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Saga rktho's Kessel Run Challenge 2022 Thread

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by rktho, Jan 10, 2022.

  1. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020

    Ki Murangen (Kessel Run Challenge Week 1 prompt)
    Author: rktho
    Timeline: Aftermath of the Bitthævrian-Kaleesh war
    Characters: Original characters
    Genre: Challenge
    Summary: After a hard-fought war alongside the Jedi, a soldier in the kolkpravis bids farewell to her dearest comrade.

    Saying goodbye was never easy, but she couldn’t put it off any longer. If she was going to do it, she had to do it now or she’d never get the chance again.

    The Jedi had ordered the Kaleesh to be ready to board the shuttles in one standard hour. Bilga didn’t know exactly how long a standard hour was, but the way time seemed to be moving, it could’ve been a year and still felt like a minute. Bilga swallowed the lump in her throat, gripping the strap of her trusty slugthrower rifle for support as she steeled herself to approach her comrade, who was sitting next to a rock beside his tethered steed, polishing one of his swords, his bone mask pushed up over his forehead, his dark brown mop spilling from its teeth. Even though they were several feet away from each other, he seemed to notice her gazing at him and looked up. He cracked a smile. “Ushtuku!”

    Bilga walked over, heart pounding as he grinned at her. “Hey, Mesh.”

    “You walk over here to tell me another secret?” He flashed his immaculate pointy teeth.

    Bilga flushed deep. “N— No. No more secrets.”

    Mesh chuckled and shook his head. “Good. I’m terrible at keeping them anyway.”

    “It’s not your fault,” Bilga smiled shyly, scratching the thick dark locks tied at the back of her head. “You didn’t break my mask.”

    Mesh smirked and leaned back against the rock, setting his Lig sword in his lap. “Bilga…” He sighed the name wonderingly. “I like it better than PePe. Was that really the best you could come up with?”

    “I’ll have you know, Mesh jai Dagreem, that Penzuur is a perfectly respectable male name in the Ausez Steppes,” Bilga retorted, raising an eyebrow.

    “You are so full of tokin droppings, Ushtuku,” Mesh laughed. “No grown man in his right mind would ever answer to PePe. That’s exactly how I knew.”

    Bilga rolled her eyes. Mesh had, in fact, nearly shrieked with shock when he had undressed her to treat her battle wounds. She’d almost had to strangle him into silence before he calmed down and agreed to protect her from the Khan. She sighed. “Thank you. For keeping my secret, as long as you could. And… for being a good friend.”

    “You’re a good soldier, Ushtuku,” Mesh replied. “You fight just as well as any man here and better than half of them.”

    “Including you,” Bilga quipped wryly.

    Mesh nodded wryly. “Sure. Even me.”

    Mesh rose with a grunt, sheathing his Lig sword. His shoulders sagged with exhaustion as the weight of the hard-won war set in. He rested a hand against the flank of his mount. For a while, they just stood, silently waiting for the other one to pick up the conversation again. Mesh’s steed glanced at both of them and chuffed, flicking its tail with boredom.

    Mesh traced the dirt with his middle toe. “So… You stop by the roggwart cages yet?”

    “I’ve gotten as close to a roggwart as I ever want to be,” Bilga shuddered.

    “Fair enough,” Mesh coughed.

    They stood in silence for a little while longer.

    “Your dad’s probably going to kill you for breaking his mask,” said Mesh.

    Bilga swallowed, but not because of the fear of her father. “Probably.”

    Mesh looked as though he had something to say. Bilga waited, half-hoping that maybe she wouldn’t get the chance to say what she wanted to tell him. The odor of their mingling scents hanging in the air grew thicker with each passing moment of silence.

    “I guess this is goodbye,” Mesh mumbled to the ground.

    “Looks like it,” Bilga murmured.

    Mesh extended his hand in a warrior’s salute. Bilga grasped his arm and shook it firmly. Their claws lingered on each other’s wrists.

    As their grips parted, Bilga felt a twinge in her chest. “Hey, Mesh…”

    “Yeah, Ushtuku?” Mesh’s eyes flicked up.

    “I…” Her voice caught in her throat as she looked into his eyes.

    What was the point?

    He didn’t need to know. Better to leave those memories of camaraderie uncolored by a last-minute revelation.

    “…I’m going to miss you.”

    Mesh nodded. “I’m going to miss you too, Ushtuku. Hope your village throws you a party when you get back.”

