The Ewok in the tree (closed)

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The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2012-01-15 15:20

Sullust. It seemed like an appropriate place to reflect upon. According to unofficial Imperial history, the battle of Sullust counted as Mai Hasagaiwa's greatest achievement. She earned The Emperor's Will for it, the greatest honor the Empire had to offer its men and women of service. The memories played through her mind like a holofilm more than anything. It felt like another lifetime because in a sense, it was another lifetime. As much as she wanted to view those actions as those of another, she knew that was fallacious. A transport full of innocent people were dead by her will. No matter that the inflicting hand was dead and vaporized on Sarapin, a continuity of choices and will threaded unbroken through the web of time and action; and persisted still today. To deny her own conscious decision to murder those people and frame the Jedi order would be to deny her future actions made on self-reflection of this unfortunate past choice, and all other choices like it.

Had it been her finest hour truly? It was tempting to think not, but that was the self-hatred of the Mai that died. If this reawakening taught her anything, it's that your actions always have far-reaching and unseen consequences. No action can fully be judged, not until time itself stopped. It would be wise to reserve judgment until that time.

Mai smiled to herself and shifted her shoulders in her beige tunic. The black silk scarf around her neck flapped in a light gust of wind, catching under her arm. She tossed it back over her shoulder as she casually glanced down the causeway ahead. She was walking in the suburbs of a small and insignificant planet named Neelanon, in the Senex sector. She'd come here after visiting Sullust to quietly reflect on her history with the Shadow Hand. Neelanon was perfect; close by, remote, calm, and largely oblivious to the constant warring far away nearer the galactic core.

It reminded her a bit of her own home world. It wasn't populated enough for large sprawling towers and city-scapes. A few of the major cities here and there had multiplex living environments, but out here in the suburbs few buildings were more than five stories tall. Hell, there were trees and landscaping everywhere. The Neelanon community embraced their temperate world, and integrated greenery and natural appearance everywhere. In such a community, land speeders were viable and common, and the skylanes benefited from it greatly. Indeed, she wasn't the only person just walking around enjoying the beautiful day. People were vibrant with life here. Children played in their yards, and parents watched amused from the porch. A pair of young lovers embraced by a speeder near the corner ahead.

Mai considered the concept of timelessly reserving judgment. Though it seemed wise, it felt foolish. Action required judgment, to suggest otherwise would be tantamount to philosophical paralysis. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad? Already she'd spent so much effort on decisive action, no one could accuse Mai Hasagaiwa of lethargy. Perhaps she'd earned some rest? That felt like an excuse too. Life had no meaning absent direction and goals. Why remain inert, and squander this unusual second opportunity with life? She must accept partial judgments and take action.

But what to do? To what end? She felt disillusioned with the Empire. Though she feared that was merely fear in disguise. Fear of her past actions. Fear of consequences.

“Hey, I'm sorry, can you help us?” An older man's voice pulled Mai out of her stream of consciousness. His hair had grayed a long time ago. He looked in his fifties. Flab fell from the expected places on his body, but she wouldn't describe him as portly. He looked worried, and pointed at a tree in his yard as he approached. A younger woman with blonde hair accompanied him, she looked to be in her twenties. Mai guess she was the daughter.

Mai perked up and pulled her hands from the pockets of her earth brown trousers. A twinge of nervousness zapped out through her fingertips. Sarapin had been resolved months ago, but even in such backwoods worlds she still feared being recognized. She hid her eyes behind dark slim shades just in case. “Oh, hello,” she said, offering a small smile.

“Our Ewok, he's trapped up in the tree.” The worried man frowned and glanced back up into the branches of the large broad leaved tree behind him. The younger woman remained behind him at his flank.

Mai blanched. “Your Ewok?”

“He's a furry little guy, from Endor,” the man explained.

“I'm familiar, but what's he doing here? I've never seen one off Endor before. I don't think I've even heard of that before.” Mai looked up into the tree, but at first glance she couldn't see it.

The younger woman chimed in, stepping out in front. “He was on a pirate ship captured in local space. The police didn't know what to do with him, so social services put out a call for people willing to give him a home. He's not a pet, if that's what you're worried about.”

“Oh, no, not at all,” Mai held her hands up. “I understand. How long has he been up there?” She rounded the couple to get a better look at the tree.

“He's on the fourth branch, see the ladder I put over there? Look straight up from that.” The man chimed in, noticing Mai's visual search. “He got up there early this morning, he's a young thing, we don't know his exact age but according to our research he's still a preteen by human reckoning. We called the fire service. They won't come get him down.”

Mai snorted. “What, do they classify him as a pet?”

“Whatever they call him, ewoks are not officially sanctioned as Imperial citizens.” The girl said.

