Beyond - Legends "Tyger, Tyger", Jacen Solo & Ezra Bridger, One-Shot

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , Jun 29, 2018.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: “Tyger, Tyger”
    Author: Mira_Jade

    Genre: Drama, Friendship, Action/Adventure
    Rating: PG
    Time Frame: Legends/Disney!Canon; YJK-era; 25 ABY
    Characters: Jacen Solo, Tenel Ka Djo, Ezra Bridger

    Summary: They were, all of them, luminous beings; no matter their shape, size, or sentience.

    Or: Jacen Solo, meet Ezra Bridger.

    Notes: This vignette, like “Eidolon”, started as a drabble for my “She Says in Parenthesis” collection. I had an entire set mashing up Rebels/Legends characters, but the word-counts quickly spiraled out of control; I couldn’t even consider this one of my ‘ficlets’ in the end. :oops: (For those curious, there’s also a Kallus & Mara Jade during the TTT mash-up; Leia & Ahsoka & baby Anakin Solo; Ezra & Luke post-TJA; NJO era Jacen Syndulla & Jaina Solo; and I even had a really goofy one of Jag Fel meeting the renowned General Hera Syndulla herself during the NJO and completely geeking out over his father’s pilot-crush as mentioned in Eidolon . . . much to Han’s annoyance, of course - his future son-in-law has no taste. :p) At the very least, I had these two drabbles make their way into stand alone pieces, but I’d like to clean up the entire set and make a series out of them – eventually, of course. ;)

    For this vignette, here and now, when I realized that Ezra’s connection to animals was a thing, a bell went off in my head and screamed: that’s just like Jacen’s Force-gift! An elaborate AU then built up in my mind where Ezra came back from . . . wherever he is, and took Jacen as his apprentice. Together they’d have all the zany animal-talking adventures – which obviously would have helped all of Jacen’s terrible life-choices post NJO. Yet, alas, I don’t quite have the time or muse-energy to fully dedicate myself to that project, but at the very least I can write this vignette. Because someone had to.

    So, without further ado . . .

    EDIT: And, I just realized that today is my fourteen year anniversary on the boards . . . I was a wee babe of fourteen when I joined, so long ago, it now seems. So - what a better way to celebrate the old and the new than a viggie like this? [face_love][face_dancing]

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.


    “Tyger, Tyger”
    by Mira_Jade

    The wildlife on Yavin IV was as diverse as it was oftentimes strange - even bizarre, to his senses. From the winged aurkrey gliding through the mid-canopy like ocean-rays through the waters of Mon Cala, to the screaming yeek monkeys swinging in the highest branches, and down to the gaj cats hunting deep in the shadows, there were an uncountable thousands of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and everything in between on the jungle moon. Life was life to the Force, even when not wholly possessing sentience as they defined it, and Jacen Solo had an open ended goal of seeing just how many creatures he could coax into responding to him through his preternatural gifts – much to the amusement (and oftentimes bemusement) of his twin.

    “If you think I’m going to spend all day out in this soup trying to get a leech-frog to croak at me, that’s your best joke yet, Jace. You have fun traipsing around the jungle – I’m staying right here.”

    It was a lea-hi frog, and his staying out in the muggy summer’s heat to enjoy the moon as nature intended was infinitely better that staying in that selfsame heat to work on Zekk’s rusty old ship all day, Jaya. Sometimes, Jacen didn’t understand how they were related; his twin's reasoning was impossible.

    But, at the very least, Tenel Ka overheard their conversation and asked if she could accompany him on his venture. She enjoyed spending time out of doors just for the sake of doing so, and her quiet, strong presence was a cool splash of serenity in the Force to juxtapose the rich backdrop of life thrumming against his senses. As they passed underneath the giant leaves of the koya plants in the lower canopy, their boots were sucked in by the soft bio-matter of the forest floor, while water beaded against their skin from the thick humidity of the summer's day. As they made their way further and further from the Praxeum, she mostly listened to him prattle on about the different species they encountered; she didn't say very much aside from asking questions when she wanted him to elaborate on a point. Yet her attention didn’t once drift from his words, and she even seemed to gain an energy of her own from listening to him speak about something that was dear to him; he suspected that she was enjoying their outing as much as he was. Between their hike and the singular attention from his best friend, Jacen was, quite frankly, in his element.

