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Saga - OT Always With You, Always Within You (Leia, Luke, others | right after ROTJ | fic-gift for leiamoody)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok Poet, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Title: Always With You, Always Within You
    Author: Ewok Poet
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, Princess Kneesaa A Jari Kintaka - will add others as they appear
    Timeframe: Right after the Battle of Endor, between the first and second installment of Shattered Empire.
    Length: A short multi-post
    Summary: You'll see.

    This is a fic-gift for leiamoody and the story will be a short multi-chapter, something like 5-6 K.

    leiamoody's requests are behind the spoiler.

    1. A recording (holo or audio) from the long-ago past (100+ years), marble statue, the Force
    2. No tears or cliché mystical observations
    3. Leia, Luke
    4. Nobody from the Sequel Trilogy
    5. [Timeline] Up to one year after the Battle of Endor, prefer AU (although if someone can do a story that manages to make the NuCanon events during this period interesting to me that would be…interesting)

    Dear Moody, I hold you in high regard, and I consider you a major inspiration. Writing this was a challenge, given my firm belief that each being has a different set of things that move them and make their blood flow faster, but I hope that it will be good enough for you. It's a multichapter. Hope you're in for a decent 2017. :)
     
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  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    01 Mothers

    “I can barely remember my mother’s face.”

    “Me too.”

    C-3PO translated these words originally delivered in what resembled high-pitched squeals of a newborn sentient, waving his arms in the air, his synthetic voice giving the illusion of shivering. Leia was never able to figure out if that had been fake or real behaviour. The programming for a protocol droid could have only gone so far, the rest was prone to invent itself and give the machine a personality. It just had to be that way. How would have AI itself come up with such a fearful and anxious individual on purpose? And how would he have ended up right there, with her and the being that refused to leave her side, hadn’t he had some sort of a heart?

    Another thing that Leia was not sure about, far more important than Threepio’s maze of circuits, were her own emotions. She was not used to dealing with the amount of feelings thrown her way, they had always been the least of the priorities. Her mantra even said so, the one she had imposed on herself the first time she had marched in the Imperial Senate and felt what she was now sure was the dark presence of the Emperor himself. Think first. Act second. Make plans for latter third. And only then, if there is a valid reason to, dive inside.

    Each time, she would manage to avoid the fourth step. Each time before now. The explosion of the second Death Star in the skies above was the biggest step towards the Rebellion’s final victory over the Empire. The kiss against the fallen trunk of a tree was the biggest step towards taking her relationship with that scruffy nerf-herder to a whole new level. The burning pyre Luke told her about was the biggest step towards the realisation that she had nobody else in the world, nobody but him.

    And suddenly, their bond was stronger than ever.

    She kept on questioning herself about what she had said to Luke last night, upon his discovery that they were siblings. The fact that she remembered her mother as "beautiful and a little sad" was somewhat contradictory to everything she had been aware of before. She was slightly surprised by what she said, as if there was something commanding her to break out of it, to determine that she could not possibly remember her own birth.

    But the more she tried to rationalize it, the more she became aware that it was not a lie. She did remember her mother – holding her for a couple of minutes, saying her name with one of the last breaths she took and then, with her very last, saying that there is good in him. That last thing was chilling in retrospective, now that she knew who he had been, and now that he was dead, too.

    And all that flickered through her mind, together with the events of the past couple of days.

    As if that was not enough, that very afternoon – and days were notably shorter here – the silly off-key drummer from the celebration came to her hut dragging C-3PO by hand, addressed her as “Lee-uh” and the next thing she knew, the Goldenrod, seen as a deity by the locals, was insisting that she should accompany him.

    “He says that you must come with him, now.”

    “He was the one who first thought you were sent from the heavens, so whatever ‘must’ means in his terms…”

    “It’s an order from the princess.”

    “But I am a…” she managed to utter before the Ewok pulled her hand and Threepio rushed her to go.

