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Tirzah in Wonderland (RP)


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Name: Tirzah In Wonderland

Authors: Courtney (JJS/Tirzah, for the purposes of this story) and Ashley (Mirdala/Raia) primarily, with assistance from Brian (Raynuk), Tim (Delta), Christine (Alora), and Stephen (Draken).

Summary: The account of the strange vision shared by Tirzah Jade Colos and Raia Selik aboard the Ravenhammer, and how it led them to discover truths about themselves.

Rating: PG (mild violence and tense scenarios)

Additional Tags: RP Pericope

Critiques: Constructive criticism is welcome.

 

Backstory: The Cult of Morthos, a nihilist sect in the tradition of Faust, is roaming the galaxy in search of artifacts of ancient knowledge. While their end goal is unclear, along the way they infiltrated, pillaged, and ransacked the childhood home of Grey Master Emily Zsahra-Skywalker: the Sith Temple on Raxus Prime. Jaina Jade Skywalker (her adopted aunt), Exorcist Knight Xae-Lin Ardel, former Jedi Master Tares Vortex, and Emily herself arrived at the Temple to find it in disarray. In an attempt to strand any possible pursuers, the invading cultists commandeered the Traitor’s Hope, the personal ship of Jaina Jade Skywalker--with her blind twelve-year-old daughter, Tirzah Jade Colos, still on board. Once a sufficient ways away from the system, they detonated an ion mine in the power core, rendering all systems inoperable--including life support and artificial gravity, leaving the teenager adrift in deep space with rapidly decreasing oxygen levels. Just before losing consciousness, she reached into the Force with one desperate call for help, which made its way to a Emily’s apprentice, a Dathomiri witch by the name of Raia Selik. Raia, in the company of Jaina’s former lover (and Emily’s current lover) Raynuk Montar, is determined to investigate the cry for help, and the pair of Sith intercepted Jaina’s daughter just in time to save her. But in the apprentice's eagerness to help, will she plunge them into a netherworld from which there is no return?

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...why are the pretty ones always the most hazardous to your health?

May the Forth therve you well...

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Her mind was floating in a vast ocean whose lapping waves carried her on their tide. It was sweet oblivion, a reprieve from the relentless tide of questions that pummeled her awareness. Where was she? No idea. Who was she? Didn't matter. There was only peace, stillness, the gentle rocking of the endless sea.

 

But this wasn't the peace that the Force brought. Something felt wrong. The freedom she had felt just a moment earlier was suddenly stifling, like a cloth pressed across her face, and instead of floating in a peaceful sea, she was drowning in a tidal wave, torrent after torrent buffeting her body. Fighting her way back to the surface, she thrashed, kicked, unsure of which direction to go, unable to perceive anything about her surroundings. Suddenly her fingers connected with something smooth and soft, and she swam toward it, reaching, grasping.

 

And just like that, Tirzah broke the surface of her consciousness, dimly aware that she was crying out, throwing her head back and forth uncontrollably, the thrashing of her dreams mirrored in her body's movement. She was lying on some sort of a bed, and struggled to sit up, to gain some kind of bearing. Her limbs were uncooperative, and dimly she recalled some measure of what had happened. She had opened the door for the terrified librarian. Had she been floating? Somehow the weightlessness of her dreams hadn't yet left her, but the lack of strength in her body was a present reminder that gravity still existed somewhere in the galaxy. Trapped by her disorientation and fear, she tried to reach out with her senses but it only served to overwhelm her. "W-w-where am I?" Her breath came quick and shallow. The hum of an engine surrounded her. It wasn't the Hope's baritone thrum.

 

Almost unwillingly, her senses told her that there was someone else in the room. Her--and somehow, Tirzah knew it was a her--presence was void of malice, instead holding curiosity and concern. "Who are you?"

 

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Raia had stepped away to check the monitors that seemed to fulfill the function she had as an apprentice healer, monitoring the girl's vital signs and reporting back. The girl started to stir and that brought Raia over in an instant. She made the mistake of touching the girl's hand which immediately set her to flailing about violently and caught a mean left hook on her cheek for it.

