several extra nostrils. She seemed close to me in age. The Ashla moved about her in a way I can only describe as lyrical, plangent, expressive—like a strain of distant music wafting on the mind’s ear. It was very soothing to me in my turbulent condition, and I could sense the resonance both in my focusing stone (which sat constantly on the ledge beside me) and in a dark green crystal that hung as a pendant from one of the necklaces she wore. She spent hours at a time by my side, probing gently into my currents to try to untangle them one by one, clearing away the fragmentary vision-shards that tormented me so, and knitting together the damaged spots in my consciousness. All the while she would hum or sing softly to herself in warm, soothing tones. Sometimes a younger male Ryn sat beside her, helping her or taking notes.

    Again, I only remember bits and pieces of what she did, though even so I could tell that it was very different from the methods used by Yhazi and Shaman Rachtilios (may the spirits hallow their memory) back on Lasan. Sometimes it hurt, and I couldn’t tell why, and I would feel my hands lashing out as if trying to swat her away—not that I meant to hurt her, of course. When that happened I could often feel a second pair of hands in my consciousness—perhaps those of her younger colleague applying a painkilling touch while she continued working. Sometimes—indeed, often—I could feel Sennah’s Ashla presence trembling, the way my hands sometimes used to shake when guiding one of Lua’s embroidery machines through a particularly intricate design. Was she, too, feeling uncertain? My species may have been new to her, just as hers was new to me. I could tell she was treating me with dignity and kindness, taking time to explain everything she was doing and why. But my mind was often too clouded and tired to understand, and I could not always detect any change in my condition.

    The breakthrough came on the second day of the treatment. I was particularly delirious, wracked by auras, vision fragments, sounds, sensations of combined deep pleasure and pain, and a searing headache on top of it all. Sennah was having no success quieting my currents in her usual way; she later told me that her repairs to one area of my consciousness had unexpectedly upset something in another, which apparently is a risk in this kind of healing (Yhazi had once said the same many years ago). She stopped what she was doing, told me she was going to take a brief break, and asked me to wait while she went back to the Second Chance.

    She returned a few minutes later. This time a different Ryn came with her—not the young male who had been taking notes, but a male her age, with dark brown fur. She introduced him as her husband Danyal, and he carried some kind of stringed instrument: perhaps a quetarra? Sennah explained that she and Danyal were going to play and sing me a song, in hopes that it would calm my nerves before continuing with the treatment.

    So they did, and I had never before heard any song like it. It was a love song in one of the trade languages used by the Ryn, full of longing and tender passion and plaintive twists of harmony and melody. I was entranced as I heard their voices twining together over the chords of the quetarra. Their warm, rhapsodic sounds seemed to salve the wounds in my consciousness, the way a konculor licks its wounded paws, and they stirred up memories of my own love—how could they not? My tears flowed, but they were tears of healing and comfort, not of pain. I remember catching a very short glimpse of the others gathered outside the cabin door to listen before deep sleep overtook me. (Rika was there too, probably recording; this time I shall gladly listen.)

    I woke up several hours later to hear Sennah humming the same song to me. She was then able to bring the treatment to its end and declare me cured, though she counseled me to rest and to be careful in my mystical activities over the next several weeks. She had also brought with her a thermojug of some kind of fragrant tea, along with a canister of a similarly scented blend of herbs. I was dumbfounded with amazement and gratitude when she told me what this was: an herbal preparation to replace Shaman Rachtilios’s headache pastilles! After Sennah had read about them in this journal (yes, she read this journal—but I feel I can trust her to keep everything confidential), she had Telfien bring her the tin from my effects, which she then took to a colleague of hers on the Second Chance to analyze the chemistry of the powdery remains. From this Sennah was able to blend various herbs from her stash to replicate the properties of the pastilles, in proportions appropriate to my physiology, and she told me I was welcome to contact her for more in the future as needed. I was so overcome that I wrapped her in a embrace, which we stayed in together for several moments.

    Sennah refused any kind of reward from me or my shipmates, saying that it had been enough simply to be able to use her talents to help. But Glockel and Telfien insisted on compensating her and her crew with enough fuel cells and supplies to make up for what they had used in making their detour from Dubrava to Aduba, and we all promised we would look out for any future opportunity to do a favor for the crew of the Second Chance.

    So yes, I am now cured. I never thought anyone short of Shaman Rachtilios herself would have been able to restore my health after such a severe case of vision shock. I certainly never thought I would find anything like those headache pastilles of hers. But now, thanks to Sennah, I have both health and a new remedy. I hope some day I shall be able to see her again and properly express my gratitude. For now, I can at least rest in the joy of my recent vision without the pain.

    And there is the realspace siren. Soon we shall be docking on Nal Hutta.

    Akrit’tar: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Akrit'tar
    Dubrava: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dubrava
    Aduba: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Aduba
    (These are all planets at the “east” end of the SW galaxy, at various points between Hutt Space and the Centrality.)

    quetarra: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Quetarra
    (TheRynJedi has been referring to Danyal’s instrument simply as a guitar, but I thought it likely that Shulma might mix it up with its GFFA cousin.)

