Author: Findswoman Title: Till the Shades Lengthen Era: Saga–OT; could be anywhere from 5 to about 0 BBY, during the later chapters (about 27+) of Shaman, Traveler, Oracle. Characters: Crew of the Rose Evergreen, who are all OCs and all female: Telfien Viurraanvi (Gand), Glockel Sternenkranz (Human), Lualani’Draba’Takiil “Lua” (Drabatan), Shulma Trilasha Orrelios (Lasat), R1-K4 “Rika” (astromech droid) Genre: Vignette, reflection, introspection Summary: While aboard the Rose Evergreen in hyperspace, Telfien reflects on what is to come for the Galaxy at a momentous time, and gives a blessing to each of her friends on board. Note: Related to the Lasan Series and to other stories featuring Glockel and Telfien (see the list of stories in the note to this post). They were all asleep. Well, all of them except the droid, who was recharging in engineering, and the Gand Findswoman, whose species’ ability to store sleep enabled her to be awake for days on end, with only a few hours of dormancy in between. The ship was in hyperspace now, and the Findswoman often used that time to meditate. She always received particularly clear intuition in hyperspace, for there the Mists moved most freely, unhindered by the rude constraints of space or time. Once finishing her meditation, she might write in the ship’s log, or check the diagnostics, or take care of various routine tasks so that her Human spacer companion would not have to later. But whatever she did, she always felt as though she were watching over the others somehow, standing guard over them, protecting them. Though from what? she sometimes wondered. They were deep in the Outer Rim, far beyond the reach of the Empire. They were headed back from a successful mission to a safe, friendly haven, where they would receive a warm welcome from a kindly employer—an employer who called them her “dahlings,” even. What did they really have to fear? And yet— The Mists had shown her that the Galaxy was on the brink of evening. An evening of portentous change, of triumph and tragedy in who knew what proportions. The sun would set on the old ways and old orders, and all their lives would be transfigured in the resulting twilight—for better or for worse. The Findswoman had only seen tiny hints—sparks, inklings—of what might happen, and she knew she could neither stop them nor influence them; only the Mists could do that. But she could at very least ensure that none of her friends aboard that ship would have to endure them alone. So she donned her rebreather apparatus, activated her quarters’ airlock, and stepped into the corridor, stopping before each of the doorways. To the red-braided Human spacer, her longtime friend and shipmate, she said: Oldest friend, you took in this Gand when she thought she had lost everything. You have taken in two more exiles who truly have lost everything: you have made your ship their home and gladdened them with your friendship. Your kindness will not go unrewarded, in this universe or in the next. To the Drabatan seamstress, the amphibious matron with the broad smile, she said: Wise and gentle craftswoman, you who have twice lost your home and livelihood to the forces of evil: rest well now, for a deeper, direr loss soon will stab you to the heart. But know, at very least, that you will not grieve in solitude. The Findswoman paused for several moments before the door of the Lasat shaman. What could she possibly say to the seer-giantess who was as sublime and majestic as a storm on a mountaintop? Who was a storm, she thought as she put up her hand to feel her friend’s turbulent Mist-presence… At last she found her words: Last rose and light of your homeworld! Even in your slumber the Mists storm around you, and their lightnings pierce you. This Gand cannot calm them. Yet you have seen that your love lives, your warrior fights on. He will come to you, and in his arms your painful lightnings will melt into tender flames. “Bwee-oop?” The Findswoman turned to see that the astromech droid had rolled up behind her, photoreceptors dimly and queryingly blinking. She placed her gloved, three-fingered hand on its transparent dome. “Yes, Rika, Telfien has words of blessing for you, too,” she said, then continued: Faithful helper, through all that happens, keep these four steady, whether with your navbrain, your interface arm, or your electroshock! With a binary purr, the droid rolled after her as she made her way to the cockpit. There they both stood for several minutes, gazing out at the Mists of hyperspace. ¶ Spoiler: Notes The title is from a prayer by Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801–90): “May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done…” I know this text from the breathtaking musical setting by Arvo Pärt (b. 1935), titled Littlemore Tractus, and it was this composition’s blend of transcendence, tranquility, and melancholy that inspired this little story: (Yes, I know the flower images are kind of corny… just listen instead of watching. ) “ability to store sleep”: An established Gand ability; see https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Gand/Legends. “She always received particularly clear intuition in hyperspace”: This is said of Zuckuss, too, in his story in Tales of the Bounty Hunters. “an employer who called them her dahlings”: Bonvika the Hutt, of course. “a deeper, direr loss”: I shall just say that Lua, an OC first introduced in Shaman, Traveler, Oracle, is the mother of Paodok’Draba’Takat “Pao” of Rogue One.