Author: rktho_writes Title: Du Doompa (excerpt) Era: Original Trilogy era, 13-0 BBY Characters: Canon characters: Hondo Ohnaka, Enfys Nest, Weazel, Puggles Trodd, Chussido; Original characters: Korma, Risuno, Com Narcom, Kaltha, Magnus Tarkay, Koodo, Mordron Koss, Mrs. Magnus Tarkay, Leela, Apollon Kondric, Qualdo Tarkay, Onjol Ros, Haldo Cofar, Dunn Morgan, Parjai Ralhac, Shorkkata, Khojaw, Portia Tarkay, Desdemona Tarkay, Kup Kup, Moidra Canady, N'than, Pahoran Antilles, Zoram, A'Koshi Genre: General Summary: A priest with a hidden past takes in a stranger in need. 13 BBY; Dygni, the Tromani system. A thick storm shadowed the rolling purple hills, blotting the moons from sight. Great gidbats' wings made loud splashing noises as they flapped through the dark shower, screeching as they searched for rainsnakes in the soaking grass. Around a small hill was a town, bustling with beings in rainjackets, ponchos, slick broad-brimmed hats, or anything they could possibly wear to protect themselves from the downpour. Dromorses grumbled and moaned as they pulled hovercoaches through the streets, their piglike hides bearing the brunt of the elements. Korma looked out from the window of the church. "What a dark night," he murmured in observation. He twirled a few hairs on his long, white beard between his dark fingers, watching the rain pour from the thundering sky. "Observation: That would be due to the heavy cloud cover and precipitation," remarked Risuno dryly as she used her screwdriver appendage to uncap the lantern she was performing maintenance on. Her old circuits whirred as she worked. "Yes, but it's especially dark tonight," said Korma, turning away from the window and drawing his white robes about him. "It must be bitter cold. I do hope there isn't a poor soul out there without a coat and hood." "Estimate: Statistically, it is likely there are around sixty or more such beings," replied the droid, replacing an illumination cell in one of the lanterns meant to hang above the pews. "A fair portion of them could be droids." She shut the hatch, screwed it shut and the light floated to the ceiling. Her spidery appendages retreated into her back. "Well, droid, being or beast, we'll take them in if they need shelter." The priest shivered. "It's even cold inside the chapel." "Statement: That is because you asked me to leave the doors open," replied Risuno, folding her copper arms. "In case a droid, being or beast needed shelter. We should really have put a sign up instead." "Oh, spare me, you antique," Korma muttered, kneading his tall, coned cranium. "Some beings are illiterate. What good is a sign they can't read?" "Concession: Have it your way," said the droid. She put a finger to her cranial antenna. "Statement: My scanners have alerted me to a being entering the church now." Korma walked briskly with the droid to the entrance and found a sopping, ragged human rubbing his hands in front of the heater the priest had provided for refugees. The man did not seem to notice the priest or the sexton, but muttered to himself under his breath from underneath his thick, greying beard as it dripped on the floor. "Greeting: Welcome, good sir," said Risuno. "We can offer you food as well as warmth if you should need it." The man removed his gloves and continued rubbing. His grumbled thanks was almost inaudible. Korma glanced at Risuno and clapped his hands lightly. The droid hurried off to the kitchen. Korma approached the man. "What is your name, good sir?" The man glowered and looked away, wordlessly retrieving a datapad from his belt and handing it to the priest. Korma read the information on the device. Com Ether Narcom, Human male, 46 standard years. Petty thief, repeat offender. Indicted on counts of theft, assault and resisting arrest. A physical description was listed below. Korma looked at the man, who was still glaring at the floor. "Welcome, Com," said the priest kindly. "Come with me. Sister Risuno is putting dinner on the table." "Dinner?" The man laughed. "For both of us? At this hour?" "We have been expecting a wanderer such as yourself to make your way into our sanctuary," said Korma. "I hope you won't mind my joining you. I have eaten very lightly all day." Com shuffled behind the priest as he was led into the dining room. Two plates were set on either end. Com narrowed his eyes as he sat. "Are these aurodium?" "A small luxury," Korma smiled. "Sister Risuno will be along shortly with the food." Com said nothing, but merely turned his plate in his hands, rubbing it with his thumbs. He picked up the fork and determined it was the same material as the plate. "Tell me about yourself," Korma said kindly. "I already showed you the datapad," Com snapped. He rubbed a wet spot out of his beard with his thumb. "I don't care what's on the datapad." Korma folded his hands. "I want to know you. Your criminal record does not define you." "If it didn't define me, I wouldn't have to carry it," Com growled. Korma frowned sympathetically. "Did you have any ambitions before you were sent to prison?" "No," Com replied. "I was too focused on staying alive. When's the droid getting here with the food?" "Patience, my friend," Korma admonished. "She will not be more than two minutes. Do you have family?" "I did. They starved to death when I wasn't there for them." Korma winced. "I'm sorry." "Of course you are." Risuno entered, carrying a platter. "Declaration: Dinner is served." "Thank you, Suno," Korma smiled. No sooner had the droid filled Com's plate than the man began tear into it voraciously. Risuno quietly placed a goblet next to the ravening man, but he didn't even look at it until his plate was empty. Then he seized the cup and drained it in one swig. Korma thought he saw his eyes linger on the cup as he brought it down. "There is more if you are still hungry," Korma offered. "You may eat as much as you like. We have prepared much for hungry travellers and vagabonds." "Thank you," Com grunted, growing less brusque. "I haven't had anything but a jogan in the past two days." Risuno went to fetch more food. Korma twiddled his fingers and tapped on the table, waiting to see if Com would be more conversational now that he had eaten something. Com was thumbing the stem of his cup, feeling the etchings in the gold, but he wasn't looking at his fingers. His eyes were down just low enough not to meet Korma's. Was it a distrustful look? Contemplative? Korma could sense his emotions, but not identify them. Risuno returned with the food and Com took it, gently this time. Despite eating less voraciously than before, his breath still came in gasps between bites. "Please, stay the night," Korma offered. "You have had a long day, I am sure." Com nodded. "Thank you." "I will be retiring to bed now, actually," said Korma, standing. "If you need anything, Sister Risuno will happily provide." Com yawned. "Where is the room?" "Information: This way," said Risuno, leading the man to Korma's guest room. Korma watched them go. He sensed something. Com's mind was racing. He was anxious about something, as though he had discovered some great opportunity. You can read the rest of this fic on my AO3 page at rktho_writes.