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Before the Saga "Legends of the Force"(epic drama with OCs), book 4

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by AzureAngel2, Apr 13, 2020.

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  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, heart-wrenching loss after momentous events involving Isabeau =D=
     
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  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    death and suffering. I hope he can save some
     
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha & @earlybird-obi-wan: Here we go that you find out what will happen next:


    Chapter 13:

    Something loosens deep within my chest, when I arrive at my destination. I behold but a miserable and dirty child.

    In the end, Princess Grianán Arcānā Tjiehennet cannot help being a semi-sentient, undead humanoid. Her mother did that to her. She deserves my mercy, not my wrath.

    With the promise that I will keep her safe, I leave with the girl my arms.

    I hurry through the city to the marketplace. There, I find two of the royal princes in great distress. The blood-thirsty mob closes in on them, while they try to protect the severely burned body of Arcānā.

    I decide to leave it to Parhelion help. The reason is simple. I cannot allow for a child to die on my watch. Not even a most peculiar one.

    When I knock at the door like some lunatic, Tonnerre opens the front door of the Embassy.

    Somewhere in the building, I can hear children cry inconsolably. It seems that the rest of the royal serpent-spawn are already here. I hear Narthex talking to them in a broken voice.

    “The special crisis unit?” I inquire, gazing at my secretary.

    “Commander Apis and her team will be here in half an hour, milord.” Tonnerre runs ahead of me, opening every door for me that needs opening. “Our men are outside, guarding the premises. The Blood Hounds abound in this area. Until now they have not noticed that you lured their prey away.”

    “We will keep it that way.” I place the dying girl on my desk. “Do not alert anybody to my presence! I need to concentrate on this one. If Narthex wants to see me, please let him in; not any of her siblings though!”

    Tonnerre bows wordlessly and hurries off again.

    I kneel in front of the princess and murmur gentle words into her ears. Words that I have given my own children in times of distress.

    Tears leak out of my eyes, hot and silent.

    Underneath my breath I speak a prayer for guidance and strength. I dare to address the goddess of healing and music that my people worship, along with her mother Sodalith.

    “Calme, I come before you tonight knowing that all power is in Your hands. I know that you are the Lady and that you care for your people.

    But this little Draconian girl here is struggling with a difficult trial. I can see her strength is faltering, Lady, and know that you have all of the strength that she needs.


    I pray that you will reach down and touch her now through the Force. Let your presence fill her heart and let her feel an extra portion of your strength to help her to get through this night and tomorrow.

    She needs you now, Lady, and I thank you in advance for meeting her and sharing your energies during this difficult time.”


    With the last words gone from my lips, white light spreads from my palms. I direct it straight into the girl’s body.

    The internal damage is worse than I initially thought; the girl’s organs are damaged, and several arteries and veins allowed vast amounts of blood to escape the circulatory system and collect inside her body. I need to repair each cell, and blood vessel one-by-one.

    ********************************************************************

    “Is Her Highness staying with you?” a female voice asks, tearing me out of my trance.

    My breath leaves my throat in an audible rush. I feel surprisingly drained and disoriented. With my right hand, I seek support from the desk, but the other remains above my patient’s heart chakra. I am unwilling to cut our physical connection.

    “Com...commander Apis, I assume?” The words do not leave my mouth easily. I am half-way between the spirit world and the physical one.

    “At your service, milord.” Military boots click over the mosaic stones as the high ranked officer marches towards me. “I am sorry that I am interrupting your healing session, but time is of the essence.”

    Surprised by the absolute sincerity of the commander, I try to smile. Using telepathy is too intimate for me, so I force another answer out of my mouth. Each syllable feels like a marathon. “There... there is... no... no need... for... for apologies.”

    “I gather that Her Highness is not going anywhere in her fragile state?” Her voice is heavy with both frustration and resignation.

    My office door opens with a loud bang.

    ********************************************************************

    “I’ll stay behind with Grianán if you don’t mind,” Narthex croaks from the hall, lowering his walking stick as he speaks.

    “Crazy old fool!” the commander snaps, but I cannot help detecting a gruff tenderness in her words.

    “You will not argue with me in this, Misera!” Narthex reasons calmly without moving away from the door frame. “With my son-in-law being knocked out and Caelestris not in a state to perform her new duties, I am the law of the House Tjiehennet for the time being.”

    The commander barely suppresses her snarl of rage. She grits her teeth and her nostrils flare, while she marches towards Narthex. Then she grabs him by the shoulders. Her fern-green eyes are fierce with love and possessiveness.

    “Sorry, sweetheart.” The elderly master valet slides his fingers under her chin and lightly kisses her lips. “I haven’t got time for anything else. Do what must be done! Get my family out...”

    An ear-piercing scream echoes through my office.

    Instinctively, my left hand comes off my patient’s chest and flies to the handle of my scimitar. The sudden physical separation feels like a spear drilling into my own heart chakra.

    I gasp for air, placing my fingers back on the skin of the princess. It soothes me instantly. I have never experienced that with any patient of mine before.

    ********************************************************************

    When I am able to look towards the door, still dazed and confused, Commander Aspis holds on to something. In her clutches is an ash-blond girl. At least the creature looks like girl, but it struggles and kicks like some monkey haunted by a swarm of jungle bees.

    Books rise from my shelves, attacking me.

    Office implements come alive.

    The ink pot empties itself above my head.

    “Daná!” bellows Narthex, his expression dark. “In the Name of Ischáh, behave!”

    “Murderer!” the girl spits into my direction. Her face is a bizarre mask of loathing and hatred.

    Narthex is visibly shocked as he reaches out for his granddaughter. “Daná, there is no harm being done in here. The Vicomte is a Force healer, and is helping your sister.”

    “No!” the girl roars. “He wants to finish Gri off. Look at his big red hands! They like cutting people apart.”

    “Daná, compose yourself!” urges Narthex. “The right to hospitality is holy to a Lidérc”

    “Holy, my ar...”

    Before the girl can say more, Commander Apis uses an old martial arts movement on her neck and Daná loses consciousness. “We have had quite enough of this nonsense, thank you.” She exchanges a meaningful look with Narthex, before she raises her voice to echo through the room. “Operation Snake Egg. We are off. My patience is wearing thin.”

    In the distance I hear child voices calling out my patient’s name in protest.

    There is also Tonnerre’s soft timbre, trying to calm the royal offspring. “Your Grianán is not dead, I assure you. But your sister cannot answer your telepathic calls when she is deep in a Force healing trance.”

    Smiling, I return my attention to my patient. After her sister’s emotional outburst, her heartbeat seems more steady. Her aura is bright-pink and light again, but there are still some muddy grey spots here and there, forming clusters of fear in critical areas.

    “You still have a long way to go, young one,” I whisper. “And I will be around to watch you. Just in case you eat humanoid brains after all.”

    ********************************************************************

    Once the squirming serpent-spawn is carried off by members of the crisis unit, I send Narthex to bed. The elderly master valet walks off as stiff as a robot unit with Tonnerre assisting him.

    My patient is still lying on my desk. I put a pillow under her head and give her my cloak as a blanket. Her inner bleeding has stopped, but her recovery will take a while.

    I ask Tonnerre to fetch me a bowl with warm water, a sponge and lavender soap.

    Grianán’s hair gives me the greatest resistance. I should shave it off, but then I decide against in.

    Finally, I succeed in removing all the blood and debris from it without being forced to cut it off.

    When my fingers close around the hair brush, I am reminded of Tāchys.

    With stinging eyes, I comb through the blond mane until it is smooth and shiny. Then I start to braid it.

    ********************************************************************

    The morning holds the promise of a bright day. Through the large office windows I see gulls circle in the sky. The ash cloud has almost cleared over the past five days, but it still winds itself around my heart and soul like a snake. It always will.

    My pencil moves slowly over the paper, while I softly curse. This is my fiftieth attempt to sketch the twins since last night. Each time I’ve managed to make Phrēn and Tāchys look too static, too frozen, too dead!

    Stubbornly, I go on, while the paper basket flows over and the pencil gets smaller. My eraser is barely existent now.

    I wished I was better with portraits. My memories are still fresh and detailed. I am afraid that they will slide away if I do not fix them on paper.

    A yawn escapes me.

    Perhaps it is time to go to bed, but dawn is already upon me.

    I bet Narthex is up already and his granddaughter Grianán, too. Soon, I have to join them for breakfast. Sleep won’t come anyway. Not that I tried for it all that much. My paper waste speaks a language of its own. But then I recall that the sad reason for my effort was my own doing.

    I smile cynically to myself.

    With the death of my children, all my good intentions for family life start to crumble.

    “Luçien?”

    A child’s voice comes from the door, but it is not one of the voices that my heart longs for.

    “What now?” I ask sharply and put away my pencil.

    ********************************************************************

    The Holy Scriptures claim that the Force sends angels to protect us from harm. Until now I have been failed over and over again.

    The little princess marches towards my desk. A keen warrior on a crusade of happiness. I wish she could leave me be, but being her father’s daughter she will not. “You are not okay,” she says.

    “I cannot see how this could be of any concern to you, child.”

    As I rise from my office chair, her grey eyes widen for a heartbeat. Then fear and uncertainly get replaced with genuine concern once more. “I lost family, too. Therefore I am sad,” she babbles. “You must be sad as well. But you hide. You hurt. All the time.”

    This child is too perceptive and clever for her own good. I grant her a weary smile for her efforts to get through to me.

    ********************************************************************

    After a challenging duel of words and wit – the little princess is a firework of linguistic surprises despite her young age – I send her off to dress properly. In her culture, there is no strict dress code. Telepaths look more at the inner values of a being. That much I have learned since my first meeting with Arcānā.

    I lean back in my office chair, thinking hard on what to do next.

    The halva for the twins is still in the drawer where I put it after my last visit to the market place. I attach a quick note to it. Then I pull the bell rope for Tonnerre, who is busy in the kitchen at this time of day.

    “I am wondering if you can come back in the late afternoon to prepare dinner for Narthex and his granddaughter,” I request when he enters.

    “It will be no problem. Would you like me to make anything special, milord?”

    “Grianán seems to be very fond of apricot tagine.”

    Tonnerre bows. “Will that be all, milord?”

    I stand up, the packed halva in my hand. “Could you please add that to the lunch parcel today?”

    Even though it will be bad for her teeth, I need to be more sweet to Grianán. She suffered great losses, too, and was fairly ill.

    ********************************************************************

    Helping the injured at the main hospital drains me, but also gives me a feeling that I have done something unselfish and kind for the community. A community that collapsed due to my bad choices.

    When I arrive at the archiepiscopal palace, I am dizzy and drained. Sionnach is rolled up in bed and more lethargic than ever. My words do not reach her. She does not even feel my healing touch.

    “Has she been this way the entire morning?”

    Éibhear nods, unable to put his answer in words. I see the dark rings under his eyes. I should stop pitying myself; his sorrow is as great as mine.

    I gently squeeze his shoulders, “Why don’t we ask one of the servants to keep an eye on your mother?”

    His gaze flickers nervously. “I...”

    “If even Parhelion and I cannot make a difference, then you should not feel guilty that you cannot wake your mother from her stupor.”

    Éibhear begins to shiver. It costs him a lot to hold back his tears. My poor son. His name is Elfin for ’granite’, but right now he is only a frightened child full of worries, hurt and uncertainty.

    “Amhantar,” I move on, using of his soul name to calm him. “You need some fresh air and sunlight. We will have breakfast somewhere in town, just me and you. When I know that you are fully fed, I will bring you to bed. We can also arrange for somebody to take your place at your mother’s side. Why not ask your uncle, the archbishop?”

    Reason comes slowly to his almond eyes. But then he asks a question that I had not counted on. “When do you sleep?”

    I cannot lie to him. To his mother, yes, but not to him. “I don’t,” I reply calmly.

    “If you do not sleep, why should I?” he snaps.

    “Because I am your father and you would make me very happy if you would show more reason than me or your mother can right now.” My words are terse and do not reflect any type of happiness.

    Éibhear intends to shout that I am not his real father. Just the person who raised him as his own, but then he breaks down as only an overtaxed child can. I scoop him into my arms.

    “I miss them,” he sobs.

    “Of course you do,” I assure him gently.

    That brings forth new tears. “I wish I was gone and not them.”

    “Bad things happen in life. Things nobody can be blamed for.” Saying that aloud takes every bit of self-control that I have. But the boy needs to hear it. “I am glad that I am allowed to be your father. It would pain me very much if anything ever happened to you.”

    ********************************************************************

    It is late in the evening when I check on Grianán. She is already in bed, but not asleep. Narthex is nowhere to be seen. I am upset and need to vent, so I tell her the story that I came to know during my initiation as a Force witch hunter’s apprentice.

    Grianán’s tearful reaction haunts me throughout the next day.

    A knot has solidly lodged in my throat. I have become like Châtiment Goañv, a cold tyrant with no regards for others.

    When Narthex takes his grandchild to the harbour, I follow them. Hiding behind a gantry crane, I keep watching the unlikely pair. They take off their sandals, sit down at the quay, put their feet into the water and hold hands.

    After a while, Grianán starts singing. The ocean wind carries her voice to me. I recognize a popular chant from the River Valley.

    “Solid as a rock
    Safe within the harbour
    Ancient as a stone
    Strong as the sea
    Solid as a rock
    Safe deep within the Mother
    And water that flows ’round me.”


    It is evident that the child has seen heartbreak, violence and sorrow. So far I have only detected the benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper and, most astonishing for one so young, the endowment of her mind.

    When I stand in front of Grianán’s bed that night, I do my best to make her happy. I let her pick the story and give her all the gentleness she needs to thrive. She has no need for more atrocities in her life. She needs a teacher on her journey through life. I was one for her cousin Sionnach. It is only logical, that I move on to be hers.

    ********************************************************************

    When Parhelion visits me the next morning, he dutifully informs me about an unexpected change.

    “Sionnach roams the streets at night?” I echo, appalled.

    “Not to seek customers. Did you listen at all, Luçien? I just said that Sionnach helps out in the hospital. As a Force healer.”



    “I do not think it is a good idea.” I fold my arms in front of my chest. My resolve is steely. “Sionnach needs all her energy for herself and her own healing process. She cannot be allowed to lose it to others. Besides, using the Force after what happened to this city...”

    “Just leave her be,” he interrupts me. “If sharing her skills helps her to get whole again, I will support her cause openly and fully.”

    “She is my responsibility,” I remind Parhelion sourly. “Mine alone.”