“They're just being lazy,” Mai added.

The man chimed in. “I intend to sue. This just isn't right. The National Galactic Registry recognizes their sentience!”

“The police?” Mai asked.

“Same story!” The man threw his hands in the air. “I just don't know what to do!”

“Kallila, by the way,” Mai stuck her hand out. They had all been looking up into the tree, but this action brought their attention back to her.

The man took her hand first. “A pleasure, the name's Vadds.”

“Gerda,” the blonde girl took Mai's hand second.

Mai took a closer look at the ewok. He was indeed stuck in the tree, with his little arms wrapped as far as they could around the much larger trunk next to him. He sat straddling his branch, but that too looked to large for him. He was making little high pitched squealing noises. Mai thought she recognized it as crying. She'd been to Endor several times, but hadn't spent much time around the ewoks. It's deep black eyes were watching the three of them.

“Poor little guy,” Mai said. “Rips your heart out.” The ladder ended a good ten feet below the lowest branch. Getting to him would be a challenge. “I can't believe he got up there to begin with.”

“He's adventurous,” Gerda shrugged. “His name is G'Wot. Don't ask me how that's spelled.”

“I don't mean to bother you, I'm not sure you can do anything more than us, I'm just so worried. If you don't have an ideas, I don't mean to hold you.” Vadds said. His eyes were heavy when he said it. Mai thought he might cry, if pushed far enough. Maybe he had already. Of the three, he was the least calm by far.

“Oh, it's all right, it's not a busy day for me. You know, I'm something of a climber. I think I can get up there all right.” Mai crossed her arms, and considered the safest approach.

“Can you?” Vadds' voice jumped in octaves. “Oh that would be great. I don't want you to hurt yourself though.”

“Well, I'll need a few things, I think. A good climbing rope wouldn't hurt, and a harness. I don't suppose you have those do you?” Mai looked at Vadds, and then back up at little G'Wot.

“No,” Vadds admitted. “I don't. I do have rope, just hauling rope though. Dunno how much it holds.”

“Go get it,” Mai smiled again. “It's a start.”

“I'll be right back!” Vadds ran as fast as a padded old man can back towards their house.

A few moments later he emerged with a couple coils of standard nylon utility rope. It surely wasn't suitable climbing rope, and would snap under the pressure of a hard fall taken by sport climbers. But she didn't need it to take a fall. It looked to have tensile strength enough to hold the weight of a small woman like Mai.

“It'll be a start!” Mai looped one of the coils over her shoulder and arm bandolier style. That one was yellow. The other, blue and white, she uncoiled on the ground beneath the ladder and held one end in hand as she climbed up. On that loose end she knotted several large loops, each large enough to fit a foot in. G'Wot perked up when he saw her start to climb, and his little cries changed in pitch a little. She didn't know what that meant. “Don't worry G'Wot! I'm coming!” She reassured the creature. “Does he know what I'm saying?” She asked the other two.

“No,” Vadds answered. “At least we're pretty sure he doesn't. We're still trying to find an ewok translator program.”

“It might be hard to get access these days, but I'd check with Republic universities,” Mai said between breaths as she neared the peak of the ladder. “I've no doubt their scientists have something that could help you.”

Gerda clapped her hands and placed them on her knees as she tweeted reassurances at G'Wot. She spoke like a mother to a toddler. Mai silently considered whether that was condescending or not.

Just as Mai started tossing a coil of the blue and white rope over the lowest branch, another woman approached from the sidewalk. This new arrival looked young, younger than Gerda. She was a beautiful thing, with dark brown hair and a lean build. Whoever it was looked interested in the strange operation happening on the side of the tree.

G'Wot made a squee-like sound at this younger woman. Again Mai was at a loss as to its meaning, and just tried again to toss her rope over the branch.

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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-01-18 09:50

Sunlight reached fingers of alabaster through the thick canopy of leaves overhead, an array of watercolor shadows, warmth painted upon the silent earth below. Two young women walked, leisurely away from the filigreed gates of the estate with no purpose or destination, drinking in the abundance of sunshine that shone done from the sky. Indeed, it was a beautiful day.

Laurel felt ungrateful for scorning the sense of peace that nested within her now, with all said and done.

Only months before had she been furiously plotting a way to find her sister, and shortly after that had been done with, Wolfgang had proposed to her at the annual winter ball her family always threw, culminating in a small bout between him and another hopeful suitor arranged by her parents, among.. other things. For once, her life had been finally taking a direction where she felt in control, happy even. More than she could have ever hoped for in a long time.

The Ensign figured that of all things, she was blessed with the only thing that should worry her now above her duties was to plan her own wedding. She walked side by side with one of her most trusted maids, if not the most; though they were only a few years apart in age, Elleid had quickly become as a sister to the noblewoman, especially after having lost her own so long ago. They chatted, idly, to escape the heat of the estate in such luminous weather and were walking through one of the neighborhoods nearby.

