Star Wars: Aberrant Cause

Chapter 1

Aveyla Rom was born on Ryloth to a poor family of fungus farmers trying to scrape a living from the underside of rocks. There was not much choice for Aveyla's father, who had six children and struggled to justify the land his family had lived on for generations. The price he could get for selling it would only feed his family for a week, and that was only if the Empire would allow it. While he was an honest man, he also wasted away watching his family struggle to survive. Her mother was a passionate woman and loved her children dearly, but she too watched as her children became skinny and their scrapes went untreated.

The situation led to back-breaking labor for their parents. The children, including Aveyla, were mostly oblivious to this, as children are prone to be. They spent their days playing the in the caves around the farm or performing random chores, unaware of the weight lying on their parents' backs.

One day, when Aveyla was eight years old, a man appeared on their farm and met with her father. He was far heavier than any other man she had seen before and his smile was brighter than the bleached bones of a rycrit they had once seen on a trip near the border of the Bright Lands. The children were fixated by his presence, for the family did not receive visitors very often and when they did, their father was usually holding a rifle. They clustered near the edge of the home and tried to hear the content of their conversation, but winds were drowning out anything they might have heard. Aveyla remembered her father looking very thin that day, his eyes dulled and his hands clawed into his pants. She did not remember seeing her mother at all.

Soon enough, her father called to the children and beckoned them to come over and meet the man, who had a very fancy name. Innocent and playful, the children were relentless and barraged the man with questions. He answered amidst deep laughter, the kind that made his stomach bounce up and down. His beady eyes were darting among the children and he appeared very gentle, running his chubby hand over their heads and playing with their lekku.

As one of the older children, Aveyla was at the front, smiling wildly and running his fine clothing between her fingers. It was like feeling water poured over her hand. Just as she was so interested in him, the man had also locked his gaze on the young girl, gazing at her lavender skin and bright face. When her father noticed this, his eyes fell away to the side and he seemed even smaller.

After more banter, the fat man walked back to his speeder and disappeared into the darkened cabin, with the door left open. Aveyla's father ordered the other children into the home, but kept Aveyla, his hand tightly wrapped around hers. His grip was slightly painful, but she noticed just how sickly he looked, so she did not protest.

The two stood silent for a while, staring at the house. Aveyla looked back and forth between her father and the speeder, then to the home that was strangely inactive. There was only an odd wailing sound that barely crept up over the wind and made the home seem like a dying animal. It scared Aveyla for a moment, but soon her father had pulled her around and was heading to the speeder. Once there, he fell to his knees and wrapped his arms tightly around her, crushing her small body against his. Even though she gasped a bit and told him of the pain, he did not let go and just shuddered there against her, silently weeping into her tiny shoulder.

Aveyla looked around, slightly panicked. It was such a strange day. She wondered where her mother was and invariably looked back to the home, but there was no sign of her.

Just when she began to truly panic, her father whispered to her in a weak, pathetic voice, "Please, forgive me."

The tone of his voice quelled her panic and she leaned her head against him, though her eyes were still glancing about wildly. An instant later, she was led into the speeder by her father and placed next to the fat man. His speeder smelled exotic, like spices. As soon as her father's hands left hers, they were filled with enough credits to feed the family for a year, though he did not covet this money as rationale would dictate.

The speeder door closed around Aveyla and the fat man gave her the same smile he had flashed since arriving, though his eyes seemed distinctly less gentle. The young girl reared up against the window as the speeder pulled away and Aveyla saw the last glimpse of her home and her father that she would ever have.

He was still standing there, his hand clenched around the money, his head fallen to his chest, unable to hear the cries of his daughter as she was taken away.

In the year 8 BBY, Aveyla Rom was sold into slavery by her father.

Abe'ian arrived at his manor with a screaming child in his speeder. After many years of procuring merchandise for Ryloth's lucrative slave market, he was used to screaming children. Whether they came from orphanages or from poor families, they came and they cried.

He was glad he was mostly deaf in his old age.

As the fat Twi'lek grunted and exited the vehicle, the young girl was still crying, curled in a ball in the seat of his speeder. The man turned and gestured to her to exit, but she did not respond. This was the most testing part of his occupation, but there were many ways to go about such a terrible business and he had tried each one. In is older years, he had become somewhat of a softer slaver.

"Enough!" he yelled, his bloated throat bobbing at the sudden exertion of sound. This silenced the child for a moment and her drenched eyes locked on him in terror. Abe'ian took a moment to regain his composure, amazed that even now he would lose his temper at something so natural as a frightened child. His demeanor relaxed and he renewed his gesture to her. "Come, child, into my home. It is now your home," he said calmly

Aveyla looked at the huge building in awe, not understanding what he meant. Her home was the farm they left behind, where her mother and father and siblings would be waiting for her. It was odd for an adult to not understand this, and her bright eyes fell back to him.

"But father is…" she began, but was sharply interrupted by Abe'ian.

"I am father!" he barked, making her squeak in surprise, "I am mother! I am grandfather. I am uncle. I am family. These are the first lessons you will learn."

