Saga Masquerade [ROTJ AU] [Vader, Luke, Leia] Updated April 7, 2015!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Harpalyce, Jul 1, 2010.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Valiowk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    The last three chapters were awesome! I love the way Vader is beginning to show parts of his past, even though Leia and Mon Mothma don't realise it yet. It will definitely be an interesting experience for Leia as she learns about the side of Vader that is still very much Anakin...

    I can't help but wonder if such a day will come, and if so, what would happen then. Will Calixte ever come to see things from the opposite point of view, or will she remain bitter and seek revenge for her father? :confused:
  2. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Caught up!

    Your Vader is frightening with just the right amount of evil and goodness to fit. His "conversation" with Calixte was chilling, and I do wonder if she will take him up on the offer when she grows up. I doubt he told Leia or Mon what really happened. Scary, though engrossing updates! Looking forward to more.
  3. Darth_Kiryan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2009
    star 4
    Bastard. To do that infront of the kid. just a bastard.
  4. Sethathoryunet Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2004
    star 1
    Hmmm, not sure I agree with that last chapter. But it was still very well written. Raises some interesting questions about Anakin, that's for sure.
  5. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Hey everyone -
    I wish this was an update but right now life seems to be really enthusiastically kicking me while I'm down. I hope to have an update before the move starts, fingers crossed, but I wanted to go ahead and post.

    I hope to keep updating fairly regularly once a month or so. I'm not sure if these will be posted on the temp forum, but they will DEFINITELY be posted on my account -

    I'll still be bumming around Tumblr (username Harpalyce) of course, and if anyone wants to harass me, my AIM name is gadzooksforsooth (yelling at me to go write more is completely acceptable, haha). Since I shared this on tumblr and not here, I'll go ahead and post this link: Some friends on tumblr convinced me that they wanted to hear my voice, so if you've wanted to hear me stumble over reading "ion cannon" about fifty million times, NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!

    For content that's actually GOOD...
    I've been collecting commissions of Vader from Masquerade like a dragon collects virgins and treasure. Here's the newest sketch, which is probably the best yet. This is the artist: And she is taking commissions for a VERY reasonable price!

    Again, my apologies that this isn't an update, everyone. Thank you so much for your patience in the face of my flakiness!
  6. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Mirabile dictu, the forums are back!!

    Unfortunately I don't have much to post here by way of catching up, but I'll at least post what I have.


    Leia was becoming increasingly annoyed with Imperial security on Mimban. To be more specific, she was annoyed that there was any Imperial security at all. Apparently the days of leaving the keys in the landspeeders were gone.

    That wasn't stopping them for long. Pale and haggard-looking as he was, Vader was already in the bowels of the largest landspeeder, picking out wires to get the machine working despite the security locks. Mon Mothma paced behind them, listening intently to a stolen comm unit as it chirped out Imperial announcements and news. That left Leia watching Vader, mainly out of the worry that at any moment he would drop out of the landspeeder in a dead faint.

    "And you're sure that you can get past all of these security locks?" She asked incredulously.

    "It's a vehicle," Vader replied flatly. "It can be hotwired."

    Leia smirked a little. "Any vehicle? Including star ships?" Vader nodded once. "I can't believe that. How would you even hotwire, oh, I don't know… the Death Star?"

    "In that case…" He leaned out of the bottom of the landspeeder to make sure she saw as he gestured to his head. "You just make the short circuit run right between the Emperor's temples."

    Leia couldn't help a laugh escaping from her. "That… was actually clever." A moment more and she caught herself. Had she honestly just laughed at one of Vader's jokes? She had definitely been in this damn jungle too long… At least there was a clear exit planned. Ahsoka had contacted them via comm, only a short message but short would do. They had the coordinates of the spaceship Vader had won in the sabacc game, and Ahsoka would meet them there.

    Oddly, there had been no mention of Representative Strand.

    Leia was about to ask when Mon Mothma came up from behind her, facing down Vader with a terrible frown on her face. Mon Mothma didn't seem to be capable of true anger, instead opting for maternal soul-crushing disappointment - but there was something in her eyes that was definitely furious. "Commander Vader."

    He leaned out of the bowels of the machine, tone crisp and professional. "Yes?"

    "Is it true that you killed Vivax in front of his daughter."

    His mouth drew into a taunt, thin frown, lips going white under the pressure of it.

    Mon Mothma didn't raise her voice: if anything it made it more terrifying. "I want an answer, Commander."

    "Yes. It's true."

    Her nostrils flared momentarily in irritation. "I realize," she bit out, "that you may not recognize common decency, but I hope you do still recognize the chain of command. And I do still very much outrankg you. And you can consider this an order: you will absolutely minimize further collateral damage of this sort. Do I make myself clear?"

    Vader didn't even look at her. Instead his expression hardened as he seemed to stare down the wiring of the speeder. "Yes, Chief of State."

    "And under no circumstances will you injure or threaten a child in such a manner again."

    Leia gulped softly. Despite the sweltering heat of Mimban's jungle, there was a distinct chill in the air. Vader said nothing, and Mon Mothma raised her voice. "Do I make myself clear, Commander?"

    Vader muttered softly to himself. "Admittedly a sloppy job. Shouldn't have left a witness."


    "Yes. Understood, Chief of State."

