Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ardavenport, Jul 7, 2013.
Thank-you very much. Joss Whedon is a big inspiration.
= = = Part 31
The orchestra finished off Minigan's Sith Lord song and switched to a new tune as the stage changed, the large frame sliding away; the archway, windows, statues, tables and chairs from the earlier setting returned. The servants and guards danced with perky steps, long strides and twirls. And sneaking in plain sight, Nirid led Keth across the back of the stage. More song lyrics scrolled across Obi-Wan's play roster.
Keth: "So they say the Sith Lord is this world's true savior."
Nirid: "I suppose so."
Keth: "So they say that she brings love."
The dancing guards and Castle servants joined in, though they apparently didn't know the Jedi and his guide were there.
Lead Servant: "It's SO romantic."
Servant #1: "We love her."
Nirid: "So they say that all power is love.
We're strong and we fear nothing,
Thanks to her."
Keth: "Thanks to her."
Keth smiled warmly at Nirid as the guards and servants took over the song.
Guard #1: "It's the Sith Lord's power."
Guard #2: "So they say."
Guard #1: "Darth Yarr is leading the way."
Guard #1 and #2: She's so great we cower."
Guard #2: "Death to all of those."
Guard #1: "Who don't obey!"
Servant #2: "So they say she saved us all."
Guard #3: "They say she tortures her lovers,
To make them love her more."
Lead Servant, Servants 1 and 2: "We wish she'd do that to us."
Servant 2: "She is our Lord."
The two fugitives took refuge behind a statue, evading the dancing and serenading..
Keth: "My love is true,
Even though I know what they do.
Jedi say Sith are are evil Lords,
But I know there is love in your heart."
Lead Servants, Servants 1 and 2: "Our love is true, too."
Nirid "Oh, you know me too well
And you say,
That you love me today
After years of Sith rule
Finally have you come to lead the way?"
Wearing a black outfit, with tall boots and broad shoulders and Hulus's lightsaber on his belt, Minigan appeared on the left, carrying the blaster. Overhead, the Sith and Jedi figures floated forward, both with hands out as if questing for something.
Nirid and Minigan "There's no happy ending
So they say."
Minigan "Not for me anyway."
Nirid "Should I stop pretending?"
Minigan "Stop pretending."
Nirid "Or do I see a new way?"
Minigan: "Kill both Keth and Yarr, treachery to repay!"
Servant 2: "We all love the Sith."
Lead Servants, Servants 1 and 2: "We love the Dark."
Minigan shot in the air, effectively ending the floor show. People scattered, the guards drew their weapons, but their blasters wavered, lowering. Keth, still behind the statue, stared in shock while behind him, Nirid ducked away off stage, unnoticed.
Keth's expression saddened as Minigan strode before the guards, influencing them to obey him. Most of the servants had fled and the few that remained cowered before this new menace. Finally Minigan seized a servant and throwing him to the floor told him to run and get his Master. He fired a few shots at his retreating feet to make him move faster.
After he was gone, one man stood and defied Minigan. He praised Yarr for being a good and loving Master, better than any common, coarse Sith. Minigan let him rant on a bit. Then he shot him. The man died dramatically. Still hidden, Keth looked stricken.
"So!" a voice called from off stage. It was Yarr. She appeared and strode forward. "You are ready for me." She positioned herself at center stage next to him, her hands on her hips. "I approve."
"Do you like it?" Minigan primped and posed while the orchestra started up.
"You taught me everything
So now your reign is through
Ha. And just one more thing,
This will be the end of you.
Now your reign will be incompleted
This is the end . . . .
you'll be defeated
'Cause I'm the new Sith Lord,
I will be Darth Kahmtu!"
Minigan whipped out Hulus's red light saber blade snd struck. But Yarr blocked it with her own and then struck back.
The performers were quick, skilled and precise in their steps, but it was a terrible fight, full of arm waving and jumping with both combatants missing obvious opportunities to disarm the other. But it was reasonably good dancing; he recognized many of the moves from the autitions with lots of energy and speed, kicks and high jumps. And Obi-Wan realized that this was only the second fight he had seen in the whole Play even though most of the time that he and his Master had spent with the performers had been showing them fighting techniques.
Finally Minigan made a mistake, though it looked more like Yarr finally took advantage of one of the many openings in her opponent's guard. Her blade grazed Minigan's arm and he cried out, grabbing the 'wounded' arm and dropping his blade. It didn't go out but Minigan managed to 'conveniently' throw his black cloak on top of it as he tried to scramble away. Yarr raised her blade over him.
Keth suddenly ran forward.
A drum rumbled from the orchestra purred as everyone on stage froze and there was complete silence from the audience below. The floating platfroms appeared, but they were empty and they slowly moved outward from both ends of the stage.
"Nirid," Keth implored, arms wide. "I know it's you."
Yarr slowly turned her head to him. "How?" she breathed, the Yarr-voice now more like Nirid.
One of the empty platforms was clearly going to pass very close to their seats. Looking to his side, Obi-Wan saw the other passing close to the Castle Custodians' seats. There was a figure in black and red among them.
"From our first embrace here, Nirid. From our first kiss. How could I not know?" Keth's voice broke as he took a step toward her. "How could I not feel the pain I caused you when I left so long ago, and that you pass on to others now?" He took another step, tears running down his face. "But now I know I was wrong to hurt you so. No Force, no power is more dear to me than our love." He went to his knees.
"Nirid, stop all this," he begged, his voice breaking again. "Leave the Dark Side." His voice grew strong again. "I renounce myself as Jedi, the Force and all its powers here before you. And whatever you say now, I will wait for you. It will be as nothing compared to the terrible wait I forced on you when we were young. Please forgive me." He wept openly.
The floating platform very gently touched the edge of their viewing platform. Opposite them, the figure in the black and red Yarr costume mounted the other platform. Qui-Gon remained seated, his face rigid. The platforms moved away, back toward the stage, one with the Yarr standing at attention, the other empty.
Slowly, the Yarr on stage lowered her lightsaber. But behind her, Mingan scuttled back.
The platforms approached the far ends of the stage and the Yarr on one of them activated her lightsaber and struck a pose. Obi-Wan sat forward and stared. This bright red lightsaber blade was real.