“…Oh, and the floral arrangements, and the gowns milady, you should have seen them; It was like a parade! Your mother had them all lined up in the banquet, and even the barrister’s wife had made some designs to contribute! There was one that your mother was particularly fond of, the train on it was absolutely stunning…“

Laurel laughed at this, turning to eye Elleid mischievously. “And by stunning, I am sure you mean that it was ridiculously gaudy, am I correct?” The two young women burst into laughter, Elleid nodding. “Frankly, I should amend that to say I was stunned into silence by it. Not that it wasn‘t gorgeous, to be sure… but it was too much, and I know that you don’t like such exorbitant things. Still,” Her maid‘s eyes became bright with the memory. “..you would look like a princess in it.”

Laurel took a moment to consider this, giving her companion a lopsided smile. She had made her parents promise not to get too carried away with planning the wedding, and ultimately she and Wolfgang would have the final say. Her father in particular was thrilled at the prospect of having a son, and she warmed happily at the memory of Wolfgang’s face creeping into a gentle blush when he had told him as much. If anything, she had wanted to enjoy just being engaged to the High Colonel for the time being, letting everything fall into place in time.

“In truth Elleid, I was thinking of actually of having a smaller, more intimate affair for the wedding, I mean,” She bit her lip, moving a hand over to fiddle with the engagement ring on her finger. “Considering that the last two big galas we‘ve thrown were far too eventful for my liking, and I would like to ask Wolfgang beforehand of course, but I think something smaller would be for the best.”

“With that being said Elleid, I had wanted to ask you,” Laurel startled to ramble anxiously, a blush creeping along her cheeks. “Would you be my maid of honor?” The young woman literally bounced, moving to hug Laurel and hesitating a moment as her attention was quickly held elsewhere. “How curious. Look, Laureleiden.”

A young woman and an elderly gentleman stood with rapt attention into the branches of a tree, a series of rustling and excited peals sounding from the canopy. Several leaves showered down from the commotion therein, and Laurel found herself walking toward it, intrigued, with Elleid following her. The odd pair widened their eyes in recognition as the two women approached, Laurel blushing as they greeted her. “Good afternoon, milady,” The elderly man offered, nodding his head down briefly to be polite. “A rare pleasure it is to see you wandering about.” Her followed her inquisitive gaze as it wandered up into the eaves of the tree, chuckling lightly. “No need to worry yourself, my dear. Our ewok has found itself in rather odd position, but the kind young lady up there has graciously offered to get him down for us.” The young, blonde woman stood by, trying to coax the creature down with dulcet tones. “G‘Wot, won’t you come down? You‘ll hurt yourself.”

It was then Laurel noticed that the aforementioned good samaritan peered down curiously at her, her gaze cool, yet held a focus that made Laurel fidget, suddenly embarrassed. Her small, lissome build belied the strength in which she climbed the tree with an array of colored ropes, but Laurel could not make out any other details about her considering the distance.

Rolling up the emerald sleeves of her embroidered tunic, Laurel carefully placed her boot in a groove of the tree, gaining a secure foothold as she made her way up; she could literally feel Elleid beginning to fret behind her. The young woman had certainly lost her touch: Back in her younger, tomboyish days she could scale the trees in the orchard in a heartbeat without batting an eye. “Milady! You certainly don‘t mean to.. you‘re going to fall!” Laurel chuckled, turning to glance behind herself. “I’ve done this a million times! And if I fall, well.. Its not something I haven‘t done before. I‘ll be fine.”

“Yes, and apparently I remember it far more clearly than you! Your mother was absolutely ready to throttle us all over the incident! ..And you hate bacta! ‘Pain serves as a good teacher‘, indeed!” Laurel laughed lightly, her nose wrinkled in mischief. “Well, if something does happen- which I doubt that it will -you can give moro the typical explanation.”

“..That you refused to listen?”

“Adamantly.”

Elleid wrinkled her nose in feigned contempt. “Milady, if they douse you in a gallon of bacta should you get injured, you would so righteously deserve it.”

Laurel giggled, a mess of hair and limbs as she carefully climbed the tree and observed the young woman and the reluctant ewok. Perhaps he’s found himself a lady ewok and is building a home for them both… she mused, still amused at this turn of events. A bit closer now, she could see the face of the mysterious young stranger better, her face thoughtful. She was quite lovely, her features striking and feminine. She sat with an almost symbiotic connection within the tree, reminding Laurel instantly of the nymphs of the wood from the fairy stories she was told in her youth.

