Y’dat – Star Wars Galaxies
This is a character study of one of my earliest Star Wars Galaxies creatures: Ydat Ykai, a Zabraki Master Dancer/Master Scout/Teras Kasi Master (from prior to the Combat Upgrade and dilution of the classes into “Iconic Professions”). Drrliral was the Wookiee character that belonged to a Finnish gaming partner of mine, who left the game suddenly.
It had been a long day of mission running, and I was ready to relax, but the town was as about as deserted as a police station on Mos Eisley. Still, I held out hope that there would be some life stirring besides the womp rats and the tusken raiders (both of which I had had quite enough of for one day), so I headed towards the Dancing Tusken. I knew that when I became a ranger I would probably be spending weeks alone, but that was a long ways off, and I craved acceptance. Kinda hard to do that alone.
Stepping into the cantina, I was once again disappointed at finding it empty, save for the droid serving drinks behind the bar. But then, I really hadn’t expected much else. I shrugged. Better than staring at the walls of my house, regardless of how comfortable I had made myself. And besides, there was no reason to deny the real reason why I kept coming back to the cantina, even though I knew that it would be deserted. That’s cuz I love to dance.
Dancing! I could just hear my father snort. I would never have been caught dead dancing on my Zabraki home world. It simply wasn’t done – too frivolous, not fierce enough. It’s not like I would ever consider going into the entertainment business, even now that I didn’t have to answer to anyone. Dancing was just a hobby, a diversion, and a fun one. I couldn’t – and wouldn’t – deny how much I enjoyed it. Yet even my beloved Yndain would have teased me mercilessly if he had known how much pleasure I found in moving my body in rhythm to the music. Well, I didn’t have to worry about that anymore. They all were lost to me now – my brother, my family, my home.
I hadn’t even thought about dancing until I came here, to Tusken’s Bane. But then again, who would ever have thought that I would find myself here? A chance meeting, a dead-on shot, and the life debt of a towering wookiee named Drrliral, and here I am. That’s how slim my chances were of finding this place. But why not? I needed a place totally new and unknown, a place where I could establish myself without the taint of my departure from my sequestered home world, and Drrliral had been the excuse to land here.
My heart suffered a small pang as I thought of my former mentor. He had never been comfortable with me, and usually suffered through my innumerable questions and endless prattling by simply acting as if I didn’t exist, but underneath it all, he truly did the best he could for me, teaching me the rudimentary skills of combat, giving me my first real rifle, and instructing me in the basics of tracking and overland travel. That he begrudged my very existence was obvious, and I knew that were it not for his archaic sense of honor – and my strategically placed shot right between the eyes of a Trandoshan mercenary – he never would have noticed me. But that’s the way of fate, as Yndain would have said.
My thoughts strayed as I wondered again about Drrlral. One day he was setting up his bounty office, and the next day he was gone. Oh, he often disappeared on manhunts, but this was different. And to make his disappearance even harder, I had just accompanied him for the first time on a job only the day before, executing a contract on a particularly ruthless miscreant based in Lok. I had been proud that he had invited me along, and I had a hell of a time keeping up with him, but in the end we had fulfilled the contract and I was psyched. I was looking forward to the next job. But then he vanished, leaving everything behind except his swoop and his personal arsenal.
I wanted to believe that the wookiee had simply tired of me and of the responsibility of the bounty office, but I knew that was way off the mark. He had scoffed at his own sense of honor, and yet was bound to it as strong as any Zabrak tie I had ever known. In my heart of hearts I knew he was gone forever, but still it was easier to think that he would some day come striding back with a major chip on his shoulder, than to admit he was dead. Somber now, I couldn’t stave off the sense that I was virtually alone in Tusken’s Bane.
And yet, this place felt like home. I had met a few people that I could claim as friends, and I was quickly becoming familiar with the land, the creatures, and the cities. It didn’t matter that I was not yet very savvy about the politics and the underpinnings of the town and its inhabitants. I’d learn soon enough.
I knew that I could come off as an irritating mixture of brashness and ignorance, and I certainly wouldn’t have denied that I had a pretty healthy view of myself, but why not? I knew that someday Ydat would be a name of renown – or infamy. So far, I had fallen under the radar of most of the people in this town, but this was going to change. I knew it.
And I was going to dance whenever I felt like it, especially when I realized that dancing actually healed fatigue. I smiled remembering when I first danced for Drrill and his friend Ini. It was during one of my first grouped hunts, and we were catching our breath in a hastily assembled camp when the reticent wookiee and I remembered feeling so powerful at having this effect on others. But it also feels so good to move! Hell, that had made me feel powerful! Ever since then, I’ve been dancing whenever the mood hit, regardless of who cares. Some of the best nights of my life have been spent clad in a luscious bodywrap and letting loose with the girls in the cantina at Bestine. And I know I look good! I love the feel of my body moving sinuously, or tantalizingly. And I don’t give a damn if sometimes I stumble over my own two feet. As long as I’m having fun, the rest of the world can just to go hell.
Putting down my laser rifle, I stood up and stripped down to the black infiltration suit I often wore under my mission clothes. The fabric very nicely shunted sweat away from the body, and it came in mighty handy when sneaking up on raider camps at night, but it was a bit too form fitting for casual town wear. Damn, was it nice to dance in, though.
Languidly, I downed the Sunburn I had acquired from the droid, and sauntered up to the stage. In the quiet of the Tatooine night, I began to sway to a music that only I could hear. As my body loosened and I began to move more confidently, more smoothly, all other thoughts slipped away, until all that was left was the dance.