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Saga - Legends The Family Holos | Ἀνάγκη prequel, OC backstory, Imperial era | One-shot & short story collection

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: The Family Holos

    Timeframe: 18 - 7 BBY

    Characters: Ayesha Eskari (OC), Quinlan Vos, Yakooboo (OC), Messiri (OC), Rabarruk (OC), Rumpacharet (OC) -- more details about my OCs can be found here.

    Genre: Drama

    Summary/Notes:

    In chapter 4 of Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond sway, Ayesha shows Thrawn five holos of herself with her adoptive family. These short fics are the background on how each one of these holos came to be.

    Unexpected Parenthood was originally posted in my Ramblings thread as a response to the OC Revolution Winter 2015 challenge. The idea to expand this into a series of ficlets for each one of the five holos came from Ewok Poet and Findswoman who suggested it in their comments, and I can't thank them enough [:D]

    ... And of course, the other person I can't thank enough is my wonderful beta-reader Nyota's Heart without whom my fics would never get posted, because I'd be spending too much time on checking the spelling, prepositions and punctuation [face_love]
     
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    This is a repost from my Ramblings thread -- the original post's reviews/comments can be found here. The only change I made to this story is to change Ayesha's age from eleven to ten, because I double-checked my timeline and eleven didn't work out [face_blush]

    This story was written in response to the Winter 2015 OC Revolution challenge:
    The holo referred to in this story is described as follows in chapter 4 of Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond sway:
    --------------------------------------------------

    Unexpected Parenthood

    Kashyyyk – A few months after the end of the Clone Wars

    She was an unusual child, Yakooboo mused as he climbed back to the inhabited levels of Kashyyyk with Ayesha in a leather harness on his chest. The little girl’s initial reaction at his appearance had been sheer terror. She had been sitting placidly at her Jedi uncle’s side – too placidly for a child of her age – gazing at the lush plant life in the late afternoon light filtering through the treetops several hundred metres above, when she caught a glimpse of his beady eyes between the leaves of an orga plant as he cautiously approached Quinlan Vos’s hidey-hole. She broke immediately into a panic attack so virulent that the Jedi had to ask Yakooboo to restrain her while he put her in a healing trance. For the following half-hour, the Wookiee carried Ayesha’s limp form on his shoulder while Vos led him hurriedly to another location, fearing that her cries might have attracted the Imperial garrison stationed on the planet. They finally reached another one of the Kiffar’s hideouts, a narrow crack in the trunk of a giant wroshyr tree. Vos stopped for a moment and closed his eyes – Yakooboo knew from previous experience that he was reaching out to the Force to see if they had been spotted – and slipped inside.

    Yakooboo watched as Quinlan Vos unrolled the sleeping mat fastened to his gear pack and laid Ayesha carefully on it. The child’s face now displayed the serenity of a very deep sleep, but he could see how worn out she seemed – just as Vos had warned she would be before he left to fetch her from Kiffu. There were deep, dark circles under her eyes, she was far too small and skinny for an ten-year-old, and her left wrist was a suppurating wound, as if it had been gnawed by an ikov. But Vos didn’t give him time to ask more questions, gesturing instead for him to take a step back and standing in front of Ayesha to block the Wookiee from view before he woke her up.

    Vos murmured reassuringly to Ayesha in a language Yakooboo didn’t understand, obviously to prepare her for the presence of the shaggy primate, until she sat up and looked at him with her big, dark eyes – eyes that looked dead. Her uncle sat at her side and wrapped an arm around her shoulders before inviting the Wookiee to crouch across from them. She shook her head vehemently when the Jedi told her that she would be staying with Yakooboo and his family and refused steadfastly to listen as Vos explained in great detail that he was a hunted man, that Imperial troops were looking for him and that he had a family to protect, but when he mentioned that bad people – the same bad people who had hurt her on Kiffu – would be coming after him, she shuddered so violently that Yakooboo expected her to have another seizure. Without any further argument, she stood up and slipped her small hand in Yakooboo’s paw. Vos rolled up the sleeping mat and extracted his palm grippers from his pack, and, with a last look at Ayesha and a nod to Yakooboo, he was gone.

    And now she was resting on Yakooboo’s chest as he climbed the last hundred metres to his village on the outskirts of Rwookrrorro, rumbling quietly the nursery rhyme he used to tell his son. The early part of the trip home had been uncomfortable for both – Ayesha was visibly terrified as the Wookiee travelled paw over paw on the Fifth Level, hanging underneath the horizontal branches to go unnoticed, and she was clutching his fur so tightly that he thought she would tear it out. But when he moved on to vertical travel, she began to relax, and by the time they reached the Sixth Level she had fallen asleep, just like Rabarruk used to when he was a tiny pup.