    Bilga nodded, swallowing. The Jedi’s loud tower announced in broken Kaleesh that the shuttles would be departing from Guiteica in thirty minutes. Mesh pulled his mask over his face, nodded to her, and uprooted the stake where his mount was tied. With one last backward glance, he took the reins of his steed and began leading it to the ships.

    As Bilga watched him go, her heart screamed in her chest. She couldn’t follow him, no matter how much she wanted to. She had a family to return to, spoils to bring to her village. She couldn’t abandon them after all she had sacrificed for them.

    As Bilga turned and walked toward the shuttle, she heard a voice directly behind her. “Bilga.”

    Bilga nearly jumped and whirled around to see Mesh. Before she could say anything, he gripped her temples in his hands and pressed his unmasked forehead against hers. Bilga’s shocked eyes fluttered under the dizzying scent of his musk. His claws brushed her ears as she stood, heart pounding. His breath blew warm in her nostrils. “I’ll come visit you.”

    A blissful smile spread across her face. “I’d like that.”

    The Kaleesh-Bitthævrian war was a proxy war fought between the Republic and the Bitthævrians. The Republic convinced the Kaleesh the Bitthævrians were a threat, sending Jedi to train the Kaleesh to use Czerka Outland slugthrower rifles and other relatively modern technology to fight their enemies.

    The names used here (as well as the story's title) are taken from Sumerian. Most notably, Bilga and Mesh form the name Bilgameš, which is the original spelling of Gilgamesh, the name of the legendary hero, and it means "the ancestor is a hero." The line of Bilga lil Ushtuku and Mesh jai Dagreem eventually produce one legendary descendant.

    Bilga's alias, PePe, is a reference to PePe Rossh, a ridiculously-named Kaleesh spacer from James Luceno's Plagueis novel.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A goodbye but with a promise to return. Nice characters
  3. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you very much!
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  4. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    Very well written.
    Kahara, Findswoman and rktho like this.
  5. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you!
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Neat choice of characters for this prompt, and great job with the banter and repartee! I sense a bit of an “anything you can do, I can do better,” Annie-and-Frank-like element to Bilga and Mesh’s relationship—in an affectionate way, of course. I also see from their gestures they seem to be in that sweet, intriguing transitional stage between friendship and love, and that some kind of potentially uncomfortable family drama may be lurking in the background, too—would be interesting to read more sometime, perhaps even later on in this very thread! Cool link to the original meaning of Bilgameš / Gilgamesh with reference to these two’s very famous descendant, too; a nice touch, there. Thanks so much for sharing, and so glad to see you here on this challenge! =D=
    Kahara and rktho like this.
  7. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you so much for reading! I really enjoyed writing these characters— if I had the time, I would write an entire fic about them. I think it’s very likely we’ll see them again in this thread, depending on what next week’s prompt is!
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellently immersive writing. I felt in the scene and the characters are very relatable. Very much on the brink of more between them. =D=
    Kahara, rktho and Findswoman like this.
  9. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you so much!
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  10. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020

    Keeping Score (Kessel Run Challenge Week 2 prompt)
    Author: rktho
    Timeline: Bitthævrian-Kaleesh war
    Characters: Original characters,
    Qymaen jai Sheelal, Ronderu lij Kummar
    Genre: Challenge
    Summary: Two comrades compare kill counts after a battle.

    “You’ll be interested to know my final count was forty-two.”

    “Forty-two! Nice work, Ushtuku. Not bad for a steppes boy.”

    “Oh, sure, for a steppes boy. How many did you get then?”

    “Oh, not a lot. I only managed to reach forty-three.”

    “Did you now?”

    “That’s right. You can count the bodies, if you like. That’s mine, that one’s mine, that one over there is mine— Most of them are mine, really.”

    “Uh-huh. I suppose the rest of the horde just sat on their hands while you won the battle by yourself?”

    “Well, maybe that’s what you were doing, Ushtuku, if you only managed forty-two. What good is that fancy offworld whatsit thing of yours if you can’t beat my score with it?”

    “You wanna swap? I’d like to see you get forty-two kills. You wouldn’t even know how to hold a slugthrower.”

    “I don’t need to know how to shoot it. I could kill more Bitts with it just by whacking their heads off.”

    “I suppose that’s the best you can do when you’ve got such weak eyes. Your aim is so terrible, you couldn’t hit the ground point-blank.”

