Ring of Fire - The Final Story in Anakin's Saga - Author's final replies and goodbyes 2/23

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by geo3, Jan 18, 2005.

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  1. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    My dear readers,

    Well, I didn?t think it would happen, but here I am beginning another story in the ?Anakin?s Saga? series after all. It?s a follow-on to Winds of Change and takes place in that universe just a few weeks after the earlier story ends, carrying our Anakin just that much further along the path to his ultimate fate.

    Those of you who followed the story ?A Singular Touch of Grace,? that leia_naberrie and I began but never completed, will recognize the time frame, setting, and some of the newer characters. What I have done here is to take that story, which threatened to become a sprawling epic, and given it a smaller, tighter focus. In order to do this I?ve had to make some changes in the plotlines. The other major change is that I've turned it back into primarily Anakin?s story rather than Padmé?s. Somehow, I?d felt that he was missing from the other story in many important ways.

    Despite those changes, I have opted to re-use some of the material that I contributed to the joint story, so I apologize in advance for those portions that you?ve seen before. Still, there are only a few such scenes, and the rest is, I promise, new and fresh.

    I am indebted to leia_naberrie for her permission to carry on with the story in any way I see fit, for her insights into the character of Bail Organa that really brought him to life for me, and for the characters of the ?Good Seven? conspirators.

    For those who don?t know the previous stories, here is a very brief picture of the world we?re entering in this story:


    The Clone Wars have begun. The Galaxy is in turmoil. At the heart of the conflict sits the dual figure of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, spinning his endless webs of strife and deceit.

    A few brave souls in the Senate, led by Padmé Amidala of Naboo and her trusted friend Bail Organa, have banded together to find ways to oppose Palpatine?s inexorable rise to ultimate power. The two recruited five more Senators to their cause. Padmé was on her way to the first meeting of the conspirators on Alderaan when their plan was discovered. The conspirators dispersed and Padmé fled to Naboo where Palpatine had her arrested and placed in the hands of the Jedi for safekeeping until she could be tried and executed for treason.

    In the meantime, with some meddling from Palpatine, Anakin left the Jedi Order under a cloud of mutual suspicion and hostility without ever having achieved his Knighthood. In order to save Padmé?s life Anakin made a ?Devil?s Bargain? with Palpatine that placed him in the exclusive service of the Supreme Chancellor. Only after he made the bargain did Anakin come to understand that Palpatine was more that he seemed. But there was no going back.

    Protected from Palpatine?s wrath only by Anakin?s bargain, Padmé has been reinstated as Senator to the Naboo System, although without Palpatine?s support both she and the planetary system she represents are severely weakened politically. Anakin has become Chancellor Palpatine?s chief enforcer, and must go where he is sent, when he is sent. He and Padmé never know how much time they will have together. Their marriage has become a matter of public knowledge; Padmé?s pregnancy, which is still in its early stages, is known only to herself and Anakin and a select few confidantes.


    The new story is called ?Ring of Fire,? and it begins below. I hope you enjoy it!


    Affectionately yours,

    geo3





  2. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Prologue


    Firestones were an interesting geological phenomenon.

    They appeared only rarely in the Galaxy. Most were mined on a small cluster of moons around an uninhabited planet in an obscure system somewhere near the Minos cluster, where the dull, dirt-colored stones lined the walls of deep subterranean caves. Extracting them was costly and dangerous and would never be attempted if it weren?t for a particular property of these stones that gave them an open-market price beyond the rarest gemstones.

    Firestones seemed to respond to thought.

    Even the most primitive sentients could make the stones glow slightly by thinking about them, and in the few cultures that had evolved with access to the stones, their primary use had been to provide a kind of pale light. A more powerful mind could make that glow brighter or dimmer with a little concentrated effort. Magicians and sorcerers had used firestones to impress their intended audiences for centuries, as had entertainers. Rumor and a few erudite academic studies posited that very highly trained minds, like those of the Jedi, could make the stones burst into a visible flame. Most people never got to see that phenomenon, of course. Jedi were not prone to giving demonstrations.

