Beyond "Eurydice" (Luke, Mara) Updated 12 October, Complete!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JadeLotus, Oct 11, 2011.

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  1. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    A/N: Here there be angst. Also a small line theft from Hornblower: Retribution.



    Part I: Thrace


    It started out simply enough, but then, disasters always do.



    Against her better judgement, Mara Jade had found herself accompanying Luke Skywalker and his rag-tag band of would-be Jedi Knights on a diplomatic mission to the planet Koli. Routine in every aspect; evidently the indigenous population wanted to join the New Republic and thus Leia Organa Solo had been sent to negotiate - with her husband in tow. Given that the Koli people were a fierce warrior race, the Jedi had been co-opted into providing protection. Or, as Mara surmised, it was Luke’s way of giving his students experience without the inherent dangers associated with actual combat. As Mara had been on Yavin IV at the time on one of her brief sojourns into Jedi training, Luke had insisted she come along. After all, how dangerous could a simple diplomatic mission be?



    In hindsight, Mara at least should have known better. She found herself, back to back with Luke, lightsaber drawn, facing not only the Koli army, but a battalion of stormtroopers.



    It had all started with that damned sphere.



    “They call it the Ovid,” Luke had told her earlier that day. They stood in a great, circular hall, empty save for a pedestal at the very centre, upon which a glowing ball rested, floating just a few centimetres above the platform. It was perfectly spherical and appeared to be made of some kind of glass or crystal. In any case, the contents of the sphere was clearly visible, almost like a cloudy, green gas which shone brightly as it moved within the sphere, lighting up the entire room. It was mesmerising.



    “Ovid?” Mara asked. “Sounds like a medical product.”



    Luke smiled. “It is their word for eternity.”



    Mara found herself unable to look away; even though the glow hurt her eyes somewhat. She reached out to touch the surface of the sphere, just to see what would happen.



    “Don’t do that,” Luke told her, placing a halting hand on her arm. “The Ovid contains over a million kals of apollonius radiation. Besides,” he added. “It is against their laws to touch it. Even looking upon it is a great honour, or so Leia tells me.”



    Mara quickly withdrew her hand and stepped backwards for good measure. “And they just leave this lying around?” she grumbled. “Why have it at all?”



    Luke shrugged. “It’s a religious artefact. And it’s safe as long as it’s held in that sphere”



    “Oh,” Mara added sarcastically. “In that case.” And she strode off, wondering at the idiocy of a race that would keep a biological weapon as a shrine.



    Her usually razor-sharp instincts had failed her. It had soon become apparent, during a ceremony in that very antechamber, that the Koli weren’t as stupid as she had guessed. When blasterfire broke out, the last place you wanted to be was a circular room with the enemy on every side, but that was the very situation they found themselves in.



    Apparently the Koli weren’t as peaceful as they claimed, in fact quite the opposite. They were in league with the local Imperial Warlord Vyper, who had clearly planned on capturing not only the Chief of State, but half of the Jedi as well. That, or killing all of them, which was always a distinct possibility.



    Mara engaged one of the Koli warriors in battle, her lightsaber easily slicing through his vibro-axe. He faltered, and she spun around him before aiming a decisive kick into his stomach, causing him to double over in pain and crawl away. Luke was deflecting blaster fire back towards the stormtroopers, causing some of them to retreat back out of the hall. The braver ones kept coming, however, although the Jedi students seemed to be holding them off.



    “A nice, easy mission, you said,” she called to Luke over the din as she parried another Koli warrior. “Maybe take in some scenery. I should have known better, Skywalker.” She swept her lightsaber at the warrior’s feet, causing him to jump back to avoid the blade and consequently topple over.



    Luke was easily overcoming his own warrior, and she felt his amusement through the Force. “Probably!” he called out in a voice that could almost be described as gleeful.



    But the blaster fire increased and it took all of their efforts to catch the bolts with their sabers, ducking and weaving, knowing which bolts the other would catch; almost like a dance they were performing.



    She wasn’t sure if it was a deflection from his saber, or hers, or even if it was simply a stray bolt which was way off target, but in a sickening moment they both heard the crack behind them. Mara turned, and sure enough, the Ovid had been struck by blaster fire. She could already see the cracks forming in the sphere, and a wisp of green gas begin to escape.



    “I thought you said that thing was safe!” she called to Luke, turning back around to catch the barrage of fire that was still being fired at them



    “Obviously not against blasters,” Luke grimaced. There was a long moment when he seemed to be deep in thought, even as he fought off the oncoming blaster bolts. “If it explodes, or even leaks…” he shook his head, his mouth in a firm line. “I have to do it.”



    “What?”



    “That sphere has enough radiation to wipe out the entire planet,” he cried, his eyes bright, his face determined. “If I can channel it using the Force into myself, I can stop that.”



    “Luke, you can’t!” she cried, swinging her lightsaber savagely as she deflected another blaster bolt.



    “There’s no other way,” he said simply as three stormtroopers approached him and he engaged them in battle.



    Mara glanced over at Leia and Han, who had taken up positions at the eastern wall and were firing expert shots into the mass of stormtroopers. She looked back at Luke, briefly allowing herself to admire his fighting style, even as she deflected further bolts of oncoming fire and dispatched a stormtrooper who advanced on her.



