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ysonesse ([personal profile] ysonesse) wrote2013-07-26 08:55 am

This Must Be The Place

Dream World: Aeithera

"...and over there is Brinke Chimuth'sKahveon, the best place to get breakfast in Krisoti." Nalieza pointed across the street to a darkened shop with small café tables set out on the sidewalk. "A half-liter of Jimica Green Mountain kahve and six reignets for four credits. The cheapest breakfast in the city...especially if you happen to be a student."

This time, they were breaking the usual routine of walking around in a reconstructed memory from Han's past. When she had met up with him earlier on the Falcon, he brought up the idea of doing something different. He wanted to see one of her memories. Certainly an unexpected request, but it didn't take long to think of a place to show him. She suggested showing him around the capital, especially at night, which was her favorite time to haunt the city streets with her friends. He took well to the idea, so it was off into her mind for a change.

"But you aren't going to see outrageous acts of random drunken stupidity. We're all pretty boring kids," she had told him just before they arrived.

"Too bad. I should teach you all how to fly a speeder bike upside down with your eyes closed after six shots of Srigillian firewater."

"Are you serious?"

"Ask me some other time about my younger days," he replied with a grin.

After this, there was nothing else to do but enter the remembered version of the city.

They had been wandering along the center of Avenue Salamicia for a while, surrounded by the general buzzing atmosphere of the downtown area on a typical evening. Beings walked around, chattering in many languages, calling out to each other from the windows of the various student boarding establishments. Some would stop in the middle of the sidewalks to figure out where to go next. Or they might stop to argue, or simply to talk. Speeder traffic crowded the streets, sometimes making it difficult to cross at certain intersections. The kahveons, chashops, restaurants and clubs were crowded as usual. "Lively," Han commented, looking around.

Nalieza tucked her hands into her pockets. "Yeah, this is pretty typical. During the semesters, anyway. It's less chaotic when break times roll around. But it gets boring after awhile. Just running around from one bar to another, or hitting some of the clubs. And the music scene's not so interesting right now."

"So what do you guys do then?"

"That's where the Ilo comes in." She pointed towards the horizon, where a small scattering of lights stood out against the darkened sky. "The Cita dav Ilo is our answer to an island paradise. At least when we can't get up into the mountains." She stopped walking. "I can show you around there if you'd like"
Han regarded her with some suspicion. "You've got something in mind."

"Well, yeah, I was thinking of showing you something."

"What exactly?"

As he asked the question, the street scene began to shift and fade, the bright colors of the downtown night slowly bleeding away to reveal another kind of backdrop. It was turning into a park. It seemed to be small, being surrounded by shadows and deep evening. Yet it felt open. This might have been due to the presence of floating guide lights, crafted in an antique style from black metal and gold embroidered avate, casting small golden pools of light.

"I guess you remember the vision I had about your wedding."

Han smirked. "Why, no, I don't know what in the hell you're talking about."

She laughed. "Of course you don't. Not at all." Then she waved her hand around. "Believe it or not, I'm about to show you where you're going to get married."

"Seriously?"

"It sounds weird, doesn't it? It didn't hit me until I was out last night in the park. There's this one part on the Ilo called the Pavilion Islet, because it has two pavilions set up there which get used for ceremonial occasions and for big events like weddings. We were out there last night after dinner and sat in the smaller one called the Tiara Pavilion. And the moon was out..." and as if on cue, the moon appeared in the sky, round and silver, casting a brighter glow across the landscape. "Just like that, in fact. The light was coming down in a certain way, which hit one of the columns... and it struck me. This is the place where your wedding is going to happen."

And the backdrop changed once again...from the dimly lit park setting to a small island overlooking a lake.

Nalieza looked over her shoulder. "Wow. I wish getting to there was so easy in the real world." Then she pointed at two pavilions that sat in the center of the island. "The large one on the left is the Crown Pavilion. And the smaller one off to the right is where your great event will happen."

"So I'm supposed to get married here. In this pavilion."

"Apparently so. Remember it for future reference." She nodded her head in the direction of the Tiara Pavilion. "Care to get a closer look?"

"Hey, I might as well get an idea what it looks like. So I'm prepared for when I actually get to see it in person." Han headed towards the structure, followed by Nalieza.

Once inside, they stood for a long time, gazing out over the lake. Under the brilliant light of the moon, the surface of the lake shimmered. There was a soft breeze coming off the water, slightly chilly, with the hint of autumn behind it.

"So what do you think? Is this a good enough place for the wedding to happen?"

Han looked around the pavilion, then leaned on the railing and looked out over the lake. "Yeah, it's nice. I can't imagine why I'd wind up here out of all the places in the galaxy, but it looks good."

Nalieza nodded. "It is weird if you think too hard about the matter. But this is the place I saw in the vision. I'm certain."

"Don't worry. I believe you." He walked over and leaned on the railing. "You know, I might even see you get married here one day."

"You forget I'm not the marrying kind."

"Neither am I usually." He looked around the pavilion. "But this is where I'm supposed to get married. At least according to what you saw." Han rapped his knuckles on the railing in front of them. "Things change, right. Which's what I realize now. And you either have to go with the changes, or lose."
"Sorry, I don't see it happening. Just call me a member of the Young Cynics' Society." She leaned against one of the columns holding up the roof. "Actually, I think my whole group might be members. At least when it comes to love." She shrugged. "I guess the Force draws together the oddlings into their own appropriate little groups."

