Saga - PT Saga - Legends Song of Fate | Ἀνάγκη/Song!verse crossover | CW & Imperial Era AU series | 2023 Fanfic Olympics

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck , Jun 2, 2023.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Song of Fate

    Timeframe: Clone Wars and Imperial Era (21-0 BBY); however, since this is taking place in @Mira_Jade’s Song!verse where (AFAIK) there is no Battle of Yavin, I’ll also be giving dates relative to her story An Old Song Re-Sung (AOSRS), which is the mother of all the AU and diverges from canon at the end of RotS.

    Continuity: New Canon/Legends mash-up AU

    Length: Series of interconnected one-shots

    Genre: Drama, adventure, family, friendship, happy-end AU

    Characters: Ayesha Eskari (OC), CT-5597/Jesse, Quinlan Vos (Legends version), Anakin Skywalker, misc. other OCs and ECs

    Summary: An alternate version of Ayesha’s younger years, framed by two key encounters

    Notes: Phew, where do I even begin? The very first idea for this series of stories came from the drabble set titled Theirs to Live and Thrive that @Mira_Jade wrote for the 2023 Kessel Run Challenge. In her sprawling AU known as the Song!verse, clone CT-5597 a.k.a. Jesse becomes an artist after the end of the Clone Wars, and Mira gave me permission to bring the various artists from my Ἀνάγκη!verse into her ‘verse to meet him. It all kind of snowballed from there, and here I am with a series of ficlets that is bound to continue even after the Olympics challenge is over. Long story short, for those who aren’t familiar with either ‘verse and are wondering what the heck is going on in this disruption of the space-time continuum:

    • The Song!verse is a happy-end AU created by Mira in which Anakin Skywalker didn’t make dumb choices and didn’t turn to the dark side. At the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine was defeated and disappeared until further notice; the Jedi Order was reformed to allow for attachments and families, with the Temple moving to Ossus; and the clones of the Grand Army of the Republic became full-fledged citizens and were given the option to retire and move into civilian life. Many of them seized the opportunity, and Jesse in particular decided to move to Alderaan in order to study art.
    • The Ἀνάγκη!verse is a Legends-compliant collection of stories covering the period 29 BBY - 9 ABY (and a few bits and pieces beyond). Its protagonist, my OC Ayesha Eskari, is a talented artist who gets bounced around (in a rather unpleasant way) by the vagaries of galactic history. She eventually meets and falls in love with Thrawn, and it all ends in tragedy – but since the present collection of stories takes place in the Song!verse, all’s well that ends well, in this thread at least.
    I am including links to the complete collection of both the Song!verse and the Ἀνάγκη!verse behind the spoiler tag below; I will further be indicating the particular stories to which my ‘crossover’ entries tie in at the beginning of each post.

    The Song!verse by Mira_Jade
    “An Old Song, Re-Sung” – a complete RoTS AU short story where, to quote Mira: Anakin is not dumb and Sithy.
    “Her Still, Small Voice” – a WIP Mara Jade origins story
    "Even Without a Voice" – Ahsoka's WIP companion story to Anakin's in diary format, picking up right from her leaving the Jedi Order through just after the subverted events of RoTS.
    "In That There That Isn't Here" – a WIP Sintas Vel diary
    "All That's Unsung" – a complete short story, set 3 years post-RoTS, featuring Anakin and Padmé trying to have a date night, and Rex and Ahsoka babysitting the toddler twins.
    "So Few Things" – a WIP novel, set five years post-RoTS, focusing on Bly/Aayla Secura after the subverted events of Order 66.
    "Color Me Pink" – a complete short story written for the 2020 April Fools Challenge, set about 13 years post-RoTS; it mainly focuses on OC Rhysa and her relationship with Ezra Bridger with bonus married and happy Aayla Secura/Bly on the side.
    "Your Heart Will Catch Its Breath Again" – a WIP short story, set 16 years post-RoTS, featuring Zaed (Darth Maul) and Mara Jade
    "We Claim Our Own Landscape" – a short story set about 20 years post-RoTS, where Han meets the parents.
    "Antigravity" – a collection of stories written for the 2023 Kessel Run.
    "And Dances With the Lilliadils" – the first (and hopefully not last) crossover story written by Mira, where Jesse meets my (Chyn’s) OC Nazmat Koch
    Furthermore, various odds and ends can be found in “The Rest is Silence”, "Our Love of Constellations", "She Says in Parentheses", "The Look of Love", "Cut Into Little Stars", "The Courage of Stars", and "From Such Infinite Space".

    The Ἀνάγκη!verse by yours truly
    Outcast – Ayesha’s childhood during the Clone Wars
    The Family Holos – Ayesha’s preteen and teen years with her Wookiee family
    La Bohème – Ayesha and her friends as students of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts
    Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond Sway – the main story
    Awakenings – the happy-end sequel to the main story
    The Lost Artist – the next generation, or, how Ayesha and Thrawn’s daughter met the galaxy
    Intermezzi I – misc. bits and pieces from the Ἀνάγκη!verse
    Intermezzi II – more misc. bits and pieces from the Ἀνάγκη!verse

    Challenge response: This thread is a response to the 2023 Fan Fiction Summer Olympics. My entries for this challenge consist of a decathlon featuring my OC Ayesha Eskari and Jesse, a triathlon centred on Quinlan Vos and a pentathlon revolving around artists and artworks. I clearly must have thought that writing three events for this challenge wasn’t challenging enough, so I decided to not repeat prompts between events. The complete list of selected prompts is behind the spoiler tag; I will further indicate the specific prompt(s) I am using at the beginning of each post.

    • Single Sentence Shot Put: A story told in a single sentence about your character, family, friendship or couple.
    • Rugby 7’s: Write a story of 7x7 sentences.
    • 100 Word Sprint: A 100 word drabble about your character, family, friendship or couple using any theme.
    • 110 Word Hurdle: Exactly 110 words in which the name or names of your character, family, friendship or couple aren’t mentioned.
    • 200 Freestyle: An exactly 200 word story about your character, family, friendship or couple with a free choice of any theme.
    • High Dive: Write a story of 500 or more words of dialogue-free introspection.
    • 4x100 Relay: 4x100 word drabbles of exactly 100 words each on the four types of love (affection, intimacy, friendship, and charity) as experienced by your character, family, friendship or couple in one post.
    • 400 Word Cross Country: Exactly 400 words about your character, couple, family or friendship with any theme.
    • Rhythmic Gymnastics Drabbles: Write 5x100 word drabbles each exactly 100 words for the prompts Ribbon, Rope, Hoop, Ball, and Rhythm.
    • Fantastical Fencing: A story of at least 100 words involving your character, family, friendship or couple in which something fantastical happens.
    • 1500 Word Dash: An exactly 1500 word story about your character, family, friendship or couple with any theme.
    • Equestrian Cross-Country: Jump the following hurdles by writing a story of 400 or more words. You must include the story element of a chasm to cross; the words Reined, Fence, Hunter; and include or take inspiration from the line of dialogue, “Only the strongest shoulders can carry the hopes of a nation.” (– Katie Taylor, Irish boxer and 2012 gold medalist)
    • Prime Time Coverage: Minimum 500 words of action, adventure, or excitement with your chosen character, friendship, family or couple as the star.
    • 3x3 Basketball: Write 3x300 word stories. Use the prompts Synergy, Toil, and Dauntless for your triple drabbles. Each story should be exactly 300 words long.
    • AU Archery: A story of at least 100 words set in an alternate universe with your character, family, friendship, or couple.
    • Tennis Match: Write a story of 100 or more words that is dialogue-only to create a true volley of words.
    • Judo: In Japanese the word “ju-do” means “the way of suppleness”, referring to the story of the tree branch “bending” under the weight of the snow and not breaking. Write a story of 100 or more words where your character shows “the way of suppleness.”
    • Synchronized Swimming: Write a story between 230-500 words in length inspired by a song of your choice.