    Leia took a few steps back, sighing. It was becoming more and more obvious that this was a powderkeg waiting for a match to explode. If even Mon Mothma's temper was starting to fray, what chance did she have, much less Vader?

    Thankfully, Vader hopped down and slammed the panel of the landspeeder shut. Even as he swayed and hastily caught himself to keep from falling over in dizziness, the machine spluttered to life before its motor gave a steady and downright polite thrumming purr. They silently climbed up into it and Vader keyed in the coordinates of their rondevous… before slumping back to one of the back seats. Leia said nothing, but quietly took the pilot's seat. For Vader to pass up the opportunity to pilot meant that he truly must be feeling awful.

    As he sat quietly in the back with his hand over his eyes, he fortunately didn't let on how bad off he really was. For one thing, he had definitely reached the stage of reticulocytic fever that brought with it hallucinations. At least he was pretty sure he had. If the forest floor really had turned into lava, the other two likely would have said something by now.

    Leia kept sneaking glanced back at him. Vader looked like hell warmed over. Actually, hell warmed over would probably look a lot better. She would have expected Vader to have dark circles underneath his eyes and deathly pale skin, at least if you had asked her a few years ago she would have described him as such. But after getting used to him looking, well, relatively normal, it was a shock to see him that way. Nobody was looking especially nice after a few days in the wild, and Vader was no exception; his usually well-trimmed beard was now wreathed with stubble. She wasn't even sure he had eaten anything substantial in the past few days. …unless she counted the moonshine he had worked his way through at the Cantina. Leia tried to deny it, as it meant that she was - perhaps - starting to feel some sort of family connection, but she was starting to get deeply worried about him.

    Vader's chest had almost started to rise and fall in steady, sleepy breaths when a shot came from behind them. He bolted upright, hissing a curse, and Leia tensed, weaving between the trees of the thick forest. On nimble speeder-bikes, a few of the miners had caught up with them, apparently heading directly to the site of the ship instead of tailing them. One of them gave a war-whoop and lined up a shot that they narrowly avoided. Vader drew his lightsaber, though he was still shaky and bleary-eyed.

    "Over here!" Ahsoka's voice was a welcome respite; Leia barely had time to get the landspeeder somewhat stationary before they had to leap out. Now the blaster fire was coming thick, and the togruta reached out with the force to wedge the landspeeder between two trees. A makeshift barrier, but it would do. It was only a short sprint to the open starship, but even a short sprint was too much when blaster fire was coming so thick. One of the shots sent sparks showering down on top of Leia's head; she winced and gritted her teeth. Ahsoka, meanwhile, gave Vader a quick once-over glance. "You look awful. Try not to keel over until we're actually on the ship."

    "It's lovely to see you as well, Snips," Vader bit out through gritted teeth. He had to pause to wipe some sweat out of his eyes before leaning out of cover just long enough to deflect a blaster bolt back to its shooter; there was a scream as the miner-turned-mercenary fell. Artoo hopped back and forth from his perch just inside the ship while delivering a steady stream of hoots and whistles. Leia couldn't tell if the little droid was cheering them on or telling them to hurry up. …Probably both.

    Mon Mothma leaned out to pick off another of the mercenaries, and shortly after, the booming voice of their leader. "Come on out! You idiots really think this Lars Quell is worth dying for? We'll split the ransom with you…!" It was an obvious ruse, accompanied with a scattering of laughter.

    "Lars Quell?" Ahsoka repeated, grinning lopsidedly. "Feeling nostalgic?"

    "No. Just lazy." Vader snapped back. But even as they stared at each other, expressions inscrutable, they seemed to be formulating a silent plan. "We've got a head-start."

    "Mmm. It's doable." Both of them drew their lightsabers, the blades humming steadily. "Princess Organa, Mon Mothma? Get ready to move." Both of them nodded curtly in response, holding their blasters close. Ahsoka's voice was calm, authoritative, and soothing compared to Vader's usual snappishness. "On my count. Three, two, one - and - run!"

    They sprinted towards the ship's open cargo bay, Vader and Ahsoka running alongside. Vader and Ahsoka's lightsabers whirled so quickly it seemed they almost made a solid screen, but there was no way that any stray shot was getting through. The group of miners gave a communal, predatory howl, all of them scrambling to try and give chase - but it was too late. They disappeared into the ship, and were gone.

    Almost to spite them, Leia ran to the cockpit, setting the main battery of guns on the mercenaries even as the ship rose into the air. Vader handed off the security codes to Artoo, who was apparently content to pilot it mostly alone, though Mon Mothma awkwardly sat in the pilot's chair after a long moment's pause. The ship was old, thoroughly dusty, and had its fair share of awkward squeaks and groans; it was smaller than the Falcon and surely had some mess of mechanical problems they were going to encounter momentarily from sitting in the jungle so long, but… it would get them off Mimban and into friendly arms on Circarpous IV.

    It was then that there was enough silence and space for Leia to grab ahold of Ahsoka's arm. "Tano -"

    Her smile was pleasant as she turned around. "Yes, Princess Organa?"

    "Representative Strand…?" There had been no sign of him with her and Artoo, and that fact was making Leia increasingly uncomfortable.

    "Ah… yes." The togruta looked behind her shoulder to make sure Mon Mothma and Artoo were making do piloting the ship, but with such a relatively short trip, there wasn't much to it. With the security passcodes, the defenses around Mimban were easily bypassed, and it seemed that the heightened Imperial presence had dissipated after their crash. "A rather unfortunate thing."

