Saga Wife of Deceit, Book 4--Palpatine/Lady Palpatine, ROTS--Updated 3/20

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by DarthIshtar, Mar 31, 2011.

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  1. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    PROLOGUE

    Amne Selrieen Palpatine should have regarded life as a treasure. As an Alderaanian, she had been raised to honor life, preserve peace and seek justice.

    Alderaanian or not, she had contemplated at least one hundred ways to end her life in the last six months. Some were more elaborate than others. She could have gone to the nearest garrison and drawn a stolen lightsaber. She could have hung herself by a rope from the support beams of her quarters. The act of opening the veins at her wrists left too much chance for survival, and she could not fathom the emotional effort it would take to place a blaster barrel in her mouth and pull the trigger.

    Even more difficult to decide than the means was the circumstance. She could leave a long manifesto explaining her reasons for suicide. On the other hand, she could leave no explanation and let people think what they would. The Emperor might make her a martyr, claiming that she had done it under duress. The Loyalists would make her a different kind of martyr, the kind who could not survive the death of her Republic.

    The idea consumed her, making it impossible for her to pass a speeder without considering the possibility of crashing it from a thousand meters up. She went to bed each night hoping that her heart would simply stop breathing.

    She eventually decided against all of those. Instead, she would commit suicide by Empire and let her husband's agents find her.

    Book 4: I Once Was Blind

    Chapter 1
    Six months previous

    Had the circumstances been any different, Lady Palpatine would have marveled at the efficiency of the Jedi. Within fifteen minutes of receiving the news that her husband had been captured, she found herself traveling at what could safely be called a breakneck speed on an outbound vector. She and her two Jedi protectors did not make their escape in the refitted Class-VI transport designated for the First Lady's use in her travels, but a sleek, lighter design that had limited space but a more impressive speed. Amne didn't remember officially getting permission, but one of the higher-ranking Mon Calamari officers had essentially tossed Amia the keycard and told her to bring it back in one piece.

    Amne's staff was not so much an afterthought as a separate party, since she doubted if they had yet been told of her departure. Amia had brought Uli because it was unseemly to leave your fifteen-year-old apprentice alone with a group of well-meaning politicians and because with two of them along, they could take shifts with their nearly-hysterical passenger.

    Amne didn't remember much of the first day. Something between white-hot fury and cold dread made her feel as though she were going through withdrawal from a narcotic. She could not gather her thoughts enough to recognize the time or what their course was.

    When her brain worked well enough to send her signals, her thoughts turned inevitably to her own capture by separatists. That would inevitably lead to her being violently ill in the cramped 'fresher of the borrowed transport.

    And then there was the waiting. Had the system been closer to one of the popular shortcuts from the Outer Rim to the Core Worlds, the trip would have taken a couple of days, maybe even less. Mon Calamari flight control had projected the flight time to Coruscant at six days and three hours. Without Amne having to mention the rumor that Jedi could shave time off of any hyperspace route, Amia programmed in a series of seemingly erratic jumps. The resulting flight plan promised to get them capital in only four days and six hours.

    After only seven hours of enduring Amne's panic attacks and repeated requests to tell if Cos was still alive, Amia had compassionately put her into a hibernation trance. She must have thought it was compassion or perhaps self-preservation, but the trance was no favor. When she wasn't dreaming of a public execution or reliving their last argument, she was suspended in the darkness of her own subconscious, screaming for release.

    It was no surprise that when Amne finally broke free of the imp
    Last edited by DarthIshtar, Mar 20, 2013
  2. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    One hell of a gut punch in the first post, here. Can't wait to see how Amne gets to the state she's in.
  3. Kevin_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2007
    star 2
    It's great to see you back with this story, Ish! I've been busy with other things and will comment on Book 3. Could you put me on your PM list for this one?

    Striker, you're right here; the prologue's 'one hell of a gut punch'.

