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Saga - OT [DDC 2019] The Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, Jedi Action Hero (or Something) | AU, mostly OCs

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh yes, things have definitely gone very dark indeed for Ro and co., and pretty suddenly, too! :eek: Tuk'ata in a built-up area (rather than just out in the wilderness) is a huge, huge red flag, as Ronen sees at once. And the way everyone seems to insist on covering up the truth about them (and particularly about what happened to Mr. Struggs) is another huge red flag. This is where I really have to applaud Kaz with all my heart; he has really been doing a bang-up job paying attention to the conversations of the workers and sorting out the real from the fake in gathering this extremely important and game-changing intelligence. Ro and co. don't know how fortunate they are to have him at a time like this!

    I also don't think it's a coincidence that the news of tuk'ata prowling around Dreshdae is coming to Ro at pretty much the same time things have gone weird with Yuthura (cue Doran quote here). It's interesting that, even though Ro quickly puts two and two together concerning the noises in the city and Struggs's injury, he still seems at least partly to be chalking Yuthura's recent behavior up to "I don't understand women," and I hope that won't run him into trouble later! But this is where he (and the others) are very fortunate to have Wren on their side, too, who I know will be keeping a jai'galaar eye on that long-lekku'd dame.

    And on top of it all, in the "love always finds a way" department, we have Wren and Kaz's growing closeness happening at exactly the same time as all these dark doings! Very cute and clever reference to "Your Best Shot" there! (Right down to the "thinking very loudly" on the part of both parties—and now we know Ro "heard" them both!) Sure, it's one more thing for Ro to keep an eye on on top of everything else that's going down, but hey, at very least, one more being with marksmanship skills is not at all a bad thing to have on hand at a time like this!

    Very, very eager to see what will come of the interview with Struggs (and I love that it's apparently going to be both Ro and Kaz talking to him, because spies really do investigate :D ). I have a feeling the already molasses-textured plot is about to thicken even more! :eek: :eek: :eek:
  2. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Aww, thanks, glad you’re enjoying them!
    It’s never a good thing when Jedi hunting Sithspawn show up, particularly in town. I think most of the residents of Dreshdae are more brushing things off and finding “rational” explanations for things they don’t understand/can’t comprehend than covering things up—but some of those explanations are being supplied by those who are covering things up (and I think you have a pretty good guess as to who that is). Kaz may be a klutz and a little naive, but he’s not stupid and he’s heard Ronen warn him about the tuk’ata enough to put two and two together when he hears the workers talking, and he’s also smart enough to realize this is the kind of thing that Ronen would want to know.

    Coincidence? [face_whistling] Ro has a bit of a blind spot where Yuthura’s concerned, and it’s not so much that she’s attractive as that she’s nice and helpful, and he takes her at face value. Wren’s been skeptical of her for the start, though, and won’t let her cousin do anything too stupid if she can help it.

    isn’t that the way it so often goes? Ronen’s fortunate that Kaz and Wren are kind of awkward novices at this whole romance thing, and they’re being low-key as they’re finding their way through this—and that Wren has found a particularly Mando way of flirting, because as you note, it’s never a bad thing to have another blaster on your side.

    Wait no longer...
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  3. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta reading @};-

    13. Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who is not, as far as anyone on Korriban knows, a Jedi healer
    29/07/3305 LY

    Struggs lived on the—well, not the bad side of Dreshdae. That would imply that it has a good side, and as far as I can tell, it’s all equally seedy and run down.

    Anyway, Struggs lived in a ramshackle little prefab in a housing development located in a box canyon near the mineral extraction facility. The clangor of machinery echoing off the rock walls sounded like a battalion of tap-dancing armored walkers, and there was a harsh metallic tang to the air that made me cough.

    “And I thought living next to the Drunk Side was bad,” Wren commented, wrinkling her nose. “But at least it’s only loud on Zhellday nights. And it doesn’t smell this bad, even on Benduday morning.”

    I hadn’t planned on bringing Wren along for our chat with Struggs. Kaz is one of those naturally sympathetic people who can talk to just about anyone, and it was Kaz’s discovery that Struggs’s “accident” could be more than anyone was letting on, so I felt like he deserved to be there to investigate. Wren, on the other hand…Mandos aren’t exactly known for their sympathy, and I wanted this to be a conversation, not an interrogation. But that morning, Noemi insisted we take her too. She said she had a bad feeling about things—and far be it from me to write off another Jedi’s bad feeling (especially my girlfriend’s) when I've been living in a perpetual state of bad feeling-ness for the last month.

    The grizzled Svivreni who answered when Kaz pressed the door chime was clearly not well. His mane was ragged, brittle and straw-like, hanging in uneven clumps; his graying fur was patchy and dull. His clothes hung on him. He’d been muscular once, it seemed, but those muscles had dwindled to the point that he leaned heavily on a cane for support. And worst of all, there was an unhealthy smell about him, something sweet and rotten that hinted at death and decay. “Yeah?”

