main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga - OT Before the Saga Saadya’s Pages (Ezra and OC Bridgers; Rebels and pre-KOTOR eras)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: Saadya’s Pages
    Timeframe: Multi-timeframe: Saga—OT (Rebels, 4 BBY) and Before the Saga (3989 BBY and slightly after, about a generation before the KOTOR era)
    Genre: Short multichapter (four chapters); character study; introspection; drama
    Characters (frame): Ezra Bridger, passing mentions (and later very brief appearances) of other Ghost crewmembers
    Characters (main): OC Saadya Bridger, borrowed OC Levi Bridger (from @Raissa Baiard); various OCs
    Summary: A Lothali book-artist from the time before the Jedi Civil War quite literally puts himself into his creations. Meanwhile, Ezra comes across a curious artifact in an antiquarian bookshop...
    Contents: 1 (below) | 2 | 3 | 4
    Notes: I had originally planned this as an entry in the Introduce a New OC noncompetitive minichallenge in the OC Revolution Thread, but it grew beyond the 500–1500 word limit of that challenge and became its own thing. Once again, I thank Raissa Baiard for beta reading and feedback, and for lending me the adorable Levi Bridger.




    One

    Garel, 4 BBY


    Seated on a rickety wicker bench in an antiquarian bookstore on Garel City’s lower north side, Ezra Bridger twiddled his thumbs. During the hour and a half or so that Hera, Kanan, and Chopper had been holed up in the back office with the shopkeeper—their newest “contact” or some such—he, Ezra, had successfully and singlehandedly acquired everything on the day’s supply list, plus some: the power converters, the flux-torque couplings, even an extra two-kilo carton of science dip (on sale at Grug’s, no less). He was sure they’d be all done with their negotiations or intel or recon or whatever it was by the time he got back. But they weren’t, of course. Typical adults.

    The Lothali teen glanced around—not that there was much to see in this cramped hole-in-the-wall besides the bookcases upon bookcases upon bookcases, all stuffed to bursting with the board-and-flimsi publications of earlier years, decades, millennia. That was when he heard it...

    * * *​

    Lothal, 3989 BBY

    Once, many millennia ago, in the outskirts of the Capital City of Lothal, there lived a craftsman who made books.

    Yes, in a Galaxy of datapads, commlinks, and vidscreens, he crafted books—beautiful, handmade, exquisitely crafted books of flimsiplast, paper, cloth, parchment, and leather, to be used as journals, sketchbooks, recipe collections, albums, ship’s logs, account books, or any purpose one could name. His creations were renowned all over Lothal for their craftsmanship and beauty, and he exhibited them at galleries and art fairs throughout the planet’s eponymous sector.

    Saadya Bridger was his name. He was a sallow, timid, serious-faced man with eyeglasses and a head of raven-black curls. He rarely went out. From before dawn till after dusk he could be found in his workshop, at his drafting table, carefully and lovingly stitching gatherings together, or ruling lines on deckled, flecked, or woven pages, or embossing the covers with his homeworld’s elaborate traditional designs. For hours he would busy himself with these minute, painstaking details, not stopping till all was complete, till all was perfect. Then, and only then, he would sign his name in Atiq-Lothali on the bottom of the back inside cover in dark brown-orange, hand-mixed vegetable ink: Saadya ebn Todros Gesheri.

    And then, worn from his labors, he would collapse forward onto his drafting table, remaining there motionless and close-eyed for several minutes before remembering he had to get home to his wife and children.

    * * *​

    Garel, 4 BBY

    Well, maybe “heard” wasn’t quite the right word. It was more that he thought it, felt it, understood it. It was just a greeting to start with, a simple *Well, hello.*

    Ezra’s first thought, naturally, was that it was a tooka or pittin or something; either that or a vrelt (they loved to chew on flimsi, after all). But he could see no such creature around. Perhaps it was hiding somewhere? There were so many places to hide in these old lower-north-side shops...

    He got up and began to walk through the shop. And again there it was—closer this time—saying something that amounted to *You seem familiar. Like me, sort of.*

    Okay, definitely not a tooka or pittin, Ezra thought to himself as he walked on. *And what do you mean, like you?*

    He felt a smile—though not his own—blossom inside his consciousness as whoever it was spoke again. *Well, like family, one might say…*

    Like family—Ezra stopped short at that word. *Like family, how?*

    Another unseen smile. *It’ll be clearer once you come closer.*

    * * *​

    Lothal, 3989 BBY

    Saadya Bridger’s workshop was situated on a picturesque street in Capital City’s commercial-arts district, just down a few streets from the house he shared with his wife Ruhamma and three children. He was always extremely tired after his workdays. After finishing for the day he would come home, dine with his family, and play a bit with his younger children. Then he would retire in exhaustion to bed, sleeping the sleep of the dead till the sun rose, when he would head once again to his shop.

    His family never could understand why he was so exhausted at the end of each day, and neither could he. All he was doing was crafting and binding books, he told himself again and again—not lifting heavy crates or repairing speeders. Sure, it was precision work that required concentration, just like all fine craftsmanship—but certainly not so much that a day’s work left him so completely drained of energy. He asked the other book artists he knew—and he knew several throughout the sector—if they had experienced similar exhaustion; none had. He had his healers and medics examine him; they said all was normal. He took to drinking caf, black, tarry, and concentrated; it did nothing. Each evening he trudged home from his shop more weary than the next.

    Little Levi, his youngest, always seemed particularly worried about him. When Saadya came home, Levi was the first to run up and hug him. When his father retired for the night, Levi would kiss him goodnight, staying by his bedside till Ruhamma came and shepherded him into the room he shared with his older brother, Yuval. In the morning Levi too was up at dawn, bringing his daddy a glass of water and asking how he had slept. The little fellow’s ministrations always brought the shadow of a smile to Saadya’s serious face. Dear thing, always trying to take care of me—not that he can do anything, of course...

    One night, the night before the opening of the All-Sector Arts Festival in the city center, Saadya had turned in earlier than usual. He would be exhibiting his wares and wanted to make sure to conserve his energy. As usual, Levi had kissed his daddy goodnight, and Ruhamma had coaxed him out. As Saadya drifted off, he thought he heard his little boy’s voice from the next room.

    “Mommy, is there less of Daddy tonight?”

    “What do you mean, sweetheart?”

    “I mean… like… not as much of him. Like there’s a bit missing or something.”

    “Oh, I think he’s just really tired. He works hard and it tires him out.”

    “Yeah, but you get tired out after taking care of Yuval and Aleeza and me each day, and there’s always the same amount of you.”

    Ruhamma laughed a little and said something Saadya couldn’t catch, because his mind had already been overtaken by dreams of signatures, gatherings, and marbled flyleaves.

    * * *​

    Garel, 4 BBY

    Okay, enough of this already, thought Ezra as he made his way through the crammed, musty shop, glancing up, down, and all around, occasionally tripping over fallen books or rumpled rugs, and colliding with unexpected dead ends in the labyrinth of shelves. This was getting to be too much like a child’s game of “hot and cold.” Sometimes the voice in his head would grow louder and closer, sometimes softer and more distant, and all the while it kept going on about how many years it has been and I think I know you somehow and you might be the one I’ve been looking for. Honestly, whoever this was was as annoying as Kanan with all this cryptic talk. What even was the use of following a voice in one’s head around a used book store, anyway? Things Jedi do that would be weird if other beings did them...

    And it was all because of one word the voice had used: the most wonderful and beautiful word of all. Family—whatever that might mean.

    to be continued

    science dip: A nod to the shopping list Hera gives Ezra and Zeb in “Fighter Flight” (space waffles, d'il pyyckkles, riding cam, large bag, science dip, meiloorun melon). For what it’s worth, it has its own not-very-informative Wook entry.

    Grug’s: Grug’ag’pyg’naq’s Super Value Hardware first appears in my short story Insert Tab A into Slot B: A Story about Kanan’s Lightsaber.

    Atiq-Lothali: The ancient language of Lothal is my own creation; atik or atiq is Hebrew for “ancient.”

