The air was dusty and dry; even in the night the heat was oppressive. Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi’lek people, was a harsh, forbidding place. Added to the climate, the temperment and casual cruelty of its people made for a planet that Wedge Antilles never wished to see again.
Yet on Ryloth he was. I’d swear that Isard caused the whole Krytos plague just to force me here. The commander of Rogue Squadron had bad memories of this place. He’d visited a few years earlier with Winter and Tycho, in search of a Twi’lek named Firith Olan. The starport master, a fat Twi’lek called Koh’shak, had double-crossed the Rebels. If it hadn’t been for the honor of some Imperial Special Forces troopers, the entire mission would have been a catastrophe.
It’s strange what a difference a few years and bit of desperation will make. Now Wedge had returned to bargain with Koh’shak. Not for just one person, but for billions. Ysanne Isard had unleashed a virus on Coruscant. Krytos, as it was called, had the potential to decimate entire alien populations on the planet, and had already made vast inroads in some species.
Krytos could be treated with bacta, but there wasn’t enough, even though the cartels swore they were shipping as much as they could. New Republic Intelligence worked day and night to find a way to make bacta more effective, uncertain that they would ever stop the spread of the disease, until a small piece of information from an unlikely source gave them hope. The source was a Vratix, one of the beings who make bacta. Unbeknownst to the cartels, he slipped away to Coruscant and secretly began to work with the New Republic.
The answer, the Vratix said, was ryll kor, a medicine found on Ryloth. If ryll kor were added to bacta, the New Republic had a much greater chance of defeating the plague. To that end, Wedge Antilles hauled his cookies, and a shipful of placating gifts, back to that wonderful planet of heat storms and underhanded merchants to bargain for the fate of the galaxy.
At least it hadn’t gone as badly as he’d expected. Before Wedge and the rest of the Rogues had even begun to negotiate, a band of Twi’lek warriors had arrived, spoiling all of Koh’shak’s plans. The leader of the warriors, a huge male named Tal’dira, condemned the fat old Twi’lek’s greed and declared that the ryll would be given to Wedge, "a gift between warriors," he’d said. In return, Wedge turned the gifts he’d brought over to Tal’dira.
Wedge sighed irritably and raked a hand through his dark hair. Their ships were docked not far away; he’d shipped in with his old friend Mirax Terrik, captain of the Pulsar Skate. He wanted to return to his berth on the Skate and bask in the cool air, but protocol demanded that he sit in the unbearable heat and watch the spectacle that the Twi’leks put on for him. There were musicians and dancers scattered amongst the guests around a circle of glowstones. Despite the general feeling of joviality, Wedge hoped the ryll would be loaded soon, so the Rogues could take their leave.
He walked along the perimeter, nodding to some of the natives, speaking briefly with those who knew Basic. He found himself drawn to a large crowd; strangely quiet in the surrounding din, they seemed out of place. As he approached, he discovered the reason for their silence.
A small Twi’lek female, at least a head shorter than Wedge, danced at the center of the group, mesmerizing male and female alike. Her name, Wedge knew, was Sienn’rha. He’d watched her earlier in the evening, impressed with her ability, struck by her sensual grace.
As he was stricken now, again. She spun in tight little circles, the strips of leather wrapped ‘round her body trembling, an hypnotic sound, like the fluttering of bird’s wings. He moved closer, shouldering his way through the back of the crowd to be closer to her. She caught his eye and beamed at him, glad of his notice. The lights of the nearby glowstones danced across her skin, not the grayish tint of most Twi’leks, but the rare red shade of the Lethan race.
Wedge fought to keep his body from reacting. It did him no good to covet someone he’d already refused. Shortly before Tal’dira’s appearance, Cazne’olan, a merchant in the Koh’shak vein, had informed Wedge that Sienn’rha would be honored to dance for him. Privately. Cazne’olan wasn’t specific about what such a dance might include, but Wedge’s imagination had leaped ahead on its own, picturing Sienn’rha bared to his lustful gaze, in his arms, their cries mingling as their bodies did the same.
And I told him no. What kind of fool am I? Wedge mentally shook himself and backed away, trying to calm the fire in his loins. He headed toward the Skate, intent on finding out when the squadron could leave.
"It is... interesting, Commander?"
Wedge jumped, then turned to smile at Nawara Ven, the Twi’lek pilot in Rogue Squadron, who nodded toward the merrymakers. "Very much so, Nawar’aven," Wedge used the native pronunciation. "Is the ryll loaded?"