    Kaz stood there twitching like a pocket hare under Struggs’s baleful gaze, both his natural gregariousness and (mostly imagined) spy skillz deserting him at the critical moment. I nudged him, and he faltered to life with a too-big smile and too-cheery wave. “Uh, hi, Master Struggs, I’m Kazuda… Janos, and these are my, um, my cousins, Ildephonsus and Wren. I drive the lunch speeder for Chimaera now. We, um, heard about your, uh, your accident, and we thought maybe there was… something we could do to help you?”

    Struggs kept staring at us. At this point I figured the odds were fifty-fifty that he would just tell us to get lost. I don’t think we looked threatening, per se, but from what I’d seen of Korriban, it wasn’t the kind of place where helpful young people just showed up offering to mow a sick neighbor’s yard (or rake the dirt or whatever one did here). And we were a pretty odd assortment of “cousins”—Kaz in his rag-bag castoff clothes, Wren in armor with blasters at her hips, and me, the hybrid who was obviously not related to either of them. I couldn’t blame Struggs for not trusting us, and even though I hated to do it, I thought I was going to have to use a little persuasion to get him to talk to us.

    But just as I was about to reach for the Force, Struggs shook his head. “Great Herd Mother, they’re bringing children into this now. You’d better come in…”

    Struggs’ s house was only a little bigger than our apartment, but considerably less cluttered. It had the sparse, dusty appearance of a bachelor pad, not messy, just sort of neglected. The sickly-sweet smell of decay was even stronger inside. Kaz looked slightly green and Wren’s upper lip was curled back like a Loth-cat who had found something distasteful.

    Struggs waved curtly towards a threadbare sofa. “What happened to me was no accident, no matter what that lying schutta is telling everyone.” He sank into a nearby grav-lounger with a grunt, and grimaced as he propped up one cloven-hoofed foot and laboriously pulled up his pant leg. “Does this look like it happened in a rockslide to you?”

    I am not any sort of judge of the causes of trauma. I didn’t specialize in healing at the Jedi Academy, nor am I some kind of psychometric crime scene investigator out of a holo-drama who can look at an injury and instantly flash back to how it happened. But it was pretty clear from looking at Struggs’s mangled leg that this was not the sort of injury you’d expect from a rockslide. You’d expect that a limb caught under boulders would be crushed. Struggs, on the other hand...

    “It looks like something chewed you and spit you out!” Wren exclaimed, with her usual Mandalorian talent for succinctness. And while that was probably not the most tactful way of putting things, it was a pretty accurate description of the torn and festering flesh. There were rough semicircles of ragged wounds on the top and bottom of Struggs’s leg. It seemed like someone had tried to close them, but they’d re-opened and the edges were raw, swollen and weeping discharge. “What happened?!”

    “What happened?” Struggs snorted, wide nostrils flaring. “Something chewed me. Never seen anything like it before, and I've been here on Korriban for almost fifteen years.” He shook his head. “Laughed off all those old stories about haunted tombs and Sithspawn… until one of ’em tried to take off my leg.”

    Kaz tugged at my shoulder. “You’re going to heal him, right?” he whispered urgently, his features screwed into a look of horrified fascination as if Struggs’ injury was the proverbial repulsor-train wreck. “I mean, you can’t just leave him like this; he’ll die!”

    Oh, boy… How could I explain to Kaz that there was no way I could heal Struggs without revealing myself as a Jedi? And if I did, my mission would be compromised. What would the Council say if Chimaera discovered the Jedi were investigating them because I gave myself away?

    Except it didn’t matter what they would say, because Kaz was right. I couldn’t just leave Struggs to die. Whatever any other Jedi would do in this situation, I wasn’t the kind of person who could just do nothing. Because I could sense it now--his wounds weren’t so much infected as tainted with the Dark Side. There was nothing any medic could do to help him, nothing anyone could do, except for me.

    I sighed, knowing I was probably going to regret this in the long run. “Do you mind if I take a look at it? I… have a little healer training.” Which was true, kind of. I’d passed Jedi Pypey’s Force healing class and knew enough of the basics to stop an infection or heal a small wound. Whether I’d be able to handle something like this, well….

    Struggs snorted again. “Guess you can’t do any worse than the useless med droids at the clinic.”

    And with that enthusiastic endorsement, I knelt by Struggs’s lounger and took a good look at his leg. Up close, it looked and smelled even worse. He winced and stifled an oath when I gingerly touched one of the festering puncture wounds, and I sensed the familiar cold, greasy sensation of Darkness spreading in thick tendrils up his leg, climbing towards his heart. Revulsion and horror washed over me. I sat back and took several centering breaths to keep myself from gagging.

