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Saga - Legends La Bohème | Drama, friendship & more | Ἀνάγκη prequel series, artist OCs, Imperial era

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Feb 27, 2023.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: La Bohème
    Timeframe: 6 - 0 BBY
    Continuity: Legends
    Genre: Mostly friendship/drama, with a sprinkle of humour and romance for good measure
    Summary: How a group of young people became friends during their student years.
    Characters: The main cast is Ayesha Eskari, Tashi Marath, Lamtee Plohwell, Dacco Blum, Nazmat Koch, Mabalsa/Onion, Kal Stramnig and Mira Koch, but miscellaneous minor OCs and possibly some established characters will make an appearance here and there.

    • This series is a prequel to my long!fic Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway and in particular to chapter 18, where the protagonists of this series made their first appearance. The first two entries, A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City and The Hairdo, are reposts from my old Chyntuck’s Ramblings thread, which I’m in the process of dismembering.
    • The series title is borrowed from the famous song by Charles Aznavour, that I love for its quaint, glorious, melodramatic Frenchness. It also reminds me of my father, who was a fan of Aznavour if there ever was one, and who, being born in 1920, couldn’t understand why anyone would describe this sort of song as ‘quaint’.
    The complete Ἀνάγκη-related corpus is listed behind the spoiler tag.
    Outcast – Ayesha’s childhood during the Clone Wars
    The Family Holos – Ayesha’s preteen and teen years with her Wookiee family

    Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway – The main story
    Awakenings – The happy-end sequel to the main story
    The Lost Artist – The next generation, or, how Ayesha and Thrawn’s daughter met the galaxy
    Intermezzi I – Misc. bits and pieces from the Ἀνάγκη!verse
    Intermezzi II – More misc. bits and pieces from the Ἀνάγκη!verse
    Song of Fate – A crossover between the Ἀνάγκη!verse and Mira_Jade’s Song!verse

    Table of contents
    A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City
    The Hairdo
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2023
    Findswoman and Mira_Jade like this.
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City
    Timeframe: 6 BBY
    Continuity: Legends
    Length: One-shot
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Ayesha Eskari, Tashi Marath, Lamtee Plohwell, Nazmat Koch, misc. minor OCs
    Challenge response: Written in response to the Fall 2014 OC Challenge: Your original character(s) help someone through a difficult time. This does not have to mean a death or major tragedy, but also applies to any situation in which the other character could use their support.
    Notes: This is re-posted from my old Chyntuck’s Ramblings thread, where you will find the original comments and discussion.


    A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City

    Coruscant – Imperial Academy of Fine Arts

    Nazmat Koch stood by the door and watched this year’s batch of freshbeings file past her into the lecture theatre. Freshmen, she reminded herself bitterly. The days of the Old Republic, when her wards were sentients of every possible species, were long gone. Not only were they nearly all Human now, but most of them also bore the unmistakable markings of Core World brats; she could see it in their swagger as they chose their seats. A glance at her datapad confirmed that some were the offspring of high-ranking imperial officials – heavens knew how many doubled as COMPNOR agents. Well, they would get a run for their credits in her class, as young people said these days. The sentient who would intimidate Master Nazmat Koch into not teaching alien art wasn’t born yet.

    The elderly professor walked back to the lectern as the last of the students came in. A blur of pink caught her attention – ah, yes, that handsome young man over there was a Zeltron, and several girls were eyeing him with great interest. As a matter of fact, a giggling swarm already occupied the seats around him, and the arrogant Core Worlders seemed rather upset at the lack of attention they were attracting. Nazmat Koch suppressed a wry smile – if only they knew, she thought, reminiscing of her own time in this lecture hall. Enjoying life ranked higher in her day.

    The door finally closed behind a female student – a Sullustan, Nazmat Koch noted appreciatively, and a stylish one at that; the girl was sporting bright purple spikes that made the professor run a wistful hand through her wispy white hair. The Core Worlders sniggered at the sight of the near-Human, discreetly at first, but their chuckles erupted into a loud chorus of laughter when the door slid open again to let in a twenty-year-old woman who was definitely the most unusual creature Nazmat Koch had seen in years.

    The new arrival appeared to be perfectly Human, although a yellow Qukuuf mark on her left cheek belied that – chances being however that Core World students wouldn’t grasp such subtleties – but the contrast between her gait and her garb was staggering. She moved with the grace of a princess – not that she was particularly pretty, Nazmat Koch commented to herself; her features were a little rough and she still had the chubby cheeks of a child, but her step was so light that her feet hardly seemed to brush the ground. Yet she was dressed in the most backrocket assortment of clothes any Academy student had dared turn up in since the establishment of the Empire. She was wearing calf-length, baggy trousers and a loose, sleeveless tunic, both of which were made of some sort of soft leather that had been stitched together by someone who only had a remote understanding of Human clothing. Her jet-black hair was styled in the thin, long braids that had gone out of fashion around the time of Finis Valorum’s chancellorship. They ended in heavy, wooden clasps that rattled with her every step. The soles of her sandals rustled on the stone floor as she hurried to a front-row seat near the Sullustan – the poor girl had turned scarlet under the mocking stares of her new classmates, and, after a glance at the assembled students, she had decided that sitting next to a non-Human was probably the safer option.

    Nazmat Koch gave the class her trademark stern look. The hubbub died out instantly and she picked her datapad to take the register. There were even more relatives of imperial officials than she initially thought – on the first page alone, she recognized the surnames of a Grand Moff and two admirals, and that young lady in the third row who was batting her eyelashes at the Zeltron might very well be the niece of a member of the Imperial Council. She maintained, however, her practised indifference until a name jumped at her from the screen. “Eskari, Ayesha!”

    The girl with the primitive clothes raised her hand timidly. Nazmat Koch’s features softened. Now it made sense. “Are you related to Namajib Eskari?” she asked. The girl blushed and let out an inaudible mumble. The class turned to her again, eyeing her with mild curiosity, except the Sullustan and the Zeltron who were now staring at her with undisguised eagerness. “Speak up, Miss Eskari,” the professor said sharply. “We cannot hear you.”