    She couldn’t allow Luke to give his life like this; not with his sister there, not when there were dozens of students waiting to be trained into Jedi and he was the only one who could teach them. Because despite her misgivings, Mara did believe in his cause. She believed in him.



    No other way? She thought to herself. We’ll see about that.



    Luke had dispatched his stormtroopers, but still more advanced on him. Taking advantage of his distraction, Mara abandoned her post and ran to the podium in the centre of the room. The sphere shone so brightly Mara wanted to look away, but she forced her eyes to remain on it even though the light stung, so much harsher than it had earlier. She noticed the hairline cracks around the edges of the sphere where the radiation was already beginning to seep out. She sheathed her lightsaber and placed her hands on either side of the Ovid, fingers covering the cracks. She winced as the radiation touched her skin; it was like fire, but somehow so much worse, agonisingly hot and yet unbearably cold at the same time.



    Mara gritted her teeth and closed her eyes, trying to ignore the pain even as it increased. She took a deep breath, and calmed herself like Luke had taught her, before reaching out to the Force. She focussed on the substance within the sphere, and imagined drawing it into her body. She opened her eyes a slit, and saw that it was working, her hands and forearms tinted green as the radiation was absorbed into her. She opened herself up to the Force, making herself a vessel of it, enough to hold the radiation and neutralise its effects.



    Pain slammed at her from every side, like thousands of pinpricks on her skin but she did not dare let go of the sphere. She was unable to stop a scream from escaping, or for burning hot tears to stop brimming from her eyes as she slammed them shut again. She vaguely heard Luke call her name, scream at her to stop, but she ignored him, for his life and the lives of everyone else depended on her resolve.



    There was pain, but Mara seemed to move beyond that; she could feel the Force itself as it possessed her; she could see the universe and every star within it; she could feel every sentient being on every world in the galaxy. She was one with them; their births, their deaths, their bitter sufferings and fiercest joys. It burst within her, like a star gone supernova; matter collapsing in on itself and then being recreated, over and over again as life renewed itself.



    She was the Force.



    After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a few seconds, Mara was compressed back into her body, and she noticed that the pain had subsided. Her eyelids felt unbearably heavy, but she opened them, and her grip loosened on the sphere as it dropped to the floor and shattered. But it was empty now – harmless – she had taken all of the radiation inside herself and sealed it there with the Force. She raised one hand level with her eye, and the green tint subsided, the skin returning to a pale flesh tone.



    But Mara found her legs no longer worked, and, unable to keep herself upright, collapsed. There were arms there to catch her, and lower her gently to the floor. She looked up, and saw that it was Luke who held her, looking distraught and angry at the same time.



    “Dammit, Mara,” he said. “Why did you do that?”



    “Same reason you were going to,” Mara said, although her voice was raw and cracked, and her throat burned. “Why should you have all the glory?” She tried to laugh, but coughed, and felt the warm, metallic taste of blood.



    Luke’s jaw visibly clenched and he shook his head. “You should have let me do it,” he said gruffly.



    “Oh, Skywalker,” she whispered, as her chest constricted and heart beat erratically. “So quick to give – so unwilling to accept the gifts of others.” She swallowed heavily and clamped down on her pain in her ribcage. “How many times have you been willing to give your life for others – for me?” she asked him. “Let someone else make the sacrifice for a change.” She coughed again, and she could feel her lungs go raw. “You’re needed,” she rasped, and glanced upwards to where Leia and Han stood behind Luke, and behind them, at a respectful distance, Kyp Durron and the students from the Jedi Academy – the battle was over. Leia’s hand was pressed against her mouth, her brown eyes wide and full of tears, and even Han, who had one arm around Leia’s shoulders, looked distressed.



    “Oh, Mara,” Luke said softly, drawing her gaze back as he tenderly brushed the hair away from her forehead. “You are needed.”



    She tried to smile, but found she did not have the energy. She couldn’t feel her legs, or Luke’s arms which she knew must be wrapped around her. Even her vision was going dark and fear set in. Mara tried to speak, tried to call his name – Luke – but her muscles would not obey her; her mouth would not form the words, and her voice would not speak them. Concentrating, Mara willed herself to at least make some movement and rejoiced when she was able to shift the fingers of her left hand, just barely. She could not see him, but Luke must have noticed, because his hand enveloped hers and squeezed comfortingly. That, she felt.



    Mara tried to tether herself to him, and to life, concentrating on the pressure of his hand, his fingers wound in hers, to pull herself back.



    But even the awareness of his touch faded, slowly, as everything went finally dark.
    Last edited by JadeLotus, Oct 12, 2014
  2. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Oh, JL. That was breathtakingly beautiful and heartbreakingly sad. You are such an amazing writer.

    Can I pray for a happy ending in the later parts? There will be later parts, right? :_|

    :_|
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  3. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    JL.

    JL...

    WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME???? :_| :_| It's all so beautiful and sad and angsty and the title gives me NO hope at all.... So very Mara. So very Luke. Oh, my belly is in knots!


    ...

    On a lighter note:

    ?Ovid?? Mara asked. ?Sounds like a medical product.?