    That was how she found herself in this hut, sitting next to the pink-hooded Ewok. As expected, it turned out that neither believed that the other was a princess. Neither believed who the other one’s father was. But for some reason, the tiny princess overheard that “Lee-uh” and “Mastalook” lost their father and she was concerned for their well-being.

    The Ewok princess did not look like the said father, the mumbling, bumbling figure that ordered for her dress to be sewn when Wicket brought her to the village and – thankfully – she didn’t wield a large bone in her hand, either. When Leia arrived, she was playing with something resembling a lasso and looking at a candle on a stump next to a small table.

    And somehow, the conversation quickly shifted to remembering parents' faces.

    “I don't remember my mother's face...but I grew up with all the love in the world, coming from my father, my aunt and my cousin.” The being continued in a calm, but sad voice that hinted a certain amount of being tired. “The Golden One can testify to it, for he can see everything.”

    “Young Mistress, for one last time, it is against my programming to pose as a deity.” Threepio was not giving up. “I have no idea what your life was like before three days ago.”

    Luckily, he got so wrapped up in his own complaints that he forgot to translate his comment to Ewokese. Leia did not feel like she could correct him – these furballs needed something to believe in.

    “I grew up with…” Leia paused in order to think of how to explain her foster family to somebody who was, maybe, not familiar with the concept. “…with people who took good care of me. I loved them more than anything in the world. And then I witnessed them die…” She stopped abruptly, not sure if comparing the destruction of Alderaan with the “fire in the sky” they all witnessed the other day would be justified.

    The white princess cocked her head and let a loud sigh. Seconds later, came Threepio’s translation. “I watched my mother get mauled by a hanadak. A hanadak? Mistress Leia, my information database does not possess a translation for this particular word.”

    Leia nudged the golden droid, who was more interested in his accuracy than the fact that the princess was still speaking.

    “…and I have nothing left from her.”

    “I don’t have anything from my mother, either. Or from my previous life. Everything went up in flames four years ago. Everything.”

    “Like the metal moon in the sky?” Another high-pitched remark, another clumsy translation, complete with hand-waving.

    “Yes, like the metal moon in the sky.”

    “We thought about going to the Land of the Dandelion Warriors tomorrow. To, maybe, find some metal. The hunters understand that we played a part in its demise, because the Golden One…that’s me, oh dear, oh dear, was on our side. So, they want keepsakes for their Belts of Honour. Mistress Leia, once again, I don’t know what this means.”

    The princess of Alderaan could feel that her touch with reality was failing her. Here on the very edge of the Outer Rim, in the sector full of astronomical abnormalities, her mind behaved differently. A couple of years ago, there was that think with the alleged Sana Solo. The other day, she found herself wearing a dress that an arrogant grey Ewok with a feline-like face insisted on sewing for her. And then, there was the night after the battle when she was looking for a place to sleep and ended up running into Shara Bey and Kes Dameron who were in a state of undress. So, who was she to tell this other princess that it would be impossible to scavenge anything related to the Death Star II, because everything went through a wormhole?

    “She forgets that there’s somebody who doesn’t know her name, because everybody knows her. A white Ewok, a princess and all. She says that her name is Kneesaa.” Threepio placed his hand where a Human’s ear would be. “And she calls you Lee-uh. Should I correct her?”

    Leia thought about that for a moment. She too never felt the need to introduce herself to others – everybody knew her, from the Senate debates, from the Empire’s bounty on her battle mates. This was the first time that somebody merely picked her name from conversation.

    And just then, a strange thought clouded her already turbulent stream of thought: who was she, now that there was no more Alderaan, and now that the legacy of one of the darkest figures of the Galaxy’s recent history was a part of her life?

    “I’m Leia.”

    “Le…ia.” Kneesaa managed to utter. The princess nodded in confirmation. They looked into each other’s eyes for the first time.

    “So, Mistress Leia, she seems to be persistent…are you going to go with her?”

    “I will.” Leia bit her tongue. For the countless time that day, feelings took precedence over rational thoughts. “Kriff…” she thought to herself, but then bit her tongue. Kneesaa was sporting one of those manic grins, which must have been an equivalent of Ewoks’ smiles.