 

Vex, who'd been laying opposite the open door growled slightly, though a look from Raia along with the assurance through the Force that the girl didn't mean it made him put his head back down, though his gaze never wavered from the other girl.

 

Ignoring the pain that exploded across the side of her face, she held the girl to the bed, while attempting to exude a calm she did not feel as the girl cried out in fear. "Shhh, shhh, shhh. It's alright. You're safe," she soothed until the girl calmed enough to stop resisting her. "I'm Raia and you're on the Ravenhammer. Master Quietus and I rescued you. He said to call when you woke up. I'm just stepping away for only a moment to call him back from your broken ship. Don't worry. I won't leave you. I know what it's like to be alone in a strange place." She patted the girl's hand twice and then stepped over to the comm unit and operated the unit exactly as Raynuk had instructed her.

 

"Master, she's awake," Raia began, "You said to let you know..."

 

She turned back to the girl, who was now staring blankly in her direction, "I-I'd like to check you out...make sure there wasn't too much damage from whatever you had happen. I'm going to place my hand on your forehead...is that okay?"

 

The girl nodded slowly and Raia approached her again, hesitating slightly before placing her hand over the girl’s forehead, half covering her eyes. She took a deep breath and let in some of the Force, just enough that she could use the spells she knew from her healing training. Things seemed to be fine, but then she felt drawn further in by the girl as her vision grew darker and her senses expanded to compensate…

 

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All of a sudden, the world exploded into color. Tirzah’s mouth opened to cry out, but the sensation swirling through her pounding head left no room to react. A dizzying warmth pierced her mind. She seized Raia’s wrist as if to hold on for dear life, the girl’s hand felt cemented to her forehead, and she dreaded what might happen if somehow her touch broke loose. The heat seared her eyes, and she gritted her teeth.

 

Then the pain stopped, and there was light. At least, she assumed that it was light. It bore all the qualities that people talked about when they referred to light. What had once been the Little Fairy flitting around in her mind was now as the heat of the closest star, illuminating the shadows of the objects surrounding her. Warm, bright, giving shape to all that filled the room, the Force played a trick on her that it had been withholding: Tirzah could see. A girl approximately her age appeared in her mind, her face contorted in the surprise that Tirzah herself felt.

 

Immediately, her thoughts turned to Jaina, to the moment that all the pretense of Jedi serenity faded away and they were simply mother and daughter, reforming the galaxy around one another, her hands finally learning the face whose likeness she bore. What would her mother look like, in this world that opened up to her like a budding flower? With a fresh jolt of joy, the remembrance of her first taste of belonging washed over her. In truth, elements of the bone structure of the face gazing back at her were reminiscent of what she had learned from her exploration of Jaina’s.

 

Reaching for the girl, to compare the feel to her mother’s, she was startled when a hand appeared in this new awareness, slowly stretching across the distance to rest on the other girl’s bruised cheekbone. It wasn’t until her fingers actually came into contact with Raia’s skin that it sunk in: it was her hand. Her fingers. And she anticipated the touch before it had happened.

 

Then it all went dark.

 

Raia’s hand fell away from her forehead as the older girl fell to the floor and hitting her head, unconscious. The last thing Tirzah was conscious of was the mass of a beast’s keening whine that somehow seemed to convey something to the effect of "Sithspit...they broke each other," and his prompt disappearance from the doorway in search of its master.

53bzzl2.png

...why are the pretty ones always the most hazardous to your health?

May the Forth therve you well...

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  • 2 weeks later...

The tuk'ata spoke to Raynuk in the language of the Sith, and allowed him to get brief glimpses of memories that the beast had witnessed just moments before. Raia had attempted to use the Force on her own, and just as had happened the last few times she did so without a strong presence to anchor her, the Force had consumed her to its will. First the tree in Alora's apartment had been shattered, then regrown, then grown even further. It was a series of events that left Raynuk with just one question as he looked between Raia and Tirzah:

 

What was the effect and outcome this time?