    ********************************************************************

    Sionnach hardly looks up when I come to stand before her in the ER. “I am here just in case the twins are brought here,” she explains hastily.

    My heart tightens, but I do not correct her hopeful assumption. “Do not make it too late, my little fox,” I say. “I can pick you up later.”

    Sionnach nods without really looking back at me. Instead she focuses her attention back on the broken leg of an elderly woman. Under her soft touch, the splintered bones heal inch by inch.

    I feel like an intruder and walk off.

    There is so much pain and sorrow around me. Families lie in pieces just as their homes do. I should be here in the hospital more often, offering my skills as a Force healer. All contract killings and political dances can wait.

    Suddenly, a hand comes to rest on my shoulder and a deep voice booms, “Oh, my lost child.”

    Warmth races through my entire body with one exception: my heart. “I do not wish to be healed by you, Skywalker.”

    I feel my father breathe against my neck. “The city is destroyed, and your family is torn apart. I am so sorry.”

    I turn around to face the ancient Force bender, but he is already gone, as usual. His healing powers linger on though, unwanted. As I march back to the Embassy, I curse him and the entire universe.

    ********************************************************************

    The moment I enter my office, something coils around my knees. I startle slightly in surprise.

    “I did more paintings for you!” Grianán exclaims happily.

    I want to yell at her, but then my eyes take in the amount of work she has put on my desk. Tears form in my eyes. “That is all for me?”

    “Of course. You are so unhappy that I thought it would be good to paint as much as I can.”

    Slowly, I sink down, until I am eye-to-eye with her smiling face. “You know what? I am done with my chores for today. Might you do me the honour of explaining your art to me?”

    Her eyes widen and then she starts cheering.

    Narthex rushes into the office, startled and curious. “Milord, is Grianán bothering you?”

    “No,” I laugh. “Not in the least. She is the only pleasure that I was allowed to experience today.”

    The master valet gives me a satisfied look. “But you would tell me if she is a nuisance.”

    “Of course,” I offer. “But for now I would prefer to have her showing me her wonderful paintings.”

    “I will inform Tonnerre that you are back. He and I can prepare dinner together while you keep Grianán company.”

    “Actually it is the other way around, my dear Narthex. Your wonderful grandchild keeps me company. And I am very, very grateful for it.”

    Grianán looks at me in adoration.

    We sit together on my office chair. Once I ask her the first question about a baby rancor that hangs at its mother's large back, there is no way for me to return to gloominess.

    The child brings forth a flood of explanations, interrupted by giggles. I am charmed by the enthusiasm and skill, my worries forgotten for the moment.

    ********************************************************************

    When Grianán appears in my office the next day, I am glad to see her. Nicely, she requests some art materials. I am more than happy to assist. The twins will never use their crayons again. When they died, all that I ever had of them – their toys, their paintings and other memorabilia – vanished into the freak storm with them. I should have considered hanging up some of their art in my office before.

    While I watch, my special visitor makes herself comfortable next to my desk, lying on her belly with the drawing pad in front of her. It pleases me.

    There is no bitterness in Grianán, no cynicism. She is but full of smiles, giggles and hugs. I will do my best to keep her in the light. She will not vanish in the abyss of necromancy like her mother if I can prevent her fall.

    Later on, due to all the stress that I am under, I snap out at her for very little reason. I am ashamed.


    Sources:
    An altered Roman Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
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  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic interactions and reactions, showing how complex these can be in the aftermath of a tragedy @};-
     
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  5. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    a great tragedy for Lucien but he is showing some gentleness and care
     
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  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Thanks for the praise! It was not easy to write that part, but I had several inspirations for that chapter.


    @earlybird-obi-wan: He is capable of those, true. But a big blockhead anyway.

    Okay, here we go. Also, I hope you are still following this dear @Kahara, @Darth_Furio, @Nehru_Amidala & @Cowgirl Jedi 1701.


    Chapter 14:

    After the service, I return Sionnach and Éibhear to the archiepiscopal palace. Then I hurry to the Embassy just to find a note from Agathos.

    Her Ladyship is back. It is for the better that your sister never knows that we were with you. I fear she would not understand.

    We all will return to Draconis as soon as possible. Friends of mine will smuggle us out of the city. We can take a private flight from Chelonia.

    I thank you for your hospitality and kindness towards my grandchild.

    Yours sincerely, Narthex Kyrene

    PS: Please destroy this message after reading.


    With the letter clutched in my hands, I march straight into the empty guest bedroom. On one of the mattresses, I find a child painting. It shows the ocean and a breathtaking sunset.

    Obviously, Grianán has forgiven me my bad temper earlier on today. I do not deserve her friendship.

    Tonnerre comes to stand behind me. “Mistress Erythyr called.”

    That name gets me out of my stupor. I wonder what the headmistress of the pre-school wants from me.

    “By the end of the week she would like to continue with the lessons again,” my secretary explains. “Twenty students are among the victims. She wants to get a child psychologist and a priest to help the young ones with the loss of their friends. There will also be workshops and other activities to remember those that are gone.”

    “Anything else?” I ask Tonnerre.

    “Mistress Erythrocyte inquired if you raise Éibhear by the traditions of the Lidérc when it comes to...” He swallows nervously before going on, “... mentioning the dead.”

    I am positively surprised about the vision of the head mistress. “Did you give her an answer?”

    “I did not dare and told her that you will call her back about it.”

    “I will do better than that.” A weak smile spreads across my face. “I will walk over to see her in person.”

    ********************************************************************

    The school building looks like a lonely island in a sea of debris and ruins. For some reason, the freak storm spared it. I walk inside, unmasking myself immediately. Mistress Erythyr, a chubby human in her mid-forties, comes to greet me. I assume that she has watched me from her office window all along.

    We shake hands with one another like old friends. Our respect is mutual. I consider her to be a very able woman, concerned for the benefit and development of her wards. She is well liked in this area of town, now more than ever.

    “May I offer you my heartfelt condolences?” she asks, her voice calm, but her eyes watering a bit.

    I nod wordlessly.

    She lightly touches my arm and says, “How is Éibhear coping?”

    My shoulders shrug helplessly. “He tries to be brave and not to cry, but when I check on him at night his cheeks are wet.”

    She begins to study my features thoughtfully. “Would you like him to have sessions with the new child therapist?”

    “I am thinking about leaving town with the remains of my family. My father Alezan will appoint another consul to run the Embassy.”

    Sadness and understanding shine in her brown eyes. “Would you mind telling me where you will go?”

    “To Draconis. Sionnach has family and friends there who will find ways to lighten her heart. She is not coping with the twins’ death well.” My voice slightly shakes. “She believes them to be alive and desperate to return to her at any moment.”

    Mistress Erythrocyte looks deeply disturbed now. Her lips start to quiver.

    “This is my main reason for leaving the city.” My gaze glides over the happy child paintings that hang at the wall next to me. “Narthex Kyrene advised me to take Sionnach and Éibhear to the Mountains.”

    Of course she knows the master valet. “You talked to Narthex?” she says excited.

    I lower my voice, even though it is not necessary. It is just us in this empty school building, but I feel better doing so. “One of the royal princesses was too sick to leave the planet until recently. He felt it was his duty to stay behind with the little girl. I sheltered them in my Embassy.”

    “You are a courageous man, milord.” A weary smile spreads over her lips. “Not many would dare to oppose Senator Kairos Aletheia in such a way.”

    If Mistress Erythyr only knew the truth, she would throw me out of the building and lock the door behind her. But instead she puts a parcel into my hands.

    “I collected all the assignments of the twins for you when I heard that your house was burned down to the ground, milord. I am fully aware that this can only give little comfort to you, but...”

    “I appreciate this very much,” I interrupt her, fighting my tears successfully.

    Mistress Erythrocyte also gives me a good-bye present for Éibhear. “Will you home-school him from now on?” she asks.

    “I was considering that, yes.” Seeing the disappointment in her eyes, I add, “A dear friend of Sionnach is a widow with five lively children. All of them are of Elfin blood like Éibhear.”

    Her face lights up again. “And that friend of your wife, what is her profession, if I may ask?”

    I smile. “A midwife, well loved by the local community of mountain farmers. Sionnach has worked with her before.”

    “Your wife will flourish in such a place. I am sure it is the best choice under the circumstances. She is not really cut out for serail intrigues among a bored pride of huntresses.”

    ********************************************************************

    After the usual good-night blessing, I intend to speak with Éibhear about my decision, but first I let the boy tell me how his day was. This way I learn that he has been helping out in the hospital. That leads me to an essential question.

    “Would you like to become a Force healer, too, like your mother?”

    He flushes. “Papa, would you be very angry if I just want to be a lumberjack? Today was a bit much for me, to be honest.”

    I raise my eyebrows. “If that is what you desire and feel is your future, we can see how to make it happen.” After a pause, I add, “Perhaps we should move to Draconis then, where they have enough trees for you to practise. Would you like that?”

    His eyes glow with pleasure. “Can we live near Draíocht and her clan again? That would be great!”

    ********************************************************************

    First, I make a call to Alezan to inform him of my costly errors. It is the first time since the catastrophe that I contact him. I was good at finding excuses until now.

    When his unmasked face appears on the screen, guilt spreads into every corner of my consciousness. “Papa,” I say softly and force my eyes to stay dry.

    There is no reproach whatsoever left in my foster-father. I only detect relief and deep love. “I knew you would get back to me sooner or later.”

    “I fear I have to lay down my charge as consul,” I state. “Sionnach is half mad with sorrow and Éibhear needs me more than ever.”

    Alezan nods solemnly and I love him even more for his understanding. “Have you picked a dignified successor yet?”

    “Tonnerre will fit in nicely, but he needs a bit of help. Perhaps you can even find him a wife. Somebody with charme and wit. She also needs to know how to use a hunting knife, when nobody is looking.”

    “Consider it done,” promised Alezan, even though his contacts with the Brotherhood are scarce. “What else can I do to help you?”

    Under his friendly glance, I cannot hold my bitter confessions. About the way I evacuated Isabeau. How horrid I was towards Grianán, before I realized that she was just a little girl with dark burdens.

    When I am finished speaking, I hang my head like a naughty kitten and await my sentence.

    Alezan does not answer at once. But when he does his words amaze and startle me. “You have a threefold life debt with Agathos to settle. He lost two of his children and his wife due to you.”

    I am almost afraid to speak and nod my agreement.

    “This is what you will do, my son. You will stay at his side until he dies and try to make up with him. His heart is forgiving, but he will need time to trust you again. Forgive yourself, but work hard to mend what can be mended.” He considers. “About the young princess, be nice. She really seems to like you and deserves better.”

    ********************************************************************

    Éibhear is grateful when I allow him to have a good-bye party at the pre-school. At one of the street vendors, I allow him to pick out friendship bracelets. He is very particular about what he wants and for whom. Some of the kids he is not even friends with, but they had been dear to the twins.

    I am also asked to bake three orange cakes and dozens of sesame cookies. Parhelion’s minions give me queer looks when I roam the palace kitchen, but they know better than to ask me to leave.

    We decide not to tell Sionnach about the party. She is still looking for the twins each day. Her voluntary duties in the hospital distract her, but not as much as I would hope. I am deeply worried about her. A war of acknowledgement and denial goes on inside her, and her utter exhaustion is evident in the dark circles under her eyes and thinning figure. Sooner or later she must face the death of Tāchys and Phrēn. Just as Éibhear did. Just as I did.

    But there is something that concerns me even more: her loss of time. It’s getting worse and is more than the actual shock she is under.

    When Arcānā created Sionnach, she was in a hurry, desperate to atone for the murder of her older sister Adamah. Therefore she ordered her scientists to speed up the clone’s growth process. Not even I can tell how long the childhood of my Force disciple was, whether it was a few weeks or if it stretched over many months.

    One thing for certain, though, is that her mental health is fragile. The dark side will have her if I do not reunite her with Draíocht Mössa soon.

    On the day we leave the planet, I take Sionnach to one of the three daily services that are held in the city temple. The seats are packed due to the devastation that wrecked the city.

    When Parhelion steps out of the vestry, he is surprised to notice us among the congregation.

    During the sermon, I study Sionnach intensely. She may be here in person, but her mind is elsewhere. Focusing is difficult for her unless she is at the hospital, helping others.

    My half-brother’s voice carries on. He speaks about hope. About the light.

    “Can we go home now?” Sionnach blurts out with unexpected frustration. “They will wonder where we are.”

    Tenderly, I support her with my arm. Seeing her distress, I do not care what the social protocol of my people demands. All that matters is her health. “Come!”

    Sionnach gets up from the bench, her gaze inwards as we walk out. I squint as the sun hits us, but glance at my companion. She shivers as a breeze sweeps by. Immediately, I take off my cloak and wrap it around her. We walk to the space port through the near-deserted streets. Those not praying for hope are trying to recover in the comfort of their homes.

    I steer the young Elfin woman towards the port. As a consul, I have a private hanger bay there. I even own a space cruiser that is well cared for all around the clock, just in case I need it.

    “They will never find us here,” she exclaims in sudden panic, looking around in a frenzy.

    One of my men hurries towards me. I do my best to stay calm and in control of myself. It would not help Sionnach if I had my own anxiety attack over her.

    ”Prepare my shuttle,” I tell Pochoir Vannes. “I will return in half an hour.”

    I hardly hear his answer, because Sionnach shrieks, “Where do you want to fly to? Are the children coming with us?”

    Her words do me more harm than my grandfather’s torture instruments ever did. I am so worried for her. Somehow I find the strength to remark, “Let us start with getting Éibhear first.”

    There is a flood of complaints. I listen to every single one of them, punishing myself instead of sending Sionnach into a trance.

    ********************************************************************

    After a hearty good-bye from Parhelion and after several hours of flight, my captain lands the space cruiser on a large meadow. At its edge a typical Udaler langhús stands a silent guard. Thick conifer trunks form a building like a ship’s overturned hull. I smile to myself when I notice the Elfin ornaments running all over the façade. Two cultures are merged perfectly here.

    The front door opens and a tall Elfin woman steps outside. Under her turquoise headscarf her blazing red hair glows like a pulsar.

    I stand aside silently, watching how Sionnach and Draìocht Mössa embrace one another. Tears of joy flow like rain.

    After allowing some time for the greeting, I send the remains of my family off for a walk. I have important matters to discuss with our hostess.

    ********************************************************************

    From the inside, the langhús is divided into several rooms. Two rows of posts run down its length, supporting the beams of the roof. The ornamented columns divide each room into three long aisles. As a result of the weight distribution, the outer walls support very little weight. So they gracefully bow out at the centre of the building, making it wider there.

