Beyond Measure of Merit - Diary of a Shadow Child - 2012 DD Challenge - updated 2/26

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by LexiLupin, Jan 1, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. TwinsinsThlee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2011
    This is a super great story, Lexi! I really love the way you capture Cem's thoughts and feelings in a way that you think is sooo shadow child material.

    If there is a PM list, I'd really like to be added! :)

    Once again, great story, and I can't wait for more!

    -TwinsinsThlee
  2. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Happy March! [:D]

    PM List
    Jade_eyes
    Mondra
    TrakNar
    TwinsinsThlee



    Entry 5

    Father called us- me, Jagged, Cherith- into his office three hours ago, just after dinner. A shrewd man, father knows precisely when to deliver news of import so as to minimize the fallout.

    In other words- he prefers to give me a night to sleep off my frustration before subjecting my mother and Wynssa to it.

    At home, father is father. Though the fortress in which we live is ninety percent ?business?- starfighter hangars, command and intelligence centers, training areas- the sections designated for living quarters lay behind an invisible barrier of sorts. Those quarters tend to be small and efficient- there are very few families and even those chiss who do live with spouses, children? the chiss in general do not tend to have as many children as have my parents. Our quarters had to be specially redesigned. A family of eight is quite unheard of, in the annals of chiss history.

    I suppose mother and father had little else to do, sequestered away from everyone and everything they knew and loved.

    Despite this invisible barrier which separates the military professionalism from his? well? military fatherhood, the exception to the rule is his office. Anywhere else in our sizeable apartment, he is ?father? to us all save Wynssa, who still calls him ?dad?- never daddy, even at six years old she is observant enough to realize that ?daddy? is far too informal for the serious general. In the office though, which we are forbidden from entering without permission, he is ?sir? or ?General.? And to be summoned to that office is indication that the purpose is a serious one- a discussion of progression in studies and training, a reprimand for inexcusably poor performance? not that such a thing is common for my siblings who strive to meet the standards of the chiss with whom they must study.

    For father to summon all three of us suggested that the visit was for mildly different purposes. And that purpose was stated immediately. He looked evenly at each of us in turn- and then fixed his eyes on Jagged.

    ?Commander Stent has approved your application, Jagged; your name will be added to the roster for the next training cycle.?

    Cherith looked at our brother in surprise; he apparently had neglected to discuss his intentions with her as he had me. A glance at him showed a faint glimmer of pride behind his green eyes as he stiffly, at attention, thanked father formally and relayed his intention of likewise thanking the commander.

    I have never met Stent- he does not know of my existence. But I do know there is a certain tension between him and father. They are counterparts of separate yet intertwined entities beneath Admiral Parck- Kres?ten?tarthi is commander of the Household Phalanx, a group- larger than the Ascendancy cares to admit- of renegade chiss who subscribe to Mitth?raw?nuruodo?s nontraditional views of warfare. Father?s authority, conversely, comes directly from the Imperial element of the Empire of the Hand, the forces offered by the Emperor himself so that Grand Admiral Thrawn might begin accumulating the forces here, hidden and unknown to the rest of the galaxy.

    Both defer to Parck, but quietly question one another?s decisions often enough.

    I wonder if Jagged understands the secondary reason for Stent to allow a human into his elite academy on Rhigar. Surely, Stent has no particular interest invested in Jagged?s piloting abilities, which are probably average at best among those who train there; he certainly holds no high expectations for a human to distinguish himself above the chiss.

    No, Jagged may yet be naïve enough to not realize that Stent?s agreement is as much about his distrust of father as a gesture to maintain the peace between them. Especially in the two years since our secrecy was first compromised, Stent has little faith in human honor. So yes, Jagged will have the honor of attending an elite academy? but at the same time, will be Stent?s hostage to ensure father?s
  3. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    This is a superbly richly detailed diary Lexi. I can tell you've researched Chiss culture =D= :cool: and how the Fels sorta fit in :p and sorta don't LOL E.g., the mix of trust and suspicion they're held in even after voluntarily choosing to live among the Chiss all these years. [face_thinking]

    Loved the line about Syal and Soontir "not having much else to do" [face_mischief]

    Enjoyed also the reminiscence about Cem and his brothers being just normal kids together even if they couldn't do that 100% of the time.

  4. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    A great update with her musing about Jagged. And love to see more of the Chis
  5. TwinsinsThlee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Dang it, I thought I was going to be first to reply. :_| :p

    Great post Lexi! I love the way you capture the feelings Cem must have towards his siblings; especially the bitterness and envy he must harbor towards them. Also, great job with the Chiss psychology (or Stent's). It was very detailed, and the way Cem versed it in his inner monoloue was very realistic, if not a bit pessimistic. [face_devil]

    You know, it was funny, because about five minutes before you sent that PM out, I wondered when you were going to update this fic again... Kind of creepy, if you ask me. You must be psychic. [face_mischief]

    Back to the point: great post! I don't care if it isn't Sense of Self (even though I love that story too) it still entertained me. I have the flu, so this was a welcome distraction. I loved it. [:D]

    -Twinsins Thlee
  6. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 4
    Cool update! I like hearing about the Fel children.
  7. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    After a while, all that watching his siblings grow up and become important people, get their lives handed to them on a platter, and him getting ignored will weigh on Cem. I can smell the teenage rebellion just welling inside. Eventually, he'll crack and he'll make himself known that he is not to be overlooked and relegated to the shadows.

