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Saga - PT Before the Saga Forever Away From Home (OCs, town chronicles) - OC & OTP challenge response replies December 03rd

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok Poet, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Title: Forever Away from Home
    Author: Ewok Poet
    Characters: See individual stories.
    Timeframe: Starts about 100 years before the Battle of Endor, ends around Clone Wars.
    Rating: See individual stories.
    Genre: See individual stories.
    Canonicity: Strongly leaning towards the new canon, despite utilising some Legends bits.

    Summary: Stories about the town figuring in most of my other fics.

    A/N: This thread will serve as my response to multiple recent challenges, including the Fanon Challenge, Spring OC Challenge, Movie Quote Challenge, remaining Writer's Block challenges etc. I had this idea of connecting them into a single narrative. I've still not decided if this thread is a "series" or an "epic", but the stories are definitely meant to be listed separately!

    I based the storytelling in this on the way Svetlana Alexievitch's interviewees spoke for her in Voices of Chernobyl, which is one of my favourite books ("I loved her long before her Nobel's Prize!" - Hipster!EP). The events in these stories are not related to Chernobyl in any way. Some of them, though, are a fictionalised version of an obscure historical event that actually did take place in our world.

    Important
    All my fics take place in a shared micro-universe that does not contradict anything that happens before the Sequel Trilogy and is therefore canon-compliant. If you have not read anything I have written before, you're more than welcome to, though it's not obligatory. Ask whatever you want to know - I will be happy to help! And flattered that you're interested!

    Links to "help files"
    - My OCs (original characters)
    -My fanon entry on Vagran - the planet where Anaslinea-Hoc is, duh!
    - My fanon entry on Sacorria

    Links to related works, listed chronologically:
    - Forever Away from Home
    - Midday Darkness // The Light Is Me, I Am The Light
    - Letters Never Sent
    - The Black Star
    - My short stories

    *If there is anything new in this shared universe, this list will be updated*

    The series' title was borrowed from an incredible work by an incredible artist. [face_love]
     
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  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    The Way I Want to Remember Her


    Characters: All OCs - Ravyd Caraway, Prime Minister of Vagran, a spokeswoman, Sirold Yanik. Non-speaking appearances by Robinia and Largo Caraway. Mention of Karmenee Caraway.
    Timeframe: 98 BBE / 102 BBY
    Rating: PG
    Genre: Drama

    Summary: Ravyd Caraway is presented with the keys to a new town of Anaslinea-Hoc on Vagran, built for refugees exiled from former town of Anaslinea on Jumus.

    A/N: Response to the picture and idiom from the Writer's Block Challenge #7.




    Nymph of the Jumus Sea by day, a glistening jewel of the very edge of the Sector in the night. The muse to many artists from the sector. Mardri Soulworks Collective from Aurea, wandering Corellian poets, pseudo-bohemians of Sacorrian liberal sanctuary of Sublata…they all rushed to see her. And welcome them she did. She would take them in her arms and rock them to their sleep. They would wake up the next morning and feel inspired. Recharged and rejuvenated, they would flock to the Black Sands Beach at the very top of the cape and take holos of the Jumus Ocean, paint or find a place to sit in the shade of her old trees. That is how many works of art were made. That is how many friendships started.

    That is the way I want to remember her.

    The fingerprints of a turbulent history that could have been read by generations, in relief, on the many landmarks that our ancestors had built. You could have read it with your fingers, your mind or your heart. Each deep line a big change, each shallow line a small one. All of which she would always emerge from as the winner. All the way, until that very day.

    That is the way I want to remember her.

    Our ancestors built her with their own bare hands, over the course of centuries, as the first settlement on Jumus. Their souls, their minds and their personal history were woven into each single wall and each single floor of our former warm homes. Their beliefs, their secrets and their love was in each single brick of our temple.

    So she was, my Anaslinea. And yours.

    This is the way we should remember her.

    I do not want to remember the burnt ground, the speckled mosaic of ashes and salt. I do not want to remember the subsequent rain, the flimsi we were bombarded by long before the attack dissolving on the bodies of my former neighbours and friends. I do not want to remember leaving. As far as I am concerned, we never left. Our souls are still on Jumus, even though our feet are walking on the black sands of the Ka’zaan Gulf here on Vagran. The souls of those we buried under the ruins have hopefully travelled with us to Vagran, or will be there in a couple of years’ time, depending on what you believe.

    He stopped for a moment. There was nothing else to say. There was no fitting end for his stream-of-consciousness speech. He had spent the night tending to his dying child and he could not have possibly prepared an actual speech! He hoped that nobody would see him shed a tear. If the mayor was to lose his hope, then what was left for the others?

    He was waiting for the woman to say something. She was not picking up on his clues at first, but then, her face turned into a grin that he could swear was enhanced by synthteeth.

    "The Prime Minister of Vagran will now present you with the keycard to your future." She finally blurted out, pointing to the elderly man who had not previously said a word. “The keys to your new home here on Vagran!”

    Conveniently, the Prime Minister’s hair looked like a mosaic of ashes and salt. Ravyd Caraway accepted the small wooden box and tried hard not to nod. On Vagran, that would have been considered an enthusiastic gesture. On Jumus, that was a loud no. Either way, he would have offended somebody. Instead of this, he turned around, raising the box above his head. Faced with despair in the eyes of the weak and poor surrounding him, he felt his hands shaking. For a moment, he wondered if the enthusiastic announcer was a Sacorrian and not a Vagranite. She most certainly sounded like one, and the false hope she seemed to be giving to the remaining healthy residents of his new town was stabbing him through the chest. It felt insulting.

    Finally, he opened the box. The rustic wooden key with glass elements that must have been done by the skilled artisans from the neighbouring planet of Aurea was stunning, yet it looked like something intended to be in a museum, to tell a tale of somebody and something long gone, not something to be given to living people, to refugees still standing on their weak legs. In a stark contrast to this, the tiny duraplast keycards to the future looked bleak, just like the faces of surviving townspeople.

    “Why are these grey and blank?” He asked the Prime Minister. The woman was about to say something, her face slowly breaking into the same, strange grimace that only resembled a smile, but this time, the PM actually managed to speak before she did.

    “It’s up to residents of the New Anaslinea…”

    “Anaslinea-Hoc, Master. We decided to use Olys Corellisi in its name. ‘Hoc’ as in ‘here’.”

    The PM coughed nervously. “It’s up to residents of Anaslinea-Hoc to write their own history on these keycards, or any other keycards, for that matter. You’re staring at the blank page before you and the rest is still unwritten.”

    Was that phrase in some coursebook on Galactic Leadership?

    “But who is going to write it, Master?” Ravyd asked. “Who is going to write it when one-third of our population succumbed to swamp-fever?”

