Beyond "Journeyer and Empress" (AU, LOTF timeframe; philosophy/etc.; concluded 3/28)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Onderon1, Jul 13, 2014.

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  1. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Note: The first part of an experimental short story, in the same timeline as "Grey and Red":

    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/grey-and-red-au-l-m-reflection-etc.50021532/

    ---------------------------------------------
    40 ABY: Imperial Palace, Bastion,
    Braxant Sector, Outer Rim:
    ---------------------------------------------

    The visitors were ... unique, Master Garvin Sinde supposed as he watched them leave the shuttle.

    The 40-something Master of the Imperial Knights - established from Imperial Force-users shortly before the Yuuzhan Vong War - watched while the new arrivals approached the honor guard at the landing pad.

    It wasn't that odd in these days of improved cooperation for Jedi to visit, but it was still rare. Any such stopover by Force-users from outside the Empire (NOT the "Imperial Remnant," not to residents of the resurgent territory) required permission from the Imperial Navy, and there had to be good reason for it.

    (The Empire might be on better terms with the rest of the Galactic Alliance than before the Vong War, but many Imperial citizens were offended by the idea of being a ... tourist attraction for others.)

    The elder visitor nodded, his face hidden somewhat by the impractically wide-brimmed hat he wore - a floppy, peaked thing that looked ridiculous to Sinde. Otherwise, the human man - maybe a standard decade younger than Sinde - wore traditional Jedi robes, with a well-trimmed brown beard visible along his jawline. But he had no lightsaber.

    Instead, the man leaned on a wooden quarterstaff, while a metal sword hung at his side - with both weapons infused with the Force. Sinde was impressed with the adept's skill ... if not his attitude. The Knight could sense flickers of distaste behind the younger man's shields, but didn't take the bait.

    The younger of the new arrivals, a human boy of maybe 10 standard years, with crewcut reddish-brown hair and a Padawan's braid, bowed to Sinde with respect. The Imperial Knight nodded with kind amusement while the boy's green eyes widened, looking around with awe at the palace.

    The lad wore a traditional Jedi tunic and pants, but not the outer robe - it was summer on Bastion, and Sinde himself lamented the lack of cooling units in his red and black armor.

    Stop whining. You've got an example to maintain, the white-brown-haired Sinde reminded himself. A former Imperial Army lieutenant, Sinde had been discovered as Force-sensitive when he'd sensed cloaked privateers preparing to attack in the Jaemus system. He'd studied with the former Grand Inquisitor Antinnis Tremayne, but the darker aspects of the Inquisitorius were decidedly absent from the Imperial Knights - honor, loyalty, fairness, and hard work mattered, not cruelty or greed.

    And willingness to fight when necessary, Sinde thought, stepping forward to greet the newcomers.

    "Welcome to Bastion, Knight Solo - and Padawan ...?" Sinde asked, shaking their hands.

    Solo cleared his throat before the boy could speak, a polite-if-strained tone to his Coruscanti accent as he replied, "I prefer the title Journeyer, please, Master Sinde. I've embraced an older tradition than the Jedi you may be familiar with - I consider myself Je'daii, nowadays."

    "Very well - Journeyer Solo," Sinde replied without missing a beat, filing away the data and masking his surprise. The Jedi had shared information with other Force-using groups about the discoveries on Tython of the original Je'daii Order - which had been more balanced between light and dark than the Jedi themselves.

    The idea that Jacen Solo, infamous pacifist turned subverter of the Yuuzhan Vong, identified with the Je'daii of ancient times, seemed at odds with Solo's sometimes grating light-side obsession.

    The boy with Solo looked a bit impatient for a moment, but composed himself as Solo nodded and said, "My apologies. This is my Padawan - and my son - Tace Solo."

    "Master Sinde. It's good to meet you. Bastion is really - ahem, impressive," the boy said, smiling unguardedly for a moment as he returned Sinde's handshake.

    Sinde nodded, repressing an amused smile at Tace's energy (and masking his own surprise - he hadn't thought that the Jedi were permitting parents to teach their own children as Padawans). "Thank you, Padawan Solo. Good to meet you, as well. You seem more traditionally Jedi than your father," the Master said, walking with the Solos as he noticed the lightsaber at Tace's waist.

    The boy both smiled and blushed, while Jacen said kindly, "I feel no need to impose my personal approach to the Force on my son. He's cautious, and responsible with his gifts - I'm proud of him."

    Interesting, Sinde thought, leading the visitors into the palace. The elder Solo seemed ... relaxed, at least where his son was concerned.

    The deeper they got into the palace, though, the warier Jacen became. Sinde's danger sense didn't go off, but the Je'daii was decidedly uncomfortable, if resigned.

    Jacen glanced at Sinde as they stopped outside the main throne room doors, an echo of Han's infamous smirk on his face as Tace looked nervous. "You're insightful, Master Sinde," Jacen quipped.

    "And your empathic skills are still as acute as ever. Her Excellency told us of your gifts, but I had ... doubts," Sinde admitted, nodding to the two Knights to admit the Solos.

    The younger Imperial Knights looked askance at Jacen's weapons, and he sighed as he handed them his sword. "Your 'saber, too, Tace," he told his son, and the boy gave his lightsaber to the Knights without complaint as Jacen turned to Sinde with an openly sardonic look.

    "Your caution is commendable, but the fact that I brought my son should have made my intentions clear. Then again, I suppose our differing perceptions on the matter illustrate how far apart our societies remain," Jacen said, his tone positively acidic with sarcasm while Tace blushed.

    Sinde tried not to snarl back, motioning to the now-tense Imperial Knights to stand down. "I am in charge of security for the Royal Family, Journeyer Solo. Also, we don't expect our Squires to face opponents outside their weight class. And, you, yourself, were only slightly older than your son is now when you first fought - and took lives," the Imperial pointed out - logic was a better response, here.

    Jacen took a deep breath, embarrassment flickering across his face. "Master Sinde, I ... can still be overly sensitive in certain matters. And you're correct - the Jedi have, or had, a tendency to send children into combat, although my uncle and the other Masters have made strides in correcting that practice. I hope you'll accept my apology for my ... lingering prejudice," he said, sincerity in his tone.

    Tace's embarrassment shifted to momentary surprise, but Sinde merely nodded as the younger Imperial Knights relaxed. "I do accept your apology, Je'daii Solo. Long-held ... prejudices are very hard to discard, after all," Sinde recognized, considering his own perspective on Jacen.

    He's trying to not be ... Rebellious. Or light-blinded. It must be sticking in his craw to have come here of all places, especially as Princess Leia's son, the Master thought, activating the door control.

