Outer Rim: The Storm and the Lightning

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Stories--Classic JC Board (Reply-Only)' started by JediGaladriel, Feb 18, 2000.

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  1. Alderaan21 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 1998
    star 4
    WOOHOO! Update!

    But still, OMG... Leia... she's gone bad now! It's hard for me to picture the so seemingly stable character I've always seen her as like that, so cold. That last piece was heartbreaking to read. And very beautifully done.
  2. RebelMom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2000
    star 6
  3. ami-padme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 1999
    star 4
    It's great to see this story going again!

    Great work.
  4. Herman Snerd Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6
    What a pleasant surprise to see this story make its triumphant return.

  5. Alpha_Ferdante Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 28, 1999
    star 2
    eek.gif "Woohoo! An update!"

    And what an update!
  6. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Now that I have some idea of what I'm doing, the updates should come pretty fast. I'm about halfway through now, and pushing to get to a scene I'm looking forward to writing a couple of chapters down the road.

    Thanks for the nice words... another chapter later.
  7. Ulrike Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2000
    star 1
    Oh, God, it's awful!

    I mean, how must Luke and Shmi feel now. And Miseta/Leia seems to slide deeper into madness.
  8. Jedi Master Mara Jade Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 1999
    star 4
    Oh, I'm so glad this story is back.

    Great job, JG. Wonderful character portrayal, and I like the direction you're going in. I especially like the new characteristics of Ben and Shmi. They seem almost more real than Luke and Leia, and thats hard to portray.

    Liked the references to Outer Rim I as well. Now I want to reread that story.

    Good luck with updates; I hope to read more soon!
  9. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5

    CHAPTER FIVE: "IT IS TOO LATE FOR ME"

    Luke couldn't bring himself to say anything to Shmi or Han or Chewbacca when they boarded the Falcon, though he knew he needed to. He touched Shmi's face lightly, then slipped down into the shadows of the cargo hold, finding a deep corner behind an access ladder where he could meditate. And grieve.

    His wrist had been twisted fairly badly at some point - it was swollen and stiff, and it hurt - but he couldn't remember when. He could hardly remember anything after he turned around and saw her. There were flashes of fighting, but his mind hadn't been there at all. It couldn't be happening. He hadn't just dueled her to a draw.

    Not Leia.

    Not his twin.

    Memories rose unbidden in his mind, as he tried, desperately to find a pattern, a clue, anything to explain what he had seen in her eyes. All he could see was a dusty little girl, bursting into his room at sunsup because she had some new secret that she just couldn't hold for one more minute, a little girl with long brown hair who looked to the stars and wished to be among them.

    He found nothing, no telltale sign of this incipient madness. A bit of a temper, some impatience? but she had been loved, she had been supported in her times of trial. She had begun her adult life earlier than he had, but she hadn't been pushed into it. She'd been eager for it.

    Of course she had. It was easier to slip out from under watchful eyes when those watchful eyes are half a galaxy away.

    What did I do wrong?

    (Some things aren't about you.)

    He looked up, then squeezed his eyes shut and covered his ears, as if either would help.

    Now. Now, she chose to find their twins' bond again. It was the surmounting insult and perversity. The almost-healed wound opened and flooded his mind with pain and rage.

    Why now? he called to her. Why have you come back to me now?

    (I wasn't the one who broke away. You're remarkably good at not seeing what you choose not to see.)

    He shook his head. Not true. A lie.

    A pause. The voice in his mind modulated, just a little bit, became thoughtful. (A half-truth.)

    A lie. I've called to you many times.

    (Would you have heard, if I'd answered?)

    Why didn't you come to me when you needed me?

    A rush of laughter, and the harsh voice of Miseta returned. (And when was that, little brother? While you've been toddling around after Father and Yoda, I have learned the secrets of the universe! What would I have needed you for?)

    Why are you here now?

    No answer.

    Leia? hear me. Come back.

    There was a very long pause, and Luke thought she had withdrawn again. Then, very softly, she whispered, It is too late, Luke. There is nothing you can do. Leave it be.

    Then the bond was snapped with a finality that Luke felt physically, like a blow to the side of his head.

    Whatever conflict she'd been having had been decided.

    She was lost.

    Luke slipped further into the shadows.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Han guessed he'd had more time to get used to the idea, so he was doing a little better at coping with it.

    Little Shmi had come into the cockpit with him, looking dazed. She was older than he remembered her being, looking more like Amidala every day, except with Luke and Anakin's coloring? or maybe it was that she looked like Luke, except as a girl? and what strange kind of train of thought was *that* to be having at a time like this?

    Maybe my head's not as clear as I thought.

    She looked up at him. "Is she going to send anyone after us?"

