A Heartfelt Homecoming Part One: The Landing And A Chat With A Friend...
Friday, 30-Jun-2000 11:50:18 writes:

    Danora'an's huge green and blue mass hangs in the veiw port of the Crimson Force as she comes out of Hyperspace. Her two moons circling in a sister orbit around the sphere he calls home.

    Jedi Master Rayloth Zafner preforms the tasks needed to prer his ship for entry into the atmosphre and takes her down, the Force preprogrammed to take him to his home on the main contanent.

    oO(Okay, Rayloth...here it goes...no turning back. She's not going to be there and you're just going to have to face it....to deal with it.)

    Slowly the Corellian Starpointer freighter sets down on the landing pad outside his home, her hydraulics hissing as they except her weight. Rayloth takes his time shutting her down and then gets up and heads for the main hatch and...to face his fears.

    The Jedi Master can feel his lengthening blond hair blow back out of his face as the hatch opens and the ramp lowers, mixing the warm summer air of Dandora'an with the cool stail air of his ship's Lifesystems. The ramp touches the ground and Rayloth takes a deep breath, holds it a minute, and then lets it out and starts down the ramp. His heart is pounding and he struggles to keep his feelings in check. That is, until...


    Rayloth lets out a hearty laugh as he drops to one knee and takes his seven-year-old daughter Shedrian Lenore Zafner as she runs to him, arms open.

    "Daddy," she exclaims it her pure, innocent voice, her bright blue eyes and short blond hair framing her angelic face with that child-like grin. "Daddy, I'm so glad you're home! Daddy, mommy's gone away."

    Rayloth feels his heart tighten as he pulls her out to arm's length and ruffles her hair with his left hand. As he speaks he forces a smile on his face and does his best to keep the pain he feels in his heart out of his voice. "I know, Baby. Mommy's gone on a Journey. And I promise, as soon as I talk to your aunt Eva, we're going to talk about it. Okay?"


    Rayloth smiles and stands, watching his daughter run back toward the house; totally envying her innocent ignorance....

    And dreading taking it from her.

    "Welcome home, Master Rayloth."

    Rayloth turns to meet the steel gaze of a smuggler and, once again, feels his heart tighten until he recognizes who he's speaking to. It is the Jedi Knight Evanglera Mooshadow, his lost brother's love and his and Silver's former Padawan.

    "Ev," he forces another smile, "I've told you not to call me Master. You're my....wife's friend, and mine. Don't do it, it bother's me as much as when Dandor did it."

    Eva nods once and her expression goes to one of sterness. Rayloth lets his head drop, unable to keep up the sherade with her as he did with his daughter.

    "Ev," he says, his hand coming up to run his fingers through his golden hair, "When did she go?"

    "I...She asked me no--"

    Rayloth's green-gray eyes shoots up to lock gazes with the former smuggler. "Evanglera, don't...I know...she sent me a message through a Vison. I know what she's become...don't know who...but I know what."

    "Rayloth...you can't blame yourself."

    "What? I never said I..."

    Eva lets out a small laugh, totally void of joy. "Rayloth Zafner, I may not be able to read your thoughts. But I'll be damned to any of the nine hells if I can't read that on you like the stamp on a cargo box."

    Rayloth lets his gaze drift to look over to the pen of Managi behind the large house he, his wife, his brother, and even the smuggler-turned-Jedi had once all called home. The horse-like beings graze and whinny.

    "I...I guess I do, Ev. She always said that our battles were to be fought together...that my problem were hers and hers mine. She was there Luke to bring me back from the Dark Side...she," he looks her in the eyes again, "She was there with Dandor...she saved my life Eva. Her and Dandor's spirit. And now this?"

    He steps past her and rubs his face with his left hand. She turns and places a hand on his shoulder.

    "We all have our own wars to wage, Rayloth. There are times in a person's life where everything changes in the blink of an eye. Trust me, if anyone can tell you that, it's me. I was a smuggler for Fate's Sake! I swore to myself that I would never love another person for fear I may be hurt or that I may hurt them...and then I met Shady...an' your brother."

    Rayloth spins to face her.

    "I...I know that lives change...people change. But that doesn't make it hurt any less, Ev. I loved Moraya...I always will. And I can't help feel that I need to go after her...that I owe her for the sacrafices that she made for me."

    Eva reaches up and touches elbow and tilts her head to the side. "What did she say to you in the Vision?"

    Rayloth lets out a sigh, clearing his thoughts for a moment. "She asked me not to come for her...to take care of Sheni."

    "Then, as much as it hurts my friend--and I know it does--for her sake you must not go. She's got to face her new feelings, her new life on her own. When she is ready...if that day comes...she will come back to you. Or at least let you know she's okay.?

    Rayloth lets out a small laugh. "What's this? A Knight giving one of her former Master's advise? You are turning out to be a greater Jedi than you and I both predicted."

    Eva shoots him a mock-stern gaze. "Don't push yer luck. I still got the heart of a smuggler in me. Now...let's get you somethin' to eat and some rest...you have a daughter and a nephew that demand some of you attention."

    Rayloth looks over to the house, his smile fading fast.

    "Yeah, Ev. And an explanation." He lets out a sigh and turns to smile at her. "Shall we?"

    "After you, Master." she says, sarcasim filling her voice and that mischevious grin she used to wear when she was flying curving her lips.

    "I'm not even going to argue with you." Rayloth chuckles and heads for the house...

    And the tasks that lie within.

    "A Heartfelt Homecoming Part Two: A Father's Promise" coming soon to a IC Board near you.