    “You!” The woman jumped in again and pointed to people present. “And you, Master Caraway, you shall be leading them!”

    “And you’re so sure of this?” Just like four thousand of his remaining refugees, Ravyd Caraway was no longer hopeful.

    “You won, Master Caraway. You saved six thousand souls.” Prime Minister gently put his hand on the mayor’s shoulder. “Once we get the shipment of the antidote from the Corporate Sector, the remaining four thousand of those souls will be able to adopt to Vagran’s biosphere and live the life deserving of such heroes.”

    Heroes? Another textbook phrase? They were refugees. They were people who slept in open for one month in order to be able to bring their harvest on the large cargo ships leading them forever away from home. What was heroic about being exiled from one’s home planet?

    Vagran was supposed to feel like home. The least inhabited terrestrial planet of the CorSec sure had better seaside locations for a whole town of misplaced people than this? Who in their ever-loving mind would ever place six thousand refugees next to something called 'the burping sarlacc of Vagran", on a swampy field underneath a ghostly abandoned citadel, on top of a fault? How come that a civilised planet, renowned for its symbiosis with wildlife had no sufficient amount of antidote for the swamp-fever? Why was motivation above actual action? Was this what the Galactic Republic was about, in its very core, on the fringe of one of its most prominent sectors?

    Ravyd looked at his townspeople again. There was a small smile or two, mostly in older women and the youngest of the children. His son, Largo, was grinning in an almost comical way. Little Karmenee, whose body was waiting twenty kilometres away, in Abatore’s morgue, until the second graveyard was built, she would have smiled, too. For the Caraway offspring, daddy may have been a hero. They had their own reasons, unrelated to textbooks, unrelated to motivational speakers.

    The grinning woman led an applause. Most beings clapped mechanically, like the civil engineering droids still working on their new houses. Ravyd led the hoverplatform he stood on to the ground and walked up to Robinia and Largo.

    “Let’s go home.” He said. They both shook their heads.

    He hoped that no actual Vagranite saw this, they would have likely assumed that his family was just a pile of ungrateful eastern fringe scum. He picked up Largo and held Robinia’s hand. Once they were at their new house in the centre of the town under the apex trees, she was most certainly going to cry again, mourning Karmenee. And so was he, once Largo is in the upstairs room, with the new toy he received from the farmer who sold the whole area to the Abatore Prefecture in the first place – a model of the Corellian Sector, complete with mini-repulsorlifts built in little spheres representing planets.

    “Ravyd?” a man approached him from the back. It was a nerf-herder by the name of Sirold Yanik. An actual man dealing with cattle.

    “Yes, Sirold?”

    “What am I going to do for living? All my animals are gone. The tukka weed turned out to be poisonous for nerfs. On top of this, Krelaa, Enye and I have nothing to eat tonight. We gave all the food to our last breeding male, hoping he would survive; but he was dead come thirty minutes later.”

    The mayor nodded and led Sirold towards the newly-built town hall, a glass-domed building underneath a particularly old tree. He shooed away a couple of tiny intaglio-craving droids on his way in, mumbling something that was not particularly graceful. Why didn’t any of these locals think about food supply?

    There was no time to mourn Karmenee. There was no time for crying. There was no time to be a mere lackluster refugee.

    For Ravyd Caraway, the mayor of Anaslinea-Hoc, had to save whatever could still be saved.




    Footnotes:
    Jumus is canon. The town of Anaslinea was entirely made up.

    Vagran is between Sacorria and Aurea and there's a lot more of it in Suns of Fortune, where the city of Abatore is mentioned.

    Ka'zaan Gulf and Anaslinea-Hoc, however, are fanon. So is the burping Sarlacc of Vagran.

    Mardri Soulworks Collective from Aurea also appears in Suns of Fortune, but nobody ever created it a Wook page.

    Sublata is a fanon city on Sacorria. More here.

    Tukka weed and swamp-fever are fanon, the latter is some kind of in-universe malaria.

    Hoc is obviously the Latin pronoun for "here", but even though the townspeople see their town as female, I used the neutral gender variant for Olys Corellisi. a) Haec would just look weird, b) The town name is a lazy anagram to begin with.
     
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  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    This is beautifully written. The sorrow, the resignation, and the single-minded will to survive despite the most tragic of circumstances comes through so strongly here. There can't be anything more heartbreaking than the loss of a child. This is especially tragic after going through such a struggle to save what is left of their population to see your own little one pass away.

    Really, a very moving piece, EP.
     
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  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Glad to see this starting—I had been curious about it ever since you first mentioned it to me (which indeed is how it is with every story of yours you've told me about). Ravyd has such a tough job here on so many levels: not only is to try to give hope to 6000 people in a hopeless situation, but also to mediate between those people's real, raw feelings and needs and the "official" rhetoric of the premier and other city officials. He is in the unique and unenviable position of being both those things at once: on one hand, he's going to be the mayor of the new city, and on the other he and his family have suffered just as big a loss as any other citizen with the untimely death of Karmenee. :( It's the leitmotif of real vs. official that's explored so well in your other recent stories too. But despite all the hopelessness, despite all the faux rhetoric he hears from his fellow officials, he navigates that divide with incredible grace. And his speech is just plain gorgeous. What else does he NEED to say? @};-

    Well, one answer to that could be that he needs to say something to the cattle herder at the end. You don't have him actually giving that man a verbal answer, though it's clear that that's by design that he is at least trying to start helping him by leading him toward the city hall. It remains to be seen of course whether the herder will actually be helped by that gesture, and I suspect you left that question open on purpose. But the fact that Ravyd is devoting thought to these matters is certainly a feather in his hat.

    Fantastic details all around: the contrast between the ceremonial and real keys, the "burping sarlacc" (oh gosh, don't I remember that from another story of yours), the official's synth-toothy smile, the toy repulsorlift orrery (which I'm guiessing will play an important role in future stories, Chekhov-fashion). Can't wait to read more about what the "future" of these "heroes" really will be like.
     
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Touching and evocative =D= In your iner reflections and overt contrasts, you can feel the pathos and upheaval of change. Are refugees heroes or merely exiles? [face_thinking] A beautiful place has been lost. :( Gorgeous and comfortable, which does not help that the place they're going to is so vastly not. :p
     
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  7. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! :)

    This series is a huge challenge, as I'm combining something that really happened with a bunch of surreal concepts (oopa, Marquez-style!) and the GFFA. This was almost like a litmus test for whether it could work or not. The idea of protagonists and some sort of a hive mind that is not really a hive mind was a challenge, too.

    And the topic itself is very dear to my heart, but that should be a given.




