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Saga - PT The Mythologist

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

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Caught up with this wonderful series at last—amazing work, I’m really enjoying! What a wonderful and creative way to use the seasonal prompts—autumn bingo, Halloween prompts, Holiday tropes—and take them in some interesting and unexpected directions!

    “Battling Winter”: this was just the story I needed in the bitter Northern Tier cold! Wonderful synthesis of the Besalisk, their unique many-armed anatomy, and their winterlocked homeworld (except for that one storied spot), and I love seeing Dex in the role of storyteller and “ambassador” of sorts for his people and culture, not just a big guy who cooks. :p Love, too, how this story sets the stage for all the others, and how, thanks to both Vestri and Dex, the diner becomes the site of cultural learning and exchange. :)

    “For Love of Mother Jungle”: Wow, you REALLY took the “Harvest Moon” prompt (and the other autumn prompts) in a very interesting direction with this tale of stewardship of nature! Oodu’s visions and dialogue with Mother Jungle are just amazing—love a good vision scene! I got definite Lorax vibes from this, but it was more positive than The Lorax in many ways, because the focus was on what COULD be done rather than on the dire “what will happen” warnings. So beautiful that the Ithorians were able to find a way to travel throughout the galaxy (and they are, indeed, one of those SW species we see all over) while still showing their love and care for the Mother Jungle that gave them birth. (And it was a necessary thing, as we see—that really packed a punch!) Plus, how wonderful that even Vestri gets to participate in her landlady’s stewardship of Ithor, too, in some small way, by caring for the Donar plant. Beautiful work!

    “On Wings of Change”: This was really cool and unexpected—a chapter from the natural history of Coruscant, of all places, possibly the last planet one would think of as having any “natural history” at all! (And yet, even on our earth, there are also species that prefer living in built-up, urban environments—peregrine falcons and some swallows, for example.) Amazing job totally transforming those Halloween prompts, with those scary-looking “poison”-looking jars actually becoming something that helps transform the bats in a life-giving way to help them live in their new environment. And it’s good that Vestri had at least one sympathetic listener of the two, though hopefully they both learned something new about their planet of residence! (I certainly did, and it looks like Dex might have, as well!) If there’s anyone who can give an ecumenopolis like Coruscant a myth and a natural history, it’s you—great work. :)

    “Differences in Doctrine”: This was so creative—a droid legend! And about this mysterious “Maker” who keeps coming up in their paths and expressions, too—love how you turned that into their creation story. (I was reminded of the robots’ religion in the adventure game Primordia by Wadjet Eye Games, in which “Man” is a divinity—an amazing game that I highly recommend.) Fun touch of “The Three Little Pigs” in there, too (very clever way to work in “scarecrow”). The differences of opinion and doctrine really made me smile, and I smiled an especially big smile at the reference to the Gonk droid cult; haven’t seen that in a very long time! And the DISHWASHER! :rotfl: That was just the crowning touch—I know mine (a Bosch 300 Series) has some opinions of its own! :p And then silly old Dex steps in just as we’re about to hear what I’m sure is a very thought-provoking dissenting opinion. :p Great job and so creative—it would be amazing to see you go further into the realm of droid mythology sometime (and introduce us to that esteemed dishwasher)! :D

    “Holiday Fare”: Great to see this series continuing into the winter holiday prompts—loved your creative dual use of the “fruitcake” prompt and your translation fo the whole fruitcake phenomenon into the GFFA! Wow, that Dorver, what a pompous whatnot—loved the way Vestri so diplomatically takes him down with the help of the wartroom-ton and its purported independent motion abilities! [face_laugh] A most successful experiment, I would say. :p I love how it helps get her through her various trials and tribulations with relatives and their matchmaking attempts, but also that it’s a source of fun and bonding in its way and that the local kids got some fun out of it, too. And wow, that was definitely a very interesting and unexpected proposal from Adrick! But he definitely seems like a nice fellow—much more so than Dorver or those other guys Vestri mentioned—and he and Vestri definitely do have some good commonalities even with their species difference. I enjoyed the “meta” reference back to Dex’s tale from “Battling Winter”; that was a fun way to bring things “full circle,” so to speak, and it looks like it made a very favorable impression on Vestri’s Gungan audience, not just Adrick. Fun final touch to see that the wartroom-ton finally gets some enthusiastic consumers in the falumpasets; eager to see now if Dex will follow up on that potential new market! :D Great job combining the prompts on a very unique winter holiday tale! =D= I’m definitely here if these stories continue! :)
     
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “On Wings of Change” surprised me in many ways. Coruscant has always unexpected depths.

    “Differences in Doctrine" gave droids an important voice. I love to see stories in which they get a deeper meaning for their existence.

    The update “Holiday Fare” gave me a lot of insight into Vestri´s background and on Naboo traditions.
     
  3. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Short review for now, but wow is this one that I want to come back to for further thoughts at some point. It's been so much fun to see all the different lore of the various worlds and cultures that Vestri encounters -- and most of it all from the central point of the diner, which is such a fun callback to those old "Tales from" anthologies that are still among my favorite Star Wars books. This series has been a real treat, and I especially found the Can't Believe It's Not Something Like Fruitcake entry and the one with the droid stories delightful! :) They're both funny and thought-provoking, and show us a richer, stranger version of the SW galaxy. (Also, The Wildlife of Star Wars is fantastic and I'm so glad to see that someone else thinks so too! :p )
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  4. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you to everyone who's been reading, and thank you especially to those commenting, and their patience with my delayed replies.

    Thank you, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha. You have to figure fruitcake is good for something, right? And the marriage proposal for Vestri was a complete surprise to me. Why don't my characters warn me about these things.?

    Food seems to be a universal constant, so the diner seemed like an ideal place to meet a wide variety of people, human and (mostly) otherwise. And as I dig around in Dex's past, there are some fascinating story ideas, so I'm hoping we will eventually get him to elaborate more on his background.

    True. In my area, we've had a growing population of peregrine falcons making their home in a nearby city. I had the amazing experience of seeing one up close and personal when a pigeon literally fell from the sky in front of my car and the falcon came swooping after it. Also seeing an increasing number of red-tail hawks around, and recently heard an owl in the forested area behind my house. All to the good, as far as I'm concerned.
    Thank you. (Do we seriously not have a "blush" emoticon here? Who do I talk to about that?)