 

It was something he would have to wait for one of the two to awaken in order to get answers to. And so he waited, idly stroking Vex'aedr's side as he considered some of the countless thoughts that continued to gnaw at him.

 

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Raynuk Montar would be waiting a long time indeed--mainly because she was lost. Tirzah was hopelessly and completely lost in some kind of dense jungle. Her head pounded. Her eyes ached in protest of the increased activity to which they had been subjected. On every side, there was no sign of horizon, no hint as to where she might find a clearing or a way to gain her bearings. Slowly, she moved through the underbrush, picking her foot placement carefully. It was marvelous, the ability to discern the location of things around her using just her eyes. But then it hit her--

 

Even the ability to see couldn’t help her out of this mess.

 

After what seemed like hours of walking, ducking under twisting branches and squeezing between close-clustered trunks, she sank into a heap at the base of a tree to rest her legs. Sweat dripped from the ends of her curly hair, which wound tighter due to the humidity of the forest in which she now found herself. Everything seemed to glow with an eerie haze; the sunlight that filtered through the branches bore a quality that she was unable to describe. Tirzah was getting thirsty.

 

A roar sounded from deep within the jungle, striking alarm into her senses, and a small creature bounded across her path as if in response. It was covered in downy fur, with sturdy back legs that propelled it in leaps and elongated ears protruding from the top of its head. It paused for a moment, turning to stare directly at her, rubbing its tiny furry snout into its front paws. For some reason she couldn’t explain, Tirzah knew this creature. Slowly, so as not to startle it, she leaned forward onto her knees and stretched out a hand. Just a little bit closer, she thought in desperation.

 

A twig snapped somewhere in the forest, and the creature startled. “Hey, wait!” she called, jumping to her feet and running after it. Never had she felt able to run with abandon like this before. All physical activity, for her whole life, had been tempered by the disuse of her eyes. It was a new kind of exhilaration as she chased the mammal through the forest, feeling the hot wind whipping through her damp hair, leaping over fallen logs and ducking under tangles of vines. A branch she hadn’t anticipated slashed at her cheek, and she clapped a hand to her face as she ran, warm, wet blood leaking into her fingers. She looked down for a moment to study the liquid on her hand, and the momentary lapse of attention betrayed her.

 

Her foot caught on a vine in the underbrush, and she went sprawling, tumbling down the side of a ravine. She landed on her belly in the ravine’s basin with a whoosh of air escaping from her lungs. Jerking her head up, she could just barely make out the creature darting down a hole in the distance, lost to her newfound sight.

 

Dirty, bloody, sweaty, wound up in vines, Tirzah slowly pushed herself to her feet. “That went well,” she muttered sarcastically to herself.

 

“Are you okay?” came the soft voice from behind her.

 

Tirzah turned but didn’t immediately see where the voice was coming from, then something stirred amongst the underbrush and ferns, causing her to instinctively reach for a lightsaber that wasn’t there. Finally, she saw it. A small fieldscurry with stormy grey eyes and fur the same color as Tirzah’s hair emerged, approaching the girl cautiously.

 

When it was within a few feet, it shape-changed into the girl she’d just seen in the medbay, Raia.

 

“I'm sorry, this is all my fault.” Raia apologized. “I never should have tried to use the Force without Master Quietus there. And now I've trapped us here, but I don't know where ‘here’ is, other than that it looks like my home world. And this is deeper into the jungles than I have ever ventured before...”

 

Incredulously, Tirzah gaped at her. Had she imagined the fieldscurry? Nothing felt quite real here. Surreptitiously, she pinched herself, but earned only sore skin for her trouble. Brilliant. I’m stuck in an endless jungle with a girl who is also a rodent, she groaned inwardly.

 

But even if this was all happening in her head, or within the Force, she had no way out. Might as well stick close to Raia, who allegedly knew the planet. It was better than the unknown. “Maybe there's someone else out here. I thought I saw another creature up ahead,” she pointed in the direction the scampering long-ear had disappeared. “Although if all the creatures in this jungle are going to turn into people, I’m not sure I want to run into whatever made that sound.”

