Sihna Dreysel

Tipping Point

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12th of Nelona, 3632 BBY - Keldabe, Mandalore

 

Darkness was falling quickly over Keldabe, lengthening the shadows of the city and prompting the warm glow of lights to spring up inside homes and businesses to combat the darkness. Sihna trudged through the cooling shadows, bag slung over one shoulder and weapons attached to her belt now that she was back in the city once again.

 

She was bone-weary. Every step felt like it took a massive amount of energy to complete, her feet dragging in the dust, sore muscles aching from her trek out into the wilds. But it was a good feeling, one that reminded her of the recent changes and the reconciliation with Black that had made the venture out of the city less of a retreat and more of an exploration. It had been a long time since she was able to feel like she wasn’t running away. It was… nice. Not something she was used to, but something she hoped continued.

 

The Oyu’baat came into view ahead of her and Sihna continued her path to its door, ducking into the warm light and welcoming atmosphere the place was known for. She removed her helmet with a distinctive hiss of seals releasing before moving to one of the corner booths. She swung her bag off her shoulder with little ceremony, tossing her red braid back over her shoulder as she leaned her head back on the wall behind her and closed her eyes.

 

For a moment she simply sat there, listening to the sounds of the Oyu’baat and allowing them to wash over her senses like a balm. Knowledge still hung heavy in the back of her mind from weeks and months prior, her discussions with Corey a shadow that, while not dire, were a marker of change for the future. War was gathering in the galaxy like a storm about to break, and the Mandalorian people had a role to play in it. Gone were the days of conquering planets simply to do it, and good riddance. Now they sought more certain footing, honor of a different sort. Stories they could pass on to the next generation of honorable battles and standing with allies to shape the galaxy into something different. Something new.

 

The barkeep passed a drink and a bowl of stew her way at Sihna’s request, and she settled in happily to enjoy the meal. It was nice to have something she hadn’t had to pack herself or hunt, and the aroma was heavenly.

 

A ruckus at the door caught her attention and Sihna glanced up, eyes narrowing as a familiar figure stepped into the Oyu’baat. The shouts that accompanied him were enough to confirm Aric’s entrance, and Sihna hissed through her teeth in consternation. She could see the sway in his steps, enough that she could imagine the way his words would be slurring from too much drink. It seemed to be a pattern lately, even more than normal. Why, Sihna couldn’t say, but then again she had little desire to understand Aric’s life well enough to be able to predict his moods or his bouts of drinking. It was no longer something she needed to track so closely, and so what she did know came by way of rumors or her own frequent clashes with the man.

 

She knew it the moment his attention fell on her, and Sihna sighed, closing her eyes and leaning her head back against the wall with a quiet thunk as Aric’s shoulders squared and he started across the room. Never a moment’s peace, apparently.

 

Sihna opened her eyes halfway as Aric came to a stumbling halt before her, leaning on the bar. She smirked when he very nearly missed the countertop with his elbow, barely catching himself in time to keep from ending up flat on the floor. Pity. She could have done with watching him make a laughingstock out of himself, instead of just a general nuisance.

 

“Well, look who’s back from her little adventures,” Aric’s voice was pitched in a stage whisper, his eyes comically widened as he gestured widely at the bag that sat at Sihna’s feet. “Tired of hiding away? Or did your precious Mand’alor call and you came running to his summons? Such a loyal pup.”

 

Sihna sighed pointedly, taking a swig of her drink before setting it back on the counter deliberately.

 

“Go. Away.”

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Things didn’t improve from there. Aric’s words were slurred and his gait was stumbling from the amount of drink he had imbibed, but his insults were as pointed as ever. Still, Sihna sat through the majority of them, eyes half-lidded as she bit down hard on her tongue. Normally she would have slipped away, allowed Aric’s ravings to go unanswered as she retreated.