    "Thank you, Master. I can sense Her Excellency's greeting through the Force - if you'll excuse us, please?" Jacen asked, and Sinde nodded. The Solos entered the throne room, and Sinde relaxed.

    "Jedi prig. He claims he's not as blind as his uncle's cultists, but -" one of the Knights snapped.

    The 20-something red-haired man winced as Sinde glared at him, rumbling, "Yes, Knight Dare?"

    Jalen Dare merely composed himself and said, "I ... apologize for speaking out of turn, Master."

    "Accepted. You're not entirely wrong, but Solo's making an effort - let's recognize that," Sinde ordered.

    He repressed a little smile as he added, "Their Excellencies will address Je'daii Solo, I'm sure ..."

    ------------------------------------

    to be continued ...
    Last edited by Onderon1, Mar 28, 2015
  2. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    Would you hate me if I admitted that I got a brief mental image of Jacen Solo as Gandalf? :p[face_laugh]

    Very intriguing start! I wonder if my suspicion on who the Empress is will turn out to be correct...
  3. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks. And no, I wouldn't hate you at all. :D The meta-message is somewhat intentional ... there will, however, be no Balrogs, I promise. :p

    This won't be a terribly long piece, but it's something ... different, than my usual portrayals of Jacen. He's hopefully more aware of his weaknesses, and has a somewhat different backstory post-TUF than in canon (er, Legends).

    AFA the Empress ... you're probably right on target. I'm not really trying to hide her identity, or that of the Emperor. Part of the fun, IMHO, is how they got where they are now, and what they're doing with the positions they've taken on ... ;)

    I'm planning the next post sometime Monday, and aiming for a total of 3, maybe 4 chapters by the end. I've found that epics are too easy to procrastinate on posting unless I pre-write as much of them as I can. [face_blush]

    - Onderon1
  4. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Note: Continuing this, with a bit more background ...

    ---------------------------------------

    Being different had advantages and disadvantages, Tace Solo had long ago learned.

    His earliest memories were of nerf-hide seats aboard the Falcon and looking over a warm, furry shoulder as Chewie worked on the ship's systems. His grandparents had never hidden him away from the galaxy - not like the stories of Tace's dad and aunt and uncle - and he'd seen some amazing things.

    For that matter, being a Solo was pretty awesome - when it wasn't freaky. (Tace still woke up scared sometimes, dreaming about Vader or the Vong.)

    But given his unique background, Tace had had to deal with lacking certain ... shared experiences with other younglings.

    Where's your mom, Solo? Who's your mom? Wish sometimes I could tell people, throw it back in their faces, the nearly 11-year-old thought, frustrated.

    He tried not to obsess too much; it was bad for Jedi to dwell on negative things, the Masters - and his dad - told him. And Tace did have a mom of sorts in Grandma Leia, or he could talk with Master Tionne like he had after classes at the Ossus Praxeum.

    (Tahiri was his aunt, but she seemed too cool to fit what Tace thought of as an aunt. And Aunt Mara was family, but a little too ... scary, in some ways.)

    Stop being such a skocha kung, Tace. You're about to meet your blood aunt, and some other family, he reminded himself as he walked with his dad.

    Dad was complicated, too, but he was always kind to Tace. Being Jacen Solo's son was great, even if they'd started off almost scared of each other.

    Tace had been 4 when Dad had come back from his "Force pilgrimage," as he called it (Grandpa Han had used some Corellian swear words for it). He'd been shocked to meet Tace, and there'd been a lot of angry whispers between the grown-ups, and Tace had been scared.

    But Dad finally sat down with Tace, for the first of several talks that'd gotten more clear the older Tace had become.

    "Your mother ... didn't tell me she was having you. But I'm sure she'd want you to be safe. So, her father - your other grandpa - brought you to Grandma Leia and Grandpa Han, so you'd be safe. There are people who'd ... well, we'll NEVER let them hurt you. And I AM glad you're here, and I'm never going away again," Dad had promised.

    And Dad had never left again - not as long as he'd been gone before, anyhow. By the time Tace was 6, he'd been able to travel with Dad, who was kind of a ... guest speaker, Tace figured was the best way to describe what Dad did for the Jedi.

    He grinned up at his dad for a moment, remembering some of the awesome tricks Dad had displayed over the years - teleporting small objects, controlling fire, messing with scanners, creating illusions, things that most other Jedi couldn't even dream of.

    Dad basically shared information with the rest of the Order about different Force traditions; he was a "Consular's consular," Master Tionne liked to joke.

    Dad smiled back at Tace and said, "I don't think we'll really pick up many new techniques from the Imperial Knights, but maybe we can check their holocron."

    "You think ... they'll let us? I mean - they seemed pretty ticked off at you at the door. No offense," Tace said, trying not to hurt Dad's feelings.

    Dad laughed a little - that weird half-funny, half-sad laugh he got sometimes - and shrugged. "None taken. And I do have a habit of ruffling people's feathers ..." he said, looking over his shoulder with a purely Solo smirk for a moment.

    Tace could've sworn he saw a hooded figure behind them - the Force felt weird for a second, but then the ripple was gone. He tried not to be nervous.

    Dad elbowed Tace gently in the shoulder and said, "Just an old friend of mine. I'll explain after we meet with your aunt, uncle, and cousins."

    "Oh," Tace said as they finished approaching the doors to the throne room.

    His mind whirled as he realized who Dad meant - HER!? he thought, both surprised and a little afraid - but then, the doors opened, and he tried to shield.

    There were more Imperial Knights, some Imperials in olive uniforms, and even some stormtroopers, but the Emperor and Empress weren't on their thrones - they were waiting just ahead.

    Tace took a deep breath, smiling a little as he walked forward with Dad, and looked at the Royal Family of the Restored Empire.

    The Emperor was maybe a couple years older than Dad - mid-30s, with black hair cut short, a white stripe through part of it, and green eyes which seemed kind, even if the Emperor looked stern. He wore a classic olive Imperial jacket with lots of rank insignia, only a fancy medal around his neck to show his real rank.

    But the woman beside him - the Empress - made Tace fight to keep from gasping ... because she really did have Dad's eyes, the same brandy-brown.

    She looked a lot like Grandma Leia, but younger, with some traces of Grandpa Han along her cheekbones. She didn't dress nearly as fancy as the Emperor had, but wore a nice dress with a pilot's leather jacket over it, and a fancy necklace with a bright white stone on it. She grinned at Tace, just for a moment.

