(( Related: .The following is on a SWTOR character of mine, Vanessa, the estranged daughter of Jacqueline “Jackie” Rees and currently in Brembal’s care. Huge thanks to Halo for allowing me to include Brembal and for his careful review for accuracy! ))
“This one?” Vanessa inquired, pointing to a card. “Or this one?” Pointing to another. Her eyes flickered to Brembal, watching his reaction, hoping for an inkling of a clue.
The Sith watched her, amused but his face gave away nothing. “You have to choose.”
The little girl pouted, mulling over the cards. They lay in an array between them, their topsides identical but underneath they concealed a random pattern of colors. Vanessa sought the matching card to complete her blue color pair. Brembal played along, a grown man sitting atop a child’s bed, a large collection of cards won in his hand. Her collection was far smaller. He handily won every game they played, which only drove her determination further. No matter how well she remembered the location of each colored card, the Sith overturned the correct ones with ease, never missing a match on his turn.
“You’ve played this game before,” she giggled at him, certain he unveiled some sort of secret to this game.
“Yes, I have,” Brembal replied smoothly.
“Ah-hah!” Vanessa pointed an accusing finger at him.
” — I’ve played it with you.” Brembal continued, his amusement growing.
“Well yeah,” Vanessa pouted again. She returned to contemplating the cards. They stubbornly lay before her, their upsides colorless and not giving any hints as to blue’s whereabouts. Finally, she chose one and flipped it, but found it red. “Uh!”
Brembal leaned forward and overturned two cards, both purple. He added them to his hand.
Crossing her arms, Vanessa groused at him. “But I didn’t see purple yet! How did you know they were purple?”
“I did not need to,” Brembal said calmly, carefully rearranging the cards in his deck. He undertook it almost laboriously, playfully pretending the arrangement of the cards mattered in his hand. Vanessa fidgeted with her own deck as she watched him.
“Is it because you played it before?”
“No, I can see the cards.”
“You’re cheating!” She pointed another accusing finger.
“No,” Brembal looked at Vanessa, his eyes glittering. “I don’t cheat. I don’t have to. I don’t see them with my eyes. I see them with the Force.”
“That’s the magic,” Vanessa scrunched up her face, remembering. Both he and Bedisa had mentioned the Force by name before. She felt a small pang of fear, remembering the fire on the hanger deck caused by her play. But then she remembered flying the Shadowstar in the days after. The exciting memory soothed her a little.
“Yes, the magic,” Brembal returned to meticulously picking at the cards in his deck. “I don’t need my eyes to see things. I can see what I want, even when I’m far away.”
“How far away?”
“Very far. I can see my son, even when he’s on the other side of the galaxy.”
“Can you see Mom?”
Brembal didn’t answer immediately and continued working with the cards instead. But there was a slight hitch to his hand as he folded the last color card into place. “Sometimes. But your mother can’t do it like we can. This makes it harder to see her. The Force cannot be wielded by all. Only some of us are so gifted, and powerful.”
“Mom can’t use the Force?” This news struck Vanessa. It never occurred to her before to ask.
“No, she can’t,” Brembal spoke smoothly, but his lips upturned into a slight grin. “But you are very special, Vanessa. We both are.”
Chewing her lip, the child looked at the offending cards on the bed. They lay colorless, hinting nothing about where any color hid. Staring intently, even squinting her eyes, she couldn’t see the colors through the tops of the cards. This wasn’t like floating toys or ships, though she could try to lift the cards and sneak a glimpse underneath. But surely that was cheating, and Brembal wasn’t doing that. There was some other way.
“How do you do it?” She asked him.
Brembal smiled. “Choose again. Think of the color you want. You want it, and it is yours for the taking. It will come to you.”
“I want red,” she told him. This choice seemed to please him greatly. Briefly, the child wondered why but seeing him so pleased likewise pleased her. She felt confident when basked in such approval.
“Take it.” He told her.
Vanessa looked at the cards. She pictured the color red in her mind. It was a vivid color, the easiest to remember, the most lasting when she shut her eyes tight. She thought of the red shoes Brembal got her, the red lights of the ship, the long red robes of the guard uniforms. With her eyes closed, her hand wandered over the cards. So focused in her thoughts of red things that she did not see her own hand pick two. Brembal watched her with an intense gaze.
“Well done,” his voice stirred her. Opening her eyes, two red cards were unveiled in her hand. Excitedly, she looked at Brembal, finding immense pride in his face. It felt like the glow of a sun turned directly toward her.
“Well done, my daughter,” he told her, holding out his arms for an embrace. She went to him, her arms looping around his neck. She remembered what her mother said about fathers. But Brembal’s arms were warm and she felt his pride wrap about her. Surely, to call her daughter was OK this time. Just this once.