Saga - OT Follow Me Home (Ezra post-Rebels; Autumn Bingo)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman , Nov 7, 2022.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: Follow Me Home
    Era: Saga–OT (roughly; takes place at some indeterminate point after Rebels and after the Battle of Endor)
    Characters: an older Ezra Bridger
    Genre: Vignette, introspection, slice of life, potential AU
    Summary: One of Lothal’s most famous sons, returning to his homeworld after a long time away, follows a black Loth-cat.
    Notes: Written for the 2022 Autumn Bingo challenge, using the following row of the bingo board: Graveyard—Gratitude—Black Cat—Pear—Bonfire. Once again, I thank @Raissa Baiard for beta reading.

    He was here.

    He had made it. The journey had been a long and eventful one, but that was a story for another time. All that mattered was that he stood once again amid the steppe-grass and stone outcroppings of his homeworld.

    The young man, goateed and cloaked in a long burnous, looked around him. The grasses were golden and sere, crackling slightly underfoot, and a tangy chill hung in the air: he could tell it was the harvest season. It was also getting on toward evening, for the sky was as golden as the grass, and although the sun was sinking the moons had yet to rise.

    Pulling his cloak closer about him he walked on through the grasses. Rustle, rustle, swish, rustle: somehow, even without a comm or compass, he knew he was going the right direction. Swish, rustle, rustle, swish…


    The man stopped. Something soft, small, and alive was nudging his ankle. He looked down to see a small feline creature, glossy black from its tall conical ears to its puffy tail. A Loth-cat, of course, common to this terrain, though seldom seen in this color. It was rather pretty.

    “Mrow?” it said again. It sounded like a question. From what the young man remembered about these beasts and their manner of communication (and he was grateful he had not forgotten it after such a long absence), he was fairly certain what the question was: Come with me?

    “Yeah, for sure,” he said aloud. For one thing he knew he remembered was this: when one of these creatures said come, you came.

    The cat gave a satisfied purr and led on through the steppe-grass. The young man followed: rustle, swish, swish, rustle once again. Meanwhile, the sky’s gold grew deeper and oranger, and the sun sank lower, casting its glow on the grasses. Swish, rustle, swish, almost endlessly.

    But the man was glad to follow, for he knew where he was.

    Presently they came to the edge of a city: the city, Capital City. The man knew it well, as he had grown up there, though it has been transformed: lofty spires of alabaster white replaced the dark spew of the Imperial smokestacks, and the Imperial Complex no longer cast its baleful shadow over the skyline.

    With another mrow, the cat led the man down one of the main streets. He looked around, taking in the sights. Evening streetlights were beginning to come on, and lights shone from windows; the streets were still moderately populated with both foot traffic and light speeders as people made their way home from work or ran evening errands. He blended in easily with the townspeople, many of whom were wearing the same style of burnous as he was; several of the women, he noticed, still wore the traditional wimpled hat. The cat wound its way deftly through the crowd, and the man followed it as best he could.

    They reached an intersection, where the cat stopped and drew itself up with a proud mrrr. The man looked up to read the street sign, written in both Aurebesh and the old Lothali alphabet: Chapel Street, rehuv Mishkana. This was where he had lived with his parents when he was small and still had his parents. He had run and played on it as a child, run from it completely when the Empire came for his parents, and then come back to continue their fight against that same Empire. Many a jogan he had bought (and pilfered) from its shops and stalls. He looked about; even now, close to dusk, several of these were still open, though others were just beginning to put up their shutters.

    He turned into one of the produce shops, and the cat followed him, giving a mew of indifference. He surveyed the wares. The shop was out of jogans, and while the meilooruns were quite fine, they were, of course, a bit too large for his pockets and pouches (he somehow knew he would be doing more walking). But the moonglow pears looked nice, and he seemed to member they were in season at this time of year anyway. So he bought himself one with the credit stick in his pocket. If the shopkeeper (an older Human woman, in one of the wimpled hats) recognized him, she said nothing of it.

    The cat, who had been querulously mewing the whole time in the shop, returned to purring and nudging his ankles as he turned back out onto the street. He walked leisurely along, looking at the houses and buildings. There was old Professor Yuhallam’s house, there was Tseebo’s (poor fellow, he never found out what had happened to him). There was where the Sumars used to have their farmstand (it was a stylish bistro now). There was the butcher shop where his mother used to buy nuna or shaak roast for Taungsday nights. There, through the alleyway between two buildings, was the lot where they had found that TIE Fighter that time (though now home to a perfectly ordinary Incom T-16 Skyhopper and a few assorted landspeeders). The man looked up to the roofs; yes, those were the very ones he had sprinted and parkoured across trying to catch up with the stolen fighter’s madcap career.

