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Saga Tales from the Lars Homestead - Part 5 (Update 12/29)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by gaarastar58, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, oh, oh. That ending. :_| I just about have no words either, which is rare for me. You've done such an amazing job portraying everyone's emotions and reactions throughout this whole thing—again, I know so much of it comes from your own work and experience—and now we see the ultimate emotional reaction from each member of the family at the terrible, expected-unexpected news. Ah, it takes no less than this to bring out Lef's tenderer side! :_| @};-

    Loved Gredda's conversation with Cliegg, too—her willingness to spend a moment just with him, to let him know he's on her mind too, even amid all the concern over Ed. And her counsel to him is right on target: so often when we turn to self-blame it's in a desperate attempt to find some sort of target or focus for our anger at a situation. Plus, it's a tendency everyone has in such a situation, and that the best remedy is to stick together and carry on.

    Sorry I missed this when it was updated a few weeks back; it's lovely to see it continuing, and I will be eager to see how it wraps up. Don't keep us waiting too long, please! @};-
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    I am glad you where back, because a LIKE of @Findswoman brought me in here.

    Your update is hauntingly beautiful and touches me very, very deeply. For many reasons. It was not only your power as a story teller - seanchaí (and I bet "seanchaidh" for you as a Scots person). Or the way you do incredible character building.

    I lost my former best friend under dire circumstances in the end of August.

    My best woman lost her baby pre-maturely just one day before my dad lost his fight against death in a hospital bed.

    When I read your story, a poem from my time at a German grammar school came to mind. It is from the German-Jewish poet Nelly Sachs (1891 - 1970), who was born here in Berlin, but died in Stockholm. The poem is called:


    dort wo Kinder sterben
    werden die leisesten Dinge heimatlos.
    Der Schmerzensmantel der Abendröte
    darin die dunkle Seele der Amsel
    die Nacht heranklagt –
    kleine Winde über zitternde Gräser
    die Trümmer des Lichtes verlöschend
    und Sterben säend –

    dort wo Kinder sterben
    verbrennen die Feuergesichter
    der Nacht, einsam in ihrem Geheimnis –
    Und wer weiß von den Wegweisern
    die der Tod ausschickt:
    Geruch des Lebensbaumes,
    Hahnenschrei der den Tag verkürzt
    Zauberuhr vom Grauen des Herbstes
    in die Kinderstuben hinein verwunschen –
    Spülen der Wasser an die Ufer des Dunkels
    rauschender, ziehender Schlaf der Zeit –

    dort wo Kinder sterben
    verhängen sich die Spiegel der
    mit einem Hauch,
    sehen nicht mehr den Tanz der
    in Kinderblutatlas gekleidet;
    Tanz der Stille steht

    wie eine im Fernglas
    mondentrückte Welt

    dort wo Kinder sterben
    werden Stein und Stern
    und so viele Träume heimatlos.

    There is a beautiful website, that gives a beautiful translation of the poem. It is run by © Catterel and Catherine Sommer (2013). You should visit that place and leave a comment there. She deserves all credits for her careful transfer of Nelly Sachs work into the English language.

    Anyway, the way you did portray the inevitable loss that Cliegg is going to suffer, the hopelessness of it, the fading future of all that could have been and the overwhelming memories should deserve you at least one award of this year´s fan fic award.

    You did not write the scene slushy or redundant. It was pure, raw emotion, well channelled into fitting words! Check your family tree line if Thomas the Rhymer is not one of your ancestors.
  3. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    Thanks @Findswoman, @AzureAngel2, @Chyntuck and @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha for your lovely words, it means so much to me that you have enjoyed the story so far and I hope you like the conclusion. I really enjoyed writing this story, not least because it involved fleshing out a page from the wook that was literally a sentence long and turning it into a story which I ended up being very happy with. I'm glad that it hasn't come across as being overly sentimental as I've tried to keep the story grounded in reality. The main reason it took so long to get back to was because I'd originally written an exchange in the previous chapter between Lef and Cliegg which I just wasn't happy with. It didn't ring true and was just a little twee for my taste, so I left it alone for a while until I could come up with something better. Similarly the final chapter was a struggle to get finished, but I'm very happy to say the story is now complete. Enjoy!