    At least I hope he does, as it'll mean he has gumption, and gumption is a good quality to have. Why waste one's life dwelling in their own misery when if one has the power to exert a level of control and bring about some form of change, even the smallest amount, why waste it?
  8. Ceillean Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 5
    I really feel sorry for Cem. Seeing how his brothers (and sister) are given the chance to live while he has to stay back because it's his duty.
    I'm hoping there's something waiting for Cem out there...which there is...is this story maybe connected to your other story where Cem is with the military? Or was that an entirely different AU?

    Lovely update!

    =D=
  9. Mondra Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2010
    star 1
    Great job on this chapter! Soontir seems quite harsh - but well, with all his military training, can you blame him? I like how you give Cem's character so much depth - it's really fascinating to read this story. And a detailed info about Chiss culture also helps a lot.
  10. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Jade_eyes - Loved the line about Syal and Soontir "not having much else to do"

    Ahaha, glad you caught that. :D:p Seriously though- considering Soontir was probably busy fighting deadly enemies and whatnot, they found time to have a LOT of kids...

    Earlybird-obi-wan - thanks! Glad you're enjoying. :)

    TwinsinsThlee - Also, great job with the Chiss psychology (or Stent's). It was very detailed, and the way Cem versed it in his inner monoloue was very realistic, if not a bit pessimistic.

    Ha, pessimistic indeed. I based a lot of those reflections on Red Sky, Blue Flame which presents a decidedly tense relationship between Stent and the Fels. This might have been a bit overly tense, but there is just so little canon to draw from regarding the Fels and the EotH, lol.
    And I promise, I'll be moving on to Sense of Self next!

    Jedi_Lover - thank you! I like hearing about the Fel children too- if only someone would oblige me and write a book about them now... [face_whistling]

    TrakNar - Eventually, he'll crack and he'll make himself known that he is not to be overlooked and relegated to the shadows.At least I hope he does, as it'll mean he has gumption, and gumption is a good quality to have. Why waste one's life dwelling in their own misery when if one has the power to exert a level of control and bring about some form of change, even the smallest amount, why waste it?

    Well, Cem finds himself in the awkward position of having that infuriatingly Fel idea of duty, with no outlet to demonstrate it- because what teenager with a heroic father and siblings would accept that his duty is to simply be... unseen? But Cem does indeed have some gumption, and Soontir might just be forced to realize soon that he needs to find a measure of compromise with his son.

    Mondra - Soontir seems quite harsh - but well, with all his military training, can you blame him?

    I actually like to imagine Soontir being very conflicted in his later years with the EotH... between his duty to the Hand, his loyalty to Thrawn, his responsibility to his family... imagine raising children who you pretty much know, from the start, are destined to live and die in military service. I think that would make him a bit unintentionally cold and detached- and just might make him that much more determined to keep Cem away from it, ya know?

    Ceillean - I'm hoping there's something waiting for Cem out there...which there is...is this story maybe connected to your other story where Cem is with the military? Or was that an entirely different AU?

    Ah. ;) Good question. Just because of when I was formulating this diary, while still working on that AU (and given Cem's large role in Value of Sacrifice), I orchestrated this to be compatible to that AU, without necessarily being a part of it. But yes, by the events of that AU, there is something waiting for him out there, and there WILL, ultimately, be a huge purpose to his status as shadow-child actually- but not for another 20+ years from the time of this diary.


    Update coming shortly. :)
  11. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Entry 6

    We?ve just had word that both Chak and Davin will visit Nirauan next month- a family visit masked as business, as both are soon to face assignment changes, according to father. It is a fortunate happenstance, considering the two serve in wholly separate forces, and their aligning schedules must have been entirely coincidence.

    Mother is beside herself with joy- it shall be the first time, since Chak left four years ago, that she will have all six of us in one place at the same time.

    Jagged has always been close with our oldest brother, despite the six years which separate him from Davin; I think the excitement behind his eyes, excitement he tries to keep to himself in a manner befitting a chiss warrior, is grounded in pride, that he might share the news of his academy appointment with Davin in person.

    Wynssa, on the other hand, barely knows her oldest brothers. She was barely two years of age when Davin left for Rhigar, and little more than three when Chak undertook Imperial training. Now, with Wynssa nearly seven? she knows they are her brothers, of course, but does not truly know them. They are old, men in her eyes, strange figures who visit for hours at a time, with months between appearances.

    There was a time when Davin, Chak, and I were inseparable. It was a sort of middle time period- we were old enough that Jagged and Cherith, only two and three years my junior, were nuisances, excluded from our jealously guarded play time; yet young enough that we did not fully comprehend our situations in life, did not understand the duty which had yet to be engrained in our immature minds? did not understand that, one day, they would leave and I would not have the option to follow.

    As the years went on though? eventually, Davin began venturing from our private little corner of the fortress to have lessons and play times that were more of social gatherings with the few young chiss who also resided in the fortress. Soon enough, Chak joined him, and one day they were learning rudimentary combat skills with chiss two years younger, and I was still at home and finally beginning to realize the full measure of the term ?shadow child.?

