Saga Under a Dark Sky: AU, Luke

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jun 21, 2014.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Raissa Baiard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 1999
    star 2
    I told myself I wasn't going to post this until I finished editing "Doran's Place," but I need an incentive to work on this story so here goes.....

    Title: Under a Dark Sky
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Characters: Luke, Leia, Vader, OC's and various canon and EU characters
    Genre: A Dark Luke AU
    Timeline: 0 BBY
    Summary: The young Lord Vader is restless in his life in the Imperial Palace. A mission to intimidate a rebellious Alderaanian princess leads Luke to Tatooine...and questions about his family's past.


    Coruscant, bright center of the Empire, was a glittering gem of a planet whose presence drowned out the all but the brightest of the stars. Seen from space, the Empire's capital was ablaze with a million pinpoints of light. On the surface, Coruscant was almost as bright at midnight as it had been at noon. Ordinary street lamps, glow panels and lighted signs comprised most of the planet's glow, but they were as pale as the far off stars compared to the lights of the Imperial Palace.

    As Coruscant was the heart of the Empire, the Imperial Palace was the heart of Coruscant. The Palace was illuminated every night, bathed in sweeping spotlights that picked out its fine architecture while discouraging the city's less desirable residents from loitering in the shadows. Tonight, in addition to its usual brilliance, fluorescent torches crowned every tower and a row of colored lamps topped the outer wall, transforming the palace into a sparkling, multicolored work of art. The arrival of a stream of polished hovercars and well-dressed dignitaries added to the air of live theater. The effect was spectacular; it was calculated to be so, down to the last flickering glow lamp.

    The scene inside was equally polished and artificially magnificent. Moffs in crisply starched Imperial gray mingled with senators draped in meters of shimmering vine silk. A quartet of Bith musicians, borrowed for the evening from the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, played on a small dais in one corner of the Palace's grand salon, while waiters in spotless livery and serving girls in tastefully scanty dresses served the guests choice morsels from around the Empire. The most prominent names in the Empire threaded their way between stone columns, all smiles as they maneuvered through the Empire's soiree.

    Luke wasn't impressed by any of it.

    He stifled a sigh as he grabbed a tall glass of Alderaanian wine from the nearest waiter's tray and ducked out onto a balcony. The first time Luke had been allowed to attend one of Palpatine's soirees, it had seemed like such an honor. Taking his place at his father's side, being introduced to the moffs and senators, sipping at a glass of hitherto forbidden wine had been the epitome of power and glamour to thirteen-year-old Luke. However, he quickly learned that the veneer of elegance covered a dangerous game. In Palpatine's court, tonight's smiling was likely to having sink those dazzlingly white teeth in your throat tomorrow. No matter what they might say about their devotion to the Empire, every guest at the parties was there in the pursuit of power, and power was measured by your proximity to the Emperor. There were two ways to gain such influence: discredit or destroy someone who had already achieved it, or form an alliance with someone in command. Much to his dismay, Luke found that he fit in neatly with the second type of plans.

    The compliments had started at the very first soiree. The guests praised him as a likely young man who obviously had a great future in store for him. Even at thirteen, Luke had seen enough of the Empire to know that they really didn't care for him one way or another. They only wanted him to put in a good word for them with his father and the Emperor. Things became interesting when Luke learned how to use their insincere admiration to his advantage. His most profitable bit of finagling was getting the prototype of a new starfighter from an overeager shipbuilder, but even those who couldn't afford such extravagant gestures had tokens of their esteem: a dagger of hand-carved whaladon ivory, a matched pair of nek battle dogs, an astromech droid to maintain his ship.

    When Luke grew older, the plans started to take on a new twist. Suddenly, every aspiring general, wealthy merchant and power-hungry senator had a daughter to introduce to Luke. Several of the female senators took new interest in him, too, though they were easily twice his age. He didn't need to use the Force to understand their schemes to secure their future through a liaison with, or better yet marriage to, the Young Lord Vader. Like the parties, the endless stream of beautiful girls was fun at first, but Luke soon realized that no matter how sweetly they cooed or how ardently they professed their love for him, they were all afraid of him.

    The girls who chased after him were intrigued by Luke's strength in the Force in the beginning. It made him exciting and more than a little bit dangerous. Some of them thought he could teach them the ways of the Force, others thought their love could tame him. Eventually, they all realized that Luke's abilities were more than just parlor tricks. He had the power to snap their pretty necks without laying a finger on them. His authority was more than a title; he was, as his father before him, Palpatine's servant. He would do whatever his Emperor asked of him, including snapping their pretty necks. From that moment on, the fear was plain in their faces and their hearts.

    "My Lord Vader?"

    All except one. Luke suppressed a grimace as he turned to the young woman silhouetted in the doorway. "Ysanne," he replied as graciously as he could. The daughter of Palpatine's internal security director, Ysanne Isard was a glacially cunning woman who was determined to gather as much power as she could. She stemmed not to care that Luke could read her intentions plainly; Ysanne wanted him on her leash, his power at her command. Though Ysanne was strong, intelligent, even attractive, in her own icy way, Luke had no intention of allowing her to carry out her plans; he already had a master and no need or desire to serve another.

    Ysanne joined him at the balcony's rail, moving with the grace of a stalking cat. "Enjoying the solitude, Lord Vader?" she asked.