    I use Ovid's medical journals everyday. ;)

  4. RedGold Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2004
    star 4
    Oooo... me likey!
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  5. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    WHAT?! No. She can't die! Mara can't die because this is only part 1... right?

    I'm liking the angst and I love your writing. More soon please?
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  6. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Why all the angst in these fics lately? I love the writing, but I really hope there is a happy ending somewhere! I hope Mara doesn't die, but gets better and beds Luke.

    Angst + Luke + Mara +resolution to angst= NC-17 PM bonus chapter!

    That is the kind of math I like!
  7. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Me likey, too! Angst ahoy!

    Woot! =D=
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  8. divapilot FanFic Dare Challenge

    Game Winner
    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    Beautifully written, and so very in character for them both.

    "Eurydice" means there will be an "Orpheus" in part 2, maybe? Curious...[face_thinking]

    Edit: Your first line is amazing.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  9. LVB Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2005
    star 1
    You were certainly right about the angst! :_|

    That was so haunting! Mara's decision was so refreshingly her--still uncertain abut the Jedi but inherently knowing that what was happening was wrong and she needed to step up.

    I'm hoping to see more *jumps up and down with sign*

    :)
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  10. nostalgia Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2011
    star 2
    So... she's not dead, right? Because, I'm pretty sure you just broke a fanfic law. :p

    This is really good! You have a brilliant mastery of literary devices and are descriptively amazing! I can't wait to read more -- even if it is filled with angst, and even if Mara is dead (even though she shouldn't be!)

    I hope I can read more sometime soon!
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  11. mara_jade_rox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2007
    star 2
    ACK! How can I be so saddened by something so stunning? It must but your writing skills, m'dear. [face_love]

    This is truly magnificent. I do hope there will be a part 2...and 3...and 4...and 10...

    Well, you get the picture. Lovely work!

    MJR:D
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  12. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    JediMara77 - Thank you! Yes, there will be later parts, however for a happy ending you'll just have to wait and see...

    ginchy - [:D] Love the new icon btw ;) I actually took the reference to Ovid from somewhere else, but it sounded like the sort of thing Mara would say - nice to know it is somewhat accurate!

    RedGold - I thought you might!

    Briannakin - Thank you! Angst is kinda my thing :D

    Jedi_Lover - I like that equation! There does seem to have been a trend for angsty fics lately [face_thinking]

    Jade_Pilot - Thanks gal - you know I love me some angst :D

    divapilot - Thanks so much! There may indeed be an Orpheus appearing in this fic :)

    LVB - Thank you - I think Mara, even though she doesn't agree with everything Luke and the Jedi do, she sees their purpose and the need for them.

    nostalgia
    - Thanks so much! - fanfic law may be broken, but can be mended :D

    mara_jade_rox - Thanks you! There may not be that many parts, but thetre will be a few more!
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  13. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Part II: Against the Dying of the Light





    Leia Organa-Solo crouched on the floor of the Millennium Falcon, carefully cleaning the painfully raw blaster wound in Han’s thigh. She was trying to be as gentle as she could, blotting the cauterised area with a med-towel, but despite her care Han still winced slightly at the antiseptic. It did not help that he was seated at the gaming table of the Falcon, rather than lying down in the medbay, but unfortunately the ship only had one medcot, which was presently occupied and Han refused to be taken to one of the sleeping cabins. Leia surmised that he didn’t want to be kept away from anything.



    “So, doctor, will I live?” His words were light, but his expression grim. It was typical of Han, trying to lighten the mood, but his heart wasn’t in it. Leia looked up at him and he seemed to belatedly realise the inappropriateness of his words.



    But she chose to ignore his oversight. “You will,” she told him simply and she applied a bacta patch to the wound.



    “This is a real mess, eh?” Han shook his head.



    Leia sighed and moved to take a seat next to him at the gaming table. She rubbed her hands over her eyes, which were still raw from crying, and suddenly felt very tired. “Yes it is.” She was silent for a few moments, before lowering her hands to rest on the table, clasping them together.



    “We really should get you to one of the cruisers,” she told him, referring to the New Republic battleships which had arrived and fought off the Imperial craft which had been in orbit over Koli. “A med-driod should really look at that wound.”



    “I’m fine,” Han told her. “A few days rest and I’ll be good as new.” He leaned over and placed one of his hands over her clasped ones. “Hey,” he said softly, and she looked up at him, his face, although still tinged with sweat and dust from the battle, was concerned and gentle. “Are you okay?”



    “I’m fine,” she repeated back to him, although she knew her expression to be less than convincing. “I never really had much time for her,” she began after another silence. “You seemed to understand her more than me – like her, even.”



    Han nodded. “She and I were the same– in a way.”



    “I never trusted her, not really, no matter what Luke said,” she continued, buoyed by the understanding in her husband’s tone. “But she saved us – all of us.” Leia felt the tears well up in her eyes again, and in her husband’s presence only, she allowed them to fall. “I just wish I’d gotten to know her better, I suppose.”



