Exile (SWG – Padija Testori)
OOC Note: I’ve pulled Padija out for a forum RP group. This is the first part of her tale back into the universe.
Everyday she returned to the make shift hanger her grandfather had built just inside the walls of the Testori compound on Jiann. He had built it for her father, Alfonso, in hopes that his son would return home more often than not. It hadn’t been built in vain as his hopes were realized upon its completion until the day that the freighter her mother was piloting crashed on Coruscant and the Testori family had been torn asunder. Now, the hanger was home to her father’s X-Wing, forgotten by his departure from the Rebellion, it pained her to see it rusting away in her self imposed exile. With the death of her grandmother, Padija had little time to do anything but care for her baby brother and her son, now two years old.
Today, she was blessed, young Ikus was teaching Shar’setta to repair an old droid, forgotten since the Clone Wars, if Padija had to guess. Their happy chatter gave her focus, so long as they kept themselves busy, she knew her focus could remain on the ship. The electrical wiring and avionics had long been eaten away by the rogue mynock that sometimes found its way inside the corrugated durasteel structure. Once repaired, she didn’t see why the bird wouldn’t be able to touch the black again. All other systems seemed to still be in working condition, though covered in a thin layer of rust that would have to be removed.
The lanky Jiann woman climbed the ladder up to the nose of the fighter with a rough grace and swung a leg over it in order to straddle the X-Wing. The hatch easily opened with the experienced use of one of her father’s hydrospanners. Once open and folded down over the right side of the nose, she used the same tool to hold her dreadlocks in a makeshift bun, at their length, she could’ve tied them back, but the fear of breaking or losing any one of the trinkets she still kept in her hair, remembrances of her Prophet, her love, Shar’setta’s father, kept her from binding it any other way. Their random clink threatened to steal her focus to a lost hope of his return to her, instead she shifted her thoughts to a gracious bliss of her hair growing back after all the cybernetics, after the attack and mistaken interrogation three years earlier.
Her eyes twisted with the holo-feed into her line of sight as she worked, her natural aptitude with electronics only boosted by the information coming to her and guiding her hands through the wiring. The sound of the boys voices becoming music to her as she snipped, reconnected, removed and replaced. Her only conscious hope being that the droid would entertain them long enough for her to finish this task.
…Three Years Later…
“Father is dead.”
Padija Testori felt her knees nearly give out beneath her as she read the transmission. The first she had received in years from a man the galaxy knew as Jazzix Ona. He had taken a risk in just sending those simple words. She felt pathetic standing there, reading over them time and time again, seeking a deeper meaning. Something, anything written between that lines that would’ve made the pain of exile subside. Her silver cybernetic eyes had to be affixed for longer than she realized when she felt the familiar tug on her tattooed hand.
His voice poured over her ears like honey and she snapped out of her revelry and turned to crouch down in front of her five year old son; brushing a bit of his thick black hair from his face. “What is it baby, you have another nightmare?”
The boy shook his head and pulled his hand from his mothers’ in order to cling to her in a tight hug. “Something happened.”
Padija blinked with surprised and looked back in order to look upon the boy. She had grown used to his precognition and intuitions, despite her own ignorance of the Force. The tattooed Jiann woman often felt as if she had touched a pinnacle in her past, she had served the catalyst in creating Ky’shan’s Bind, a small outpost that became known as Red Sands on Lok. Sands that she and her Leaf had stained red with the blood of mercenaries. They had killed to protect Father’s Library, Padija had never really known what was kept out at the Library. Jazzix had protected her from knowing what her own father and her Leaf knew. It never bothered her, Padija wasn’t known for being reliable in those days to anything but her spice addiction. Looking at her son, Shar’setta Ky’shan, however, Padija could presume what they hid. They hid it for the same reasons that Jazzix had sent her into exile the moment they realized that she was pregnant. “Father has died, Shar’setta. The old man who used to guide your father and your grandfather.”
Shar’setta watched his mother for a few moments, her face was pained in sympathy. Part of her could feel the chasm of grief that this opened within the heart of her soulmate. “Who will guide the Nomad then?”
Again, Padija found herself blinking. She had not heard that term in reference to Jazzix since she served under Colonel Sego’ro. The boy only looked up at her with innocent curiosity. She bit her lip when she felt it tremble, with such a simple question she knew. “No one, my love. The Nomad is lost.”
She didn’t have the ability to cry any longer. Not due to an overstress of emotion, but more to the fact that both of her eyes had been replaced with cybernetics. She knew that her dreams would never come true, they were to be dreams of the past. Of another time.
“It’s time for us to go, isn’t it?”
Padija didn’t answer, her lips brushed over her sons’ forehead and she picked him up carefully to carry him to bed with her. It was time. Without Father or the Nomad, she needed to find a place of safety and solitude in which Shar’setta could train. The Smuggler turned Bounty Hunter didn’t know the first thing about training a Force Sensitive child, or even where to begin. Tomorrow she would contact her Leaf.
Tomorrow, they would begin the preparations to leave Jiann.
Her fingers twisted along the neck of the mandovial as she played a simple series of notes, her rough voice rising up to sing the lyrics of an old song she and her Leaf, a Twi’lek by the name of Kaspie Irrandis had sung. Finding Kaspie again could be difficult, but if she knew her Leaf, then the wry young barrel of sarcasm and attitude would already be seeking her. She just had to listen…
And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I’m a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone
The song transmitted out over the holonet and Padija closed down the comm systems entirely and laid the small stringed instrument over the console. Her tattooed fingers threaded through her long black hair, different charms that had been braided into it clattered together and she pushed herself to her feet. “Are you ready, Ona?” She asked the boy who stood in the doorway. Since the transmission from his father, he hadn’t left his mothers’ side, an ever watchful eye over a lonely spirit.
Lonely. But no longer chaotic. His birth had settled the chaos within her and given her the strength of will that Jazzix had pushed her to find.
“I am, Momma. Ikus is waiting for us in the hanger.”
Padija nodded and twisted her hair up into a quick bun before sliding her mandolorian helmet over her head and picking up her pack and carbine. The boy took her hand when she walked to the door and held tightly onto it as they made their way through the compound, activating the security systems and locking down each of the blast doors as they made their way to the hanger.
With the two boys loaded up into the makeshift backseat of her fathers old X-Wing, Padija climbed into the pilot’s seat and began running the systems. They would return to Red Sands and wait.
If Padija had to stain them red again to protect her son and her brother, she knew she would do so without a doubt in her mind. She would not fail.
Not this time.
Kaspie would know to find her at the Sands.
She would know that Padija needed to touch Ky’shan’s ghost before she could continue.