    “I have some...salve that might help.” I pulled a small tube of ointment out of my satchel, and before you ask, no, it wasn’t some special Force-imbued salve. It was perfectly ordinary, safe-for-multi-species-use anti-bacterial cream like you can find in any medcenter from here to the Core. I always keep some in the emergency kit in my satchel, along with self-adhesive bandages and a mini-glowrod. There was nothing the cream could actually do for Struggs, but I needed to at least pretend I wasn’t healing him by touch alone. “This may, um, sting a bit.” I half-heard his gasp as I laid my fingers to his leg, trying to act as if I was applying the ointment while I opened myself to the Force. I drew it through myself and into Struggs, directing it to flow down the pathways that the Darkness had created and surround it, until the sickly taint was eclipsed by the glow of Life.

    I don’t know how long I was like that. I have a feeling it was longer than I expected, and I’m pretty sure I forgot to pretend to rub ointment into the wounds after that first moment. When I sat back, panting a little from the exertion, the flesh wasn’t oozing anymore and the edges of the wounds were pink instead of angry red. And everyone was staring at me, shades of incredulity across their faces.

    “That’s some salve.What are you, some sort of Jedi healer?” Struggs asked, and though his tone half-joking, his hands were shaking as he touched the newly healed wounds.

    Oh dear Force, now how was I supposed to handle this? I wished I’d thought more about it before I’d started healing him. I could laugh it off, say that the ointment was some sort of cure-all or something, though no one with an ounce of logic would believe that. I could wipe his memories, leave him with no recollection that we’d been here, miraculously cured. But I hated that thought. There’s something a little squicky about playing with people’s memories like that. It’s like taking a little piece of them away, and it’s the kind of thing that gives Jedi a bad name. So I looked him in the eye and said with a Very Serious look worthy of my dad, “If I were a Jedi healer, what would I be doing here on Korriban?”

    His eyes widened and his ears swiveled as he rocked back in the lounger. Struggs stared at me, his mouth half open, for a long moment before nodding. “Point,” he said slowly. “Well, if you were, would the name Ajunta Pall mean anything to you?”

    “It might.” Oh, yeah… I recognized the name, all right. Ajunta Pall, one of the Dark Lords who was entombed in the valley, probably in one of the tombs Chimaera was excavating. The first Dark Lord, in fact, who declared war on the Jedi after they rejected his experiments at shaping life as an abomination. He was exiled to Korriban, where he murdered the Sith king, subjugated the Sith and expanded his new kingdom into an Empire through bloody conquest. “Why?”

    “They’re looking for his tomb,” Struggs answered. “Well, Chimaera’s opening all the old tombs looking for Sith artifacts, but they want to find his in particular.”

    Oh Force… Oh dear Force… If this was true—and I couldn’t see any reason for Struggs to lie about it—it was bad. There was no good reason for them to want Sith artifacts, especially from Pall’s tomb. Well, okay, I suppose someone on Chimaera’s board of directors could have been planning some sort of twisted “Art of the Sith” exhibit, but that seemed like an outside chance at best. I needed more information before I could decide what to do next. “How do you know this?”

    “You kids got time for an old man’s story?”

    “We’ll make time.” I pulled myself back onto the sofa between Kaz and Wren. It was a terrible, broken-down sofa, even worse than the futon in our apartment, but after channeling so much of the Force through myself and into Struggs, it could have been carved from Korriban’s ubiquitous red rock and I wouldn’t have cared.

    Struggs leaned forward, crossed his arms over his chest and began. “When I was your age, I had big plans. Was gonna go to the Svivren Xenomineralogy Institute, become a big scientist and all that. But I made a lot of bad decisions, wound up becoming a miner instead. Made a couple more bad decisions and found myself stuck here on this dustball. Point is,” he said, eying Wren as she fiddled with her blasters, So Not Interested in listening to some old guy blabber on about his lost youth, “I know a few things about minerals and mining. So when this Chimaera company showed up out of nowhere, saying they had new scans proving the richest veins of quorodium were in the Valley of the Dark Lords, it didn’t seem right to me. That Valley’s been empty for thousands of years, and if the mother lode really was sitting out there, someone would have dug it up before now, haunted or not.

    “And Chimaera was sure payin’ enough to make even the most superstitious digger laugh off the old stories. But the longer I worked in the Valley, the less sense it all made. Why would they need to clear out the tombs before they started mining? There’re ways of extracting minerals that wouldn’t bother them at all. When I tried to talk to old Belloq, I figured out two things real quick. One: he didn’t have a clue about anything, and two: that conniving assistant of his was the one who was really pulling the strings.”

