If you'll recall, Groww had just pledged a life-debt to Drac for giving him the opportunity to kill his slave-master and essentially reclaim his freedom. Happiness reigns in his heart supreme.
Drac stood amid the gore-slicked floor of the fightersÃ¢Â€Â™ pit, half dazed, half unbelieving.
A life debt? The SelonianÃ¢Â€Â™s mind was at a stand-still as the concept swirled through his thoughts. The oath that his new-found Tusken friend had projected into his mind was unmistakable, as if it had been outlined for him in his own language over and over, but Drac was still hesitant to accept a variable that would change the way he lived, perhaps until the end of his days.
He knew what a life debt was, knew it very well may it do ya, but for one such as him to receive one seemed beyond comprehension and reason. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d felt through his Gift what an impact heÃ¢Â€Â™d inadvertently had on the TuskenÃ¢Â€Â™s acquisition of freedom, but as far as he was concerned heÃ¢Â€Â™d done nothing to deserve such an oath of loyalty. His hesitance had other factors, however, and he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t hide from them. Past confusion and feelings of inadequacy, there was genuine fear: he could hardly take care of his own life, how could he possibly manage to live with another at his side? Not to question the RaiderÃ¢Â€Â™s survival skills, but some of the situations Drac had gotten himself into in the past had nearly been the end of him, and the guilt of leading a man who had so readily sworn his life to him to his death may very well be unbearable.
But he was being selfish, and he knew it. Why doubt his own ability when this Tusken had only moments ago been set free in a galaxy he didnÃ¢Â€Â™t yet know or understand? This man had literally nothing besides the clothes and weapons he carried (as Drac did), and here the Selonian stood, above the bodies theyÃ¢Â€Â™d slain together, fearing the idea of taking this warrior with him. Shameful.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThere is only one thing more fearsome than a true warrior.Ã¢Â€Â A wise man of the Zeison Sha had once told him.
Ã¢Â€ÂœAnd what is that?Ã¢Â€Â Drac had asked, his youthful eyes full of wonder and curiosity.
Ã¢Â€ÂœTwo true warriors.Ã¢Â€Â The elder laughed, a sort of wheezing chuckle that somehow managed to accentuate both his extreme age and his unparalleled wisdom. Despite that laugh, Drac didnÃ¢Â€Â™t believe for one second that it was a joke.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOnly one thing more fearsome...Ã¢Â€Â The Selonian, now many years older, mumbled under his breath. He had made his decision.
Drac bowed low in respect for all the Tusken had just sworn to him, a comical scene considering where the pair was still standing, but the Zeison Sha cared little. He straightened, was surprised to see that no sentient was currently barreling towards them with one weapon or another raised high, and opted to leave the pit while that statement was still valid.
Follow. He sent to his new-found friend, seeing no other reason to stay and senselessly kill any more living beings. Drac left the cage, bound for the dining area for the second time in less than a quarter-hour, this time with another very unique companion in tow.
The Selonian slid into an empty booth tucked into the corner of the Blue Sun, somewhere out of the way where he could try to sort things out. Decided or not, Dracmus never had much of a guiding star. Wind blows Northerly, he goes North, and that was the kind of person heÃ¢Â€Â™d always been. It was enough for him, and he was certain the Tusken wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t about to complain, but that kind of life might not be...well...fair, now that he was to share that style with someone else. Most beings needed an objective, a goal, a purpose, and so far Drac had found none that lasted longer than the next meal, the next target, or the next destination.
Drac was afraid of disappointing his new companion, ashamed that his life wouldnÃ¢Â€Â™t be good enough, interesting enough, exciting enough. Depressing indeed, and a challenge he wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t sure he could conquer.
What the hell are you saying? He scorned himself, shaking his head to wipe away the clutter of fear and doubt that had infected his usual black-and-white way of thinking. Enough consideration, his mind was decided, and that was the way it would be: the Tusken would stay, they would survive, and that was that.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey!Ã¢Â€Â A voice that irritated him the moment it met his highly sensitive ears drawled. He glanced up at the speaker; a hefty human female with an agitated look on her face, and raised a furry eyebrow. The motion was imperceptible in the rippling ebony sea of his coat, but it matched the annoyed inquisitiveness with which he responded.
