Where did I get this photograph?
I narrow my eyes at it, flipping the datapad around. The picture changes so it is landscape, and I can get a better look. It’s an ancient picture, practically: I’m about eleven and with the family on Korriban. I see my mother, my aunt, my grandmother, and Pergaleas. I see a couple of other cousins. No Caedusios, or mom and dad. Must have been a Doeseke family reunion, as I don’t see my father in the picture either.
I check the date. Oh yes, Pergaleas ninth birthday. I remember that birthday. It was one of the few birthdays where mother pretended to love me. Well, I suppose not ‘pretend’. She loved it when I got passing marks during my dueling classes.
“Crimsên,” grandmother said when we arrived, “you’ve grown a few inches!”
She gave me a hug and a kiss. She swept me away from mother to where Pergaleas was in the kitchen. We were going to help cook! Of course, mother was not far behind. “Motina, I need to show Crimsên to my brother. Show him how powerful your grandson is.”
“Yunoks Virejas is not going anywhere,” I remember her answering. Yunoks Virejas means “little chef” in basic, and was my grandmother’s favourite nickname for me. She taught me and Pergaleas everything we needed to know about Irtijemi’s cooking. That day she got me away from mother and in front of the stoves.
Of course, this did not stop mother from bringing people over to me. Uncle Pavydus, for example, came over just as I put Nerfherder Pie in the oven (yes, irtijemi like making Nerfherder’s Pie!). I bowed before him as mother comments, “Look at my lovely son. Look at how tall, and strong, he’s grown.”
“I can see that Gtukvi, and he is strong in the Force. You could not hide him in the Dark Temple.”
I smile shyly and nod. “Thank you, Uncle…”
Needless to say, many more relatives came by to see me. I try to smile, and enjoy the few times mother praised me. When mother wasn’t looking, I tried to talk to my grandmother about things. “I met a new friend, gramma,” I tell her, “he is tall and has very dark red skin. He and I practiced sparring… I enjoyed hanging out with him.” She smiled back in an almost knowing way. Did she know my secret before I knew it?
Being quiet when mother came around worked for the most part, as I remember. Until we sat down for dinner, and were talking. There I was too absorbed in the conversation to watch what I was saying; was I old enough to know what to watch for, never mind why I should watch for it?
“So, Mezdi Raka,” grandma asked one of my cousins, “how have you been doing?”
“Excellent, senelie! Did I tell you I was asked to the dance at school by one of the boys?”
Boys? This is why I focused on Mezzy, as us young ones used to call her, instead of grandma. “One of the boys? Which one?”
“Pobe Sunus of the Nirgi house! He is so cute, Crimmy, and wears the loveliest of suits. Here…” she pulls out a datapad and shows me his year book picture. “He is so handsome! Don’t you think so?”
Mother walks up behind me just as I say genuinely, “He is lovely in that outfit, and very handsome.” Too genuinely.
Mother places a firm hand on my shoulder, stating, “I need to have a word with my son.”
I gulped, got up, and followed her outside. She went out the back way and further across the large land my aunt and uncle had. My guess it was so we would be out of ear shot. Confused, I asked, “What is it, mortina? Should we not be back at the table?”
She turns around, her eyes bright red and her fists clenching. She does not answer me, verbally. Instead he just lifts a hand and lightening flies from her finger tips at me. “AHHHHH!!!!” I cry out as the current goes through my my muscles, and sears my bones.
She shocks me three more times, and then leaves me in a twitch mess on the ground. I do not remember who came to get me after, and I do not remember if she ever explained why she shocked me. All I remember recovering to a smiling mother, happy I was found and relieved my budding power was not sniffed from existence.
I continue to look at the picture: “I hate family reunions,” and then put it away without care.