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Saga - PT Mushrooms: A Raissa Baiard One-shot

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, May 13, 2017.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Mushrooms
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Timeframe: Saga PT, approx. 18 BBY
    Characters: Frugly, Raissa Baiard, Gertris Magrivray
    Synopsis: Frugly and Raissa's first encounter, as chronicled in "Raissa Baiard Solves Them All," from his point of view.
    Advisory: Mentions and mild depictions of animal abuse.


    Thanks to Findswoman for beta-reading @};-

    ---------------------------------------

    Mushrooms had always been Frugly's weakness.

    He just couldn't help himself. His first owner, the one who had trained him to sniff out the delicious fungi, always gave him a tiny piece-- even a whole mushroom if he found a particularly large cluster-- as a reward while crooning sweet words and scratching his ears just right. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms, redolent of the forest, was the taste of love and praise.

    But that was three owners and four planets ago.

    Now Frugly belonged to the old human named Gertris. She never gave him any of the mushrooms he found for her and beat him if he ever tried to sample them. Instead, she fed Frugly the scanty scraps of her greasy, over-spiced meals or rotten produce left over from the marketplace. If he asked her to pat him or scratch his ears, she hit him with her metal walking stick. Frugly wanted to love her and please her, but he couldn't and knew he never would.

    He'd been working on his escape for days, slowly chewing through the heavy jerba hide leash that kept him tied to the porch. He'd finally gnawed his way through to freedom when he smelled a familiar, tantalizing aroma.

    Mushrooms.

    The scent wafted out of a narrow crack in the side of Gertris's house. Frugly nosed at it and discovered that he could push part of the wall aside just enough to get inside. He crawled down the narrow tunnel, following his nose to the prize at the end-- row after row of glorious mushrooms. He snuffled appreciatively and bit into the nearest mushroom, pulling down the entire string. He was surprised to find that they were flat and hard, rather than succulently meaty, but they still had the same wonderful smell, like rich soil, moss and leaves. If anything, their flavor was even more intense than Frugly remembered. He sighed ecstatically as he wolfed down the dried fungi. If there were a paradise for robas, he'd surely found it.

    Frugly ate until he was full and then kept eating until his stomach began to protest-- quietly at first, then louder, then very loudly indeed-- but he wasn't ready to leave the bounty he'd discovered. He'd paused in his gluttony to rest his overextended stomach when another faint scent caught his nose. It smelled like mushrooms, but with an odd, sweet overtone. Frugly snuffed deeply, pushing his way through the rattling rows of mushrooms until he discovered the source: a hard, squarish lump in the back of the tunnel. He took an experimental nibble and his teeth sank into a slick, foul tasting skin which ripped easily when he tore his teeth free.

    A powdery substance puffed out of the block. Frugly sneezed and licked the powder off his muzzle and paws. It tasted of mushrooms, but sweeter. He licked at the block until he realized that the powder's sweetness had a fermented, almost rotten character to it, and it left a harsh metallic aftertaste that he wasn't sure he liked-- especially when his nose and tongue started to itch and tingle like he'd been stung by blood gnats. He pawed at his muzzle, trying get rid of both the taste and the sensation. His head started to feel buzzy, too, as if the horde of gnats was swarming in his skull. The narrow passage seemed to expand and contract around him. He swayed unsteady legs, his head suddenly too heavy to hold up, and collapsed to the earthen floor.

    Frugly didn't know how long he'd lain there, moaning and twitching in the darkness when the whining scrape of the board at the mouth of the tunnel assaulted his ears and lanced into his skull. He lifted his muzzle, or tried to, snuffed the air deeply, and cringed at the mingled smells of grease, dirt, vermin droppings and unwashed human--the scent of Gertris Magrivray. He whimpered, inching backwards, and then his sensitive nose picked up a new smell, another human, also female, but younger, cleaner, with a sweet scent of herbs and citrus clinging to her. The board scraped again.

    "I'll be careful," a woman's voice said. There was a scuffle of something large crawling into the tunnel, and suddenly, a bright light flared into existence. Frugly winced away, tossing his ears anxiously as the strange, new human crept forward, sweeping the light-stick in front of her. She stopped when she caught sight of him.

    "Frugly," she said, and for a wonder, she didn't make his name into a curse, the way Gertris did. "Let's get you out of here, eh, Frugly?"

    The roba raised his still-buzzing head and snuffed again, deeper; there was something interesting about this human, but he couldn't quite sniff it out. Something nice about the way she smelled--no, not really smelled. Felt? He tried to get a whiff of it, but his thoughts were scattering like insects and his stomach was churning. He dropped his muzzle to his paws.