    “Yuthura?! What?” That couldn’t be right. Yuthura was nice. Helpful. Okay, so we’d had a weird misunderstanding about...stuff, but she wasn’t the kind of woman who’d be mixed up in something shady. Was she? I tried not to look at Wren, who was shooting me a significant I-told-you-so glance.

    “Oh yeah…” Struggs snorted, ears flicking back in a gesture of distaste. “That schutta—pardon my language,” he added hastily, though I wasn't sure which of us that apology was directed at: me (Jedi), Wren (young female) or Kaz (Kaz). “She kept brushin’ me off, tellin’ me how busy Belloq was, when anyone could see he spent most of his time strutting around in his fancy clothes, twiddling his lekku. When I got reassigned to the site next to the shryack caves, I didn’t think much of it, figured that was business. But when I kept after Belloq, all the sudden Yuthura told me I was ‘not qualified’ for archaeological work and stuck me drivin’ the slop wagon—sorry, lunch speeder.” This time his apologetic glance was clearly aimed at Kaz, who shrugged. Not as if he had any illusions about the quality of food he served.

    That got my hackles up good, and I decided I was gonna find out what she was trying to hide. That was another bad decision—maybe the worst one I ever made.” The Svivren shifted uneasily in his seat, shaking his ragged mane. I caught the tremor in his Force Sense; this was not something he wanted to think about, something he was used to pushing to the farthest corners of his mind and trying hard not to think about. But in spite of the way that tremor shook him to the core, Struggs continued. “I went back to the dig after everyone had gone home one night—thought that if I could take a good look around when no one else was around, I could figure out what it was Chimaera was lookin’ for, because it sure wasn’t minerals. But before I could poke around too much, I heard voices—Belloq, Yuthura and someone else. I ducked into the nearest tomb and hid behind the rubble.”

    “Who was with them?” My attendant bad feeling, which had been lurking quietly in the back of my mind like a fyrnock in the shadows, reared its ugly head again. I wanted to think that I was just picking up on Struggs’s unease, but the bad feeling was quite insistent that, no, Something Bad was going to follow and I was more than likely Doomed.

    “No one.” The Svivreni shrugged, his wasted shoulders rustling his worn canvas tunic. “Yuthura had a holocomm with her, and they were talking to someone on it. Couldn’t tell much about him from where I was, except that he was humanoid. From his stuck-up sounding voice and the way they were fallin’ all over themselves calling him ‘sir’, he seemed to be some bigshot. He was askin’ them whether they’d found any artifacts—masks, gauntlets, swords—especially the sword of this Ajunta Pall guy. And Belloq asked if he really thought swords and masks were gonna do any good against the Jedi.”

    Okay, shut up, Bad Feeling; you don’t need to gloat that you were right. If Struggs hadn’t figured out that I was definitely an Undercover Jedi, I’m pretty sure Kaz the intrepid spy gave up the game with the frantic look he gave me and the way he nearly fell off the sofa in surprise. Wren did a little better in keeping her expression in check, but she reached for her blasters out of reflex. My voice was tight as I asked, “What did he say?”

    “That Belloq didn’t appreciate the power of using your enemies’ symbols against them.”

    Oh, karabast, haar’chak, poodoo and kriff… None of the multilingual profanity I’d picked up from my Spectre cousins or at the Academy did justice to my bad feeling at that moment. Because that just reeked of not-so-Grand Admiral Thrawn’s philosophy of art as the key to psychoanalytical warfare. Which meant that Kaz had been right to pick up on the significance of Chimaera’s name and that the Force, as usual, did not do coincidences.

    “There was more,” Struggs said as I clenched my teeth to keep all those various swear words from escaping. “But they’d almost gotten to the tomb where I was hiding, so I scrambled back as far into the rubble as could.. And that’s when I saw it—all horns and fangs and spines down its back, red eyes shining in the dark.” He shuddered, the tremor in his Force sense reaching the physical level. Without seeming to realize what he was doing, Struggs reached down to the scars on his leg and rubbed at them with quick, agitated strokes. His voice and breath were ragged when he continued, “Ugliest thing I ever saw. I swear it came out of the tomb and before I could even scream, it sank its teeth into me. I must’ve passed out, next thing I knew, I was laying in the med center, that Yuthura standing over me, saying what a shame it was I’d been caught in a rock slide. And when I said that wasn’t what happened, she just patted my hand and said the med droids found so much alcohol and spice in my system, it was no wonder I didn’t remember. Schutta’s been by to ‘check’ on me a couple times, but I get the feeling she’s only checking to see if I’m dead yet.” Struggs gave a harsh bray of laughter and fell back in his chair again, exhausted from his story. “So now that you think I’m barvier than a spice-eating lizard monkey…”

    “I don’t think you’re barvy,” I said and next to me, Kaz shook his head earnestly. “I believe you—we believe you. About everything. We—”

    And then my commlink buzzed.

