Saga Fortune's Gate ... Brand new chapter posted 2/19/13!!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by geo3, Jan 6, 2009.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    HMM... If Dooku gets Anakin... hmm who needs Ventress?

  2. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    ratna small addendum; i love the chapter title ~ Desert Man. Very evocative.

    Thanks! :)

    Ocelotl_Nesto HMM... If Dooku gets Anakin... hmm who needs Ventress?

    Hmm... erm... well, yes...

    I have to confess that I am primarily inspired to fanfic by the films. I?m not a gamer, and I don?t really dwell in the wider SW literature. While I was moved by Obi-Wan?s staunch attempts to redeem Ventress in the Clone Wars graphic novel series, my purpose in this story was to go back to the film canon and mess with it just enough to roll the dice anew...
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  3. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    Nice... still mysterious background on what happened with the Jedi... should be interesting
  4. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    Hee hee!! Another post!!!

    I love the way that you are showing us bits and pieces of Anakin's character and history, and his relationship with Owen. It will be an AU relationship, to be sure, since these two have actually grown up together. They have real 'stuff' together. Such an undiscovered country. Perhaps, like Tatooine, with unexpected riches underground. If anyone can find and reveal them, it will be you.

    I notice that Anakin has strong compassion: entirely unconscious and entirely flourishing, native and wild here on Tatooine -- as opposed to cultivated in the Temple Garden. It is deeply telling that, although he was not granted the Padawan braid, he has acted as a Jedi through and through, throughout all of his years here alone in the field. Truly, his step by step liberation of the planet could easily be a ten-year under cover mission of a Jedi. Right down to his bringing forth upon this world a Room of a Thousand Fountains.

    I seem to recall, in another tale, that you wrote this about fountains and Anakin ...

    It was the water that rooted Anakin to the spot; ... ... somehow he couldn?t get enough of the sound and the sense of splashing water. .. ...

    Long ago, the first time he had set foot on Naboo as a child, Anakin had decided that this was what the Force would feel like, if it could be experienced through the physical senses ? like a wash of pale, pure water, enlivened with the essence of the living realms that had added their color and flavor and fragrance to it, as it passed through the lush embrace of Naboo?s lands. Fresh, lively water still evoked the Force of his childhood and youth ? the active, clear, nurturing heart of his young life.


    There is material benefit in Anakin's transformation of Tatooine, but there is sacrament also. Even in this wildly AU incarnation, he is the Force's Chosen, and Champion.

    @};-
  5. Jinngerbread Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2007
    star 4
    What a breathless post!

    Seriously, I think I felt how Owen must have, pushed against the seat, with Anakin piloting. Really love the way you were able to bring so much detail about what had happened in the past in Anakin's life without slowing anything down in the plot.

    Love Anakin and Owen's relationship.

    What did the Jedi do or say I wonder to make Anakin react like that as a child?

    Looking anxiously for more!
  6. laurethiel1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2003
    star 4
    I just found this... and, damn! but I'm hooked...

    Please do PM me when you update next.

    As for the story itself, a wee detail struck me. About that stone-hewn round table of Anakin's. A harkening of King Arthur's, perhaps? After all, his domain is nothing short of magical for Tatooine (not to mention of a wealth beyond compare in a desert world), and it is but a small stretch of the imagination to liken it to Camelot.

    Cheers,

    Lauré :)
  7. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    In desperation, the unemployed of Tatooine had turned to a little illegal trading of their own, aided and abetted by their hero and his endlessly inventive mind. Gradually, it was becoming known throughout the Galaxy?s underworld that the planet of Tatooine was no longer ripe for picking, and needed to be approached with caution ? and cash. Only a few, like the one who was now strung across the back of Cliegg Lars? second-best speeder, were foolish enough to think they could get completely free access.


    Why do I get the image of a Venus fly trap here? Not just from this particular passage but just the whole?

    Ahh, but as in all of Geo's tales, joy is in the discovery and the journey, so I shall wait with (exhausted) baited breath!
  8. darth_treyvah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2005
    star 3
    It's funny how while his circumstances are all different, Anakin's personality more or less remains the same. It makes a lot of sense -- the bitterness he felt from being rejected by the Jedi, seeing the Galaxy and being forced to come back from all of that, his need to free all of Tattooine's slaves, his need to also be independent, and his ego and resolve having been increased by helping Naboo defeat the Trade Federation ... all of that would culminate into the Anakin that you have presented here.

    In a sense, he know knows or is beginning to understand that he is capable of anything.

    This is, and will be, very interesting.
  9. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks so much for your comments! I love stimulating discussion. One of my main goals in posting is to encourage a kind of free-for all discussion, so if I get carried away in my replies sometimes, it's because I've gotten excited about points that were raised...