Obi-Wan's shock increased as a flow of power from the Force rushed up through him from below. Qui-Gon jumped up and leapt high, the Force carrying him over the audience; he flipped over once before landing opposite the Yarr as the two platforms stopped above the back of the stage. His robe flew off, green lightsaber flashing on as the platform tilted with the impact before righting itself.
Obi-Wan jumped to his feet and two thousand voices below him gasped.
At the front of the stage, Minigan whipped out his fake lightsaber, ready to strike Yarr from behind. The platforms circled; Jedi and fake Sith with two very real lightsabers remained locked in their poses. Qui-Gon's wild expression of shock mirrored Obi-Wan's feeling. He flexed his right hand, but . . . it did not feel right for him to take up his own lightsaber.
"NIRID!!" Keth seized Yarr, thrusting her aside, away from the danger. Minigan's blade hit him in the side. From the audience point of view, Keth looked impaled. Horrified, Minigan jumped back, pulling the blade back and away.
"KETH!!" Yarr tore off her mask, revealing Nirid's face, her graying hair tightly bound on her head. She caught him as he fell.
"Why didn't you stop him, Keth, why?? You could have stopped him!"
Keth smiled, his expression serene. "I renounced my power for you, Nirid. I couldn't go back on that, but I had to stop him." He reached up to touch her. "I'll wait for you, no matter what."
Tears running down her face, Nirid touched his cheek. "No more waiting, Keth. No more waiting. I'm here. It's just me. I'm here for you." They kissed, with Nirid cradling him in her arms.
Behind them, the platforms stopped circling less than an arms's length from each other. The Yarr raised her saber in a salute, extinguished it and tore off her mask. It was Sebo.
Keth went limp and Nirid broke the kiss and wept loudly. As she turned toward Minigan, Sebo went to her knees and spread her arms, throwing her head back.
"Take me!" Nirid screamed up at Minigan. "Take me now! It's all yours! The Castle, the planet, the power! They are nothing to me now! I renounce it all!" Weeping, she clutched Keth's body to her, waiting for the fatal blow.
"No." Minigan backed up in horror. "NO! NOOOOO-oooooo-ooooohhhhh!!!" Retracting his blade he threw it away and then went to the fallen Jedi.
Behind them, Qui-Gon's blade went out. He went to his knees as if in shock, staring at Sebo. The music started again. The lights brightened on Nirid, the rest of the stage going into shadow. Nirid began to sing.
"I touch the Dark Side and it's strange to me.
I look into it and it's cold.
Where is my heart?
My life has come apart.
Instantly gray and old.
Now I'm left with these memories
To curse me with the love I lost.
I am bereft.
They're all that I have left,
Bought at the highest cost."
She gently lowered Keth's body to the ground and climbed to her feet.
"So I will walk without the Force.
Neither Sith Lord nor Jedi.
I will walk without the Force!
Until I die!"
Stepping into the light, Minigan bent over Keth, stroking his hair.
"I killed my friend and that tortures me.
I have fallen hard and far.
I feel the Force,
It fills me with remorse
That I ever wanted Yarr."
He looked up at Nirid,
"So she will walk without the Force."
They sang together.
Minigan: "Until the day she dies."
Nirid: "Neither Sith Lord nor Jedi."
Minigan: "And she will live without the Force!"
Nirid: "And I will live without the Force!"
Nirid beat her breast and shook her fists as she sang.
"I don't know why I tried to win and turn him.
Now my love and life have gone dim.
I'll be grieving 'til the end of days."
Still touching Keth's face Minigan sang.
"What have I done? Why did I do it?
The Jedi Code, I betrayed it.
I should know that evil never pays."
He stood, joining Nirid at center stage, Keth's body lying behind them.
Minigan and Nirid: "I look at you
And now I know what I should do."
Nirid "I will walk without the Force!"
Minigin "I will return to the Force!"
Minigan stepped away from Nirid as he extended his arm to her, and the lights from above followed him.
"I will return to the Jedi,
Tell them that they both were killed.
Keth's death was true
A hero who loved you.
His light forever stilled."
Behind them all the servants and guards had reassembled behind the two in the center and again, Obi-Wan had to read the Play roster to sort out what they were all singing at once.
Lead Servant: The Dark Lord has renounced her power.
Guard #1: Mouring for her Jedi lover.
Guard #2: Turning from the Force, both light and dark.
Nirid: Left with love and sorrow.
Servant #1: The only Jedi survivor.
Servant #2: Now he regrets his lust for power.
Guard #3: Never will he tell the Jedi heirarch.
Nirid: My tragedy is the love that now haunts me.
Minigan: If I told them, they would come for yoooo-oooou!
Minigin and Nirid: "And we were caught by the Force!"
Servants and guards: "They are caught by the Force!"
Minigin and Nirid: "Because we've lost it all!"
Servants and guards: "Because they've lost it all!"
Minigin and Nirid: "We gave our lives to the Force!"
Servants and guards: "They gave lives to the Force!"
Minigin and Nirid: "We heard its call!"
Servants and guards: "We heard its call!"
Minigin and Nirid: "Far was our fall!"
Servants and guards: "Far was their fall!"
Minigin and Nirid: "And lost it all! Lost it all!"
Others: "And lost it all! Lost it all!"
Their voices rose high on the last note and as soon as the orchestra finished the audience clapped and shouted its appreciation. Going to back to his seat, Obi-Wan skipped past the new song lyrics that had appeared and went to the credits. The names of the performers now appeared next to the character names, including Adie Tykon-Tuzie for both Yarr an Nirid. He scrolled down past the minor part credits and found at the bottom of the list of shadow dancers:
Venerate Lady of the Tower, Sebo
Venerate Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.
= = = End Part 31
'A New Way' is roughly filked from 'So They Say' from Doctor Horrible's Sing-Slong-Blog.
'Minigan's Victory' is roughly filked from 'Sweet's Refrain' from Once More with Feeling - - Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
'Walk Without the Force' is roughly filked from 'Walk Through the Fire' from Once More with Feeling - - Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Wow, awkward moments there. I see they didn't exactly tone the story down. It's more like they picked out all the racy and/or disturbing bits and turned that up to eleven. Not so different from some of our "historical" films. The campy lyrics and dark storyline do kind of remind me of Dr. Horrible. I find myself feeling very sorry for Minigan, who got run over by someone else's romance. Go Sith'em, Minigan! You're the only one with a brain there, poor thing...