    By the time I fumbled it out of my belt satchel, it had stopped, but I could count the number of people in Dreshdae who had the frequency on one hand—and half of them were in the room with me. Neither Noemi nor Humoo would comm just to say hi—well, okay, Noemi wouldn’t and Humoo wouldn’t have clicked off before he said “how-de-doodily, Ildephonsus-Ro”. The bad feeling was prodding me insistently again; a nice little headache started pulsing behind my eyes. I shoved the comm back into my satchel and scrambled off the couch. “I’m sorry, Master Struggs, we have to go now. But thank you for telling us your story. You’ve helped us more than you know.”

    Struggs rose, gingerly testing his newly healed leg. He smiled toothily when it was able to bear weight and clasped my hand. “Least I could do, Ildephonsus the-not-a-Jedi-healer.” He pulled me towards him, still gripping my hand, and said in a low voice. “But you take an old man’s advice and get your ‘cousins’ out of here. You might be able to take care of yourself, and the Mando girl, too, but the boy’s too nice for someplace like Korriban.”

    I sighed. “I wish I could, Master Struggs, I really wish I could. But I have a feeling it’s too late for that.”

    And it didn’t take long to find out how right that feeling was.
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  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Lots of helpful information and clues coming together with bad feelings :eek: =D=
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  5. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 21, 2016
    Well, if Mr. Struggs thinks Belloq and his crew are Up To Absolutely No Good, I think it's a pretty safe bet that he ain't gonna be ratting out Ro and the gang.
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Hooray! [face_dancing] I’ve been looking forward to this chapter ever since you mentioned your plans to write it, and it’s only because things have been so weird and hectic that I haven’t commented sooner—sorry about that. [face_blush]

    First, is it odd for me to say I really like Struggs? He’s just a regular guy doing his job, learns too much, and has to suffer as a result. He’s got a decent heart, as we see from the fact that he welcomes Ro, Kaz, and Wren in—it would have been so easy for him to shoo them away, but he saw them first as children whom he could do something to help. And he’s not at all dumb! It looks to me like he did guess that Ro’s a Jedi, despite Ro’s attempts to hide the fact—and even without Kaz almost letting the cat out of the bag. And thanks to his long experience in the mining trade, he is able to very quickly put two and two together about his employers and figuring out that the whole quorodium veins story (and yay, quorodium! :D ) was no more than a story.

    And boy, what he finds out—which, in a way, we readers have suspected for a while—is a huge game changer for Ro and co. Yes, it is now 100% clear that Chimaera is up to absolutely no good—but not only that, Kaz and Ro’s suspicions about who and what that name is connected to have been completely confirmed. A high baddie muckamuck with a “stuck-up-sounding voice” who bloviates about “using the enemy’s symbols against them”? Yeah, there’s no one else that could possibly be besides the Thrawnster himself. With him involved, the whole Belloq-Yuthura-Chimaera thing takes on a whole new dimension—and a whole new danger. Even if Belloq is mainly a puppet, Yuthura’s clearly got Force abilities, and that plus Thrawn equals real trouble. (And sorry, my dear good-hearted Ro, I’m going to have to join Wren here in saying an emphatic-but-still-gentle “I told you so.” :p Joking aside, though, I fear we have yet to see Yuthura at her meanest, and I doubt she’s done making trouble for Ro and co. [face_nail_biting] )

    Finally, I have to agree that there is something more than a little worrisome about that non-Noemi, non-Humoo comm call coming right at the time when it did. The timing seems a little too perfect. This is all clearly building up to something big, and I can’t wait to read more and see what you’re cooking up for us! In the meantime, tread very carefully, Ro and co.!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Things are heating up for Ronen and co. Struggs has given them some very important clues!
    Yep, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet. Struggs has no reason to like or trust the folks at Chimaera. And since Ildephonsus the not-a-Jedi-healer has done him a huge favor, he’s got very reason to keep Ro’s secret.
    I don’t think it’s odd at all. I got to like Struggs as I was writing him; he is, as they say “good people”. You’re description of him as a hard-working guy who learns to much—he’s Jimmy Stewart in a Hitchcock movie! And he’s definitely not dumb. He sees the holes in Chimaera’s story and isn’t so blinded by the promise of credits that he overlooks them. The powers that be at Chimaera obviously didn’t expect that; they’re the kind that would automatically dismiss a manual laborer as stupid and easily gulled. Having got himself into a bad situation, Struggs doesn’t want these young people to get themselves into it, too. And here it shows that the Force has the right Jedi for this mission, because Struggs opens up to them in a way he might not have for an older, more authoritative Jedi.

    Yep, the Force doesn’t do coincidences. Kaz was right to point out the connection between the mining company’s name and our not-so-lamented Grand Admiral. You—along with Wren—seem to have Yuthura’s measure. We definitely haven’t seen her at her worst, and it’s not going to be very pretty if (when?) we do.