    Table of contents
    Encounter (I) – a nameless street urchin encounters a clone with artistic tendencies (Ayesha & Jesse decathlon, 100 Word Sprint + Single Sentence Shot Put + 110 Word Hurdle + 400 Word Cross Country)
    Rescue: part I, part II, part III – Quinlan Vos to the rescue! (Quinlan Vos Triathlon, Equestrian Cross-Country)
    Vision – Ahsoka Tano commissions a monument to the world that was not (Artists & Artworks Pentathlon, High Dive)
    Recollection – an impromptu art lesson is cut short when Anakin Skywalker turns up (Ayesha & Jesse Decathlon, Fantastical Fencing)
    Conversation – that clone memorial on Ossus needs something extra (Artists & Artworks Pentathlon, Synchronised Swimming)
    Retribution – Quin and Anakin go on an investigation on Zygerria (Quinlan Vos Triathlon, Prime Time Coverage)
    Acknowledgement – Quin & family attend Bly & Aayla's wedding (Quinlan Vos Triathlon, Tennis Match)
    Confession – Jesse inaugurates his first solo exhibition on Alderaan (Ayesha & Jesse Decathlon, Judo)
    Correspondence – preparations are under way for the Chancellor Organa Fellowship for the Arts (Artists & Artworks Pentathlon, Rugby 7's)
    Keynote – an unexpected speaker at the Galactic Academy of Fine Arts (Ayesha & Jesse Decathlon, 4 x 100 Relay + Rhythmic Gymnastics Drabbles)
    Recognition – a posse of padawans interrupts Ayesha and Tashi as they work on their end-of-school projects (Artists & Artworks Pentathlon, 1500 Wod Dash)
    Bestowal – Jesse is now in charge of managing the selection of the next Chancellor Organa Fellow for the Arts (Ayesha & Jesse Decathlon, 3 x 3 Basketball + 200 Freestyle)
    Encounter (II) – an art aficionado visits Ayesha in the Northern Lights room (Artists & Artworks Pentathlon, AU Archery)
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2023
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Event: Ayesha & Jesse Decathlon
    Characters: Ayesha Eskari (OC), CT-5597/Jesse
    Timeframe: 2 years before AOSRS (21 BBY), six months or so after the Slaves of the Republic comic series
    Related stories in the Ἀνάγκη!verse: this story takes place a few weeks before (and leads directly into) The Dancer and the Thief
    Related stories in the Song!verse: this story takes place a year or so before And Dances with the Lilliadils
    Prompts: 100 Word Sprint, Single Sentence Shot Put, 110 Word Hurdle, 400 Word Cross Country (1st, 2nd and 3rd paragraph and rest of the story, respectively)
    Word count: 100 + 86 + 110 + 400 = 696


    Encounter (I)

    With its bustling shops, busy cafés and crowded stalls where vendors hawked all manners of wares, Kadavo Alley was truly the heart of the Zygerrian neighbourhood on Coruscant. It was said that the Zygerrians who lived here, in the Uscru Entertainment District, were loyal citizens of the Republic and that they had forsaken all ties to the Slave Empire, but the child knew better. It became painfully obvious how right she was when a turbolift arrived and discharged a platoon of clone troopers. The street suddenly went very quiet, and shoppers and sellers alike gave the newcomers a wide berth.

    To the girl, the men in white armour meant freedom and safety: it was they who had arrived on the heels of the Jedi and rescued her from the Zygerrian queen’s palace where she was held in chains; and while they had left her to her own devices once they reached Coruscant, the only thing that mattered was that she wasn’t tethered to a slavemaster anymore and that soon, very soon, she’d be able to move to another neighbourhood and leave all things Zygerrian behind her.

    For now, however, she had to stay here. Zygerrian shops played Zygerrian music – the only music she knew how to dance to. She’d eked out a living in this fashion for the past few months, collecting alms from the audience that gathered to watch her; but today, with an armoured Republic trooper standing guard across the street, there would be no audience to speak of. She kept going until the end of the song that was blaring from the shop’s loudspeakers, and when the dance was over, she saw that the man had pulled out a scraped-together, hand-sewn flimsipad with a scavenged plastoid cover and he was scribbling in it.

    She collected her earnings from the cup on the pavement – it wasn’t much, not even enough to buy food – and went to leave when she noticed something else: a compartment of his utility belt was open. Within it, she could glimpse a ration bar.

    It wasn’t right to steal, but she didn’t want to go hungry again. Surely the army had enough food for its men? They’d given her lots of ration bars on the ship from Zygerria.

    She walked straight up to him. “Hey, Mister!”

    The trooper looked up. It was a bit intimidating not to be able to see his face and he had a big Republic crest painted on his helmet, but she edged closer anyway, pretending to look at the pad. She was almost level with him when the sight on the page stopped her dead in her tracks.

    He had drawn her – drawn her as she was dancing.

    For a moment she forgot about the ration bar. Her small hand reached for the sketchpad. “It’s… it’s pretty,” she stuttered.

    The man twitched ever so slightly, as if in surprise. “Thanks, kid.” Was that a smile she could sense in his voice? “You’re a good dancer. What’s your name?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t have one. What’s yours?”

    The helmet tilted to the side. “I don’t have one either,” he said a little hesitantly.

    She stayed there for a few seconds, shifting on her feet and wondering if she should pretend to trip over and bump into him, when a gloved finger reached out and traced the yellow marking on her cheekbone. “What’s this?”

    “It’s a qukuuf,” she said proudly. “My Mama gave it to me.”

    He dug in his utility belt for a piece of charcoal. His hand brushed against the ration bar; it was protruding a bit more now. He added a faint smudge to the sketch. “What do you think?”

    She took a step forward for a better look and swiped the bar from his belt. He didn’t seem to notice. She grinned. “It’s astral.”

    You’re astral,” he answered; and she was sure that he was smiling under his helmet now.

    “Thanks, Mister!” And she skipped away happily.

    She unwrapped the ration bar once she’d rounded the corner and ate it ravenously, but it didn’t satisfy her hunger. It was only later that she understood that what she truly yearned for was the drawing.


    Wookieepedia links
    Uscru Entertainment District
    Zygerrian Slave Empire
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2023
    Kahara, divapilot, whiskers and 3 others like this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic encounter as Jesse captures Ayesha's grace and fluidity and she doesn't even know that it's her he's drawing and then she discovers at the end that it's the drawing she craves. :) Very poignant that they each claim to not have a name, each for vastly different reasons.

  4. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004


    Again, I am honored beyond words that you were ever inspired to imagine your characters in my 'verse - let alone write for them to such a large degree! I don't think there's a higher compliment you can give a fan fic author - I mean, we're all here because we were inspired by the stories of others and wanted to add our own voice, right? Anyway, I'm just grinning such a stupid grin for this first meeting between Ayesha and Jesse, and something tells me that I'm going to continue to do so for all of the stories in this collection! I just . . . thank you! I am so, so unbelievably stoked to read more!

    I have more I want to comment on, and I will be back to do so soon, but I wanted to start with saying that much! :D [face_love] [:D]
  5. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Clash of Titans Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
  6. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    Great story!

    "She shrugged. “I don’t have one. What’s yours?”

    The helmet tilted to the side. “I don’t have one either,” he said a little hesitantly."

    Ah, that's sad...
  7. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Of course. Because it's equally important to feed the soul, as well as the body (and mind).

    I will have to take some time this summer and read the background stories concerning Ayesha Eskari, although that's not really necessary for this piece, as it stands alone quite well. Quite the surprise for Ayesha, when she sees what the clone trooper is drawing.

    This was lovely. I look forward to the rest of this decathlon.
  8. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    The nascent bond feels very right ... and the both of them having no names ... :([:D]
  9. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022

    I love that these very different characters connect by having something in common; they both have been dehumanized their whole lives, and they're trying to reclaim themselves. The clone trooper is aware of this, but the girl is learning what she is missing by the way that he treats her.

    He's just a sweetie pie. I like him!

    I love their voices here; they're both just the cutest!

    I love how succinctly you describe her realization of her need to be seen as a person and treated with dignity, her developing sense of self, and how this glimpse of unconditional positive regard is vital for her emotional development. You also show how desperate need interferes with a person's ability to form relationships; while it appears to me as a reader that the clone trooper would not judge her for taking his ration bar because she is obviously hungry, she could easily be too ashamed or afraid to face him again after this.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of these characters, and this was a fantastic introduction!
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I have to start posting my next story for this thread, because it's grown so long that I need to break it up into three parts and that's throwing me off-schedule. But first, a few replies!

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you! As soon as I began to read about Jesse in Mira's fics I thought that he should meet Ayesha at some point, and I soon realised that one thing they had in common, other than being artists, was that at one point of their lives they didn't have names – as you said, for very different reasons, but this is something that they will bond over when they meet again!

    @Mira_Jade Thanks! I should be the one to thank you for letting me play in your sandbox. This is such a wonderful experience, and I hope you'll enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoy writing them. And don't worry about commenting; I know that DRL has just laid a siege [:D]

    @earlybird-obi-wan Thanks! I love the Song!verse so much too, and I'm super-excited to be writing in it.

    @whiskers Thank you! These characters aren't in the best place right now, but over time that's going to change.

    @Seldes_Katne Thank you! Being the child of a poet, Ayesha should understand the importance of "feeding the soul", as you said, even at this young age, but life has thrown her a curveball and she hasn't had many opportunities for that so far. But things will be looking up... soon!