    This deep into the jungle, little of the natural sunlight made its way through the dense, interlacing crown of treetops overhead. Flying just above them, the passing schools of aukrey glided on the rich currents of oxygen in the air. Ranging from shades of cool corals and pale violets, the bio-luminescent edges of their wings fluttered to glow against the dense green of the foliage. They were mesmerizing, so much so that Jacen wasn’t the only one to turn and happily gape to watch their flight - Tenel Ka too gave a near-smile as they passed, and wonder was bright in her eyes. Watching them – watching her – he almost forgot that the lea-hi frog he was searching for would be found when looking down, just as he would also find -

    The jungles of Yavin IV, he could have belatedly kicked himself, weren’t only beautiful – they could be perilous to an unwary wanderer. There was a reason he wanted a travelling companion in the first place - going out in pairs was one of Uncle Luke’s stipulations for their exploring the jungle. Because, sure enough, he made the instantly regrettable mistake of confusing a ground of interconnecting ‘roots’ to be anything other than the trap it truly was. As soon as he put his body weight on the seemingly stable organic lattice, the ground underfoot gave way, and he yelped to plunge down into the deep grotto the branches had covered – and Tenel Ka was right behind him to share in his misstep.

    He tumbled and slid to a halt with a muffled curse, more surprised than hurt by his fall. By the time he oriented himself he was nicely covered in brown-green mud, and his right hand came very close to popping a pungent pughri fungus when he braced his weight on the ground to find his feet again. That, he acknowledged somewhat sheepishly, could have been much worse than it actually was. Now, they just had to figure out how to get out of the ravine and back up to the path above.

    And . . . that was going to be quite a feat of climbing, it appeared. The stone walls were steep and slick with moss and more glowing pink-orange orbs of pughri lichen, and much too tall for even a Force-leap to easily get them out; they'd have to climb the old-fashioned way. Grimly, Jacen knelt in the leaf-rot to recover his breath, and felt something crunch underneath his boot. Curious, he looked down to notice the cracked femur-bone of a kalfalope . . . the favourite prey of the gaj cats who roamed the moon. His mouth thinned as he took a closer look at his surroundings, only to find that, sure enough, the rest of the unfortunate animal’s picked-clean skeleton was nearby, as were several other odds and ends from previous meals mixed in with the usual soft bed of the jungle floor.

    And, while he and Tenel Ka weren’t kalfalope, per se, they were, most definitely -

    - two Jedi apprentices, extra rare, coming right up, Jacen thought grimly, just as an audible growl rumbled through the shadows. He only just barely kept from speaking the words aloud, knowing that his sense of humor would not be appreciated by his companion – but it was a close call.

    “Friend Jacen, look,” Tenel Ka spoke from behind him. She had already recovered herself to crouch in a defensive position, her sharp eyes searching the shadows for a threat. Jacen too spun to better peer into the dark, just in time to see one lithe form blink from the gaping mouth of the caves carved into the stone side of the ravine - one . . . then two . . . then three. His senses hummed with a refraction of hunger anticipation wanting; apparently, their arrival had not gone unnoticed by the denizens of the grotto. “I do believe that we have gone from hunter to hunted.”

    Reflexively, his mouth quirked into a grin for her words – no matter that Jacen knew her well enough to know she most definitely didn’t intend to make a quip. But he felt a pang as her one hand fell to her rancor-tooth lightsaber. The sense of hunger anticipation wanting he felt brush against his senses turned predatory then; it was edged with need . . . need, and something more . . . something that was just beyond his ability to sense.

    “Tenel Ka, don’t be hasty,” Jacen held his hands out, with his palms forward. “They’re just hungry – and, technically, we’re the trespassers here. It’s not their fault that we stumbled onto their den.”