“Excuse me miss,” She licked and blew away at an errant strand of hair that went into her mouth as she looked upward, moving to swiftly braid her hair as she straddled a branch. “Would you like any help?”
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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2012-01-18 11:27

Mai listened to the chatter of the newly arriving girls. Vadds called her Milady. Nobility? She admitted to not knowing a lot about this world's local governmental structure. Perhaps it had a royal figure head and still payed homage to ways long since past. Whatever the case may be, Mai felt confident this woman wasn't dangerously important. She'd have executive protection otherwise, but instead appeared to be mingling with the peasantry with only this other woman for an entourage, probably hired help. After all, even this servant was calling her milady.

In another life Mai would be thinking of ways to take advantage of this chance meeting, figuring this noble girl for a gullible mark. But right now she just hoped to get out of this situation with out drawing too much attention to herself. Rich people had a way of attracting media, even if just amateur paparazzi with cheap commlink holo-recorders.

It only took a couple of other tries to get the rope looped over the high branch above. By sliding the rope back through a loop tied to the end, she was able to pull it tight in a girth hitch. The hitch stuck on a couple of the other foot loops, but it was nothing a little jiggling of the line couldn't solve. After a couple of test tugs Mai used the intermittent loops to climb the thin rope. It creaked a little with her weight, but she wasn't worried. She did start to sway slightly back and forth as she placed her weight fully on the rope. It was kind of fun, really. Gerda had stopped cooing, and now watched in stunned silence.

It wasn't until Mai was almost to the top of the rope that she noticed the noblewoman climbing the tree below. Oddly, she was ignoring the ladder. There were some lower branches she could get to, but there were quite a few large gaps to get all the way up here. Which was exactly why Mai was using ropes. The trunk was too far around to bear hug too. If one was willing to kick off the tree trunk to leap for high branches, It'd be possible to climb totally free-handed. Mai thought she could probably even manage it. Or at least, the Mai of her memories. Though she'd recovered from her time on the hospital ship, it would take a lot of physical training to get her body into the kind of operational shape she'd been in during her time in the Shadow Hand. Mai's training schedule had been rigorous to say the least.

“Excuse me miss,” the noblewoman finally addressed her, only now tying her hair back partway up the tree. “Would you like any help?”

Mai was just reaching up to place her hand around the branch securing the rope. Getting on top of it would be a tricky maneuver. She paused, and looked down at the nobility below. “Sure,” she answered. “It's Kallila.”

“Pleased to meet you, Kallila!” Laurel smiled back up to her. “I'm Laurel.”

Mai firmly gripped the branch above with both hands before suddenly kicking her legs up to wrap them around the branch above. Now she hung underneath like a trooper shimmying a rope. To pull herself up she moved both hands to the left side, digging her fingertips into the large divots in the bark. She could only imagine that was how the tiny ewok got up there, by gripping the bark itself. With a strong hoist and an audible grunt she pulled up with her arms and twisted her hips until she was straddling the branch. The ewok was only a few more branches up, but currently on the opposite side of the trunk from her. She could still hear him whining though.

Vadds was clapping below. “Excellent show!”

Mai looked again to Laurel below. “Tell you what, see that branch over there?” Mai pointed to one halfway up and directly beneath the Ewok. “Try to get over there. I'm going to make a harness with my other rope and lower G'Wot down, but I'm worried about him clinging to that branch on the way. Just help pass him clear.”

“I get it!” Laurel announced, and started to lift herself to move toward the indicated branch. But before she could Mai went on.

“I've got a good grip, but I'd hate to accidentally drop the poor guy. I'm going to loop G'Wot's rope over his branch and toss the other end down the opposite side. Can I get your friend to hold on to that end from the ground, in case my hands slip?” Mai pointed at the servant woman, and addressed her directly. “You, I'm sorry, I don't know you're name.”

“It's Elleid, and sure.” The servant moved into position.

“Is there anything we can do?” Vadds asked, straining his old neck to look up and shielding his eyes from the sun with his hand held high.

“I'd like one of you beneath Laurel, keeping G'Wot's attention. He doesn't know either of us. I need him to stay calm. The other may as well help hold the rope below. Can't be too careful.” Mai directed, now bracing herself against the trunk as she carefully balanced herself to a standing position.

“Got it!” Vadds dutifully marched over next to Elleid. He wanted to see to his ewok's safety personally. Gerda sort of stood around waiting.

Reaching the next couple of branches was a little tricky, especially since she had to work her way around the tree more than just up. But no other dramatic maneuvers were required, just careful and slow movement to make sure every footfall and hand grip were completely solid. G'Wot behaved himself as she settled herself down on the branch behind him. He just stayed clinging to the tree. But that was the problem, she'd need to wrap the rope around him several times in intricate patterns to make a harness both safe and comfortable.

