The pale pattern of rain against the window. The blinds half open and the ever present darkness about the lonely cities. Sparse against the horizon and the toiling sea. The sofa pliant and soft under him and next to that boy, his father. Made of cinnamon and the slight wafting of burnt meat and taut muscles stretched against the shirt. His calloused hand light against the boy's neck. The basset voice thrumming in the air. Ringing in lost deeds and unknown worlds and things which the boy cannot know.
This is how Boba remembers his father.
When the boy walks through the city, in the stale corridors, there are skewed mirrors about him. Like old carnival glass skewed and warped by flames and heat. His reflections stretched and widened and his face made into a million cruel parodies.
And they watch him. All dim eyes and tandem movements and refrained training patterns. He pauses and presses his hands to the window and looks down. They blink as one. He leaves, in no small hurry.
I was the first one.
His father smiles. You were the first.
Good, the boy says. Originals, he knows, are prized.
Time does not stop. In the rising dust cloud and the crimson sun lodged in his throat. It moves on amidst the whining blaster sirens and the dying cries and the smell of cooked meat. His veins pound against that bronze skin and he cannot speak. Cannot utter a word. To say some vile curse or unheard pleading to the limestone grotto.
Father? Not dead. Not gone.
When the arena calms, he goes down to it and finds the bereft helm. He bows his head and looks into the darkened visor. And sees only himself.
Then, he leaves.
He closes his eyes and rests his hands on the lacquered wood. Listens to the hundred murmurs that come across in waves and crescendos and tides of unknown tongues. Suffused and mingled together like droplets in a pond. Like droplets laced against the transparent glass and falling down to the deep brime. All the way down.
There. His target's voice five meters to his right.
He opens his eyes and interposed between them is a woman. All curves and thrown hair and a curled half-smirk.
His mouth waters.
Aren't you a little young?
Vel, she says and slips him a drink.
They bring him up in chains and a stiff neck suit. Up the aisle as the crowds stay hushed. The steel shackles clacking. The insects buzzing in the air. The slight taste of impending moira like a whiskey.
How does he plead?
Guilty. The boy speaks for himself and it's like gravel on the tongue.
The weak masses break and the Judge looks into him. Through the fiber of his skin.
Are you sorry?
He glances back at his wife.
He can't say he is. The dead man deserved it.
He leaves and doesn't look towards her.
The dead man deserved it.