    Still, that ?flame-light? property of firestones was all the more remarkable because those dancing flames gave off light without heat. Firestone flames could be made to burn on skin without causing the slightest sensation, or on a fine piece of silk without leaving the tiniest mark. It wasn?t a process of chemical combustion that made firestones burn; they seemed to respond to much more subtle qualities of matter. It was, people said, like seeing the power of the mind made visible.

    Needless to say, it was fashionable throughout the Galaxy for the wealthy to own at least one firestone, whether or not they could make it perform. It was enough that the stones were rare and remarkable, and very, very expensive.

    Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the war-torn Republic?s duly elected leader, owned a large collection of firestones.

    Most of them had come to him as gifts. The Chancellor?s office regularly received official gifts of such number and variety that a separate bureau existed within the administrative structure of the Senate to manage the influx. Official gifts of any value were accepted on behalf of the Republic and then indexed and stored as part of the assets belonging to the Senate. Personal gifts to the Chancellor were actively discouraged in the democratic Republic as inappropriate attempts to curry favor. More subtle ways had to be found to garner influence and power.

    And yet, over the long years during which he he?d held the office of Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine had managed to gather quite an extraordinary private collection of the finest firestones. Each homely, mottled gray stone had been shaped carefully into a modest oval that fit comfortably into the palm of a human hand. He kept them in a priceless antique votive bowl from his native Naboo, as one of the very few ornaments in his Senate office. Visitors often eyed them curiously, but no demonstrations of the stones? capacities had ever been given.

    The stones were well used, though. In his private moments Chancellor Palpatine often spent time arranging and re-arranging firestones in patterns that had meaning only to him. He delighted in the knowledge that the true power of firestones, like that of so many other arcane phenomena, was perfectly hidden in plain sight. While to most people in the Galaxy firestones remained benign toys for the primitive or the privileged, to the few who understood their true nature the stones were a source of limitless illumination of the very essence of the universe ? the Force. A useful tool, in other words, for the knowledgeable.

    Knowledge was power. He had the knowledge.

    Thoughtfully Palpatine chose a firestone from the bowl and set it on the bare, polished desktop before him. Then he added another, and another, until he had arranged all the stones from the bowl in a
  3. leia_naberrie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2002
    star 4
    Congratulations, my dear friend for starting this. As one of your more... fanatical readers ;) I am truly, deeply :p delighted to see you writing on Anakin's Saga again. As a reader, I know that I am in very safe hands with you.
  4. GunraysLawyer Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    Well, Theodore Roosevelt once said that he'd walk from the White House to The Capitol on his knees to "see Mr. (Elihu) Root {Secretary of War, later Secretary of State, and a U.S. Senator from New York} inaugrated President," but luckily, all I have to do log-on and voila, more from Geo3. I had almost begun to lose hope!


    As for the post itself, interesting...I like it, even if I am totally unsure were you're going with it. Must not have read it closely enough.

    See you later...

    GL ;)
  5. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    Wow, leia_naberrie and GunraysLawyeryou two are amazing! You managed to jump in before I finished posting properly! Thanks so much for your faith in me.

    Gunray, my friend, all is well. The Prologue is meant to be a mysterious teaser, although all will be revealed in time. Perhaps it will help if I actually put up the first part of the first chapter... which I had intended to do anyway. You just got here first!



    Chapter 1. The Rescue (Part 1)



    Anakin liked traveling at sublight speed.

    He liked standing in front of the viewscreen, staring into the blackness outside. The stars were there, to be sure, but what seemed much more compelling lately was the dark void in between. It was vast. It was boundless. It went on forever.

    Anakin found it soothing to contemplate the untrammeled freedom of infinite space.