    Leia frowned, folding her hands over her chest. "What sort of unfortunate thing?"

    "He admitted to giving the Empire information about this trip in exchange for money." Ahsoka's face remained perfectly placid. "A hefty sum, as I recall. He mentioned that it was perhaps enough to pay a ransom for his girlfriend, whom the Empire had also kidnapped." She blinked once, blue eyes calm. "I sympathized. Somewhat. He asked for a boon, and we played cards to determine his fate."

    Leia raised her eyebrows. "And…?"

    "He won."

    "And then you decided you couldn't let a traitor get away, or…?"

    "Nothing of the sort, Organa. I keep my promises." A smile flashed across her face. "He asked to merely be left to the jungle. Letting fate be the executioner, if you will. Quite a sensible idea." The smile came across her face again and stayed there. It was a perfectly nice expression. And it seemed sincere. Leia just couldn't figure out why it made her nervous.

    "Well, ah… thank you. I trust you'll make a full report in time when we're back at base. I'm going to go… check on the medical stores, see if there's any bactaid I can try to force down Vader's throat," she said, attempting to lighten the mood.

    Ahsoka laughed. "For all the time I've known him, getting him to accept treatment is like trying to force a nexu to swallow a pill." There was genuine warmth there, and Leia relaxed. Perhaps she had just been imagining things before. Yes, that was it. Just unresolved tension from the battle making her unduly suspicious of Ahsoka. "Good luck! I'll be up here in the cockpit if you need me. We should be in a friendly city within the hour, it seems, since we're just going one world over."

    Leia nodded before striding back into the ship. It was certainly grimy and dusty, but not completely awful. The showers likely didn't work, but there was still an emergency supply of food bars, and the holo-game table was even still intact. Perhaps the medical supplies were in the cabinet that seemed to be just to the left of the entrance to another room - perhaps the captain's cabin, from what Leia could glance of it. All she had to do was check - but what she heard next made her stop in her tracks.

    "Hnngh. Stop taunting me, you saucy wench."

    Vader's voice. That was definitely Vader's voice. Slurred, definitely, in a way that suggested he was finally admitting to himself how bad off he was. Still.

    "Gods, I have been waiting for this for so long…"

    A loud thump, though one with a bit of spring to it. Leia worked up her courage before peering around the corner of the doorway. Vader had… fallen face-forward onto the bed. The most lewd thing he'd done was to take his shirt off, yet amusingly not his boots, though they did dangle off the edge and drip mud onto the floor. Given a few moments, the tape holding his severed arm on finally let go, and it fell to the floor with a pathetic clatter.

    Walking on tiptoe, Leia entered the room. "…Vader?"

    No response. She took a moment to check if he was still breathing. Yes, he was. That was good at least. "Vader, are you all right?"

    Still nothing.

    "…Hey. Hey. Commander Idiot, are you in there?"

    Nothing except a light snore. Leia's eyebrows rose: she was genuinely impressed. Ahsoka rounded the corner, looking at the scene and chuckling. "This is what he does, I'm afraid. A few days of heavy sleeping and he'll be fine, or at least he swears he'll be."

    "Is he asleep or has he honestly passed out?" Leia asked incredulously, prodding Vader's limp shoulder.

    "There's one sure way to find out." Ahsoka leaned in over his head before cheerfully cooing in a sing-song voice: "Ooooohh, Skygu—"

    She didn't get the rest of the word out. Vader's good hand snapped up and over her mouth, and some assortment of invectives were lost in a hazy mumble that the pillow swallowed. A few seconds later and Vader's arm dropped back down; a few more seconds, and another snore.

    "Just asleep," Ahsoka said cheerfully.

    In fact, he continued to sleep through the short journey and even through the landing on Circarpous IV. Even as some friendly medics hesitantly approached him to carry him out, he could only manage some mumbled flailing and vague threats. As hilarious as it was, Leia was also relieved to hear from the medics that he was going to be just fine.

    …Even if it interrupted her hour-long shower.
  7. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    All That Remains


    An Ithorian was rare to see among the ranks, but to her credit, Yulis Mirrar was proving herself to be an extremely iron-willed woman. After all, she was the only one who apparently still had strength enough to stare down Commander Vader.

    "It's policy, Commander," she repeated firmly, her voice a typical Ithorian burbling lilt. "Because unlike the Empire, the Rebellion actually cares about the mental health and well-being of its soldiers."

    Vader's eyes narrowed to slits. "I can assure you that it is better for everyone's health, both mental and physical, if I am allowed to go straight back to the battlefield."

    The Ithorian remained unimpressed. "The rules and regulations are there for everyone's health and safety, Commander. Not just your own. And as per those regulations, you are already three months and five major encounters past the required maximum." She gave a slow blink. "I cannot bend the rules further for you, especially in light of your recent illness."

    He gritted his teeth. As Yulis was apparently keen to remind him, that had been an incredibly embarrassing affair. Ahsoka's predictions were correct, and after three days of sleeping hard and occasionally muttering curses at whatever orderly came to see about medication, Vader was back on his feet as if nothing at all had happened. Perhaps he had spent some time sulkily reattaching his prosthetic arm, but as far as he was concerned, the matter was completely done with. It was just everyone else who were determined to blow it out of proportion.