    Thank you. :)

    Ravyd is not a politician by nature. As the next story reveals, he's actually the local teacher and he somehow found himself in the role of the new town's mayor, after a bunch of bizarre events unfolded right before his eyes. If I end up not writing teachers right, you - being a teacher yourself - have all the right to correct me.

    And the single-minded will to survive is actually the leitmotif of the entire series - people from Anaslinea/Anaslinea-Hoc in the stories in this thread will function both as individuals and as some sort of a hive mind, making their town a protagonist herself. And yes, to them it's a "she". :)

    Similarly, there's a dark edge to the idea of losing a part of yourself, but keeping the "hive".

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how I know if the bizarre ideas I have should come to fruition or not. [face_blush]

    His job is to do that, but the way he's doing it here is barely hanging by. :(

    Or one side vs. other side...re:bolded text.

    He said it all and he did not share his personal woes, because he didn't want any additional symbolism.

    I left that open thinking it was super-obvious, but I'm pretty sure that I got carried away. He intended to invite Sirold to sleep at his home.


    Nah, no deeper meaning. Just a popular toy at the time. :)

    The rest, well, that's what it's like.

    You totally nailed it with the bolded part, that is precisely what I wanted people to see.
     
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  8. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Wait in The Fire...

    Characters: All OCs - story told by Ravyd Caraway (protagonist of the previous story)
    Timeframe: 98 BBE / 94 BBY
    Rating: PG-13 (violence is inevitable)
    Genre: Drama/Action

    Summary: Ravyd Caraway, now living in Anaslinea-Hoc on Vagran, writes about his people's exodus from Anaslinea on Jumus and how it came to happen.

    A/N: Multi-part. Response to the Fanon Challenge #1, where the elements I got were Chyntuck's Funeral rites and traditions in the GFFA and Gahmah Raan's Skakoan Commandos. In both cases, I'll be expanding on existing fanon. The earlier calls for it, either way and I do hope that two more morbid things sets of customs will be a welcome addition to the list. In the latter case, the author is welcome to treat my "backstory" as an AU, I just thought that there needs to be a concept that led to formation in the times not described in the entry.

    The story title is the dominant line from Jeff Buckley's song, Grace. I do not connect to him and his opus the way I connect to the opus from the person whom I shamelessly stole the series title from, I cannot connect to more than one artist like that...but that song moves me in so many ways.






    Prologue

    "GO AWAY. YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE."

    The message on the heavy wooden door was slightly strange, but I thought that younglings were playing a prank on me and my family again.

    It wouldn't have been the first time. Nobody likes the teacher in a small town, everybody knows where he lives and they think he is an enemy. And on the cape facing the Black Ocean, in the middle of what used to be Jumus wasteland, nobody really wants you to go away, because you have nowhere to go. Drowning yourself in the dark waters that once took the life of a powerful tycoon in a matter of second was clearly not an option.

    We had no recollection of how we ended up on Jumus in the first place, but we had been there for millenia. We didn't know why we spoke what was otherwise an ancient language. The population was steady during the most of our history. Most battles fought around Anaslinea were like a hologram picture show flickering before our eyes - something we witnessed, but were never really a part of. Iurisdiction would come and go, but we would always remain the same in the end.

    All of these things led me to believing that the message could have not been anything more than a mere youngling joke. Why would anybody be speaking to us as whole and not just me? Sure, Jumus was now aligned with something out of the Sector, something called Techno Union, but how was that related to Anaslinea and a handful of her citizens?

    By the next day, I had learned the truth. And it wasn't pretty.

    (TBC)
     
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  9. Gahmah Raan

    Gahmah Raan Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2015
    I don't have much context here, but can I assume that in this era, the Commandos as a cohesive military unit got reformed and aren't just mercenaries anymore?
     
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  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I do plan to finish this in a bit. Been busy. However, as I said in the introduction, since your folks were formed around the CW, I am expanding on what happened before that (this story takes place 98 BBE // 94 BBY) and you're welcome to treat it as an AU backstory or whatever. Most of uses of fanon elements in other stories were carried out like that. :)
     
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  11. Gahmah Raan

    Gahmah Raan Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Ah, I was thrown off, as the story info said AE / ABY.
     
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  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014

    D'oh! Thanks for the correction. I do that all the time.

    Anyway, I hope I'll do them justice once I'm done. :)
     
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  13. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    So, this thread is in for a bit of more confusion reorganisation.

    Since I have to write two stories later in the timeline - one for the OTP Challenge and one that will be Kahara 's long-overdue award fic, I am hereby aborting the first version of Wait in the Fire... and I shall ask the sock to remove it from the 2016 index, too. The little that I did write of the story will be added to the rewrite, which is to come, err, by the original's anniversary or something. I should have never started it, in the first place.

    My apology to Chyntuck and her alter ego, the FanficIndex for the headache this thread must have caused in its current state. 8-}

    The OTP challenge response will be posted here shortly. :)
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Got that, thanks :) While we're at it, can you please confirm that the first story in this thread is a Beyond story? I think I have it listed in the wrong place because the thread is tagged Before.
     
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  15. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014

    It is Before. I wanted to write "BBY" and not ABY. D'OH. So much about being able to brain. O_O
     
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  16. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Quite a Handful

    Characters: All OCs - Maris Inesedam (aka Maris Inesedam-Vorr), Taide Lambrin, Saride, Ordinus, Groyo Stager, Sladok Kusetzi, Veropapa "Vero" Mak, Larax Antilless, Denaro.
    Timeframe: Sometime in 18-17 BBY THEREFORE SAGA-PT
    Rating: G
    Genre: Romance, humour

    Summary: Taide Lambrin, young custodian of the Archaeological Museum of Anaslinea-Hoc has just met the kind of a girl he could fall in love with. So did Maris Inesedam, an archaeology student and a part-time singer from Saccorata. But is any of them capable of showing affection?

    A/N: Joint response to the OTP & Pairing Thread! Challenge #3: Holiday Love and Bring Back the OC Revolution Spring Challenge. The latter was kindly provided by the previous winner, divapilot and her requirements are in the spoiler.

    Write a story in which your OC forgets or remembers something important at a critical time.

    The story triples as my now-traditional annual Valentine's story. I wrote Nuv in 2015 and In My Dreams in 2016.

    Taide Lambrin is an "ascended extra" from the Vagran arc of my 2016 DDC, Letters Never Sent, who is also the protagonist of Findswoman's excellent story, The Jewels of...WHAT?!. Finds also came up with his curriculum.

    Maris Inesedam, later known as Maris Inesedam-Vorr first appeared in The Black Star as Doria Vorr's mother, is mentioned in Letters Never Sent and appears throughout my 2017 DDC - Doaba Ke'demii - The Diary of a Young Comradette. She will also be present from chapter 7 of "The Light" portion of Midday Darkness // The Light is Me, I Am the Light.