    The first major argument occurred when Jagged, seven years old, began his own studies and training with grim and stoic chiss instructors. I protested the unfairness of the arrangement to father, and he stood by the same explanation that he has touted since I was old enough to understand- Mitth?raw?nuruodo had urged it.

    Five years after the admiral?s death, and father was still adhering to his deranged and paranoid delusions.

    Father countered that it was not the admiral?s death- that the admiral had urged them faith and patience, that he would return ten years later.

    I laughed in his face and called him a fool.

    Unsurprisingly, I was sentenced to an early bedtime without dinner that night.

    And just as unsurprisingly, now twelve years since the admiral?s death- he has not returned, and never will. And if he did?

    While the rest of my family would be lauding him in their practically religious devotion, I imagine I?d be scheming how best to put a blaster bolt in his chest.

    Can a shadow child who does not exist be charged with murder?
  12. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 4

    At least it is a reunion under good circumstances. A few years ago, all my brothers and sisters got together for the first time in 30 years...unfortunately it was for my mother's funeral. I can understand his mother being so happy to have her family together.
  13. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Interesting reflections about the admiral [face_thinking] and nicely mysterious ending to the post. =D=
  14. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    a reunion is coming

    But she is denied so much

    Intriguing update
  15. LoriLynn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2011
    star 1
    So glad you finally got this posted. It took you long enough! :p

    I'm really starting to feel bad for Cem. I thought it would be cool to be the child that no one ever knew about. No expectations, no responsibilities, but...damn that's a depressing life! Poor Cem doesn't get to have any fun! I feel bad for the poor guy!
  16. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I gotta back Cem for his plan to kill Thrawn. I'd off the blue jerk, too. Arrogant doesn't even begin to describe Thrawn. The man is delusional, haughty, and people bow at his feet at the whim of the author who shoehorns him into damn near everything. Yeah, I hate Thrawn.

    I'll supply the blaster, Cem. Blast him good for me.
  17. TwinsinsThlee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Cem's character, man... you are always IN-character with him. There are no slips, and his inner-monolouge is so undoubtedly Cem.

    I laughed in his face and called him a fool.

    Sorry if I laughed harder than I should've. This line was kind of funny. But... it's also a stage in Cem's psychology that grows into the bitterness he holds for his (for lack of better word) non-shadowed siblings. Funny, yet serious line. I'll try not to laugh at the irony next time. :p

    While the rest of my family would be lauding him in their practically religious devotion, I imagine I?d be scheming how best to put a blaster bolt in his chest.

    We know that Soontir is a diehard supporter of Thrawn. We know that Jag is too. I imagine the other two Fel men are, but I think it's so unbelievably fit that Cem looks to Thrawn as some sort of delusional man- feeding to that bitterness and pessimism Cem harbors. He hears things, but he's not out there, watching it happen, since he is the shadow child. And what is a shadow child if not hidden and secret? [face_thinking]

    Wonderful post, Lexi! Take your time updating (with this and Sense of Self), honestly. I don't want to add any stress to your workload. [:D]

    -TwinsinsThlee
  18. Mondra Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2010
    star 1
    Wow, that was brilliant! The last line made me shiver... Great job on that chapter!
  19. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    A/N: Sorry for the back-to-back updates, but wanted to get this one in before we go down for THE MOVE. ;)



    Entry 7

    Even I may have underestimated Stent?s cunning; for all that I considered his secondary motives in accepting Jagged to his academy, it had not occurred to me that Jagged is a full year younger than Davin was, when Stent finally declared him old and mature enough for the post.

    As it turns out, it is more than simple distrust of father; it is distrust of the entire Empire.

    Two years ago, rumor reached us of Mitth?raw?nuruodo?s return to the Empire. The initial reactions of those in charge was relief- he had said to await his return in ten years, were he reported dead- tinged with suspicion- why would he send no word to Parck? Nevertheless, provisions were made to at last transfer the resources of the Hand under proper Imperial control, so that the small remnants of a once-glorious Empire might ascend once more, and finally beat back the New Republic, the Rebellion, to again unite a strong and undefeatable galaxy.

    And then three things happened in quick succession- first, the outsiders destroyed the main hangar in order to prevent Parck from sending an emissary to the Imperial capital at Bastion. Apparently one of these visitors was here because Parck wanted to recruit her; I guess the other showed up simply to add emphasis to her refusal.

    Second, it was revealed that ?Mitth?raw?nuruodo? was, in fact, a con artist. Not even chiss.

    Third, the Empire and the New Republic made peace.

    Without a war to fight- and without a craft to send- Parck, Stent, and father saw little point in unveiling the vast resources at the Hand?s disposal. To do so would have served no purpose but to disrupt the newfound peace, and to make the Chiss Ascendancy highly suspicious and paranoid. They have jealously guarded their corner of the ?Unknown? Regions for millennia, and have tense enough relations with the Hand as it is.

    Two years later, something must have happened- or be happening- to change their minds though. Father has remained relatively tight-lipped about the reasoning, but Parck has finally decided that he is to establish contact with the Empire at Bastion. This makes everyone, to a point, nervous- Parck and Stent, because there is no telling how the Imperial leadership will respond to the opening of relations; father, because it brings him one step closer to those who have believed him dead for sixteen years. Those such as mother?s brother, Wedge Antilles, who would be interested at the very least to learn of his family out here on Nirauan.