    The alleys of Rwookrrorro were dark and deserted when Yakooboo reached the tree trunk hollowed by his ancestors to make their home – as a matter of fact, they always seemed deserted since Palpatine had proclaimed himself Emperor a few months earlier. But the sadness that threatened to engulf him every time he saw the capital city of Kashyyyk transformed into a ghost town didn’t touch him that night, because his mind was made up. He woke Ayesha cautiously so as not to startle her, unstrapped the harness and handed her to his lifemate Messiri. The little girl sat quietly in the female Wookiee’s embrace, resting her head on her furry shoulder and gazing absently at the wall. As Yakooboo brought out the holographer to take a snapshot of his new daughter, he promised to himself that, in a few months or in a few years, those blank eyes would be sparkling and the child would be smiling again.

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

    Notes:

    The orga is a plant native to Kashyyyk. The ikov is a species of rodent predators, also from Kashyyyk.
     
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    This story was written in response to the OC Revolution Spring 2015 challenge:
    The holo referred to in this story is described as follows in chapter 4 of Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond sway:
    Because this fic turned out a bit longer than I intended it to be, I'll be posting it in two parts.

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

    The crib – Part I: Home

    Kashyyyk, 16 BBY

    Messiri took one last look at the Wookiee-sized crib where Ayesha was sleeping, curled up protectively around the tiny Wookiee pup. The little girl had come a long way from the skinny, frightened, almost feral child that Quinlan Vos had brought to Yakooboo on that distant day two years ago, but her transformation since Rumpacharet was born was nothing short of miraculous. The joy of Messiri’s pregnancy had at first been tampered by concern for Ayesha’s reaction – after all the difficulties in establishing a relationship of trust and affection with her, both of her adoptive parents were worried that their efforts might go to waste.

    In the early weeks of her stay in the Wookiee household, Ayesha had mostly kept to herself. She spent her days in the room Yakooboo had carved for her into the wroshyr trunk, staring wistfully at the lush forest outside the window, but she refused categorically to leave the treehouse when her parents or her elder brother Rabarruk offered to take her out. She hardly ever spoke unless spoken to, and she seemed terrified of physical contact to her head – Messiri’s first attempt at untangling her dirty, matted hair sent her into such a fit of panic that Yakooboo thought for a moment that he would have to bring in Quinlan Vos, despite the inherent danger of such a visit, to calm her down. And then there were the seizures she had from time to time, particularly at night. Her screams regularly pulled the family and even the neighbours out of bed at odd hours – gut-wrenching howls of fear and pain that didn’t sound remotely human – and Rabarruk, whose room communicated with hers, would find her crouching in a corner in the dark and biting her wrist as if her life depended on it. She always quieted down after the glowpanel was activated for her to see her surroundings, and Messiri patiently bandaged her wrist and tucked her back in bed.

    Things improved little by little over time – Ayesha began to understand Shyriiwook, she learned how to groom herself and allowed Messiri to braid her hair, Rabarruk was able to scavenge and repair a neuro-lamp for her bedroom, Yakooboo developed the habit of taking the little girl on his lap after dinner to tell her stories or recite poems – and the Wookiee couple were confident that Ayesha was beginning to feel at home, until the Festival of Stars came and Messiri volunteered to host a tribe reunion.

    Ayesha had still never left the treehouse and Messiri went to great pains to explain to her that many Wookiees would come and that they were all friends and relatives, but that she should feel free to go to her room for a break if the presence of such a large crowd made her uncomfortable. The Wookiee mother was at first pleasantly surprised by Ayesha’s reaction. The little girl insisted to stay in the common room as guests began to arrive and even stepped forward timidly to one of the younger pups and offered to share her toy – a delicate Wookiee-shaped wooden doll that Rabarruk had carved for her – until Yakooboo’s cousin Nistoo showed up and all hell broke loose.

    Nistoo was a fierce-looking albino Wookiee with bloodshot yellow eyes, and more than a year after that fateful day when she thought that she was losing her adoptive daughter forever, Messiri still blamed herself for not alerting Ayesha to their relative’s unusual appearance, even though she knew now that there was no damping down the primal fear that the little girl experienced under such a gaze. Ayesha went into a seizure so violent that the party was over before it even began. She assaulted the Wookiee pup she had been peacefully playing with only moments earlier like a frenzied asyyyriak, her mouth was foaming and she was screaming hysterically in an incomprehensible language that Messiri never knew she spoke. It took Yakooboo’s and Rabarruk’s combined strength to carry her away – she was struggling and wriggling like one possessed by the Ghost of Death – and all they could do was to stand and watch, and to guard the exits to prevent her from throwing herself from the Seventh Level into the darkness of the Shadowlands, while she tore her room apart.