    "I don't know. I think maybe we better figure on it. I know it's awful. But I need you take one of the gun turrets. There's no way Luke can do it right now."

    She nodded. "I can do it."

    "Good." He patted her shoulder and gave her the best smile he could find. He figured he was the best she was going to get in the big sibling department right now, and if thatwasn't enough to scare some sense into him, he didn't know what was. "Take the top one. You'll have a cleaner shot."

    She nodded. "What if it's? what if she comes herself?"

    "She won't."

    "But what if?"

    Then giv
  10. Alderaan21 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 1998
    star 4
    Get out of the way people, this girl's on a roll!

    Great job as always, Gala. The frequent updates don't hurt, either.
  11. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    This one was a terror to write, and it will need some re-writing when I finish. I know I'm not giving fair time to Han. I'll try and find a way to fix it later, but now, I just want to get to the end. Two more long sections, and we're there.
    ---------
    CHAPTER SIX: INTO THE WEB

    Anakin walked between Han Solo and Luke, all three of them bending slightly against the rising wind. They had opted to walk to the hangar; even Anakin thought it was insane to take a speeder out in this weather. He could have handled it - probably - but it was only half an hour's walk, and the time? the time might be helpful in easing the shock, if not the pain.

    Solo had retreated into a sullen silence, and Anakin could feel waves of regret and grief coming from him. He hadn't liked the cocky pirate at first, but Solo had earned his way into the family, and into Anakin's trust, before he fell in love with Leia. Anakin would have been proud to call him a son-in-law. But now, in the ashes of the family, Solo didn't seem sure where he fit. Anakin put a hand on his shoulder, the same as he would with Luke, then took it away when he could feel that Solo was comforted. Neither man said anything.

    Anakin pulled the hood of his robe up over his head, though it did little good against the rain. It was a place to hide, to retreat from this new knowledge.

    How could I not have known? How could I not have seen it?

    He had no answer. Leia had always been able to put him in a blind spot. That had been one of the things he'd delighted in about her when she was a child - she could honestly surprise him, and did so, frequently. And when she'd seemed to adjust to life after the Council had rejected her, he'd been?

    Relieved.

    "Of course you were relieved, Father," Luke said. "You couldn't stand to see her frustrated all the time. Something changed that, and it seemed good to all of us. But it was a lie."

    The chill in his voice broke Anakin's heart. Luke had always been the empathic, kind one. That was why she'd been able to hurt him so deeply, but Anakin feared that the wound was deeper than she'd expected. No one was more closely connected to Luke than Leia; if anyone could deal a mortal blow to his emotions, it would be her. "Luke," he said, "taking vengeance will not change what happened."

    "It's not vengeance." He went a few steps ahead, and spoke without turning, though it was difficult to hear over the traffic and the weather. "She's lost, Father. And if we don't stop her, she's going to destroy whatever we have left of our family. Of herself."

    "You don't want to kill her."

    "I will do what I must."

    Anakin grabbed his arm, stopped him. Solo stopped alongside. "Luke, be mindful of your feelings. This is not a rational course of action that you're pursuing. You're angry and you're hurt, and you are planning to act on it."

    Luke looked like he might argue. Then he just nodded. "Yes. I know. But I don't know what else to do."

    "Can't you save her?" Solo asked suddenly. "Can't you get her back? She's? Hell, I can't explain it. But when she talks, you can hear her sometimes, behind whatever Miseta's saying."

    "It's unlikely," Anakin said. "Those who are caught on the Dark Path are rarely freed of the choice."

    "Even if she turned back today, she'd never be free of it." Solo ran a hand through his hair, pushing the rain out of it in a torrent. "You can't do something like that and then walk away like nothing happened, right? But that doesn't mean you can't walk away."

    Anakin wanted to believe it. He wanted to agree, without reservation, and simply embrace Leia, bring her home, and forgive all, if she would just turn back. But he knew that the answer was somewhere between Luke and Solo. Leia would not return easily. But how his heart jumped at the chance to get her to return at all! "We will? attempt it."

    He expected an argument from Luke, but didn't get one. Luke was looking up in a puzzled way, and Anakin opened himself to feel the slight tremor of energy that Luke was picking up on. "Han," Luke said, "go ahead
  12. Alpha_Ferdante Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 28, 1999
    star 2
    eek.gif

    Wow!

    Great scenes!

    Oh, but what ill timing for Anakin and Luke to show up. It almost seemed that Amidala could have gotten Leia a little closer to the light side.

    We'll have to see what little Master Yoda can do now, eh?
  13. Alderaan21 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 1998
    star 4
    Nooo!!! Leia! Yes, it would appear that Anakin and Luke's timing leaves something to be desired...