I liked the realization by Qui-Gon that he was viewing this performance with some fear and needed to set that aside. They are just actors and props, after all... though I'm still half expecting something weird (well, weirder than the play.)
The play was great but for the two Jedi? Lots of Sithly things to see
Kahara: Oh, there are just a few surprises from the end of the play (part 31) Thanks for reading!
earlybird-obi-wan: The play is a bit heavy on Sith, but it does go away in the end. Thanks for the comments.
Because of my DSL disaster last week, I got behind, but I still have to have this done by tomorrow, so I'm going to post twice today. Sorry if it's a little rushed, but it will all be there (at last).
= = = Part 32
Looking up, Obi-Wan saw his Master and Sebo still in the same places, on their knees, facing each other. Sebo's expression was ecstatic, tears streaming down her cheeks, but Qui-Gon faced partially away, his expression not visible to him.
The lights faded down on stage, leaving everything in dim twilight except for one bright light on Nirid, her head bowed.
Above the stage the enormous transparent holo-face of Sebo appeared:
"I am the Lady of the Tower, whose name was so dangerous it was taken from me."
Another platform appeared, crossing high over Sebo and Qui-Gons' platform. It carried a woman in simple clothes, the same pale yellow tunics that Sebo wore. She just stood there, her eyes closed while the platform crossed to the other side as the narration continued.
"I left the peak of power on this world after I re-discovered the love that was greater than anything else in my life. And then lost it."
Another high platform appeared crossing on as the first crossed off. This one carried another woman, also dressed like Sebo, but her belly was large and round.
"Keth's body was burned and the ashes scattered over these lands. Minigan returned to the Jedi and told them I was slain, which was true in a way. Darth Yarr was no more. I was only Nirid again. And I bore Keth's child.
The pregnant Nirid passed off stage as another one above passed on. Obi-Wan gasped in shock. There were four figures. Nirid and three others who accepted the baby she gave them. It was the same as his vision.
"And my daughter grew, raised by those who imprisoned me. They loved her as much as they had thought they once loved me. And after I died she became Cloras the First, who reunited this world after the chaos I had left behind." The head lowered its eyes.
The platform with Nirid and the three women passed off to the side.
At the front of the stage, Nirid looked up and the orchestra music changed.
"Here lies everything.
I am imprisoned in defeat.
My life is incomplete.
He was my everything.
Everything I ever. . .
I have nothing.
"But I must go on.
There is a life within me now,
Keth left me with somehow.
I am the Force's pawn
Everything I ever. . . .
I must live on."
The light faded and she fell into shadow, a lone dark outline on a stage of dark outlines behind her, including Qui-Gon and Sebo, still on their platforms. The last notes died away from the orchestra.
The giant holo-face looked up again.
"I am the Lady of the Tower. And I renounced my power to grow old and die with no name. And my daughter, Cloras the First, reunited this world after I died unknown, my ashes scattered over the same lands as Keth. And she, nor any of my long lines of descendants to the present day have ever felt the call, the Force of that power.
"I am the Lady of the Tower. And my name was Nirid."
The face faded away. The stage went to black.
%% ]]]-x-[[[ === ]]]-x-[[[ %% ]]]-x-[[[ === ]]]-x-[[[ %%
The roar of cheers and applause started before the lights came back. Qui-Gon squinted. Even at the back of the stage it was bright after total darkness. Looking down, he saw that the platform he kneeled on was lowering to the stage. He picked up his lightsaber hilt and put it back on his belt.
Climbing to his feet, he stepped down. Then he held his hand out to Sebo. She took it and stood, her cheeks wet, her eyes still streaming, the smile in them of a person whose life was complete.
"Thank-you," she said breathlessly.
There was nothing for her to thank him for. He had fully intended to not participate in the Play, but the red vision had taken him again. And amidst the lust and corrosive desire, he had seen a spot of blue. It had been balance and he had to go to it to defeat the Dark. But when he stood before Yarr's ancient blade, the red light changed to a clean, cold blue; it overwhelmed him, blasting away the Dark into a nothingness from which there was no return. For one weird moment he had felt the Force completely leave him, as if he was adrift in empty space, the heat of any star impossibly far away. But it had rushed back at him, filling him again with strength and warmth.
"You are most welcome." He inclined his head so she could hear him; she grabbed him in a fierce hug and he patted her back.
From the sounds of clapping and shouting, pandamonium had broken out in the audience. He saw the outlines of people standing on the viewing platforms, including Obi-Wan. The storm of tension, anxiety and fear that had permeated the backstage hallways had broken into waves of bliss and happiness from everyone on stage and behind it. They had succeeded. They had won.
With one last squeeze, Sebo finally released him and blissfully happy, walked to the front of the stage and the line of performers bowing to the audience. Looking down, Qui-Gon bent and picked up Yarr's lightsaber and discarded mask. Staring down at the empty eye holes, he turned it over. There was nothing there on the inside, just a plain, dark padded surface.
Standing again, he spotted a rumple of dark brown fabric on the black stage, his robe. Some of the performers, running out to join the others at stage center, stepped on it on their way. Qui-Gon snatched it up and shook it out, still holding the Sith lightsaber and a strap of the mask in one hand.
He held the robe up, looking for the hood. It was upside-down. He grabbed what he thought was the hood and shook it out again.
"Go out! Go out!" The stage technicians frantically pointed at him, waving their arms, one of them hopping up and down. Qui-Gon ignored them.
Holding up the robe again, he saw that he had grabbed a sleeve and it was sideways. He turned it one way and it was upside-down again. Going the other way, he finally captured the hood, the most reliable way to find the shoulders.
"Ssssssatz!" Tykon's voice cut through the jubilation.
Exhaling, for half-a-second he considered ducking, but there did not seem to be much point. He let Director Tykon grab his arm and drag him out for one last formality with the crowd of performers at the front of the stage.