    As for making time to read the other stories concerning Ayesha Eskari, I should warn you that the main story, Ἀνάγκη, is nearly 400,000 words, so you're going to need a lot of time indeed! 8-} However, I have e-book versions of the first two parts, and if you do get that far, shoot me a PM and I'll give myself a kick in the butt and make an e-book for part 3 as well.

    @pronker Thanks! I really feel that these two are meant to be friends, in this 'verse at least. And they will acquire names in due time!

    @UltramassiveUbersue Thank you for the comprehensive review!
    This is a great way of putting it! And what I find interesting is that, in reality, he's only three years older than her. But having been made as a clone, he has in some aspects the awareness of an adult, whereas she's a normal child and she has to grow into it.
    I would say that both are true at the same time. This isn't a major spoiler since this is a decathlon, so you already know that these two characters will meet again, but indeed Ayesha will be torn between a desire to see this clone again because he saw her as a person, and the shame of having stolen from him. What I'm not going to spoil is the surprise she's in for when she meets him again.

    Thanks again to readers, reviewers and lurkers! The next story is coming right up, with Quinlan Vos making his olympic entrance.
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Event: Quinlan Vos Triathlon
    Characters: Quinlan Vos, Tholme, Paraseel Malki (OC), a bunch of Vos family OCs
    Timeframe: a few months after AOSRS and the end of the Clone Wars (18 BBY)
    Related stories in the Ἀνάγκη!verse: The events of The Dancer and the Thief, The Name of the Ancestor, The Bad Jedi, The Day of the Founders and The Taking of the Firstborns, which take place during the Clone Wars, happen between Encounter (I) and this story. However, they shouldn’t be required reading, as I tried to include the necessary background info in the text of this story (which accounts for the rather lengthy exposition sequence in part 1). Furthermore, an AU version (sans Jedi Purge) of Unexpected Parenthood and the beginning of The Crib take place shortly before the epilogue of this story, but again, it shouldn’t be necessary to read them in order to understand what happens here.
    Related stories in the Song!verse: This story borrows worldbuilding elements from So Few Things, most of which are detailed in the chapter endnotes for The Day of the Founders. It also borrows the line ‘the Dark must be fed’ from chapter 2 of Your Heart Will Catch Its Breath Again and combines it with my fanon about the Dark Side power Soul Drain (this being a typical case of ‘great minds think alike’, since these two concepts fit together seamlessly).
    Prompt: Equestrian Cross-Country
    Word count: 2562 (part I) + 2427 (part II) + 3085 (part III)
    Note: Because this story is running away from me, I’m posting it in three parts.



    Part I

    The back alley was deserted, as was most of the city of Krete at this time of night. The single candle flickering behind the lucarne told Quinlan Vos that the coast was clear. He leapt over the fence, crouched in a corner of the garden and reached out with the Force. Once he was confident that his arrival on Kiffu had gone unnoticed, he made his way to the kitchen door.

    He had expected to find himself in the presence of Manôl Vos. Instead, it was a young woman who let him in. She was wearing Guardian armour and the yellow line running over her cheekbones identified her as a member of his very own subclan. His hand went reflexively to his lightsaber – he was a wanted man on his homeworld since he had murdered his aunt, Sheyf of Sheyfs Tinté Vos, in a moment of dark fury during the Clone Wars – but he could sense no threat emanating from her; instead, she stepped aside and gestured for him to come in. “Manôl-bek will see you now, Quinlan-hoja,” she said, addressing him with the Kiffar honorific for ‘master’, a word he hadn’t heard in years. “He has been looking forward to your arrival.”

    The house was as he remembered it from the day he had brought Ayesha to Kiffu, with austere yet patrician furnishings and decoration. Ayesha’s grandfather Manôl was the bek of the Kunisu, one of the most prestigious subclans of the Vos, and as such he was the custodian of the ancient double-bitted axe crafted by none other than the founder of Clan Vos and passed across the generations. The Pelekys remained a symbol of status amidst the Kiffar, but, to the elderly man’s credit, instead of displaying it prominently to dazzle his visitors with his claim to nobility, he kept it safely tucked away in one of the carved chests that adorned the hallway, and he brought it out only for important occasions and planetary holidays where it should be available for all to see.

    Manôl was waiting for Quin in his living area, and the first thing the Jedi noticed was how diminished he appeared to be since their last encounter. The past two-odd years might as well have been twenty. His wrinkled face sagged in tired lines, his hair had turned a dull shade of white and his back, which had once been ramrod-straight, remained hunched as he stood up with some difficulty to greet his visitor; but his bright blue eyes remained as sharp and inquisitive as ever. He sat down immediately again and motioned for Quin to follow suit.

    “Welcome, Quinlan, and thank you for coming. I understand that this was not an easy decision for you, but your help is sorely needed.”

    Quin lowered himself in one of the armchairs and took in his surroundings. The room was impeccably tidy, but the sense of homeliness it had conveyed in the past was gone. There was something indefinable that gave him the impression that housekeeping was now in the hands of a droid. A bundle of cloth occupied one of the low tables, whose purpose would no doubt be explained to him, as Manôl wasn’t one to leave things lying around. The young woman who led him in brought refreshments and sat on the couch near a tall, barrel-chested man who was also wearing Guardian armour and bore the same single qukuuf as Manôl under his left eye. Both appeared to be in their mid-twenties; the sleeping infant in the man’s arms was presumably their child.

    “This is Fanees Vos of the Kunisu and his wife Sawdé of the Zakoro,” Manôl said, gesturing towards them. “And their son Vaseel.”

    Quin looked around again. The house was awfully quiet. “Where’s Ayesha?”

    The elderly man paled a little. “Ayesha is… not here.”

    The man called Fanees looked at him intently. “Are you aware of developments since your last… visit to this planet, Quinlan-hoja?”

    ‘Visit’ was a polite way of putting it, Quin thought. “The Separatists engineered a civil war,” he said. “Last I checked they’d been pushed back to the Ghor. I’m told the Guardians and a Republic contingent are fighting them there and have them cornered.”

    Manôl nodded. “That is an accurate summary of what happened. But there are… important details about which we must fill you in.” He glanced at Sawdé, prompting her to continue.

    “The civil war – the actual fighting – was quite brief,” she said reluctantly. “It only lasted a few weeks. We understand now that the Separatists’ plan wasn’t so much to conquer Kiffu as it was to force us into neutrality during the Clone Wars. To achieve that, they abducted the children of leaders of the Republican faction and took them away.”

    Quin felt a pang of worry. “They took Ayesha?”

    Manôl could only nod; Sawdé bowed her head in shame. “Yes,” Fanees said simply. “Paraseel Malki has been holding her – and scores of other children – in his fortress in the Ghor for the past two years.”

    The Jedi experienced a surge of anger. “And you didn’t think to contact me earlier?”

    “You were not precisely easy to find during the Clone Wars, Quinlan,” Manôl Vos said calmly. He paused for a moment, letting all the unspoken implications float in the air, and Quin understood that the old man was fully aware of his dubious activities during the conflict. “I reached out to you as soon as the opportunity presented itself. However, as you know…” His voice trailed off as he searched for the right words.

    “As you know, bringing you over is fraught with risk because the authorities of this planet consider you a murderer,” Fanees said bluntly.

    Quin saw in the corner of his eye that Sawdé laid a hand on her husband’s arm and looked at him reproachfully. “We also believe that there is more to Ayesha’s abduction than mere Separatist strategy,” she said before Quin could reply. “She was specifically targeted by Paraseel Malki during the Taking of the Firstborns. He led the attack on Vrea’s Hill himself and forced his way into this house to take her. Once he had her, his clan and vassals retreated and let the rest of us fight it out.”

    “And he destroyed the Pelekys,” Fanees added. “He sliced off one of the blades with a lightsaber.”

    Tears welled up in Manôl’s eyes. “This is something I brought upon her. I designated her as the next custodian of the Pelekys during the Day of the Founders. I was hoping to secure her place in our community against those who claimed that the child of an offworlder could not be a true Kiffar. In doing this, I made her a target.”

    By now, Quin was seething. “How could you fail so badly, old man? She’s your granddaughter, for Force’s sake.”

    Fanees’s eyes narrowed. “And she is your namechild,” he snapped back. “If we are to apportion blame for failing to protect her, you failed too. Miserably.” He paused. “Of course, being a kinslayer who couldn’t fight the Republic’s war on his own homeworld didn’t help,” he added, his tone dripping with bitter irony. “But that would be part of your failure, wouldn’t it?”