    Curiosity winning out, I asked over dinner about the two who infiltrated the fortress two years ago, when everyone?s worries were first peaked about the New Republic moving against us. Father regarded me oddly a moment, and then told me to come see him in his office afterwards- I assumed I?d managed to do something wrong, but he surprised me by simply? sitting and talking.

    He told me about them- said that they weren?t infiltrators, exactly, that one had specifically been lured because Mitth?raw?nuruodo had long ago recommended recruiting her. Parck and father had not counted on the second showing up though, and that is apparently where their plans fell through. What I did not know- based on Davin?s limited knowledge of the incident at the time- was that he was someone father knew from his days with the New Republic.

    Luke Skywalker. He is something known as a ?Jedi,? some strange combination of genetically-acquired powers and religious discipline, from what I understand. And he was the other founding pilot of the famed Rogue squadron in which father flew with Antilles. The woman, Mara Jade, served the Emperor once, but has apparently strayed from her Imperial roots, as evidenced by her unwillingness to join the Hand, and her all-too-effective efforts at preventing anyone here from assisting Bastion during the war.

    I asked father why he was confiding all of this now, and why he would confide it in me.

    ?The galaxy is changing, Cem
  20. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Ah, Cem is finally given some purpose! It's about time. The boy can't remain hidden and forgotten forever. Doing so only results in emotionally-maladjusted latchkey kids who will be in need of some psychiatric help later in their adult lives when they prove themselves to be antisocial?that is, without remorse for others, manipulative for their own personal gain.

    As far as back-to-back updates go... They don't bother me. I do it often enough, much to the chagrin of the sock, which missed my last update because its inbox was full. :p
  21. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Cool streamlining with the events in the Hand of Thrawn duology =D= =D= Very wise of Soontir to have Cem get acclimated to political things past and present [face_thinking]

    I have a feeling this info will prove necessary later on ;:)

  22. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Alright- plan is one huge post so the rest of the diary is legible. Then an update with entry 8.

    Measure of Merit – Diary of a Shadow Child

    Entry 1

    My name is Cem Fel. I am sixteen years old, the third of six children. I have two older brothers, one younger brother, and two younger sisters. They are a well-behaved bunch who do their duty by our father and by our sworn fealty to Syndic Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s Household Phalanx. They are a well-behaved bunch and I?

    I am a problem child.

    Only… I am not a child. In the eyes of the chiss amongst whom we live, only my youngest sister, at the tender age of six standard years, would yet be considered juvenile. In the eyes of the chiss, I am not a child, but what do you call someone who has no particular future prospects, lives at home, and relies on his parents for the basic comforts of life?

    I have few delusions regarding the tension I have created in my family- between my parents, among my siblings- but I’ve never considered my qualms to be unreasonable. My younger brother wants a commission to the training academy; my youngest sister wants dolls, and ribbons for her hair.

    I want simple acknowledgement.

    My father is a stern man and violent by professional necessity but not, I think, by nature. I’ve never seen him raise a hand against any of my brothers or sisters, and I firmly believe he would die before he raised so much as his voice to my mother. Were he to discover this datacard though, I would not be surprised should he subject me to the first beating of my life. Not for the content, at-times critical though it may be… but rather, for the lie it would reveal, should it fall into the hands of any outside my family.

    Because, you see- there is no Cem Fel. And yet…

    My name is Cem Fel.

    I am a shadow child.

    I do not exist.







    [Prompt: Delete?]

    [Enter command: Yes]

    [Prompt: Please confirm; all data will be lost]







    [Enter command: Abort]

    Entry 2

    Our parents like to note our birthdays on the Coruscanti calendar. This is the one strange aspect to which they have clung to their past lives.

    I say their past lives- my eldest brother was not yet four when we relocated to Nirauan, Chak was barely two, I was not a year of age. A Coruscanti year; a Galactic Standard year. Both of our parents are rooted on Corellia, yet never display an interest towards a Corellian anything. Perhaps they’ve both seen too much beyond their homeworld, in their own way, to hold to something so quaint.

    The story has it that my mother discovered she was pregnant with me the same day she learned that my father defected to Rogue Squadron, to the Rebel Alliance, to the New Republic. It was five months before she saw my father again, before she was reunited with a brother she’d not seen since his childhood. And at six months pregnant, she concealed her condition, just as she concealed the existence of Davin and Chak, lest they be used as pawns in the game of civil war, of galactic strife.

    Seven months later, the agents of the Empire proved their worth and caught up with us but not, as it were, for the purposes my father feared. We were turned over to Grand Admiral Thrawn, Syndic Mitth’raw’nuruodo, my father soon followed- and sixteen years later, the Fels are like a myth in the known galaxy: the Imperial ace married to the famous holostar- it’s the stuff of fairy tales.

    Fairy tales often end tragically.

    The tragedy of my parents’ story is a fabrication, and it was my father’s fear that the illusion was shattered two years ago when outsiders were lured to the fortress which we call home. It has been two years though, and the New Republic has not come crashing down on our heads, my mother’s brother has not turned up to demand after her, so perhaps father underestimated the honor of the visitors.

