Lumpawarrump was a bundle of nervous energy. He was excited but at the same time absolutely terrified. His father would be visiting tomorrow to begin the preparations for Lumpy’s Rite of Passage. For now the young Wookiee worked off his excess energy by climbing up the trunk of the Wroshyr tree that supported his home, using his retractable claws to get a grip on the bark.
Dusk was beginning to fall but the cooling air temperature didn’t take away the young wookiee’s excitement and fear.
Mallatabuk worked in the kitchen clearing away the remnants of the early evening meal. Lmpawarrump’s movements caught her eye and she paused in her task to watch. She understood his growing apprehension towards the forthcoming Rite of Passage ceremony but what she didn’t know was that it was more than just the Rite of Passage ceremony that troubled her son.
Lumpawarrump was aware of the expectations of the other members of his family, of living up to the exploits of a father he barely knew, Chewbacca, hero of the Rebellion against the Empire. How could Lumpawarrump ever hope to match the his father’s achievements? He was afraid that he wouldn’t measure up, that he would make a mistake and end up being killed or even worse, failing to complete the Rite of Passage and bringing dishonour on to his parents, especially his father.
Mallatabuk studied her son through the window, knowing all to well that he was battling his own demons and she was unable to help him combat them. He didn’t have any real friends his own age, not even his cousins Lowie and Sirra.
Sometimes she was angry at Chewbacca for never being around. There was always something keeping him away but she understood that his honour was something he had to up hold and if Han Solo hadn’t saved her husband’s life then she wouldn’t even have Lumpy. Malla just got lonely sometimes and that more than anything was the cause of her anger.
Attichitcuk appeared and Lumpy climbed down from the tree onto the board walk. Malla watched as the old Wookiee tried to ease her son’s apprehension. Malla had tried earlier to speak to him about it but Lumpy wouldn’t talk to her. Perhaps Attichitcuk could reach him.
Malla tried to count how many times she had seen him in the past twenty years since they had been married. It was about five maybe six times and the last was when Chewbacca had brought a pregnant Princess Leia to hide her from Noghiri assassins. Still twenty years is such a short time in a wookiee’s life…
Lumpawarrump hardly got any sleep that night and when sunlight began to filter through the window of his room he decided to get up. Already the tension caused by excitement and nervousness had begun to build up. He looked in on his mother and found her sleeping. He then checked in on his grandfather.
He spotted his grandfather’s Ryyyk blade out in the open and was tempted to borrow it for a short time. His thoughts chased each other round and round in his head, undecided. When he was on the verge of deciding one way or the other, he would suddenly change his mind.
He hovered on the threshold, glancing at his sleeping grandfather and at the Ryyyk blade. What could it hurt? Go out into the forest for an hour or so, just to see what it was like. The higher levels where safe. He didn’t have to go down into the dark shadow forest if he was too scared.
He closed the door without taking the blade. He had something else in mind. It would just be too obvious if he took that blade. The moment it was noticed missing, Malla would know where he’d gone and send Shoran or Dryanta after him to bring him back. This was something he would have to do on his own.
A few years ago, he had discovered one of his father’s Ryyyk blades hidden away. He remembered where it was and got that out instead.
Lumpawarrump soon lost sight of Rwookrrorro when he entered the wild parts of the forest. It made him feel isolated but he overcame that. Fear of predators stretched his senses to the limit but that wasn’t his biggest fear. What bothered him most was the thought of getting lost. He didn’t know the forest as well as he should have and he felt like a child who had wondered into the council ring.
Yet at the same time there was something familiar to him about the forest, like a forgotten instinct. He forgot his feelings of isolation and his fears began to melt away a little bit but they were still there, kept under control just below the surface. Something rustled in the undergrowth and Lumpawarrump reached for the Ryyyk blade but the creature turned out to just be a quillarat, harmless enough when they weren’t being hunted.
Lumpawarrump forced himself to relax, feeling rather foolish for letting the creature spook him. He plucked up the courage to descend to a lower level. The forest wasn’t such a scary place, but even so, he had no desire to go any lower just yet.
The light was dimmer there and he noticed a slight change in the vegetation that grew around the trees. They were a paler green and even the giant leaves of the Wroshyr trees were paler than those a level up.
Lumpawarrump glanced down over the edge of the branch when he came to a place where something had crashed through the branches, breaking the smaller ones. A deep darkness stretched below him and he wondered just how far down it went. Did it go all the way to the bottom? He didn’t really want to know and he didn’t want to fall down there to find out.
He moved back the way he had come and became aware of a strong, sweet smell. He followed it to it’s source. It was the beautiful but deadly syren plant. Lumpy decided wisely to keep his distance, though it would be something if he could get hold of the fibres in the centre of the plant. This time good sense won out and he walked away.
After more wondering through leafy forest, Lumpy became aware of something following him.
Katarn, maybe? He asked himself. Webweaver? Gundark?
He tried to shake whatever was following him but having no experience at this sort of thing, he was unsuccessful. The thing was still coming for him. Maybe if he could get to the higher level and quickly, the thing would give up. Unsheathing his claws, Lumpy sank them in to the trunk of the nearest tree and began to climb.
It felt like his claws were being ripped out of his fingers as he continually sank them into the bark and pulled them out again. He looked up. It was such a long way to the next branch where he could let his claws rest.
He heard scrabbling beneath him as the whatever it was tore up the tree after him. His arms and legs began to tire, especially his arms as he tried to increase his speed. He wanted to go faster, but it seemed that a heavy weight had been attached to his arms and he knew that if he didn’t get to the branch soon that everything would be over for him and he wouldn’t have to worry about failing the Rite of Passage as he wouldn’t be around to worry about it.
Part of him wanted to give in, to let the creature take him, but he thought of his mother and how lonely she would be without him. If he died now he would fail his Rite of Passage anyway and there was a stubborn streak in him that would not allow that to happen.
He pulled himself up on to the branch and retracted his claws. He looked around him and found nothing. He stood quietly, listening to the sounds of the forest while he caught his breath. Then he heard the scrambling again and decided to go while he could.
Jowdrll glared at Shoran and Dryanta.
“It was you who scared him?” she asked.
“You should have been there, Jowdrll. Lumpy ran off like he was being chased by a pack of katarn” Dryanta said.
“That was cruel. He probably won’t want to go back into the forest now.” Jowdrll thrust the heavy box of tools she was holding into her cousin Dryanta’s arms and marched off towards the landed Falcon.
“What are these for?” her cousin barked after her.
“You, dear cousin, are going to help me make some modifications to the Falcon” Jowdrll replied.
Dryanta shook his furry head. Chewbacca was not going to like this.