Original title:“Fangirl” New title: “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” Author: AzureAngel2, a silly person with weird ideas at times Co-Author and editor: @DarthUncle, still-husband Chief editor now: @Kahara Original editors: @SWpants and @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Time frame: The story starts shortly before Sheev Palpatine, the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic gets kidnapped by General Grievous. Summary: As usually I do not fully agree what the Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid said about his character (Sheev) Palpatine (aka the Emperor) in an interview once: "He has a black, irredeemable heart. There's nothing that can be said about him that's good. When we first saw Vader in the original trilogy, we thought he was the heart of darkness, and nobody could be darker. But now we understand what happened to him. And one of the exciting things about seeing this movie is that you can follow Vader through Anakin's journey every step of the way even if you don't agree with the choices he's making. In part his decisions stem from his traumatic childhood, and his impatient lust for power. And it's that which my character takes and then uses against him." What has gotten into me that I say he really loves somebody with his dark, black heart? Well, blame it on me watching President Snow in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” movie recently. See, I like the relationship that he has with his grand-daughter. Everybody has to love somebody. Like vampire Russell Edgington in the HBO series “True Blood”. Or like the Sir Guy of Gisbourne version in the BBC series “Robin Hood”. And it is not secret for people who know me that I love chocolate and kindergarten teaching very much. They are my life. But this is more like some crazy self-insert. My main character Nagina may have some things in common with me, but that is about it. Overall, I do not agree with the massacre on-board the Palpatine family yacht that appears in the “Darth Plagueis” novel by James Luceno. And so – extra inspired by the animation movie “Anastasia” from the 20th-Century-Fox-Studios – somebody was spared death. Disclaimer: SW is owned by George Lucas, Lucas Lt. and now Walt Disney ******************************************************************************************************** Prologue: The German folk tale "Rapunzel" by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859) Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 1, Sources: “Do not go gentle into that good night”, a poem by the Welsh poet and writer Dylan Thomas (1914 - 1953) Song “9 crimes” by the Irish musician and song-writer Damien Rice Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 2, Sources: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, a popular English lullaby by Jane and Ann Tyalor Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 3, Sources: “Dies irea”, a Medieval hymnus about Judgement Day Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 4, Sources: Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 5, Sources: "Itsy bitsy spider", a populat English nursery rhyme and finger play Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 6, Sources: Prologue to "King Edward the Fourth" by the English poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake (1757 – 1827) The disease ostia-phromitia was invented by @Briannakin for her SW fanfiction “So Much More Than Fairytales: The Courtship of Prince Bail” Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 7, Sources: Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 8, Sources: Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 9, Sources: Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 10, Sources: Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 11, Sources: The plot of the ballet “Swan Lake” composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893) Several lyrical lines from the Bollywood movie “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” (2001), direcet by Karan Johar Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 12, Sources: An extract from the Fantasy Novel “The Never-ending Story” by the German writer of fantasy and children´s fiction Michael Ende (1929 - 1995) Again several lyrical lines from the Bollywood movie “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” (2001), direcet by Karan Johar A Wicca chant Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 13, Sources: Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 14, Sources: “The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory” – A George MacLeod prayer from the Iona Community Palpatine´s “Declaration of a New Order”, written by Daniel Wallace and Pablo Hidalgo The strategy game “Triominos”, invented by Allan Cowan The board game “Take-it-easy”, invented by Peter Burley The card and stick game “Digit”, invented by ? Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 15, Sources: An altered version of the prayer “All above” by John Birch The lyrics of the song “Boat on the river” by Styx Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 16, Sources: A Wiccan chant An extract from the poem “The Lady of Shalott” by the British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1832) Prayer by Michael James Kitchen, his alternative form is based on the “Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 17, Sources: Quotes from the Fantasy book “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle (1968) One of the frequently paraphrased statements of German philosopher and economist Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia Chapter 18, Sources: Dailywork with the 'Mega Magnets Construction Set' & '3-D Magnet Builders' from the Lakeshore Company at my kindergarten A changed version of 'The Oath of Obedience', first mentioned in the “Riot Trooper” entry in the in-game data bank of the PlayStation 3/ Xbox 360 versions of “STAR WARS: The Force Unleashed II”, a LucasArts video game (2010) Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki Jedipedia, a free German Star Wars-Encyclopaedia ************************************************************************************ Prologue: If it had not been for her flaming red hair, he would not have noticed her. She was but a plain kitchen maid, an average face in the mass of household servants. Besides, he had no interest in females, no matter what