    Saadya ebn Todros Gesheri: Todros is the name of Saadya’s father (“ebn” is a portmanteau of the similar Earth words “ben” and “ibn,” from Hebrew and Arabic respectively). As for Gesheri, well, gesher is Hebrew for “bridge.” ;)

    Saadya, Ruhamma, Yuval, and Aleeza are my OCs; Levi is Raissa Baiard’s. And yes, there is a good reason why exactly one member of this family is the creation of a different author, though it’s not time for that to be revealed yet. ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    How INCREDIBLY FASCINATING! I too love the smell and feel of "real" books [face_laugh] I love the idea of a book-making artist :cool: who literally puts himself in his work/craft [face_thinking]

    =D=
     
  3. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Wow, what a start! To begin, I really am adoring the feeling of this tale so far. Ezra's very real moment of teenage boredom while he's waiting for the adults to finish what they're doing was more than relatable, and then there was such an awareness and tangible feeling of scenery through the ambiance of the bookshop. You really captured that essence of memories and history in old books - perhaps quite literally, it would seem! As one who still can't trade in my paper books for electronic means, I really connected with your setting, and I am fascinated by your Bridger ancestor Saadya, who seems to have, quite literally, put a little bit of himself into the books he crafts. How interesting an application of the Force (I presume), if a bit worrying for his poor family! [face_thinking]

    Then, I am all sorts of fascinated by this lingering presence Ezra can communicate with - who seems to be coming from the books, and how/why he can reach out to Ezra. Little Levi's claims of feeling 'less' of his daddy, rather than just him being simply 'tired', certainly deepened to that mystery, and added to the overall intrigue of the story quite nicely. You certainly have me hooked, and I can't wait to see where you go from here. :) =D=
     
  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    =D= I’m so happy to see this story take shape! I loved your idea since you first mentioned it; like @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @Mira_Jade, I love honest-to-goodness paper books and as and artist and a writer, I can certainly relate to the idea of putting part of yourself into your creation. Saadya is an intriguing new character—and the fact that he’s an ancestor of my favorite Rebel makes him that much sweeter :ezra: [face_love]

    Our story starts off with that most iconic of all Rebel missions—the supply run. I love the shopping list and its call backs both to Fighter Flight and your hilarious “Insert Tab A into Slot B”! (Don’t tell me Kanan’s stripped his flux-torque casing again? What are you doing with that lightsaber, Space!Dad?) Ezra singlehandedly and triumphantly completes the run while the adults are doing their boring adulty stuff; how inconsiderate of them not to make him wait! As always, your descriptions are so vivid, I can picture the sort of used book store, and while I could probably spend many hours browsing, I can see where someone like Ezra would not be quite as enthused. And with his animal affinity, of course he assumes that the strange voice her hears -or feels or perceives or understands—(and this is such a great phrase to describe this voice that isn’t really a voice) belongs to some small, probabily feline, creature. I love how Ezra can feel the strange presence’s smile and how he keeps going even though it’s more annoyingly cryptic than Kanan [face_laugh], all because it uses the word that means so much to Ezra—family.

    And then the flashback to Saadya. First of all, I really adore the fact that he’s a scholarly, creative type (and in a way it makes me smile that the very action oriented Ezra has such a mild-mannered, serious ancestor). Saadya’s description reminds me a bit of Ephraim Bridger, but more bookish (pun intended ;)) and his creations remind me of some lovely handmade books that were for sale at the “1860’s craft fair” in our town (crafts made with Civil War era tools. Beautiful marbled paper!) Again, I can relate to the feeling of finishing a project and going “whew!” How much more must Saadya feel that way, when he seems to literally be putting a bit of himself into his work! Little Levi is all kinds of adorable with his concern that there is “less of” his Daddy... Hmmm... (and now I need to get to work on a certain project of mine ;) )

    Thanks for this fascinating glimpse of long, long ago Lothal and thanks for introducing us to a very interesting new member of the Bridger family tree! I look forward to seeing more of him!
     
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all so much for reading and commenting! :)

    Thanks so much, Ny! @};- I too love "real" books (I guess that's part of why I work in publishing), and it's because I feel that they do indeed have so much of their creators in them—from their authors to their editors and publishers to even the historical period in which they were created. More on that below...

    Thank you so much, Mira, and it's always wonderful to have you and your insightful comments on board! :) I think you may be on to something with your guess... and again, it just seemed like the logical extension of the way "real" books (and especially old books) hold so much personality and culture within them anyway. But Saadya's family's worry is not misplaced, either. More below on the dynamic of Ezra in the bookshop; but yes, as if it weren't tiresome enough to sit there waiting for the space!parents to finish their Important Business™ with their Important Contact™—the fact that he has to do that in this boring, bookish, and very un-Ezralike place kind of adds insult to injury. :p

    Ah ha! Indeed, you're not wrong to see commonalities between the two mysteries—read on, and you'll see how things fit together. Thanks again for being here; it means a lot to me to have you in my "public," such as it is! @};-

    Thank you so much, Raissa, and thanks as always for your help and input along the way; this story would never have taken shape without the knowledge and encouragement that you brought to it as an Ezraficionado. :ezra: And I'm so glad you're liking Saadya; it's been fun to explore this earlier era on Lothal, and in a way I feel I've gotten to know Ezra better in the process, too.

    Ah ha, best not to ask! ;) :p Supply runs always make for nice and versatile story starters. And sure, the adventures and battles make for more exciting viewing, but let's face it, a cell like the Spectres probably has to go on about fifteen boring supply runs for every exciting adventure. :p Even so, there are far less interesting places to go for supplies than Garel City's historic Lower North Side! :D (And yes, I definitely feel a Space!Big!Apple fanon post is in order at some point soon. :p )

    Ezra in an antiquarian bookstore was an interesting juxtaposition to work with, because it is indeed an extremely un-Ezralike place; animals and action and acrobatics and snarky repartee are more his thing, not books so much. That's part of why, when he hears/feels/perceives that voice, his first thought is to connect it to something he does know—namely animals—in an attempt to make sense of it. He's nothing if not hopeful—but it doesn't take him long to realize that he's up against something completely different, as no tooka or pittin could ever be that annoyingly cryptic! :p

    Saadya did indeed end up coming out very different from Ezra, partly by design but partly even more than I'd first planned—but then, heck, he's how many generations earlier? I know even my great-great grandfolks were quite different from me. I have to say, I love that kind of marbled paper too (and it was fun doing a bit of internet research on book-art techniques in the writing of this), and it might just be my background as an early-modern specialist, but I really do have a soft spot for some of those old-fashioned, preindustrial techniques for crafting books and bindings (those folks were mighty fine craftspeople who knew what they were doing!). That is just the kind of thing that I feel is especially infused with the spirits of its creators and its time, which is why I made it Saadya's craft (though I did consider some others—though again, I guess one always goes back to writing about what one knows).

    Now Levi... "hmmm" is right, because this is a definite case of "younglings know more than we think they do," and the exact nature of that will become clearer as the story goes on. Levi has been so much adorable fun to work with and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your letting me borrow him. Nor will I by any means say no to your finishing that certain project—I know exactly which one it is! ;)

    You are very welcome, as always! I've really enjoyed writing this, and it's been a wonderful way to learn more about Ezra and his homeworld; Lothal seems so ordinary and quiet in so many ways, but it's got some very intriguing secrets and byways if one looks closely. Chapter two is on its way shortly, so do watch this space! :D
     
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Two

    Lothal, 3989 BBY

    The All-Sector Arts Festival was in full swing. Capital City’s main streets were lined with colorful booths where artists and craftsbeings displayed their creations—from vivid paintings to intricate sculptures, from finely limned pottery to lushly appointed textiles, and everything in between. Saadya had set up his own booth in its usual location at the south end of Chapel Street, with a variety of his handmade blank books, journals, and albums set out for visitors to admire. As usual, his older son Yuval had come along to help out with setup, sales, and takedown, but little Levi had insisted on coming along too—“to make sure none of Daddy gets lost,” as he said. Saadya smiled at this—dear little fellow, always so worried about me when he doesn’t have to be—but allowed his younger boy to come along. After all, he was old enough now that he could do at least a few things to help out.

    It was now early afternoon, the hottest part of the day, when the lunchtime crowds had died down and traffic at the fair was slow. Saadya had let Yuval take the afternoon off to go to a holoflick with some of his friends, and he had sent Levi to the refreshment tent to pick up some lunch for the two of them. He was alone at the booth, carefully folding sheets of egg-blue satynweave flimsi for his next project, when he looked up to notice a man standing at his booth. The newcomer was tall and dark-bearded, wearing long brown robes, and he was in the process of paging intently through several of Saadya’s mid-size, marbled composition books, some of which he stacked into a pile.

    “A good day,” he said as his gaze met Saadya’s.

    In meek tones Saadya gave the response traditional on Lothal at that period: “A day of light.”

    The visitor extended his hand. “Master Rahman Jagoda, vice headmaster and sentient-ethics instructor at the Jedi Temple. A pleasure.”

    “Saadya Bridger,” came the reply. “How do you do, Master Jagoda.”

    “Good, good, thank you.” The Jedi held up one of the composition books and riffled through it gently. “You have some truly beautiful work here, Mr. Bridger.”

    “Thank you, Master. You’re very kind.”

    “This hand-marbled flimsi is absolutely exquisite. And these floral details on this binding—the work of a true master. And oh my stars, now, what is this—”

    Just then the Jedi held the book up next to the side of his head as if he were listening to it, keeping there for several intent moments before doing the same on the other side of his head. He then put the book down, picked up another and repeated the process—and then again with a third. “Oh now, this is something truly remarkable, Mr. Bridger,” he said at last. “Truly remarkable indeed. I haven’t come across this in years.”

    Bafflement shadowed Saadya’s features. “I—I’m sorry, Master Jagoda, I’m not sure what you mean.”

    “Ah, well, Mr. Bridger.” Master Jagoda leaned closer to the artist and lowered his voice. “It would seem you are what Jedi lore has historically termed a mage-artisan.”