 

But tonight she couldn’t find it in herself. She was so tired. Tired of retreating or standing in the middle of a full-out fight with him that she could never seem to win. Tired of constantly looking over her shoulder, waiting for the next shot to be fired in a never ending war between herself and her father. Things had only grown worse in the last year, step after step that had led to them both ending up in med centers on more than one occasion. Sihna bore a number of new scars from their encounters, though she was proud to say that so did Aric. She had left a nasty one that arced across his jaw, a testament to one of many times he had stepped too close and ignored warnings given. That time he’d underestimated her speed, as well, and been left with a reminder of why it was a mistake.

 

She wasn’t even listening to him now, instead running one finger idly over the rim of her glass as Aric’s voice grew even louder. She could feel herself stilling, her motions becoming slow and deliberate. To the point those nearer the father-daughter pair began to move backwards. Not afraid of being caught in the middle - after all, most of them would welcome a good fight. No, this was different. This was a quiet respect, an indication that they were aware that a fight was about to happen - but that it was hers to finish. Something about today was different.

 

Perhaps she could never win because she was always fighting on his terms. His way. Never placing him off-balance enough for her to gain the upper hand, Sihna was always battling him in an arena of Aric’s making. She had come even with him on a number of occasions, even come out ahead on a few. But there wasn’t a single time she could look back and genuinely say she had won.

 

Time for a change, Sihna. Time to stand on your ground, not his.

 

“You’ve been hiding behind the Blacks for months,” Aric sneered. “What’s wrong? Can’t stand on your own? Need Mand’alor’s protection to go toe to toe with anyone? Such a low price for being his whore.”

 

The laugh that escaped Sihna was as sharp as glass, a warning rife in the sound.

 

“You really can’t think up anything more creative than that?” she asked, turning to face him once more. “A whole year, and you just keep parroting the same insult, over and over again. Anyone would think you didn’t have any ground to stand on.”

 

“I’m not the one hiding behind a clan that’s not even my own,” Aric snarled.

 

“No. Because you don’t have one,” Sihna returned coldly. “You have thugs who might consider keeping someone from putting a shiv in your back, but you don’t have a clan.”

 

Aric stepped closer and Sihna stood slowly, the motion intentionally languid as she leaned against the bar, her motions dangerously lazy.

 

“You are coming back, Sihna. And you are doing it now,” Aric snarled, the words low but carrying through the Oyu’baat.

 

“No.”

 

So simple. No arguments, no justifications or threats. Just a simple answer. And one Aric had apparently not expected to face.

 

“I will drag you back myself, Blacks or no,” Aric threatened, taking a step forward as if to intimidate his daughter into submission. Something that might have worked, when she was still a child and still so afraid of him. But times were changing, both for the Mandalorians as a whole, and for Sihna herself.


And so she ignored the way Aric’s followers shifted behind him, preparing for a fight. Instead she simply smiled.

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Sihna spread her hands wide, encompassing the Oyu’baat, a small smile playing at the corners of her mouth. But her eyes were steely, anger cooling until it became strength, a challenge in her gaze.

 

“Do you see Clan Black here?” she asked pointedly, arching one eyebrow at Aric. “Because all I see is a chakaar making a fool out of himself and throwing accusations with no weight.”

 

Aric’s face contorted in a sneer as he stared down at her, but Sihna didn’t move from her place at the bar, didn’t dare give an inch to the man before her. She had been running from this conflict for far too long, and she was sick of it.

 

“You are nothing without me,” Aric hissed, his face mere inches from hers. “I taught you everything you know, little girl. You will come back, because without me you are nothing but the daughter of a whore.”

 

Sihna’s smile was as sharp as the blades she carried, and Aric studied her a moment before Sihna slammed her head forward, smashing it into Aric’s nose and earning a cry of pain and anger as he crashed to the floor. Sihna ignored his friends, instead crouching down so she was on level with Aric once more, his hands slick with blood as he tried to stem the bleeding from his broken nose. She saw the rage in his eyes, a tempest that once would have sent her scrambling for cover, for a place to hide until the storm had passed. But now she met it with a frightening calm, the storm that brewed behind her own eyes easily a match for his. She had been pushed too far for too long, and she was done with it. When she spoke, her words were exceptionally calm and clear, her anger all the more apparent because of it.