    Sennah and Danyal’s song: I imagine it being very similar (read: pretty much identical with :p ) the traditional Sephardic song “La rosa enflorece.” Because there are so many recordings of this song and it’s hard to choose just one, here are a few that I particularly enjoyed:
    Dafné Kritharas and Paul Barreyre (two voices, guitar, percussion):

    Zoltán Arany (with guitar, percussion, and various other instruments):

    Esther Lamandier (with harp):

    Winsome Evans and the Renaissance Players (voice, harp, and I think some kind of mandolin or lute too):
    (note especially the vocal duet that starts around 3:02)

    Sennah’s herbal preparation to replace the headache pastilles was the suggestion of TheRynJedi. What an Ashlasend for Shulma—how could I not include it? Thanks again, Ryn! :)
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    SUPERB and wonderful healing treatments from Sennah [face_love] Fascinating how they differ from Telfien's and the Lasat's methods.
    Using a literal love song is meltilicious!

    I'm glad Shulma is cured and has headache pastilles again.

    I too hope she will have the chance to cross paths with Sennah again. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  6. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 20, 2018
    Me too, Sennah wants more fuzzy hugs from Shulma, they're nice.

    Though, if my mental outline for future stories works as plotted, Sennah's probably going to run into Zeb before she sees Shulma again (it partially depends on when @Findswoman has Shulma finally finding her Zeblove, a scene we are all eagerly waiting for!).


    (Hmm, now I have to think up a story for what Alloy was doing on Dubrava besides playing in a pub in the "armhole of the Galaxy". Wookiepedia says the Rebels did some recruiting there. Maybe they were picking someone up/dropping them off. Shulma doesn't know this, but they're a Rebel cell in addition to an awesome highly-versatile music group. It's a good cover ).
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    It was a real joy to borrow Sennah and her colleagues here—a big thank you to @TheRynJedi once again! :) She and I have talked about having our characters meet, and when I read about Sennah’s healing abilities in “Crisis of Faith,” it got me thinking she might be the perfect person to treat Shulma’s condition, and that this would be a good occasion for their first meeting (because I hope it won’t be the last @};- ) It was a lot of fun discussing the details of the healing process, treatments, etc. with Ryn, and I’m so glad you enjoy the result!
    I couldn’t resist, given the fact that Sennah and Danyal are musicians too, and when I started thinking of what they might have played for her, well, that one song basically came into my mind and wouldn’t leave. :p
    All credit for the headache pastille substitute (which in this case is an herbal tea type stuff), and the process by which it was made, goes to Ryn—it was such an above-and-beyond gesture from Sennah that I couldn’t say no. <3
    That is definitely my plan, so keep your eyes on future stories! :D
    Awww, thanks! I just couldn’t resist; it was such an amazing thing for Sennah to do for Shulma and the kind of thing that would mean so much to her, given how prone she is to those vision headaches. These two fuzzy ladies will definitely have their chance at future warm hugs. :)
    Oh gosh, I’d have to check my own (probably somewhat out of date) time line again—I’m terrible with chronology of this sort. :p But I’m glad you’re eager for that scene, and I’ll try not to disappoint!
    All good thoughts, indeed, and that’s quite a neat coincidence about Dubrava; the main reason I put it there was just because of its location, but that works out well with Alloy’s Rebellion connections too. Will be eager to see what you come up with, and to read more of Alloy’s adventures!

    Thanks, everyone, as always. @};- More right around the corner...
     
  8. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Can't believe I read and didn't reply to this!

    Glad Shulma is feeling herself again and everything is getting on the right track. :)
     
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  9. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Sorry for getting behind on comments on this wonderful story, catching up now...

    YES! I will join Shulma in her joyous exclamations at discovering that Zeb is alive and well, somewhere out there (oh wait, that’s a different story ;) )

    Wow, once again you do an incredible job describing Shulma’s visions! This time, in the vision-crowded Force nexus of the Temple of Mak-Gu-Fina, the joint meditation is no gentle swirling of ink and water, but a tidal wave—the netherworld of ghosts Shulma encountered before times ten! She strains to catch those elusive sparks of her answer, but it’s like trying to catch a single fish out a huge shoal. Then it’s over as suddenly as it began, leaving Shulma drained and gasping; she reaches for Zeb’s knife “simply because (she) needed something to grasp—“ And there he is, “lifelike and magnificent” surrounded by his comrades, past, present and future, beings that Shulma doesn’t recognize but we surely do, everyone from Zeb’s little space!bro Ezra to the persnickety AP-5 [face_love] How could Shulma not be overcome by the beauty of this vision?

    Quoting this in its entirety, because it’s just gorgeous and it so perfectly captures the sublime ecstatic torment she’s feeling, the kind we see in the statues of St. Theresa of Avila and Blessed Ludovica Albertoni (which I know have been inspirations for you).

    And how lovely to see a “guest star” from across the fanfic Galaxy, courtesy of @the RynJedi! (Collaboration and intertextuality rock! :D) It’s cool to see Sennah’s mix of clinical attitude and traditional medicine and Force-based healing. I really like how musically based her perceptions of the Force are, how she “hears” the beings in Shulma’s visions as songs, particularly the Force-sensitive Ezra and Ahsoka. By quieting the jumble of tones, which would no doubt be beautiful individually, she restores Shulma’s balance and, well, harmony. :bravo: @TheRynJedi

    Next we get newly recovered Shulma’s account of things: her friends’ concern and their search for someone who would be able to help her. The lengths they go to to find Sennah leave no doubt that Shulma has been fully accepted as a member of the Rose Evergreen crew—family, really, in the same way the Ghost’s crew is a family. It’s interesting to see Shulma’s impressions of Sennah and how she perceives the Ashla moving around Sennah in a musical way, very fitting! It’s’ beautiful and so appropriate that it’s Sennah and Danyal’s love song that breaks through all Shulma’s disturbing visions and delirium; music truly has healing properties. And of course, I love it when writers bring their own knowledge and love into their stories [face_love] How thoughtful (and useful!) of Sennah to have replicated Shulma’s headache pastilles in a tea! And now Shulma can “rest in the joy of my recent vision without the pain.” What joy it must be for her!