Aveyla's world was spinning. She did not understand any of this at all. Her limited comprehension denied her truth, but another truth was rapidly coming onto her. A wonderful smell was coming from the home, and Aveyla was very hungry. The aroma made her stomach growl loudly and her small hands laid over it, her eyes guilty as she stared down.

There were few moments that made Abe'ian smile, but seeing her clutch her stomach brought one to his face. He saw many children whose family could not feed them. The world was a hard place, but he had made his place in it by utilizing those poor families and the children that went hungry.

The compassionate side of him enjoyed feeding those starving children.

"Come, child. You will be safe inside. Inside is home now, and you will not go hungry while you live in my home," he said gently, moving his hand once more towards the door.

Aveyla reluctantly looked between the man and the home, her hands dug into her belly. He did not seem like a bad man and she still held onto a faint hope that her father would come and get from this foreign place, taking her back to the familiar world she lived and the family she loved. Slowly, she slid out of the speeder and moved along his hand, walking next to him as they walked into the cavernous manor.

Abe'ian closed the door behind them and pulled his jacket off, handing it to a servant standing near the door. "I'm getting too old for this," he sighed, wiping his face with a cool towel handed to him by another servant. Aveyla was stuck behind him, looking about the home in awe at the splendor of it. There were sights and smells she had never seen before. Servants and slaves were busy moving about the place, cleaning or performing chores. It was like an entirely new world to her.

After cooling down, Abe'ian gestured to one of the servants and wafted the towel towards the source of the wonderful smell. "Go, take the child and feed her. Bathe her and get her clean clothing. Put her with the others and begin her training. I am going to take a nap," he ordered and the servants moved quickly to comply.

Aveyla was led to a large hall with many tables and presented with a plate of food, more food that she would have eaten in a day at home. While it was not anything special, it was hot and filling and it helped her forget the longing she had for home, if only for a little while. Afterwards, she was taken to a bathing area and washed, then given heavy clothes to wear. It was overwhelming at first, but she was soon led to another room where rows of beds were filled with other children and adults. The others were scattered about, talking or reading books and the entire atmosphere was unlike anything else Aveyla had seen. She was given a bed with three books next to it. One book was to teach Basic and the other was to teach Huttese. The third book was about general skills such as cooking and cleaning, but also songs and forms of dance around the galaxy. Aveyla had barely learned to read, so it was a lot to take in. She also noticed that only women were in the room, though she had seen male slaves in the home as well.

Sitting down on the soft bed, the child hugged one of the books to her chest and looked around, trying to process the world around her. She idly wondered if her father would ever come for her like she hoped, but more and more she understood that he would not. It was a painful realization for her.

She cried herself to sleep that night.

Over the next few years, Aveyla was transformed into an entirely new person. She was taught how to read and speak three different languages, how to perform basic functions of a home and a vast array of other things that were contained in the books around the manor. Abe'ian was known for being an unorthodox slaver, but he was also highly regarded and one of the few native Twi'leks that dealt directly with the Empire.

It was his training regimen that helped produce high-quality slaves, which led to his abundant wealth.

Aveyla was strangely oblivious to the fact she was a slave. A few factors clued her into this fact, such as an overly strict punishment when she did something wrong or failed to learn her lessons quickly enough. Another thing she noticed was other slaves she came to know would abruptly disappear, most often after Abe'ian would call all of them together for presentation to a prospective buyer. The constant shuffling of slaves made the young girl reluctant to befriend anyone, for she had her heart broken many times since being taken from her family.

In the absence of friends, Aveyla spent her time studying, not because she had allusions to being a wonderful servant but because it allowed her to remain distant from others, so she would not feel the inevitable pain of being torn away.

One person in the manor she did connect with was Abe'ian himself. Pleased with how she was growing into a beautiful young girl and diligently expanding her knowledge, the fat Twi'lek began to see her as his own kin, even against his own instincts. He often would call her into his study and ask her of the things she had read about, listening to her speak almost in a trance. He would also tell her about places beyond Ryloth and some of his exploits before he got too old and too fat to travel. She listened to these stories with equal enchantment.

After three years of living with Abe'ian, Aveyla was summoned to his study as always, though she found him with a grave look in his eyes. The young girl felt the same wave of anxiety in her as she had years before, when she left behind her family. Abe'ian appeared much as her father did that day, seeming small and defeated.

Abe'ian stared at the young girl for a long time, his figure not moving from the large chair in which he always sat. His eyes looked from her beautiful skin, her developing body and the book she still clutched to her chest, a vision of how he always remembered her. Beyond the light of the room, where shadows hid the depths of his chubby face, a tear had welled up in the corner of his eye, though it was lost in the creases of his sad face. Aveyla knew not to speak until she had been spoken to, but she was feeling very frightened at the lack of his usual demeanor.