    I'll have to look for that game.

    I can envision the running gag of Vestri continuously trying to sneak into the kitchen to see if she can confirm FLO's description of the dishwasher as a religious philosopher.... [face_laugh] Our dishwasher at home also has its own opinions. However, my mother finally "had a talk" with it (which I missed, unfortunately) and it has since behaved itself. We'll see how long that lasts.

    It's amazing what kids can make a game out of, isn't it? Who needs electronics?

    This plot point was a complete surprise to me. I've been writing fanfiction for a(n embarrassingly) long time, and have never had a marriage proposal event. I was typing along, and suddenly was like, "Wait, what? WHAT just happened there?" Be interesting to see how that progresses. I'm still not sure where it's going to go yet....

    Thank you. I have at least two more stories in progress, and if I ever work up the nerve to do a full- or half-year entry for the Dear Diary Challenge, I've got some ideas for a story set near the beginning of the OT. We'll see.

    Thank you, AzureAngel2. Coruscant does seem to have all kinds of secrets that are invisible at first glance.

    There have been several recent commentaries into the role of droids in Star Wars, and since Vestri has little to no experience with them, this allows some exploration on my part, too. I'm sorry that D-O is so far in the future, since I'd love to introduce her to him/it.

    Ever since I read Mia Mesharad's Welcome to Mandalore, I've wanted to do a guidebook on Naboo. That might end up being a side project one of these days.

    I remember those anthologies. I think I liked the "Cantina" one the best, but it was fascinating to see where the authors took some of those background characters.

    I love The Wildlife of Star Wars, and wish someone would do a volume 2, or an updated volume, or something. The GFFA wildlife alone is worth the price of admission.

    I'm glad you've enjoyed the stories, and thank you for commenting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  5. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Time to update a couple of things:

    First of all, The Mythologist anthology has been getting plenty of mentions of the 2020 Favorites of Fanfic Festival thread, and I want to thank everyone who has done so. I really appreciate the support. [face_love]

    Second, I am rearranging the Index in the first post to reflect the order in which the stories should be read. It may not always be the order in which they're posted, since I am often hopelessly disorganized. :oops:

    Third, I have added my name to the list of authors willing to receive constructive criticism, and I will alter the first post in this thread to reflect that.

    Finally, I am still working on stories for this anthology. Some will be inspired by various fanfic challenges, some will just be stories I want to tell for whatever reason. I have the next one almost finished; it would have been posted last month, but my laptop and USB stick conspired to eat it -- twice -- so I've had to pull up a very early version of it and rewrite it a couple of times. Technical difficulties aside, I'm hoping to post it before Easter.
     
  6. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    In for a Song

    “Ah, ah, ex-excuse me, your ladyship, are-are you Vestri Dain?”

    Vestri looked up from her padd at the thin Weequay male standing at her elbow, twisting his leathery grey hands. “That would be me, yes. What can I do for you, Myr…?”

    “Jastol Bedower, Your Ladyship. D-Dexter Jettster said I had to tell you a story.”

    Vestri turned and looked over her shoulder at the Besalisk chef and owner of Dex’s Diner, who stood in the doorway, one pair of arms folded and a third arm propped against the door jamb. He glanced meaningfully at the Weequay and nodded once. “I see,” Vestri said, turning back to Bedower.

    “He-he said it had to be an o-old story, like one you’d hear from a great-grand-sire, or older,” the Weequay continued. He had at least stopped twisting his hands and now rested them on the back of a chair at Vestri’s table. Several braids hung from the back of his head, pulled together in a ponytail and tied in two places with green ribbons.

    Vestri nodded. “I collect very old stories – myths, legends, tall tales, anything that goes back a long way in time.”

    Bedower seemed to think for a moment. “I-I could tell one from the time of the Sith Empire.”

    “That would certainly qualify as old,” Vestri said. “And I have yet to hear a story from the Weequay culture. Would you like to sit down, Myr Bedower?”

    Bedower actually flinched. “No, no, Your Ladyship, that – that would be inappropriate. I-I have to do this properly, you see.”

    “I confess I’m confused,” Vestri admitted. “And I’m not actually any kind of a lady, titled or otherwise, so don’t feel you need to stand on ceremony.” Then she added, “No pun intended.”

    The Weequay seemed confused as well. “This i-is a favor I owe to Dexter Jettster – well, first I owed it to – ” here he rattled off a bunch of syllables that made no sense to Vestri “ – but he transferred that favor to Jettster, and he told me I would pay it off by giving you a story.”

    Vestri made a mental note to get the context of Bedower’s favor from Dex before she left the diner. “Okay. Whatever works for you is fine. May I write your story down?”

    “I-if you want to, I guess.”

    Vestri set aside her classwork, opened her story notebook and picked up a stylus. “Thank you. Whenever you’re ready.”

    Bedower took a deep breath, leaned forward, and picked up Vestri’s currently unused soup spoon. He rapped the spoon on the table once, twice, three times, four – setting up a rhythm. Head nodding along, he began to sing:


    Oh, the year was 2621,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    When a Letter of Marxx from Zodoh’s court
    Told a luckless captain to report


    But damn them all! I was told
    We'd cruise the lanes for the Sith lords’ gold
    We'd fire no guns -- shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man for many a year
    The last of Vekbu's Privateers.


    “What d’you think ye’r doing?” Dex roared from the doorway. Vestri started in surprise. Bedower jumped back and dropped the spoon.

    “I-I was singing a – “

    “Ballad!” Vestri interjected. “It’s a story-song. Right?”

    “Aye – er, yes,” Bedower replied.

    “And pounding a dent in my tabletop!” Dex snapped. “You need to set a rhythm, tap your hand on the table instead!” The Weequay nodded nervously.

    Vestri offered him an encouraging smile. “You were doing just fine. And you have a good singing voice, too.”

    Glancing at Dex, Bedower took a deep breath. “Ah, er, thank you. D’you want me to keep singing, or just tell the story?”