    Part VI

    It was a solemn group that gathered outside the Lars homestead two days later to say goodbye to Ed. Cliegg stood watching the brilliant flashes of light as speeders came over the horizon, lining up in ranks near the domed entrance to the compound. The group was a mixture of moisture farmers and residents of Tosche station, nearly all of whom had children who had known Ed. The community around Anchorhead was tightknit and when tragedy touched one of them everyone gathered around to offer their support.

    Cliegg stood back from the main group which was gathered around the vaporator at the centre of the compound, heads bowed respectfully, talking in low voices. Gredda bustled about in the kitchen fetching drinks for the guests. Cliegg thought it was very unfair that she had to organise anything after everything she had been though, but Gredda actually seemed to like having something to keep her busy. Since that first wild outburst when they had heard that Ed had died she had entered a state of quiet acceptance which Cliegg found almost as frightening.

    Dr Coplun had come by the house the day after and he took some time to explain what had happened. Apparently Ed had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Coplun had done his best to revive him but there was nothing to be done. In a way Cliegg felt glad. The awful choice no longer mattered. He felt sickened at himself for thinking such a horrible thing, but he couldn’t help it. Much as he hated to admit it Lef had been right. Ed would never have wanted to live his life like that.

    He watched the younger kids drifting around the compound, looking stiff and uneasy in their best clothes. Ed would have hated this. He was always so full of life and energy, he would have hated this quiet dignified farewell. Cliegg still could not believe that he was never going to see his little brother again. He would never have to tell him to turn his music down or tidy away his model starfighters from the kitchen table. He would never walk into the dining room to find Ed’s face peeking out from behind his morning cup of chai, a cheeky grin beaming from beneath his mop of fair hair. Cliegg clung to those memories of Ed, acutely aware that they were all he would ever have of his brother. There would be no new memories, which made the ones he had all the more precious.

    The group began to break up, heading towards the stairs. Reluctantly Cliegg followed them, using his crutches to make his way up the long flight of steps and across to where Lef had erected a small plain marker carved from anvilstone tough enough to survive even the harshest of Tatooine’s storms. It bore the simple legend:

    Edern Lars

    Beloved Son and Brother

    Cliegg felt a smile tug at his lips. Ed would have killed them if he’d known they were going to use his full name on the marker. He’d always hated the name Edern.

    Once everyone was assembled, Lef moved to the front of the group. He stood alongside the grave marker with his back to the vast dune sea. ‘Today we lay my youngest son to rest. I never expected to make a speech like this, I guess I always reckoned I would be in the ground long before either of my sons. I’m not much for words so I’ll keep this short. Ed… Ed was my son.’ He paused and looked at Gredda. ‘We loved him, and he reached out and touched so many people around him and I’m grateful to see so many people come out here today to honour his memory. I think Ed would’ve been pleased, although he always was a bit of a menace at most gatherings we brought him to.’

    A few quiet chuckles rippled around the group. Many of the women were weeping and Cliegg was surprised to see that even a few of the tough outback men were crying too.

    ‘Our lives will never be the same now, but we will always be a family of four. I’d like it if, after you leave here today, you continue to talk about Ed. Laugh at the terrible jokes he made up and share your experiences of him and treasure your memories so that he is never forgotten.’ Lef’s voice wavered, just for a moment. He took a deep breath and composed himself. Kneeling down he placed a hand on the small grave marker. ‘I know that wherever he is, it’s become a better place, with more laughter and mischief.’

    One by one the group filed past and touched the marker, silently bidding farewell to Ed. Lef strode away, disappearing into the compound. Cliegg went after him, hobbling down the steps as best he could. About halfway down he heard the sound of metal crashing against metal. He stopped and listened. The sound repeated. It was coming from the direction of the workshop.

    Cliegg hovered in the door, listening to the sounds. He heard his father’s heavy breathing and then the discordant clang of metal on metal. Peering round the corner he saw his father standing with an iron bar in his hand. Raising the bar over his head he smashed it down again and again on the defective moisture vaporator he had dragged there days earlier. The vaporator lay in pieces, cooling rods buckled and bent, intake coupling lying several feet away broken to pieces. More blows rained down on the battered machine until it was smashed beyond any hope of repair. Dropping the bar, Lef slid to the ground, holding his head in his hands.

    Slowly Cliegg retreated back up the staircase, trying to make as little noise as possible. The other guests were coming down now. They stepped to one side to let him past. He kept his eyes on the ground, pretending to be intent on where he was putting his crutches, but really to hide his tears.