    Sawdé went to protest, but Manôl Vos raised a hand to stop the bickering before Quin could let out the acid retort he was preparing. “I did fail, Quinlan. I do not deny it. In my defence, I will say that events far beyond my reach were in motion and led to the situation where a tired old man couldn’t confront her would-be kidnapper. But I am aware that this is no excuse. I had the opportunity to take her to a safer place, or even off-world, and I did not do it. This is a burden of guilt that will never leave me, even if she were returned to me unharmed.” He took a deep breath. “Sadly, I have every reason to believe that she was grievously harmed. I can only hope that the damage to her beautiful soul isn’t irreparable.”

    The Jedi stood up and paced the room to collect himself. “Explain,” he finally grumbled.

    His hosts looked at each other. It was Fanees who finally spoke. “Over the past two years, Paraseel Malki released a few hostages – slowly, one by one, as if to remind us that he has them. These children are… empty. They’re catatonic. They appear to be otherwise in good health, but they have no communication with the world.”

    At this, Quin couldn’t prevent the blood from draining from his face. He knew everything about Paraseel Malki and his methods – they’d both been members of Count Dooku’s inner circle of Sith Acolytes during the Clone Wars, although he certainly wouldn’t admit as much to this particular audience – and he fully understood that there was no coming back for those hostages. “Did he release Ayesha like that?” He didn’t even try to keep the tremor out of his voice.

    “No. He still has her. He sends holovids of her to Manôl-bek’s private comm, as if to taunt him. They show her screaming uncontrollably and writhing in pain, although he doesn’t appear to be doing anything to her – not in that moment, at least. We assume that this is the stage that precedes catatonia, but it has been going on for a very long time.”

    Quin brushed aside the unspoken question. “Why aren’t the Guardians storming his fortress?”

    “There are two obstacles to this course of action,” Manôl explained. “First, Ayesha and a number of other hostages are inside. This means that attacking from the air is impossible, but also that exceedingly aggressive action might give Malki an incentive to harm the children in retaliation.”

    Quinlan snorted. “Does anyone really think he’s not harming them anyway?”

    “No,” the elderly man conceded. “But the hostages’ families live in the hope that their children will be returned to them whole. Those that were released in a catatonic state are still in the central hospital, and our healers are no closer to finding a cure to restore them to health.”

    The Jedi shook his head. “They can’t be restored to health. They’re empty shells now. They’re as good as dead.”

    His tone was so cold that the temperature in the room seemed to drop by several degrees. “How do you know?” Sawdé asked.

    He stared at the wall, his face stony. “I know.”

    There was a long silence. “At any rate, Ayesha is not catatonic, or wasn’t as of two days ago, when Manôl-bek received the last holovid,” Fanees said once it became clear that Quin wouldn’t elaborate. “This is reason enough to seek to rescue her before Malki can make her so.”

    “There are also political considerations,” Manôl added. “The Republic demanded that Sheyf Keanos uphold the Universal Rights of Sentients to the letter as the price for its assistance. This means that he cannot make all of Clan Malki – tens of thousands of men, women and children – join the Forgotten. Sheyf Keanos offered this as a gesture of goodwill to the Malki herdspeople and their vassals, and they agreed to suspend caravans to the fortress in exchange for forgiveness. He even offered an amnesty to those who are holed up inside if they surrender.”

    “I take it that they refused.”

    “A few thought to accept, apparently. Paraseel Malki catapulted their heads into the Ghor.”

    There was another silence. “Right,” Quin said. “So basically, the only solution the Republic and the Guardians have is to besiege the fortress, and that doesn’t exclude that Malki will drain the kids, but we’re hoping it makes it unlikely. Is that right?”

    “In a nutshell, yes.”

    “Fine. Find me a transport to the Ghor. I’ll infiltrate the fortress and take him out.”

    Fanees smirked. “We will infiltrate the fortress, Quinlan-hoja,” he said when the Jedi threw him a sour look. “You cannot do this alone.”

    “What I can’t do is babysit you while I’m fighting a Sith Acolyte,” he retorted. “You leave this to me.”

    Manôl Vos raised his hand again. “You are refusing the help of two of the most skilled and well-trained Guardians, Quinlan. They may not be able to fight a Sith Acolyte, but they will provide valuable assistance against those of Malki’s followers who are still loyal to him.”

    “And we’ve been planning this for some time,” Sawdé added. “We can help you with the infiltration of the fortress, we can watch your back while you’re inside, and we can open the gates for the army to come in and rescue the hostages – which isn’t something you can do, since the Guardians have orders to shoot you on sight.”

    Fanees placed the baby in his wife’s arms and rose to his full height. “I know that you of the Zakoro have a reputation for stubbornness, Quinlan-hoja,” he said, forcing a conciliatory tone. “But we of the Kunisu have a saying that ‘only the strongest shoulders can carry the hopes of the Kiffar’, and you will find no shoulders stronger than mine on this world. Sawdé and I will not be an impediment to your mission. On the contrary, there is support that only we can provide.”

    Quin stared at them for a moment. “How come you two aren’t out there with the army?”

    Sawdé gave him a sad smile. “Officially, we’re on parental leave.” She nodded towards the infant in her arms.

    “And unofficially?”

    “Unofficially… I was in charge of our defences when Malki’s forces stormed Vrea’s Hill for the Taking for the Firstborns. It was a bloodbath. Brother killed brother. Kin killed kin. Our leadership acknowledges that the responsibility for this rests squarely with Malki and his commanders, yet the blood that was spilled by our warriors is ultimately on my hands. I don’t expect that the Guardians will trust me again with anything more soldierly than patrol duty.”

    Quin nodded slowly. Her subdued attitude and her husband’s aggression made sense now. “What about your kid?”

    “Manôl-bek will take care of him. He is Vaseel’s namegiver. Our duty is to defeat Paraseel Malki and his henchmen and ensure that their coming after any of the children of Kiffu is no more within the realm of possibility.”

    The Jedi allowed for a silence. “Right. I take it that you have a plan?”

    At this, Sawdé brightened up a little. “We do.”

    “Then let’s go. You can explain it to me on the way.”

    “One more thing before you leave,” Manôl intervened. He reached for the bundle of cloth on the table and unwrapped it to display a double-bitted axe. One of the curved blades was ornamented with elaborate carvings, the other was plain, smooth iron. “I reforged the Pelekys in preparation for this day. I would like you to take it.”

    Quin lifted the historical artefact. It was surprisingly heavy in his hand. “Do you expect me to kill Paraseel Malki with this?”

    A flash of anger crossed the old man’s azure eyes. “I do not expect you to kill him at all, Quinlan. Imprisonment on Kiffex will be a suitable punishment for him. Nor do I wish for the Vos axe to vanquish the Malki blade. You said that Sheyf Paraseel is a Sith Acolyte. Let the Pelekys leave the hands of Clan Vos and become a symbol of the Republic’s victory against the workings of the Dark.”


    Fanon notes and Wookieepedia links

    For those who aren’t familiar with Quinlan Vos, he’s a Kiffar Jedi who is a dumpster fire of a human being. In a nutshell, he was tasked with infiltrating Count Dooku’s inner circle during the Clone Wars and had several close brushes with the Dark Side. One of them entailed killing his aunt Tinté Vos, who was the ruler of Kiffu. He is also Ayesha’s namegiver, as seen in The Name of the Ancestor.

    As mentioned in the introductory notes, this story borrows elements of Mira_Jade’s fanon about Kiffu from her story So Few Things and intermingles it with my own. In particular, Mira imagined the capital city of Kiffu, Krete, as a space!version of Minoan Crete, which is why I decided to make the historical relic owned by Clan Vos a double-bladed axe, the Pelekys. This story further borrows from Mira the toponym Vrea’s Hill and the name of the new sheyf, Keanos Vos, as well as the concept of Universal Rights of Sentients in this AU version of the Republic after the Clone Wars.

    For my part, I contributed the idea that Clan Vos is split into several subclans, of which two are the Kunisu (named after the Minoan city of Knossos) and the Zakoro (named after Zakros). These subclans are identified by the shape of their qukuuf, the facial markings of the Kiffar. The Forgotten, created by Mira, are members of clans that were defeated during the many inter-clan wars of the history of Kiffu, and bear no qukuuf as their clans were erased from existence. I further developed a series of civilian and military titles that define one’s place in the social hierarchy based on Turkish words; the two that appear in this chapter are bek (from bey) and hoja (from hoca).