    “And is it our fault that we desire not to be eaten?” her stormy grey eyes narrowed to challenge. With a flick of her wrist, her turquoise blade was ignited and held in a defensive slant across her body. The gleam of her lightsaber revealed another cat in the dark, and then another. There were five total, he thought from feeling them ripple against his senses as much as he trusted his eyes to count the pack. The gajs’ coats were a deep red, spotted with black markings that blended into the dappled shadows surrounding them; their yellow-green eyes winked to reflect the light of her weapon; he could see the tell-tale gleam of their protruding fangs in the dark. They weren’t terribly large as far as great cats went, but they were certainly fast and strong enough to be a threat – especially with the numbers being stacked against them as they were. Their pointed black ears twitched in readiness, and their massive paws padded silently across the ground as they left their den to investigate the possible arrival of prey.

    “Of course not – I have no intention of becoming dinner,” Jacen defended himself, unconsciously angling himself between Tenel Ka and the cats. “But, at the same time - ”

    “ - Jacen,” Tenel Ka did not agree with his hesitation in the slightest. “This is not your lea-hi frog, or a yeek that you can convince to chatter at you – this is a predator; one who is hungry, and wishes to hunt.”

    “Exactly,” Jacen frowned, still trying to concentrate and reach for that something that was still right there – just beyond his ability to sense. “They’re just predators; they’re acting on instinct. We have the ability – and the responsibility, even, to think higher than that.”

    Tenel Ka’s mouth thinned, and she looked like she was ready to argue further when a voice spoke from above them.

    “The boy is right, you know – shut down your weapon, and empty your mind. There’s no need for violence.”

    Jacen blinked and looked up, startled by the newcomer – which had Tenel Ka stepping in front of him with her teeth bared when one of the cats took his moment of inattention as an opportunity to stalk forward. “Jacen,” she hissed. “Do not lose focus.”

    I’m not,” he defended himself - even though, for a brief moment, he had.

    Because, the second he’d stolen was enough to reveal the identity of their visitor. Above them, kneeling down almost casually on the lip of the grotto, was a human male wearing a sleeveless white robe over a red-orange tunic and trousers. He was no longer young, but not quite middle-aged – he couldn’t have been older than his mother and Uncle Luke, no matter that there was something almost ancient about his presence in the Force. The dark blue of his hair, gathered in a long tail at the base of his neck, was bright against both the white fabric and the dusky shade of his skin. His mouth was quirked in a wry half smile, and his gaze was considering.

    Bridger, Jacen thought the man was called – Bridger something or the other, though he could have been wrong about that. Since Uncle Luke established the Academy in an effort to resurrect the Jedi Order of old, there had been hundreds of mystics who’d passed through their doors like pilgrims paying homage to a shrine. No matter his best efforts, Darth Sidious hadn’t been able to do away with the Jedi in whole – such an effort was impossible with the transitory, intangible nature of the Force, and many were left in the galaxy who had connections to the Order of old. Those connections, which had long since been nurtured in silence and hidden from the light of day for practicality’s sake, were now allowed to come forward and flourish with new life. Many others passing through had simply been Force-users in their own right, each with words of advice or a curiosity of their own to assuage. No matter where they came from or who they were, Luke Skywalker kept his doors open to all; he was glad – eager, even, for any opportunity he had to learn what he could better do to more accurately instruct the next generation of Jedi Knights.

    This man, Bridger, had been one of those visiting mystics, and he’d already gained quite the curious following amongst the junior ranks of initiates. Jacen had heard so many conflicting stories about his origins - from him being a member of the famous Phoenix Cell during the Rebellion, to him facing down a Sith Lord and resisting his influence, to the bizarre claim that he had the ability to walk through time and space itself. But Jacen knew better than to trust Raynar Thul’s gossip further than that. The Alderaanian lordling did love a good rumor, and he wasn’t above embellishing to make his stories more interesting.

    Yet, even so . . .