    More not coincidental coincidences! Big events are indeed on the horizon...
  8. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to @Findswoman for beta reading @};-
    13. Journal of Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, who is glad that Wren’s on our side

    We were being followed.

    I felt the curious, malevolent eyes on us as we made our way across town from Struggs’s house back to our apartment. I shouldn’t have said anything because of course—of course!—as soon as I did, Kaz startled like a twitchy pocket hare and looked behind us. So much for keeping a low profile. I stuffed down my sigh—Kaz’s spy skills needed some serious work. Too late to do anything about it now, and since he had looked, we might as well put that look to good use. “What are we dealing with?” I asked him.

    “Umm...Human, tallish, kind of stringy brown hair. All dressed in black.”

    It wasn’t a lot of useful information, but that “dressed in black,” coupled with the fact that I could sense hostility seeping from our new friend, made me think there was a good chance we were dealing with some sort of Dark Sider. For some reason they all seem to take that “dark” thing literally and it manifests in a really boring fashion sense—black, black and more black, and, if they’re feeling jaunty, maybe a splash of red. It must be required by the Dark Side Style Guide or something. Hey guys, come to the Light—we have color. We’re allowed to wear clothes that don’t make us look like a bunch of sullen teenage poets with anger issues.

    I weighed our options—we could pretend we hadn’t seen him and just keep going. We could try to lose him in the marketplace and the alleys near the Drunk Side. That might work if he was just a normal creepy, stringy-haired guy in black. But if my hunch was right and he was some sort of Dark Sider, simple dodges weren’t going to be enough to shake him. He’d be able to track us and we’d lead him right back home where he could pay us a visit any time he wanted. Not something I wanted.

    If he were a normal guy, I could have used Jedi mind tricks on him. Not to brag or anything but, they’re kind of a specialty of mine. The old “I’m not very interesting; you should look somewhere else” maneuver was how I made it through school. It wouldn’t do anything if he was Force-sensitive, though, and there was the risk that he’d be able to sense what I was doing and it would give me away as a Jedi. So scratch mind tricks, too.

    Fighting was pretty much out, too, even if I had been the kind of person who liked to take on random creepy guys on the street. I had one weapon and once I pulled it, everyone would know what I was. There weren’t a lot of people out and about in this area of town—apparently most were sleeping off their Zhellday ales—but there were still a few vendors with open stalls and a couple old ladies milling around, gossiping. It was all pretty placid and humdrum but the minute a lightsaber started flashing...yeah, I could already hear the shrieking. Plus, I estimated it would take less than a quarter standard hour for the old ladies to pass this juicy tidbit up the gossip chain to someone at Chimaera. Cover blown, mission over, thanks for playing… Fighting would be my last ditch defense.

    Which left me with one option, and not one that I was particularly good at.

    I was going to have to try to talk our way out of this. “Stay behind me,” I told Wren and Kaz as I turned to our new friend. “Hey, there! Don’t I know you from somewhere? Have you ever been on Garel?”

    The guy wasn’t exactly what I pictured a Dark Sider looking like. I mean, he wore a black tunic, black overtunic, black sash, black gloves, boots, pants and various bits of black armor, and he had those freaky red-rimmed yellow eyes. But he was my age and with his stringy hair and sallow complexion, he looked more like an angsty teenager with bad skin than a Dark Side adept.

    He smiled, revealing a mouthful of crooked, blackened teeth. (Apparently, the Dark Side doesn’t offer dental or vision benefits.) “No,” he said in this weirdly high-pitched, almost giggly voice. “But I know who you are, Jedi.”

    Oh, kriff… Yeah, this was bad. I could sense Kaz quivering like a pocket hare facing a Loth-wolf, trying to decide whether it was better to run or just stand still. Next to him, Wren was a detonator with a ticking timer, her fingers inching towards her blasters. I backed away from the Dark Sider slowly, trying to herd the others further away from him. I hoped Wren would have enough sense to get Kaz someplace safe while I distracted him. “Jedi?” I forced a laugh. “Whoa! I think you have the wrong person! Which is pretty amazing, if you think about it. I’ve always been told I was pretty unfor—”

    “Oh, you like to talk, hmm?” the Dark Sider sniggered. “Good, because you’re going to tell me everything I want to know.” He unclipped a dull grey lightsaber hilt from his belt with a flourish and thrust it out in front of himself, holding it horizontally so that I could see the metal ring that encircled it, stretching from one of the dual emitters to the other. And I had just enough time to mutter something really unbecoming of a Jedi before he ignited its crimson blades one at a time.