    “Oh, definitely keep singing. Just,” she glanced over her shoulder at the Besalisk and lowered her voice conspiratorially, “maybe not with the spoon.”

    The Weequay swallowed and nodded. Vestri jotted “Letters of Marxx?” in the page margin and asked, “Before we go on, what’s the name of this song?”

    “It’s ‘Vekbu’s Privateers.' Back then, a privateer was someone appointed by one of the Hutt crime lords to, uh, liberate certain items from, ah, certain people.”

    “They were pirates,” Dex clarified.

    “N-no, they weren’t, they were paid contractors –”

    Vestri waved her hands. “Okay, privateers, got it. And I’m guessing the ‘Letters of Marxx’ was the contract with the Hutts?”

    “Yes.” Bedower stared back at Dex, who had folded his arms again and waited in the doorway.


    “Okay, I’m caught up,” Vestri told him, scribbling a note. “Please continue.”

    This time Bedower set the rhythm by rapping his knuckles on the table.

    Oh, Elcid Vekbu cried the town,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    For twenty brave men all space-wise who
    would make for him the Bandigo’s crew


    But damn them all! I was told
    We'd cruise the lanes for the Sith lords’ gold
    We'd fire no guns -- shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man for many a year
    The last of Vekbu's Privateers.


    The Bandigo ship was a sickening sight,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    She'd a list to the port with hyperspace lags
    And the cook in scuppers with the staggers and the jags


    Vestri finished writing that verse, underlined the last sentence, and scrawled a question mark at the end. She suspected it had to do with unsteady footing (“alcohol? faulty engines?” she jotted in the margin) but definitions could wait. Bedower continued his song. Vestri could hear small sounds of movement behind her, but she focused on transcribing the Weequay’s words.

    On that fateful eve when we took flight,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    We were three long weeks to Cadomai
    Patched hull like madmen all the way


    But damn them all! I was told
    We'd cruise the lanes for the Sith lords’ gold
    We'd fire no guns -- shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man for many a year
    The last of Vekbu's Privateers.


    In our third week out our luck turned gold,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    When a Sith Lord’s transport hove in sight
    With forward guns we made to fight


    But damn them all! I was told
    We'd cruise the lanes for the Sith lords’ gold
    We'd fire no guns -- shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man for many a year
    The last of Vekbu's Privateers.


    The Sith Lord’s ship was loaded with gold,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    She was broad and fat and loose in the stays
    But to catch her took the Bandigo two whole days


    Vestri underlined “loose in the stays.” She definitely heard movement behind her now, but Bedower was focused on his song and she didn’t want to break his concentration.

    Then at length we stood two cables away,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    Our gunners’ barrage made an awful din
    But with one fell shot they stove us in

    Vestri risked a quick glance over her shoulder. Dex wasn’t standing in the doorway anymore – now it was FLO and another waitress, and what looked like several customers.

    The Bandigo shook and pitched on her side,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    Vekbu shattered like a bowl of eggs
    An explosion carried off both me legs

    Vestri winced as she wrote the two lines.

    But damn them all! I was told
    We'd cruise the lanes for the Sith lords’ gold
    We'd fire no guns -- shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man for many a year
    The last of Vekbu's Privateers.


    So here I lay in my 23rd year,
    How I wish I was on Sriluur now!
    It's been 6 years since we first took flight
    And I just made Oseon late last night.

    “Oseon – planet?” Vestri jotted in the margin. It sounded as though Bedower was winding up his song –

    But damn them all! I was told
    We'd cruise the lanes for the Sith lords’ gold
    We'd fire no guns -- shed no tears
    Now I'm a broken man for many a year
    The last of Vekbu's Privateers.

    Vestri drew a deep breath. “Well, that was –”

    Someone behind them uttered a piercing whistle, and suddenly nearly a dozen beings were applauding (or engaged in their own species’ equivalent). Several people had crowded into the room, while other peered around the door jamb. Dex had disappeared.

    “I think you just acquired a fan club, hon,” FLO told Bedower as she wheeled past him to pick up menus from a holder across the room. “Party of three?” and a trio of Rodians followed her path to a booth across the room. One of them stopped to thank the Weequay for his performance. Right behind came an Ishi Tib, who was gushing about Bedower’s singing, and did he by any chance do weddings? Vestri wasn’t sure how anyone would make a mental leap from a tragic space-battle ballad to wedding songs, but maybe it depended on the individual’s species….

    A minute later Dex reappeared and told one of the waitresses to escort a stammering Bedower “around to meet his adoring public,” thereby clearing space around Vestri’s table. She exchanged waves with a Gran who was a fellow regular at the diner, and turned her attention to Dex. “So, do I want to know the background on all this? He’s paying off a favor?”

    “Yeah.” Dex nodded to the Gran, then bent toward Vestri and lowered his voice. “I met him back when I was still prospecting. He was doing some smuggling at the time, but wanted to get out of that business, so I put in a couple good words in the right places and got him to come to Coruscant for a job. Did pretty well for himself, too, ‘til he hit a rough patch and took a job with one of the, shall we say, less than honest business-people here.”

    “It didn’t go well?”

    “No, it didn’t. Fortunately, the … individual in question owed me a favor from way back when, and I said if Bedower’s debt was transferred to me, that would make us even.”

    Vestri tilted her head and smiled at him. “That’s really generous of you, Dex.”

    “Bah.” The Besalisk waved a hand. “Bedower’s basically a decent fellow -- married, three kids, good worker. I don’t need anything from him, which is why he’s paying his debt to me by talking to you.”

    Vestri paused, a confused expression crossing her face. “Wait. If you used a favor to take care of Myr Bedower’s debt, and then told him to pay it off by telling me a story, does that mean I now owe you a favor?”

    “Great stars, no.” Dex emphatically gestured with all four hands. “Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be. I’m just happy to never need to cross paths with … that unmentioned individual Bedower and I both know, ever again.”

    “Well, that was still generous of you on both counts, and I thank you.”

    FLO wheeled past with a tray of appetizers. “Good crowd for this time of day. Maybe you should have performances more often.”

    “This is a diner, not a theater,” Dex said.