    The silence in the lecture theatre was deafening. Ayesha’s blush would have darkened if that were possible. “He was my father,” she repeated a little louder.

    “You’re kidding!” someone gasped from the middle row.

    All eyes travelled to the Zeltron, whose skin turned a brighter shade of pink. Nazmat Koch allowed herself a smile. “I am quite certain Miss Eskari is not kidding, Mister...?”

    The Zeltron swallowed. “Lamtee, Master. Lamtee Plohwell.”

    “Well, Mister Plohwell, since you are so eager to talk, perhaps you could tell your nonplussed classmates a few things about Namajib Eskari?”

    Lamtee looked around him to see that the swarm of giggling girls had clearly no idea what they were talking about. “Namajib Eskari was the greatest poet in the years before the Clone Wars,” he began enthusiastically. “He was a true wordsmith. He was from a Core World – Corellia, I think – but he’s best known for integrating elements of the Basic dialects spoken by non-Humans in his writing.” The Core World clique snickered scornfully again, but he ignored them and continued. “He also experimented with poetry in various other languages, including Huttese. It had never been done before.” The snickering grew louder. Nazmat Koch frowned with a single eyebrow, restoring order in a heartbeat. “He travelled a lot and he lived on Zeltros for a short while. He wrote a collection of poems called The Vortex while he was there. It’s strongly influenced by the Zeltron tradition of oral poetry in some aspects, but it also explores themes that were completely foreign to us, such as fear and apprehensiveness of disasters to come. It changed Zeltron poetry forever.” He hesitated. “I don’t know the details of what happened next, but he was taken in captivity by Zygerrian slavers at some point after he left Zeltros. His last collection, Silences from the Edge of Life, was published towards the end of the Clone Wars. Many people considered it his masterpiece at the time because it's written in a jumble of dialects that’s at the same time incredibly coherent, and the emotion it conveys is... well, that’s difficult to describe. It became an instant best-seller but it’s... not available in the market anymore.”

    The Sullustan’s hand shot up. “Yes, Miss...?”

    “Tashi Marath, Master. I wanted to add that several of Eskari’s works were set to music, often in the form of cantatorios. Some species even integrated his poetry in their worship hymns. I think it has to do with the unusual rhythm of his language. It's very fluid and it lends itself to many styles of music.”

    Nazmat Koch nodded. “Indeed. It was a sophisticated form of poetry, for what I would argue were more civilised times.” Her beady eyes surveyed the room. Lamtee and Tashi were giving each other excited looks and Ayesha had slouched back in her seat, staring at her bag on the desk – an elaborate, if worn-out, leather satchel, the professor noted, most likely from some arboreal world given the pattern of twisted vines adorning its flap – but the expression of the rest of the students ranged from perplexity to disbelief. “Miss Eskari’s presence among us is the perfect opportunity for me to introduce the underlying theme of this course. The mutual influence, intermingling and interaction of various species’ art forms over the millennia is an essential aspect of History of Art, and it is a topic we shall discuss at great length over the coming year.” A heavyset girl snorted derisively. “Do you have something to contribute to this discussion, Miss...?”

    “Marika Vandron, Master, and yes, I want to ask why we would have to bother with alien art at all. COMPNOR determined that –”

    “I am well aware of COMPNOR’s... conclusions in the field of art, thank you very much,” Nazmat Koch snapped. “In no small part due to Crueya Vandron’s efforts to interfere in my teaching, I may add. I assume that he is a relative of yours?” The heavyset girl seemed to shrink under the elderly professor’s contemptuous gaze and merely nodded in assent. “I have the regret to inform you that COMPNOR may distribute scarlet holopanels to non-Human artworks, but they cannot rewrite history. Furthermore, what you shall and shall not bother with in this class is my decision and mine alone. Am I making myself clear?” She surveyed the hall once more. The Core Worlders were exchanging increasingly perplexed, but also somewhat worried, sideways looks; Lamtee and Tashi were trying to maintain their composure and Ayesha had finally looked up with a glimmer of – was it hope? gratefulness? – in her eyes. The professor suppressed another wry smile. “You should all know that your end-of-year research project will focus on defining non-Human influences on your homeworld’s art – or Human influence, as the case may be,” she added with a nod towards the three near-Human students. “Miss Vandron, I recommend that you start looking into the introduction of Ossan syp wood carving techniques on Karfeddion as early as today. I have no doubt that you have much to learn in this area.”

    Ayesha could have sworn that Master Koch winked at her before resuming taking the register, but Tashi turned to her before she could think anymore of it. The Sullustan’s wide grin caused her dewflaps to retract almost entirely. “It’s nice to meet you,” she whispered. Ayesha gave her a shy smile. “I love your dad’s poems,” Tashi went on, “but I never read Silences. Do you have a copy I can borrow?” Ayesha’s smile became embarrassed. Tashi chuckled. “Don’t worry, I know the book is banned. I won’t tell anyone, promise.”

    A soft cough from the direction of the lectern attracted their attention and they looked up to see that Nazmat Koch was giving them a disapproving look. Ayesha blushed crimson again and lowered her head. “I like this professor,” Tashi whispered as soon as Nazmat Koch returned to her list. “She looks stern but fair. I’m sure I’m going to love this class.”

    The first hour of the day’s lecture passed more or less uneventfully. Nazmat Koch spoke at length of Human-Duros interaction in the early days of the Old Republic and accompanied her discourse with an intricate holoshow to illustrate her points. Tashi was struggling to keep up. She didn’t have a state-of-the-art datapad to download the entire holoshow like the Core World students and often had to interrupt her note-taking to snap a holo of the piece of art on display. She was so absorbed in the lecture that she didn’t notice that Ayesha was taking handwritten notes on a scratch pad. She was about to leave the room at break time when she finally saw the many sheets of flimsi that were spread across her neighbour’s desk, covered in scribbles and incomprehensible sketches that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the artefacts Nazmat Koch had shown them. “Are you managing?” she asked as the rest of the students filed behind her. “I have a spare datapad at home. I could lend it to you if you want.”