    "I was," Luke answered pointedly. The chill in his voice would have sent most women scampering back into the party. Ysanne just gave him a languid smile, enjoying the challenge. She turned her gaze towards the lights of Coruscant "I can see why you came outside," she remarked. "The view is spectacular." Ysanne leaned forward against the balcony's wrought durasteel rail, as if to get a better look at the cityscape. As she did, she shifted her left shoulder and hip so that they brushed provocatively against Luke. Her hand came to rest on top of his. Ysanne glanced up from the scenery and gave him a smile that did little to disguise the predatory gleam in her eyes.

    Luke froze. This was a far more direct invitation than the cunning woman had offered before. Having her pressed this close to him was both discomforting and strangely attractive. His mind raced as he tried to discern the best way to handle this quandary. Pulling away from Ysanne would reveal his unease; that would be a sign of weakness. To admit weakness was to give control to your opponent. He could not let Ysanne have the upper hand. So, rebuff her advance and risk offending her father, a favorite of the Emperor's, or accept and risk himself?

    He was spared from making the wrong choice by the timely interruption of a serving girl. "Lord Vader? Lord Vader, your father…." The red-haired girl stopped in mid-step when she saw that Luke wasn't alone. She radiated anxiety as she dropped a curtsey and hastily apologized. "I beg your pardon, my Lord, but your father wishes to speak with you."

    Luke straightened with a feigned sigh. "You will excuse me," he told Ysanne.

    "Of course. One doesn't keep the Lord Vader waiting," she replied, giving the unfortunate servant a smoldering look.

    The girl blanched, staring at the other woman wretchedly until Luke commanded her, "Take me to him."

    "That was a nice bit of acting, Mara," Luke murmured as he followed her back into the fray of the party.

    "Thanks," she replied, eyes still downcast, in her role as a timid servant. If anyone had really been watching her though, they would have seen the girl's green eyes sparkle with mischief. "I know how you feel about Iceheart. It seemed the least I could do for the young Lord Vader." Mara's gaze slid sideways to consider Luke. "I don't think she was convinced, though. Do you think she's realized….?" Mara let the question trail off; no sense in saying more than had to be said.

    Luke frowned. Ysanne was clever enough to have noticed that a certain redheaded servant could often be found near the Emperor and his inner circle. She might even have deduced that Mara Jade was more than she appeared. But had she learned to what extent? There was no point playing sabacc with a skifter if everyone knew you had it. This was something he needed to consider, something he needed to discuss with his father.

    Luke picked his way through the crowd in the grand salon. Some of the guests tried to sidetrack him, but Mara kept him from being drawn too deeply into their conversations. After a few moments of superficial chitchat, she would fidget at his side and whisper anxiously, "My Lord, your father awaits…" It was simple then for Luke to make his apologies and go. No one wanted to chance annoying Darth Vader.

    On the far side of the salon was a narrow, dimly lit hallway, which was partially concealed by a large hanging tapestry. It was easily overlooked amidst the glamour of the Emperor's soiree. If anyone had wandered down the hall out of curiosity, they would have found a single plain durasteel door. It looked like a supply closet, unassuming enough to turn back all but the most curious partygoer. Luke was one of only a few who knew that it concealed not a simple maintenance hatch, but a small, seldom used private study. He had discovered it several years ago, and it had become a sanctuary from the press of the crowd at Palpatine's parties. He checked once to make sure no one had followed him and Mara, then slid the door open.

    The study was already occupied. A young woman sat in one of the nerf-hide chairs, her sleek, dark head bent over one of the ancient tomes that lined the room's shelves. She was dressed in a simple black gown that seemed to make her one with the shadows. The lady in black looked up at the quiet whir of the opening door. "Oh, there you are, Mara," she commented tartly. "I might have known you'd be with my brother."
    Last edited by Raissa Baiard, Aug 8, 2014
  2. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Oh, I like this =D= You have AU Luke's voice and personality just right :cool: [face_dancing] on having Mara in the mix. Will eagerly follow this one. [face_batting]
  3. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    Love. Love. Love. Great description of the Imperial court and how Luke feels about his role in it.

    Is this new or one of your old fics from way back when? Because I remember your AU Mara - at least I think I do - and how brilliant the story I read was.
  4. taramidala Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    Oooh, I don't remember this one (if you posted it before, that is)! I'm intrigued. And in love. Dark!Luke, and even more interesting, Dark!Leia!! I can't wait to see where you go with this.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  5. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    This looks like a fascinating AU. Somehow, I wasn't expecting Leia. Yay! :D And Luke is a nice mix of gloomy Sith and spoiled royal -- with just enough hints that he's got some traces of his canon personality. The depiction of his miserable social/romantic life gives us a bit of insight into how he's different and similar to himself; he doesn't mind having power and wealth, but doesn't care at all for the sycophants, the trophy-hunters, and the fear in those around him.

    I also liked how this shows a bit of possible friendship between Luke and Mara. After seeing his previous thoughts on relationships, I doubt they're together romantically at the moment. It's going to be very interesting to see what has her in cahoots with Vader's crowd, since she seems to be working with them.
    Ewok Poet and Nyota's Heart like this.
  6. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    Oooh a very interesting beginning. I like how you're setting things up and am interested in reading more!
  7. Raissa Baiard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 1999
    star 2
    @aleja2, yes, this is one of my stories from way back when. Unfortunately, I didn't get very far with it before life, the universe, and everything got in the way of fanfic. I've had a few interesting new ideas for it since I've been researching it. I hope I'll be able to finish it this time!
    ----------------------------------------

    Leia closed the old volume of Sith lore with a snap, disregarding its fragile condition, and rose from her chair with an irritated swish of her dark skirts. "I thought that you were supposed to play my lady in waiting tonight," she said. "Imagine my surprise when my faithful servant never came back with the chilled wine I sent her for."