    To the Emperor's right was a boy, maybe 9 standard years, with military-cut black hair and intense brown eyes, the same shade as the Empress's. He wore a smaller version of the Emperor's uniform, with hardly any rank insignia. But, he shielded better than the Emperor did in the Force, and he nodded at Tace.

    Finally, in front of the Empress was a little girl, probably 4 or 5, wearing a frilly pink dress and playing with a stuffed bantha, her blonde hair in a simple braid. She waved at Tace, laughing as the bantha floated, and Tace couldn't help but smile a little - he'd learned to control his telekinesis "flying" model X-Wings.

    Tace bowed as Dad did, and let Dad start the talking - the Force was tense enough, although something positive passed between Dad and the Empress. At least, they smiled at each other, and Dad said, "Your Excellencies - Your Highnesses. Thank you for your invitation to the Imperial Court."

    At least one of the Imperial officers muttered, but went quiet when the Emperor looked at him, and the Emperor nodded at Dad. "Welcome - Journeyer Solo, and Padawan Solo. We are pleased you were able to arrive here without incident, given recent events in the New Territories," the ruler said.

    "Be welcome, by greeting of Emperor Jagged and Empress Jaina Solo-Fel."

    ------------------------------------

    to be continued ...
  5. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    [face_laugh]

    Yep, I guessed right!

    Nifty seeing the tweaks you've put into the LOTF timeline. This is obviously a brighter future, which I find far more interesting than the relentless doom-n-gloom.

    And Chewie is still around!!!1!!1! *indulgent happy squee-flail* [face_dancing]:D
    Last edited by ThreadSketch, Jul 14, 2014
  6. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks for the kind reply. :) Mara hasn't lost her edge, even with having 3 kids in this timeline. (If anything, the kids may help her keep her edge. :p

    More with Jaina - including some of her POV - will be in the next chapter. Things are brighter, but there's still differences of opinion amongst the SkySolos.

    That said, at least they've been able to talk instead of ... oh, ordering Star Destroyer attacks on the Falcon or some such ridiculousness. :rolleyes:

    And Chewie - yeah, he's definitely around. :D The big walking carpet's too much fun not to include (although Sernpidal did happen, he had a rescuer here).

    I'll also drop a hint - the shadowy figure whom Tace sensed was NOT Lumiya, nor is said figure a threat to the Felpire. More will be revealed. ;)

    - Thanks,
    Onderon1
  7. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    Eeeeeeeeeexactly.

    I figured as much, from the way Jacen talked about her.
    Last edited by ThreadSketch, Jul 14, 2014
  8. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Continuing this ... :)

    ----------------------------------

    It was the moment she'd been hoping and dreading in equal measure for literally years.

    The Empress - who'd much prefer to simply be Jaina, but forms had to be observed, and the girl she'd been was in the distant past - nodded, trying not to grin too ridiculously as she and Jacen assessed each other with quick glances and through the Force.

    He doesn't seem to have any lingering resentment ... but the bond's never been the same since Myrkr. And for other reasons, Jaina considered, a bit sadly.

    Both parties bore blame for the divide, but at least Jacen had reached out when asked - that spoke volumes right there. And he'd even brought Tace.

    As he'd told Garvin, if Jacen meant us ill, he wouldn't have brought his son ... the nephew I've never seen, except in holos, and once years ago ...

    Jaina smiled at Tace again, and the boy nodded back, a shy smile playing around his lips. She glanced at her own son, whose emotions flickered - curiosity at his cousin, a bit of wariness, and mostly good-natured welcome, even buried beneath his already-solid exterior.

    As much as Jaina recognized the need for courtly manners, she wished Roan could just be an ordinary boy, instead of an Imperial prince - but duty called.

    He smiled at her for a second, but composed himself - with a brotherly bit of frustration - as Jaina and Jag's daughter Nyssa exclaimed, "Hi, Unca Jacen!"

    The 5-year-old princess raced to hug Jacen, showing him her stuffed bantha - the latest creation of one of the myriad crafters who sent small tokens of affection to the royals. Jaina was grateful for the people's support and well-wishes, especially given the lukewarm reception they'd given her years earlier.

    I can't really blame the hardliners, though. Princess Leia's daughter and Vader's granddaughter both have different portions of the populace who dislike them - and some who dislike both - and some just thought I was a filthy Reb worming her way into the Fel bloodline, Jaina recalled, wryly amused.

    Her humor turned decidedly dark as she recalled just how she'd won over even the most suspicious Imperials - not a very pleasant time, but necessary.

    Didn't win me many fans back on Coruscant - or Naboo - but the attempted Seperatist revival wasn't something we could let slide, Jaina thought.

    She composed herself, as her lady-in-waiting - her sister-in-law, Wyn, who gave Jacen a quickly-suppressed, smoldering glance -- nodded; now, to business.

    "Her Highness's exuberance notwithstanding, we have a great deal to discuss with our brother. If the court will excuse us?" Jaina said, using the royal "we."

    The courtiers, guards, and even the Moffs knew when to beat feet - they could do the heavy lifting of politics and managing the Empire later. Jaina would, of course, be involved, but she was content nowadays to be Jag's partner as much as a war leader.

    And a mom, Jaina thought, grateful when Roan started chatting with Tace, and managed to distract Nyssa from describing her school projects with Jacen. Jaina would talk more with her nephew later.

    There were things the adults had to deal with first, after all.

    ----------------------------------

    Almost all of the guards left with the court, except a particularly stubborn pair of Imperial Knights - an older man who stayed near Jag, and a young brunette woman with dark skin who shadowed the children as they left for a nearby garden. Jacen had expected no less - complete privacy was unlikely among royals, at least in a somewhat-public setting.

    Ah, how we come to understand such things, he thought, a brief flicker of melancholy making him smile as he remembered red hair on a Mon Cal waterbed.

    But that had been a third of a lifetime ago, and he wasn't here to wallow in youthful nostalgia - or other distractions, he hoped as Wyn smiled at him again.

    She'd grown up considerably since the expedition to find Zonama Sekot - she'd be, what, pushing 30 now? - but Jacen just smiled politely, and she sighed.

    "Damn Danni. She ruined everything," Wyn muttered, having the grace to blush as Jaina frowned at her and Jag cleared his throat.

    "Are we still clinging to that old fiction, Wyn? 'Danni Quee' indeed," Jacen said, trying not to scowl overly much at how nearly he'd been burned.

    He gave Jag an apologetic look - it was bad taste to insult one's host, especially an emperor, when trying to make up for old fights - but Jag just nodded.