    “It could be dinner theater!” Vestri suggested cheerfully. Seeing Dex’s expression, she added, “Local theater groups on Naboo sometimes arrange dinner theaters, where they set up tables and chairs and arrange a meal followed by a performance. Usually it’s up-and-coming playwrights and musicians who want to showcase their stuff.”

    “You could use the pitch ‘come for the singing, stay for the sliders!’ ” FLO said.

    “Open poetry night once a month!” Vestri added.

    “How about a dinner evening for couples with a musician stopping to play at their tables?” FLO suggested.

    Eyes twinkling, Vestri asked, “Hey, FLO, does the dishwasher sing?”

    “I don’t know – I’ll have to ask.”

    Massaging his forehead with an upper hand, Dex rumbled, “Stop, you two, just … stop. FLO – salad course for Table Five.” As the waitress moved away, he said, “I gotta get back to the kitchen. You need anything else from Bedower?”

    “If he could stop back and define a couple of terms and give me some historic background on this ballad, that would be great,” Vestri replied. “Who’s Zodoh? Was he or she a Hutt?”

    “Probably. I’ll find Bedower and send him over,” Dex promised.

    “If you can pry him away from his new-found fans,” Vestri remarked, grinning. “He might just get a music career out of this.” She sobered and tapped her notebook. “It occurs me that I should get a good recording device. Written words on the page don’t do this experience justice. It really is more of a performance piece.”

    “Something to consider for the future,” Dex told her, and headed off toward the kitchen.

    ~*~*~*~​


    Author’s note:

    This story is actually a repurposed challenge from 2017. (Yeah, ouch. Well, there was no deadline, so here we are at last….) Briannakin was running a sea shanty/ballad challenge (might be worth revisiting with all that sea shanty singing going on over on TikTok now), and I received “Barret’s Privateers,” which was a 20th century song chronicling a fictional incident between Canadian pirates trying to rob an American ship in 1778. Very much an Earth-centric piece.

    So I ended up reworking the lyrics to fit something a little more GFFA, dealing with a Weequay pirate looking for Sith gold (never a good idea). Some of the rewording included changing the name of a town to that of a planet (from Sherbrooke to Sriluur, the Weequay homeworld), the ship’s name (from Antelope to Bendigo, a vicious, dog-like creature found on Sriluur), and downgrading the “God damn” to “But damn,” both because I don’t remember God being mentioned in the GFFA and because I personally find the tern offensive. Elcrid Vekbu is an OC and does not exist in Star Wars canon, Legends or otherwise. Zodoh was the primary Hutt crime lord at the time this ballad would have taken place.

    I spent almost two years (off and on) working on what I thought was the story inspired by this song, but could never quite get it to fly (pun mostly unintentional). That’s usually a sign that I’m either approaching my story from the wrong angle, or I’m trying to tell the wrong story. I set my notes and written scenes aside and moved on to other things for a while.

    However, since many of the Mythologist’s collected stories are legends, tall tales, or myths, a version of this began to take shape for this anthology; plus, who am I to say “No” to a pirate adventure? Pirates (the fictional ones, at least) are fun! And you never know who you will encounter in Dex’s Diner, or what stories they will bring with them to tell.

    Lyrics for the original Barrett’s Privateers: http://stanrogers.net/the-music/song-archive/barretts-privateers/

    Recording of the original Barrett’s Privateers:





    Bibliography:

    Bendigo – vicious dog-like creature found on the Weequay homeworld. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bandigo

    Sriluur – the Weequay homeworld. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sriluur

    Zodoh -- http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Zodoh

    Galactic Map: https://i.redd.it/1aebgva1yqr51.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
  7. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    How good of you to finally post this beauty here in 2021, the actual year of the Shanty. [:D]

    It was worthwhile waiting for it. I am glad you finally managed to fit the lyrics into the GFFA. It was the most crucial thing and you pulled it off perfectly. They sounded daring, dashing and "piratety". ^:)^

    Now I wonder if folk like Lor San Tekka, Maz Kanata and Doctor Aphra are the Indiana Jones´es [face_tee_hee]) of the SW universes, hunting down those legendary Sith treasures. :D
     
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent reception of the performance and great ideas about dinner theater and musicians serenading dining couples [face_mischief]
     
  9. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    That was, in fact, part of the inspiration for finally getting this story finished. I had several variations of "Wellerman" and other ocean-related songs/music playing in the background while writing some of this.

    That is a great idea for multiple stories, actually.... [face_thinking]

    I'm pretty sure it was mostly meant as a joke, but you never know....

    Thank you,@AzureAngel2 and @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, for commenting!
     
  10. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Critique

    She stood in stunned silence as her whole world came crashing down around her. He was dead, and she was alone. There would be no marriage, no flight to another planet to start a new life away from here. There would just be her family, and perhaps someday an inadequate man for her to marry.

    ~*~*~*~

    “Let me get this straight,” Vestri Dain said to her male companion a few minutes later. They were seated in Dexter’s Diner, not at Vestri’s usual table in the side room, but at the lunch counter. The young man had just finished telling her what he called “a love story” from Serenno.

    “Two families have an ongoing feud, and one teen from each family falls in love with –” she mimicked quotation marks with her fingers “— ‘one of the enemy’. Despite her family warning her that this boy will be the death of her, she keeps sneaking off to see him, makes plans to run away with him, and, when the plan goes wrong and she thinks he’s dead, she commits suicide because –” here she dramatically clasped her hands over her heart “—she can’t bear to live without him. Then he actually shows up and finds out she’s dead and throws himself off a tower because he can’t live without her.”

    “Yes.”

    “Uh, huh.” Vestri leaned an elbow on the counter. “Let me ask you this. If they can keep sneaking off to see each other, why don’t they just sneak right on out of town and move to the other side of the planet, away from their families?”

    “Someone would search for them until they were found. Besides, he needed time to set up a way off planet.”

    “Both families are pretty wealthy. So, the kids each pack up some of the family jewelry or other valuables, sell it off on the other side of the planet, buy two tickets off-world, and go.”

    “But – that’s stealing!”

    A puzzled expression crossed Vestri’s face. “What, neither of these kids are going to get an inheritance?”