Nawara nodded, his brain-tails, or ‘lekku,’ draped over his shoulders. "Everything is prepared for departure." He leaned closer to Wedge. "Tal’dira is an honorable warrior. He has given us much more ryll than we hoped for. I think he is ashamed of Koh’shak and the other merchants."
"No need to be," Wedge replied. "I’m just glad he showed up. I’d rather fight him than deal with Koh’shak."
Nawara laughed agreeably, his lekku twitching in time with the music. From the shadows, a blond human female approached the two pilots. Rhysati Ynr, a fellow Rogue and Nawara’s lover, smiled at the men and laid her hand on Nawara’s arm.
"It seems that all has turned out well, Commander," she said happily.
"Please," Wedge returned her smile, "we’re at a party. Call me Wedge."
"Well then, Wedge, if we’re at a party, why aren’t you having any fun?"
The Corellian opened his mouth to retort, then shut it and glared. "You don’t have to be that familiar, Ynr."
"Yes sir." Her eyes sparkled as she tugged at Nawara’s arm. "Mind if I borrow him?"
He laughed, glad to see his pilots enjoying themselves. It seemed ever more difficult for them to relax in the face of the galaxy’s turmoil. "Go on. Just be ready to leave in... say two hours?"
The look of shock on Nawara’s face told him he’d made a large error. "Commander," the pilot said in a low voice, "we cannot leave tonight. It would be a grave breach of etiquette." At the confusion on his commander’s face, he continued. "Tal’dira has granted us twi’janii, a period of rest and gaiety that lasts at least twenty-four hours. To leave sooner than that would mean that you were displeased with Tal’dira or the entertainment."
Wedge shuddered at the thought of insulting the mammoth Twi’lek warrior. "Thanks for warning me, Nawar’aven. I was about to go make my excuses and put my foot in my mouth." He clapped Nawara on the shoulder and nodded at Rhysati. "I guess I’ll see you two in the morning."
The pair exchanged meaningful glances and headed off toward the Skate, leaving Wedge alone at the edge of the crowd. He remained there for a long while, unhappily watching the festivities. One by one, or more often two by two, people were leaving the visitor’s circle. Regretfully, he watched the crowd around Sienn’rha disperse, joining the exodus. The dancer herself dissapeared from his sight, lost into the night.
The only thing left to do was return to the Skate and hope sleep would take him. Servants were taking the glowstones away, leaving the area bare and strangely sad, as though the place itself longed for more gaiety. Wedge passed by The Courage of Sullust, the other ship that carried New Republic staff and gifts; the Pulsar Skate was docked just beyond.
"Wedgan’tilles?" A quiet, smoky voice floated from the shadows between the ships. Wedge turned, trying to separate the speaker from the darkness there.
Sienn’rha stepped out of gloom, still wearing her dancer’s clothes, the black loincloth and leather bindings seeming as much a part of her as the tattoos on her lekku. She approached him slowly, then halted and bowed, letting her braintails fall forward and hang limply by her knees. Wedge knew the gesture, it was a symbol of positive thoughts about the person or persons in front of whomever was bowing.
He realized he was staring and returned the bow, albeit much less gracefully. She smiled, revealing two rows of gleaming sharp teeth. "Forgive me, Wedgan’tilles, I did not mean to..." she searched for the word, "startle?" He nodded. "I did not wish to startle you."
"That’s quite alright, Sienn’rha." Her lekku twitched as he spoke her name. "What can I do for you?"
"Did not Cazne’olan speak with you? He said... but he must have been... distracted? By Tal’dira. I thought you would like, I mean," her voice trailed off and she uttered what could only be a Twi’leki curse. Wedge watched curiously as she appeared to blush, if it could be called that; the flesh of her cheeks paled to a soft pink, stark in comparison to the rest of her.
Of course. Cazne’olan had been distracted by Tal’dira; too distracted to tell Sienn’rha that Wedge had declined her attentions.
And she was offering herself. He didn’t have to say no. She probably only wanted to dance; why should he refuse that? After her dance... she would leave. Yes. And he should not insult her by rejecting a simple dance.
He reached out, laid his hand on her arm. "It’s alright, Sienn’rha. I have not spoken with Cazne’olan, but surely you can tell me yourself."
She trembled so slightly that Wedge could not be certain he felt it. Looking up at him, her eyes black and luminous, she murmured, "Let me dance for you."
He tensed, feeling tingles run over his skin. Antilles, you’re deluding yourself. This is not just a dance. Still, he tilted his head to one side and replied. "I would love to see you dance. Somewhere more private, perhaps."
