I'm starting a new story that begins 10 years after my story Let Go. If you haven't read that, I highly suggest you at least skim over it so this one will make some sense.
It's going to be a fun adventure with the kids! Ekho is curious about her name given to her and in her search she and her cousins get into an adventure they soon won't forget.
Enjoy and please let me know what you think!
Ekho Skirata. It wasn't just a first and last name, but a legacy, a memory and honor of a great family member come and gone and an unconventional clan brought together with unbreakable bonds. Ekho even at her young age was coming to understand the responsibility of her name and the weight it carried with it.
Her mother had started teaching Ekho to cook and prepare the large meals that their clan required. The little girl loved being by her mother's side. Bella would come up with games to make the process fun and both mother and daughter would end up in a laughing fit, sometimes on the ground. Her favorite thing to bake was sweets; Bella always let her lick the spoons first. The decadent tastes of cocoa, her and her father's favorite caramel, sometimes there would be a mix of flavors and Ekho loved everyone one of them. "You're going to have a hutt belly soon little girl if you don't watch it." Bella teased. The young girl just smiled a toothy, cake filled mouth at her mother. Ekho would forever associate the glorious, mouthwatering smells that came from baking with her mother.
Not everything was as fun as baking. With the amount of people living in the large home, cleaning was a must. Apparently according to some Mandalorian custom and Ekho wasn't quite sure if it was real or just a lazy man-made rule, most of the cleaning was left to the women. She started off grumbling about it, but her mother quickly silenced any protest.
"You're father, grandfather and uncles work very hard. Always remember the sacrifice of those who aren't here with you today and won't be able to appreciate a clean and loving home," Bella lightly scolded her daughter.
Ekho never again did grumble to her mother, but that didn't mean she couldn't whine to herself. Trying to get the less entertaining chores such as sweeping off her brain, she turned to Bella and asked curiously, "you mean like Uncle Echo's sacrifice?"
She knew she was named after her father's blood brother, but her father never elaborated on why. Ekho had asked a few times when they were alone, but every time she had watched his eyes glass over and his face go blank. He would gently tell her to go and find her cousins and play with them for a while and then leave the room. If her name was a sensitive subject, then why name her Ekho?
"Yes," Bella answered softly, "like your Uncle Echo."
Ekho stopped sweeping and propped her hands on top of the broomstick and laid her chin on top of them. "Why?" she asked.
"You need to finish little girl," her mother nodded to the pile of dirt at her feet.
"Mom, you're dodging my question," Ekho said irritated.
"Your father will tell you."
"No he won't!" Ekho's sapphire skin started to turn lavender in her frustration. "He always becomes distant and tells me to go play with Kad or Deacon. Why won't he tell me Mom?"
"He will, just be patient." Patience was not a strong suite for Ekho, but at ten years old she thought she was an adult and should be told certain things.
"Is there something he's hiding that will ultimately change my destiny?" Ekho pressed.
Bella couldn't hold back the laugh that came to her, but at the seriousness written on her daughter's face, she smothered the smile. "You have quite the imagination my daughter. No, your father does not have any life altering news for you, I'm sorry."
"Oh," Ekho looked away disappointed and twiddled the broom in her hands.
"Ekho, you will make your future whatever you want it to be. You're name; it doesn't shape it, but it will give you some guidance. It was given to you in memory and honor. Your father will tell you, I promise you that. Even your aunt Thea when she comes for a visit might tell you a few things about your uncle. For now, just know that he would have loved you if given the chance to meet you."
"You say that about everyone," but Ekho was smiling.
"And it's true isn't it?" Bella smiled back.
By the time all the chores were done Ekho was ready to get away from the house and do some exploring in the woods nearby. Given a small blaster by her Uncle Mereel when she had turn five; which many may have seemed way too young for a child to have, it was customary for any proper Mandalorian be it female or male to learn how to properly shoot and defend themselves.
With sharpshooters all around her, Ekho was already a pro shoot at the age of ten. Holstering it by her hip, she made her way down the stairs in search of her two cousins who were probably outside practicing some sort of boy Mandalorian thing. They always have more fun.
"Ekho, where are you going?" Ekho cringed at the question. Her parents had found out that she and her cousins visited the woods one time and there was an uproar at the Skirata house. It didn't help that there had been a search party sent out for the three of them consisting of most of her uncles. Only by Ekho's scream did her father and Ordo find them.
Stuck in a swamp that was desperately trying to suck them down, Ekho, Deacon and Kad struggled to keep their faces above the foul, oozy mud water. They could feel the parasitic leaches latching onto their skin. The kids howled in fear and anger as the leaches teeth clung and ripped their skin. At the sight of their fathers, all three of them cheered in relief.
After returning to the homestead, trying to explain to two nine year olds and an eleven year old at the time that encroachment of the Empire was nearing didn't mean a whole lot to them. Even with their near death experience, it didn't deter them. There was much to explore and the danger made it all that more enticing. So when their grandfather Kal Skirata threatened to make them do chores indefinitely, the three kids stayed out of the woods.
Turning around she had to look up at the looming figure of one of her many uncles. Being half twi'lek she had smaller lekku than a full twi'lek, having them just stop right above her slim shoulders, but they still moved just the same and unfortunately they betrayed her agitation at having been stopped.
Ekho looked into the familiar but different face of Ordo who had recently come inside to lay his second son, Jacob, down for a nap. Her aunt Besany had given birth to Jacob a year ago and unlike Deacon, Jacob was a spitting image of his father. Dark hair, already darker skin and black/brown eyes, there was no mistaking that Jacob was Ordo's son.
Deacon was just the opposite; her uncles would often tease the young boy about it. Bright blond hair like his mother and light skin that would burn easily in the sun if not covered by his clothing or armor and also deep soulful brown eyes; he was a mixture of both of his parents.
Ekho swallowed and then put on a big dimpled grin at Ordo. "Looking for Deacon and Kad," she answered simply.
Ordo eyed her suspiciously. He was no fool and knew the kids were up to something. "Are you going off into the woods again?"
A small rock sat heavily inside Ekho's stomach and she fought not to let her smile drop. "Of course not Uncle Ordo," she said sweetly.
She almost started to fidget from his intense gaze when he gave a curt nod. "The boys are outside with Bardan practicing concentration techniques." He paused and the corners of his harden mouth crooked up, something that this particular uncle rarely did. "Perhaps ad'ika, you should join them."
"I don't have a concentration problem Uncle Ordo!" Ekho put her hands on her hips and looked indignantly at him.
Giving a soft snort, Ordo shook his dark head and shooed her with his hand. "Go have fun. Just don't go into those woods. I don't want to have to pull you, Kad or Deacon from that swamp again."
Sprinting away, Ekho called over her shoulder, "We won't!" At least not right away