Stealing Freedom (Aayahpoy’shiri, SWTOR)
“Never fight when you can bluff.
Never bluff when you can run.
Never run when you can sneak.
If no one knows you’re there, you win.”
―The Combat Litany of the Smuggler’s Creed
He had been chasing her for years, certain that she was no more than a mere child when he was first given the bounty on her lekku. More credits were spent trying to track her than the bounty was worth, it was about pride now. Tenacity. The Mandolore tapped the small computer built into the bracer of his armour; entering into a code that would lock down her freighter, Vatak’ultuka. He glanced up as he put in the request soon enough to catch a side long glance from his mark. Her lips curled into a smile; full and upturned as she looked to the Chiss woman standing beside her. Their conversation continued in hushed tones of Huttese, the Tolian coming to click her tongue against her teeth each time her intricately tattooed lekku would writhe.
He lifted his drink to take a long pull from it, his gaze venturing downward to the datapad sitting atop the table. When he set his drink down and looked back up he saw only a Chiss woman standing alone at the bar. The bounty hunter smirked to himself, if the little Twi’lek thought she was getting away, she find herself mistaken.
He did not expect to find her sitting across from him.
“You should wear your helmet if you don’t want to give the impression that you’re staring. Don’t they teach you that in bounty-head 101?” She asked with a snicker and a coy smile as she leaned back in the chair and kicked her feet up onto the table, crossing her legs at the ankle.
He coughed more to hide his surprise than an actual need. “I uh…”
“You’re a novice at this, I got that picture ooooh…” She tapped her chin; a sarcastic motion of thought. “Three years back, maybe four. You know, that first encounter when you actually managed to get onto my ship and somehow managed to fall asleep?”
“…It had been…”
“A long day? You’re a bounty hunter chasing an escaped slave for the love of the goddess!” She laughed.
“Look, you’re not really a priority case. And we both know you’re not going to kill me nor I you. Chasing you is what I call rest and relaxation.”
Again, the twi’lek laughed, “What a way to kill a girls ego, pateesa.”
He rolled his shoulders in a shrug, leaning back into his chair, “There’s nothing to kill. This vacation is over. Your ship has been locked down, when you leave this planet it will be with me.”
“Keepuna.” She muttered the Huttese curse under her breath and slipped her feet from the table as she leaned forward to offer her wrists out to him. The many fine silver bracelets clattered together at the motion over the brown leather bracers that covered her forearms.
He knew there was a catch.
The bounty hunter pulled a pair of stun cuffs from his belt and leaned forward to snap them closed over her small wrists.
It’s at this point where I can tell you that I was caught. And if it were the tale of someone else, this would be the end. Twi’lek caught, returned to her former master with a debt on her head to warrant him taking her lekku. This is not the case.
The bounty hunter is a complete koochoo by the name of Enzo Testori. I’ve had a survelliance spike in his nav comp for two of the three years he’s been tracking me. He likes to tell people that he’s Mandorlorian. Yeah…
His mother was half Mandolorian from what I can surmise from his Imperial Records.
This fact makes him a liar.
And a bad one. No true Mandolorian would’ve let me toy with them like some starry-eyed peedunky. Chances are, he’s seen a piece of hot twi’lek ass and figures rather than cashing in on the bounty, he’ll tell my former master that he’ll toss in a few extra credits and take me off his hands.
Truth be told, it’s a reasonable assumption. I’ve cost the bastard more than I’m worth, kark, more than anyone is worth.
I’m Aayahpoy’shiri. Slicer, smuggler, royal pain in the ass; most tend to call me Poy.
And yes, you just saw me give myself up to Enzo. I figure I have one of two options at this point, play on my assumption and seduce him. I might be a good twixt to my nethers, Goddess knows it’s been long enough…
Or! I’m dead wrong, which is possible though not overly plausible. In which case, it’s better to fight in the close quarters of his ship without an audience. The bars on Corellia will ignore many things. Fights aren’t exactly one of those things. CorSec keeps a tight planet.
I do feel this need to explain how exactly I wound up in this situation.
Vinnpoy’shiri awaited her daughter outside of the large temple, taking the time to lean against the building and close her eyes. A gust of wind sent harsh sand scraping over the orange skin of her bare and heavily muscled arms. The aging Twi’lek woman pulled the hood of her sleeveless tunic further over her face to protect it.
“Vinn, come inside.” A soft voice called from the door of the temple, a Kiva dressed only in a sheer white robe motioned the Gida to come in out of the building sandstorm. Vinn pushed herself off the wall and grabbed her long bladed pike, using it as a walking staff she ventured inside; kicking off her boots at the door.
Silently, the Kiva took the pike from the Sesk’vati Gida and leaned it against a rack along the entryway of the temple and smiled up at her as she crouched down before her, drawing a small bowl of water into her lap. Vinnpoy’shiri quickly backed away at this action, shaking her head. “I’m wary enough of entering this place. I will not venture far enough inside to warrant the washing of my feet.”