 

“I have heard enough osik from your lips to last a lifetime, buir,” she said, the word twisted and mocking, contorted in such a way that it showed everything he was not. There was no honor, no affection in the title as it was directed at him. It was an accusation of all that he should have been, and had chosen not to be. “Say what you like about me, but I’m finished allowing you to manipulate my life from the shadows. Your insults are a waste of breath. If you think, even for a moment, that I am going to forget the hell that you put me through as a child, then you are dreaming,” Sihna promised. “I remember every trial, every twisted ‘rescue’ of yours and every time I looked to you thinking that you were some sort of shabla hero, only to realize you were the villain. I am never going back to that. No matter what you call me, no matter who you try to take away from me, I will not go back. I am finished with that life.”

 

Aric studied her for a moment, lip curled in fury, but he made no move to protest. Likely because of the blade that flashed in Sihna’s grip, the edge razor-sharp as she held it up for his inspection.

 

“I will be dead in a ditch first,” she promised. “And if you try to make me, if you attempt to manipulate me into coming back, then believe me when I say that I will gladly take you with me.”

 

She knew the entire Oyu’baat had stilled, watching the conflict unfold, but Sihna didn’t care. She was finished living in the shadows of the past, the memories that she had so carefully packed away from her mind. Besides, if she wound up dead in the Kelita river, at least this way eyes would turn to the man who had likely put her there.

 

It was a gamble, one that Sihna knew could very easily end in an unfortunate ‘accident’ for her, but she’d had enough. This dance had been going on for far too long, and it was high time that it was ended.

 

Sihna looked down at Aric, seeing the comprehension that flitted across his features. He knew that this was the end game. This was where they both stopped pulling punches, and Sihna knew with no doubt that she was going to have to watch her back. The fury in Aric’s eyes promised swift retribution, and Sihna flashed a hard smile in return.

 

“And don’t ever talk about her like that,” she added softly. Cin vhetin. No matter what she began as, my mother was more than you will ever be.”

 

Sihna pushed herself back to her feet, stepping over Aric as she made her way to the door. She was done with the debates and the arguments. Sihna was finished allowing Aric to be the puppetmaster from the shadows. Her life was her own, and she was taking it back.

 

Quickness IV/Reflexes IV
Strength III

Teras Kasi - Intermediate Offense

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Sihna heard the distinctive sound of a pistol being pulled from its holster and she the room fell into utter silence. No one dared breathe, well aware that any interference would cause the situation to spiral into a bloodbath.

 

It was as it had always been. But the fact was no longer bitter, as at least this time Sihna knew she could hold her ground. Black had given her that ability, and Sihna did not intend to waste it.

 

She turned to find herself staring down the barrel of Aric’s pistol, the sights centered directly on her forehead as he held the barrel steady with a hand that had seen years of practice. He was not as drunk as he’d played, then, and that fact caused another spike of hot anger to drive through her, another nail in the coffin of a relationship that had been unsalvageable for years now.

 

“If you’re going to pull the trigger, now’s the time,” Sihna drawled, one brow lifted in a challenge. Her chin was tilted back, a reckless glint in her eyes as she stared down her father. Yet another gamble. Yet another toss of the dice.

 

His expression was one of rage, but Sihna didn’t flinch.

 

“It’s time you came to heel, Akk,” Aric snarled.

 

Sihna felt the smile that twisted her mouth, pulling it up into a mockery of his words.

 

“No,” Sihna hissed simply, spreading her hands in a motion that was both challenge and defiance. His eyes narrowed and he thumbed the safety off his pistol with a sharp click, the threat clear.