    Saride of Nar'cees receives mentions in all the above stories, but this is his first proper appearance.




    I
    The Festival of Wine and Dance had been the highlight of every year in Anaslinea-Hoc, ever since the town’s founding and the first proper temple erected behind the statue of Karmenee Caraway, a youngling who had tragically lost her life to swamp fever and had become the everlasting symbol of the town’s series of unfortunate events. The townspeople had long since decided to dedicate their lives to celebrate being alive, despite all of their previous hardships.

    Not even the recent changes on the Galactic scale could stop the event. For eight days, the small coastal area in the middle of Kaz’aan Bay, its seaside horizons speckled by mountains and its outskirts scattered with swampgrape groves, was alive with the sound of music and dance, and the scent of the most intoxicating of the region’s wines. The eve of the festival had been particularly beautiful – even Vagran’s young Prime Minister, Sorimana Aedemii, attended the ceremony of spilling the wine into the sea and following its trail all the way to the rocky area where the bottom of the mythical Chiro Mountain, reputed home of the Goddess, was polished by the waves.

    Dancing troupes from all over the Corellian Sectors took part in the festival. Every day, on a small stage under the tanpalso trees, right next to the ruins of the ancient city of Kariyela and its mysterious Church of the Blind, younglings and young adults were presenting their cultural heritage to the small, but enthusiastic audience. The nearby spaceport had quite a busy day – the shuttles would arrive one after another, the guides had to be assigned to the groups from this or that system and then the groups had to be taken to the town to wherever they were to be accommodated.

    The Sacorrian shuttle was, as usual, the first to arrive. The insular and disciplined residents of Vagran’s neighbouring star system thought it “progressive” to show up before everybody else, or so their guide understood. Groyo Stager, otherwise a cadet at the Skystrike Academy, was picked from a handful of residents to take the seventeen beings to Hotel Iasonné.

    He had been told that the leader of the group was a Human woman, a choreographer. He was surprised to be greeted by a Selonian male in a violet velvet suit.

    “There is no accounting for taste…” Groyo thought to himself.

    “Progressive greetings to you, comrade, I am Saride of Nar’cees and these fifteen younglings and this aspiring young singer were picked to represent our system at your event among tough competition.”

    “Greetings to you too, Brother Saride.” Groyo responded in traditional Vagranite manner, much to Saride’s disgust. “I see that you’re not Sister Lyneina Lylek, though?”

    “Comradette Lylek had prior commitments with the folkdance entrance exams at SUPAS and I offered to progressively fill in for her.”

    Groyo grinned. He was not sure how one could “progressively” fill in, but nevertheless he changed the name on the datapad he carried with him and had the group board the speeder-van to Anaslinea-Hoc. The younglings and the “aspiring young singer” did not utter a single word during their trip.

    And what did SUPAS stand for, anyway?

    …​

    Once at Hotel Iasonné, Comrade Saride, former art teacher in a basic school in Curheg and now a professor at SUPAS, looked at his group of obedient young talents and instructed them to be quiet. This was by no means necessary, but the sixteen beings immediately put their hands on their hips.

    "Just had a comm call. Our plans will have to change. I have some personal business at the University of Abatore, so younglings, you will be under Comradette Inesedam's care for two days. She will conduct your practice sessions and make sure that you’re in bed by twenty-one hundred."

    "Comrade Saride! You are not supposed to leave us unattended, it is not progressive!" One of the Drall dancers was quick to protest, his short stubby arms crossed.

    "I decide what is progressive and what is not." Saride said, with a smirk. "I have some important art-related issues to handle there." He paused and then raised his eyebrows. "Their Majesties sent me."

    The dancing troupe was in the awe. There were “wows,” “by Saccors” and unidentified expressions of sheer respect. The singer accompanying the band, who was in her early twenties, did not seem fazed at all. She didn't know how she had gotten there, anyway. She sang on a practical task and somebody heard her, then told somebody else, and that somebody else knew a bigwig in the Ministry of Education. Three days later, the petite redhead by the name of Maris Inesedam was asked to accompany a youngling dance troupe on a tour of youth festivals across the Western Corellian Sector. And she was branded “an aspiring young singer”.

    Nevertheless, she saw the trip as a good opportunity to take a vacation from her secretive and straight-cut mother Yola, and – no matter how much she was unwilling to admit it – her SoSacc vagabond boyfriend, Elesandre. He had been a bit too unprogressive recently, jealous at every single shadow heading towards hers, to the point where he threw a grey bear sticky net on a GR series droid accompanying his girlfriend for an excavation on Noleria. He was smart, a talented mechanic, but his studies at Saccorata Tech were marked by arguments with professors and lect-aide droids, practical jokes directed at fellow students and many other un-Sacorrian things that Maris was actually surprised he could get away with.

    And while Saride’s sudden change of plans certainly meant that she was in for some late-night scary tales in order to get the seven-to-ten year olds in the group to sleep, this also meant that she could explore the ancient ruins as much as she pleased. For an archaeology student, towns like this were like a goldmine. Not to mention that she could freely meet her aunt Larax, who had defected to Vagran nearly a decade earlier, after a forbidden affair with her much-older Selonian mentor.

    …​

    The next morning, trying to get the five Drall, five Selonian and five Human younglings to behave after a surprisingly quiet night and a hearty, carbohydrate-loaded breakfast, Maris came to the gate of the largest of the ten excavations scattered around town. She pressed the buzzer.

    “There’s a booth over there!” One of the Human girls pointed to a makeshift wooden table. “But where is the booth cheeka?”

    “Yes, where is she? This is not progressive!” A Selonian boy was nervously tapping his feet.

    And then somebody appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.

    “Hello! I am your booth cheeka!” The male voice was clearly addressing Maris.

    “You’re my…what?” Maris was clearly horrified. She looked up and saw a tall man, of slightly darker complexion than her pale white, with short and neatly-trimmed black hair and brown eyes. He couldn’t have been that much older than her. And he was…blushing!

    “Oh…ummm…I just realised how that sounded. I should stop using slang in other languages, it confuses me most of the time. It was supposed to be wordplay. I…ummm…I work here. I can show you around. My name is Church of the Blind and this is the most controversial discovery on Vagran – Taide Lambrin.”

    Maris gave him a blank stare.

    The perky Drall boy from earlier raised his hand. “You mean the other way around, comrade?”