    "She was where she was needed," Luke retorted. Leia, the Lady Vader, knew Mara Jade's real worth, but lately she treated Mara as if she was nothing more--possibly less--than a common servant. She seemed to enjoy making the Emperor's Hand fetch and carry for her. Luke didn't understand what had brought about the change in his sister's behavior. The three of them had grown up together. He could still remember the day when he and Leia were five that Emperor Palpatine had deposited a sullen, red-haired girl in their playroom with the comment, "I've brought a companion for you." He remembered how surprised Leia, used to dominating the Senator's children they usually played with, had been when the girl flatly refused to be the bantha for a game of bantha in the middle. Leia had been more surprised that Mara shoved her down when she tried to slap her, and even more astonished that when she pushed the other girl with the Force, Mara pushed right back.

    It hadn't been a promising start, but Luke had quickly realized that a Force-sensitive playmate had some interesting possibilities. Even Leia had to admit that hide and seek was more challenging with Mara than it had been with the Senator's children. The three of them competed at Force-tag and smash ball, friends and rivals in the playroom and the classroom. At the Emperor's insistence Mara took her lessons with Luke and Leia: Imperial history, lightsaber training, even basic Force instruction. However, the time came when they started learning Sith lore and Mara was sent to train as a covert agent. Luke protested her exclusion-- for years they'd trained together, but suddenly she wasn't good enough?--but Leia just sniffed; Mara was strong, but she'd never be a Sith. Soon after, Mara began going on errands for the Emperor, She was away more often now, but whether this was the cause or an effect of Leia's sudden dislike of her old friend, Luke couldn't say. He settled into the overstuffed nerf-hide chair opposit the one Leia vacated. "Ysanne Isard cornered me on the balcony. She thought she could play the hawk-bat with me, but Mara interrupted before she could get her claws out. "

    "Ysanne!" Leia clasped her hands over her chest and swayed theatrically. "Oh, save my brother from being alone with beautiful women!" she mocked. "Please! I had to spend the last forty-five minutes being chatted up by Orn Free-Taa, but I didn't expect anyone to come to my rescue. He may be a blubbery old lecher, but he's also one of the Emperor's staunchest supporters. As is Director Isard, so be careful how you treat his daughter."

    Luke fought back the scowl that wanted to form on his features. He'd heard this lecture from Leia so many times he didn't know why she didn't just burn it into his mind and save them both a lot of time and trouble. With effort, he kept his voice level when he answered. "I know that, Leia. I'm not trying to antagonize her; I just want her to leave me alone." Luke stared down at the book his sister had left on the table. Darth Bane's gaunt features glared at him as he admitted, "I don't really like her all that much."

    Leia sighed back, disgusted. "What you like doesn't come in to it at all. It's what the Emperor wants that matters; you'll do what he says." Her stern expression mirrored Bane's as she shifted her gaze past Luke to Mara. "We all will."

    "I know my place, Lady Vader," Mara answered. Her eyes were icy crystal green, her voice cool, bordering on dangerous. The last time Luke had seen that look on Mara's face was when a very drunken senator patted her backside and asked her for private dance lessons. She'd given the senator a properly demure answer, but when she turned away, her expression could have dropped the temperature twenty degrees. Not long after, the man left, clutching his head and stomach, violently ill.

    Tension stretched between the two women, and Luke shifted warily, feeling the potential for disaster prickle in the air. His had automatically strayed to his lightsaber, though he couldn't have said whose side he would act on. Neither moved for a long, frozen moment, until, finally, Leia nodded curtly. "Good. See that you do. And now, if you'll excuse me," she said, gathering up the long train of her dress, "I should return to the party before anyone notices I've been gone." She exited the tiny room with a sweep of jet -black vine silk.

    Luke slumped down in his chair as the door slid shut behind her. "I don't understand why she's acting this way," he muttered.

    Mara had picked up the antique book from where Leia had left it on a side table. She paused in the act of shelving it to regard Luke cryptically. "No," she answered, shaking her head. "You wouldn't." She pushed the book back into place. "I ought to head back to the salon, too. Good night." The door clicked shut before Luke could form a protest.

    He was alone now, but the peace he'd hoped to find here was suddenly just an empty room.
    Last edited by Raissa Baiard, Jun 26, 2014
  8. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Enjoyed the backstory/background on Luke, Leia, and Mara growing up together. =D= The tension between Mara and Leia is so thick... Leia looks to be more of the 'good little lap-pup' for old Crepe-face than Luke. [face_thinking] And Mara will always do her duty but she won't ever just roll over and not push back, which is why I love her so much!!!
  9. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    I loved it the first time around and I love it even more now. I'm intrigued by the backstory for Luke, Leia and Mara and can't wait to read more - when you are ready!
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  10. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    Welcome to Sith adolescence, Luke! I can imagine all sorts of reasons, from jealousy of attention to wanting to confirm her place in the Empire, but I suspect there’s a bit of plain old teenage social position-seeking in there.

    Loved the description of the Vader kids and Mara’s childhood. They sound like a bunch of scrappy Force-sensitive kittens, all little-bitty teeth and claws. It’s a nice insight into how they are now, years later.