    Jacen felt the Force push at his back - Tenel Ka, reminding him to keep his focus. He’d yet to draw his own weapon, and he still didn’t intend to - even as one of the larger cats grew bold enough to approach them. There was nothing welcoming in her stance - somehow, Jacen knew the cat was a she - and her low growl and flashing fangs were a warning all their own. Her yellow-green eyes were cannily wary, and very, very bright.

    “Shut down your weapon,” Bridger repeated from above them, “and empty your minds. There’s no need to fight.”

    “If you do not have anything useful to impart,” was Tenel Ka’s opinion on that, “then I would suggest you not distract us.”

    “I agree – you have far too many distractions,” Bridger replied, as easy as commenting on the weather. “It’s why the gaj approach.”

    “You,” Jacen said – agreeing with Tenel Ka for that much, at least, “are not making any sense at all – and, as you can see, we are rather busy at the moment.”

    “That you are,” Bridger acknowledged, but he seemed poised to simply watch them from there. He wasn’t going to offer any useful sort of help. Jacen grit his teeth to put the mystic out of his mind just then. They really did have larger things to consider, then – much, much larger things . . . with teeth.

    The lead gaj continued to stalk forward and circle them, while her pack fanned out behind her to flank them. Jacen held his hands out, feeling the Force thrum through his fingertips as it granted him an almost painful awareness of his surroundings. He could feel the gaj’s mind – her hunger anticipation wanting turned sharp, then; it was poised with intention, and next punctuated by action -

    - he danced to the side just in time to avoid her first charge, but it was close. He went to pull Tenel Ka aside with him, but the Dathomiri warrior refused to budge. Instead she held her ground and swung her lightsaber in a flashing arch, lethal intention poised in her blow.

    As she moved, Jacen felt regret fill him for the unfortunate violence of her defense, but accepted the gaj’s end for the necessity it was. Yet, it turned out he didn’t have to mourn the cat just yet. He looked over, taken aback when Tenel Ka stumbled to the side as if pushed by an invisible hand, and her swing missed completely, even as the cat missed her, at least. Jacen frowned for her faltering, but Tenel Ka held no such confusion for her uncustomary lack of grace.

    “Is that truly the assistance you would offer?” her voice rose to challenge their spectator.

    In reply, Bridger only shrugged, little affected by the rancor in her tone. “You’ve yet to appreciate my assistance, Princess; I’ve told you how to get out of this.”

    “Speak sense,” Tenel Ka retorted – and Jacen knew that her eyes flashed for use of her title, “and I will then consider listening.”

    The gaj recovered quickly, and spun on her powerful haunches to make another run. Jacen dodged, and Tenel Ka was again forced to cut off her attack by Bridger’s unseen manipulation of the Force. But the gaj, sensing weakness, jumped forward in unison – a second and a third rallied for their leader to pounce on Tenel Ka’s position. When she reached out to kick one away, she wasn’t stopped, and a flashing of her saber was enough to detour the second. Instinctively, Jacen came to stand and defend her back, his hands out and ready and his senses straining.

    But Tenel Ka didn’t have time to snap at their interfering guest again when the cats circled for another attack. Instead, she held her lightsaber in a defensive position, and was clearly moving to scare the creatures from approaching again rather than attacking outright – that, Bridger would allow her to do. Even so . . . they couldn’t keep this up indefinitely. They would have to climb out of the grotto sooner rather than later, and something told him that the gaj cats wouldn’t allow them the chance to do so safely. They were at an impasse, and violence did seem to be the only way to solve their dilemma. He didn’t know what else -

    - but, even as the thought crossed his mind, he was surprised when the mystic dropped into the grotto with a single smooth leap. His robes hardly had time to flutter and settle around his body before one gaj changed course to charge at him, sensing a fresh opportunity. Yet, rather than defending himself, Jacen's eyes boggled when Bridger instead knelt, and held a single hand out in front of him as his sole defense. Jacen was stunned when, instead of continuing her attack, the cat skid to a halt just centimeters from his outstretched fingers. A low sound warbled in the back of her throat as her great jaw snapped harmlessly closed. Cowed by some unspoken command, she then bowed her head and dropped back to sit on her hind-legs as if she was a domestic house-cat waiting for her master’s attention. Her growl turned to a purr as she trustingly pushed her forehead against Bridger’s palm, and that was that.