    And there, near another alleyway, was the wall that had once held all the “wanted” posters. It had been repainted white and there was no longer any trace of them, but the man remembered the spot and the pictures as clear as day (he had been so young then).

    The cat’s “Mrrrrow!” broke in on his thoughts as it nudged him onward. It led him around a corner onto another major thoroughfare: Liberty Street, rehuv Dror. There, people were lined up alongside the street and looking expectantly from windows and balconies; many held lightsticks or even candles, as dusk was well advanced now. Proceeding slowly down the street toward them was a crowd of other people, also holding lightsticks or candles. Now and then someone from the side of the road would join the procession as it passed by. Many people walked in silence, but a few hummed or chanted under their breath.

    The man knew what this was: the annual memorial procession, held on the middle day of the harvest season, leading from the central square to the cemetery on the western edge of town. All those walking down the street with their lights were those remembering lost loved ones or friends.

    An old man was selling and lighting candles outside one of the buildings. The young man went to him, bought one, lit it, and joined the group. For some reason it felt right.

    The cat, giving an approving prrrhh, strutted beside him.

    The group marched on through the streets. Dusk was well advanced now; as the outskirts of town drew nearer, the city’s lights began to dwindle, and a big, dark void seemed to lie ahead. The young man, who had been walking in silence, now found himself reciting an old mantra he had learned long ago: “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me…”

    Suddenly a blaze of flame illumined his field of view: the light of a young bonfire. It had been kindled, as was traditional, in a circular stone pit at the center of the cemetery, and those of the marchers carrying candles would throw their candles into it, letting the tiny flames of their memories add to the larger light.

    In the flickering glow the young man could see the rows of vine-covered memorial stones. As a child, he had always marveled at how many of them there were. But now he knew their number differently: for each being now sleeping beneath one of them, there were several hundred more who had died graveless at the Empire’s hands.

    Slowly the crowd of marchers approached the bonfire to toss their candles in, one by one or few by few. Most of them also withdrew to the side to bask in its light for a few moments, or longer. This the young man did as well after tossing his candle in, and as he did, the cat wove about his feet in figure-eights, purring with fervor.

    He picked the cat up in his arms and held it close, stroking its glossy black fur. Together they stood there a long while, basking in the warmth, the light, and the memory. They stayed there until all the people had trudged home, all the lights had receded back into the city, and all the flames had died down. And then—

    The man became aware of another light, some distance away, twinkling overhead. A small golden rectangle, high up but not yet in the sky—a window. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see from where it was coming: one of the old communications towers that stood at intervals in the steppelands…

    Mrrrah!” The cat perked up in his arms, then jumped from them and ran through the grasses toward the tower. This time it was an imperative: Come!

    The man was glad to follow, for he knew where he was.

    He was home.


    I am deliberately avoiding coming up with an exact figure for how long after canon events this story takes place, because I’m not sure I agree with what’s implied in the current canon. Thus this can be considered a bit of an AU—and again I say, it’s only “alternate” if you want it to be!

    Moonglow pears: (turns out to be the name of a real-life pear variety, too)


    The Old Lothali street names are fanon and based on the following Hebrew words: reḥov ‘street’, mishkan ‘tabernacle’ (the word used for the Israelites’ portable sanctuary while wandering in the wilderness), dror ‘liberty, release’ (the word used in the original Hebrew of the Liberty Bell’s verse, Leviticus 25:10).

    Professor Yuhallam is an OC who previously appeared in “I saw the wolf…”

    Who is in that tower? If you know the end of Rebels, you might know! ;)
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2022
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Clash of Titans Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    I like the interaction with the cat and him coming home
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha WIP Month Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent sense of finally returning home. You get the sense of a long journey. @};- =D=
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022
  4. Oddly_Salacious

    Oddly_Salacious Jedi Grand Master star 1

    Dec 5, 2005
    I enjoyed the use of repeated sound words, an unfamiliar language, and this phrase as they all cast the environment nicely. It reminded me of post-war France.
    Overly, a good tale to read with sips of morning coffee; and probably a marked contrast to the Angst challenge going on. :)
  5. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 3, 2003
    Here from your post in the Read & Review Tag thread, which reminded me I read this story back when you posted it and really enjoyed it but never got around to commenting, oops!