species they belonged to. And he was certainly not into males either. Above all he craved power and knowledge. Through the latter, he had observed, he was able to steer single individuals at times. Mandré, for that was her birth name, seemed to be a figure that he could use. And so he started watching her from the shadows. Hours transformed into days. Soon, days turned to weeks and weeks became a series of months. Even though Mandré had friends among the other staff members, she preferred to stay on her own most of the time. During her breaks she liked to spend her time as far away from the property as possible. She would lie down in a meadow and gaze at the clouds passing by in the sky. Or she would sit by the lake, her eyes fixed on the water. During one occasion he found out why Mandré was so quiet and withdrawn from the world now and again. His father had private sessions with her, too. He was not as privileged as he had thought. That was an unexpected surprise and he did not know what to make of it. Judging Mandré´s body language, she got hurt by his father in regions that were not to detect easily. Her service gowns covered all the bruises and cuts from the whip, but he knew them to be there. From his own life-long experiences he also could tell how each inflicted wound felt. He did not feel pity for Mandré. But the curiosity within him rose. Why she get that special treatment, too? She was a nobody. The regular abuse turned her into somebody of means. Not only for his father, but for him as well. He decided to find out who exactly she was. But there was not much to say about Mandré. She was an orphan that got born a couple of months after him. Her birth certificate at least said so. He dug deeper and deeper, but there was nothing of significance about Mandré apart from her cooking skills. And that red mane of hers, that was so much like his own. Frustration turned him moody until he got leverage on Mandré from an unexpected source. It was the way she drew in her breath. How her skin shone. There was an entire story underneath her clothing. One afternoon he caught Mandré in the kitchen garden, collecting salad leaved for dinner. It was a golden autumn day. The sun stood high in the sky. She knelt in the Black Rampion, also known as “Rapunzel” here in Theed. Somewhat feverishly, she dug out a bulb. A keen little rodent, driven by instinct. Before she could bite in, he rose his voice. “You are not really consuming that, are you?” he asked more harshly that he intended to. Startled, Mandré dropped the bulb and rose to her feet. “If you crave a plant like that, you must indeed be pregnant.” Horrified she looked at him, her hand flew to her mouth. “Milord, I...” “I am not here to judge you, but let me break with one Naboo tradition. Who is the father?” Her panic increased. “This is all I want to know. And I should know as heir of House Palpatine, don´t you think?” She was as pale as an eopie now. “Are you assuming that His Lordship...?” “Is Cosinga the father of your child?” he pressed on. Suddenly, Mandré laughed. It was a hysteric laugh and he gazed towards the house, wondering if anybody can heard that sound. When he was about to scold her, her round face turned serious again. “The master is capable of cruelty beyond imagination, but he would not share the pillow with a child of his.” It took him a couple of heartbeats to grasp the meaning of her words. “You are my sister?” he bit out. She nodded, sad and embarrassed alike. “I have a half-sister who is a kitchen maid.” This revelation was as startling as it was hilarious. But it was also strangely liberating. He – Sheev Aurelius Palpatine – was not the only unwanted offspring of his father. Suddenly, there was an obstacle. “He does not know yet, does he?” Tears shimmered in her eyes. “If he comes to know about the child, he will kill it.” “Then we need to make sure that he never does. Together.” Perhaps it was boredom speaking. He was not sure, but suddenly he had a new focus in life. To protect the unborn deep inside his half-sister. It was not the way of the sith, but it felt right to give the child a chance. ******************************************************* “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”, Chapter 1: The first alarm goes off. It is my LCD screen, tuned to a local radio station. The tunes of a so-called “oldie” fill the air. I feel my husband Barin beside me. “Almost there,” I smile without turning around. “Sure!” I hear him answer, his voice drenched with irony. The old Corellian scoundrel knows that I am not a morning person. This comes with being a follower of the ancient moon goddess of my people – the Naboo – I guess. Yawning, I stay in bed and cling on to my pillow. I still have not put up any curtains in my bedroom. This suits my inner clock better. Besides, a Coruscant dawn is a breathtaking sight to behold. It gives the planet-wide city moments of grace and beauty. For some heartbeats there are no grey steel constructions, no industrial pollution, no rigid class system- just the rosy fingers of light stretching and flexing. A sea of serenity and calm that not even the traffic can harm. Yet the blessing of brightness does not reach certain areas of the actual planet-wide metropolis. The lower levels are plunged in darkness. The twilight of the neon signs are not enough to illuminate the minds and hearts of the people who live down there. As most members of the middle class I live at the edge of the abyss. We seldom mix with what is below or above. Literacy and democracy matter to us, not money and power. We believe in life-long learning, are even social to our enemies and all those who try to drag us into the shadows. I turn around to face Barin, but the pillow next to me is empty. Sometimes I forget that he is gone. How foolish of me! It has been three years that the Separatists took him from me, murdered him. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” I mutter. It is a line from one of my most favourite poems. Since my husband’s death it has become a sort of Force mantra to me. The sound of the second alarm – my comm – makes me rise, but not shine. I walk straight into my tiny bathroom unit. Soon sonic pulse vibrations remove dirt, grime and my weariness. ******************************************************************** After the brief shower, I feel more like a human being again. I smile at myself in the mirror. “Good morning, Nagina!” I say. “There you are.” Wrapped in a towel, I leave the bathroom unit and return into my bedroom. There I put on a scarlet tunic and a pair of sneakers. Luckily, there is no dress code at the kindergarten. There was one in the last place that I worked for. I love my current work. My team of fellow teachers is brilliant. The location is a dream: much greenery which is rare here on Coruscant. I go back into the bathroom and bring my brown hair in order as much as possible. My magnificent head of hair is what I always liked best about me. But I do not force it into weird buns, topknots, bobs or chignons like Padmé Amidala does. With my 1.65 meters I am but one centimetre smaller than the very popular Naboo senator and ex-queen. But to my shame I weigh almost double than the frail politician. I must stop eating before I start looking like some Hutt overlord. Sighing, I enter the kitchen and walk straight to the refrigeration unit. I open it and my hand moves towards the blue milk. But then I think better of it and reach for the chocolate milk container. I heat my drink while listening to more songs of the local radio station – Radio Free Coruscant. In between they are interrupted by dire news from the front line. A third alarm goes off. It is personal text message from my colleague Shakti. “Remember the observation files! You need to talk to some parents soon. Let us check out the data together. Hugxxx” Cursing, I put down my mug. I will be seriously late for work if I stand around here glued to my hot chocolate and Anakin Skywalker, “the hero without fear”. The mug bears his illustration. I got it in a cheap gift shop recently, when I looked up something for my kindergarten group. The children love him as much as I do, but for totally different reasons. With forty I should be ashamed anyway falling for a much, much younger man. Besides, he is no match to Barin, my deceased husband. Quickly, I clean the mug that is smeared with the evidence of my not-so-secret chocolate addiction. “Come to the dark side!” I smirk. “For we have all the chocolate.” My uncle would strongly disagree here. He leads a rather austere life. With no chocolate in it. ******************************************************************** As I walk out of my building complex I carefully scan my surroundings. In my neighbourhood we have some jokers selling death sticks just opposite the building complex that I live in. The dealers are a street gang of fourteen kids. The youngest one is eleven and the oldest one is barely seventeen. I can see them quite clearly each time when I look out of the living-room window. Nine humans, a Wookiee whose gender I do not know, a Miraluka female, a Nagai male and a species that I cannot name. But it is definitely male, has green skin and an ape-like face. Anyway, to me the gang has done no harm with their electric tasers. Not yet. Praying to the Goddess of Safety or even to divine Shiraya herself just buys me precious time. I have this ugly certainty: Sooner or later I will have another near-death experience. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” I speak softly under my breath, drawing courage from the words. There is no sign of the youth gang to be seen. I walk on, spotting familiar faces here and there. My next door neighbour walks by, her pittin running ahead of her happily. I wave at them and while I do so, I walk straight into another pedestrian. Very artfully, I drop my bag, which does me the unwanted favour of opening immediately. The lunch box, my water bottle, a story book and a myriad of children paintings spread all over the pavement. And I join them. I end up on my back with my legs spread wide. But instead of killing me three times over, the tall Falleen just smiles at me sweetly. He wears an exclusive robe, which proves he does not live in this area. “Excuse me, milady,” he booms with a deep voice. “I am deeply sorry. I did not see you coming.” Dizzy from the intense gaze of his lavender eyes, I run a hand over my now reddened face. “If you would allow me to help you out of this unfortunate situation, milady.” I nod – perplexed at the huge, yet well manicured claws that dangle before me. The exact moment we touch, his green skin turns into orange-scarlet. I blink hastily. “Are you alright, milady?” he asks. A wet tongue touches my left ankle. I yelp and this sound gets answered happily by the over-excited pittin that is at my side suddenly. So is my neighbour, his Twilek mistress. “Nagina?” Aola Auvapgajopipes up, visibly anxious as her twitching lekku tell me. “Shall I walk you back into the house and call a Jedi healer?” The eyes of the Falleen darken for a brief heartbeat at the word “Jedi”. “No, I am okay,” I manage to say. “But I am running late for the kindergarten.” “Ah,” the Falleen muses and his facial colour deepens. “You are a caretaker. How nice. It must be fulfilling to work with the little ones. Shiny, happy faces all day long.” I am not sure what to say so I grin like some sort of idiot instead of rolling my eye. Aola watches the Falleen nervously, especially when he says, “Let me give you a ride to your working place.” I know better than to have a ride with a total stranger. “No, thank you,” I speak with as much dignity as I can muster. “There is my ride already.” The Falleen does not gaze at the public transporter as I do. He bows deeply, his eyes still lingering on me. “Take good care, milady. I am sure we meet again.” With the elegance of his reptile race, the Falleen disappears into the now somewhat busier traffic. His pony tail makes a bobbing movement. My neighbour reaches out for my cheek. “You look as if you have seen death itself, child.” “That was Prince Xizor,” I stutter. Aola usually has bright pinkish skin. Now it looks somewhat paler. As a Twilek woman she has heard about him. “Are you sure?” “The Force is my witness,” I get out. The public transporter honks at us. The passengers inside look cross with me. “Please join us!” calls the somewhat desperate pilot. “We are running behind schedule.” Aola and I exchange a quick look of concern. Public transporters never wait for any individual. I have a bad feeling about this. ******************************************************************** (To be continued!) * For this update I used a song by Damien Rice: "9 crimes". Due to watching "Interstellar" with my husband the poem "Rage, rage, against the dying of the light" by Dylan Thomas also clung to my head.