    . . . had that really just happened? Did he really just do that? Jacen felt a spark of something not quite unlike awe flare to life inside of him – an awe that pulsed alongside a sense of rightness and kinship, as if a long missing piece of his own puzzle finally slipped into place. If Bridger could manage such a feat, could he, possibly . . .

    . . . but this wasn’t the same as coaxing the yeek monkeys to holler at him, or a soothing a flying loya squirrel into to perching on his hand – just like Tenel Ka had said. This was a predator, hungry and determined. Any faltering on his part could have serious consequences. Such as -

    - he dodged again, and just barely missed a massive paw raking at the space his face had just occupied a second ago. That was close.

    “Um,” Jacen called over, “do you think you can direct a little of . . . whatever you are doing this way? Even if it’s just long enough for us to scale the walls and get out of here. I really don’t want to hurt them.”

    “I have convinced her that I am not a meal – nor a threat,” Bridger calmly repeated his advice from earlier. “You can do much the same; if you empty your mind.”

    That shouldn’t be too difficult, a voice that sounded suspiciously like his twin whispered through his thoughts – and so he tried. He really tried.

    But to no avail.

    “I am emptying my mind,” Jacen struggled to dodge and keep out of harm’s way while keeping his thoughts buoyant and open and empty . . . but it just wasn’t working. He wasn’t making any progress; he couldn’t feel the curiosity acceptance surrender he normally felt when reaching out to an animal’s soul. This, he wanted to protest, was impossible.

    Yet . . . apparently it wasn’t. Because the single cat Bridger had reached out to was now content to lay down at his side as he settled in to sit cross-legged on the grotto floor. She seemed poised to simply watch her pack-mates as they continued their assault, even when the lead gaj growled, clearly frustrated by her lack of aiding the group effort. She flicked her long tail in lazy surrender, and ignored her sister in favor of purring as Bridger scratched behind her ears.

    “Are the both of you trying?” Bridger calmly instructed him. “Your friend will have to trust you; they cannot feel her as they can you – you will have to convince them enough for both of you.”

    Tenel Ka, at least, had gone silent for watching Bridger interact with the hunting cat. Her mouth was pursed and her eyes were narrowed . . . but she was no longer protesting as she had earlier. Her determination was a white flare in the Force, circling around his senses; he could feel her come to a decision, even before she said:

    “Can you do this, Jacen?”

    A heartbeat passed. “Yes,” he answered, and thought he meant his words. “Yes,” he repeated with more conviction. “I can.”

    “So be it, then.” His assurance was all Tenel Ka needed. With one smooth motion, she thumbed her saber off and gracefully fell to take her own seat, cross-legged on the ground. Do not think for a moment that I am not ready to strike, however . . . Tenel Ka’s presence rippled over his spirit. But I will first empty my mind. I will . . . try, and I will trust.

    Hey, do or do not, there is no – Jacen began the old maxim with a mental grin, but before he could even complete the thought he was turning and falling to his knees as the gaj charged again. He held his own hands out before him, and allowed his mind to empty but for with a single, all consuming idea: peace peace peace - please! Calling on the Force to fill the then empty vessel of his mind, he pushed out and forward, with as much inner strength as he could muster.

    “I am not a meal,” he muttered aloud to help focus his power, fast and jumbled under his breath, like a mantra. His eyes were squeezed closed with the enormity of what he was trying to accomplish, and his heart hammered in his chest; he could taste his pulse in his throat. “I am not a meal, I am not a meal, we are not a meal - ”

    And there, just on the edges of his senses, that single, frustratingly vague sensation he'd initially glimpsed finally clarified once he emptied his mind enough to allow the Force room to move through him without impediment. Behind the cats’ anticipation hunger need there was a sense of defense and roused ire and something more, something deeper and maternal -

    Oh, Jacen’s eyes flew open in understanding. Oh.