    Ha, yes! Ysanne the hawk-bat. :p


    Leia’s sarcastic side is enhanced by this AU, I see. ;) And I’m not sure who wins the worst unwanted admirer there. I mean, on one hand, Orn Free-Taa. On the other, Ysanne Isard. I liked the snappish conversation between Leia and Mara, and Luke’s confusion about it. The dynamic between the three of them is really interesting.
    Ewok Poet and Nyota's Heart like this.
  11. Raissa Baiard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 1999
    star 2
    @Kahara, I love the image of Force sensitive kittens :) Of course, I think all cats are secretly Jedi. Mine certainly seemed to have Jedi mind tricks ("Hairball? What hairball? I am not the cat you're looking for.") and be able to use Force speed when she heard the can opener.
    ----------------------
    The ancient, ornate clock that presided over the grand salon solemnly tolled the hour, but few of the servants who bustled about beneath it paused to listen. Though party was over, their work had just begun. They collected half-empty wine glasses from behind potted plants, re-hung tapestries that had been pulled askew, directed the crews of cleaning droids that polished the marble floor. The Imperial Palace had to sparkle before last night's guests invaded again, this time on business. Smudges, spots and stains were absolutely not permitted. Nothing could tarnish the Palace's beauty, not if the servants valued their jobs . . . or their lives.

    Alone in the maze of corridors that snaked through the palace, Mara heard the echoes of the clock's sonorous peals. She reached the door to the Emperor's private throne room on the next to last bell; on the last chime, the door swung open. She entered silently, and slipped through the darkness until she reached the dais on the far side of the room. As she knelt, Mara noticed that the plush carpeting in front of the throne had been crushed down, as if someone had stood there for a period of time. Someone had been there before her, but since she had seen no one else in the hall, whoever it was must have left by one of the secret exits. She wondered if he was still there; but when she reached out in the Force, she felt no unexpected presences.

    The shadows that draped Palpatine's throne gathered themselves together and parted slightly, offering a glimpse of a pale, wizened face-- the Emperor himself. He peered down at her through narrowed eyes. "So, Mara Jade, how did you enjoy my party?"

    Mara slowly raised her head. "From what I noticed, my lord, your guests were unusually well behaved tonight." She chose her words carefully. She'd been given her assignment, and she would not criticize Leia, even if playing the Lady Vader's handmaiden had been a waste of her time. Mara had long ago learned that as an ordinary serving girl, she was free to wander among the galaxy's elite virtually unnoticed. Once she had a tray of drinks in hand, she became an ambulatory party decoration, of no more consequence than the tapestries or the sculpture. As a lady inwaiting, though, she was fairly shackled Leia's side. Unable to stray more than three paces from her mistress, Mara missed much of the guests' conversation, the idle gossip that contained the Empire's secrets. Only when she'd been sent to fetch dainty appetizers or glasses of chilled wine did she have her usual freedom. Mara put the brief reprieves to as much use as possible, and it was during one such errand that she discovered one the night's few pieces of useful intelligence. "I believe Clarys Antilles bears watching, Lord Palpatine."

    The Emperor leaned forward a few centimeters. "Antilles?" he asked sharply. "Viceroy Antilles' daughter?"

    "Yes, my lord," Mara answered, bowing her head again. "The Princess has developed an unusual taste in her companions. An unfortunately…rebellious… taste." Early in the evening, Leia sent Mara to refresh her drink and get another plate of hors d'oeuvres. On her way to the buffet table, Mara saw Clarys Antilles speaking earnestly with the senators for Chandrila and Raltiir. At first, it seemed perfectly reasonable for the Alderaanian princess to be chatting with representatives of two planets near her own, but from the look of intense concern on the Princess's face, it was clear that they weren't merely exchanging pleasantries. Mara couldn't recall Clarys Antilles ever showing any special interest in politics before, though. She watched the three of them while waiting for the supply of skewered nerf strips to be replenished. After a lengthy talk, the senator from Chandrila slipped away, and Princess Clarys and the Ralltiirian senator were presently joined by a tall, stocky man whose dark hair and beard were shot with gray. Mara didn't need to hear the Senator's introduction to know that he was Jace Pavel, a Corellian noble who'd been linked with Garm Bel Iblis, Corellia's exiled senator and a notorious sympathizer of the Rebellion. Whatever Pavel said to the Princess as he clasped her hand made her blush and look down. When Princess Clarys looked up again, her expression was positively worshipful. That look, more than anything, roused Mara's suspicion. Pavel was three times the girl's age and not particularly handsome. The Princess wasn't the type to be infatuated with a man because of wealth or position. She was, however, passionately interested in the fate of the poor and downtrodden, the kind of naïve young woman who could be made to believe that the Rebellion shared her ideals.

    Emperor Palpatine frowned deeply and steepled his long fingers as she finished her report. Kneeling at the foot of the throne, Mara watched the subtle shades of displeasure drift across his weathered countenance, and surmised the pattern of his thoughts. Clarys Antilles was not only the Princess of Alderaan, she was Raymus Antilles' only daughter, the perfect image of her late mother. The Viceroy and her older brother doted on her, but their indulgence hadn't spoiled the young princess. Princess Clarys was known for her gentle, soft-spoken nature and her works of charity. If the so-called "Alliance to Restore the Republic" managed to influence the girl, they would gain a beloved public figure and the ear of the present and future rulers of Alderaan. Having House Antilles in their pocket would be a great strategic advantage for the fledgling Rebellion. The House and the planet they represented were a powerful presence in the Senate. The Alderaanians were seen as moderate, fair, and logical. If they supported the rebels' cause, it would gain new credence in many eyes.