    I once asked about them- why were they here, in our isolated alcove of the galaxy? Father’s jaw tensed up, his lips tightened into a thin line, and he told me to go look after young Wynssa. It is a reaction I’ve seen from him before, when a military operation goes poorly, when the objectives are not achieved, or when the costs outweigh the benefits.

    I sense that all three were the case in the fiasco of two years ago.

    Davin revealed more than father, intimated in me and Jagged, all of twelve at the time, the damage that the fortress had suffered at the hands of the visitors- visitors who, according to my eldest brother, possessed strange and mystical powers, carried blades made of pure energy, destroyed an entire hangar and trapped a whole wing of clawcraft fighters.

    Two people. They must have been fearsome warriors, I wonder that father could have underestimated them at all.

    Perhaps someone, somewhere, sees them as heroes. Mother’s brother is a hero of the Rebellion, and it was Davin who found himself enamored of the tales of fighting against all reasonable odds, of taking down impressive foes, conquering the forces of evil…

    Father stopped talking about Wedge Antilles by the time Jagged and I were of a suitable age for such stories; he bade mother to avoid the subject as well. But Davin, inexplicably proud of an uncle he has never known and never will, relayed to us the romantic tales of those glory days, the tragedy of our mother, seeing her husband on one side of the war and her brother on the other.

    Jagged is named for his maternal grandfather, it is fitting that he would find himself likewise fascinated. I seem to take more after Chak, who shrugs off such stories of glory and focuses his efforts on excelling at his training, at his piloting and- as ever he has- at pleasing father. I have no training at which to excel, have never sat in the cockpit of a clawcraft fighter, and I rarely please father- but what use have I for heroics?

    Heroes are for Davin, who commands an entire wing of fighters, who pits the forces of the Phalanx against the terrible enemies that would threaten the rest of the galaxy, did the Phalanx not throw itself at them with a fury first. Heroes are even for Chak, who pursues his career with the forces of the Hand, rather than the Phalanx.

    Jagged and Cherith will soon follow their designated paths, will fulfill their duties. I will stay at home long after they leave which, at fourteen and thirteen, will be sooner rather than later. I will stay home with mother and with Wynssa until she too, in another eight or ten years, pursues the only honorable career known to the chiss: the military. War.

    I will stay at home. Because I am a shadow child, and I do not exist.



    Entry 3

    For all the dullness of life that being a family’s shadow child entails, it is, supposedly, something of an honor. Granted, that honor was likely much greater at a time when the high families of the Chiss Ascendancy feuded, struck one another from power… and yes, sometimes targeted each other for assassination.

    We are not chiss.

    We do not live in the Ascendancy.

    The Empire of the Hand is guided by military rule, not aristocrats. There are no families to feud with the Fels, as the Fels themselves are not in power. My father is, yes. General Soontir Fel, baron of the old Empire, second-in-command only to Admiral Voss Parck. The third member of the triumvirate of power, since the departure of Mitth’raw’nuruodo, is Commander Kres’ten’tarthi, a chiss who is oftentimes at odds with my father.

    Parck is, incidentally, the only being on Nirauan with whom I have semi-regular contact aside from my own family. Probably because he was the one who initiated my father into the Hand, and hiding a four-month-old infant would have been tricky at best. Not that my parents were any strangers to the difficulties of hiding their children. None knew of Davin and Chak, save father’s closest family on Corellia; my mother went into hiding long before any of them could have known she was pregnant with me.

    Which made me, such as it is, the logical choice for shadow child, for the one who must continue to be hidden. It is considered an honor by some; all who have sworn fealty to the Hand would consider my circumstances to be an even greater honor because of how I came to fall into the role as an infant: it was at the suggestion of Mitth’raw’nuruodo himself.

    I hate him.

    Perhaps he had a reason for it- what possible use could my family have for a shadow child?- if so, the reason died with him twelve years ago. But I was barely five years old and my father did not relent on the decision, and hidden I have remained ever since. I have watched my elder brothers depart for their respective military training academies, I stay behind when Jagged and Cherith attend strict lessons with stoic chiss several years their junior.

    I still learn it all of course; as father put it during one of my younger periods of stubborn sulking, it would quite defeat the purpose were I to learn none of the skills that would help me survive and navigate this foreign culture, should the family fall. But while Jagged and Cherith are commended for excelling at their studies, their combat training- it is simply expected of me, no more, no less. If I do not learn obscure histories of a race I have never technically met, I am a failure; if I learn them to perfection, I am simply performing as expected.

    But while I can live a simulation of a life here, on Nirauan- I will never escape, as Chak and Davin have done- as Jagged hopes to do sooner than he lets on, I think. And while I can learn the basics beyond the academic and technical studies- weapons handling, hand-to-hand combat- the one thing I will never be able to do, while living as a ghost, is pilot a Clawcraft.

    The training academy is not for shadow children who do not exist.





    Entry 4

    I seem to possess greater foresight than I ever suspected. Which is, I suppose, good, as it lessened the blow upon delivery.

    The terse nervousness in the eyes of my younger brother- my younger brother who is rarely terse and never nervous, practically to the point of folly- first alerted me that his news was of a sort I would find… unappealing. But he said he wanted to tell me first. Jagged is not oblivious, he knows how little merit I will still find in this place when he is gone.