    I'm taking it that the beginning's set very soon after Palpy becomes emperor. I felt very cold when I read this:

    Alderaanian or not, she had contemplated at least one hundred ways to end her life in the last six months. Some were more elaborate than others. She could have gone to the nearest garrison and drawn a stolen lightsaber. She could have hung herself by a rope from the support beams of her quarters. The act of opening the veins at her wrists left too much chance for survival, and she could not fathom the emotional effort it would take to place a blaster barrel in her mouth and pull the trigger.

    :eek::_| Will you see your planet destroyed, I wonder?:(

    The problem with committing suicide in these circumstances is wanting to be sure everyone knows why you did it:

    Even more difficult to decide than the means was the circumstance. She could leave a long manifesto explaining her reasons for suicide. On the other hand, she could leave no explanation and let people think what they would. The Emperor might make her a martyr, claiming that she had done it under duress. The Loyalists would make her a different kind of martyr, the kind who could not survive the death of her Republic.

    :oops:

    This, of course, made me want to know how she got into this situation; and I was not disappointed. I was interested in this reference:

    Six months previous

    So we?re into RotS territory. Will Amne meet a handsome young Jedi Knight and a beautiful senator from Naboo whose pregnancy no one seems to notice?

    I?d wondered if her husband?s capture would bring back memories of her own:

    When her brain worked well enough to send her signals, her thoughts turned inevitably to her own capture by separatists. That would inevitably lead to her being violently ill in the cramped 'fresher of the borrowed transport.

    Your poor thing![:D] Those Jedi certainly think of everything:

    After only seven hours of enduring Amne's panic attacks and repeated requests to tell if Cos was still alive, Amia had compassionately put her into a hibernation trance.

    Good for her![face_dancing] So we missed Amne?s hubby?s dramatic rescue:

    She should have felt a rush of relief or joy, but whatever emotion overcame her at that moment was one that defied description. It shuddered through her with the power of an electric current and left her bowed forward, sobbing in great heaves. Amia immediately moved to sit on the bunk beside her, pulling her into the circle of her arms. She had not cried like this since the loss of the twins because the intervening years had convinced her that she could not afford to feel something this strongly again, but the news of her husband's release had proved her wrong.

    ?He'll be able to tell you the thrilling tale himself,? Amia murmured, ?but the Jedi called on Skywalker and Kenobi to rescue him. He is home and he is safe.?


    So she still has strong feelings for him? You?re far, far too good for him, my dear.[face_not_talking] And wanting to be helpful to him?

    Instead of working herself into a frenzy, however, she filled every space of her mind with the comforting thought that Cos was safe and waiting for her.

    You?ll know soon enough?[face_worried]

    I liked the nice description of the Chancery Mansion as quiet by under extra guard.

    The Mansion was quiet enough that she could hear the clack of her boot heels on the red marble floor and the sound of her own breathing. It was not the natural order of things, but it meant that Amne might have space and time to reunite with the husband she had wronged and misjudged.

    What did you just think there, Amne?:eek::_| ]-} Sorry if I retch a little?[face_sick]

    He looked exhausted, older than she remembered and w
  4. Paige Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2010
  5. Kyana-Morgaine Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 2
    Wow! Book 4! I'm totally excited and can't wait for more.
    In this book he will show her his true face, won't he?
  6. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Author's note: I am apalled by how long I took to update this. There was the move, there was original fic to be written, there was a lot of stuff going on at work and writer's block. Now I'm back and I'll finish book 4 and 5 if it has to kill me. :)
    *****
    For ten years of marriage, Amne had dreamed of her children. Her days were filled with meetings and obligations and reminders of how little a government could do for its people, but her nights belonged to idealism. The dreams were always different. Sometimes, she would find herself fitting a shoe onto a tiny foot while she listened to the music of a baby's chortle. At another time, she found herself older and starting to silver as she sat at a wedding feast and waited for her son to bring his wife for the formal introduction. One night, she had dreamt of nothing more complex than the act of boxing up baby clothes for storage.

    It was no secret that she wanted children. Stars knew that she tried hard enough to bring children into the Palpatine family, but her body did not cooperate. For ten years, she had been happy for her friends and kept the jealousy out of her smile when she met small children in her travels. She had always been the sort of teacher who would make time for her students, but she had to refrain from parenting them in turn.

