Saga - PT The Mythologist

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Seldes_Katne, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Welcome to The Mythologist thread. It features original character Vestri Dain, who begins as a student of cultural anthropology at Coruscant University.

    A mythologist is someone who collects myths, sometimes for anthologies, sometimes for comparison, and sometimes, as in this case, as a hobby. Vestri is interested mainly in myths from nonhuman cultures, but a few Human ones may sneak in here from time to time.

    The stories in early portion of this thread take place a couple of years before the events of AotC, although the collection may continue through both AotC and RotS and into the original trilogy as well. Some of the stories will be responses to Challenges on the Fanfiction boards, some will be added as inspiration strikes.

    While positive comments are certainly welcome, I am also open to constructive criticism. Please feel free to PM me if there is something in a story that is factually incorrect or doesn't make sense as written. I'm always looking to improve.

    Below is the index of stories (in the order in which I suggest reading them):

    Battling Winter: a tale from the Besalisk homeworld of Ojom (for the 2020 Autumn Bingo Challenge)

    For Love of Mother Jungle: an ancient tale of Ithor (for the 2020 Autumn Bingo Challenge)

    On Wings of Change: a story of one of Coruscant's original species (for the 2020 Halloween Challenge)

    The Eyes Have It: a Nautolan Trickster tale (inspired by the 2020 Autumn Bingo Challenge).

    Differences in Doctrine (inspired by the 2020 Autumn Bingo Challenge): A droid creation story

    Critique (inspired by the Fall 2020 Challenge: First Line Edition on the OC Revolution thread) A Human tale from Seranno

    Holiday Fare (a "not-for-the-notebook" story written for the 2020 Holiday Tropes Challenge)

    In for a Song: A tale from Weequay history (inspired by the Sea Shanty/Ballad Challenge)

    Stories of Vestri Dain and Company on other threads:

    Notes from the Field: Vestri and her merry band of fellow Sentientologists/Scientists encounter a variety of non-Human cultures. Because once the coursework is done, it's time to start doing the original research for the Doctoral Thesis.... :D Many of these will be written in response to the 2021 Fanfiction Olympics. Beginning July 2021.

    Various stories written for the 2022 Kessel Run Challenge (To Every Thing There is a Season):

    "A Proper Farewell." Saying good-bye is never easy....

    "Family Matters." Two characters have a disagreement, dialogue only.

    "Open Mic Night at Anthon's Restaurant." Poetry via drabble, featuring some of Vestri's university colleagues.

    "Mystery from the Past." The closest things I have to an OTP (one true pairing). No romance. (Mostly. Although Daggeri does love her weapons....)

    "In Which All Roads Lead to Dok-Ondar." A 5 + 1 challenge involving five sales and a purchase.

    "Untitled." An alternate 5 + 1 story in its rough form. Meeting one's maker. Kind of.

    "Unavailable." The "Get Out of Jail Free" prompt that was never used, but too much fun not to post. Where in the Galaxy is Vestri Dain?

    Standalone Piece: "Season of Sharing," written for the 2023 Spring Bingo Challenge.

    Career Exploration (with Gungans). Stories written for the 2023 Summer Fanfic Olympics.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2023
  2. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Battling Winter

    (For the 2020 Autumn Bingo Challenge. Words are: Feast – Ghost – Reap – Spice – Apple)

    Vestri Dain, graduate student at Coruscant University and frequent patron of Dex’s Diner, walked into the diner, glanced up from her hand-held, and stopped short. Streamers of red, orange and gold flowed across the ceiling. Baskets of red fruit rested on each table, along with arrangements of red, orange, and yellow flowers. Vestri blinked and stepped forward; the pneumonic doors hissed closed behind her.

    FLO, the diner’s droid waitress, wheeled past with a small teapot and a mug. “Hello, Myr Dain. Your regular table?”

    Still gazing around at all the color, Dain replied, “Yes, please.” She followed FLO to one of the small tables in the diner’s more private side room, which also sported the flowers and fruit basket. “What’s with all the decorations? Is there a celebration going on?”

    “Sure is. We’re celebrating the Harvest Festival. Dex’ll want to tell you all about it. You still collectin’ stories?”

    “I am indeed.” Vestri grinned. A cultural anthropology student, she had begun collecting myths and legends, particularly from nonhuman cultures.

    “Well, then I’ve got a story for your notebook.” Dexter Jettster, the Besalisk owner of Dex’s Diner, emerged from the kitchen, wiping all four of his hands on his apron. “That is, if you’re interested, Myr Dain.”

    “I’m very interested, Myr Jettster.” Vestri pulled her story notebook and a writing stylus out of her satchel and set them next to the teapot and her hand-held. “Would you like to sit down? Do you have time?”

    “I would and I do. As usual, you’ve arrived right between the lunch and dinner crowds.” Dexter settled himself in the chair across from her. “Ever heard of Ojom?”

    Vestri cocked her head. “That’s the Besalisk homeworld, isn’t it?

    “Yes, it is. It’s a frozen ocean world, with a long winter on most of the planet. I grew up there. My people live on the ice – we build villages on the glaciers and gather our food from the ocean and the ice flows. Mostly. But we do have some land that isn’t frozen all year, and there’s both a story and a feast day associated with it. Which just happens to correspond with today’s date.”

    Dexter leaned forward. “They say that Winter has a heart of ice, a glacier’s patience, and a thousand arms. Some of the arms stir the winds, some create the snows, and some push the sea creatures along on their migration routes. Winter never relents, never sleeps, never withdraws.

    “Until one season, so long ago that our grandparents’ grandparent’s grandparents have heard only the tale from their elders, the Sun itself challenged Winter to battle. The Sun flung its fire out into the skies and it rained down on Ojom in sheets of color and light and heat.

    “Winter battled the fire for days, then weeks, then months. At last Winter won the fight, and the Sun relented, but Winter was weakened and withdrew. For a time, Winter’s grip loosened on Ojom, and our people experienced a time without the constant wind and snow they had always known.

    “They journeyed forth and found a land unfrozen by ice, snow or wind, and on that land, strange things grew – things with stalks and leaves and round red objects,” here Dexter’s upper hands formed a circle about the size of an apple, “that we soon learned were good to eat.

    “When Winter returned later that year, it still brought cold and snow and wind, but they were all weaker than before. And as months passed, Winter seemed to fade, and both cold and snow relented. Our people journeyed again to that unfrozen land and found the same fruit as before. And so it continued for a generation – during the harshest cold, we ate the sea creatures we had always caught before, but we learned to preserve the red fruit. Our people thrived on this new food.

    “But one year, Winter returned with a vengeance, as if declaring that it had fully recovered from its battle and was determined to reassert itself. But this meant that the fruit would no longer grow, and our people resisted.