    Ocelotl_Nesto Nice... still mysterious background on what happened with the Jedi... should be interesting

    I do tend to unfold things bit by bit. I hope it continues to be of interest!

    ratna I love the way that you are showing us bits and pieces of Anakin's character and history, and his relationship with Owen. It will be an AU relationship, to be sure, since these two have actually grown up together. They have real 'stuff' together. Such an undiscovered country. Perhaps, like Tatooine, with unexpected riches underground. If anyone can find and reveal them, it will be you.

    Yes, there?s that ?unfolding? thing again! I am having fun imagining these characters as what we now refer to as a ?blended? family. That?s a lot of ?stuff? right there.

    I notice that Anakin has strong compassion: entirely unconscious and entirely flourishing, native and wild here on Tatooine -- as opposed to cultivated in the Temple Garden.

    Yes! These are some of the questions driving this little experiment: who is Anakin really? What might be the role of nurture and environment in his path?

    It is deeply telling that, although he was not granted the Padawan braid, he has acted as a Jedi through and through, throughout all of his years here alone in the field. Truly, his step by step liberation of the planet could easily be a ten-year under cover mission of a Jedi. Right down to his bringing forth upon this world a Room of a Thousand Fountains.

    Without wanting to say too much, I will say that his brief encounter with Qui-Gon Jinn as a child influenced him profoundly...

    I seem to recall, in another tale, that you wrote this about fountains and Anakin ...

    Oh, you do have a long memory! There is so much symbolism in water ? so much to be learned from it. A biologist friend of mine, a passionate student of water, describes it thus:

    Water is the midwife of life; it is the lifeblood of the Earth. Wherever it is, through its presence, it creates spaces and environments for the creation and sustenance of life. Where there is no water this possibility ceases.

    Water is a mediator, a balancer between extremes and contrasts ? it dissolves what it solid and brings together substances to form new compounds. It strives to be chemically neutral between acid and base; it serves buoyancy between gravity and levity.

    Water is a bridge builder, crosses boundaries, is open and serves all life selflessly, ready to refresh, to heal, to purify, or to give solace. It does not discriminate. Every living being drinks it. Every living creature has a right to it. It cannot be made separate and owned because it is by its nature intimately and selflessly connected to all things.


    If that isn?t analogous to the Force, I?d like to know what its!? She also points out that: In order to do its work of creating opportunities for and sustaining life, water needs certain conditions. Healthy water has remarkable capacities that allow it to serve life. It loses its capacity to do its work and becomes unhealthy when these conditions are not met. (citation available on request)

    And therein, as they say, lie many tales... :p

    There is material benefit in Anakin's transformation of Tatooine, but there is sacrament also. Even in this wildly AU incarnation, he is the Force's Chosen, and Champion.

    If there were not these hints at ?otherness,? would we be so fascinated by this character, I wonder?

    Jinngerbread What a breathless post!

    :D

    Seriously, I think I felt how Owen must have, pushed against the seat, with Anakin piloting. Really love the way you were able to bring so much detail about what had happened in the past in Anakin's life without slowing anything down in the plot.

    Hooray!!

  10. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    *cough* Ahem -

    Dear Author - any word on an update? [face_batting]

    I think, that your muse needs some of the speed mine seems to be on... :p
  11. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Darth_Breezy *cough* Ahem -

    Dear Author - any word on an update?

    Here!

    Chapter 2. Blood Sunset


    The suns seemed huge, sinking toward the horizon one after the other like great, glowing stones dipped in blood. Because she was restless, Shmi had walked as far as the western ridge to watch the display. In town, sunsets had never meant more than the end of the day. Out in the desert, they were a never-ending glory. She made it a ritual to be outside every evening from the first signs of eventide until the first stars appeared.

    Cliegg hated that, of course. If it were up to him, he would lock down the farm long before dark every evening. During the years when Anakin (and with him, the rest of the family) had been in constant danger from slavers and gangsters, Cliegg had barely allowed her to go out in the desert alone. Now that Anakin and his 'people,' as he called the hardy souls who ganged around him, were more likely to be the aggressors than the victims, life had normalized to the extent their lives ever could. The only real remaining danger were the Tusken raiders, who had grown bolder and more aggressive in the past few years. No one really knew why. Cliegg still wanted Shmi inside long before sunset, but she always resisted. She never grew tired of the sense of space out in the desert, of the sheer vastness of the sky.

    Shmi sat down on a rock that glowed gold with the last of the waning sun's rays to watch the fiery panorama of light give over, invariably, to darkness. She loved the way the colors raged hot and fierce before they quieted and cooled. She marveled that, in all the years she had been watching them, each sunset had been different, distinct, unlike any other. The skies, the land, the very air around her were infinitely varied, and yet eternally the same.
    If there was one thing that you could count on, it was that the suns would set every evening, and rise again the next day.