    “Well, yes, the boy would, but –”

    Vestri shrugged. “So, he’s collecting it early. And why doesn’t she get an inheritance?”

    “Um, women don’t inherit in this culture –”

    “Why not?”

    “I – I don’t know. That’s just the way it—” Her companion was beginning to sound flustered.

    “Well, it’s ridiculous,” Vestri stated, folding her arms. “Maybe instead of killing herself because she thinks her boyfriend is dead, she should have started a social movement to demand that women receive equal treatment under the law.”

    “Uh, okay, maybe, but that’s not really the point –”

    “And another thing,” Vestri continued, unfolding her arms and holding up a forefinger. Dexter Jettster, the diner’s owner, was wiping down one of the booth tables and began making a wheezing noise that Vestri suspected was laughter. “Why does this girl kill herself because she thinks this guy’s dead? If this relationship is that big a deal, doesn’t she want to honor his life by keeping his memory alive? Or set up some kind of memorial marker or ceremony to commemorate him? If she’d done that, she’d still be alive when he finally showed up, and this whole unnecessary double suicide thing would have been avoided.”

    The young man was opening gaping at her. “You really don’t think it’s romantic that she’d kill herself over him?”

    Vestri waved both hands. “Absolutely not. It’s one thing if she died saving his life, or because she stood up against the status quo that gives women fewer rights than men and she wants to change it so she can marry whoever she wants, but just because she thinks this guy’s dead? I mean, she doesn’t even see the body! Go make sure he’s dead, and work from there. Create a better world in his memory or something.

    “The Gungans have one story that involves two people in love, but instead of defying their parents, each one agrees to follow a path alone. She trains to become a great military tactician; he studies to become a brilliant engineer. When they meet again, they pool their talents to create a fleet of underwater ships to drive back the massive sea monsters that threaten their people, then call on the gods themselves to approve their union. To this day, their descendants still tell this story, which requires a master storyteller and the permission of the family, since it’s their property. I can’t do it justice here.”

    Vestri’s companion stared at her for a moment, then shrugged. “Well, I guess I can’t top that one.” He slid off the stool, tossed a handful of credits on the counter and walked out the diner door.

    Dexter Jettster, tidying up one of the front booth tables, shook his head. “Vestri, you’re too young to be this cynical.”

    “Sorry, but I just don’t get it. His story doesn’t sound the least bit romantic to me.”

    Dex gave the table a final swipe and made his way to the front counter. “I’ve never heard you critique a story before. Everything okay?”

    “I guess.”

    Dex stowed the cloth and cleaning fluid and leaned on the counter. “Doesn’t sound okay. You wanna talk about it?”

    “Well, I guess I’ll have to talk with my parents about it at some point, but….” Vestri shrugged, looking down at her hands, then back up at Dex. “I just had a really strange meeting with my academic advisor.”

    “What do you mean by ‘strange’?”


    “He suggested that I might want to change the focus of my degree.”

    “Okay. Meaning?”

    “He said I might be better off focusing on Human-centric cultures, rather than non-Human ones.”

    Dex cocked his head. “Did you ever indicate you wanted to do that?”

    She shook her head. “No. I came to Coruscant University specifically to study non-Human cultures, because they have one of the best Sentientology programs in the galaxy. My ultimate goal is to eventually go home and work with my father documenting Gungan culture, but first I want to do field work and get some experience. Don’t get me wrong,” she added, “there are plenty of Human-centric cultures out there, including lost colonies, and I’m sure they’re all very interesting, but they’re not what I want to study.”

    Dex straightened, pushed open the kitchen doors, and called, “FLO – a pot of hot water and the Alderaanian Spice tea.” He turned back to Vestri. “So, what d’you want to do?”

    “Keep studying Non-Human Sentientology. My advisor didn’t push it, really, just asked a couple of times. Well, all right, more like three or four times. But it’s not like they can send the Jedi to force me into a different major.”

    Dex suddenly grinned. “Was that a pun?”

    “An inadvertent one, I suppose.” The side of Vestri’s mouth twitched into a half smile.

    “Wadda’ya going to do about your buddy who was just here? I mean, you were kinda hard on him.”

    “Was I?”

    “Yeah, you were.”

    Vestri winced. “Gods above and below, I’m becoming my mother.”

    “She’s tough on people?”

    “She’s a lawyer. I think it’s in the job description.”

    Dex paused for a few moments. Then he asked, “Can I make an observation?”

    Vestri propped her chin on her palm and eyed him warily. “Can I stop you?”

    “Sure. Just tell me you don’t want to hear it.”

    She blinked at him several times. Finally she said, “Yeah, okay, make an observation.”

    “I’ve noticed you’re a lot better at interacting with everyone’s culture except your own. I mean, you’ve had two or three young men follow you in here, and you manage to run ‘em off every time.”

    “I’m here to get a degree, not a husband.”

    “So maybe not all of those guys are thinking about matrimony.”

    “I’m sure they’re not, but I’m not looking for a cheap fling, either.”

    “Maybe they’re looking for a study partner, or a field work partner? I mean, you’re not going to be doing field work by yourself, are you?”

    “No. But if those guys are put off by my attitude after 20 minutes, I don’t think they’re going to last long in the field. Plus, I don’t know what my recently-departed buddy’s study major is, or why today he just suddenly decided he needed to tell me a story – we haven’t exchanged more than a few sentences all semester.”

    “Maybe he’s just trying to be friendly.”

    Vestri sat for a moment, studying the ceiling, mouth pursed in a quizzical expression. “Well,” she conceded finally, “I suppose that’s distantly possible.”

    “So, you’re gonna apologize to him, right?

    Vestri rolled her eyes. “Yes, second Dad, I will track him down and apologize.” Then she straightened up on the lunch counter stool and added, “But if I find out he was doing this as some kind of joke, or he had some stupid bet going with his buddies, I’m going to demonstrate all three of the hand-to-hand combat moves I learned from my Gungan instructor over the summer, and I guarantee I won’t be having this problem in the future.”

    Dex leaned on the counter with three hands and tapped the surface with the forefinger of the fourth. “Just don’t get yourself kicked out of the university, okay?”