    “Why, y-yes, clumsy me! Again. My name is Taide Lambrin and I’m the custodian assigned to this archaeological site. Group tours are three Republiar…Imperic credits per…whatever, this one is on me!” He stopped for a moment, to take a deep breath. “And why did you ask permission to speak? You don’t need to do that here on Vagran, young brother…”

    “Young comrade Ordinus, comrade-brother Lambrin!” The Dralling knelt on one knee. Taide was flaggerbasted. He timidly looked Maris’ way, only now noticing that her eyes were greenish-blue.

    She shrugged. “Sometimes they do these things to impress offworlders. They don’t understand that you are not impressed.”

    “But, Sister Inesedam, I am impressed! Our star systems are so close, to the point where people once thought that we were going to steal Vo away from you! Especially given the myths surrounding Kolki.”

    “You’re big on mythology, aren’t you?” Maris raised an eyebrow.

    Taide looked down. “Why yes…wait, that’s bragging. I should be humble.”

    She smiled. “By all means, do go on.”

    “I am not an archaeologist, at least not yet. Taking the course here in Abatore. My major was sentient studies. I just came back from the University of Chandrila Residencies in Sentient Studies. I had authored a paper on the Iassoné Festival.”

    “That sounds exciting!” Ordinus reacted before Maris could think of a coherent sentence. “Did it, by any chance, include the story of how Iasonné founded the city of Sublata, where our programme’s choreographer, Lyneina Lylek, was from?”

    Taide leaned over to the youngling. “Yes! It took me quite a while to get a hold of a reliable, verified source from your Homeworld, but I was aided by my mentor, Mammon Hoole!”

    “You worked with Doctor Hoole? That is so impressive!”

    Taide was blushing again. “Yes. I can call him a friend. He helped me a lot. He was supposed to come for this year’s Festival of Wine and Dance, but unfortunately, he had some prior commitments.” He paused again. “Either way…younglings…young…err…comrades and comradettes, would you like to see the Church of the Blind? Or the exhibit?”

    “Is it creepy?” One of the Selonian girls asked. “We like creepy! Comradette Inesedam tells the best bedtime stories, let’s see if your myths can top that!”

    Taide flashed an awkward grin, nodded and led the group inside. The small building in the middle of the site was the Archaeological Museum of Anaslinea-Hoc. The light went on the moment they walked in, illuminating the repulsorlift model of the Iasonné System.

    “M-m-many years ago…” Taide began. “Colonists from Corellia arrived on Vagran. As you probably know from your Corellian Sector History classes, the first wave of settlers experienced a nasty surprise – the planet was rich in resources, but many plants were lethal to Humans. It took some drastic measurements to make Vagran habitable. Fast forward to some eight decades ago – this very place became home to a couple of thousand refugees from the destroyed town of Anaslinea, on the Outlier System of Jumus. Unfortunately, this was the time a particularly dangerous insect species was discovered in this area, one that could break through the ultrasound barriers. A third of town’s population succumbed to the swamp fever; among them was our first Mayor’s daughter, little Karmenee Caraway – you have seen the statue. We were granted a second graveyard, despite the Vagranite customs prohibiting primitive forms of burial. The ground had to be isolated and lined. While digging, the droids came across remains of a fascinating temple! The first analysis showed that this location had been settled long before the Tho-Yor Arrival, predating the first generation ships that departed Galaxy-wide from Coruscant.”

    Taide made a pause, expecting questions. The younglings were eagerly waiting for more and Maris gestured to him to go on.

    “It soon became clear that the graveyard had to be dug in a different place. But the more our founding brothers and sisters dug, the more ruins they uncovered. Eventually, they were determined to have belonged to two separate cities – Taliore, on top of the hill, and Kariyela, on the seashore. Further excavations revealed some mummified corpses. A small number of them wore petrified bands over their eyes. The great Lazari Polverò nicknamed them “the Church of the Blind”, as all of them were found at the same location – the remains of a temple.”

    “And what did you determine?” Ordinus went again.

    “Good question, young brother comrade! My research led me to the conclusion that the significant number of blind individuals was a result of a genetic abnormality, even. Inbreeding. The Kariyelans considered these beings to be gifted, yet precious. They were not allowed outside of their temple. Given their extremely developed senses other than sight, the townspeople were convinced that their abilities would vanish if they were exposed to sunlight, rain and occasional snow….even sea salt! But what is far more interesting is…”

    Taide walked up to a display window, showing alabaster-like hands holding brooches of various bright colours.

    “…that they were all found with these brooches in their hands! At this point, I believe that their brooches were Force tools and my further research….”

    He was interrupted by a couple of younglings, screaming.

    “What is wrong, comrad…”

    Maris got up from her seat and walked up to Taide. “Are those their actual hands? I think the younglings are scared!”

    “No, those hands were petrified at other locations and we found them removed from the equally petrified bodies. Aren’t they nice? I thought that they would make a great display!”

    This time, nearly half of the younglings from the group screamed. Taide was not aware that he had raised his voice, fascinated by his own discovery.

    “Comradette Inesedam?” One Drall girl raised her hand. “I need to use the ‘fresher.”

    Ordinus joined in. “And we want to go somewhere else, please. The fun fair?”

    The younglings were collectively heading out. Taide stood there, looking confused, but before she followed the group back into the light of the large park dotted with ruins, Maris came up to him and said, “It’s not your fault. Besides, I will come here on my own in the afternoon, I want to hear the rest of the story. As an archaeology student, I am intrigued!”

    The words were racing through Taide’s head. Still, he managed to utter something along the lines of “iamherefromseventeenthirtytillafterthelunchbreak”. Once the last youngling was out, the custodian used the staff door to get out of the Museum and cut through some narrow backstreets. He wound up in front of a modest restaurant, with “Sladok’s Place” written above its door. He passed among the crowded tables outside and climbed the stairs to a small bar and a spacious, steamy kitchen.

    “Slad!”

    “Oh, it’s you, Taide…” the smiling chef greeted him. “What is…”

    “You have to help me! I need a crash course! Please!”




    Footnotes:
    Skystrike Academy is canon.

    Tanpalso trees are fanon, a species that would resemble Earth's plane tree (Platanus acerifolia).

    The Eve of the Festival of Wine and Dance is described from a different perspective in Entry 40 of Letters Never Sent.

    The narrator of Letters Never Sent makes a cynical comment about Taide and Maris, not knowing that they had seen each other in Entry 39.

    Characters Groyo Stager and Sorimana Aedemii previously appeared in Letters Never Sent, too.

    GR series droids look like mechanical Selonians and they appear throughout my stories as well.

    Mammon Hoole is an established character.

    The Tho-Yor Arrival is dealt with in the Dawn of the Jedi comics and book.

    Lazari Polverò is an in-universe scholar who was the head of the Archaeological Museum of Anaslinea-Hoc before Taide Lambrin.