    “She was one of a kind,” Han nodded, and patted her hands gently. “And it’s alright to have regrets, Leia – no one saw this coming.” He exhaled, a sort of half-laugh, and looked away wistfully. “You know I always thought, her and Luke…but it doesn’t matter now.” He shook his head again, and Leia wanted to reach for him, to enfold herself in his arms, remind herself every day that her husband was alive, and how lucky she was that neither of them had been seriously injured in the firefight, in the hundreds of other battles they’d been in over the years. If that blaster bolt had been a few feet higher, and hit Han in the chest rather than the leg…she had never really stopped to think about it.



    But all it would take was one accurate shot, one miscalculated move, one sacrifice, and it could all be over, for either of them. Never before had Leia keenly felt how fragile their lives were, and never before had she appreciated Han as much as she did in that moment. She wanted to tell him so, but the comm buzzed angrily, and broke her train of thought.



    “I’ll get it,” she said, raising and placing a stilling hand on his shoulder. “Don’t you dare get up.” She needed to head to the cockpit to answer properly, but before she went, she held Han’s face between both of her hands and kissed him fiercely, hoping it conveyed all of her unarticulated thoughts.



    He smiled, sadly, as she drew away, and Leia knew that he had understood, and felt the same. She sighed and headed down the corridor to the empty cockpit, took a seat in the pilot’s chair and punched the comm.



    “Yes?” she answered tersely, angry already at whoever thought it necessary to disturb them at such a time.



    “Madame Organo Solo?” The clipped voice of Kyp Durron answered over the comm, and Leia cringed inwardly. She’d had little contact with Kyp, but Luke had spoken of him often, enough for her to discern that he was a rather tactless young man.



    “Yes?” Leia answered in a tone she hoped displayed her displeasure.



    “I’m sorry to disturb you,” Kyp answered. “The captain over here on the Valiant has asked if we should get going – the Star Destroyer’s been chased off but he thinks it unwise to linger.”



    Leia forced herself to assume the role required by her position. Captain Ortega was in charge of the NR ships, but she was the highest-ranking NR representative so the call fell to her. “I agree,” she told Kyp. “But not quite yet – a half-hour, at least.”



    “I understand – it may take some convincing,” Kyp replied. “How is he?” he asked after a pause.



    Leia sighed, leaning back against the pilot’s chair. “Not good.”



    “Do you need any of us over there?” Kyp asked, a note of pleading in his voice. “To help?”



    “No,” she told him firmly. “Not just yet – I’ll comm back when we’re prepared.” She shut off the comm without waiting for Kyp’s reply, knowing that she could not wait any longer. She’d been putting it off, but Leia understood that she had to speak with him, convince him that it was time to leave.



    She slowly rose out of the pilot’s chair and walked back down the corridor of the Falcon. As she passed through the lounge she noticed Han was still slumped at the gaming table, but his eyes were closed. Probably a blessing, she told herself, knowing how painful a blaster wound could be. She kissed her fingers and touched his head softly with them as she walked past, down to the Falcoln’s medbay.



    She entered soundlessly, and saw Luke seated in the only chair. His hair was rumpled and his overall appearance rather dishevelled. But his face was what concerned Leia the most – it was blank, devoid of emotion; in fact he looked almost catatonic. He stared, unblinking at the only medcot which contained the prostrate and lifeless body of Mara Jade.



    It had been an awful moment, down on the planet, when Luke had held Mara’s body in his arms as she slipped away. He had kept shaking her, patting her cheek, calling her name, until eventually Leia had knelt down beside him and forced him to stop. Luke had not cried, but instead withdrawn within himself, insisting on carrying her back to the Falcon and lying her reverently in the medcot himself. He had taken a seat and refused to leave her, as if he was taking up residence by her sickbed, waiting for her to awaken. Leia had been forced to leave him to get them off the planet and tend to Han’s injury, a decision she was now regretting.



    “She died for me,” Luke spoke up, and Leia almost jumped at his sudden words, unaware that he had noticed her enter. “To save me – all of us,” he added, although his voice was emotionless and blank.



    “Yes,” Leia agreed, “she was very brave.” As sad as she was for Mara’s death, Leia would always be grateful for it, for Mara had saved the life of her beloved brother, had prevented him from making the sacrifice which would have ended in Luke’s dead body lying in the Falcon’s medbay, rather than Mara’s. Leia would thank the Force every day for the rest of her life for Mara Jade, once sworn to kill Luke Skywalker, but who ended up saving him. Leia found that there was some kind of bittersweet poetry to that, although she would never share those thoughts with Luke.



    “She was brave,” Luke repeated, his eyes still on Mara. “She was brave, and good…and she didn’t deserve this.”



    “No she didn’t,” Leia concurred softly. “No one does.”



    “No,” Luke disagreed, although his eyes did not leave Mara’s body. “Some people do – the ones who did this to her do.”



    “I can feel them,” he continued after Leia didn’t answer. “The Koli, down on that planet, those stormtroopers – that warlord Vyper and all those men and women on his Star Destroyer, even though they’re light-years away by now.” A shadow crossed his face and Leia felt uneasy.



    “I could touch their minds,” he continued, “and it would be easy – so easy – to end them all. I know how.” His head tilted slightly, as if considering. “And it would be justice.”



    “Luke,” she was most distressed. “Please don’t say that.”



    “Don’t say it or don’t do it?” His voice sounded hollow.