    “Uh-huh. You want to kiss me so bad right now.”

    “What the… What?!

    “You’re mad ‘cause you want to kiss me so bad it makes you look stupid.”

    “I… I do not!

    “You know, you don’t have to try and impress me.”

    “Mesh jai Dagreem, you are the stupidest man I have ever met! And I’m not trying to—”

    “So what if PePe likes chin tusks? I like chin tusks.”

    “Ah, I’m just teasing him. Look at his face.”

    “You two counting kills?”

    Miscounting them, more like.”

    “Mesh—! There. Forty-three. Now we’re even.”

    “He’s already dead.”

    “He blinked. I saw him.”

    “His head’s lying three feet from his body.”

    “Maybe they can blink after they’ve been decapitated! You don’t know!”

    “I got a hundred and three.”

    “Yeah, well, you wear a belt made of mumuu skulls, Sheshkal, so we’re not really including you in this competition. Nobody’s ever going to beat your record.”


    “You did not get two hundred kills.”

    “Believe it, Sheelal.”

    “You’re exaggerating again.”

    “Me, exaggerate? Oh, Sheelal, I really thought you knew me better than that. Anyway, how many did you kill?”

    “…Not as many as usual.”

    “Hey, it’s been an off day for me too. Better luck next time, eh, Sheelal?”

    “I don’t need luck.”


    Sheshkal's name is derived from the Sumerian name Sheshkala, meaning "the brother is strong." When Mesh says Sheshkal wears a belt made of mumuu skulls, he means that literally.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2022
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  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    love the bickering about the kills and exaggerating it
    rktho likes this.
  12. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Haha, thanks! I enjoyed writing the banter quite a bit.
  13. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020

    Dumuliruma (Kessel Run Challenge Week 3 prompt)
    Author: rktho
    Timeline: Bitthævrian-Kaleesh war
    Characters: Original characters
    Genre: Challenge
    Summary: Snippets from the journey of a Kaleesh woman who risks her honor to defend her homeworld.


    Bilga looked at the pair of mumuu teeth in her hand. She pushed the resin into the roots of the incisors, and, taking a deep breath, pressed them into her chin.

    They stuck.

    She took the strip of fabric she’d cut from her veil and carefully fitted the holes she’d poked in it over each tooth. Then she tied it around her head, securing the teeth to her chin. That done, she draped her father’s hood over herself, then took his wrap and wound it around her head.

    She cautiously wiggled her false chin tusks.

    They held.

    She was ready.


    “Bilga lil Ushtuku, by the power vested in me by the ancestors, I anoint your bonemask with this paint, adorning it with the sigil of the Lil Clan, and give unto you a warrior’s blessing. May the gods bless your mind and feet with swiftness, your tusks and your sword with sharpness, your vision and voice with clarity, and your heart with fire. These things I pronounce upon you in the name of all your ancestors, that you may be protected from harm and slay many enemies, for the glory of your clan, your predecessors, and your posterity. Warrior, arise.”


    “You gotta see this, Ushtuku, I’m serious.” Mesh shook her shoulder and she nearly lost control of her stomach then and there. “We’re coming up on the capital now. I can see the lights.”

    “I’ll look at them when I’m on the ground, thank you,” Bilga mumbled.

    “It won’t be the same,” Mesh insisted. “Just look. Trust me.”

    Bilga risked a glance out the viewport and gasped. The signal fires along the walls of the majestic city twinkled like yellow stars in the night. Never had she seen such an incredible sight.

    Mesh yelped as she vomited into his lap.


    “I know your secret,” said Namazu as she wrapped a bandage around Bilga’s arm. “You’re not the only one.”

    Bilga’s eyes widened. She looked around. They were alone. “I’m not?”

    The medic nodded. “There’s three that I know of in this kamen alone. Shenbar’s one of them. Her real name is Tilhar. You’ll never guess who the other one is.”

    Bilga sipped her tea. “Who?”

    Namazu grinned. “Sheshkal.

    Bilga choked “Sheshkal? But he’s… I mean she’s… so… tall!”

    Namazu smirked. “Well, just between us, your fake chin tusks are more convincing. Her real name’s Shezeelshilla. What’s your name, child?”



    “Don’t come in here!” Bilga and Namazu yelped at the same time.

    “I have to make sure he’s alright!” Mesh protested. “I have to—”

    Mesh stopped, registering the sight before his eyes.