    Because Dad and Uncle Ezra had described pretentious dual-bladed sabers like that to me; they were the signature weapon of an Imperial Inquisitor. Except there weren’t supposed to be any Inquisitors. There wasn’t supposed to be an Empire, either.

    There were gasps and a couple startled cries from the shopkeepers and old ladies, a noise that sounded like “eep!” from Kaz, and a heartfelt “osi’kyr!” from Wren. Dark Side Guy grinned another horrible, ruined grin and started spinning his saber, slowly at first, then faster and faster until the blades blurred into a ring of crimson fire. The old ladies started screaming in earnest now, and the Dark Sider giggled, enjoying their fear; his bloodshot eyes bored into mine as he strode towards me, swinging his spinning blade into a complex series of loops.

    “I…look…I really think you’ve got the wrong person,” I stammered, backing away from him as quickly as I could without turning tail and running. My lekku flopped spastically as I tried to figure some way out of this that left me more or less in one piece and kept Wren and Kaz safe. Some detached Jedi part of my brain—the part that wasn’t screaming like frightened eopie—noted that his flashy saber maneuvers looked cool, but they weren’t, technically speaking, all that good. There was a chance that I could disarm him if I could get to my own saber, which was currently disassembled in the bottom of my satchel.

    “I… here...just, um...let me give you all my credits and we’ll call it even…” I reached into the satchel and rummaged for the pieces, trying to assemble it without looking like I was doing anything suspicious. Having my saber in two pieces had been handy for smuggling it to school undetected, but it didn’t seem like such a good idea right now. I wondered how Dad had managed to put his saber together at critical moments...and why I’d never thought to ask him before this.

    The Dark Sider watched me like a deranged hawk bat, relishing every twitch and fumble I made, which didn’t exactly help me concentrate on what I was doing. Emotion, yet peace, I reminded myself, to which the screaming eopie in my brain replied, “yeah, right! Have you seen this guy?!”

    But while he was watching me and I was watching him, neither of us was paying attention to Kaz and Wren.

    “Oh, for the love of the Mand’alor!” came the voice of theTotally Annoyed teenage Mando behind me. “Just die, already!” There was the zing of twin WESTARs firing; their bolts sizzled past my right lek and struck the Dark Sider just at the moment when his saber was at the farthest point of its loop and his left shoulder was exposed. His red-rimmed eyes widened in shock for a fleeting second before he dropped like a sack of topatoes.

    “Wren!” I felt a seriously weird mix of emotions as I looked down on the crumpled heap of stringy hair and black clothing. I shouldn’t have been surprised; I mean, Wren is a Mando and her skill with a blaster was the reason I brought her on this mission. She’d just dropped that Dark Side goon with a one-in-I-don’t-how-many-millions shot. We’re talking Jedi-level reflexes here. So on the one hand—go, Wren. On the other—she was also my cousin. I’d patched her up a dozen times when she scraped her knees trying to climb the rock cairns around the Academy. We made tepasi taffy together every year over Life Day holidays. She still had the stuffed Loth-wolf I’d given her for her fifth birthday. It was hard to conceive that that little girl was now holstering her blasters with a look of extreme satisfaction. “You didn’t really…?!”

    “Kill him?” Wren gave an irritated tsk and rolled her eyes at me likeyou moof-milking idiot… “Of course not! But ‘just pass out already’ is a terrible battle cry. Why? Did you want me to?” She peered around me to where Mr. Creepy Dark Side Guy lay face down in the street. “I guess I can,” she said, nose crinkling with a mixture of annoyance and distaste. “Though it’s sort of a hut’uun move at this point.”

    “N-no. That’s...fine….” I was relieved that Wren had only stunned him. Maybe that’s a weird thing to say about someone who’d been ready to slice and dice me like some evil kitchen appliance and who was probably going to turn up like the proverbial bad credit to make trouble later. But I didn’t want anyone to die in the course of my mission if I could help it, not even creepy Dark Siders. I didn’t want death on my hands and Wren, at sixteen, sure didn’t need it on hers.

    It occurred to me that the old ladies were still shrieking—“Did you see that, Floribel?!” “Eh?” “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?! DID YOU?!”—and it was only going to be a matter of time until what passed for Dreshdae’s constabulary showed up to investigate the disturbance. “We need to get out of here. Kaz, grab his lightsaber.” Just because I didn’t want him dead didn’t mean I was going to make it easy for him to make trouble for us.

    “Huh?” Kaz, who had his Blurrg clutched in an awkward two-handed grip—I guess he gets points for trying to help, anyway—was staring at Wren as if she was the Best Thing in the Whole Galaxy. I’m pretty sure if I’d looked closer I would have seen little cartoon hearts whirling in his eyes. “Oh, yeah...right… Yeah, I’ll just...” He inched toward Dark Side Guy as if he was one of those Sithspawn creatures in Red Harvest who get blasted, blown up and otherwise incapacitated only to miraculously revive and attack the heroes when they come near them. After a moment’s queasy deliberation of the best approach vector, Kaz held his breath and yanked the saber out of Dark Side Guy’s limp hand. He held it out to me at arm’s length, as if it was a dead giju, a thermal detonator, or a dead giju with a thermal detonator inside it.