    "I can give you two options, Commander," Yulis burbled in a low hum. "One, you take the mandated two days of leave. Two, you undergo a thorough psychological and physical examination. Out of these, one option is much more pleasant than the other."

    The two stared each other down for a few more long moments before Vader finally gave a long and irritated sigh. "…Fine. I'll take the leave," he snarled, sluggishly signing the order on the datapad before stomping out of the room.

    Of course the Rebellion would be choking on damn health and safety. It only made sense, and was likely the reason they were losing this war. The more Vader thought about it, he loathed it. Perhaps it made sense for the common bright-eyed grunt, scooped up from some obscure outer rim world, but if they couldn't even be bothered to grant him an exception… No, someone had to be insisting that this rule cover him as well. Organa. It had to be her. Under other circumstances he might have been able to see it for the caring anxiousness that it truly was, mostly because spotting it would have been a way to truly annoy her. But after days of bed rest, he was anxious to get working on something - anything…

    When he finally reached his quarters, things were quiet as usual. No reason for them to be different. If he were messier, he could have wasted time cleaning, but his possessions were so few that even if he tried he couldn't be completely disorganized. The very idea of watching a vid or reading a novella seemed abhorent. His body still ached, so practicing relentlessly for the next battle seemed to be out - and besides, Organa would probably figure it out and start fussing at him. There was a space station, quite a nice one by all accounts, but Vader could hardly see himself at one of the cantinas or going for a stroll shopping.

    His quarters were far more empty than he had realized.

    It was a sullen sort of sadness that festered quietly in him and finally propelled him to get up. Fortunately the ship was large enough to have a small officer's lounge, staffed by a very fresh-faced looking recruit as bartender. When Vader curtly delivered his order, the recruit's jaw dropped.

    "…Th-the… the entire case, sir?"

    "Yes, I believe I made myself clear. The entire case of Hapan Malbec."

    The recruit paled, skin tone going white by at least a few shades. The wine was literally priceless: it had been a gift from the Hapan Consortium. By all accounts just one bottle would be more than an infantryman's yearly salary if put up to auction. Technically they were part of the Rebellion's coffers, and technically up for sale along with the rest of the liquor… but to buy the entire case… The recruit was still stuttering even as Vader snatched a datapad from him and signed it, transferring the funds from his personal account into the Rebellion's. It left him, he had to admit, pleasingly low on funds. "And no need to arrange delivery. I'll carry it out myself."

    And he did with surprising dexterity, seemingly unconcerned about any of the finely-crafted bottles shattering open.

    Hours later, Leia stood talking to the same recruit, massaging her temples.

    "Just… go over this again, please."

    "He just walked out with the entire case," the recruit stuttered flusteredly. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I didn't know what else to do. I mean, the price has got to pay for a few new x-wings at the very least, and it was technically for sale…?"

    "And you were not aware he was on forced… er, highly recommended leave… correct?" Her voice was calm for the moment but held a very dangerous edge.

    The recruit gulped. "N-no, ma'am, I didn't. I just supposed he was… holding a party, or… something?" He laughed. "Y-yeah, now that I say it, it doesn't really make sense, does it…"

    "No. It doesn't." Leia paused to take another deep breath. "Thank you for your time." Her smile was still half a snarl as she briskly walked out of the officer's lounge. Within a few minutes she was at the door she knew led to Vader's spartan quarters, and it only took her a few seconds to start knocking hard on the transparisteel. "VADER!" She winced, hitting her knuckles at just the wrong angle to make it really hurt. "Vader, I know you're in there, damn it! OPEN THE DOOR!"

    "It's unlocked," he called back nonchalantly.

    Leia paused before actually checking. It was, indeed, unlocked. She gave a long sigh before hauling open the door. Vader was sitting with his back turned to her, slouching in his chair far more than normal. One bottle of the rich wine had already been emptied. It seemed like he was already about to be finished with the second very soon. "If you wanted a glass, Princess, you could have simply asked."

    She didn't want to admit that the wine smelled heavenly, and the snobbish part of her was all too eager to indulge in a glass of priceless drink. But there were more pressing matters. "You do realize that your days of leave are to improve your mental health, not make it worse? What exactly do you think you're doing with the entire case of Hapan Malbec?"

    He considered his half-full glass, then looked at her, and gave a small shrug. "Drinking it." Vader paused to take another sip. "I'm told that's generally what people do with wine."

    Leia sighed, pinching her nose and looking up as if hoping that Luke would appear in the rafters like some saintly presence to advise her to be calm. "Not… an entire case… in a night. You were given time off to… I don't know. Make up for lost time in your hobbies? Write messages to…. uh… friends…" She started to stumble over her words. "And generally relax."

    She had moved to stand in front of him, and he merely gave her a flat stare before reaching over to uncork another bottle of the expensive Malbec.

    "Would it help if I accidentally broke an x-wing or something so that you could spend all night fixing it?"

    "You should have asked that two bottles ago," Vader declared almost cheerfully while pouring himself another glass. "As it is, I happen to be finding recreation the same way most of the other soldiers do, so if you're worried about this habit of people drinking themselves blind, go talk to them." He would have to be a smug, eloquent drunk, wouldn't he? "I just happen to be doing so in solitude."