    She stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing slightly. “Please don’t say it,” she told him. “I know that you would never do it.”



    There was a long silence, and for the briefest of moments, Leia doubted her own words. She was confident in her brother’s ability to resist the Dark Side and not act out of revenge, but his lack of affect bothered her deeply. Even after Vader had died, he had not seemed like this. But then, she supposed, Vader had died in peace and redemption, whereas Mara was still so young, with so much potential. Her death seemed like such a waste.



    Eventually, Luke’s shoulders sagged ever so slightly, and his hand came up to rest over Leia’s, still on his shoulder. “You’re right – I couldn’t.” There was a hitch in his voice. “I would never.” A single tear slid down his cheek as his gaze was fixated on Mara’s form in the medcot. “But I wish – I wish I had the will.”



    Leia moved swiftly to kneel before him, taking his face in his hands. “You don’t mean that, Luke,” she told him firmly, wiping the tear from his cheek with her thumb. “You don’t.”



    “And you know me so well, Leia?” he asked, his voice suddenly harsh.



    Yes,” Leia told him emphatically. “We are of the same blood, the same body, the same cells,” she continued, her hands still on his face, even as his eyes remained locked on Mara. “I know you like myself, and I know that you would never want to cheapen Mara’s sacrifice by giving into anger.”



    Luke looked down at her then, his eyes bright, clearly transmitting that his pain was undiminished, but Leia could tell that she had gotten though to him. He bowed his head, visibly crumpling, and Leia reached up at drew him into her arms. Although he did not cry, Leia could keenly feel his despair through the Force. She felt his pain and grief at Mara’s death, but also his guilt that she had died to save him; had become a martyr because that was what he’d taught her, by example, to be.



    No words from his sister could dissuade him from this opinion, that much she knew, but she could give him her comfort and her understanding. So she held him close, refusing to let go, as she felt his anger ebb.



    Until, eventually, she could tarry no longer. She pulled away ever so slightly, wincing at the blank look on her brother’s face which held back so much pain. “Luke,” she told him softly. “We have to go.”



    “No.”



    “Luke,” she touched his cheek. “We need to take her back to Coruscant.”



    “No,” he repeated, his voice determined. He looked up at Leia, and she noted a faraway look in his eyes, almost as if he was seeing through her, beyond her. “We can’t leave yet.” He smiled, ever so slightly, at odds with his otherwise blank expression. “I know how to save her.”





    *********************







    It was not dark.



    She could not feel her eyelids, but somehow she knew that they were closed. And yet, there was light; bright, intrusive whiteness all around her, such that it was impossible to stay at rest.



    Mara opened her eyes, although the view did not change – all she could see was white.



    Great, she thought to herself. Mara had never really thought about what happened when you died – in truth, she had always thought that was the end, with nothing left but peace. She’d been sort of looking forward to that. Skywalker had always had those lofty opinions about being enfolded back into the Force; that there was some sort of beyond where the dead could see the living, and perhaps, interact with them if they were strong enough. He’d been visited by old Obi-Wan Kenobi, after all –or so he said. Mara had always been sceptical about that, and had chalked it up to a hallucination or wishful thinking.



    And yet she’d died, had felt her body give up and the darkness engulf her, but here she was – wherever it was.



    Mara stood and surveyed her surroundings another time, turning slowly on the spot, seeing nothing but white, white, and more white. Great, she thought again, this is worse than a Mon Cal psych ward. But as she finished her rotation, she saw a figure – one she hadn’t noticed before.



    A woman stood not ten feet from her, smiling warmly. She wore a simple white gown which fell to the floor, bare feet poking out from under the edge of the skirt. Dark hair framed her heart-shaped face, and gentle brown eyes gazed at here serenely. “Hello, Mara Jade,” the woman addressed her in a soft, lilting voice.



    The woman was not known to her, but there was a familiarity that Mara just couldn’t place. “Where am I?” she asked.



    “This place is called by many names. The people of my planet called it Erebus,” she replied.



    “Oh,” Mara said, not sure what that meant. “And who are you?”



    The woman smiled again. “I am here to help you.”





    Last edited by JadeLotus, Aug 11, 2013
  14. Chilla Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Absolutely awesome! =D= You have an amazing writing stlye! Very captivating.

    I loved the moment between Han and Leia, where Leia realized how incredibly lucky they are that nothing bad has happened to them yet despite all the dangers they have faced.
    The scene between Leia and Luke was great, too. They way he almost fell to the Dark Side was written really well and convincingly. Very moving as well.
    Now I'm hoping he'll really be able to bring Mara back. [face_praying]
    Loved that Mara still had her distinct personality even in...limbo or whatever it is. Is the other woman Padme?

    =D= Great story! Do you send out PMs? If yes, can you send me one when you update?
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  15. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Awesome! I hope Mara gets back and her death experience makes her realize time is wasting and she needs to get some action with her handsome Farmboy! I look forward to reading more!=D=
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  16. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    NOOOO! You did kill her! But Luke is going to bring her back, right?!

    Great angst, I love the image of the emotionless Luke. I also love the HL stuff - very meaningful.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  17. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Wonderful! It's a good day when you post an update to one of your stories, girl! It always leaves me wanting more.