    The night before her physician had confirmed her pregnancy with Michel and Davit, she had dreamed in specifics and known that her wish would be granted. Amne saw a girl with her hair and the green eyes that Cos must have passed on from his father. She saw Vali's grace in the girl's lithe limbs and a bit of herself in the firm set of the girl's chin. The only imperfection in this vision was that the girl had inherited her father's stoicism and then hardened it into a lack of emotion.

    When she lost the twins, her world had crumbled, but there was one glimmer of hope for Lady Palpatine. She knew that she had lost her sons, but her dreams had promised her a daughter. There was hope to come.

    She had dreamed of the flame-haired girl the night before she learned that she was expecting again. The night after the miscarriage, she had dreamed of the girl, grown into a woman and even more proficient at hiding her emotions. Amne had taken it as a sign that this loss was not the end of the world as she felt.

    Tonight, Amne awoke in her husband's arms for the first time in six months with a new dream burned into her mind. She had seen the woman of her last dream again and recognized Cos' smile on her daughter's lips. It was the first time that Amne had dreamed of her daughter's joy and it gave her something to look forward to.

    Cos was still asleep, that familiar smile on his lips and his left arm coiled protectively or possessively around her waist. She shifted her position so that she could mirror the gesture and fell asleep with one thought on her drowsy mind.

    One way or another, her wish for that child would be granted.
    *****
    Amne awoke early to find Cos' side of the bed empty. This was no surprise, given the fact that it was past dawn and his schedule was, therefore, fair game. Because she had cheated him out of months of her companionship, she quashed the urge to feel deprived.

    The day after a mission return was always left blank. There were always debriefings to give, appointments to be made and feathers to smoothe. By now, word of her return would have been mentioned in at least one news outlet and there would, undoubtedly, be a few remarks made on just what had inspired the First Lady to cut her trip so abruptly short. There would also be remarks made on what had kept her away for so long and some of those would be unkind, but she had earned them to a certain extent. It was not her duty to ingratiate herself to the political analysts, since they could snipe all they wanted and not affect policy or procedure.

    In case someone was watching--or because someone was always watching--Amne dressed more formally today than she normally would for a day off. Rather than wait for her schedule to be dictated so she could decide on what to wear, she went to the storage cubicle and found a dress that she would have normally reserved for visiting heads of state. It was purple and floor-length and elaborately embroidered. It was also designed by the same person who had outfitted Queen Amidala during her tenure, so it showed respect for her husband’s home culture. She coiled her hair into a bun and forewent jewelry except for her wedding band.

    She could hear voices as she approached Cos’ private study and the guards did not step into her path. One of them murmured a comment into his commlink and must have received a response, since he bowed respectfully and gestured for her to enter.

    The door opened before she reached it to reveal Trober. He bent to kiss her quickly on the cheek, the first sign that her husband’s staff did not hold a grudge.

    “Nice of you to join us, milady,” he said dryly.

    “I gor bored,” Amne deadpanned. “Good morning.”

    “Good morning,” Cos replied from his desk. He rose and crossed to her, kissing her quickly on the lips. “You are perhaps overdressed for the day.”

    “I thought I would offer my services on the public relations front,” Amne replied.

    “I appreciate your thoughtfulness,” Cos said, “but your first order of business is to undergo a full physical examination and that rarely needs a ballgown.”

    “I’m physically fine.” It was something that he had remarked on last night, but that riposte was best saved for a time when they didn’t have an audience. “The physical can wait until its regularly-scheduled appointment for two months from now.”
    “You were off-world for the last appointment,” her husband pointed out. “I made the arrangements for you to be there at 0900 and if you cancel, rumors might circulate that
    we’re concealing a health concern.”

    That sounded like a threat, since the implication of a cover-up would make any public relations efforts on her part uncomfortable at best.

    “And in return...” He paused and retreated to his desk before completing the thought. “I will allow you to enlist yourself in helping me as you so graciously offered a few moments ago. If you resist, I will have to conclude that you are working against me and should be sequestered.”