    "It costs Mother's intelligence apparatus nothing to admit the truth, now that the gornt is out the barn door, to use an old expression from Corellia," Jag said, the hint of a smile playing around his lips as Jaina laughed - she'd always had a beautiful laugh, and Jacen felt fresh remorse at staying away for so long.

    Wyn sighed, glaring at the Imperial Knight who was fighting a smirk, and threw her hands in the air. "Fine. Danni was Cherith - is Cherith, always HAS been Cherith. Are you happy, Jacen? She suffered when the Vong captured her at Helska, and she thought highly of you - it wasn't all espionage," Wyn shot back.

    Jacen dropped his mask - making sure to shield his anger and focus it so Tace wouldn't sense it - as he retorted, "Love should never be espionage."

    Wyn raised an eyebrow, and Jacen drove the coufee home as he added - in too calm a voice - "I've known for years the plot wasn't your mother's idea."

    Jaina looked understandably troubled, while Wyn turned an unhealthy shade of pale and excused herself. Jacen sighed, turning to Jag, and said, "I-"

    "It's all right. I know you weren't accusing me of seducing Jaina. That part of the plot - link eligible Fel children with their Solo counterparts romantically - was never revealed to me. Ironically, I succeeded without knowing the wider aspects," Jag said, slipping an arm around Jaina's waist as she kissed him.

    "And here we are," Jaina agreed, giving Jag a sincere, warm smile before turning to Jacen. Jacen marveled at the honesty of his sister's happiness - and felt horrible at ever having doubted her, even as envy of her joy and regret for his own missteps warred with each other.

    The twins crossed the space to each other and hugged, and Jacen whispered, "I'm so sorry I stayed away. I really am happy for you, you know?"

    "I know. I wish it was as simple for you - well, not that being the daughter of Han and Leia Solo who married into the Imperial neo-Royal Family is simple, but ... you know," Jaina replied, leaning back and smiling. There was concern in her eyes and Force-presence, though, and Jacen nodded, not hiding any more.

    I'm tired, Jaya. So tired - I have my work, and Tace and the rest of the family, and my few friends, but Force, I hate living a lie, Jacen rambled mentally.

    He'd missed not being able to unburden himself to his twin - he hadn't wanted to drop all of his issues on her, especially not when he'd been among them.

    But Jaina just smiled, that almost-like-Mom smile mixed with a very Dad-like you-can't-sabaac-me tilt to her lips, and said, "You still love her."

    "Always will. And I can't be with her, and you know why, of course," Jacen breathed, smiling sadly as he and Jaina walked - Jag kindly gave them space.

    Jaina nodded, already knowing the unspoken her this part of the conversation revolved around.

    She echoed Jacen's sad expression, merely replying, "Tace looks very much like his mother."

    -------------------------

    to be continued ...
  9. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Author's Note: An apology. I've been busy, but not so busy that I should've let this go. [face_blush]

    ------------------------

    Being Prince of the renewed Empire meant that even as a kid, Roan Fel had to keep his eyes open - had to know what was going on.

    Even if I didn't know Tace's story, I'd know he was my cousin, the 9-year-old thought, watching Tace look out at the garden.

    In the Force, Tace felt like a Solo - like Roan and Nyssa and their mom, and Uncle Jacen - but there was something else, too. Tace was strong in the Force ... maybe stronger than Roan.

    Roan tried not to be embarrassed. He knew it was stupid to be jealous - Tace was sort of a prince too, through Grandmother Leia, even if Cousin Nial and his family represented House Organa on New Alderaan. But even if Roan was going to be Emperor some day, he wanted to be Force-strong, too.

    "You've got fish in the pond? Cool. I can 'hear' them - Dad taught me how to listen," Tace said, smiling. He sat on a bench and held his hand over the water, while Roan watched Nyssa dance around with her silly stuffed bantha. "Mr. Snorts" was sort of beat up, but Roan was glad Nyssa had a toy that distracted her.

    She's not a bad little sister, she's just a pest sometimes, Roan thought, ignoring Nyssa when she stuck her tongue out at him. She had what Mom called "empathy" - she could feel things stronger than Roan could, but he was better with telekinesis and the more physical Force talents.

    "I can feel them in the Force, but I can't hear them. Mo - Mother thinks I'd be a better ... Guardian, than a Consular, the Jedi call them?" Roan asked, watching while two of the Bnarian koi fish swam slowly in circles. He was impressed; usually, they'd try to bite each other, but Tace was doing something to them.

    Tace nodded, smiling a little, but kind of embarrassed too. "I've learned a lot of stuff from my dad, but he knows way more than I do. He says I might be a better pilot than he is, though - well, someday. Uncle 'Kin can outfly both of us," he said, pulling his hand back.

    The koi raced after each other, and Roan sat beside Tace, looking at him. "Your hair - it's red, but different than the holos I've seen of Master Jade-Skywalker or her children," Roan asked without asking.

    (He'd never met his Aunt Mara, and it felt strange to think of her as an aunt; she was one of those former Imperials, Grandmother Wynssa said with that voice she saved for people she didn't like very much. But Roan respected Master Jade-Skywalker, too - she was skilled, and sounded strong and kind.)

    Tace nodded, glancing at Knight Arelys while she did her security sweep. Glana Arelys was Nyssa's bodyguard, and Roan's too when Master Sinde was busy - she knew when to ask questions and when to stay quiet.

    "Aunt Mara's still got really red hair. Ben's more like Uncle Like - his hair's got these kind of blondish spots - but his sister Layna's hair is really red. Coric, who's about my age, is sort of brownish-red," Tace said, smiling a little more.

    He felt sad, then, and sighed when he said, "I ... don't know a lot about my mom. It's ... complicated."

    "Yeah. Secrets are. I know about that kind of thing, too. What you can't say, and what you can," Roan said, feeling a little bad for Tace.

    He thought hard, then, and asked, "You want to play kickball? I'd get my practice 'saber, but everybody'll yell if I get burns on my uniform."

    Tace grinned, nodding, and Roan couldn't help but smile too. "Thanks!" he said, and Roan waved for his cousin to follow him - he kept a spare ball under a bush near the Great Lawn.

    "Your Highness ..." Glana called, and Roan and Tace stopped - Roan hoped Glana wouldn't be too uptight?

    She sighed, pulling Nyssa away from one of the sculpted animal-bushes, and said, "Just please, stay where I can see you?"

    "Sure - thanks! Uhm - thank you, Knight Arelys," Roan said, trying to be prince-like, but he and Tace grinned again.

    At least a little. Future Emperors had to be serious sometimes.

