[Story] Story a Week 38

[[ Prompt: A story set on another planet

I almost always do SWTOR characters for these, but I’m not exactly sure what some of my characters are up too right now. So here’s Malavar exploring spooky ruins on a gloomy planet! ]]

Malavar’s ship captain and navigator looked out the front window and scowled. “What’re we doing here, again?”

Looking out himself, Malavar was almost inclined to agree with him. A steady, driving rain drove against the transparent surface, the sky an ominous grey. The trees’ boughs were tossed back and forth by relentless winds. But even if he was to return another day, the rains lasted for half the year here, just another forgotten planet to everyone else. Malavar didn’t know exactly why he had been urged here, but he had a good idea. And he certainly knew whose idea it had been.

Having another consciousness within your own was the most unsettling thing that Malavar had ever experienced, akin to having a rock in one’s boot that you could never remove. It might be less noticeable at times, but it was always there. And it wasn’t the first time either, though according to his research, it wasn’t exactly the same. That hadn’t stopped him from attempting to oust his unwanted guest in the same manner, of course. Days he had spent in meditation, even returning to the dark places on Voss, but it persisted. The presence in his mind was a living, willful thing, and it resented these attempts to eject it. Malavar had to believe that it had brought him here for its own ends rather than his own. But he had to admit that he was curious. The maps that he had found were scarce, but they suggested an elaborate city had once been built here, and its ruins still remained. That was likely what he — or his guest — was after.

After the captain had left the bridge, Malavar clicked on his communicator. He paused there, regarding the flickering image of Zamarra. They hadn’t spoken in so long. He couldn’t let her know what was happening to him, for one because she would worry. She had enough to concern her already. The other was that he didn’t want her to be right, that the darkness had seized hold of his soul after all. Malavar didn’t feel any different, but what was happening to him seemed beyond his control. How much further would it pull him before he could break free? He didn’t want her to be between them when it happened.

Frowning, he clicked it off again. Maybe after he’d found whatever it is he’d come for. He had little in the way of outdoor equipment, but he found an overcoat that should keep most of the rain off. The hood was large enough to accommodate his lekku as well. He asked the archaeologist to join him; he trusted the man a great deal more than some of the rest of his crew, and he would likely have useful information about the ruins. Any place they visited, he always had some fact or story about, sometimes tiresome but usually interesting, at least.

Though it was day, the heavy clouds and driving rain made it difficult to see anything, and their lamps only lit so far. They took shelter within one of the ruins, as good a place as any to begin their search. The presence within his mind was maddeningly silent — the one time Malavar wished it to make itself known, it did not. Had it only brought him here to waste his time? It seemed unlikely, but it was impossible to know for sure. Talos, the archaeologist, took images of the inscriptions on the walls, in order to study them later back on the ship. Malavar stood, listening for any hint, any whisper from within. When he was a young child in the camps, he remembered getting a sudden flash of feeling, that sense within him that there was something more. He hadn’t known then what it was, and sought to recapture it in order to figure out what it was. He felt similar now, searching blindly in the dark for a point of light to guide the way.

Then, uncertainly, it was there for a moment. It was further below them, hidden within the earth. They searched the crumbling, wet stones, pulling away the plants that clung to them. A doorway led further into the ruins, down a narrow staircase into the dark and unknown. Malavar picked up his lamp and entered.

[Story] Transmissions

[[ Just some short SWTOR stuff, letters between Mr Hare’s Smuggler and my Jedi. Hopefully leading into a storyline! ]]

XXXXXEncrypted MessageXXXXX
Origin: Unknown

Zamarra;

I got in touch with one of my contacts, and being as small a galaxy it is, she knew your brother.  She didn’t have much to say, but the last she had seen him was on Alderaan.  He was researching (what exactly she didn’t know, or at least didn’t tell me).  This was close to when Zakuul invaded, so it was a while ago.  Fortunately it appears he left before there were any hostilities, and he was in sound health when she last saw him.  At least that was some good news, though it is old.

I will be of the grid for a while.  Apparently asking around about your brother brought on a bit of heat.  Kind of need to disappear, for a week or two…maybe three.

