Before 'Acts of Mercy.' Dooku teaches his Padawan Qui-Gon how to kill. Completed one shot

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Marnie, Oct 3, 2006.

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  1. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    This is not a new fic, unfortunately - by a long shot! I wrote it about 4 years ago. But it's new to these boards so I hope some people will not have seen it before.



    Never dark.

    Padawan Jinn put a bandaged foot out of bed, the floor a shock of smooth cold under newly regrown skin. It didn't hurt to ease himself out from the sheets - what ache was left was inside, a stain on his heart that could not be reached by bacta.

    He lay down on the ground, face pressed to the plating, metal slick against thigh, hip and shoulder, and he tried to absorb peace through his skin. If only he were not a boy. If only he were a fallen seed, lying on deep soil, quiet in the night, awaiting the sun. But there was no soil on Coruscant - only dirtier and more desperate levels of emptiness. And it was never dark. The tiny sliver of his window was full of dizzying brilliance, as comforting as burning magnesium.

    Leather scuffed against carpet, and a shadow paused outside his door.

    Please go away.

    "Padawan?"

    He deserved punishment - deserved more punishment in fact than the silk and cream of that voice seemed to promise. He saw no point in protest, or anything else.

    The door opened, and brightness haloed the sword-like form of Master Dooku. Qui-Gon was no coward, so he turned his head slightly and met the black depths of his master's gaze. It was cool, but concerned. "I feel your despair, Padawan. You and I must talk."

    The elegant gesture of a long arm invited Qui-Gon into the common room. He obeyed, dimly grateful to Dooku for not coming further in and invading the only space in the universe which was his own.

    When he had sat on one of the delicate, carven chairs, Yan Dooku returned and put into his hands a porcelain cup of hot, sweet tea. Looking down at the tawny surface of the liquid, surrounded by his Master's fine things, he felt rough, coarse, utterly out of place.

    "Young man," Dooku said, leaning over him, slender fingers on the back of his chair, "I am deeply angry with you."

    "I didn't want to kill him." Qui-Gon had to make a long journey in his mind before he felt himself capable of answering and even so it felt blasphemous, as if he was no longer worthy to speak. "I tried not to."

    "That, my dear child, is precisely the point." The look was accusing and protective, falcon-fierce, "I am angry because you hesitated." White fingers grazed the air above Qui-Gon's partly healed cheek, "Your reluctance almost cost your life."

    Flash of memory, like the hail of blaster fire - the disorientation and near innocence in the slaver's eyes as he was run through. Qui-Gon hunched against the nausea of that recollection. "But I don't see why his life was worth less than mine." The Living Force had streamed about them both - victor and victim - and Qui-Gon had felt the passing of something unique, irreplaceable. Infinitely valuable, and - because of him - broken beyond repair. There must have been another way and I failed to find it. The Force could not have wanted this....

    Brushing back the sleek sable of his hair, Dooku straightened, his look of sympathy fading into sternness. "Qui-Gon, you will not find many Masters honest enough to say this, but if you cannot kill without remorse you will be useless to the Jedi Order."

    Qui-Gon breathed in. The ultimatum was as refreshing as snow on his swollen face. He admired the straight talking honesty of his Master - an integrity that others sometimes took for cruelty. "You must decide, Qui-Gon. A Jedi knight must kill. Do you still wish to be a Knight?"

    And it wasn't, after all, as if he had any choice - he was created to be a Jedi, he could no more chose not to than an oak tree could chose to be a rowan. "I do, Master."

    Dooku sighed, took Qui-Gon's hand and helped him to his feet. "Then go back to bed, Padawan, and in the morning I will arrange for you to take a lesson in death."

    ***

    Master Dooku's slender hand tightened reassuringly on Qui-Gon's shoulder. The room was grey, cavernous and steel shrouded. A grey light, neither ni/>
  2. Princess_Arulmozhi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2004
    star 4
    That was brilliant.

    Stories about the dynamics of a relationship between Dooku and Qui-Gon are rare enough - this one is surpassingly beautiful. Lyrical. The way Dooku teaches him a lesson that must be learnt is ... <shudders> And it's worse because it is a lesson that has to be taught. Qui-Gon is so in character. The way he understands that this kind of death is something the Force would wish.