    Ayesha shook her head, her eyes still fixed on the flimsi she was holding. “It’s okay, I have one. It’s just that I like flimsi better. I can always go and look up the pieces in the library later, but drawing helps me understand them, you know?”

    The sheet was suddenly snatched from her fingers. “You call that drawing?” a young man who had distinguished himself throughout the lecture as being particularly obnoxious and vain asked. He waved the flimsi in the air. “She calls that drawing!” he shouted gleefully.

    The small clique of Core World students burst out laughing as they passed Ayesha’s sketch to each other for a closer look. “Why not?” Marika Vandron giggled. “Look at what they call clothes wherever it is she comes from. She looks like a tree-dweller. Who made these for you, a Wookiee?”

    Ayesha was on the verge of tears and Tashi was glancing around frantically, visibly at a loss what to do, when a wrinkled hand plucked the drawing from the Vandron girl’s grasp. “Ah, yes. I remember seeing these sketches in your portfolio, Miss Eskari. They were most intriguing,” Nazmat Koch said calmly, silencing the Core Worlders.

    Many of the less pugnacious students drifted towards the door, but Marika wouldn’t be put off so easily. “I thought the application portfolios were anonymous,” she said accusingly.

    Nazmat Koch gave her a cold smile. “I stand corrected. I remember quite vividly the portfolio that included sketches such as this one. As opposed to, shall we say, other applicants’ portfolios of which I have no recollection. No recollection whatsoever.” She paused and let the unspoken implication float in the air, then returned to Ayesha. “However, I find it difficult to understand how you process visual information, Miss Eskari. Could you explain to me what these drawings mean?”

    Ayesha was beet red again. “In this case I tried to capture the commonalities between the various pieces you showed us, Master,” she mumbled. “These here” – she gestured towards the pile to her left – “are the portraits created by Human artists. Those” – she showed the batch of sketches spread out to her right – “are those created by the Duros.” She would have liked to stop there and be forgotten, but Nazmat Koch was visibly expecting her to say more. She took a deep breath. “As you said, the Duros fail to represent Human subjects’ noses and lips adequately. This influence is clearly visible even in later pieces.” She shuffled the flimsies to her left and extracted a doodle that was as indecipherable as every other one of her drawings. “Here’s a sketch of the statue of House Organa on the Avenue of the Core Founders. I drew this from memory and I know that the statue on display is a relatively recent copy, but I’m quite sure that the original was created by a Duros. Even after the Human artist corrected the statue’s facial anatomy for the copy, the nasal septum is missing.” She pointed at two pencil strokes in the jumble of lines and looked at Nazmat Koch expectantly.

    Tashi didn’t understand Ayesha’s logic in the least – where in the galaxy did she pull those visual clues from? – but she couldn’t suppress a grin at the Core Worlders’ puzzled faces. Even Marika Vandron had the unmistakable expression of someone who had just had the wind taken out of her sails. Nazmat Koch stared at the sketch for a couple of heartbeats, then returned to the lectern and activated the holoprojector to display a holo of the statue Ayesha was talking about. “That’s... very interesting, Miss Eskari,” she said after observing the holo. “I do not quite understand how you reached that conclusion, but you have a valid point.” She held out the sheet of flimsi she was still holding. “What of this drawing? You were studying it as if it held the key to the universe before Mister Griff here interrupted you.”

    “It’s the ancient statue from Anaxes that you showed us, Master.” Nazmat Koch keyed the projector to display the right holo. “Yes, that one. You said it’s thought to have been created by a Duros, but there’s something off about it. The material is unusual, for starters. All the Duros works we saw were made of some kind of alloy, but this is stone. And the finger strokes that shaped the coating aren’t right. It’s as if this statue were modelled by someone gaunter, you know? I was wondering if the artist could have been a Muun.”

    The Griff youngster let out a disparaging snort. “The Muun never produced an artist. Their only contribution to Galactic civilization is banking, everyone knows that.”

    “Master Detrell will be delighted to know that you dismissed his pet project so offhandedly,” Nazmat Koch said glacially. Tashi stifled a chuckle. “Have you met him yet, Ayesha?” Ayesha shook her head, visibly overwhelmed – the stern-looking professor was addressing her by her first name! “No, of course you haven’t. Master Detrell has been researching the possibility that one of the earliest artists we know of was a Muun. He’s currently on sabbatical leave, but I will introduce you to him at the first opportunity. As far as I know he never considered the possibility that the Anaxes statue was a Muun’s creation and I am certain he will be very curious to hear your line of thought.” She turned to Boric Griff. “Mister Griff, your invaluable contributions to this conversation notwithstanding, you now have an opportunity to make yourself truly useful. Please go and summon your classmates back. We have another hour of work to do and I do not intend to waste it.”

    To Tashi’s great satisfaction, Boric Griff looked absolutely mortified as he left the lecture theatre to call the class back. The students who were standing near the door drifted back to their places. The Zeltron called Lamtee gave Ayesha an encouraging smile as he walked past her. Tashi took her seat at Ayesha’s side. “You did good,” she whispered, nodding towards Nazmat Koch. Ayesha mumbled something about not wanting to come across as the teacher’s pet. Tashi chuckled. “Don’t worry, you’re not. You earned the prof’s respect with your comments. And I’ll take her as an ally over those poodoo-heads any day.”

    The second hour of the lecture went by. Tashi was trying to focus on Nazmat Koch’s explanations about the impact of the opening of the Perlemian Trade Route and the establishment of the Intergalactic Banking Clan on the development of the arts, but she was constantly distracted by Ayesha, who was scribbling away furiously. She filled page after page with more of the mysterious drawings and occasionally tore a flimsi sheet out of her pad to write a few keywords that she interconnected with a complex system of arrows that Tashi couldn’t make sense of. By the end of the lecture, Tashi had given up taking notes and was staring at Ayesha’s desk with fascination. “Would you like to study together?” she asked as soon as Nazmat Koch finished distributing the homework assignments for the following week. Ayesha looked at her with utter bewilderment, as if it were the last thing she had been expecting anyone to ask of her. “What’s so weird? You’re clearly very good at what you do and you have a unique way of doing it. I have an ulterior motive, you know. I’d be learning from you.”