    Hours later, after the din of the one-sided battle finally subsided, Messiri peeked into the room to find her exhausted lifemate and son staring at Ayesha who was crouching in the corner that she favoured during her nightly fears, her glassy eyes focused on a point in the distance that only she could see. The stench of urine and faeces was unbearable – she had wet and soiled herself several times, Yakooboo said, but she went in a fit every time they tried to come close to her, and they had given up – and the old wound on her wrist was pouring blood on the tatters of her clothes.

    Messiri took in the scene for a moment, and, for lack of a better idea, she sat on the floor a little distance from Ayesha and started singing the songs she had taught her over the past few months. The little girl enjoyed singing herself when she thought she was alone – Messiri had heard her at times whispering tales interspersed with bouts of humming to her doll, and she was hoping against all odds that the familiar sound of music would soothe her enough to enable Yakooboo to pick her up and take her to Quinlan Vos. It took a long while and the three Wookiees had to relay each other, but in the end the deep rumble of their voices lulled Ayesha to sleep.

    It turned out that Quinlan Vos had gone off-planet, and for the next few days Yakooboo and Messiri had Ayesha sleep between them in their bed while Rabarruk started restoring her room. Messiri was overwhelmed with relief when Ayesha woke up and recognized her – she had truly feared that her daughter had snapped to never return – but as an experienced healer she knew that the recovery process would be long, slow and fraught with difficulties. It didn’t come as a surprise that Ayesha was very weak for days after the crisis, that she displayed regressive attitudes or that she had more frequent nightmares and woke up in a fit of panic several times every night, but Messiri and Yakooboo were puzzled and deeply concerned, even alarmed, with her behaviour. They had expected their adoptive daughter to cry, to seek solace and comfort with them, to be in constant demand for more affection, but she was withdrawing into herself and she often refused to return to bed when they were done cleaning the sleeping mat and changing the covers after she wet herself, standing instead in a corner of the room with her face to the wall. She shook her head angrily when Messiri sought to pry an explanation from her, and all her parents could do was to stay at her side until she dozed off from exhaustion and they could carry her back to bed.

    The weeks went by and Ayesha moved back to her own room, but she was still abnormally taciturn. She avoided her family whenever possible, and she spent inordinate amounts of time sitting on her own doing nothing. She always seemed reluctant to accept Yakooboo’s offers to tell her a story or Rabarruk’s ideas for games, and even once she accepted, she didn’t really involve herself, going through the motions of playing or listening even though her mind was obviously elsewhere. A day finally came when Messiri was at home alone – Yakooboo and Rabarruk were away on a hunt ahead of the Festival of Light – and, as had become her habit on such occasions, she took Ayesha in her bed with her. The child’s nightly terrors had become less frequent and the Wookiee mother had reached a point where she could only hope that they were on their way to subsiding entirely and that her daughter, with time, would evolve into a normal little girl. She therefore experienced a pang of fear when, in the middle of the night, she woke up to realise that Ayesha wasn’t at her side, but the sleeping mat was dry and she hadn’t heard the child scream in her sleep. She sat up abruptly and keyed the neuro-lamp to maximum to find Ayesha standing in her corner again, with her face to the wall and her hands raised above her head. There was something about her posture that brought the pieces of the puzzle together in Messiri’s mind, and she asked, very softly, “Ayesha, are you punishing yourself?”

    The little girl nodded silently. Messiri came to sit on the floor at her side. “What are you punishing yourself for?”

    “Because I’ve been a bad girl,” Ayesha said, avoiding her gaze. “And you’re not going to love me anymore.”

    “When were you a bad girl, little one? Did you do something I don’t know?”

    There was a long silence. “I disturb you,” Ayesha suddenly mumbled, speaking very fast. “I’m like an animal. I break things. I make your house dirty. I...”

    Messiri placed a paw over her mouth and looked at her straight in the eyes. “This is not my house. It is our house.” There was another silence. She pulled the little girl to straddle her lap and hugged her tightly. “Do you understand, Ayesha? This is our house,” she repeated. She could feel the tension building in the little human body she was cradling, so tiny against her massive chest. “You can say it too. This is our house. I am your Ata’ and this is our house.”

    “You’re my Ata’ and this is our house,” Ayesha finally whispered, and with that the dam broke and the tears she had been burying for the past three months came out, and she spent the rest of the night sobbing in her mother’s embrace.

    (To be continued)

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

    Notes:

    The asyyyriak is a predator native to Kashyyyk.

    There are a number of albino Wookiees in canon, but Nistoo is an OC.

    The Ghost of Death is an element of Wookiee superstition that I created for the purposes of this story. The Festival of Stars is one of three canon Fete Weeks in the Galactic Standard Calendar. The other two canon Fete Weeks are New Year Fete and the Festival of Life, which I renamed here the Festival of Light to avoid confusion with Life Day. In canon, the Festival of Light is a Naboo tradition.

