Generally speaking the little isolated village was fairly peaceful. Outsiders didn't often come to it really, and why would they? It was just a fishing town with some native people living there, not much to do or see. Occasional strange disasters happened apparently, like a couple villages burning down with no survivors, but that was mostly attributed to angry spirits. Such things did not visit this particular village.
Although there were some mutterings when a brightly-robed man with one arm wandered out of the woods without a care in the world. He almost seemed lost to the villagers, although his expression was quite at odds with that idea, a casual curiosity as he looked around at everything. Some even suggested he might be some kind of nature spirit come to steal away their children or something.
Fortunately when spoken to he was quite friendly and very informal which, apparently, wasn't how nature spirits were meant to be in the stories. He managed to soothe any fears about why he was there- probably helped he was easy on the eyes- and was left to wander about a bit while some more curious individuals watched from a distance. This was when his presence might well be noticed.
A spring breeze wafted over toward the docks, carrying the distant and fleeting scents of wildflowers and the sounds of calling bird, the warmth of the sun. It settled by the river, cloth shifting in the very real wind that drifted over the grass toward the man and boots scuffing against the dirt.
Hannibal looked out over the area. Why was he here? Well, he didn't really know. Sometimes he just went places.
But it was nice here. Sometimes someone just had to get away from things for a little while.
He felt the sun against his skin - he wasn’t in the habit of wearing a shirt here often. Emryc had gotten quite good at navigating while blind, and he graduated to now using tools to fix things together. He relied on Force sight to pinpoint structural outlines enough to interface with the physical world.
Emryc was by the river and working on a boat he had mostly built from scratch. He had cut down the wood, carved the hull into shape and was now in the process of putting some planks in to sit on. Measuring and sizing everything correctly was a challenge when he had to double check and feel things a million times over.
The half Sephi was very focused, placing a plank down carefully before he began to hammer a nail in. From the distance he would appear as a very tan, muscular and bearded man that didn’t quite look down at what he was doing.
While he had become quite proficient as using tools while blind, he tended to overestimate himself. The hammer came down and smashed onto a finger and he grunted quietly. Emryc placed the hammer down, a spike of rage and anger coursing just for a moment before he found calm again. Pain shot through the finger, and he cracked right through the nail and was bleeding. He paused and considered it for a moment in irritation before he picked up the hammer and returned to what he was doing.
The peaceful moments, where Hannibal could simply look out over the green landscape and not worry too much about the somewhat suspicion-laden curiosity of the villagers behind him, ceased to be as discomfort briefly rose and then dropped off to the side somewhere. The young man turned to look in that direction around the same time and found there was a man there.
A very buff and handsome man. This was unexpected. And he was working on a boat!
Without putting much more thought than that into it Hannibal strolled right on over toward the beefcake and his boat. Boots gently tapped on the earth and slid serenely through the grass as he walked, scuffing slightly as he came to an eventual stop by the bank above the pointy-eared man. Hans just keep seeming to run into those.
Not that he was complaining...
"Wrong kinda nail there, looks like," a voice said casually from where the sound of walking stopped. There was a small bout of worry from the villagers behind him as he spoke to the handsome shipwright on account of the drama surrounding one of the last visits by an outsider that had spoken to the half-Sephi. At least this one seemed polite.
"I've got bandages if ya feel like not bleedin' everywhere."
Emryc paused when he heard the voice. He could sense the man’s presence in the Force and it was...oddly pleasant. He couldn’t quite describe it. Naturally, this irritated him. He ignored the man for a moment as he went back to what he was doing, yanking the nail out by force and tossing it aside. His hand felt around till he grabbed another, placing it in preparation of the hammer.
“Don’t know how to speak with the proper Nabooian accent?” He asked gruffly as he slammed down with the hammer. The question itself would betray he was not a local. None of the villagers here would know about the various dialects on Naboo. Emryc ignored the man as he continued to work, finger freely bleeding as he did so.
The villagers stared for a while but ultimately got bored and left, allowing the two men space. If Emryc was aware of the man standing across him, he gave no indication of it. He crouched down to place the plank correctly before grabbing some screws to hammer in the other side.
Hannibal spent the time between his question and the broad-shouldered boat maker's answer more or less just looking over his handiwork. Oh, and being a puzzled observer to his ripping the damaged nail out and basically just making it worse in the process. The hulky hammerer didn't seem to mind the pain so much as the inconvenience, which was interesting.