    ----------------------

    to be continued ...
  10. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    Loved the dialogue, very natural. And the last sentence, hee. [face_tee_hee]
  11. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    ThreadSketch: Thanks. :) I wanted to show that while Roan is a Fel, and Jag's son at that, he doesn't have to be uptight (not that Jag is humorless, but he's more "stiff upper lip" than, say, Kyp).

    I'm still working on the next scene; more background about Jacen and Jaina's past since the Vong War, and maybe a cameo by some other Solos. :)
  12. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    Take your time; good fic is worth the wait. ;)
  13. Darkwriter Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2006
    star 4
    This is so great! I love the POV from Jacen and Jaina, but you also seem to have a knack for writing a child's POV. Loved the interaction with Tace and Roan.

    The koi raced after each other, and Roan sat beside Tace, looking at him. "Your hair - it's red, but different than the holos I've seen of Master Jade-Skywalker or her children," Roan asked without asking. This kid is so Jag Fel's son. He's almost exactly how I would picture Jag at that age.

    I'm really interested to see where this goes. Glad to see Jacen's still around, even though he and Jaina are estranged...I've gathered that it has to do with her becoming an imperial, but I can't wait to learn the rest of the story.
  14. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Hi!!!! Oh, I loved catching up with this one. So many goodies to comment on. Mara lives. Can I just go into raptures? Just. [face_dancing]

    Your Jacen is a decent bloke and Jaina and Jag are off the charts awesome. Like the kids here too. Nyssa is a fun one. Tace is great and so is Roan naturally. =D= So many undercurrents and mixed bags of emotions. Very well portrayed and in character.

    Too bad the unnamed lady here couldn't have put out a royal decree or royal shenanigans of mammoth proportions LOL like I read in one fantastic fic where she kidnapped Jacen and they had a Dathomiri joining and then well, the Hapan sycophants would just have to eat it [face_laugh] :cool:

    Will totally put this on watch. [:D]
    Last edited by Nyota's Heart, Aug 19, 2014
  15. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    I'd ask how I missed this one, but I know where I was (studying), so I'll not be doing that. What I've been able to read so far? Love it. Long-ish review to follow when I get back in the groove, Onderon. :)
  16. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Thanks, all - and deepest apologies, that I've not updated this in ... a ghastly long time. [face_blush]

    RL's been busy, but not that busy - and, to that point, a bit of something on the twins' front ...

    And, a bit of a hint of backstory. This is a ... complex AU, shall we say ... :p

    ----------------------------------

    "... so. The Chiss. How much do you really know about their past?" Jacen asked, keeping accusation out of his tone - he had little enough evidence, after all.

    Jaina gave him a mildly-annoyed look, and Jacen just held up his hands in an accepting gesture as she replied, "I've been a bit busy for historical research."

    "Fair enough. Just saying ... the Unknown Regions are a lot more than they appear. Those 'Thousand Terrors' that Voss Parck warned Mara about years ago aren't an inaccurate number. But some of them may not be terrors, either - at least to certain species," Jacen pointed out, raising an eyebrow.

    He could sense Jaina fighting her curiosity - truthfully, Jacen wasn't looking to stir up trouble. But neither did he want Jaya to be unaware of certain facts.

    "You're implying that the Chiss have been keeping secrets? The sky on Tatooine is blue, Jacen - you didn't come all this way to tell me what I know," Jaina retorted, growing more annoyed.

    "Sorry, Jaya. It's just ... part of my time away, before I knew Tace even existed, was spent looking into areas of the Unknown Regions past the Ascendancy. Admittedly, it was more to try and expand my Force-knowledge, and I even gained a little of that. But more importantly, there's entire civilizations out there - not just worlds, but political bodies that rival the Remnant for size and might," Jacen said, giving his twin a datapad.

    Jaina took it, thumbing through the data, then raised an eyebrow and asked, "'Mara Theory'? You're investigating our aunt's past? And a Chiss connection?"

    Jacen turned serious, glancing at one of the columns near the entrance to the palace - his perennial "shadow" was being particularly peevish today.

    "I've had ... reliable suggestions slipped to me that Mara may have been born in the Unknown Regions. Something to do with the genetic quirks in her DNA - her heightened telepathy, and whatnot. She's definitely human, no question, but maybe ... superior, through an accident of birth," Jacen hypothesized.

    Understandably, Jaina looked concerned, and Jacen added, "I'm not keeping a record of Mara's genetic code. But I did chat once with Cilghal about it, and she mentioned that there were unusual mutations in Mara's genes - improvements, not sublethal alleles. They're exceedingly rare in the wider galaxy."

    "So, Mara's maybe got a near-human ancestor, or just good bloodlines or genetic synergy. You think that implies that Mara's from the UR? Because, even as much as the Ascendancy likes Jag, they're not going to reopen the Great Library on Csilla just for genealogical research," Jaina said, not cruelly.

    "I know. I'm just saying - you'd be in a better position to follow up on these matters than I am. I have responsibilities that bind me to the GA now ..." Jacen started.

    He trailed off, returning Jaina's smirk as she finished, "... and if Mara got wind of you investigating her past in secret, she'd be ... upset. Same Jasa."

    "Well, I hope I'm a bit wiser. I have a son to think of now, after all," Jacen said, trying to change the subject. "And a sister to apologize to."

    "You've already made amends just by coming. I understand the family's concerns - at least Mom and Dad visit, and they and I talk. And Luke and Mara are understanding, too ... the whole Mygeeto business ..." Jaina said, looking away toward the garden as they heard happy childish shouts.

    Jacen extended a tendril of Force-sense, smiling as he sensed Tace competing in a friendly game of kickball with Roan. "The Muuns threatened the entire galaxy with their noise about neo-Confederalism. I'm not in a position to judge. The Order and the Senate are what they are," he said with a sniff.

    Jaina laughed, surprise and joy in her Force-presence and expression. "You've mellowed - but you're still doing your own thing," she observed.

    "I found a measure of peace on Tython. It was something of a reinforcement of Vergere's lesson about understanding the Other, seeing all life as mattering ... I'm still searching, but the urgency and selfishness are gone. The Jedi matter, but studying the Je'daii just reminded me - I'm not always right," Jacen said honestly.

    Jaina reached out for him through the Force, and they shared a brief, happy contact - it was almost like the old days.

    "Can you stay for a few days? There really is a lot of beauty here, beneath the durasteel," Jaina offered.

    "I think we can, sure. Tace's hitting it off with Roan, and if your man Sinde will allow, I could show your Knights a few techniques," Jacen said.

    Jaina's smile was all the answer Jacen needed, but she looked frustrated when a nervous young Imperial aide came rushing up. "Shavit - the delegation from Ithor. I need to meet with them about the restoration projects in the Outer Marches - stay and enjoy the garden, I'll be back soon?" she said, standing.