    Idly, Shmi reached down for a handful of sand and let it run through her fingers. Some of it drifted sideways onto her old brown skirt. She looked up. The colors near the horizon still burned, but a sudden gust of wind teased the stubborn tendrils of hair around her face into her eyes. A wind, straight from the west. How odd. It had been clear and still for days and days. She studied the distance as if the future was sprawled out against the painted sky, but the expanse to the horizon was empty and clear as far as she could see. No sign of a storm.
    Anakin had promised that he would come to the farm before nightfall without fail. She held her hand to her eyes and studied the vast tracts of sand in the distance, willing a small black dot to appear from somewhere. From anywhere.

    "Just come," she whispered. She missed him so. If he wasn't already close by, a storm could delay him for another day, maybe even two.

    Far behind her, someone shouted her name.

    She turned around and waved to Cliegg, who was gesturing to her from the top of the dome's steps. "I'm on my way!" she called out, but still she lingered, scanning the distance again with her eyes, her hopes, and her heart. The sudden wind gusted strong enough to whip her skirt against her legs.

    "Shmiiii…"

    Cleigg's voice was being blown in the other direction. She could barely hear him. In front of her, to the west, the last arc of the red disc that was Tatoo II slipped beneath the horizon, rapidly taking the colors and the last of the light with it. In the east, behind Cliegg and the farm's dome, the sky was already deep black and covered with stars.

    Shmi always thought of the stars as Anakin's. As a small child, he hadlonged for them so much.

    She stumbled several times climbing down off the ridge. The dark came so quickly in the desert; quite suddenly, it seemed that the only light now was the greenish glow that illuminated the dome, and that seemed very far away. She really had stayed out too long.

    A single, brighter light seemed to be moving toward her: Cliegg, coming after her, carrying a lamp. She stumbled again, hurrying toward him, suddenly wanting nothing more than his arms wrapped around her and his rough voice scolding her for being reckless. She deserved to be scolded. Too much had happened over the years to justify taking chances…
    It was the wind that warned her first.

    The sharp, acrid smell of animal reached her before she heard a sound. She broke into a run, fighting the sand with every step.

    "Shmiiiii!" Cliegg bellowed. The light bobbled closer. He was running too.

    The ground beneath her struggling feet shook. Banthas. She ran harder.

    The stench intensified, and with it came the sounds – the thudding of massive feet, the snorting of great breaths, the creak of leather …

    Shmi hurled herself toward safety, toward Cliegg and home, running blindly, not daring to look back. The farm was a fortress if you were inside, but out here in the open there was no protection, none at all.

    The sounds grew louder and something hit her from behind. She fell, and a great dark thing galloped past, raising clouds of sand.

    Breathless, she somehow scrambled back to her feet, but another thing was just behind the first and something hit her again, but it wasn't a hit, something grabbed her, held her, began to pull her up…

    "Cliegg!" she screamed. Whatever was holding her had grabbed a great handful of her clothing and her hair. Her blouse was choking her as she rose; choking and tearing and hurting. She swung her arms and legs, fighting for some kind of hold but still it kept pulling and pulling, until a violent blast of red sent her flying to the ground. Pain shocked her blind. The thundering shook the ground around her and more blasts exploded into screams overhead, but she was limp as a rag. A vain effort to make a sound, to scream, filled her mouth with sand. Helpless, frozen, she endured until the sounds faded and a breath of fresh air replaced the stench.

    Footsteps came closer; lighter ones, quieter. She trembled, but only inside because she was unable to move.

    Hands touched her. She flinched.

    "Shmi…"

    Oh, it was Cliegg, it was Cliegg. She wanted to speak, to reach out for him, but she couldn't. Something on her face was wet. It ran down her cheek and into her mouth. She tasted blood amid the sand.

    "It's all right, my dear, they're gone. It's all right," his beloved voice murmured, as he gently turned her over. The stars were out, she ought to be able to see the stars, but there was nothing, only Cliegg's voice and his touch, his hands stroking her face and then sliding carefully under her body and lifting her up.

    Where are the stars? Shmi wondered as she rested against him, her face rubbing against the rough material of his tunic with each step he took. Why can't I see them? She felt something hard and flat against his shoulder. A strap, she thought. The strap from his blaster rifle. He came out armed, even just to set the shields and the lights…

    Shmi tried to tell him how sorry she was, that she had been wrong and that she would never worry him that way again, but all that came out was a groan.

    "There, there," Cliegg murmured, soothing her like a child. "All is well. There, there."