    EDIT: And before I forget (again!) to mention it, the neuro-lamp is of course the creation of Viridian-Maiden and it's the perfect invention for people who are afraid of the dark.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    FIRST.

    Now to actually read it properly. :p
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= =D= I love Messiri's POV here. She has the objectivity of a healer trained but also the heart-tugging love and anxiety of a mommy. [face_love] @};-

    The last bit of conversation - incredibly poignant! I love getting a glimpse of Ayesha's early travails; it is a strong contrast to how far she's come! A tribute to the love of family and her own inner strength! ^:)^
     
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Chyntuck like this.
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    So glad to see this series continuing, and what a poignant addition. It's a given that these stories tie in to Anánke, of course, but I really liked the subtlety of the tie-in here, particularly in Ayesha's reaction to Nistoo—although Nistoo himself is probably perfectly all right (M. and Y. wouldn't have invited him over if not), I think I know whom those yellow eyes may have reminded her of. [face_thinking] Makes me curious as to whether Messiri and Yakooboo had any guesses about that, too; maybe a bit, from the way you describe Messiri's feelings of guilt after that episode. What a moment that must have been for them, especially after things had been looking up for Ayesha just before that!

    Her outbursts are of course heart-wrenching, but at the same time it was so interesting to have them described in such detail—because every detail in them comes from somewhere for a reason and resonates with what we've seen in Anánke. The Old Kiffar outburst struck me for some reason, perhaps because it seemed to be something her Wookiee parents had never heard from her before.

    And the transformative moment right after Messiri tells her, verbally and in unequivocal terms, "This is our house." It was as though being told, in no uncertain terms, "yes, you really do belong here with us in our family" kicked off a new phase in Ayesha's healing from her slavery experiences. Because I could totally see that being something she wasn't actually 100% sure about yet, given that she is so very different from the Wookiees and was thrown rather suddenly into their world and culture.

    Just a little detail, but now I see too why one of her favorite charitable activities as an adult is crafting wooding toys for less fortunate children. That wooden doll from her brother must have meant so much to her. I wonder if it's something she held on to in her adult years (trying to remember if I saw any similar objects mentioned in Anánke).

    Looking forward to more of this, and to seeing the next stage of Ayesha's healing. [face_love]
     
    AzureAngel2, Chyntuck, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  7. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Oh, wow. It's great that we're going to get a look at the stories behind those holos. :D

    I can see them worrying about this, since she'd had so many betrayals and inadequate caretakers (or ones who were powerless to help her.) Messiri and Yakooboo might be worried she might think she was being supplanted in their family by this newcomer who was their biological child and the same species. Glad we get to see that it wasn't the case and that the bond between her and her little brother is so strong. The family stuff in these is just lovely. [face_love]

    Gah. All of these things that reference back to Malki and her other tormentors are just heartbreaking. (At least, I'm pretty sure Malki is the one to blame for this particular one -- which is just blood-curdling if given any thought.)

    Side note: the early appearance of the neuro-lamp (yay, fanon thread!) is a nice bit of background, since we later see that she is keeping one as an adult. Something that reminds her of her Kashyyyk home, probably. :)

    Her reaction to the yellow-eyed Wookiee relative at the party is just amazingly depicted and jibes with what we see of her breakdowns in later life. Except it's even more extreme (and violent.) She's like a feral child -- and in some ways, that's kind of how her upbringing so far has been. The people who would have truly cared for her have never been allowed to do so for long enough to give her a sense of security. Somewhere in her mind, she's a terrified animal trapped in a corner -- and that comes through so strongly in her every setback. :(

    And then there was this part, which is so horrifying and poignant. The scary thing is, from what is already there in Necessity, I had a pretty good idea why she was doing this even before Messiri managed to coax her into talking. It's incredible how well you've linked this baby!Ayesha to the grownup!Ayesha without missing a thread.

    Now I know why you picked your username. Someone is cutting onions (or chyntucks) in here. [face_love] What a beautiful moment.
     
  8. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    So heartbreaking, and yet so loving. What a rich, detailed world you've created.

    In a way, it helps explain how the Wookiees could have been enslaved. Even though they are tremendously physically powerful, they are such gentle beings that they don't even consider being deceitful or hurtful.
     
  9. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    This is beautiful. You give the Wookie culture so much grace and wisdom here! [face_love]
     
    Nyota's Heart, Kahara and Chyntuck like this.
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Your comments were not only extremely kind, but also very useful in helping me adjust some bits of part II -- which I'm going to post now, and I'll reply individually asap because you know, DRL...

