Kit Fisto broke the surface and scanned the storm. Salt water lapped just above his mouth and he could feel the strong wind drying the sea's spray, rivulets, from the crown of his head. Below, lukewarm currents pushed just as the white stormfront high in the sky before him did. He felt the other Nautolans below through scents and small tides against the mane of head-tails down his back.
:Come down!: They shouted, voices jockeying between the vocal inflection and emotion-scents that make up the language Nautila. Kit could know even without the Force that their insistence was casual .
They were Roarke Linke, adventurous fish-farmer, and his three children. Kit resubmerged and swam down to them. Through the clear water distant shores--mountains--could be seen ringing the cove on all sides except oceanward.
:Thrill!: Roarke said. :Come!:
They swam toward the darker waters where waves rolled themselves up from underneath. The children, two males and a girl, spiraled around with their enormous black eyes fixed on Kit and excited pheromones sloughing off their light green skins. Surely rumors of Jedi propelled them.
The five pushed on until the sea floor fell steeply away. Green-gray pillars of stone, coral colonies and plant life rose up here, eroded evidence of Glee Anselm's turbulent first millennia which had distributed the land and the sea and so shaped the life which grew upon it. Roarke took two arm-length metal cylinders from the clips on his belt and set the narrow end of one against a nearby monolith. It extruded flanges and a drill-bit and bored into the rock. Roarke pulled on the cylinder and it came away from its base on a thick gray fibercable. He handed this to Kit. The children swan in spirals and giggled as their father floated to a second column and attached an identical rig.
Kit fingered the cylinder. It had various rivets and one small toggle-button. He held the gadget away from himself and tripped the button.
The cylinder spilt and unfolded. Strips of strong plastic held tightly together by cords unrolled from their two spirals that had been tucked within the case. Fully extruded and locked, the cylinder became the center of a plane about one and one-half meters long and three hand-spans wide.
Roarke returned with a board of his own and tugged hard on both tethers; they held without sign of strain. The sea was turning navy blue, shading to dark in the shadows on the pillars. When he looked up at the surface Kit saw bursts of white froth.
:Here, I will instruct you.: Roarke waved his children toward him. "You are experienced with this request; please stay here and cling to the plants.:
:I want to see!:
The third one elbowed his sister and they quieted with covert close looks passing between them.
Kit started for the surface; Roarke followed more slowly and the kids darted to wrap their hands around the fronds and carpets of seaweed on the rock towers.
Roarke smiled with pride when he caught up to Kit. They traded grins, kicking up towards the darkling surface with the surfboards under their arms. Kit was surprised at the lightness of the board. Anticipation began the feeling sliding into his brain like the vivacious thrum from a lightsaber; the feeling of anticipated thrill.
Roarke and Kit's own research and work had taught him how to properly ready the board in his hands and to keep the tether from tangling. This cove and season were ideal for practice; they created an environment with as much safety as stormsurfing could acheive. Part of the thrill was the anticipation. Kit planned to make the next step in his visit to his homeworld the regional competition, the one in the canyons.
Kit and Roarke broke the surface side by side in a roar-filled pit between matured waves. The big storms always rushed up in minutes. The clouds, like the slick undersides of the waves, were azure-black. Rain flew left-to-right.
The wave over them crashed. The Nautolans ducked under, all the time breathing through the gills between their neck and shoulders. The ocean smelled of churning. The waves swept overhead.
In the next trough they surfaced, gripped the boards, and kicked toward the dying wave. The one following scooped them up.
Kit felt the board sliding down, pulled himself onto it, and stood. The sea rushed with him. His balance set and held immovably, perfectly, under the white crest. This surfing, though, was not why Nautolan crowds moved, like tides to the moon, to use the storms.
Jedi Master Kit Fisto had come to Glee Anselm and Sabilon for exposure to the culture which had, at least genetically, formed him. He had little concern for finding his blood family. Such a thing was not essential to him, as it was not to his long-time parent figure Yoda or to his siblings-in-mind such as Obi-Wan, Saesee, and Aayla.