    At last, Palpatine's distant gaze returned to his servant. "So the young princess shares the late viceroy's ideals, does she?" he mused. "Perhaps we need to remind her how her father came into his position-- and how very easily he and his family could meet the same, unfortunate end." The Emperor's thin lips stretched into the parody of a smile. "If Antilles follows in Bail Organa's path, he will share Organa's fate."
    Last edited by Raissa Baiard, Jun 30, 2014
  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Interesting developments! =D= Hmmmm! Adds a new bit of complexity indeed to the relationship Mara has with Leia and Luke, both. [face_thinking]
    Halos94 likes this.
  13. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Interesting story. I love AUs! =D=
  14. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    Hmm...interesting to see the similarities and differences in the royal/political structure of Alderaan in this AU, and the ominous hint dropped about what happened to Bail Organa. The plot thickens! [face_nail_biting]
  15. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    Great place to work, if you don't mind the stress ulcers. ;)

    Liked Mara's reflections on how she normally gains information, and being stuck as lady-in-waiting is cramping her style. :p I'm very curious about the Princess of Alderaan in this universe. She's in a bit of hot water, here. Makes me wonder what did happen to Bail -- maybe that was how the twins ended up with Vader. Palpatine's smothering influence is really evident here, and he seems to have everything his way in this AU -- or will he?

    Edit: Also, about all the cats being Jedi -- pretty sure I've met a Sith or two. Oh, not that they weren't endearing. They just demand better service, puny mortals.
    Last edited by Kahara, Jul 1, 2014
  16. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Interesting AU! I love the thought of Luke, Leia and Mara all growing up together.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  17. Raissa Baiard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 1999
    star 2
    This post is for everyone who wanted to know what happened to Bail Organa....
    ---------------------

    Leia waited silently in the alcove behind Palpatine's throne room, listening as Mara reported. Though it rankled sorely to admit it, her observations concerning the Princess Clarys Antilles clearly merited attention. Alderaan was far too important to take chances with. Leia considered their options as Palpatine dismissed his Hand. She waited a few moments longer to be sure her erstwhile handmaiden was well clear, then unwound the Force-cloak she'd held around herself and emerged. She stood before her master for the second time that night and bowed deeply.

    "Well, my young apprentice," the Emperor said as she rose to stand at attention. "Do you still think my trust in Mara Jade is misplaced?"

    She did; in her opinion, the Emperor neglected his most faithful servants in favor of the girl. Leia understood that Emperor Palpatine couldn't always send Father on assignments; stealth was not his strength because of his cumbersome, but sadly necessary, life support suit. Why couldn't the Emperor see that Leia was as capable-- more capable-- of handling delicate missions than Mara? And not just more capable, she was much stronger in the Force than that upstart, even Luke was stronger. Leia was surprised that her idiot brother couldn't sense Mara's designs on him, but he seemed to have a blind spot where she was concerned. He still thought of her as the girl they'd played Force-tag with in the palaces's gardens. Mara had deceived Luke, and their master still believed in her, but someday Leia would find a way to put her in her place. For now, she would bide her time. She kept her expression and emotions in check and simply replied, "She seems to have discovered some useful information, my lord. The Rebels must not be allowed to gain a hold on Alderaan."

    Palpatine nodded within the deep shroud of his cloak. "And how would you suggest that we deal with such a rebellious princess?"

    Leia had grown up in the shadow of the Emperor. He'd visited her nursery when she was small and supervised her lessons when she was a young girl. Still, she'd never lost her awe of him. She felt as honored by his attention now as she had the first time he'd complimented her lightsaber form. Leia tilted her head in a show of consideration. "Clearly, the princess must be made to see the error of her ways." She spread her black-gloved hands as she continued. "Perhaps a diplomatic visit from someone in the Imperial Court could serve to remind her that her family's good fortune is always dependent on your favor and show her the Empire is always aware of the machinations of the Rebellion?"

    "And would you be that messenger?" the Emperor asked. His pale eyes glittered in challenge. "Tell me why I should send you and not the Emperor's Hand."

    Like any true Sith, Leia seized the opportunity. Criticizing Mara had proven futile, but she could provide many reasons she was superior. "My lord," she said. "You know I am your most diligent apprentice. I have studied your words on the weakness of inferiors; it should be a simple thing to intimidate an impressionable girl like the Princess. If persuasion is insufficient, I am skilled in mind powers. I find horror particular effective on the weak willed. And of course, should it become necessary, I am prepared to discreetly eliminate her."

    The Emperor laughed his dry, rasping cackle. "No false modesty in you, is there? Good, it is a useless affectation for simpering fools. Never waste your time with it." He smiled. "You need not have worried, Leia. I would not have denied you this mission. It is fitting for you to deal with the Princess of Alderaan, perhaps even your destiny."

    "My Lord?" Leia frowned. Her destiny? She could think of no reason why Alderaan should be significant to her beyond its political and strategic importance as a Core World.

    The Emperor leaned back on his throne and regarded her narrowly. "Surely you know of Bail and Breha Organa?"

    Leia thought back to her history classes. The facts she had learned about the former Viceroy held nothing particularly enlightening. She recited them anyway. "Organa was a traitor to the Empire; he was in league with the Jedi at the start of the Clone Wars when they planned to assassinate you. My father discovered his involvement and carried out your justice. The wife, I believe, was so distraught at the news that she crashed her speeder, killing herself and their infant daughter."