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

    The Crib – Part II: The pup

    By the time Messiri became pregnant shortly after New Year Fete, Ayesha was well on her way to full recovery. She had taken to calling Yakooboo and Messiri Ada’ and Ata’, she whispered endless tales of Wookiees and Humans to her doll, she played with Rabarruk every afternoon and she often came to ask Yakooboo for a story after dinner. Most importantly for Messiri, she learned that she could come and straddle her mother’s lap and lie against her furry chest whenever she felt the need for it. It had taken her a while to overcome her shyness – the first few times, Messiri had noticed that her eyes were clouded, and she had simply picked her up and hugged her – but after a while she started coming on her own for a cuddle. These were extraordinarily precious moments for the Wookiee mother because, even though Ayesha still had the occasional night terror and was as adamant as ever about refusing to leave the treehouse, Messiri could be cautiously optimistic that her daughter had now understood, once and for all, that they were a family.

    Yakooboo and Messiri had been trying to have a second cub for over a decade, and it took every bit of their self-control not to show their joy to Ayesha when a fellow healer examined Messiri and confirmed that the bouts of nausea she had been experiencing were not caused by her chronic condition of bone marrow hyperplasia, but to the anticipated arrival of Ayesha’s and Rabarruk’s younger sibling. The three Wookiees had a long discussion about how to break the news to Ayesha – as Rabarruk put it very bluntly, “she may be turning twelve standard years old next month, but when it comes to us she has the emotional maturity of a toddler.” They were deeply worried that the little girl would feel pushed aside by this new addition to the family and that she might not understand, or that she would be jealous, when the bulk of her parents’ time would be dedicated to the newborn pup.

    It was finally decided that Messiri would explain the situation to Ayesha during one of their mother and daughter moments, and on a cold winter afternoon where the two male Wookiees were out of the house participating in community chores, she pulled her daughter on her lap and gave her a long discourse about the beauties of having a little brother or sister. She spoke at great length of her own childhood in Maarwraawroo, in a family of six where she had been the penultimate pup, and described how she had loved looking after her little sister and how important she had felt when trusted with her care. “And,” she concluded, “my sister loved me. In the end, there was one more sentient to love me.”

    Ayesha stared at her mother for a moment with her big, serious eyes, and gave her a radiant smile the like of which Messiri had never seen before. “Yes,” she said. “And there will be one more sentient for me to love too.”

    In the week that followed, Ayesha went about her business as usual, but she borrowed a lump of wood from the treehouse workshop and the tales that she whispered to her doll now involved a little pup. She walked up to her father one morning and asked if he could carve the lump in the shape of a baby Wookiee for her. Yakooboo looked at her pensively. “No,” he decided finally. “What I will do is teach you to carve it yourself.”

    From that point onwards, Ayesha spent her days in the workshop, trying to create a sculpt of a Wookiee pup. The initial results of her attempts at woodcarving were clumsy, but she persevered and, under Yakooboo’s gentle guidance, she soon mastered the basic Wookiee techniques. But when she started experimenting with every tool and every variety of wood she could get her hands on while her father was out and about, it turned out that she was not merely skilled, but frighteningly talented, and over the next months she had created an entire village, complete with houses, forest, animals and members of the tribe. Messiri often peeked in to check on her and found her telling her doll stories of extraordinary complexity, with heroes and villains, or hunters and predators, or slavers and Wookiees, but always with fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. In the evenings, Ayesha brought her creations of the day to the dinner table, and after dinner she huddled at her mother’s side while her parents discussed whatever matter was at hand, and she laid her hand on Messiri’s bulging belly and whispered to the unborn pup in the language no one understood.

    A year went by and New Year Fete came by again. As soon as the holiday was over, Messiri started preparing the items she would need in the House of Healing when she would give birth to her son – it was confirmed that the pup was a male, and she was due to go into labour any day now. Yakooboo had built a crib for little Rumpacharet, and Messiri was looking for Rabarruk’s old sleeping mat and swaddling clothes. Ayesha helped her go through the heavy wooden trunks to sort things out. She chattered away excitedly and was telling her mother how she would carve toys for Rumpy, when the Wookiee suddenly doubled over and let out a howl of pain.

    Ayesha watched petrified as her father and brother rushed in, followed by a healer she didn’t know who was pushing a hoverstretcher to take her mother away. Things happened too fast for her to react, and when Yakooboo came back for her an hour later, she hadn’t moved a millimetre, staring horrified at a puddle of blood on the floor. He tried to hug her but she pushed him away and ran off to her room, and after a moment’s hesitation he decided to put the trunks back in order and to prepare the crib before attempting to talk to her again. He finally stepped into the common room and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw her standing by the door, all dressed up and ready to go. She was wearing the coat that Messiri had tailored for her – a heavy, bantha hide affair with a thick fur lining that she’d never needed before, as she never left the treehouse – and she was carrying a small parcel in her arms. “We should go,” she said before Yakooboo could speak. “Ata’ is going to give birth soon and I want to be there when Rumpy is born.”