    “Don’t look to me for help,” Trober said as soon as she glanced in his direction. “I stand behind the Chancellor and all of his decisions, even if they’re none of my business.”

    Trober had undoubtedly been on the receiving end of one of those threats. More than one, given how long he had been on the Chancellor’s staff. She could expect sympathy, but not subversion, from him.

    “Fine,” Amne said. “I’ll expect Nena to have a schedule for me as soon as I’ve finished with the medics.”

    Cos’ smile was slightly sardonic now and he inclined his head as though they were two heads of state having finished a difficult but rewarding treaty negotiation. “I appreciate your cooperation,” he stated.

    “Will I see you tonight?”

    He nodded curtly. “Should the need arise, I will rearrange the war to be home before midnight.”

    She doubted that he would keep either promise, but the morning after their reconciliation was not the time to say so. “I’ll be waiting.”
    *****
    The first surprise of the morning was that Nena was waiting in the foyer of the medic’s office when Amne was declared ‘fit for duty.’ Her chief of staff had sent out firm orders to stay home as usual for the duration of the day some time after Amne had landed and before she left the Chancery Mansion, but Nena had either not gotten the memo or had chosen not to take it personally. Knowing her personal secretary, Amne suspected that the latter was the case.

    “I have your updated schedule, as requested,” Nena announced. “The Chancellor made some of the appointments himself...”

    “I invited him to,” Amne assured her before she could start making excuses. “When do we start?”

    “Your first formal appointment is at noon,” the younger woman supplied, “but as you can see, the first visitor of the day would like to know where the meeting will take place.”


    Delani was first on the schedule, which meant that Amne would be grilled in the privacy of her own home or in her best friend’s crowded living room. With her usual guard contingent accompanying her, the answer was obvious.

    “If you can have a comm line ready for me in the speeder, I will arrange her visit to the Mansion once we’re en route,” Amne promised.

    Delani must have anticipated the move, since she was waiting in the atrium of the house. She latched onto Amne with both arms and buried her chin in her shoulder immediately and held on for longer than was normal.

    “If I had known it would take a Separatist invasion to bring you back, I would have arranged it sooner,” Delani said as soon as they broke apart.

    “Funny,” Amne commented with a mirthless smile. “I’ve heard that from a few people.”

    “I’m sure you have,” her friend said.

    Amne half-turned so that they were shoulder to shoulder and gripped Delani’s elbow. It was a silent signal for her friend to keep her mouth shut until they were in a less public part of the house. Delani heeded it until they were in Amne’s office and the door was closed.

    “So,” Delani continued as she settled herself on the couch nearest the window, “are you staying?”

    Amne had not expected the question from anyone without press credentials. She gave Delani a sharp look, but her friend did not withdraw the question.

    “It’s been six months,” Delani explained. “I think I have the right to know.”

    “Of course,” Amne answered.

    “Of course I have a right to know or of course you’re staying?”

    “Of course I’m staying,” she said. “I never intended to stay away so long...”

    “But you didn’t come back.”

    This was either Delani’s most brutally honest conversation of their friendship or an attempt to prepare her for the next question and answer session. The acid that had been eating at her stomach started to work its way towards her mouth and she swallowed it back, not for the first time this morning.

    “I had things to do, lives to rebuild,” Amne answered. “It was not as easy as you might think to turn away from all of the good that we were able to do.”

    “So you want to go back.”

    “I...” She stopped herself and took a deep breath before answering. The moment of calm did nothing for her mood, but it allowed her to choose a response that was part diplomacy and part confidence. “I wish that time permitted me to go out there again, but my place is here.”

    “And who decided that?”

    Her fist rebounded off the surface of her desk before Amne could stop herself. “Are you going to take anything I say as truth?” she snapped.

    Delani stood quickly, her hands extended in a gesture of defenselessness. “I didn’t mean it like that,” she said hastily. “I want to see you happy. If that means staying here, so be it. If it means you’re going to disappear until the reelection, so be it. I’m on your side.”

