Life With ‘Roni

This was written partly as a companion piece to Jiron’s Death, and partly because I saw the TCWT challenge from July 2013 and thought I’d quite like to have a go at that, even though I totally missed the chain.

File from the Temple mind-healers’ office, dated one year after Geonosis.

I felt it would be beneficial if Padawan Threeb was encouraged to focus on her positive memories of her time with Jiron Jados.  Again, this is in Padawan Threeb’s own words.

1. Just after Kijé was brought home, from his very last mission, well, his Master had been back for three weeks by then, and all of the Boehme Gang was in a giz – sorry, that’s a Saalisan word meaning state of great upset, most of us use it – because Vokara wouldn’t let us in to talk to Kij.  She thought we’d ‘overtire’ him.  I guess she had a point, but we’d for sure as nine hells never have done like Anakin did, when the terrorist bomb – hey, you aren’t going to show this to Master Obi-Wan, are you? Oh, well, then, never mind about Anakin.

Jiron heard us all complaining, and he wanted to do something nice for me, so he decided to rig a stunt to get at least me in to see Kij.  He – it was incredible, I didn’t believe it at first – he swallowed some speeder fuel, and went into the medcenter saying he felt awful. Which would have been totally true.  Vokara flipped her lid and told him he was definitely staying put in the medbay overnight, because that stuff is poisonous, so he insisted that he couldn’t do that, he had promised me we’d go over – I forget what.

Of course Vokara preferred to have one possibly disruptive Padawan in the room than one truly sick Knight out, so she had to let me come.  And Kij was right across the corridor, so… I went and chatted to him about his mission. That was really all Jiron’s idea. It was pretty typical of the whole three years – hijinks and craziness and a Master who understood how my mind worked.

2. ‘Roni was a bit unpredictable sometimes, I was never sure when I woke up in the morning whether he’d be in a mood and slap me if I talked too much – ‘Roni was vile when he was in a bad mood – or whether it would be a good day and something truly awesome happen.

One day he showed up, before dawn, in my room, and, hello, Sorel, his older sister, was in the Core Worlds, some trip or other, I don’t remember the reason, so Jiron had wangled a day off for us both.  To spend in town with Sorel, just for fun. Sorel had her kids along, Qati and Ghosn, they’re a neat pair of boys. A little strange, that goes with the territory of being military kids, but cool. So we all rocked around Galactic City all day, just for fun. Just for fun was why a lot of stuff happened.

3. Oh, Sorel Jados, that was his sister, she was a very clever woman.  Her husband was a quartermaster in the Imperial Army on their homeworld, Karor, and he could get anything.  Actually anything.

When I had just been assigned to Master Jados, he told me about the custom on Karor of commemorating the anniversary of a child’s birth.  Of course at Saalis they don’t have that, they just record which of a man’s children are older and which are younger, and which should inherit, so ‘birthdays’ aren’t really noted.

Well, I was thirteen years old when I was assigned to him, I know that because Minetz told the Master who came to collect me from Saalis that I was three years old then, and it’s just simple addition.  I think I was born in the springtime, because I seem to remember going with Pierdas, that’s Orien’s mother, to my mother’s grave one day in spring, when the leaves on the riyo-trees were beginning to open; she told me that I was born three days before my mother died.

Master Jados said it was a ‘crying shame’ that I shouldn’t have a proper birthday like the Karori children, so he said we might as well work out from an encyclopedia just exactly when in the year riyo-trees bring out leaves, and pick a date around then.

It sounds so silly to say, but we chose the thirteenth of the season, because thirteen is a lucky number at Saalis, and that’s the date that was entered in my file. Well, Master Jados wrote to his sister, and made cryptic comments to me about ‘surprises’ for days on end all through the end of winter into the beginning of spring.  And then, on the date we had chosen for my birthday, he came over to see me in the Halls, and said, Happy Birthday, Kal, (that was just what he called me, short for Kaliu) put your best tunic on.