    The Ghor is my fanon; it is a desert-like valley in the south of the continent modelled after the Jordan Valley/Dead Sea region of Palestine (‘ghor’ means ‘valley’ in Arabic). That region of Kiffu is inhabited by (fanon) Clan Malki and their vassals, a population of cattle herders who roam the desert with their dune banthas. Paraseel Malki is an OC who is the sheyf of Clan Malki. I am yet to write the story in which he starts a civil war and invades Krete; all you need to know about it is that it takes place shortly after The Day of the Founders, some two years before this story. For more fanon details, please refer to The Day of the Founders and its extensive endnotes.

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2023 at 1:27 AM
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb first part full of tension, recriminations and enough guilt to go around. A very dire situation but I'm glad there's a plan that's being put in motion.
  13. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Clash of Titans Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    Vos in a situation but he has a plan to solve it. Quinlan is a great character to write about
  14. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Well played, and well thought out, leader man. Ahah, how gratifying to read of Vos and the Acolytes once more; I'm looking forward to seeing Tholme again, as well. Keep your chin up, little one! Help is on the way!
  15. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    I love a good Quinlan fic. Loved the details of it all.
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha @earlybird-obi-wan @pronker @whiskers! I love writing Quinlan Vos so much. I mean, he's not a very likeable person (and that's a major understatement) but he's such a great character, with that grumpy mood and that bluntness that's so unlike a Jedi. Plus, that story arc with the Acolytes is just a treasure trove waiting to be mined for goodies.

    Thanks again, and thank you to everyone who stopped by to read! Next chapter coming up as soon as I'm done with the formatting and endnotes.
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014

    Part II

    Everything had gone according to plan so far, and Sawdé could only hope that their good fortune would keep up after sunrise when the truly challenging part of their little expedition began. Hiding their features – and in particular the yellow qukuuf that marked them as members of Clan Vos – had been easy, given the habit of the people of the Ghor to cover their face with the length of cloth that hung from their turban, and they were still wearing it now to avoid inhaling too much dust as they galloped through the desert. Their contacts in the lowland city of Ariha – members of Clan Abdi, a vassal entity of the Malki who had grown disgruntled with the sheyf – had delivered everything they had promised, and a small herd of dune banthas, of which three were saddled and reined, had been waiting for them on the outskirts of town near the well of Aynessiltan. All they’d had to do was to mount them and take off towards the east. And now, as Kiffex sank under the horizon and the dark sky turned pitch-black, she directed their little troupe to one of the rock formations at the foot of which the nomadic travellers who roamed these barren lands took shelter for the night. She was relieved to find that the spot the Abdi had indicated was indeed deserted. The Force – or sheer, dumb luck – was with them.

    She climbed down from her bantha and unloaded her travel pack. Fanees was already setting up the radiant heat unit that would keep them warm; as residents of the coastal region, they were unused to the bitter cold of the night in the scrublands of Urdun. Quinlan-hoja stood for a moment with his eyes closed – he did that from time to time, as if trying to collect himself – and came up to her. “Do we really have to stop?” he asked in his gruff manner. “There’s enough starlight to keep going without torches or glowrods.”

    Sawdé shook her head. “The cattlemen never travel after Kiffex goes down. A herd of banthas on the move in the middle of the night would attract unwanted attention. They say Paraseel Malki buried sensors in the sand to keep track of unusual comings and goings.”

    Her answer was apparently good enough for him, and he went back to his usual sulky demeanour as they sat around the heater and munched on their ration bars. “We need to get what rest we can,” Fanees said to break the uneasy silence. “We move at first light.”

    They wrapped themselves in their blankets, and Sawdé forced herself to remain still so as not to disturb her husband, but sleep did not come. Like every night, unbidden memories of the Taking of the Firstborns invited themselves to the forefront of her mind as soon as she closed her eyes, and she preferred to keep them open rather than relive her greatest failure when she was on the cusp of putting things right at last. She simply lay there for what might have been several hours, gazing at the stars, when the faintest shifting of the sand attracted her attention. She craned her neck and saw that Quinlan-hoja wasn’t sleeping either. He was sitting with his back against the rock and staring into the void.

    She untangled herself carefully from Fanees’s embrace and tiptoed up to him. “May I join you?”

    He merely tilted his head, inviting her to sit at his side. There was a long silence. “Your plan to infiltrate the fortress is ridiculously simple,” he said finally. “How come the Guardians or the Republic didn’t try it already?”

    “It’s pointless to seek to travel these parts without expert knowledge from the locals, and the Guardians and the Republic have no friends in the Ghor,” she explained. “The people who helped us procure these banthas, who showed me the best approach route and its secrets, and who gave us the blueprints for the fortress – Clan Abdi – they hate Sheyf Paraseel and they want him dead. But they don’t trust the Guardians to protect them if the infiltration fails. And they have a point. Krete left them under the yoke of the Malki for generations. For all practical purposes, they were slaves, and we were completely indifferent to their plight. They wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out they were escaping the Malki only to join the Forgotten.”

    The Jedi arched an eyebrow. “You said Sheyf Keanos committed not to do that.”

    “He did. They’ll believe it when they see it.”

    He looked at her for a moment. “So why do they trust you?” he challenged.

    She sighed. “Because I am an outcast, Quinlan-hoja. After what happened during the Taking of the Firstborns, I expected to join the Forgotten myself. And there are many of my kin – my own brother, even – who would still like to see it happen. My father was next in line to become bek of the Zakoro. He surrendered his claim to the position in exchange for keeping me in the subclan.” She bit back the tears that were welling up in her eyes. “The people of the Ghor know this. They know that, if this plan fails, my life will be on the line together with theirs. And they trust me for it.”

    “I imagine it took you time to cultivate the contacts you have here.”

    “It did.”

    The Jedi nodded approvingly and returned to gazing into the distance. There was another silence. “Quinlan-hoja, if I may –”

    “Drop the ‘hoja’, kid,” he interrupted with a grin that threw her a little off-balance. “It’s just Quin.”

    She gave him a small smile of her own. “Quin,” she repeated. “Quin, if I may ask… In Manôl-bek’s house, while we were talking about what happened… you said that Paraseel Malki ‘drains’ the hostages. That’s the word you used. What does it mean?”

    The Jedi immediately reverted to a stony expression, and for several long minutes he stared into the night again without saying a word. Sawdé was wondering if she had somehow offended him with her question when he finally began to speak. “The Dark Side must be fed. When you’re a Jedi, when you serve the Light… the Force is self-sustaining. It keeps you going, it keeps you alive. But when you turn to the Dark, you need to find sustenance outside yourself. And there’s a Force power – one that stems from the Dark Side. Very few know of it. It was created by Darth Sidious, and he taught it to his minions. Or, I should say, he tried to teach it. Fortunately, few of them could master it. Unfortunately, Paraseel Malki is one of those who could.” He turned his head to face her, and there was a haunted look in his eyes. “They call it Soul Drain. It’s what it says on the tin. Draining another being’s soul – their life force – to keep yourself alive.”

    Sawdé was horrified. “Like the Anzati?”

    “In a manner of speaking, yes. Sidious learned it from them.”

    The young woman’s jaw worked for a moment, but no sound came out. “You want to ask how I know this,” Quin said wryly.

    She bowed her head. “I do. But only if you are willing to discuss it.”

    He went back to gazing at the desert. “Most Jedi served as generals during the war. But me – I was given a different assignment. I was asked to infiltrate Dooku’s inner circle and find out who his master was. And that’s what I did.”

    “So…” Sawdé hesitated a little. This conversation was becoming distinctly uncomfortable, but she decided to plough ahead regardless. “So you pretended to be one of them.”

    The Jedi snorted. “You can’t just ‘pretend’ that you’re a Sith Acolyte, kid. They expect you to prove it. And to prove it, you have to learn those unnatural powers, and you have to kill.” He turned to face her again, and this time his eyes were as hard as the rock behind them. “So I learned. And I killed. I killed Tinté, and I killed Senator Viento, and I killed many, many more. Some of them deserved it. Most were innocent. But I killed, regardless. And I became one of them. I became a double agent. But then, I was still able to see some of the Light. So I became a triple agent.” He grinned, but his smile was so bitter that she wanted to cry. “Don’t ask how I kept it straight. I didn’t. What master I was serving… it changed from day to day, from hour to hour. I just killed and killed again. And it was all for nothing. I didn’t even come close to finding Sidious. Skywalker did.” He allowed for a long pause. “You think you have blood on your hands, kid? Just look at mine. Whatever happened on your watch, it wasn’t your choice. But I had a choice, and I did it anyway. That’s what your husband was trying to tell you when he was having a go at me.”

    Sawdé felt her cheeks burn. “I apologise about that, Quinlan-hoja. Fanees is exceedingly principled and –”

    He raised a hand to stop her. “Don’t apologise. He’s a good man. You should listen to him.” He winked. “And you should really call me Quin. I was never much of a hoja in the first place.” He glanced to the east, where the faintest glow of purple had appeared on the horizon, and stood up. “Time to go. The sun is coming up.”