    “And I’m on my husband’s,”

    Delani did not argue with that point.

    “My reasons for coming back are not petty or political,” Amne said once her breathing had slowed and the acid had settled somewhat, “but my reasons for leaving were. Whatever motivation I had for leaving my husband to fight this war alone, I have repented of them.”

    Her friend finally sat down once more and Amne joined her on the repulsorcouch as though they were home in their college apartment and debating the mysteries of men.

    “I’m sorry,” Amne said quietly.

    Delani waved the comment away. “Jes is going to come after work,” she said. “I talked her into letting me be the demon’s advocate this time.”

    “Do you want me to swear an affidavit?” Amne teased. “Or are you prepared to take my statement?”
    Delani’s mouth twitched up into a smile on one side. “I’m ready to believe what you told me. But I’ll be watching and if you have a change of heart, just say the word and I’ll change sides.”
  7. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Oh, that first section just hurts. Especially with what I know is coming up. And Palps... smooth talker, there. *Shakes head, then steadies rocket launcher to blow him up with*
  8. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Author's note: I am now on the other side of pneumonia and a lot of work-related stress. Since today is 12 years since I found my way over to the boards, I decided to update this. Hopefully, there will be more of a response this time.
    *****
    Amne had known since the morning review of her schedule what the noon appointment was to be, but as the required visit involved one friend and one political ally, she welcomed the chairpersons of the Loyalist Committee with the obligatory skepticism.

    "Was this your idea or the Chancellor's?" she asked.

    "The Chancellor offered to reschedule for later in the week or allow us to meet with his top aide," Bail said mildly. "I had heard of his top aide's return and thought you the lesser of two evils."

    "I'm sure that is word play and not a belief that he is evil," Amne pointed out.

    "Yes, milady," Bail said dutifully, if not convincingly. "It is good to see you again."

    "And you," she said. She turned to the flame-haired woman who was more of an acquaintance than a friend and nodded her head respectfully. "Thank you for coming, Senator Mon Mothma."

    "Thank you for seeing us," Mon Mothma replied.

    "If you will follow me, we can meet in a more private setting," Amne said. "Are any others joining us?"

    "Not at this time," Bail assured her. "We even left our aides in the office."

    From the sound of things, Bail was here to test the waters and leaving his aides out of the conference was a goodwill gesture. If things escalated, there would be no witnesses and they could attempt to start from scratch at another time, as if this meeting had never happened.

    Trober had suggested that they occupy the East Conference Room for their meeting, but Amne disliked the idea of conducting the meeting across the wide hamogany table. She moved it instead to the Mural Room, where they usually received diplomatic delegations and where the arrangements were more comfortable. Because the Loyalists were here on official business, she kept her dress and demeanor in line with her office.

    There were no pleasantries this time, no casually-arranged refreshments provided by the chefs who were familiar with the rate of success as it related to full stomachs. Amne chose a seat that faced the both of them so that she was both their opponents. Bail looked approving, while Mon Mothma looked as though she had been expecting this.

    "As I understand it," Amne began once they were all seated, "this meeting is meant to be of a strictly political nature."

    "Are they not all political?" Mon Mothma asked.

    "Touche," she admitted. "What I mean to say is that neither my husband nor myself requested this meeting for personal reasons."

    "What were his reasons, then?" the other woman asked a little too sharply for her tone to be considered proper. "Are there to be more amendments proposed, new conditions added to the powers of the Chancellor?"

    Bail's hand touched Mon Mothma's arm for just a moment, clearly a signal. Amne, however, was not her husband. Her loyalties lay with Cos, but her politics were not motivated by a hair-trigger temper. From what she knew of the Senator from Chandrila, the woman was ordinarily the same.

    "I cannot claim that extraordinary circumstances will not arise," Amne said quietly. "I will not promise that the Senate will refrain from exercising its democratic right to amend the Constitution as the need arises."

    "Of course," Bail agreed. "One of the perils and promises of democracy is that no one voice has complete power."