    Looking forward to seeing what’s next for Shulma, because I love any opportunity to visit the court of the mahvelous Bonvika the Hutt! :*
     
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  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks so much! The dust has settled, normalcy is regained, and she and all her friends (old and new) can breathe a little easier. And as you see, you were absolutely right about the Ryn! :D

    Thanks so much, as always! :) Yes, different story, but same idea and same immense feeling of relief, for sure.

    Thanks, as always, and again, I appreciate that very much, because I'm always worried about my vision scenes all "sounding the same." I kind of imagined that the temple itself knows how momentous this meditation in for Shulma and is turning everything up to eleven accordingly. It also felt right for the knife, as focusing object and as all she has left of her husband, to be the conduit to the climactic moment. She's seeing here that he is not only alive and well but surrounded by supportive friends and comrades who will help him in his fight, and that lifts her spirits all the more.

    I love those two Bernini sculptures so much—they were indeed a huge inspiration for Shulma because really do illustrate EXACTLY the kind of sublime, ecstatic connection to the Ashla that I knew I wanted her to have.

    Thanks! :) I really, really enjoyed working together with Ryn on this and am so grateful that she let me bring her wonderful character into Shulma's story—again, Sennah just seemed like the perfect person to help Shulma in this situation, and since we had already been talking about having our characters meet sometime, that made it extra ideal. I loved how Sennah's uniquely musical connection to the Force came through in Ryn's portion of that entry, and how she was able to bring that into her process of treating Shulma's vision shock. And I too loved the way Sennah particularly notices the "songs" of some of the Force-sensitive beings Shulma saw: Ezra, Telfien, Ahsoka. It makes sense that their songs would stand out to Sennah and perhaps act as "guideposts" of sorts as she clears away all the extra mental and mystical noise.

    Yes, Shulma is now definitely a full-fledged member of the Sisterhood of the Rose Evergreen! (Title of series of stories, anyone? :D) Her new shipmates have now had ample opportunity to see that she's not only a valuable ally but a dear and loyal friend, and this is a way of their showing their friendship right back to her. Sennah's musical perception of the Force is such a defining characteristic that I figured naturally Shulma and other Force-sensitives would pick up on it, and given Sennah's work as both musician and healer I just had to bring her music into the story somehow. Again, the herbal tea blend to replace the pastilles was RynJedi's idea, and I too just adored how thoughtful a gesture that was. Really, all the things she's done for Shulma have been about taking the pain and scariness away from this climactic visionary experience, and leaving only joy and peace of mind behind.

    Thanks so much, as always, and you won't have to wait long... they'll be at that bastion of mahvelousness very soon! :D
     
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  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Once again, many thanks to @Raissa Baiard for very helpful beta reading and feedback. Her librarian experience helped me make Bonvika's reading room a much more believable place than it had started out! :)


    24.

    And, once again, Shulma Trilasha Orrelios finds herself adjusting to life on a new world. (And apparently picking up Gand speech habits too, ai rrhu’ kh’Ashla!)

    Almost nothing here is what I expected. Bonvika’s villa is certainly not what I would have expected from a Hutt’s stronghold. It is located in the meadowland region outside the town of Gebroila—a pleasant, verdant country of flower-studded hills and sun-sparkling lakes. The villa itself houses not only Bonvika’s own living quarters and those of her close associates, but also a Great Hall, an art gallery, two recital halls (one larger and one more intimate), and a small collection of rare books. Elsewhere on the grounds are hangars, high-security storage facilities, and of course the docking bay where we arrived. The surrounding grounds are vast and breathtakingly lovely, full of lush tree groves and finely manicured gardens that rival the Royal Lasat Display Gardens themselves. I never realized the Hutt homeworld had such a place, though perhaps that shows how little I know of the Hutt homeworld.

    Then there is Bonvika herself. She is nothing like what I would have expected from a Hutt. Besides G.’s Gran Adelgund, I don’t know when I’ve ever met anyone so… effusively cordial, shall I say. Bonvika welcomed us personally at the docking bay, congratulating us effusively on our successes in the Kanson-Wiss sector, while Rika and a pair of security droids took the Khorassani festival jewels directly to one of the secure storage facilities. When Telfien and Glockel introduced me and Lua, Bonvika exclaimed how mahvelous it was to meet us (it seems Hutts, too, have trouble with their reshes). She was full of questions about our experiences on our homeworlds and on Svivren, and once we returned to her main audience chamber at the villa she invited us to sit beside her on the cushions of her dais as we conversed with her. (Though I must say, whatever fragrance she was wearing smelled a little too much like kamphra water.) At one point Lua complimented Bonvika on the beauty of the cushions and on the upholstery around the villa in general, which led to a lengthy and enthusiastic conversation between the two of them about textiles, upholstery, drapery styles, and the like. I was just as glad simply to be able to finish my tea in peace.

    And oh yes, it’s always “dahling” with Bonvika. Everyone is “dahling,” from me to Lua to the serving droids. I wonder how G. would take such an appellation, were he here. No, rather, I know how he would...