    A long sigh rolled out of her. It was obvious she wasn't going to be winning this argument. "Right. Well, you've bullied me into what you wanted," she said snidely. "As of day-after-next, you're on regular duty. And depending on how severe your hangover is, I might just be calling for you at oh-eighthundred for regular rounds." It was petty anger, but it was petty anger that was born out of worry. After all, Luke would be furious - no, not furious, that wasn't in his nature. Luke would be horribly disappointed (which was even worse!) if he came back to find she had let Vader become a depressed drunk.

    "Understood, Princess." He waved a hand. "Now, as I'm still on leave, get out of my quarters and stop reminding me of myself." The last half of the sentence lapsed into a slightly slurred growl as he took another long gulp of the wine. Leia huffed. However, Vader was right. He knew that sense of worry lurking behind her anger. It had gotten him to exactly where he was now.

    "Fine. I'll go. But -" She quickly leaned over, snatching up one of the bottles. "I'm taking this with me."

    "Resorting to petty theft, Princess? Or since you're part of the Rebellion, are you just liberating it from Imperial clutches?"

    "I'm taking it because there's no way drinking the entire case will be good for you, and I'd carry more out if I could," she snapped before sighing and shaking her head. There was no adequately witty comeback so she just marched out the door, muttering vexed curses to herself as she tried to figure out what to do if this became a reoccurring problem.

    Vader, meanwhile, simply drained his glass and let his head fall back to rest against the top of the seat.

    He'd tried this once before. Palpatine had then made it very clear that a Sith Apprentice needed to be prepared for anything, at any time. It hadn't even worked, anyway. He'd heard that one could drink away problems but so far thoughts of Padme clung to him. If anything they were more clear than they had been before. Perhaps, then, this was another form of self-punishment. Perhaps he'd spend tomorrow in bleary-eyed agony and absolutely deserve it. That would satisfy part of his guilty conscience for a brief time…

    By a few more glasses, he was dimly aware of a presence, of something hovering just by his left elbow. Finally, it spoke - Obi-Wan's voice ringing through his ears. "Anakin… please."

    Vader didn't turn to face him, expression hardening.

    "We both know you don't have the temperament for a drunk," Obi-Wan chided softly, tone almost as if he was trying to joke.

    Vader gave a small grunt of acknowledgement before replying properly, his tone bitter and sardonic. "Are you sure, Master?" The last word was sneered in sarcasm. "What was that expression of Yoda's you were so fond of… 'do or do not, there is no try'?" He considered draining his glass before finally picking up the bottle and facing down Obi-Wan as he took a long gulp from it.

    The Force Ghost did seem to be slightly rattled, and he gently sighed. "You know it's not your destiny to spend your days moping in a stupor, Anakin."

    "Then what is it?" He stumbled to his feet, swaying a little, sneering as he opened his arms wide. "Go on, Master. Enlighten me!" Vader mocked, words slightly slurred.

    "You were meant to bring balance to the Force," Obi-Wan admitted quietly. "Not plunge it into darkness -"

    "And what if I have?" He stumbled as he roared, gritting his teeth. "Perhaps I ended the tyranny of the Light. Has that occurred to you, oh most wise Master? Perhaps I'm here to finally displace the pack of so-called noble liars who wouldn't even grant me the mercy of a swift death!"

    By the time he turned again to stare down Obi-Wan, he was shouting only at empty air. And then there wasn't a point to keep it up without an audience. He quietly slumped into the chair and held his head in his hands as the world spun around him.

    For all the anger and spite, he was still just as alone as he had always been.

    Perhaps he had finally hit the point where the drink tempered his anger down into smoldering ashes and quiet. All he truly knew was that it was pointless to refill his glass again. He left it on the table and listened to his head pound. It would be morning soon. Leia would likely go through with her threat to place him on some emergency duty. He would spend all of tomorrow in pain, and deserve every moment of it. But it was still a good idea to try and get some sleep.

    His bed was inhospitable as always. It was only his muddled and drunken thoughts that gave him the idea to try and make it less so. The small holorecorder nearly slipped out of his hand before he placed it on the bed next to his pillow, and queued up its one message. His one prize from Bast Castle.

    "…removed the need for large-scale Veteran's hospitals, the Republic still has a duty to support its citizens in times of war." Padme's voice, firm and sensible, accompanied a slightly blurry picture of her in the Senate. "A point-five tax increase on luxury goods would easily cover the proposed budget…"

    Vader closed his eyes and let her words sweep over him. It didn't help. It only made the heartache far more intense in his mercurial soul. But he also didn't turn it off.

    The next morning, the remaining bottles of wine were perched just outside Leia's quarters. A gift. Not of goodwill, but of defeat.
  8. Valiowk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    I wish I had seen your message before the regular boards went offline, so that I would have remembered to check your FanFiction.Net account! [face_blush] On the other hand, it's nevertheless great to have updates to read right after the regular boards are back! :)

    Vader buying an entire case of Hapan Malbec (and making the Rebellion very rich in the process) and its consequences is hilarious! :D
  9. Lord_Redav Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2005
    star 1
    hey, great post Harpalyce. Now that the forums are back, I hope you can come back and continue posting over here. DRL has been a bit hectic for me in the past few months, got tons of things to do for graduate school.
  10. AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Now that is an interesting Vader story! Love him already. Please put me on your up-date list!
  11. charmedjedi Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Good story. I can't wait to read what happen next.
  12. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    Phew... I rarely go to these boards much nowadays but I feel y'all deserve an update.