    I love the description and setting of this, I can picture it all so clearly. I like that it's such a quiet 'everyday' moment, too. The Empire's defeated, there's no big war or drama, it's just the people of Lothal living their lives while remembering those who are gone. It really is a slice of life, and a wonderful homecoming for Ezra! Beautiful work. [face_love]=D=
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Ah, what a lovely and moving piece you wrote for the Autumn Bingo challenge, and I am so thrilled that I finally got around to reading it! I will blame the general chaos of the holiday season for my delay!

    You always have such wonderfully evocative landscape details, and here I especially loved the description "tangy chill." It was such a creative and excellent phrasing.

    I got a chuckle out of this. [face_laugh] You really captured that sort of adorably demanding feline nature so well here. Bravo!

    Again, you give us some really rich and vivid setting details that allow the reader to create a true mental image of the surroundings. I also appreciate how deftly you could conjure those feelings associated with homecoming. The sense of being in a place that is at once familiar and changed or different. It's a very complicated emotion, which I think you capture so well here.

    I always love how you focus on cultural details like clothing and how you manage to describe the traditions of peoples and places in your stories. It is a great gift.

    This section and the following two paragraphs again did a magnificent job of capturing that feeling of homecoming. There is that feeling of sort of bittersweet nostalgia beneath all his childhood memories as well.

    And this sounds like a powerful and profound ceremony that really connects well with the themes of homecoming and memory in this story! =D=

    All in all, another triumph! Well done[face_dancing]
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  7. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    The autumnal feel here is really immersive and lovely, and I really liked the sense of mingled bittersweetness and warmth in Ezra's homecoming.

    @};- The little details like crunching grass just make this setting so vivid and heighten the sense of nostalgia that comes through in Ezra's perspective on his long-ago (and maybe future?) homeworld.

    Aww, kitty! :D Reminds me of someone(s) I know well. Who also say "mrow" quite a bit! :p

    [face_laugh] 'Tis best not to leave them waiting too long for sure; they get into all kinds of mischief if you do.

    I really liked this bit; it does a great job of making you feel like you're there with Ezra and his new little buddy.

    :) Nice to see that some of the change over the years since he left has been for the better.

    Even though it's made clear who he is, I like that you did keep his name out of it as it adds to the feeling that he's become a bit anonymous in this place where he used to be known. (Especially to the ones putting up wanted posters. :p)

    I liked that there were details added like the name of the street (which of course he'd know because it's the street where he grew up) that make it feel more like a real place, along with the significance to his story arc that we see in the show. And it's still really sad to think that all these years later he ends up being the only one making this pilgrimage apart from the cat, because he's lost touch with everyone who knew him before and during the Rebellion. :(

    Those meilooruns always seem to be trouble anyway. [face_laugh]

    Good kitty! [face_laugh]

    Oh, ouch -- it's tough to see familiar people, places, and businesses go normally but when it's under the circumstances of the Empire killing and/or forcing people into hiding, that change in the landscape is that much more of a reminder of everything bad that happened. :(

    :D It's good to see that there are places that bring back happy memories too -- like stealing TIE-fighters. ;)

    That must be a strange feeling for Ezra, after years of being aware of that possibility that he may be recognized in a very inconvenient way. Now there's little chance that anyone will know him unless he tells them who he is.

    The procession sounds really beautiful, and the combination of lights/candles with the dark and chilly evening makes for a beautiful and moving mental image. It seems like Ezra has arrived at just the right time, whether he knew it or not, and with his companion along it's definitely no coincidence.

    [face_love] As ever, what a great kitty-cat! I'm glad that Ezra decided to go along and be a part of the ceremony; that seems like something that he could really use, especially after years away.

    @};- All of these bits were really emotional; that he still recites the mantra he must have learned from Kanan is really poignant. And his thoughts on the stones are a stark reminder that however much Ezra lost, he wasn't the only one -- his whole world is full of people whose friends and family were killed during the Empire and the war. Which on one hand could be cold comfort, but in this case it feels like it was a good thing for him to do this while being surrounded by people who he knows at least in some cases share a bit of the same story.

    This moment too, was just too pretty to leave out without quoting! @};- I really like the feeling of quiet, stillness, and peace that feels just a bit somber but not grim.

    I have a guess what (who) that light in the window might be, and I hope I'm right! [face_dancing]

    [face_love] I really liked this ending; even as it's a bit open-ended, it feels like whatever happens is going to be what Ezra needs to find there.
    Findswoman likes this.