    He took a deep, quiet breath. A powerful breath. A breath that seemed to begin at his toes and rose through his legs and stomach and lungs like a column of pure fire, filling him with the familiar shiver that said he was not only alive but wholly alive; a pulsing, everlasting flame in the darkness. The sensation told him that if he chose, he could spread himself out infinitely, filling up that darkness, animating it, lighting it, shaping it to his will, and yet losing nothing of himself.

    He could, if he chose. The flame visualization told him that the power was his.

    But not now. He had obligations. Instead of losing himself in the meditation, he contented himself for the moment with the sensation of greater ease and awareness. Of effortless dominion over his surroundings.

    Someone was coming up behind him. Hesitantly. Anakin altered his focus without moving his body at all.

    ?Yes, Captain?? he said to the stars outside.

    ?We have picked up an all points distress call from a diplomatic vessel. The call sign belongs to a Galactic Senator. Apparently the Delegation is being attacked by a group of unmarked ships??

    ?Which Senator?? Anakin snapped, turning around so suddenly that the startled Captain of the Star Destroyer Victorious, a veteran of many battles, flinched. ?What delegation??

    ?The Alderaan Delegation, My Lord? ah ...? He corrected himself quickly. ?Commander.?

    Anakin snapped back to the window. ?Fools,? he spat, to cover up the intense surge of relief that shook him to his core. ?They never travel with enough protection, even in wartime. I suppose we?d better help them out.?

    ?Aye, Commander. On your order.?

    ?How far?? Anakin continued to stare out into the blackness.

    ?We can be there in a quarter of an hour.?

    ?Halve that. And don?t announce that we?re coming. In fact, have all ships go to stealth mode.?

    ?Yes, Commander!? The Star Destroyer?s Captain sounded relieved. He turned smartly and headed briskly back along the raised walkway to the command bridge. Anakin smiled into the blackness outside, aware without trying to be that the man was forcing himself not to look as though he was scurrying away. But he was.

    Anakin didn?t blame the officer for not knowing how to address him. He barely knew what to call himself.

    The Star Destroyer Victorious was the lead ship in a battle group whose mission was to patrol the main traffic corridors in the galaxy?s Core as the tides of war shifted closer and closer to the heart of the Galaxy. Anakin had been dispatched to her four weeks before as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine?s personal emissary. No one knew exactly why. He had arrived without a title and never wore a uniform, but the order had spread quickly from the top down: ?Skywalker is in command for as long as he?s there.?

    The lights around him dimmed, and a complex network of dampeners muffled the normal sounds throughout the battleship. The constant murmur of voices on the bridge dropped to muted whispers. The Star Destroyer was traveling dark, as he had ordered.

    Any gossip and speculation about the mysterious emissary?s background, his surprising youth, his unexplained connection to the Supreme Chancellor, a
  6. Jazz_Skywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2002
    star 4
    Yes! I'm thrilled you're back with what appears to be a very promising story! I absolutely love the way you've written Anakin.

    Upsies!

    JS
  7. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Ahh brilliant my freind! Looking forward to see where your muse leads... :)
  8. VadersMistress Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 6
    Brilliant beginning! I can't wait to see what happens next.
  9. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Off to a great start. Thus far, Anakin is all but Darth Vader in name.

    --MissPadme
  10. Mr_Boba_Jango Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 3
    Nice! :) Great to have you back!
  11. Mjsullivan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 3
    Ah, the old "destroy all six attack ships with no warnings" method, eh? I agree with MissPadme - Anakin's definitely letting his Vader side out ;) You wrote him very well here. I cant wait to read more.

    Good start, Geo!
  12. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Can't let this fall away so soon... A lot of geo's fan's don't know she's started a new work!
  13. VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2004
    star 8
    Okay, I'm hooked! Thank you for the PM; I would have hated to miss this one! :D
  14. Indra Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2003
    star 3
    This is great! I'm really glad I clicked on it. Your characterisation of Anakin is outstanding, the dialogue very good and the description, which is always a tricky point, extremely interesting. I love the prologue. Although it consists entirely of descriptions, it's full of suspense, because you simply want to know what it is about the stones. I'm very interested where this will be going. Extremely well written. =D=
  15. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    Very brooding opening with intriguing character description. Good job.

