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Beyond - Legends Saga Certain Dark Things | Kessel Run Challenge 2023

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by vader_incarnate, Jan 11, 2023.

  1. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Title: Certain Dark Things
    Author(s): vader_incarnate
    Timeframe: a long, long time ago
    Characters: dunno yet but probably a whole lot of different flavors of Luke Skywalker honestly
    Genre: we’re playing it by ear, but definitely expect some angst

    Notes: Welcome to “Certain Dark Things,” my Kessel Run thread for the 2023 challenge. [face_dancing] The title came from Neruda’s Sonnet 17, which is … my favorite. Just phenomenal. It’s hiding under the spoiler cut.

    I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
    or the arrow of the carnations the fire shoots off.
    I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
    in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

    I love you as the plant that never blooms
    but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
    thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
    risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
    I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
    so I love you because I know no other way

    than this: where I do not exist, nor you,
    so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
    so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

    “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, / in secret, between the shadow and the soul.” Gah, gets me every time.

    I haven't actually decided on an overarching theme yet, so let's just say this is going to be (1) dark things (2) that I love. [face_batting] But not secretly between the shadow and the soul, because clearly I'm broadcasting them openly on the JCF boards. ;)


    Week One: Certainty | Introspection; Reborn Emperor 10ABY

    Week Two: The Dark Path | Introspection; Luke Skywalker 10ABY

    Week Three: Lucky | Humor-Angst; Lieutenant "Lucky" Sam Dannel (OC), Luke Skywalker 10 ABY

    Week Four: Heretic | Action; Lady Lumiya, Luke Skywalker 10 ABY

    Week Five: The Seduction | Philosophy; you and the Dark side

    Week Six: Resolute | Angst, Vaderdala; Darth Vader, Padmé Amidala 0 BBY

    Week Seven: Nothing Lower | Angst; Anakin Skywalker, Shmi Skywalker 31BBY
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2023
  2. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Title: Certainty
    Author(s): vader_incarnate
    Timeframe: during Dark Empire, 10 ABY
    Characters: Reborn Emperor, Luke Skywalker
    Genre: introspection, angst

    The alternative title to this whole thing could probably be “Certain Dark Lukes,” because such is my writing tendency. [face_mischief] Angsty and tormented is my preferred flavor of Skywalker, and my two most common fanfic outputs are apparently "angsty Dark Luke" and/or "canon typical child murder."

    Our first outing is going to be set during "Dark Empire," which has been a lodestone on my soul for literally decades. I have typed extensive meta on this subject before, in my other Dark Empire fix-its, but suffice to say:


    My boy is ... an espresso? He's the purest essence of a hero, and a good barista writer is gonna pull so many different flavors out of him, and add different amounts of milk, and make some incredible latte art. And hey - I take my coffee black. But you gotta do it right, and Dark Empire didn’t.

    Anyway, I'm not sure yet if I'm committing to Dark Empire vignettes for this entire challenge, but is anyone overly surprised I'm going there for my first entry? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    He had not been courageous. Because what is courage, in the face of destiny, if not merely a pretty word for foolishness?

    No; the humiliation of your greatest defeat has been permanently seared into your mind, and you remember with something deeper than memory not the strength of the boy's courage, but of his indomitable and reckless certainty.

    The boy above Endor had been certain. Not merely hopeful, but sure. It had been his conviction that light remained within his father that had saved him - far more that than the lingering light itself.

    You had been mistaken to think that he would share Anakin's carefully cultivated doubts and fears. Vader had been your masterpiece, a project decades in the making: a thousand poisoned cuts along a soft, unguarded belly, little lacerations discretely opened and then left to rot and fester within full view of the Jedi. You know yourself to be a fine hand with wicked things, and Vader had been the most wicked of them all.

    But certainty while solid is also fragile: when that which we know, or that which we think we know, is challenged - it shatters, when confronted with reality.

    And though you underestimated it then, you have thoroughly destroyed it now with your mere presence - with the revelation that the Sith have learned how to cheat death itself; it was this that had ensnared the father, after a fashion, and it is fitting that you will use it now to take the son.

    Not Anakin’s doubts, not the painstakingly sown seeds implanted in that child’s young mind, but new ones now: if he lives, what else was I wrong about? If the Emperor lives, what did my father die for?

    And there is no father here to save him now. You are alone; there is only you, and him, and that inevitable destiny you had once promised him above Endor.

    There is no other way. He kneels, as you had always been he would, as has always been preordained.

    "Yes," he says. "My father's destiny is my own."

    His father’s destiny. Can he possibly know what that means? He will learn.

    It is pleasing to have another Skywalker on his knees before your throne, and you take a moment to indulge in feeling your own gratification.

    Do it, never stop doing it, you kneel to me now and always and forever, is a living thing that beats in your blood. Whether you want him because he is powerful, or because he is weak, you did not care to interrogate; it is of no consequence to you why you want him, as long as it remains true that this new Skywalker boy kneels to you - and only you.

    "Good," you purr, and slowly and deliberately summon a curl of the Force to tenderly tousle the boy’s hair - to feel him tremble.

    He obliges instinctively, like a leaf quivering against a frozen wind. And though his shiver is born from revulsion rather than the deliciously intoxicating mix of devotion, shame, dread so thick that Vader should have choked on it if not for his respirator - that will be addressed soon enough.