 

Sihna stilled. It was as if the whole world came into sharp focus, every detail clear to her in that moment and she fixed her gaze on his, tilting her head ever so slightly. She felt her muscles tense, ready for action. And still no fear.

 

Aric stepped forward, mistaking the change for fear, the weapon powering up with a whine until it was only a few centimeters from his daughter’s forehead. Sihna reacted with lightning speed, one hand snapping up and gripping his wrist, wrenching the weapon to the side as it discharged, leaving a black mark against the wall. There was a crack as Aric’s wrist snapped under her grip, but Sihna didn’t release him, eyes flashing in a cold fury. Aric cried out and Sihna disarmed him, jerking her elbow back into his unprotected face with a satisfying crunch, finishing the whole affair with a solid kick to the knee. Aric buckled, and Sihna took a step back, keeping a careful leash on the rage that still had its hold on her, resisting the urge to become more like him than she’d ever forgive herself for. Adrenaline still pumped through her system as she stared down at him, her expression almost bored, removing the power pack and gas cartridge one by one from the pistol contemptuously before she threw the now useless weapon at his feet.

 

“This osik might work on drunk beroye and frightened aruetiise, but it stops here. So get the haran out of my face, and stay the hell out of my life, chakaar,” Sihna pronounced each word with crystal clarity, rage evident in the sharpness of each syllable. “You are done, and you are nothing.”

 

“I’m your father,” Aric spat, hobbling back to his feet and leaning defiantly up against the bar. “You might leave now. You might decide to go off on your own and pretend you’re not what you are. But you will come crawling back because you have nowhere else to go.” His laugh was mocking, trying to find a way to break her down. “I’m your buir, girl. That will always be true.”

 

The moment stretched on for what felt like an eternity as Sihna stared down her father. The same as a thousand times before, and yet completely different. Sihna felt herself go completely calm, a horrible weight settling in her chest as her next words bubbled up, spilling out of her mouth in a declaration that was long overdue but no less painful to make.

 

“Not anymore,” she said, the words blank and final. Each dropped from her lips with a finality that was clear and cold. “You’re dar’buir to me.”

 

She had thought the Oyu’baat was quiet before, but now it was utterly silent, no one daring to make even the slightest noise. Sihna paid them no mind, aware that she had crossed a line she wouldn’t ever be able to step back behind again.

 

“You are nothing to me,” Sihna finished quietly, the words holding a strength that her voice had never possessed before. “So stay. The hell. Away.”

 

The silence in the room was almost palpable as the two stared across the distance of the declaration, the gap between them widening to a greater distance than it had ever been before. There was no turning back from it now, no reconciliation to be had.

 

“Ungrateful laandur,” Aric snarled finally, hobbling forward accusingly, his eyes darting about the room as he took in the sheer number of witnesses to his humiliation.

 

Sihna simply stepped back, snagging her helmet from the counter and turning her back on him. She didn’t even register the insults Aric continued to throw at her armored back, each one more vile than the last.

 

“Throw him out if you feel the urge,” Sihna spoke to the barkeep on her way out, depositing a handful of credits to pay for her meal. “It’s nothing to me.”

 

The man nodded sharply, signaling two of the nearby beroye. They seemed more than happy to obey the unspoken command, but Sihna didn’t look back to see the display as she ducked out of the Oyu’baat.

 

The barkeep watched the redheaded gladiator leave, sealing her helmet before stepping out into the street. He turned to the woman who stood at his shoulder, a frown creasing her features.

 

“Make sure Black gets a copy of that vid,” he said sharply, and the woman glanced to him with lifted eyebrows.

 

“You think Aric will try something?”


“He’s just been humiliated in front of a crowd by his daughter. It wouldn’t surprise me if she ends up with a shiv in the back, whether from Aric or one of his groupies,” he replied grimly. “Let Black know. He’ll want to be on guard.”

 

Quickness IV/Reflexes IV

Teras Kasi - Intermediate Offense

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