Ã¢Â€ÂœDid you want something?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYa, Fido, I asked if you or your....pal, were gonna order something or just sit there.Ã¢Â€Â The waitress chewed a stick of gum noisily, and already Drac was surprised to notice his typically controlled temper starting to rise. He closed his eyes, calmed himself, and answered.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOf course maÃ¢Â€Â™am, I was thinking, my apologies. IÃ¢Â€Â™ll have a water, my friend will have the same, and a....Ã¢Â€Â
Drac skimmed the menu quickly, chose an entrÃƒÂ©e not quite at random, and sent a mental picture of the meal to Groww. His choice, though he did not know it, was far from wise.
"...a bantha steak.Ã¢Â€Â Drac finished, meaning well and assuming that his Tusken companionÃ¢Â€Â™s handlers hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t exactly fed him well. A good steak would do the warriorÃ¢Â€Â™s muscles well, so what could possibly be wrong with a huge, juicy bantha steak? The bantha part.
The image that the Selonian projected into the TuskenÃ¢Â€Â™s mind was simply that of a Bantha; large, lumbering, dry, standing before a sandy cliff on a desert world he couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t quite remember. The picture he fancied somewhat serene prompted the Son of Tatooine to fly to his feet, upending his chair as he did so, voicing that unique half-bark half-screech only a Tusken could produce.
Drac, naturally, was thoroughly confused, and his hand enclosed itself around one of his discblades beneath his cloak. His leg muscles tensed, and he reached out around him with his Ã¢Â€ÂœGiftÃ¢Â€Â, thinking that Groww must have sensed some kind of threat.
There was no threat, no enemy, no sudden movement or loud noise. Nothing. DracÃ¢Â€Â™s confusion grew deeper.
Groww paused for a moment, then bowed his head, and sent Drac an image of his own. The picture of the Bantha reappeared, though not alone. This time there was a Tusken Raider atop it, holding a gaderffii high and looking as content as could be. Along with the image was a word Drac had taught him in their short time together.
All at once the Selonian understood, and turned back to the waitress, who was by now eyeing both of the wordless Force-sensitives very strangely. Drac apologized briefly.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHeÃ¢Â€Â™d rather have a Nerf steak, BanthaÃ¢Â€Â™s a bit too tough for him.Ã¢Â€Â
The woman scribbled on her notepad, shook her head, and walked away, leaving the two wayward warriors alone. Drac felt more than little foolish for not making the connection between beast and master earlier, and causing such a scene with the Bantha steak debacle, but for his part Groww didnÃ¢Â€Â™t seem to mind much as long as he wasnÃ¢Â€Â™t about to eat the lifelong companions of his species. The Selonian sat back, trying to collect himself and develop a set of priorities for the time being.
A disturbance quivered through his GiftÃ¢Â€Â™s aura of perception, and Drac threw a glance over his shoulder, feeling a rising tide of anger starting to grow behind him. Some of the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™leksÃ¢Â€Â™ party had staggered over to their little corner of the cantina, shared with the two warriors only by a lone Duro spacer, who at the moment was being confronted by the group of intoxicated men.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey, you with the head.Ã¢Â€Â A TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek shouted, his words slurred and accusing. The Duro looked up from his plate without thinking, wondering what the drunks could possibly want with him.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWhich is more than I could say for you...Ã¢Â€Â The spacer mumbled under his breath. DracÃ¢Â€Â™s Selonian ears caught the jab, the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™leksÃ¢Â€Â™ did not.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWe lookinÃ¢Â€Â™ for some privacy.Ã¢Â€Â The lead man said, laying his hands down on the table across from the Duro.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThen perhaps you should extend your search to a place with considerably less people.Ã¢Â€Â The pilot suggested sarcastically, shifting his attention back to his meal.
The TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek looked puzzled. His brow furrowed, as if he was trying his damndest to understand what the Duro had just said. At last, he came to the conclusion that it hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t been something he wanted to hear, and gave the universal answer for any half-wit with no regard for anyone else.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNo.Ã¢Â€Â He swept his arm across the table, sending the spacerÃ¢Â€Â™s meal skyward as his mates closed in behind the uncooperative Duro. He stood calmly, pushing back his chair gently and laying his napkin down where the half-finished plate had been. He wore no weapon.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI believe you owe me a dinner.Ã¢Â€Â He said evenly, paying no heed to the larger men behind him.