    He laughed again, hard and spiteful with the memory of defeated foes. "Not quite. That was the story we gave to the holo news. Your father exacted his own vengeance in this case. Organa was indeed in league with the last of the Jedi; his wife was executed as well, victim of her husband's poor choices. The infant daughter, of course, was you."

    "Me?!"

    "Oh dear, you father never told, did he?" Emperor Palpatine's voice was soft and pitying. "The Jedi kidnapped your mother when she was giving birth. Alas, she did not survive, and the Jedi handed you over to Organa, who meant to raise you as his daughter. Your father thought at first you had died along with your mother. You can imagine what happened when he learned the truth."

    Blood rushed in her ears, hot and fast. Kidnapped. Kidnapped by Jedi and taken from her dying mother to Alderaan where some mealy-mouthed hypocrite who espoused peace while consorting with traitors planned to make her into a soft, worthless little princess. And her father had never mentioned a thing. True, Father never spoke of the past, especially her mother, but this.... This he had no right to keep secret. Leia suddenly wanted this mission more than anything. Anger seethed in her heart, tentacles writhing up to choke her.

    "I feel your hatred," the Emperor purred. "Good, good... It is anger that makes us strong. Keep it in your heart when you deal with the Alderaanian Princess, and I trust that you will not fail me."

    Leia bowed at his gesture of dismissal and immediately hurried to her study to prepare. She accessed the Imperial archive's records on the Great Houses of Alderaan, and what she found shed some light on their so-called nobility. Fifty years ago, House Organa and House Antilles contested the right of ascendancy in a feud every bit as stubborn as a Hutt clan's. At last the Jedi had been called in to mediate. A Jedi named Jorus C'baoth decided that House Organa had the better claim, and further urged joining the two contentious families through marriage. Accordingly, Breha Antilles, the oldest daughter of House Antilles, wed the new viceroy, Bail Organa. The marriage had cost her dearly in the end.

    After Organa had been killed by Darth Vader, and denounced as a traitor to the Empire, Palpatine stripped House Organa of its noble standing and property. He allowed Organa's sisters to remain on Alderaan, a move which seemed merciful until one realized they had very little that wasn't part of the Organa estates. The former royal family was now reduced to being farmers, tending a tiny vineyard that belonged to a distant cousin.

    With House Organa removed from the political arena, the Emperor promoted their former rivals to the ruling house. Leia appreciated the strategy behind this move. Whatever the rest of the Empire thought, Raymus Antilles knew the real reason for his sister, Breha's, death. He knew that his name and position would be no protection if he fell out of favor with the Emperor. Thus far he had always supported Palpatine. When the rebellion's activities grew more extreme, he urged non-violence and councilled those who were unhappy with the Empire to find diplomatic solutions. His sister, Deara Antilles went further, denouncing the rebels for opposing Emperor Palpatine's rightful leadership.

    For this reason, Leia doubted he condoned, or even knew of, his daughter's sympathies. Princess Clarys hadn't even been born at the time of her aunt's death and likely had never been told the true story. Very well then, Leia would be merciful and give the girl a chance to repent. She considered the latest holos of the princess; her ash-blonde hair was twisted up into some ridiculously impractical hairdo, and her wide grey eyes gave her a perpetually startled appearance. She looked like the type of romantic ninny who could be convinced the rebels were some sort of glorious freedom-fighters instead of a bunch of ragtag revolutionaries. Well, Princess Clarys would quickly find out what her desire for romance would get her. Romance... A smile touched Leia's lips as a perfectly evil idea occurred to her.

    She checked her chronometer. Good, there was plenty of time to send messages to the spaceport, the seneschal and her chambermaid to prepare for her departure. She would even have time for a brief rest before collecting the key component in her plan. Her brother never rose any earlier than he had to.
  18. taramidala Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    Well, Leia's one nasty piece of work, isn't she? I love it. I really can't tell you how much. You're giving us just enough detail as we go along to keep us engaged: the seeds of Leia's jealousy, just how she came to be in the Emperor's possession, etc. Excellent use of the EU history behind the Organa marriage as well! I'm anxious to see what role Luke plays in all of this.
    Kahara and Nyota's Heart like this.
  19. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Leia is superbly characterized as more in Palpy's pocket than Luke. [face_thinking] Even more loyal it seems than Mara. =D= Looking forward to more of her plotting. ;) I wonder though if Luke will fall so tamely into her romantic strategizing. Need to keep him unattached so he can wind up with Mara. [face_mischief]
    Last edited by Nyota's Heart, Jul 3, 2014
    Kahara likes this.
  20. divapilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    Very cool. Love how twisty this is.
  21. Kahara Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    Interesting to see more about Leia here. Her political tendencies have been developed in a very Sithly way -- maybe more so than Luke and Mara's.

    And the one person she does seem to trust is the Emperor. Convenient, for him.

    Liked the semi-real story of what happened to Bail and Breha (at least, I assume the "kidnapping" of Padme is an embellishment), and Leia's reaction of anger that she hadn't been told. It's a nice insight, that it really matters to her regardless of how long ago.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  22. Raissa Baiard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 1999
    star 2
    Well, this section turned out to be a lot harder to edit than I anticipated. I actually wound up substantially rewriting it, but I think it shows Luke and Leia's characters and relationship much better than the old version.

