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Saga - Legends Break Free-- Current Hits Challenge, Mara Jade

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Break Free
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Genre: AU, drama

    This is my entry for the Current Hits Challenge; my song is Ariana Grande's "Break Free". This is an AU featuring Mara
    set in the timeline of my story "Under a Dark Sky"

    ------------------------------

    The Imperial Palace was the center of the Galaxy, a symbol of the Empire. It projected an image of strength and grandeur, but the average citizen would never see behind the glittering facade to the political backstabbing and shady deal-making that happened inside. Even those who thought they were intimately acquainted with its inner workings seldom knew what was happening in the shadows.

    Mara Jade did. She'd grown up in the shadows of the palace, slipping through the labyrinth of hidden passageways like a shadow herself. She knew every inch of them, had used them to spy on the enemies of the Empire, to steal or plant evidence against them, even to kill them--whatever her master commanded. She'd been the Emperor's Hand, his trusted servant.

    But no more. Now she was more than just an extension of Palpatine's will, and she was here for reasons of her own.

    Mara held up a hand, warning the man creeping along behind her to stop. She placed her hand flat against the wall and inched it along until she found the hidden catch. A panel slid open with barely a whisper; only a heavy red velvet curtain separated the passage from the room outside.

    Luke put a hand on her shoulder, his eyes uncharacteristically serious. "Are you sure you're ready for this?"

    If he hadn't been her best friend, Mara would have punched him for suggesting she might want to back down now. "I'm always ready," she told him, her lips stretching into something between a smile and a snarl. "Besides it wouldn't matter if I wasn't. He knows we're here." She swept the curtain aside and strode into the Emperor's throne room. "Don't you?"

    A familiar rasping chuckle echoed through the seemingly empty chamber. "Oh, I know a great many things, Mara Jade." The throne, which had been facing the circular window at the far end of the room, slowly turned towards the intruders. Backlit by the red glow of the Coruscant, the Emperor's shrouded figure nearly disappeared into its solid form, but Mara could feel his malevolent presence like a cold miasma seeping across the throne room. How could she have never felt it before? "I knew that you could never truly abandon your place as my servant, and I knew that I would find you in the company of Lord Vader's wayward son." Palpatine leaned forward, steepling his long fingers. "Tell me, my failed apprentice, what lies did you tell her to get her to let you sever our bond? Did you tell her you loved her, that you would protect her?"

    Luke's hand tightened around his lightsaber hilt. "I didn't..." he began, but Mara waved him quiet, and took a step towards the dais. For seventeen years, this withered corpse of a man had been controlling her life, telling her what to do and what to think; now it was her turn to speak. "I broke it once I found out what a lying, drooling, scum-swallowing, superannuated, under-handed, festering, filth-sucking parasite you really are." She threw every insult she could think of at him. He deserved them all and more, for the years he'd kept her groveling at his feet, compelling her loyalty when she would have given it, and though she knew it was childish, it was satisfying to taunt him as if he was cantina gutter-scum, and gratifying to see how quickly his towering ego was piqued.

    Palpatine surged up off his throne in a wave of darkness, his yellow eyes flashing. "What I am is your master. I have given you everything you have, made you everything that you are. I should kill you where you stand for your insolence." He stretched out his hand, and Mara felt his will pressing down as if the whole palace had collapsed on her. "Bow to me, Emperor's Hand, and I may let you live. I may even let you serve me again, after a suitable punishment."

    "I. Will. Never. Bow. Again," Mara ground out through clenched teeth, resisting with every ounce of strength she had. She anchored herself in the Force as firmly as she could, but she felt her knees begin buckle....until she felt another Force bearing her up. From the corner of her eye, she could see that Luke had stepped forward to stand next to her. *Not because you're weak* came his voice, *but because we're stronger together.*. Slowly, Mara straightened. "You made me? You took everything from me-- my home, my family, my life! You trained me just enough to make me useful and then you leashed me to you so I'd be a good little hound." She raised her head and took another defiant step towards the dais as the Emperor stared down at her incredulously. "But I am stronger than you think--we are stronger than you think."

    "Bah!" he spat. Anger and hate burned in him like a conflagration now, "If you will not submit, then you are useless." Palpatine cackled, and a thin smile stretched his haggard face. "And you know what happens to useless servants. You should remember this part, Emperor's Hand. This is is the part where I crush those who are stupid enough to oppose me. This is is the part where you die."

    "No." She might die here tonight, but it didn't matter. She'd already won the greater battle. Mara ignited her lightsaber and smiled into the face of evil. "This is the part where I break free."
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, Raissa this is so wonderfully terrifically in character. =D= =D= Magnificent! Makes me long for Dark Sky again though [face_batting] @};- [:D]
     
    Ewok Poet likes this.
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Just as you did in Under a Dark Sky, you've created a scenario that is completely AU and yet completely in character for the characters. The scene you show us here is at least as momentous and climactic as Luke's redemption of Vader in ROTJ—and heck, Mara deserved that kind of "breaking free from the Dark Side" scene as much as Luke did, if not more so. (It's entirely possible that she may have gotten something of that sort in the EU literature and that I'm just not remembering it, though.) The ending is especially riveting, with the portentous hint of an imminent duel that may be Mara's last—but even if it is, her fall will not be in vain with Luke as both a witness and a that calm yet strong helper that he is by nature. ("Not because you're weak, but because we're stronger together"—love that!) Lovely job here, ma'am! =D=
     
  4. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 5 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2006
    A truly great moment that Mara Jade along with Luke's strength has broken free from Palpatine's grasp and control.
     
    Findswoman likes this.
  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I think the opposite, actually - Luke is nothing more than a catalyst here and Mara herself is the true heroine. She breaks free, in every sense of that word and she learns how to be herself. I also love it that they're the best buddies, because, certainly, you don't get into a relationship before you have truly, truly healed. Mara is strong enough to be on her own, but having a friend makes things better and once she is alone with the voice in her head having abandoned her, she is going to need somebody to lean on.

    I love the way exterior and interior details are in-tune with Mara's subconsciousness in this story - her mind is very much a maze, just like the corridors of the Imperial Palace and she needs to find the way out of both in order to be herself. And she is physically attractive, she glistens just like the city-planet itself, but many things that glisten hide a dark interior.

    And then comes the fascinating exchange between Mara and the Emperor in her head. A tangled web of opposite, the maze taking strange routes, ups and downs...and finally, she sees the light. Like she should. And she realises that she needs to rebuild her whole life, leaving what was built for her behind. A true breaking free, in so many ways!

    Thank you for a fantastic response to the challenge! :)
     
  6. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Great AU and good characterizations. I love how very "sped up" everything is. Mara's resolve is pure durasteel here, and I love how you left it up for the readers to decide what happened in the end. Then again, it doesn't matter if she lives or not, just being able to stand there and prepare to face a father figure--demented he may be--is victory enough.
     
  7. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Great little AU scene, what I really love is how this version of events still emphasises Mara's own agency in breaking free of the Emperor's control over her. Very well done!
     
  8. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Kick his sheevy behind, Mara! [face_dancing]

    I really like how this echoes the EU battle with C'baoth, and that it's in a lot of ways convergent with that moment in time. As it was there, the real battle is within Mara, and it's not an easy one -- choosing to follow her own path comes with doubts and fears that Palps is more than happy to personify. It's great to see that she's found the necessary confidence by the end. :)
     
    whiskers, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.