The shouting and clapping increased as Director Tykon held up his arm, presenting his trophy to the audience. Everyone in the Hall was standing, the people in front, calling out. On one of the platforms above, Obi-Wan stood and politely clapped with them; his expression bemused.
Tykon seized his shoulders in a hug. The Director was garishly dressed in a sparkling red shirt open half-way down his chest, white sash and metallic gold pants. Staring forward, Qui-Gon felt his breath on the side of his head, but he did not turn. So, Tykon had to settle for planting a wet kiss on his ear, his tongue curling up under her earlobe. The audience loved it.
Someone yanked his arm from the other side. Then Roobi Mwemas stood in the same spot he had been and grasped Tykon's hair, forcing his mouth to hers. The crowd loved that even more. Mwemas wore an iridescent long dress decorated with a wide sparkling floral pattern on the edges and that hugged and displayed her various curves and bulges too honestly.
Joining them, Thwurn Aka, wearing wide white pants and a bright yellow tunic, and Quembu Smetin in a long shiny, green and purple tunic, both grinned and laughed as if they were twenty years younger.
Qui-Gon rubbed his damp ear-lobe with his sleeve.
A floating platform descended, and Custodian Tykon, large and stately in her dark blue formal robes heavily trimmed in gold, her hair brilliantly white, stepped off to join them. And Qui-Gon saw that the formalities were not finished.
Sneaking behind him, Sebo latched herself to his other arm. She adoringly beamed up at him and he smiled back. He supposed that she would no longer be living the austere life of a deposed Sith anymore. This moment of glorious completion would last for the rest of her life and Qui-Gon was glad of that for her. Under the folds of the robe wrapped around his other arm, he still had Darth Yarr's lightsaber and mask.
On his other side Director Tykon drank in the adulation with an unquenchable appetite, smiling and holding his arms out as if to expose as much of his body as possible to their praise as he could. Roobi Mwemas eyed him with clearly carnal intent.
The performers ran up to stage center in groups, extending their moment of glory as the crowd threw bunches of flowers at their feet. The shadow dancers; Jedi, Sith, and the later versions of Nirid. The Castle servants. Darth Yarr's guards. The ones who had spoken or sung individually took extra bows, separate from the others. Then Hulus, back from the dead. Then Minigan who bowed with a flourish and a little dance step that got him a laugh. Then Keth and Nirid came forward together before Keth stepped back and Nirid got the biggest applause. Then all the performers lined up together. Qui-Gon spotted the three performers who had befriended his Padawan standing together. None of them had very large parts in the Play, but they now looked as ecstatic to be on stage as all the others.
Amidst the fragant piles of flowers on stage, the naked joy was like warm sunshine. Qui-Gon could feel it fill everyone there. Accepting the moment for what it was, Qui-Gon took his bows with the rest of the Creative Committee. He and Obi-Wan would be gone long before the celebration ended.
%% ]]]-x-[[[ === ]]]-x-[[[ %% ]]]-x-[[[ === ]]]-x-[[[ %%
Obi-Wan saw his Master disappear from the stage with Sebo while the performers were still accepting the audience's wild aclaimation. Roobi Mwemas ran to the side with 'come up' gestues and soon the whole orschestra was lining up on stage as well, some carrying their instruments and makng noises with them. More flowers, in bunches and long strands were brought on stage. Soon, everyone carried bunches in their arms or had garlands draped over their shoulders.
Eventually, the shouting and applause lessened, the audience finally exhausting its lavish praise. Obi-Wan spotted Yana, Timoz and Jutwa among the performers, grinning as if bathing in the adulation from the crowd. It seemsed that their defense of Director Tykon's methods was vindicated. All their hard work was now magnificently rewarded. Obi-Wan did not think that any of them would be disappointed with getting only small parts in it, the Play was so well received. He smiled; feeling as if the whole Hall was filling up with happiness, a boundless energy and joy that could make anything possible.
Finally, the performers withdrew having sated themselves on the love and adulatin of their audience. The stage was cleared of props and people except for the piles of flowers and a cluster of musicians. A few more, with their instruments, joined their huddle. The crowd noise descended into a voiceless, anticipatory matter. They were already wondrously happy and they were expecting more.
The lights went out into complete, starless darkness. The sounds rapidly died down. Turning all around, Obi-Wan saw only complete blackness, but the vast room was still alive with people down below. Standing still, he waited with them.
A loud, throaty chord cut the silence before all the colored lights returned, sweeping from the stuge out and upward. The crowd roared.
The whole audience stood and starting at the center aisle, the chairs snapped closed and withdrew, rolling out in a huge wave. More chords followed in a rough approximation of a song
The muscians had reassembled themselves into a band, center stage, flaring red and white lights fanning out behind them. A drum beat started pounding out with the music. A woman with fluffed up long black hair streaked with red, and wearing an asymmetric black body suit decorated with a lot of red and white triangles, twanged another chord on the stringed instrument she held.
Dancing, arms up in the air, the crowd called back. Down below, the chairs closed and rolled back from around the base of the viewing platforms as the woman began to sing.
"Hey, what do you say?
Come out tonight
In the moons' light?"
Colored lights flashed, sweeping around the room as the whole crowd now danced and shouted to the new beat. The party had certainly started.
Obi-Wan saw the new Chancellor and her party stepping onto one floating platform to cross back to the gallery. Another headed in his direction, but it already had two people on it.
"You can come here any time,
To spin my History,
A new posterity!"
Along with the lead musician/singer, Obi-Wan saw a line of people with similar instruments complimenting her. Among them was Roobi Mwemas, jumping and cavorting as she played and sang with the rest of the band whose members seemed to be noticeably older than the stage performers. Lights flashed and an explosion of glittering confetti rained down on the audience below.
"For all time! For all time!"
We'll set this place on fire,
For all time, they can't deny,
This moment of our desire!"
The floating platform with the people on it drew closer and Obi-Wan realized that one of them was a recorder droid, it's recivers pointed at a man speaking.
" - - - after this MAGNIFICENT performance I do not know how the Poonkagree or the Majwaru will be able to top Ebsi Tykon's latest masterpiece! The pressure will be on - - -"
With horror, Obi-Wan recognized the man speaking as the announcer that he and Qui-Gon had seen a few days ago on the public information holo, the one who had asked the Venerate of the Scared Pond of Urzaro about being neutered. With the chairs gone the floor was clear and many people had moved away from the viewing platforms by the wall and toward the center of the Hall.