    Evil Leia is so much fun to write. Like the real Leia, she's an idealist. It's just that now all her ideals come from Palpy and the Book of Sith.

    @Kahara, Padme being "kidnapped by the Jedi" is one of those "from a certain point of view" things. From Anakin's point of view, the Jedi took her away from him on Mustafar (never mind that he was on fire and she was half dead), and Palpy is doing what he does best, twisting things to his advantage.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    The scent of vine caf wafted lazily through the corridor, beckoning Luke into a small room on the east side of the palace, picturesquely known as the morning room. The morning room could have fit comfortably in one corner of the grand salon, with room left over. It contained only an antique oro wood sideboard, an oval table whose top was inlaid with a mosaic of Mon Calamari marble, and six chairs with carved scrollwork backs. These were more seating than the little room truly needed; only Luke and Leia ever used it. On the east side of the room, sumptuous brocaded curtains had been pulled back from the picture window to provide a view of the palace’s gardens. Luke spared no attention for the cascade of flowers, heading directly for the heavily laden sideboard, where a steaming carafe waited along with an array of freshly baked pastries, exotic fruits, crispy sausages and eggs cooked three different ways. Luke dished a bit of everything onto his plate without really looking at the carefully arranged display. As soon as he sat down, he pulled a datapad from his black leather belt satchel and accessed the morning’s intelligence. Contrary to the opinions of last night’s party guests, the Empire didn’t come to a standstill when they took the night off to drink the Emperor's wine. In fact, there always seemed to be more news the day after one of these parties, as all the plots hatched the night before were put into motion.

    Luke slathered butter on his toast as he read the the information that scrolled across the screen. The Rebels raided an Imperial convoy near Toprawa last night and stolen something, the report was unclear what. Now the planet had been declared an interdicted zone. Luke scowled at the data pad. He was an heir to Darth Vader and apprentice to the Emperor, but here he sat, eating blum fruit turnover, doing less for the glory of the Empire than a common TIE fighter pilot. He ought to be out there with the troops. He had practiced battle meditation with the cadets at the Sector Naval Academy, running every training exercise until he could do it with blaster shields on, but how was he supposed to master the skill if he was never allowed near a battlefield? He viciously crunched into the toast. The rebellion would be over before he saw any real fighting. Instead of defending the Empire, he'd be expected to stay here and read the Book of Sith for the fifty millionth time, like a good little apprentice. Like his sister.

    As if his thoughts had drawn her, Luke felt Leia enter the room. He glanced up to see her at the sideboard, selecting a packet of the flavorless Ithorian herbal tea she preferred to vine caf and groaned inwardly. His sister was an early riser and you could set your chrono by her schedule. By now she'd usually eaten breakfast and was finishing up her lightsaber forms. If she was here, she hadn't come just for tea. Another lecture? He didn't think he'd been that rude to Ysanne Isard last night. Luke checked her Force-sense, but didn't feel the gathering storm that meant another lecture was coming. On the contrary, there was an undercurrent of excitement and pride in her presence. Beneath her impassive facade, Leia was as giddy as an Outer Rim girl at an Imperial gala.

    If she wasn't here to chew him out, what did she want from him? Because she did want something. She always wanted something. Luke was getting a little tired of her acting like she was Dark Lady of the Sith and he was just some Grotthu slave. Whatever she wanted this time, it was going to cost her. Luke studied her as she prepared her tea. She was impeccably dressed in spotless black; Luke didn’t think he’d seen his sister with a hair out of place or a rumpled dress since they were six. Today, though, her outfit was simpler than usual: a high-collared jacket and a split skirt. It was one of the outfits she’d had tailored for traveling, Luke realized. So where was she going and what did it have to do with him?

    He made a vague noise of greeting as she slipped in to the seat across from him and turned his attention back to his datapad. The production figures from Sienar weren't exactly the most fascinating thing in the Empire, but if Leia wanted something from him, she'd just have to wait. Luke felt a prickle of annoyance from her; he was supposed to ask what she was doing there. He was supposed to be interested in her project. Luke grinned into his caf mug. She was so certain of her own superiority, sometimes he just had to poke the rancor. He shovelled in a large chunk of omelet and chewed loudly as he kept reading. Predictably, his sister winced; tormenting her could be so much fun. "Where are you going?” he finally asked through a mouthful of egg

    Pride quivered in Leia's voice as she answered, “Alderaan. Emperor Palpatine is sending me to deal with Princess Clarys Antilles. She's made some regrettable choices in her friends."

    “Hmm," Luke replied, keeping his eyes on the datapad in front of him. An important field assignment from the Emperor was exactly what Leia had been sniffing after for months. If he played this right, he could have Leia in his debt for a long time. He took another bite of egg. "I suppose you want me to feed your nasty little pets for you." Leia had recently taken up Sith Alchemy. She practiced twitting the vermin that lurked in the Palace's lower levels into miniature Sithspawn. The last time Luke had helped her with those monsters, he'd gotten a festering bite from a mutated meer rat. He'd have to be very well compensated indeed to deal with the little buggers.

    "No, because you're coming with me," Leia answered as she sipped her tea.

    Now Luke looked up from his data pad, raising an eyebrow at her. “What makes you think that?”

    "Because," she said, "you’ve developed a sudden desire to spend time with Princess Clarys.”

    Luke choked on his caf and the sheer ludicrousness of that declaration. "I don't think so!” he spluttered when he was able to speak. "I don’t chase after women; I don't have to. And if, for some reason, I wanted to," he continued, ignoring his sister's eye roll, "I certainly wouldn't start with her. Poor girl would probably faint if I said 'hello' to her."