"What's your excuse?"

"I don't have an excuse."

"At nineteen, you have nothing but an excuse. I should know. I was about your age when I realized love didn't exist." He looked down at the ground and kicked the bottom railing with his boot. "Which's what I wanted to believe at the time."

"Well then, what caused the feeling?"

"Death."

Nalieza was somewhat taken aback by this declaration. "What about it? Who died?"

He stared out over the water. "Somebody important." Then he looked at her. "Same with you?"

"I'm not really cynical about it. I think if presents itself to a person, they should definitely go after it. I just feel love won't ever happen to me. Or if it does show up, I won't have it for very long." She watched the silver sparkles of the moon's reflected light dance in the ripples of the dark lake water. "Like my father...he only had eight years with my mother before she died. He's stayed away from relationships ever since. There were a couple of women he went out with when I was a kid, once or twice. Nothing serious happened, though. He's never let himself get near love like that, because he still loves my mother too much." Nalieza shrugged. "The day he gets involved in another serious relationship will probably be when I actually fall in love with someone."

"Do yourself a favor, kid. Let it happen if it shows up. Don't spend years fighting the good stuff when it's supposed to happen."

This was a sudden declaration from Han. Said in a quiet voice, with a firm conviction borne of years running from those elements that would make his life better. When the opportunities to change his life arose, fear drove him to push against those forces rather than let them in. By doing so, he lost time which could have been better spent welcoming those good things into his life.

"I've got a wager for you," Han pointed up into the sky. "Out there in the real world, somebody will come along one day and change your life the same way Leia changed mine. I'm willing to put twenty credits down it will happen."

"And how do you plan on following through with this bet?"

"Simple. When I come to Aeithera for my wedding, I'll contact you to see if you've gotten with someone yet." A thought came to him, as she felt a sudden ripple of mirth emanate from his mind. "Or maybe I might introduce you to that person. In fact, there is one particular guy I happen to know...nice kid...knows how to blow up metal moons and thinks he's a Jedi."

"Why did I just happen to know who you were going to bring up?"

"Because you're both a couple of Force sensitives. One of the reasons I think you two might be interesting together."

"No thanks. It's nothing personal...I mean, your friend seemed very nice for the minute or so I was able to communicate with him. But I don't think he would be interested in my type. And I would be terrible for him anyway." Nalieza stood up. "Now I didn't come here to discuss my lack of love. Since I've shown you the place where you will be getting married, it's time now to accomplish another task that needs to be done." She stepped out of the pavilion, then turned and looked back at him. ""Follow me." Then she headed towards the lake.

She could feel his confusion from the sudden switch of topic, but also knew that by now he trusted her enough to go along with her occasional whims that never made any particular sense at first. So he followed her without much hesitation.

Nalieza stopped at the shore. Han came up beside her.

She smiled. "In the aident culture, there's a small ceremonial gesture done to mark the end of a dream journey. A paper boat is made, set down in the nearest body of water, and then set on fire. After the fire burns out, the ashes are blown away, signifying the death of the old life, and the birth of the new one."

"But my journey's not over yet."

"You've come to the end of your personal journey. The things you needed to learn are done. You know that you aren't alone in the universe anymore, and that there are people who care about you. Knowing that makes you another person. And you're well on the way to becoming the guy you were always supposed to be. And now, on to the last order of business."

From the empty spot in the center of her palm, a paper sailing vessel appeared. Small, perfectly formed, and made from shimmering copper colored paper. Tiny masts with thin white gauze sails sprung up from the paper.

"There we go," Nalieza said, holding the boat out in Han's direction. He took it from her hand gently between his fingers. Copper paper and silver celestial light blended into one delicate form as he turned the boat about.

He put the boat back in her hand. "Now it gets set on fire, right?"

"First it gets floated on the lake. Then it gets set on fire." She knelt down and placed the boat in the water. "Ready to say goodbye to the old life?"

Han sat down on the ground beside her. "I've been ready for years. I just didn't realize it."

"Well, that's good. Because when this boat is burned, then you can never be a scoundrel again."

"I like being a scoundrel. Can I at least make a compromise and turn into a respectable scoundrel?"

Nalieza laughed. "Sure. The galaxy could always use a respectable scoundrel. Maybe you could become a leader of some army with that reputation."

He looked alarmed. "Does that mean I have to wear a uniform?"

"Absolutely not. You get to keep all of your old clothes."

"Good." He pointed at the boat. "Who gets to set the fire?"

"I called up the boat. You can make it burn."

Han leaned over. "Where do I get the flame from?"

"Just think about it. Literally. Remember, since this is the dream world, you can do that. Even have a flame come out of your finger if you really wanted to."

"That'd be a neat trick," Han replied. "But I'll stick to calling it up out of my head." He stared at the tiny vessel sitting still on the surface of the lake.

From the top of the center mast, a small flame appeared. It spread down the mast, then spread outwards to the rest of the craft.

The boat finally burnt away, leaving only a pile of dark ashes tinged with tiny flecks of shining copper paper remaining on the surface of the lake.

Han reached out and scooped up the ashes. "Now what?"
"Blow them out across the water," Nalieza instructed.

With a nod, Han blew the ashes outward. They scattered, and the copper flecks rose up towards the moon, where they briefly danced in its silvery light. Then the paper remnants disappeared into the night sky.

Down below, Han and Nalieza watched this ascent. No words were exchanged...but none were needed.