    “Ee-chaa!” the white princess clapped her hands.

    “Gee whills, she said.” Threepio explained. “Or something in those lines…she will pick you up in the morning.

    “Okay…”

    The protocol droid had to mimic a movement he was not capable of yet again, as the answer was so quiet. Leia was already making her way to the hut she was sharing with a couple of other female Rebels, avoiding everybody on her way there. She regretted not having asked her brother to accompany her on this silly mission – after all, whatever “dandelion warriors” were, there was a frightening ring to it.




    Footnotes
    Hanadaks are savage beasts. One of them indeed killed Princess Kneesaa's mother, Ra-Lee.

    Land of the dandelion warriors is a thing, so are dandelion warriors (also know as Ftssft) themselves.

    Belt of honour is a common Ewok tradition.

    Shara Bey and Kes Dameron indeed have sex after the Battle of Endor, as seen in Shattered Empire, but by that time, Poe has already been born. So, nope, they're not making baby Poe.
     
  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    This is lovely; sweet and touching with bits of humor that made me smile. Leia at turning point in her life in so many ways: revelations about her family, the kiss with her "scruffy nerf-herder," a battle won and a new chapter beginning. No wonder she feels that she's losing touch with reality!
    This is poignant; how do we define ourselves when the things we thought made us who we are are gone? If there is no Alderaan, if she's Vader's daughter and not the Organas', then who is Leia? She has the chance to redefine herself with all the new and old aspects of herself...but it's painful.

    The meeting between the two princesses is perfect; despite their differences, Leia and Kneesaa have so much in common, even though
    Both of them are compassionate, loyal to their friends, and dutiful to their responsibilities. And of course, both have experienced the tragedy of losing their mothers. I really like how you've reconciled RotJ with the prequels--the contradictions of "canon" :p

    Threepio's translations are priceless as ever. Leia's reflections on how his personality evolved were interesting; I never really thought of it in those terms before but you have a good point about the oddity of a droid developing his particular set of neuroses.

    This
    made me :eek: (oh my, oh my, I did not need to know that about you, Poe!)

    I hope that whatever Leia discovers on her journey with Kneesaa will bring her some peace as she seeks answers about herself. Looking forward to the next two chapters @};-
     
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  5. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    So lovely!
    I love how everyone was sharing things about their mothers (or who raised them)! Even though some of the stories were very sad, it was very touching and a lovely way for Leia to connect to them.

    Great observation! 3PO certainly has mannerisms and says things that almost assuredly aren't programmed, which makes him more relatable.


    This was quite powerful! I can see after all she's been through not really knowing who she is. Her planet is gone, the rebellion has accomplished something amazing and while the work isn't done, it's certainly going to change. She's not going to have to be the same person from here on out.


    I also really liked how you included an explanation for Leia's comment about remembering her mother, that the Force allowed her to have that one special memory of her.

    I'm very curious about the dandelion warriors!

    I'm looking forward to the remaining parts!
    =D=

    Edit: Oh, and I forgot to say how much I love the title! It really set the mood of this very well and brings quite a lot of emotion on its own.
     
  6. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I'm amazed at the beginning of this; the thing that ties Leia and Kneesaa is so obvious and yet I never really thought of it! =D= Starting with that piece of dialogue about their mothers was a perfect choice.

    And it just works, somehow, that this is a thing that crosses the borders even as there is much that Leia doesn't really understand about the Ewoks.


    Liked this observation on Threepio; Leia knows he is more than the sum of his circuits even if she doesn't really know how that could have happened. [face_thinking]


    Always like to see explorations of how Leia remembers her mother in ROTJ (one of the scenes that have long fascinated me in the films), and this is wonderfully eerie. Memories that she didn't know she had, brought out by speaking to the brother she didn't know she had either.