    The teacup twitched in Leia’s hand. "Oh, please. No one's asking you fall in love with the silly chit. Once we've got her in hand, you can kick her like a stray pittin for all I care." She gave him the look she reserved for particularly stupid and recalcitrant Senators, and her voice dripped like honeyed tea. "The princess must be shown all her family stands to lose if she keeps consorting with the Rebels. If she's shown what they can gain by sustaining their relationship with the Empire, the lesson will be that much more effective.”

    Was she trying to Force-persuade him? Did she really think he was that weak or was she that desperate? Either way, Luke thought, his price had just gone up. He took a bite of sausage and licked the grease off his fingers. "And you want me to ‘sustain’ that relationship, do you? She has an older brother. Why don’t you offer to sustain the Empire’s relations with him?”

    "Her brother isn't the problem," Leia said unnecessarily distinctly, all the velvety smoothness gone from her voice. “Surely even you’ve heard of the old good trooper-bad trooper routine. I can’t very well promise the Empire’s favor to the Prince while I’m showing his sister the consequences of her choices. ”

    "Fine," Luke said. "You flirt with Prince Cristovar, and I'll play the bad trooper."

    You don’t have it in you, her eyes flashed, but what she said was “The Emperor has already approved my plan”

    “But I haven’t,” Luke pointed out. He scooped up some more omelet and turned back to his datapad. The next item in the report was about the pirates that were plaguing the Outer Rim. He wondered if Father would let him take his fighter out and pick a few of them off. Something to think about once he'd finished with Leia. He finished the last bite of egg and set his fork down with a clink. “I might help, if….”

    "If what?"

    He crunched into a blum fruit turnover. Juice dribbled down his chin, and he swiped at it with the back of his hand. "What's it worth to you?" Luke asked with a sticky grin.

    Her eyes widened over the rim of her teacup. Leia lowered it slowly, as if its contents had suddenly turned cold and bitter. "I'm your sister!"

    Luke had to laugh at her outrage. "Familial loyalty is an odd concept for a Sith, don't you think? Anyway, I'm your brother, not your lackey. I think helping with such an important task would deserve a token of your appreciation. I suggest a very large token."

    "Fine," Leia snarled. "You can have my lanvarok. I know you always wanted it."

    "Already have one," Luke said, crunching his turnover.

    "Since when?"

    "Mara gave me her extra." Luke could practically hear Leia's outraged cry. Mara had two? Oh. He'd forgotten that Mara never told her about the cache of Sith weaponry she found in Moff Carreau's manor. He'd have to find a way to make up for giving his sister another reason to hate her.

    "I'll make you an amulet," Leia offered. "What do you want? An abattar? A yoke of seeming?"

    He shrugged. "I can make those myself."

    "My alchemy 's better than yours."

    "Not that much better. Come on, Leia, if you want me to chase after your Alderaanian princess, you're going to have to do better than that."

    "I'll keep Ysanne out of your way for a week."

    Tempting. Very tempting, but opportunities like this didn't come along every day. He wasn't about to waste it on Iceheart. "Mmm....no."

    "Then what do you want?" Leia looked as if she was trying very hard not to apply a Force hold to her brother’s throat. She settled for clenching her fingers around the teacup, throttling it instead.

    "Since I haven’t had time to consider, why don’t we just say I get to call in a favor of equal value the time of my choosing?” Luke said, favoring his sister with an insincerely bright smile.

    "Who defines equal value?”

    “I do, of course,” he answered, smiling again.

    “No. Absolutely not,” she shot back.

    “Then I guess you’ll have to tell the Emperor you need some extra time to reformulate your plan,” he said. Luke picked up his turnover and started reading his intelligence report. Production at the spice mines was down.

    Before Luke even took another bite, Leia shoved her chair away from the table. It screeched angrily against the hardwood floor. She fixed Luke with a such a laser cannon stare that he thought perhaps he'd poked the rancor a bit too hard. “Be at the Resolute’s docking bay in half an hour, packed and ready,” she informed him, slamming her teacup down on the marble tabletop with a jarring rattle. It spun over and crashed to the floor as Leia stalked.

    As the door shut behind her, Luke raised his mug to in salute to himself, victor of today's games.
    Ewok Poet, Halos94 and Kahara like this.
  23. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    It's fascinating and disturbing to see how the twins' relationship is such a twisted mirror image. They're close in that their thoughts are still readily accessible to each other, but the ways in which they so deeply despise each other is both funny and tragic. The Sith influence just cranks up the Dysfunctional Family Mode to 11. [face_beatup]
    Kahara and Nyota's Heart like this.
  24. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Luke is a pragmatist and wants adventure also it seems. [face_thinking]
    Amazingly twisted sibling dynamics and Sithly gameplaying. Very much in sync and line with the way they operate. It doesn't seem out of character for Luke and Leia in this context =D= but it's a unique novelty to see them relating to each other in a Sithly way, but that is because all the AUs I've read of them growing up together have them as Jedi-in-training. :)

    I think if either Leia or Luke became disillusioned with the Sith path, Leia would be the most hardened by it, like Mara was in TTT.

    I loved all the breakfastly details, but of course that is my fave meal of the day. ;)
    Kahara likes this.
  25. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Wonderful to get inside Leia's head, this makes for a very interesting AU!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Kahara likes this.
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade