Lost Friend

Reow. Meow. Arya looks up from her workbench, flips her long silver-white hair out of her eyes and scans the floor of her barn. Hearing nothing more, she returns to work.

Located several kilometers beyond the outermost edge of the nearby town, her small rural retreat rarely attracts visitors — or otherwise. Situated on a rolling plain criss-crossed with clusters of trees, her home and combination workshop and barn sits on a small patch of ancestral Raseri land. She works as custom tailor/armorer, fashioning ceremonial, personal and competition and clothing for traditionalists and warrior wannabes. It is a dying art, but word-of-mouth contracts for specialized light armor (like the one she is working on today) pays the bills. The turmoil of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Empire took its toll on those like her and her family who didn’t see eye-to-eye with Imperial ambitions. She is all that is left of the Raseri family line.

Once a member of a Force-wielding warrior clan on , 26-year-old Arya went into hiding once the Empire’s inquisitorial actions against the Jedi became known. As a clan initiate, she saw Clone Army slay its Jedi Guardians and heard of Imperial Inquisitors hunting down those who remained. Would the Force-wielders would her clan be next? Her clan didn’t want to find out. It dissolved and Arya, being an armorer among on on family land far away from the Empire’s more urban and large scale interests, slipped into who you know craftsperson obscurity. Once deeply meaningful, her craft has become more of a specialized tailor without purpose. The work feels hollow, but she is at least keeping her skills sharp and traditions alive without being mislabeled as a Jedi traitor.

Meow. Reow. Prrrr… She stops, sets down her tools, and starts nosing around her workshop. Arya normally leaves the door to the barn open to let in light and fresh air, so an occasional visitor isn’t all that uncommon. Usually when she stands, however, the creature scampers out — but not this time. Out of the corner of her eye, she spots a staring back at her. It cocks its head and seems to grin at her.

“Hello, my little furry friend. What are you doing way out here? This isn’t a place for someone like you,” says Arya. Tookas are not native to and are generally only encountered as pets near spaceports. The tooka approaches her. Meow. Arya reaches down and pets the pointy-eared fur ball. “Let me get you something to drink.” Arya checks outside — no speeders, no people — just an out-of-place tooka. Arya places a full bowl on the floor and returns to work. Her new visitor enjoys its tasty treat and proceeds to explore the barn.

After a while, the tooka makes its way to the door. Meow. Meow. Reow. It seems to be beckoning Arya to pay attention to it. Arya stares at the tooka for a moment as it backs out of the doorway, bounds back in, and then bounces back out. She sets down her tools once again. “Okay, my friend, I’ll go on your little adventure. Lead the way.” Arya locks up the workshop and follows the tooka outside.

The tooka bounds across landscape, its pointy ears popping up and down in the grass. It stops from time to time to look back at Arya and when satisfied that she’s still in tow, starts bounding away once again. After about 30 minutes, the tooka leads Arya to the edge of her land where the rolling plain flows into a more rugged and rocky terrain. Ahead, she sees signs of something over the ridge — maybe some smoke? The tooka bounces up to the top of the ridge and turns back to Arya. Meow. Meow. It disappears down the other side.

Arya crests the ridge and is surprised to find a rather sleek, spindly and a bit damaged starship on the other side.

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