    “Thanks.” With the double blade and circular attachment to the hilt, it was much too big for my satchel. I looped my belt through it, and it hung heavily at my side, resting uncomfortably against my left leg. A small group of onlookers had gathered, listening to Floribel and her friend—“HE HAD ONE OF THEM LIGHT SWORD THINGS, I TELL YOU!!!”—and watching us furtively, because this was Dreshdae and no one got involved in anyone’s business, especially when blasters were involved. I took a deep breath in an attempt to center myself and broadcast a general suggestion at them: Nothing to see here. Just another drunken dispute; there were no lightsabers no matter what Floribel says. And you definitely did not see a Twi’lek-human hybrid fleeing the scene. I didn’t know how well that would work on that many people, especially when I’d just sort of thrown it out there, like scattering bits of flimsi to the wind. Enough to create some confusion for our new friend when he woke up, I hoped.

    It never occurred to me that he might have friends of his own.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Aug 31, 2004
    Ro's commentary on the Dark Sider's fashion sense and dental coverage made me [face_laugh] WREN ROCKS, and Kaz knows it LOL =D=
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  10. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 21, 2016
    Ronen: Eep! Dark Sider with lightsaber! I'm about to be busted but good!
    Wren: *casually shoots the dude*
  11. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Oh Kaz. [face_laugh] Having actually seen a bit of the show he's in now, this was so easy to picture. Though Ronen hardly has room to talk about keeping a low profile -- not so much for his skills but for how much of a trouble magnet he is!

    [face_rofl] I love Ronen's completely irreverent views on his first ever (that we know of, I guess) sighting of a Dark Sider in the wild. Though he is genuinely creeped out and in adrenaline mode, the snark just. Doesn't. Stop. (And what is it with the teeth thing anyway? Are the cavities supposed to make you more angry?)

    Wren! :D LOL, the snark is strong in Ronen's whole extended family. She's never to be underestimated and that's for sure. It's really fun to see even more of those Mandalorian skills that she has been perfecting over the years.

    DID SHE? [face_rofl]
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, some truly hair-raising action here—I was worried for Ro and co. for a little while there! :eek: There was something definitely quite creepy about that callow little inquisitor fellow, Not just the fact that he had been sent to trail Ronen in the first place but also claiming he knew who he was, etc.—not too mention that that silly spinny inquisitor lightsaber could definitely have done some damage, even if it wasn’t really all that skillfully wielded. It’s a definite testimony to Ro’s presence of mind that he was able to notice that fact, even through his very understandable fear. Not to mention that I’m not surprised that his first thought is to protect his young friends from this dark side goon! (Incidentally, his question about his dad’s two-part lightsaber is a very good one—Kanan always does seem able to put it together super quickly in the show, but I bet it took some real practice to get to that point.)

    But Wren—ohmigosh, WAY TO GO WREN! =D= “Oh, for the love of the Mand’alor,” indeed!
    She sees right through Spinny Lightsaber Guy’s ridiculous showoffy moves in literally an instant, and her Mando reflexes spring into action immediately for some truly amazing marksmanship. Whoof, after that, I’d be just as shocked as Ro was—though of course I’m super relieved, too! I just love Wren’s little remarks following, which are so perfectly her and so very Mando:

    Of course she is an honorable Mando warrior, and, as we all know, the farthest thing from a hut’uun! Not to mention that she probably saved Ro’s life, Kaz’s, and her own. And given Floribel and her chums some prime dirt to dish... I have to say, they were pretty priceless, and it’s kind of fun to imagine there being chatty, rubbernecky little Midwestern-style old ladies even on Korriban! :p But I hope, too, that Ro’s mind trick worked, because if their gossip spreads too far that could definitely spell trouble. [face_nail_biting] I guess we’ll find out!

    So, Ro and co. have Creepy Callow Dude’s lightsaber—good thinking to disarm him. I wonder if there’s any way they can learn something for it, perhaps get a little closer to understanding why things like inquisitors are back in the picture. I guess we’ll find out that, too. Definitely a lot of questions raised by this run-in, and I am definitely raring to find out where it will all lead. And I agree wholeheartedly that Ro is immensely fortunate to have the brave and resourceful Wren on his side, especially given that that last sentence of the entry suggests that things are about to come to quite a head! (Once again, [face_nail_biting]! )

    Keep it coming! I can’t wait to see what will happen next. And congratulations once again on making such great headway on this for WIP month—way to go! =D= =D= =D=
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