    “Am I?” was all Saadya could say, his forehead wrinkling.

    “Yes. Do not be alarmed. All it means is that whenever you create something in your craft—in your case, one of your exquisite journals”—he held one up—“a Force connection forms between you and it, enough so that some of your own life force seeps through that connection and into—ah ha! Well, hello!”

    Levi had just returned from the refreshment tent with a flimsiplast bag in his hand, from which the warm fragrances of tarama dip and lefflaff emanated. Master Jagoda put the journal down and examined the boy intently, peering into his midnight-blue eyes.

    “My youngest son, Levi,” Saadya said, almost with a sigh.

    “How do you do, Levi. I’m Master Jagoda.”

    “Pleased to meet you,” came the response.

    Jagoda turned to Saadya again. “Do you know, Mr. Bridger, I have the distinct sense that this boy of yours may be Force-sensitive.”

    “Yes, we’ve suspected that for some time now.”

    “Very Force-sensitive.”

    “Yes, we’ve suspected that too.”

    “May I have your permission to ask him a few things?” Jagoda queried. Saadya shrugged and nodded—what else could he do?—and the Jedi took a deck of sabacc cards from his pocket, four of which he laid face-down on the table. “Now, Levi, my boy, please tell me what these cards are.”

    “They’re sabacc cards, of course!” rejoined the youngster, throwing up his hands matter-of-factly.

    Jagoda laughed. “No, no, I mean tell me which sabacc cards they are. Without turning them over, of course.”

    “It’s all right, Levi,” Saadya added as his son glanced over at him shyly. “It’s just like that game Aleeza plays with you sometimes.”

    “Okay.” Levi handed the bag of food to his father, then squeezed his eyes closed for a few a moments. “Er… let’s see… um… Six of Sabers… Idiot…”

    “Levi!”

    “No, Daddy, the card! Er… okay... then Commander of… Flasks… and then… er… Ace of Sabers?”

    One by one Jagoda turned the cards over. They were, indeed, the Six of Sabers, the Idiot, the Commander of Flasks, and the Ace of Sabers.

    “Ah ha. Very good, my boy.” The Jedi turned to Saadya and nodded. “Very impressive indeed, at his age. Now, one more thing, if I may…”

    He picked up the journal he has been looking at when he had first stoop at the booth, the one with the egg-blue pages and floral-detailed binding, and held it close to the side of Levi’s head. “Feel anything?”

    Again Levi squinched his eyes closed. Moments later they sprang open as he gasped with wonder, glanced at his father, then at Jagoda, then at his father, then back at Jagoda. “Aw, that’s wizard! I guess that’s where he’s gone all those times!”

    “Mmm, I thought you might notice,” the Jedi chuckled before turning back to Saadya. “Well, Mr. Bridger, it’s all settled. I shall be back in a week with some of my colleagues to run some further evaluation. In the meantime”—he gestured to the pile of journals he had amassed—“I’ll take these. They will be just the thing for my meditative composition class.”

    “Thank you, Master Jagoda,” Saadya said quietly as he took the Jedi’s payment. It was a respectable sum, much more than he had expected to make on a quiet Zhellday afternoon—but Saadya somehow felt he had sold much more than just his artworks. After making sure Jagoda was far enough away down the street, he clasped Levi in a fervent hug.

    “Love you, Blue-Eyes.”

    “Uh, love you too, Daddy… c’we eat our lunch now?”

    “Good idea.”

    Without further hesitation father and son tucked into their lefflaff and tarama dip. And that evening, after the day’s credits had been counted, the booth secured, the inventory loaded into the speeder, Saadya felt even more tired than usual.

    * * *​

    Garel, 4 BBY

    Ezra followed the voice inside his head into a particularly musty, messy, and crammed back corner of the shop. Piles of books, magazines, and files lay about unsorted on both shelves and floor, and dust and cobwebs covered everything, but there were no beings around. (Except for a grizzled, half-dead spider inside one of the cobwebs—and Ezra knew that whatever it was he was hearing or perceiving or thinking didn’t sound like one of them.)

    *Ah, there you are.* The voice made itself so clear, so loud inside his consciousness that Ezra jumped, nearly knocking over a precariously balanced stack of Garel City Review of Holobooks back issues. *This is much better. I can get a much closer read on you now.*

    *Uh, good to know?* replied Ezra with a shrug. *Because, if you don’t mind my saying so, I still have no idea who, what, or where you are...*

    *I’m over on the little broken shelf in the corner, the one with all the technical journals and Which Being Is Which volumes. There you go*—as Ezra moved closer to the shelf he thought was meant—*You’re almost there—*

    *So you say you can get a read on me,* Ezra transmitted as he began rummaging among the dust-coated tomes. *Who or what do you think I am?*

    *Oh, well, I have a guess… it’s just a guess at present… there! Here I am! You’ve found me!*

    And, indeed, Ezra was now holding up a small handmade sketchbook with an elaborately patterned cover that he had just pulled out from under last year’s edition of Which Being Is Which.

    to be continued

    Chapel Street: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Chapel_Street

    “A good day”/“A day of light”: Based on a traditional (and by now slightly old-fashioned) Israeli greeting: the traditional response to boker tov, “good morning,” is boker or, “a morning of light.”

    Rahman Jagoda: An OC. Rahman has the basic meaning of “compassionate” or “merciful” (which, as we’ll see, may turn out to be slightly ironic). If its j is pronounced like y, Jagoda is “berry” in more than one Slavic language, but I also had in mind the Sephardic singer-songwriter Flory Jagoda.

    Mr. Bridger: Before anyone gets on me about earthisms, the title “Mr.” is indeed used in Rebels: Ezra addresses Morad Sumar as “Mr. Sumar” throughout the episode “Fighter Flight.”

    Mage-artisan: Fanon.

    Sabacc cards: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sabacc. Also a nod to the sabacc card motifs that run through @Raissa Baiard’s work, beginning with their use in Jedi training in In the Cards. There are a couple of Easter eggs here: in Raissa’s universe, the Ace of Sabers is Mara Jade Blayne’s callsign within her family’s rebel cell, established in Star Crossed, and Ezra receives the honorary callsign Six of Sabers in Raissa’s Not Your Mother’s Life Day.
     
    divapilot and Raissa Baiard like this.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I enjoyed the ambience of the fair and Levi continues to be adorable. :D Jagoda ... he seems to be above-board and assuring -- instead of intimidating or heavy-handed. [face_thinking] =D=
     
    Findswoman likes this.
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh, I am all too happy to be part of your public on this one, Finds! You have quite the intriguing story unfolding, and I'm enjoying the mystery as it deepens! [face_thinking] [:D]

    Once again, I am really impressed by your ability to set up a scene with just a few words - there was a fantastic ambiance in the opening, and personally brought back happy memories of setting up booths in street fairs for myself. I love the softness of this update, and the story as a whole - from the sales day to meeting with the Jedi to the revelations about Levi and Ezra finally picking up the right book. It's a very soothing story to read, even with the heavy sense of memory - and even lethargy that you sense, in a way - from Saadya.

    Oooh, so that's what it is! What a fantastic application of the Force - I do really like your fanon of 'mage-artisans'. It folds itself into this much larger world beautifully. [face_love]

    The revelation was just so matter-of-fact here! And of course Levi is Force-sensitive, just like his father, in a way.

    There's such a youthful excitement to Levi that's endearing to read - even if it's still worrying, how much of himself Saadya seems to put into what he creates. He has a gift, certainly, but it's definitely something to keep a weather eye on . . . [face_plain]

    Ah ha! A circle in the story connects. :D

    I am really looking forward to learning more about what sort of bond is tugging between Ezra and the spirit of the book - while still learning more about the Bridgers of old. Again, this is a wonderful interlude to add to canon, and I am very intrigued to see it progress from here. [face_thinking]=D=
     
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Ch 1:
    This story really appeals to my love of used bookstores (and old ones, even better for the atmosphere [face_dancing]). I really like the idea that there are some places like that in the GFFA, even with the kind of technology that usually takes the place of books there.

    BEST PLACE EVER! [face_laugh] Though the shop Ezra has discovered is much smaller, the description reminds me of the feel of a place I visited in Inverness. That one was actually in an old church and so the maze went on for multiple floors. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attract...op-Inverness_Scottish_Highlands_Scotland.html)

    I liked that Ezra’s first assumption was that the mysterious “voice” must be some kind of creature attempting to communicate with him. It makes so much sense, given his gift for understanding and speaking to animals.

    Saadya’s artistic creations sound beautiful and crafted with so much care -- it’s easy to see how the artist might literally end up merging with the art. But the way that it is affecting him is really unusual, and his family seems to be right to be worried. :( It’s interesting that he almost seems to have an awareness what’s going on on some level at times, although not really until it’s later spelled out to him.