    “ - and I am not a threat,” he whispered next, with more certainty. “We are not a threat to your little ones, I promise you – they are safe. We are safe.”

    In response to his words, he was surprised to see the lead gaj dig her heels into the soft ground to halt her charge. Her great muscles rippled as she stared at him, consideration clear in her eyes. She rumbled out a throaty sound, and pawed at the ground, clearly torn. But, finally – at long last, Jacen could feel the exact moment where her need ebbed, and, just like that, the oppressive feeling of a threat and imminent danger snapped. The Force calmed, and Jacen once again felt as if he could breathe.

    Even so, he didn’t have the control to convince her that he was a friend, even if she no longer saw him as a meal – or a danger to his cubs. Instead, the gaj rumbled, and her pack-mates stared at them for just a moment longer before returning back to the shadows of their den. The lead cat was the last one to follow her sisters, passing so closely by him that he could have reached out and touched the soft pelt of her fur if he wanted to. But she was of the wild, and Jacen did not have the right to touch her without her permission; he was not welcome. Instead, he curled his fingers, and let her go.

    As the gaj passed, she made a soft hissing noise at her sister, who hesitated before she got to her feet and trotted away from Bridger’s side with a sigh. She'd clearly enjoyed the man’s attention and was loathe to leave – but, orders were orders in the end. Stunned, Jacen observed his ability to bond with the animal with wide eyes. He was all but itching to ask his questions – there were so many things he wanted to know! Forget walking through time and space, like the rumors claimed. This was the epitome of what the Living Force was: it was a tapestry binding together all lifeforms in the galaxy, no matter how big or how small or how sentient. To be able to do more than merely sense that tapestry of life, but to reach out to tug on those threads and have those threads interact with him in their turn . . .

    It was everything he wanted from the Force; it was everything that being a Jedi meant to him. Already, he couldn’t wait for everything he instinctively knew this man could share with him.

    “That was impressive,” Bridger approved as he rose to his feet. “According to my Master, fully fledged animal mages were rare, even in the original Jedi Order. It’s no small thing that you were able to sooth a predator - and a hungry predator with cubs to protect, at that - on your first try.”

    Tenel Ka too had left her stance on the ground behind to stand again. Her mouth was still tucked in at the corners, and she arched a red-gold brow for his words. “You did not fully think him capable of the task you appointed him with?” she audibly disapproved. Her normal stoicism crackled around the edges, reaching out to protect and defend – not quite unlike the lead gaj cat, the similarities tugged at Jacen.

    “I wanted to see if he was capable, yes.” Bridger’s answer was not quite an answer, even so. “And he was more than equal to the challenge, in the end.”

    “I do not at all care for your method of inquiry,” Tenel Ka’s voice was low to state. “It was a needless risk.”

    “Yeah, well – all’s well that ends well, right?” Jacen sheepishly rubbed at the back of his head, and tried to flash his most charming grin - a look straight out of Han Solo's own arsenal. However, Tenel Ka was less than impressed as she returned her saber to her belt, and she drolly returned his look with a bland expression of her own. She maintained a stony silence after that, and, having made her opinion perfectly clear, she saw no need for further discussion. Instead, she turned for the wall of the grotto and began to climb. It took her no time at all to reach the top, and there she waited for him to do the same.

    With the newly fallen silence in the jungle and his mind then refreshingly clear in the wake of his accomplishment, Jacen could finally hear Jaina as she pushed her way to the forefront of their bond and demanded an explanation for the flare of threat purpose intent she'd felt from him. He was able to catch a mental glance of her speeding through the jungle, Zekk and Lowie fast at her heels, and he reached out to calm his twin down. His assurances that he was safe were not good enough for her in the slightest; she needed to see for herself.

    All the while, Bridger continued to observe him. There was a thoughtful expression tugging on his features, and his presence in the Force pulsed with something not quite unlike consideration. “A long time ago, my Master said that when an apprentice is ready the teacher will appear – or, at least, the Force made it so for me." Just for a moment, something almost wistful clouded his eyes, before his expression cleared - and then sharpened. "The Force moves everything in its own time; I do not think my stumbling across you today was a coincidence.” He held a hand out to introduce himself. “My name is Ezra – Ezra Bridger.”