    "Thanks. I'll find Tace, and talk with Roan and Nyssa," Jacen said, rising. He kissed Jaina's cheek gently, watching her go with the youth. The boy looked to be barely old enough to qualify for the Imperial military, maybe a cadet from an officer family given a career boost by serving at the Imperial Palace.

    The Imperials do seem to demand maturity at a young age ... pining for your own lost youth, Jacen? How maudlin, he thought, smiling at his folly.

    He started to track down Tace and the other children, his Baran Do-imparted technopathic sense allowing him to blur the sensors - this was the Imperial Palace, after all, of course even the garden was bugged. (And not in the insect pest variety - Jacen was savvy enough to notice.)

    "Do you think she will investigate your suggestions?" Jacen's "shadow" whispered in his ear, and he gave the entity a sidelong glance.

    "Perhaps. I still think you're being too cautious - if I could be more honest with her about what I saw ..." Jacen trailed off, a bit frustrated.

    "Tschaa - Jacen. You wanted to dig on Endor. There are things - truths - slumbering there that the galaxy is not ready to hear," the shadow warned.

    Jacen bit back his frustration; as usual, the speaker was right, even if she shared half-truths. "But you want me to drag my twin into revealing them," he complained.

    "Pose it as a matter of security. She is a military-minded woman, and a mother. Defense of home and kin is a motivator," the shadow suggested.

    "You never mince words, do you? Even when you parse them ... I still think the answer lies with Myrkr, and who healed Anakin," Jacen observed.

    "That is a being whose involvement would only disrupt matters beyond all our abilities to control," the shadow hissed - fearfully?

    Jacen's lips twisted with wry amusement as he replied, "My brother is powerful, but hardly that disruptive."

    "Do not play games, arrogant boy! You know I meant the Force-godling whose timewalk was ... regretfully necessary," the shadow muttered.

    Jacen met her gaze, able to see past her cloak, and replied acidly, "All this for your revenge. Csilla's dragging their heels, then?"

    "You know why I cannot confront the Ruling Houses," the shadow sighed, slipping away. "And if anything happens to the gravitic wall across the Core ..."

    Jacen just shook his head; no, not everything was a game. Some stakes were too high, in his opinion.

    We're still recovering from one intergalactic war. And my erstwhile mentor's games risk touching off another, he worried.

    ----------------------------------------------

    to be continued ...
  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Woot, wonderful twins moment :D That lurking cryptic shadow of Jacen's [face_worried] :eek: =D=
  18. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Another small update - I keep meaning to finish this, but run into RL ... :p

    ---------------------------------------------

    "I ... must confess some ... concern, Your Excellency. Her Excellency is, of course, a talented warrior, but as a negotiator ..." Moff Abroun started.

    Jag just raised an eyebrow; Abroun was from one of the Eriaduan-exile clans, which tended to have the most resentment toward Alderaanians. It was childish of them, of course, but Jag had learned that most humans tended to react more emotionally than logically where old slights were concerned.

    (Growing up on Nirauan and in the Ascendancy had sped up Jag's emotional maturation, but he was the first to admit that he had difficulty reading non-Remnant humans - or, at least he'd had difficulty. Jaina's help in developing his emotional IQ was another thing he loved his wife for.)

    "Moff Abroun, Her Excellency is helping to negotiate terraforming supply agreements. With Ithorians. They want to help restore greenery to those of our worlds still suffering the aftereffects of Vongforming," Jag said, excess patience weighting each word as if he were speaking to a very small child - or a slow adult.

    Abroun reddened, and snapped his heels. "I understand, Your Excellency. Request permission to return to Bissellia?"

    "Granted," Jag said absently, grateful for the reprieve. He had no problem with politics - one had to play the game, after all - but detested arrogant people.

    Careful, Fel. I remember an 18-year-old pilot whose arrogance led him to fall for a princess ... he recalled, smiling faintly as his bodyguard checked the comm.

    Yors LaBrajain frowned, calling, "Your Excellency, the call is encrypted ... from Rhigar."

    Jag's eyebrows rose; Rhigar was deep within the Chiss Ascendancy, and the private holding of House Nuruodo - where Jag himself had trained.

    He wasn't entirely surprised, but the timing certainly was suspect. "I'll take it in private, Yors, thank you," he said with false calm.

    The older man looked doubtful, but the Imperial Knight was too loyal to argue (he'd been one of Tremayne's first graduates of the Imperial Knight program, saved from pirates by Jag's father). "I'll be right outside if you need me, Your Excellency," the Knight said, bowing before he left.

    Good man. He deserves the truth ... if half the Imperial Court didn't suspect the truth ... Jag thought, decrypting the call and activating the holoprojector.

    He nodded at the figure who appeared - a Chiss male, older, with considerable amounts of white in his military-short black hair. "Excellency," the caller said.

    "I'll assume this is linked to Journeyer Solo's visit," Jag said, keeping his tone polite. "Likewise, that there have been critical developments ...?"

    "Correct, to both. The Ascendancy's long-term remit has developed an unexpected complication - we believe Jacen Solo has either visited the planet in question, or learned too much about it," the Chiss said, a holographic image of a very specific planet appearing behind him.

    Jag frowned; that planet had never been discussed much, even in the most secret talks among his Chiss teachers or by his parents. But it was the only world, besides Corellia, which had had the power to drive his usually-stoic mother to tears.

    "Please elaborate," he asked.

    The Chiss male tilted his head and replied, "Some of your brother-in-law's travels brought him into contact with vassal worlds held by the Munlali Mafir parasites' servants. Solo himself is clean of influence by the creatures, but my contacts believe he knows too much of those worlds' settlers."

    Jag shook his head; this wasn't good. On the other hand, if Jacen did know much about the particular planet, he hadn't shouted about it.

    "What of the planet? Have recent events suggested they might be emigrating?" he asked his caller.

    "Fortunately, no. We both know the balance of power would be radically destabilized were that to happen. I merely wanted to warn you," the Chiss said.

    "I appreciate that ... please, keep me informed. We will, of course, respect our agreement with the Ascendancy if matters progress," Jag agreed.

    The Chiss nodded, vanishing, and left Jag to consider the implications. The entire matter was enough to drive lesser men mad.

    Not as mindbending as the truth about Endor, but I suspect wider galactic society would be more accepting of the other planet's secrets, he thought.

    Jag finished signing his latest set of decrees, then stood and stretched. It was time to talk to Jacen.

    And to see if his secret mentor has been whispering in his ear, as mine still does for me ...