What he found on Anselm was a world of two amphibious species, his own people and the Anselmi. The latter lived mainly on the land. The Nautolans--
What a wondrous worldscape for them, with the shallow-populated oceans decorated in cities which, with a smooth integrations of technologies, branched out from cliffs or reefs and all the time celebrated life. Often it was life lived on the edge of annihilation which was appreciated the most, so that the modern native sports were fast, brutal, and popular. The people--overwhelmingly natives, especially in rural Sabilon--stuck closely to their own trends. Fashion was of no concern--most Nautolans wore only knee-length shorts underwater in their day-to-day activities. Kit followed this course while in residence. More than half of the Nautolans were too carefree in peacetime to be involved in Republic affairs and politics.
Kit had enjoyed himself immensely. Stormsurfing, though, was to be the highlight of the visit.
Now he swept up and down the tall wave, testing movement and balance, gripping the board with his feet. Warm spray and the subtle movement of trained muscles. He glimpsed Roarke for a quick moment, bright green against blue-black. Kit shouted, "Show me when to fly!"
He 'heard' Roarke's reply in Nautila as if some of its syllables were cut off. :--what--:
Kit hesitantly leaned toward the bottom of the wave and twisted. He drove the board through the curtain of rushing water, then kicked down. His breath caught for a second and reacclimated. In the sudden stillness and cushioning quiet of a few meters under he could see Roarke a short distance away. Roarke, Kit had momentarily forgotten, did not speak Basic.
Kit said:I wanna fly.:
Roarke balked and then nodded. That look, the Force, the language--something told Kit that this new friend had succumbed to a want to test him, or test the fabled Jedi prowess.
They went up together back into the swells. Roarke pointed once to a towering wave. They worked to ride it up, boards cutting sinuous white trails over the water's surface. Kit saw the children break the surface exuding happy excitement, ducking the waves and jostling like minnows. Roarke glanced at them out of his stooped surfing pose, but did not chide. The water glowed to Kit's senses with his guide's pride. The Jedi noticed, however, that Nautolans' natural mode of expressing joy was not to smile but to 'speak'. The children were straight-faced.
The waves rose; the surfers climbed them. Roarke led Kit, in stoops and rushes, across the swells and further out under the cloudbanks. All view of the rising land in the distance was obscured. Fewer waves broke here, but swells and ripples loomed.
Finally a breaker progressing though the spritz of rain earned Roarke's recognition. He crouched again, paddled a few sweeps which Kit imitated, and rose onto the swell.
Kit felt the guideline anchoring his board begin to go taunt. He began to shift balance and climb the wave and flick the edges of the board through the whitecap. Minute shifts or rough draggings of the water threatened stability. The Force aided his awareness, but it was the exhilaration he felt, the alive-ness of water and speed and white sunlight burning through the edges of the clouds, which made it acute now. Rush and clarity and confidence brought the skills his body had learned together and to the fore.
The two surfers jumped through the crest of the wave. Kit had thought to wait for Roarke's example before attempting the most impressive part of stormsurfing, the flight or dive. However, he knew when he neared the reach of the tether cord, and flipped the surfboard up to the crest of the wave. The tether reached its end.
The surfboard tumbled into the wave. Kit flew, thrown up and across the ocean by the snap. The expanse of dark air charged and tossed by the storm seemed to carry him. Rush of open sky, wind, rain! Kit grinned like a human. He met the water again in a dive position, hands together over his head. The warm water closed over his feet.
His immediate thoughts, of the awed responses of Roarke and the kids, were pushed to the back of his mind by the splash-shock. The sunlight turned the surface translucent. The silence...!
The dark water churned with bubbles; more as Kit exultantly whooped. He floated in the silence for a moment, breathing deep, looking about, feeling alive, smiling.
A/N: Mayhap this will evolve into a multi-chapter fic. I have yet to chronicle where Kit gained the identity of the Nautolan darksiderNemonus (as mentioned in The Cestus Deception). If you thought this fic was pointless, comment thus and I may think of a more meaningful plot for it, but know that I enjoyed writing it as what it is.