The floating platform got dangerously close.
" - - - and now, we have one of our honored guests for this terrific performance of the "The Tragedy of Darth - - - "
Inhaling, feeling the Force rising up through him, Obi-Wan picked a spot and jumped.
"Oh!" Two woman with sparking hair and black and white masks on the upper parts of their faces jumped, but the other revelers he landed behind did not seem to notice. The announcer's platform descended lower.
" - - - and if we can just get a quote about this FANTASTIC Living History Play - - - "
Throwing the hood of his robe up over his head and keeping low, he wove through the bodies gyrating to the music.
"For all time! For all time!"
We'll set this place on fire,
For all time-ime-ime, they can't deny,
This monument of desire!"
More things fell from above. Long glittering strands and big shiny bubbles that people bounced and and batted back up in the air. There was an entrance leading to the work areas behind the stage on the far side of the Hall. Obi-Wan needed to rejoin with Qui-Gon.
A hand grabbed his arm.
= = = End Part 32
'Nothing' is roughly filked from 'Everything You Ever' from Doctor Horrible's Sing-Slong-Blog.
Qui-Gon has the artifact. A great play
Thank-you very much early-bird. It was fun to do.
This next chapter will be the penultimate one. The Epilogue comes tomorrow.
= = = Part 33
"Oh! I thought that was you!"
Still bent low, he peeked up under his hood and recognized Healer Mwassil, still wearing her Healer's tunics and veils, now decorated with bits of confetti, pale purple and yellow lights flashing across her smiling face. She grabbed him in a hug.
"Oh, he looked so wonderful up there!"
The floating platform was still there, low by the wall. There were usually rules against floaters crossing too close over a crowd and that seemed to be the case here, but the announcer still craned his neck, looking for him as he spoke, his words lost in the din of music and partying.
"Ughh." Obi-Wan pointed and Mwassil turned.
"Oh, no! They're horrible!" Ducking low, too, her grip still firm, she dragged him deeper into the party. But halfway through they could not go any further. The bodies were packed so tightly, still moving to the music. The room was noticeably warmer and sweatier. Obi-Wan pointed toward the far end of the stage. But Mwassil shook her head and put her mouth to his ear.
"We'll never make it over there!"
They had to turn away from the crush by the stage, going almost all the way to the quieter back of the Hall where the more sedate partiers had taken refuge. As soon as they passed through the portal of the sound suppressor field, Obi-Wan realized that his com was signaling.
"Where are you, Obi-Wan?"
"We're in the back of the Hall. We tried to get past to where you are, but it's too crowded."
"I ran into Healer Mwassil. She was watching the Play."
"You were just wonderful out there!" she chirped in. "I am so proud!"
"Yes, thank-you," Qui-Gon acknowledged. "I have the artifacts, and I need you to take them. There seems to be one final presentation and then we are free to leave. Custodian Tykon will send someone." He signed out and put the com away.
People came and went by them through a smaller door in a false wall at the far end of the Hall. A group, two men and two women passed by. They were all garishly dressed in colored metallic fabrics worn loosely over very fit bodies. One of the men pointed at Obi-Wan.
"Oh look! He's dressed just like a Jedi! I should have thought of that!" They went into the party.
"He is a Jedi, you sssatsimit," Mwassil muttered unkindly. "Just look at them. We're going to have all kinds of business from this lot later; over-induging, headaches, stomachaches and I've seen just about every body part that can be sprained get over-worked at these things. The Plays are marvelous, but the aftermath is completely unnecessary. But it's tradition, so they get away with just about everything."
Above, a large floater coming very quickly from the stage side of the Hall descended. There were four Castle Custodians on it, three in light blue formal tunics, the fourth, Temba, in a darker shade, trimmed in silver.
"We've come to escort you to the backstage," he gestured to a spot in the middle of the platform. Obi-Wan turned to Mwassil to thank her, but she stole a big hug from him instead.
"I'm so proud to have known you two. It has been a privilege."
He warmly hugged her back. "It has been our privilege. And thank-you for helping my Master get well. I know he was difficult, but he does appreciate what you did for him."
"Oh, he wasn't difficult at all!" she denied, beaming. "I've had much worse. And you both look so healthy now, you do me so proud. Good-bye!" She released him and he stepped onto the platform. It immediately rose high, going toward the stage.
The reason for his heavy escort because apparent as soon as they passed back over the party. Every one of the viewing platforms, along with some of the floaters, was now occupied by people with holo-recorder droids whose sensors followed them as they went by, but none approached.
The band finished a song to loud applause as their platform passed high the mob and behind a black wall. There was another black wall in front of them and they took a sharp left turn as they descended. Qui-Gon was waiting with Sebo and Custodian Tykon. There must have been sound bafflers behind the stage because the noise from the band was much less than Obi-Wan expected.
"Obi-Wan." Qui-Gon took the gray strap attached to a dull gold metalloid box off his shoulder and handed it to him. It wasn't too heavy, but he hoped he wouldn’t be carrying it for too long.
"If you think that you are at all in danger of losing it, destroy it." Behind Qui-Gon, both Sebo and Tykon looked horrified. Obi-Wan bowed his head.
"Yes, Master." He had no idea how he was supposed to do it or if that possibility was at all likely. Qui-Gon would have said something if there was a self-destruct device. All he could do with his lightsaber for such a large object was cut it in half and then cut up the halves. But if it did become necessary, he would try.
"Sssats!" Director Tykon appeared and slapped Qui-Gon on the back. "Ready?"
Sighing, Qui-Gon nodded. Apparently amused by the Jedi's lack of enthusiasm, Tykon slapped him again, waved to someone that they couldn't see and strode off. Qui-Gon laid his hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder, pointing him in the direction that the Director had taken. They moved slowly forward and Obi-Wan realized that they were at the end of some kind of line.
"Master, what is happening?"
"There is a final precession of the Play performers among the audience on their way to their own private party. We are not required to attend that," his Master assured him, "but since I was technically in the Play, it would be noticed if I did not make a last appearance."