    ------------------------------------------
  19. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    I am thoroughly enjoying this! Can't wait to find out more about the shadowy mentors and the forbidden planet. And Mara's genes. You have a great ear for dialogue, and your characterization of the kids is wonderful. This isn't my favorite era in the profic books, but I'm loving the world you are building in this time period!
  20. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Always like seeing Jag in ... action dealing with personalities and potential crises. :cool:
  21. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    aleja2: Thank you. :) LOTF was, decidedly, a mixed bag - I tend to think it inherited problems from books before it (DNT, especially) - and AUs have often been my stock in trade, 'ficwise. (More room to maneuver, and to fix things. :D)

    A great deal of this borrows elements from 'fic I wrote here a few years back, but never finished. I'm taking my time now, and trying to finish projects before I go tearing off whole-hog after the next one. :p

    A few notes - both mentors are characters EU fans will remember, although Jacen's has a few connections to another famous series (obscure, but I'm something of a lore junkie). Likewise, Mara's backstory is complex, but more hints by the time this 'fic is over. ;)

    Nyota's Heart: Thanks. :) I've never been quite confident about writing Jag; I decided to go back to the beginning and extrapolate from what effects Jaina might have had on him.

    And, here, there's a great deal more backstory involving the Fel family (far more members of the clan are alive than in the EU, for one thing ... ;))
  22. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    Every few lines I read in this fic I'm going, "What? What? Whaaaaaat?!!" :confused:[face_nail_biting][face_laugh] There's so much stuff going on in the background and I have no idea what it means yet AND IT MAKES ME SO IMPATIENT, LOL. You're making my fan brain itch. :p
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  23. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Ok ... a bit of explanation. (And a lot of hints ... :p)

    And - some party-crashers, because J/J and J/You-Know-Who aren't the only happy Solos in this timeline ... :D

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Jacen couldn't help but smile as he watched the kids at play. Tace was able to spend time with other younglings at the Ossus Praxeum, but Jacen had to balance that with his son traveling with him; it wasn't the most stable life, and that weighed on the elder Solo.

    On the other hand, I wasn't around for the first four years of his life. What do I do - leave him at Ossus? He'd have Coric and his other cousins to stay with, but I can't - won't - foist my son off on our relatives. My parents tried to balance work and family, and they managed - most of the time, Jacen considered.

    He glanced at the Imperial Knight who was watching over the kids. Glana Arelys seemed decent enough. The IKs (as Kyp so drolly liked to term them) were technically Grey Jedi, but Jacen was far past the days where he would judge. His own rediscoveries of the Je'daii tenets indicated that balance between the light and dark was far more important than being correct (whatever one's definiton of that was).

    (And, to be blunt, Kyp was still miffed that Jaina had picked Jag over him. It was unbecoming of a Jedi Master, but Jacen would always side with his twin ... and maybe he still liked tweaking Kyp's nose. Some habits died hard.)

    The dark-skinned Arelys nodded politely, her military training not quite masking her suspicion. Jacen actually approved - if she were a bodyguard for Tace, he'd expect his son's protector to be suspicious. Still, she clearly had some sense of how to work with children, as she telekinetically tossed a particularly wild ball back to Tace and Roan.

    "Unca Jacen? May I ask you a question?" he heard, and Jacen smiled as Nyssa sat beside him on a bench. "How far'd you go into the Un-Known Regents?"

    "Unknown Regions, and quite far, Nyssa. I've seen whole species whom we can barely imagine here; world-sized minds, the fragments of lost civilizations, sentient AIs that make our droids look primitive ... and powers that rival the strongest Force-users," Jacen mused, trying to be careful.

    (He certainly didn't mind talking to his niece, but neither did he want to terrify a 5-year-old. Much of what he'd learned was still staggering him.)

    Nyssa gave him an almost-frighteningly intense stare for a girl so young, and Jacen was eerily reminded of times he'd seen Wedge Antilles focus. (It made sense - after all, Wedge was the girl's great-uncle.)

    "The Empire's bigger'n any weird droids. And Daddy's tough," she pronounced proudly.

    "You're quite correct, Princess. However, your tough father needs a moment to talk to your wandering uncle, all right?" Jacen heard (he'd sensed Jag approach, but not by much - for a non-Force-user, the Emperor had exceptional mental shields and discipline).

    Nyssa nodded, beaming as she hugged her father's legs, and she ran to show Arelys some flower she'd found. Jag sat near Jacen on the bench, nodding at the Imperial Knight, who drew Nyssa over to a flower patch - and safely out of casual earshot, although still within line of sight. "May we speak?" Jag asked.

    "Of course - Jag, or Your Excellency?" Jacen offered, keeping his voice neutral. He didn't have any issues with his brother-in-law (at least not directly ...).

    "Jag is fine for the moment. I appreciate your ... caution in what you told Nyssa. The Unknown Regions are full of things that children are ill-equipped to understand, much less face without fear," Jag said, meeting Jacen's gaze.

    Ah. And now, we come to it, Jacen considered, smiling politely. He'd suspected Jag knew more than he'd let on - in fact, Jacen had counted on it.

    "You know about my ... oh, let's call a bird a bird," Jacen admitted, his smile turning wry as Jag chuckled.

    "And the red-eyed official in my old academy - I assume you know about his survival?" Jag asked, growing serious.

    "We'd suspected, of course. I daresay the two of them are probably sitting around, swilling Corellian brandy and laughing at us poor pieces on the dejarik board," Jacen tried to joke. He glanced again at Jag, but the Imperial grimness had set in; the Emperor was watching the children protectively.

    "I will not sacrifice the future for games, Jacen. I know you found vassal states of the ... parasites descended from the creatures on Munlali Mafir. They are not to be taken lightly. They're scavengers, stealing technology and slaves from across the Unknown Regions, pretending to be gods when they are nothing but opportunistic monsters," Jag said, shaking his head.

    Jacen nodded, but decided to cut to the chase. "It's not so much the parasites that you're worried about, is it? It's where they stole their human slaves' ancestors from," he said, raising an eyebrow.

    Jag smiled without humor, finally nodding. "So. You've seen it, then? A little blue and white ball, seemingly innocent .. but brimming with potential and threat?" he asked.

    "Only in holos. Their defenders ... average Force-users would be hard-pressed to keep up with them, let's say," Jacen admitted.

    "Thus, you know why the Chiss's ancestor species created hybrids of themselves and that world's humans to seed on Csilla. The Chiss are gengineered - a watch on expansion from that world. A commingling of genetic experiments, extradimensional pretenders to 'godhood,' and seemingly-random mutations ..." Jag said, keeping his voice low as he shook his head.

