[Art] ArtFight Week 3

Didn’t get too many done this week oops. As always, full images can be seen on my ArtFight profile: https://artfight.net/~DancingHare

 

[Art] Revenge of the Fifth

Omarran, the Sith Juggernaut, isn’t actually as evil as he looks. He just hasn’t had his coffee yet.

may5th_sith

[Art] May The Fourth Be With You

I remembered to draw something this year! These are my two Jedi from SWTOR, Xarlo the Guardian and Zamarra the Sage.

may4th_jedi

 

[Story] Character of the Week – Sorrox

[[ Sorrox is my Cathar Smuggler in SWTOR. My most recent alt, he’s cute and dashing, I really like playing him. I’m hoping he can get some story stuff going! ]]

Sorrox slid under the spaceport door as blaster bolts slammed into the metal, leaving trails of smoke behind. He punched the button to close it repeatedly, as if to urge it to move faster. How was he supposed to know the shipment of gemstones were fake? Sure, he’d bought them for a song, so he should have known. But that was no reason to try to shoot him, was it? A stray bolt careened into the port as the door hissed close, and Sorrox jumped to avoid it. He was safe — for now, but those gangsters would have the port doors opened in no time. Worse, they could try to keep him from leaving. He checked his vest pocket to ensure his credits were still there — they were — and jogged over to the Calamity.

A human crouched in the cover of the temporary stairs, his blaster aimed at Sorrox.

“What’re you doing here?” Sorrox growled, too surprised for diplomacy. Then, he thought to add: “Don’t shoot me.”

Sorrox had seen enough humans to know this one wasn’t very old. And he looked scared, maybe because he’d just been caught in someone else’s port. “I need out of here,” the human said, peering over the stairs toward the sealed door. Already, some smoking black scorches had appeared in it. “I’ll explain later.”

He didn’t have a habit of picking up hitchhikers, especially ones that had pointed weapons at him, but Sorrox could relate to his dilemma. “Yeah, all right,” Sorrox said, unlocking the boarding doors. The human scrambled to his feet and boarded, Sorrox following behind him. He’d expected a few missiles as they broke Nar Shaddaa’s orbit, but fortunately the planet didn’t have much in the way of anti-aircraft towers. Too many casinos and high-rise buildings for that.

Sorrox sat back in his captain’s chair with a sigh, switching the controls over to cruising speed. He looked over at the human, who sat with his back toward him, looking out onto the great expanse of the stars.

“So?” said Sorrox. “You said you’d explain. Explain.”

The human’s eyes roamed over the inside of the cockpit. “This your ship?”

Sorrox nodded. The light cargo ship Calamity had never been intended for long travel or combat, but he’d outfitted her with a new engine and some defensive plating. It had worked so far, but he planned to get some guns mounted next — when he could afford them, that is. He’d won her a few years back in a game of pazaak. Maybe he’d cheated a little, but the guy he was playing against was too drunk to notice. Besides, he probably had dozens of ships just like her, and he could afford to lose one. She wasn’t much, but Sorrox was proud of her.

“I’m Captain Sorrox.” That was another perk of having your own ship, you got to put ‘Captain’ in front of your name. Sorrox thought it sounded dashing.

“Nash,” said the human, looking out the window again.

“Nash what?”

“Just Nash.”

Sorrox shrugged, bringing up the navigation map. “Okay, Just Nash. Why were you in such a hurry to get off Nar Shaddaa?”

“Pissed off a hutt. I don’t really want to talk about it.”

The cathar eyed Nash skeptically. A hutt, really? He didn’t look like the kind of guy who was important enough to get a hutt’s attention, let alone send people after him. Maybe he was lying. Maybe he wasn’t, Sorrox couldn’t tell. Humans didn’t have whiskers or ears to give away when they weren’t being completely truthful. They were so weird and pale and hairless. “What hutt?”

Nash frowned. “Vinto.”

Okay, so maybe he’d just picked the name of one hutt. He got lucky. Sorrox shook his head, and didn’t press the subject any further. It was just fine with him if Just Nash wanted to keep secrets. Didn’t he have plenty of his own? “So where should I drop you off?”

“Anywhere,” Nash muttered. “Not here.”

Sorrox looked at the map. Anywhere wasn’t exactly a destination he could put in. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure just where he was headed himself. He had a cargo hold full of stuff, but no buyers yet. Somewhere he could turn that junk into credits was ideal. He looked at the human again.

“You need a job?” Sorrox asked.

The human shrugged, looking at him warily. “Maybe. Why?”

“What can you do?”

“Slicing. Some forging. I’m good with a blaster.”