    The Human edged closer to him, one hand outstretched, clicking her tongue at him. "Come here, boy," she crooned. "Who's a good pig...dog...thing?" Her fingers brushed one of his paws, and Frugly jerked away. It had been many, many spans of days since any human touched him with kindness, and it startled him more than if she'd hit him.

    She rustled around in the tunnel's confines and, with a sound of crinkling flimsi, brought something out of one of the pouches that Humans seemed to like to strap around their middles. A sweet, enticing aroma wafted from the tiny morsel in her hand. Frugly nosed it; the scent was intriguing. It melted in his mouth as soon as he lapped it up, spreading the taste of berries and honey over his tongue. He licked his muzzle to capture the last of the flavor. *More?*

    "Like that?" the woman asked as the he nosed her hand. She scooted backwards in the tunnel, and he heard the telltale crackle of flimsi and caught the tempting sweet scent. "Come on, then." Frugly followed her, wriggling eagerly, when he suddenly his stomach started to churn faster and faster.

    Finally, it spasmed. He wheezed as his sides began to heave, and he gave a deep, hacking grunt, as all the mushrooms he'd eaten decided to vacate his stomach at once.

    "Ack, no!" The Human tried to pull away from him. "Shavit!!!"

    Frugly knew that word. It meant that he was going to be hit. Hard. Often. He squealed, scrabbling back into the rows of dried mushrooms. They rattled loudly when he hit them, the noise echoing ominously through the tunnel. The strings tangled around him. There was no place for him to escape. He collapsed into a heap, whimpering and twitching, waiting to be beaten.

    He lay there, waiting, waiting for the blows to come, but none did. Though the woman crept towards him, all she did was wave her light-stick around, and poke at the slick-skinned package that was still oozing the sweet-musty powder.

    Frugly whined, nudging her wrist with his nose. *Don't leave me,* he pleaded. *Don't leave me with Gertris.* She'd beat him when he finally came out of the tunnel, harder than ever, and tie him up again, with a chain this time, like his last owner used. He would never get away again, and he'd die here, sooner or later, curled up on the miserable, filthy porch, alone.

    "Oh, come on," the woman whispered. "You'll be safe under here. I'll be back for you."

    But she didn't believe that, and neither did he. He whimpered and bumped her hand up onto his muzzle, creeping forward until it came to rest on top of his head. Her fingers brushed his fur lightly, the kindest touch he'd received in a very long time. *Please?* Frugly looked up at her and gave his tail a hopeful wag....

    "All right," she said. "I'll get you out." She reached around him, putting one arm underneath his stomach and lifted his front legs onto her shoulder. Holding him firmly, but not roughly, she propelled them both backwards, and they were out of the tunnel, blinking in the harsh sunlight of Gertris's scraggly lawn.

    Gertris was waiting for them, with the cane that she loved to poke and swat and lash him with in one hand and the stick that spat fire in the other. Frugly had seen her use it on the scurriers that infested her squalid home when they grew too bold and ventured out of the walls. He remembered the the sizzling hot smell of the blue fire that came from it and the scent of charred meat and crisped fur from the burnt lump that was all that remained of the scurrier after the fire hit it.

    And she was going to use it on the woman--the only human who'd given him a kind word or a gentle touch in so many, many days.

    Frugly felt the change in the woman, her sudden wariness, the way her her arms tensed around him--a posture he knew too well, because it was that of a cornered animal who expects an attack but has nowhere to go. She was going to fight Gertris, even though she had no way to defend herself. He knew, without really knowing how he knew it, that she wished Gertris would look away from her--even for a second--so she could make her move.

    He knew what he had to do. He leapt out of the woman's arms, ignoring the way his stomach clenched and his head buzzed and his legs threatened to fold. He charged Gertris and clamped his teeth around one scrawny, filthy ankle.

    The smell and the taste of stale sweat, laced with the sweet-musty overtones of the white powder, flooded his nose and mouth. Gertris screamed at him in a shrill voice, sharp as a thorn in a paw, and shook her leg, trying to dislodge him. She raised the metal cane high and it came down across the tender skin of his muzzle with a stinging blow. It cracked again and again, against his back, then his ribs. Frugly almost cried out; he wanted to let go, to run, to hide from her and her cane, but he growled and tightened his grip instead. She would not hurt the kind woman the way she'd hurt him. He wouldn't let her.

    The other woman flew at Gertris like a snarling tooka and knocked her to the ground. She wrestled with her, but even in her fury, the wiry old Human was no match the younger woman. She pinned Gertris easily and confined her hands with metal collars, leaving her in a shrieking heap.

    She knelt by Frugly while he lay panting, blood trickling down his muzzle, and he felt a warmth radiating from her, a feeling that he hadn't felt from anyone since his first owner: pride. He had done well and the gentleness of her touch, even though it made him wince, was his reward.

    "Good boy, Frugly," she told him, rubbing his ears just right, and his heart swelled to hear those words. "Good boy."