    You must be the Marnie Diane is always in ratures about. :D And I see why. I've read your stories before, and found them marvelously crafted. [face_love]
  3. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    That was simply stunning! :eek:

    "Young man," Dooku said, leaning over him, slender fingers on the back of his chair, "I am deeply angry with you."

    "I didn't want to kill him." Qui-Gon had to make a long journey in his mind before he felt himself capable of answering and even so it felt blasphemous, as if he was no longer worthy to speak. "I tried not to."

    "That, my dear child, is precisely the point." The look was accusing and protective, falcon-fierce, "I am angry because you hesitated." White fingers grazed the air above Qui-Gon's partly healed cheek, "Your reluctance almost cost your life."

    Flash of memory, like the hail of blaster fire - the disorientation and near innocence in the slaver's eyes as he was run through. Qui-Gon hunched against the nausea of that recollection. "But I don't see why his life was worth less than mine." The Living Force had streamed about them both - victor and victim - and Qui-Gon had felt the passing of something unique, irreplaceable. Infinitely valuable, and - because of him - broken beyond repair. There must have been another way and I failed to find it. The Force could not have wanted this....


    All I can is that I now understand why everyone was so excited to see you back posting on the boards. Your talent is incredible and your writing is powerful! I'm in awe...

    =D=
  4. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Yay! Thanks for the comment, Princess_Arulmozhi! I'm glad you liked it :) For some reason I think that Dooku/Qui-Gon must have been a really fascinating partnership - perhaps it's just because they were both so unconventional. And yes, for all their peace-making, the Jedi seem to train their youngsters to kill quite early on, which must almost be harder on a live-in-the-moment, Living Force focussed lad like Qui-Gon than for the majority of them.

    LOL! Yes, I'm that Marnie :) I didn't realize I was so notorious! But I'm glad that I didn't disappoint when it came to it. Thank you again!
  5. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    [:D] Thanks for the comment VaderLVR64! *Blush*, and what a fabulous comment it was! I feel very flattered and happy now. I'm really glad you liked the fic :) Whether I can keep the standard up after 4 years away, rusticating, is another matter :) Even if not, it's been great to come back and get such a nice comment. Thank you!
  6. VadersMistress Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 6
    My mom suggested I read this. Translation: I was ORDERED to read it. :p But for once I was glad to follow directions.

    This was great. I can't wait to read more of your work. Okay, in between classes and working and... Well, I'll read whenever I can. Really, you're very talented. =D=
  7. Charmisjess Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2003
    star 3
    Whoa, mad nostalgia time. I know this was the first fic of yours I ever read, back in the quigonline days...and I think it was the second Dooku fic I ever read! *blinks* It's totally just as beautiful and profound as I remember.

    This is The Particular Thing about your writing: the words! You always have the best ones. :)Especially for Dooku--he's all unearthly beauty, and sleek and silk and cream. It's absolutely stunning language, and it gives such vivid effect. The words find their mark and stick.

    =D=
  8. JadeSolo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 6
    Oh my god, why didn't I read your stuff when you were first here? Am I ever glad you came back! :p

    I love your portrayal of Dooku, and that's an understatement. He reminds me of Ducard from Batman Begins, a man so determined to flush evil from the world that he'll kill millions. The philosophy makes sense coming from Dooku, and it shows the Jedi as being something slightly more than Templar-esque peacekeepers. Because of that, it's easy to see how he went from the Jedi to the Separatists.

    And yet he's still not a bad guy in this fic, and especially not compared to the criminal. Big kudos to your descriptions of Dooku as well - falcon-fierce, sword-like. You say a lot with just a few words. =D=
  9. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    I have never forgotten how much I love your stories. And I have been singing your praises for a while now. :D

    This one was so very intense - the emotions and the desperation of Qui-Gon not to have to kill to be a Knight but knowing that he must. Brilliant as always.

    I love, love, love your language especially. I've tried to emulate it without success but the images you evoke is just exquisite.