He’d been running alone for the last few years, he’d been burned by past partners before, and wasn’t eager to be stabbed in the back again. Nor did he know anything about this human, with one name and few words. Could he trust him? Sorrox didn’t know. But he was already here, and if Nash really was good at slicing and forging, he could prove useful indeed. “Want to work together? I have some stuff I need to offload. Nothing too illegal, don’t worry.”

The human’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully. “Why not.” He extended a hand, and Sorrox took it.

[Story] Character of the Week – Xarlo

[[ Xarlo is my cathar Jedi Knight! (No, he’s not named after Kylo, he was created years before TLJ came out 🙂 ) He is still learning, but eager to prove himself, especially because his mother is also a Jedi. The absence of his father has affected him greatly, and recently he has taken a more active role in trying to locate him. ]]

From the shuttle window, Taris looked serene and peaceful, revealing no hint of the turmoil it had endured. He had visited once, many years ago, when his mother had first taken the position with the reclamation effort. Xarlo was pleasantly surprised when they touched down on the landing pad, surrounded by buildings and a thriving settlement. Thankfully, the Eternal Empire had not considered Taris a worthy target, and had been spared more destruction. But the scars of the Imperial Empire still lay bare across the land, and the rakghouls festered there like a raging infection. Here in the settlement, he saw little trace of them, but they lurked in the wilds and dark places — the places his mother was often sent to.

Xarlo learned at the desk that his mother was stationed at one of the camps to the north, and as he walked along the road, the structures grew more ruined and forgotten the further away he got. Though they had been working at it for many years, it seemed an almost insurmountable task. Slow progress was progress, that was something Master Rusaa liked to say. Xarlo was sure that his mother would agree with that.

He found her helping to clear rocks from a massive slide that had buried an entire end of the village. There were likely buildings underneath, but it was impossible to tell for certain. In spite of the effort — Xarlo could see it in her hands and the set of her jaw — she looked as prim as he remembered, every hair in place, every line of her robe smooth. Xarlo watched as she lifted a jagged stone the size of a speeder and set it neatly beside the others. Her expression brightened immediately when she noticed him. “Xarlo.”

They walked to one of the tents to talk in the shade, an assortment of monitoring equipment humming and intermittently beeping behind them. “It’s been so long! How have you been.” She paused and looked him over critically. Xarlo’s robes were rumpled, and he tried to smooth them out as if she wouldn’t notice. “You’re not eating enough.”

Xarlo’s ears twitched sheepishly. “Well, I was busy. And I wrote to you before. About the outpost on Tattooine?”

His mother made a little rumble of assent. “Are you still there now?”

“Ehm, kind of. I mean, I don’t know. I’ve been doing other things.”

Xaliha frowned in the way Xarlo dreaded. It meant she didn’t approve of what he’d just said. “What is more important than your studies, Xarlo?”

He sighed, because they’d had this conversation before, more than once. She knew what he was going to say, and then she’d just say the same thing in response. “I want to find him. I think I deserve answers.”

A little droid rattled into the tent bearing two cups of tea. Xaliha sighed and took one of them. Xarlo didn’t, and it waited there for him until he waved it away. “You’re not going to get any answers, even if you are able to find him. You must know that.”

That was the part she always said, and Xarlo knew that it was at least partly true. Did curiosity truly drive him, or was there a small desire for revenge, as well? He told himself there wasn’t, but the idea frightened him.

“Xarlo, he doesn’t define you. Nor does his absence.”

“I know, but I want–”

“It’s foolish,” Xaliha said flatly. “And dangerous. Please just leave it be.”

She was right, of course. She’d said it before. But he couldn’t just forget, as much as he’d tried. Maybe it was easier for her to put her emotions aside, but he couldn’t. He just needed to be focused and not let them get the better of him. Master Rusaa wouldn’t have approved either, and he’d probably have cuffed his ears, too.

“I’m sorry,” Xarlo said. “I have to know. You don’t know where he is?”

Xaliha shook her head and took a sip of her tea. Xarlo didn’t have to see her face to know what her expression looked like right now. “The last time we spoke was before you were born. I tried to contact him when you went to the academy, but I don’t know if he received it or not.”

Xarlo nodded, he was disappointed but not surprised. But it meant that his father probably did know that he existed. Wasn’t he curious as well? Or did he not care at all? Maybe he was dead, and that’s why he’d never contacted him. It would explain a lot, and Xarlo could let go of all the worry and anger he’d built up over the years — but it wouldn’t answer everything.

“Have you searched in the archives?” Xaliha asked quietly.

