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Xintr Wolfe

Initiate

Homeworld: Batuu

Species: Rattataki

Biography

Xintr’s father was a trader often travelling among the stars wheeling and dealing. Many of Xintr’s nights were spent gazing up at the stars with his mother, asking of each shooting star, “Will that be daddy coming home?” then laughing in her arms until he fell into happy sleep. Days when father was away were for chores and playing games with his older brother, Sayner. Though, these days, Sayner was grown enough that he sought more time on his own away from the home and had less and less time for his little brother. When father did return, he always brought back goods and profits, but much more importantly for Xintr, stories. Prized first and foremost among those stories were always those which involved Jedi. Most were merely accounts of actions far away in the vastness of space, it mattered not to Xintr; he treasured them all, even those most would find boring bureaucracy. Still, nothing captured Xintr’s imagination more than those very rare tales his father could tell of the adventurous and heroic actions of the Jedi. Indulgent as he was, Xintr’s father often stoked the young boy’s fervour by embellishing and exaggerating many of the rumours he heard. Sayner would tease Xintr mercilessly about his childish fancy, but still the Jedi dominated Xintr’s imagination.

One night as Xintr lay in bed dreaming of standing on a windswept plain, his lightsaber ablaze, single-handedly holding back wave after wave of murderous marauding raiders he was awoken with a most peculiar feeling. The house was full of the gentle hum of normalcy. Mother and father’s soft voices drifted through the curtain to his room, having some discussion with Sayner. Outside insects buzzed and the life that filled the night moved in its usual way. There was no cause for his unrest, yet the feeling seemed only to be growing as he listened to the all too familiar sounds around him. This did not feel like an upset stomach or any other illness he knew, this was something else, like someone nudging him, calling him, but there was no one there.

Xintr decided to watch at the window for a while until the night sky calmed into sleeping as it had done so many nights before. While he watched he saw a streak of light across the sky, and out of habit almost asked mother if it was Daddy coming home before he remembered he was alone and meant to be asleep. Xintr smiled to himself and thought surely the uneasy feeling must be getting less; but instead it spiked and seized him and the odd nudging of it mixed with an icy edge of fear as the streak of light grew brighter, larger, and a deeper darker red. This was no shooting star, this was a ship! A ship landing, and not at the port where ships belong, far over the hills, beyond the forest, this ship was landing here! Just as the menacing rumble of the ship’s engines began to sneak into the realms of hearing, Xintr’s father let out a shout of alarm. There was a commotion in the house and all became a blur, but for the crystal clear image if Xintr’s mother’s face, so different in her panic, as she carried Xintr to the attic and told him to hide and be very still before she kissed him one last time and turned and closed the trapdoor behind her.

The dark stillness of the attic was terrible. Xintr heard his father’s voice shouting outside, but the darkness seemed to swallow the sounds up as if it were hungry for every noise. Even the sounds of blasters being fired, the low hum of father’s hunting rifle, and the quick sharp cracks which must have been hand blasters had their edges nibbled off by the hungry quiet that lived in the attic. The darkness that was a suffocating void at first slowly turned to a welcome protecting blanket as the sounds from downstairs turned from shuffling, banging and shouting to laughing and his mother’s dreadful sobs, first frantic and furious but slowly stretching into hopeless, painful defeat. When his mother’s sobbing finally stopped with another quick sharp crack, the darkness almost started to feel like a comforting friend.

After a time the shuffling and banging resumed, and began to draw near. When Xintr heard the ladder being set against the trapdoor he held himself tight in the dark, waiting for another awful, sharp crack. His fear and sadness and hatred of the men downstairs pushed him inside himself and down, down far away. Xintr’s mind began to shout where his mouth had promised to stay silent. ‘GO AWAY,’ he screamed inside his head, ‘There’s nothing for you here! You’re nasty stupid men and you need to GO AWAY!’ Xintr could practically feel the shouts inside his head flow out of him and wash over the attic. He was so deep in his own mind that he didn’t even notice when the trap door opened and a light splashed across the attic, and his huddled form there. He did notice when the man on the ladder called out, “Nothing for us here, you nasty stupid bastards” then closed the trapdoor again and dashed the ladder against the wall. Muffled from below, the voice added, “Time for us to be on our way.” After that the silence ruled, in the house, and in the attic, and in Xintr’s mind, until at long last he began to weep.

Only shattered images of the next day remain with Xintr now; the terrifying but unavoidable drop from the attic into the ruin of his old life; the curtain to his parents room, torn and bloodied, and a much more terrifying form on the bed, unmoving, which he was too fearful to explore; one of his father’s auto-branders for marking crates, he picked it up, cradling the undamaged object from the life before last night; blaster marks on the door; a smouldering form in his father’s clothes slumped over the benches in front of their house. Seeing the ruin from outside, Xintr ran, ran sobbing into the woods still clutching the brander as if it had any help to offer, or held any value at all.

The nights that followed were filled with huddled fitful sleep terrorized by nightmares. The days began with waking to find the worst of the nightmares were true. After spending so many of those days wandering the woods, calling for Sayner, without ever a sign of his existence, Xintr made a decision; he would go to the port, where the ships come in. The few friends father had were all spacers, they all worked at the port or on the ships that left from there. When family ever visited it was always from the port they came, and to the port they went. Surely there would be help there.