    Bravo! =D=
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  18. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Seriously, your writing is amazingly beautiful. It almost makes me forget I'm reading angst.

    All the scenes were so in character, especially Luke and Leia. I could imagine Luke exactly like that - wanting desperately to avenge Mara's death (or anyone's death) and not being able to do so.

    And your Mara introspection at the end...wow. So Luke says he can bring her back, hmm? Interesting. Very interesting.

    I second the question as to if the woman is Padme.

    Can't wait to read more!
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  19. RedGold Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2004
    star 4
    wait, you're going to bring her back? no fair!!! :p

    ;)

    Love it.
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  20. mavjade It's so Fluffy Fanfic & New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 5
    :eek: How did I miss this?!?! It's amazing!

    The part where Luke talked about reaching out to their minds sent shivers up my spine. I was pretty sure he would never do it but to read (hear in my mind) Luke talking like that out of grief was....
    I have no words.


    I'm looking forward to seeing who this woman is and what will happen to Mara (and Luke!).


    =D==D=
  21. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    ack! I've been trying to leave a comment all morning but people keep coming in here expecting me to work. Don't they know Monday mornings are for catching up on fic?? ;)

    Girl. You're killing me. I still have little hope for Mara, but given the title, I figure there might be some kind of L/M reunion, if for just a moment...

    I love how you write Luke and Leia. You just know these characters so well, lady, and really cut to the heart of each of them.

    Poor Mara. No rest for the weary.

    Beautiful update!! [:D]
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  22. divapilot FanFic Dare Challenge

    Game Winner
    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    Beautiful. I can almost see the gears turning in Luke's head. He's desperate - his toying with destroying the others shows that - and he'll do whatever it takes to get her back. But is it the wise decision, and is he acting for her benefit or to assuage his own guilt?
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  23. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    I love the angst in this, particularly how well Leia handles it, and how much Luke sounds like Anakin after his mother died. I would love to find out what happens to Luke and Mara both... will yo please PM me (if you're doing them) when you update again?
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  24. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Part III: Five People You Meet in Heaven





    The woman in white stood before her, smiling serenely. Her hands were folded lightly before her, resting on the folds of the white gown which rippled slightly around her bare feet, even though there was no breeze. Her dark hair was worn loose, and soft curls fell about her shoulders and down towards her waist. Her voice had been clear and precise, and while it lacked the crisp formality and accent of a Coruscanti native, there was no doubt the woman had been highly educated. Mara catalogued all of this, for she could feel, but not place, the familiarity of the woman.



    It was her eyes, Mara decided, that were the most troubling. The woman had a gentle yet probing gaze, her brown eyes locking with Mara’s green ones as if she could find out everything about her without needing to speak. Mara looked away.



    “You can’t help me,” Mara stated, a hard edge to her voice. “I’m dead.”



    The woman smiled, showing her straight, white teeth – as if the place she was in needed more white, Mara thought with annoyance.



    “Death is not an end, Mara Jade,” the woman told her, with the same gentle tone. “It is a path.”



    Mara sighed. “Is there anyone else I can speak to?” she asked. Mara liked the direct approach – she had little time for philosophy. “You’re being a little obtuse for me,” she clarified.



    “My apologies.” The woman took a step towards her, the silver bracelets on her wrists jangling slightly as she did so. “I have been here a long time, and it has been some while since I have spoken to anyone from the other world. Most people pass directly on.”



    “On where?” Mara asked.



    “The Force,” the woman replied simply. “That is where we come from when we are born, and where we return to when we die. Where we are now is a path in between – a gateway between the other world and the heart of the Force itself.”



    “Oh.” Mara crossed her arms. “So I’m in the universe’s waiting room?”



    The woman smiled again. “Something like that.” She took another few steps towards Mara. “I know all about you, Mara Jade – I have watched you for some time. But you do not know me, and it is remiss of me not to introduce myself. My name is Padme Naberrie Skywalker.”



    Mara did not consider herself easily surprised – but Padme had done it. She looked at the woman again, the dark hair, the heart-shaped face, the deep brown eyes, and this time she saw the resemblance to Leia. And yet that was not the familiarity she had felt – no, it was the quiet grace, the gentle calm, the easy yet probing gaze – that reminded her of another Skywalker.



    “You’re Luke’s mother,” Mara stated, and Padme smiled and nodded in response. “But why?” she asked. “Why you?”



    “There are few of us here, in this place,” Padme explained. “As I said, most people move directly on, to the Force. But some of us linger here, and I thought it best I meet you first.” Padme assessed her reaction. “I see you do not understand,” she continued. “I don’t blame you.” Then she turned on one heel and began walking. “Follow me,” she called over her shoulder, and Mara had no choice to obey.



    “First?” she asked. “You mean there are others?” She saw Padme nod even though she did not answer. Then Mara made the belated connection her mind – if Padme was Luke’s mother, that meant… “Is Vader here?” she asked, a hard edge forming in her voice.



    Padme looked over her shoulder and smiled. “Anakin is here, yes,” she answered evenly, then turned back around and kept walking. “But you’re not ready to meet him yet.”