"Yes." Almost a whisper.
"I have a room on this ship." He nodded to the Skate, let his hand slide down her arm to grasp her cool fingers. "Will that do?"
"Wherever you like, Wedgan’tilles. Wherever will please you." The purring sound of her voice ran like electricity down his spine, straight to his groin. It was hard to keep on his innocent face, his apparent misunderstanding of her double meaning.
He led her up the ramp, keeping an eye out for anyone in the corridors. If the ramp was down, Mirax was up and about. Not that she’d mind him bringing someone on board for a while, he simply had no desire to see her grinning at him the whole trip back.
The Skate wasn’t a large ship; the walk to his bunk was brief, almost too brief for Wedge to calm himself. Sienn’rha stepped into the middle of the room and watched him close the door.
"Do you not wish to lock it?" Did he read tenseness in her stance, or did he imagine it? Either way...
"Do I need to? I don’t wish to feel trapped." He looked her straight in the eye, hoping she took his meaning. I don’t wish you to feel trapped.
She smiled a bit and nodded, then walked toward him. No, his mind corrected, not walked, prowled. She took his hands in both of hers and pulled him toward the bed. "Sit. Be comfortable."
He obeyed. "Do you need music?"
"If music will please you. I do not..." she paused again. "I can hear the music. Here." She tapped her chest with the tips of her fingers. Wedge swallowed hard, then nodded.
Her dark eyes locked on his, and she began to sway. The light here was harsh, did not cast intriguing shadows on her form, but instead accentuated the perfection that shadows might hide. Wedge couldn’t take his eyes from her; no part of her from ankle to lekku was marred.
Sienn’rha twisted, looking over her shoulder at him, then spun, letting the strips of leather lift away from her legs. The back of her loincloth lifted as well, flapping in the breeze created by her twirling body. Wedge’s breath caught at the glimpse of her bare backside, muscled and tight.
Whatever the music in her heart did to her, it was driving Wedge out of his mind. The dance she’d performed in public, though stimulating, was nothing next to this writhing, sensual performance. Eyes closed, lips parted, head thrown back, Sienn’rha rocked her hips forward rhythmically, sinking down to her knees just out of his reach. Her hands came up, stroking her lekku, roaming freely over her scantily clad body as her breathing grew labored.
Then she was on her feet again, her body undulating slowly as she stepped closer to Wedge. The tips of her fingers ran down his face from eyebrows to lips, and he closed his eyes as he felt the familiar tightening in his groin. She lighly touched his shoulders, his arms, then ran her hands across his chest as she straddled his lap.
His eyes flew open as she thrust her hips, brushing against his stomach in a slow cadence. Sienn’rha stood, never ceasing her slow mimicry of lovemaking, then turned her back to him and arched her body, her lekku touching the floor just in front of him, her feet a meter away.
The throbbing in his trousers matched the pounding of his heart. His breath hitched as he tried to halt the roiling sense of impending release. His eyes squeezed shut as he rapidly counted backwards from 100, stopping when he heard Sienn’rha’s husky laughter. She stood before him, looking over her shoulder at him as she sank onto his lap.
"Now you know what I have felt all evening, Wedgan’tilles." Her hips didn’t stop their slow rolling, not even when they encountered the unmistakable hardness of his arousal. She gasped slightly, still twisted about, looking into his eyes. "Every time I saw you."
Her fingers played lightly over the backs of his hands, then lifted them from where they clutched at the blanket. Guiding him, she moved his fingers across the skin of her stomach, where he noted the suppleness of her flesh, smoother than human, and cooler, despite her arousal. Her breasts were firm, her nipples hard when he brushed them with his thumbs.
Wedge closed his eyes and let his head fall forward, resting on Sienn’rha’s shoulder as she helped him discover her body. Her lekku fell forward over her shoulders, the left one was right by his mouth. A slow grin spread across his lips, then he raised his head and traced one of her tattoos with his tongue.
Sienn’rha gasped and stiffened, twisting around to look him in the eye. “I... I’m sorry,” he stammered. "I didn’t mean..." he was silenced first by her fingertips on his mouth, then by her lips.
Recalling the wicked-looking teeth she sported, he slowly, carefully, thrust his tongue into her mouth, twining with her oral muscle. Their tongues dueled for a moment before she pulled back and stood. She still held his right hand, and she brought it to rest on her left hip where the loose end of the leather lay. He took it in his fingers, pulling slowly, watching her face for any sign of reluctance. There was none.