    Levi is the one who both has the senses to pick up on the literal draining effects and realizes that this could be dangerous, where Saadya has just sort of accepted it as a medical mystery. Poor kid, that’s a lot to be knowing at his age. Especially since his parents don’t really understand where his fear is coming from or what it means. Even though they don’t know to take his words more seriously (I mean, it is a pretty weird thing to have happen!) the family’s warmth and caring comes through in spades. In spite of his demanding career, Saadya clearly has a really strong bond with his family and they with each other. [face_love]

    Though Ezra has a caring family these days in the Ghost crew, there will always be a part of him that longs for and misses his parents. So it’s no wonder that he feels drawn to investigate this.

    Ch 2:
    Aww! It’s very endearing how he’s constantly trying to help his dad. :)

    Master Jagoda is definitely an unanticipated development. It’s nifty that Saadya (and the readers) now have a little more explanation of what’s happening, and the idea of mage-artisans is fantastic. :cool:

    I don’t know that this needs a spoilercut, but just in case. While he seems okay at first, there’s something about Master Jagoda’s behavior that feels off. Particularly that he’s so set on testing Levi when his father doesn’t really seem to be in a state to decide whether that’s something he wants for his kid. I hope I’m wrong, but I have to wonder if he’s kind of trying to pressure the parents into sending Levi off to the Temple without thinking it through. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy, but I get the uneasy feeling he may not be seeing his own ethics clearly in the moment because he’s fascinated by these new discoveries.

    Ta-da! [face_dancing] Not sure where this is going to lead, but I think it will be very enlightening for Ezra. (Also, Which Being Is Which is a great spoof. [face_laugh])
     
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Oh, once again you’ve set such a vivid scene here, I can picture it in my mind’s eye. It reminds me of our local arts and crafts festival with all the colorful booths and interesting things to browse. And there’s such a warm and caring relationship between Saadya and little Levi that’s just so sweet. Levi is so concerned about part of his daddy “getting lost” that he insists on coming with Saadya to the fair...and that turns out to be sort of a mixed blessing.

    I have to agree with @Kahara about Master Jagoda; he’s not exactly a bad guy, but there’s something about him. He’s got a bit of a superior attitude as he explains the concept of the mage-artisan to Saadya , when he tells Saadya that Levi is Force sensitive—because obviously a muggle like Saadya couldn’t have figured that out on his own—and in that smarmy chuckle when he shows the Force-infused notebook to Levi. The way he assumes that things are “all settled” for further testing when he did not actually ask Saadya’s permission for it sets my teeth a bit on edge. I bet his meditative composition class is all sorts of fun (but at least they’ll have some beautiful notebooks now).

    Saadya seems to almost expect what’s coming, the way that he almost sighs when introducing Levi to Master Jagoda. He certainly doesn’t seem to feel he has any say in whether Jagoda tests his son, and this
    is just so sad. I’m not sure it would ever have been easy to have your child chosen to go to the Jedi Temple, knowing that you’d never have contact with them again, but perhaps another Jedi could have made the process less perfunctory and painful for Saadya, who’s losing his little Blue-Eyes :(

    And back to Ezra in the bookstore… This
    made me laugh—of course Ezra knows what a half-dead spider sounds like! :D (I hope it was nicer to him than the krykna!) And the Garel City Review of Holobooks and Which Being... are priceless! Now Ezra’s found the sketchbook—the storylines are coming together!

    I have to say thank you so much for using my sabacc card exercise and especially for the little nods to Ezra and Mara’s callsigns.[face_love]
    In a way, the Six of Sabers is appropriate for Ezra here, too, because his finding the sketchbook is the end of a very long journey for Saadya.
     
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all for commenting and reading, as always. @};-

    Thanks so much, Ny, and I'm glad you're enjoying things! Yes, this Master Jagoda is someone to keep an eye on, isn't he? He does mean what he says about Levi, and his fascination with the young fellow's abilities is not insincere—and yet... well, I'll say more about him below, so do read on. :)

    Well, thank you, Mira, and I'm so happy to have you here enjoying the mystery, such as it is! :D

    Thanks so much, and I am glad that ambience is working well for you; it is indeed a large part of what I'm going for: that heavy sense of memory is affecting Saadya and wearing him out as much as his mage-artisan tendency is, and then once the prospect of having his son taken away is lumped on top of that... it's a lot for him to bear. I haven't taken part in many street fairs myself (as in manning a booth), but I have very fond memories of neighborhood art fairs growing up—they were always a summer highlight, and Lothal always seemed like a perfect setting for such things. :)

    Thanks! "Putting yourself into your work" is such a common thing to say these days, almost a cliché, that I thought it would be interesting to try exploring the mechanics of how that might work in the world of the Force. It took me a while to come up with the name "mage-artisan" to describe it, though, precisely because it is such a hard thing to describe. At some point I'll put it in a fanon post, too, I think. (So many fanon posts, so little time!)

    Yes, and of course Saadya would know, or at least suspects, that something like that may be up with his youngest son—so the way Jagoda Informs Him Earnestly about it, as if he thought he (Saadya) wouldn't know...

    Oh yes, it certainly is! And Levi is making the connection, even here at this early stage; he's a smart cookie, and the Force is strong with him...

    Yep, things are coming together, slowly but surely! And you will indeed find out more on that very soon (if I can get things together, that is). So many thanks once again, Mira; I'm so glad to have you hear and that you're enjoying this first little attempt of mine at writing about Lothal and the Bridgers. :ezra: :)

    Thanks so much! I adore used bookstores too and can get VERY lost and distracted in them when given half the chance, so how could I not bring such a magical and meaningful setting into the world of fanfic? Especially when this is pretty much the kind of environment where a character like Ezra would be pretty much maximally out of his depth—I admit that was a fun aspect to play around with too. And of course the GFFA has to have such places. What kind of place would it be otherwise? :p

    WOW! That place truly looks like a book-lover's paradise! Now you've got me wanting to go back to Scotland sometime just so I can go there and get lost for a few hours. (Findshusband and Findsboy can just go off and do something else for a bit... :p )

    Of course! He's in a setting that's so unaccustomed for him that of course he's going to look for any small bit of familiarity to latch on to—and for him that's naturally going to be the beastwarden connection.

    Even before he meets Jagoda, Saadya's not totally blind to what may be happening to him; he's got an inkling that something is, as does his family (and Levi in particular, who is getting an extra dose of it all through the Force). At the same time, Saadya knows he can't really do anything about it; all he can do is be resigned to it and carry on as best he can, even with the sense of heaviness it perennially gives him.

    With his Force-sensitivity, Levi's definitely getting a fuller idea of the mage-artisan draining happening to his dad than his other family members would be able to. He too knows he probably can't do anything besides "take care" of his dad and make sure "none of him gets lost," which of course is a bit responsibility for him to take on at his tender age. But it does ultimately come out of his love for his dad and from the love that his whole family has for its members. (Which I thought would be fitting for the ancestors of the boy who uttered the words "Nothing's more important than family." :ezra: )

    Oh, naturally! Ezra still hasn't made the connection to his own blood family here, but that word and the chance of any connection, no matter how tenuous... how could he resist?

    He's a loving, caring little fellow! While writing him I had the Anakin of Ep. 1 partly in mind, as well as the way my own Findsboy gets when he sees one of us parents is down in the dumps (the extra hugs and kisses come on strong).

    Glad you like that! Again, I wanted to play with a literal, Force-based concept of "putting yourself into your work," and yes, a fanon post will come at some point. :p

    In response to this, I would say...
    ...you're not wrong to feel uneasy about him and about what might happen next. He is truly and sincerely fascinated by what he sees in Levi, so I think you're on to something when you say that he might not have a clear idea of the ethical implications of what he's saying to Saadya about Levi. Plus, he's got that certain Jedi brand of hoity-toityness gonig for him... in any case, there will be more about all this in the next chapter.

    Oh, it will be indeed, and you will soon see! :D And thanks, that was one spoof that I just couldn't help, especially in the backroom of a used book shop. (Holoreaders' Digest much, too? I have to say I love coming up with little spoofs like that—it’s one of my fanfic guilty pleasures! :D )

    Thanks so much, and I am so glad you are continuing to enjoy this tale! :ezra: I’m glad you like the art fair; again, I too have fond memories of my neighborhood art fair, which I drew on in writing that scene. And going to the art fair was always a family summer thing for us (as visitors, if not as artists actually manning booths), so those kind of warm, familia feelings were part of the experience as well. Levi of course, is going all sorts of extra miles here; it’s not really his responsibility to “tale care” of his dad, after all, but, again, it all comes out of his caring, loving nature. (Plus, he knows the art fair is a fun, colorful place, and he knows that his dad enjoys being there, too.)

    Yes, you’re both right on in your observations about Jagoda. He isn’t outright evil, but he does indeed have that specific brand of Jedi snootiness going on that blinds him to the feelings and needs of his interlocutors. It never occurs to a person like that that things wouldn’t be all settled; it’s already settled by the very fact that he, Master Rahman Jagoda, has been there and Pointed Out the Exceptional Rarity of the Situation. Naturally that is going to Much Outweigh such secondary considerations as parental permission, don’tcha know.