    Later, Bonvika’s majordomo, a Theelin named Diva Marquisha, took us on a tour of the grounds and the villa. Bonvika has allowed us pretty much the run of the place, with the obvious exception of the secure areas that are locked off to everyone. In the evening we enjoyed a luxurious dinner of Lebnan delicacies in the Great Hall, with live musicians performing from the minstrels’ gallery—no detail is lacking here, it seems. Marquisha conducted us to our quarters afterward. The lodging I have been given is only slightly larger than what I occupied on Svivren, but it is much more comfortable and by far more nicely furnished.

    Tomorrow I shall take a closer look at the library. I need to return to my work on the sacred writings, and that seems like the ideal place to do so.

    * * *​

    The library is lovely. It is quite small, more of a reading room than a library; it lies at the far west end of the villa and commands a fine view of the gardens. I brought my notebooks there this morning and I began some jottings on the Seventh and Eighth Tractates; the seventh is so short, and so closely related to the eighth, that it seems sensible to work on them together. All was perfectly, blessedly quiet while I worked, with no noise besides the low whir of the page droid going about its business.

    But here is perhaps the most incredible thing of all about Bonvika’s library. I happened in an idle moment to be combing the catalog of manuscripts, and one particular entry caught my eye: Osthi’khu llagrriai komp’ahd (something along the lines of “Osthi’s tears compendium”). It would have been astonishing enough to see an entry in my native language, let alone one naming of one of our greatest prophetesses. I immediately entered its shelf number into the computer terminal, and some minutes later the page droid brought it out to me. It was indeed written in the Old Lasat of the High Prophetic era—but even more astonishing was the handwriting, which did indeed look very similar to the handwriting I had seen years before in manuscripts in the Academy of Shamans known to have been penned by Osthi herself. I had the droid place it on a hold shelf for me so I can study it more closely tomorrow.

    Gebroila: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gebroila

    Gran Adelgund: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Garazeb_Orrelios's_grandmother. Raissa Baiard gave her this name.

    Diva Marquisha: An OC who appears in my earlier stories Of Urgent Transmissions and Mysterious Dropped Objects, In Search of a Hutt’s Dinner Music, and Two Girls and a Man in Red.

    Lebnan delicacies: Hutt Lebnan food, based various Middle Eastern cuisines here on Earth, is the creation of Chyntuck and is detailed here.
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] I must confess I STILL (like Shulma is) am mystified by the uniqueness of Bonvika. She is definitely not your typical Hutt [face_mischief] Her residence and reading room do sound restful and inviting! And to find a rare Lasat tome there. Well! Another non-coincidence. ;)
     
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  13. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    (And apparently picking up Gand speech habits too

    Apparently so. :p


    Bonvika’s villa is certainly not what I would have expected from a Hutt’s stronghold.

    :eek: No dancing, chained Twi'leks? :(


    Bonvika welcomed us personally at the docking bay

    Welcome Dahlings! [face_party]



    I hope the Dahling Shulma gets some good reading time with those old, handwritten tomes. Right before she finds Zeb again!! [face_mischief]
     
  14. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks, as always, folks! Some quick responses before the next chapter goes up:

    Bonvika's court truly is like no other Hutt court out there! It definitely makes for a nice, calm haven for Shulma right about now—and the ancient Lasat tome is an added bonus, of course (more on that in the chapter to come). The Ashla definitely does not do coincidences! @};-

    You know a friend is a good friend when their habits rub off on you! :D

    Oh, possibly dancing Twi'leks, but artistic ones, y'know. :p

    Yes, that's pretty much the size of it! But it also shows that she has genuine care and concern for her agents. :)

    She definitely has come to the right place for that, and this new find will fit right in with her ongoing project of recording her people's spiritual lore. And sure, it definitely could lead her closer to a reunion with her dear Zeblove... [face_batting]

    Thanks again, and more will be coming in just a bit! :)
     
  15. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Many thanks once again for the beta-reading assistance of @Raissa Baiard. @};-


    25.

    After a bit of work on the middle chapters of the Eighth, I took a further look at this Osthi’khuu llagrriai komp’ahd. It is indeed in the hand of Osthi of Feldspar Falls; I remember it distinctly from my days at the academy, and she signs it, in very small writing, at the very bottom of the last page. It seems to have two main layers. The earlier one, which is the longer of the two, seems to be Osthi’s own handwritten copy of Berura’s Flowing Lightnings, including her own annotations. A truly remarkable find in itself (and one that may save me a bit of work once I move on in earnest to the Greater and Lesser Seers). But the second layer seems even more interesting, because I cannot tell what it is yet. It is titled Shining Tears for the Absent One and seems to be cast in a highly poetic register, much like that of the more lyrical passages in the Stronghold of Prophecy (I still have Chava’s excellent edition with me, of course).

    O radiant Ashla, have I stumbled on a previously unknown work by Lasan’s most sublime seer?

    Mustn’t become too distracted, however. I still must finish the Eighth Tractate and at least begin on the Greater Seers before I begin delving in earnest into this new find.

    * * *​

    Today I heard a lovely noonday concert in the smaller recital hall: Kiffar tenor Elsaak Konshi, a recent recipient of the GYORM Scholarship. (That stands for Gifted Young Outer-Rim Musicians, but I believe there was a mining village in the Basalt Mountains called that, too.) He sang a variety of pieces from the Coreworld art-song repertoire; particularly exquisite were the Eskari Songs, opus 66, by Lorne Bel Fiora. Regrettably, however, the two adolescent girls sitting in front of me spent the entire time giggling and whispering. (One was the spitting image of the Theelin majordomo: her daughter?)