    Great post... I never finish one of your posts without being amazed.
  14. Luke'sryb Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2000
    star 2
    This is a heck of a time to stop.....right in the middle of a battle. The suspense is driving me nuts. More Please!
    eek.gif
  15. Luke'sryb Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2000
    star 2
    This is a heck of a time to stop.....right in the middle of a battle. The suspense is driving me nuts. More Please!
    eek.gif
  16. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Almost done...
    --------
    CHAPTER SEVEN: FATHER'S HEART

    After the burning pain, Leia was aware only of the mists. They rose around her, and she couldn't see anything. Everything was gray and formless, and she was alone. She could see her arms and legs, but she understood on an intuitive level that any shape here was just something her mind was creating to make sense of it. She had passed into the Force, and all things were possible here.

    Dimly, she could feel Luke calling to her. She reached tentatively for the bond that held them to one another, then shrank away again. She was filthy; she would make him filthy if she touched him. It was all right. At first, it was all right.

    Then the mists darkened, and she heard a booming laugh. She looked up, and saw ahead of her a great spider, perched on a web between the worlds. No, not a spider? a shadow. A living darkness with a hundred limbs reaching out for her. One wrapped itself around her wrist. It was cold.

    She screamed and pulled away, running mindlessly through the mists.

    Strange things passed before her eyes, other worlds than the one she knew. She saw herself as a slave on Tatooine, and as a soldier in a camouflage cape on some forest world. Her arm was wounded there, and she was looking up at the sky.

    Other worlds, other visions. But no one to help her, and the shadow was gaining on her again. She felt it wrap itself around her legs, and she fell.

    There was nothing to hit in the mists, and falling was just a curious sensation. She was snapped back to her own place, and again felt Luke reaching for her, holding her steady. The madness had left her.

    I am myself, she thought, and it wasn't welcome. As herself, she remembered every atrocity, every burned city, every cruel word. She couldn't fight the shadow that held her, because it was her.

    But not just her.

    She could feel another presence beyond herself, beyond the shadow, lost as she was, and calling?

    To her?

    No? not calling. But thinking about her. About?

    (tell your sister, you were right)

    "Father?" she called, or tried to call, though it wasn't Father. The mists poured into her mouth, choking her. She began to cough. The other presence heard her, tried to reach to her? she could feel him trying to help? but he was too far beyond her, and he had already been freed of the shadow. He was lost and confused. She pushed back at him. Go! You've won! I will fight!

    Her push wasn't hard, but someone else was pulling him away, into whatever light waited for him. She had lost her chance at help, but there was joy and hope in the moment of knowing that someone had escaped this place.

    Somewhere behind, she could feel Luke's hands on her already broken body, trying to hold it back together. She wanted to tell him it was too late, but she couldn't seem to remember how to send anything back to him.

    (leia, fight, you always fight, don't slip away?)

    How can you still love me? she called, but she knew it wasn't reaching him. After everything, how can you?

    (leia?)

    Fainter.

    The shadow-spider dragged her further itself, into its horrible laughter. She felt the coldness seeping into her, reaching into her heart, into her mind? reaching across? reaching through the mist?

    Reaching across her twins' bond.

    "No!" she screamed into the nothing.

    Leia rose up into the Force, and attacked the Darkness that held her.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Anakin saw what would happen a fraction of a second before it did, but not soon enough to stop it. Carried by momentum, Leia finished turning to face him, and he saw the gash across her chest with perfect clarity in a flash of lightning, then she slipped to her knees and fell across the balcony floor.

    Luke leaned over her, putting his body between her and the rain. Amidala brushed past, running to the twins and putting her thin arms around both of them. She wasn't screaming, and the rain made it impossible to tell if she was crying.

    All Anakin knew was that he was not.

    The unthinkable had happened and his mind simply? stopped. His lightsaber was
  17. Alpha_Ferdante Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 28, 1999
    star 2
    [feels tears well in eyes, literally]

    What a beautiful post!

    It's been said before, but your posts are stunning!

    You just about gave me a heart attack on this one though: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Geneva,Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Then he took his lightsaber from his belt, and - before common sense or guilt could stop him - ignited it and plunged it into his chest.

    I was hoping, somehow, he could save Leia's physical self. But I'm glad he saved her soul.

    I loved your references to Anakin as Darth Vader.

    Bravo JG! This whole thing has been such a wonderful story.
  18. Alderaan21 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 1998
    star 4
    Oh... my.... oh.... *stops to catch her breath*

    Gods, you scared the **** out of me with Anakin stabbing himself... but that is one of the greatest final battles of a story I've ever read. Star Wars, at heart, is about the battle within... acknowledging and defeating the darkness. You did that absolutely perfectly. I almost got to the point where I would have accepted Anakin dying along with Leia (*sniffle sob* )... and I hate the idea of his death.

