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Saga - ST Happiness Is a Warm Loth-Wolf |MMM Springtime Challenge | OCs, Ronen, Noemi

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, May 6, 2019.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Happiness Is a Warm Loth-Wolf
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Genre: Fluff, family mush
    Canonicity: AU, in the Marzra-verse continuity
    Characters: Noelani Syndulla-Jarrus, Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, Noemi Syndulla-Jarrus (née Bridger). Loth-wolves: Sashi, Rama, Raksha
    Timeframe: Saga-ST
    Synopsis: Young beastwarden Noelani Syndulla-Jarrus meets a new friend.
    Notes: Written for the MMM Springtime Challenge. Thanks to @Findswoman for beta-reading and encouragement.

    ------------------
    There was something in the air that Sashi had never smelled before.

    That wasn’t all that unusual, really. The Loth-wolf cub was still young enough that everything was new and intriguing to her, but this scent was more than just a scent, it was almost a feeling. It was like an itch that needed to be scratched—an itch in that spot right behind her ears she could never quite reach—and it wouldn’t go away until she found the source of that scent. Her littermates didn’t seem to notice it; her brother and sister were still busy pouncing on each other’s tails and tussling in the tall grass. And her mother was drowsing in the sun at the mouth of their den. She was going to be really grumpy if Sashi woke her up to ask about the strange new smell, so maybe it would be better if she tried to track it down herself? And if her mother wasn’t awake, Sashi thought, her ears perking up, she wouldn’t be able to remind Sashi not to wander off again or tell her that she wasn’t supposed to use the pathways by herself yet...so technically she wouldn’t be disobeying if she did. Pleased with this logic, Sashi wagged her tail as she stepped sideways into the place-that-connected-all-places and vanished.

    ———-

    There was a strange feeling in the air, like nothing Noelani had ever sensed before.

    That wasn’t all that unusual, really. The little girl was only two years old, so there were still plenty of things that were new and intriguing to her, but this was really, really different. It was definitely an animal, but not one of the silly, smiling Loth-cats or the shy little pocket hares or the wide-eyed kneebs that liked to say their own name. It didn’t feel like any of the animals she’d ever met while playing under the jogan fruit trees. It felt bigger somehow, bouncier and sparklier, and it was strange, because it felt like whatever it was was right here and yet not here at the same time. Some animals were really good at hide and seek—Loth-cats liked to climb up and hide in the jogan blossoms and the kneebs were almost the same color as the tree roots—but Noelani was sure she could find the creature if she just looked hard enough, if she just felt hard enough. She was really good at playing hide-and-seek, too.

    Noelani wandered beneath the branches, looking up into the canopy of pink and white flowers, peering down into the hollows at the bases of the jogan trees’ trunks, reaching out—slowly, gently, don’t scare them away—just the way Mommy had showed her, trying to figure out where this new creature could be hiding. She giggled when one of the pink blossoms drifted down and landed on her nose, and she realized that she’d come to the edge of the grove of jogan trees. Noelani paused, wrinkling her nose in thought. She wasn’t supposed to go out from under the trees when she was playing, but it really wouldn’t hurt if she did, would it? Mommy and Daddy were just on the other side of the trees, and she wasn’t going to go far, just until she found the animal, and it was right here, almost. And Mommy always liked it when Noelani showed her the creatures she’d found, so she should be really happy when she brought this intriguing new creature back to her. Pleased by her logic, Noelani took a decisive step past the last jogan tree.

    Suddenly, there was a blur of gray-white fur and a high-pitched “yip!”, and Noelani found herself on her back with scaly black paws on her shoulders and wide blue eyes gazing down into hers. A short, blunt muzzle sniffed her face enthusiastically while pointed ears flicked and perked. The creature wriggled ecstatically. [I found you! I found you! I smelled you and I tracked you down all by myself! Yay!]