    The tiny sliver of his window was full of dizzying brilliance, as comforting as burning magnesium. I've seen burning magnesium but it really brings out the image

    the silk and cream of that voice and sword-like form Perfect for Master Dooku.

    Qui-Gon had to make a long journey in his mind before he felt himself capable of answering and even so it felt blasphemous, as if he was no longer worthy to speak.
    I could imagine that he would feel this way, as if he were tainted by some horrible thing.

    The ultimatum was as refreshing as snow on his swollen face. He admired the straight talking honesty of his Master - an integrity that others sometimes took for cruelty.
    Cruelty gets my vote every time.

    For me it will only just have begun, Qui-Gon thought, touching the edge of darkness, Life as a trained killer. My Master's weapon. The Council's weapon....
    A horrible thing for him. No wonder that he became the rogue and thorn in the Council's side.

    He felt absurdly calm, like a droid with its empathy circuits off line.
    I could picture it so clearly, the void in his heart.

    Like the cut of a knife so sharp he had not felt the wound, pain came blossoming out of his soul to overwhelm him. Shuddering, he crawled into a corner and sat there, weeping.
    That tears out my heart and makes me want to weep with him.


    I'm so glad to see you here. I hope that it might inspire you to write more SW fic.... [face_praying]
  10. Layren Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2003
    star 5

    What Charms said! I totally remember this from Qui-Gon Online way back in the day and wow it's just as fantastic and heart breaking as ever and I think this was one of the first things by you I ever read and it just totally left me breathless all over again. It's been so long since I've read it. I saw it when you put it up early this morning, but I didn't have time to post a review then. Excellent job!
  11. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Wow, that was intense. And really dark abd disturbing. :eek: Well done. Reading it, I was reminded about how Palpatine said that the Jedi are really the same except one detail. Chilling.

  12. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Thanks for the comment, VadersMistress! Wow, I'm impressed to be read by two generations, and to know of course that mums are always right ;) (My daughters would undoubtedly disagree with me on that one :) ) I'm really glad this was something you could both agree on. Thank you!
  13. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Ooh, I've just realized I should probably do this all in one big reply and avoid cluttering up the boards, Sorry!

    Charmisjess
    Yay, many thanks! Yes, it's been a bit of a nostalgia trip for me too - I feel a bit like Qui-Gon; having to come a long way back before being able to speak. But *squee* for the words! I do struggle to pick the right ones, so it makes me very glad if that shows :)

    JadeSolo
    Ooh, Ducard! That's a brilliant idea! Yes, now you mention it, he does remind me very much of my Dooku (or perhaps evil!Qui-Gon, as he would have been if Dooku took him over to the Dark side with him.) And squee for the Knights Templar comparison too; I think the Jedi are very much like the Knights Templar, right down to their corruption at the end, so there's definitely places where darkness can hide inside the Temple. But yes, I don't see Dooku as darkside while he was training Qui-Gon - just ever so slightly sinister ;) Many thanks for the comment!

    dianethx
    Yay! Diane! It's great to see you again :) And in the process of catching up with at least the Qui/Dooku thread I've come across your stalwart defence of my fics. Thank you so much! I'm really amazed that after 4 years or so, people even remember me, let alone still talk about me. It's wonderful!

    Wonderful, much like your comment! Wow! I feel quite overwhelmed and only hope that I can still reach this standard now. I'm going to try and do NaNoWriMo this year, which means that October is the plotting stage, and November will be taken up with writing for that. But hopefully when that's out of the way I'll have time to do something new - I hope my writing hasn't deteriorated since then :)

    Heh, I tend to think that Dooku is not being cruel here :) He and Qui-Gon get along so well because they understand each other (and very few other people understand them). Dooku understands that Qui can cope with the unvarnished truth better than he can cope with confusing attempts to rationalize, and that Qui needs space to figure things out on his own, rather than comfort. Qui understands that other people think his master is cruel, because they wouldn't like that themselves, but he thinks of it as kindness, because it's very much what he needs.

    Eek! Sorry for the essay, and thanks again!
  14. leia_naberrie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2002
    star 4
    Oh great, you posted this here and it's... what everyone else said! :p

    "Qui-Gon, you will not find many Masters honest enough to say this, but if you cannot kill without remorse you will be useless to the Jedi Order."

