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(( RelatedSWTOR Journal (Brembal) Parent Trap. The following is on a SWTOR character of mine, Vanessa. She’s a young child (about five) currently in Brembal’s care in a now-discovered location known to few. She’s confirmed as the estranged daughter of my Smuggler, Jacqueline “Jackie” Rees. ))

Chewing on her lip, Vanessa lay in bed with her eyes on the ceiling, watching the intermittent swirl of lights of Nar Shadda speeders stroll by. Any time a guard patrolled by her door, she immediately feigned sleep, even though no guard ventured in. Between feints, she lay there, distracted by the growing knot in her stomach.

A man named Halonan had come to visit. Vanessa wasn’t wholly sure why he came, but the moment they met, he became upset. His voice rose in anger, confusion, and hurt, enough to alarm her, but when he proposed they visit her mother there and then, she took his hand. Surely, this was a reward for all the training she’d put in; or all the years waiting for good things to happen; this is what happened when a child pleased her mentors and teachers; this is what happened with good kids. Her mother was alive, she was told, and she’ll get to meet her someday soon. Not everyone was as lucky as she was. And tall and striking as he was, dressed in a vibrant red, Halonan seemed the part of the one to take her to her mother. A long-awaited meeting was nearly there. What would she be like?

But the excitement was short-lived. Whatever anger roused him to declare such a trip also abruptly ended the possibility. His anger only grew worse, but it was not only his emotions that unsettled her, but the words that were said. Accusations flew. They rebounded through the room and settled into the pit of her stomach. Though she could not understand all that he spoke of, the names he used, his words nestled deep down inside her, telling her that something was deeply, terribly wrong.

Overcome with her own disappointment and grief, she ran to her bedroom. There, the tears finally came. What a mean, cruel man, to tell her such hopeful things then take them away. How mean could he be, to also yell like that? She’d done no wrong. She’d trained all day, even read one of the datapad books Brembal had given her. She hated reading. Recognizing the words wasn’t difficult, but they forced her to keep still for long periods of time. A page or two in and she was ready to tackle something new. She even assembled two new ships today. On the table by her bedside was her own homemade fleet.

Bedisa came in, speaking in her gentle voice. She even used her own connection to the Force to make socks and colored bits of clothing from her dressers flutter about the room. Between her gentle words and the fluttering cloth, Vanessa was lulled into a light sleep. The night’s events vexed her, but for a moment at least, she drifted, her mind resorting the events of the day in its own assortment, adding in nonsensical pieces that seemed purely acceptable as most her mind lay to rest. In her fitful dreams, instead of lifting a mid-sized statue with the Force, Vanessa herself was lifted, but she found it difficult to return properly to the ground. She waved her arms and even pointed herself downward, trying to return to the ground where she knew people should stay.

A sharp sound woke her. In her dream, she felt a sudden, hard drop. She gasped awake. Dazed and frighted as she was, it took her a long moment to realize the sudden crack and drop were not from the waking world, but from her brief dream. She sat up with her knees to her chest, not eager to return to sleep. Time passed. Sleep was not often kind to her, often coming with dreams that urged more waking than resting hours.

Brembal appeared. As the older man came through the doorway, she rose to great him. She told him everything, her words specifically focused and frustrated with Halonan. 

“Bedisa told me sons are mean to their dads sometimes,” she told him. Brembal pulled her into his lap. “I told her I wouldn’t be mean to my dad,” she continued almost proudly, then added honestly: “But I don’t know him.”

He reassured her. For all the anxiety the day brought her, and the unsettling feeling of the night’s dreams thus far, Brembal’s calm, low voice was soothing. An also strange, sudden feeling of comfort came over her as she curled in his arms. It was not wholly unwelcome, but for the first time in hours, her eyes finally drooped. Her head leaned against his chest. A more restful sleep finally overtook her. She was dimly aware of him rising from the chair and placing her in bed. He took time to fold her in, his hand tucking her dark hair behind her ear. He was always kind to her, showing her great things, telling her about her heroic mother, and letting her explore what new things she could try with the Force. The knot that pitted in her stomach from Halonan’s words was still there, but it eased, soothed with a welcome warmth temporarily visiting her. 

Sleeping soundly through the rest of the night, she woke to her breakfast waiting for her at her bedside. Her datapad beeped with new assignments to read. A box of new toy ship parts waited to be assembled, and the training room downstairs included new training puzzles for her to unlock. 

She concluded that morning: Surely, not all adults were right all the time. Sometimes they were just bad people, and bad people said mean things. Maybe she was old enough now to finally meet some of those people. But if she kept working hard…

Nodding to herself, she rose from bed to start the day, choosing the puzzles in the training room as her first adventure to tackle.

Author Ari
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