One hour in, Four more to go…
“Frackin’ Mynocks…” Kal-dur Vulpes said to himself, ordering a third cup of caff to help stave off the boredom and rather annoyed sleep. He got off lucky, the space leaches didn’t eat away at anything vital, but they did get enough to ground his thirty year old freighter, the Lucky Lucy for about five to six hours… maybe seven if his luck’s run out for tonight. He had to give away a few crates of goods just to dock and get the repairs done. Hutt and Republic Credits didn’t count for crap out here in the ass end of the Galaxy; the Outer Rim.
Compassion is a trait in many that has become seemingly rare. I have written an in-depth history of the struggles your father and I have faced in the past weeks. Today, I can only seem to say that those struggles are behind us. The war is not over but the battle has been won. By the grace and power of a man named Anetho Dawnpride, I have been pardoned of my supposed crimes against the State.
The Inquisitor does not have the power to put me on trial again for some time.
OOC Note: This story was written with the incredible Stephen Renn.
The Lantern crackled with the lightning that overloaded it. It wasn’t the shock of the elemental power that lead her to drop the lantern, it was the state of the room. Even with her damaged eyes, it was clear that something catastrophic had occured. Zulfi’Marou Adjassou had never been inside of the Ravalta estate. There had never been a reason and the Troll was loathe to travel into the spiritually empty lands of Quel’thalas. The Ravalta’s as she had come to know them did not strike her as people who would live in such destruction. And the evidence pointed to destruction akin to a small seaforium charge going off. Books, papers, scrolls, jewelery, clothing, bedding, and all manners of things were torn asunder and thrown in all directions. Everything save the heavy bed against the back wall of the room had been blown outside a six foot radius. This puzzled Adjassou greatly. In the center of this destruction was the family Ravalta.
There are too many goodbyes. Too little time. For a Troll who has lost time, irony fails to be lost. This life, my life, has been odd. Quite so. Little remains of my mind, it atrophies inside my head. No, not atrophy. Something else. The Ebon Ravalta called it a Temporal Distortion Syndrome. What I did, what I do and what I will do it leads to that. How can it not? I am Darkspear. As Darkspear, I did the impossible.
It wasn’t so long ago that your father and I were only friends with a set time and place in which we met daily to discuss whatever thoughts were in our minds. There were days when those conversations would begin with the sun high in the sky and end with the moon hanging over our heads. Both of us were grizzled veterans, carrying the weight of our pasts and mourning those we had lost. Neither of us sought to move past this, let alone did we seek romantic companionship.
I remember a song my father once sang to my sister and I, out of all my memories of him, it is the one that shines brighter than the rest. The song was about a woman, battered and beaten by life who found solace with a simple man. When she healed, she departed not knowing yet what she had left behind. In time, the woman would return to the simple man and together they would die having known true happiness.
Armide was returning to Mandalore. The thought of venturing to see her had passed through her mind, when Zeke looked up at her from the repairs they were performing on Eltich’s Vigo, she knew the same thought had gone through his. They both shrugged, whether they would do it or not remained to be seen. The Twi’lek climbed down from the wing and slipped out of the hanger, there was too much work to get done for her to take too long of a break, but something was changing. People were returning to their roots and life was going on. The war was over. Through the datafeed of her cybernetic lekku, Aay’han could hear the muffled snores of her son and the breathing of her husband. She didn’t know how to look back over the time that had passed, what lead from the small laboratory she ran in the pits of Lok to Mandalore. None of it made sense. Chaos rarely did. It was one of the failsafe lessons, there was a beauty to chaos once you recognized that while it could be understood, it would never make sense. Her lekku slinked over her shoulders to curl and twist around each other as she looked up to the stars.
Part 1: Writs of Passage
She was going home. No, not home, it hadn’t been home since she and her husband stood before the Sunwell to exchange vows of devotion. The Ravalta Estate in Quel’thalas had become her home or so she continued to expect it to. Padija Ravalta had never been able to settle into the sprawling manse, she had never nested to make it her own. Her home was destroyed, now infested with the very abominations that sought to its demise. In the time since she had fought to make her home among the men and women of the Argent Crusade and it was to them that she was returning.
I got pinched. This mynock got me by my lekku and hauled me to this shady little Hutt run cantina on Hutta. (Aren’t they all shady and Hutt run there?) Now, mind you, I was passing off this load of glitterstim as ryll. I knew it wouldn’t hold up with any knowledgeable buyer, but that’s part of the grift. The con. You find the peedunkys and move the frotzin’ bolshit. Anyways, the entire situation had gone bad and wasn’t what I’d call one of my best moments but everyone screws up sometimes. By getting caught, I lost it all. My ship was sold out from under me (it was a piece of shit anyways), my freedom was offered up to the highes— why lie? The lowest bidder. This is how I got introduced to the life of slavery in a gilded cage. I say gilded because in all honesty, it wasn’t too bad. Shake my ass, gasbag with the customers. The servicing spacers and mynocks wasn’t that grand, but everything has a trade off. All I had to do was keep my lekku straight, I couldn’t even do that. Not when I met him at least. He’s how I got into trouble. Again.
He had come into the cantina, not to watch the dancers – I’m sure that was a perk – he was running a con. I know a fellow grifter when I see one. His game was simple and frotzin’ brill. Huttball, the game was taking place but he wasn’t registering the bets he was taking. He took thirty bets and paid out for five. The folks in the cantina caught on pretty quick, sure. By the time they did, however, he was out the door and he had me with him.
Shancolo Marsol. That’s his name and it was the name tossed into the pool of mynocks right alongside mine. After a few years together, and a few marital vows, I’ve learned a thing or two about Shan. He can’t run a con for shit. He can find the best cheap cargo loads for us to make into something worth turning around, however. And he might just make the best plant in a crowd. Or pimp… or announcer, sometimes he even plays the victim.
That’s the trick with us grifters. We have roles to play, it ain’t like everyone else in the Galaxy. No one likes a con artist, not unless they’re turning profit for them. We’re usually on our own and the black is a big place for a couple of folks like us.
Ain’t that long ago, while Shan and I came across this barve who said he might have a crew we’d fit into. Shan doesn’t believe it. He’s been on his own a lot longer than I have with this shit though. I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to talk. Sooner or later the mynocks will catch up to us or worse. And when that day comes, it’ll be good for someone to have our backs. Or, in the surprising circumstance, for us to have someone’s back.
OOC Note: I’ve been developing a new character via RP on Steam. She was originally meant to be my TOR character, but I brought her up in the timeline and decided to change things a bit. See where she went. So far the RP has been fantastic. She’s even brought out things in my other character Aayhan Ahi that I wasn’t sure were there. I hope you enjoy the story, there’s a few holes in it that call for questions to be answered and I hope to do that with future shorts.