Obi-Wan refrained from saying anything about Qui-Gon's name appearing in the Play roster after he lept on stage.
"And Director Tykon has requested one final act from me, and perhaps against my better judgement, I have agreed." He shrugged out of his dark brown robe. "Here, take this."
Obi-Wan took it, and rolled it up to carry under his arm. Under his other arm was the box. Sebo smiled up at Qui-Gon but did not say anything. They seemed to be last with a group of Castle Custodians behind them. The sound of the party in Tamwa Hall increased before they turned a corner where a sound suppressor portal glowed red up ahead.
"Hey, what are you doing! You're supposed to be up front!"
"Where're you going?!"
Voices cried out and then Obi-Wan saw Yana, wearing only the gray tunic and pants that she wore under her guard armor on stage, rushed up to him and grabbed him around the neck. She pressed her lips to his, her mouth an open invitation.
"What are you doing?! Oh, Director Tykon, do something about this!" Custodian Tykon sounded upset. Director Tykon laughed.
Yana pulled back. Obi-Wan was sure he was not any good at kissing; that was definitely not part of his Jedi training. But Yana did not seem to mind as she hung off of his neck and gave his Padawan's braid a little tug.
"You are soooooo cute." She kissed his nose. "And I heard you weren't going to be at the party. So, I'm going to tell you now before you go." Her next kiss was all tongue and teeth to him; he found the warm, round curves of her body pressed to him much more distracting.
Suddenly she pulled away, just ahead of Custodian Tykon's grab. Grinning and dancing backward out of reach, she laughed and dashed back toward the front of the line.
"Oh, really!" Custodian Tykon complained. Director Tykon laughed again.
Obi-Wan felt a touch at his shoulder. Embarrassed, he took back the bundle of his Master's robe, which he had dropped. Then he shifted the strap over his shoulders so the box hung in front of him. Qui-Gon smiled but said nothing.
They moved past the sound suppressors and were again assaulted by the party, the band playing a thumping cheerful beat. Tykon appeared with his arms held out high and wide. The crowd loved him and he took extra time absorbing their attention. There were plenty of Custodians and real guards to hold back the crowd, but they did not seem to be pressing in too much though they did hold out their hands for Tykon to touch as if bestowing a blessing on them.
Then they moved out into the Hall, Obi-Wan keeping one hand on the box slung over his shoulder. The cheering was loudest for the lead performers and for Tykon, but the crowd was still appreciative of all of them. On their left Tykon continued touching hands, the Custodians and guards having cleared a large open space in the packed crowd.
The music changed.
Obi-Wan recognized a medley of tunes from the Play, but rendered on a much smaller, simpler set of instruments. Tykon, standing at the far end of the open space raised his arm. After a long pause, Qui-Gon raised his arm, palm outward toward Tykon. Obi-Wan felt the Force from his Master, like a warm, indrawn breath of energy.
Tykon stepped out in prancing dance steps and Qui-Gon matched him. The crush of crowd held back by guards and Castle Custodians gasped; the new Chancellor was among them.
Qui-Gon matched Tykon's moves, every foot tap, hip wiggle and hand flip. His motions were not fluid like the Director's, but they were precise. Kicks, arms waves, jumps, Qui-Gon's were the mirror image of Tykon. When Tykon spun around, over and over, his white sash whipping around, lights flashing off his gold pants, Qui-Gon spun as well, long hair flying out. And he stopped exactly when the other man did. Tykon paused dramatically, but Obi-Wan guessed that be was just regaining his balance from the spin. Qui-Gon remained unperturbed.
The music sped up and so did the competition. Tykon delivered rapid, prancing stomps and Qui-Gon mirrored every one. Tykon suddenly froze. Qui-Gon did, too. The dance proceeded in a series of fast moves and random freezes. The band started following the action, alternating between pounding a loud rapid beat and falling silent except for a couple of tense, plucking strings. The crowd loved it. The floating platforms with their holo-recorder droids circled above.
Tykon's hair and sparkling red shirt were damp with sweat, but Qui-Gon looked calm as they circled each other. Snarling, Tykon twirled and danced forward and the two closed on each other.
At arm's length, they froze, Qui-Gon's face serene, Tykon panting, his eyes wild. They spun again, arms out.
They stopped. Qui-Gon, with one hand grasping the front of Tykon's shirt, held the other man up completely off the ground, his toes dangling. The Jedi's other hand was firmly wrapped around the Director's fist, which was clearly aimed at his face. Even the band fell to silence. The colored party light spun craizily. With the sound of ripping fabric, Tykon wildly grabbed onto Qui-Gon for support with his free arm.
"Aaaah." Speaking loud enough for everyone to hear, Qui-Gon glanced toward the fist, as if noticing it for the first time. "I seem to be the first one of us to miss a step." He released Tykon, who dropped to the floor and stumbled backwards.
"You win." Qui-Gon smiled, turned and walked away. He almost reached Obi-Wan before the crowd erupted in cheers and applause and moved in.
Qui-Gon whirled around in a defensive crouch.
The crowd gasped and drew back.
Straightening, Qui-Gon reached his Padawan and retrieved his robe. The Custodians and guards reformed their ranks as the crowd resumed their noisy yells and cheers, but keeping a more respectful distance. The band started up again.
Looking around, Obi-Wan saw that Sebo, grinning broadly, was still with them. She still wore the mostly black Darth Yarr costume, though she seemed to have lost the mask and gloves. Obi-Wan was quite certain that the Sith lightsaber was in the box that he carried before him. People cheered and jumped up and down as they passed by, but as they reached the end of the Hall, the performers along with the new Chancellor and other dignitaries went to the left, waving and shouting farewells to the Jedi, except for Tykon, who stopped, smirked and applauded as Pecku appeared from the crowd and joined him. Qui-Gon inclined his head in return.
Then they were out the large doors, the Custodians and guards keeping back any stray partiers. They emerged blinking into full sunlight. It was only mid afternoon, the largest moon low in the sky. The Chancellor's flyer, a long sleek metallic blue transport with a closed canply, waited for them.
They turned. Sebo stood in the doorway, her eyes teary.