    It's a little funny and a little sad that so much is lost to external appearances, or so it seems to me. I get the feeling that Leia can't quite lose the first "primitive teddy bear people" impression. Her views of the characters I remember from Snowed In and other works in that series seem like a funhouse mirror version of their true selves. Teebo as the "silly off-key drummer" -- so strange and yet it does match with those sections in The Brightest of the Stars. Kneesaa with her "manic grin", if one isn't used to the expression. Chief Chirpa as a "mumbling, bumbling figure" -- and I guess it's possible he'd seem that way to a stranger. Leia doesn't seem to be trying to be unkind about any of the "furballs", but she doesn't know them and I suppose it is hard to avoid the old "judge me by my size, do you?" problem.

    "Well, she doesn't look much like any princess I know!", either of them might say. [face_laugh] And wow, how does one even try to explain the concept of Darth Vader (much less Darth Vader + my father) across the language barrier? :)Like how we see Kneesaa's compassionate nature here; even with all of the strange events of the past days, she still takes note of someone else's loss. Even though it's very complicated in Leia's case, it does seem like this will be a good thing for her to be able to talk to someone about.

    So surreal after reading your other big long epics, full of things that the furballs believe in. :p


    Just so sad. :( They've both had some shattering losses in their lives.

    So Poe was an Endor baby? :p That kind of figures!

    Glad that Leia agreed to go on this expedition, whatever it's going to be. Dandelion warriors, hmm. No way this could go wrong. [face_thinking]
     
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  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I really, really liked the tone you were able to set here! There was such a depth of warmth and such a strong edge to the introspection that it was beautiful to read. I love that Leia was able to find a kindred spirit in the Ewok princess, and am looking forward to seeing more of their interaction as the story goes.

    Some particular things that stood out to me:

    Leia was never able to figure out if that had been fake or real behaviour. The programming for a protocol droid could have only gone so far, the rest was prone to invent itself and give the machine a personality. It just had to be that way. How would have AI itself come up with such a fearful and anxious individual on purpose? And how would he have ended up right there, with her and the being that refused to leave her side, hadn’t he had some sort of a heart?

    I adore that, in the midst of everything going on, Leia still has time for thoughts like this. And it's true - there are some droits who operate on the border of sentience to the point where it's uncanny. Threepio, perhaps, has one of the most defined personalities of all. Maybe it's a side-effect of his maker. [face_thinking]


    But the more she tried to rationalize it, the more she became aware that it was not a lie. She did remember her mother – holding her for a couple of minutes, saying her name with one of the last breaths she took and then, with her very last, saying that there is good in him. That last thing was chilling in retrospective, now that she knew who he had been, and now that he was dead, too.

    The Force works in mysterious ways, that's for sure. I like Leia's certainty in her memories, she's not doubting herself - and her remembering Padme saying that there was still good in Anakin? Yeah, that hit like a brick. Excellent writing there.

    Then, Leia rationalizing her way through all of her relationships - with Han, with Luke - trying to put her finger on who she is while so much has just changed, in more ways than one, was very poignant all around.


    As expected, it turned out that neither believed that the other was a princess. Neither believed who the other one’s father was. But for some reason, the tiny princess overheard that “Lee-uh” and “Mastalook” lost their father and she was concerned for their well-being.

    "Mastalook!" :p I love it!

    What endearing hosts, at that - I love your little glimpses into the Ewok culture, particularly their reverence for Threepio, and was also intrigued, as a side-point, by the idea of Leia's dress being sewn for her. Which makes sense, of course, when you think of it - of course they wouldn't have something of a size for her. I'm new to your work, but is that something you have written of before? It seemed like a developed event in your mind, and I'm curious. :)


    And just then, a strange thought clouded her already turbulent stream of thought: who was she, now that there was no more Alderaan, and now that the legacy of one of the darkest figures of the Galaxy’s recent history was a part of her life?

    “I’m Leia.”

    Ack, but those two words: wow. They packed a punch that a thousand words could have failed to achieve. That was both incredibly vulnerable and strong at the same time; a perfect culmination of her thoughts thus far. I look forward to her accompanying these Dandelion warriors, and maybe finding a little more closure at Kneesaa's side. It's nice for her to have another being who is interested in her just for her losses and her burden of leadership, without knowing her as the face of the Rebellion or a survivor of Alderaan or Darth Vader's daughter - just her. You really set up an interesting, rich few missing scenes, and I am eager to read more. =D=
     
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  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    OK, I’m way overdue on reviewing this, for which I’m really sorry, because I adored the concept from the start!