It turned out that Sorel’s husband knew somebody in a military band, who knew somebody else in the Karor Imperial Orchestra, which was performing at a concert hall at Coruscant on that particular night.  So he had sent Master Jados two tickets, one for him and one for me.  And so my first real birthday I went to a concert.  It was marvellous.  I loved it.

And it was also rather ridiculous, because apparently most worlds do record birthdays, so when I told Kijé all about it the next day, he was all like: so? big deal.

4. We spent a lot of time with the guys he had been friends with in the Halls, he was only a month past the Trials when I was assigned to him, so most of his friends were still Padawans. ‘Roni’s first Master had been an absolute horror, in fact it was Gueca Sala’s former Master, so he was reassigned about three months in, and that Master, Lusien Gorixo, he was pretty laid-back, didn’t really care what happened around the Halls so long as nobody got hurt, but he died just before Jiron took the Trials. The first year or so, Jiron couldn’t face cutting his braid off, so he left it, with the black band halfway that shows death of a Master.

It used to be a great joke, in the gangs, to tie two people’s braids together when they were busy talking or had their hands covered in chemicals or something and couldn’t get it undone.  That, by the way, is how come I don’t wear a braid – it got tied to a burner-gas pipe in the lab, when I was working there and Jiron and a pal of his were clowning around, and of course if you yank too hard on those pipes they come away, and if you happen to have a burner going off the other pipe, it fireballs. All over the lab.  I think the pal in question was drunk at the time, or on stim, or terminally dense, or something like that.

Nobody got hurt, but it was a little scary, standing there with my hair tied down to a pipe which was starting to be on fire. Jiron grabbed my dagger and cut the braid right off, at the top, so I could get away safe.  A few days later the pal came up to me, hugely apologetic, and handed me what was left of it, still tied around a bit of the pipe.  Of course the lab was absolutely ruined. And of course all three of us got in trouble.  And I was told not to let my hair grow again, in case next time I got it in a burner flame and got killed.

5. A lot of mad stunts got pulled, over three years. One time ‘Roni went out in the middle of the morning, and came home so late, I was really getting worried, it was almost midnight! But it turned out he’d been out with Foxy – that’s Foxtan Dubh, he hangs around with Boehme still – I don’t know what they were doing or where they went, but when he went off late at night, I used to borrow Blaze from Kijé, who was borrowing him from Telc, who was borrowing him from Master Obi-Wan – which is why he could never find the darn ‘kurra when he wanted him back, because I had him, not Telc – for company, you know. Jiron did not like ‘kurras.  In fact he was allergic to them, they made him sick. But even if he did get a little annoyed sometimes because I had Blaze, and for other reasons, I’ll say this for him, he often took the rap for Boehme stunts. He was wonderful about that.

6. We were broke most of the time, I mean really broke, not a credit. And that was mostly Lusien’s fault, although he was dead. ‘Cause Lusien had been a Sentinel to the fingertips, and a superstitious one at that. In that branch of the Order, there are a lot of rules and customs that nobody else follows and that don’t seem to make a lot of sense, but they’re all solemnly observed anyway. One of the superstitions is that you never – ever – pass a beggar without giving something, and the idea is that that way, if you’re ever broke enough to be begging, the Force or the gods or whoever will remember your past kindness and send someone to give to you. We were never in quite that dire straits, but it was usually a bit of a mission to scrape by until the next trip back to the Temple.

7. We got into an impossible amount of trouble in three years.  And then he died.  You know, I wish I did wear a braid, just so I could put the band on it.  Because I miss him so much.  I miss not being sure in the morning what would happen by sundown, and I miss being in two gangs at once, and… having a Master who, when there was havoc being caused, wasn’t in charge of stopping it, in fact he would be more than likely to have helped cause it.

Ends the file.


About coruscantbookshelf

"A writer is an introvert: someone who wants to tell you a story but doesn't want to have to make eye contact while doing it." - Adapted from John Green
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