    --------------------------------

    The kind woman, the one the other humans called "Vice-Prefect", took him to a place that smelled like livestock and medicine. A man whose hands were brisk but not unkind checked Frugly over, cleaned the new wounds on his muzzle and muttered over the old scars on his sides. He put Frugly in a pen that had once housed eopies, and let him sleep in a pile of clean, sweet hay.

    The Vice-Prefect came the next day, with a stiff new leather collar that she put around his neck. Frugly knew this ritual by now, and it knew that it meant he would no longer be living with Gertris. The Vice-Prefect had marked him as hers. The thought was more delicious than any mushroom, sweeter than the berries-and-honey candy she'd given him. He thought his tail would never stop wagging as he trotted next to her to a little house in a part of town that smelled like eucalyptus trees and conifer shrubs instead of scurriers and garbage.

    Frugly stopped when she opened the door and whined a question. "Go on in," the Vice-Prefect laughed. "You don't have to sleep on the porch here."

    He took a cautious step inside, his toenails clicking on the tile floor, and snuffed. No scent of vermin, no musty-sweet smell of filth met his nose, just the smells of citron oil and toasted bread and the bitter dark drink that Humans seemed to like. The scent of Human, yes, but clean, her scent--warm and safe and good.

    The Vice-Prefect sat down on the floor and patted a plush cushion that lay next to the couch. "This is for you."

    Frugly touched it carefully with a paw. It was soft, even softer than the eopie-scented hay he'd slept on the night before. He flopped onto it and rolled over, luxuriating in the feel. Turning over again, he snuffed deeply of the scent of the fabric: wool overlaid with herbs and soap. It was nice smell, a comforting smell, a smell like hers. He nosed at the strange tuft of threads that was attached to the pillow's corner and took an experimental nibble.

    "Frugly." The Vice-Prefect's voice was firm. "Drop it."

    Frugly let go with a whimper, and cowered, waiting for the blow. She reached towards him...

    ...and stroked his head. "That's a good boy. I guess this means you're getting hungry." She stood and went into the tiny kitchen area adjacent. "I looked it up on the HoloNet," she told him as he followed. "It said that robas are supposed to eat good quality livestock food supplemented with fresh produce. But I thought you might like these as a treat to welcome you to your new home." She reached for something on the counter, and there was a sharp crackle of flimsi. "They're just morchellas, not balos, but at least these aren't hallucinogenic."

    The scent, earthy and pungent, told Frugly what it was even before she set the dish in front of him with a smile.

    The mushrooms tasted like the forest, like earth and moss.

    But most of all they tasted like love.
     
  2. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Aaaaaawwww! I'm not a fan of pigs, but I think I'd take Frugly. I love how he interprets most everything in light of his stomach (think that applies to most pets!) Still, if he can sniff out illicit substances, I think he's got a great career ahead of him. Would've served Gentris right if he'd puked half-digested mushrooms all over her!

    Good one, Raissa!!!
     
  3. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Seconding the awwwwww! Who's a good pygmy roba? FRUGLY IS! FRUGLY IS! :D

    He's become such a fixture in the Blayne/Baiard household that it's easy to forget what a rough life he had before. Poor baby. :( Thankfully, he has good taste in people and figured out quickly that Raissa was a keeper! How lucky to be adopted by such a sweet roba. :)
     
  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Awww, the return of Frugly, in his own one-shot. :) And it's interesting to see robas in a role similar to the one some porcine species have in our world - looking for mushrooms.

    Gertis is one appalling, filthy creature and the way you described her is so realistic. She's scrawny, dirty, lives in a filthy place and does filthy things. And her behaviour towards Frugly is clearly unacceptable. No mushrooms? No rubs between his ears? Being hit with a cane? But...but why? What is at the core of her unacceptable behaviour? I kind of don't believe that she was better when she was younger, some people are born this way.

    Frugly's escape led him to entrapment with...hallucinogenics? I am trying to compare this from the original story, but his point of view, going through the tunnel, getting sick and stuck is much more poignant. The idea of the passage getting wide and narrow is so trippy, claustophobic and scary. I must admit that it wasn't the nicest part of the story to read, but it was very effective.

    Now, here comes Raissa to the rescue - and she doesn't mind that Frugly is puking on her. In fact, they immediately form a Force bond and she realises that he would not be safe until later. I love the way she immobilised Gertis and how she wasn't afraid of that stick with fire-blasting whatever in it. That makes her better than about 99% of population. But we knew that already.

    And what touched me most is that she allows him to make mistakes, to chew on things, and still pets him and gives him mushrooms. Because you don't go about disciplining animals - you love them and they learn how to behave.