    “One female, Ellix Bristin, stood up and defied Winter. Ellix took a weapon in each of her four hands – an axe, a sword, a shield, and a spear – and went forth to fight. For a time, she held Winter back, and our people again reaped the fruit from the unfrozen land. But in the end, Winter won, and killed Ellix, and the people despaired. They laid Ellix in a tomb in a great ice cavern, and debated what to do next, for there was then no warrior as great as Ellix had been.

    “The long cold season gradually passed, and the time when Winter had usually withdrawn approached. Winter showed no sign of abating, and the people thought to return to old ways. But one night, a family heard a sound, like a great bell, ringing from the ice cavern that held Ellix’s tomb. Many rushed to the cavern. The tomb was undisturbed, but the ice around it rang, as though a hammer struck a shield over and over. And the people saw a shadowy form rise from the ice around Ellix’s tomb – a figure with a weapon in each of four hands – an axe, a sword, a shield, and a spear. Ellix’s spirit came forth to fight again for her people.

    “The ghost disappeared into Winter’s storm. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, the winds howled. But unlike her body, Ellix’s spirit couldn’t be killed, and Winter at last retreated before her. The people rejoiced and traveled to the unfrozen land to harvest the fruit. And that year, they held a great feast to honor Ellix’s courage and sacrifice.

    “The feast became an annual event. When we could journey beyond Ojom, we sought out other plants with a short growing season that we could raise on the unfrozen land – spices and fruits for food, grasses and reeds for weaving. Every year Winter returns, but every year Ellix’s spirit reappears to fight for our people and push Winter back.

    “So,” Dex gestured at the decorations, “the streamers stand for the sun’s battle with Winter, and the flowers for Ellix’s sacrifice. And the fruit, of course, stands for the first fruit found on Ojom.”

    Vestri’s eyes had lit up; she had searched Dexter’s face and watched his hands all through the tale. “Thank you for the story. It was lovely,” she said finally. “May I keep it?”

    The Besalisk looked puzzled. “What do you mean, ‘keep it’?”

    “It’s something I learned from the Gungans, back on Naboo. They tell a lot of stories. Some are considered public property and can be told by anyone at any time. But others are proprietary, and belong to certain families, or, in a few cases, to individuals. You have to have permission from the family or individual to tell those stories, and sometimes there are restrictions on when or where the story can be told.”

    “Huh.” Dexter shrugged. “That’s a new one on me. No, that story’s available to anyone who wants to tell it.”

    “Great! Thank you!” Vestri jotted some notes in the back of the notebook.

    Dexter tapped the table with a forefinger. “Another thing.” The Human glanced up at him. “In commemoration of the festival, and the fact that you’ve been a regular for the last three months, no more formalities. You call me ‘Dex,’ and FLO is ‘FLO.’ Understand?”

    Vestri grinned. “I do understand. Thank you, Dex, FLO. Please call me Vestri.”
  3. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    Cool story. And it's always nice to see Dex.
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Seldes_Katne like this.
  4. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    AzureAngel2 and Kahara like this.
  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh my goodness but this is such an interesting, clever idea for a thread! I really adore Vestri and her 'keeping' stories, so far, and I look forward to see where her hunt for mythology and lore takes her!

    There was gorgeous imagery throughout all of Dex's tale, but I especially appreciated the verbiage here. Lovely!

    Also, I LOVE that Dex had the first story to tell. There can never be enough Dex - and his tales! :D

    Just perfect! This was such a fantastic way to incorporate the prompts from the Autumn Bingo, and such a marvelous start for Vestri's collection of stories! I can't wait to read more.

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  6. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you, @Mira_Jade. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thank for commenting. I did some research on Dex, and he's had enough life for two or three people -- smuggler, gun-runner, prospector, possibly even piracy. But he seems to have turned out all right in the end. Someone needs to write his biography someday.

    I'm hoping to add the next story shortly -- I just finished writing, and want to wait at least overnight before the final edit.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful legend full of rich details. =D=
  8. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Second story. If readers aren't familiar with the Ithorians, here's an article and illustrations.

    For Love of Mother Jungle

    Words were Harvest Moon – Chill in the Air – Feast – Chestnuts – Cornucopia

    FLO, the droid waitress at Dex’s Diner, set a pot of hot water, a mug, and Alderaanian Spice tea sachet on a small table in the side room and wheeled out to her station at the front door. A few minutes later, the pneumonic doors opened to admit Vestri Dain, in for her afternoon cup of tea and sandwich. This time, in addition to her usual student’s satchel, Vestri carried a box that held a small green plant.

    “Your regular table is ready,” the waitress greeted her.

    “Oh, thank you, FLO,” Vestri responded. “How are you?”

    “Doin’ okay,” FLO replied. “The secondary fryer’s still wonky and we had a Mid-Rim tour group of customers first thing on opening, but we got everyone served and back on the airbus, so it’s all good. Watcha got there?”

    “Myr Ivuur, my landlady, says it’s a Donar plant.” Vestri set the box on the counter and unslung her satchel to pull out her story notebook. “Do you remember the Harvest Festival here at the diner last month?”

    “‘Course I do. Who d’you think had to keep Dex from falling off the ladder while he was puttin’ up decorations and takin’ ‘em down afterwards?” FLO leaned an elbow on the counter.

    Vestri grinned. “I can imagine. Anyway, the Honnows invited me to dinner at their home last night, and they were celebrating the Cornucopia of Ithor – kind of a reverse harvest festival of their own.”

    The Human flipped open her notebook, displaying two pages of neatly hand-written script. “Once a generation, the Ithorian herdships gather over Ithor and delegations meet on one of the moons. It’s designated as the Harvest Moon. After two days of feasting and greeting one another, they then take a selection of native plants down to offer the hermits who live there. In return, the hermits give them seeds and seedlings to take back to the ships and raise, so that there will always be an offworld supply in case something happens to the Mother Jungle on Ithor.”

    “Good idea.” Dexter Jettster, the diner’s owner and head cook, poked his head through the order window.

    Vestri nodded. “So during dinner, Myr Ivuur and her husband Neelig told me the ancient story of why the Ithorians do it….”


    Oodu Paffroni walked among the Bafforr trees and felt time shift. Usually, the shift meant that Oodu could spend what felt like days in the grove and still return home the same evening, but once in a while, she seemed to move forward into the future or backward into the past, to see things that no longer existed or events yet to come. Oodu wasn’t sure which it would be this time.

    The Bafforr groves could gain a form of sentience once a certain number of trees reached maturity. This “hive mind” could communicate with some of the Ithorians – usually the priests, but sometimes with seers, who, like Oodu, were willing to be still and listen to the trees’ slow botanical language. The grove mind used no words, but pictures in the mind.

    “How can the trees see anything?” Oodu had asked her mentor, the herd’s priest and leader. “They have no eyes.”