    A cool wind snagged in his hair as he made his way towards the grave marker. He tried to come up with some words of his own but his mind was blank. He didn’t want to say goodbye to his brother yet. Looking around he spotted a lone figure standing near the edge of the sink-hole. Drying his eyes on his sleeve, Cliegg hobbled over to him.

    ‘Hey Myko.’

    The boy turned around. He had startlingly blue eyes that were red and puffy from crying. Cliegg had seen him around Tosche station and knew that he and Ed had been at school together.

    ‘Hey Cliegg. How’s your leg?’

    ‘It’ll heal.’

    ‘I guess.’

    Cliegg looked down at the courtyard. ‘Did you come with your folks?’

    ‘They didn’t want me to come. I had to hitch a ride,’ said Myko with a sheepish smile.

    Looking at the boy now, Cliegg realised he was fighting to hold back his tears. His face cracked, folding in on itself and he turned away. Sobs shook the boy’s small shoulders. Reaching out with one hand, Cliegg placed a hand on his shoulder and suddenly something in the back of his mind clicked.

    ‘It was you, wasn’t it? I knew Ed was going into Tosche Station to see someone but I figured… I figured it was a girl.’

    Myko turned to look at Cliegg, his face streaming, all puffed up with grief. ‘I couldn’t tell anybody. I tried telling my folks but they didn’t understand.’

    Cliegg gathered the boy in for a hug. ‘That little kriffer. He never said anything. How long has this been going on for?’

    Myko shrugged. ‘I dunno. A while. It just sort of… happened.’

    They sat at the edge of the crater together, their legs dangling over the edge, just like Cliegg and Ed used to do when they were kids. The group below milled around, talking in low voices. ‘Ed would have hated this,’ said Cliegg suddenly, and Myko nodded in agreement. Before he knew what he was doing, Cliegg was telling the younger boy about a gathering two seasons ago where Ed had somehow managed to turn the whole occasion into chaos. Before long they were swapping stories about Ed and laughing their heads off. It didn’t take long for some of the other Anchorhead kids to gravitate towards the sound of laughter rather than the sombre atmosphere in the crater, and soon there was a long row of feet dangling over the edge of the sink-hole, their owners all trading memories of Ed with each other.

    ‘Y-you should have seen Ed’s face when he figured out why all those giska were following him around,’ Cliegg gasped at the conclusion a particularly memorable story.

    ‘You were a terrible brother!’ said Myko.

    ‘Not a terrible brother, just a terrible person,’ said Cliegg with a snort. ‘You don’t even know half the pranks I used to pull on him. And he pulled a fair few on me too.’

    He looked along at the line of kids, all of whom had known Ed in some way, all brought together by their shared memories of him, and he realised that this was the send-off his brother would have preferred. Looking past the group to the domed homestead entrance, he saw Lef watching them from the shadows. For a moment their eyes met, and Cliegg wished there was some way he could bring his father over to join the group, but he knew deep down that the old desert farmer would refuse. There was a gulf between them which Cliegg didn’t know how to bridge.

    ‘I’m scared I’m gonna forget him,’ he said quietly to Myko. Somehow it felt okay to admit it to him, even though they barely knew each other. Having Ed in their lives had brought them together and he knew instinctively that if anyone was going to understand it would be Myko.

    ‘I think it’s okay to be scared,’ admitted the fair haired boy. ‘But so long as we keep talking about Ed he won’t really be gone, will he?’

    Cliegg nodded. No more new memories. Just memories. He glanced back at the dome, knowing even before he looked that his father had disappeared from view. ‘Yeah. I guess that’s true. I just can’t imagine what life will be like without having him around.’

    ‘Me either. I guess we’ve just gotta take it one day at a time.’

    The group below was starting to break up. Farmers and citizens of Anchorhead made their way back to their vehicles, not wanting to risk travelling at dusk and take the risk of encountering a band of Tusken Raiders or getting caught in one of the flash sandstorms that could whip up out of seemingly nowhere. Soon the compound would echo once more with the silence of a family of four now reduced to three.

    ‘Just gotta take it one day at a time,’ said Cliegg.