    “Can I join you?” a voice said behind them. They spun around to find the handsome Zeltron looking at them – he must have changed seats after the break, Tashi realised; his enthusiastic description of Namajib Eskari’s poetry had probably cost him the favour of the Human girls. “I’d like to learn too,” he said with a sheepish smile. “And I’m new on Coruscant, so I’d like to make friends. Maybe we can go for caf or something?”

    “Sure!” Tashi said excitedly. “If that’s okay with you, Ayesha,” she added as an afterthought. She didn’t wait for an answer and went on. “I have an idea. There’s this Dug artist who’s inaugurating his new exhibition today. Let’s grab some food, and then we can go and see him. The gallery is somewhere below CoCo Town. You’ll see, he’s very talented. His name is Mabalsa.” She pulled Ayesha to her feet.

    “I don’t think I can come,” Ayesha said timidly. “I need to go to the library now to check out the pieces of art Master Koch showed us, because I’m working tonight. I have a part-time job in a diner.”

    A datachip landed in front of her on the desk. “You may dispense with the library, Miss Eskari. I... how would you put it? Ah, yes. I’ve got you covered,” Nazmat Koch said in her crisp Coruscanti accent. Ayesha turned crimson once more, but the professor’s attempt at mimicking younglings’ slang made her smile. Nazmat Koch turned to Tashi. “Miss Marath, I believe that you said something about food, CoCo Town and a Dug artist?” Tashi nodded. “Well, this combination sounds extremely interesting. I will take you there in my speeder, but I have two important additions to this programme. We will fly through the Fashion Concourse and will stop at the hairdresser’s.” She gestured towards the door. “Shall we go? This young lady has the prettiest blush on Coruscant, but she badly needs a haircut.”


    Fanon elements and Wookiepedia links
    Species: ZeltronSullustanDurosMuunDugOssan
    Characters: All characters appearing or mentioned in this story are OCs, with the exception of Finis Valorum, Crueya Vandron and Amise Griff (implied to be related to Boric Griff)
    Organisations: COMPNORImperial CouncilIntergalactic Banking Clan
    Locations: KarfeddionAvenue of the Core FoundersAnaxesPerlemian Trade RouteCoCo Town – the Fashion Concourse is something I made up, it features outlets of the various fashion houses I listed in the Fanon Thread.
    Other: Qukuufscarlet holopanelsyp wood – the term ‘cantatorio’ was helpfully suggested by Findswoman as a portmanteau of cantata and oratorio
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2023
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: The Hairdo
    Timeframe: 6 BBY
    Continuity: Legends
    Length: One-shot
    Genre: Humour
    Characters: Ayesha Eskari, Eliskandro Fasolia Faké
    Challenge response: Written in response to the Mods’ April’s Fool Challenge 2015: Write a story with the following parameters: It must be exactly 684 words, Include a useless multi tool, a Karkarodon that breaks out into song, the word "SHAZAM!", an oversized bean.
    Notes: This story is a direct sequel to A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City (above). It is re-posted from my old Chyntuck’s Ramblings thread, where you will find the original comments and discussion. Eliskandro the Hutt has acquired a life and a thread of his own: The Detective Eliskandro Stories.


    The Hairdo

    Ayesha wondered if Nazmat Koch was pulling a prank on her when she saw the flashing sign that read ‘SHAZAM! – Eliskandro’s Hair and Feathers Salon’, but a flock of brightly coloured Elellumiwi pulled her inside before she could think of it twice. Her perplexity evolved into bewilderment when the diminutive avians paused in an airlock of sorts to help her slip on a gown and cover her face in a breathing mask, and they pushed her through the second door into what appeared to be an unusual grooming salon. Sentients of various species, including a Karkarodon who was humming to the tune of the music blaring from the HoloNet display, polished the scales of Trandoshans, slicked the feathers of Calibops and trimmed the hair of Bothans.

    An overweight Hutt covered in glittering jewellery was lying on a royal dais in the back of the room, overseeing the situation while more Elellumiwi fluttered around him, scrubbing his hide. “Welcome to Shazahm, dahling,” he boomed in a surprisingly feminine voice as he slid off his dais and crawled towards her with a disgusting squelching sound. “I’m Eliskandro and I’ll be taking care of you. This is your first time here, isn’t it?” Before Ayesha could reply, he steered her towards a Human-sized chair and started untangling her long braids. “Oh, but your hair is mahvelous, simply mahvelous! How about we trim it ever so slightly and ask” – he voiced an unpronounceable series of clicks and chirps and pointed at an Elellumiwi who was sitting at a tiny workman bench covered in cutting tools – “to create some more colourful hair clips for you? Something like this,” he added, waving a lariat of sparkling beads hanging around what he had for a neck. “Oh yes. It will be chahming.”

    All Ayesha could do was nod while the Hutt continued chattering away and the Elellumiwi artisan got to work. Eliskandro removed her heavy wooden hair clasps one by one – “Seriously, dahling, how come your head didn’t fall off? These are as heavy as oversized beans!” – and was massaging her head when he saw her fiddle with the breath mask. “Ah, I apologise for that,” he said. “The IDHHHP wouldn’t allow me to open a salon without these. There’s some mumbo-jumbo in the law about the bodily fluids of Hutts inconveniencing Humans, you know how it is.”

    “What’s the IDHHHP?” Ayesha managed to ask.

    “The Imperial Department for Health, Hygiene and Human Protection of course!” Ayesha gave him a puzzled look. “I see,” he said thoughtfully. “You must be new in Imperial City. I take it that you have been living on some... more remote world so far?” Ayesha nodded. “Well, you’re in good hands now,” he added cheerfully. “We’ll make a Core Worlder of you after all! So tell me, how did you find your way to Shazahm?”