“Here now, G'Wot, easy does it. I got you,” she tried to soothe him with words, but it did no good. He started squealing loudly and gripping the tree tighter. She touched his side and gently nudged him back, trying to slip the rope around him. But it did no good. The more she tried the more he resisted.

Everyone stared in silent tension, save Laurel who was still making her moves. These were the critical moments of the rescue, and Mai absolutely needed the creature to cooperate. There was just no way she could carry the thing down in one arm. She needed the rope, and tried once again to separate ewok and tree. G'Wot just cried and gripping the bark harder.

Mai bumped her head against the trunk with a sigh. She knew how to get the creature to calm down, but hadn't wanted to dive down this path again. He was full of terror, and when she opened herself up to it she could feel it wash over her like turning on a cold shower. She didn't think anyone could see it from down there, but it made her shiver.

She touched the small creatures back, and used that stream of fear as a guide through his physical form into his very being. It didn't matter that he was small, it took a great deal of concentration to navigate the murky waters of the frightened child's intent and imagination. His youth made it worse, actually, and he was putting out a stronger aura of force than any of the others; such was the intensity of his feeling. The fur on his back felt extremely soft. No doubt G'Wot was getting far better treatment than any Ewok on Endor. He was clean were most of his kind felt bristly with dirt and padded with mud. She stroked him gently, “Shhhhh,” her whisper as gentle as the breeze. Bit by bit, she pulled the fear away from him, releasing it into the swirls of the force that permeate all things. The warmth of the sun beat on the back of her neck, and she pulled that energy down to the ewok, warming and calming him further.

Mai had no sense of what she looked like. Several moment passed like this. To the others, it might look like she had given up, or was gripping with fear herself. Her head was still resting against the trunk, and she no longer coaxed the small creature either physically or verbally.

“Are you okay?” Gerda called up.

Mai ignored it. Soon, she finally pulled G'Wot from the trunk and pressed him against her stomach. Now he gripped her, but not so tightly. He squeaked, and she smiled down at him, no finally moving again to tie a little harness for him. After a few minutes, the rope looped around each of his legs, around his waist, and over each shoulder and a personal little hammock. I was all tied up with a water knot at the front of his belly button. Finally, Mai tossed the other end of the rope down to the waiting people and called out, “All right, I'm ready to start lowering. Everyone ready?”

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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-02-22 08:02

The young maid watched as Laurel scaled the tree, her face blooming into an anxious flush as she shouted upwards at the young woman. “Milady, must you be so impetuous!?” Elleid saw as the Ensign blushed as she looked downward at the ladder a few feet below her, almost plaintively against the broad trunk of the tree in its disused state. Certainly, the young mistress was the byword for headstrong within the household, but spontaneous displays of such recklessness had always been more of a trademark of Laurel’s youth.

Carefully, the young woman made her way about the tree as the now-named Kallila moved closer toward the Ewok who then gave a an affected little start of surprise as she carefully approached. Little G’Wot growled and sniffed once defensively, obviously very content to be stranded within the tree then to be held by these curious strangers.

Laurel narrowed her eyes against the bright sunlight as she looked upward, her lashes a thin veil as everyone got settled into their positions: Elleid getting a firm grip on the rope, Vadds and Gerda standing directly below Laurel to calm G’Wot during his descent; and Laurel herself ready to catch him once he was safely lowered down to her.

Kallila inched closer with the rope, G’Wot now clinging to the tree in a peal of grunts and whines as she tried in vain to loop a length securely about him. She resorted to petting him momentarily, leaning her head forward in an almost intimate manner as she murmured something.

Warmth, bright and delicious washed over Laurel’s being; a gentle heat that couldn’t have possibly been just the sun; it spoke to her. The brilliance of the unseasonably warm day perched within Laurel, and looking up at Kallila, she felt a pang of worry as she rested her head against the trunk of the tree in what looked momentarily like fatigue.
The light blazed behind her eyes, swallowing the noise of the trees about her and threatened to take her with it.

“…ila…dy.” Elleid began, from far away. “L....el. Look! He’s right above you!”

Laurel snapped her hazy attention back upwards, noticing that the Ewok was now hovering a few feet over her head in the makeshift harness, calm as anything. He was passed gently, carefully into her arms before being lowered further to his family that awaited him below, his demeanor clearly complacent at being handled by the young women despite his obvious consternation before. Laurel could not believe it. Somewhere between seeing Kallila rest her head against the tree and whatever that had been, she had already begun to lower G’Wot down.

Laurel felt strange, as if someone had taken a portion of her memory and hidden it from her without her consent.