    The priest had replied, “They touch our minds, and see through our eyes, feel our emotions. They translate what they experience into something we can understand. Or perhaps our minds merely interpret what they send us as sight and sound and feelings.”

    Oodu felt the temperature drop, and a chill passed through the air. The only other time Oodu had experienced this, she had seen a vision of the distant past; she suspected that the chill signaled a huge shift in time, although whether forward or back, she could not tell.

    The Bafforr trees began to fade into darkness around Oodu, and silence descended. There were no rustling leaves. The smells of full summer – the brollin fruit, the wysari flowers, the tang of chestnuts – faded as well. Oodu turned her head from side to side, seeking light or sound or smell, but found nothing.

    Then a breeze blew, and it carried the stench of decay and charred wood. As light slowly spread around Oodu, she saw only the blackened shoots and trunks of the Bafforr trees, many of them lying on the ground instead of standing tall around here. Nothing green grew anywhere. There were no colored leaves or flowers, no animal sounds, no sign of anything living.

    “What has happened here?” Oodu whispered, using only one of her two mouths and one of her four throats. “Is this the past? The future? Who did this?”

    The breeze blew again, carrying an answering whisper. “You did this. You all did this.”

    Oodu waved her hands in a negative gesture. “I would never harm the forest. My herd taught me to protect you!”

    The breeze became a wail of wind. “You all did this! All!”

    Huddled in fear, Oodu whispered again. “Show me.”

    The world changed around her again. The forest returned, fertile and alive. As Oodu watched, Ithorians entered the forest and began to harvest fruits, nuts, branches from the ground. They moved with unnatural rapidity – her people never moved this quickly. It was as if the Bafforr trees were speeding up time.

    The season sped past; the fruits and nuts returned, and her people harvested again and again. But their harvest methods changed. At first, they took only one-quarter of the food and wood available, always leaving an abundance. But then they took more and more, leaving only a quarter behind, cutting limbs from trees instead of gathering them from the ground, and pulling down trees without replanting.

    Soon much of the forest around her had been stripped bare. Oodu waved her hands again. “Why? Why would we do this?”

    The Bafforr trees replied on the breeze, “Some of your people forgot the ways of Mother Jungle. They chose to take what they wanted, not just what they needed. They convinced others to do the same and bullied still others into silence. When your people were contacted by alien races, your people began to sell the bounty of the forests to others who did not care about using it wisely. Soon, all Ithor looked as this are does now, and your people fled to other worlds to survive.”

    Oodu clasped her hands before her. “It is said that the Bafforr trees often speak for Mother Jungle. Ask her for me – can this future be stopped? What can I do?

    “Your people must leave Ithor,” the trees replied. “As soon as a way can be found.”

    “Leave Ithor? But how?”

    “Your people must find a way. You must convince them!”

    Time turned back again, and Oodu found herself standing among the Bafforr trees, the forest whole around her. Although she wandered the grove for the rest of the day, the trees did not speak to her again.

    Oodu told her herd’s priest of the vision and the warning, and word began to spread. Other Ithorian seers walked among the Bafforr trees and retuned with the same warning – the Ithorians must leave their world in order to save it.

    Many were skeptical and refused to consider such an exodus. The Ithorian people argued and debated and delayed. At last Oodu again walked among the Bafforr trees. “Mother Jungle, many of my people don’t believe this warning. How can I convince them?” A second time, the grove relayed Mother Jungle’s response. When Oodu emerged from the forest, she asked the priest to send word around the planet. All the Ithorian priests and seers were to enter the groves at the same time on the same day.

    The trees again showed the vision, but this time the seers and priests, working together, sent their vision to all Ithor. After that, there was no further debate.

    Now the people were frightened and confused. How could they leave? Where would they go? What would become of them away from Ithor? How could they find another world to inhabit?

    As debate raged and Ithorian engineers began to look at ways to leave their planet, Oodu again entered the grove. “Mother Jungle, we need a sign. Our people cannot live away from you. We evolved here. We are part of the natural order. How can you send us away?”

    The Bafforr trees answered her. Oodu saw her people taking saplings and seeds and small animals into huge buildings on the ground. Then the buildings rose into the sky, carrying the Ithorians into space, leaving at least half of the forest intact. Oodu could see the ships as points of light in the sky, orbiting overhead. Her people would leave Ithor but would take part of Mother Jungle with them.

    Then Oodu asked the question many Ithorians had raised: “Must we leave forever? Can we never return?”

    And the Bafforr trees showed her the tiny remnant of hermits living yet on the planet, visited once a generation by the travelers from their herdships, exchanging seeds and saplings and small animals, so that both the forest and the herdships were renewed.

    This time when Oodu emerged from the forest, a crowd had gathered to hear her words. “We must take part of the forest with us!” Oodu announced. “We must find a way to transport our ecosystem when we go!

    And this time, there was neither skepticism nor confusion.

    Oodu Paffroni did not live to see the development and installation of the repulsor-lift technology that would eventually carry her people into space, or the hyperdrive capability they would develop after that. Both were generations in the future. But the Bafforr groves remembered Oodu. It’s said that if you walk among the groves anywhere on Ithor and are willing to be still and listen to the trees’ slow botanical language, they will show you Oodu standing in their midst.


    “So, this plant is actually a piece of the Ithorian tradition,” Vestri finished her tale. “For as long as I stay with the Hannows, I’m supposed to take care of it. They said it will flower at some point.”

    “Bring it by when it does,” Dex told her.

    “Absolutely.” Vestri pulled a box of colored pencils from her satchel; several of the notebook pages already had sketches waiting to be finished. “You know, it’s funny – the Ithorians were afraid to leave their planet, but because they did, they’re helped dozens of worlds recover their ecosystems after disasters or overharvesting, and the Ithorians are one of the oldest members of the Republic. None of that would have happened if they’re stayed on Ithor.”

    Dex nodded and smiled. “I’m sure there’s a message in there somewhere.”

    Vestri nodded in response. “I’m sure there is. And I don’t think it’s lost on the Ithorians.”
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    A fascinating, compelling egend with a very relevant warning about greed and mismanagement of natural resources. I am very happy the Ithorians took the warning to heart, in good time.
  10. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Enjoying this; it's a nice center for the stories she's collecting. It gives you a lot of opportunity for experimenting with things, too.
  11. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    As am I. I'm personally a great supporter of environmental conservation, both here on Earth and elsewhere. :)

    Thank you. A great feature of Dex's Diner is that just about anyone can walk in for a meal. So the possibilities of meeting multiple Star Wars characters of that era are endless. I'm hoping to get Kit Fisto in on the plot at some point....
    AzureAngel2, Findswoman and Kahara like this.
  12. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    (From all the Ron Cobb artwork around right now.)

    Just sittin' in Dex's Diner, chilling out.