    “Master Nazmat Koch directed me here.”

    “Ah, Nazmat Koch. An old client of mine. She is a woman of taste and an extraordinary artist. The great Bonvika Deseradii Feolla has many of her paintings on display in her palace outside Gebroila.” Ayesha gave him a perplexed look. “Dahling, where have you been? Have you never heard of the great, immense Bonvika?” He dug into a drawer, extracted a curious device and started unfolding it as he chattered on. “She is one of the greatest art collectors in the Galaxy! Her collection can rival the Emperor’s and her gardens are one of the wonders of our times. You would not believe what that Weequay gardener of hers can do!” He leaned closer to Ayesha and added conspiratorially, “And a wonderful sentient she is too. I’ve been courting her for a couple of centuries, but she is not interested in females. But now, Eliskandra Fasolia Faké is no more. Behold the Fabulous Eliskandro!”

    He suddenly stopped and stared at the device in his hand, from which he had extracted a holocamera tripod, a glow rod and a hyperspace sextant. “Oh my, oh my. I got a bit carried away talking about Bonvika, didn’t I? Will someone give me a simple pair of scissors?”


    Fanon elements and Wookieepedia links
    Characters: Bonvika the Hutt is a character created by Findswoman in a series of hilarious short stories.
    Species: The Elellumiwi are Kahara’s brainchild – KarkarodonTrandoshanCalibopBothan
    Locations: Gebroila
    Organisations: To learn more about the IDHHHP, you’ll have to read my Eliskandro story Datacracy.
    Other: The hyperspace sextant is Gamiel’s fanon
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Onion
    Timeframe: 6 BBY
    Continuity: Legends
    Length: One-shot
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Lamtee Plohwell, Ayesha Eskari, Tashi Marath, Nazmat Koch, Mabalsa/Onion
    Challenge response: A belated response to the Winter 2020 OC Challenge: A situation where an OC encounters an unknown species for the first time. This can be sapient or non-sapient, and it need not be an actual new to the GFFA species, just one the character personally knows nothing about.
    Notes: This is a direct sequel to A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City and The Hairdo further up this thread.



    This was Lamtee Plohwell’s first foray into the Underlevels of Coruscant, and he wouldn’t mind at all if it were to be the last.

    His mother had warned him about the city-planet’s infamous underbelly before he left Zeltros to enrol in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. She admonished him to avoid it at all costs, citing the myriad threats that loomed in every corner of the dark, dank and fetid alleys that were home to those the Empire had forgotten. Of course, he hadn’t really intended to take her advice – though he kind of wished he had right now – but he did not expect to visit the place so early in his stay in Imperial Centre, and certainly not in this company.

    It was the company, and in particular the Eskari girl, that puzzled him the most, leaving him so nonplussed that he kept following along, even though every fibre of his being screamed for him to spin on his heel and return to the safety of the upper levels. Ayesha had come across as exceedingly shy from the moment she entered the lecture hall earlier that morning, and even the brilliance she had displayed in her conversation with Master Koch could do little to dispel that first impression. Until an hour ago, he’d thought of her as a young woman of great talent who was among the most socially awkward people he’d ever met. The physical transformation she had undergone at the hands of Nazmat Koch’s hairdresser and tailor had erased the most obvious signs of her coming from a somewhat disadvantaged, or at least marginalised, background, but she looked a little uncomfortable in her new, stylish attire and her every move made it clear that she hadn’t truly appropriated it yet.

    Yet when they left the tapcafé after a quick lunch and headed down to the gloomy back streets that would lead them to the art gallery that Tashi had recommended, Ayesha didn’t seem uncomfortable in the least. As a matter of fact, she spoke up of her own initiative to suggest an itinerary when Master Koch started fiddling with her speeder’s directional navigator, and she took the lead of the little troupe to show them the way when the alleys became so narrow that they had to park the vehicle and continue on foot. She moved in the shadows with uncanny ease, suddenly conveying a sense of assurance, maturity and experience that seemed to have sprung out of nowhere.

    The zoochberry on the cake was that, while Lamtee could see that Tashi was throwing worried glances around her as they moved deeper into the Underlevels – it was clear that it was the Sullustan’s first time down here too, and she didn’t appear to like it much either – Master Koch was entirely unfazed, walking confidently behind Ayesha as if she owned the place. Lamtee couldn’t help but feel a little diminished. His home planet’s culture didn’t entertain, for the most part, the disparaging ideas towards females that some Humans did, but it did seem a little embarrassing that he, a young man in his prime, would hesitate to go where a posh elderly lady and a timid young woman feared not.

    He did his best to stifle a sigh of relief when he heard the sound of voices and laughter at the end of the alley, and he suddenly found himself surrounded by a small crowd of beings of every possible species who were enjoying drinks and milling about on a small platform. Tashi’s smile brightened at the sight, and she made her way determinedly to the art gallery, whose doors were wide open behind the buffet. It occurred to Lamtee as he followed her that his existence on Zeltros had been very sheltered indeed. Many of the aliens gathered here belonged to species he had only ever seen in holodramas, and there were even a few he had never seen at all.

    Lamtee had never heard of Mabalsa, the artist whose works were on display, but Tashi was one of his admirers and for the next half hour the Zeltron lost track of Ayesha and Master Koch as his new Sullustan friend guided him around the exhibit. He could tell that Mabalsa had a unique, if unconventional, approach to sculpture. The sculpts were entirely made of what seemed like random pieces of, well, junk – there was no other word for it – and included bits of organic matter sealed under layers of various glass-like substances where they continued to decompose at their leisure. The result was unsettling, yet extremely coherent. Mabalsa’s works spoke, in their own way, of the rising of those who were poor, downtrodden or even dying, and Lamtee felt very lucky that a chance encounter of his first day in the Academy of Fine Arts was allowing him to bear witness to this discreet act of resistance against the Empire.