    She knew something was truly wrong when she smelled the ozone from the dome's perimeter shielding and felt herself being eased through a narrow doorway – Cliegg turned her first this way, and then that – and especially when she heard 3PO's worried voice enquiring, "Oh, Master Cliegg, what has happened?" Those things meant they were inside, safely inside. She should have seen the green glow from the Dome lights long before. She should be seeing Cliegg's face as he carried her slowly down the long stairway. She blinked her eyes and tried to open them wider, but for all that, she remained in darkness.

    Cliegg laid her gently in bed and sent the droid for water and the med kit. Shmi tried again to speak, but the effort was too much. When Cliegg withdrew his arms from around her, and with them, his warmth and his strength, she felt herself crumpling, falling, fading away
    .
    Just before she slipped into unconsciousness, Anakin's face appeared to her, like in a dream.

    "Mom!" he called out. "Mooooooom…."

    "You're late," she answered, inside a mind hazed with shock. "You're late."

    ~

    "Storm's gettin' bad." The bartender in Mos Eisley's oldest cantina slid a mug down the bar towards him.

    Anakin looked at it with revulsion. Mud beer. Aptly named. It was the last thing he wanted to drink, especially when he was sick to his stomach with worry, but he knew that it was meant as a gesture of honor and goodwill. Wherever he went, people bought him drinks. He never paid for anything.

    "Thanks, Criff." He stared at the foamy stuff. No, he definitely could not handle that right now. He looked up into the iron-muscled bartender's beaming face. "But I think I need something hot right now. Is it all right if I pass this on to Owen?"

    Criff shrugged expressively, making the tattoos on both shoulders writhe. "So'k. You want some java?"

    "An infusion, if you have it." Anakin slid the mug to his left, where Owen grabbed hold of it and took a deep drink.

    "You OK? You're not getting' sickly on us, are you?" Criff leaned forward and squinted into Anakin's face.

    Anakin tried not to inhale. The man's breath would give even a Toydarian pause. "No, I just have a lot of work to do tonight," he lied. "I need my wits about me."

    "Well, I'll see what I've got in the back. Not much call for herbs in this place."

    Owen's shoulders shook with repressed laughter. If anyone else in this place dared to order an herbal infusion, he would have been beaten up for being either a Religious or just plain pathetic and tossed outside, sandstorm or no.

    Sandstorm. Of all the miserable, frustrating, useless things to happen. Once the idea that something had happened at the farm – to his mother – had gotten into Anakin's head and lodged in his gut, he had dumped the ailing pirate at the med center and arranged to borrow an armored transport to take out to the farm right away, nighttime and the Tuskens be damned. But even those things wouldn't run in a sandstorm. Their treads would fill up and they'd get stuck, and by the time the storm was done you might find yourself buried ten feet under the surface. There was no way to communicate with the farm, either, not even with the comms. arrays they had in town. Not in a sandstorm.

    Desperate to get home, Anakin went over and over the available options in his mind, but always came up short. There was no way. He'd have to wait out the storm here.

    "Here ya go." Criff banged a steaming hot cup of ... something… down in front of him. Anakin sniffed it. Greenleaf and maybe jarrow, judging from the smell. Local stuff, not the expensive imported herbs. That would do. He lifted the cup and sipped gingerly, trying not to make a face.

    "Thanks, Criff."

    "No problem!" the burly bartender stood with his arms crossed, beaming at him, no doubt delighted that the famous Anakin Skywalker had opted to weather the sandstorm in his humble cantina. "So, what're you doin' in town?"

    Anakin tried not to groan. It was going to be a long evening.

    "Just passing through, Criff." He nodded toward Owen. "We're supposed to be out at the farm just now, but we got delayed."

    "Yeah, I know. Found yourself a pirate, I heard."

    Beside him, Owen took another deep drink of his mud beer, probably to keep from laughing. There were no secrets in Mos Eisley.

    "Yeah."

    Criff leaned closer. His tone grew conspiratorial. "Have anything good on him?"

    "Enough," Anakin said shortly. "It'll hit the market tomorrow, if the storm lets up."

    "Good deal," Criff grinned. He nodded over toward the far corner of the cantina. "We got some new buyers in town, I think. All the way from the Core, by the look of them."
    "Really?" Anakin's interest perked up. He glanced at Owen, who nodded, picked up his mug, and casually wandered over in the direction Criff had indicated.

    "Did you talk to them?"

    "A bit."

    "Politics?"

    Criff frowned. "A bit," he said again. "But why're you interested in all that?"

    "I'm interested in everything," Anakin said, which was fairly true. "Keeps me on my toes. Did they talk about the Separatists?"

    "Well, as it happens, they did. Here and there."

    "What's the news?"

    Criff shook his head. "I don't get half of what they're talkin' about, and s'truth, I don't much care. I expect you'll get more if you talk to 'em yourself."