    One reason Jagoda's snooty, smarmy tactics are working so well is unfortunately because Saadya is the kind of person he is—a gentle, get-along kind of soul who just kinds of resigns himself to things. That is just the kind of person who can be a prime target of the kind of thing Jagoda is doing, and Jagoda is no doubt 100% aware of it. It definitely is the sort of experience that could have gone a lot differently with a different interlocutor, someone with a little more sentient compassion. (Piece of irony: Jagoda’s first name, Rahman, means “compassionate” or “merciful.” And yes, that was on purpose on my part. :p )

    Oh, if anyone knows exactly what a spider of any kind sounds like, it’s Ezra, especially after all that Atollon krykna business—which I most definitely had in mind while I was writing this. I imagine that a gifted beastwarden like Ezra is able to distinguish telepathic animal voices in the same kind of detail with which Sherlock Holmes claims (in “A Case of Identity,” I think) to distinguish between the type of different typewriter brands. Ezra’s ruled out cats already, and it doesn’t take much more for him to rule out the spider. (Besides, you try generating that kind of sentence structure while half-dead! :p )

    They are indeed, and will do so even more in the chapter that’s coming right up!

    Well, thank you; I appreciate that very much! It seemed the perfect way to combine a plausible test of Levi’s abilities, a bit of foreshadowing of the Bridger future (or at least one of them—but one that’s as real to me as any), and a little link or nod to your universe, in appreciation for all you’ve done to encourage my own attempts at writing. @};-

    And about that spoilered insight: WOW! :eek: I had never thought about it that way before, but that is absolutely true! For now I’ll say no more, but true it most certainly is. :D

    Thank you wonderful folks once again for your insights and support—so glad to have you all on board! :) More on its way very soon, if RL cooperates...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ohwhatagooseiam! :oops: As dumb as it will sound, I somehow managed to forget to update this—I had one tweak to make during betaing that I kept putting it off for one reason and another, and, well. Anyway, my apologies for the flakiness, and here comes the next chapter:


    Three

    Lothal, 3989 BBY

    And so it was all settled.

    Master Rahman Jagoda returned a week later, as he had promised, bringing two of his fellow Masters from the temple along with him. Tests were run; midichlorians were sampled; many questions were asked, of Levi and of his family members; blocks and toys were floated across the room; sabacc cards were laid out and guessed, and laid out and guessed again. In light of the findings (“most exceptional, most exceptional indeed,” Jagoda had remarked), it was decided that Levi should begin an initiateship at the Jedi temple without delay. (“It is not wise to wait too long in these matters,” Jagoda had also remarked.)

    Levi, of course, considered the whole thing “wizard.” He couldn’t wait to pack his bags and head to the temple to learn all those cool Jedi things like lifting things with just his mind, reading people’s thoughts, and fighting with laser swords. But Saadya felt a bittersweet mix of pride and sadness. It was inevitable, he supposed, given Levi’s talents—talents Saadya had known, before ever having met Master Jagoda, that his son would someday need to cultivate. Yet he would miss his little Blue-Eyes, that was certain—and for all the boy’s eager excitement, he was sure Levi would grow to miss his family, too. He was, after all, only five.

    Besides, the whole mage-artisan business was on Saadya’s mind as well: the matter of Force bonds forming between the maker and the thing made, of life force seeping into the thing made. He supposed there could be something to it, even beyond the usual compliments he and other artist-types so often got for “putting themselves into their work”; it would certainly explain why he was so tired some evenings. He remembered how Jagoda had held the journal up to his head and then to Levi’s, then Levi’s remark about “where he’s gone all those times.” Guess you really were right about there being less of me, kiddo, he chuckled to himself...

    And then he had an idea.

    It was the day Jagoda was scheduled to collect Levi and bring him to the temple, and Saadya was at his workshop as usual. That evening, just before packing up to go home, he made a detour into the small back storeroom where he kept his extra stock. He spent several moments sorting carefully through the wares on the shelves till he came across a child’s sketchbook with a pattern of frolicking Loth-cats worked into its sunfruit-orange leather cover—orange had always been Levi’s favorite color.

    Saadya brought it home with him, and that evening, as he and Levi and the others sat in the conversation circle waiting for the Jedi to arrive, he gave it to him.

    “This is for you, Levi.” Saadya held the sketchbook up to his son’s head, close to his ear. The boy’s midnight-blue eyes lit up.

    “Aw, cool, Daddy!... what’s it for?”

    “Well, you can draw pictures in it, and practice your letters in it, things like that,” his father replied. “I’ll miss you when you’re at the temple, but this way there’ll be”—he choked up a little as he spoke—“there’ll be a little bit of me right there with you.”

    “Thanks, Daddy. This way I won’t hafta miss you, too.”

    Saadya smiled and hugged him. “Love you, Blue-Eyes.”

    “Love you too, Daddy.”

    They stayed in that hug till the doorchime rang and the door opened to admit Master Jagoda. Goodbyes were said, tears were shed, and the Jedi led young Levi off into the night.

    * * *​

    Garel, 4 BBY

    Ezra picked up the small sketchbook and looked at it. It was kind of cute, really, with the Loth-cat design on its cover, though all it contained were a few children’s drawings and scribblings: a stick figure holding a swordlike object, a group of stick figures all holding swordlike objects, a pointy-eared animal that might have been a Loth-cat, a page of shaky Aurebesh letters (some backward or upside-down or both), and a page with a single sentence written in the same oversized, shaky letters: THER IZ ONLI PEAS. His face was squinched up in incredulity as he thought, *Wait, so… this is you?*

    *Why, yes.* The voice resounded in Ezra’s consciousness more clearly than ever before, and there was a chuckle in it.

    Great, just great, thought Ezra to himself. The others looked at me funny when I started talking to animals. What’ll they say now that I’ve started talking to dusty old books? He began to flip further through the sketchbook but found nothing but blank pages the rest of the way, and slumped down in frustration on a nearby kick stool. *Okay, I don’t get it. So apparently you’re a sketchbook with Loth-cats on the cover and some random kid’s drawings. I mean, that’s great and all, but why exactly should I care?*

    *Well, that’s the thing.* Again that chuckle; it made Ezra want to kick something. *You may care, or you may not; I have no way of knowing just yet. But flip all the way to the end and take a look at the back cover. Then maybe at least you’ll know.*

    *Fine, if you say so…* And Ezra did, despite himself. At the very bottom of the cover’s light peach-colored flimsiboard lining was writing—handwriting in orange-brown vegetable ink, in what he recognized as a very old-fashioned Lothali style. It read:

    Saadya ebn Todros Gesheri

    “Gesheri…” Ezra spoke the name out loud even as he racked his brains to remember where he’d seen it before. Or heard it. Or maybe both, sometime a very long time ago…

    *Ah, you’re thinking very hard, I can tell… you’ve seen that name before, have you?*

    *I think so…* An image formed in Ezra’s mind, an image of the days long ago when he had a family, his own family… of sitting on his father’s lap reading from a large book full of names written in that same old-fashioned writing, in that same orange-brown ink. And look, there’s you: Ezra ebn Ephraim Gesheri. And he, Ezra, had squinched up his face and said, Gesheri? Wha? That’s not right! That’s not me—

    “That’s—THAT’S ME!”

    *Ah, I knew it, I knew it! You’re one of his descendants, aren’t you? One of Levi’s descendants? Oh, you must be! I know it!*

    Levi? Descendants? Who? What? Ezra thought about that book with the names again, and how maybe there had been a Levi or two in there—maybe. But before he could answer, he heard the door of the bookstore’s back office open, followed by the shuffle of footsteps and the sound of a familiar Jedi voice:

    “Ezra! That you?”

    * * *​

    Lothal, 3989 BBY

    A week after Levi left for the temple, Saadya sat in his workshop as usual and saw the first of the images. It was a stick figure, like a child’s drawing, that formed in lines of light within his mind’s eye; it held something long and thin in its hand and smiled a broad smile. And with it Saadya heard (or thought, or felt, or understood) a voice:

    *Hey Daddy! This is me and my new training saber! I just got it today! Isn’t it wizard?*

    Saadya beamed. It was Levi! His plan had worked. Now could he respond to him? It was, perhaps, worth trying…

    *Wow, that’s great, Blue-Eyes! I’m so proud of you!*

    *Thanks, Daddy!* came the reply—and then there was silence for the rest of the day. But Saadya went about his trimming and sewing and binding joyfully, for now his little Levi was not totally gone.

    Another image came three days later—a group of smiling stick figures with training sabers (*Look, Daddy, these are all my friends in Wolf Clan!*), followed in two days by an indeterminate stick animal with tall, pointed ears, also smiling (*That’s Bel’vidiir, he belongs to the gardener, but he lets us play with him sometimes*). There were days when, instead of drawings, he saw Aurebesh letters slowly and laboriously forming in his mind, sometimes backwards, sometimes upside down, but always followed by a burst of joy: *Look, Daddy! Master Mynchyn says I’m getting better!* One day the lines of light even formed themselves slowly into a rudimentary sentence—THER IZ ONLI PEAS—and it was all Saadya could do to keep his tears of joy and pride from falling on the flimsi sheets he had just finished marbling. My Blue-Eyes! My baby boy! I haven’t lost you after all! There certainly is something to be said for being a mage-artisan!

