Author's Note: Tysyacha has recently been suffering from a bad case of CFS (Can't Finish...Selections), so this first post of a fanfic is also a casting call for a co-author to collaborate with me. Please PM me if interested! ) I will also let my partner in crime-er, fic writing--pic the SW era of it!
STAR WARS: KEEPING THE GALAXY INTACT
Part One: A Down-and-Out Duelist
What a dive! Tysyacha Odnova knew that in places like these, she made her living as the night's entertainment and for that she should be grateful. However, that didn't mean she liked the smoke and the reek of cheap ale and cantina patrons' drunken breath. This place couldn't even be called a cantina, for it lacked the basic sense of atmosphere that most cantinas had. This was a bar, in the crudest sense of one. Men got drunk here, women got paid here, and for duelists like Tysyacha and her ill-fated opponents, some got killed here. That was the lay of the land, and she knew it.
That didn't mean she'd lose.
"All right," she smiled once the clamor of clinking glasses and too-loud private conversations had begun to die down. "Three fights tonight. Who's my first victim?" After silence ensued, the duelist announced her usual wager with a twinkle in her blue eyes that appeared steel-gray from a distance. "Come on. You know you won't get killed. The deal is, with me, servitude is worse than death. Odnova is my last name, and that means 'one', as in 'number one'. If you break me, you break my pride as well, and I'll serve you." More smoke-filled silence. "No one wants me as a hireling? A flunkie? A bodyguard? Very well. Since no one will fight me, I guess I'll claim my victories by forfeit. Bartender! Bring me one shotglass of your hardest distill and a free dinner."
"Wait a minute." A drunken, dishevelled man stumbled up to the front of the bar where Tysyacha stood waiting. "You have to pay your way. Just like the rest of us, duelie. I'll fight you and win, and then you'll warm my chamber--"
"Hah!" Tysyacha scoffed. "I wouldn't settle that score with you if I were a Twi-lek slave girl ordered to do so. Come on, then. Bring out your weapon. I have two." With sleek pride, she brandished two highly-polished (and highly-sharpened) vibrodaggers, each enhanced with a keen blade for accuracy.
The inebriated man laughed. "Phfft! Child's play. Drop those knives, little girl."
Tysyacha smiled again and then counted to four, silently, in her mind. Raz--dva--tri--chetyr'!
With one springing attack, she pounced upon the drunken dolt and slammed him flat onto the top of the bar counter. Quickly, she slipped both vibrodaggers into a V position, one on either side of his neck.
"Guggagghh!" gurgled the man. "I give, I give, I give up! Get off me!"
"I thought you liked that," mumbled Tysyacha. "Or are you always supposed to be the 'top dog'?" Howling laughter erupted from the crowd as the duelist released the double-daggered threat from her opponent's large red neck. "Go away. I have two other fools to fight." The man bowed his head and slunk to the back of the bar. He couldn't believe it. Finally--too much juma juice!
"Who's next?" Though she hated to admit it, Tysyacha felt a heady rush.
"I." Just this one word, spoken coldly, in an accent Tysyacha found eerily familiar. "I am a Twi-lek slave girl, little one, and I'll teach you what servitude means. You shall do my work right alongside me, for my master, living only for the sake of others' pleasure. Would you like that? My, you reek. Too much sweat and too few sanisteams, I wager. Well, enough words. En garde!"
With a mighty kick, the Twi-lek, her face and lekku a deep shade of sunset orange, sent Tysyacha hurtling backward, almost into the wall of the bar.
The kick had landed right in the middle of our hero's sternum, and Tysyacha gasped for breath. Clearly, this one knew martial arts, something she knew nothing of. Her craft was bladecraft, not this deadly dance of kung-fu.
After re-focusing her mind (and her breathing) for a few seconds, Tysyacha attacked. Through an inner sense of hers (what some called "reading people" but she felt was something more), she knew she could not let the Twi-lek attack again. She had been broken, most likely in a callous way, and people like that of any race struck to kill. With only split seconds to act, she did.
In a fury of whirling blades, Tysyacha sliced through the leather of the Twi-lek's uniform's midsection, not wounding her but causing her to gasp in horror. Shredded to ribbons, the Twi-lek now looked as if some angry kath hound had decided to "go right for the gut." Shrieking, her opponent knelt.
"I should not have underestimated you, Odnova! Take my lekku as trophies!"
With an odd sensation pouring over her, knowing that such a move could be her last, Tysyacha placed a hand upon the girl's shoulder. "No. I don't take trophies from my duels, only credits and free meals and a place to stay. You can redeem yourself by killing your master. Find freedom. You can fight, and anyone who owns slaves is even worse than a bounty hunter. Go now. Use that passion that you have to break whoever broke you, by my leave."
"You are one of thousands," said the Twi-lek with watery eyes, "hence your name, and yet you have the strength of only one--with compassion."
Compassion? Was that what had filled her? A jest! Compassion was when you fed the poor and scrubbed out their refreshers for free, not let a fighter go who had wanted to force you into slavery. Compassion was self-sacrifice, and all Tysyacha had given up was a few words and a pat on the shoulder.
Helping the poor. Feeding the needy. All so someone else could get rich.
I have nothing left to sacrifice,
thought Tysyacha, only my pride. And my status as the number-one duelist in this filthy neighborhood.
"One more," she smiled with a flourish of her blades. "Then I can eat. Who will change my last name to Dvukh?
" A pause. "That's 'two'--"second'".
Two seconds passed. The bar patrons were all gawking, their mouths "O's"!