    “I’m Jacen,” he reached out, and shook the man’s hand. “Jacen Solo.”

    Jacen - a good, strong name,” Ezra’s mouth tugged at the edges with a fondness he didn't first understand. “It’s a pleasure.”

    And, with that, they too turned and scaled the walls of the grotto – and they crested the top just in time to see Jaina burst out from the thick underbrush, her hair slipping loose from her braid and her chest heaving from her sprint through the jungle. Her eyes slid from the newcomer without pausing, glanced to take in Tenel Ka’s hard expression, and then narrowed in on him with all the focus of a laser-beam. She took a step forward, clearly looking him over for any obvious harm; she did not bother shielding her concern. In answer, he held his hands away from his body and wiggled his fingers to assure her that all was well, letting her search unhindered - in his own way, he more than understood. He would have done just the same if their situations were reversed. Zekk and Lowie arrived only a few seconds behind her, each of them with their hands falling to their own sabers, clearly ready to address whatever threat there was to face. From all the ruckus pulsing across their bond, Jacen could even feel his mother stirring in the back of his mind, and great: he was never going to hear the end of this now.

    “So . . . did you find what you were looking for, Jace?” Jaina finally broke the silence to ask. Her head was tilted in puzzlement, and she clearly wanted answers from him. “That felt like you encountered something a lot more exciting than a frog.”

    Jacen felt a smile stretch across his face when he heard the tell-tale growling sound from the floor of the ravine – higher pitched and chattering compared to the grown gaj cats they had encountered. Sure enough, he glanced down to see that the cubs had come out to play now that the threat had passed. The little ones were content to prowl and tackle one another in a happy game of chase, while their mothers sprawled out to enjoy the relative sunlight and fresh air outside of their den. The lead gaj didn’t raise her head from where she was comfortably resting against her paws, but Jacen could feel her awareness of them, even so. Already his ability to sense the natural world around him was so much stronger than it was, even just minutes before. He had, he felt, taken his first step into a larger world.

    “Don’t worry, sis, I’m okay,” Jacen finally answered, sneaking a glance to where Ezra was waiting to be introduced. “And . . . yeah, I think I’ve found what I was looking for.”

    ~MJ @};-
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  2. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 31, 2005
    I love, love, love this!!

    So beautiful, and exactly what I would have loved to have seen for Jacen in canon. It's just perfect! (I love Tenal Ka here too :))

    If you are ever able to continue this, please tag me!
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    I too adored every word, as if. Do I ever do otherwise? =D= =D= Vivid scene and very much in character for all. Tenel Ka's frustration and fierce battle readiness juxtaposed with Jacen's gentleness and delight in the "Living" Force... And then EZRA! I loved his tone of wisdom and invaluable role in Jacen's affinity with wildlife. ;)

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
    Findswoman, Tarsier and SiouxFan like this.
  4. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 6, 2012
    When Ezra started talking to the Lothwolf (did I get that right?) in 'Rebels' I immediately thought of Jacen and how he could do things like that!

    This is a delightful story and reads like some of the YJK advenures...well played indeed! Especially the way Jacen and Tenel Ka immediately try to defend each other. This would have been a better profic story than the weird Quorl story, methinks.