"I'm not a Gungan, no," the young Jedi answered in a typical Naboo noble's clip and sounding very serious. There was a rustling as the man sat down in the grass and dirt to watch him put together the boat in silence for a while. Like the wind his presence was sometimes obviously there and other times it seemed to simply blend in with all the other life around them as his attention was drawn to some stray fish or a particularly interesting bit of water flowing around a worn stone in the river.
While Emryc was handling screws there was the sound of rustling and then a click, an exhale of breath, and the smell of cigarra smoke mixed briefly with the grass and flowers before it drifted away in the breeze.
"Y'sure you want a red boat? Seems a bit cliche for a midlife crisis."
Emryc nodded in approval when the man switched to the proper and refined sounding accent. He had grown fond of it from spending quite a bit of time with the Queen of Naboo. His thoughts vaguely drifted to her as he finished with the first plank and moved to the second. Thankfully, this one appeared to go without much incident.
He paused briefly when he could smell the cigarra, his own craving kicking in. However, he didn’t reach for his just yet, determined to finish working on the boat first. Emryc worked silently, pressing his palm down on the planks to ensure it could support the weight of people sitting on it.
The half Sephi set the hammer aside when the man spoke again, reverting back to the uncultured and ugly accent. Emryc’s face twitched just the slightest bit before his hand ran through the side of the boat, “It’s painted?” He asked aloud, suddenly irritated. He muttered something under his breath about village kids and taking liberties with his things. Emryc had no intentions of painting the boat or giving it a name. He had no idea that it was painted red and had the word “Boat” written crudely on the side as if a very young child wrote it.
Emryc rose to his full height and pushed the boat towards the water, picking up the oars he had carved. He checked for appropriate buoyancy by feeling around with his foot and pushing down. Emryc paused for a moment and looked towards the other man through the realm of the Force. He could make out the man’s profile and rough size.
“Get in,” He stated flatly, pointing a finger towards the boat. He didn’t offer much else in explanation. The man could join him, or not. If not, Emryc would get in the boat and casually start paddling away. He needed to test it with passengers to ensure it could stay afloat.
Luckily the strapping half-Sephi didn't need eyes to know that Hannibal was clearly amused by his revelation on account of the light-hearted laughter that danced along in the air, sudden like a bark and then continuing on over the water. The Jedi hadn't actually thought the boat maker was unaware of the childish decorations added to his do-it-yourself project and that revelation was actually pretty funny. Especially with the muttering afterwards. That was definitely the best part.
Another more proper cloud of cigarra smoke was exhaled afterward as Emryc pushed he boat outward while Hannibal just watched. Clearly his help was neither wanted nor needed and he did also have the excuse of only rocking a single arm, even. A grin spread over his face when that simple statement to get into the boat as made, a soft chuckle following right after.
Hannibal stood from his seat on the ground and walked forward toward the other man. "Sure why not, I'd be honoured to participate in the maiden voyage of the, uh" He leaned over to look at the messily painted name with raised brows. "'Boat. Well, it works I guess."
He shrugged mostly to himself and stepped carefully into the boat and found himself a seat, putting his cigarra out in the mobile ashtray on his belt, and settled in for an impromptu boat adventure.
Emryc paused visibly when the man laughed, the pointed ears twitching just the slightest bit. It was too subtle to pick up unless someone was watching very attentively. It wasn’t quite that sing-song trilling laugh, but it sent a shard of glass through his chest. That shard also happened to be warm and melt through some of the frost there. The half Sephi was posed like a statue for just a moment before reality returned and the corners of his lips twitched into what fell short of becoming a smile.
He held the boat stable while the man climbed in before getting in himself. Emryc pulled the oars to himself and pushed off from the edge, working to row the boat deeper into the river. The strokes were powerful, and he was a rather over the top display of a perfectly chiseled bronze man with roiling muscles working the boat. Of course, Emryc’s thoughts were very far away, lost deep in his mind. He heard the sound of the water, smelled the flowers, smelled the cigarra and felt the breeze against his skin.
Emryc was pulled from his thoughts as the man spoke. It was right then that the boat awkwardly and gently crashed into one side of the river bank. The half Sephi grimaced slightly.