    Namazu stood in front of Bilga. “Nothing to see here,” she said hurriedly.

    “Are you serious?” Mesh exploded, shoving the medic out of the way. “This whole time you’ve been—”

    His words were cut short by Bilga’s fingers as she lunged forward and clamped them around his mouth. She winced in pain as her exposed, half-treated wound throbbed. “Not a word.”

    Mesh took a deep breath, then nodded.
  14. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    I love how you explore Kaleeh culture, something we don’t get a lot of in cannon.
    Findswoman likes this.
  15. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    I agree! I’m really enjoying getting to know Bilga (and Mesh). So, let’s see if I have this right: Bilga is disguising herself so that she can go fight with the kolkpravis (if I have the word right)? A bit like Mulan or Éowyn? It’s a good thing that Namazu is simpatico about it, and she of course is well positioned to know who else is engaging in the same ruse. Loved Mesh’s “discovery,” too—and I think we can trust him as well! Thanks once again for sharing! :) (By the way, may I ask what the title means?)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
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  16. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Glad you're enjoying so far! These are fun to write. I especially enjoyed writing the warrior's blessing; that one is rather personal (and were it not for the prompt, I might have written a longer one.) Dumuliruma means child of strength. When in doubt for these titles, I look up a suitable Sumerian expression. A small clarification— Namazu is not disguised as a man, since she is a medic; it's only that women soldiers are frowned upon. However, as a medic and a woman, she has a pretty good idea of which of the soldiers are undercover, being intimately involved with a fair number of them.
    Findswoman and Nehru_Amidala like this.
  17. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you! A lot of my inspiration comes from a fic called Sahuldeem by one Inonibird on AO3. For the benefit of those unfamiliar with it, I have substituted their invented terms for generic ones— such as mount for kuunsi, the specific animal; bonemask or simply mask for kakmusme; hood and wrap for dulhlava, a catch-all term for Kaleesh head-coverings, and veil for tuugmusme, a garment worn by Kaleesh women to cover their faces, as men do with their kakmusmal. I also borrowed the warrior's salute, forehead kiss, and dimorphistic tusks element from them. (And, as a nod to one of their more amusing headcanons regarding Bilga's infamous descendant, I gave her motion sickness. I've been sharing these with them and I think they'll get a kick out of that one.)
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  18. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    love how you reveal more about the Kaleesh culture
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  19. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you!
    Findswoman likes this.
  20. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020

    A Spark In Your Heart (Kessel Run Challenge Week 4 prompt)
    Author: rktho
    Timeline: Huk War to Clone Wars
    Characters: Qymaen jai Sheelal/Grievous
    Genre: Challenge
    Summary: A spark of light in the Force becomes an engine of terrible darkness.

    You were strong in me, and how hardly you knew it.

    Only a child, and I blessed you with vision.

    Children are truly wonderful in my sight.

    You were born into a war beyond the eyes of the galaxy.

    But not mine.

    Your people called me by the names of their ancestors.

    They are one with me.

    You were Light.

    There was a spark in your heart.

    Your father kindled it.

    When he was killed, you were left wanting for guidance.

    I sent you to find Her.

    She was strong with me also.

    She taught you the way of the blade.

    How proficient you became in it.

    You shared the ways of the rifle in return.

    Together, you were unstoppable.

    I was with you.

    You were one in me.

    I was with you at Shrupak.

    I granted you victory.

    Your bond was strong.

    You were strong with me.

    You fought side by side for years.

    The tide of war began to turn.

    You pushed back against the darkness.

    But you did not think to check the darkness in your heart.

    You gloried in blood.

    Not more than justice.

    Not yet.

    But more than you should have.

    And the darkness grew inside you until that day.

    Death is a natural part of life.

    But that was a dark day.

    Darkness won that day.

    And when she was taken, the darkness that had festered inside your own soul consumed you.

    You tried to fill the void with others.

    You refused to fill the void with others.

    No amount of wives and children could replace her.

    You surrendered to the darkness.

    You turned your back on me.

    Cut off from my presence, the darkness overcame you.

    You became darkness.

    In your hatred, you served the darkness, and drew your strength from it.

    The darkness feeds on death.

    You brought it a feast.

    How then could my servants discern aright?

    The blood of the guilty and of the innocent cried unto me.

    The blood of children cried unto me.

    There was darkness in the hearts of the Yam’rii, but they hid it with cunning.

    You did not think to.