    I spot well calculated smoke holes in the roof. Each one provides both illumination and ventilation. The light is let in this way and the smoke goes out.

    Despite the large swarm of children that inhabits it, the house is neat and clean. It radiates a homely comfort that appeals very much to me.

    The beds are inside delightful alcoves. Winged doors and very bright, almost cheerful curtains frame them.

    An open hearth dominates the interiour of the house. There is a washing line that is filled with dry herbs and smoked meat.

    In the far end of the hall I can hear the occasional shuffle of animal hooves. Goats and cows, by the smell of it. Perhaps chicken, too.

    The lady of the household leads me to a round table that is surrounded by chairs. “Tell me, why is it that you think that I can help Sionnach to get better?” Her Elfin eyes glow in the semi-dark. “I used to be that what you despise most in life.”

    “You were drafted by Force like so many other unfortunate women.” My hands cramp into one another in my lap. “Fru Mössa, I am the last person who should condemn you. I am here, because you did Sionnach good in the past.”

    “Did I now?”

    I nod, my voice low. “I also believe you to be a wonderful mother.” Even softer I add, “Just as the recently deceased god queen was for her children.”

    Her burning gaze rests on me. Therefore I keep my eyelids lowered, not able to meet her inquisitive eyes. Once a henchwoman of the Holy Inquisition, always a henchwoman of the Holy Inquisition.

    “You speak of Arcānā in a rather personal way,” Draíocht Mössa considers, interest swinging in her dark, rich voice. “Why is that?”

    “We had no affair, if it is that what you mean.”

    My cheekbones feel tense. Not because a dead woman just got mentioned by name. I simply remember how naked and vulnerable I was during my first meeting with her. And how she gave me half of her sari to wear. Which was a decent, kind and unselfish act. I see that now.

    Actually, I have never realized how much Grianán has in common with her mother. The good and normal things. Determination, the open way of speech, generosity towards servants.

    When I find my voice again, I state, “But Her Divine Majesty and I have history with one another. That is for sure.”

    ********************************************************************

    A mug with steaming tea is put down in front of me. I leave it alone for now, even though it smells delicious. But I decide to take off my war mask. There is no point to wear it around here.

    “Tension tamer,” Draíocht Mössa explains. “My own blend of local plants. It calms the inner dragon.”

    Curious, I start drinking from my own mug. There is eleuthero, peppermint, cinnamon, ginger and chamomile. But I also detect lemon grass and licorice. There is the possibility of catnip and hops, too.

    I lean back with a satisfied grin.

    Sionnach has come to the right place and will be the Force healer she deserves to be. I have nothing to teach her any longer.

    “The gods never do anything without reason, milord,” my hostess says matter-of-factly. “It is good that you took Sionnach in when she was but a wandering child in distress. In your care she grew into a young woman. But she does not interest you, even though you officially made her your maîtresse-en-titre. I cannot help to wonder what your true motives are.”

    I might as well tell her. But I choose an altered version. One that points more into Isabeau’s direction. Nobody outside the serail, especially here on Draconian soil, must ever know about Lisiére.

    “Sionnach reminds me of my step-sister, Marquise Isabeau Riwalan, whom I have lost to House Tjiehennet forever more.”

    Draíocht Mössa runs a slender pointer finger around the edge of her mug. “It must cost you a lot of strength to let go of Sionnach like this.”

    “Being overprotective with her right now would achieve nothing,” I sigh.

    “Yet the girl is legally bound to you in ways that she does not fully understand,” my hostess gives me to consider. “Even if you let her live under my roof, she will be never free from the ducal pride. And you never told her.”

    “There is no reason for frightening her about it now. The politics of the serail are complicated. I am not even sure if I understand them all the time.”

    “What if she ever finds love in the arms of another man?”

    I feel my face twitch. “Laird Dian O’Gradaigh burned that urge out of her when he took her against her will.”

    “I am speaking about true love and not about the urges of the body.”

    Broodingly, I stare into my tea. “Believe me when I tell you that there are just two real interests in Sionnach’s life: Éibhear and being a Force healer.”

    “So she shall not know anger? Nor hatred? Nor love? Like a priestess who has sworn celibacy?”

    “You exaggerate. Our Sionnach is a teenage mom still, when we consider her real age. I would feel more than obliged when you keep her out of further trouble.”

    “The trouble that you will get her into?” There is a cynical smile on her lips while she says so.

    ********************************************************************

    I decide to camp in my desert tent near to the langhús. It would be more than wrong to be at Sionnach’s side night and day. She needs detachment from me. I want her to heal on her own account. Legally, she will always depend on me. That is bad enough for the two of us as it is.

    Éibhear chooses a nice spot for us to erect the tent. It is a very spacey clearing with a little stream nearby.

    “Why not build a house here?” he suggests, while I get the tent stakes into the soft forest grounds.

    “I do not intend to live here permanently,” I assure him.

    “But it is beautiful.” Hopefully, he adds. “And it is close to me.”

    As dawn falls upon us, we light our camp-fire.

    The forest around me still seems but a peaceful, enchanted place. There is no danger lurking in its dense undergrowth.

    I put more wood into the flames, feeling relaxed and free. Draconis agrees with me. Especially, the North-West.

    Later, I give the boy a huge piece of parchment and a pencil. “Would you like to draw my new house?”

    It takes him just an hour to make a construction drawing that is rather charming.

    “That is a little palace, my son,” I tease him. “There is no way that I can build it on my own.”

    “There are plenty of masons and craftsmen in the Brotherhood,” he reminds me with a sneaky grin. “And they would all be happy to help you out.”

    I turn the drawing around in my hands. “What about the inside of the house?”

    He grins at me. “I want my own bedroom for all the times I will stay here.”

    ********************************************************************

    It takes an entire week before Alezan gets my letter, but he seems to react on it immediately.

    One morning, a large space cruiser lands on the clearing. The twelve masked men who step out are well known to me. We greet one another with the secret sign of our Brotherhood. Not much later six tents are put down next to mine.

    As the wheel of summer turns slowly into autumn my new home has not only developed a mighty wooden spine. It also has solid walls and two floors. I am pleased with what has been achieved so far. The craftsman also turned me into a skilled wood crafter.

    Just before the weather turns grey and rainy, we finish the roof. I have glass highlights from Amnion installed, which are self-cleaning.

    With the temperatures getting a chilly edge, we are all happy to be able to sleep inside the building.

    Alezan has visited me several times and so has Éibhear. His mother has not even the slightest idea that I am a stone throw away from her. Draíocht made her believe that I am on a kind of pilgrimage.

    To be honest, I rather have Sionnach think that I abandoned her than having her cling to me in unhealthy ways. She must heal in her own way. I cannot be the means for it. But if she needs me, I will be there. As usual.


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Darth_Furio and Kahara like this.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I enjoyed reading of LUcien's compassionate considerateness with Eibhear. [face_thinking] I also find it interesting to read of how he explains the distancing from Sionnach, for her own benefit and wellbeing, which doubtless it is. @};-
     
    Kahara and AzureAngel2 like this.
  8. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    *De-lurks* Yes, I am still following this.

    Also, if I'm not mistaken, isn't Tension Tamer a Celestial Seasonings blend?
     
  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    nice for him to have a new house being near Sionnach but also at a distance
     
  10. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 , that tea sounds familiar to me as well! ;)

    The poor twins, I'd not realized that they died in the same incident as Adamah. :( That's truly devastating for Luc and Sionnach both. And seeing the grief that was also inflicted on the entire town and his friends' families is clearly affecting Lucien too. It's heartbreaking to think that maybe things could have been avoided if he'd stayed and confronted the threat instead of hiding Isa away -- but then, like some other characters we know, he's not great at making decisions when those he cares for are threatened. (And who knows how badly that could have gone as well, knowing him.) I'm glad that at least Éibhear made it out and is about as okay as could be expected with a loss like that in the family. And that Lucien was able to help Grianan through her own losses, even in spite of his warped perceptions about her.
     
  11. Darth_Furio

    Darth_Furio SWC Jedi Draft Commissioner star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Apr 17, 2008
    I'm always around. :D

    Lucien will never be done with Sinnoach
     
  12. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: You have to thank my husband @DarthUncle for those changes. It was important to him that those things got pointed out. :D


    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701: Yes, you hit the truth straight away. [face_blush]



    @earlybird-obi-wan: Well, there are reaons why I tried to turn Luc into a carpenter... O:)


    @Kahara: You being here and saying all this makes me very happy. Each comment made by you leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling. Thanks! :*




    @Darth_Furio: But it seems Ferrari is done with a certain German racer. But well, my husband is a Dutch man and more a fan of Hamilton. Plus his own country man.

    Anyway, good to know that you guys are still around.

    I am going to face a lot of surgery any time soon, but when I have the exact dates I will inform you guys of course.

    For now:


    Chapter 15:

    One day, when my men and I are working in the bathroom upstairs, an unexpected visitor arrives. He takes off the hood of his travel cloak and looks around with great ease.

    His black curls have more grey highlights since I saw Narthex Kyrene last. I also notice that his olive skin is more wrinkled. He has aged drastically since the drama of Polysýndeton.

    “Narthex!” I call out.

    The master valet gazes at me neutrally, his face an enigma as usual. “I have an invitation for you, milord.”

    I think about a court trial for all my recent crimes and I waver slightly.

    “Nothing of great consequence, milord.” There is the shadow of a smile. “My master would like to have tea with his new neighbour.”

    I blink.

    “It is about two hours on horseback and just twenty minutes in flight,” Narthex suggests lightly.

    I step from one foot to the other, feeling like a teenager and not like a grown-up man of twenty-five. To ask the following question is not easy for me. “Does Agathos really want to see me after all what has happened?”

    Narthex lifts a quizzical brow. “Would I be here otherwise?”

    “But Isabeau...” I start and break off again.

    “Agathos would like to hear from your own lips what has happened between you and her. Come around before the Feast of Samhain. Once Her Ladyship is at the castle, it might be very difficult to talk.”

    ********************************************************************

    Shortly after the local Feast of Mabon I have gathered enough courage to visit Agathos. My men encourage me to leave the building site for a while.

    I pack in a chessboard and a tin box with cinnamon cookies. Lacking a horse or other means of transportation, I walk.

    The weather is nice and sunny. So I decide to unmask myself and let the sunshine stroke over my face. I enjoy the bright colouring of the autumn leaves, asking myself what Grianán would make of it. She has such an eye for colour use when she paints.

    Suddenly, the leaves rustle loudly. And there is the crackle of branches.

    I get myself into combat position.

    Right in front of me a snow-white hind breaks out of the undergrowth. She is in great panic, running for her life. Like a draft of wind she passes by.

    Somewhere between the trees I hear a muffled howl. It is not the sound of frustration or blind anger. Somebody is in extreme pain.

    I follow the lament back to its source. More than once my cloak gets stuck in the branches of little bushes. I promise myself to wear more sturdy clothing in this environment from now on.

    My patient is in deep agony and barely conscious. The spreading bailer of blood around him speaks a clear language. Mountain farmers can be exceptionally dim witted when it is about hunting. Normally, an offset leg hold trap is used for catching bears and not wolves. Filled by the thrill of the chase Commander Cú Síth must have been blind to the danger in his path.

    “Keep still,” I sooth him. “The more you struggle against that vicious trap, the more harm you will do to your leg. I suppose you want to keep it.”

    Commander Cú Síth snarls, but there is no real threat behind it. His body already shifts into a more submitting posture. He crouches in front of me, his rump curling down.

    “A warrior always must help out a comrade in distress,” I state in a soothing voice.

    With one swift movement I tear the blood smeared trap open. Then I get out his left front leg carefully. The tightly closed jaws have bitten deep into the flesh and even punctured the bones.

    While my healing powers flow into his wound and close it nicely, Commander Cú Síth remains lying in front of me. He does not move a single inch. Nor does he complain.

    When the treatment is finished, I take off my cloak and also my bloomers. Under my wide desert robes nobody can tell that I just run around in my under pants. Grinning, I fold them neatly together and place them in front of my patient.

    “Help yourself!”

    To stay and witness his transformation would be impolite. Therefore I get my cookie tin out of my satchel and place it on a tree trunk. I put the thermos bottle with jasmine tea next to it.

    “Visit me whenever you are up to it,” I tell the werewolf. “You know where to find me.”

    ********************************************************************

    When I enter the royal library of Dún Barr in the late afternoon, there is not a single word of greeting from Agathos. He remains sitting in his arm chair. His eyes are cast towards the chimney fire.

    Frustrated, I sit down in the arm chair next to him, but there is still no reaction. He gives nothing away whatsoever.

    We both stare into the fire together until a thin voice comes from the edge of the library, startling us both.

    “Baba?”

    Agathos hides his face behind both hands. “Caelestris, you were supposed to be in bed.”

    “How can I stay in bed when I know that you are here, hurting? Hurting yourself and hurting your friend, baba. The Vicomte is really very sorry. Can’t you tell?”

    The anxious Tjiehennet princess walks towards us. Fear drained all the blood from her exquisite face. She is about nine, perhaps ten years old. That makes her part of the first serpent-spawn. Her hair is ash-blond, the eyes are mint-green. She wears a cotton nightgown and is bare footed. Once she has reached her father, she flings her arms around his waist.

    “Everybody hurts, even somebody as clever as you, baba. But you should make peace with the Vicomte,” she says and gives me a considerate glance. “Look at his dirty clothing. He came a long way to see you and it was not easy.”

    Puzzled, I glance at Caelestris. Her maturity surprises me. But then again, she had a mother who was a notorious Force witch. And, of course, her father is an intellectual book worm and a philanthropist.

    “I had better bring you back to bed,” mumbles Agathos into his beard. “It is past your bedtime.”

    A small, white hand shoots forwards and wraps around my left wrist. “Lidérc have many story tellers among them. I can sense that he is one.”

    ********************************************************************

    Once Caelestris is tucked in bed and sound asleep, we leave her room on tiptoes. I feel oddly relieved after one hour of fairy tale telling.

    In the royal library Narthex already awaits us. “Of course His Lordship will have dinner now and an amicable drink around midnight,” he states.

    Immediately, I realize that these are no mere words, but explicit orders.

    I also find out that I am to sleep in the West tower, the family part of the castle. My protests are ignored.

    ********************************************************************

    In the grey hours of dawn I awake groggily. Tears have run down my face in rivulets and splashed on my naked chest. I have fought my bed linen like some mortal enemy, shedding it into pieces.