    And at the age of fourteen, he confessed to me his intentions of requesting an appointment from father to attend Davin’s old training academy.

    I did see it coming, but hoped futilely that I might yet have another year with my younger brother. Cherith, barely thirteen, will undoubtedly stay around another year or two- regardless of how long until she leaves, Wynssa will be devastated when she does. But Cherith is yet a child in some ways, is only just beginning to fall into the mold which Jagged has been striving to fit for months now. There is great pressure on them- as there was on Chak and Davin before- to shirk their inherent human weaknesses, to become chiss, to deny emotions and learn to respond to one thing and one thing only: duty.

    Jagged is a somewhat brash sort- as Davin was, at his age. But he has generally excelled- for a human- at his studies and training exercises. I suspect that suddenly finding himself at a chiss-run training academy will be something of a rude awakening for the youngest Fel son, but perhaps that is what he needs. Even here, surrounded by chiss, he is still under the watch and protection of the humans- Admiral Parck and General Fel- who command us all. Among chiss pilots though- trained by chiss, reprimanded by chiss… probably led by chiss who are younger than he- it might stamp out some of that latent hero-worship which quietly irks father, but which Davin never really lost.

    Then again- father could always say no.




    Entry 5

    Father called us- me, Jagged, Cherith- into his office three hours ago, just after dinner. A shrewd man, father knows precisely when to deliver news of import so as to minimize the fallout.

    In other words- he prefers to give me a night to sleep off my frustration before subjecting my mother and Wynssa to it.

    At home, father is father. Though the fortress in which we live is ninety percent ‘business’- starfighter hangars, command and intelligence centers, training areas- the sections designated for living quarters lay behind an invisible barrier of sorts. Those quarters tend to be small and efficient- there are very few families and even those chiss who do live with spouses, children… the chiss in general do not tend to have as many children as have my parents. Our quarters had to be specially redesigned. A family of eight is quite unheard of, in the annals of chiss history.

    I suppose mother and father had little else to do, sequestered away from everyone and everything they knew and loved.

    Despite this invisible barrier which separates the military professionalism from his… well… military fatherhood, the exception to the rule is his office. Anywhere else in our sizeable apartment, he is ‘father’ to us all save Wynssa, who still calls him ‘dad’- never daddy, even at six years old she is observant enough to realize that ‘daddy’ is far too informal for the serious general. In the office though, which we are forbidden from entering without permission, he is ‘sir’ or ‘General.’ And to be summoned to that office is indication that the purpose is a serious one- a discussion of progression in studies and training, a reprimand for inexcusably poor performance… not that such a thing is common for my siblings who strive to meet the standards of the chiss with whom they must study.

    For father to summon all three of us suggested that the visit was for mildly different purposes. And that purpose was stated immediately. He looked evenly at each of us in turn- and then fixed his eyes on Jagged.

    “Commander Stent has approved your application, Jagged; your name will be added to the roster for the next training cycle.”

    Cherith looked at our brother in surprise; he apparently had neglected to discuss his intentions with her as he had me. A glance at him showed a faint glimmer of pride behind his green eyes as he stiffly, at attention, thanked father formally and relayed his intention of likewise thanking the commander.

    I have never met Stent- he does not know of my existence. But I do know there is a certain tension between him and father. They are counterparts of separate yet intertwined entities beneath Admiral Parck- Kres’ten’tarthi is commander of the Household Phalanx, a group- larger than the Ascendancy cares to admit- of renegade chiss who subscribe to Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s nontraditional views of warfare. Father’s authority, conversely, comes directly from the Imperial element of the Empire of the Hand, the forces offered by the Emperor himself so that Grand Admiral Thrawn might begin accumulating the forces here, hidden and unknown to the rest of the galaxy.

    Both defer to Parck, but quietly question one another’s decisions often enough.

    I wonder if Jagged understands the secondary reason for Stent to allow a human into his elite academy on Rhigar. Surely, Stent has no particular interest invested in Jagged’s piloting abilities, which are probably average at best among those who train there; he certainly holds no high expectations for a human to distinguish himself above the chiss.

    No, Jagged may yet be naïve enough to not realize that Stent’s agreement is as much about his distrust of father as a gesture to maintain the peace between them. Especially in the two years since our secrecy was first compromised, Stent has little faith in human honor. So yes, Jagged will have the honor of attending an elite academy… but at the same time, will be Stent’s hostage to ensure father’s good faith. Just as Davin was before him.

    Stent does the Fels too little justice, however- Davin proved himself quickly enough and now commands his own wing. Father has never once betrayed the doctrine of Mitth’raw’nuruodo, as much as Stent likes to blame the incident two years ago on him and Parck. Perhaps Jagged, too, will exceed all expectations, once he takes full measure of the obstacles stacked against him.

    I think father was surprised by my lack of protest- as though he expects me to do a disservice to my brother to argue against him attaining what has been his goal since he was all of nine, when Davin first left.

    There will yet be a few months for me to get used to the idea of living without my younger brother; the next training cycle will not come until midsummer- though on Rhigar, ‘summer’ is a relative term that simply means that the frozen world is not as cold as winter.

