Ramat. (Nasaarliin’Sro and Neikei Sarkanias, SWTOR)
“By the ink of my Jato.” Niki Sark whistled as she looked over the large Tolian Twi’lek in her doorway. Her hands brushed against the sides of her pants to wipe the excess ink off. She had been refilling her ink pots; a few rows of small cylindrical vials along the front counter of Jat’i Keff. Niki Sark’s small tattoo shop in Coruscant’s underground.
Nasaarlinn’sro rested his hands on the edge of the counter and bent down to look the smaller Zabrak woman straight in the eyes. He smirked when she leaned forward and smacked him upside the head. He groaned at her and dropped his forehead down to the counter; what stump of a lekku that remained on the left side of his head thudded against the edge of the counter.
“She really cut it off, didn’t she?”
He nodded slowly.
He nodded slowly again.
“You deserved it.”
He nodded slowly a third time.
“How’d your clan take it?”
“I’m ramat, the Shiri’s were our sister clan, I betrayed one.”
“And the Order?”
Niki nodded this time. Rather than whacking the Twi’lek upside the head again, she patted his shoulder reassuringly. “I can send word to her…”
He chuckled. “I’m actually here for some ink.”
“Use me and abuse me for my true talents?” She asked with a wickedly pleased grin.
“You’ve bought me more than a few drinks. I think it’s time.”
“Know what you want?” Niki had made her way to the back of the shop to gather up the traditional sticks she tended to use.
Neikei Sarkanias grabbed the ink pots she had used only a few weeks earlier on another Tolian Twi’lek. Her hair fell over her cheeks to hide a small smile. “You lost your lekku to stupidity. I want the story, that’s your cost.”
“The Kiva had been speaking with the new Ai’jou’s mother for hours. When the girl had been first brought in the Hoay Kiva took her away just as quickly as she had been delivered. I couldn’t remember the last time the Hoay had taken such an interest in a child. Her trainings had been kept private, many of the other Ai’jou not seeing her for months and on a few occasions, years at a time. I had almost forgotten about the Tolian girl.” He began and settled on the edge of the tattooing bed. With ease he pulled off his loose white tunic and set it beside him.
“Six years after I had seen her brought into the Temple, I caught a glimpse of her turquoise eyes. She was clad in the white robes of the Kiva’s and being lead away to the Oracle chamber. I still think she was only twelve, I felt dirty for having noticed her at that point.” Neikei snickered and cleaned the length of the Teras Kasi’s heavily muscled arm.
“In twelve years at the temple, it has amused me I only saw her three times. In the fifteen since she left, I’ve seen her three…”
Another white robe folded and stored into the crate by the door of her quarters. The Kiva’s had allowed her to take two of them, as well as the bulk of her data-discs so that she could continue her studies. Despite the pranks and lip she had played against the Acar’ya and the Kiva’s; Aayahpoy’shiri was one of the few Oracles of her people. She had been a diligent student but a thankless daughter. Her mother had sanctioned the rite of vassij’ra rather than allowing the temple to test her.
She had come of age. It was her rite; sold.
Nasaarlinn’sro rapped lightly on the door with his knuckle.
“Thanks for the respect. But the Temple doesn’t care.” A voice rough with melancholy called through the door. Nasaar smiled; bowing his head as he pushed open the door.
“The Trader is here for you, Poy’shiri.” He said quietly.
“It’s Aayah, I don’t want to carry that chi’kan’s name.”
“She is who regrets you. Not us.” He said, picking up the packed crate. “Not your family or your clan.”
“Sixteen years before someone else tells me what I already knew but had to hear.” Her voice was cold; the colour of her eyes just as cold. Her touch was warm as she pushed past him, taking the crate from his grasp.
He watched her walk down the path of the cave. She walked with pride even knowing full well what was waiting for her.
“My name is Nasaar.” He called after her.
“Linn’sro. I know.”
Neikei smirked and pulled the needle from his arm. She picked up another of the sticks and dipped it into the dark blue ink. “I’d call bantha shit on you if I hadn’t done her tattoos.”
“A lot of people do.”
“Didn’t pin it on you, either.”