 

Winding along the path of the rocky ravine, they pressed on in silence. Somehow, there was an understanding between them: to speak would attract unwanted attention. After another ten minutes’ walk, the ravine forked.

 

“Which way, do you think?” she whispered to Raia.

 

“If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there,” came another voice. Instinctively, Tirzah reached out for Raia's arm, linking her own around the older girl's and scanning for the source of the voice.

 

Sitting high up on the bank of the ravine was a predatory feline that sat about as tall as Tirzah stood, gracefully grooming her fur with her tongue. “What?” Tirzah called.

 

“Do you know where you want to go?” The feline blinked impassively at them.

 

“No,” she replied. “Only that we’re trying to find our way back.”

 

“Then it doesn’t matter. If you walk long enough, you’re sure to find your way.”

 

Reticent glances passed between the two girls, but on a prompting from the Force, Tirzah quirked her head at her. “Will you show us?”

 

With a single lithe spring, the animal launched from the bank, and by the time it landed before them, it had taken the form of a woman. Wiry, athletic, and graceful, with dark hair and a mischievous glint in her mismatched eyes, she laid a hand on each of their shoulders. “Follow me,” she said quietly.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The two girls walked with the dark haired cat-woman, the name "Emily-Eris" floating vaguely through Raia’s mind as she tried to think of a way to get herself and Tirzah back to the real world. Her steps seemed sure enough, though she didn’t have a clue where she was going. Finally, as they reached a clearing, the woman seemed to fade away, leaving the two girls alone in the forest once again.

 

“Now what?” Tirzah asked.

 

Raia paced for a bit, looking from one tree to another before she leaped up and into the boughs to get any sort of vantage point she could to gauge a direction that might lead them out of where they were. While she was up in the tree, there came matched set of low growls from the underbrush.

 

With a yelp, Tirzah scurried in the direction that Raia had disappeared, grasping at the branches and trying to gain the footholds that the other had achieved with such apparent ease. Two creatures bounded out from the underbrush with a snarl. Both were overlarge, one with stark white fur, the other jet black. Her grasp slipped from a bough as the white one nipped at her heel, and she reached out to grab it again, but missed, and landed on her back in the brush. Covering her face with her hands, expecting a swift and violent end, Tirzah waited.

 

When several moments passed with no sign of aggression, she peeked through her fingers. The snouts of the two beasts instantly appeared, no more than two feet distant from her face. WIth an almighty whuff, they sniffed her in turn, and then, quite unexpectedly, pounced.

 

On each other. Tirzah’s fright and confusion gave way to amusement as the two beasts wrestled each other, nipping at ears and tails. “Um, Raia?” she called quietly to the girl in the tree. “What are these?”

 

Apparently oblivious to the events below her due to the height she was able to gain from years climbing the forests of Dathomir, Raia had begun her descent once she’d spotted another clearing a fair ways off. The familiar noise of the tuk’atas at play caught her attention and she leaped down into a crouch in front of the two beasts and gave a low whistle. “I don’t suppose either of you know the way out of where I’ve landed us, do you?”

 

The two canids played a moment more before turning to the girl’s sharp call. They broke apart, casting a glance at one another before pouncing on Raia. “GET OFF OF ME! We don’t have time to play now. Go back to your Master. See if he’ll play. We’re lost and if you’re not going to help then you can go chase a rancor for all I care!” From the girl’s tone it was apparent she’d been dragged around one too many times by the Force and her patience was thinning.

 

Neither one of the beasts made a move other than staring at her identically, as though expecting something. Raia rolled her eyes, finally guessing what it was they wanted. “Fine. This is Tirzah...You met her Vex. Tirzah these are the pets of Master Quietus and Master Emily--the cat lady from before--Vex’aedr and Roe’gall. They’re very dangerous, apparently, or something.” As though to punctuate her less than serious point, the two let out a baying howl as a streak of white zipped past them and down the forest path, giving chase.

 

“That’s the creature I saw earlier!” Tirzah yelled, breaking into a sprint after the animals. “Come on!”