    Jagged and Cherith came to my room after our meeting with father; they are now curled up on opposite ends of my bed, asleep. It’s reminiscent of our younger years- first, when Davin, Chak, and I prided ourselves on our sneakiness and would creep into each other’s rooms late at night to talk and play with starfighter models. Often enough, we would all fall asleep in the same room, sometimes crowded into one bed, and reveal our late night misdeeds in such a way, but mother would just shake her head and gently prod everyone back to their respective rooms to dress. Our exhaustion through the day would be punishment enough, in her eyes.

    Davin and Chak are gone now though- and I doubt the practice will live on when it is me and my two sisters. Cherith and I are just far enough apart in age that we do not connect as easily as she does with Jagged.

    I am resigned though- my desire to see my brother happy offsets the bitterness that will undoubtedly settle in more strongly once he is gone. Nevertheless… perhaps he will be willing to practice some hand-to-hand sparring techniques tomorrow.

    Better yet- perhaps we can convince father to let us take Starflare up this week. The family yacht is no starfighter, but even a short and purposeless joyride around Nirauan is treat enough in itself.

    It’s like an illusion of escape.





    Entry 6

    We’ve just had word that both Chak and Davin will visit Nirauan next month- a family visit masked as business, as both are soon to face assignment changes, according to father. It is a fortunate happenstance, considering the two serve in wholly separate forces, and their aligning schedules must have been entirely coincidence.

    Mother is beside herself with joy- it shall be the first time, since Chak left four years ago, that she will have all six of us in one place at the same time.

    Jagged has always been close with our oldest brother, despite the six years which separate him from Davin; I think the excitement behind his eyes, excitement he tries to keep to himself in a manner befitting a chiss warrior, is grounded in pride, that he might share the news of his academy appointment with Davin in person.

    Wynssa, on the other hand, barely knows her oldest brothers. She was barely two years of age when Davin left for Rhigar, and little more than three when Chak undertook Imperial training. Now, with Wynssa nearly seven… she knows they are her brothers, of course, but does not truly know them. They are old, men in her eyes, strange figures who visit for hours at a time, with months between appearances.

    There was a time when Davin, Chak, and I were inseparable. It was a sort of middle time period- we were old enough that Jagged and Cherith, only two and three years my junior, were nuisances, excluded from our jealously guarded play time; yet young enough that we did not fully comprehend our situations in life, did not understand the duty which had yet to be engrained in our immature minds… did not understand that, one day, they would leave and I would not have the option to follow.

    As the years went on though… eventually, Davin began venturing from our private little corner of the fortress to have lessons and play times that were more of social gatherings with the few young chiss who also resided in the fortress. Soon enough, Chak joined him, and one day they were learning rudimentary combat skills with chiss two years younger, and I was still at home and finally beginning to realize the full measure of the term ‘shadow child.’

    The first major argument occurred when Jagged, seven years old, began his own studies and training with grim and stoic chiss instructors. I protested the unfairness of the arrangement to father, and he stood by the same explanation that he has touted since I was old enough to understand- Mitth’raw’nuruodo had urged it.

    Five years after the admiral’s death, and father was still adhering to his deranged and paranoid delusions.

    Father countered that it was not the admiral’s death- that the admiral had urged them faith and patience, that he would return ten years later.

    I laughed in his face and called him a fool.

    Unsurprisingly, I was sentenced to an early bedtime without dinner that night.

    And just as unsurprisingly, now twelve years since the admiral’s death- he has not returned, and never will. And if he did…

    While the rest of my family would be lauding him in their practically religious devotion, I imagine I’d be scheming how best to put a blaster bolt in his chest.

    Can a shadow child who does not exist be charged with murder?






    Entry 7

    Even I may have underestimated Stent’s cunning; for all that I considered his secondary motives in accepting Jagged to his academy, it had not occurred to me that Jagged is a full year younger than Davin was, when Stent finally declared him old and mature enough for the post.

    As it turns out, it is more than simple distrust of father; it is distrust of the entire Empire.

    Two years ago, rumor reached us of Mitth’raw’nuruodo’s return to the Empire. The initial reactions of those in charge was relief- he had said to await his return in ten years, were he reported dead- tinged with suspicion- why would he send no word to Parck? Nevertheless, provisions were made to at last transfer the resources of the Hand under proper Imperial control, so that the small remnants of a once-glorious Empire might ascend once more, and finally beat back the New Republic, the Rebellion, to again unite a strong and undefeatable galaxy.

    And then three things happened in quick succession- first, the outsiders destroyed the main hangar in order to prevent Parck from sending an emissary to the Imperial capital at Bastion. Apparently one of these visitors was here because Parck wanted to recruit her; I guess the other showed up simply to add emphasis to her refusal.

    Second, it was revealed that ‘Mitth’raw’nuruodo’ was, in fact, a con artist. Not even chiss.

    Third, the Empire and the New Republic made peace.

    Without a war to fight- and without a craft to send- Parck, Stent, and father saw little point in unveiling the vast resources at the Hand’s disposal. To do so would have served no purpose but to disrupt the newfound peace, and to make the Chiss Ascendancy highly suspicious and paranoid. They have jealously guarded their corner of the “Unknown” Regions for millennia, and have tense enough relations with the Hand as it is.