    Before Mara could argue or protest, the pure white of their surroundings faded, and they found themselves in a huge chamber hundreds of metres wide and so tall the end could not be seen. Thousands of compartments circled the walls, and Mara recognised it as the old Senate chambers on Coruscant.



    Padme looked almost regal in the surroundings, and she tuned to Mara with a smile. “This was the Senate as I knew it,” she told her. “This place can use your memories to recreate where you were the happiest,” she continued by way of explanation.



    Briefly, Mara thought at if she was stuck here, it would be struggle to think of any place where she had been truly happy. When she looked back at Padme, she had the unnerving feeling that the woman had known what she’d been thinking, and Mara felt her cheeks grow warm.



    But if she had read her thoughts, Padme gave no other sign, and took a seat in one of the consular compartments. She crossed one leg over the other and folded her hands over her knee, then looked back up at Mara.



    “You did not pass on directly for a reason,” she imparted. “Because there is something tethering you to the other world. Perhaps it is simply the radiation from the orb, perhaps it is something else. But no one ends up here by accident.”



    Mara took a seat for herself, but whereas Padme was relaxed and contemplative, Mara sat on the very edge of her chair, back straight and hands tense on each knee. “Why are you here?” she asked.



    Padme suddenly seemed sad, and it took her several moments to answer. “The day I gave birth to my children was the worst day of my life,” she said eventually, her voice quavering slightly. “I had seen my husband turn to the Dark Side – turn against his friends, his brother Jedi who he had once admired and loved so much – even turn against me. I had been…injured, and the birth had been difficult. Then I saw Luke and Leia, my dear children born of the love Anakin and I had for one another – I did not want to leave them.” A tear slipped down Padme’s cheek, but she made no move to wipe it away. “I tried so hard to stay, to will myself to live for them, but I was being dragged away – I suppose it was the will of the Force,” she added quietly, but any bitterness must have dissipated long ago for there was no anger in her words. “And then I came here,” she continued, “to watch - and wait.”



    Mara took several moments to digest what Padme had told her, moved by the woman’s story. And yet, she couldn’t stop herself from observing; “That sounds like a pretty horrible existence.”



    Padme had composed herself, and gave Mara a wry smile. “Perhaps at first,” she agreed. “It seemed so unjust; that I should watch my children grow up without me, and my husband help destroy the Republic that I had served my entire life.” Then Padme fixed her with a resolute gaze. “But I can never become one with the Force without them. I will wait until we can all be together again.”



    Mara wasn’t sure what to say – such fervent love and devotion always made her uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because she had never had a family, save for the Emperor; perhaps because such emotion always felt beyond her grasp. She had been loyal to Palpatine, had loved him as a father, but it had been a falsehood. The utter sincerity of Padme’s words made the life she had left behind seem bereft and worthless.



    “So what do I have to wait for?” Mara managed to ask. “I don’t have anybody back there.”



    “I can’t answer that,” Padme told her simply. “The Force brought you here, not I.”



    “So I just have to wait around, watching other people live their lives until the Force decides to accept me?” Mara asked, a hint of irritation creeping in.



    “I’m sorry I do not have the answers you want, Mara,” Padme said, and her regret seemed genuine. “But we are not alone here,” she continued. “If you go through that door,” Padme pointed to the exit of the consulate chamber, “you will meet others. Some of whom have a particular interest in meeting you.”



    “Are...” Mara steeled herself. “Are my parents here?” He voice sounded small and pathetic, and she winced inwardly.



    But Padme’s expression softened even further with obvious compassion and sorrow. “If they are, I am not aware of it. I’m sorry, Mara.”



    Mara shook it off with a shrug of the shoulders – that pain was so old she barely felt it anymore. In any event, she consoled herself, perhaps not knowing was the easier path.



    “Many of those here are Jedi,” Padme added, “They had to find their way here. It seems I am the exception, since I am not a Jedi nor did I come here based on intent. That, I believe was the work of a friend, and the Force.” Padme paused for several moments, only speaking again when it was clear that Mara did not understand her meaning. “I am sure your parents would have found their way here if they had known to. I’m sure they loved you.”



    “That’s fine,” Mara answered shortly, and looked away.



    There was a soft rustle of silk and the musical jangling of silver, as Padme crossed the chamber and sat beside Mara. She almost reached out to take Mara’s hand, but evidently thought better of it and clasped them again in her lap



    “When I first came here,” Padme imparted softly, “I missed my children so much. I used to watch them continuously – Leia swimming in the oceans of Alderaan, Luke playing in the sands of Tatooine. While it gave me comfort to know that they were both loved, it was too painful to know that I had been taken from them. The friend who helped bring me here – a Jedi by the name of Qui-Gon Jinn – taught me how visit the world I had left behind. I am not a Jedi, so I could not appear to people as strongly as he could, but it was enough to visit my little girl a few times. She could sense me there, I knew it, even if all I could do was hold her and cry a little.”



    “You never visited Luke?” Mara had to ask.



    “I wanted to,” Padme smiled sadly, and there were tears once again in her eyes. “Luke was such a dreamy little boy, his head always in the clouds. Owen Lars was a good man, but he was of the earth, not of the sky as Luke was. I’m not sure how he would have coped with Luke telling him he’d seen a ghost.” Padme looked her in the eyes. “What I’m saying is that we can’t always do what we want for our children, even though we love them.”