 

Their frenetic pace was almost impossible to follow, even with speed augmented by the Force. The exhilaration of running was still fresh and exciting to Tirzah, and somehow, she felt as if she could run the whole planet over and not grow tired. The baying grew quieter as Vex’aedr and Roe’gall got farther and farther away from them, and the girls stumbled and tripped their way through the underbrush.

 

Finally, they broke out into a clearing, but the blur of white fluff and both large canines were absent from vision. Instead, the clearing was dotted with delicate flowers amongst the grasses, and punctuated by a large, ornate table intricately laid with more place settings than Tirzah could count. Someone was planning to host a banquet, here, in the middle of these dangerous woods?

 

Then she saw them: two men, lightsabers drawn and locked, standing in the center of the table. Each movement, each parry, each thrust of their weapon was punctuated by some loud cry or retort, and while it felt slightly dangerous, Tirzah couldn’t keep a grin off of her face.

 

“Curious,” she murmured. Dropping onto all fours, she crept toward the end of the table, and barely peered over the edge in the hopes of remaining undetected as she strained her ears to hear what the quarrel was.

 

“If you’re going to betray all the inherent principles of the Force, why not at least do it with flair?” yelled the shorter man, a scar running from brow to jawline, his long hair curling in rakish waves.

 

“Did you come here to flap your jaws or prove your worth?! For I am not impressed!” The taller man, who had straight white hair that contrasted the other’s perfectly, commented back.

 

The two continued to clash their lightsabers back and forth, continuing to circle each other as they danced around the table, occasionally knocking entire place settings flying off the table. Low slashes, high slashes, jabs and parries; the two continued to clash with absolutely no clear advantage on either side. The pair locked together, strength pushing their blades into each other as their faces closed to each other.

 

“I have a surprise for you, old friend…” The taller man said through gritted teeth before kicking the other man away with a deliberate kick, creating separation between them.

 

“NEW LIGHTSABER!” He exclaimed, almost happily as he produced another lightsaber from his belt and renewed the duel in earnest, now clashing with two blades against the dark haired man.

 

“Well that’s not very sporting!” The dark haired man responded, standing again to block the incoming blows, as the pair continued to dance around the table in their duel, clearly having more perverse fun in combat than either of them rightfully should.

 

A hand clasped over Tirzah’s shoulder, bringing the girl back from the edge of the battle as it moved further down the table. “It’s probably best if you move. Those things are also dangerous.” Raia didn’t mention that it had crossed her mind to help Master Quietus against this other opponent, but she just as quickly decided she’d likely be more of a hindrance than an asset.

 

The movement of Raia pulling Tirzah back from the table caught the taller man’s attention, to which he immediately spun, extending his hands out in welcome as the dark haired man was pushed into a chair in front of one of the place settings.

 

“Goodness me! Look! We have GUESTS!” The man exclaimed before bowing as one does before a ceremonial duel. “Please! Come in, come in! Welcome, welcome. You’re just in time for te-- I mean, for instruction! Say hello to our guests my dear opponent!”

 

The other man stood quickly from the chair, recovering from the sudden and unexpected push, and likewise bowed. “Why look there, I do believe that is --”

 

“YES! Of course!” the taller man interrupted, practically bowling over more of the dishes and cups as he walked towards Raia and Tirzah, “It’s our mazais! How could we possibly not recognize her? Oh, you are most welcome at our party.”

 

He reached down and before she could argue or protest, hauled Raia up onto the table before him. “What brings you to our table, mazais? And who is your new friend?!”

 

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Tirzah whispered to herself as Raia was dragged up among the two duelists.

 

Raia looked up, now recognizing the white-haired man as her minder, Master Quietus, setting her feet firmly on the table while the other lifted Tirzah up in a similar manner. “We got lost...and I think Tirzah is looking for someone. Do you think you can help Master Quietus?”