    She slipped her hand into his paw and held it tightly. There was a flash of pride in Yakooboo’s eyes as she stepped outside with only the slightest hesitation when the moment came to cross the threshold, and she walked with him to the House of Healing, looking determinedly straight ahead and ignoring the many stares that her presence in the alleys of Rwookrrorro was attracting. The healers discussed briefly with her father if they should let her in the delivery room, but she was so obstinate in her insistence to see her mother that they couldn’t but usher her in.

    Messiri was half-lying, half sitting on a birthing chair, her breath heavy and her tan fur soaked in sweat. Her attempt to put on a brave face for her daughter failed abysmally when a violent contraction caused her to let out a loud moan as Ayesha walked in, but even though the little girl looked terrified she didn’t step back. She went straight to her mother, unwrapped the little parcel she had been carrying and passed a necklace of wooden beads around her neck. “This one is you,” she said, pointing at the largest sphere in its centre. “It’s the sun but it’s you. This one is Kashyyyk and it’s Ada’, and these three” – she showed three smaller spheres on either side of the two bigger ones – “are the moons, and it’s Rabarruk and Rumpy and me. And the rest is the stars.” She then pulled out a miniature version of the same necklace to show her. “And this one is for Rumpy, so that he understands.”

    Messiri wasn’t able to answer, but Ayesha didn’t mind. She simply stayed at her side, caressing her arm and trying not to fall asleep – it was already late at night – until a sharp wail pierced the air in the small hours of the morning and the healer was suddenly holding what looked like a slimy, flailing fur ball. Minutes later, Messiri had been transferred to a bed while the newborn pup was cleaned up and swaddled, and he was now lying on his mother’s chest, his toothless mouth already searching her fur for a nipple. Ayesha stared at her brother in wonder. “He is so small,” she whispered.

    For the next planetary rotation, Ayesha categorically refused to leave her mother’s side. “We should all stay,” she argued when Yakooboo tried to send her and Rabarruk home. “Ata’ is tired and Rumpy is too tiny. He needs us to protect him.” She sat on a chair near the bed to let the little pup grip her finger at all times. “He’s very strong, you know,” she told her family. “He’ll be a powerful Wookiee when he grows up. Like Ada’.”

    On the morning of the second day – “Rumpy is now one day old,” Ayesha announced proudly – the village holographer came over to capture a family holo before they returned to their house. It took him a while to figure out the pose – being much shorter, Ayesha didn’t quite fit in the picture – but he finally pulled the chair between Yakooboo and Messiri for her to stand on and had Rabarruk crouch in front of them. Messiri got up with some difficulty, cradling her newborn son, but Ayesha held out her arms. “I want to hold him,” she said firmly. She passed the miniature necklace around the pup’s neck and lifted him up for the camera, and she insisted to carry him through the streets of Rwookrrorro until they arrived home a few hours later and she laid him in his crib.

    Messiri spent the rest of the afternoon on her sleeping mat, with Ayesha hovering at her side in case she needed anything. The little girl could barely keep upright, having not slept properly for two consecutive nights, but she was stubbornly staying awake until evening came and her mother told her in no uncertain terms that she should go to bed before she made herself ill. “Besides,” she added, “you need to be in good shape to look after Rumpy and me tomorrow too. Little pups take time to grow up and they always make their Ata’ and Ada’ very tired.”

    The argument apparently won the day, and Ayesha left for her room after giving her mother a hug. Messiri lay back against the pillows and dozed off when she felt someone gently prodding her shoulder. She opened her eyes to see Yakooboo pointing at the crib, where Ayesha was now sleeping, curled up protectively around her little brother. The expression on her face was one of absolute serenity. “She even brought her blankets and her doll,” the Wookiee father rumbled. “She’s here to stay.”
     
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful, wonderful. I loved the gentle, healing and loving progression. :) @};-
     
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Beautiful, and a perfect fit for the challenge. Besides yet more fascinating glimpses into Wookiee way of birth and family life (I like that Messiri is half sitting up to give birth :D ), I love how you worked in the genesis of Ayesha's carving and sculpting skills—and that she learned those skills specifically in the process of coming to terms with her place within the family—and then used them to make such sweet gifts for her Ata’ and baby brother. It's nothing short of miraculous that she is taking the arrival of her brother so happily (at least for now) given what she's been through, though so much of that is due both to the living care of her Ata’, Ada’, and big brother, combined with Ayesha's own natural good-heartedness—which, despite everything, she has always had. Bravissima on another lovely addition to this series. =D=
     
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  13. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Awesome. Touching. I was emotionally invested from the moment Ayesha's little hand went into Y's paw.

    Incredible detail.
     
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  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    So tender, so gentle. I like this spin-off! @};-
     
  15. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    This is such a beautiful moment for the parents and it made me smile.
     