“I am blind,” He stated, and it was clear he despised saying those words, “You will guide,” He said flatly. Emryc backtracked with the paddles but the boat wasn’t budging for a moment. The subtlest nudge of the Force liberated them, the application done with practiced precision too subtle to notice.
Within moments, they were on their way again and Emryc was back to rowing. His gaze was trained directly towards the other man, though it never met his eyes.
Hannibal was not watching very attentively, completely and utterly failing to pick up that minute muscle twitch of the other man's pointed ears. Really he wasn't watching him at all after he started laughing, completely at ease with where he was and his relaxed amusement at the situation. He did barely catch that tiny movement of the lips that was only likely to encourage his breezy behaviour.
There was a not insignificant amount of time where he unabashedly just watched the robust rower in action. He quietly supposed he shouldn't be too surprised he could do it himself given his build and stature. A joke about his herculean musculature was forming somewhere in Hannibal's head, but his eyes were eventually drawn off to look at other things.
Which was promptly interrupted by them gently making contact with one of the banks and a notably irate- compared to the stoicism he'd seen so far, anyway- declaration of blindness. This was a detail Hannibal had actually noticed but hadn't felt the need to bring up.
"Sure thing." And guide he did as asked, apparently happy to help. Hannibal rested his hand casually against the side, his thumb idly tapping at the wood every so often in no particular pattern as he looked around. "Two degrees left two strokes, then straighten," he called in an even tone as they came up on a slight bend.
Emryc visibly relaxed as he kept rowing, getting into the rhythm of the movements and the sounds of the gentle waves as he cut through the water. He followed the other man’s directions as he guided them through the river.
The scenery around them was exceptionally beautiful. Trees and flowers of all colors surrounded them on all sides. Deer and other local animals stood at the riverbanks as they passed, the winds rustling against the grass and endless fields that stretched out for miles. There were tall mountains in the distance - mountains Emryc would have climbed if he knew they were there.
The half Sephi said nothing in response to the remark about the fishing boat comment. Truthfully he was internally kicking himself for not remembering to bring his fishing rod. He fancied himself a fisherman these days, and he took the comment as a compliment.
There was nothing but a comfortable silence as he continued to row. The other man would learn quick that Emryc wasn’t exactly the chatty type, always withdrawn into his mind with a stoic air about him most of the time.
“Do you sing?”
The question came rather abruptly after a long stretch of silence, but he didn’t elaborate further. Emryc continued to row, using Force sight to focus on where the river curved. He had overlapped that with the man’s verbal directions to find an alignment. Emryc felt more and more confident in where he was going now.
Something about this boat adventure was giving Hannibal some odd vibes. Delicate petals from different flowers he'd never seen before grew near the banks of the river and others farther into the grass, the wind and sun were nice, a muscular and handsome Sephi was rowing, deer were watching them pass by.
It was all rather romantic, wasn't it? Not that Hannibal knew much about that sort of thing, mostly just seen movies without experiencing much of that sensation himself, but this was distinctly like some older holo-something or other he'd watched sections of while doing something else. Maybe. Although the two men didn't have wine on this boat.
Hannibal broke from his reverie in the midst of a silence where he'd alternated between watching nature and checking on their course, choosing quiet for the time being unless some small adjustment was needed. The muscular and handsome rower couldn't see the puzzled, if amused, look on the young man's face that the query summoned up.
He didn't answer right away, fingers tapping thoughtfully against the bare food of the boat for a second or two.
"Not all that well," he admitted. Mostly it tuneless humming and whistling or the almost military singing-while-running routine, but he certainly didn't practice it in his spare time. He was mediocre at best. An impish grin formed on his face all the same, however, and those tapping fingers found pace with the boatman's rowing. Hannibal took a deep breath.
With full and energetic enthusiasm he began to deliver a rousing round of a song known widely across the galaxy.
"Row, Row, Row your boat, gently down the stream-!"
It could at least be said the man had strong lungs.
Emryc was having a good time until they began to pass by more flowers. His eyes began to water and his nose clogged up. After a moment, he sneezed. And then again in rapid succession. There was a visible grimace on his face as he casually ruined whatever romantic vibe may have been created from the serene boating down the river.
This was further ruined by the other man’s singing.
Not only was he belting the song at full volume off key, but he also picked a nursery rhyme of all things. Emryc wiped his nose off as he continued to row in silence while the man sang. To his credit his face went back to stoic, not displaying the extreme displeasure at the assault on his ears.