The truth of the port was cold and unfeeling, busy men with busy lives making haste to go from here to there and back again, but even that was better than the forest, empty of anything but mealy, dirt-tasting grubs, unanswered desperate cries for his brother, and memories that were worse than horror stories. Xintr doesn’t know how long he was at the port, how long he tried to ask for anyone who knew his father, how often he begged for help. He can’t remember how long he had to steal to eat, how long he had to hide to sleep. The port was vast and chaotic and no one even seemed to see Xintr, or if they did they certainly weren’t eager to help. The only help Xintr ever seemed to get was from that strange feeling which woke him the night the raiders came. That feeling had come to him often in his days at the port, nudging him out of a certain ally, or into a certain shadow at just the right time. Between that and the strong voice in his head which had called out in the attic, he seemed to do all right. Certainly he had been kicked at, caught, beaten for stealing, but at all those moments where it was do-or-die, the moments where there was no choice but success that voice inside him shouted at the world to be a little easier, a little distracted, a little slower, and fortunately for Xintr the world mostly seemed to listen, mostly. At some point though the numbing cold became a deadly cold and he knew he had to go. There was no way he could go back to where he had come from, so the only choice he had was up. Xintr snuck onto a ship and left his home world behind, for the void.

Living like a rat on a ship was surprisingly easy, if you were willing to learn from the rats. There are many ducts and vents and passages necessary to maintenance and function, but so convenient for stowing away. Xintr learned to love the lazy mates who always put off cleaning the mess and all its wonderful leftovers until after their game of cards. He even thought he was getting the hang of using the voice in his head to make a crewmate look away when there was no choice but to scurry past. Xintr was starting to like the life of a ship-rat when once again things changed. The ship pitched and rolled and crunched and Xintr braced, thinking doom had found him again. None of the crew panicked though, the duties continued, though everyone was more frantic. Then a distant grinding and a feeling of being still in a most peculiar way. At last, the captains voice on the intercom shouting most unfortunate words. “Prepare for final docking. Commence ship-wide decontamination and pest control sweep.” The rats couldn’t understand the captain of course, but they surely seemed to understand the stillness and rushing of feet and sprayers to parts of the ship often left alone. While Xintr’s first instinct was to follow the rats as he had been doing for so long, but once again that uncanny feeling rose in him. This time it was so strong he could practically feel a ghostly hand guiding him away. Following the feeling, the silent whispers in his head, he waited in darkness for crew to pass, then snuck past them into storage lockers and areas that had been too dangerous to explore before now. With much luck, and several moments where he willed crewmen not to turn to see him, and they dutifully obliged, he stayed out of sight of the crew until his nose began to sting with the smell of whatever ‘disinfectant’ fate had found the rats in the bowels of the ship. Soon after, the ‘all clear’ was given and all the air in the ship seemed to move at once as the airlock opened and bright light spilled into the ships passages and corridors.

At first the station was a stunning wonder, bright lights and so many people, like the port at home but much, much bigger, and brighter and cleaner. Staying unnoticed seemed it would be impossible in this gleaming place, but soon it was revealed to be easier in fact. There were so many people here rushing and wandering, shopping and talking that no one noticed one more, scurrying underfoot, dipping quick fingers into pockets and purses and scampering off into far corners.

Weeks, or months or years later something happened to break Xintr’s rhythm of petty theft and battling boredom. As he wandered through one of the stations markets he spotted a towering robed figure moving through the crowd talking at length to seemingly random people. The hows and whys of this person’s wandering didn’t matter a whit to Xintr, the robe caught his eye. Robes meant either criminals skulking in shadow, or important people not wanting to be mobbed with attention. This robe was talking everyone’s ear off, so obviously not a skulking criminal, thus someone important. Important means rich, rich means worth trying to rob. Slowly but surely Xintr made his way through the crowd, keeping an eye open for other pickpockets who might get in his way, until at last he was right behind his prey-to-be. As the robed figure turned and headed to their next conversation Xintr’s fingers flashed lightning quick and snatched a purse from the other’s belt.

Usually at this point Xintr’s instinct would be to dart away and either hide for a bit or run to somewhere adults couldn’t chase him. To be fair, that was still his instinct now, but that instinct was blown away by what he had seen in the momentary flash as he snatched the purse. Hanging farther back under the robe had been a gleaming cylinder which fairly radiated power, not just power, but importance. Though he had never seen one, Xintr knew this was a lightsaber, and he was thrown back across years and parsecs to the ground by his father’s knees as tales of Jedi wove their way across his imagination. Dumbfounded by the presence, and more so by the sudden flood of bittersweet memories Xintr stood frozen in the market, oblivious to the robed form now turning to take him in its gaze.

“I believe that belongs to me,” the robed voice intoned, stern, but not angry. “But I don’t believe you should be able to have taken it from me.” The robed figure carefully lifted its purse from Xintr’s numbed fingers, still hovering where they were when the sight of the lightsaber froze him. The brushing of the long haired fingers against his own snapped Xintr out of his stupor.
“You’re a Jedi!” Xintr exclaimed, not as a question but more a shocked observation, tinged with desperate hope.
“I might be, but you certainly are a thief. Have you lost your way? Where are your parents?”
Xintr simply shook his head at the word parents, struggling to find something to say to this figure of legend and adventure from his youth. There were no words with power enough to find a way to Xintr’s mouth through the storm of memories whirling in his head. So many memories boiled out, memories long forgotten; memories long locked away; memories of his father’s stories; the smell of blaster burned flesh; memories of watching stars with his mother; memories of a great red star burning towards his home; the dream the held a young child’s mind on its last night without nightmares. All that escaped Xintr’s mouth were sobs and tiny overwhelmed moans. Again, that voice inside him, which had protected him so many times was clear and strong, ‘take me with you!’ It cried, desperate to have someone speak to Xintr again. Desperate for someone to listen. ‘Take me with you, please!’ Once more Xintr could feel the voice rolling out of him like a strong breeze.
“Well, that is interesting,” the robed figure uttered, taking in the scene unfolding at its feet, as he slowly lowered his hood to reveal a lupine face. “Take you with me, hmm” the robed form considered carefully. “Come,” The robed figure helped Xintr to his feet. “Perhaps you can find your path after all…”