    "I will."

    He would too, but not now. Right now he had to find a way to get out of here.

    Visitors from the Core…

    A thought occurred to Anakin. A surprising thought, one that came out of nowhere, just when he had about given up trying to figure out a way to get to the farm.

    "The Core, huh," he mused out loud. "What do you suppose they flew to get here?"

    Criff looked puzzled. "I don't rightly know. But Solly said there's a couple of starships in the bay of a kind he's never seen before."

    Starships. Small ones, the kind you could land with. Anakin's idea got bigger and solidified.

    "Criff…" he began.

    The bartender looked at him sideways. "Yeah?"

    "Can I count on you to keep those guys from the Core busy and happy all night?" Anakin reached somewhere into his cloak and pulled out a small pile of metal that made the bartender's eyes pop.

    "Oh, yeah…"

    "And tell Owen that I had to go, and I'll see him tomorrow."

    "Oh, yeah … " Criff repeated absently, still riveted by the sight of the metal. Then he came to. "Wait. There's a sandstorm out there, you know."

    "I know." Anakin smiled for the first time and nodded toward the metal. "Better put that away."

    "Oh. Right." Hastily, Criff scooped the precious pile into a meaty hand and then made it disappear somewhere on his person. "If Owen asks, where do I say you've gone?"
    "Home," Anakin said. "My Mom needs me."

    Criff nodded knowingly and began polishing a mug with a ragged and not very clean cloth.

    "Right you are," he said. "Nothin' should get between a man and his mother."

    No one went out in a sandstorm. No one. And yet here Criff was, saying farewell to Anakin like he was about to take a stroll on a sunny day.

    It just went to show. People seemed to think that he could do anything, they truly did.
    Anakin hoped that this time, they were right. Taking a deep breath, he wrapped himself from head to foot in his heavy cloak and plunged out into the vicious storm, heading blindly but unerringly in the direction of the local docking bay.

    ~

    When the proximity alarm went off, Cliegg woke with a start to find himself slumped uncomfortably in a chair next to the bed he shared with Shmi.

    What in the hells had triggered the alarm? Had the raiders come back? It was unheard of that they would come so close to a dwelling, but nowadays it seemed that the stranger a thing was, the truer it was.

    Quickly, he checked Shmi's pulse. It was faint, but steady. In the faint light of the glowlamps she looked waxy pale; the wound across her temple, black. The life signs kit he had hooked her up to showed that she was still alive, but the readouts didn't look good. She was deeply unconscious.

    The protocol droid appeared in the doorway. "Master Cliegg…"

    "Get to the viewscreens. Find out what set off the alarm," Cliegg ordered.

    "Yes, Sir, but …"

    "Get to it!"

    "Yes Sir, that is, I already have, Sir, and it's just that…"

    "Well?"

    "It's Master Ani, Sir! He's outside, asking to be allowed in."

    "Anakin? How did he get here?
    "
    "I don't know, Sir. But the storm is very bad and he urgently wants to come inside."

    "There's a storm?" Cliegg rubbed his tired eyes. He had been underground with Shmi since he'd brought her inside. He didn't know there was a storm.

    "Well, let him in!" he barked.

    "Yes, Sir!" The droid shuffled away.

    "And make sure you lock down again as soon as he's inside!" Cliegg called after the thing.
    "Of course, Sir," the droid's voice came faintly.

    Cliegg got up to wash his face and hands in the adjoining fresher. When he emerged, he was startled to see Anakin already kneeling by the bed, holding his mother's hand. The boy had crept into their chamber without making a sound, and without waiting for an invitation.

    "She stayed out too late, and went too far," Cliegg explained gruffly, not bothering with greetings. "The Tuskens came right up close. Three of 'em. They grabbed her, but I blasted a couple of them and they let go."

    Anakin didn't answer, didn't even look at Cliegg.

    "She was waiting for you, I guess."

    Anakin lowered his head. "When did it happen?"

    "Sunset. Just after." Cliegg's hands were dry, but he kept rubbing them together. "She was awake when I brought her inside. She couldn't see, though. I think she might be blind."

    Anakin opened his eyes again. He didn't look at Cliegg. Only at his mother. Cliegg knew him well enough to see the tension in the curve of his shoulders, and the way his jaw was set.
    "I'd like to be alone with her, if you don't mind."

    "There's nothing you can do, son. She's out cold."

    "I would still like to be alone with her," Anakin persisted, in a kind of clenched tone. "If you don't mind."

    Cliegg didn't like the tone, but he let it go, given the circumstances and all. "Suit yourself. I'll get us a hot drink."