    Sladok Kusetzi and Ordinus are new characters.

    Hotel Iasonné, named after the Vagran System’s star, would be yet another hotel in Anaslinea-Hoc, next to Taliore and Taliore de Luxe.
     
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  17. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    There's more? I hope so! This is goooood. I love the field trip to the "creepy" archeological site. And it looks like maybe Taide is a little over his head?
     
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  18. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    A great beginning!

    I found the use of 'progressive' really interesting. It's slightly strange in it's usage to me (like a colloquialism is strange, not strange in a bad way, just unknown) but I find I really like the way they are using it. I'm not entirely sure what people are meaning when they say something isn't progressive, at least by their standards, but it may be just that my brain is a little wonky today and I need to go back and reread. But I just wanted to let you know that I really liked it.

    I loved the description of the festival and the Church of the Blind. Both are quite fascinating and I want to know more about the Church of the Blind, can I go there?? :D

    Taide is adorably flustered and I love it!

    Great job! I look forward to the second part! =D=
     
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  19. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Great story, a read-along equivalent of "easy listening", as a result of your world building. I really felt immersed into this provincial region playing host to these visitors.

    Your guide reminded me of my being one at a school open evening, and I had an over-riding concern as to how these younglings were going to be responsibly looked after, with everyone wanting to go off and do their own thing.

    Really getting into these "progressive" inserts into sentences, and comrade/comradette stuff. Vagran isn't much better, addressing everyone as brother and sister.

    Great conversational exchanges between everyone, the two adult visitors from Sacorra, especially the aspiring singer - great story on how she got there, although "singing on a task" sounded odd - and the youngling you focussed on. Couldn't shut him up once he'd gotten permission to speak! :D

    Enjoyed the whole thing, nice descriptives with the wine into the water; the nearby spaceport; action at hotel and the museum, although I was visualising the museum guy as an older Wilford Brimley type than your young fellow.

    I have an English word correction when you are ready; and a note on Groyo wondering what SUPAS stood for.

    Any reason why no Saccoran younglings were brought along? Only Dralls, Selonian, and Humans. I have feeling that the answer might explain my confusion on other stories of yours.
     
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  20. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Off to a wonderfully fun start! Always a pleasure to revisit beautiful, historical Anaslinea-Hoc, Kaz'aan Bay, Vagran—and with such a wonderful mixture of new and familiar faces. :)

    Well, in true Sacorrian fashion, the Sacorrian contingent shows up early... but with extra-progressive last-minute changes, such as this rather stuffed-up extra-progressive substitute professor in what I am sure is a perfectly hideous PURPLE VELVET SUIT! :eek: Saride of Nar'cees and Lyenina Lylek are both names I recall from your Drallish oeuvres of last year as quacky, hacky, ultraprogressive Model Sacorrian Artists, so I'm sure Groyo would have had his hands full even if the person he'd expected had shown up!

    And wouldn't you know, said substitute prof ends up, at close to the last minute, having "personal business" of his own to attend to at the university—why am I not surprised? The fifteen young, bouncy dancers get dumped in the care of the singer, another very familiar personage (and whose singing we got to hear in Letters Never Sent—perhaps at this very same festival...?). Good thing she sees the silver lining to this cloud—I'm not sure I would if I had that kind of responsibility dumped on me! But for super-cool archaeology, she's definitely come to the right place, as anyone who's read your Sacorrian and Vagranian stories knows. :cool:

    And theeeeere's good old Taide! [face_love] That lovably awkward sentientologist turned archaeologist, in his younger, formative years... these folks couldn't have asked for a better "booth cheeka." And awww, squees galore for the way you incorporated my lore about his background and area of study... good old Mammon Hoole and all! Thank you, thank you, thank you. :) (I wonder what other commitments kept him away from the festival this year, incidentally.)

    So yes, our dear Taide... naturally he blushes and mixes up names and words and everything—but one can tell that it's all out of genuine kindness and good humor. After all he does let the group tour the site for free, and his love for his home and its history are so clear in the way he so enthusiastically relates the whole story about the site, the founding of the town, and the Church of the Blind, and—most importantly—the PRETTY SPARKLY GEMS they wore that might have been Force-infused! And there they are, held by PETRIFIED HANDS taken from similar sites—what a FABULOUS DISPLAY and OH SO AUTHENTIC and—"um, I need to use the 'fresher"! :eek: Oh, poor guy, he really and truly didn't mean to scare the kiddos with his very specialized brand of very scholarly enthusiasm. But it's nice that Maris is taking it all in such a friendly and patient manner and not holding it against him; we've seen in some of your other stories that she can be [hl=black]quite a piece of work when she wants to be[/hl], though that may be mainly [hl=black]in her later years[/hl], or maybe [hl=black]just with her daughter[/hl], or both.

    And in true Taide fashion, just that little bit of interest and kindness is enough to get our hero (as I think I can call him) into a state of total nervous flusteration. D'awwww. Can't wait to see what advice the chef Sladok will offer—I think this chapter ending juuust about qualifies as a cliffhanger, so hurry up and give us more soon! :p :D
     
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  21. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    What a progressive holiday story :) So good to see Taide "the most controversial discovery on Vagran" Lambrin again [face_laugh] and get the story behind the date with Maris that was hinted at in "The Jewels of....WHAT?!?" Taide is so adorable; it seems he was the absent-minded, easily befuddled academic type, even in his youth. He's so nonplussed by Maris that one suspects the crash course he asks Sladok for is on girls.;) He's much more comfortable talking mythology than making small talk; he only stops stammering once he gets into the story of the Church of the Blind. The younglings only like "creepy" to a point, it seems. Those fascinating petrified hands are just a little too much for them. But Maris...hmm. Is she intrigued by the tour guide as well?

    I'm intrigued by the Church of the Blind, too. Are those blindfolded seers Miralukas or some other race of Force-users?

    This:
    had me laughing, given the way Elesandre is portrayed as a model Sacorrian citizen in Doria's diary. He had another side before she knew him, apparently. It's a fascinating little glimpse into the family's history.:)

    Progressively looking forward to the next chapter. :)
     
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  22. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Interestimg story. :)
    I really like the church of the blind and the descibtion of the festival. I haven't read the other stories of your OCs but I could still understand most of the story.
    Thanks for writing it.
     
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  23. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Well, this is . . . progressive. [face_mischief]

    First off: your world-building is so insanely rich and multi-tiered that I was happy reading every word of this. I know that this 'verse is a big work in progress, but you did a wonderful job of making it accessible to new readers, as well. The cultures felt well rounded and fully fleshed, and the history had a wonderfully rich mythological feel that I loved. I just adore Taide, that said. What an absolute sweetheart with his blushing and his stammering and his enthusiasm! Oh, to scare the younglings like that - he was just eager to share his studies, the poor dear! [face_love]:oops: But, it seems that Maris doesn't mind. [face_mischief]

    I am interested to see more of Maris and Taide - along with the festival! This is a fantastic response to the challenge so far. :) =D=
     
  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you for the comments - more coming ASAP and then I'm coming to leave comments in this space. COMMENT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION.