    Another child might have screamed or cried after being pounced on and snuffled by a creature the likes of which she’d never seen before, but not Noelani. She’d always loved animals—all animals—and they’d always loved her, so she had no reason to fear any creature. Why would she be afraid when this wriggly, wiggly ball of joyful fluff was the source of the bouncy, bubbly, sparkly feeling she’d sensed? Why would she cry when the creature was so thoroughly and ticklishly licking her with its sloppy pink tongue? Noelani giggled and threw her arms around the creature’s neck, hugging her new best, best friend.

    ——

    Noemi wasn’t unduly concerned when her small daughter toddled off to play in the orchard. Noelani was an incipient beastwarden and fascinated by all the small creatures that lived in and among the jogan fruit trees. Thanks to her budding Force-talent, they were equally drawn to her. None of them would hurt her, not that there was anything fiercer than a Loth-cat to be found in the orchard. Fortunately, Noelani hadn’t yet shown her father’s propensity to disappear in the Force, so it was easy enough to keep track of the bright spark of her Force-presence as she flitted here and there among the trees. So Noemi wasn’t worried…

    Until she heard the howling—a distinctly canine yowl, joined with the high-pitched yelping of a two-year-old girl.

    Noemi darted a startled look at her husband, and she and Ronen instantly took off running towards the sound.

    They found Noelani at the edge of the orchard facing a fluffy, pale gray canid pup as tall as she was. The pup gave another warbling howl; Noelani giggled and imitated the sound: “Ah-woo-oo-oo!”

    “Oh, good skies...” Noemi took half a step back, laying a hand against the nearest jogan tree to steady herself. She’d known for a while now that Noelani had inherited her beastwarden talent. The girl positively attracted animals whenever she was outdoors, even normally shy pocket hares and kneebs, the same way Noemi had drawn every Loth-cat within a kilometer radius when she was a child. She’d expected that her daughter would discover her own bond-beast sooner or later, but she hadn’t expected it to be this soon, and she very definitely hadn’t expected it to be this particular sort of creature.

    Ronen‘s left lek twitched as he stared at their daughter and her new friend. “Is that what I think it is?”

    “Do you think it’s a Loth-wolf cub?”

    “Yeah…”

    “Then yes. Yes, it is.” Oh, there was no doubt about that. The black scaled paws and forelegs, the blaze of dark scaling up its muzzle and over its eyes, the tall pointed ears and bushy tail, the size... There was no other creature on Lothal it could possibly be.

    Noelani looked up at her parents, beaming. “Is my puppy!”

    Ronen exchanged another uneasy glance with Noemi, both lekku twitching now, out of sync with each other. “Lani, sweetheart,” he said, laying a hand on her shoulder and steering her gently away from the wolf cub. “That’s not a puppy…” *She couldn’t find a nice, fuzzy little Loth-kitten, could she? No, it would have to be a sentient, Force-sensitive carnivore capable of crunching stormtrooper armor...though I guess you could say the same about Uncle Zeb, except for the Force-sensitive part....*

    But Noelani was not going to be steered. She threw her arms around the Loth-wolf’s neck, and her own lekku, just long enough peek out from her unruly auburn curls, flushed a shade of Mon Cal pink that clashed badly with her hair. “My puppy! I keep her!” she insisted, voice rising to the verge of a tantrum. Noemi braced herself; Noelani was generally easygoing--a lot like Ronen in that respect--but when she did get upset, her Force-assisted tantrums were epic. Her little girl voice could reach a pitch that would send nearby animals scurrying for cover and small objects flying at random. And from the look on Noelani’s face and the way the jogan blossoms on the ground around her were quivering, this one was shaping up to be a doozy.

    And as if the prospect of a Jedi tantrum wasn’t bad enough, there was a strange *rustling* in the Force. The fabric of reality rippled and parted, a dark, pointed muzzle poking through two meters in the air. An iron-gray Loth-wolf emerged out of nowhere, and from the set of her ears and the curl of her lips, she was very unhappy indeed.

    —————-

    Raksha was not best pleased to wake up and find she was short one cub. It was Sashi, of course; her middle daughter had a knack for getting into trouble like no cub she’d ever seen. Raksha hadn’t even been asleep long enough for the sun to reach the top of the tallest rock spire, and Sashi had managed to disappear, even though she’d been told repeatedly that she was not to use the pathways unaccompanied. Thank the Life Spirit that she hadn’t learned how to access the the greater pathways yet, or there was no telling where in the cosmos she could have gotten to by now.