    Please do not advertise your story in others' stories. It's incredibly rude.
  16. qingauk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2002
    star 4
    Oh yes this is going to be a good one! Another great Geo3 story to enjoy! I too was curious about the prologue but I see a connnection in the first paragraphs.. most creative my dear!
    Keep up the good work and don't forget to PM me!!
  17. Lando_Plenty Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2002
    star 2
    Yay! New story! Wonderfully detailed characterisation of Anakin, as always.
    ?I don?t care how you do it. Just get it done.? [face_devil] (for lack of a Darth Vader icon.. ;) )
  18. stacysatrip Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 4
    I'm so glad to see you writing again, geo3. Thanks for the PM. As always, your characterization of Anakin is spot-on. Can't wait to read more!
  19. rhonderoo Former Head Admin

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2002
    star 9
    Great start!!! Anakin as cold/calculating...you can almost hear the breathing. [face_worried]
  20. geo3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2002
    star 4
    No matter how many stories one posts on these Boards, each new one has to make a nerve-wracking beginning, especially if it has been a while since the last story. Winds of Change ended nearly a year ago. I had no expectations that Ring of Fire, its sequel, would begin with anything more than a whisper, but you have all shown me a warm welcome and a willingness to check out whatever I might come up with this time. For this I am truly grateful. I hope you enjoy whatever is to come!

    leia_naberrie As one of your more... fanatical readers I am truly, deeply delighted to see you writing on Anakin's Saga again. As a reader, I know that I am in very safe hands with you.

    Thanks so much for your support and your trust. I hope you?ll keep an eye on my progress here and holler if you think I?m going astray. Notice that I have re-labeled this story as the LAST in Anakin?s Saga. Because it is.

    GunraysLawyer Well, Theodore Roosevelt once said that he'd walk from the White House to The Capitol on his knees to "see Mr. (Elihu) Root {Secretary of War, later Secretary of State, and a U.S. Senator from New York} inaugrated President," but luckily, all I have to do log-on and voila, more from Geo3. I had almost begun to lose hope!

    So had I, I think! In any case, your eager arrival on this thread thrilled me. Thank you!

    jazz_skywalker Yes! I'm thrilled you're back with what appears to be a very promising story! I absolutely love the way you've written Anakin.

    Thanks! *Whew* That?s good news.

    DarthBreezy Ahh brilliant my freind! Looking forward to see where your muse leads...

    Thanks! *cough* Neither can I?. And thanks for the up!

    VadersMistress Brilliant beginning! I can't wait to see what happens next.

    Thank you!

    MissPadme Off to a great start. Thus far, Anakin is all but Darth Vader in name.

    Thanks! At the moment, yes. At the moment.

    Mr_Boba_Jango Nice! Great to have you back!

    Thanks! Same to you!

    Mjsullivan Ah, the old "destroy all six attack ships with no warnings" method, eh? I agree with MissPadme - Anakin's definitely letting his Vader side out You wrote him very well here. I can?t wait to read more.

    Thanks! His Vader side. Yes.

    VaderVR64 Okay, I'm hooked! Thank you for the PM; I would have hated to miss this one!

    Hooray! Thanks for stopping by.

    Indra This is great! I'm really glad I clicked on it. Your characterisation of Anakin is outstanding, the dialogue very good and the description, which is always a tricky point, extremely interesting. I love the prologue. Although it consists entirely of descriptions, it's full of suspense, because you simply want to know what it is about the stones. I'm very interested where this will be going. Extremely well written.

    Thanks so much! And welcome ? it?s always great to see a new reader.

    Moleman 1138 Very brooding opening with intriguing character description. Good job.

