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Saga - OT The Drabatan Lady Downstairs (Pao, OCs; Memorable Melodies Roulette)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman , May 10, 2020.

  1. Findswoman

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

    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: The Drabatan Lady Downstairs
    Era: Late Saga—PT / early Saga—OT
    Characters: Paodok’Draba’Takat “Pao,” his mother (Lualani’Draba’Takiil “Lua”, OC), and an unnamed OC
    Genre: vignette, drama (I guess?), mother-son feels
    Summary: The tenant of the upstairs apartment has long learned to tune out her loud-voiced downstairs neighbor—and then overhears a conversation downstairs that is different from any that have come before it.
    Notes: It’s only been two and a half years or so, but I finally, finally managed an entry for @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha’s Memorable Melodies Roulette challenge! The song I received was “You’ll Be in My Heart”:

    And since it is a mother-son story, I thought it fitting to have it ready for Mother’s Day, and I dedicate it to all the mothers among us here on JCF. @};-
    Once again, I thank @Raissa Baiard, herself an excellent mom, for beta reading and feedback. @};-

    A Drabatan lady lived downstairs. She was the owner of the seamstress shop on the ground floor of the building, and she occupied the apartment directly behind it. She was older and lived alone.

    And the tenant of the upstairs apartment always knew when the Drabatan lady had company.

    It was not only that the building was old and that the floors and walls were thin. Nor was it only that the tenant of the upstairs apartment belonged to a species with extremely acute hearing, though that certainly intensified matters. It was that the Drabatan lady had a very loud voice and a very distinctive habit of speaking SOME words LOUDER THAN others. (It was a characteristic of the Drabatese language, she had explained once: different volume levels gave the same combination of sounds different meanings. Gak’te’rekezp, for example, meant “compassion,” but GAK’TE’REKEZP meant “foam rubber.”)

    So when the Drabatan lady had one of her fellow older lady friends over for tea and gossip in the early evening, or the whole group of ladies over on Taungsday nights to play galactic tiles, the tenant of the upstairs apartment could hear everything, and in particular every word the Drabatan lady uttered: every AMUSING story she told, every piece OF JUICY gossip she shared, every single TILE she called.

    The tenant of the upstairs apartment quickly became used to it, not to mention extremely adept at tuning it out.

    Then, one day, the Drabatan lady downstairs was visited by a voice that was different than any of the others: male, much younger, and also with the distinctive habit of speaking SOME words LOUDER THAN others. The tenant of the upstairs apartment remembered that her downstairs neighbor had mentioned a son, and had once shown her a holo of him. Was this he?

    She perked up her sensitive ears and listened, intrigued. She did not understand the language being spoken. But had she been able to, she would have heard something like this:

    “Oh Paodok’DRABA’Takat’Tu, my BOY, you really THINK you DO it? Really?”

    Mi’Draba, Mother, I MUST. There’s NOTHING else I can DO back HOME. The Em—they’ve—IT’S GONE too FAR.”

    “But you really GO JOIN the—”

    “Shh, Mi’Draba! NOT SO loud! Who KNOWS who’s listening!”

    “Sorry, my BOY. I SO sorry. Your old Mi just in AWE! ’Cause you SO BRAVE!”

    “But I’m NOT BRAVE, Mi’Draba... I’m scared to death! I NOTHING but a lowly engineer, NOT some FREEDOM fighter—”


    “And WHAT if I NEVER COME back?”

    “Paao’Tuuuu! You NO talk that WAY! ’Course you WILL!”

    “But I CAN’T just GO ON like NOTHING happened, either, NOT after what they do TO US. Because it WASN’T just US they do that TO… SO many OTHER worlds! I had NO IDEA!—”

    (Something in his tone—which here rose to a wail—caused a spasm of sorrow to seize the tenant of the upstairs apartment. She drew a deep breath and took a fortifying drink of tea before listening on.)

    “—I MUST, Mi’Draba. NO WAY I let everything Sa’Kalla FOUGHT for—” A sudden choke in the voice, a long sigh, a high-pitched wavering in what followed. “SOMETIMES I still hear her VOICE…”

    “Paaao’DRABIIKI’Tuuu! COME here, COME close!” Another pause, a sound of shifting, a rustling. “You NO cry, DEAR Pao, DEAR BOY…”


    “COME here, my BOY. You KNOW what, if she was here NOW, she be SO proud of you, she be just BURSTING with LOVE… just like me, your old Mi. NO matter WHAT happen.” A long pause. “You SO brave, Pao’Takat’Tu. You can DO THIS, you just HOLD on.”

    “I hope SO, Mi… I hope SO.”

    There was silence for a few moments. Then one of the voices from downstairs (hers?) began a quiet but high-pitched keen. The other (his?) joined it in a lower but still quiet keen. The two keens twined, one now soaring above the other, one now dipping below, both now rising to a plangent swell.

    The tenant of the upstairs apartment could make out no words, but she knew that they were singing. She closed her eyes, and listened, and let her own sorrows rise upward on their melody.

    Lua first appeared in Shaman, Traveler, Oracle, chapter 8, and this visit from her son is mentioned in chapter 12. (I love working plot bunnies for some stories into other stories—it’s a great way to “take notes” and save them for later!)

