View Full Version : Turn and Face the Strange

Bryna Belargic
Jun 24th, 2016, 09:40:47 AM
The journey (http://theholo.net/forum/showthread.php?55326-Prisoners-of-War) to Bothawui was over, at last. Their shuttle had touched down in the foothills of the Kurual'grast Mountains, not far from the network of buildings that Alliance Intelligence called 'home'. Tucked discretely into the rise and fall of the hills, the squat operational and residential buildings were a far cry from the ornamental towers of nearby Drev'starn. The contours of the landscape gave the complex a rural feeling and there was a stillness about the place, disturbed only slightly by the infrequent sight of intelligence staff moving between the buildings.

Bryna stood outside one of the operational buildings, gazing down at the Bothan capital city as the sunset painted Drev'starn in shades of fire. Among the spires with their onion domes, she could see the outline of the Senate building. The last time Bryna had seen her father (http://theholo.net/forum/showthread.php?16449-Years-From-Now), he had been preparing to address the Alliance as a member of the Senate. Their leader, in fact. The Chancellor of the Alliance. Thinking back to that day on Dac, it felt like an eternity ago and yet as if no time had passed at all. She could still smell the storm on the sea-salt air, still feel the tightening in her chest as her father squeezed her shoulder and sent her away to Coruscant, to the maelstrom that had undone Bryna's life as she'd known it. “Make us proud," he'd said.

Swallowing, she glanced back over her shoulder, at the operational building that her father had been escorted into. Dasquian had asked to be debriefed, but Grace had protested that it could wait until tomorrow, insisting that he get some rest. At her mother's recommendation, Bryna had said nothing. A large part of her was grateful for that, for the time to think about what she should say and consider whether to take the same approach (http://theholo.net/forum/showthread.php?21664-Traitors-and-Transients) as she had done when trying to convince Grace about her identity. This is when some of Master Tarkin and Nytherciria's wisdom would come in handy...

Sinking down to sit on the grassy earth, Bryna sighed. For the longest time, it had felt like reuniting with her father was the most important thing - but the man they had collected from the Armistice Station didn't look like her father (http://theholo.net/forum/member.php?3876-Chancellor-Belargic), not as she remembered him. Even when she stretched her senses, oh so carefully, into the Force - he didn't feel like her father. What did it mean?

The sound of footsteps on the soft earth and the impression of a familiar presence pulled Bryna out of her introspection, as the Director of Alliance Intelligence emerged from the doorway behind her.

"Everything okay?"

Grace Van-Derveld
Jul 10th, 2016, 12:13:49 PM
"Considering that he's insistent on being debriefed, yes. Everything's wonderful," she groused while approaching her daughter.

He was being stubborn, which was a good sign. They had their disagreements, of course, and Grace did not want to press anything with Dasquian right now. He had to heal in his own way and integrate back into his life. What she was feeling towards him and his recovery had to be set aside. She could not afford to be selfish with him at all even if every fiber of her being wanted to just take control of everything as a way to repay him for saving her life all those years ago, and for failing him which resulted in his capture.

As she joined Bryna beside her, the Director's impassive form regarded what was a most beautiful and impressive visage of the capital city. It did nothing to quell the turmoil in her heart since arriving and watching Dasquian being escorted away with that damnable brave smile towards her as if everything was okay. He still had no idea who Bryna was to them or the countless questions that would be asked because of it.

Sighing softly, she glanced at Bryna and despite her eyes cloaked by the sunglasses, the young Jedi could see Grace's hardened features soften. "How are you doing?"

Bryna had been waiting for this moment for so long that their reunion was ... anticlimactic thus far. It couldn't have been easy for her.

Bryna Belargic
Jul 10th, 2016, 02:08:26 PM
Drawing her knees up to her chest, arms wrapped around them, Bryna lifted one shoulder in a little shrug. Maybe she'd just been awake for too long, or maybe it was that fleeting crack in her mother's emotionless demeanour - but she felt a wave of emotion threatening to wash over her.

"Yeah, I'm okay." She lied, and felt even worse for lying. What would Master Tarkin say? With a sigh, she settled her chin onto her knees and kept looking out at the city, distracting her mind by trying to count the number of towers she could see.

"I guess we should be celebrating."

Grace Van-Derveld
Feb 5th, 2017, 01:31:13 PM
"I suppose we should be," she admitted.