    He completed his tour with Tashi and was making his way back to a particularly disturbing piece titled Ooze to Rebirth, a construct of chipped hydrospanners built around a central blob of rotting gunk encased in amber, when he caught a glimpse of Ayesha. The scene gave him pause. The girl had not only reverted to the shy behaviour she had displayed earlier in the day, she was actually cowering behind the sculpt. She was hunched over her sketchpad, no doubt scribbling one of the mysterious drawings that had so intrigued him in class, but everything in her stance screamed how terrified she felt in that moment – screamed so loudly that, despite his best efforts to not open himself up to other beings’ emotions here on Coruscant, Lamtee couldn’t help but sense her dread washing over him in waves. Master Koch, who stood a few steps away, was giving her a concerned look and was even moving in her direction when a gruff voice barked in mangled Basic: “Whatcha looking at, sleemo?”

    Lamtee looked around and saw that a being of a kind he had never seen before had leapt out of the shadows and into the middle of the art gallery. The newcomer was not particularly large, although that impression might have been a result of his awkward anatomy – he stood in a crouching position on his upper limbs, whereas his legs, which ended in hands, jutted out in front of him. There was something simian about his whole outlook, but the shape of his snout identified him as an equid, even though he had facial tendrils that seemed vaguely reptilian too. At any rate, he conveyed a sense of strength, toughness and even belligerence, and he was staring down a tall humanoid with bone spurs protruding from his chin that the young Zeltron immediately identified as a Zygerrian.

    “I asked, whatcha looking at?” the strange alien grumbled again as he waddled forward.

    The Zygerrian tore his gaze off Ayesha – Lamtee realised that he had been staring at her all along – and brought it to his interlocutor. “Nothing in particular,” he said haughtily.

    “Good. Then move along. This is an art exhibit. You’re here to look at the art, not the visitors.”

    The two beings glared at each other for a moment, and the Zygerrian finally turned around and left.

    Lamtee barely had time to register what had just happened – somewhere in the back of his mind, he connected the fact that Ayesha’s father had been enslaved by the Zygerrian Empire to her discomfort around one of their kind – when the alien hopped towards the girl. “You okay, cheeka?”

    Ayesha looked up timidly and whispered something unintelligible that was probably meant to be ‘thank you.’

    “You’re welcome. I don’t like the neighbourhood thugs either.” His eyes fell onto the sketchbook she was holding. “Whaddya have here?”

    “Just a notepad,” she mumbled.

    He grunted and gestured towards the jumble of lines on the page that was open. “You’re processing a thought,” he said flatly.

    She nodded and straightened up a little, as if regaining her confidence. “I’m trying to understand how this artist balances his works. I just don’t get how he does it.”

    The alien gazed at her pad for a moment, then turned his eyes to Ooze to Rebirth and pointed at the lump of rotting material in amber tucked under the hydrospanners. “That’s because you expect to find the organic above the mineral.”

    Ayesha blinked several times, then straightened up a bit more. “You’re right! It’s such a standard feature of Dug art, isn’t it? I must have thought of it as some sort of rule.”

    The equid’s snout stretched into a wide grin. “This art wasn’t made by any old Dug, cheeka.”

    She looked at him directly for the first time and gave him a bright smile. “Clearly not. He likes to go against the flow.”

    Lamtee had no idea what they were talking about, but whoever, or, for that matter, whatever this being was, he was doing something right if he could get Ayesha to smile like that. Apparently, Master Koch felt the same way, because she came closer to Ayesha and the mysterious alien and gave him a regal nod. “You must be Mabalsa,” she said in her sharp tone.

    He grunted again. “Yup. I prefer Onion, though. And you’re Nazmat Koch.”

    The silence that fell over the exhibition at the sound of the professor’s name was deafening. Lamtee knew, of course, that Master Koch was universally celebrated as a leading light on the galactic art scene, but it was only then, when the entire gallery stopped dead in its tracks to look at her with reverence, that he realised the privilege it was to be taught by her – let alone be taken out to lunch and then to an art exhibit. What was more, the elderly lady was visibly so used to such reactions that she didn’t even seem to notice.

    “I am indeed,” she said smoothly. She placed a hand on Ayesha’s shoulder. “And this is my student, Ayesha Eskari.”

    The alien artist let out yet another grunt – now that Lamtee knew that this was what a Dug looked like, he remembered that their gruffness was legendary – and was about to answer, when one of the gallery’s patrons, a bubbly Zabrak, took a step forward. “Master Koch, such a pleasure! I admire your work so much, and I wanted to ask, if I may –”

    “You may not,” Nazmat Koch interrupted – how she managed to sound stern and kind in the same breath, Lamtee had no idea. “I am here as a visitor, like you. This is Master Mabalsa’s exhibition and –”

    “Drop the ‘master’ and just call me Onion, will ya?” the Dug barked. “With respect,” he added in response to her raised eyebrow. “The only master here is you. The rest of us… we can just bow, and hope that someday we’ll come close.” He rose to his full height – which really wasn’t much, he barely came to Lamtee’s hip, but as diminutive as he was he somehow managed to be quite intimidating – and addressed the gallery’s visitors, who were still frozen in place and gawking at the elderly professor. “Carry on now. Don’t they tell you not to stare where you come from?” He turned back to Nazmat Koch and angled his snout towards Ayesha. “You mind if I borrow your student, Master Koch?”

    The professor merely gave him an amused smile and a nod, and he took Ayesha’s hand to lead her away. “Follow me, cheeka. I’m working on a piece that’s not coming along well, and that sketchpad of yours is gonna help me.”

    A bemused Lamtee found himself staring at his teacher, who was watching the timid girl chatting happily with the Dug as they reached a back door that presumably led to the gallery’s workshop. He was still trying to process his thoughts when Tashi appeared at his side. “Do you think we can ever be like them?” the Sullustan asked.

    Lamtee glanced at her. She didn’t appear to be precisely envious, but it was clear that she felt a little diminished too. “Like Master Koch, you mean?”

