The Short Fic Weekly Challenge Thread!
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06.07.2012 , 08:33 PM |
2nd submission...a view of the Jedi from an outsider's point of view. This story made me depressed.
Ayang Cardani (smuggler), Meyali Cardani (Consular)
Sort of? Very nonspecific for the end of the smuggler class line.
In my dreams I saw myself lying on a floor, surrounded by broken stone and twisted metal. A memory I kept trying to forget.
When the Empire sacked Coruscant, my school was destroyed. In light of all the other tragedies that happened, ours didn't seem too bad. It was Saturday, and the school was mostly empty. I remembered being upset that everyone else got to go shopping and I had to stay in with my Mirialan teacher and Neema, the only other student of my race. Mirialans believed in a strict, mentally demanding schedule for youth, and even in a mixed-species school I wasn't going to escape it.
I squinted in the darkness. We had to be buried under tons of rubble. Neema was lying next to me, facedown on the floor. Her arm was strangely twisted, and she was covered in dust from the ceiling. I rolled her over as gently as possible and put my fingers on her neck. I couldn't feel any pulse.
I felt sick, and too afraid to move, but if I wanted to get out of here I couldn't wait around to mourn Neema. I tried to stand, but a searing pain shot through my leg. Something must have fallen on it. I crawled across the floor, dragging the injured leg as best I could, until I found my teacher.
He was unconscious. Neema dying was awful, but the thought of my teacher being dead was too much to bear. My mother had been largely absent from my life, and Arkesh Mora had always treated me kindly. He was a fairly young man, strict and traditionalist, but kind in his own way. I shook him slightly. "Teacher Mora," I said, my voice hoarse from all the dust. "Teacher Mora, wake up. It's me, Ayang. Neema's dead. Wake up!"
His eyelids parted, but just barely. He hardly had the strength to look at me. "You're all right?" he asked.
"My leg's broken."
"I always knew you'd be all right." Mora sounded weak in a way I'd never heard before.
This is what a dying person sounds like.
"You've got to get out of here. Go someplace safe."
"I want to help you."
"I'm beyond help now." I didn't want to believe it, but I could tell just by looking at him that he had moments left to live. I was suddenly aware that my hands and knees were wet. Blood.
"We can stop the bleeding," I said. "Someone will find us soon."
"No!" He sounded to adamant that I was a little frightened. "It's too late for me. It's too late for Neema. You've got to go, be safe."
I started to cry. I was losing the only adult I could really rely on. "What am I supposed to do?"
Mora's eyes closed and his voice was barely a whisper. "Just...make sure everything I did to help you wasn't for nothing."
I met up with my mother a week after I got back from Corellia. It was the first time I'd seen her in three years. I never looked forward to her visits very much, but somehow I kept hoping that she'd changed. She never did.
She and I knelt at a low table across from one another. As usual, she was dressed in her brown robes and had her long black hair flowing over her back. No matter how horrible a person she might be, you couldn't deny that my mother was a strikingly beautiful woman. I knew she was disappointed I didn't look much like her.
"I heard about your work on Corellia," she said, pouring each of us a small cup of tea. She had a smooth, silky voice; everything about her was graceful. I felt inadequate. "You did well."
This was as close to a compliment as she'd ever give me. "Thank you."
"However." She took a sip of her tea. "The rumor is that you intend to continue as a criminal."
"I'm not a criminal," I said.
She ignored me. "You should think about how your actions reflect on me and your sister. Your name is still Cardani."
"Mom," I said, shaking my head slightly. "I killed an Imperial admiral. I won a damn medal. That's not good enough for you?" I tried to catch her gaze, but she wouldn't look at me. "Can't you just say you're proud of me, for once?"
She pressed her lips together, the only way she showed annoyance. "I would, Ayang, if I could."
I felt like I'd been slapped in the face. I knew my mother didn't love me. I knew she didn't want me. But it didn't stop me from craving her approval and her love. I'd been hoping that finally,
, this would make her admit that I'd done something worthy of her pride. But it still wasn't enough. It would never be enough.
"Why do you do this?" I said, my voice barely above a whisper. "I know I wasn't what you wanted, or expected, but I've done a lot of good. I'm a good person. Why can't you just love your daughter?"
She sipped her tea without even acknowledging what I was saying. I raised my voice, finally ready to say what I'd been holding in for twenty-three years.
"Why did you just throw me away? I've always wanted to know, Mom, and you owe me this. Why didn't you at least send me to my father?"
She slammed her hands down on the table; I'd finally gotten her to snap. She leaned close to me and hissed, "
I froze, trying to turn over what she'd said in my mind. I'd grown up in a boarding school, I'd never lived anywhere else, so what could she mean? Had he sent me away too? I'd couldn't remember meeting anyone who could have been my father...until a realization washed over me like a cold sweat.
"Arkesh Mora," I said quietly. "He was my father."
My mother said nothing, but I could see in her eyes that I was right.
"Did he know?" My voice was starting to break. He couldn't have known. He would have said something.
"I never told him," she said. She looked so serene, and I hated it. It was as if she didn't realize she'd just broken her daughter's heart. She probably did realize, she just didn't care.
"How could you?" I asked, trying not to cry. "You robbed me of my chance to have a real parent. You just...stole that from me, and now I'll never have it."
"Robbed you? I gave you a gift!" My mother was starting to let emotion break through, which she did when I started calling her out. "Attachment is a disease! I freed you from that!"
? Are you out of your mind?" I couldn't believe she was defending her decision. "Children are
to be attached to their parents!" My mind was swimming; I could barely think straight.
My father is dead, I watched him die.
I felt dizzy and sick.
"I'll never forgive you," I said through clenched teeth. "Never. My children will never forgive you, and their children will never forgive you. I'll respect you, because you gave birth to me. But I swear on the graves of all our ancestors that I will never,
She was staring straight ahead, and I could see fire in her eyes. I knew that she didn't care that much about me not forgiving her, but to pledge your descendants to something was serious for a Mirialan. I was cursing her, forever.
I gathered up my things. "One more thing." I stood up, enjoying the feeling of, for once in my life, being above her. I felt like I was taking the power back in our relationship. "There will never be another Cardani in your order. I swear it. I don't care how sensitive my children are. I won't let them learn that attachment to your family is a bad thing."
A look flashed across her eyes that I didn't recognize: regret? Fear? Sadness? I couldn't place it.
"I'm leaving," I said. As I opened the door, she finally spoke, and there was a hardness to her voice that I'd never heard before.
"I hope you're happy with the decisions you've made, Ayang." She still refused to look at me.
I didn't look at her. "So am I, Mom."
I waited until I closed the door before I started to cry.
"We will snatch purpose from the jaws of futility...are you ready to wreak some havoc?"