    Thank you.

    qinguak Oh yes this is going to be a good one! Another great Geo3 story to enjoy! I too was curious about the prologue but I see a connnection in the first paragraphs.. most creative my dear! Keep up the good work and don't forget to PM me!!

    Clever you! There will be more explanation to come. In time. Thanks for stopping by and I promise to PM you when I update.

    Lando_Plenty Yay! New story! Wonderfully detailed characterization of Anakin, as always.

    Thanks, and welcome! And you?re right, you know. If any place needs a Darth Vader face it?s this one? that devil thing just isn?t going to be enough come EPIII.

    stacysatrip I'm so glad to see you writing again, geo3. Thanks for the PM. As always, your characterization of Anakin is spot-on. Can't wait to read more!

    Thank you, stacy, I?m glad to be back.

    rhonderoo Great start!!! Anakin a
  21. Chenin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2001
    I'm so happy to see another story in this series. Thank you so much for the PM, I've been a bit lax in checking the boards lately and I'm not sure when I would have come across this thread.

    No surprise that it's another brilliant start for you. I just love the way you write Anakin. I can read without fear, knowing that even if it doesn't end happily it will end well written.
  22. LadyZ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2000
    star 4
    WOW! The first two posts are awesomely brilliant- it's exactly my type of story- I know I'll love it! :) :) :) :) :)
  23. Darth_Lex Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2002
    star 4
    Great to see you back, my friend. :D

    Wonderfully mystical and cryptic Prologue. Your Palpatine is the most deliciously diabolical I've ever found in fanfic, so I can't wait to see more of him. [face_devil]

    And then there's your Anakin... Just as in the concluding chapters of WOC, he leaps vividly to life as a young man well on the way to a fall to the dark side, yet still recognizably the road-to-Hell-is-paved-with-good-intentions hero as well. What I like most, though, is the way you instill Anakin with so much of Vader's personality from the OT - without (yet?) the same ruthless darkness. Written this way we can see how Anakin and Vader are at the core the same man (much as in Brother, Mine), and the latter merely a twisted and evil incarnation of the former.

    Looking forward to wherever it is you take us on this last stage of your series. :D
  24. Mr_Black Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2004
    star 1
    I'd like to give a sprawling, in-depth, stream of consciousness reply to this because there are many minute, subtle, and speculative facets here that I want to comment on. But, seeing I just gave one of those for Thwarted Fate (was that a plug? Could it have been? Nah...just whispers in the wind ;)) I need to recharge my litcrit batteries. And yes, that was a thinly veiled compliment. Geo3, my dear, you are an artisan of literature. No matter the medium or the forum, there seems to not be one wasted word in your stories. What else could I do but genuinely appreciate that steadfast dedication/obsessiveness?

    A few quick things:

    Intrigued that Palpatine uses thought/intellect to get in tune with the force, how in character that is for him, and how anti-thetical it is to jedi teachings; "Trust your feelings/control your feelings, etc."

    Love the little aside about Palpatine arranging the stones only in patterns he recognizes. Effortlessly carries the theme of him as the shadow architect/puppet master, and how, in that microcosm of firestone constellations he puts his design and tattoo on galaxy at large. The actions of every person in the story are colored from his pallette.

    That said, I'm not so sure Anakin's flame can be so easily extinguished, Palps. Your overconfidence is your weakness ;).

    PS: For some reason, in this fic and the preceding installments, I always hear pre-suit Dark!Anakin having a vintage Dirty Harry idiolect. Makes for some unintentionally hilarious moments.

    PPS: Are firestones the core element of Sith Sabers that give them such a healthy crimson glow? Just wondering.

    I cherish most every one of your stories, and will endeavor to follow this one closely. Keep on keepin' on Geo.
  25. bobilll Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2002
    star 4
    Hey, great to see this still going! I love the analogies with the firestones so far; it's a really creative way to tie in Palpatine's power and mystique into the plot. Also love the characterization of Anakin so far, definently tending toward the Dark Side and all.
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