 

The taller man turned to Tirzah, and for a few seconds simply looked at the young girl, as if appraising her. Then he stepped closer and bent over, his face much closer as a few “Hmmmm” sounds escaped from his mouth. Then all at once, he stood back up to his full height and again threw his arms out, only this time he lost the grip on both of his lightsabers, which went flying off into the underbrush that surrounded them.

 

“Oh my. Oops. NEW LIGHTSABER!” He yelled again as he reached around his back and produced yet another lightsaber, ignited it and began swinging it around, clearly distracted once more until Raia grabbed at his sleeve and yanked hard.

 

“Master Quietus! Do you think you can help her?” she again asked.

 

The tall man stopped and looked at Raia, then to Tirzah, and then back at Raia, and then to Tirzah again before he turned the lightsaber off and stashed it on his belt once more.

 

“Right! Yes yes. Always happy to help! Now uhm… what was it you needed?”

 

Suddenly uncomfortable with the circumstance, and halfway wishing for a reversion to blindness such that she would not have actually witnessed the cavalier fashion in which these two men were tossing about their lightsabers, Tirzah looked back and forth between them. “There was… there was a small creature,” she began.

 

“You’re a small creature!” yelled the shorter man, who was suddenly standing on his hands, feet in the air, as quickly as Tirzah could blink. “And here you are! Nothing more to look for.”

 

“No,” she added quickly, “a little furry creature, barely bigger than a fieldscurry, that ran off into the wild. I don’t know how, or why, but I know it somehow. I think it’s our key to getting home.”

 

Tirzah edged closer to Raia, who, while somehow part of this whole charade, still seemed safer than either of the men standing on the table. She reached to her belt, and for the first time, noticed the absence of her recently acquired lightsaber. A sudden idea struck her, and she glanced up at the other two. “You wouldn’t happen to have any of those to spare, would you?”

 

“Oh, there are always more, you just have to know where to look,” babbled the scarred man, with a wink that told Tirzah that he clearly knew more than he was letting on. He reached a hand toward the head of the table, and a small satchel flew into his waiting hand. As he overturned it, a volley of sabers by the dozens began spilling out onto the table, until he himself was buried in it.

 

“Um, I just needed one,” she muttered. This interaction was quickly going from potentially helpful to utterly frustrating. “Never mind, that. Can you help us find it?”

 

The dark-headed man popped his head out of the mountain of sabers. “Oh, don’t listen to him, he doesn’t know anything about that creature. All you need to know is that she comes when you call.”

 

“But what do you call her?” Quizzically, she cocked her head to the side.

 

“I don’t call her,” the man said with another overplayed wink. “Sounds like a personal problem.”

 

“It is quite rude to call someone you don’t even know, you know.” The white haired man said, flipping the lightsaber in his hand. “But the Queen might know!” he caught the saber, his face lighting up.

 

“Yes yes, the Queen. Doesn’t she want you dead though?” The dark haired man countered.

 

“Bah, I’m sure she’s forgotten all about that. Couldn’t be helped I tell you. Yes. You should go ask the Queen. She knows everyone around here, or knows someone who knows who...knows…” he trailed off, sounding confused.

 

Raia again tugged on the man’s sleeve. “The Queen? Where is she?”

 

“What? The Queen? Why would you want to go see the Queen? No no. She ordered me executed once you know.” The man responded matter-of-factly, before being pushed aside as the dark haired man elbowed his way past.

 

“The Queen lives farther through the forest.” He said, his eyes seemingly stuck on Tirzah.

 

“Hey! They weren’t asking you!” The taller man said as he stood up and shoved the other man off the table before turning to the two girls.

 

“Say, do either of you know why a tuk’ata is like a datapad?” He asked.

 

The two girls looked at him confused before turning to each other, both seeing if the other had any idea. Finally Tirzah turned back to him.

 

“No, we give up,” She answered, sounding more than a little exasperated with the whole situation.

 

“I haven’t the slightest idea!” The man said before laughing and jumping off the table after the dark haired man, igniting his lightsaber as he did so. “Now onward in our noble quest for this small creature that is not you!”

53bzzl2.png

...why are the pretty ones always the most hazardous to your health?

May the Forth therve you well...

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