The black bindings fell away from her lovely form as he tugged; though they did not cover much skin, it still seemed to Wedge that stripping them was a great reward, that he was seeing something glimpsed by only a few. The straps coiled over her arms and legs in a complicated pattern, spoiled by his urgent hands as he became more eager to see her. The triangles of cloth that covered her chest dropped to the floor, revealing full, succulent breasts that begged to be tasted.
Her soft moan filled his ears, encouraging him. He wrapped an arm about her waist, pulling her closer as his lips closed around her nipple, sucking gently, biting lightly until her legs tembled. Sienn’rha clutched at his shoulders, pulling him up to stand in front of her. Wedge was bare-chested, he was dressed in a similar manner to the Twi’lek warriors, wearing trousers, a loincloth, and a bandoleer. The bandoleer went flying first, Sienn’rha kissed the flesh it had covered as she sank to her knees, fingers skillfully untying the loincloth.
When he felt her hand against his bulge, Wedge sucked in his breath and forced himself to focus his mind elsewhere. He rested his left hand on the top of her head, at the place where he would normally tangle his fingers in his lover’s hair and guide her while she suckled him. This time, he felt the smooth flesh of Sienn’rha’s lekku and heard a sharp intake of breath. He lazily traced her tattoos with his fingertip as she unfastened his trousers, pushing them down his hips.
Her small hand closed around his throbbing erection, and her tongue snaked out to taste the droplet of precum on the tip. His hips bucked, startling her, and he looked down apologetically. Suppressing the natural male urge to not put his penis near any sharp object, he watched her take the head into her mouth, closing her lips around it, sucking gently.
His knees buckled, and he steadied himself against the bed, closing his eyes and giving in to the sensation of her hot mouth surrounding him. His hand continued to leisurely stroke her brain-tail, and her moans of pleasure finally penetrated his pleasure-soaked mind. Planting his feet farther apart, Wedge let go of the edge of the bed and took her other lekku in his right hand, caressing it in the same manner that he did the first.
Sienn’rha moaned deep in her throat as she took him farther in, the vibrations sending little bolts of lightning up his shaft and throughout the rest of his body. His large hands closed around the bases of her lekku, moving up and down, stimulating the thousands of nerve endings in those sensitive organs. They trembled, then shuddered violently as Sienn’rha began to move faster, her tongue swirling around his erection, her hands moving between his legs to stroke the small bit of flesh between his scrotum and anus.
Wedge lost all semblance of control, thrusting between her lips in an urgent need for release. He raised one of her brain-tails to his lips and sucked on the tip, then tongued its supple length. Sienn’rha cried out and took him completely, feeling her body catch fire at the same moment that he spilled into her. The tremors wracked her small frame, claiming her until he slipped out of her mouth and she fell back, pleasure-weak, staring up at the Man who’d given her such a climax.
Breathing heavily, Wedge gathered her into his arms and lifted her onto the bed. She sank into the soft mattress, watching him pull off his boots and remove the rest of his clothing before joining her. He propped himself up on his elbow and regarded her silently, musing about how different she was from human women.
His hand strayed down her flat stomach, headed for her loincloth, the only bit of cloth left on her body. Would she react to this? If her lekku were sexual organs, would she get any pleasure from conventional sex? What exactly was conventional sex to a Twi’lek? Staying on the outside of the covering, his fingers slid between her legs, slowly stroking the area that would drive a human woman wild.
Sure enough, she arched off the bed, eyes wide, a small cry escaping her lips. Wedge smiled to himself and moved down her body, kissing and licking her skin until he came to rest between her knees. She watched him, seeming almost uncertain, as he pulled off the leather loincloth and exposed the flesh of her nether region.
The smooth, completely hairless flesh. Wedge started, then glanced up and saw the apprehension on her face.
"Do you like to be touched here?" he kept his voice gentle, not expressing the hunger that was already blossoming in his manhood.
Sienn’rha nodded. "But to you, it looks..." she faltered.
"It’s different." Wedge admitted. "But nice." He laid his cheek against the silky skin of her thigh and inhaled deeply, the spicy scent of her filling his nostrils. Under his head, her thigh trembled, and he turned his face into her and licked the cleft of her nether lips, prompting a whimpering sigh.
Slowly, he explored her with his tongue, finding the mechanics not all that unfamiliar. He laved her core, pressing his face as close to her as he could get and driving his tongue into her until she writhed beneath him. His lips fastened onto her clit, sucking delicately, flicking his tongue against the tip while her hips bucked wildly against him and her hands twisted the blanket beneath them. Her guttural cries turned to full-throated screams as the ecstasy washed over her, tossing her sweat-soaked body until she wept with the pleasure of it.