    You willed that all the galaxy see it and tremble at your power.

    But you were no match for my servants.

    The galaxy exacted reparations of your people.

    Your people had nothing.

    The Yam’rii had already taken it.

    How your people suffered.

    You were given work to pay your people’s debt.

    You were offered power.

    What small service for power.

    But when the Yam’rii again encroached upon your people, you abandoned your work.

    Darkness plots against darkness.

    Flames engulfed you and were quenched by the sea.

    That same sea into which She disappeared.

    How you wished to disappear as well.

    But there was a spark in your heart.

    The servants of evil preserved it.

    Encased it in steel.

    You welcomed it.

    You believed it would give you power.

    Power to enact revenge.

    You pledged yourself to their cause.

    On Geonosis, deep in the catacombs: death.

    No one knew.

    But I knew.

    Every single Jedi.

    Every single clone.

    I saw their sparks wink out one by one.

    You took the Jedi’s sabers as trophies.

    You left the clones to rot.

    You reared your terrible head on Hypori.

    There were survivors this time.

    Even then, it was a massacre.

    And you had only just begun.

    In the Abregado system, clones perished in flames.

    In the vacuum of the void.

    Every one of them screaming.

    Win or lose the battle, you brought death by the thousands.

    You approached my temple on Ledeve, seeking its secrets.

    I spoke with you.

    I showed unto you your weakness.

    You burnt it down to spite me.

    You were right and I was wrong.

    You brought more death. More darkness.

    Your forces nearly overtook Kamino.

    Few escaped the scourging of Dathomir.

    You returned to finish them off.

    Finally, on Coruscant, the beginning of the end.

    You fled, as you often did.

    My servant pursued you to Utapau.

    You had fought there once before.

    He was your equal.

    He sent you on the run.

    He pursued.

    He caught you as a mouse catches a lion.

    You tossed him aside and prepared to finish him.

    But your weapon flew to his hand.

    I guided his aim.

    I put a spark in your heart.

    I did not joy in your screams as the flames engulfed you.

    For all the darkness you had brought, you had been Light once.

    And your end did not stop the Night from falling.
  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    What a wonderful and very original new perspective on the tragedy of Qymaen! No one except the Force itself could understand in this kind of depth the emotional and psychological trajectory that led him to Grievousdom—and the way you’ve done it, it really offers good insight into his character. He did start out as a child of the light, and even though we readers tend to know him better as the warlord who was driven to darkness by loss of his love. The Force never forget that his beginnings were in the light, even when it sent that servant to him that fateful day on Utapau. I love how the Force reflects on its own actions over the course of Grievous’s life; that shows that it was willing to learn from the experience even if Grievous wasn’t (and I like the idea that the Force learns along with us). Wonderful job once again, and thanks for sharing! =D=
    rktho likes this.
  22. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    RIP Greivous, a great warrior who fell into darkness and embraced it.
    rktho likes this.
  23. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    Thank you so much! The tragedy of Grievous, much like the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker, is one that I think affects the Force deeply in this way. We know that evil and death disturb the Force, like a cancerous wound, and few brought as much death to the galaxy as Grievous. I think the Force would definitely feel something as he rose to become one of the greatest monsters in galactic history. I like to think that the Force had great plans for Qymaen— darkness rises, and light to meet it as Snoke puts it: the Yam'rii invaded Kalee, darkening their corner of the universe with slavery, greed and death, and Qymaen rose to rally the Kaleesh to drive them back, guided by the Force, which gave him his prophetic insight and his bond with Ronderu. But Qymaen rose in power so quickly, I don't think he considered that he might lose himself along the way. Maybe Ronderu could have been the one to keep him from giving in to his most bloodthirsty impulses, maybe she enabled them— we don't know, because we don't know really anything about her personality, but whether Grievous lost his moral compass without her to steady him or whether she encouraged his most toxic qualities that led to his being completely unable to cope with her loss, we know that Grievous ultimately gave into attachment in refusing to accept her death. And yet despite the monster Grievous became, I imagine the Force was not only grieved that so much death was being spread through the galaxy, but also that it signified the growing estrangement between it and one of its formerly brightest children.
    Findswoman likes this.
  24. rktho

    rktho Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 29, 2020
    RIP indeed. And unlike Vader after him, there was no return to the light in the end. One of the great lesser-explored tragedies of the Star Wars universe.
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  25. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    A great view on Grievous and his fall to the dark with no return
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