    =D= Now I can really see Dooku saying that. Point-blank and staring you straight in the eye. The other Jedi might hum and haw about things, but he'll always be the kind of Master that will call a spade a spade, no matter how ugly or unsightful the spade happens to be.

    Excellent Dooku. Excellent Qui-Gon.

    I really like this story.
  15. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Wow! I'm overwhelmed by replies, this is brilliant!

    Layren
    Thank you so much for the review! You know, I'd actually forgotten about Quigonline.org! Is that still active? I'd forgotten that I wrote this for one of their challenges. My memory is clearly a bit dire! Yay for 'breathless' and 'heartbreaking' *g*. That makes me very proud. Thank you!

    ardavenport
    Oh, thank you! 'Intense and disturbing' is wonderful praise, thank you! Yes, I must admit that seeing the Jedi landing with their clone troopers on Geonosis rather wiped out the idea for me that they were much different from the Sith. Maybe they once had been, and were going to be again, under Luke, but by the final days of the Republic they seemed more like the Republic's shock troops than peacekeepers.

    Sorry - I'm waffling there - by which I mean 'Yay! Thanks for the review!
  16. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Thanks for the review, leia_naberrie! Yes, what amused me no end during the scene where Dooku was talking to Obi-Wan on Geonosis was that Dooku was, even as a Sith, telling Obi the truth. I think I got the idea that he didn't lie from there. And of course, Qui-Gon would actually find that reassuring, because he strikes me as someone who likes to know where he stands (even if it's hanging over a precipice!)

    I'm really glad you liked the story! Thank you [:D]
  17. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    Thanks for the reply. I know that Dooku doesn't think he is being cruel and Qui-Gon wants the honesty but....

    Brushing back the sleek sable of his hair, Dooku straightened, his look of sympathy fading into sternness. "Qui-Gon, you will not find many Masters honest enough to say this, but if you cannot kill without remorse you will be useless to the Jedi Order."

    Killing without remorse. I don't think that Qui-Gon could ever do that, do you? To me, he's always seemed to follow the will of the Force and he learns to kill as needed but he strikes me as someone who would always feel remorse for those he has killed. Dooku, on the other hand, has always seemed to be remorseless and, although he has his own idea of duty and honor, it doesn't leave much room for humanity. They are a good team in some ways because they are both rebellious and they balance each other but I can't see Qui-Gon going to Dooku much when he's a Knight or beyond when he has problems. AOTC seems to bear this out since Obi-Wan had never met Dooku before.

    Anyway, I keep going to your website, hoping for more SW stories. Hint, hint!

    Whenever good stories are brought up, Redemption is always mentioned by me, leia_nabarrie and a couple of others. You never finished posted on Coming home here but you could...

    As for the quigonline.org, it's pretty much dead. I keep posting stories to it but that's about it.
  18. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Killing without remorse. I don't think that Qui-Gon could ever do that, do you? To me, he's always seemed to follow the will of the Force and he learns to kill as needed but he strikes me as someone who would always feel remorse for those he has killed.

    I see where you're coming from :) But it depends on how you're using 'remorse'; it means two related but different things. '1.deep regret for a wrong committed' or '2.a compassionate reluctance to inflict pain.'

    I think that Qui-Gon *is* a remorseless killer, in the sense that he does not suffer regret. If that death was necessary, if it was unavoidable, then it's pointless to regret it - it could not have been changed. I think he would be very careful not to kill anyone *wrongfully*, and he would feel remorse if he had made a mistake and killed someone he shouldn't have. But if he was following the will of the Force and could see there was no alternative, then I think he would be without remorse in the first sense.

    Of course he would never be without remorse in the second sense. And I agree that Dooku might well have less of the second type of remorse, simply because Qui-Gon is canonically very compassionate, but Qui understood Dooku to be meaning the first. (So did I! I find it rather intreguing to think that my Dooku used 'remorse' rather than 'regret' - which would have been clearer. I like the double meaning a lot, and I hadn't been aware of it til now :) Thank you!)