Please be careful, not sure what all is going on, but I don’t want you in any trouble.  Kind of care about you, ya know?

Kif

XXXXXEnd MessageXXXXX

——-

Greetings Kif,

What do you mean, some trouble? What sort of things has he gotten mixed up in? What was he doing on Alderaan? I have so many questions. I am relieved that he is alive — or he was, at least. I like to believe that I would feel it if he wasn’t, I know it’s possible when there is a strong bond between people. But we’ve been apart more than we’ve been together, all of those years. It seems so unfair to find him only to lose him again. Did your contact see anyone with him? Any of his crew, or apprentice?

I hope this message will reach you before you go dark. If not, it will be waiting and you know where I can be found. I wish I could say that I could continue my studies in the meantime, but I expect I will be too distracted for that, so perhaps meditations would help. You never know, maybe they would help you as well.

Your friend,
~Zamarra

[Screenshots] SWTOR – Zamarra

Another one at 50! Zamarra was actually my first SWTOR character, but the class has pretty much been a big disappointment. I kind of lost interest in her when I found out I couldn’t romance the hot alien sniper (Zenith) and most of the other companions annoy me a lot. She’s also had a really tough time questing on her own, especially compared to my other two, so that killed a lot of my interest too.  And her storyline is pretty snoozy, it didn’t keep my interest at all.

zamarra_50

I tried a bunch of times to get a picture of her level 50 starter Space Pope armor, but screenshots randomly weren’t working, even after I relogged :/

[Screenshots] SWTOR – Malavar

Thanks to double XP weekend I have my second 50! I’ll enjoy it for the 2 more weeks it lasts, and then I have to level to 55…

malavar_50

He’s still got his class quest to finish up, though. I guess I should see how his story ends, huh?

malavar_corellia

I totally hate this companion. Well, mostly I hate how the storyline forced him on me, it was totally against character.  At least Malavar tells him what’s up.

malavar_airlock

This last one is just showing Ashara’s new robe. She’s so adorable, I can’t stand it!

malavar_asharanewrobe
Edit: One more, his level 50 starter gear… haha WOW.

Ashara is laughing.

Ashara is laughing.

[Art] Happy Birthday Mr. Hare!

Have some Jedi cake!

Have some Jedi cake!

[Story] Reflection 14

“Why did you need to come here again?” Ashara’s brow furrowed as she looked at the hastily-painted market sign hanging over the handful of stalls. They’d only done that recently, to accommodate the travelers passing through. And even then, one got the distinct feeling that the Voss didn’t want you staying for long, credits or not. Most of the vendors at the stalls were off-worlders like themselves.

Zamarra picked up something from a table — it was a part of some sort that she couldn’t name. She’d never been very good with engineering. “Kif said I should buy something with you.” The togruta girl gave her a puzzled look, so she elaborated. “So we could have time to talk.”

“Oh, Zamarra.” Ashara set down the pink crystal she had been inspecting. “You don’t need an excuse for that. Come on, we don’t have to talk here.” Zamarra nodded, embarrassed, and followed the togruta out the back door of the impromptu market. “You can talk to me anytime,” Ashara said, touching her arm gently. They sat beneath a stand of young trees, on the soft grass. It really was a beautiful planet. Zamarra would be reluctant to leave it. “So, Kif’s back?”

“I think so,” said Zamarra, running her hand over the grass. “He went to Corellia and got a hat.” Ashara looked puzzled, so she continued. “He saved some orphans or something. They gave him the hat as a reward.”

The togruta shook her head, smiling. “You don’t believe that, do you?”

“No,” Zamarra said. “Not really.”

“He’s just trying to impress you,” Ashara explained. “He wants you to see him as a hero.”

Zamarra nodded, plucking a few more strands of grass. “I know.” There was no easy way to ask Ashara about the subject, so she simply went ahead. “He wants to do other things too.”

Ashara raised a brow, but she looked more amused than surprised. Perhaps she had expected the subject to come up. “Do you want to?”

“I don’t know,” Zamarra said, letting the blades of grass flutter down through her fingers. “How am I supposed to?”

“To — oh, you mean to know? I guess I didn’t really.”