Abruptly, Abe'ian waved over the young girl. She obeyed and approached him, kneeling at his feet as she had always been taught to do. The fat old man reached out and cradled her head, his hands soft and gentle to the touch. He then leaned forward and planted a single kiss to her forehead, something that made Aveyla very uncomfortable, if only for its incongruity.

Looking up, she found him looking at her with a sad smile. "I have sold you, my child. It is a day I have looked forward to and feared since you came into my home many years ago. Your new master has paid such a price for that I could retire to Coruscant," he said bluntly, watching the expressionless response. Aveyla had no practical comprehension of actually being sold as a slave, despite knowing it was the whole purpose of her being there. She had just never really thought about it before now.

"Yes, Master Abe'ian," she said, her standard response to him.

The old man leaned back in his chair, sighing loudly. It was incredible to him that even after all of the years he had been handling sentient merchandise, he could still become attached to them. He idly considered the retirement he had mentioned to her. "Your new master is Fennri Kenu, a Rodian of some repute. I have dealt with her many times and she knows the value of a good slave. As I always say, a merchant is only as good as his merchandise. She understands this, and should treat you well," he continued, looking down to his desk at the contract laid before him.

While he was lost in the details of the contract, Aveyla felt terror. She slowly understood that she would soon leave her home once more, given to another stranger and forced to serve their every whim. Her thoughts shot back to earlier in the day, when she was presented to prospective buyers just like they always were. She thought of the bullish Rodian woman that had scrutinized her for a long time, examining every inch of her and her own reflection in those large, black eyes.

Many had their eye on Aveyla when they came to Abe'ian's manor, but the old man had set her price so high that none could stomach paying that much for a single slave. It was Abe'ian's method of keeping her without actually accepting he had grown fond of her. Such a price was unheard of in the Ryloth slave markets, but for the Rodian woman, it was not an issue. She had paid on the spot and Aveyla now belonged to her.

With little preparation, Aveyla was told to go to the front of the manor and enter the waiting speeder. As she owned nothing, there was no reason to return to her bed. While it was natural for her to obey, she felt like her feet were weighted as she was led from the front door by another of Abe'ian's servants. Once led out to the speeder, the slave woman, whom she had seen many times in the manor, placed a warm hand on her shoulder and gave her a warm smile. Aveyla did not smile back. She looked up the window of Abe'ian's study, hoping to see him one last time looking down upon her. There was nothing in the window. With a repressed whimper, she entered the speeder and said goodbye to her home once more.

Fennri, the Rodian woman that was now Aveyla's new master, was not in the speeder. It was another Twi'lek, armed with two blasters and a wicked look in his eyes. In the back of the speeder were two Gamorreans that filled the cabin with a foul smell. All eyes were on the young girl, which sent shivers down her spine. None of the thugs spoke, but simply went about their business as the speeder sped off towards the spaceport.

Once at the spaceport, they speeder came to a stop in front of a ship, the Skvat. It was a Starwind-class ship and Fennri's personal yacht. While it looked old and was leaking some kind of liquid onto the deck, the two quad-laser cannon installations were kept in perfect order, a steep contrast to the rest of the ship. Aveyla was led from the speeder and up the loading ramp into the Skvat. Once inside, she was brought into a room with a single large chair, filled with a hulking Rodian woman. Aveyla instinctively knelt down and dropped her head, as she had always been taught by Abe'ian.

"How may I serve you, master," she said quietly, addressing her new owner.

Abruptly, the two Gamorrean guards reached out and began tearing her clothes from her body, much to her surprise. She could not help but cry and try and keep the plain clothing, the only thing she had left from her time with Abe'ian. A young Twi'lek girl stood little chance of overpowering two Gamorreans and soon she lay on the floor of the room, naked and staring up in terror at the Rodian woman.

The woman was staring down at the girl lustfully. It was obvious her new life would be nothing like living in Abe'ian's manor. "You speak Rodian," the woman barked in Basic, her husky voice echoing in the chamber.

Aveyla was trying to cover herself and shook her head, "No, master. I don't…"

Fennri's hand came crashing down on the arm of the chair, making a loud boom. Aveyla jumped, but the woman was ruthless. "No! You speak Rodian!" she barked again.

This time, Aveyla realized she was not asking her, but telling her. Rodian was not one of the languages she had learned and she frantically looked around between the thugs in the room and the large woman glaring at her. There were no books or datapads or anything else to facilitate the request. It was obvious she was going to have to learn it any way she could, with no option for failure.

Aveyla shuddered and pulled her legs closer to herself, simply nodding to the woman and dropping her eyes.

With Fennri appeased, she ordered something to the thugs and they took the naked Twi'lek girl out of the chamber and to a room that was nothing more than a prison cell. She was locked into the cell and given some rags that barely covered her body. As the ship rumbled and rolled around her, Aveyla hugged herself tightly, wanting more than anything than to return to Abe'ian. The reality of her enslavement was quickly becoming apparent and she did not even realize when the ship blasted away from her home planet, heading into the blackness of space.

Also unnoticed was the door to her cell mysterious trembling and distorting each time she whimpered to herself in the dark.

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