    I'm gearing up to do NaNoWriMo next month (spending this month figuring out a plot), but maybe after that's over I might find myself inspired to do more SW :) I do like the idea of finishing TSO - I still have the plot for it somewhere.

    I hadn't realized I hadn't finished posting Coming Home. Shame on me! I might well do that in the mean time then. Thank you!

    Incidentally, if I wanted to find a beta reader for 'Acts of Mercy' with the aim of submitting it to the archive, what should I do to find one?
  19. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    But it depends on how you're using 'remorse'; it means two related but different things. '1.deep regret for a wrong committed' or '2.a compassionate reluctance to inflict pain.'

    Yes, I meant it in the second way, a compassionate reluctance to inflict pain. I don't think Dooku would have been as reluctant as Qui-Gon. In your Coming Home, Dooku does something to inflict pain and feels no regret about it, thinks it was completely necessary. I can't see Qui-Gon doing something like that deliberately, ever. However, I'm not a great fan of Dooku's and find him rather chilling in most cases.

    As for betas for the Archives, I'll be glad to do it. You will need one more since you need 2. Plus keep in mind that they are taking forever these days to accept or reject stories. My last one took a couple of months (almost 3).
  20. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    I remember this. [face_love] [face_love]

    Still just brilliant. His master makes it sound so easy.

    "Qui-Gon, you will not find many Masters honest enough to say this, but if you cannot kill without remorse you will be useless to the Jedi Order."

    What you do here is Justice, Padawan."


    It's never always as black as white as that. Any wonder the step from light to dark was so easy?

    Qui-Gon inately knows there's more then two sides and as long as he follows the Force as he does he will remain a Jedi Knight to the last.

    Can't say how wonderful it is to see you post here again. You have been missed and I still reread many of your fics. [face_love]

  21. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1

    I agree, my Dooku is cruel, or at least he *will be* when he has matured as a Sith - it's one of the things in him which being a Sith will let out. I tend to think that at this point he's merely lacking in compassion. For example, in Coming Home, he tortured that man because he believed it was necessary, and he did not enjoy it (but it didn't repel him either.) I see that as being distinct from cruelty - he would have been cruel if he had done it because he enjoyed it. Later as a Sith, he clearly does enjoy toying with people, messing with their minds etc, and at that point he's definitely cruel. But here I think he's only proto-cruel. 'Remorseless' but not yet cruel. If that makes any sense?

    Re beta reading - I'd be delighted if you would do it! Thank you! But I didn't mean that as a roundabout way of asking you! If you'd rather not, that's fine :) But Thank you!

    Is there a thread or somewhere where you can request beta readers? I don't really know anyone I can ask, and yes, the whole submission process is so daunting, I'm surprised I got the nerve up to do it twice :) But thank you again! That would be fab!
  22. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    Yay! Healer_Leona! It's lovely to see you again :) Thanks for the review! Yes, I agree that Dooku's simplistic us and them, black and white view is easy to shatter, particularly when he realised that the 'us' part of it no longer meant anything to him. Though I suspect the 'shades of grey' view is susceptible to its own form of corruption too ;)

    Thanks so much! It's nice to be back. Heh, it feels like coming home :) I don't seem to be being struck with inspiration to do anything new though, but perhaps if it's given time... *g* Thanks again!
  23. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    The Beta reader index is Here However, you don't have to use someone from tf.n as long as they have an email address. The Archives will check to make sure that they have read the story. If you can't find someone else, let me know and I'll ask around for you. I am glad to do it. It's a lovely story, if a bit horrifying.

    We should take this off-line. I'll send you a PM.
  24. Marnie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 25, 2001
    star 1
    That's brilliant, Diane! Thanks, I've bookmarked the beta index in the hopes that I might need it later :) But I'm fixed for this one now, wonderfully enough, as leia_naberrie has volunteered as well... and now onto the PM :)
  25. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    I've heard that you're an amazing author, so when I saw this, I had to click. Everyone was right!! This is an awesome piece!!

    I love the way you show Qui-Gon's struggle, and the way he deals with his emotions and tries to find right from wrong, good from bad. It is an incredibly moving piece. Bravo!! =D=
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