“As you wish, Vinn.”
“Is that girl ready?”
The Kiva set aside the bowl of water as she raised up to her feet and shook her head. “Not as of yet, the Acar’ya are deciding what they wish to do with her. She is deeply devouted to her studies but her attitude towards the others…” The Kiva’s lekku twitch in thought for the proper terminology, “is not what we expect from our Ai’jou.”
“And your reco-“ The Gida found herself interrupted, her arms coming to tightly cross over her chest just below her breasts as her daughter was lead in by two Acar’ya’s of the temple. The young woman looked shamed, she had been apart o the temple since she was six, in her last few weeks of training, she found herself in constant trials to her spirit and temper. Trials she failed, utilizing her quick tongue rather than the simple grace expected from a future Kiva. Vinnpoy’shiri offered a callous smile to her daughters’ keepers, “Such timing. I was just about to ask your recommendation for the girl.”
The elder male of the two Acar’ya cleared his throat before speaking and met the Gida’s hard gaze, “Aayah is your only child, is she not?”
“We believe that it will be of the benefit to you if she were given into vassij’ra.” The Acar’ya inclined his head. Aayah did not look up from the ground she was staring at, she didn’t notice her mothers’ cold smile. Nor, did she see when her mother grabbed up her pike and slid into her boots.
“Make it happen.” She stated, her voice flat and unemotional before she stepped out of the temple, leaving Aayah to the fate that the Acar’ya had put before her.
I think that moment right there is when I truly realized that I was not just a bastard of a child, but a mistake. My life had been a bane to my mother since the day I was conceived.
Tough poodoo, old hag. I’m what you got when you failed to keep your legs closed.
My misha, an esteemed Gida within the Sesk’vati, was a known chir’aki. How I was her only offspring is either a testament to her ability with a blade to scrape out the inside ofher uterus or some rampant infertility issues that I don’t wish to think upon. Regardless, she got me. And for those six years before she could pass me off to a temple as an ai’jou, she was one of the most miserable individuals in my memory.
My father, or what I was able to get out of her about him, was a slave trader. Kark, he could’ve been the very Twi’lek who took me off when my mother agreed to give me into vassij’ra. It’s one of those things that I will never know. I don’t even think she ever knew his name.
But, here you have it. I was too much for the Kiva’s to deal with and my mother had no intention of keeping an eye on me. I was sixteen, a woman. In all honesty, she could’ve released me let me find my own path. But the womans greed spoke above even that idea.
So, the slave trader came to get me and my misha became two thousand credits richer.
Two thousand credits.
I have a good dose of self-worth and some might say I think too highly of myself, but two thousand credits?!
A pleased smile flickered across the lips of the aged arms dealer as six girls were brought before him. The two human women, looked to be high-class courtesans and since he had requested that the girls be lined up according to price, he was not surprised to find them at the high end. He motioned towards them with a wrinkled hand and the Twi’lek slave trader gave a quick glance before answering quickly, “Fifteen thousand.”
The blue-eyed gaze of the Corellian man shifted over to the Nautalian woman, her green skin was scarred from battle and she had the wary eyes of a warrior. This rough exterior did not put him of however, she would have her place. He stepped closer to her, “Do you have a name?”
The Nautalian woman spat on his boot; her action earning her a swift backhand from the Twi’lek slaver and the Corellian stepped back to glance over the remaining three. Two of which were Twi’lek’s. He gaze paused over the Darian woman and she immediately looked down. She had been dressed in barely a loin cloth and a thin tunic to cover her beasts, her skin was marred by two brands just over her left breast; marks of previous owners. He stepped up to her and curled a finger under her chin to bring her eyes up to meet his. Her eyes were dulled, lifeless. Her spirit obviously broken. He shook his head and motioned for her to be taken away.
Finally, his regard turned to the young Tolian Twi’lek, despite being cuffed she was rolling on the balls of her feet as she whistled a lithe and upbeat tune. Her attention was everywhere except the situation at hand. The Corellian took a step back again to watch her, his lips curling back into a bemused smile. She was unmarked and pristine, her beauty had been well cared for and nurtured. When he came to step towards her she ceased her whistling and her movements immediately and stared defiantly into the aging face. “Qa?” She asked, her voice flat.
“I’m left to wonder what I should call you, lia’ry.” He replied with a smile, his voice the rich tone of a man well experienced in greasing Hutts out of their credits.
“Aayahpoy’shiri. Is there something they call you?” When she answered him, she did so without fear, she questioned him in turn without thought to her situation. She was the slave.