She was hardly aware of Wedge’s arms around her as she came back into herself. He dozed next to her, holding her close. The young Twi’lek studied his face curiously. Here was a man who, when offered a gift, returned it tenfold. Yet here also was a warrior who fell asleep in the middle of love-play. She decided that her pleasure at the first more than made up for her disappointment at the second. It was nice, too, that he didn’t turn away from her. She would wake him softly, show him why no warrior ever slept when she was in his bed.
Gentle fingers caressed his face, tracing his eyes, his mouth, then soft lips covered his. Wedge came fully awake and tightened his arms around the female beside him. He tasted a bit of himself inside her mouth, mingled with her own unique flavor. When he released her, she sat up, dark eyes gleaming, and traced a hand down his stomach.
"Will you now dance with me?" He thought her voice held a hint of challenge.
"Haven’t we been dancing?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow at her.
She tugged at his arms, pulling him into a sitting position. "Wedgan’tilles," she murmured, "you have not yet seen dancing."
His eyes flew open as she bared her teeth and bent her head. She grazed his stomach, not pressing hard enough to hurt badly, then flattened her tongue against the scratches, catching any stray droplets of blood that sprang from his flesh. She knew he could not do the same to her, so she bit her tongue and kissed him, letting the tiny bit of blood flow into his mouth, a symbol of their imminent joining.
His flesh was a feast, and she tried not to partake too much, knowing that he would be easily hurt if she lost control. She nibbled down his throat as her hands fell between their bodies to stroke his burgeoning erection. Wedge vaguely heard his own voice crying out into the night, but was too focused on the muscle and tissue of his body to care much what the rest of him was doing.
He’d never understood how closely pain was tied to pleasure. Here, with Sienn’rha, the pain was pleasure, and he luxuriated in it. He sensed that she was holding back and knew that was probably for the best; he didn’t want to explain to everyone why he was bandaged head-to-toe. She made little growling noises as she pulled him closer, then sat in his lap, facing him, her legs wrapped around his waist.
With her guidance, he slid his arms under her knees and lifted her, positioning her over his erect penis. Their lips met hungrily as he lowered her onto himself. She inhaled sharply at the size of him, the thickness that filled and stretched her walls. Wedge moaned as her slick passage encompassed him, tight and hot, and he buried his face between her breasts, licking and biting at her skin as wildly as she did his.
They began to move, Wedge lifting her delicate body easily, then letting her sink back onto him. He set the pace; in this position Sienn’rha could do nothing but accept his motions. Attentively he watched her face, felt her pulse race under her skin, and responded accordingly, starting slowly, filling her inch by inch until she wriggled and begged for more.
The bed rocked under them as their bodies rose and fell, devouring each other as he thrust deeper and faster. Sienn’rha hid her face in the crook of his neck and wrapped her arms around him, giving herself over to the rapture of their lovemaking. Wedge abandoned all thought, taking her without mercy as a warrior should. Their cries grew louder as the fire took them both, burning them together until they collapsed on the bed, exhausted and still joined.
Sienn’rha smoothed Wedge’s sweaty hair back from his face and kissed the tip of his nose. "You learn fast," she whispered. "You should be proud."~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
"We were glad to show you our hospitality, Wedgan’tilles," Tal’dira clapped the small man on the shoulder. "You will return soon, I hope. After all, you are a true warrior now."
Wedge frowned slightly, then smiled and returned the Twi’lek’s entusiastic pat. "Thank you. I would be honored to return." Mirax waited at the foot of the ramp, and he followed her up and into the cockpit of the Skate. There were no difficulties leaving the spaceport, and once they’d made the jump to lightspeed, Mirax turned in her chair and grinned at him.
"So you’re a ‘true warrior’ now."
"I suppose. I don’t know what it means."
"I’ll bet you don’t." Mirax’s dark eyes danced. "On my ship,of all places."
Wedge blushed and stammered, "How... how did you know?"
"You don’t think she kept quiet about it, do you? I’ve heard what they’re saying. You’ll be welcome on Ryloth anytime, though I imagine the females are more enthusiastic than the males."
"What are they saying?"
"Well, you know how ‘Wedgan’tilles’ means ‘Slayer of Stars’ in Twi’leki?"
"It has another meaning now." Wedge waited. Mirax grinned.
He loomed over her and growled, "What does it mean."
She laughed. "Get back to the passenger section and strap yourself in."
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