Xarlo nodded. “Yeah.” He’d spent hours poring over any records of cathar, with his name or not. It wasn’t unheard of that he’d used a fake name, and some records were incomplete or damaged. Xarlo knew that his father wasn’t force sensitive, so he wouldn’t be as closely monitored.

“Imperial records?”

Xarlo frowned. He didn’t want to entertain his idea that his father was enslaved by sith. But then, maybe he’d be grateful if his long-lost son appeared and defeated his cruel masters. That probably wouldn’t happen; Xarlo had never even seen a sith in person, other than the ones at the gatherings. That wasn’t really the same. And Imperial records of slaves were even more shoddy than Republic records. Still, it was a good suggestion — except that he had no way to access any.

“I don’t know how I’d get those,” Xarlo said. “I could hire someone to look, maybe… if I knew someone like that.” But he didn’t — or did he? Maybe one of the people at the outpost. He knew one of them was a skilled slicer, maybe he’d be able to access Imperial frequencies at well. It all seemed — as his mother had said — highly dangerous though. How exactly would he explain himself if they caught him snooping around their computers? Sith wouldn’t care about him trying to find his father.

Xaliha shook her head. “I don’t want you to do this. I don’t think it will go the way you want.”

But Xarlo wasn’t even sure what he wanted. Answers, yes, but what else? An apology, maybe, for abandoning him and for leaving Xaliha behind to face the council alone. They’d urged her to give him away, but she had refused. Any aspirations she might have once had were gone — because of him, and because of Tirzo. She said that she never regretted it, and Xarlo believed her, but he still felt it was unfair. How could Tirzo go on as if nothing had happened, as if he didn’t have a son somewhere? And for all those years, he didn’t bother to reach out to him. Xarlo wanted to know why. He wanted to know where his father had come from, and — perhaps most of all — to be certain that they weren’t alike. His fear was that he would learn they were, after all.

Xaliha sighed again, and in that moment she looked older than she ever had to Xarlo. “Give me your comm,” she said, and Xarlo handed it to her, puzzled. She put a code in and gave it back. Xarlo didn’t recognize the name, or the code. “He might know something, but Xarlo… I beg of you, please be careful.”

He gave her a quick hug. “I will, mom.”

[Story] Character of the Week – Tirzo

[[ Tirzo is my Bounty Hunter in SWTOR, and he’s the estranged father of Xarlo, my Jedi Knight. One day I suppose I should give them last names… currently they all just use my Legacy name. ]]

The airlock hissed, and the skinny twi’lek at the control panel gave Tirzo a thumbs-up. He didn’t want a partner; he preferred things to be quiet and his way only. But Tirzo wasn’t much of a slicer, and Cutter didn’t say much anyway, so overall it was a beneficial relationship. Best of all, the former slave didn’t ask for much in return — Tirzo’s old crew would have taken a much higher percentage. And he couldn’t deny that having an extra pair of eyes was useful, especially when venturing into unknown vessels carrying dangerous prey. Cutter wasn’t much good with a blaster, but he was a distraction, and that just might be enough if things went badly.

Tirzo checked his blaster and holstered it, stepping through the airlock doors onto the vessel. He could tell from the moment that his boot touched the plush carpeting that they were in the right place. Who else but a Sith would decorate like this? He moved silently forward, motioning for Cutter to cover his back. Tirzo didn’t like hunting Sith. All of his prey were dangerous in their own right, but Sith had a particularly nasty way of being dangerous, worming into your thoughts, ripping things unbidden out of your very soul. That, and the choking thing. There were always politics to be considered with Sith as well — taking a job for one might turn another dozen against you. He’d had to deal with furious relatives before, and the worst part about it was that he never got paid for those. Still, he couldn’t afford to be too picky about his marks right now. Work was work, and he was struggling. His ship needed extensive repairs, as well as upgrades, if he intended to keep chasing down bounties. But he had no crew, either, aside from the droid and Cutter, whom he’d found by pure luck. Tirzo didn’t know where the others had gone. He couldn’t blame them, really, but it sure did make his life more difficult to work without them.

This vessel, too, seemed unnaturally quiet. The panels hummed quietly, but otherwise there were no sounds of voices, no doors opening or alarms beeping. Tirzo frowned as he moved forward along the main passageway. This wasn’t a model he’d been on before, but the layout was simple enough, the rooms arranged along a central walkway that led to the bridge. The doorways were all closed, and Tirzo considered having Cutter slice them open, but it was likely a waste of time. If anyone was hiding behind those doors, they were crew or staff, not his mark. Sith weren’t known for cowering behind locked doors, at least in Tirzo’s experience. His ears perked up, detecting a sound from the bridge.