The swimming, fluttering feeling in the back of her skull began to ebb and wash away, and for once Laurel was almost sad for it to go. Typically her “episodes” were not so lucid, so calm. She had not had one of those in what felt like ages, and was curious as to why one suddenly had crept up upon her now, especially since she was not feeling particularly anxious or afraid.
Its just a warm day, Laurel scolded herself.
It is a warm day, you were looking upwards for too long, and you got a bit lightheaded, that is all.

Kallila signaled that she was ready to come down, and began to descend the tree with such effortless grace that made Laurel’s mind idle once again on thoughts of ethereal wood nymphs and fey. She began to climb down carefully herself, making her way to the ladder and actually using it this time to make it back to the ground. Elleid had busied herself carefully picking at the knots and gently pulling away the rope bound around the Ewok as G’Wot himself fidgeted affably in the arms of the elderly gentleman.

Laurel bristled instinctively as she felt a presence brush up beside her, then quickly blushed at being so easily startled. Kallila had already dismounted from the ladder and walked up to them without making a sound, and Laurel quietly observed her as she took over for Elleid, undoing the knots with deft, quick fingers.

Closer, Laurel noted that Kallila looked a bit flushed, as if she had exerted more energy than she had let on while descending the tree. The scarf she wore looked exquisite, Laurel quickly balling up her fists behind her back to keep herself from childishly reaching out to run the soft fabric through her fingers. “You are very kind to help someone with such a dangerous task,” she began and smiled gently, gesturing back toward the estate as Elleid walked up smiling beside the young noblewoman. “Please, won‘t you come back with us and have something to drink? It is rather warm out, after all.”
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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Ederlaath » 2012-04-21 14:09

(( In at Mai's invitation, as there are plans in motion and all that. ))

It had started at Sarapin. Even before she had been there Ederlaath had suspected Mai had been behind the tragedy. When she had arrived, some days after her formal speech of mourning, she had been sure of it. Her trip had caused something of a stir, not because of where it had been to, but simply through her absence. Everyone wanted her just then, having stirred up the hornet's nest as she had, but she couldn't wait too long, couldn't risk Mai vanishing off into that strange, murky land where the dead rested.

So she had vanished for a time, making her way without even a security detail—oh had Lora let her have it over that—to Sarapin. The site hadn't been hard to find, and surprisingly easy to gain access to unnoticed. Probably no one really thought it necessary to safe guard, all but glowing during the night as it was.

And she had found Mai. That was the important thing. The would be assassin had died her own atomic fire, Ederlaath was fairly certain, and she was still lingering at that. More peculiar still, she was lingering with some vestige of purpose. There had been a greater use for the woman's death, but Ederlaath was flummoxed as to what it could be. Not that in the end it had particularly mattered. She worked her sorcery all the same, settling the Manar Indil down gently in the blast site, sitting in the nexus of her own demesne and reaching out to the dead, one foot in the grave herself.

She had done so the next week as well, and the one after that. It began to become difficulty to avoid notice by the end, but fortunately it had ended before then. One week, Mai was gone. There was a deep-seated taint still at the site of course, but as for Mai it was as though as she had never set foot on the world. No ghost passing on left so clean of a trace. Most Jedi would not even have noticed the subtle flavour that was missing, or if they had, likely would have discounted it as an afterthought. Few knew the dead as Ederlaath did though. Mai had left this place it was true, but she hadn't faded away. Which meant she must have walked out.

Ederlaath wasn't positive how she felt about that. She was… disappointed in many ways. Irked that her work was interrupted, the slow process of reeling the half-ghost back from where it lay. Rarely had she put such careful effort into it, but rarely had she such an important subject either. A few more weeks and she would have had her own little new pet, but then this. She wasn't sure how Mai had been resurrected, but the proof was right there in front of her, and she had seen stranger before.

So she needed to find Mai the conventional way. Sixty million credits later and here she was, sitting on the Manar Indil, making preparations for dinner while en route in hyperspace for Neelanon.

She had never even heard of the place before yesterday, and she was more informed than most about that sort of thing. What had inspired Mai to head there? A sentimental attachment or family? An old victory or defeat? Maybe it was simple chance. If she weren't going anywhere in particular, well, one backwater was as good as the next.

The Manar Indil should have had a chef amongst its compliment of 23, and probably a few assistants besides, and one of them certainly could have overseen dinner. But Ederlaath, for all that she liked people often found individual persons to be a nuisance, all the more so just that. No doubt she'd be receiving another complaint from Lora, but so it went. Meeting Mai again, well, that was something she wanted to have done privately.

As it stood, there was the pilot droid, a few maintenance droids, herself, and Anansi. And, well, certain other things, but they were probably less human than even Anansi. So Ederlaath made dinner herself. It might even work in her favour—Mai was never fond of the ostentatious.