    I stayed at the library late into the evening at the library working on the Seventh and Eighth. But Osthi’khuu llagrriai komp’ahd is still sitting there on my hold shelf waiting for me, beckoning to me. Soon, beloved prophetess, soon...

    * * *​

    Finally on to Osthi! I simply could not help myself; I dove right into the Shining Tears portion of the manuscript a week ago last Primeday, and it is so breathtakingly lovely that I have almost not wanted to work on anything else since then. It takes the form of an extended vision or series of visions, all written in the voice of the Seer (the Fourth that Osthi adds to the Three), and it describes the Seer’s search for the Child of Lasan—a search alluded to several times in the Stronghold of Prophecy but never fully elaborated on there.

    And what a search it is, so full of pathos and beauty and longing! At various points throughout her journey, the Seer is forcibly displaced, kidnapped, assaulted (fortunately without major effects, thank the Ashla!), spurned by those around her, and left to mourn the Child’s loss in solitude—

    O Ashla, is it presumptuous of me to see my own plights and wanderings in those of your divine Seer? Surely my own meager trials cannot possibly compare to hers. But at very least I know those solitary tears...

    But the Seer does not truly weep in solitude. The Ashla stays always beside her—and here is what gives the work its name: the Ashla catches and preserves each of the tears she sheds, infusing each of them with its own light, then sends them out into the universe as grains of stardust or tiny star-beacons to illumine the night and guide the Child back to the Seer’s side. Oh, how fervently the Seer prays for that day, for when they finally stand together on the high places, all those fiery tear-sparks shall reunite to shine forth brighter than the light of all the star clusters—

    That is as far as I’ve read, and now my own poor tears are flowing again. If only they could have such power…!

    GYORM Scholarship: Fanon, first introduced in In Search of a Hutt’s Dinner Music (where it is also part of a joke involving a homophonous word in an alien language).

    Lorne Bel Fiora’s Eskari Songs, opus 66: Fanon, first created for my story Opus Sixty-Six. In that story Miarla and Jefson only perform no. 4, but Elsaak Konshi performed the entire cycle as part of this recital.

    Elsaak Konshi: An OC. Named after Belgian tenor Jan van Elsacker. Konshi is an established Kiffar clan (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Clan_Konshi).

    “the spitting image of the Theelin majordomo: her daughter?”: Yes, indeed—this is Soozoo, also an OC (of course), who appears in Of Urgent Transmissions and Mysterious Dropped Objects and In Search of a Hutt’s Dinner Music, and who is the main character of Two Girls and a Man in Red. The other girl she’s giggling with is very likely her friend Talloïse, introduced in that third story.
     
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh that was gorgeous and very deep! You really get a sense of poetic history for the Lasat, Osthi, and Shulma. The Shining Tears section details are especially lovely!
     
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  17. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Very nicely written. Very descriptive and vivid. :)

    Shining Tears for the Absent One - I think Shulma has something in common with Osthi there. :D

    Well done and looking forward to more. =D=
     
  18. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks so much for hanging on, folks! :)

    Thanks! To say that Shulma is surprised to come across this long-lost document of her people’s mystical heritage in this remote and unexpected location is a huge understatement—and that it turns out to not only (a) be by one of her favorite ancient mystics but also (b) correspond so closely with her own experience makes it all the more astonishing! (Again an understatement.) Of course, the very fact that it does correspond so closely is no coincidence at all, because of course the Ashla doesn’t do coincidences, etc. ;)

    Thank you! :)

    Ah ha, you think? ;) Again, it’s definitely no coincidence that she has come across this lost work now, at this time. You’ve probably come across references to Osthi in my other Shulma stories and noticed other commonalities she has with Shulma; they are kind of avatars or each other, and both of them are avatars of the Seer of the prophecy.

    Thanks again, and more is coming very soon! :cool:
     
  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    26.

    Has it really been a year since I arrived at Bonvika’s? The Ashla is truly marvelous and mysterious in its workings: never would I have guessed to find such a pleasant, peaceful haven at the court of a Hutt. I really could not have asked for a better place to devote myself to restoring my people’s ancient lore—not to mention the completely unexpected finding of Osthi’s Shining Tears for the Absent One, which now is fully transcribed, more than halfway translated, and under contract with Khorassograd University Press. And I am really and truly among friends: Bonvika continues to be a gracious host, Telfien and I still meditate together, Glockel and I play the occasional game of dejarik, and Lua and I go on walks through the garden. (She, incidentally, has been hard at work of late repairing the ancient Rakatan tapestries in the Great Hall.)

    My morning was spent in the library, working on the translation, Osthi’s annotations on Berura (which are themselves almost as poetic as Berura’s own words), and some of the other Lesser Seers. Afterward I walked with Lua as usual. She is over all five of this world’s moons with sheer joy: Bonvika is so pleased with her work on the tapestries that she has formally engaged her to design and craft all-new upholstery for the entire second floor of the villa. Draperies, cushions, throws, wall hangings, everything—it will be the biggest job of its kind that she has ever had in her seamstress career, and the sort of commission she has always dreamed of but never actually received, either on Pipada or on Svivren.

    As she puts it: “Dresses and suits FINE and all, but NOTHING make me so HAPPY as a GOOD smooth-welted SLIPCOVER!” I shall take her word for it. When I was working in her shop on Svivren, I must say I personally found the dresses and suits easier.