Qui-Gon bowed low to the Venerate. "I am honored."
A man in a dull silver and black uniform touched the side of the speeder and it opened. He closed it after they were seated.
Relieved, Obi-Wan put the box down on the seat next to him as the flyer rose up in the air, heading toward the spaceport. Qui-Gon sat facing him. They were in a private cabin. The pilot's head was visible through a window to a separate compartment up front. Qui-Gon touched a compartment on his left. It slid open and a table surface extended with refreshments.
Qui-Gon looked up from sniffing the clear contents of a flask.
"You said you were not going to be participating in the Play."
He nodded, poured water into a pair of clear cups. "I did. But the Force, it seems, had other plans."
"I felt something, but . . ." Obi-Wan paused, searching for the right words and settled for just the facts. "I thought it was just you. But I don't understand why you did it."
Qui-Gon raised his eyebrows. "You sensed me then?"
"No, Master. But the vision I saw of the woman with the baby, it was the same as in the Play. But, you saw more?"
Qui-Gon nodded. "Yes."
"What did you see?"
Qui-Gon did not answer as he thoughtfully stared past his right ear. Obi-Wan self-consciously touched his braid and then quickly put his hands in his lap. Jedi Padawans learned patience while waiting for their Masters.
"I saw a tiny hole," he finally said, "A spot of . . . clarity. It appeared in the midst of the Dark Side. And then swallowed it up. And there was nothing left but a cold void."
"So," Obi-Wan lowered his eyes, "the Play is true. Darth Yarr renounced her power." He wondered if this was knowledge that only Jedi Masters were permitted to know. He had always been taught that all Sith ended as victims of their own vices, slain by their fellow Dark Sideers or defeated by Jedi, or those they oppressed or preyed on. Jedi. It was inevitable that the conflict they lived for would consume them. Or it was supposed to be.
Qui-Gon handed him one of the cool clear cups of water. "I must concede the possibility." He hunched over his own cup, clasped in both hands.
"How could the Archives be wrong, about Yarr? And Minigan? In the Play, he went to the Dark Side as well. And renounced it. And concealed what happened after he returned to the Jedi to become a Master later. Is it possible?"
Qui-Gon held up a hand, stopping the questions.
"All that must wait." Qui-Gon put his cup aside and sat back. "We must return all of this," he gave a nod toward the box on the seat next to Obi-wan," to the Temple and report to the Council. After that, all of the events of this mission will be carefully considered. It is very unlikely that you will be included in any deliberations." He sadly shook his head.
After a long pause, Obi-Wan swallowed his disappointment. He wasn't even allowed to access data about Sith in the Archives without Qui-Gon being present. Of course he could not be part of the deliberations. He nodded.
They rode together in silence the rest of the way back to the spaceport to take the Maarzim transport back to Coruscant.
= = = End Part 33
Great wrap up of the play and the discussion between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon
Thank-you. There needed to be some wrap-up discussion afterwards, because Obi-Wan would have questions.
Now, the final part.<whew>
= = = Part 34
The air traffic was heavy in the lanes that passed on all four sides of the Jedi Temple, endless lines of air speeders and transports crossing the backdrop of blue midday skies. Qui-Gon stood at attention in the center of the Jedi Council room at the top of one of four lesser spires rising high over the Temple. Breathing deeply, he stared at the endless gray metaloid horizon of the city-planet of Coruscant, and reached for calm in the anonymous artificial plain and the ubiquitous air speeder traffic. The Council remained stonily silent, a multi-species circle of disapproval, satisfied that their rebuke had silenced him.
"Your decision is final then," Qui-Gon stated. There was no room for questioning at this point.
"It is." Mace Windu answered, the newest member of the Council and already one of the most visibly dominant.
"It is impossible for a Sith to renounce their power. It has simply never happened." Depa Billaba's tone was more kindly, as if she hoped to convince a misinformed Qui-Gon Jinn of the error of his ways.
"Consumed by the Dark Side, they are. A true Sith, Yarr could not have been." Master Yoda shook his head.
"She was only a pretender," Ki Adi Mundi smoothly repeated the Jedi Council's decision. "The holocron alone proves that. It was never used. It was likely defective when it was made, but she would have no way of knowing that. She kept the artifacts of Darth Baras after she killed him, but she never had any real power, other than her own abilities and powers of persuasion. Which must have been considerable," he quickly amended, throwing out this minor concession, "if she was able to deceive and kill a Sith Lord and then rule in his place."
"And Master Minigan? Were Yarr's powers of persuasion so great that she deceived the Jedi Knight who destroyed her? And Hulus, her apprentice?"
Master Yoda lowered and shook his head sadly. "Younger he was, when he defeated them."
"Of course, Hulus was a pretender as well. If there was no Master there could be no apprentice. Which had to be why he was so easily defeated when he attacked Keth and Minigan as soon as they arrived on Maarzim. Before they realized his true nature." Master Lerton explained.
"Fallen, Keth had, in the fight with Yarr. Affect even Jedi, loss does." Master Yaddle continued. "Mistaken, Minigan was about Yarr's true nature." The Council members had already conspicuously dropped the 'Darth' title from Yarr's name.
None of the Jedi Council had said anything about Minigan's statement that he had 'seen' Yarr's holocron destroyed. It was only a second-hand account and they would likely have decided that the person who recorded Minigan's account had misinterpreted what he said. Minigan never recorded a holocron of his own.
Qui-Gon stared up above the eyeline of the circle of Councilors judging him. "I wish to record my dissent."
"You have that right," Windu agreed. "But it will be separate from our judgement." Which meant that it would be buried in the Archives and not included in any of the history the main Archives taught to the young. Only someone researching Maarzim, Yarr and her defeat on Maarzim would see it. Qui-Gon inclined his head, indicating his acceptance. He had no other choice.
"You are dismissed."
Qui-Gon bowed low, turned his back on them and left.
Defeated, he sagged against the wall of the lift on the ride down. It had been like hitting a wall. As soon as the words were out of his mouth that Darth Yarr had renounced the Dark Side, the Council, the Archivists and senior Masters had denied the possibility and very soon began questioning if Yarr had ever been a Sith at all. They fixated on the holocron, whole and intact but as harmless as if it had never been used. So, that was their conclusion.