    It irked Cliegg to be tossed out of his own room and away from his own wife's bedside. In fact, it irked him a lot, but he knew from long experience that you just didn't get between Shmi and Anakin. There was a bond between them that he didn't understand. He never had. He was close to his own son, Owen, sure. But it wasn't like it was with those two. It was almost like Shmi and Anakin had their own little world, that nobody else could share.
    Anakin had been a trial in Cliegg's life with Shmi right from the start. He'd brought terrible events down on their heads that no one should ever have to live through. But Cliegg was smart enough to know that if it ever came down to a choice between Anakin and himself, he, Cliegg, would be the one left at the wayside, so he'd tried his best to get along with the strange boy and to keep the peace. It was the true price of having Shmi as his wife, it seemed. He had willingly paid it over and over again, because he couldn't imagine his life without her.

    He'd been a lot happier since Anakin had left home and taken his mysterious doings elsewhere, though. Much happier.

    If only Owen hadn't followed the boy on his damn fool crusades.

    In the kitchen, Cliegg found himself looking around a little helplessly. Everything was orderly, gleaming, in its proper place. Problem was, he'd barely set foot in it since he'd married Shmi all those years ago. From the moment he had brought her to the farm, she had pampered him shamelessly. He couldn't remember the last time he'd made a meal or even so much as gotten himself a drink. It wasn't his way, it was hers; gratitude, he'd often thought, for her freedom. He'd argued about it at first, insisting there was no need, that he and young Owen were accustomed to taking care of themselves, but she'd always won, in that gentle way she had. "It makes me happy to take care of you, Cliegg," she'd say.

    It did a man a powerful lot of good to be cared for that way.

    Awkwardly, making a great effort not to disturb anything, Cliegg began opening cupboards and lockers until he found what he needed to brew a strong, spicy drink, extra sweet. The stars knew he needed one, and Anakin probably did, too.

    ~

    She was so pale. Gently Anakin picked up Shmi's callused hand and held it to his cheek. It was cold. Cliegg had tucked blankets around her against shock, but it didn't seem to be helping. The wound looked clean enough, though. Like all those who lived out in the wastes, Cliegg was a good medic.

    "Mom?" Anakin whispered, even though he knew she couldn't hear him. The med kit's monitor ticked steadily on by the bed, but felt without looking at it how faint her life signs were. He wondered what had caused the wound on her head. A blow? A blaster? Torn between anger and misery, he rubbed her hand between both of his, trying to warm it.

    "I'm so sorry, Mom. I should have been there. I should have known."

    It was his fault. She had been out on the ridge waiting for him, and he hadn't kept his promise to come well before sunset and stay the night. He hadn't been home – he still thought of the farm as home because she was there – for a long time. He'd been working so hard. There was so much to do. But she had been waiting for him.

    He wished he had done things differently. Made a different choice.

    He wished he could turn back time.

    I wish, I wish, I wish…

    Cliegg was almost done with his drink when Anakin finally came to find him. He pushed the other mug toward the boy.

    "It's cooled off by now. You want me to heat it up?"

    Anakin shook his head. He looked exhausted.

    Neither man said anything. Anakin cradled his mug in both hands, but didn't drink.

    To fill the silence, Cliegg asked, "How is she?"

    "Still the same."

    Another silence. Cliegg tried again.

    "How'd you get here, anyway? In a sandstorm?"

    Something flickered behind the boy's eyes. Cliegg wasn't sure what.

    "I borrowed a starship."

    "A starship?"

    "One of the small ones. Landed it out by the vaporators."

    "A starship."

    "Yeah, you know. They can pretty much fly through anything."

    "Right." Cliegg scowled into his drink. "Owen didn't come with you?"

    Anakin took a sip, made a face, and put it down. "He's still in town."

    Cliegg sighed. He missed his son the way Shmi missed Anakin.

    "You staying the night?"

    Anakin nodded, and added quickly, "If that's all right."

    "She'd like that. She'd like to see you when she wakes up."

    They looked at one another long and silently, complicit in not speaking about what they both feared.

    Cliegg stood up. "I'll get back to her, then."

    Anakin stood, too. "Let me know if there's any change."

    "I will."

    They separated, each in a different direction.

    The mugs remained on the table, making sticky rings.

    ~

    Left to his own devices, and certainly unable to sleep, Anakin wandered around the farm's dwelling quarters for a while before his feet automatically, and inevitably, took him out to the garage.

    During the siege years he had worked with Cliegg and Owen to tunnel out underground passages to all the different parts of the farm so that they could live and work without coming up to the surface too often. Underground, he couldn't hear the storm. The garage was so quiet he could practically hear himself think out loud. He stood for a long moment, looking around at the place he has spent so many years working, searching for solutions, and making things that he'd thought would better everyone's life. Some of them had, in a way, but they all had come with consequences – terrible consequences – that he had never anticipated, not in his wildest dreams.