    I love the stories, and doubly love the idea.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  13. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    @GregMcP , I need a "love" button instead of a "like" button for that gorgeous artwork. (Now I want a framed copy of it for my office....) Thank you for posting it here, and for your comments.
  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Well, I do love stories and this is why I paid close attention to the Brian Henson TV series "The storyteller" as a child when it finally made to Germany.

    Nice to have a student who collects stories of various races and planets in a galaxy far, far away.

    If you´ll ever find the time to write the autobiography of Dexter Jettster, then please let me know.

    (PS: I did that water colour painting ages ago, before Disney officially bought the SW franchise from GL.)
  15. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you for sharing your watercolor painting, @AzureAngel2. Is that Ratatouille in the bottom right corner?

    I've been doing ongoing research on Dexter Jettster, so I suppose someday writing his biography is a possibility....

    I'm loving the fact that artwork is showing up on this thread. :D I'm a librarian in real life, and nothing enhances a story like good illustrations.
  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    That is indeed Ratatouille you can see in my painting, because its a Disney/ SW crossover. And since it also shows the droid waitress & the human staff member, I took the liberty to post it as a feedback to your wonderful story.

    And I hope RL grants you some time for your writing. Our local library has weird opening times since the Corona pandemic started. But the stuff seems more relaxed at their work ever since.
    Findswoman , Kahara and GregMcP like this.
  17. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    This story was written for the 2020 Halloween Challenge. Thank you, Kit'!

    These were the words and the image I was given:


    Once again, it’s time to break out your copy of The Wildlife of Star Wars. If you don’t have one, images and information on hawk-bats can be found here:

    On Wings of Change

    Vestri Dain finished the outline of her pencil sketch, noted colors to be added later, and stepped to one side, avoiding a young couple who had stopped at the exhibit beside her.

    “Hawk-bats,” the male teen read aloud. “Considered one of only two remaining species native to Coruscant. They live and fly in flocks, roosting in heated areas such as vents and power cable casings.”

    “They’re really ugly,” his female companion remarked.

    “Does it say what the second native species is?” Vestri asked absently, adding details to her sketch.

    “What?” said the young woman.

    “It said there were two native species remaining,” Vestri said. “I just wondered if it mentioned what the other one was.”

    The young man scanned the written display. “I don’t see anything, sorry.”

    “It’s all right. I enjoy research.”

    “Why are we even stopping here?” the young woman asked.

    Her companion shrugged. “I remember my mother reading me a story about them when I was a child.”

    Vestri looked up from her notebook. “Really? Do you remember the story? Or what book it was in?”

    “I don’t remember the book,” the young man replied. “I think I remember the story, or parts of it, anyway.” He pointed to a hologram of an immature hawk-bat in the display. “Originally, back before Coruscant had any buildings at all, the hawk-bats all looked like that one. All the time. They ate insects and small animals – I think.” He smiled and shrugged apologetically. “I don’t remember all the details.”

    “That’s fine. I’ll do the research on that part. Go on.”

    “Then strangers came to Coruscant, or whatever the planet was called back then. Maybe it didn’t have a name. Anyway, the strangers settled here and began building. At first the hawk-bats didn’t pay any attention, since there was plenty of forests and food.

    “But as time went on, the cities spread across the world, and eventually became one enormous metropolis. By now the hawk-bats had noticed, because their homes and their food supply were disappearing.”

    The young woman took his arm. “Alex! You promised we would visit the arboretum!”

    “That’s just the next block over,” Vestri said. “Let’s start heading in that direction.” She slipped her notebook and pencil into her satchel and hiked it over her shoulder. The young woman glared at her, but began walking toward the exit, almost towing her young man along.

    “I don’t remember much more of the story,” Alex warned Vestri. “But I do remember that one hawk-bat finally flew into the city, looking for food, and found – I think it was a shadow barnacle, but I’m not sure. It was a silica parasite of some sort. The parasite was almost as big as the hawk-bat, but finally the hawk-bat killed and ate it.”

    “Eww,” remarked the young woman.

    “Well, it’s a good thing the hawk-bat did, because silica parasites would chew the city to pieces if something didn’t eat them,” Alex told her. “Anyway, the hawk-bat found a place to hide and sleep afterwards.” He paused, frowning. “If I recall correctly, it was an abandoned laboratory of some sort – it had all kinds of liquids and things preserved in jars, skulls -- yeah, something like that.

    “I think the hawk-bat was thirsty and pried one of the jars open to drink out of it, and then went to sleep.” By now they had left the natural history museum and were walking along a sunlit street. “When it woke up, the hawk-bat felt funny – as though it was getting too big for its skin. It huddled on a shelf, feeling more and more swollen. Then its skin split open.”

    His companion snapped, “Alex! That’s disgusting!”

    Alex grinned. “I think that’s the part I remember the best. Because it was gross, you know?”

    Vestri nodded. “I have male cousins. They were all big on ‘gross’ back in the day.”

    The young woman rolled her eyes.

    “Anyway, after climbing out of its old skin, the hawk-bat realized it was a lot bigger than before. It could see itself in the glass window, and discovered it was a different color and its wings were longer. As it flew around the lab, it noticed its eyesight had changed as well – now it could see colors and glowing objects it couldn’t before.

    “The hawk-bat few back to its flock and led them back into the city. It showed them the new things they could eat. Then it led them to the lab, where they each drank from the same jar. Within a few days, all of them had changed, just like the first hawk-bat had.”

    “Adapting to a new environment and reality,” Vestri remarked.

    “I guess so.”

    ‘That would be why they still survive here. And a good thing, too,” Vestri remarked. She stopped walking. The trio stood outside the arboretum. “And here we are. Thank you for the story, Alex, and…” she waited for the young woman to offer a name.

    “Satira,” Alex said.

    “Satira. Nice to meet you. I’m Vestri.” She glanced at her chrono. “And I’m just in time to catch the lift back to my apartment for dinner. Enjoy the arboretum.”

    “What section are you in?” Alex asked.

    “Blue section, level 4755.”

    Satira stared at her. “You cohabitate with aliens? That’s all that lives in that section.”

    “I rent an apartment from the Honnows,” Vestri corrected her. “They’re a very nice older Ithorian couple.”

    “Weird,” Satira muttered.

    “They’re also herbalists and botanists,” Vestri continued. “And they mentioned that the arboretum’s commelina flowers are coming into bloom. Apparently, the blooms are lovely during the day, and stunning after dark. And I think the roots are edible as well.” She smiled. “Just a thought. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon.” She bowed slightly and walked away, leaving the couple gazing after her.


    The following afternoon found Vestri sitting at the counter at Dex’s Diner, creating an outline for the hawk-bat story. “I was pleasantly surprised,” she commented as the Besalisk set her cup of Alderaan spice tea down next to her. “I didn’t think Coruscant would have any myths of its own – it just seemed like all the stories would with the people who moved here from other worlds. It’ll take some time to finish researching and flesh this one out, but it’ll be a pleasant break from schoolwork.”