    Vestri placed her left hand over the center of her chest and raised the right hand solemnly. “I promise I will not get myself kicked out of the university.” Then she added thoughtfully, “And maybe this will make my advisor change his mind about encouraging me to switch my major.”

    ~*~*~*~

    Author’s Note:

    This story was written in response to the First Line Challenge on the OC Revolution thread, although the deadline passed so long ago on it that I’m not going to post a notice there. However, I am posting the link, because there are plenty of cool ongoing challenges being offered, and folks should just check it out on general principles.

    The “first line” I received was She stood in stunned silence as her whole world came crashing down around her. This line reminded me of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which I was required to read as a high school freshman (way, waaaaay back in the Dark Ages). When we finished, the teacher asked what we thought the most important theme was. I told him, “Always listen to your parents when they tell you to dump the guy you’re dating. You’ll live longer.” He looked at me strangely for the rest of the year. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the answer he expected.
     
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Vestri is definite in her goals and she is certainly right not to fall for a cheap trick :p
     
  12. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You always write those things with such an easiness and passion, always getting straight to the point. Well done! Especially getting the Empire´s policy with hon-humans into it this time. ^:)^[:D]
     
  13. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Thank you, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @AzureAngel2 for comments about my latest story. It had a more negative tone than most of the earlier works, so I wasn't sure how well it would be received.
     
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  14. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    The Eyes Have It


    FLO greeted Vestri at the door of Dex’s Diner and led the way to Vestri’s regular table in the side room. Vestri glanced at the three young men in a booth across the room; fellow university students, she suspected, but none of them looked familiar. She turned her attention to the menu, placed her order, and thanked the droid waitress. Then she pulled out her notebook and colored pencils and began sketching the illustrations to the Twi-lek story a fellow diner had told her a couple of days earlier.

    When FLO placed the mug and small pot of Alderaanian spiced tea at her elbow, Vestri said, “Thank you, FLO. Could I please get one of the bantha-meat rolls to go with lunch? I think I’m going to be here a while.”

    “Sure thing,” FLO replied, and wheeled away. Vestri turned back to her work.

    “Why are you doing that?” a male voice asked. One of the young men had turned in his seat to look at her.

    “Doing what?” Vestri glanced up, then back down at her notebook.

    “Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to a droid.”

    Vestri stared at him. Finally she answered, “Because it’s the polite thing to do?”

    The young man sneered. “It’s a droid. It’s not like it’s a person.”

    “How do you know?” Vestri challenged him. “Have you asked any of them?”

    Both of his two seatmates joined in a chorus of derisive laughter. “Why would I do that? They’re just machines.”

    “The ones I’ve met have all had personalities.” Vestri didn’t mention that her experience with droids was limited to the university’s protocol droid DT-5, a delivery droid that picked up produce from her Ithorian landlord’s shop, FLO here at the diner, and the navigation droid that assisted the pilot on the hyperspace run to Naboo (and to whom she’d never actually spoken).

    The young man slid out of the booth and stood up. “It’s just programming, “ he told her. “They can’t actually think – or feel. Watch.” FLO wheeled back into the room with Vestri’s order and placed it on the table. The young man walked around behind the droid; suddenly he turned and shoved her against the table.

    “Hey!” Vestri stood up. “Stop that!”

    “Or what? Think this thing’s gonna stop me?”

    “She might not. But I will.”

    “Vestri, I’m all right….” FLO began.

    Vestri squared her shoulders. “I’m not.” She could hear the other two males sliding out the booth.

    Vestri knew exactly three self-defense moves. They had all been taught to her by one of the Gungans last summer when she had visited Otoh Gunga with her father. The instructor had been an elderly male, a retired infantry soldier in the Gungan Grand Army.

    (“Oursen people are all kind, friendly, and he’pful,” he had told her solemnly. Vestri had eyed him dubiously – she’d seen some Gungan behavior that suggested otherwise. He had continued, “Coursen, sometimes somma theys forgettin’ dat, so mesa teachin’ yousa ways of remindin’ thems.”)

    Vestri turned, not to the one man already standing, but to the first companion getting out the booth. She reared back and slammed her right heel into the side of his knee. The man cursed, lost his balance, and fell out of the booth onto the floor.

    “Call Dex!” she ordered FLO, and snatched up the tray on the table. She flung it sideways at the standing man’s face; he ducked, and Vestri kicked the inside of his knee, causing him to stagger. The third man threw a punch; Vestri caught his wrist with her arm and pushed upward. He slammed into her and she went over backwards onto her table. Colored pencils flew everywhere.

    Events afterwards were a blur. Vestri could hear FLO’s amplified voice calling for the Besalisk as the three men shoved her to the floor. “Shut up!” one snarled at FLO, and grabbed the droid’s arm.

    A moment later, Dexter Jettster was in the middle of the fray, telling FLO to get Vestri out of the way. There was a lot of yelling, mostly human voices, along with some thuds and cursing. When Vestri could finally focus, Dex had one man by the scruff of the neck; the Human was almost doubled over. Another dangled by the belt from one of the Besalisk’s upper hands.

    The third fellow was floating in mid-air.

    Both Vestri and Dex stared at the sight, then they turned to look at the doorway, where a being stood, one hand raised toward the floating man. Green skin, unblinking black eyes, a dozen or so head-tentacles – and Jedi robes.

    “May I be of assistance?” the Jedi asked calmly.

    “Yeah,” Dex replied. “I was just about to escort these three – unwelcome – individuals outside and explain to them what happens when they harass my customers and my staff.”

    “Hey! They started it!” one of the men cried.

    “Not buyin’ it,” Dex told him, giving him a shake. “I know my staff, and the young woman’s a regular. You three, on the other hand…”

    “You are Dexter Jettster, the owner, then?” the Jedi asked.

    “That’s me.”

    “Very well.” The Jedi lowered his arm slightly, and the hovering man floated in range of one of Dex’s free hands. The Besalisk grasped him by the belt.

    “Let’s finish this outside.” Dex nodded to the Jedi as he passed. “Thanks for the assist.”

    “Don’t mention it.”