    Thanks for this!
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Mr. Solo, meet Mr. Bridger! Wow, there's no one like you, Mira, when it comes to these "unlikely meetings" of characters that turn out to be so, so right! :cool: These two are a perfect match; I love the idea of both of them meeting and bonding someone else with that unique beastwarden ability, since they don't really ever get to in their respective "home" universes. (Well, I know Ezra doesn't; I'm not as sure about Jacen, but that's my guess for him too.) I just love the role you've given Ezra within your universe; he really does "bridge" continuities here, and I adore the idea of the fall of the Empire and the reestablishment of the Jedi Order bringing so many old-guard mystics like this one "out of the woodwork"; likewise that all that "walking through time and space" (and I haven't seen Rebels season 4 yet, so I don't really know any details :p ) ultimately led him back to somewhere as ordinary as the Jedi Academy, and even potentially to being a teacher of Jedi himself. <3 It's an intriguing treat to see Ezra as the calm-cool-collected sage figure against Jacen's relative hotheadness; he's almost Kanan-like with his repeated "empty his mind" advice—if his younger self could believe it! :D Jacen's progression in reaching out to the gaj cat is very gradual and very believable; we can almost tangibly feel the way he's trying so painstakingly to negotiate the cats' anticipation hunger need—right up to that critical moment when he realizes the maternal element lying at the bottom of it all. That is so much what the Living Force is about. And I can't forget the skeptical, scrappy Tenel Ka—she was perfect foil for both Jacen and Ezra, keeping them both (especially Jacen) grounded, in a way. It makes as much sense that she's not convinced by Bridger at the end as it does that Jacen is, if that makes sense.

    So yes, in the end, Jacen definitely found more than what he was looking for, something much more compelling and interesting than he could get from any lea-hi frog: he gains both a deeper understanding of his own abilities and an invaluable friend and mentor. I could see this being, in the words of Rick Blaine at the end of Casablanca, "the beginning of a beautiful friendship." And it would indeed be wonderful to see more of these two. Thanks so much for sharing this compelling piece—truly a standout among your many wonderful "unlikely meetings"! =D=
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Very cool! I love this blending of the two worlds. (And Ezra’s definitely a cat guy, isn’t he?) Favorite part:
    Reminds me of the scene in Black Panther where the rhino skids to a halt in front of Okoye.
    I like the title, too - not just for the obvious lothcat/gaj/tiger connection but because of the meaning of the poem. In the first verse of the poem, the speaker asks “What immortal hand or eye/ Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” That’s Jacen, wondering and yet not ready to have enough confidence to attempt what seems to be impossible- taming this beast, bringing it not to submission but to accord and understanding. In the last line of the poem the speaker changes it subtly but significantly: “What immortal hand or eye/ Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” Who would dare to make a tyger? Who would dare to calm a gaj? That’s Ezra, the “mystic,” subject of a dozen crazy rumors (all true, btw). He dares, he kneels before the savage beast, and it becomes his friend, so much so that it’s loathe to leave him.
    Very nice job!
  7. Wannabe Scholar

    Wannabe Scholar Jedi Knight

    Mar 21, 2014
    I've always wanted to see more of Luke's Jedi Academy of Legends, and seeing it mix in with Rebels' Ezra is a nice touch. It's so interesting to see a grown up Ezra teaching young Jacen (before the emo Caedus, which a plus in my book BTW), and I'd like to see more stories of Ezra teaching Jacen the ways of the Force. Plus, I like the writing is used to build the atmosphere and go into Jacen's thoughts. Nicely done.
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  8. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    Beautifully written.
    A complex weaving of characters, and environment and action, and this lovely use of The Force in a new way.

    And I always like a good made up animal.
    And Ezra grown up to become a Beastmaster is rather cool.

    Good stuff.
  9. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Oct 12, 2018
    This was the epitome of what the Living Force was:

    I really liked that line. The Living Force, able to connect to all living creatures. Awesome.

    And those cute kitties. I'm glad they didn't have to die. I would have tamed them quicker than Jacen, though. :D
    Findswoman likes this.
  10. Oddly_Salacious

    Oddly_Salacious Jedi Master star 1

    Dec 5, 2005
    I hadn't read anything about the twins since the ancient days of EU lore (is it almost 30 years ago now?) and Rebels still sits on my to-do list. Your story, I read to meet a challenge, but I fell into the pacing and became intrigued with the developments between Jacen and Tenel. I remember when: I read the Courtship of Princess Leia and was taken in by the lavishness of Dathomir, the riding of Rancors, and the describing of a young Yoda. "Tyger tyger" meets that mood and tone even as it is set on another planet with different folks doing the narrative footwork. A great job! Very entertaining.
    Mira_Jade and Findswoman like this.