    Yes, there is more. And Taide is...well, Taide. :p

    You're new to my stories and I had no idea that the "progressive" thing was *that* confusing; so I have to thank you now. :) I will add that in notes to every Sacorria-centric thing I start. Basically, Sacorria's motto is "Progress and Unity" and the original meaning of the term "progressive" was lost to history and nowadays, they use it the same way Smurfs would smurf something.

    Where is that Inigo Montoya pic when I need it? Aaaargh!

    Its real-life equivalent, the temple of Demeter at the Fthiotides Thives excavation is available for all to see. But as it always happens, the GFFA version turned into something extremely warped, to the point where the real version sounds almost boring.

    Thank you. :)

    And of course. IT'S A WOMAN. THEY SKAREE.

    ...

    That was the goal, thank you. :)

    Maris thought the same, so when the guide was gone, she just did the unthinkable and loosened the grip.

    BEWARE OF THE HIPSTER PLANET. THEY WERE USING THE WORDS "BROTHER" and "SISTER"

    Means he should speak more often. Should totally revisit him as an adult, don't you think? :D

    He should look like this man when he was younger (he's about 45-47 now). The trick is that he's not one of those, and obviously not an old lady with spectacles, either.

    [​IMG]

    He's mom's celeb crush of sorts - a journalist with a TV show about faith, religion, theology, philosophy and related concepts, so since Maris was modelled to look like her, I thought he was a better option than her *other* celeb crush...

    ...Till Lindemann of Rammstein. :D

    [​IMG]

    What SUPAS is would be insignificant to this story, as it serves as a literary device. In other stories, where it's mentioned a lot, it matters.

    Sacorrian University of Progressive Arts of Sublata. ;)

    And which word? I had a professional editor go through this - Findswoman - but I know that I saw one thing that escaped me, but then I forgot about it again. Ready, of course.

    Sacorrians are Dralls, Selonians and Humans.

    ;)

    PURPLE VELVET IS ART. HE'S GOT BELL-BOTTOMS, TOO. :eek:

    Seriously, I can imagine him look like a glam rocker for no apparent reason.

    Lyneina Lylek is more bearable and actually talented, Lylek or not, but Saride always finds a way to freeload. He's that type.

    Maris is responsible, dutiful etc. Somebody else would have exploded.

    And yes, that's the place. :D

    No problem, booth cheeka. It served as great background. :D

    SEE WHAT I DID THERE? :eek: :eek: :eek: #im12

    Nothing to add here. :D

    He can recognise genuine interest, but he doesn't know what to do with it.

    And of course that the chef knows stuff - EVERYBODY LIKES CHEFS.

    GIRLS: ACADEMIC STUDY

    He's not a desperate loser type, he just cared about gems more than he ever cared about anything else.

    The younglings thought it would be a ghost story or something - not actual petrified body parts. :p Obv.

    And TELL ME SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW ABOUT MARIS. :p :p :p :p *eyebrow smiley*

    Nah, just Humans born blind. But...how? [face_whistling]

    Yeah, he was GOOD at convincing people at how GOOD he supposedly had been all along...while that was not entirely true.

    Cue: my dad and his horrible grades, presented as straight A's to me when I was little, to shame me when I'd randomly get a B or anything.

    That's the spirit, Comradette Findswoman! ^:)^=D=

    You're welcome. I know you're big on cultural stuff, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. And the bit I bolded is important.

    Code:Blue: "Of course, of course!"

    (He's in some other stories and he says those two words A LOT. :p)

    Thanks. :) For this particular bit of fanon, I have to thank Briannakin who used it as a prompt in the May 2016 Word Race. I thought it could become an interesting cult, the Church of the Blind.

    And the bolded part means a lot, I am always worried if that would scare people away - the size of this universe and all those interconnected, interspersed details. That, and how weird I am sometimes. :p Thank you. @};-

    Nah, she didn't mind at all. ;) And he kind of forgot they were children. Because BLIND PROPHETS, PETRIFIED HANDS, ZOMG, FUN!

    Thank you. :)
     
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  25. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    II
    By the time Maris arrived at the Museum again, Taide had drunk twelve cafs at Sladok’s Place. The restaurant’s owner and Veropapa Mak, the teenage waitress, thought this was a good idea. Unfortunately, he only became more nervous.

    Slad shook his head. “Perhaps I should have cooked you lunch instead. Then again, that could’ve presented us with a whole new problem.”

    “You already gave him lunch once,” Vero giggled. “And whoever told you that caf calms people down must have been one of those beings with hyperspace processing disorder. Everybody else gets agitated from it. This is worse than that time you gave those Zelosians a carbosyrup-glazed tart!”

    “Don’t remind me of that, please!” Sladok grabbed his head. “They came to the Church of the Blind excavation and one attempted to court a tamplano tree!” He paused. “That was while you were on Chandrila, Taide.”

    Taide did not want to know this by any means. He took a deep breath and looked at the lazy summer street outside. The former main street passing through the town centre seemed quiet in comparison to his plethora of inner voices, all of them screaming in panic. Sure, Sladok had just given him a crash course in how to talk to women, but his course did not mention women from societies so different from that of their adopted planet. The portly restaurant owner and the coquettish teenage girl didn’t know anything about academic subjects, either. And they could not fill him in on anything related to music and dance that was relevant to sentientology and archaeology. What was he supposed to talk about? The weather? Sports? Clothing? Food?

    At this point, doctoral candidate Taide Lambrin was sure that the talking convor on the Parlyooma HoloNet show was right: love is boring!

    “So, let me get this straight – I should talk about things that are not just work?” he asked Sladok and Vero again.

    “Yeah.” Vero clapped her hands. “Talk about her feelings and…you know, stuff. Things like that.” She leaned over the table. “Show an interest in her homeworld. Say that we don’t know anything about them…” She paused. “…which is, more or less, what it’s like, really.”

    Slad nodded to that. “All I know about Sacorria is that everybody is a comrade or comradette there, that they’re a multispecies society and that they’re ruled by three beings whom nobody has ever seen.” He stopped for a moment. “Are those even real? The Sacorrian Triad folk?”