    At least my pants are dry. I hate nightmares that make me lose control over my bladder.

    On a chair next to the canopy bed some Udaler fresh clothing is waiting for me.

    Not before breakfast, of course with a smiley Caelestris, I can take my leave.

    At the castle bridge Agathos pushes a sturdy donkey on me and a cart, overloaded with supplies from the castle kitchen.

    ********************************************************************

    Around midwinter, the work on my dwelling is finished. When all the washing up and cleaning from the house-warming is done my guests fly off. Éibhear and I wave them good-bye.

    “Can I walk you over to Draíocht now?” I suggest.

    My foster-son pulls his woollen cap straight. “Don’t. Maman believes you to wander around in the wilderness, seeking epiphany.”

    “What?” I enquire uncertain.

    “Enlightenment.” He stares ahead, a quirky grin splitting his face. “There is somebody who would like to help you out with that quest. But beware farfar drinks like a fish.”

    “Grandfather?” I echo surprised and turn towards the house.

    Commander Cú Síth sits on the lowest entrance step, the open tin in his hairy hand. He wears shabby looking clothing. My travel cloak hangs over his right arm. So do my bloomers. Judging from their state he has given them a decent washing.

    “Fàilte,” I beam. Welcome.

    The werewolf looks flustered. “I wonder if you have more of those cookies, Vicomte.”

    ********************************************************************

    After an extended lunch my guest of honour asks for a harp. His rough voice is well suited to war songs and unhappy ballades. One was written by a poet named Dòmhnall Ian MacDòmhall. It is called 'The White Swan'. Enderv taught it to me once.

    “Mhol thu ’n eala bhàn gu ciatach
    Ann am briathran brèagha bàidheil,
    Dh’inn’s thu dhuinn mu ’liuthad deuchainn
    Tron deach thu ri beulaibh nàmhaid
    Mhol thu ’n tìr a dh’àraich òg thu.”


    My mind shies away from the memory of my childhood friend and I try to concentrate on the song again.

    You praised the White Swan with elegance
    In splendid, loving words,
    You told us of how many trials
    You survived in going against the foe:
    You praised the land that reared you young.


    I purse my lips, thinking of Sionnach who used to sing such ballads, too. At times I feel like a complete ass for shunning her from my life. But she would not like me sitting here together with her biological grandfather, whom she believes to be a madman and a monster.

    Commander Cú Síth looks up from the harp, his large eyes calculating in his haggard face. “I can stop if you want me to.”

    “No.” I shake my head, trying to clear my mind. “Please continue! Music was my first love and I fear it will be my last.

    “The whelp mentioned that you are a decent violin player,” Commander Cú Síth grins.

    “What else did Èibhear tell you?” I smirk.

    “Enough to know that you need jolly good company this winter. Now stop talking and get your violin case.”

    The instrument that Enderv gave to me in my youth has been silent for too long. My fingers remember how to hold it though. After the first hesitant strokes it all snaps back into place.

    *******************************************************************

    It is the Feast of Imbolc. Outside the world is wrapped in darkness and silence. The snow outside is eighteen inches high. I have a good excuse to stay inside with good food, hot drinks and friendly company.

    Taran has been a guest at my place for about nine week’s time and he might be grounded here for longer. Last night a heavy winter blizzard buried the lodge in two meters of snow. Luckily we are well stoked. Half of the kitchen supplies of Dún Barr seem to crowd my pantry. Agathos and Narthex flew twice to stock them up.

    Fire shadows dance on the werewolf’s loose hair. He has retreated in front of the fire place, holding on to his chalice. His crouched form reminds me more of a dog than an Elfin lord. But he is at ease with himself and the universe. I am not.

    “My life, at its best, is misery,” I blur out.

    It took me two shared bottles of Elderberry wine to say that aloud and to another living soul.

    Taran laughs. “Luçien, pardon me for saying so, but you are such a drama king.”

    “Oh really?” I snort and quaff my wine. “So I just make all the bad things up that happened to me recently?”

    “I believe you had enough drink for tonight,” he observes and runs a lazy finger over the silver edge of his chalice.

    “So what do you want me to do?” This is one of those moments when he simply makes my blood boil. “Kneel down in front of the castle walls until Isabeau comes out to accept me back in her life?”

    “This is not really about your step-sister. You don’t fool me.” Taran picks me up like some potato bag. “It is a common custom for young wealthy Lidérc to have a concubine.”

    “I have Sionnach,” I state, my eyes staring into the distance.

    He produces a dry, joyless laugh. “The whelp is but a lame excuse for you not getting involved with anybody else.”

    “Sguir dheth!” I bark. Stop that!

    “I rather you not shout dog commands in my mother tongue,” he says promptly. “It’s impolite!”

    “Then stop discussing my private life,” I give back fiercely. “If I don’t wish to be with any woman then I don’t.”

    “A vow of clerical chastity.” Taran makes a whistling sound through his teeth. “No wonder that you are so unbalanced and paranoid.”

    I start hitting his squats, but he moves upstairs like a machine. Indolent. Unerring.

    “I wonder what makes you so afraid of intimacies, young Skywalker.”

    The alcohol makes me too slow, too stupid. I thrash in the werewolf’s grip, but he is strong. He pins my arms down.

    “Whatever happened to you in the past, let go of it. That is the only way. Live here and now. And bloody enjoy yourself!”

    “Not everybody can enjoy a simple life in the wilderness.”

    “Pardon me?” he asks dully.

    “A jolly life of hunting and howling...” I start.

    Taran strikes me hard across the face, knocking me off the bed. “How dare you!” He shivers from emotion.

    Blood runs out of my nose. My lip is also split. But that is not the worst part of it. My stomach seizes. I snap my head around and vomit on the floor. Save a trickle of bile nothing else comes out.

    Taran reaches out for me, radiating guilt and compassion.

    “Are you finished?” I gurgle. I clean my mouth with the back of my hand and add more controlled. “For my grandfather used such a punch as a warming phrase.”

    I can hear Taran yelp in alarm and as I slowly meet his gaze, I can see that his eyes are stretched. “Let us have more wine,” he chokes up. “Or even better, some decent Highland whiskey.”

    ********************************************************************

    Taran and I both have a complete hangover in the morning, but my friend is the one who manages to stand in the kitchen. He makes honey sandwiches for us.

    “Greasy food will just give us heartburn,” he states, while I cling to the railing. “We will eat light today and stay hydrated.”

    I mutter something unintelligible, but he fills it in nicely.

    “I am one and a half centuries old.” He winks at me. “Believe me, I had a couple of bad hang-overs when I was your age. My mother...” Old pain creeps into his voice, but he bravely speak on, “She knew good remedies. I owe her a lot.”

    “You never spoke about her before,” I say. My stomach roils, but I want to listen to Taran and his story. There is so much about him that I do not know yet. And since last night he knows so much about me. “What was her name?”

    “Milseog.” He pauses with the bread knife in his hand. “She was of Clan O’Aodha. A carefree, happy child of the summer meadows until she was married my Strachan father.”

    I crook a brow. “How so? Did he mistreat her?”

    “One could say so. With her freckles and carrot hair she did not fit in. The ladies of the Seelie Court found her ugly and unworthy, made her a victim of cruel mockery. So my father forced her to colour her hair pitch black and wear white make-up. He made her follow the strict court protocol, even in his own castle. She was not to dance on meadows any longer or attend to the gardens by herself. He forced shoes on her, commanded her to do tapestries and other needle work from dusk until dawn. Frolicking around was not the behaviour of a true lady.”

    I sink down on the head-most stair.

    There seem to be unhappy families everywhere. They grow like mushrooms really.

    “When god queen Victoria Superna took my father’s head in battle I rejoiced. My mother was happy for a while and her old self really. We used to dance in the herb garden, bare feet. Even in the deepest winter. We got rid of her ladies in waiting and of the ceremonial master. Life was perfect. But then my O’Aodha grandparents plotted together and married her off to Laird Gaothach.” Anger reddens his hollow cheeks. “Old Carragh, an abusive, harsh man. Driven by the wish to get an heir with her. I killed him the night that he went to far. He also had a whip like you do. But he never used it for praying all by himself.”

    I stare at my own hands. “How old were you?”

    “Around forty-nine years,” he answered, buttering the bread again. “That’s around fifteen human years for you.”

    “This is why you joined the army?”

    Taran shook his head, pausing the knife once more. “Oh, I was not afraid getting arrested for murder. Mother died just a couple of hours after him. Our house druid was incapable to heal her. With her dead, I had nothing to hold me in Dún Barr any longer. I ran straight into an army recruiter.”

    I should be down there, giving him a hug. But I cannot do that. It is not what men do. Instead I complain, “Are hang-overs always that bad?”

    “You better walk straight to bed again and enjoy having one,” he states, a smug grin plastered on his bearded face. “I will bring you some orange juice and honey sandwiches later on.”

    *******************************************************************

    It is known that Sodalith believes in four main goals in life: virtuous living, material prosperity, pleasure and liberation. Until now, I only cared about the first one; virtue leads to liberation in the end. It helps being a faithful servant of the light side of the Force.

    But the longer Taran stays with me in my bachelor’s den, the more I must admit that I miss something essential in my life. Something that he cannot possibly give to me.

    When I finally make up my mind to send for Néné, I decide against asking Minou for Oeillet as well. I cannot deal with both of them at the same time. The nature of the entire assignment is too embarrassing already.

    On the day of the moon priestess’ arrival I brush my hair until it gleams and apply a pomade. I clearly remember one rule of the ducal pride of lionesses: “Dress to impress!”

    Taran knocks, waits two lousy heartbeats and pops his head in. “Milady, I must say...” he sneezes and rubs his long Elfin nose dramatically. “What an incredible smell you’ve discovered!”

    “Don’t!” I warn him with my index-finger raised.

    “Wash that stuff out before anybody gets seriously hurt!” he laughs.

    “You also smell very nice, old flea bag!” I slam the door into his smug face.

    “Argh!” Taran wails, unable to hide the giggling undertone in his voice. “You broke my smoulder!”

    “Your smoulder, right.”

    I plunge my head into the washing bowl and brush back the wet strands of hair with my hands.

    Over the course of the next half an hour I use baking powder and shampoo to wash the pomade out as well as possible.

    “And do yourself a favour,” Taran says from the other side of the door. “Forget about mascara and eye liner! Beauty comes from the inside.”

    I take the hair brush and throw it at the door.

    *******************************************************************

    In the early afternoon a spice freighter is preparing to land on my meadow. It is a crude, older space ship. I know the pilot. Dotard Amezeg performed valuable services for me before.

    The landing ramp comes down.

    Néné steps out of the freighter, carrying two metal travel bags. Expensive animal pelts protect her from the cold. When she recognizes me, she drops the bags into the snow and sinks to her knees right next to them.

    “I never meant to hurt you,” she bursts out. “Your mother told me that you could not find it in yourself to make love with Sionnach. That you had an unhealthy fixation on me and my sister. She also told me that the girl was pining for a second child and threatening to kill herself. I only wanted to help.”

    Néné should have spoken to me instead of believing in that creature that claims to be my birth mother. But who am I to judge her! The first and the last time I believed Flor, I got scared for life.

    “You can help me now,” I say casually, while I walk towards the moon priestess. “I am in dire need for a teacher of the heart. You have a chance to atone for your sins.”

    Her lovely face brightens as she turns her face up towards me. “I feel honoured that you consider me for that position.”

    “You were my first,” I say and cannot help but blush. “It has to be you.”

    Néné leaps up, planting her mouth on mine. I put my trembling hands to her head, burying my fingers in the fabric of her half-veil. Her delicious scent fills my nostrils. My heart is beating painfully fast.

    Trust has never been easy for me. Besides, I fear the wilder shores of love. Losing control over my self-consciousness, as I have seen others do around me, is dangerous for a man like me. I want nobody to uncover my past, my troubling secrets. If I ever lose myself, I will lose all.

    *******************************************************************

    For two months I am not only taught the Force healer codex with its thirteen keys, but am also introduced to an ancient text from Terra, which is the greatest treasure of the House of Healing. It consists of 1250 verses, which are distributed in 36 chapters. Each chapter is very explicit about how to court a female properly. The essence seems to me mutual trust and honesty, goals that I have difficulties in achieving.

    On the day the teacher of my heart has to leave the planet again, my foster-son helps me to see her off. Afterwards I walk him over to Draíocht’s property. Too soon, I can see the langhús between the trees.

    Suddenly, Éibhear pips up, “Am I really a bastard?”

    “What?” I stop in my tracks and gape at him.

    “I know that my true father forced himself on maman.”

    After much consideration I slowly say, “That makes Dian a bastard for acting this way, but not you.”

    “Dian?” Éibhear asks surprised.


    Sources:

    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Very momentous changes detailed very eloquently
     
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  14. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Lucien and his troubles but he is also a healer
     
  15. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Thanks for the praise! Sorry that the re-write takes so long, but my health is not the best at present. I but all my energy into my work as a kindergarten teacher and in the weekends I rest off-line.


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Well, most of the time he acts more like an anti-healer. I should not have even read the "Elf Quest" comics by Richard and Wendy Pini. Blush!

    Okay here a quick update, before I vanish for a while again.


    Chapter 16:

    I feel like whipping myself with the flagellum until I drop unconscious to the ground. How, in the Name of the Force, could my tongue have made such a slip?

    The boy’s glare is intense. “What else do you know about my father, Luçien?”

    It is the first time that he calls me thus instead of papa. It makes me sad and proud alike. “Too much,” I confess. “You should stop asking.”

    “But I deserve to know the truth,” he continues, stubborn. “Did Dian really hurt maman?”

    “Even if he did, would it make any difference when your mother loves you very much? You are the apple of her eye.”

    Éibhear frowns at me, but says something that I never would have suspected to hear from him. “Did you ever hurt maman in the way that a man can hurt a woman?”

    I make a gurgling sound at the back of my throat.

    The hug that Éibhear gives me startles me, but I let it happen.

    “Thanks for your honesty. Maman is so beautiful that men are bedazzled by her,” he explains to me, but then a deep frown emerges between his brows. “Is this why my father Dian hurt her? Because he wanted her badly?”

    “I wish it would be so simple,” I breathe, flushing.

    We remain silent for a while and continue walking.

    “I will not tell maman that we spoke about him,” Éibhear finally decides. “But I had to know.”

    “Sometimes it is better not to know, my son. Knowledge can make one’s life very hollow.”