    Sawdé pulled herself to her feet and went to wake up Fanees. She found him lying flat on his back, his eyes wide open, gazing at the stars. He must have heard the entire conversation, and he was visibly as unsettled as she was. They collected their belongings in silence and prepared to leave, but before they mounted their banthas, the young man turned to Quin. The hostility in his stance was gone. “Let us end this now, Quinlan-hoja,” he said in his deep voice. “Let us close this chapter of our histories once and for all.”

    * * *

    Sawdé’s plan was impeccable, Quin had to give it to her; and as they approached their destination he understood why it would have been impossible to elaborate it without the locals’ age-old secrets. Clan Abdi’s transhumance trail took them just past the Malki stronghold, and they arrived at the rock formation closest to the fortress at the precise time of day when the sun was highest in the sky and any pastoralist in their right mind would pause and wait for the heat to subside a little. They went through the motions of corralling their herd, and, once they had created an illusion of plausibility to their movements, they gathered by a cave entrance that was little more than a crack. “There is a tunnel here that will bring us within reach of the walls,” Sawdé explained. “The colour of our clothing should make us virtually undetectable in the desert unless someone is watching this particular approach very carefully, but I’d rather we avoid moving in the open for as long as possible.”

    “What about acoustic detectors? Heat signatures?”

    At this she grinned. “That’s the good thing about arriving on foot in the middle of the day. The sand itself is so hot that any sensors would shut down.” She reverted to a more sombre demeanour. “The Republic tried to airdrop troops in this area to besiege the fortress from both sides. Malki’s gunners just shot them out of the sky.”

    Quin adjusted the harness that was strapped to his back, sheathed the Pelekys in place and followed the young woman into the dark shaft. She was moving quickly and silently, with the steady step of a hunter in the wild, and half an hour later Quin saw a dim glow that grew brighter as they went on. Within minutes, they stood on the other side of the rocky elevation, a few hundred metres away from the fortress itself. “Ready?”

    “Let’s go.”

    They sprinted across the sandy expanse. Quin called upon the Force to enhance his jump over the deep moat that surrounded the fortress and bring him to the window Sawdé had indicated half-way up the walls. He saw in the corner of his eye that Fanees had given her a push to reinforce the momentum of her own leap, and he seized her in the air and levitated her to his side. The young man then shot a grappling gun with unerring precision and pulled himself up, and moments later all three stood in a deserted corridor.

    Quin closed his eyes and reached out. The wave of anger and loathing that hit him was so brutal that he nearly doubled over. “Quinlan-hoja?” Fanees enquired.

    “He knows we’re here,” Quin stuttered. “He knows I’m here.”


    “Paraseel Malki.”

    “Are you certain?”

    “I’m certain.”

    “Should we abort?”

    “No!” Quin said forcefully. “No. We won’t get another shot at this. We’re just going to tweak our plan.” He took a few deep breaths. “He’s in the tower over there. I’m going to find him. Forget about watching my back. You two are heading straight down.” He looked at Sawdé intently. “Listen to me, kid. Don’t kill if you don’t have to, but don’t hesitate to kill if it’s going to keep you alive. You won’t find redemption in death. You’ll find redemption in freeing the hostages. Do you understand?”

    She nodded uncertainly. “Do we know that the children are held in the lower levels?” Fanees asked.

    The Jedi shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. You want to go straight to the main gate and open it wide for the Guardians and the clones to come in. They’ll take care of the rest.”

    Fanees squared his shoulders. “We will await your signal.”

    “Don’t wait. Just open the gate. The sooner the army gets in here, the better.”

    “But Quin,” Sawdé objected. “The Guardians will come after you.”

    Quin shrugged. “Then I guess I’ll just have to beat Malki before they make it to the tower.”

    “What if you don’t?”

    He gave her a cocky grin. “I’m a Jedi, kid. Of course I’ll beat him. C’mon now, shoo! We don’t have all day.”

    He watched them take a few reluctant steps away from him, and he was about to leave in the opposite direction, when Fanees turned back and looked at him. “Quinlan-hoja,” he said quietly. “May the Force be with you.”

    Quin nodded. “And with you. Now go.”


    Fanon notes and Wookieepedia links

    As stated above, the Ghor (my fanon) is a word borrowed from Arabic. It means ‘valley’ and in the real world it refers in particular to the Jordan Valley/Dead Sea area after which I modelled this arid area of Kiffu. Accordingly, the main city of the region is Ariha (named after Jericho in Arabic) outside of which one can find the well of Aynessiltan (named after Ein es-Sultan, the Spring of Elisha). I named the wider desert to the east Urdun (after Jordan) which further gave me the idea of a sandy desert dotted with rock formations (Wadi Rum). I imagine the population of this region to be mostly nomads who herd dune banthas.

    Clans Malki and Abdi are also my fanon. The name of Clan Malki, which is the dominant clan in this region, comes from the Arabic word for ‘royal’; the name of Clan Abdi comes from the word for ‘slave’.

    The idea that Kiffu is part of the Republic but still very jealous of its sovereignty was developed by Mira_Jade for her story So Few Things. To this, I added the particular politics of the Ghor, where Clan Malki, which is a very powerful clan among the Kiffar, was allowed a free hand in the region under their control in exchange for not challenging the leadership of Clan Vos on a planetary scale.

    As mentioned in the opening notes, the idea that “the Dark must be fed” is borrowed word-for-word from Your Heart Will Catch Its Breath Again. It’s such a great phrase Mira found there, and it fits perfectly with my Dark Side power Soul Drain, which, in my fanon, was developed by the Sith in conjunction with the Anzati.

    Lastly, Senator Viento, together with Tinté Vos, was one of Quin’s victims during his brush with the Dark Side in the SW: Republic comics.

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2023
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    I loved the exchange between Quin and Sawdé. Their candor with each other helped forge a level of trust and respect. Yikes, the plan has gone a bit sideways but it's still in hand, hopefully. I like Sawdé and Fanees and hope they get out safely.

    Quin's resolve is admirable no less because it's absolutely necessary to take down Malki once and for all.

    I love your fanon additions. They enrich the overall SW-ness excellently. @};- :)
  19. pronker

    pronker Force Ghost star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    I'm enjoying how the two are getting to know Quin's manner, or lack of it. It's taken this little 'camping out together' time to enable this.[face_idea][face_idea][face_idea]
  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Clash of Titans Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    A cliffie. I hope Quin will defeat Malki
  21. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    What I will sometimes do is copy/paste a story into a Word document and save it to a flash drive; then I can read and make comments as I get the time. Once I'm done, I post the comments and delete the Word document. So I don't mind working my way through 400,000 words as long as no one is in a hurry.

    I remember reading one or two of his story arcs back when Darkhorse published the SW Prequel comics (yes, I'm old), although I don't remember the arc where he infiltrated a Sith Lord's organization. I remember Quinlan struggling with the dark side more than once, but whoever assigned him that duty needs to take a lot of the responsibility.

    In the meantime, Parts 1 and 2 of "The Rescue" are well written and easy enough to follow. There's some great character development, especially with Sawdé. Had to laugh at Quinlan's “I’m a Jedi, kid. Of course I’ll beat him." Nothing like a good dose of self-confidence, even if it's just played for the audience. Looking forward to Part III, while I go look up the backstory for these pieces.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
  22. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    "“But Quin,” Sawdé objected. “The Guardians will come after you.”

    Quin shrugged. “Then I guess I’ll just have to beat Malki before they make it to the tower.”"

    Yep, that's Quinlan alright!
  23. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for reading and reviewing! It's time to wrap up this story, because I need to keep up the pace here if I want to post everything I have planned by the end of July (though I should be updating every 5-6 days rather than every 3 in the future, unless of course another story decides to be a multi-post). A few replies!

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you!
    These two have something in common, and I guess it's good they decided to admit it before the mission was over.
    Fanees and Sawdé are such a typical example of OCs that took on a life of their own. When I created them for The Day of the Founders, I thought that it would be a one-off appearance. Then I decided to bring them back in this series and I was planning to kill them off. And now I like them so much that I don't exclude giving them a thread of their own in the future!
    Thanks again!

    @pronker Thank you!
    "Lack of it" is definitely the appropriate description. This is why I love writing Quin; he just doesn't act like what you'd expect from a Jedi most of the time.