    "Indeed." Amne waited a moment for Mon Mothma to add an opinion, but the woman seemed to have realized that it was best not to begin a meeting with any associate of the Chancellor on the offensive. She would not say as much, however, as it would not improve matters. "One of the chief purposes of your Committee has been to protect the Republic. No matter the course or outcome of this war, your efforts have been appreciated and they have not gone unnoticed."

    "What of our efforts, then?" Mon Mothma asked, a note of challenge still in her voice.

    Amne lowered her chin in a nod once more, this time as a sign of deference instead of respect. "The Chancellor has every intention of honoring his promise to the Senate," she stated. "At the inception of this crisis, he said that he would lay aside his emergency powers once the crisis has abated."

    "I recall that," Bail commented. "Yet the Senate's definition of the crisis seems to have changed."

    "Many things have changed," Amne countered. "None of us is immune to the effects of war."

    "What, then, does the Chancellor intend to do?" Mon Mothma interjected before they could grow sentimental or nostalgic. "I do hope that he will honor his promise to the Senate, but are there any plans in place at this time?"

    "Naturally," Amne said simply. "And that is what brings us here today."

    The Chandrilan's posture straightened a hair. Amne had seen her accuse the Chancellor more than once of dodging this very subject and while Cos had sent his wife to discuss details, it was a change.

    "The Separatists have lost their greatest leader," Bail said. "Knight Skywalker of the Jedi Order believes that the end of the war cannot be far off with only Grievous in command."

    "And I hope that his faith is justified. If there is a power vacuum, the trade viceroys may see their way clear to some kind of settlement."

    "What sort of settlement?"

    "We can hope for an armistice," Amne answered Mon Mothma. "A treaty would follow and we hope that some if not all of the Separatist systems would return to the Republic. That is not for the Chancellor alone to decide.

    "The Chancellor's greatest responsibility is to the Republic. He has seen our people through the crisis of war primarily because no one else could be as completely trusted by himself to see the job done."

    "Ah." Bail's mouth thinned. "He will be opening the post to other candidates in the aftermath of the war, then?"

    "Exactly." She shifted her gaze to Mon Mothma once more. The older woman was still keeping herself calm, but Amne had not missed a slightly cynical glint in her eyes at the last word. "An extraordinary election will be held so that the Senate may elect an interim Chancellor as it did when the people voted to replace Valorum."

    "Though I doubt that we will be calling for a vote of no confidence, even with Senator Amidala on our side," Bail said.

    That was a subtle promise of his own and one that Amne appreciated. Mon Mothma nodded slightly.

    "The reason that my husband requested this meeting is that he believes that the Senate's most loyal members should be offered the post of great elector," Amne said. "A member of the Republic is needed to organize and mediate the election so that it runs smoothly. This would ordinarily be a civil servant, but in this sort of election, the guidance of a member of the governing body is essential. Naturally, your names were mentioned."

    "And the organizing force behind the election would be ineligible for candidacy," Mon Mothma observed. "Naturally, our names were mentioned."

    Amne had to withhold a smile; the glint of cynicism was more visible now. "Neither of you had candidly expressed an interest in the job," she pointed out. "If you would like to refuse on those grounds alone, I'm sure the Chancellor would understand."

    "He may try to talk us out of it, but he will understand," Bail amended.

    "Perhaps." She offered them both a smile and only Bail returned it. "The offer stands. At this time, we will not require an answer, but as the war comes to its close, we will need to have one. I hope you will not turn it down on your personal feelings about my husband alone."

    "No, milady," Bail replied.

    "I will keep that in mind, milady," Mon Mothma added.

    "Thank you for coming," she concluded. "I hope to hear from you soon."

    Mon Mothma left the room first after an appropriately deferential half-bow. Bail broke the formal air first and bent to kiss her quickly on the cheek.

    "It is good to have you at his side," he said in a low voice. "I only hope that he is as trustworthy as you hope."
  9. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    A shame he isn't.

    Okay, the tension? Cut it with a lightsaber. Nice bandying back and forth, too.
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