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Saga - PT The Mythologist

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

  1. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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.

    Below is the index of stories:

    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)
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  2. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 21, 2016
    Cool story. And it's always nice to see Dex.
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  4. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Mar 18, 2002
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  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager 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
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  6. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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.
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  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

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

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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.”
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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    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.
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  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 Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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....
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  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
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  13. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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 Force Ghost 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.)
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  15. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    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 Force Ghost 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.
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