    She and her mate, Rama, had left the remaining cubs with their older pack-siblings and headed off to find their wayward daughter. Fortunately, the cub’s trail was still fresh and she’d left plenty of tracks gamboling around on the pathways as if she’d been chasing some elusive butterfly. Raksha caught her scent, mixed with the heady aroma of jogan trees in bloom with underlying notes of Human and not-quite-Human, and stepped off the path.

    [Sashi al’Thani a’Rama y Raksha ai’Pathara na’Lothal!] Raksha snarled as she emerged on the edge of the grove of jogan trees, invoking her daughter’s full name, parentage, pack name and all. [You are not permitted to… oh…oh, by the Life Spirit….] Sashi wasn’t alone. A small Human stood next to her, her arms looped protectively around Sashi’s neck and an obstinate look on her face as she stared down a Human female and male who, from their scents, were her parents. And, oh, by the Life Spirit and the bones of Lothal, Raksha was no lore-keeper like her mate, but even she could sense the bond between cub and Human.

    Sashi wagged her tail, her tongue lolling out in an absurdly pleased grin. [Mummy, look! I found her! I tracked her all by myself! Isn’t she nice? Can I keep her?]

    Raksha’s ears flattened further in dismay. Keep this Human cub?! As if the three cubs in her litter didn’t keep her running until her paws were sore—and Sashi more than both the others put together!

    There was a sudden thud as Rama, who had been following her, crashed into her hindquarters and jolted them both forward into an undignified heap. [What?!] the white wolf spluttered, spitting out her tail. [Why did you stop, Raksha? Is there some difficulty?]

    Sashi giggled at her parents’ predicament, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, a definite current of amusement rippled off of the Humans. Raksha stood up, shaking out her ruff, and bared her teeth at her mate. [Difficulty indeed, Rama ai’Pathara! It seems our second daughter is a personwarden and has taken it into her head to bond with this Human cub!] She huffed at Rama, flicking her ears. [She gets this from your family, you know.]

    [Mine?!]

    [You always have had a fondness for the Jedi…] Perhaps that was what came of coming from a line of lore-keepers, memorizing and passing on all the old tales of how once their ancestors had taught the Jedi how to travel both the greater and lesser pathways and had worked with them to protect that secret from those who would use it for evil means. Rama had been keeping a watchful eye on the Jedi since the first two appeared many of Lothal’s turnings ago, and sometimes Raksha thought he fancied that he was taking up where the ancestors left off, showing up to nudge the Jedi onto the right path by giving wise, if cryptic, advice.

    [They are such fascinating creatures,] he replied with a moony expression more suited to some farmhouse canid than a Loth-wolf. [Almost lupine at times.]

    *Er, excuse me…?* a diffident voice cut in, and Raksha was startled to realize it was the Human female. The flame-haired Human was slightly built and a good head shorter than Raksha and a head and a half shorter than Rama, but she didn’t seem intimidated by the wolves. If anything, she seemed properly deferential; like a young wolf meeting its elders, she looked downward and slightly to the side rather than meeting their gaze squarely. *I don’t mean to interrupt your conversation, but it seems we share a similar...difficulty with our daughters.*

    --------

    By now Ronen had gotten used to Noemi having conversations he couldn’t hear with various sorts of creatures, but not even Spots was as garrulous as the mother Loth-wolf, who Noemi said was named Raksha. She and Noemi were having what seemed to be a Very Serious Discussion about What They Could Do with Their Daughters. Every few minutes, Noemi would remember he was still there and pause to translate for him, but for the most part, all he could do was smile and nod at beastwarden and beast. They agreed, Noemi said, that Noelani and the cub, Sashi, were far too young for this kind of bond, but the Force had clearly brought the two of them together, Since either one of them “keeping” the other was out of the question, Noemi and Raksha were trying to hash out all the details of how, when, and where youngling and cub could get together. It was, Ronen reflected, a very mom thing to do, but their rules were probably better in theory than they would be in practice. He figured it was only a matter of time until the girls figured out ways around them—admittedly, he wasn’t a beastwarden and didn’t understand all the ins and outs of beastwarden-ism (or whatever one called it), but it always seemed to him that trying to keep a beastwarden away from her bond beast was maybe slightly less futile than trying to keep Aunt Sabine from painting or Uncle Zeb from eating all the Life Day Wookiee cookies.

    Ronen leaned against a jogan tree and watched Noelani and Sashi frolicking in the scattered blossoms while their mothers talked...and talked and talked. Lani would throw handfuls of the flowers into the air and the wolf-cub jumped at them, snapping. There was a lot of giggling and yipping involved in the game, and Ronen smiled at their enthusiasm.

    He was startled when the white Loth-wolf left his spot by his mate and sat down next to him. His heart pounded for a minute; it wasn’t that he was afraid of the wolf, per se, but there was something about having a creature who was as tall sitting as you were standing, and whose jaws could crack a stormtrooper helmet with one bite, next to you that put your size, strength and the fragility of your skull in perspective.

    And then the wolf looked at his mate, sighed, and turned to Ronen with an expression he recognized from his brother, cousins, uncles and occasionally even his dad: females—what can you do with them?

    Ronen choked on a laugh, seeing the put-upon look on the creature’s face, and for once, he almost wished that he had some beastwarden talent, too. He summoned up all the empathy he could muster, hoping it would be enough and the wolf wouldn’t be offended and eat his face, and held out a hand. *Er, may I….?* The wolf cocked his head to the side, and Ronen decided that was a yes. He patted the wolf’s shoulder sympathetically...and before he quite realized what he was doing, Ronen’s fingers were buried in the thick fur of his ruff, scratching his shoulders the way you would some yippy little canid’s.

    The wolf looked startled for a moment and Ronen froze, fearing he was about to lose a hand, as the wolf’s mouth opened...into a tongue-lolling smile. [More?] came the just-distinguishable request. Now Ronen did laugh as he started scratching again and the wolf sighed in contentment. He was going to have Noemi help him brush up on his animal communication skills, because he had the feeling another branch had been grafted to the Spectres’ already unconventional family tree.

    ————

    Noelani clapped and laughed when Sashi finally caught one of the jogan blossoms. [That was fun!] The wolf cub wagged her tail and sneezed as she dropped the flower to the ground. [But now I’m tired!] She sank onto her her haunches, yawning. [Really tired.]

    *Me too.* Noelani curled up next to Sashi, laying her head against the cub’s shoulder. Her fur was the softest thing in the whole wide Galaxy, so warm and nice and cozy. She giggled as Sashi turned her head to lick her forehead. This had to be the best thing ever, snuggling here in the sunshine and flowers, with Mommy and Daddy and their new wolf friends nearby. It felt like all of Lothal was happy—and happiness was a warm Loth-wolf.

    ==============
    Notes:
    Loth-wolves

    Raksha and Rama: the names are borrowed from Disney’s The Jungle Book, where they are the names of Mowgli’s foster parents, and if the names seem familiar to you--
    they’re this universe’s analog to Ezra’s Loth-wolf foster parents in Wolf Brother.

    And yes, Rama is the Marzra-verse’s version of the white Loth-wolf who helps Ezra and Kanan in Rebels.

    The greater and lesser pathways: In Rebels, the Loth-wolves are shown to have the ability to travel over long distances by going through a sort of hyperspace-like dimension. In my fanon, the lesser pathways are those that connect places on Lothal, while the greater pathways connect times and worlds, as seen in “A World Between Worlds”.

    Personwarden: the flip side of a beastwarden--an animal who is capable of understanding and bonding with a Human. Thanks to @Findswoman for coining this term!

    Sashi’s full name: I admit, I had a little too much fun coming up with a Full Name of Doom for Sashi, and what that would involve for a wolf. In case you’re interested it translates roughly as her given name, birth order in her litter, parent’s names and pack name, and “child of Lothal”, an honorific all Loth-wolves share, since, as Kanan says, they are deeply connected to the energy of the planet, so-- Sashi, second child of Rama and Raksha, of the Pathara (stone) pack, child of Lothal
     
    Kahara, AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    This is so warm, fluffy & sparkling that I even need to react to it at the end of a very long metro ride. (Even took a wrong train.)

    I do like the connection you draw with Mogli.

    Besides you Mara-Ezra universe is a very kind & bright place, where the young ones are not broken to fit in the main stream but get space & chances to grow as personalities.
     
    Kahara, Findswoman and Raissa Baiard like this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    What a terrific bit of fun meeting Noelani and Sashi, and re-encountering Ronen and Noemi. :D The lovely setting is too wonderful: sunshine, flowers, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, this is pure joy! So wonderful to see the Syndulla-Jarrus(-Bridger) family going on to the next generation: Ro and Noemi as parents coping with little Noelani's burgeoning beastwarden power—and to see the Raissa Loth-wolf touch, which we loved so much in "Wolf Brother," back in action! [face_dancing] I just love how you work in the wolves' perspective on this "beginning of a beautiful friendship" as well as the S-J family's perspective. The
    fanon of the "pathways" that you've devised for them is so cool and fits so well with what we learn about them from Rebels, and but of course concerned, Unamused (TM) moms are universal to all species. :D

    Sashi and Noelani are so made for each other, just like Diamond!Ez and Ghost, Raissa and Frugly, adn Annina and Princess. [face_love] Both can sense in the Force, in their respective ways, that a new, sparkling, exciting connection is afoot for them—and both have the same "aww cute cubby can I keep her!1!" first reaction once they meet and start romping around! You do a great job here of portraying the special brand of Force sensitivity that young folks (of any species) have: SOOOO momentous and yet SOOOO exciting and SOOOO sparkly all at the same time.

    Now, that said, I can't say I blame either of their moms for their concern... indeed, it couldn't be just a cute little Loth-cat or kneeb or pocket hare, nope it had to be a big ol' sentient carnivore (of a very different sort from Uncle Zeb... and of course you know I smiled to see him mentioned. :D ). Noelani is really taking her beastwarden proclivities up to 11 even at this very young age, as is Sashi as a personwarden (and aw, you're so sweet to "officialize" my little neologism like that). She, too couldn't just choose any old kid, it had to be a DUME-BRIDGER SCION! Because, don'tcha know...

    Yep, Raksha knows whereof she speaks right there. :D This and Rama's priceless "almost lupine at times" comment were such a priceless callback to the similar banter we loved between Kanan and Hera! (I'm not sniffling wistfully... you are! :p )

    So much fun to see Ronen again, too, bringing his non-beastwarden perspective to the whole situation. He very understandably feels like a third wheel for a moment there (a feeling he's been accustomed to from his youth up, as we know)—and then Rama comes over and shares the reassurance only a fellow husband and father can. Methinks they've each found a new friend, too! :)

    And most priceless of all? Rama, THE WHITE LOTH-WOLF, as a big, loll-tongued cuddly doggo who enjoys a good scratch behind the ears! I LUVVITTT!! :D [face_love] Because, really, inside each of each of Lothal's SUV-sized sentient lupines is a cuddly doggo who enjoys a good scratch behind the ears—I'm convinced of it. :D

    Thanks so much for sharing—this is so much in that spring spirit with the romping and gamboling and cozy cuddles and new friendship, and your OCs and their family dynamics are always such a treat to experience! =D=
     
  5. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Love this! I love the idea that each child (Noelani and Sashi) are so convinced that they can outmaneuver their moms, that they make up pretty much the same excuses, and that they are drawn to each other so completely. Then they both start with the "Can I keep it? Please? Please????" [face_rofl]

    This is so well done and so sweetly written. Your parallels are fantastic, right down to
    Both moms and then, both dads, know exactly what it's like to deal with their families!

    The last image, of the little girl and the little Loth-wolf snuggling down to sleep, is just precious. Wonderful story! =D=