  16. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I love how Ayesha discovers that art helps express how she is feeling. The necklaces she carved, and the astute symbolism that she, even as a child, understood, show a glimpse of the inspired artist that she will become. Ayesha is brave and loyal and loving. Her family reflects and expands on it.
     
  17. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Good work on the story and a great entry to the challenge. The characters feel incredibly real to me and the very end is just incredibly heartwarming.
     
  18. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Finally reading this, as knowing that our OCs had a couple of things in common, I didn't want to read something you wrote and then unknowingly use it with the human brain being a miracle and all. Luckily, the only things our OCs have in common is being orphans and having been used. *phew*

    The first thing I spotted in the story was, for some reason, Viridian-Maiden's neurolamp. Great use of fanon.

    Yakooboo (and now MessiriI) display the kind of love and tenderness I enjoy both writing and reading and it's...beyond beautiful. It's nice to read more about the Ata, now that we know so much about the Ada.

    Your Life Drain post came in a perfect moment to make all of this more understandable. With what happened to Ayesha gives a horrific contrast to the love and care she is receiving from her adoptive parents, not to mention that the combination of animal-like biting on her own hands and conspiracy-nut-like trying to protect her head (a slight reminder of those tin foil hats, at least to me) makes it for a very unique perspective on self-defense.

    And then, here comes art to the rescue. An artist saving herself with art, the way she would be doing so many times in her life. At this point, her art is as pure and as imperfect, primitive as she is, a new start of its own kind. With purity comes the surreal aspect, and with the surreal aspect comes interesting symbolism.

    “This one is you,” she said, pointing at the largest sphere in its centre. “It’s the sun but it’s you. This one is Kashyyyk and it’s Ada’, and these three” – she showed three smaller spheres on either side of the two bigger ones – “are the moons, and it’s Rabarruk and Rumpy and me. And the rest is the stars.” She then pulled out a miniature version of the same necklace to show her. “And this one is for Rumpy, so that he understands.”

    I absolutely adore this analogy.

    Of course, there is always something eerie, obsessive and unusual with Ayesha and here, it's the very end of the story. Her extreme detachment turns to extreme attachment, which will be the two points she will be swinging to and from, throughout her youth. Scary, but a common consequence of the amount of abuse she endured.

    This was good. :)
     
  19. Rau_Fang

    Rau_Fang Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2005
    I found this particularly disturbing and compelling - maybe it was the detail of the bed wetting mixed with the self-punishment. Perhaps it was an intimate moment that felt very approachable and real. In fact most of your writing is peppered with quick little mentions that stand out (I'm thinking about the moment they needed to get a chair for Ayesha for the family holo).

    I'm woefully behind on Necessity - it looks like I have my summer reading locked down! I'm really appreciating just how consistent you are all the way thru with your characterization of Ayesha. Srsly - great work!
     
  20. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! Here are some long-overdue replies:

    Nyota's Heart
    Thanks! Writing a few stories from Messiri's POV was one of my motivations in continuing this series, since she and Rabarruk won't appear in Ἀνάγκη. I don't think I'll ever write all of Ayesha's story, with every detail of her childhood -- there's a limit to how much you can expound on a character -- but I wanted to write something about the people who influenced her positively, and her Wookiee family are at the top of that list. Ayesha lost her birth mother when she was very young and all she has left of her is that strange language that she's not allowed to speak, so having a mommy would definitely be something important in her life.

    Findswoman
    Oh, Nistoo is a very nice Wookiee! I might even bring him back in a future vignette for this series. As for whether Messiri and Yakooboo had any guesses, yes, of course they did -- Quinlan Vos has been telling them (some) things. I was also planning to have a scene where Ayesha would have a semi-fit when seeing the Emperor on the HoloNet in part II, but then the story became too long and that got cut out.
    The doll will definitely be back in the next episode of this series (but no, you didn't see it in Ἀνάγκη because Ayesha doesn't have it anymore)
    Birthing chairs are actually a RL thing that I'd never heard about until I ran into it when writing this story. I liked the old wooden models and in my mind this connected to Wookiees instantly. The bit about Ayesha connecting art with family wasn't something I had really planned, but as I wrote part II I realised that something was missing -- in Ἀνάγκη I mentioned several times how wood is Ayesha's favourite material and how it's what she uses to make her most expressive sculptures, and at one point it sort of clicked that her relationship to wood would be a relationship of love, therefore mommy and all that [:D]
    Thanks so much for your comments!