    FLO held Vestri’s elbow as the Human carefully stood up. “Are you okay, hon?”

    Her ribs and one arm felt bruised, but after stretching a little, Vestri decided nothing was broken. “I think so.” She looked around the room. “My pencils are littering the floor, though.”

    “Easily rectified,” the Jedi assured her, and the three of them quickly gathered up the pencils.

    “Thank you. For both helping clean up, and earlier with those three… people,” Vestri said.

    The Jedi smiled and bowed slightly. “I am Kit Fisto. The Jedi exist to serve, in any capacity, great or small.” He stooped and picked up Vestri’s notebook, which had fallen face down on the floor, still open to the Twi’lek story. “I recognize Dinni’firro. A goddess of the Twi’lek people. She’s associated with dance, as I recall.”

    Vestri nodded, then wished she hadn’t. “She supposedly taught the first Twi’lek how to dance and set some of the rules for when different dances should be performed.” She began sliding pencils into their cases. “May I ask how you know of her?”

    “One of my colleagues at the Temple has mentioned her. She herself is Twi’lek and has studied her people’s culture – she says it is useful when working undercover, and I concur. While my own people have no one like Dinni’firro, we do have our own myths and legends. One of the best-known Nautolan deities is Thell Ulirr, the Trickster.”

    “I would love to hear it.”

    “I would be happy to share it with you over our meal, if you don’t mind raw seafood.”

    Vestri laughed. “I spend my spare time back home hanging around with Gungans. They eat everything raw – and sometimes live.”

    Kit Fisto settled himself at the table, accepted a menu from FLO, and placed his order. Vestri noticed that he also thanked the droid before she wheeled away. Then he turned his attention back to Vestri.

    “Thell Ulirr is one of the most powerful beings of Glee Anselm,” Kit Fisto began. “But his greatest power lies not in his physical strength, or in his magic, or in a brilliant mind, but in his heart. He loves the ocean and all that swims in it.

    “Some stories say that Thell Ulirr was created fully-formed by the ocean itself. Other stories claim he began as a mortal but eventually achieved godhood as a reward for saving the gods themselves from disaster. Still others say he began as the smallest form of life in the sea and was reborn over and over as more complex creatures, until he died in the most sophisticated mortal form of all and became a god as the next step up. This is why he can assume any form or gender he chooses – he has already been them all.

    “In our early days, I’m sorry to say, my people were warlike and violent, fighting over resources, even though the ocean could provide more than enough. Thell Ulirr wished to change this, for he loved the ocean and all that swam in it, even the Anselmi of the surface world, who sometimes did not respect the ocean as they should.

    “He thought that if the Nautolans could learn to see their world differently, they would learn new ways to live. And so he went to each of the three great kings of the Nautolan nations and offered to teach them a way to vanquish their enemies once and for all. Of course, the kings readily agreed.

    “First, Thell Ulirr taught the kings how to remove their eyes and send them to different parts of the ocean. ‘Look around at everything the ocean has,’ he encouraged the kings. ‘There is much, much more than you and your people could ever need!’

    “But once the kings learned this skill, they spent most of their time spying on the other two kingdoms, watching for signs of invasion and attack. Thell Ulirr warned the kings to spend their time looking at the ocean’s resources and bounty, but each of the kings ignored the advice and continued to spy.

    “So Thell Ulirr traveled among the creatures of the seas and asked three of them for a favor: the Hammerfish, who swam in family packs throughout the sea; the Lizard-gull, whose wings can carry it across the world without rest, and the Gampassa, who lived much of their life in the ocean but who laid their eggs on land. One member of each group gave Thell Ulirr what he requested.

    “Then Thell Ulirr waited until each king sent his eyes out to spy upon another kingdom. He captured each pair of eyes, placed them in sacks, and hid them in a cave.

    “Thell Ulirr went to the first king and asked, ‘Where are your eyes?’

    “ ‘They are lost!’ the king exclaimed.

    “Thell Ulirr examined him. ‘Indeed they are,’ he said. ‘Tell me what happened.’

    So the king explained that he had sent his eyes out to spy on another tribe of Nautolans. ‘My eyes did not come back, and I can’t see anything now.’

    “ ‘Well, I did warn you,’ Thell Ulirr reminded the king.

    “ ‘But how will I defend my kingdom against our enemies if I can’t see them?’ the king cried.

    “‘Perhaps I can bring you another set of eyes – then you could see again,’ Thell Ulirr suggested.

    “The king agreed. Thell Ulirr went to the second king and found him to be without eyes, and the third king as well. He promised each king a new set of eyes, and both agreed.

    “When Thell Ulirr returned to each kingdom, he carried with him three hinged shells, each containing a pair of eyes. To one king, he gave the Hammerfish eyes; to another, the Lizard-gull eyes; to the third, the Gampassa eyes.

    “Because these eyes belonged to the different creatures, and not to the kings, the kings could only see what the animals would see. The king who had the Hammerfish eyes watched as the Hammerfish pack hunted together, protected each other, and shared their catches among themselves, taking only as much as they needed.

    “The king with the Lizard-gull eyes saw the world from above; there were no boundaries, and while seas in one part of the world were similar to all the others, each had its own unique wonders. The Lizard-gull carried nothing with it in flight and was free of worldly possessions.

    “The king with the Gampassa eyes saw how the land and sea were connected and influenced each other; both land and sea affected the weather, and many creatures on the planet needed both to survive.

    “Thell Ulirr brought the three kings together in the cave where he had hidden their eyes and asked them to tell him what they had seen. Once the first king had told of the Hammerfish’s vision of the world, of the wide oceans teeming with life, Thell Ulirr replaced the king’s original eyes and took the back those of the Hammerfish. Once the second king had shared the Gampassa’s experience of the land and sea, Thell Ulirr replaced the king’s original eyes and took back the Gampassa’s eyes.

    “But the third king said, ‘Wait. I have never before seen the world from the sky. This vision has shown me that we are all one world, and it is vast. Why are we fighting over territory and food when there is already so much? Here, give these eyes back to the Lizard-gull, with my thanks, but I am not ready to take my own eyes back yet.’