    * * *​

    Yes, I have been here a year now. And yet I cannot rid myself of the nagging, nudging feeling—the intuition, Telfien would call it—that the Ashla needs me to do more than sit here with my notebooks and ancient manuscripts in this peaceful haven. If my Zeblove is still out there somewhere (and I pray continually that that is still the case), I must search for him.

    So, whenever I can, I go out on runs with the Rose Evergreen. I enjoy accompanying Glockel, Telfien, and Rika on their missions, and when I do I keep my senses open for anything I might learn about that alliance or rebellion that Lua told me of, on the off-chance (and I know that it is very much an off-chance) that this might reveal something about G.’s whereabouts. (I have no hard evidence that my G. is in fact connected with the same rebellion as Pao is—that too is solely an intuition at present.) I have found nothing so far, but I have not given up.

    The next run will be in just a few days. I have been helping with various preparatory tasks, which has proven a welcome respite from squinting at Osthi’s scrawly marginalia. Today, besides cleaning the ’fresher, I assisted in moving several crates from the secure storage units on board. There is barely room for a dust mite in the cargo hold now, and not much more than that in the rear storage cabin.

    It seems their next destination is Mazhar, along the Hydian Way (or so Glockel says). This time Lua will be going as well, because whatever is in all those storage crates is apparently going to be traded for the textiles she needs for Bonvika’s second floor. When Glockel invited me along, she teased that it would be useful for her and the others to have someone “big and tough” with them in order to “aid in negotiations.” If they say so—I suppose I must come to terms with the fact that many Human-sized species will persist in viewing me that way.

    I shall bring my notes and scans of the Berura annotations. It will be nice to have some non-galactic-tiles activities with which to occupy myself during the long hyperspace journey.

    * * *​

    Our journey was quiet and uneventful. We arrived on Mazhar in good time, docking directly at the capital city’s largest textiles and furnishings depot. I saw what Glockel meant about “big and tough” once we met our contacts: a gigantic male Karkarodon with an equally gigantic voice, who had two hulking Cathar assistants and a security guard that might have been one of those Niordi living weapons. While Lua, with occasional assistance from Glockel and Telfien, conducted the terms of sale (and it was quite something to see the slight, unassuming Drabatan woman stride up to the Karkarodon and tell him exactly how many meters of double-weave embroidered damasq she needed for the cushions in the Upper Parlor), I knit my brows and put on my husband’s roughest, toughest facial expression. I don’t know how convincing it was in conjunction with my embroidered crushed-velvoid cloak (another one of Lua’s creations), though what finally got the message across were the Ashla sparks that I made sure would fly from my cracked knuckles at a particularly challenging moment in the negotiations. Needless to say, the Karkarodon gave Lua exactly what she wanted at exactly the right prices, and threw in a few extra bolts as well.


    We stayed an extra few days to visit the court of Embra the Hutt, a close friend and associate of Bonvika’s who is based on Mazhar. Glockel insisted that he too was “not like most other Hutts”—which almost makes me wonder (and I stress “almost”) what “most other Hutts” are actually like. This one treated us very kindly, however, and he is certainly of a much mellower temperament than Bonvika. Glockel and Telfien gave him news from Bonvika’s villa and introduced me. He expressed his sympathy and outrage over what the Empire had done on my homeworld and others, adding that he has been trying for years (though without success) to persuade the Hutt Cartel and the Ruling Council of Nal Hutta to condemn the Empire officially.

    Hoping to find out something about the larger rebellion, I asked Embra if he knew of any movements that were fighting the Empire. He said he didn’t know of any beyond a small group of guerrilla fighters on Nar Shaddaa that was resisting local Imperial authority—Jade’s Irregulars, they called themselves—and he added that he didn’t see how anything larger than that could form anywhere, given the Empire’s tight grip. (I noticed that Lua was about to say something, but she immediately checked herself.)

    He also spoke privately with Telfien for a long time—“about various other Gand that he knew,” she later said. As usual, I could tell nothing from her expression or tone of voice.

    So, still nothing. I don’t really know if it will do me any good at all to follow this rebellion lead; it’s all I have, and in a way it’s not much. But sooner shall the Galaxy halt in its spin than I give up the search for you, my mighty bristlecone.

    Mazhar: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mazhar

    Karkarodon: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Karkarodon

    Cathar: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Cathar_(species)

    Niordi living weapon: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Niordi_living_weapon

    Embra the Hutt: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Embra. As one of the more sympathetic Hutts, who in Legends lore goes on to found the Hutt Resistance that aids the Republic against the Yuuzhan Vong, I thought he would make a good ally for Bonvika and that he might have anti-Imperial sentiments as well. Mazhar is indeed established to be his base of operations.

    Jade’s Irregulars: This Jade is Raissa Baiard’s OC Domnic Jade, later known as Doran Blayne, and the hero of her seminal story Everyone Comes to Doran’s Place. The story mentions that Nar Shaddaa was one of the places Doran settled, along with a group of fellow post-Order-66 Jedi refugees, in the years before he came to Merkesh to open the Café Alderaan. Although that was a generation or so before this story takes place, I imagine the members of this rebel cell as being Doran’s ideological descendants, in a way, and I thought it would be fun to work in an homage to a good friend and admired fellow writer. @};-

    “about various other Gand that he knew”: Embra later hires Zuckuss as part of his team to search for the Yavin Vassilika in the Star Wars: Underworld comics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow, so much has happened in a year's span of time. Osthi's text has been fully transcribed, and Lua has found a wonderful occupation, totally in line with her skills.