    Yeah, it's been a long while since I wrote a chapter. Unfortunately, it's going to be awhile more. I absolutely hate this situation, trust me. I'm not sidelined from writing by choice. Instead I've buckled under some health problems, most notably debilitating chronic pain that has left me disabled. Since Masquerade is the fanfic dearest to my heart, I want to write it when I'm at my best and my head is clear. But... that's happening pretty rarely these days.

    I do have some other projects going on and other fanfics I'm writing but please understand I'm maybe at 50% of the writing skill I used to be with other circumstances in play. It sucks, it's driving me mildly insane, and I've gotten more than one angry review on ff.n about this, so it's definitely a thing that is happening to me. It's fairly kriffing awful but if you see me update something non-Masquerade on either or AO3, understand that I'm not at my best. I'm writing badly, I know I'm writing badly, I'm just desperately writing in order to keep going and to keep from feeling useless.

    I think you guys get the idea before I outright burst into tears but yeah, it's a bad situation and it stinks and I hate it even more than you guys do, trust me on that.

    But I do want to post SOME content, slim as it may be.

    First up, it's become a lot easier to share song playlists these days. So here's the songs I've associated per chapter of Masquerade. There are a lot of gaps, but I still think it's pretty neat and worth sharing: (There's also a southern gothic mix about Vader I did, too - just to be utterly shameless with the plugging.)

    Friends on tumblr and the like know that the fastest way to my heart is drawing Masquerade!Vader and every time I get some cash in my hands I usually end up commissioning a picture of him. So I'm going to post a few favourites with the name of the artist that drew them. There are exceptions but most of the time the name listed is their tumblr username, if you'd like to go commission them yourselves. The majority of them are starving art students after all :)
    Again, I'm sorry I'm not bearer of good tidings here. Just trust me that it's killing me to not be able to work on this and crying myself to sleep about it has become fairly routine because I am, indeed, the biggest weenie, but also because I know this is pretty much the one truly successful piece of writing I've ever done in my life that people want to see more of. I'm trying to get well as soon as I can, it's just that the doctors aren't able to give me a timeline other than "probably not forever". If you could spare a thought/prayer/some good vibes my way, I'd appreciate it. I would love, love, love to get writing for you guys again.
    So I'm sorry this update is such a downer. :( Maybe a terrible pun and a picture of my dog will soften the blow a little?
  13. ThreadSketch Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 4
    This fic is completely new to me, but I'm stoked to see another writer who incorporates music into their story! And those art pieces of Masquerade Vader are awesome. Excellent artists there. Just wanted to post some encouraging drive-by comments; thanks for coming back with the honest update.
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    This looks off the chain intriguing. Because the earlier posts are cut off, :eek: I will be searching for the up to now ones at But following here for sure. Vader infiltrating the Rebellion, how different is that? ;)
  15. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 10
    She has the story posted on fanfiction and I've been getting caught up there. It's a good story, but I wonder when the reality of Leia's relation to Anakin will finally sink in.
  16. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
  18. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    In the category of not April Fool's pranks, I actually am working on a new chapter of Masquerade. Yes, a new chapter, after YEARS. I've finally gotten a good beta reader and the courage to go on writing even if it's not as good as it once was. So hopefully look for it to be up in the next couple of days. :)
  19. Harpalyce Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2010
    star 3
    In a universe full of Yavins, Hoths, Balmorras and Belsavises, Jadesea was atypically straightforward in its nomenclature. The main city floated on a milky-green ocean that rolled in picturesque waves, and everywhere Leia looked seemed to be perfectly groomed as to make the best picture possible. It was beautiful, to be sure, but she still couldn't figure out why Vader wanted to go on leave in the kitschy tourist town. Quite frankly the slim possibilities were making her worry.

    He, however, seemed perfectly nonchalant, as irritatingly usual as that was for him. While she mentally fumed, Vader merely adjusted the sleeves on his tunic to pull down underneath his gloves. She gritted her teeth in momentary irritation before the elevator's doors hissed open, and immediately she put on her best diplomatic smile.

    "Chancellor Yvarran, how good to finally meet you. We've enjoyed our time on Jadesea here immensely, and all of the enlisted men are -"

    "Right, let's get this over with," Vader said, talking over her as he strode past.

    Her smile froze on her face as she paused, mid-handshake with the richly dressed chancellor, who seemed equally confused. "Ah. Chancellor, my apologies, Commander Vader sometimes, ah..."

    "I'm going on leave in fifteen so hurry up," he declared impatiently to the row of honor guards. "Well, go on. I haven't got all day."

    "Just a moment," Leia beamed before turning to Vader, the smile being wiped from her face in one brief instant. "What are you doing?" she hissed underneath her breath, going to stand beside him.

    He looked down to adjust one of his gloves once more. "One of these men in the Chancellor's guard is about to turn traitor and try to assassinate you. If I'm not mistaken, by..." Vader looked into the middle distance, cocking his head as if listening to some distant noise. "...Poison dart, most likely. I'd like for them to go ahead and get on with it."

    Leia reached up to pinch her nose as the Chancellor, behind them, was affably baffled. "Excuse me? Is there a problem, Ambassador Organa?"

    "Erm, nothing, just some extra security precauti-"

    "One of your men is about to attempt to kill the princess," Vader interrupted with typical bluntness. "Not that I don't sympathize with the impulse. It's just a futile gesture while she is under my command."