Nasaar chuckled. “How did you not, Niki? I’m a monk.”
The Zabrak tilted her head from side to side; rolling her eyes after a moment. “That’s more to do with the body. If you had any faith, I’d have pinned it to be closer than what my people revere. Strength and honour; enlightenment of the soul through punching people in the fucking face, you know?”
“It’s something like that if you paint Kikka’lekki’s face on my fists.”
He watched her work; taking advantage of the lull in the conversation to take in Niki’s fluttering strokes with the needle-brush tattooing stick. “I left the temple shortly after they sold her, rumours of the Teras Kasi and all that. You know that story.”
“Freighter I was working on gave you the lift off Ryloth.”
Nasaar nodded. “Few years after that, I set up on Tatooine. Feels enough like Ryloth and it’s got better business prospects.”
“Poy’shiri.” His voice was as smooth as the motion in which he sat at her table. Aayahpoy’shiri stared up at Nasaar. Her expression registered a fleeting look of recognition. A polished durasteel collar hung loosely around her neck; the thin chain attached was wrapped around the hand of an aging human man. The man tugged back at the chain to bring Poy’s head against his chest. He lowered his lips to whisper against the top of her head.
“Do you know this Tolian?”
Poy rested a hand over her masters’ chest and balanced herself to rise up. She had gotten used to acting like his pet. Her forehead nuzzled against his jaw; a wary gaze remaining on Nasaar. “He was in the temple.”
“Do you wish to speak to him?”
The lithe Tolian woman lifted her head to draw her lips against her own, “If I have pleased you, then yes.” She whispered against his lips.
The human grunted and bite at her lip before he pushed her away. “When I come back with my drink, you’re attention is mine.” He pushed himself up from the booth. Poy’s gaze shifting to watch her master make his way to the bar; Nasaar noticed the emotionless expression.
“How long do think it’ll be before he notices?”
She looked to Nasaar, an eyebrow raised high in surprise. Her lekku twisted, the tips flicking every few seconds. “Just need the right opportunity.” She responded without moving her mouth.
“And if I were to get you out, right now?”
“You’d have a bounty on your head.”
“If that didn’t scare me?”
“You’d regret it.”
They stared at each other; expressions cold and unmoving save for the twitching and twisting of their lekku.
“I told you before…”
“That was then.”
Tiocou Dejan, the elderly human master of Aayahpoy’shiri returned from getting his drink. He inclined his head to Nasaar, informing him that his discussion was over. Poy smiled up at her master as she climbed into his lap. Nasaar watched her dance from the bar.
“Girl’s got some hips on her.” Niki Sark whistled; smirking a bit to herself when she noticed the smile that tugged at Nasaar’s lips. “Bitch cuts off your tchun and you get stiff thinking about her hips still?”
“I can’t help it. I want to fuck her and I want to punch her in the face.”
“You don’t want to take her lekku?”
Quickly, Niki Sark dabbed the needled brush of the stick into a black ink pot and shook her head.
“I did my research into him after I saw her there. Nothing to hate, no reason to go chasing after with any idea of righteous fury; a simple man making his living and remaining alive.”
Niki chortled. “Tiocou Dejan screwed more organizations out of their shipments.”
“Isn’t that the way your game is played?”
“What do you mean by my game?” She jabbed him a bit too hard with the tattoo stick. “I draw pictures on skin!”
Nasaar cringed. “Just…”
“She came back to Tatooine a few years later. I do believe she told me she’d never stayed in one place longer than a week before. Little shit remained in my home for seven months.”
Niki looked up at him in disbelief. She flicked her wrist to send the last of the tattooing sticks into the waste.
“I told her I wanted to take her in Jasshi’rr. She took off, said she’d come back when she was free. So, I began to do what I could to help free her…”
“And she cut off your lekku for it.”
“She had no way of knowing.”
“…would you have forced her through Jasshi’rr before freeing her?”
He looked down at his arm. The same collection of constellations in relation the Goddess Kikka’lekki that she had tattooed only a few weeks earlier; now adorned his arm. “Don’t tell her you did this for me.”
Neikei nodded slowly.