    Then one day, the images and voices ceased, and the letter came. It read as follows:

    Dear Mr. Bridger:

    I hope this finds you well. It has come to my attention that your son, Initiate Levi Ephraim Bridger, has been in contact with you via a mage-artisan Force channel in a sketchbook that he confirms having received as a parting gift from you. As this is contrary to the Temple’s strict nonattachment policy, in keeping with established Jedi doctrine, we have confiscated Initiate Bridger’s sketchbook. Likewise, as a precautionary measure, we have confiscated all the journals that previously had been purchased from your workshop for the meditative composition class. We respectfully but ardently request that you make no further attempts to contact Initiate Bridger for the duration of his tutelage at the Temple.

    Very sincerely yours,
    RAHMAN JAGODA
    (Rahman ebn Marduk Yaghuda)
    Vice Headmaster
    Senior Instructor, Sentient Ethics


    to be continued
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    Kahara and Raissa Baiard like this.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh lovely, a unique and touching way to keep in contact with one another, and then they take it away! :mad: Happy that Ezra found it and is actually able to make a connection to his past... @};-
     
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Oh, this chapter is so sweet and touching and heartbreaking all at the same time!
    Master Jagoda continues to be his charming self with all his smarmy little “remarks”. Saadya is such a good daddy here. [face_love]. Despite the pain he feels at the prospect of losing his little boy, he knows it's important for Levi to be able to be trained as a Jedi and put his exceptional talents to good use. And so he finds a way to use his own exceptional talents to good use to find a way to keep in touch with his son. He even chooses a book that will be especially meaningful to Levi--orange with frolicking Loth-cats (SQUEE on both counts :ezra:) I adore the way you describe his communication with Levi via the mage-artisan link: images and letters in "lines of light" (as if drawn by a lightsaber or perhaps the Light of the Force) and words that are "thought, or felt, or understood", exactly the way Ezra perceives Saadya's voice!

    Levi continues to be adorable here [face_love] I love his youthful enthusiasm and eagerness to share every thing he's experiencing with his daddy--his new lightsaber! His friends! The gardener's Loth-cat! (and I smiled at the name Belvidiir :D) Everything is new and wonderful when see through the eyes of a five-year-old. Who can blame Saddya for the joy and pride he feels watching those rudimentary letters take shape! Aww, it just made my heart swell...

    And then the letter made it break! You weren't kidding when you pointed out the irony inherent in Master Jagoda's name meaning merciful. Again, he's not evil, or even unduly cruel in this very correct, ardent, and respectful missive...but merciful? Hmm...not so much. There are so many ways Master Jagoda could have shown a bit of mercy to Saadya--perhaps just meeting face-to-face instead of giving him Final Notice in a letter? --but he's so secure in his own rightness it probably never occurs to him. :( I could feel Saadya's heart break, too.

    In the "present day," Ezra has found a very familiar looking sketchbook! [face_love]
    [face_laugh] Hey, it's a talent! And Kanan is used to Weird Jedi Stuff and Hera is used to Kanan's Weird Jedi Stuff, so I'm sure they'll take it in stride. Might not want to mention it to Zeb, though...:p And this sketchbook has a distinctive voice...and its maker's name on the back cover. And SQUEE for how that brings back a memory of his own father, a memory that underscores the importance of Family to Ezra. And I love how it goes from Little Ezra saying "That's not me!" to present-day Ezra realizing "THAT'S ME!" to Kanan asking "That you?"

    For all the heartbreak of Saadya receiving the letter and losing contact with Levi, there's some hope here, too. He's found (or been found) by one of Levi's descendents--a family connection however distant for him and for Ezra, for whom nothing is more important than family.

    Bravo! =D= Looking forward to the next chapter!
     
  15. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh! I love how bittersweet this update was - there were some absolutely heartwarming 'squee-out-loud' moments, and then those that were certainly not so. :p


    Your Jagoda is definitely a strange sort, as has eloquently been commented on. He's not cruel by any means, but he has seemingly left attachment behind to the point where he has the inability to emotionally connect to the world around him. Levi's 'scouting' was almost like a science experiment or a medical study, more so than deciding a child's fate and future away from his family. [face_plain]


    Oh, Levi! [face_love] What a dear! (And an interesting juxtaposition to Jagoda - it makes you wonder how he was as a child coming to the Temple. [face_thinking])


    Oh, these sweet dears! What a perfect gift! A way for the Saadya to quite literally continue to share himself with Levi. I love how the journal was put into use during the brief time they were allowed their connection. The stick figures, the practicing of writing the Jedi Code! My heart was absolutely melting during those lines. [face_love]


    Oh, Ezra. :p It's just business as usual for this lot about now, isn't it? [face_mischief] Though it makes me curious as to what else of a legacy the Force has left within Ezra through his heritage. It seems that he hasn't even begun to scratch the surface!


    Oh! I love how this brought the theme of family - of fathers and sons and bloodlines - full circle. He was his own Levi at one point with his father. And he's been parted from that through his own set of circumstances. What a fascinating way for Ezra to reconnect to his heritage! [face_thinking][face_love]


    Eugh. :rolleyes:

    Well, you know my own issues with the doctrines of attachment at this point, :p, but this is just once again so cold and bereft of any human feeling. Even the signature was just so clinical and formal! What a terrible message to receive, and what a horrible sundering of their bond through the gift! :( I am most curious to see where Saadya is going to go from here. [face_thinking]


    This continues to be an exceptionally unique story, and I can't wait to see what happens next. =D=
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you folks, as always! @};-

    Yes, I'm afraid so... because NONATTACHMENT DOCTRINE. [face_plain] (If I were Ronen Syndulla-Jarrus, I would point out some things about politics during the Ruusan Reformation, of course. :p ) It took about 3000-some years (in Saadya’s case, at least), but both sides are finally going to be able to form a connection they both have longed for for a while—so that is one good thing that has come out of this, at least. @};-

    Thanks so much! @};- And you are absolutely right to see that similarity in the way the two links work—because it is the same kind of link in both cases (and it’s not really a spoiler for me to say that, methinks :p ). This is kind of a “tough love” moment for Saadya, so to speak, having to send his youngest child off to be trained, but he is a resourceful type who doesn’t succumb to his grief, even if he feels a bit like he’s cornered into the whole thing (which is kind of what Jagoda is doing with his “remarks”).

    Thanks, and I’m glad you’re enjoying this depiction of the young Levi. This new life at the Jedi Temple is such a “brave new world” for him, a big adventure that he embraces with gusto—but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t forgotten his daddy or has stopped loving him. Quite the contrary—he still loves him so much he has to tell him all! (As for “Bel’vidiir,” I simply couldn’t help it. :p ) And that helps soften his dad’s grief, at least for a time...

    Oh yes, I was definitely going for that “smug, subtly poisonous education official” tone with Jagoda’s letter; I sprinkled a little of Dolores Umbridge into his character too. He’s probably had the nonattachment doctrine so internalized for so long that it doesn’t even occur to him that a letter like this could have such a devastating, heartbreaking effect, or that any other approach—including talking to Saadya in person, or even just not confiscating the other books—might be less so.

    Ezra amazes even himself sometimes! :D I have you to thank for the suggestion about having Ezra look at the family tree with his dad; that was perfect for the situation and the story (and I could even bring in the same kind of handwriting and ink!), and it got me majorly unstuck—so thanks once again. @};- I also have to thank you for tying in “that you?” with “that’s [not] me”; the latter juxtaposition was intentional, but I guess the “that you?” crept in subconsciously. (Though I did know I wanted Ezra to be so surprised that he exclaims out loud, as a contrast to all the mind-talk that’s been happening—and of course Kanan’s “dad sense” would pick up on any vociferation from his space!son. :p ) But it fits, because this is part of a much larger journey of self-definition for Ezra—a journey in which he’s learning who he is and “what’s him,” so to speak. Family, both born and chosen, plays a leading role in that journey—one could even say it’s the guide on this journey.

    For Ezra, even distant family counts—every little bit counts, because that is how important family is to him. Same for Saadya, whose situation is kind of the inverse of Ezra’s—he’s lost a child, while Ezra’s lost his parents. Neither may be able to find the exact person or people they lost, but they’ll each find someone, and that will make all the difference in the universe. As always, thanks for all your help and support in this, and I am glad this story can bring such a smile to such a Bridger aficionado as you! :ezra:

    Thanks so much, Mira, and again many thanks for sticking with this! Bittersweetness is a quality that so often goes along with the theme of family, isn’t it? And there is more of the same to come, I’m afraid…

    Right—again, I think someone who’s been so ALL NONATTACHMENT ALL THE TIME like that may have gotten to the point where they are just plain unable to understand the emotional effect of their words and actions on others. Levi is indeed more of a scientific “case” to him than a little boy with a family.