    Feeling shaky, he took a long, deep breath. This wasn't the way he had imagined his life unfolding. None of this was.

    The workshop was tidy, and only a part of it – the part that Cliegg had reserved for himself – looked at all used. Anakin's things had been put away somewhere. He hadn't worked here since they'd set up the labs in the cave. He tried to remember what he had left behind. There had been so many projects, and so many of them had gone unfinished…

    Where is it? He remembered suddenly, sharply. Where did Cliegg put it?

    He began to search systematically through crates and lockers, no longer interested in exploring the reminders of his childhood endeavors except for one. The one that had absorbed him and eluded him and defeated him from that time to this.

    It had to be here somewhere. Cliegg wouldn't have thrown it away… would he?

    Anakin rummaged more and more desperately through boxes of tools, scraps of metal, bolts, bindings, chips and resistors, a hundred kinds of wire and crates of power sources. He ignored the open shelf full of dusty podracing trophies and moved on to crates of full of memory chips, specialized tools and adhesives, and finally found the one that contained the crystals.

    "This is it," he muttered. "It has to be here." But it wasn't. It wasn't in the box of crystals. It wasn't anywhere, as far as he could see.

    Anakin stepped back to survey the workshop. Maybe there was something – a corner, a crate he had missed? But there wasn't. He had gone through absolutely everything that wasn't directly on Cliegg's workbench. He eyed it. Would Cliegg have taken it? But why? Would he even know what it was, what it was trying to be? He hadn't told anyone about that project …
    The dull gleam of the trophies caught his eye again, and suddenly, there it was, standing upright at the end of one of those shelves. He was right. Cliegg hadn't known what it was. He'd stood the dull metal tube on the shelf as if it were an old cup. Anakin crossed to the shelf and took the narrow cylinder into his hand almost reverently, gripped it like a sword handle, and swung it through the air as if the other end had grown a glowing green blade.
    From the day the Jedi Council had summarily returned him to Tatooine, he had tried to build a lightsaber. He had never been allowed to hold one, much less see how it was constructed, but he had studied the hilts of Qui-Gon's and Obi-Wan's very carefully from a distance. He had watched them take their swords to hand; had seen the blades of pure light rise from the hilts instantly on the activation of a switch. Every fighting move he had seen them make was still emblazoned in his memory.

    Many nights he had lain awake, trying to figure out how the swords of light were made. Somewhere along the way he had reasoned that they had to use crystals for energy, so he had taught himself everything he could about crystal technology. He had built hilt after hilt. Finally, he had constructed this one, which all of his logic and his painstakingly acquired knowledge told him should work. But it didn't.

    He crouched in a swordsman's stance, holding the hilt with both hands, imagining its glowing green blade. He lunged. Leaped backward. Feinted. Played out the fight that was so vivid in his mind, the one he had dreamed about forever. His enemy was a Jedi. Any Jedi. All Jedi. A composite of all the ones who had torn away the life he wanted and sent him back to the one he didn't.

    You made a promise. He swung the sword in a mighty arc.

    Then you took it back. His imaginary enemy took a mighty blow and reeled back. Anakin followed, leaping after him across the garage.

    You sent me away as if I was nothing. In Anakin's mind, his sword cut a great arc in the air.
    But I'm a person. Another blow to his enemy.

    My name is Anakin Skywalker... Another leap, another great blow… this one he could practically feel …

    and I was born to be a Jedi!

    Cliegg's workbench exploded in a great flash of light, sending Anakin reeling back in shock.
    A great beam of blue light hummed in his hand.

    Blue? It's blue!

    The hilt he had constructed so painstakingly was vibrating in a subtle way that he somehow felt in every part of his body.

    With his hand trembling more than the light vibration warranted, Anakin gingerly touched the glowing blade to a leg of the workbench that he had just destroyed. Sparks flew. He bore down, but it took barely any effort on his part for the heavy metal to fall into two pieces, cleanly sliced through.

    He raised the blade and stood, shaking, the sword in his hand glowing incongruously in the garage of his childhood.

    His thumb found the switch. He hesitated. What if he turned it off and couldn't re-ignite it?
    He had to try. He just had to know. Could he make it happen again?

    He switched it off, and then on again. Nothing happened.

    Come on, he urged. Ignite. He remembered the feeling of holding the glowing sword – the feeling that he had experienced through out his body. He remembered it, and willed it to recur.

    The blade rose and sang to him like something alive.

    That was the night when Anakin learned the difference between wishing and willing.

    That was the night when everything began to change.
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  12. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    Great post! I wonder whose ship he is going to steal?
  13. EGKenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 3
    Excellent fic.