    *******************************************************************

    After the crucial conversation with my beloved foster-son I start fasting. I also pray with my whip three times a day and wear a spiked metal chain – a cilice – around my left thigh. But my feelings and wishes are not washed away by the pain. Nor is the frantic fear deep inside me.

    I cannot stand the thought of sharing Éibhear with his true father, O’Gradaigh. I do not want him to ever contact the boy. There is just one way to achieve that: cold blooded murder.

    One morning, I pack my backpack and walk out of the front door. But not without leaving a letter for Taran right under the doormat. It contains nothing but the truth. I am on a mission that will take a while. I do not need to be explicit about it, which I am grateful for.

    My teleportation skills have improved since I left Amnion. I can transport myself over great distances without tiring quickly.

    *******************************************************************

    The Montes Nubii mountains are Draconisare home to the highest peaks, the so-called Eight-thousanders. Their range encompasses about fifteen-thousand glaciers. Ten of the planets largest rivers flow from here. The majority of Elves prefer the permafrost climate of the mountain tops. Just a few choose to live in the lake region which is dotted with hundreds of lochs. Even fewer Elves inhabit the vastness of the Western Prairies with its rich grassland.

    I live in a nomad tent, and fish and hunt below the snow line. The local rivers are full of fish, such as the giant devil catfish. There are also herds of wild thars in the rocky hillsides. Those animals resemble goats, but have far longer hair, red in colour. But it is more their docile nature that reminds me of Sionnach. It almost pains me to cut their throats, but I want to stay away from the yaks. The Sleah Maith depend considerably on those for both food and transportation. They would notice any depletion to their food stock.

    Getting close to the castle of Dún Mor-Shiabh, the seat of House O’Gradaigh is easy.

    During the weeks to come I stay as close as possible to the ancient fortress, encircling my prey: the O’Gradaigh himself.

    The snow fall around this time of year is fine and mild. In the Low Lands spring is coming. That draws O’Gradaigh out of his home.

    Soon I learn his simple habits. Every fortnight he rides out and goes fishing at the Loch Srath, a glacier lake. There is no entourage, there are no guards. Not even a footman. He seems fearless.

    *******************************************************************

    One evening, I wait until my pray has settled in front of his camp fire and starts eating. As far as I can tell it is fish. But in the end it does not really matter what he eats. I am there for a purpose.

    “Feasgar math, O’Gradaigh,” I sneer. Good afternoon, O’Gradaigh.

    His horrified gaze tells me that he knows exactly who I am. Yet he remains seated and does not reach out for his broadsword, though he nearly drops his food.

    I take time to study his Elfin face with its straight nose and sophisticated cheekbones while he waits. He is thin like most Sleah Maith, with features almost like a fox. The shoulder-length hair is golden brown, tied back in a long plait that wraps across one shoulder. The eyes are dark brown and intense. Éibhear has nothing in common with him. Nothing. That relieves me.

    “Would you like to sit down?” he asks in accented Basic, voice thin and silvery.

    “No, thank you. I never eat when I am at work.”

    “Ah,” he croaks. With one hand he pulls the plait tighter around his lean shoulders. The other hand clenches the tin plate with the remains of his dinner.

    “You can finish eating, O’Gradaigh,” I promise and sit down on the opposite site of the fire.

    He ignores my approval. “Can I see Sionnach one last time? I was never able to offer her my excuses or to even see our son.”

    “Your son? He is mine, mine alone.”

    “Thank you for raising him.”

    Before I am able to mutilate O’Gradaigh’s face with my fists, he leaps across the fire and rams a hunting knife into right eye socket. He is gone immediately.

    *******************************************************************

    A couple of weeks later, I seek out Sionnach at the local Beltane fires. My search is brief. She stands out of the crowd, looking lovely in her violet linen dress. A garland of spring flowers is in her hair.

    When I approach her, Sionnach’s mood grows dark. She hurts me with words sharper than my scimitar. “You dropped me off at somebody else’s doorstep and vanished out of my life completely.”

    “The household of Draíocht was the best place for you to find yourself again.” My heart is hammering while I gaze at her, trying to find the right words without making myself vulnerable too. “In the meantime, I needed my own healing. Can you ever forgive me?”

    “I do not know.”

    My life is on a hinge. Right now I can push it one way or another. The routes of both trust and suspicion can lead to madness. I take a leap of faith. Néné was an excellent teacher. I draw Sionnach into my arms. “I could give us another child.”

    “No!” She shakes her head vehemently, her red locks flying. “That will not do. It cannot bring them back.”

    Then comes a moment when it seems appropriate to gather Sionnach into my arms. She allows me to press my lips against her neck. She smells of bonfire and spring flowers.

    “One night only!” She hesitates before she adds, “When I am with child, then I want certain assurances of you, Luçien.”

    “You need but to ask.” My heart swells with a nervous, heady elation.

    “This is an oral contract, in the way of your people. You had better not break your word to me as you have often done in the past.”

    Whatever I will do tonight, I need to be kind and gentle. It will not make up for the horrors her past, nor will it sooth a mother’s aching heart. But it will grant her some hours of sweetness, of a tenderness that she never experienced before with a male being.

    *******************************************************************

    I am woken by a ray of sun tickling my nose. Next to my chin is a fluffy mass of red curls. They gleam like copper threads in the dim morning light. Sionnach. Her face is buried against my chest.

    I smile, while caressing her cheeks. My fingers move tentatively down to her chin, across her soft lips and to her jaw.

    I don’t recall ever being so tender with a woman, and now a child is on the way. Of course, I used my healing powers to make sure it is a boy. Like the twins, he will be blessed with Elfin beauty and the feline grace of the Lidérc.

    The twins. I still miss them so much that it hurts.

    Careful not to wake Sionnach, I shift under the woollen blanket that I brought with me to prop myself on one of my elbows. I start gazing at my sleeping companion. She looks relaxed and happy, yet I cannot help the impression that I did her wrong in every possible way.

    I refrain from letting my fingers wander around any further. It seems inappropriate. I have what I wanted: heir, presenting another chance for paternity. To want more would be greed, which is one of the seven cardinal sins the Holy Scriptures warn against.

    When Sionnach wakes up, we talk together in a nice and playful manner. But all too soon our conversation turns more serious.

    “You are not a breeding mare,” I try to soothe her. Yet while I say this it occurs to me that I had treated her thus the entire night.

    She eyes me critically. “Even so, this child can be your heir. I might even go so far and allow you to raise him in the ways of your people.”

    “Your condition being?”

    “Set me free!” Sionnach says. “Please!”

    Her wishes regarding the ducal homestead and her position as my maîtresse-en-titre, my official concubine, are childish and carefree. There will be no decline in her public position as my favourite. Only death can free her from this position. For the other option, and there is one, is unthinkable. “No,” I say.

    “I am in love with another man,” I hear her mutter woefully at one point.

    My heart is thundering, but I try to fool her with a display of calmness. “A pity for him and much heartbreak for you. My answer must remain the same.”

    As I gaze down at her through my half-closed lashes, she stares back rather startled. Her eyes are filled with dark terror, her lips parted in a soundless wail. Before she can escape, naked as she is, I press her against me gently.

    “I do not wish you to suffer, but your place is at my side.” I keep my voice low, but not stern. She needs to understand. “My only token of good will is to let you live with Draíocht and enjoy a harmonious life.”

    Sionnach’s wail startles me to the core of my being. It is indescribable, at the edge of ear-splitting. If I would not behold her with my own eyes, I would fail to believe that a mortal soul can utter such a lament. It is not terror any longer, it is heartbreak.

    In my embrace, she curls into a thrashing ball, her four-fingered hands fisted. Her eyes clench tight while her mouth stretches wide in agony. She screams and screams, never seeming to stop even to draw breath.

    My honest attempts to calm her are fruitless.

    After ten minutes that seem like ten hours, the piercing screams end in uncontrolled sobs. She cries on her entire way back home. I feel useless. Nothing that I can say can restore her happiness.

    ********************************************************************

    [​IMG]

    Draíocht is terrible to behold in the door frame of her family home. “Mo mhíle stór, tá tú mall. Bhíomar ag feitheamh ort. Tar isteach!” she coos, when she glares at Sionnach and me. Darling, you are late. We have been waiting for you. Come in!

    Éibhear pops his head out from behind Draíocht. First he smiles when he recognizes me, but then he frowns, aware of the tension that is in the air. His face works as if he is trying to make sense of the entire scene. In a daze he looks up to his mother, who cannot hide her sheer desperation.

    “Maman?” he pipes up and the word resonates like an agonized curse in his mouth.

    “I’ll explain later, Amanthar.” Sionnach hunches her shoulders and rushes inside, desperate to avoid skin contact with him.

    For a moment Éibhear only stares after her, mollified by the usage of his Elfin soul name, but then he looks like some feral animal in a snare. With a viper’s speed he darts forward and spits on my boots. “Arsa ise ’na h-aigne féin, papa!” he shouts. I won’t be able to trust you again, papa!

    My heart is is tight as he runs into the house again. Draíocht closes the door behind the boy, locking it from the inside.

    *******************************************************************

    At dawn, I am close to the top of the Saxum Lucis. I am sweaty and uncomfortable. My feet have suffered more than one blister, but I am used to pain.

    With swift steps I approach the lonely mountains path that leads straight to an unmarked grave.

    As far as I know, my half-sister, Mórag, is still frantically looking for her beloved cousin. Rumour has it that she even has one of her best tóraí na fírinne on the case. Those specially trained priestesses are able to obtain information about a person or object via psychometry.

    Nobody on this planet will look for O’Gradaigh on Tjiehenet land. A lot of people still believe that his corpse is rotting somewhere in Montes Nubii. In life, the laird was known to be eccentric with his hiking trips. Accidents can happen and there is an ugly history of alcohol abuse.

    I know what really happened and I feel guilty for it. Therefore I will continue to pay honour to Éibhear’s father at least once a month. I entombed the sad remains of the Elfin nobleman in a crevice. A nice place for a hiker.

    To my annoyance, a cloaked figure kneels in front of the unmarked grave. Shoulders visibly shake with soundless tears. But that is not the alarming sight. While a pair of human hands runs continuously over the stone surface, the person’s head leans against the rough craig,

    My eyes widen.

    The cloak has the anthracite-colour of the Holy Inquisition.

    A quick scan with the Force confirms what I have feared. One of Mórag’s precious lapdogs has detected the delicate burial site.

    Bones are but silent witnesses, yet I am worried that the tóraí na fírinne can make them talk in unnatural ways.

    Not losing precious time, I launch forward and grab the woman, who proves to be very solid. I bounce back like a child’s ball, almost falling into the artificial canyon underneath.

    The woman squeaks in shock and reaches out for me.

    I act on pure instinct and use the Force.

    ********************************************************************

    Within the blink of an eye, we are inside the lodge and I let go of the Seeker. Only to instantly curse myself. Work should never be brought home. I am breaking my foremost principle.

    Trembling, the tóraí na fírinne walks backwards and manages to stumble over her own feet. I make no attempt to help the large woman up. If I show any pity now I cannot torture her later on.

    “Schön habt Ihr es hier, Graf Ankoù. Wo wir schon mal hier sind, habt Ihr vielleicht eine Tasse Tee für mich? Brennesseltee vielleicht?” she says, looking like a ripe tomato. A nice place, Vicomte Ankoù. While we are here, you might not be able to offer me a cup of tea? Stinging nettle tea perhaps?

    “Damit Ihr während der Folter zur Toilette rennt? Ich glaube kaum.” I raise my eyebrows in amusement. Just to have you run to the toilet during the torture procedure? I think not.

    “Ich habe genug von Folter, aber wenn Ihr das Gefühl habt es geht nicht ohne, dann machen wir es so”, she seems disappointed. I have had enough of torture, but if it makes You happy, we do it Your way.

    To my astonishment, the Seeker takes off her right shoe and woollen sock, too. I am forced to stare at something that once had been a healthy foot.

    “What happened there?” I ask, crouching down to be at eye level with her.

    “Einberufungsbefehl.” She shrugs. Conscription order.

    ********************************************************************

    About half an hour later, Fräulein Irmgard Hagenwald munches happily on the scones that I baked for the occasion. I can tell that she is especially fond of the whipped cream and the lemon custard. My self-made raspberry jam also agrees with her. She also empties tea cup after tea cup.

    “Darf ich fragen warum Mórag Eure Füße verstümmeln ließ?” I ask carefully as she finishes her third scone. May I ask why Mórag mutilated to your feet?

    A hot pincer on her skin would have had a less devastating effect on Fräulein Hagenwald. She pales considerably, all traces of happiness gone from her round face.“Braucht... braucht sie dazu einen Grund?” she stutters. Does... does she need a reason for it?

    “Meine Schwester hat immer einen Grund.” I decide to be frank. My sister always has a reason.

    “Eure Schwester?” Her eyes widen in shock. Your sister?

    I nod.

    Mistress Hagenwald gives me a pitiful gaze. “Familie kann man sich nie aussuchen, Freunde schon,” she muses. Family cannot be chosen, but friends can.

    Then she falls silent, her eyes downcast.

    I give her the time that she needs, trying to sort out my own thoughts and feelings. We could be in a very different situation right now.

    “Eure Gabe, Holde, was genau beinhaltet sie? Könnt Ihr mir helfen zu verstehen?” I make my voice as sweet as honey. My lips curve tenderly. What exactly is your gift, my sweet lady? Could you help me to understand?

    Suddenly there is reserve. “How could I make you understand something that you see as witchcraft?” the Seeker cries out in accented Basic, not willing to share her mother tongue with me any longer. “You do not even understand your own actions. How many times did you sit at this table and stared blindly ahead? Ja? Cursing yourself for that what you are?”

    I rise stiffly and Fräulein Hagenwald does the same. She is alert now.

    “Please help me understand what I am dealing with here,” I get out in a level voice. “I might be able to widen my horizon for the better of other women like you.”

    She takes some concentrated breaths before she explains, “When I touch something, I psychologically travel back into the past. I become one with the mind of a victim or even worse, the offender, at the time of the crime.” Wild tears steam over her cheeks suddenly. “When I cried earlier on today, I did not cry for O’Gradaigh. I cried for you.”

    ********************************************************************

    Her confession hits me as hard as a fist. She cried for me. How dare she wasting her tears on my behalf?

    I start walking forward, radiating irritation and anger.

    The Seeker, simultaneously, starts walking backwards. “I cried for a man so consumed with pain, passion and hatred that it can be felt on every surface that he touches.”