    I agree that the "Rebellion lead" is a sound one, although naturally there isn't anything in official well-archived sources, so it is simply a matter of persistence and "accidentally" coming across someone who knows something of value personally to Shulma.

    I like Embra. He definitely is not like your typical Hutt. [face_laugh]
     
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  21. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    never would I have guessed to find such a pleasant, peaceful haven at the court of a Hutt.

    :eek: Neither could any of us!



    that she has formally engaged her to design and craft all-new upholstery for the entire second floor of the villa.

    Simply Mahvellous, Dahling!



    someone “big and tough” with them in order to “aid in negotiations.”

    She can roar like a lioness if they get into trouble. :p



    the Ashla sparks that I made sure would fly from my cracked knuckles at a particularly challenging moment

    [face_laugh] I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  22. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    As always, a big thanks to my readers and commenters. :)

    Thanks! Once again I admit to using an old diary trick to move things along—this really is a very versatile format. It also opens the way for possible future stories about the “in-between” time. ;) Shulma has once again had to adjust to another “home,” which has been a good place for her in many ways but also is still not quite really “home.” Ditto Lua. But it still hasn’t kept them from being productive!

    Yes, that is exactly the rub when it comes to leads of that sort. You have to wait for those accidental reveals but never know if and when they’ll hit. It’s just a matter of being patient (which isn’t always easy).

    I really liked him, too! I didn’t expect he would make an appearance in this story, but given what a prime example he is of an established “not your usual Hutt,” I thought he would be a natural ally for Bonvika and might have something to say about the Rebellion (or lack thereof) issue.

    Again, she’s most definitely not your usual Hutt. ;)

    Bonvika has mahvelous taste, Lua has mahvelous skills (and taste too), everybody wins! :D

    One of the several things she could do, as we see (and have seen)! :p

    Hey, who really knows? It might have. ;) I think the whole scenario was probably just as new and unexpected to the Karkarodon and his cronies as it was to the Rose Evergreen crew. :p

    More on its way shortly; many thanks to you all once again. @};-
     
  23. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I keep putting off commenting here because it's hard to do it justice. But in short, Shulma and the crew are amazing and I love their interactions. [face_dancing] (Tangent, but Rika! Though she's a more quiet sort of astromech than some, she seems like she's more than meets the eye, much like the rest. And I really like her design. :)) It's been really neat to see Shulma and Telfien learn from each other and how their very different traditions make meditation both challenging and rewarding.

    The little details on the Rose Evergreen make it sound lovely though a bit cramped. So it's fantastic that they have a sanctuary with the mahvelous Bonvika and her court. @};-

    And the heist (though one could call it the anti-heist :p) was delightful. Very satisfying to see that Moff taken down several pegs -- couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.

    It's cool to see how things have changed during the time jump. Shulma is a force to be reckoned with (pun intended), but being the Intimidating Muscle is an odd fit for her. [face_laugh] At least it's not a regular thing, since it's not exactly to her taste for very understandable reasons.
     
  24. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, thanks so much for coming by to comment, @Kahara! Always wonderful to see you here. :)

    Thanks! They’ve been a really fun ensemble cast to write, and I hope I can do some shorter stories of their adventures, too.

    Glad you are enjoying her! She did indeed kind of work out to be a comparatively mellow astromech; I guess I wanted to try something a bit different than the “plucky astromech” or “snarky astromech” type, though we see she’s got a certain wry humor to her sometimes, too, given the way she records Shulma’s delirious exclamations. :p Glad you like her design, too; I came across the transparent dome on some other astromech on the Wook and thought that looked really cool.

    Thanks so much! It was fun (and challenging) to write precisely because I had to do a lot of hashing out of two different Force traditions in my own mind, too. We see a lot of Jedi-Sith comparisons in the official lore, and the occasional Jedi-non-Jedi comparison, but comparisons between two non-Jedi traditions are few and far between, so it was an interesting exercise to try to write one.

    It is a bit on the small side, being a scout craft type thing more than a freighter or cruiser, and with two new people on board (one of whom is pretty big compared to the others) conditions are definitely quite cozy! Good thing they all come to like each other. :) And as fun as it can be traveling the galaxy with new friends, it’s nice to have a more stable place to come home (!) to, as well. Even better if it’s marvelous to boot! :D

    Thanks—I really had a lot of fun writing the heist and the break-in to the moff’s house. The “frying the wig” scene was something I’d had in mind for Shulma to do for a long time, and originally I’d thought it might end up being a separate story, but I’m glad I could work it into this diary instead. And I definitely had a great time deflating that puffed-up moff! (I had some invaluable help there from @Raissa Baiard, who was the one who first suggested the accounts blackmail thing. :D )

    it was kind of fun playing with “expected alien types” a bit here. This issue is part of an ongoing disconnect she’s experienced ever since the beginning of her exile from Lasan. On her home planet, she was just an average-sized woman and not regarded as any kind of intimidating muscle; quite the opposite, in fact, as we know she’s really more a mystical and scholarly type. She gets regarded as “big and tough” out in the wider Galaxy purely because of her species’ size compared to Human and near-Human species. At least this time it turned out to be somewhat of a helpful thing! :D

    Thanks again so much for coming by to comment—it always means a lot to me to see you here. :) The next (and antepenultimate ;) ) chapter is on its way shortly!
     
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  25. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Antepenultimate chapter, right here. :) I thank @Kahara for very kindly beta reading this in @Raissa Baiard 's absence. @};-


    27.