But what was there to celebrate without having Dasquian here? He still didn't know the entire truth of the young woman here, nor Grace's own personal stake in his rescue mission that went beyond friendship and partners. In a curious move that baffled two maintenance workers that lumbered by with their equipment, Grace took a seat next to her daughter.

Bryna was a bad liar - a skill that her mother had mastered long ago, Grace felt relief that it was an unneeded skill. Her eyes drifted out to the cityscape. "It'll be hours before we'll be able to see him again."

Bryna Belargic
Oct 19th, 2017, 04:05:41 PM
A murmur of acknowledgment was all that Bryna could muster, as she peeked sidelong at her mother. There was a stillness in the air that it almost felt wrong to disturb. A tension, like the kind that had gripped both of them in the lead up to the trade with the Empire. That tension had surrounded Bryna and Grace like a bubble and when the bubble had popped, Bryna felt the absence of it, the emptiness, as keenly as she had its presence. She wasn't sure what she had expected to feel after bringing her father back to the safety of the Alliance, but this wasn't it.

“Does he seem like... himself to you?”

Grace Van-Derveld
Jun 5th, 2018, 07:12:35 PM
She pursed her lips to consider the question and how best to answer it.

"No," admitted Grace with a slight shake of her head. "He's putting on a good front, but he's ... different. Not at all unexpected with everything he's been through. And we barely even have a glimpse of it all."

Grace went quiet as she watched the last hues of sunset disappear over the Senate building, her mind racing with different what ifs of how Dasquian's recovery were to take place and how she and Bryna would be a part of his recovery. If and when he was ready for their help.

"It'll just take time," she added quietly. "For all of us."

Bryna Belargic
Jun 7th, 2018, 12:31:59 PM
Bryna nodded along with her mother's words. It was no surprise to learn that Dasquian Belargic was a different man. A selfish doubt still gnawed at Bryna, however, fed by the simple fact that this Dasquian looked nothing like the man she knew as her father. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the chill of evening began to creep into the air. Bryna shivered a little.

"Is there anything I can do? To.. help, somehow."

Grace Van-Derveld
Jun 8th, 2018, 10:12:30 PM
I really wish I frakking knew what ...

Grace worked her jaw as that thought crossed her mind. Normally she would have immediate suggestions that would calculate the best outcome, but here she felt useless.

"Just treat him like he hasn't been through hell and back," she answered. "Whatever normalcy we can give him will help."

I hope.

"And when the time's right, we can broach the subject of ... you," she soon added and let that hang in the air between them.

Grace did not want to hide Bryna's true nature behind creative word play. It was not fair for either of them, but she also didn't want to put more stress on Dasquian too.

Bryna Belargic
Mar 1st, 2019, 12:40:15 PM
The subject of you. Bryna felt a lump in her throat, and tried to swallow it down. “Yeah,” she said, her heart not quite in it.

The trouble was, pretending like Dasquian Belargic hadn’t been through hell and back wasn’t going to be easy, not when Bryna herself felt like she’d been put through the ringer. Being on the move, plotting and planning, had been enough to keep her mind distracted most of the time from the hard facts of her situation, but now - in the stillness of the evening - she was once again confronted with the truth: there was no going back. She had found both of her parents, neither of whom were really her parents. Tears stung at the edges of Bryna’s eyes. She cleared her throat and looked determinedly at the Drev'starn skyline.

“How.. do we be normal? What is... normal for the two of you?”

Grace Van-Derveld
Apr 15th, 2019, 07:44:58 PM
Grace almost said she didn't know anymore, but that would be a lie, a distraction from the pain she was feeling. Bryna deserved more than her usual acerbic tone and immediate deflection. The young woman had complex feelings being here and Grace may not be her real mother, she still felt responsible in being honest with her.

"Easy," she said wistfully, following Bryna's gaze. "Everything was easy. We knew each other as well as we knew ourselves. Could practically read each others minds."

She shook her head, fighting a smile, as the memory of the two of them fighting off their pursuers in a kitchen came bright and vivid. It was a wild fight of improvisation, quick thinking, and Dasquian acting as if nothing was seriously wrong as he whacked attackers off with a frying pan while she was dodging cutlery being thrown at her.

"He could always find the fun, despite our catastrophic odds. We always cooked together - that was our normal on missions and back at command," she explained further. "Sharing a meal as we debriefed ourselves after the official debriefing. Which was me mostly giving him shit and not taking things seriously while he was complaining I was being too serious."

She chuckled sourly as if saying these things aloud left a bad taste in her mouth. Being so honest to someone other than him was difficult. But she was trying for Bryna.