“So you have?” Zamarra suspected as much, but she didn’t want to imagine her brother doing anything like that. It was strange, and uncomfortable. At the same time, she hoped it was true, because then  Ashara could answer her questions — vaguely.

“I don’t regret it at all. I’m so glad it happened.”

That didn’t really answer her question, so Zamarra asked again. “But how did you decide? Weren’t you worried about the code?”

Ashara frowned briefly. “I was worried, a lot. But I don’t see how something so wonderful could possibly be wrong. And I don’t know how I knew, it just… seemed right.”

Zamarra smiled, but the questions still clouded her mind. And she worried about her brother and Ashara, whom she liked a great deal. They would always have to be hiding, always worried about being discovered. Unless the war were to end, of course. It made her want that even more, even if her reasons were partly selfish. She didn’t want to lose either of them.

“Oh!” Zamarra said, remembering something. She took out the small slab of stone that Kif had brought last night, passing it over to Ashara. “Look at this. I’m working on translating it.”

Ashara inspected it carefully, turning it over. Only one side was inscribed, with ancient symbols, the other was glassy smooth. There was something on her face that Zamarra couldn’t quite read. “You’ll have to tell me what you find out. Okay?” she asked.

Zamarra smiled again. “Of course I will. You can help me if you want to.”

“I’d like that. I don’t suppose you’d let me take it back to our ship? We have an archaeologist aboard who I’m sure could help.”

“You do? That’s a wonderful idea,” said Zamarra. He was undoubtedly an Imperial archaeologist, but if Malavar and Ashara trusted him, she did too — reluctantly.

[Story] Reflection 13

Zamarra watched the togruta girl as she took the skewers of meat off the fire. There was something familiar about her, she was sure of it. They’d likely studied at the temple at the same time, met each other in passing in its halls. But maybe it had been another togruta girl, or maybe her mind was reaching for things that weren’t there.

Either way, she was here now, and Zamarra was glad of her company. There wasn’t really anyone on crew that she could talk to, not like this. They spoke of their assignments and their research, politics and alliances. They didn’t simply speak as friends. Though they’d only just met, Zamarra thought of her as one. She was glad that Ashara seemed to feel the same way. Of course, they did talk about ordinary things too — the first time they met, after Zamarra had got that first pesky question out of the way. It all made sense when Ashara explained it, a balance struck precariously between Light and Dark, power used as leverage to accomplish what talking could not. Still, she couldn’t help feeling that it was heretical at its center, that even considering what she was considering would cause her to fall to the darkness. But Ashara hadn’t, and she had been tested even more than she had. Was Ashara simply stronger than she was?

The answer to her first question she’d already guessed. The togruta blushed when she asked. Yes, she and Malavar were lovers. Zamarra was curious how that had come to be — but not curious enough to ask the details. If her brother was happy, so was she. And at least he had proven to have good taste. What about Kif, Ashara wanted to know. In truth, Zamarra really didn’t have an answer to that. He had confessed plainly that he loved her, and wanted to stay at her side — even at the expense of his work. Zamarra didn’t think it very practical, but he said something about shipments and schedules.

She wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted of her, in the long term at least. She had a fair idea of what he wanted in the short term, she wasn’t quite -that- naive. And surely it would be nice, but she worried about all of his prior explorations. He confessed that he had painted her likeness on the side of his ship, and that she hadn’t been the first. Was it all only a ruse, to make her lower her guard and succumb to his questionable charms?

He said he’d wait as long as necessary. Zamarra supposed he wouldn’t wait if it was all a trick. And she’d felt something when he kissed her, something strange and powerful, unlike any sensation before it. Ashara said that the Force had brought her to Malavar, and Kif had said almost the same thing last night. In any other matter, she would remind herself to simply trust that all would go as it was meant to. So why was this time different?

They’d both brought up the idea of hiding, too. Finding a place far away from the Empire and far away from the Temple, just living out a quiet and peaceful life, with their little family. It sounded nice, but Zamarra didn’t really think it was possible. They’d find him, and Ashara would either be hurt or would lose him. And there was still so much work to be done. She couldn’t rest, not yet. Kif said that maybe one day the war would be over, and there would be peace. Zamarra desperately hoped that he was right.