Another story languishing on a dead guild site. Karin's Lament was written as during my days in Star Wars Galaxies. This one is safe for work, I promise!
It was a dark and stormy night. Karin sat in front of the fire, bantha doll in her lap, absentmindedly stroking its well worn fur. It had been an extra long day at the salon, and the customers had been so demanding!
"Don't you think it would look better purple?"
"Can you make my lekku twist round my neck? Oh, and make the pattern look like little flowers, bright orange. Change my skin to light blue...."
"I have been bald for so long, what do you think I would look like in a mohawk? No, better make it dreadlocks. NO, NO! Not the short ones, the long ones! And make them black, and my skin white, and my eyes blood red."
"Could you migrate my stats?"
"Can you change me from a Mon Calamari to a Zabrak?"
"So many, many customers...all wanting some pretty tall orders, some even impossible! Imagine how long it would take to undergo the amount of surgery it would take to make a Mon Calamari even RESEMBLE a Zabrak, let alone be able to breathe the same atmosphere! No wonder the masters in my training schools said it couldn't be done! And if I have to migrate stats for one more person who hasn't a clue how to set their dials.....", thought Karin to herself. If it weren't for the soothing hiss-pop of the fire and the well worn bantha doll, she might burst from the pressure.
They didn't call Karin a top rank Image Designer for nothing. She had the most difficult customers given to her because she was extremely patient, and had a knack of making every customer leave with just what they wanted, even if they walked in to just look. Karin sighed, propped the bantha against the sofa arm, then gracelessly tripped over the briefcase of the latest fashion magazines she'd left on the floor. Rubbing her bruised ankle, she stood back up and walked to her little fireside dining nook. Opening the heating drawer, she pulled out a small meal for one. Almost knocking over her glass of brandy as she set her plate down, she settled the glass from rocking, and silently munched.
Meals hadn't always been for one. In her halfway dazed state, Karin sat back, meal forgotten, and remembered.
The had met soon after she had joined the rebellion. She had been a rash young recruit, sword at her hip, ready to do or die for...what? Karin shook her head trying to remember just why. But she remembered Raydale. Tall,lean, muscular, he was an artists dream model. Blue eyes, crew cut brown hair, everything about him was proper and neat. The challenge to mess him up, given to her by one of the other recruits, had been enough to get his attention. Somehow, she kept it.
A bite of dinner. A sip of brandy. Not enough to stop her musings...
They were married, in a hush hush way, so as not to upset his superiors. After all, she was still green, and he was an officer! She accepted his troth in the cantina in Coronet, where the marriage vows were covered in the bawdy strains of a Twi'leks song, sung to the tune of several badly tuned slitherhorns.
He made her promise to take up a less combative role in the rebellion. Karin found she had a keen eye and good rhythm. Soon she was in demand in the same cantina where she married, dancing away the hurts of the war weary. She learned a little music, too, and her act continued to gain popularity. All the while, her love, Raydale, was fighting for..what? Still she remembered the nights. Nights that began with a light dinner, sitting in front of the fire, eating off a single plate, drinking from a single glass. Dinner forgotten, wine spilt in the frenzy of two lovers too long separated by war and worry. Then the urgent call to arms, and the rush as clothing was donned and he left.
She was alone. Now more than ever. For the cause that Raydale was fighting for, killed him. The friends that knew of their hidden union, wept with her. Quietly she went to the Cloning Center, in hopes of catching him as he was reborn. But, fate had her way, and kept them apart. Raydale went back out to fight, and came back. But there were no more hidden trysts, no sly kisses stolen behind the Med Center. Gone were the nights of eating and drinking together, as only lovers know how. Raydale knew they were married, but he no longer knew love. Gone was the passion that burned in his eyes at the first sight of her after leaving her, even for a moment. In its place, automation.
Karin tried Image Designing. Perhaps her looks were too plain? Maybe Raydale just wanted something more exotic? She changed her hair, augmented her body, spent a few hours in the skin color enhancers. As she practiced on herself, others began to ask for her services. Though she became well known as an ID, Raydale noticed her less and less, and then one day, her friends told of his second cloning. Karin rushed to the Cloning Center, this time to meet up with Raydale, fresh out of the bacta, and still the same look of knowledge, but no fire. She left the Cloning Center alone again.
Soon after his second cloning, she stopped dancing, stopped playing music. There was no longer any joy in life, and her audience had dwindled to almost nothing. She took up training in the martial arts, in hopes that she might find something in common with the man who had all of a sudden become a stranger to her. But her Rebel trainers had no answers, no relief for her sorrow, and no cure for her love.
Karin wept. Dinner barely tasted and forgotten, she went to the Med Center, in hopes that she would find anything...answers, solace....
The words rang in her ears. The Rebellion had killed her Raydale and given her this husk in his place. Nothing would stop them from taking this husk from her, too. Tears of rage and hatred coursed down her cheeks, as her fists balled at her sides. But how could she exact her revenge?
Ozzie, a recent recruit, and a talented doctor, walked in early the next morning to find Karin in a tight ball in the middle of the cold, impersonal Med Center floor.
"Do I sense the need for revenge in you?" Ozzie asked Karin, a light hand on her shoulder. "I may have a way for you..."
Her face white from hours of crying, eyes bloodshot, she looked up at Ozzie with a yes, though unspoken, was loud enough to be heard throughout the center.
"Come with me to the Empire. Your incredible skill as an image designer can be used to great effect, and you will be safe from all harm."
"But...Raydale!" Karin could speak no more...as it was the words she uttered were barely a breathy whisper.
"Tell me the tale, when you have recovered. The Empire will find him, and bring him in unscathed. Whatever the power of the Empire can do to regain two such lost souls, it will do. I am sure of it."
Karin looked at Ozzie, her eyes full of questions.
"Did you not think it odd that a Doctor of my skill would be found in this rebel unit, and not be in a hospital in some great city? I was placed here for you, Karin, and for Raydale. Pack today, we leave at first moonset."
Ozzie helped Karin to her feet and led her to her small house. To anyone else, Ozzie was just doing her job. Karin nodded her thanks, and went inside.
Karin's bags were already by the door,packed long ago, inside her cabinet. She walked to the couch, pulled out her bantha doll , and curled around it, fast asleep.