Bryna Belargic
Apr 16th, 2019, 10:32:42 AM
A smile fought its way onto Bryna’s face. With the cuffs of her jacket she swiped hurriedly at the tears that were threatening to roll down her cheeks.

“That’s... ridiculous. You... can’t expect me to believe that you actually cooked anything.”

Grace Van-Derveld
Apr 16th, 2019, 08:06:23 PM
Grace immediately took offense at Bryna's remark. She poured her heart out to the girl and it was ... ridiculous?!

"Oh..." she murmured, realizing that she was expecting to defend her feelings, not her cooking. Or lack there of.

"I can cook," she countered. "And he always ate my cooking. Every time."

She did, however, leave out the part that Dasquian was always badly injured to cook in the field and they were forced to endure Grace's passable attempts at making meals in those circumstances in order to survive. That was all her culinary skill was good for. The right to live and see another day.

Bryna Belargic
Apr 18th, 2019, 03:04:36 AM
Laughing, in spite of her tears, Bryna risked a glance at Grace.

“I remember, when I was little… sometimes, you’d make this rum cake together - Hapan rum, dad would insist. It was just… awful.”

Memories of childhood bubbled inside of her. As a family, they had been strewn apart the Galaxy more often than not: Dasquian to the Senate, Grace to wherever Alliance Intelligence took her, and Bryna to the Jedi Temple. Yet, when they had come together, it was like no time had passed at all. Both of her parents had always done everything they could to make those moments feel insulated against the outside world. Bryna’s shoulders sagged with an exhaled breath. Now she was trying to do the same. Trying to make believe that the woman sitting beside her, and the stranger named Dasquian Belargic, were her family.

“He… doesn’t... owe me anything. Neither of you do.”

Grace Van-Derveld
Apr 19th, 2019, 01:06:01 PM
"Of course it would be awful if he insisted on that atrocious Hapan rum," she quickly quipped back, never willing to admit that the Grace there would ever be at fault for bad baking.

Bryna's words made her chest clench because she was terrible at being empathetic. She wished that Master Tarkin was here to guide the girl with some wisdom as the Jedi was helping to train her, just like in Bryna's real place and time.

"It has to be difficult," she said aloud in thought more than to Bryna, "to ... put the pieces of your life back together with the same people you're used to. But they're not actually them. Almost like ... memories gone awry in a sense."

She winced, not sure if that made sense or was helpful.

"Still ... you're right. I don't owe you anything. But ... it doesn't mean that I don't want to help you." She shrugged. "And I may tolerate your presence more than most."

She quirked a brow at Bryna, hoping she heard the sarcasm there. It was the same affectionate, teasing, tone that she reserved only for Dasquian, but now also for the young Jedi.

Bryna Belargic
Apr 21st, 2019, 12:38:36 PM
“The worst part of it is… even if I could go back, I don’t know what would be waiting for me. Maybe… maybe everything’s fine.”

If trying to convince herself that this Grace was her mother was a convenient half-truth, then imagining her home in a state that was anything other than catastrophic was an outright fantasy. It had been mercy, intentional or otherwise by Master Nemain, to send Bryna to the time she found herself in now.

“I guess I’m here for a reason. That’s what Master Tarkin would say.”

Grace Van-Derveld
Apr 21st, 2019, 10:22:07 PM
Grace didn't believe in maybes. Maybes would make you anxious. As a spy, she had to rely on her training and instincts to make split second decisions. She had to choose the best option and defend her reasoning. Going back on would've, should've, could'ves did nothing to change what her actions were. Debriefings were the closest to maybes so the next mission would go smoother.

"And she'd be right," Grace said without hesitation. "You need to focus on what you can do. What's in your control. I know it's not ... easy, considering your circumstances. And honestly? I can't begin to understand how you feel - especially towards me."

Her smile was caustic. "And Force knows I've made your life difficult since we first met ..."

Bryna Belargic
Jun 23rd, 2019, 07:23:28 AM
“You haven’t,” Bryna said, her voice cracking at the edge. She paused and swallowed, trying to get rid of the persistent lump in her throat.

“You haven’t made it difficult. I…” Her lips pursed, Bryna ran the fingers of one hand through the grass, fingertips pressing into the soft earth. It had been hard when Grace hadn’t believed who she was, hadn’t been willing to accept the truth of what had happened to her. It would have been harder still, however, if she had found herself in a world where Grace Van-Derveld simply didn’t exist, or was somehow… changed, in the same way that Dasquian was.