    [NB. Several blank pages intervene between the previous entry and this one, which a chemdating scan reveals to have been written almost five years later. The events of the intervening years are undoubtedly chronicled in other sources.]

    I just found this old journal of mine, wedged between my bed and the wall. I do not think that it is coincidence that I found it today and felt an urge to write in it. The Ashla knows no coincidences.

    Ah, the Ashla—is it still with me? Is it still there beside me, catching and preserving my tears, as Osthi writes? Perhaps so, but it feels like a stranger now: distant, dark, turbid, uncertain. All the violence and upheaval in the Galaxy (the Empire, curse it to the Bogan’s pit, tightens its grip daily) has become violence and upheaval within you, spirit of the universe…

    Passing the second-floor communications suite the other day, I heard Lua on a comm call with her son. She was shaking as she emerged; I embraced her as she told me of it. Pao is mobilized—mobilized against his commanders’ orders, and at immense risk, though he insists he and his companions must take that risk if there is to be any hope of defeating the Empire for good and all. He could not tell her what that risk was.

    “Sa’Kalla,” I whispered to her, and she whispered the same back.

    May the four protecting cloaks of the Ashla be upon him and all who go with him!

    * * *​

    [The next entry seems to date from some weeks later.]

    Today is the solstice. I have just come in from the Naboo Formal Garden, where I tried to perform the Storm Solstice ritual, as I do each year. I say tried, because I did not complete it. I intoned all the invocations as usual; I held my staff and my stone to the light as usual; I opened my mind and self to the Ashla as usual. But the light itself felt wrong: bleak, white, and cold instead of golden, fiery, and warm. My throat felt clamped, choked, so that I could not chant at full voice. I felt tears on my cheeks.

    And just as I reached the climax of the invocation—i-ai rrhu’kh’aa, I can barely describe what happened. It was as if everything exploded—not in the sublime golden sunburst of Lira San but in flares of white-hot death—and suddenly I heard a horrible, bloodcurdling sound like a trillion screams—cut short by SILENCE and DARKNESS—

    I must have been unconscious. I came to in the middle of the lawn in a cold, trembling sweat and with a piercing headache; no one was about. Somehow I lifted myself to my feet and hurried back through the gardens, through the villa complex to my rooms to collapse on my bed. My journal was lying there, and again I felt the urge to write in it and have now done so—but the pain has returned to my head and vision shock is beginning to claim me once again...

    Where are you my Ashla where are you my love my own

    * * *​

    Alderaan. It was Alderaan.

    Glockel came in and told me (she and Marquisha have been checking on me). Alderaan, most peaceful and beautiful of the Core Worlds, the world that created the painting outside the Naboo formal garden—O Ashla, my currents lurch so much I can barely write it. Not conquered or ravaged or neutralized like Lasan: destroyed. All of it, from crust to core. All that dwell on it and in it—

    O merciful spirit of the universe, how can such things be possible—and yet I know how—

    It affected Telfien too. Glockel says that she passed out during a meditation that same day, and that since then her entire body has shut down into a dormant state that looks almost like death—“I’ve seen her do it before,” the Human hastened to reassure me, and it is apparently one way her species is known to respond to extreme stress. Glockel and Marquisha have been checking on her as well, though there is not much they can do for her in that state. As soon as I am strong enough I shall go to her.

    * * *​

    My currents are somewhat calmer now. I checked on Telfien yesterday and earlier this morning. She is conscious again and has been meditating on various smaller questions, riddles, or exercises to try to calm herself, but I can tell it has not gone smoothly for her; the Ashla still shudders and shivers in its flow around her, too. I offered to meditate with her, since two mystical consciousnesses can so often navigate stormy currents better than one. She agreed, but immediately wondered what questions I would be meditating on during our session. None, I told her—I would simply be channeling the Ashla toward her so that it could restore light and balance to her mystical senses. (As it happens, the Findsmen do not classify that process as meditation proper; they call it “invoking the stillness of the fog.”)

    So we meditated—or invoked the stillness of the fog—together in the Gray Drawing Room. I began by following what I remembered of the centering rituals from the Book of the Four Protecting Cloaks (next on my list of scriptures to record, as it turns out), the very rituals my dear friends Rishla and Yhazi used long ago on Lasan to still my own mystic torments.

    But as the meditation went on, I found I was able to do for Telfien exactly what the Ryn healer Sennah had done for me when she healed me of vision shock some years ago: isolate each troubling thought, each frightening vision, and quiet it by touching it, the same way one would damp a vibrating chime. There were so many, and it took a long time: ship after ship, moon after moon, world after world going up in the same white-hot blaze I had seen. And that now-almost-familiar pair of cold silver compound eyes, first suddenly extinguished, then reappearing, then being extinguished, then reappearing, again and again…

    It took time, but my friend’s calm was finally restored, thanks be to the Sacred Light—and along the way I found much calm of my own. May it never leave me. May it never leave any of us, no matter what happens.

    Pao’s mobilization: The events of Rogue One, of course.

    “a dormant state that looks almost like death”: See https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Gand/Legends under “Biology and Appearance.” Telfien does the same thing toward the end of Between the Porch and the Altar. That is before she begins traveling with Glockel, but at this point it’s likely that Glockel has seen Telfien do this before at other times.

    Book of the Four Protecting Cloaks: Fanon. First mentioned in Calm after the Storm as the source of the tandem calming ritual Yhazi and Rishla perform on Shulma.

    Again, many thanks to TheRynJedi for letting me bring Sennah into this story. @};-
     
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