    My senses are reeling. I cross the room in several long strides. Then I catch Fräulein Hagenwald in a crushing kiss. Her pulse beats erratically at her neck, and her breathing is ragged, tight. I feel as though I cannot get enough of her, exploring her mouth, relishing her taste.

    Without warning, she pulls away. “Dein Schlafzimmer war oben, doch?” she says huskily. Your bedroom is upstairs, right?

    ********************************************************************

    It is a night worth to be remembered and for the first time I consider having a real maitresse. Irmgard is sweet, funny and surprising. And she makes me laugh. She is all I want in a woman. I could not care less about the nexus of damaged skin tissue that cover large parts of her body. In my eyes she is perfect.

    At the breakfast table I find enough the bravery to address the matter. “You can stay with me, if you really want to.” I produce a winning smile. “I have no other obligations at present. Well, there is my ward Sionnach, but...”

    “Sionnach?” she whispered terrified. “The Tjiehenet clone?”

    “You know her?” I ask.

    Irmgard slides down from her chair and sinks to the floor, her shoulders shaking with sobs and fear. I join her there and wrap the bearskin around us. Rhythmically and with soothing gestures, I run my fingers over her skin.

    “N-nine years ago the clone vanished from Dún Mor-Shiabh, the O’Gradaigh family castle,” Irmgard finally says. “Mórag send out her best seekers, but they came back from their mission empty handed. In her furry she killed one of the women. A surrogate had to be found. They looked everywhere, even in the marshes of the Lake District. There they found me and...”

    I cup Irmgard’s chin, making her to gaze at me. “If you like, I will keep you close and save from the Holy Inquisition.” I wish I could have done the same for the family members that she lost so brutally. “If instead you want to leave this house and never come back, I can arrange transport and a safe place off-planet.”

    “I... I... want to stay.”

    “Are you sure about that?” I inquire carefully.

    “You are not the worst I have encountered, and even have some good qualities.” She smiles gently at me.

    “What gives this away?” My eyes narrow.

    “The love for your children.” Her eyes are bright. “It surrounds you like a cloak.”

    *******************************************************************

    The next day I order a bigger bathtub, scented candles and other surprises from Amnion, like plus-size clothing or an electronic book pad with more than one million digital novels. Expensive trinkets mean nothing to my new concubine. But like me, she is a keen reader.

    After a month, Irmgard encourages me to pick up wood carving again. I end up building a cradle for the unborn baby-boy Sionnach is expecting. Once it is finished, Irmgard walks me to the edge of Draíocht’s property.

    While I place my present on the doorstep Irmgard hides away in the undergrowth. I have attached three letters to the headboard. One is for Sionnach, one is for Éibhear and of course one is for the head of the family: Draíocht Mössa, my current nemesis.

    I knock politely, but the door does not open, though I feel them inside the building. The aura reading that I get adds to my desperation. There is boiling anger and distrust; even fear from Sionnach.

    Trembling like a mischievous teenager I return to Irmgard who lets me walk right into her chubby arms.

    “I feel like a stalker,” I mutter against her chest.

    Her large, yet gentle hands run through my hair. “Give them time to consider your offer. The same time that you granted me. Sometimes people need time and space to think. It is like... well like Fliegenfischen, ja?”

    “Fly fishing,” I translate aloud and touch her left cheek lovingly, happy that she makes a real effort to use Basic more often. This should be rewarded.

    An idea forms in my mind.


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent interactions with a complex range of emotions
     
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  17. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Lucien can be loving and caring
     
  18. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Fly fishing?

    Nice idea. Plenty to eat for Friday.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: I do hate one-dimensional characters. This is why I married my husband, DarthUncle. (Who has nothing in common with Lucien by the way, apart from the cooking.)


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Ja, dat mag hij van zichzelf ook. :D;)


    @Nehru_Amidala: Since I am a lost Catholic wandering on very, very different paths since my 12th birthday, we do not necessarily eat fish on Friday any more. But once a week yes. Otherwise DarthUncle and I would be part of the overfishing problem.

    But yeah, fish is nice. When it comes to me though I do not like fish with too many fish bones. So river fish do not work for me, but salmon, pollack/ coalfish or tilapia.


    Okay here we go, hopefully still having folk like @Kahara, @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 and @Darth_Furio still on board:


    Chapter 17:

    Once we stand at the wooded shores of the Vattenånga River and throw out our fishing rods, everything else becomes secondary.

    In harmonic silence, Irmgard and I focus on the task ahead of us.

    Inherently fly fishing is a spiritual practice. Or rather, it is direct action in the present moment, becoming one with the Living Force in all its richness.

    Focusing on my movements, to become one with the rod, the line and the bait is not difficult for me. With three slow and deliberate deep breaths I am able to let the tension melt away, to relax my body. My mind stays alert though, receptive like a bath sponge.

    When I had been a sullen toddler with dangerous mood swings, Minou had tried to teach me valuable methods of relaxation. Back then it had been in vain. Only torturing and killing others had restored my equilibrium during my painful teenage years. The arrival of Éibhear in my life had changed that, though not quick enough. I am still learning softer solutions, giving my best to stay away from aggressive negotiations. Learning to fight bad habits is difficult.

    After catching my fifth rainbow trout, I signal Irmgard to stop her own efforts. She hauled in two trout, three silver salmon, four artcic grayling and one char. I am deeply impressed.

    “You know what, why don’t we stay here for the night,” I inform her, while starting dinner preparations.

    “Hast du denn ein Zelt dabei?” she asks curious. Do you have a tent with you?

    I grin. “Comes with being desert born, I suppose.”

    ********************************************************************

    Later, while we rest side by side I gather my courage and ask Irmgard something that is of great essence to me. “Your gift of psychometry, does that only work by touching items?”

    She yawns and rolls away from me, placing an arm over her face. “There are not many tóraí na fírinne who can read persons by skin contact. We are quite rare.”

    “But others like you do exist,” I probe, running my fingers skilfully through her open hair.

    “Most of them cannot take the pressure and go mad. You must understand that... that Psychometry is a form of scrying, but without the crystal ball or a fire. I get, hum Eindrücke. Impressions.”

    I do not like that there are women out there who can perceive the history of an item through images, sounds, smells, tastes – even emotions. They can be a danger to me.

    “Do you think I can ever visit Sapuhru, Luçien?” wonders Irmgard so suddenly that she startles me.

    “I see no reason why you should not. Let me teach you the language of my forefathers. Just in case.” I lean forward and start to nibble at her earlobe. “La oreille.”

    “La oreille,” Irmgard echoes, her voice trembling with anticipation. The ear.

    I continue my sensual expedition, until we both forget the actual lesson.

    ********************************************************************

    One week after our return from the fishing expedition there is a knock at the front door.

    Before I can stop her, Irmgard tears it open, a delighted expression on her face. “Hallöchen!” she beams. Hi there!

    “Du? Hier?” wonders a female voice. You? Here?

    I put the jug with the vanilla custard down, wishing that my concubine would be dressed in more than just a silk morning robe. This will not bode well for me.

    Draíocht walks in, giving me a queer look. But then her Elfin hands clasp around Irmgard’s much larger human hands. “Bist du in Ordnung? Hat er dir weh getan?” she asks. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?

    I groan.

    Of course beanmna feasa know one another. How could I have been so stupid?

    “Er ist kein Untier, Schwester.” Irmgard smiles her brightest smile. He is no monster, sister.

    “Pah! Da wäre ich mir nicht so sicher,” Draíocht spats. Pshaw! I would not be so sure.

    My concubine laughs joyfully, making her entire body wobble in a lovable way. Then she leads our unwilling visitor to the table in the dining area.

    ********************************************************************

    Lidérc etiquette demands that I serve the women without talking and I am relieved that my concubine remembers that special detail. Sionnach never understood the rules and I could not seem to explain them well to her.

    Under the burning gaze of Draíocht, I serve fresh strawberry tart. The vanilla coating is still warm. My original plans for it have now been dashed.

    While I stay discreetly in the background, both women begin a conversation in the language of the Lake District. Of course it’s is about Mórag and the beanmna feasa order. The bloody crusade that tears the Elfin nation apart and bothers other folk that live in the high North. Irmgard and Draíocht have been at the very heart of that conflict for a while. There is much to speak about.

    Over the course of three tart pieces, I come to know that my next-door-neighbour is legendary for her silent revolt against my mad half-sister. And that her love marriage to Tomte Mössa is an inspiration to many.

    “Ich danke dir für deine Gastwirtschaft, Irmgard.” Hastily, Draíocht rises from the table. Thank you for your hospitality, Irmgard.

    Barely able to mask my disappointment I watch the Elf walk towards the door. Her hand pauses on the handle. “Why do I need to open this stupid door all by myself, Luçien?”

    I rush towards Draíocht, but I am not quick enough. She opens the door herself. The moment she walks outside she drags me along at my elbow. I let it happen, even though I feel treated like a naughty teenager.

    “Never let Sionnach see your latest leisure activities! I will kill you when you turn them into outdoor pursuits,” she hisses at me, but I detect a slight amusement underneath her stern features.

    “My bond with Sionnach is a public one,” I say soothingly. “It was thus from the very first moment on. It cannot even end in this wilderness. I wish it was different, for her and for the man that she truly loves. I did not make the rules, Draíocht.”

    Defeated, the midwife sighs, “I would still not tell the lass about Irmgard.”

    “Again, I did not choose all the complications that we are in right now. Certainly, my judgement was not the best at times, but please do not put the blame on Irmgard. She is faultless.”

    “I’d rather know that my sister in the Goddess is happy inside your house. It would pain me that she ends up buried in an unmarked grave, missing even more body parts than she already does.”

    With that Draíocht turns her back on me and starts walking down the stairs.

    “What about Éibhear?” I call after her, my throat tight. “What about the baby?”

    She spins around, smiling for the first time she arrived at the lodge. “I am glad that you name the boy first.”

    “Éibhear always will come first,” I assure her.

    “Well, you need to win back his trust.” She waves mockingly. “Such fun, Luçien! Such fun!”

    ********************************************************************

    In the third month of her pregnancy, Sionnach shows up unannounced. I ask Irmgard to hide in my bedroom. She is polite enough to knock first.

    Hastily, I clean off the strands of wood and run to the door, almost falling over my tools.

    My heart aches at the sight of the young Elfin woman. She still feels a brotherly type of love for me. I have murdered her trust though. I have broken things beyond repair in our already complicated relationship.

    “I am glad you are here,” I say and I am not sure what else to add.

    Sionnach gazes at me in a haze. “I was not aware that you live around here.”

    I give her a half-smile. “Did you imagine me to creep around on the mountain roads like a rouge? Forcing myself on any woman I can find?”

    “Something like that,” she admits and cranes her neck to look into the Hall of Fire.

    “Oh please come in,” I beg. “I made tarte au citron meringuée.”

    She beams at me, her reserve being forgotten for several heart beats. But then she becomes serious again. “There will be no funny business?”

    That remark hurts me more than it should. “Of course not,” I snort, trying to hide my indignation under played humour.

    ********************************************************************

    Once inside, Sionnach wanders around, wide eyed and curious. But I can tell she does not like the lodge. Splendour and luxury were never her thing. She prefers the cosy langhús of Draíocht with its dark alcoves.

    “Une vrai maison de plaisance,” she mutters disapprovingly. A real pleasure house.

    Suddenly, I wonder very much what the revengeful Draíocht told Sionnach about me and my life.

    After one hour of intensive talking we agree that I will have right of access to my child. I will be allowed to be present at the birth.

    In return, I will keep my visits at the langhús at a bearable limit for everybody. I also have to endure that Éibhear has to approach me first to show his forgiveness. I cannot pursue it.

    “He believes that you... did injustice to me,” Sionnach whispers, her voice hoarse from unshed tears.

    “You know it was not that way,” I gasp.

    The tears run down her face now. “He does not believe me. And honestly, can you blame him?”

    ********************************************************************

    Irmgard tries hard to get me out of my gloomy mood, but I want to be left alone after Sionnach’s visit. I retreat to my room and lock myself in. Then I slump down on the bed.

    An hour turns into seven hours.

    I ignore that my body craves rest. That it feels hunger and thirst. My bladder begs me for relief. I continue to gaze up at the ceiling.

    In the violent past of my people there have been itinerant preachers. They were ascetic practitioners of meditation. Their practices followed the principle that meditation focuses on self-mastery of essence, both spiritual and physical.

    Irmgard begs me to let her in, over and over again. I do not answer her. She rattles around with the door handle, bangs her fists against the thick oak wood. It achieves nothing.

    ********************************************************************

    After a full week spent in self-isolation, Taran appears at the lodge. His fiery presence pulls me out of my Force trance. He shouts and bangs on the door until an overtaxed Irmgard lets him in. At one point he is ranting so loud that I can hear every word of his.

    “You. Can. Not. Hide. Forever. Luçien.”

    He ends up kicking down the bedroom door, and jumps on my mattress to throttle me with his huge, hairy hands.

    “I cannot. Believe. That you. Have. Made. More. Babies. With. Sionnach.”

    I close my eyes, hoping that he kills me in one clean go, but I am dragged downstairs, feeling every bruise created by the steps. I am thrown in a chair, with two muscular legs clamped around mine.

    “I will have no more nonsense any longer,” Taran says, and a spoon is forced into my mouth.

    I cough, while Kartoffelsuppe, potato soup, runs down my throat.

    “Listen, kitty, I want you to eat at least two bowls of this stuff. Have some Buttermilch, too. Don’t make me force feed you the entire time.” He holds the spoon out to me, his eyebrows raised in exasperation.

    Sighing, I accept the spoon and start to eat. The soup is delicious. I must say that Irmgard is an excellent cook when it comes to sturdy Hausmannskost.

    ********************************************************************

    Taran stays for a week. I take every insult he delivers as a tender declaration of friendship. His social skills are rusty, and his emotions are a greater chaos than my own. Irmgard tries to connect with him, but he makes her uneasy with his wolfish nature.

    I walk him to the edge of the forest on the day he decides to go. “When will you come back?”

    “That bean feasa would like to have seen the last of me,” he mumbles. “A pity though. I like a woman you can balance a pint of beer and a plate on.”

    I slap his straw-blond head. “Mind your manners.”

    “Hey, did I say that she is ugly? Elfin woman can be painfully thin and anorexic looking. Your Irmgard has substance.” Suddenly, Taran grabs me by the ears and forces my nose against his. “You better stay put with her and stay away from the whelp.”

    “Sionnach will never get pregnant from me again, Carcra.”