“I honestly don’t know what I would have done, if I hadn’t found you.”

Grace Van-Derveld
Jun 23rd, 2019, 11:59:38 AM
Force knows that Grace was far from being a compassionate woman to others. She couldn't access her own emotional needs since applying with the Corulag Academy and being accepted. It was the last time she felt truly connected with a sense of who Grace Van-Derveld was. Back then, people couldn't get her to shut up about her aspirations and dreams.

She glanced at Bryna - wondering if things had been different - could Grace have become an impressionable young Padawan to a Jedi that was ready to take on the galaxy? Bryna had her mother's passion without any of the darkness that molded it.

With a sigh, she outstretched an arm to her ...

"Come here."

... and let it rest around Bryna, pulling her close.

Grace, unsure of what to say, just let the physical act speak for itself.

Bryna Belargic
Jul 28th, 2019, 11:19:08 AM
Bryna’s head found Grace’s shoulder and she squeezed her eyes shut, willing this moment to be real - not some dream, or some fleeting instant that was about to be blown apart. As silent seconds ticked by, the fluttering in Bryna’s chest began to quiet. Exhaling a slow breath, she crept an arm around Grace, holding onto her, fingers digging just a little into the fabric of her jacket.

“Thank you. For believing in me...”

Mom, she thought, though the word stuck in her throat before she could say it.

Grace Van-Derveld
Aug 6th, 2019, 07:42:42 PM
The last rays of daylight still lingered, offering a partially painted tapestry of light blue before transitioning into the black of night and twinkling stars. The foot traffic was not quite as prominent as second shift had taken over and many residents were home for evening meal. For those that did pass by the pair, it had to be a startling sight that Van-Derveld was hugging, let alone be hugged, by the girl that had been her shadow since they met.

Grace reached up to take the useless sunglasses off, folded it and tucked it against the collar of her shirt with one hand, not wanting to loosen her hold on Bryna. Instead her grip around Bryna only tightened.

"You're welcome ..." she murmured sloppily, still trying despite being terrible at this but also equally determined. "If you need me ... I'll be there for you, Bryna."

There was little room in her heart to allow herself to feel after the academy. It was her weapon as much as her armor to keep everyone at a distance. Her recruiter Keth and soon after Dasquian, were the only ones able to reach a part of her that used to be the naive, hopeful girl that wanted to make her family proud. She tried to tell herself there wasn't enough room for another and that the developing patience for Bryna was created out of sympathy for the lost soul, when in fact it was affection. Maybe even more.

Bryna Belargic
Sep 3rd, 2019, 01:57:30 PM
The inevitability of what would happen next tugged at Bryna, like a hand trying to pull her off down a path that she knew she had to walk but was reluctant to start on. She chewed the inside of her lip, knowing that the two of them could only sit out under Bothawui's night sky for so long.

"I guess... we should get some rest."

A sigh, and in spite of her words, Bryna made no attempt to move. If anything, her fingertips just dug a little deeper into her mother's jacket, not wanting to relinquish her hold on something that had taken so long to grasp in the first place.

"I probably have to get back to Ossus in a day or two."

That was the way it'd always been, hadn't it? The three of them coming together for only a few, fleetingly wonderful days before responsibility pulled each of the Belargic's back to their relative corners of the Galaxy.

Grace Van-Derveld
Oct 12th, 2019, 09:53:22 PM
"Yeah," Grace agreed quietly. "We probably should."

Like Bryna, she made no attempt to move, which was her default. She didn't want to let go and have the evening end despite the inevitability.

"Command's been quiet. Though I'm sure that'll end soon."

She was given furlough to be there for Belargic's debriefing and transition back in Alliance space. Her considerable responsibilities were put on hold but not forever. Ops needed budget approvals after all ...

"But ... I've probably a couple of free days left. We can keep our schedules open enough to come back here when we get the call that Dasquian's free to see, but I'm thinking we could go looking around the merchant's area. Go out to eat. That way my cooking doesn't kill you ..."

She lightly shrugged, putting on her best smile to mirror the humor she was trying to convey. Even if Grace wanted to march right back inside and throw her clout around to allow both her and Bryna to listen in on Dasquian's debriefing. She hated not having any tangible work to do and now being in a holding pattern was making her restless. Spending more time with Bryna doing simple, mundane, things was an opportunity Grace didn't want to pass up.