    Mara nodded, unsure of how to respond to that. She felt hot tears behind her eyes and blinked them away, remembering her own childhood and thinking that it would have been torturous for her parents to watch that. She was touched that Padme had shared such deep and personal memories with her, and understood her sympathy, and yet it seemed somewhat pointless. What good would it do her now?



    “Thank you,” Mara told her, as she rose. What else should she say? I hope Luke and Leia die soon so you can be with them? Mara really wasn’t good in these situations. “If there’s more people I have to talk to, I should get on with it,” she said eventually, backing towards the exit.



    Padme laughed, a soft musical sound that echoed through the chamber. “This is not a chore, Mara,” she chided her. “This is to help you.”



    “What help can there be for me now?” Mara asked. “I’m dead,” she said again.



    “If there is one thing I have learnt,” Padme told her, “it’s that we cannot know the will of the Force, or where it will take us. Your journey is not over yet.”





    ******************



    Han stood in the entrance to the medbay, arms folded and leaning against the doorframe. There was no room for him inside, with Mara’s body lain out on the sole bunk, Luke seated on a chair beside her, and Leia standing beside him, hand on his shoulder and trying in vain to talk him out of his plan.



    “She’s dead, Luke,” she was telling him. “You can’t bring her back.”



    “I can,” Luke replied with confidence. “I can feel it, in my bones, in the Force. She’s not lost completely.” He turned his gaze back to Mara’s body.



    “Luke, please do not do this,” Leia pleaded with him, and knelt by his chair. “Please.”



    It wasn’t like Leia to beg, but then, Luke had never disregarded her in such a way before. The twins had certainly disagreed in the past, but they had always listened to and respected the other’s opinion. Neither had openly defied a genuine request from the other, especially when the stakes were so high.



    “I have to, Leia,” he replied without looking at her. “It will work, I promise you.”



    “Think about this, Luke,” Han called out to him. “You can’t promise that.”



    Leia started to cry. “You’re killing yourself, Luke,” she sobbed. “And you don’t know if you can bring yourself back.”



    Finally, Luke turned to her, cupping her cheek with his hand. “Have faith, Leia. I can do this. I have to do this.”



    Han took a step into the room. “You don’t have to, Luke,” he said firmly. “Mara gave her life to save all of us, to save you. Don’t waste her sacrifice.”



    “I have to do this,” Luke repeated, looking up at Han. There was a grim determination in his face and Han realised that there was nothing he could do or say to convince Luke otherwise. It was the same resolve that had convinced Luke to become a Jedi and avenge his Aunt and Uncle; to go on the near-suicide mission for the Rebel Alliance of Yavin IV rather than run away like Han; that had pushed him to redeem his father or die in the attempt. Once Luke made up his mind that was what he would do no matter the risk, or consequence.



    Han grimaced, and placed his hand on Leia’s shoulder, drawing her away. She stood and went into his arms easily, still weeping. “I hope you know what you’re doing, kid,” Han said, somewhat accusingly.



    Luke turned back to Mara. “I do,” he confirmed, and took her lifeless hand in both of his own. Then he drew a deep breath, his eyes fluttering closed as he went into a Force trance.



    “This is madness,” Leia whispered against Han’s shirt.



    “I know,” Han replied, rubbing her back to comfort her. “But he says he can do it, Leia. He’s usually right about this kind of thing.”



    Leia nodded and pulled away, wiping the tears from her eyes and composing herself. She reached out her hand to Luke’s neck and pressed two fingers to his pulse. “It’s slow,” she said softly. “He’s deep into the trance.” She pulled her hand away and cradled her fingers as if she’s been burnt.



    “I’ll hook him up to the support so we can monitor him,” Han offered, and moved to set up the equipment. In just a few minutes, Luke’s breathing became so shallow and infrequent that it was imperceptible without the machine recording his life signs. His heartbeat slowed until it barely registered.



    Leia knelt on the floor beside her brother. She went to take his hand, but withdrew, not wanting to disturb his trance. Han took his place on the floor next to her, wincing as the movement stretched the blaster wound in his thigh. He placed his hands on Leia’s shoulders and squeezed gently.



    “Now we wait,” he said softly.





    ************



    Luke had never been so deep into a Force trance before. He had been to the brink a few times, to the edge between life and death, where he knew of a tear that existed between the world he lived in and the next. He had never dared go near it, but now he welcomed it, going further than he had before, the tear expanding at his will, enough for him to slip through. He knew if he stayed too long it was likely he could not return, but he was certain he could find Mara and bring her back. He owed that to her, to her sacrifice.



    Under ordinary circumstances, it would be impossible. But Mara had absorbed the radiation from the Ovid, and Luke hoped that enough energy still remained so her body and mind could be revived. He had forced Leia and Han to remain in orbit around Koli, hoping that the radiation had in some way tethered Mara there, enough to bring her back. He trusted in his instincts, in the Force – in Mara’s strength and his own determination to defy the laws of the universe, for it was not her time to pass on.



    And so he nudged at the corners of the tear, squeezing himself through and into the light.



  25. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    An update! Woot! [face_dancing] Very nice. I look forward to reading more.
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