She had just set most of it on to keep warm when she heard the tone, and then the mechanical voice informing her that they had left hyperspace, and were making for Neelanon. Ten minutes later she was landing quietly under an assumed transponder code, one that was genuinely genuine at that, courtesy of the highest levels of ISIS.

Of course, she didn't leave her craft herself. She would probably be recognised, and even if not, well, she suspected Mai might not take particularly well to her presence at first. Undoubtedly she had been through a traumatic experience, and if what her sources had told her was true, she seemed more than a little lost.

Besides, Anansi was the better tracker. The spider slipped from the spacecraft, moving quietly away from the starport, unseen in that peculiar way it had. Ederlaath rode with, after a fashion, considering while she put the final touches on dinner exactly how one addressed someone newly alive. The dead were simple, comparatively speaking.

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Kallila Tsarati
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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2012-04-27 08:38

“Wait!” Vadds came padding up, leaving G'Wot's affection for a moment before the rescuers retreated. “Thank you all so very much! You've done such a wonderful thing for all of us. Please, I must give you something for your trouble.”

“No, no,” Mai waved the offer off. She of all people had no need of hand outs. “I'm fine, and you're welcome. It was nothing, really.”

Vadds looked to Laurel, “Milady, I'm sure my gift is humble to one such as you but...”

Laurel shook her head. “It's okay, seeing G'Wot safe is enough.”

“You're both so kind,” he turned to Mai one more time. “Are you sure?”

That might be a little insulting, if Mai cared about that sort of thing. Her clothing made her look quite common, and apparently this other girl was titled nobility. “No, really, there's little I'm left wanting for.”

“Well let me get your holograms, at least. I run a column on the holonet following G'Wot's story, I'd love to document this. Everyone should know of this sort of kindness, it's do the whole galaxy good to know there's people like you about.” Vadds went fishing in his pocket for a datapad, no doubt with a small holocam functionality.

“No, please,” Mai protested, trying to not let the urgency come through in her voice. But the man was already pulling it up to his eyes to check the viewfinder.

“Oh don't be modest!” He said. “You deserve the recognition!”

Mai put her hand up between the device and her face, and turned aside to walk away. It wasn't a subtle action, she was sorry to admit. But so far as she could tell no one was chasing her down. At least not yet.

It felt good to roam freely and with out much worry. Many of her memories were of a woman trapped under the weight of machinations of her own design, always glancing over her shoulder and with good reason. Nothing and no one could be trusted, and it sapped the joy out of those memories. Very few of the memories she'd inherited had been genuinely happy. There was nothing like this, simply helping a stranded ewok. Sure, the Mai that was justified all the lies and deceptions and murders with a tally of Imperial lives saved. But genuinely helping people didn't need justifications.

She didn't want to create another life like that. It was supposed to be different this time. An existence of discovery and connection. The longer she could avoid the sins of a past life catching up to her, the better. After all, Mai Hasagaiwa already paid those sins. Not that reality cared about that sort of thing. Which made it all the more critical to stay low key.

She heard a few confused noises come from Vadds as she walked away. But she didn't care. She didn't do this for recognition or reputation. Let the man think what he must. She just started walking, and the man at least had the decency to not follow.

Laurel though, that was a different matter.

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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Laurel WinteShrine » 2012-05-03 18:28

What was it about this young woman that persisted in haunting her so?
A maddening curiosity festered within her even as Kallila brusquely took her leave of the small group, Laurel’s fingers once again becoming anxious with the innocent urge to touch the young woman’s scarf as it trailed behind her.

It was more than the scarf, she knew. Laurel had never fancied herself as a busybody, nor would she deign to ever invade into another person’s business, but… but what? Before decorum and better sense of judgment could dissuade her, she found herself pardoning herself to have Elleid return to the estate, following with a polite nod to the motley couple and their Ewok before walking purposefully up to the mysterious woman, falling into step beside her.

“Please.” Her mind began revolving through ideas quickly, something to somehow make Kallila as interested in Laurel as she had been in her. She felt like a child in the halls of the estate again, unsure and desperate to grasp for another’s attention. “Its just that… you look so familiar. It had not been the most eloquent of things to say, but it was enough to make Kallila steady herself as if to raise protest, but seemed to have settled herself to let Laurel speak. The young noblewoman pounced on this opportunity to appeal to her.

“Pardon my being so forward, but you… bear an uncanny resemblance to someone I know.” She persisted with her ruse, her tone convincingly innocuous through the lie. Laurel had already performed one impulsive thing today, why not another? Chuckling to herself, she allowed herself the excuse that once she was married, she would not entertain such urges anymore.
Well, not immediately anyway.