    “Thell Ulirr smiled. ‘I will do as you ask. When you have had time to absorb what you have seen, call me and I will return your eyes. Until then, be glad you have found a new vision.’

    “As Thell Ulirr left the kings to return the borrowed eyes, the kings were describing to one another what they had seen, Soon the kingdoms were sharing more than visions – they were sharing ideas and places to fish and farm. One day their descendants would notice that there were no longer divisions between them, and they became one people.”

    Vestri nodded. “And since the three kingdoms became one, in a sense their enemies had been vanquished, as promised.”

    “Even so.”

    By now, FLO had brought their lunch orders to the table and had stayed to hear the rest of the story. “So, did the last king ever get his real eyes back?”

    Kit Fisto shrugged. “The stories don’t say. Perhaps the point is that regaining his sight was less important than what he learned from this experience.”

    “Ironic, isn’t it, FLO? A blind individual who can ‘see’ more effectively than sighted folk,” Vestri mused. “The idea that giving up one’s own view actually makes it easier to see the world in a different way.”

    Kit Fisto tapped her notebook. “Isn’t that what you’re doing here? Looking at the world through others’ eyes?”

    “I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but yes, I suppose I am. I’m hoping my work will allow other people to do that, too. Maybe we’ll have fewer conflicts and more friendly interactions if we understand each other.”

    “A worthy goal, and the work of a lifetime,” the Jedi suggested. “I wish you well with it.”


    ~*~*~*~​

    Author’s Note: this story was originally intended for the 2020 Autumn Bingo Challenge, but the deadline is long past and the story has changed from its original focus. I’ve always wanted to write Kit Fisto, and this seemed like a reasonable set-up. In the novel The Cestus Deception, Kit Fisto and Obi-Wan Kenobi go on a mission together, and there’s no reason Obi-Wan wouldn’t have mentioned Dex’s Diner, where we see him AtoC. More information on Nautolans is available here.

    "The Eyes Have It" shifted its focus because of a Lakota (Sioux Indian) story called “Iktomi Loses His Eyes.” Iktomi is the Lakota version of the Trickster; unfortunately, he is often greedy, selfish, cruel, and does himself more harm than good much of the time.

    In this particular tale, the Iktomi insists on learning how to send his eyes to different places, but overdoes it and they get lost, found by a squirrel, and hidden away. So Iktomi tricks Mouse into giving him one of his eyes, and Buffalo into giving him one as well. The new eyes can either see things very close up (Mouse) or far away (Buffalo), but nothing in between. You can imagine how difficult it becomes for Iktomi to navigate.

    Author Paul Goble has written and illustrated several children’s books about Iktomi, and notes that this person represents a part of our own nature, one we must guard against.

    At first I thought this idea might be too gruesome to work, but taken metaphorically, it turned out reasonably well.
     
  15. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Great to see Kit Fisto show up. He's a very cool dude and I like him.
     
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I love this variation of a traditional legend and the lessons within!! =D= I absolutely adore how the insensitive thugs learned a valuable lesson about tactfulness.

    FLO has personality and deserves courtesy. L3-37 amongst others definitely has enough personality [face_laugh] ... So the question is moot. :p :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
    Findswoman and Seldes_Katne like this.
  17. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    Agreed. Kit Fisto was one of the best characters to come out of the PT, and I've wanted to write him for ages. Finding a Trickster story for him to tell was a challenge, though. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Thank you! I agree, those three guys seriously needed to learn some manners. I've never understood why citizens of the Republic didn't treat droids with more respect, beginning with C-3PO and R2-D2, and continuing right up to the present. Many of them so obviously have personalities and function as individuals, it's hard NOT to see them as people.

    Thank you for reading and commenting!
     
  18. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Catching up on your wonderful series at long, long last! :cool:

    "In for a Song": Oh, oh, you know I am a sucker for stories about songs, and especially about songs sung by interesting alien characters who have stories behind them themselves! Wonderful job adapting the original shanty to the GFFA. I smiled at Vestri's marginal notes; she's ever the folklorist, but it's clear that along with her folkloric interest come true heart and caring. And it's a fun twist that Jastol Bedower is not actually a "broken man on a... pier," but a good, decent worker who's managed to do all right for his family—and with a good singing voice, to boot! I would be all for more songs and performances at Dex's, especially ones like this that come from the depths of heart and culture—though I can understand his consternation, too! (Loved Vestri's sly query about the dishwasher, whom I'd also love to see and perhaps hear again! :D ) Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful celebration of the Year of the Shanty; there really is no such thing as "too late" for any of these challenges! =D=

    "Critique": Now, this is something rather interesting and different! Both because it involves a story from a Human rather than a non-Human, and because it's the first time I've heard Vestri critique a story she's heard, too! And I wonder if that's because she feels closer to the culture of this story than to that of most of the other ones she's heard. It's easier to critique the things that "belong" to us, in a way. (Which is also related to Dex's observation that she seems more comfortable interacting with people from other species/cultures than with those from her own.) On one hand, I very much admire Vestri's principles; on the other, I also think Dex is on point when he points out that not all the men who have been following her necessarily want that kind of relationship. And as an interesting and thought-provoking touch, we don’t really get to find out which one the fellow who told the Romeo-and-Juliet-type story wanted—and perhaps that is the point, too! Thanks for this thoughtful and off-the-beaten-path addition to the series. =D=

    “The Eyes Have It”: Ooh, Kit Fisto, now, him I haven't seen in a very long time! :D Very neat to see him as one of Vestri's consultants/storytellers, and hooray to him for ridding the diner of those troublemaking oafs. You did a great job transforming the Lakota folktale (and not gruesome at all!), with Thell Ulirr's tricksterish exchange of the three kings' eyes actually ending up helping them "see eye to eye" (!) and realize the interconnectedness of their world better than before. And what an apt final observation from Kit: that this is the same kind of thing Vestri is doing in her story-collecting and study of other cultures! Thell Ulirr would have been very proud of her, I think, just as I can tell Kit is. (Incidentally, different metaphor, but: this story would have been a great fit for this OC challenge from six years ago!)

    Enjoyed all of these so much. Keep up the wonderful work, as always, and keep 'em coming—always love seeing your work! =D=