Ã¢Â€ÂœI dunÃ¢Â€Â™ owe you nothinÃ¢Â€Â™.Ã¢Â€Â The TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek slobbered, all of a sudden vivid with rage. Ã¢Â€ÂœBut tanks for da table. Now git outta heeuh.Ã¢Â€Â He pulled out the chair in front of him, and made to sit down. The next thing his *** hit was the floor.
The Duro stood over him, still posed as heÃ¢Â€Â™d struck: first extended before him, legs wide, eyes burning. He knew the fight was over, but he refused to be pushed over, walked on, swept aside. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d stood tall and done what he could, and even as the rest of the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™leks bore down on him, Drac could feel the self-satisfaction flowing through the spacerÃ¢Â€Â™s body. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d go back to his ship bloodied that night, but more than content.
Half a minute later the Duro had been thrown out of the corner area, and the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™leks returned to claim their tables. It had been hard for Groww to keep his seat as the brawl ensued, and truthfully it had taken a good deal of willpower to keep his own body in check, but Drac had shaken his head and told him to wait.
WeÃ¢Â€Â™ll get our chance soon enough.
He saw what was coming.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey!Ã¢Â€Â A different TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek addressed them, approaching their table. The Selonian looked at him expectantly. The drunk said nothing more, just standing there.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey what?Ã¢Â€Â Drac provided, venturing a guess as to the manÃ¢Â€Â™s lost train of thought.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh. This is our table.Ã¢Â€Â He said quickly, suddenly remembering his purpose here.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™m afraid youÃ¢Â€Â™re mistaken. WeÃ¢Â€Â™ve been sitting here quite some time, and we have food coming, so youÃ¢Â€Â™ll forgive us if we stay awhile longer.Ã¢Â€Â Drac said, polite as can be.
Ã¢Â€ÂœOh.Ã¢Â€Â The man walked off. After conferring with his fellows, he returned a few seconds later. Ã¢Â€ÂœWe wanna sit heeuh.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœYes, weÃ¢Â€Â™ve established this. However, you carry no unique privileges in this establishment, and as such you have not the authority nor the right to request any table already occupied by paying customers. Goodbye.Ã¢Â€Â The Selonian looked away. The Tusken looked at the Selonian. The TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek looked confused.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWeÃ¢Â€Â™re sittinÃ¢Â€Â™ heeuh.Ã¢Â€Â He said when all other forms of argument left him dry.
Ã¢Â€ÂœNo.Ã¢Â€Â Drac repeated with growing aggravation. Ã¢Â€ÂœYou are not.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€ÂœHey, whodoyuh think yÃ¢Â€Â™are?Ã¢Â€Â The TwiÃ¢Â€Â™leks seemed to experience rapid mood swings when inebriated, because in an eye blink this one was moved to violence. He reached out and grabbed DracÃ¢Â€Â™s shoulder, meaning to turn him out of the chair and fight him face to face. He never had a prayer.
The Selonian was on his feet and facing him in an instant, but due in no way to the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek; the thought to even begin to pull on the robed beast-manÃ¢Â€Â™s shoulder couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t have happened fast enough. His eyes flared with a light bright enough to make the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek shrink back a step, probably against his will. TheyÃ¢Â€Â™d been as black as the rest of his body just a moment ago, but now they seemed to be tinged a wild electric blue. A moment later the phenomenon faded, but the alien never forgot those eyes.
Ã¢Â€ÂœHis...Ã¢Â€Â The TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek trailed off, pointing vaguely at what his words couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t describe.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWho do I think I am?Ã¢Â€Â Drac repeated the TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lekÃ¢Â€Â™s own words, advancing on him as he spoke. His Gift told him that Groww had risen from the table as well, confused but cautious.
HeÃ¢Â€Â™d not fought tooth and nail through his life thus far to be walked over by some drunken play boy now. HadnÃ¢Â€Â™t mastered all the Zeison Sha had to teach him, killed a fellow warrior of that sacred tribe before dozens more to follow, hadnÃ¢Â€Â™t won the title of Zeison Sha warrior to back down in front of a wasted TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek over a cantina booth. HeÃ¢Â€Â™d asked for little in his life, but he asked Ã¢Â€Â“ no, demanded - more than that.