    Incidentally, if you are familiar with Shaman, Traveler, Oracle, you will probably be able to guess the identity of the tenant of the upstairs apartment. There are various clues throughout this story as well.

    All the stuff having to do with the Drabatese language and the Drabatan characters’ speech patterns are based on my fanon interpretation of characteristics of the Drabatese language. (The words gak’te’rekezp and GAK’TE’REKEZP, their meanings, and the distinction between them are completely fanon.)

    Sa’Kalla:'Kalla. Her name becomes Pao’s battle cry at the Battle of Scarif. Although it’s not established in any way, I am playing with the idea that Pao loved her.
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful. I thought it was the seamstress. So her son had losses of a personal nature to mourn, which motivated him to join the freedom fighters/Rebels. [face_thinking] =D=
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  3. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Aww, it was heartwarming to be overhearing this moment for Lua and Pao. [face_love] I really like how you've elaborated on Pao's motivations for joining the Alliance. He is scared to go, but that's much more heroic than just diving in for the thrills. It's a bittersweet scene, knowing that he doesn't ultimately make it back from Scarif. But the love and concern that he and his mother show is beautiful. And I think I know who the upstairs neighbor with the sensitive hearing is too! No wonder that she feels so strongly connected to their heartaches. @};-
  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Nov 22, 1999
    How lovely to see Lua again! I enjoyed all the ladies of the Rose Evergreen, of course, but I have a soft spot for Lua, with her plainspoken practicality and the joy she takes in simple things like a well-turned hem (my mother is a seamstress, so I get that :D). Lua was always the mother hen of that group and here we see that she comes by that maternal bent naturally. This is such a bittersweet moment between her and Pao--sweet to see the pride Lua the has in him. She's not just being "mom" and saying the things that mothers are supposed to say when she says says she is in awe of his bravery. Lua sees his strength, even if Pao, in his grief and trepidation, can't at the moment. And it's sweet how she encourages him with simple words and holds him close, reminding him of her love and Sa'Kalla's (and knowing what happened to her, I can see why Pao is distraught).Lua never second guesses his decision, but helps him strengthen his resolve to do what's right.

    And it's bitter, because we readers know that Pao's strength and determination to what's right lead him to make the ultimate sacrifice. We know that this sweet moment singing together is the last one they'll share.:_| With her acute hearing and spiritual sensitivity, it's small wonder that the downstairs neighbor listening in is so moved by their duet.

    Thank you for this lovely vignette; it was a beautiful tale for Mother's Day.[:D]
  5. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    What a bittersweet story. Lua of course doesn't want Pao to place himself in the line of fire, but she understands his call to duty and responsibility. Still, she fears for his safety, like any mother would, and hopes for the best. Like most of the Rogue One characters, his story ends on Scarif, and her hopes are unfilled.

    Their final song together is so touching. A farewell song, a pre-emptive dirge. A mother's love outlasts her son. And of course, the "upstairs neighbor" feels the emotion and the sorrow that curls among the melody.
    Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  6. Findswoman

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

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

    Yep, that's the same seamstress from Shaman, Traveler, Oracle! :D (Which means you can probably guess who the tenant of the upstairs apartment is. ;) ) The part about Sa'Kalla--and Pao's connection to her--wasn't part of my original plan but rather came in the course of writing and just felt like it made sense, so I figured I'd play with it to see how it would go. :)

    Thanks so much! I'd been wanting to write this story for a long while and feel so glad that I finally managed to. I remember reading something from Pablo Hidalgo (I think it was) about Pao's motivations for joining the Rebellion--he just had that Pao was a simple engineer who felt like he had to do something about the Empire, and I figured I would expand on that and go into the mix of emotions someone like that would naturally feel under such circumstances. I think your guess might be right about the upstairs neighbor, too--even if she can't understand all the Drabatese words, she probably can understand the feelings that are coming through, and it definitely resonates with what she's been through. @};-

    Thank you! :) I really enjoyed returning to Lua and am so glad @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 's challenge gave me the opportunity to. :) The song fit to a tee, especially with the scenario of her son going off to join the Rebellion and having to overcome his uncertainty (and to never come back, as we know). I imagine him having remembering and poring over her simple, loving encouragement multiple times during his Alliance career, perhaps even in his final moments. =(( And yes, that neighbor can definitely tell even from just the tone of their song what kind of moment this is and can feel its resonance with her own experiences. (Besides, as we know, Drabatan songs are so beautiful that they need no translation anyway!)

    You're so very welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed the results! Thanks so much for your feedback along the way and for helping me get unstuck, and I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day too. @};-

    Thanks so much as always for reading and commenting! As a mother myself, I can only imagine what it would be like to have to say that kind of goodbye to my child, to have him go off into that kind of danger and uncertainty knowing I can't be there to help. (College, anyone? Just teasing! :p ) Hoping for the best is all one can do, indeed.

    Spot-one once again. @};- And there, too, I am sure he hummed that song to himself many times during his time in the Rebellion, perhaps even there on Scarif. I imagine it as a counterpart to...
    ...the keening lament Lua raises when she hears the news of Pao's death in Shaman, Traveler, Oracle, chapter 28. Note that that same neighbor is beside her then, too, also singing...
    Thanks so much again, as always, to all of you for reading, commenting, and being here! @};-
    Kahara, divapilot and Raissa Baiard like this.