    “I better hope not. The pains of the dark side will pale in comparison to my anger if you forget that promise of yours.” He lets go of my face and sends a vicious punch into my stomach, which makes me fall on the floor. “You will not disappoint the new baby.”

    ********************************************************************

    Irmgard visibly relaxes when it is just the two of us in the house again. Soon, we fall back into our normal pleasant rhythm until a stone smashes through the bedroom window one morning.

    Before Éibhear can run away from the crime scene, I materialize next to him in only my bloomers.

    “You knocked, my son?”

    All colour leaves his face, but then he sets his jar anew and starts screaming incoherently. Blinded by anger and tears alike, he starts hitting me and I let it happen. When he strains his right wrist and collapses, I kneel in front of him and pull him close to heal the injury.

    “Feeling better now?”

    Gravely, he shakes his head. “I still hate you.”

    “I fear the truth is that you still love me so much that it hurts.”

    Again, he breaks out in tears. His pain pierces my heart.

    “I am sorry, that I wanted a new baby with your mother. You must believe me that I still love you.”

    “Not... about... me,” he whispers . Every word seems to be a giant effort. “You... hurt... her.”

    “Her feelings, yes,” I confess. “But nothing else.”

    His huge eyes search mine. Afraid. Curious.

    I stand my ground.

    After what seems like an eternity, he coils his small arms around me. “You must be more aware of things, papa.”

    “I am sorry.”

    “Sometimes sorry is not enough. Aunt Draìocht hates you now, so does everybody else.” His breathing is irregular. “Please do not make me hate you for being so rough on maman all the time!”

    I am glad that Irmgard has custard pudding and rhubarb ready for us when we join her in the house. Éibhear and I share it in peace.

    ********************************************************************

    I am there for Sionnach on the day that she delivers, but she wants me gone once our baby boy is washed and nestled against her chest. Her eyes are fixed on the ceiling of the alcove that she rests in. She is as cold and distant as the icy tops of the Vallum Ventii. I pushed her too much. Her Tjiehenet heritage is the key for her survival now. She is drifting away from me.

    “Ruadhan and Ciall will be here in the afternoon. I want you gone before that!” she announces.

    I glance at Draíocht, who does not return my look. That confirms that the two famous reivers indeed have been in contact with Sionnach. This will not fare well for me.

    A thousand questions form in my mind, but I know that none of them will be answered today. And I certainly cannot bother Éibhear with them. He would feel like a spy, a traitor, if I start making inquiries. But there is another I can turn to.

    Once outside, I transport straight to my own porch. Irmgard is in the kitchen garden, tending to it lovingly. “Can you walk up to Draíocht with me?”

    “Warum?” She stops her watering, frowning deeply. Why?

    The disturbing thing with Irmgard is that she is highly sensitive to the emotions of other beings. That comes automatically with her skills as a Seeker. Lying to her is almost impossible.

    “I need your expertise,” I say.

    “I will not give it to you for this, Luçien.” A curtain falls over her eyes. “Talk with Sionnach and ask her directly what is going on.”

    Speechless, I take her in. Defiance was the last thing that I expected from her.

    “I am done reading the past for others,” she continues. “My powers are vacant since I became your concubine. Yet you ask me to spy on Sionnach?”

    “Then don’t!” I roar and run off, taking with me the burning wish to hurt her.

    ********************************************************************

    The next days pass in absolute silence. I stay out of Irmgard’s way and she tries not to cross mine.

    One afternoon I am required to show up at the langhús. Before I leave the lodge, I mask myself.

    In the old days, a war mask was a protection against sudden outbreaks of bloodshed between male Lidérc. For me, it always was a protection against unwanted eyes on my face.

    When I knock at the front door a bearded man answers. His olive skin and fine livré seem out of place.

    “Narthex?” I ask, totally taken aback. My gaze moves on to find the next impossible person. “Agathos?”

    “What a pleasure to see you, old friend,” the former senator says and grasps my hand just a little too firm. “I had no way to contact you over these past few days.”

    “I was on a mission for papa,” I lie. “Nobody could have reached me.”

    “We took the liberty of doing the adoption ceremony without you,” Agathos informs me cheerfully and I can feel that his bliss is acted.

    “Adoption ceremony?” My glare settles on Sionnach, who radiates a certain air of liberation.

    Agathos’ smile is still too bright when he starts addressing me again. “Sionnach wanted to acknowledge her roots. Giving birth to her youngest child makes this a very understandable request. I was all too happy to assist her and Ruadhan.”

    ********************************************************************

    My stunned gaze meets that of Ruadhan. “So you have found the daughter that you once lost,” I suggest, fully aware that this remark will hurt him badly.

    The outlaw, once considered to be a friend, smiles icily at me. “Aye, and I would hate to lose her again by some strange twist of fate.”

    “I see,” I reply with as much dignity as I can muster under the circumstances.

    Sionnach has gathered powerful allies while I was licking my wounds from our last encounter. Friends have turned into severe enemies, I cannot blame them for choosing her side over mine.

    Agathos forces my attention back on him. “It also would pain me very much if any harm would come to Sionnach. She us my kin.”

    “Then it is my duty to protect her even more after tonight,” I reply mechanically.

    “I have no doubt about you doing just that,” Ruadhan answers pointedly.

    Offering me a vendetta would have been more honest than all those vague threats. I prefer the ways of his father. Taran never shuts up when he feels treated unfairly or thinks that my course is wrong.

    ********************************************************************

    Outside, another surprise waits for me in front of an Sapuhrian star cruiser. I can feel Irmgard inside and also the pilot.

    When the landing ramp closes behind me, a uniformed fovea centralis agent stands in front of me. She is a giant of a woman. I can see that she trains hard in the gym. Her biceps are wider than mine. There seems to be nothing soft about her except for her eyes. They are honey-coloured, as is her short hair.

    “I am Captain Magenta, your private escort to Sapuhru.”

    “Am I banished from Draconis forthwith?”

    She shakes her head vehemently. “The prince consort has asked me to fly you and your companion to Fort Grand. Madame Yeotenn wants a word with the two of you. That is all I know.”

    Minou has chosen to send for me. For Irmgard as well. That is bad news.

    ********************************************************************

    “We need to say good-bye to one another.” Irmgard wipes at the tears trailing down her cheeks as she speaks. “I do not regret our time together, but I cannot be what you need. Your latest outbreaks made me realize that.”

    Despite the burning feeling in my chest, I look back stoically. “What do I need?” I say at length in a levelled voice, fighting back the black tide of bitterness that rises in me.

    “Temperance is about your age,” Irmgard answers straight away.

    “Who?”

    “Captain Magenta.”

    I roll my eyes, irritated. “Why do you think that I need a replacement for you?”

    “Give it a try,” Irmgard pleads. “The good captain loves it rough.”

    I shoot Irmgard a startled look, my eyes wide open. After all the time that we had spent together as lovers she should know the real me and how uncomfortable such a suggestion makes me feel.

    “Luçien?” she pleads, trying to reach out to me. “Please talk to me!”

    My jaw clenches and I brush off her annoying fingers. “We are done talking,” I say in a quiet tone and curl my fingers into tight balls at my sides.

    Being a Force witch hunter is the ultimate test of selflessness. Over and over again I have to face unending emotional pain, while feeling the true agony of others. Irmgard has alerted me to a new level of personal sacrifice. I am vilified by others, by people I know and care for. It is another pain that I need to live with from now on.


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
    Kahara likes this.
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Heartbreaking parting of ways which makes Lucien build bigger barricades [face_thinking] =D=
     
    Kahara and AzureAngel2 like this.
  21. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    poor Lucien, always alone in the end
     
  22. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, finally I come around to make an update on our silly tom cat.

    The past weeks have not been easy with me being the only full-time kindergarten teacher at my creché group & the number of Covid-19 cases in my city rising to dangerous numbers.

    I dread public transport & shopping for groceries. But I cannot possibly sent my poor husband, DarthUncle with his new kidney. And I have no other options getting to work.

    We do social distancing as much as we can. Our "support bubble", a world that I learned from a dear friend who lives and works in the UK, is skype. There I speak with said friend. Plus a dear childhood pal who plays dice and adventure games with us via Skype call. (This weekend we finished Chapter 2 and 3 of "Grand Hotel Abbadon" between 3:30 pm and 11:30pm. Oh and afterwards we finally managed to get hold of Tyranus and his Aussie wife between 11:30pm and 1:30am German time.)

    Otherwise I am not much online. I bake, I clean, I read, I listen to music, I do puzzles or crosswords. Plus I spam friends and their letter boxes with real post.

    As for my surgery, still pending. Due to Corona and the ER beds plus the medical staff badly needed.


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Well, he really is hard to deal with and adds to his own misery.

    Anway:


    Chapter 18:

    My stay on Sapuhru is short. Minou shows me openly that she is not pleased with Sionnach’s new pregnancy and has to say a lot about it. So does my foster-father, Alezan. I leave in blind anger.

    Captain Magenta lurks around the exit area of our star ship. Different emotions run over her face, when she sees me approach the hanger.

    “I will retreat to my cabin, Captain,” I state. “Please join me, for I have a proposal to you that might interest you.”

    Not much later we sit opposite one another in the passenger cabin and I take time to study her.

    Captain Magenta has a hard jaw line for a female, but her face with its mossy-green eyes is pleasant. I especially like the golden shimmer in her honey coloured hair. Another thing that awes me is that she has honed her physique over years of dedication, hard work and determination.

    “Milord, I am glad that you consider such a relationship with me.” She searches my eyes. “But you never did something like this before, did you?”

    I shake my head. “Might I ask in return why a young and intelligent Ophidea half-blood like you wants to be ruled by somebody else? You seem so independent, so in charge of your own feelings.”

    My question brightens up her face and gives it an unexpected, almost dreamlike softness. “I signed up with the air force of fovea centralis when I was twelve-years-old,” she explains eagerly. “I find that I sometimes need a holiday from my multi-tasking and let someone else take charge for once.”

    “So, it is more than just craving for pain?”

    “Pain is so close to pleasure, milord.”

    Carefully, I add for consideration. “For me pain is just an intense, religious experience.”

    She sustains her chin with her right hand. “I can ask the prince consort for a prolonged holiday. My overtime has piled up the past two years and he has begged me to use all those hours for my own good.”

    I already know Agathos’ answer. “Please do not mention my name to the prince consort!” I bite out. “He would not understand.”

    She arches a perfect eye brow. “Are you afraid that he will think negatively about it?” One of her hands curls around mine, that rest on the table. “Agathos is a very open person. There is not much that can shock him.”

    “I would not be so sure.”

    Many at the royal court see me as deviant already. Some even regard me as a sociopath. I would not want Agathos to think likewise about me.

    ********************************************************************

    Of course it had to be Polysýndeton. But that serves me well. I need closure. I stand in a large park where the temple district with its quirky old buildings had once been. The majority of the citizens have decided against a reconstruction. In a city state, where building plots cost a fortune, this is an impressive decision. So they had a different form of memorial: the Algea Park.

    Temperance stands next to me, wearing a wide travel cloak.

    We had been heading for an exclusive private club down town. But I felt the need to visit the place where I once lived happily with my family.

    I silently speak a prayer and then I bend down to plant the three flower seeds carefully into the soft ground. Visitors of this park are encouraged to show their respect to the dead this way.

    I am relieved that Temperance does not ask me any questions about the detour that we. She just remains in absolute silence next to me, until I am finished with my internal affairs.

    “Thank you,” I breathe when I get up again.

    My companion blushes due to my praise and looks bashfully to the ground. Quickly, she puts on an oval shaped mask, consisting of black velvet. It covers all but the outer edge of her face. The so-called Servetta Muta is secured by a small bit that is held in place by the teeth.

    Club going Amnionians have a long tradition of wearing masks. Those masks, grotesque art pieces of leather or porcelain, encourage licence and pleasure. In the past I always avoided clubbing, but I am not the man that I used to be before the death of the twins.

    Soon we reach the club. It’s façade is rather boring; painted in steel grey without flashy colours or signs that I am accustomed to seeing in this part of the city. At the door a young woman, wearing a feather mask, stands guard. She looks like a fairy tale creature this way, half owl and half human. Of course she recognizes Temperance as one of her own and acknowledges her with a cool nod. Then I get scanned intensely.

    I am glad that I wear a mask myself. It is a baùtta, designed to comfortably cover the entire face and shows the inclusion of an over-prominent nose. There is also a thick supra-orbital ridge, a somewhat projecting chin line, and no mouth.

    Finally, my companion and I are waved through.

    The lightening is dim. Everything is in grey, black, and red. From Temperance I already came to know that this place is famous for its strong drinks, hot tunes, and occasional outbreaks of violence, both consensual and not. My eyes widen as I see the first evidence of it and am unable to tolerate it for very long.

    After only an hour, I furiously lead us back to our hotel room.

    “Permission to speak, milord?” Temperance asks softly under lowered eyelashes.

    “Yes,” I sigh exasperated and sink on the mattress.

    She stands in front of me like a statue, motionless. From the heaving of her chest I can tell that this is a very emotional subject for her. “As a healer you should know that there are many ways of healing, milord. This is one of them.”

    “You will end up dead one day,” I warn her and reach out for her to make her sit on my lap. “Let me at least tend to your wounds. I cannot stand seeing you like that. Senator Kithara was not very gentle with you tonight. I know I had no right to knock him down like that, but...”

    Something wet drips on my hand. Temperance is crying. “This is not working, Luçien.”

    I do not know what alarms me more – her tears, her words, or the usage of my name.

    Shivering, Temperance takes me into her arms and I let it happen. “I judged you wrong,” she sniffs. “You have such a vulnerable, compassionate heart. My life style is not yours. I am so sorry that I put you through all of this.”

    “Don’t!” I beg her. “I gave you my consent, did I not?”

    That makes her laugh and hug me even more.

    “To be honest,” I whisper into her hair, “I really have trouble with this master and servant aspect, Temperance. Somehow it makes me constantly think about your belated god queen and the things that she had to undergo as a child.”

    She jerks back from me and rubs her eyes. “It does? I would have never thought that you carry an ounce of compassion for Arcānā in your heart.”

    I give her a wry smile. “When she was still alive, we were indeed arch-enemies. But now I think that, when love cast her out, she turned to the dark side of the Force. At a rather vulnerable age. Not even her own husband was able to bring her back to the light. Not completely. But the sight of the burning body of her daughter on the temple plaza made something click deep inside her. She made the absolute self-sacrifice. I... I would not even be surprised to her that her redeemed soul grants her to be an angel ever after.”