    @earlybird-obi-wan Thanks!
    Well, given that he still has two stories to go in this triathlon, we already know that he's getting out of this alive :)

    @Seldes_Katne Thank you!
    I know, right? There are so many situations with the PT Jedi Order that make you wonder, "wait, really, you thought that this was the right person for the job?" It's almost as if they were trying to get people to turn to the Dark Side.
    Thanks again! You'll find all the backstory you need on the Quinlan Vos Legends page on the Wook, although I'm not sure you need more detail than what I have here already. FYI Paraseel Malki is an OC that I inserted in this storyline, so everything that happens on Kiffu is stuff I made up.

    As for Ἀνάγκη, I'm really honoured that you're even considering to put the effort in reading it, so thanks again! If you ever get around to doing that, make sure to PM me; I'll send you a Word doc so that you don't need to copy-paste 100+ chapters from the boards.

    @whiskers Thank you!
    [face_laugh] Yeah, he's just such a show-off!

    Thanks again to all readers, reviewers and lurkers! Next (and final) chapter coming right up.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2023
  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014

    Part III

    There were no obstacles on Quin’s way as he stalked along the corridors towards the tower. All he could sense ahead of him were Malki’s fury and loathing, a whirlwind of pain and fear that felt like a warped version of Ayesha, and a few blanks in the Force that he couldn’t quite identify but assumed were other hostages that had already been drained of their souls. On the other hand, the turmoil he could perceive in the lower levels – and the echo of blasters and scuffles in the distance – told him that Sawdé and Fanees had made contact with the fortress’s defenders and were fighting their way through. This was, most definitely, a trap.

    Fortunately, springing traps had always been his forte, and the couple didn’t seem to require his assistance. He focused his Force sense on them for a moment and caught a glimpse of Fanees lifting one of Malki’s minions off the ground and thrusting him into an incoming group. They collapsed like a set of rumble-pins, and Sawdé leapt out of the shadows to finish them off. Quin grinned. The young man’s massive stature certainly came in handy in close quarters, and he and his wife made a flawless team. He returned his attention to the tower and pressed forward.

    The stench hit him in the face as he turned the last corner of the old-fashioned stairwell. The room ahead reeked of faeces, urine and what might well have been putrefying flesh. A sense of dread washed over him. He took a deep, calming breath and stepped inside.

    It was a large, circular chamber lined with cots and cribs, and in each bed he could make out a child that was staring indifferently at the ceiling. Their faces were entirely blank, as if their minds had been wiped out. Several had soiled themselves and hadn’t been changed for days, and ooze was dripping from their linens. Amidst them stood Ayesha – pale, skinny and visibly defeated, far too small and frail for a ten-year-old, but still in possession of her soul, or at least of enough of it to be able to interact with her surroundings. As soon as she saw him, she recoiled in terror and let out a heartrending scream.

    Quin took a brisk step in her direction. A cold voice stopped him dead in his tracks. “Now, now, Vos. Where are your manners? Aren’t you going to greet your gracious host?”

    He spun on his heel to find himself facing Paraseel Malki. The Sith Acolyte looked as malevolent as ever; his eyes had a dirty yellow tinge and his skin was weathered and sallow, an unmistakable sign of the wear that the Dark side inflicted upon its adepts when they ran out of suitable offerings to keep themselves alive. A deep wrinkle cut though the three vertical red lines tattooed on his forehead. “Talk about the quacta calling the stifling slimy,” Quin grumbled to contain his anger. “Don’t you know that you should clean up when you’re expecting guests?”

    Paraseel took a step forward. “Cleaning is your niece’s department – or was, I should say. I wanted to make sure that you saw what I made of her before I took her soul. Now that you’re here” – he unsheathed the golden dagger hanging from his belt, an item that Quin immediately recognised as the historical weapon of the founder of Clan Malki – “she’s of no use to me, and I’ll deal with her as soon as you’re dead.”

    The Jedi remained motionless. “You should grow a moustache, Malki. You need to be able to twirl it if you’re going to put up this nerf-and-Wookiee show for me.”

    “Ah. The famed Vos irony. You disappoint me, Quinlan. Where is the drive, where is the passion you displayed before you betrayed the Separatist cause? I used to think of you as a worthy opponent. Now, killing you will merely be an afterthought.” He raised a hand towards Ayesha. “I see that I need to give you an incentive to make this worth my while.”

    A tsunami of pain and terror washed over Quin as the little girl fell writhing to the ground. “Do you feel it, Vos?” he heard Malki say somewhere very far away as the Acolyte forced Ayesha’s agony into his mind, stabbing him with a thousand needles. “Do you feel what I did to her?”

    Rage and fury bubbled up in his heart. He unsheathed the Pelekys from the harness on his back, ignited his lightsaber and sprang forward.

    * * *

    Something was happening in the fortress. Tholme could feel it.

    The army mustered by the Kiffu Guardians and the small contingent of clones supplied by the Republic to reinforce them had been camping in the Ghor for months without making any progress at all. Paraseel Malki had apparently stockpiled enough supplies to last him a lifetime and he steadfastly refused to engage in negotiations, going as far as to decapitate those of his followers who thought to surrender and hurl their heads over the walls. He hadn’t even gone to the trouble of releasing any hostages, as he used to do before the end of the Clone Wars. Every time Tholme had reached out in an attempt to discern what was happening inside, his reading had been the same: a cesspit of dark emotions and depravity for the sheyf; a halo of fear and disheartenment around his men; a whirlwind of dread and pain from a source he couldn’t identify; and a a series of gaps in the living tissue of the Force, as if a presence that should have been there had gone missing. Nothing had changed, day after day after day.

    But today – today was different. Tholme could sense excitement, and determination, and hope emanating from the stone walls, and the acoustic sensors that his clones had established around the perimeter indicated that there was far more movement than usual inside the impregnable building – and even what might have been blaster fire. He was about to go and report this to the general of the Guardians when he felt anger swelling like a tidal wave, a surge of emotion that was all too familiar. This wasn’t the product of one of Paraseel Malki’s murderous sprees. Tholme knew precisely one man whose anger had this particular flavour. This was Quin.

    Why his old padawan had made his way to Kiffu, where he was a wanted man, and how he had infiltrated the fortress didn’t matter. What mattered was that he was now battling the Sith Acolyte. From what few interactions he’d had with Malki over a holocom, Tholme knew that the man was positively infuriating, and he had no doubt that he had pressed all the right buttons and driven Quin to a state of mindless rage.

    The general of the Guardians would have to wait for her update. Tholme sat at the sensor console, closed his eyes and immersed himself in the Force.

    * * *

    He wasn’t a man anymore. He was a storm unleashed, a cyclone of anger and hatred that blocked, parried and struck with both his lightsaber and the Pelekys as he sought to take Malki down, but the Sith Acolyte was always a step ahead of him, evading his attacks and deflecting his blows, all the while feeding Ayesha’s pain into his mind and taunting him in that faraway voice. “You could have achieved greatness if you’d embraced the Dark Side, Quinlan Vos. You could have led us all. Instead, you always held back. And for what? You lost. I took your niece, I destroyed her light. I won’t only take her soul when this is over. I’ll take yours too.”

    A shove sent him tumbling backwards; he rolled on his side and crouched, getting ready to leap at Malki once more, when a sudden presence in his mind stopped him dead in his tracks. It was nudging forth memories of his mother and father, of Khaleen and Korto; of Aayla reminding him that he was a being of light; of Dex and Ayesha and the little girl’s smile upon accepting his gift of a name; of his duel against Sora Bulq, when he’d let the Force flow through him and guide his movements; of the moment of Palpatine’s defeat, when the veil of darkness was suddenly lifted from his heart. His old master’s voice was whispering in his ear, like it had done before, and it was telling him that…

    He stood up. “I am a Jedi.”

    Malki sent another wave of the child’s agony in his direction. “You are. You are a pathetic, pitiful Jedi.”

    Quin grinned. “No. You don’t understand. You could never. I am a Jedi.” And he opened himself to the Force.

    Time and space seemed to shrink and dilate at once as he took a step towards his opponent and engaged him again. With his wits about him, it took him only moments to understand that he had been trained in the art of Makashi by none other than Dooku himself – but the Sith Acolyte was nowhere as skilled as his teacher, and Quin could anticipate his every move with ridiculous ease. He was able to send a stream of tranquillity towards Ayesha – Malki’s mental onslaught against her had faltered now that he had to focus all of his attention on Quin – and he spared a thought for Fanees and Sawdé. He sensed Tholme joining in his effort, and after a moment he felt his master recede from his mind and concentrate on the battle in the lower levels of the fortress.

    He brought himself back to the here and now to realise that he had pushed Malki up a staircase. The Acolyte stood on the roof of the tower, the yellow shine of his eyes incongruously bright in the blazing sun, his face contorted in rage. “Will you come out, Vos?” he asked mockingly. “Will you come out for all of Kiffu to see the kinslayer? You can’t win this. Either I’ll kill you, or the Guardians will.”

    Quin didn’t hesitate. “Oh well. How is it that they put it here in the Ghor? In for a bantha, in for the herd.” And he launched himself at his opponent once more.

    For all its heft, the Pelekys felt light in his hand now, as if generations of Vos were holding it together with him to parry the strikes of Malki’s dagger. The two metal weapons shone in the sunlight, while the lightsabers sizzled against each other as each tried to gain the upper hand. Quin had the Acolyte neatly cornered when a commotion rose from the desert below. A single glance over the crenellated walls told him that the clones and the Guardians had broken formation and were running towards the fortress’s doors.

    He gave his opponent a wicked grin. “Sorry, pal. I’m gonna have to bail.”

    He wrapped his lightsaber around Malki’s and disarmed him with a flourish and, as the other man sought to come around and stab him with the dagger, he dropped into a crouch and spun on his heel, letting the weight of the Pelekys carry him. The flat of the axe smashed into the Acolyte’s knees, his bones broke with a sickening crunch, and he collapsed in a heap on the stone floor.

    Quin straightened himself and took a deep breath. He then stepped forward, kicked away the Malki dagger and gave the defeated sheyf a pat on the shoulder. “I told you. You could never understand. I am a Jedi.”

    * * *

    The general of the Guardians was visibly torn between her desire to reprimand Fanees and Sawdé for undertaking an unauthorised mission and her relief at the fact that, thanks to them, the months-long siege of the Malki fortress was finally over. She settled for resuming her interrogation.

    “So you had no outside help?”

    “We took advice from Manôl-bek of the Kunisu, Rawyé-basha,” Sawdé said. “He was determined to see his granddaughter again and he gave us all the assistance we needed. His experience proved invaluable.”

    “How did you cross the Ghor?”

    “Manôl-bek purchased a small herd of dune banthas. We followed the transhumance trails and rode them to the back of the fortress.”

    “And how did you get in?”

    “We used a grappling gun and lifted ourselves to one of the windows. It should still be there.”

    “And once you were inside…?”

    “We fought our way to the main gate.”

    “Just the two of you?”

    Sawdé nodded. “Just the two of us, although I’d argue that Fanees-chawoosh counts for several. But Malki’s people were rather demoralised. They didn’t put up much of a fight.”

    Rawyé-basha frowned. She obviously wasn’t buying the younger woman’s explanation at all. “We caught glimpses of a lightsaber duel on the top of the tower,” she said accusingly.

    Sawdé’s eyes widened. “I don’t know about that.”

    Fanees had known his wife for seven years; he’d been married to her for nearly three; and yet, he was discovering now that she was an extremely good liar. “Really?” the general asked sarcastically. “Paraseel Malki claims that Quinlan Vos was here.”

    Sawdé allowed her eyes to widen even further. “With respect, Rawyé-basha, that seems rather unlikely. How would the kinslayer have arrived on Kiffu without anyone taking notice?”

    “I must second Sawdé-aqa in this,” Jedi Master Tholme intervened. “Quinlan was my padawan. I would be able to sense his presence if he were nearby. This sounds very much like the sort of lie Paraseel Malki would tell to sow further discord among the Kiffar.”

    The general gave him a sour look. “I take it that you also have an explanation for the Pelekys being in the tower where the hostages were held, Master Jedi?”

    “I can answer that, if you’ll allow me, Rawyé-basha,” Fanees intervened. “I found that room during our exploration of the fortress, but there was nothing I could do for the children. I chose to leave the Pelekys there to give them hope.”

    “You thought that the Pelekys would bring hope to a roomful of catatonic children?”

    The young man allowed himself a small shrug. “The Pelekys is a sacred symbol. I thought I was acting for the best.”

    Rawyé-basha was already preparing her next question – and Fanees knew full well that there were far too many holes in their tale for it to hold water – when a clone trooper walked in and handed Tholme a datapad. “Excellent,” the Jedi said after glancing at it and tapping a few keys. “Rawyé-basha, the children have all been identified and listed. Shall we proceed with the evacuation? The Republic’s medical craft stand ready to assist.”

    The general of the Guardians gave the young couple a last glare, took the datapad and walked out majestically. Fanees and Sawdé were about to follow her when Tholme called them back.

    “You’ll be disappointed to hear that Manôl-bek’s granddaughter Ayesha Eskari wasn’t found among the hostages,” he said, observing them closely.

    At this, Sawdé jolted and Fanees gasped. “She’s not here?”

    “No. However…” The Jedi dug into the pocket of his robes and extracted a dried leaf. “I found this in the tower, together with the Pelekys. Do you know what it is?”

    Sawdé turned it around in her hands for a better look. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It doesn’t come from a tree native to Kiffu.”

    Tholme grinned. “Not from Kiffu indeed. This is a whoshyr leaf from Kashyyyk. Any idea how it made its way here?”

    Fanees looked at the Jedi master and noticed the mischievous twinkle in his organic eye. He placed an arm around his wife’s shoulders and smiled back. “No. No idea whatsoever.”

    * * *

    Quin knocked on the door of Ayesha’s bedroom and opened it slowly, so as not to startle her. The little girl still had a long way to go to recover from her ordeal, and the talkative, bubbly child he had met three years ago on Coruscant was gone. Instead, she was quiet and reserved; she tended to keep to herself and sit on her own; and even the smallest unexpected jolt could send her into a fit of panic. As usual, she was sitting on her bed, but she somehow relaxed her death grip on the wooden Wookiee doll that her adoptive brother Rabarruk had carved for her when she saw her uncle. He stepped inside and gave her his best smile. “Hey kid! There’s someone here who wants to see you. Can I tell him to come in?”

    The child nodded, and he stepped aside to make way for Manôl Vos. The surge of emotion from Ayesha hit Quin like a tidal wave. She had no mental barriers to speak of after the torture that Paraseel Malki had inflicted upon her, and she was broadcasting her feelings so loudly that he wondered how others could fail to sense them. The sight of her grandfather brought her overwhelming joy, but also sheer terror. Terror won, and she recoiled a little. “Are you going to take me back to Kiffu, Jeddo?”

    The elderly man lowered himself to his knees to bring himself to her height. “No, Ayesha,” he said soothingly. “No, I am not. I just met your Wookiee family, and I can see that they love you very much. I think that you love them too, and that you can be happy with them.” She nodded uncertainly. “I came to Kashyyyk,” Manôl continued, “because Quinlan and Khaleen offered that I come and live with them. I would like to be able to see you” – he faltered – “if you’ll have me.”

    The wave of terror receded instantly and was replaced with elation and love. Ayesha launched herself from her bed and flung her arms around her grandfather. He hesitated for a fraction of a second before returning her hug. “We will be alright,” he whispered again and again as tears rolled down his cheeks. “We – you will be alright.”

    Quin knew that Manôl Vos wasn’t one for public displays of emotion, and he retreated discreetly towards the hallway. The old man’s words were true. It would be a long and arduous journey, but Ayesha would recover, and both he and her grandfather would give their lives to ensure that the Dark never touched her again. He closed the door and made his way to the neighbouring treehouse where Khaleen, Yakooboo and Rabarruk were putting the final touches to Manôl-bek’s room, and he recovered little Korto from Messiri’s embrace. Yes, he thought. They would be alright.


    Fanon notes and Wookieepedia links

    As I probably already mentioned, the idea of a civil war on Kiffu after Tinté’s assassination is my fanon. To this I added here the idea of a delicate balance between Republic membership and sovereignty concerns that Mira_Jade developed in So Few Things.

    This chapter refers extensively to the last several issues of the Star Wars: Republic comics, where Quin is very close to surrendering to the dark side while duelling Sora Bulq, and Aayla and Tholme go into meditation to assist him to return to the light. The comics also establish that Quin, Khaleen and Korto settle on Kashyyyk after the war, although in this AU they don’t need to be in hiding.

    Makashi is Count Dooku’s favoured form of lightsaber combat. It foregoes the acrobatics for a technique closer to fencing that’s supposed to be more efficient in close quarter combat.

    Lastly, a few more of my Ottoman-inspired titles make an appearance in this chapter, namely chawoosh (from the Turkish çavuş), which I intend to mean a non-commissioned officer, aqa (from the Turkish ağa), which I intend to mean a commissioned officer, and basha (from pasha), which I intend to mean a general.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2023
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Riveting excellent action of the duel and assist from Tholme to bring Quin back from the brink. Touching and wonderful final scene. =D= You can feel Ayesha's tenuous but definite equilibrium. Being enfolded in a loving family will certainly help the healing process.
    Kahara and earlybird-obi-wan like this.