    Tashi shrugged. “Like any of them. They just understand art and each other, don’t you see it?”

    Lamtee looked back at the gallery. Ayesha and Onion had now disappeared into the back room, and Nazmat Koch had returned her attention to one of the sculpts on display. “I don’t know, Tashi,” he said slowly. He wasn’t entirely sure what had passed between the elderly professor, the Dug artist and their classmate, but he could feel deep in his soul that he should seek to emulate it. “I don’t know if anyone can be like them, but I’m sure as blazes going to try.”


    Fanon elements and Wookieepedia links

    Locations: Underlevels
    Species ZeltronSullustanDugZygerrianZabrak
    Other: hydrospannerzoochberry
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2023
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    I enjoyed reading events from Lamtee's point of view, seeing the exhibit and Ayesha and Onion through his eyes. [face_thinking] I am glad to get the back story/origin of who Onion actually is. :cool:

    The exchange between Tashi and Lamtee at the end where they ponder the ways that truly artistic talents seem to connect immediately is fascinating. You almost get the sense that he feels he's an 'amateur' amongst the true professionals.
    Chyntuck likes this.
  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004

    I 100% could have sworn that I left feedback on these stories - though maybe that I was just through chatting in a PM? Whatever the lapse on my part, it's time to fix that now! :D

    A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City

    The one that started it all! [face_love]

    That alone says so much just there. :(

    We stan an utter queen here. :cool:

    When the Core-worlders find to sneer at is instead so loving and beautiful - if not in a way they are used to, so, instead, they laugh at it. [face_bleh]

    I did like this detail, though. :p

    Because she's Nazmat Koch. :cool:

    Rhysa is a fan, I bet! [face_love] *adds plot-bunny to the hutch*

    What I especially appreciate is how Ayesha's approach to art mirror's her fathers approach to poetry! She too combines inspirations and techniques from several different species, finding the interconnecting threads within, and that says so much about her as it does ultimately say through her art. [face_love]

    And of course, that would be something that the Empire would see fit to ban. [face_frustrated]

    I feel like Nazmat would get along so well with Obi-Wan. These two need to have a cup of tea together, in another time and place. :p

    Ooh, great insight! :D

    Crueya Vandron and Venthan Chassu would get on just swell, I bet. o_O (And I think remembering an author's note where you mentioned Chassu showing his ugly face in this series coming up? [face_thinking] [face_mischief])

    [face_love] [face_love]!!

    This feels so very right for Ayesha. [face_love]

    [face_frustrated] [face_bleh] :rolleyes:

    They would be astute, if they weren't just crassly xenophobic and looking for an insult to hurl without realizing how close to the mark they were.


    This is such an awesome insight, I just love it! (Thrawn would be clapping his hands in glee if he was here. :p)

    I just . . . the casual superiority and the certainty of his bigotry just floors me, even coming from an overly privileged Imperial brat.

    Because THAT'S what's important, and these friendships are going to last long past their school days. [face_love]

    I appreciate this, too - that Nazmat is going to give her approval only where it's honestly deserved, and Ayesha has earned that respect just as others failed to do so in their own turn. [face_love]


    I just love everything about this, yes indeed I do. [face_love]

    The Hairdo


    Fabulous, as always! :cool:

    This is another great reference to Ayesha's Wookiee family, though. They probably weren't very heavy to a Wookiee artisan at all!

    And I especially love that Eliskandro knows just what Ayesha needs, and sets about her makeover without any direction on her part. :p

    I just had a little bit of bile in my throat, reading these lines. I had wondered what the seemingly biohazardous protocols were for, and that answers that. [face_plain]


    [face_love] [face_laugh] [face_love]

    Everything about this was absolutely delightful - mahvelous, I say! [face_mischief] =D=


    This was so fascinating! Just as everything about Lamtee's introspection in the Lower Levels was. Yeah, this isn't anywhere to tread lightly at first glance, especially for those who "aren't in Kansas anymore", so to speak. And it makes just as much sense that Ayesha finds her confidence and poise where she feels at home.

    More great insights, all! This kinda gave me the same vibe as finding those less touristy corners of New York City - or any large metropolis, even - looking for those out of the way gems off the beaten path. There's such a unique vibe to melting pots like these, and I can only imagine that on a galactic scale! It's something truly special, and I love that Lamtee recognizes that privilege to experience for what it is here. [face_love]

    And I loved this Zeltron physiological detail! :D


    I love it when artists see each other. [face_love]


    More excellent characterizations for Nazmat and Lamtee. [face_love] =D=

    I appreciate how you brought this full-circle. At first, I was rather taken aback by Nazmat's reply, before she finished her sentence and her answer made more than perfect sense. She was being mindful and polite in honoring the featured artist, rather than letting the attention fall on herself.

    She's just so, so classy. :cool:

    Onion! [face_laugh] [face_laugh] I swear that my mouth was stuck in a grin by this point - I just couldn't stop beaming, I was so pleased. :D

    Because that's what art is! No matter your skill level, it's being inspired by and inspiring others in your own turn - it's a symbiont circle in the best of ways, in any medium, is it not? ;) :*

    This has been a wonderful collection thus far, and I, as always, look forward to reading more if you're ever so inspired! [face_love] =D= [:D]
  7. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    More Ayesha and Onion to follow? Or your hutts. They are great in this series.
    Chyntuck likes this.
  8. amidalachick

    amidalachick FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 3, 2003
    From this collection so far I've only read A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City but now I'm definitely hooked! :D

    I like her already!

    Honestly, I would love to hear this IRL. I'd love to take this class, too; it sounds so cool! This entire story is full of such great culture- and world-building. [face_love]

    Truth! :p And Tashi already sounds like a good friend.

    I enjoyed this so much, and I can't wait to catch up on the other stories in this collection as soon as I get a chance! :)
    Chyntuck likes this.
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Happy 2024 to all! And thank you for reading and reviewing. It's time for a few replies to your kind comments.

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you!
    Thanks! This thread is an opportunity for me to develop a little those OCs that didn't get quite enough screentime in Ἀνάγκη. I've had backstories for them for years now, but there was no space for that in the main story, and I've found that I enjoy writing about this artist crowd that's not directly connected to the events of the Saga.
    Hehe. Yes, he feels that he's out of his depth here, but in truth he isn't. Both Nazmat Koch and Onion have the privilege of experience, and Ayesha has that tremendous sheer, raw talent, but Lamtee and Tashi are talented artists in their own right. They just need to grow into it.

    @Mira_Jade Thank you! And there is no such thing as a lapse when it comes to reviewing, let alone that you'd already provided enthusiastic feedback on PM :)
    :D We do! And I love writing Nazmat Koch in this era. In every dictatorship there are these figures that have enough self-assurance to take a relatively public stand against the regime and to skirt the line of subversion without however doing enough to get arrested, and she's definitely one of those.
    Heh. I wanted to emphasise that Ayesha's presence in this most elite institution is something from another time. On the one hand, the Core World students' reaction is one of snobbery, and while Nazmat Koch doesn't look down on her, she can't help but notice that this is a student whose appearance betrays the fact that she was accepted in the Academy on sheer talent and not thanks to her family connections.
    She is! I had a professor like that in uni. All she had to do was look at us, and we'd shut up and settle down.
    Yes please, do that. I really want to read that story now @};-
    Looking back I feel that I short-changed Namajib Eskari in Ἀνάγκη. I mean, the first mention he gets is for Thrawn to say that there's no Corellian influence in Ayesha's art, and I get the sense that I confined Namajib to the role of the loving dad who was just that to his daughter and nothing more – so as you can see both here and in Song of Fate, I'm trying to course-correct a bit. And yes, Silences is definitely something the Empire would see fit to ban; it's both a condemnation of slavery and an ode to cultural diversity in the galaxy.
    Can you please add this plot bunny to the hutch as well? Please? Pretty please?
    That's definitely something Nazmat would notice, isn't it? I mean, she's one of the few people who can go head-to-head with Thrawn, after all.
    This is something of a "Imperial bigots unite" situation :p and indeed Crueya Vandron and Venthan Chassu do get on swell. You'll definitely seeing a bit of that in upcoming stories in this thread.
    Thanks! I have this habit of putting a little element of myself in all my OCs, and this is definitely an element of myself I put in Ayesha. I also can make more sense of things when they're written on paper, and I always begin writing my stories in longhand to get a feel for them.
    Truly, they have no idea :rolleyes:
    [face_laugh] This is again something I borrowed from someone I know in real life – specifically, from a friend's mother who was a university professor, and who could murder someone with mere words without skipping a heartbeat if the situation called for it.
    This was perhaps my favourite moment to write in this entire story – the moment I showed that Ayesha isn't just this fish-out-of-the-water weirdo in the Academy, but one of the few people who get it from day one. Yes, Thrawn would be proud!
    Well, that's just how racists (or in this case, speciesists) operate, isn't it? They deeply believe that they know.
    These two bits, on the other hand, were what made writing this story somewhat difficult for me. Once I decided that Tashi, Lamtee, Nazmat Koch and Ayesha would develop a special relationship from their first encounter, I had to figure out a way to give it some depth. I'm happy this worked for you.

    Thanks for the review on The Hairdo! TBH this was just a goofy story that I felt like writing in the moment, and it just became important to me in the way stories sometimes do.
    I've actually written another goofy story called Datacracy, where Eliskandro takes on the IDHHHP and wins. It's yet another of these throwaway lines that took on a life of their own.
    And this is where we need @Findswoman to open up her hutch. There's a story to be told there, and only she could do it justice.
    I'm glad the opening section of this story worked for you, I truly enjoyed writing it! I wanted both to emphasise that Lamtee (and Tashi) have just come to the big city and are intimidated by its underbelly, even if it holds treasures that one wouldn't find in the glittering upper levels (your comparison to NYC was particularly apt IMO, I've been there only once but it definitely had that vibe), and to show that they don't know anything about Ayesha yet – who, as shy and provincial as she appears to be, isn't on her first rodeo here and is comfortable with things that they find terrifying.
    Again, this is something I wasn't able to develop in Ἀνάγκη, so this series is an opportunity for me to show that Lamtee is a Zeltron and Tashi is a Sullustan beyond merely stating it. Lamtee's Zeltron-ness will actually play a significant role in a future story.
    Now these three quotes/comments are possibly the best compliment you could give me for this story. I wanted Onion to make his entry with a bang, both as a Dug and as an artist, and I'm giddy with happiness to see that I succeeded.
    [face_love] [face_love] [face_love]
    Ah, Onion! I definitely intend to write more of him in the future, but I have to admit that it's sometimes difficult to get in his head-space.
    And this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Thanks again for the detailed review!

    @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you! Yes, there will be a lot more Ayesha and Onion to follow. I don't think my Hutts will make further appearances in this series, yet never say never, and they're returning in another thread this year for sure!

    @amidalachick Thank you and welcome to this thread! I hope you'll enjoy your time here [:D]
    If I had to choose one of my OCs to name as my favourite (which is a bit like choosing between your children), I would probably go with Nazmat Koch. Unlike all the others that went through a painstaking development process, she turned up one day in my head, all dressed up and ready to go, and as Mira said above I want her to be a queen. I'm so happy that you like her!
    Thank you! The piece of music I used for inspiration for this concept is Pablo Neruda's Canto General set to music by Mikis Theodorakis in the form of an oratorio (I'm embedding an excerpt below). And TBH, this collection is also an outlet for me to describe all the classes I wish I could have taken, but there's none of that in the education system here.

    As I said in my reply to Mira above, I wanted there to be something very special for these characters in their first day in college. They're going to be friends for years and years after this, and I'm happy you felt that they were already bonding.
    Thanks again! And take your time reading these. This thread isn't going anywhere, and I intend to keep adding to it in the months and years to come.

    Thank you again to all readers, reviewers and lurkers! Until the next story... [:D]