Emryc was a patient man, and that held true regardless of what kind of situation he faced. He continued to move through the river towards where it opened into a very large lake. He stopped rowing then, pulling the oars in and carefully avoiding whacking the other man with them to ensure he didn’t interrupt the atrocious singing.
The sun was glaring down on them and his torso was lined with sweat. Emryc paused for a moment before he rose to stand, displaying exceptional balance. He began to undo his pants, “The water is pleasant,” He stated flatly. Emryc tilted his head just a bit towards the man’s direction, “You can stick to talking, no singing needed.”
Emryc said nothing else before he casually pulled his pants off and dove right into the water.
Between the two men the atmosphere was completely shattered rather handily. The pointy-eared boat maker seemed to have a sudden bout of sneezing that cut through the serenity. Hannibal's singing certainly didn't help but since the other man didn't see fit to complain he kept it up. At least he had rhythm, keeping it in line with the rowing and the tapping of his fingers, but a pleasant serenade it was not.
It even continued when they arrived at a lake, answering Hannibal's earlier question as to the destination well after the fact. His 'song' stopped as the rowing did and he looked around over the surface of the peaceful waters, catching in particular a family of colourful ducks wandering around on the far side. He barely seemed to notice the oars being moved around, or at least he didn't move in response, and only turned to look at the glistening example of self sufficient manliness when he stood up.
"Aw, but that's no fun- wait, what?" His eyebrows rose as the Sephi simply removed his pants and entered the water, the boat wobbling in the sudden absence of his weight. Hannibal leaned over toward the side and barked a short laugh, not that the other man could hear it while under the water's surface. "Alright maybe it is." The water's pleasant, is it?
Hannibal unzipped his boots one at a time and shoved them under the seat and then went through the process of disrobing himself. Probably helped his attire was far from the traditional set up for Jedi but the other man would probably resurface long before he was completely undressed. He stood up in the boat as Emryc had for a moment, letting the hit his tattoo-marked skin, before diving in on the opposite side.
He surfaced again a little later farther from the boat, whipping his head around to get stray strands of hair out of his face, and arranged himself to float peacefully along the surface while he watched the ducks do duck things.
Emryc resurfaced and his keen ears could pick up the man taking his time with his clothes. How many layers of clothing was the idiot wearing in this burning weather? The half Sephi floated serenely on his back, arms outstretched and his eyes closed.
He heard the splash that suggested that the man joined him in the water. The water was just cool enough to offer the perfect reprieve from the boiling sun, and there was nothing but the distant song of birds and the rustling of wind to surround them. For a while Emryc floated simply in silence, wading gently with his arms to lazily circle in place.
After some time, he began to quietly hum. Unlike Hans, Emryc actually carried a tune with that baritone voice. His eyes remained closed as he softly hummed a jatzy tune from one of Amelie Leorna’s songs. It wasn’t his nature to hum or sing, but he had been deprived of it for far too long.
As the other man had said the water was quite pleasant after Hannibal got used to the difference between it and the sun. It was the perfect way to wash away the sweat that'd gathered from his earlier walking and the sun beating down on them, although he suspected the boat maker was more appreciative of it than Hans was. He watched the ducks for a time before simply turning his eyes up to look at the brilliantly blue sky above.
Wind breezed over his bare skin and stole the heat of day away and he sank back down a little, wading more with his legs than his one arm, and wandering around the lake without putting much thought as to the specific direction. A sense of peace came over him for a little while in the water.
The sound of soft humming drew his attention from where he'd floated off to examine a water lily's delicate leaves, his head rising and then turning to look in the Sephi's direction. Hannibal didn't look precisely at him, more around him- not that the man could tell, anyway- but he was certainly listening. Talking was apparently allowed but he didn't really feed the need for it in the middle of the tune and he had also put up with his own "singing" so it was only fair.
Hannibal floated slowly back toward the boat and put a hand up to grip the edge, listening to the sound and looking off plainly into what appeared to any reasonable person to be empty space.
Emryc floated for a while, focusing on the way the sun felt against his skin and the way his own voice sounded. It was perfectly in tune. Of course it was - he had been practicing for ears that were across the galaxy. He finished humming when the song was done, laying there in silence for a while.
Eventually he used Force Sight to identify where the boat vaguely was. He waded over and turned over to hoist himself up, gingerly managing without toppling it over. Emryc didn’t bother putting his pants back on right away, brushing some of the water from his beard and long hair as he stood. His horrifically scarred back was in full display, many new and recent significant scars layered above old.