    Two years later, something must have happened- or be happening- to change their minds though. Father has remained relatively tight-lipped about the reasoning, but Parck has finally decided that he is to establish contact with the Empire at Bastion. This makes everyone, to a point, nervous- Parck and Stent, because there is no telling how the Imperial leadership will respond to the opening of relations; father, because it brings him one step closer to those who have believed him dead for sixteen years. Those such as mother’s brother, Wedge Antilles, who would be interested at the very least to learn of his family out here on Nirauan.

    Curiosity winning out, I asked over dinner about the two who infiltrated the fortress two years ago, when everyone’s worries were first peaked about the New Republic moving against us. Father regarded me oddly a moment, and then told me to come see him in his office afterwards- I assumed I’d managed to do something wrong, but he surprised me by simply… sitting and talking.

    He told me about them- said that they weren’t infiltrators, exactly, that one had specifically been lured because Mitth’raw’nuruodo had long ago recommended recruiting her. Parck and father had not counted on the second showing up though, and that is apparently where their plans fell through. What I did not know- based on Davin’s limited knowledge of the incident at the time- was that he was someone father knew from his days with the New Republic.

    Luke Skywalker. He is something known as a ‘Jedi,’ some strange combination of genetically-acquired powers and religious discipline, from what I understand. And he was the other founding pilot of the famed Rogue squadron in which father flew with Antilles. The woman, Mara Jade, served the Emperor once, but has apparently strayed from her Imperial roots, as evidenced by her unwillingness to join the Hand, and her all-too-effective efforts at preventing anyone here from assisting Bastion during the war.

    I asked father why he was confiding all of this now, and why he would confide it in me.

    “The galaxy is changing, Cem; while your brothers look towards threats from beyond, it will not do to ignore the circumstances within. The Empire and the Republic are at peace; the Jedi are rising again. We cannot allow isolation to make us lax in knowing the lay of the land.”

    And that is all he said. Then he gave me a datacard and told me to study the Intelligence reports on it while he was away, and be prepared to answer questions upon his return. Most interestingly of all, he told me to keep the assignment quiet from Jagged and Cherith. I suppose he doesn’t want Jagged distracted before he journeys to Rhigar, and knows well-enough that, if both Cherith and I know something, Jagged can’t be far behind.

    So I begin tonight with a semi-detailed recap of the political situation between the Empire and the New Republic in the past twenty years. A quick skim through the recent events shows some recurring names… Skywalker, Solo, Pellaeon, among many others… the major players of a war which father left behind, that he might prepare instead for the next one.

    Perhaps I’ll even get a sense of whether it was all worth it.
  23. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Entry 8

    Father got back late last night; we expect Davin tomorrow, and Chak the day after. This gives father a narrow window to test how I’ve studied in his absence, but we did speak for a time upon his immediate return. His moods and emotions are always difficult to read, but I suspect that his trip affected him more greatly than he would ever admit. Nevertheless, he did not retire straight away and, once everyone else went to bed, he asked my initial impressions from my research.

    I was torn between honesty and risking the strain of our unusually amicable relationship. I think he realized that though, and just gave me that look, the one that has been shaming the Fel children into good behavior since Davin was old enough to understand it, I expect. So honesty it was.

    “Honestly, sir- my first impression is that you were the most celebrated pilot in the navy of an Emperor who destroyed an entire planet to make a point… and continued to serve in the navy until after his death.”

    His answering smile was wistful with traces of bitter remembrance. “And your question, son?”

    “How could you justify that to yourself?”

    “What do you think?”

    That, of course, gave me pause, sensing a verbal trap of sorts. But I was already in it and had little to lose. “Three possibilities- each unlikely.” Father began to look interested. “First- that you were afraid of leaving. Second, that you were naïve enough to believe the propaganda that the Rebellion destroyed Alderaan. Or third… you believed such an Empire… under such unscrupulous leadership… was truly the lesser evil.”

    “You’ve forgotten the key point,” he responded wryly. I stared and shook my head. “You’ve already mentioned it.”

    Alderaan. “You feared retaliation against Corellia?”

    Father actually grinned. “I never flattered myself to think I was so important; and the Empire could probably not afford to alienate the Corellians in its service. But it cannot be denied that innocent, peaceful civilians paid the price for the actions of the relative handful of Rebels. So you must choose.”

    “Actively support change at the cost of the innocent, or work from within to keep the innocent out of harm’s way?”

    He shrugged. “I cannot say whether there is a right choice. Circumstances vary… the consideration of your mother, Davin, Chak…” He got quiet for a long minute, clearly back some twenty years in memories that he had too long ignored. “Wedge knew what he had to do; I did my duty. That did not necessarily make us enemies, after the fact. And such an understanding enables the dialogue today between those who once served on opposite sides of a long and bloody conflict.”

    Father sent me off not long after that conversation. I think there might be a lesson he’s waiting for me to understand… or at least to contemplate in the coming days while my brothers are here.

    X---X

    tags: @Jade_eyes, @Mondra, @TwinsinsThlee, @TrakNar
    Last edited by LexiLupin, Sep 5, 2012
  24. Ceillean Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 13, 2001
    star 5
    I like Soontir here. He's calm and regal, cool but not cold. I'm getting the feeling that this is the calm before the storm...

    Tag me when you update, yes?
  25. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 4
    Nice update. You write Soontir very well.
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