    It takes a lot of gall to kill off an extremely-well established character, and you did it with no injustice at all to Leia's character. I agree, the references to the 'real universe' were well-placed and well-suited. A great way to tie in the final scene of the internal battle in ROTJ with the one in this story. Remarkable talent you have, yes, hmm. I had tears in my eyes during the last minute of reading, and fanfic NEVER does that to me. (Until now, anyway.)

    I'm jealous.

    This has been such a great story. I'll miss it.
  19. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    EPILOGUE: SON OF THE SUNS

    Tatooine.

    Han carried her to the unlit pyre, and laid her gently down on it. It was a husband?s place to do so, but neither he nor anyone else questioned it. He kissed her forehead, but there was nothing behind the cool skin, no return of hope or regret. But it was the last kiss he would have from her, so he didn?t shrink from it. ?You beat it, kiddo,? he whispered to her. ?I knew you could.?

    The Skywalkers stood nearby ? Amidala, holding Ben?s hand; Luke, his face tired and sad; Shmi, looking dreamy and distant in the pre-dawn light. Anakin wasn?t here. Han wasn?t sure he would show. He?d gone half rogue last night, when they were building the funeral bier, insisting that they were *not* going to burn Leia, that she was afraid of fire, that he could save her? crazy stuff. Luke had put a hand on his shoulder, and said, ?She isn?t afraid anymore, Father.?

    Whether it was a mind trick or not, Han Solo didn?t know. Whatever it was, Anakin had accepted it, and calmed. He?d kept vigil beside the body with the others most of the night, but he hadn?t accompanied them to the funeral site.

    ?Han??

    He looked up. Amidala had come to him, concern written plainly on her face, and he realized that he was still bent over Leia, clinging to her. He stood. ?Yeah. I?m coming. I?m okay.?

    She nodded. ?I wish I could say the same.?

    Han didn?t know what to say to that. Amidala was, in some ways, hit harder than anyone else ? Leia had drawn away from her over the last several years so that she wouldn?t suspect, but the two had been tied very tightly to each other. Leia had revered Amidala over any other being? but it was that very reverence that the darkness had twisted into horror and death. She had to be going through hell. ?What are you going to do now?? he asked.

    ?I don?t know. Ani and I need to look after one another for awhile.?

    ?Is he all right??

    She half-smiled, and nodded. ?Ani loves his children beyond all reason, and he is hurting. But he?s lived through other losses. He knows the way home. I will follow. As I did before.?

    It didn?t sound like the best plan Han had ever heard, but he said nothing. Every family had to deal with its grief in its own way. Or at least, so he thought. He didn?t exactly have a lot of experience to judge by. The Skywalkers were his only family, at least the only one that counted. But Anakin had built something good from the ashes of whatever loss he?d suffered before, and out of the ruins of the Empire; maybe Amidala was right this time, as well.

    Ben stepped forward and kissed Leia?s cheek. He slipped something under her cool hands, then went back to his mother and Han. ?Where is Father??

    ?I am here.?

    Han looked up, and at first didn?t register what it was that was making Shmi?s eyes so wide. Beside him, Amidala sighed deeply. Luke looked like he had been expecting this.

    Anakin Skywalker was still walking stiffly, his body recovering from the wound he?d inflicted on it. He was dressed simply, in the khaki tunic of a Tatooine farmer. Then Han saw it: He was carrying his Jedi robes, and his lightsaber rested on top of them. Without speaking, he went to Leia, placed the bundle on her chest, then stepped back to put his arms around Amidala. She leaned into his embrace, pulling Ben into it, and Han could see her face relax, just a little.

    ?Father?? Luke said.

    ?I cannot. But I won?t prevent it.?

    So it was that Luke touched the flame to the pyre as the first sun came up.

    As Han watched the flames reach into the morning sky, he remembered Leia as she had been, maybe not before the darkness, but before it had claimed her so completely.

    He remembered a young girl, with long, thin braids, hiding behind a ladder in the Falcon, demanding that he carry her off to someplace where she could make a difference.

    He remembered her lying still in a hospital, her lovely face bandaged, and he remembered her thanking him for not pretending that it would make no difference.

    He remembered visiting that girl time and again, watching her grow up ?
  20. RebelMom Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2000
    star 6
    That was wonderful. What a beautiful ending.
  21. ami-padme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 1999
    star 4
  22. Darth Cerberus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 1999
    star 3
    I'm speechless. That was incredible .


  23. Darth Cerberus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 1999
    star 3
  24. JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 1999
    star 5
    Thanks everyone (Cerberus twice!). I was nervous about the ending -- afraid it was too expository -- so I'm really glad that it worked for everyone.

    I think I need to go back and re-work parts of the beginning now, though.
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