    "Power armor, Force-imbued artifacts, indestructible shields ... telepaths that make the old Jedi Masters look weak, elementals, beings who shoot force beams that could dent durasteel ... and a very precise mythology about the Rebellion. At least, to a certain point," Jacen said, meeting Jag's glance.

    Jag's mouth twisted; he was both amused and annoyed. "Ah, yes. Admiral Pellaeon is unclear who slipped Rebel propaganda to the wider populace. He's often seen the entire issue as amusing. I, on the other hand, would just wash my hands of the whole matter ... if said world's residents hadn't terrified so many extragalactic menaces. And ..." he trailed off, looking at the ground.

    "Your twin sister?" Jacen said, only mildly surprised at Jag's flash of unguarded shock. "Oh, I've seen holos of her. She's quite impressive."

    "Hrmm. Yes ... well, her absence is keenly felt, especially by my mother," Jag said, bitterness obvious in his voice. "It was Isard who ordered her exile."

    "Revenge against your father?" Jacen asked, not unsympathetically.

    "Partially that, yes. And ... my sister's genetic uniqueness made her 'an unacceptable threat to Imperial supremacy,' Ysanne's notes show. Vile woman, Ysanne Isard. I don't blame my aunt Iella for wanting to finish her off," Jag said, undisgused disgust in his tone.

    He glanced at Jacen, adding in a more even tone, "And ... the question of Master Jade-Skywalker's parentage. I suspect you know more than you've said."

    "I have some ideas. There's a certain clan of red-headed psionics on that world who bear an uncanny resemblance to Mara," Jacen said, smiling a bit.

    Jag actually turned pale, and whispered, "You don't think - ?"

    "Mara channeled something through the Force when she healed herself of the coomb spores and safely gave birth to Ben. And Vergere's interest in Mara was more than merely playing us against the Yuuzhan Vong. On the other hand, Vergere didn't seem in a rush to reveal all her sabaac cards," Jacen said, tilting his head.

    "Gods of Ald Corell ... what would Vergere want with access to a Force of that magnitude? If Mara had succumbed to its' lure, the Vong would've been savaged far before they ever reached Imperial - sorry, Coruscant. Old habits," Jag considered, but Jacen just smiled.

    "Be thankful Mara is as strong-willed as she is. Had she given in to the power, we'd be worrying about supernovae far more frequently," Jacen warned.

    Jag shook his head, smiling and waving as the children looked at them with concern - Jacen wasn't surprised. the three were Force-strong, and attuned to their blood relatives. Roan and Nyssa naturally would've sensed their father's distress, while Tace could read Jacen especially well due to their empathy.

    "So, you know why the Chiss exile that world so heavily. Let's turn the clock back a bit ... what do you know of Endor's past?" Jag asked.

    Jacen chuckled and said, "Recent, or the Ewoks' true past? I'm suspecting you and I've seen the same evidence."

    Jag nodded in acknowledgment. "Their ability to adapt quickly to machinery, their 'magic' - really a method of Force-use, despite what some xenobiologists claim - their quick wit ... the Ewoks of today are impressive, but nothing like their ancestors. The secrets buried in Endor's depths ..." he trailed off.

    "There were more than a few different strains of techno-organic viral matter - thankfully inert - buried deep in Endor's crust. The carbon-dating I saw set its' origin at roughly 1 billion years old, then 900 million years old. Similar strains of techno-matter can be found throughout the Unknown Regions," Jacen replied.

    He held Jag's gaze as he added, softly, "The largest repository was a world of pure technology, shape-changing AIs, cast out of their star's orbit by a war we can barely imagine. They claim that their world is their deity - their 'Maker,' to use a droid reference. A similar, but different, strain of techno-matter can be found in Silentium and Abominor remains. The implications are that the Ewoks' ancestors created techno-organic life."

    "Then, they set into motion - intentionally or otherwise - wars out of myth. It staggers the imagination - Jacen, what became of those ancient Ewoks? If what we suppose is correct, then ... their power levels must have been unimaginable," Jag considered, growing grim.

    "There is one possible comparison. How much do you know about Myrkr? How Anakin survived?" Jacen started to ask - until a familiar Force-ripple rang out.

    Ah, Little Brother. Sometimes your timing does work, he thought, unable to keep from smiling as a familiar noise split the air with a cloud of sulfurous smoke:

    BAMF-A!

    And with that, a full-sized bantha appeared in Jag Fel's Imperial Garden, with four welcome figures sliding off its back as the kids cheered.

    "Uh - hey, Jag - Jasa! Sorry we didn't call ahead - hey, you guys!" Anakin Solo greeted, grinning as he greeted the kids.

    "Your Excellency - Jacen. Somebody wanted to set up an impromptu Solo family reunion," Tahiri Veila-Solo greeted, helping her and Anakin's son down.

    "Hi, Uncle Jasa! Tace! Wow - is that Roan and Nyssa?" asked Vuahlin, Anakin and Tahiri's son, his brown hair flopping about as he greeted his cousins. Vuahlin's blonde twin sister, Nenri, just shook her head, smiling as Nyssa chatted excitedly with her.

    Jag just blinked, watching Tahiri's bantha Bangor nibble on a sculpted rose bush, before bravely standing and calling, "Welcome, everyone."

    "SNORT," Bangor seemed to greet, and Jacen couldn't help but laugh as Jaina exclaimed merrily through the Force - it'd been too long, indeed.

    Secrets can keep. For right now, we should enjoy the time we have, Jacen agreed, standing to greet his brother's family.

    ----------------------
    AngelQueen likes this.
  24. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    WHAT JUST HAPPENED WHAT.

    ...I feel like this fic is turning into a mind-trip, but that's exactly why I love it. 8-} (And, um, I think we're gonna need an entire Wiki page to describe everything that's going on or being referenced here...)
  25. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    Glad you like it - thanks. :)

    A bit of background regarding Munlali Mafir: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Munlali_Mafir

    And the parasites referenced: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jostran

    The Jostrans' "symbiosis" is, to me, rather reminiscent of another species of parasites (who likely inspired the Jostrans): http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Goa'uld

    As for Jag's twin sister ... to borrow a bad pun, she was X-ceptionally popular for a certain subgenre of 'fic back in the day. :p (Sorry, couldn't resist. [face_blush]

    Tahiri's bantha Bangor is - well, now Bangor is Legends, but he was from Junior Jedi Knights (minus the interplanetary teleporting): http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bangor

    A/T's kids are actually my OCs, from the previous iteration of this timeline. More on them in the next chapter. :)
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