    I love how you’ve fleshed out Leia’s ruminations about her mother here, given how fragmentary and a little confusing they are in the official Saga. First we had the “beautiful but sad” remark in ROTJ, which was later supplemented by something that seemed to contradict it: by the birth (and death) scene in ROTS. You managed to reconcile those two scenes in a way that made sense. And of course it’s interesting that she, Leia, is the one who remembers being held by Padmé for those few moments, and that Luke apparently doesn’t (or I guess we don’t know for sure). Perhaps that shows that their new brother-sister bond is going to be mutually complementary—they’ll be filling in aspects of each other that will result in the two of them together being more than the sum of their parts. If that makes any kind of sense. Given that you’ve already got some very cool portrayals of Luke in your oeuvre, I very much look forward to seeing what he’ll be like in this story.

    And indeed, as the others have said, Leia found the perfect interlocutor in Kneesaa. These two really do have a ton in common, don’t they? There’s the loss of their mothers (and I’m very close to saying things about Bruno Bettelheim’s theories on fairy tales, but I won’t... but of course you know that the lost mother is an archetype that goes back a long way). There are the catastrophes from their earlier lives that stuck with them. There’s also their personalities—noble, fearless, diplomatic leaders who are nevertheless not totally accustomed to exploring their own interiority (see under: Leia’s seldom-attained step four). What’s interesting here is that those commonalities have not totally clicked for Leia, who (as has been said) is still tending toward regarding Kneesaa and her compatriots as “furballs” (and exsqueeze me, Your Worship, but they already have plenty to believe in!). But these things do take time, and all things considered I think these two are off to a pretty good start forging a friendship.

    And naturally the “lost in translation” factor is adding another level of challenge to the interaction of these two. It’s rather cute how flustered the Ewokese is making poor Threepio. Indeed, his 6 million forms of communication notwithstanding, I’m not surprised to see that—because even as he may know what (at least most of) the actual words mean, how can he possibly know the full extent of their cultural underpinnings? To him, the “metal moon in the sky” is just an awkward mistranslation—he of course was’t around for the events of [hl=black]The Other Moon[/hl] and has no idea of the full resonance that term has for Kneesaa and her friends (an extremely scary resonance, at that).

    I can only echo what the others have said about Kneesaa being one of the few people out there who is going to get to know Leia on her own terms—not as Princess of Alderaan or as leader of the Rebellion, but as regular old Leia, with losses and sorrows that are all her own. Her “I’m Leia” at first put me in mind of the moment Leia introduces herself to Lando in a similar way—though this is a very different scene in a way. There she was taking the terse approach because she was trying to hide things about herself; here it’s because she’s opening up. Yes, all that she’s been through, and especially the destruction of her homeworld, is very naturally making her wonder who she really is anymore—but with this one “I’m Leia” she’s taking a first step toward working that out.

    A few miscellaneous observations:

    I’m so glad too that you addressed issue of Leia’s Endor dress too. And for some reason knowing that Chirpa had a hand in it (at least in your retelling) makes me like him even more!

    As for Poe, the Wook is saying he was born in 2 ABY—so not to worry, people, he’s a two-year-old at this point. :p (Indeed, [hl=black]I have a lot of issues about the whole “conceived in picturesque moments of passion” trope, but this is not the place for me to go into them[/hl].)

    “Gee whills”: hah! That sounds familiar! :D

    A very rich and engaging start in true EP fashion, and I am very much looking forward to more, and to seeing how you weave in the other prompts! :)
     
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  9. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    leiamoody, I doubt she meant "challenging" in a bad way—I know EP well, and know that she loves a challenge! Last time you two were paired in the fic-gift challenge ("Emerald Wine"), I thought it was a match made in heaven, and it has every look of being the same now as well. @};-
     
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  11. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005