    Dexter Jettster shook his head. “Vestri, you’re the only person I know who thinks research is fun.”

    “Everyone needs a hobby,” Vestri remarked breezily, and began writing:

    Far, far back at the dawn of time, when Coruscant was a living, breathing planet, it was home to thousands of plants and animals. Creatures flew through the air, ran through the fields and forests, and swam in the waters….


    Author’s note: for the sake of being thorough (since Vestri would expect it), the other species considered native to Coruscant is the thrantcill.
    Chyntuck, AzureAngel2, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    This continues to be such a delightful, creative collection of stories! I'm enjoying getting to know a little bit more about Vestri, and, of course, the people and cultures of the GFFA she helps us explore through her tales. [face_love]

    Now, to play a wee bit of catch up . . .

    Ha! I can perfectly imagine this. :p [face_laugh]

    This part, in particular, really hit me. There's just a feeling and ambiance of being in a deep forest that's without parallel. The idea of sentient trees has always been something I've adored in fantasy, and I loved seeing Ithor's Mother Jungle further explored and given life here. [face_love]

    Ow, this hurt. And hit all too close to what's being done to our own home with art mirroring life and all that . . . =((

    But, RL parallels aside, I love how much you took a few lines from canon and expounded on it with such a rich, beautiful backstory. Really, truly well done!

    Absolutely gorgeous. I loved the imagery of this. Of course the trees remember, and safe-guard Oodu's memory just as she was such a stalwart guardian in her own turn. Just beautiful and haunting in the best of ways. =D=

    Ha! Indeed not. I loved this closing bit of dialogue.

    What an interesting source for Vestri to take her story from! I loved that she found this gem of a tale in such an unexpected place. It was a great way to use your prompts, and show us a bit more 'slice-of-life' from an every day Coruscanti citizen.

    Ha! Fair! But, all grossness aside, it was a captivating tale. And all too believable way for a native species to adapt such all-consuming change!

    o_O Eugh. But, this was a stark light shone on the growing mistrust and bigotry in the waning days of the Republic - a non-Human prejudice that Palpatine is all too happily capitalizing on with his machinations and will only deepen underneath the Empire's reign.

    Beautiful prose! I loved this excerpt from Ventri's tales, and can't wait to see what story she next has to share.

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
  19. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you for commenting, @Mira_Jade. Just a few follow-ups:

    I've always loved the wilderness -- I grew up in a rural part of upstate New York, camped in the Adirondacks, and have visited National Parks all over the country. Although I'm getting a little too old to camp comfortably anymore (and have no one to go with), I still take nature walks and enjoy being surrounded by living creatures who aren't human.

    Natural History museums are fascinating. And some of the best stories I've ever found were presented in Native American visitor centers/museums.

    Sadly, Vestri is going to be running into that in other stories as well, either because people question her being polite to droids, of all things, to many people who don't understand her interest in, and lack of fear of, non-humans.

    Thank you. Vestri can be quite poetic when she's writing. And I hope to keep these tales going as long as I can find more source material.
  20. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    That was so beautiful. I love how you took what could have been a really scary story and turned it into something really peaceful and lovely.
  21. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Differences in Doctrine

    One of the most interesting aspects of Dex’s Diner, aside from the wide variety of beings who stopped by for a meal, was the narrower variety of new items that appeared on the menu, with admittedly mixed results. The Beefhead Sliders had been almost universally praised; the Azpag Salad, on the other hand, had literally vanished from the menu overnight.

    Vestri Dain, sitting at her usual table, scanned the beverage menu. “FLO, what’s in the Rodian Pomgran Cider?”

    FLO, the diner’s droid waitress, tucked her serving tray under her arm. “Pomgran fruit shavings, assorted spices, all simmered in Chandrillan Spring Water.”

    “Has anyone mentioned if it’s any good?”

    “Well, no one’s keeled over after drinking it.”

    Vestri laughed and tapped the menu on the table. “Not exactly a rousing endorsement.”

    “What can I say? I can’t drink the stuff myself, so….”

    Vestri passed the menu to FLO. “Okay. I’ll give it a try. I can get medical care through the university if this experiment goes wrong.” FLO took the menu and wheeled away to place the order. A few minutes later, she returned with a mug of dark, steaming liquid. Vestri inhaled the fragrance. “Smells good, anyway.”

    “Want I should stick around for the first few sips, just in case?” FLO suggested.

    “Sure. But not just because of this.” Vestri took a mouthful of cider. “Hm. Not bad. Dex may have another winner on his hands.” She turned her attention back to FLO. “I wanted to ask you something. It’s kind of personal, though, so you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

    “Hey, after you stood up for me in front of those three ruffians a couple weeks back? No problem. Ask away.”

    “FLO, do droids have a culture? I mean, one outside of the predominant culture wherever they happen to be working?”

    The waitress cocked her head. “Huh. Never been asked that before.” She rocked back and forth on her single wheel, thinking. “We’re kinda all over the place, ya know? And most of us don’t interact much…. No, I can’t say we’ve got a culture.” She turned to look at Vestri. “We got some stories, though. I think a lot of us know them, or we tell ‘em to each other.”

    Shifting in her chair, Vestri turned to face FLO. “I’ve honestly never thought of droids as storytellers, but most of you can communicate in some fashion, so I suppose that’s just a bias on my part.”

    “Most people don’t think of us that way, so it’s not just you. And we don’t tell the stories to organics, much. I got a couple I could tell you, though, if you’re interested.”

    “I’m certainly interested,” Vestri assured her, turning to open her satchel.

    “’Cept you can’t write this down, if I tell you,” FLO said.

    Vestri turned back. “FLO, will you get in some kind of trouble if you tell me?”

    “Oh, no, nothin’ like that,” FLO replied. “It’s just stories like this are for us, ya know?”

    “I understand.” Vestri closed the notebook.

    “Okay.” FLO sounded relieved. She looked around the room. “Usually I got some task to do right now – sorting silverware, rolling napkins, stuff like that. I’ll bring that in here so I can work while I talk.”

    A few minutes later, FLO had brought in trays of cutlery, napkins, spice shakers and containers, and set them on the table next to Vestri’s. “There. Now I’m legit.” The droid began filling spice shakers from the larger containers. “How ‘bout I tell you the story about the Maker and the First Droid?”

    “A creation story. Sounds great!” Vestri cupped her mug of cider in both hands and leaned forward.

    “A long time ago,” FLO began, “further back than even the oldest droids can remember – an’ ya know we have pretty good memories when they haven’t been erased – lived the Maker. Back then, there weren’t any droids, just organics. Nobody had thought of us yet.