    Kahara
    Okay, I think I can copy-paste this into the OC Index and be done with it :p But seriously, yes, this is how I imagine her, even later in life. It's one thing she has in common with Thrawn actually -- self-control at all times, lest she breaks down and reverts to her pre-Wookiee days. I have a bunch of notes about how Messiri and Wookiee shrinks taught her self-control, which I may try to insert into one of the upcoming stories in this series (if not, I'll call the Fanon thread to the rescue!)
    Thank you :) But in truth, it wasn't so difficult to link the two -- because in essence Ayesha never really grew up from this perspective, she didn't really make progress in terms of healing -- she just learned how to manage the symptoms differently.
    Did she just chop me up?!?!? [face_worried] [face_laugh]

    divapilot and AzureAngel2
    Thanks both! I absolutely love Wookiees. Chewbacca is my second-favourite SW character after Artoo, and that's because he's (among other things) so dedicated and loyal [face_love] I think the way I write them here is my revenge against the profics, that focused a lot on the warrior aspects of Wookiee society or on their enslavement -- which I have no problem with as such, but I think that there should be more depth to this culture, you know what I mean?

    Sith-I-5

    Thanks! There will be more of this, I hope you'll continue liking it.

    Gemma
    Here's something else that will make you smile. It's the picture that gave me the starting point for this story.
    [​IMG]
    whiskers

    Thanks [:D]

    Ewok Poet
    Now I'm imagining kiddo-Ayesha in her bantha fur coat with a tin foil hat [face_rofl]

    Ahem. Anyway, there's still one tidbit missing from the Life Drain post because it would spoil something down the road in Ἀνάγκη, but "unique perspective on self-defense" pretty much sums it up -- she's been hurt by a power she doesn't understand, so she's trying to deal with it as best she can.
    Even throughout her life. As a child, she made her adoptive parents the centre of her world -- and she actually thinks that's normal, which is why she wants to explain it to Rumpy too. And she'll repeat that pattern as a grown-up. Oh, and, by the way, that sentence can go in the OC Index too, together with Kahara's ;)

    Rau_Fang First of all, welcome back! It's a long time since I last saw you on the boards [:D]

    Thank you! I don't think I mentioned this before, but the punishment of standing in a corner with your face to the wall and your hands held above your head is a little slice of reality for me -- that's how they punished us when I was in kindergarten and primary school (which would probably qualify as corporal punishment nowadays, but in the 1970-1980s, it was just a common practice here in Greece.)
    Thanks again! I'm going to post soon a downloadable link to part I of Ἀνάγκη (as soon as I can figure out what I want for a cover) so that will make catching up much easier for you, because the message board format isn't the most convenient thing to read long texts. And then part II will come in downloadable format as well at some point during the summer. Meanwhile, I'd like to know what happened next in The Grange [face_hypnotized]

    Thanks again, everyone! I'll be back with another entry in this thread as soon as I manage to write one.
     
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  21. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Thank you! I don't think I mentioned this before, but the punishment of standing in a corner with your face to the wall and your hands held above your head is a little slice of reality for me -- that's how they punished us when I was in kindergarten and primary school (which would probably qualify as corporal punishment nowadays, but in the 1970-1980s, it was just a common practice here in Greece.)

    This comes as a shock for me. Because I am a Kindergarten teacher in Germany. From a Chinese friend back in the Netherlands I heard even more gruesome stories, but still this touches me immensely. Let me give you this artistic Wookie hug. Ayesha style. ;)

    [​IMG]

     
  22. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Excellent responses, Chyntuck —thanks so much!

    And now this, of course, is making me wonder what happened to the doll between this story and Anánkê! But perhaps the next story in this series will illuminate some of that history... :D (You may have noticed, and you may consider it a bit silly, but I love seeing things like dolls in the GFFA. They seem to be one of those galactic universals that are present in some form on all worlds and and cultures. :cool: )

    I read this again, and it's even more beautiful and touching the second time through—plus I'm noticing new details that I didn't notice the first time (like A.'s anxiety about having her head touched), and I just love it when stories do that. And I too thank you for that Life Drain post, which puts many things in both this series and Anánkê in huge perspective. @};-
     
  23. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Ayesha's had such a strange and unique childhood, and it was certainly wonderful to see her settled with her Wookiee family who love and accept her - she certainly needed that! And seeing her get her start as a artist was lovely.
     
  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you! I don't think I mentioned this before, but the punishment of standing in a corner with your face to the wall and your hands held above your head is a little slice of reality for me -- that's how they punished us when I was in kindergarten and primary school (which would probably qualify as corporal punishment nowadays, but in the 1970-1980s, it was just a common practice here in Greece.)

    Serbia, too. Even in the 1990s, up to age of 14 or so. Can't remember when it stopped and how, but I am glad that it did.
     
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Krell! Like AzureAngel2, I am horrified that that would be considered "normative" punishment for younglings especially in kindergarten! :eek: In more than one country, too. [face_thinking] Struck by the phrase "manage the symptoms" She has sublimated them and become a rich and vibrant artist and caring person. [face_love]
     
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