    The horizon shimmered as the first sun climbed higher into the sky. It would soon be followed by the second and then by the scorching heat of the day. Owen mentally checked off a list of things he needed to do today. Life on the farm had always been a struggle, but with the loss of Shmi and with his father unable to work, he had to shoulder the burden of keeping the place running. He felt tired to his bones, as if the corrosive desert sands had hollowed him from the inside out. He was about to step down into the domed building that served as an entrance to the homestead when he heard a soft call from behind him. Turning, he saw his father moving towards him slowly, the repulsor unit of his hover-chair kicking up a slight trail of dust behind him.

    ‘I’ll come down with you,’ he said, looking up at Owen through eyes that looked like they belonged to a two-hundred year old man. Owen had long ago come to the realisation that he loved his father, but that he would never understand him. The only person who ever had was Shmi.

    ‘Beru’s making breakfast,’ said Owen.

    ‘She’s a good girl,’ said Cliegg. He sighed and glanced back towards the grave markers, face tightening. Before Shmi’s death Owen could never have imagined his father crying. Seeing tears in the old farmer’s eyes was scarier than desert storms or Tusken Raiders. It touched a place deep inside him that still saw his dad through the eyes of a boy.

    ‘There’s so much I want to tell you,’ said Cliegg, his voice thick. ‘I just don’t know where to start.’

    Owen took a steadying breath. ‘I miss her too.’

    Cliegg turned his wizened eyes on his son. ‘I know. And I know you want to talk, but I can’t. Not yet.’

    The sun was higher in the sky now, throwing its light across the desert, chasing after the shadows in the deep recesses of Cliegg’s face. A shimmer of heat was already forming on the sand in the distance but the four small grave markers stood unwavering and dark against the gleaming white sand.

    ‘Tell me about him then. Edern.’

    For a moment Cliegg hesitated, but then a smile flinched at the corner of his mouth. ‘Okay. I guess the first thing I should tell you is that nobody ever called him Edern. He always hated it. We just called him Ed.’

    ‘I know Beru would like to hear about him too.’

    Cliegg reached out a hand and patted his son’s arm. Once his hands had been tough but they felt frail on Owen’s muscular forearm. They were the hands of an old man, he realised, although he had never thought of his father as old before. Together they entered the domed building. Before he descended the steps Cliegg glanced back and smiled at something out near the grave of his little brother. Owen squinted his eyes and looked past him, but whatever it was it had clearly been something only his father could see.

    ‘One day at a time,’ murmured Cliegg, said, turning his hover-chair and following his son down the steps into the house.

    The End
    Chyntuck and Findswoman like this.
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    Very beautiful and moving "sendoff". Very true that the best way to keep someone in your life after they're gone is to not stop talking about them, to share the happy memories, even if you cannot do that right away. I love how you include at the end how Owen sees his father and how Cliegg is after so long a time. [face_thinking] You can tell the missing is still there but so is the acceptance and even though it's hard, the sharing.

    Findswoman likes this.
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    A very poignant ending to this very poignant tale. You set up such a striking contrast between the stiffness and formality of the funeral, the gravestone, the speeches, etc. and the living memories and reminiscences and laughter of those present, particularly the young folk who knew Ed especially closely. Add to that Lef's moment of catharsis after his speech, which is such a striking contrast to both. So many ways of expressing grief, as many as there are people, really! And you've shown such a very sensitive understanding of that fact not just in this chapter but throughout this entire story.

    And now, of course, one mystery is solved: we know whom Ed had gone to see that time. I love that Cliegg and Myko get a chance to chat, reminisce, and bond together here, though it's incredibly sad that it took Ed's funeral for that to happen.

    The return to the story's opening frame—Cliegg's reminiscences with Owen about his brother—brings things full circle in a beautiful way, though in a way even just the reiteration of Ed's epitaph earlier in the chapter—"Beloved Son and Brother"—does that too. I love this final conversation between the two Larses. Cliegg is still grappling with his grief, even now, to the point where Owen can see the emotion and vulnerability peeking through that tough moisture-farmer exterior; it's a moment as frightening as it is beautiful, for both of them. For both of them it will just be a matter of taking things one day at a time, just as Myko said back then; it's all anyone can do, and they'll have each other in the process.

    Congratulations on finishing this up! You've done such an amazing job capturing the depth and breadth of the characters' emotions here, with sensitivity and grace all the way through. Bravissimo. =D=