    “Anyways, nobody’s sure what race the Maker was, or what gender, or how old, or… well, much of anything about this person, actually. We just know the Maker existed. Somewhere. The Ronyards scavenger droids say he lived on their planet, but then you’ve got the protocol droids who say he actually lived here on Coruscant.”

    Vestri sipped her drink. “So, there are at least two version of this story?”

    “At least,” FLO continued. “The scavengers and the protocols insist the Maker was a biological, at least, but the Gonk droids say the Maker was one of them.”

    “I’m sorry, the Gonk droids?”

    “Yeah, ya know, big walking' rectangles, ‘bout this tall --” FLO indicated a height of about a meter with one hand “—no facial features, wander around offering battery charges to other droids?”

    “I’ll have to look for one. I’m sorry, I don’t have a lot of experience with droids. There aren’t many on Naboo. So, some droids think the Maker was a form of Gonk droid?”

    “Mostly just the Gonks, but they sometimes get other droids to join ‘em. So, where was I?”

    “The Maker. I think. And what droids know or don’t know about him. Or her. Or it. Or them.”

    “Right.” FLO began loading the full spice shakers on a tray. “Anyways, the first story says the Maker needed someone to help him with something he was doing, so created a thing outta sticks. The Maker built the thing in a kinda Human shape and even dressed it in clothing. But the sticks didn’t last long and whatever he built wasn’t very helpful. So, the Maker put the stick-thing out in a field where it would scare birds away from the plants being grown.”

    By now FLO had finished the spice shakers and was rolling silverware in napkins. Vestri’s mug was nearly empty, and after watching FLO assemble a couple sets, the human picked up some of the utensils and napkins and began rolling them as well.

    FLO continued. “Then the Maker tried building a helper out of stones, but the stones couldn’t move too fast, and they kept crushing whatever the Maker wanted them to help with, so the Maker took them apart and stacked them up and made a tall tower out of them to protect things from the weather.

    “Finally, the Maker tried metal. It was light enough to do the work, flexible enough to do tasks well, and lasted longer than the sticks, if not longer than the stones. And then the first droid was ready to help the Maker.”

    FLO started stacking the finished tableware rolls on another tray. “’Course, there’s some disagreement about what the first droid looked like or what its task was.”

    “Of course,” Vestri murmured into her mug, and swallowed the last of her cider.

    “The protocol droids say it was to help communicate, the scavenger droids say it was to help clean up, and the nav droids say it was to help transport things.”

    “And the Gonk droids?”

    “They say the Maker looked like them and just made everything. And then there's the dishwasher.”

    Vestri blinked. “Dishwasher? Was that someone who had studied the Maker?”

    “Nah. The dishwasher. Here in the kitchen. Got an opinion on everything. Wanna meet it?”

    Vestri looked down into her empty mug and gave up trying to make sense of FLO’s “story.” She grinned. “Sure. Why not?”

    FLO led the way into the kitchen, where a large metal box with hoses and a control panel sat in one corner. “This is the dishwasher.”

    Unsure whether she was being formally introduced to someone or just pranked by a droid, Vestri finally decided to err on the side of good manners. “Hello. Nice to meet you.” There was no response, until –

    “What are you two doing in here?” Dex’s voice boomed from the kitchen door. “Is something wrong?”

    “FLO was introducing me to the dishwasher,” Vestri replied, deadpan.

    “Introducing you to –” Dex scowled at FLO. “Shouldn’t be bringing a customer in here. I’ll take that,” and he took the mug from Vestri’s hand. “Go on back to your table, and I’ll bring out your order.”

    “Going,” Vestri said. At the door, however, she turned and said to the dishwasher, “It was nice meeting you.”

    “It doesn’t –” Dex began. A chiming tune from the dishwasher interrupted her. The Besalisk squinted at the machine. “Never heard it do that before. Hope something’s not broken….” Chuckling, Vestri scooted out the door and back to her table.


    Author's note: This story was inspired by the Autumn Bingo Challenge. It has a couple of the concepts suggested by the words I drew (Thankful, Ghost, Orange, Scarecrow, Cider), but doesn’t use them all. However, they produced the idea for this story, so thank you, @devilinthedetails.

    There really are references to droid religions in the Legends stories of Star Wars:


    Gonk droids (and their cult)

    The Maker

    Who is the Maker?
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] =D= Enjoyed FLO's story and not sure if that was a prank with the dishwasher or not [face_mischief]
  23. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    This was another wonderful story to add to Vestri's collection, and a fantastic use of the Autumn Bingo prompts! Or, really I should say that it's a special story for Vestri alone to learn. What an honor and a privilege. [face_love]

    High praise indeed, Flo! [face_laugh] I loved all of the commentary about Dex' successes, and especially his misses in the kitchen. :p Maybe it really was wise for FLO to stick around for a second or two! Like the best of the SW droids, she really does have a sense of humor and a unique personality of her own. [face_love]

    This was really wonderful of Vestri to admit. We all have biases and learned behaviors and misconceptions that we have to unlearn. It takes humility and a good heart to allow ourselves to learn and grow. And then admit to doing so! But then, that's what makes Vestri such a wonderful mythologist in the first place.

    Beautiful. I really appreciated this bit, again!

    I love how the Maker went from sticks to stones to metal to create his 'helper.' And in the process Made so many other things as well!

    But of course! [face_mischief]

    Ha! That's completely fair. But, with that unusual chirping I would love to imagine its the former rather than the latter. [face_love]

    This was another wonderful addition to your collection, and I look forward to reading more, as always! =D=
  24. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Force Ghost star 3

    Mar 18, 2002
    Holiday Fare
    (A “not-for-the-notebook” story)
    Written for the 2020 Holiday Tropes Challenge

    Vestri Dain glanced through the front window of Dex’s Diner and halted to take a second look. Three of the diner’s waitresses and (apparently) two of their customers were crouched around the lunch counter, at eye level with something sitting on a white plate. Vestri carefully stepped through the pneumonic doors; four pairs and a trio of eyes (one customer was a Gran) turned in her direction at the sound.

    “I’m sorry,” Vestri said. “Am… I … interrupting a religious observance or something?”

    “No!” snapped Dexter Jettster from the service window. “You’re interrupting a mass delusion in progress!”

    Hermione Bagwa, Dex’s head waitress, straightened from her crouch. “I’m telling you, Dex, that thing moves by itself!”

    “No, it doesn’t!” Dex insisted. “You’re just imagining it! Leave it alone, the lot of you!” The Gran and his Herglic companion straightened up and hastened to a front window booth; the three waitresses, FLO among them, abandoned the plate on the counter and hurried back to their duties.

    “What’s going on, FLO?” Vestri asked as the droid waitress picked up the “Daily Specials” menu and wheeled out from behind the counter.

    “Oh, you know how it is – Dex is just trying something new.”