    The Chancellor looked roughly as if he had just swallowed a raw fillet of gundark ear. He gulped solidly, and started to break into a sweat. "All of these men were thoroughly vetted beforehand, Ambassador Organa, I can assure you..."

    "Well, one out of eighteen isn't entirely bad odds," Vader noted before staring down the line of honor guards. "Still unacceptable, but at least not as bad as it could have been."

    "It's fine, I'm sure that with another security check this, ah, misunderstanding will be cleared up," Leia said cheerfully before catching herself and having a brief internal scream about how blithely she was dismissing dangers to her person. "Now, Chancellor. About Jadesea's contributions to the Republic, both financial and material..."

    That was when the second-to-last guardsman, who had begun to sweat profusely, charged out of position in order to grab at something at his belt. The small box spun out of his hands and onto the floor as Vader tackled him, bringing him to the ground and wrenching his arms safely back so that the other man cried out and cursed. There was the loud pop of a shoulder being dislocated. Vader, if anything, wore a wicked smile of enjoyment.

    It was such a flurry of activity that for a brief moment all Leia could do was blink, her train of thought utterly lost.

    "Wonderful," Vader finally said, standing up and dusting off his hands as the Rebellion security corps rushed in to handcuff the would-be assassin. "Now I can finally start my shore leave."


    Jadesea was a city of wealth at the extremes; glittering spires housed salons and galas for the rich, just as it was a show of wealth to build down deep into the non-platonic seas of shearing force and crushing waves. That left the middle as a desert of cheap taverns and poor man's general stores, unkempt and untidy and everything the city wished to hide with its tourist-friendly smiles.

    That was exactly why Vader had changed into plainclothes and now was cruising through the sidestreets on the battered old swoop bike he had scavenged from Taris. Finally he seemed to find what he was looking for, and parked in front of a grungy dive bar. Immediately he was an object of suspicion, the bartender glaring at him before he opened the door, and all of the lowlife regulars staring at him as he slouched into a seat.

    "Tarisian ale."

    A grunt for a response. A few moments later the bartender slid him the drink, and he caught it neatly. Up above the holoscreens played and replayed highlights from a race - the bar shared a track with others around the city.

    After all, shore leave was for having fun, wasn't it?

    He couldn't help grinning into his drink as he watched the replay of the swoop bikes going around the track, one spinning off the walls to ricochet towards the other two. And as he watched, he could feel every glare burrowing into his back. This place hated him. Every single person in it; every chair, every spotted glass, every tsotchke on the wall. It was pleasantly familiar. Homey, even.

    "So." He set his drink down. "When does the track open?"

    "Half an hour, when the young punks get off work and come wanting a race." The barkeep turned and spat into a spitoon, half out of necessity and half for rhetorical effect. "What? You want in?"

    "Mmn." A grunt and a nod. These were not the type of people to respond well to more than the minimum amount of words, and Vader respected that.

    "In that pile of bantha fodder out there?" He gestured outside the window. A murmured laugh ripped through the patrons in the bar.

    "She's got it where it counts," Vader said quickly before considering how much he had accidentally sounded like Han Solo and deciding the proper response was to gulp his drink.

    "Track's not built for swoop bikes. Just speeders and the occasional rich kid's landspeeder. Besides..." The bartender leaned forward, staring Vader down with incredulously narrowed eyes. "You do know you're on Jadesea, right? That sea out there ain't like a normal one. It punches back. So thick of chemicals and sludge that running into a wave's same as smashing into a plasteel wall."

    "I know." Vader couldn't help the small smirk that made its way onto his face.


    "I'm still going to be on that track when it opens. And..." He turned around the empty ale glass with a slow flourish. "I'll win. I'll even bet you, oh..." Vader's eyes wandered the back of the bar before poking at an ornate bottle in among the other spirits. Every bar had one - the aspirational bottle, the bottle kept just in case some high roller breezed through ready to spend as much money as possible at a time. This one was an elegant dome of glass topped with a gold tassel. Fancy. Impressively and insufferably so.

    "That. I'll bet you that I'll win."

    "And if you don't?" Snapped back the man.

    "Twenty thousand credits, plus whatever the Rebellion pays you for your trouble to scrape my body off the walls. But that's not going to happen." He smirked around another sip of the ale.

    The entire bar stared at him. The entire bar loathed him. And finally the barkeeper gave a bark of a laugh.

    "Fine. Terms accepted. But if you're racing, I'm cutting you off now after that one ale."


    The racetrack was obviously salvaged from old sewer and flood lines. It was dark and smelled, well, quite interesting, to put it delicately. The concrete groaned from each slam of the seawater outside, and shivered as it dripped through. It made Vader glad he had brought his racing helmet.

    Slowly, other racers began to gather - the track was to expensive to run for just one person. They were obviously outsiders as much as Vader was, all of them young and appearing fresh from school. Likely they'd only held their speeder licenses for a few months, and all of them apparently had money to burn on their rigs. Each speeder was festooned with kit parts and shield generators to stand up to Jadesea's unforgiving ocean. The roar of the engines starting up was nothing like the din on Taris, even bouncing and echoing on the concrete walls. In fact, everything was pale imitation.

    He didn't mind. His blood itched for another chance to achieve that slim bit of bliss - nothing else to think of but himself, the swoop bike, and the track.