    Taide thought about it. As a sentientologist and archaeologist in the making, he knew a lot about various cultures’ sensibilities. Perhaps Maris held this Sacorrian Triad close to her heart. Perhaps they

    “Brother Taide, she’s coming! And wow, she’s pretty, but those are some real small stor…” Vero stopped upon seeing an expression of disapproval on Slad’s face. Taide didn’t hear her, anyway. He was choking on his thirteenth caf.

    Luckily, Vero managed to pat him on the back before Maris arrived. She approached the trio in the restaurant’s summer garden, almost marching, or so it looked to Vero.

    “Prog, Comrade Lambrin,” she said.

    “Hello, Sist…Comr…Mistress Inesedam. These are my friends, Sladok Kusetzi and Veropapa Mak.”

    “Yeah, Slad runs this place and I’m helping him out,” Vero interjected. “We offer daily fresh fish and seafood, as well as bantha and nerf delicacies. Our grill is superb.” Certain that she had already got Maris’ attention, she winked at Taide.

    “Yes! Vero is right! Sistress Maris, I was wondering if you would join me for danger tomorrow?” he managed to utter, his quickly spoken words escaping his dry, caf-sanitised mouth, even though he could swear that he didn’t really want them to.

    “A dinner?” Maris’ face lit up. “Yes, of course. I like trying out new things – that’s a progressive way to live. Between the cantina food at SUPAS and my mother’s overly greasy meals at home – just don’t get me started on her topato and pomato thing which contains more bovid lard than anything else.” She paused to roll her eyes. “I don’t eat a lot, but I like good food! And I have tomorrow off because my aunt lives in Abatore and she’s coming to see me. Using the opportunity while Comrade Saride is away…”

    “Who is that?” Vero asked again before Taide could even focus on anything more than the mere sensation of having had a woman accept his dinner invitation.

    Maris looked around and then, her voice hushed, started explaining.

    “It’s a long and complicated story, but he’s the SUPAS professor in charge for us. He is also mentoring Roula of Pelayn, the candidate for the new Dean. He doesn’t know anything about music; he’s a painter and a former basic school teacher. But yeah, Lyneina Lylek couldn’t come, and she was the one who composed the music for our act and one of her ancestors composed our planetary anthem, which I am supposed to sing.” She took a deep breath. “He must not see my aunt, who deflected to Vagran with her husband some years ago. You see, her husband is a Selonian…my uncle Denaro is Selonian.”

    “That is fascinating!” Taide said, absentmindedly.

    “Really? I thought it was not allowed?”

    Vero winked again. “Everything is allowed in love…right, Taide?”

    “What what what what?” the academic nearly fell of his chair. “I mean…why is it not allowed on Sacorria, Sistress…Mistr…Comradette Maris?”

    “It’s a part of our Book of Law.” Maris seemed to be intrigued by everybody else’s confusion. “I would show you, but we are not supposed to give copies of it away to anybody. And while I am allowed to visit Aunt Larax myself, I don’t want to get in trouble with Comrade Saride.” She shook her head. “Anyway, Comrade Lambrin…”

    “Call him Taide, please.” Sladok hugged his friend, who managed an awkward grin.

    “…Taide…can you show me the rest of the excavation? I am really intrigued to know more about Taliore, Kariyela and the Church of the Blind!”

    “Yes. I mean, sure. Let’s go!” Taide’s face lit up.

    “By the way, what the kriff is SUPAS and why does it have a Dean?” Vero asked, but Taide and Maris had already crossed the street separating the restaurant from the archaeological site.

    “Vero!” Sladok grabbed his head again. “You promised not to use bad words at work!”

    The teenager shrugged. “I thought that all this thing with Taide had been one loooong lunch break.”

    …​

    Taide was confused. He couldn’t possibly tell his parents that somehow, in the heat of the moment, he had asked an actual woman – not a very convincing-looking droid like that one time for Anaslinea Rememberance Day – to accompany him to dinner. He didn’t know how to explain to them that this girl was perfect – she liked the same things he did, she was sort of awkward in her own way, she did not seem to care much for the outside world as it was and she was pretty – he blushed and giggled at the sole thought of her reddish hair and green eyes.

    Not only that, but she had really nice hands. He was thinking of asking her to do a cast of her hand for the display of some of the newly-found jewellery that he could swear was Force-sensitive. “Like,” as Vero would say, nobody would know that it’s not an actual petrified hand. And it would be a honour to a fellow academic, right?

    Then he sighed. He remembered what Sladok had told him somewhere between the sixth and seventh caf before the unforgettable afternoon at the excavation: “Just…whatever you do, don’t mention that thing with hands.”

    …​


    Larax Antilless was delighted.

    “What does he look like?” She was almost dancing across the lobby of Hotel Iasonné. “Come on, spit it out!”

    Maris sighed. “Kind of tall, well-dressed, vaguely handsome, he didn’t interrupt me a single time. I still don’t know how and why I accepted this date.”

    Larax clapped her hands, much to her husband’s horror. “And who cares? I told you before, but kissing some random nerf-herder at the Seven Rivers Beach does not count as ‘being in a committed relationship’…not in my book!”

    “Aunt Larax! Elesandre and I have been together since my last year at Lyceum!”

    “Yes, much to everybody’s chagrin.” The perky garbdesigner rolled her eyes and then noticed the worried expression on her husband’s face. “Denaro, relax. Or I am going to make a list of all the men I had before you.” She looked at Maris’ confused face. “Whaaat? A girl needs to listen to more than one holorecords in order to know what kind of music she likes.”

    “I am still against cheating.” Denaro crossed his arms. “But at the same time, maybe you’re right. Maybe. This man, Taide, he seems to be a much better fit for Maris than Elesandre Vorr could ever be. Polite, studious and not somebody who gets in trouble…which is already a huge deal.”

    Maris thought a bit and then finally said something.

    “That was my exact reasoning, actually. Elesandre might look like a Jedi film star…”

    “Do not use that word!” Denaro put his hand over her face. “Somebody could hear us and tell an ISB agent!”

    “…sorry, Uncle Denaro. He might look like an action holo star, but what is that in comparison to Taide’s being reliable and so…so scholarly!” She tried not to smile, but her aunt was quick to notice it.

    “Love at first sight!” Larax said through giggles. “This was not the case with Elesandre, either. He has been stalking you for how many years, again?”

    “He claims it was three.” Maris shrugged.

    Denaro scratched his chin and stretched in his lounge chair. “Well, I have been convinced. Go for it, Mar. We only want the best possible future for you and, if such future could bring Yola, Geo and you to Vagran, it’s a plus!”




    Footnotes
    I have no idea what Parlyooma HoloNet show is and why I had created it. It’s fanon, definitely…and this is what happens when you’re adding footnotes seven months later.

    Veropapa “Vero” Mak is a new character.
     
    Raissa Baiard, Kahara and Findswoman like this.