Ã¢Â€ÂœIÃ¢Â€Â™ll tell you then, and youÃ¢Â€Â™d do well not to forget; for if you remember one thing when you wake up with that headache of yours tomorrow, you will remember this. I think I am no one, no one cares what I think, but I can tell you what I know. I am Dracmus Kleysik, son of Ferrumij and true warrior of the Zeison Sha; a father that now sees me a dead man and a tribe that now sees me an exile. I have been christened in blood long before this night, and so I tell you, TwiÃ¢Â€Â™lek, that you now know who I am. Now, let me be sure you donÃ¢Â€Â™t forget it.Ã¢Â€Â
The SelonianÃ¢Â€Â™s hands could do a better job of it than his words ever could.
He'd hoped that the law-man would have broken things up long before now, but the reptilian didn't appear to care for much beyond what was absolutely necessary. The Twi'lek trying to grab the governor's gilly was just such a necessity; breaking up a tussle over a pair of tables was not. And so the Selonian's mind came to a begrudged but inevitable conclusion: they'd have to fight, again. Never before could he remember invoking the hatred of so many different sentients in a single night, yet here, in this accursed bar, he'd already carved through that damned fighter's pit twice, and here he was again about to place these Twi'leks in various forms of unconsciousness.
I hate making a scene. He told himself for the umpteenth time that night, harboring a small sliver of relief in the fact that at least it would be done with quickly. Drunken Twi'leks didn't tend to present much of a threat, or so he reasoned. His reasoning was, as it often is, correct.
He crossed his right hand to his left shoulder, flattened his fingers into a rigid board of bones and muscle, and drove it knuckle-side first into the side of the nearest alien's face. The Twi'lek reeled and toppled over the table his friends had commandeered from the Duro spacer just minutes ago.
A dark-skinned human at a nearby table cheered and pumped his fist into the air:
"Da's right! Bitch-slap dat mofo, deman' respe'c."
Drac regarded him with a sort of mild amusement, and an almost imperceptible smile crept up the corners of his mouth as he turned towards his next target. Shifting his wrist, Drac unleashed an open-handed strike on the second Twi'lek's abdomen, calling on his Gift to give the blow even more destructive power. His target flew backwards in a long arc, landing in a heap next to one of the gambling tables. 8 meters away.
The Selonian twirled on the balls of his feet, graceful as a dancer, meaning to engage the last pair of Twi'leks he'd marked before striking the first. Before he could complete his turn, however, his Gift told him what his eyes could not yet verify; they were both already out cold. He saw Groww standing over them as his body came to a halt, the strange double-edged weapon he wielded tinged crimson with fresh blood. For an instant Drac feared that he'd panicked and killed them both, but he discarded the notion quickly enough. They both breathed steadily, and while they each sported matching patches of blood on their temples, their lives were in no danger. With no mental urging, the Tusken had noticed that Drac had left both targets alive, and acted accordingly. The warrior was nothing if not observant...or sensitive with his own version of Drac's Gift.
The Selonian's mind was just starting to clear the battle-haze away, and he was distantly aware that he was still smiling at the dark man's insane interjection. His eyes flicked over to the man's table, where he found him still staring at Groww and his furry companion. The human smiled broadly, and offered Drac a proud nod.
"Damn straight." He said in that accented tone the Selonian couldn't identify. He realized, though, that it made everything the man said considerably more hilarious. "Representin' Yanibar, OG fo' sho'."
At this Drac's eyes widened in surprise and confusion.
"How do you...?"
The man just kept smiling. He dropped a credit chip on the table, finished the last of his drink, and pushed back his chair. He stood, smiling all the while, tucked his chair back in, and strode towards the exit, leaving Drac in his complete puzzlement.
How could he have known the home of the Zeison Sha? How did he know what I was?
He would get no answer this night.
He returned to his table where Groww waited, sensing each other's confusion. Drac waved a dismissive hand and shook his head.
I know about as much as you do.
Their food arrived (the waitress gave the unconscious bodies a wide birth and a troubled glance), and Groww began to dig in with ravenous intensity, unwrapping only the very bottom of his facial garment to eat, offering no one a glimpse of his species' true visage. Drac sipped his water (Groww seemed to give fascinated respect to the clear liquid in his own glass) and surveyed the cantina with cautious, black eyes. This was a dangerous place, and he was wrong to come here tonight. His eyes flicked over to the desert warrior eating across from him.
It didn't matter, he decided, and shook the thoughts away. He'd make due, it was as simple as that.
Eat quickly. He sent to Groww uselessly; the Tusken was eating faster than any man he'd ever seen, starving or otherwise. We leave soon.
"I AM A SEXY SHOELESS GOD OF WAR!" - Belkar