The Corellian laughed, “Tiocou Dejan.” He reached down and took one of her cuffed hands and raised it to his lips. “Do you mind if I call you Poy?” He asked, not waiting for her to respond before continuing, “I’m looking for a companion. I can tell you the story of why I’m purchasing a slave for this, but it is nothing but the sad ramblings of a lonely old man. You will remain under my ownership until the day of my passing. On that day you will be given to my son. I expect you to care for all of my needs and in return I may or may not see fit to teach you a thing or two so that you might help me in the field. Does this sound amicable to you?”
He paused, only for a second. “Excellent.” He didn’t wait for her to respond, Tiocou Dejan couldn’t see past the fire of her spirit. He looked up to the slaver, “Now, you and I have business to talk.”
And so I was sold to Tiocou Dejan for two thousand credits. It could’ve been a lot worse. He could’ve been a Hutt. Or a Rodian. Instead, he was a lonely old man who purchased a slave to serve as his wife. He claims It was because no woman would remain by his side. Honestly, I think for two thousand credits, he saved on his expenses of trying to wine and dine a woman.
For seven years, I remained by his side. I could hide behind the justification that I had little choice, but he was kind and I came to enjoy his company. His world. I’d deal with his shipments, make him his food, tend to his physical needs and bullshit my way through his emotional ones. In return, he taught me to fly.
I may have been the property of this man but when he let me take over the helm, I was free to dance in the black. To twist my way around the stars and soar through nebulas so beautiful it was easy for me to forget that it was his pleasure that was paramount.
Yes, I’ll take this moment to whine about the greastest injustice of being a slave. When sex becomes your job, something you have to do, you don’t have an orgasm. So in my seven years of karking this old coot, I never once got to scream out in passion.
Yeah, sure, I got really good at taking care of my own needs… but that’s different.
Anyways, seven years. It took seven karking years to get this piece of eswa’ish to trust me to be alone on his ship. He had to go down to the surface of Nal Hutta and I frankly didn’t want to deal nor, did he want to have to watch an unmarked slave.
I waited an hour before I ran up to the cockpit and spun up the hyperdrive.
It takes him a month before I catch wind that he’s hired the cheapest bastard of a bounty hunter to fetch me and his precious ship.
Yep, we’re back to Enzo Testori now.
It’s been four years, almost to the day when I ran out on my master. And here I am, cuffed and hanging in the cargo bay of this self-proclaimed Mandolorian frotz’s ship.
Enzo watched her as she swayed, kicking out her legs every so often to send herself swinging in the opposite direction. Poy seemed to making a game of her situation as she did with everything. Her turquoise eyes never leaving him, the wry smirk painted across her lips never fading. The bounty hunter actually had to work at remaining expressionless.
He lit a death stick, his gaze falling away from her as he took a long drag, when he looked up again she had ceased her movements and inclined her head. “Give me a drag.” She stated rather than asked.
“No.” He responded with a nearly malicious grin.
He laughed and hopped down from the crate he was sitting upon and stalked towards her. He gripped the side of her hip roughly as she kicked out to knock him over first and spun her around. “Do it again.” He dared.
“You’re a piece of poodoo clinging to the underside of a kraking nuna, Enzo Testori. How much is that old bastard paying you anyways?”
His hand slide over the side of her leg as he turned back around to face him, “One thousand credits.”
She blinked in a sense of disbelief that she couldn’t even pretend to hide. “One thousand. You’ve been chasing me four years for ONE THOUSAND credits?! What the krak is wrong with you, Enzo?!”
“One thousand credits plus the transfer of ownership.”
“Ownership of me?”
“Do you know how much he paid for me?”
“Are you so hard up for a good screw that you have to chase a good for nothing slave?” He reached up and set the death stick between her lips, she took a few drags, her hard stare remaining affixed upon him.
“You’re a pilot and a damn fine one at that. You’ve got a brain, you’ve got skills that I can use and a fantastic ass.” He explained and pulled the death stick away to take the last pull from it before flicking it off somewhere in the hold.
“I’m not a slave, Enzo. That’s the thing. You can’t capture me to haul me back and expect me to accept a change of ownership. It doesn’t work that way. Look, I’ll give you five thousand credits if we can call this a day, you don’t have to trouble yourself with me anymore and I can go about making my living.”
He gripped her thigh and pulled her to him, “And what about the rest of what I want?”
“You should’ve bought me a drink. If you even consider touching me, I will find a way to remove what hollow balls you have.” She growled, her voice low and feral. He pushed her away before hitting a sequence keys on his datapad, releasing both her and the lockdown on her ship.
“Ten thousand credits.”
She sighed, knowing the price for her freedom would be the last of what she had pilfered away for now. “Done.”
Savings can buy a lot of things; freedom being the sweetest of them.
I do hope I don’t see Enzo again or Tiocou for that matter. My only priorty anymore is getting lost in that big black up there.
I hear this rumour that there might be excitement.