    A tremor goes to through Temperance’s body before she pins me down on the bed and starts kissing me passionately. New tears flow, but I can tell from the shimmer in her eyes that they are a sign of joy.

    “Let me give you a special good-bye present,” she whispers.

    “Who am I to oppose you?” I smile.

    ********************************************************************

    When I check on Sionnach on my return to Draconis, I find that she has grown extra fingers and toes, just to show me that she is a true Tjiehenet. I wonder if she is going to colour her hair blond soon, wear those dreadful dreadlocks from the River Valley and get a morbid hobby like raising the dead. Acting out is one thing; committing sacrileges around me is a different matter.

    I am unable to talk with her though. Draìocht does not let me inside the langhús when I stop by to pick up my sons for a walk. Ruadhan and Ciall hand the boys over to me. Their grim faces make it feel like I am taking part in a hostage exchange.

    When I complain to Éibhear about this treatment one afternoon, he laughs. “You are the villain to them, papa. Be glad that they just blame you for making a new baby with maman. Grandfather Taran told me about Lady Tramp.”

    It takes me a while before I realise that he speaks about Temperance. “I cannot believe that the old scoundrel is talking to you about that.”

    “I came to see you when you were away on Amnion. Grandfather opened the door and let me in.” His sharp Elfin face looks up at me. “Of course I made him tell me. I can manipulate the Force, too.”

    I sink down on my knees until I am eye-to-eye with him. “What did you do?”

    “Just pushed into his mind,” he mumbles. “Found a lot of stuff in there that I did not want to know. About him and also about you.”

    It takes me every ounce of self-control to remain calm. Shouting at the boy would not get me anywhere. I need to make him understand the falsehood of his deed. “Forcing your mind on others is wrong, and I know what I am talking about.”

    “It is like moving a muscle really,” Éibhear sulks.

    Garou, bound to my chest in a large shawl, starts crying.

    “Hush,” I whisper to my baby son and pat his right cheek, while my other hand remains fixed on his brother’s shoulder. “Use your Force powers against enemies whenever you like. But never against family members. I want you to be a better man than I am. Is that understood?”

    The defiance in his eyes slowly melts and he leans forward to place a light kiss on my nose tip. “Grandfather’s head is a scary place anyway.”

    “What else can you do?” I ask in a casual tone of voice, thinking about the dark Tjiehenet legacy concerning necromancy.

    “To be honest, I really don’t want to know, papa. I’d rather be a lumberjack.”

    Garou sneezes and I wipe his tiny nose for him. Then I say to Èibhear, “You asked earlier on if I can take you to the midsummer fire tomorrow night.”

    He nods eagerly.

    “You are not old enough for that, Amhantar.” Using his Elfin soul name for the occasion is a bit harsh, but I wish absolutely no discussion about the matter. “Many adults will be indulged in... activities I do not want you to see yet.”

    He makes a face. “You visit Amnionian nightclubs with lady friends of yours and I am not allowed to see the midsummer fires.”

    This child exhausts me from time to time. He is both immature and too clever for his own good. Like Grianán.

    Grianán. Thinking about her hurts.

    “Draíocht has her family visit,” he argues on. “They camp in tents all over the property. Don’t you think I already heard and saw...”

    One of my hands moves around his neck and the other one comes to rest on his mouth. “Never underestimate your baby brother. He is listening to us more intently than I want him to do. Please let us change the subject!”

    Anger turns into embarrassment. Then Éibhear nods slowly and I let go of him.

    “You expressed your wish to have a tree house recently.” I give him a winning smile. “Why don’t we talk about that? As you may have noticed, I have restricted visiting rights. Every moment with you and your brother is precious to me.”

    His eyes turn large and then he whoops in astounding joy.

    “I have paper and a pencil with me,” I inform him, while he starts to jump around me like a little twister. “Why don’t we sit down on that tree trunk over there and you explain your wishes to me.”

    ********************************************************************

    When I bring the boys back at sun set, Draíocht waits for us at the tree line that marks her property. The tent village has grown considerably, while we were away.

    I leave with the promise that Sionnach will not attend the local fires, but celebrate here among Clan Mössa. There is this feeling deep in my guts that there is new trouble ahead with her.

    Dawn breaks, making the shadows of the trees larger and I quicken my pace back home. On the veranda I find a note. It is done in Taran’s pin sharp handwriting. He informs me that he will meet a former army pal of the crack unit for tonight. They want to do some hunting. I hope for the local community that they will only go for a four-legged prey. Midsummer should be an occasion for joy, not for sorrow.

    That night, I cannot find much sleep, tossing and turning around in my bed like a leaf in the wind. It’s not Taran’s usual cravings for fresh meat that I fear. It is Sionnach’s safety.

    ********************************************************************

    On Midsummer Eve I cannot stay inside the lodge any longer. My instincts tell me that Sionnach is in trouble. She never realised that, without my protective hand hanging above her, she would have been unprotected game for most male Lidérc on Sapuhru. Her status as a moon priestess in training was just accepted in the desert settlement of Fort Grand. Being my maîtresse-en- titre has granted her an interplanetary recognition as member of the House Ankoù.

    I mask my presence and walk over to the Mössa property to watch the merry celebrations from the undergrowth.

    Sionnach is not hard to miss with her curly mane of red hair. The dress that she wears tells me that she intends to impress somebody special. The curves of her bosom show in breathtaking ways that I really haven’t seen before. Painfully, I am reminded of Arcānā who was always too beautiful to be called decent.


    “For from garments cometh a moth, and from women wickedness,”
    I whisper to myself. “Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach.”

    While Sionnach dances with Ciall, I take the time to scan the crowd of party guests for her potential lover. He has to be here, the man who sets her on fire.

    “Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die,” I say, trembling with oppressed rage.

    Before Sionnach gives Ruadhan the honour of her company, I spot Skje Jörd. He is a nephew of Draíocht. Everything that I know about him says that he is decent young man. He is very popular in this region, working as a seasonal lumber jack and horse trainer.

    I sigh into my war mask, feeling so sorry for him. “Don’t force me to kill or maim anybody tonight, Sionnach.”

    My wishes seldom come true.

    Not much later Skje Jörd sneaks into the undergrowth, just eight inches away from me. He moves on until the old oak tree, that marks the edge of my property. There he sinks down.

    I squeeze my eyes shut in agony, until tiny spots of colour dance on my retina. A spasm of grief shakes me.

    Not much later leaves rustle and somebody brushes past me, almost touching my shoulder.

    “Jag älkar dig av hela mitt hjärta, Sionnach Tjiehennet,” Skje Jörd says with a trembling voice. I love you with all my heart, Sionnach Tjiehennet.

    Her only answer is a happy sob while I feel disgusted that I am forced to witness this declaration of love. But if I go away now and anybody else stumbles over them, there will be a great scandal.

    I hide my face in my hands, as the gentle moans four yards away from me become more intense. The sheer thought that it is my duty to cut this baby out of her belly in about three months time makes me sick. There must be other solutions than a triple murder.

    ********************************************************************


    When I do not pick up Éibhear and Garou two weeks later, an enraged Draíocht comes storming my door. She carries my youngest on her right arm and drags his brother along with her free hand.

    “What are you doing in here!” she explodes.

    “What does it look like?” I answer and do not even raise my head to meet her eyes.

    Building a nest box is trickier than I thought. I need to make the entrance hole so small that no cuckoo can enter it. Just tiny songbirds will find sanctuary in here.

    “Breeding season is ten, perhaps eleven months away,” Draíocht complains, while she glares at my wood work.

    “Are you sure?” I suggest coolly, my attitude the ice. “I think we will see some hatching before that.”

    Draíocht does not understand the given hint, but Éibhear does. He flies towards me and makes me drop my tools. With the strength of a cap crimper he takes me into his arms.

    “Please!” he whimpers.

    Draíocht, interpreting my son’s move wrong, rants on, “You better be on time next visiting day. Sionnach is a princess of the blood and you surely do not want Draconian authorities at your door.”

    She leaves with a howling Garou, who wants to stay on with me, but I do not stop her. I have already one distressed boy to deal with. Èibhear looks at me, shaken to the core. “You can have another baby brother,” I sooth him. “This is not Sapuhru; I can alter the rules.”

    “When you change the rules all the time, papa,” he cries, “you lose yourself even more.”

    “I know what is good and what is evil.”

    His Elfin eyes darken. “You do not!” He steps closer to me. “When you were very small, much smaller than Garou is now, you were badly hurt.”

    I stare at him. All my hidden traumas, all my dirty secrets are dragged into the open by a child that I took in as my own.

    Èibhear reaches up, trying to place his small hand on my trembling chest. “You do not need to be honest to me. But start being honest with yourself, papa. Rule breaking makes you lose your way even more.”

    ********************************************************************

    I let Skje Jörd live. But I make it perfectly clear to him that I wish more discretion in future. I confront him with a nervous Éibhear clutching my hand. “If there is one more stunt like this outside or another pregnancy...” I snarl at the large Udaler.

    Papa, you promised not to get angry.”

    Blinking, I let go of the human man's throat and take a step back. “Lost my composure here for a heartbeat, sorry.”

    “You better be!” grumbles Éibhear and leads me to the chair that I overturned in the heat of the moment. “Pick that up!”

    I do as I am told.

    “Now you sit down here and Skje will sit opposite you. You both will behave like the gentleman in Grandfather Alezan's parlour.” He fumbles around in the pockets of his trousers and produces a pipe. “I want you to smoke this calumet.”

    Skje Jörd, rubbing his throat, grunts in disbelief.

    Parley for my new baby brother.” The steely determination in Éibhear's voice is hard to ignore. “Now! Or I run straight to Dún Barr and then you are both in so much trouble. Great-Grandfather Narthex will not be lenient.”

    I exchange a long glare with Sionnach's lover, before I reach for his left hand. Gingerly, he gives me his.

    “Milord.”

    “My dear Skje,” I say as cordially as I can manage.

    We pass around the ceremonial pipe, blowing white smoke rings into the air. None of us is willing for Agathos, or even worse Narthex, to be involved with this.

    Éibhear runs off to fetch a bottle of akvavit, which is often drunk by Udalers during a formal gathering.

    ********************************************************************

    It takes me another six weeks before I can face Sionnach. The day I choose to visit, she is outside with the washing. The new life in her body already shines like a beacon. We are alone on the property save for Garou in his cradle. Skje has lured everybody else away as promised.

    In one fluent movement I move behind Sionnach and cup her belly. “Give me one reason why I should not cut this child out of your womb,” I grunt. “One single reason.”

    “Because you care,” she replies firmly.

    I rest one of my cheeks against the back of her head. “In future you will act more responsibly. There is no great need for populating the universe.”

    “What will become of the child?” The anxiety in her voice clenches my heart.

    “I cannot recognize him as my own. The House Ankoù must never know of his existence. Both your lives depend on it. Officially, it has to be one of Draíocht´s children.”

    She nods.

    Unfortunately, the House Tjehennet is not so easily fooled. Several days later, when Skje and I are in the middle of construction work for a tree house, a man on horseback arrives. The rider looks startlingly familiar.

    “Why is my grand-daughter pregnant again, Luçien?” snarls Narthex.

    While I flush, Skje puts his hammer away and walks towards the master valet. “He has nothing to do with it this time. It was me.”

    Disbelief stands written in the master valet's eyes. “Pardon me? You got her with child? You? Despite all we discussed the past months?”

    “I was not thinking,” Skje mutters and stares down at his hands.

    “μὰ τὸν κύνα!“ Narthex closes his eyes for a while, tightening the grip on his reigns. “By the dog! She is still but a teenager. Get that both into your heads, would you?”

    “Would you like to come in, my dear Narthex?” I suggest hopeful.

    He narrows his eyes. His bushy brows look like thunder clouds. “Do not dear me, Luçien. A piece of tart or a glass of red wine will not pacify me this time. You both got yourselves engaged with the Draconian crown.”

    “This is not a state affair,” I protest.

    Narthex spits back. “If I need to play dirty to keep Sionnach out of trouble, than I will. Agathos is too forgiving. With both of you.”

    A sour taste is in my mouth. “What are you going to do? Have both our heads? Make Misera send an army squad to burn us to the ground?”

    His look turns even more aloof. “My love life with the highest commander of the crown is my business only, Luçien. But the love life of Sionnach is a different question altogether.”

    With that he tugs at his reins and rides away in grim silence.

    Skje’s bearded face contracts. “You should not have angered him by mentioning Misera.”

    “It is no secret that they have an on-and-off relationship since the late queen mother died,” I interject.

    “There are secrets that keep themselves. Like the affair that your cousin Valiant has with Isabeau.”

    “What?” I choke up and drop the hammer that I just picked up.

    “You amaze me, kitty. Even though you are at court, you are not part of it.” Skje shakes his head and picks up his own tools again. “Both are very discreet about it, don’t you worry about it. The Ankoù family name will not be dishonoured by them.”

    He starts working again while humming a love song, but I cannot continue. My step-sister and my blood cousin. This is surprising news and I do not know what to make of it.

    But then again, perhaps Isabeau is happy with Valiant. This is the only thing that should count.

    Sources:
    Ecclesiasticus 42:13 & 14 plus 25:24 from the King James Bible "Authorized Version", Pure Cambridge Edition
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
  23. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    He broke up with Isabeau? New relationship on the rebound, it seems like.

    Starting to see more paralells with everyone's favorite Sith Lords, sans the rebound relationship.

    :)
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fascinating and intense. Lucien continues to be a mass of contradictions LOL

    It is a very pleasant surprise to find an update. :)

    I sent a PM to earlybird-obi-wan the other day asking in particular about an update on your surgeries, coincidentally. And now to find :eek: you're still on a waiting list. Yikes!

    @};-
     
  25. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    That, my dearest @Nehru_Amidala, was the plan all along. Drawing parallels to the "Chosen One".

    But he is the step brother of Isabeau. She was never his love interest. I guess you mean Irmgard, the seeker of the Holy Inquisition.

    Anyway, really appreciate a reader commenting. This really gives me a positive boost for my ego here! Thanks a million!

    PS: Do you know that I have been listening to Hectate chants for two hours now? If that does not help me sleep then I am out of my wits!

    But as mentioned earlier on, I am the only full-time kindergarten teacher in my group at work and a new child is coming. The 5th for me this kindergarten year.

    So, I better learn to deal with the constant pain I am in and keep the show going.
     
    Nehru_Amidala likes this.