    Now, that’s the thing… I almost wonder if Jagoda, as a kid, was just as bubbly and enthusiastic about the whole Jedi Temple thing as Levi is now… and then, once he got there, perhaps had some kind of experience (or experiences) that sucked all the spirit right out of him. The prospect of something like that happening to Levi may be at least as concerning to Saadya as the thought of losing his son… though I know this is something @Raissa Baiard may address further. ;)

    I’m so glad you liked this! :) This is where Saadya sees that his strange gift could be good for something other than just wearing him out at the end of the day—it can also be a way of maintaining the connection to the little son he loves, and of watching his skills and abilities grow, at however of a distance.

    Yep, Ezra’s Ghostmates (or at least most of them) are probably at the point where they have seen it all as far as his Crazy Force Stuph is concerned (though again, I think he had probably not say any more about this to Zeb, and maybe also Chopper, than absolutely necessary :p ). And that is a very good question that I’m not sure I fully know the answer to—but, once again, I know Raissa is going to address some of this soon as well.

    Thanks so much! :) Raissa was a huge help to me here; she suggested the family tree idea, and it just seemed so perfect given the theme of this story and the overarching theme of family throughout Ezra’s larger story. And books (and calligraphy, and ink) are the means of connection to the past in both cases, which I thought was extra cool!

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. :p

    I have my issues with the nonattachment doctrine, too, and largely because I can see it leading to a situation like this one—where not only a father is prevented from being in touch with his young son (and notice that it wasn’t even happening every day, just once every few days or so) but also just creating someone like Jagoda who simply doesn’t understand those kinds of connections and bonds.
    Well, thank you so much, and once again I’m so glad and honored to have you as one of my readers. @};- As to what’s next, you soon will see… the next and final chapter is just around the corner, so do stay tuned!
     
    Kahara and Mira_Jade like this.
  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Here is the fourth and last chapter—once again, many thanks to @Raissa Baiard, Den Mother of the Infinite Ezras, for her feedback and beta-reading, and to all you readers out there. :ezra: @};-


    Four

    Lothal, 3989–88 BBY

    After the letter, the images stopped, and Saadya heard (or thought, or felt) no more from Levi.

    The days stretched into weeks. Saadya still spent his days hunched over his workbench, tooling and stitching and trimming and limning the weary hours away. Each day he held out hope that the bright line-drawings would once again form in his consciousness, or that the cheerful little inner voice would surprise him with happy news of skills learned or friends made. But there was still nothing, even as the weeks stretched into months.

    Well, in a way there was not nothing. He still had his bookmaking craft, and his curious talent of putting himself into it. Perhaps he could use that somehow, he thought—either to find Levi again or at least to take his mind off his grief. And so he threw himself into his craft like never before: working longer hours than ever, padding into the workshop well before dawn, latching up the shutters well after dark. The exquisitely tooled journals and sketchbooks piled up on his workbench and shelves; he boxed them up and shipped some to fine stationer’s shops, some to art galleries, and others to art fairs, all throughout the sector and all throughout the Outer Rim. People took notice, even beyond the Outer Rim: he and his wares were written up in the Mid-Rim Arts Review, the Garel Citizen, and the Coruscant Weekly. His clientele came to include CorSec officers, Naboo magistrates, and a Kiffar sheyf.

    And through it all, as the months stretched into a year, Saadya toiled away over his gatherings and signatures and fore-edges, arriving home so eyestrained he could barely see and so exhausted he could barely stand. Yes, he knew there was less of him each day. But there was less of him anyway, now that his baby boy, his Blue-Eyes, was gone. At least this way, he thought, there’s still a chance…

    But there was still nothing.

    One night toward the end of summer, Ruhamma sat awake with a candle in her window. She was worried; Saadya had not yet returned, even though it was by now quite dark. After checking quickly on Yuval and Aleeza—they were fast asleep and would be fine on their own for a bit—she left the house and made her way through Capital City’s winding streets to her husband’s workshop.

    She knocked on the door; there was no answer. She opened it and entered; he never kept his shop locked anyway.

    Her husband sat motionless at his drafting table. His head had fallen forward onto the marbled pages he had been working on; he looked as if he had just closed his eyes for a brief rest, as she knew he was wont to do during a long day’s work. But when she checked, his hands were limp and pulseless, and no breath came from him.

    She collapsed onto his shoulder in wild, hot tears, unable to hear or feel or think or understand the voice that filtered up from those marbled pages:

    *Don’t cry, dearest! I’m still here! Really, I am…*

    * * *​

    Garel, 4 BBY

    “Uh, hi, everyone…”

    Ezra turned to see Kanan, Hera, and Chopper approaching him, followed closely by a stooped, bespectacled man with shaggy white hair and a red mark on his chin that was probably a Kiffar qukuuf mark—the shopkeeper, Ezra guessed. Hera’s arms were crossed and her head slightly cocked. “Everything all right, Ezra? We thought we heard you say something.”

    “Er… yes! No! I mean…” Ezra glanced at the leatherbound sketchbook he still held, then at the others, then back at the sketchbook. “Everything’s fine. Just was… browsing a little, that’s all. There’s some really… cool stuff here. Yeah. Like this.” He held up the sketchbook.

    Kanan raised an incredulous eyebrow. “I didn’t realize you were such an aficionado of antiquarian books, Ezra.”

    Just as Ezra opened his mouth to make a retort, the little white-haired shopkeeper interposed. “Ah, now, your young friend is Lothali, as I recall? Then no wonder he was drawn to this curious little specimen.” He took the sketchbook gently from Ezra and brought it over to show the others, who eyed it quizzically. “Probably dates from just prior to the Jedi Civil War; the sumak-dyed Merkesh leather binding is characteristic of Lothali bookcraft at that period. And look at the beautiful tooling on the cover.” His wizened fingers traced the prancing Loth-cats. “Absolutely exquisite, isn’t it? The work of a true master.” He handed the book back to Ezra. “It’s yours, if you like, young man.”

    “Wait—wha…?” Ezra gaped.

    “Consider it a gift.”

    “But—uh—er—”

    “Well, it’s not like I can sell it, you know. Binding’s pretty and all, but inside is just a few scribbles and a lot of blank pages. Why shouldn’t it go to someone who appreciates it?”

    Ezra smiled. “Gee, thanks, Mr. Mun… I… I do appreciate it.”

    “My pleasure, young fellow, my pleasure,” Mr. Mun nodded. “Enjoy it in good health. And if you ever should wish to expand your collection, I am at your disposal.” There was a playful glint in his eye as he wagged a knowing finger. “Old books have a pesky way of multiplying, you know.”

    “Thanks, Mr. Mun.” Again Ezra smiled at the bookseller, then over at Kanan and Hera, who were looking at each other quizzically and shrugging (“He gets it from you, you know,” Hera was saying), then back to the sketchbook in his hand. He thought he could almost feel a smile of gratitude coming from it, too:

    *Yes, thank you most kindly, Mr. Mun. I appreciate it, too—more than I can say.*

    * * *​

    Later, as the Ghost whirled through hyperspace to its next rendezvous point, Ezra sat at the small fold-out table in his cabin, looking over the words he had just written on a blank page of the sketchbook. For someone who had had no formal education since the age of seven, it had been no easy task, and he felt mighty proud of himself:

    Ther is no emoshon ther is peas.
    Ther is no igneranc ther is knollej.
    Ther is no pashun ther is sirenty.
    Ther is no kaos ther is harmny.
    Ther is no deth ther is the Force.
    Ezra ebn Ephraim Gesheri

    *Looking good,* came the now-familiar voice. *Looking very good.*

    Ezra smiled. *Thanks.*

    *I’m sure this Master Jarrus is very proud of you.*

    *Oh, yeah, of course! Totally! Well... mostly.*

    *I would welcome the chance to meet him sometime.*

    “Oh, uh, heh heh!” A nervous laugh escaped Ezra despite himself. *Er… you’ll get to. You’ll definitely get to.*

    All was quiet for a moment, both in the room and in the Force. Ezra closed the sketchbook and looked admiringly at the tooled Loth-cats on the cover—so lifelike and detailed that they almost seemed about to jump off the sumak-dyed Merkesh leather binding and start frisking about the room. (Good thing they were just tooled, though, because he was pretty sure Zeb would not like that.)

    *Say, you never did tell me…* he began at last. *how did you get in there anyway? And who’s that Levi person you were talking about?*

    Saadya’s unseen smile shone in the Force like Lothal’s double moonlight, as did his answer. *Well, it’s a long story…*

    the end

    The Mid-Rim Arts Review, the Garel Citizen, and the Coruscant Weekly are all fanon.