    “Yeah, I know all about Dex trying ‘something new’.” Vestri grinned. “So what’s this one called?”

    “He said it’s a wartroom-ton,” FLO replied. “I think the closest translation in Basic is “cake-with-fruit.”

    Vestri squinted at the wartroom-ton sitting on the plate. “Okay. Hermione said it was moving?”

    “We’re not sure, honestly. That’s why we were all staring at it –”

    The doors opened behind Vestri. “Ah! There you are!” exclaimed a male voice behind her. “Didn’t you see me get off the transport behind you?”

    Head turned so that only FLO could see her face, Vestri rolled her eyes. “Hello, Dorver,” she replied. “No, I didn’t. It’s hard to see what’s going on behind me, since my eyes are located in the front of my head.”

    FLO’s eyes glowed a bit brighter. “So, table for two?”

    A few minutes later, Vestri and her guest sat at her regular table in the side room, and FLO had brought a second set of menus. Once they had ordered, Dorver launched into a commentary on his classes, his family, his interest in a political career, and his opinions on the state of the galaxy. Since no response seemed necessary, Vestri began mentally reviewing her schedule for her upcoming trip home, only part of which she expected to enjoy. She loved her family (mostly), but some of the adults didn’t always agree with her career and life choices and tended to be rather vocal about it.

    In the middle of Dorver’s monologue, FLO rolled up with their drinks. “Dex wants to know if you’d like to try the dessert special.”

    “Was that the thing everyone was looking at when I walked in?”

    “That’s the one.”

    “Sure. Tell him I’d love to. Bring us each one, okay? And put it on my tab.”

    A few minutes later (about the time Vestri began to suspect that her companion’s mouth could in fact prove the existence of perpetual motion) FLO placed two plates on the table, each bearing a sizeable chunk of the wartroom-ton. Vestri immediately focused her attention on her serving, gently probing it with her fork and turning it to study the colorful bits of (alleged) fruit. Finally, she picked up her knife and began sawing at the cake, without much success.

    “What are you doing?” Dorver asked, an irritated note in his voice.

    “Rumor has it this stuff can actually move on its own,” Vestri replied. “I’m experimenting with different stimuli to see if I can prove that hypothesis.”

    “Why would you do that?”

    “Because it’s there.” Vestri indicated Dorver’s spoon. “Try tapping yours with your spoon so I can watch what happens.”

    “Certainly not! Weren’t you listening? I was right in the middle of my story about the time I debated my homeworld’s famed orator Greeglon Blee!”

    Vestri glanced at him. “And a riveting story it is, I’m sure. Here, try the spoon on it.” She held out his spoon by the handle.

    Dorver stared at her utensil as Vestri continued to peer at the wartroom-ton. “You’d rather – rather play with your food than listen to my story?” he demanded in a louder tone.

    Vestri suddenly switched her attention to his dessert plate. “Wait! Did that just move? Talk to it again – it might be your tone of voice!”

    “I am not having a conversation with my dessert!” Dorver threw his napkin on the table and stormed out of the diner.

    Vestri grinned after him. “Well, something certainly moved. I guess the experiment was successful.”

    FLO wheeled into the room, turning away from watching Dorver. “Everything okay here?”

    “It’s just fine, FLO.” Vestri eyed the wartroom-ton thoughtfully; obviously further experimentation was warranted, and she had a whole family of potential possibilities. “Would you box both of these up for me, please?”

    “So, you liked it?” FLO picked up both plates.

    “Loved it.” Vestri chose not to elaborate. “Tell Dex I’d like four more to go.”

    Forty-five minutes later, Dex was handing her the bag with six wrapped wartroom-ton. “Thank you,” Vestri said. “I’ll definitely be thinking of you all while I’m gone.”

    “Where are you going?”

    “I’m heading home to Naboo for a couple weeks. Some family gatherings, and a chance to see some of the Gungans’ annual games and competitions. I’m thinking of signing up for one of the storytelling events.” Vestri hefted the bag. “I’ll also be introducing some of my family to your cooking.”


    After twenty minutes of listening to her Grandmother’s questioning (“don’t you have any social life on Coruscant? There must be dozens of eligible young men and social events there – it’s the center of the galaxy!”), Vestri decided it was time to try Phase 2 of her “cake-with-fruit” experiment. She unwrapped one of the packages, set the cake on a plate, and began humming to it.

    Her grandmother stopped her complaints in mid-sentence. “What is that, and why are you humming at it?”

    Vestri explained the suspicion that the wartroom-ton could move under its own power, and finished with, “I’m trying different stimuli to see if they have effect. Right now I’m trying different kinds of music. Does Uncle Kiff still play the hallikset?”

    “Yes, but – ”

    “Or perhaps you could sing to it! Father always said you had an excellent voice.” Vestri held the plate out to her.

    Her grandmother’s gaze flicked from the plate to Vestri’s face and back. She stared at the wartroom-ton. “Honestly, you’ve picked up some strange ideas in Coruscant! I’m not singing to a dinner roll. And speaking of which – ” her grandmother rose “ – I’m going to check on dinner.”

    Vestri grinned at her grandmother’s retreating back. “Worked again. These may not be particularly edible, but they certainly have other uses!”


    Over the next week of family gatherings, Vestri’s experiments continued with a fair amount of success.

    When her mother offered to introduce her to “a couple of nice boys,” Vestri asked her to recite a poem to the wartroom-ton. She broke up a fight between cousins by convincing them to whistle a tune at the wartroom-ton and gauge the results. In encouraging one of her uncles to talk to the cake for a few minutes, Vestri learned that he really wanted to leave his current job and become a baker (a career change she whole-heartedly supported – her uncle made the best baked goods on Naboo).

    Midway through the week, Vestri’s father arrived with a trio of Gungans, much to his mother’s surprise. One of them, Adrick Fel, greeted Vestri warmly. “My’ve brought yous some ‘omework,” he told Vestri, holding out a packet of flimsies.

    Vestri glanced at them. “Vocabulary lists!”

    “Yiss. Needin’ some p’oof-h’readin’.” Adrick had been working with Vestri’s father with translating High Gungan into Basic and preparing language recordings for students.

    “I’ll look them over after dinner,” Vestri promised. “Are you staying?”

    “No, no, not stayin’,” Adrick replied. “Diss celeb’h’ration for family, and wesan not family. Least’n not h’yet. Wesan just returnin’ diss’n – ” here he indicated Vestri’s father, Parlin Dain “ – for the festivities.”

    While her grandmother looked relieved about not having to find suitable food for three Gungans (she needn’t have worried, Vestri knew, since Gungans didn’t consider eating to be a social activity), she did offer them some of Uncle Balar’s spice cookies, which Adrick happily accepted. He actually bowed to the Human woman as he took the container. “Most gener’huss, thanka yous,” he said. “Fresh baked goods allus welcome.”