“What do you look like?” He called out towards wherever the hell the other man was as he grabbed his pants to put them back on. Emryc was normally not in the habit of asking questions, but he was curious enough to hear the description of the man attached to the hillbilly accent and awful singing voice.
The other man couldn't see Hannibal's face when it changed expressions, given he was blind, but there was a point in the middle of the song when it did. His brows furrowed and he looked around a little over the water, then off into the trees where a family of native birds had gathered. A gentle breeze rolled out over the lake near the end of his song that drew some of the water from his body and the heat with it.
The song stopped and Hannibal continued to look around at the abundance of nature around them as if searching for something, the sound of water shifting every so often joining the relative silence. His attention was drawn to the boat-maker when he heard him climbing into the boat, turning again in the water. There in plain view was a chaotic array of scarring, an interwoven network of them, new latticed over and across new. He wondered at the reason behind such a thing.
Hannibal's surprise at this new sight was interrupted by the other man's voice asking after his appearance. The young man's voice replied from just next to it where he'd been holding on to listen.
"Uh, well..." This was not a question he'd expected to answer literally ever.
"Tall with short-ish black hair. Green eyes, athletic build I s'pose? Many scars I've had turned into tattoos, kinda proud of those actually." He paused a moment. "Missin' a left arm. Speakin' of which, mind helping me back up into your fine water-going vessel? Bit awkward otherwise."
He tapped the edge of the boat with his hand to show where he was.
Emryc heard out the description silently as he sat on his boat. He brought up his electric cigarra and placed it between his lips. The half Sephi sat and did nothing for a moment, quietly puffing on the cigarra as the man tapped against the side of the boat waiting for him.
“You sound ugly,” He declared finally as he at last reached a hand over to help the man up. Emryc eased back into the boat, swinging his legs up to dangle over the edge as he half lounged in it with his arms sprawled. It was the perfect position to catch some sun. Why were the village women whispering about the man then? His voice was terrible and the description didn’t do too many favors.
“Except green eyes, those are probably decent,” He said casually as he exhaled another cloud of smoke.
Hannibal just laughed at the other man's assessment of his description, gripping the muscular forearm and using it to pull himself into the boat. The wood thumped with his new weight and there was a shuffling as he settled in. Far better than trying to awkwardly roll into it or something. The young man sat himself up and allowed the sun and to start trying him for a while before he bothered getting dressed again. Wet robes were less than comfortable.
"Do I now?" he asked rhetorically, still chuckling a little. Hannibal hadn't heard that one before but he supposed the boat-maker didn't have his eyes to work with here and was just getting by on personality and sound. His cigarras were retrieved from his belt on the ground and he lit one, exhaling a cloud of smoke as he took in the lounging man on the other end of the boat. His build really was quite impressive, especially accented by the remnants of water and the arcing scars across his front.
"I'd say they are, I like 'em. A nice vibrant colour." Hannibal paused a few seconds, during which he continued to openly look over the other man's form and figure and his breathing indicated another drag of his cigarra.
"You've been struck by lightning too? Small galaxy, huh?"
Emryc was quiet as the man affirmed his eyes were vibrant. In the pitch black that he saw, it was nice to imagine some vivid emeralds gazing at him. Of course, they always naturally bled back to gold if he thought about it long enough. He wondered how long it would be before he forgot colors, his thoughts beginning to turn dark just as they had when he was first blind.
The man’s words suddenly pulled him out of his thoughts, and Emryc’s head tilted towards his direction. He had been struck by lightning as well? The markings on Emryc were very distinctly from another Sith. This meant that the man had experienced an attack from a Sith. And he survived. Surviving lightning was not usually possible by someone that didn’t wield the Force as a Sith would simply keep going. This meant that this man was a..
“Kriff,” Emryc muttered quietly as he drew in from the cigarra and blew out a cloud. He moved his head back to vacantly stare at the sky, unbothered by the direct sunlight in his eyes. His pupils never constricted, and he enjoyed the warmth on his face, “You mean I didn’t have to row this boat the entire time?”
The half Sephi used the Force to gently begin moving the boat, nudging it down the lake at a glacial pace.
“Enjoying the show?” He asked bluntly, deciding that the man had clearly been studying his torso.