A droid stood at the controls, now and then pressing a button or adjusting a dial. It paid Tirzo and Cutter no mind at all, in fact it didn’t even seem to notice their presence. Tirzo uttered a curse beneath his breath. The mark had sensed his arrival and fled, leaving only the droid behind to keep the vessel on its path. No doubt they would meet up later, so maybe it would only be a matter of time — but the advantage of surprise was lost. Tirzo would be walking into a trap to pursue the Sith now, and he had no desire for his life to be finished just yet. Maybe there was a clue here, some recorded holocall or something in the navigation computer. He waved Cutter over and he had the files open in a few seconds. If something important was there, Tirzo couldn’t see it — not now at least. His mind raced, searching for a solution.

“Hey boss,” Cutter gestured to something on the monitor. “Think this is anything?”

Tirzo squinted at the glowing images. They were personal data files, complete with images, an odd thing for a Sith to have in their navigation system. But as he flipped through them, Tirzo realized they were all Jedi. The Sith he was hunting was a predator, as well.

“Yeah,” Tirzo grunted. “Make a copy.” The twi’lek took out a portable storage device and began to copy the files onto it. If Tirzo found one of the Sith’s targets first, he could regain the upper hand. And it couldn’t hurt to be on the Jedi’s good side, either. Cutter tapped his fingers on the control panel as the files copied over.

“That one’s a cathar,” he said, pointing to one of the personal data cards. “You know him?”

Not likely, Tirzo thought. A lot of cathar were among the ranks of the Jedi, their natural grace and agility lending itself well to the study of the Force. But he couldn’t help but look, curiosity or perhaps a desire to protect one of his own kind, even a stranger. Tirzo didn’t think he was a stranger, though. What was the name Xaliha had told him so many years ago? Had it been Xarlo? It was possible. And there was something in the pattern of his stripes, in the shape of his face, that seemed familiar.

Tirzo shook his head and scowled. “No. Let’s get out of here.”

Cutter slipped the storage device into his pocket and followed behind Tirzo obediently. Tirzo liked that he didn’t ask any more questions.

[Story] SWTOR – Xarlo’s Meditations

Things have been peaceful around the homestead, that’s a relief. I know some were worried about another attack from the coalition, or even from the geonosians, but nothing has happened. Whether that’s a good sign, or just the calm before the storm, I can’t say for sure. The Major has been conducting her daily patrols, and she says she hasn’t seen anything out of the ordinary. The twi’lek has been fixing up the sandcrawler and I think it’s nearly ready to go — I haven’t been inside, but from what I can see, it looks operable. Of course I don’t know how different it is from a droid. Probably a lot.

I found a little one in the junk pile and I’ve been working on it in my spare time. My mother never really approved of it, she said messing with droids was for junkers and smugglers, not jedi. But I just find it so interesting that you can make something alive out of parts that someone has thrown away. I mean, maybe not alive in the usual sense, but it has thoughts and feelings and awareness. Mine’s not there yet, but hopefully soon. It will be nice to have a little pet around. It’s going to need some kind of casing to protect the inside parts from the sand, that’s the part I haven’t figured out yet.

There was another jedi lecture, from the same Master as before. He recognizes me now and asks how I am, it’s nice. I told him a little about the mission, but not too much. Partly because I’m not supposed to, and partly because I don’t know it myself. But I did tell him about Teosta and Master Serroz, and how we’ve been practicing. The lecture was about the different styles, which I already knew about but it’s always exciting to learn about lightsaber stuff. And it’s good to hear different perspectives, from Master Bron and from others there. There was a girl there who I am pretty sure was a pureblood sith, but she seemed shy and nervous, so maybe she wasn’t? Or maybe she’d given up on that path and decided to follow the light, I’ve heard of that happening, though it would make her hunted by other sith. So maybe that’s why she was nervous. Either way, she seemed nice and I would have liked to talk to her more, but she said she was needed in the village to tend to someone who was sick. She also said her skin was red because she used to live on Tatooine, and it got burned. But I think she was just joking about that.

I was excited to hear more about soresu, that’s the style I am in the process of learning. It’s a protective stance that repels attacks and relies on your enemy weakening, so it requires a great deal of patience and meditation. I don’t know if I’m there yet. Master Bron said it’s important to know more than one style, to adapt to different situations. I agree with him on that, I’m just trying to get the hang of one first. As we talked about last time, a jedi can be a lot of different things — a teacher, a defender, someone who maintains traditions. What we are and what we do can change throughout our lives. I’d like to help protect people from danger, but I think eventually I’d like to have my own students. I’ll just have to see what comes, and adapt to it.