Strangely, they had not cared at all about his performance in the Living History Play. The most they gave him were disapproving frowns. Most disturbing was that they discounted the vision that had caused it and the others that he and Obi-Wan had. None of them had seen or felt anything other than the cold, empty void in their meditations together, and that could be interpreted in whatever way the Council saw fit.
Some Council members attributed Qui-Gon's 'error' to his (understandable) outrage over discovering that the Maarzim had been hoarding and venerating Sith artifacts. The lightsaber was certainly real and presumed to have been built by Darth Baras. Others attributed his 'mistake' to the illness that he and his Padawan suffered when he first arrived on Maarzim, though the Temple medical droids had pronounced him fully recovered since he returned. They expressed sympathy to him on both points, but that wa poor consolation. Yoda sternly warned him about keeping a clear mind after long sessions meditating that showed them only the cool blue void. Even Qui-Gon could not recapture the flashes of the Dark Side that he had seen. It had all vanished into the cold past, gone like Darth Yarr herself. But that was what Darth Yarr, as Nirid, had done, wasn't it? She had thrown off the Dark Side, renounced it and the Force, leaving nothing left. And nothing to be found, eight thousand years later.
Straightening before reaching the bottom of the Council spire, Qui-Gon exited as soon as the lift doors opened. Two younger Knights entered as soon as he left and he strode down the wide staircase past other Jedi going about their business.
He suddenly turned, cutting in front of a surprised young Knight. Stopping in front of one of the tall windows in the hall overlooking the roof of the Jedi Temple, he blankly stared forward, seeing nothing though things moved on around him; people walked behind him, their bootsteps muffled by carpeted floors, their voices distant and hushed. Breathing the moment deeply, he felt the past and future fade into events that would resolve themselves, separate from himself. Now, there was only the moment, and the Force, the energy of life that he could feel all around him . . . .
Lowering his head, Qui-Gon saw that the shadows on the floor had shifted a bit. Exhaling, he let the moment go. The sounds behind him sharpened. Qui-Gon moved on.
He had told his Padawan to study in the Archives and he found him at a terminal in the large central room. Obi-Wan looked up as he approached.
"Come." He did not wait to see if Obi-Wan followed.
On the second level, among the walls of glowing data volumes, a galaxy of information that covered many hundreds of thousands of worlds over many millennia, Qui-Gon stood at the railing, staring forward, arms folded before him, contemplating the tiny insignificant events of eight thousand years ago on an Outer Rim world amidst that ocean of data. Obi-Wan patiently waited by his side and eventually Qui-Gon rewarded him for it.
"After a detailed examination of the artifacts we returned from Maarzim, consultations with the records in the Archives and much meditation on the matter, the Jedi Council has determined that Darth Yarr was never a Sith after all. She was a pretender."
Obi-Wan opened his mouth. Then lowered his eyes before looking back up at him. "You disagree."
"Yes." He turned back to the view over the Archives. "I will record my perspective on the matter. But it will not be placed in the official history."
"Will I be allowed to see it?" Obi-Wan asked, his blue-grey eyes earnest.
Qui-Gon raised his brows. "I do not believe that it will be any more restricted that usual, but there will not be anything in it that you do not already know." They had discussed everything he had seen and felt at the History Play on the transport back to Coruscant. Now they stood together in shared silence for awhile before Obi-Wan finally spoke.
"Is it possible the Council is right?"
Qui-Gon sighed. "It is possible. Likely from their point of view given that not even Master Yoda sensed darkness at all from the artifacts we brought back."
More shared silence.
"Is it possible that you are wrong?"
"Possible." Qui-Gon whispered the word out to the Archives.
"Do you think you are wrong?"
He smiled. "No. I am not."
Brow furrowed in confusion, Obi-Wan continued. "But you think it is possible that you are wrong?"
"But you are sure you are right?"
"Yes." Qui-Gon's grin broadened. "It is possible for you to know that you are right and acknowledge that you may not be at the same time." He sighed. "I would wish that the Jedi Council understood that better."
His Padawan's expression turned thoughtful. Lips pressed together, Obi-Wan lowered his gaze for a long moment before asking his next question.
"Is it possible then, for a Sith to renounce their power. For love?"
The Council had answered that questions with a definitive, 'no.' Qui-Gon actually sympathized with their feelings. How could a mere relationship with another person compare will all the power in (literally) the galaxy? But Qui-Gon had never loved another individual like that, with a depth of feeling, a romance that the Maarzim History portrayed between Nirid and Keth. He was comfortable now with believing in the possibility. Just as he was sure of the wrongness of the Jedi Council's decree that it had not and could not have happened..
%% ]]]-x-[[[ === ]]]-x-[[[ END ]]]-x-[[[ === ]]]-x-[[[ %%
It's a satisfying resolution, even though we're left with as many questions as answers. But then, that's part of the intrigue. I liked that Yarr's true story remains a bit ambiguous in the end. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan don't really see anything absolutely definitive, just enough to come to conclusions that would have surprised them very much at the beginning. Assuming that it was Yarr whose presence showed up towards the end, I wonder if she likes to regularly attend her history plays (kind of like going to your own funeral -- thousands of years later, with cheesy lyrics and all!) or whether Qui-Gon's participation was somehow needed to lay her to rest.
I had to smile at the celebratory antics of the various people they got to know throughout the trip. Not an inhibited bunch, at least not on the night after a play. Yana had to get a kiss in. Don't blame her for trying. I'm glad for all their sakes that the play was well-received. Now the performers and others can go on to stressing over the next big thing, and Sebo can go on to be something other than the Lady of the Tower. Tykon's earlier freak-out when he was mind-tricked into thinking things were going well was kind of hysterical even though I felt bad for him.
The Council's reaction was, sadly, probably pretty typical. It's hard to make them see anything they don't want to see, in almost any era. However, it was fun to see Qui-Gon going to bat for this strange tale when he was the skeptic almost the whole time, saying over and over how it just could not be. At least he managed to get them to make a note of the objection.
Qui-Gon was right.
No wonder the council couldn't see the rise of the Sith
And a nice end for your intriguing story
Very well written