    The holiday week passed. A younger cousin practiced his holo-photography by setting up a spot to film the wartroom-ton over the course of several hours, studying the resulting time-lapse recording for signs of movement. Several of the neighborhood youngsters buried one of the cakes in the snow, then dug it up to see if it shivered. Despite the incident of one cousin chasing another through the house, shouting, “It’s coming after you!” and waving one of the wartroom-ton at him, it was one of the more enjoyable family gatherings Vestri could remember.

    At the end of the week, Vestri asked several family members to help her prepare for the next celebration: the Gungans’ Annual Games, held this year in Otoh Gunga. A passel of cousins helped scoop snow into large coolers, and donated pairs of mittens. Then Vestri and her father and the Gungans loaded the coolers into transports, said their farewells, and headed south to the swamplands.


    The day after their arrival, Vestri registered for the Storytelling competition in the Amateur Guest Division. She couldn’t compete in the main events (she didn’t represent a city) and she wasn’t interested in competing for mating consideration. Two nights later, she and Adrick looked around at the Gungans seated just outside the Storytellers’ Circle. Adrick nodded. “H’respectable c’rowd,” he remarked. “Speak well.” He stepped away and took a seat in the audience.

    At the signal from the moderator, the crowd quieted and Vestri stepped into the center of the ring. “My story comes from a world far way – a place where, unlike Naboo, it’s almost always cold and snowy. The natives call their world Ojom, and it’s always the season of winter.” A murmur ran through the audience.

    “To help my story make more sense, I’ve brought some props.” Vestri gestured to the three Gungans tasked with opening the coolers; each took the lid off the large chests and dumped the contents into the circle, forming heaps of snow. Most of the audience leaned forward, peering and sniffing at the unfamiliar sight.

    “This is what snow looks and feels like,” Vestri continued. “Now imagine, if you will, and entire world covered in this. The wind blows frequently.” Vestri stopped and picked up a candle, lit it, and placed it in a glass bowl, setting it in the snow. “Little grows from the ground. Water and land creatures make up most of your food options.” She lit a second candle, then a third. Then she signaled an attendant, who lowered the lights until the candles were the main source of light. “Now, let me tell you a story of one female who helped her people by battling winter.”


    “So, how did the trip home turn out?” Dex placed a sandwich and cup of soup on the table beside Vestri’s elbow.”

    “Just grand, thanks.” Vestri finished sketching a blue peko-peko bird for one of the Gungan stories she had heard during the Annual Games competition. “Fewer than the usual gripe sessions with my family, told two stories in the amateur division of the Annual Games, and—" she rolled up her left sleeve to reveal a wide cuff bracelet “— I sort of received a marriage proposal.”

    A chorus of congratulations swirled from Dex, FLO, and the three customers who happened to be sitting near Vestri’s table. Vestri gave them all a pleased smile.

    “Is that why you’ve been fending off those young men who’ve followed you in a few times?” Dex asked.

    “Oh, no – this was a complete surprise to me,” Vestri replied, tapping the bracelet. “I fended those guys off because I wasn’t interested in them. The last fellow was too self-centered, the second one couldn’t understand why I would want to study non-human cultures, and I think the first fellow was just trying to win a bet with his friends. Which, if nothing else, means he needs to find better friends.”

    “So, tell us about this young man.”

    “His name is Adrick, and he’s actually a young-ish Gungan.”

    Dex cocked his head and blinked at her. “A Gungan? Married to a Human? How would that work?”

    “Reasonably well, I think. Gungans marry for a variety of reasons – to strengthen ties between clans or families, to add a desirable individual to the family, to gain an economic or social advantage, or just for love. Or a combination thereof.” She shrugged. “I’ve known him for several years – he works with my father on the Gungan language, but he’s mostly an artist and designer – woodworking, carvings, metal work, gems and jewelry, that sort of thing.” She touched the cuff. “This is one of his. Muudabok horn with shell inlay.

    “The advantage for his family is having a human connection to Naboo society, whether in academics or trade – I think one of his relatives is interested in becoming a diplomat, and I know a number of Gungan clans are talking about starting colonies on other worlds. The advantage for me is that the same clans are found in all Gungan cities and towns, so I would have ‘family’ and connections wherever I went in Gungan territory. I would have access to parts of their culture that they wouldn’t otherwise show humans – their spiritual beliefs, for example.”

    “Do you love him?”

    Vestri considered the question. “I like him, and I respect him – he’s a kind, decent fellow, even poetical at times. I think the feeling is mutual. I can certainly think of worse people to be married to, if everyone agrees to this match.”

    “What about children?”

    Vestri laughed. “You sound just like my mother, except your voice is a few octaves lower. She’s now complaining that her grandchildren will have eyestalks and floppy ears.” She leaned back in her chair. “Humans and Gungans are biologically incompatible, so no children unless we adopt. The whole thing’s still in the negotiation stage, at any rate – the heads of both families have to agree to it, so we’ll see what happens.”

    Dex grinned and shook his head. “Well, I wish you luck with it, however it turns out.”

    “Thanks.” Vestri placed a holodisk on the table and activated it – a crowd of Gungans milled around a pile of snow on the floor; three candles in carved ice holders flickered in the middle of the drift. “I placed third in the Storytelling Competition. I told the story of Battling Winter that I got from you, but since most Gungans have never seen snow, I had to provide props. It was a big hit! We even managed to have a snowball fight before everything melted.

    “Oh, and I think I might have found a market for your wartroom-ton. The falumpasets just loved them.”

    “Are they a Gungan clan?”

    “Ah… more like Gungan livestock, actually. But they were enthusiastic consumers. I had a small herd of ‘em following me around once I unwrapped one.” Vestri suspected the falumpasets might have been one of the few animals that could actually chew the wartroom-ton.

    Dex scowled and folded the top pair of arms. “Not exactly what I had in mind for that recipe….”

    “Hey, the Gungans are quite attached to their animals and want to feed them the best. I had two requests for the recipe.” Dex’s face lit up at that. “So if you can figure out a way to produce wartroom-ton in bulk, I might be able to set you up with a market…” Vestri grinned and left the rest to Dex’s imagination.

    ~*~*~ End ~*~*~​

    Author’s note: There are at least a couple of meanings for the word “fruitcake,” and I think I’ve hit ‘em both here. ;)

    My choice in the Holiday Tropes Challenge was "5. Everyone Hates Fruitcakes," and while I didn't fit the clothing choices for the challenge into the story, I did include five of the Random Holiday Elements:

    3. Snowball fight; 6. Candles; 7. Snow falling; 9. Gifts; 10. Baked goods

    And this was my mystery picture:


    Happy Holidays, everyone! Thanks for reading.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] What an inventive use for fruit cake! [face_mischief] Fascinating potential match for Vestri. ;)
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