“It is more than obvious that you prefer to keep to yourself, and I understand that you may have been a little overwhelmed back there… but please, it is also obvious that you are not from around here. At the very least, I could offer to take you wherever you needed to go. I must sound absolutely mad, I know.. but there is something about you.” She blushed, realizing that she must have sounded like some lovestruck schoolgirl professing herself to a crush. She took a breath to compose herself and tried again, now limpid in her manner.

“Even in the tree, you seemed a bit dazed; I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to you after doing something so noble. No questions asked, I promise.” In her mind however, she knew that a young woman as hale as she was to climb a tree as if it were nothing would surely not be affected by a bit of heat.

Again, she looked upon her as if some nymph of the wood, mysterious and beautiful and was made corporeal before her here, though she knew that they should never exist beyond the whispers of lips. Fairy tales.
If Kallila refused, then so be it. After all, how good was a promise from a stranger?

And why, she had to keep scolding herself, do you insist upon being so intrigued about this one?
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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Ederlaath » 2012-05-04 05:36

There were fewer things less inconspicuous than a spider the size of a man's torso, and yet for all that it managed to avoid being seen with remarkable adeptness. It was not, despite the beliefs of some, all that much more intelligent in the conventional fashion than most other spiders, but what it did do it did very well. Lurking in ambush was second nature, and while the lightly urbanised environment was not its home terrain, it had managed in far less suitable environs before.

It didn't hunt by scent, not having the sensory organs sophisticated enough for it. But its mistress had spent weeks ensuring that the spirit of Mai Hasegaiwa was not a restful one, and being steeped in the essence of a person was an experience difficult to forget. It didn't hurt that compared to the pale, vague smudges that hurried around it, Mai stood out like a burning fire.

She tried to hide it of course, mask herself, bottle up everything inside, but the stench of death was strong, and the fires of the grave did not go out so easily to those who knew how to look. Anansi had spents its entire life leaving in a tomb, born into that strange place between before it ever had a chance to lay its eyes on the world of the living.

So while there were many difficult trails to follow, this was not one of them. This trail stood out like a way across the river, small candles floating in two lines bobbing with the current, stretching out ahead until they vanished into the fog.

And so the spider walked into the fog, following the lines of shadows through the world, moving as though a shadow itself, following the steps it had learned as a hatchling, following the shades and eidolons that walked the halls of the Manar Indil.

It tasted the woman long before it could see or smell her. It brought itself together, the trailings of shade drawn back into itself as it hissed softly to itself. No need to make that sort of impression on the area. Not when there was a chance the prey could see back into the shadows, or at the very least might notice something out of the ordinary.

It found itself a place in a tree to perch, and watched, utterly still as the humans below danced with each other.

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Re: The Ewok in the tree (closed)

Post by Kallila Tsarati » 2012-05-07 01:35

Laurel's words haunted Mai, even as the girl and her handmaiden shuffled along to keep up with the hasty retreat. Mai didn't recognize her. But just how much information did the Empire let slip while Mai was... dead? Did her image get circulated? Maybe. Honestly it wouldn't do much harm anyway. The Republic knew who she was. They'd known that for a long time. For a time the Imperial public knew her face as a terrorist. So what if her face circulated with regards to some of the tragedy on Sarapin? It'd be a convenient scapegoat, a reviled terrorist and war criminal finally goes down in a blaze of horror.

But she didn't think that'd happened. All the same, it wouldn't do to have this random person attaching her to some old press release. “No, I'm no one special, and I've never been to this world before.” Mai answered as casually as possible. “Thank you for your concern, but I'm fine. I've climbed more than one tree you know. I served some time in the Federation.”

But Mai knew what she was really talking about. It was subtle. She hadn't payed much attention to it since leaving the hospital ship. But when she opened up her channels to calm the young ewok, she'd felt... tugged. It was like being watched, really, being in the presence of a force sensitive. Many described it as a person giving off an aura. Mai used to use that term to, in another life. But it didn't seem applicable anymore. All creatures and all things were force sensitive. It wasn't even certain whether it was a question of degree. At best she'd describe as an awareness of an awareness. Laurel could sense things others couldn't. Or didn't rather. And that raised the tiny hairs on the back of Mai's neck.

But what struck Mai as odd was the overwhelming sense of malice that came with it. Laurel seemed pleasant enough. Certainly an untrained force sensitive offered no particular threat to one such as Mai, steeped in the darkside as she was.

So why did Mai feel so cold about it? She looked back towards the tree they just climbed down from, now several residences down, but kept walking forward. “I'm not going anywhere in particular, to be honest.” Mai admitted. “But I wonder, do you get funny feelings about people often? If I didn't know better I'd think you were trying to hit on me.” Mai put on a smile and winked, trying to keep things light. But she couldn't shake a terrible sense of foreboding, and wondered whether Laurel might be picking up on it too. At least then she'd know she weren't just going crazy.

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