    Please PM me when you update this :)

    Thanks

    EG
  14. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6


    Yes, here... We AREout here with Shmi... there's just no doubt.

    And here, the gentle humor, yet deadly truth that is simply Anakin...

    Rich as ever my dear...
  15. ratna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2007
    star 4
    Starships. Small ones, the kind you could land with. Anakin?s idea got bigger and solidified.[face_laugh]

    I wonder why the Tuskens have become more aggressive lately ...[face_thinking]

    @};- @};-
  16. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Hmmm - maybe because they want access to the water that Anakin has found? Surely it must be diverted form somewhere or somehow?

    Just tossing out an idea...
  17. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Ah, I've missed posts!! Sorry abuot that [face_blusah]

    This is fantastic!! Love the AU-ness - Abakin chasing off the Hutts, he and Owen liking each other . . .

    I hope Shmi's okay and not permanantly blind!!
  18. amidalachick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 5
    Desert Man, Part 2 - I really liked seeing Anakin and Owen's interactions in this post, and getting those peeks into Anakin's history.

    Blood Sunset, Part 1 - Oh no! Shmi! :( I hope she'll be okay. And I hope Anakin makes it there safely.

    I also want to say that the first part, with Shmi watching the sunset, was absolutely gorgeous. [face_love]
  19. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Thanks to all for your comments! They fuel the Muse for sure.

    Here?s the PM list (per requests) so far. If you?d like to be added or subtracted, please let me know!

    NYCgurl
    Ocelotl_Nesto
    MoAngel
    GunraysLawyer
    Viari_Skywalker
    Amaidalachick
    Laurelthiel1138
    EGKenobi
    Jinngerbread


    ~

    I?ll be updating this story every Wednesday.

    ~

    Ocelotl_Nesto Great post! I wonder whose ship he is going to steal?

    Thanks! We shall see shortly.

    EGKenobi Excellent fic. Please PM me when you update this.

    Thanks for reading! You?re on the list.

    DArthBreezy [/i]Yes, here... We ARE out here with Shmi... there's just no doubt.[/i]

    I?m so glad!

    And here, the gentle humor, yet deadly truth that is simply Anakin...

    ?The deadly truth that is simply Anakin ... what a statement! I?m going to hold onto that one.

    Rich as ever my dear...

    Thanks!

    ratna I wonder why the Tuskens have become more aggressive lately ... and DarthBreezy Hmmm - maybe because they want access to the water that Anakin has found? Surely it must be diverted form somewhere or somehow?

    All things will unfold.. eventually!

    NYCityGurl This is fantastic!! Love the AU-ness - Abakin chasing off the Hutts, he and Owen liking each other

    Thanks! :D

    I hope Shmi's okay and not permanantly blind!!

    So do we all...

    amidalachick Desert Man, Part 2 - I really liked seeing Anakin and Owen's interactions in this post, and getting those peeks into Anakin's history.

    I?m very glad that you?re enjoying it!

    Blood Sunset, Part 1 - Oh no! Shmi! I hope she'll be okay. And I hope Anakin makes it there safely.[/i]

    Fingers crossed...

    I also want to say that the first part, with Shmi watching the sunset, was absolutely gorgeous.

    Thanks so much!

  20. GunraysLawyer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    yes, yes, I'm late, but I don't even have a detailed reply to the two posts that I've missed (being out of town for a funeral, shepherding a Cub Scout den through their first Pinewood Derby, and with my wife's birthday today, any sort of detailed reply is unlikely prior to tomorrow).

    I do want to say one thing, this story is being managed with the ease and grace that we have come to expect from you.

    More later.
  21. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    GunraysLawyer I do want to say one thing, this story is being managed with the ease and grace that we have come to expect from you.

    Thanks! [face_blush]
    Last edited by geo3, Feb 22, 2013
  22. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    He has the good intentions, but what happens if he gets twisted?

    I am enjoying this story. thanks for the PM
  23. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Wow!! I am Anakin Skywalker . . . and I was born to be a Jedi. Powerful line.

    I love him building the lightsaber and getting it to work. And scary foreshadowing with him thinking about fighting Jedi.

    Great chapter!!
  24. amidalachick Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 5
    Awww...I like how you've written Cliegg here. It's easy to see that he really cares about Shmi.

    The scene with Anakin in the garage...wow! I like how he built the lightsaber, learning and figuring it out as he went.

    That was the night when Anakin learned the difference between wishing and willing.

    Loved this line.

    Great post! =D=
  25. dietcokeani Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2005
    star 1
    Oh my! *shiver shiver* This is just too much fun! I'm so glad to find you writing another story, and look forward to the new posts. I've got to do a little catch up, but then I'll see you at the most recent one.
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