    The other racers were laughing at his bike behind his back - laughing at his age, to boot, but he didn't mind. Soon enough he was comfortably seated in the swoop bike and the electronic scoreboard was ticking down the minutes until start. Three. Deep breaths, he thought, letting each one settle into the pit of his stomach before exhaling. Two. He flexed his hands against the steering handles. One. His chapped lips almost tasted like blood, but no time to deal with that now.

    One. Seven-eights. Two thirds. One half. One quarter.

    The last light flickered out, and then the horn sounded, and they were off.

    Everyone else was burdened by shields, ready to cut through Jadesea's hard oceans, so he skipped ahead nimbly. Before long it was just him and the old sewer pipe echoing around him, occasionally glimpsing a side-street of dingy neon and rot out of the corner of his eye. He adjusted his fingers on the handles, rolling his shoulders and stretching his neck. This was the easy part - the boring part. But sunlight was up ahead.

    Sunlight, and the sea.

    Jadesea's ocean was a particular marvel of the universe, after all. It was so thick with small organisms that an entire city could still be buoyant, and large waves rolled sluggishly in choppy surf around the harbor. Tourists outside would stand in the puddles collected specifically for them, walking easily on top of it in order to take pictures to send to family back home, but swimming in it was as impossible as swimming in transparisteel and the waves were similarly as unforgiving. Smashing into one at speed would mean certain death.

    That's why Vader gunned it, engines roaring, and sped into the bright light at full speed. Up the side of one wave - he rode the crest as it crashed down, and then straight into another, along the inside curve. He wrestled the swoop bike in along the outside edge once more before finally with a jolt landing back on the concrete that connected the city's vast sewers.

    It was a moment, gleaming and perfect, of bliss. And that's why he shook off his helmet, steering lazily with one hand while clipping the thing to the back of his seat. He could almost feel the heat of the stares of everyone in every seedy pub the camera feeds went to. That made it even better.

    Another slim bit of sunlight slicing through the dingy darkness. Another rendezvous with the sea.
    This time the surf was choppy and stilted, skittering away from the concrete edge of the city in short echoes. Off one three-foot-high wave's crest and onto another jarred him so hard he could hear his teeth clack. One enormous wave crested over him, blacking out the sunlight and turning the light green-grey as he gunned the swoop bike faster. It was curling in on itself - starting to collapse - and if he was caught, he'd be crushed or worse, drowned -

    The engine roared in the sound chamber of the wave, already working at its fastest; all of his counters and dials flashed red as he leaned forward in his seat -

    The wave crashed down behind him.

    He had barely escaped it, but still, he turned the swoop bike around sharply, aiming back out into the sea. There were only two chances in the circuit to get out onto the ocean, and he was going to make the most of it. The others were still ponderously making their way through the ocean by brute force instead of skipping on top of it like a leaf riding a pond's ripples. He wheeled it out into the open ocean, grinning like a madman as he rode another wave's crest, and then another, slamming down hard and avoiding the ricochet off the city every time. Then, finally - the sound of heavy engines to his back. The others were catching up. As much as he loved the ocean, he loved first place more, so it was back to the concrete for an easy finish to the lap.

    Vader didn't notice until then that one of the shards of the ocean's water had come down on him, cutting into his cheek. It was bleeding freely. No matter. That just made the victory even better, if his enemy was the type to draw blood.

    When he made his way back into the bar, dead silence and stares greeted him. Instead he slouched into a seat, motioning the bartender for another drink. The bartender looked him up and down with apparently fresh eyes before pouring the Tarisian ale and handing it to him.

    "Don't expect them to applaud or anything," the bartender grunted. "You just lost them a lot of money. They all bet against you." Begrudgingly, he pulled out the gold-tasseled bottle of Corellian whiskey and slammed it onto the bar in front of Vader. He considered it a moment before opening it, taking a sip of ale, and then chasing it with a gulp of the whiskey. Pleasantly smooth, and delicious, especially given that it was free.

    "So. What else is there to do in this town?"

    Author's notes: I'm baa-aaack. Anyone miss me? :)
    Seriously though, this fanfic is the most important one to me, and I'm dying from just not being able to write it anymore. So the quality of my writing may have gone downhill, but with my trusty beta amarielah I'm continuing on. I hope that you all understand - being disabled from chronic pain is no fun, but I'm writing despite it. Anyway, hope you enjoy a couple of chapters of us getting back into the swing of things - don't worry, the heavy stuff is still on the table! (Edit: Also I have no idea how to get the font size to normal so I'm just... I'm just rolling with it. I made it bigger. Help forums are confusing)
    Last edited by Harpalyce, Apr 7, 2015
  20. Valiowk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2000
    star 6
    I'm delighted to see this update of Masquerade. Hope you got as much joy from writing a new chapter as Vader got from racing again. :)

    I'm sorry to hear about your medical condition. Stay strong!
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Chuffed you're back and believe me I know folks who are dealing with chronic pain and it's icky! because it's happening to younger and younger folks. :eek: Vader's um, attitude toward Leia's potential assassination made me chuckle! The race - :cool: =D=


    LOL I've just had to turn the Rich Text Editor off from the beginning and use markups for everything. Or the default sizes/fonts. @};-
  22. Darth_Drachonus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2005
    star 3
    Nice. Can't wait for the next update
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