    Lovely one-shot! :zeb:
     
  5. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    OK this is my first taste of Fugly but I like it! Very cute, very fun. Just one question (and I doubt it matters to Fugly himself) but what was Ms. Vice-Prefect doing in that other house?

    Thanks for sharing yet another aspect of the GFFA I never knew existed...=D=
     
  6. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    What a fun story! I'm loving Frugly. :)
     
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Who's our favorite pig... dog... thing? Frugly, that's who! [face_love]

    Love what you did with this. As others have said, the story of Frugly's journey from mistreatment to rescue, and finally to a loving bond, takes on such a special dimension when told from his point of view—not that "Raissa Baiard Solves Them All" isn't already a fantastic story, of course! The road to rescue has many ups and downs and quite a few gray areas. Raissa's kind touch, patient approach, and gentle tone are game changers for Frugly from the moment he experiences them, and in response to them he builds up the courage to stand up to Gertris and keep her from attacking Raissa (that ankle chomp couldn't have happened to a nicer old lady :p —I wondered in RBSTA what her deal was, and I still do). But there are things that will take him some time to unlearn, too, as we see in his immediate reactions to the word "Shavit!" and to Raissa's firm instruction not to chew the cushion. Being rescued means being loved, but it doesn't mean there are no rules—there still are, but they're there for a different reason. Rules become a form of love. That aspect of love will understandably take time for Frugly to learn—but for now, however, there are mushrooms. :) <3
     
  8. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks :) This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship for Frugly and Raissa; he's got those sniffing skills and hidden depths of courage when it comes to defending Raissa. He definitely experiences the world in terms of smell and taste; it was an interesting experience to write from the perspective of an animal who does not use sight as its primary sense the way a human would!
    [face_pig] [face_love] Frugly is one of those characters who just crept into the story and took over. He really wasn't meant to be a recurring character, but neither Raissa or I could leave him at the end of "Raissa Solves Them All." He really has become a part of the family...from nomming cookies with Raissa to approving Mara's prospective beaus. :D
    Yes, Frugly was inspired by the truffle-hunting pigs (and dogs in some cases, because they won't eat the truffles).

    You know, I never really gave much thought to Gertris's backstory. My feeling is that whatever reason she may have had for starting down this path has be compounded by so many bad choices of her own that she deserves whatever punishment she's going to receive for cooking and dealing drugs, not to mention abusing Frugly.

    Gertris has been cooking those mushrooms into ixetal cilona, a hallucinogenic compound that is the main ingredient of death sticks. This is the white powder that Frugly gets into. Fortunately, he doesn't ingest very much of it.

    Raissa's not thrilled to be puked on, but she's not the kind to take things out on an innocent animal. She won;t understand until much later why she is so drawn to Frugly--nor does he, though he senses something special about her--but they do click almost instantly. Raissa's not about to let Gertris's blaster deter her from apprehending this not-so-sweet old lady.

    Discipline doesn't equal punishment, and definitely doesn't equal abuse. It can be done with love, and coupled with praise when good results are accomplished, the way Raissa corrects Frugly for chewing the tassel, but immediately pets him for dropping it. It's a foreign concept for poor Frugly, but with time he'll learn that Raissa will always love him, no matter what he does. And training this skittish roba is good practice for a future space!mom ;)
    Thank you! :) Raissa was actually at Gertris's house investigating Frugly's disappearance--as a mushroom sniffing roba, he's fairly valuable--so had good reason to be crawling through the access shaft looking for him.

    I first encountered robas playing Galaxies; the first creature my creature handler character tamed was an ugly-looking pig-dog I named Frugly;). When I needed an interesting pet for Raissa to rescue, he suggested himself.
    Thanks so much! He really is a sweetheart. :)
    It's definitely more poignant when told from his point of view; Raissa defends him at once, and feels sympathy for him, but she doesn't know his experience with Gertris. I'm not sure what Gertris's deal is either (is it terrible of me to say I don't feel compelled to develop such a nasty piece of work further?), but she's done areal number on the poor pygmy roba, such that even mild correction makes him cringe. Luckily, Raissa is patient and understanding, and has both their Force bond and a ready supply of mushrooms to help him along the road to recovering from the damage Gertris's has done.
     
    Kahara, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  9. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Frugly is such a sweetheart! Who's a good pigdog? Who's the good pigdog? FRUGLY!!

    There are so many RL cases wehre people shouldn't have a pet at all. Thy are neglectful and cruel and they consifer these creatures expendable. That's Gertis, wo only uses frugly then repays his efforts with cruelty. He only wants to be loved and to please others.

    Raissa is such a kind soul to rescue this poor creature. And she's better for it because Frugly becomes a beloved member of the family. Loved this look into the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
     
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    So touching and wonderful! Aww. :D Raissa is so incredibly loving and assuring in this. [face_love]