    “a Kiffar sheyf”: An ancient handwritten account book once owned by a Kiffar sheyf around the time of the Jedi Civil War figures in chapters 2–3 of my Sai-perimetry at Gleebaloola’s, You Bet! This may or may not be the same one. ;)

    Mr. Mun: The Kiffar Clan Mun, with their red qukuuf mark, is the creation of Gamiel (see this post). This particular Mun (his first name is Sherwold, if anyone’s wondering :p ) may be a distant cousin of the Norrwin Mun of Sai-perimetry at Gleebaloola’s, You Bet!

    Merkesh leather: A takeoff on RL Morocco leather binding. On Merkesh, which is the fanon creation of Raissa Baiard and a sort of space!Morocco, see her fanon post.
     
    Kahara likes this.
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Lovely! The communication continues between Ezra and Saadya. What a unique tale you've given us, @Findswoman -- a fascinating addition to your fics collection! =D=
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  19. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Awww, another bittersweet and touching chapter, and a beautiful conclusion to this touching story! :ezra: [face_love]

    First, the bitter...poor, poor Saadya! Once again, my heart breaks for him, having lost his little Blue-eyes. Yes, Levi is still alive, and, yes, he’s learning how to use his prodigious Force-talents, but that doesn’t lessen the very real grief that Saadya feels at their separation. There’s nothing but radio silence, in a manner of speaking, where Levi’s cheerful little voice was, an absence that Saadya feels keenly—I can only imagine what it must have been like for him. Who can blame him for grasping at the slim hope that remains to him, sending bits and pieces of himself out into the Galaxy on the off chance that one of his books will find its way into his son’s hands. Ironically, throwing himself into his work this way (literally and figuratively!) brings him plenty of attention from all corners of the Galaxy....just not the one he longs to find. :( There’s progressively less and less of him, until there’s no more left to give. =(( The scene with Ruhamma finding him and Saadya calling to her from inside the book...you are a mistress of heart-wringing pathos (and, yes, that is a compliment)

    And then back to the present day— Mr, Mun is another fun addition to your pantheon of GFFA shopkeepers and salesbeings (and related to one of them too! You bet!) He’s so kind to give the sketchbook to Ezra; you can tell he’s a book lover in the truest sense of the word who would rather see a book in a loving home ;) than make a profit. (He’s absolutely right about books multiplying!) And his thoughtful act carries more weight than he could possibly imagine, a family reunion for two souls who crave that connection more than anything. I love how Ezra puts the sketchbook to its original purpose (both purposes!), connecting with Saadya as he practices his own shaky spelling and writing on its pages. And how sweet to see Saadya taking on a fatherly (or perhaps grandfatherly) role, encouraging Ezra just as he did Levi. I love how he hints in that very paternal way about meeting Kanan, Ezra’s other father figure... and don’t sell yourself short, Ez. Kanan is prouder of you than you know, and will no doubt welcome Saadya as a member of the extended Ghost-family, too.

    Bravo for this lovely tale of family across the years, whatever form that connection takes. [face_love] How sweet for Ezra to find a part of his missing family and continue to build his family, because nothing’s more important than that.

    P.S.... I’ve been working on that little project I mentioned:D
     
  20. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Thanks as always for your readership and comments. :)

    Thanks so much! Saadya may not have found Levi, but he found the next best thing—Levi's descendant and fellow Jedi, carrying on the strong Bridger bonds to Force and family. I'm so glad you enjoyed this and am grateful as always for your support and readership! @};-

    Well, thank you! I am so glad this story touched the heart of such an Ezraficionado as yourself, and my gratitude to you again for your role in its genesis. [face_love]

    Losing little Levi was really the beginning of the end for Saadya; it's thrown him into desperation mode and brought him to the point where he'll wear himself literally to the core if it means any small chance of finding his son. And good observation about the increased acclaim and attention, which unfortunately is coming to him at a time when he can't really appreciate it any more. Losing Levi has lost Saadya his art, too. :(

    I would never take that as anything else than a compliment... thank you so much. <3 That's part of why Saadya's loss of Levi is so tragic: he's lost the one person in his family who would be able to know that he's not really gone.

    Thanks so much, and I'm so glad you like this Mr. Mun! Yep, you're right—I do indeed mean for him to be an older relative of Norrwin Mun of Sai-Perimetry at Gleebaloola's, You Bet!, working in a different picturesque commercial district in a different ecumenopolis. Here he maybe thinks he's gotten this young man started on a new collecting hobby (one that crops up in my own family, too—when my dad was in graduate school he had to rent a separate garage just to hold all his books), but in reality he's done much more—he's started him on the way toward a bigger understanding of the meaning of family.

    Through Ezra, that sketchbook is continuing the life it had back in Saadya's and Levi's day—in all possible ways. For Saadya and Kanan to meet would bring that continuity full-circle, in a way, connecting Ezra's old and new families—all with the Force as the catalyst. I believe it was you who suggested the idea of making Ezra semi-literate as a result of his limited schooling and life as an orphan, and once again I have to thank you for that, because it makes perfect sense for the character—in Rebels we never really saw him write anything down or spend much time with books, so this is a new and challenging thing even for this gifted young Jedi.

    Thank you so much, and Ezra is absolutely right about that—it is his guiding principle throughout Rebels, as we've seen, and informs his every interaction with his crewmates. It's been an incredible treat to explore how it could inform his interactions with his own family's past.

    YES! Yes yes yes yes! That little project made my day when it resurfaced, and I can't wait to see it continue whenever you're able—because I'm pretty sure there's more to that not-so-little Levi than meets the eye! :ezra: @};- Fanfic intertextuality truly and unequivocally rox! :D

    Many thanks to you all once again! =D= =D= =D=
     
  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    So, something silly happened here - I thought I replied but instead I left a half written review in the drafts that I never finished. Silly me. [face_dunno] :oops: My apologies! I need to fix that now. :D

    Oh, this was so heartbreaking that I can't even begin to say! As readers we felt this was coming through your foreshadowing. But to see him lose more and more of himself, all to reach his baby boy, was just too painful for words. Even knowing that Levi is well and learning to master a special gift isn't enough for his father - understandably so, and it's heartrending that he was never able to connect with him again. :(

    But, him loosing himself is leading him to another Blue-Eyes, at the very least. [face_love]

    Oh! The emotional gut punching continues! Poor Saadya! Poor Ruhhama! :(

    This may sound silly, but I never considered this for Ezra before - having no complete formal education has put him back in a few aspects. But his practicing the code in his own hand in his ancestor's book really gave this ending a beautiful sense of closure. I love the understanding of the shopkeeper in giving the book to Ezra, as well - what another fun OC who truly loves his wares more than what he makes off the books. [face_love] The Ghost crew looking in curiously - but with understanding for 'Jedi things' was too endearing, to boot. I know that Kanan would be all sorts of interested when Ezra eventually shares this remarkable find. [face_thinking]

    Again, this was a touching, beautiful, and incredibly unique story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us! =D=
     
  22. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Very good! =D= I read the whole thing and wish there was more of it.

    It reminded me, in a way of the Myst games. Books created that link someone who touches it to mysterious worlds created by the author writing the book with ancient craft.

    Very well crafted tale, spun admirably! =D=
     
    Findswoman likes this.
  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I most certainly didn't mean to ignore these two more wonderful later comments—thank you two so much for reading and weighing in! :)

    Oh, no worries at all, I've done that same sort of thing many more times than I care to recall! Always glad and honored to have you here. :)

    Yep—though he won't know it for another few thousand years, the closing of that one door did lead to the opening of another. At this particular point, though, it's not just Levi's absence that's hitting him so hard, of course, because nonattachment is a Standard Jedi Thing, after all; it's the whole circumstances around it, and Master Jagoda's attitude about the whole thing particularly twists the knife in the wound. =((

    Oh yes, this part wasn't easy to write. It's just one loss after another for this family at this point—and what makes it hurt all the more is the fact that Ruhamma will never know that her husband wasn't actually totally lost, and that Saadya knows she knows that, if that makes sense. =((

    You know, it hadn't really occurred to me either until @Raissa Baiard told me some things she had read about other people's fanon extrapolations of Ezra's lack of education, and it of course made perfect sense, so took her advice in incorporating it here. :) I always love writing a good shopkeeper, as you know, and I know that used book sellers can be some of the nicest shopkeepers out there—you don't go into that kind of business unless you love the books for themselves and for what they mean to other people, and not just for what you can sell them for, I think. [face_love] And of course Ezra's Ghostmates will be supportive and interested in this new find of his (even if they are thankful that the Loth-cats are only tooled)—and I could definitely picture Kanan being very intrigued and having his own deep conversations with Saadya!

    Well, you are most welcome, as always, and thank you so much for reading and for following it to the end—always a pleasure to have you here. ^:)^

    Thank you so much! I really appreciate your coming to check it out, and I'm so glad you liked it. Saadya's sketchbook may indeed resurface in future stories, depending on how things go. :)

    YES! Yes yes yes, right on! Thank you for bringing up the Myst games—I loved them, each one of them, and though it's been a very long time, I could totally see where they might have been a subconscious influence in my writing of this: books as link between past and present worlds. (Just like real-life ones can be, come to think of it! :D)

    Thank you so much once again, and great to have you here, too! :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018