    You think of yourself as pack ice in the tundra, frozen several feet thick and effortlessly still, and you remember with sharp longing the feeling of Vader, who felt everything, and hated himself for it, like a crown fire, burning hot and bright and stripping a forest of fuel faster than it could grow. Or, no - like a sun, so long-lived it was nearly eternal but it was a life of explosions and heat, the corona shifting and snapping magnetic fields, nothing ever the same yet it was always the same, and always so intense it was blinding.

    In this at least the boy is truly like his father before him. He burns, this one, from the inside out - and you missed that fervor more than you had realized.

    In an instant, the hunger hits you, and you fervently, zealously wish that the Temple still stood, or that the boy had made it further in his plans to rebuild that Order. That you might set your new apprentice upon it again, feel again that impotent rage and fruitless despair, relive those sweet moments of betrayal and triumph and glory when Vader had taught the Jedi the meaning of pain, and the truth of to whom they belonged.

    The hunger is so sharp, so poignant that you have to take a moment - inhale a quick and bracing breath.

    And for the first time, you notice that the boy has his own hunger; if not the twin to your own, a sibling, still. He has not yet even touched the Dark, but you sense it: he hungers for your defeat. And if he lacks Anakin’s doubts, Anakin’s fears, Anakin’s carefully cultivated triggers, at least he has inherited this: the hunger that makes a Sith.

    But is this hunger truly only to see you defeated? Or is it hunger, also, to take your place and your throne?

    Does he know himself?

    "Rise, my apprentice," you command.

    "Yes, Master."

    You still. "But - whose Master am I, boy?"

    The child pauses for a moment, confused, and you have to fight to squash down the anger: anger so great that you could have flattened the planet into broken parts and bodies and ash, a fury that whites out your vision and makes your blood pound like drums. Your teeth creak with how hard you clench your jaw.

    The father had been so much better trained.

    "Mine. My Master," comes the answer. Finally.

    You cluck your tongue in disapproval. "Remember that I like specifics, boy. That will be your first lesson."

    The lesson is this: he will learn that his neck must always be bared to you, that this is the nature of the bond between Sith Master, and Sith Apprentice. The apprentice must give - and the master must take.

    But; he will learn. You are certain.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2023
  3. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 12, 2018
    Very well done. So dark. So fantastic. Love me some Palpatine pov. :emperor:
  4. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Great response to the challenge! I love how deliciously evil your Palpatine is, and how you contrast that with Luke, who is still falling but seems to think he's making a necessary compromise.
  5. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Pure evil, pure Sith. Great response to the challenge
  6. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fanfic Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002
    :eek: [face_hypnotized] [face_love]

    This is an excellent insight :luke:

    You capture Palpatine's voice so well :emperor:

    I love it :D

    Look, you deserve better feedback than this, but I keep just coming back to, dang, Elli. Every sentence is a shining facet within the overall jewel. The level of craftsmanship here is amazing.

    I can see this being much more of a breaking point for Luke than DE's "curiosity about his father had known" plot device [face_thinking]


    This particular facet is almost blinding in its exquisite cut and polish; the anthropomorphism, the poetic descriptions, the absolutely correct characterizations, the contrast not merely between ice and fire but between pack ice and a crown fire, just *chef kiss*

    Ha, and look at this balancing act, and the potential that a hunger for his defeat could become a hunger to replace him :cool:

    So much for effortlessly still pack ice :p But "the father had been so much better trained" is so perfectly dehumanizing, it's Palpatine all over :emperor:

    So dark and so perfectly in character, ack :emperor:
  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    I logged on yesterday and did such a happy dance to see the Neruda grab. Perfect title is perfect! [face_love]

    [face_laugh] This is all I'm going to associate with this poem from here on out and I don't even mind. :p

    Oh my gosh, but I am already cackle-snorting and I haven't even gotten to reading your fic yet. This is so spot on accurate! [face_laugh] =D=

    My goodness, but this is just a masterful characterization of both Palpatine and Luke! [face_hypnotized] [face_hypnotized] =D= =D=

    Isn't this exactly what happened, though? =(( :_| And it's all the more heartbreaking in your deliciously powerful (beautiful? ugly?) prose. =D=

    *chills* Now this is plausible! (And in an interesting, meta way, I love that you echoed what was, at least for me, one of the things I disliked most about the ST. If this is the canon future of these beloved characters, then what was the OT even for? =(()

    [face_sick] [face_devil] So dark and twisty and again perfectly in character for both Palpatine and Vader - and now Luke. :emperor: :vader: :luke: (We need a matching dark!Luke icon now. :p)

    [face_hypnotized] [face_hypnotized] [face_hypnotized]

    ALL THE PRETTY, AWFUL WORDS ARE SO PREEEEETTY!!! =D= =D= =D= Just, the juxtaposition between ice and fire was masterful done here, and this passage in particular is where the second person POV really did its best work making Palpatine seem all the more horrifically inhuman. He reads more like a force of nature rather than any sentient human being, just as he crafted Vader and now Luke to be. [face_thinking]

    Yep: inhuman force of nature. [face_hypnotized] =D=

    Congratulations: new creepy level of creepy angst unlocked! :cool:


    I wish I had a better way to say that every word of this was exquisitely crafted and so, so well done, but I'm just kind of at a loss for more in depth feedback. So: every word of this was exquisitely crafted and so well done! :p

    Your Run is off to a fantastic start, and I can't wait for more! [face_love] =D= [:D]
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Shivers! Now this gives every appearance of being one carefully crafted, extremely well-thought Dark!Luke, not to mention an absolutely spot-on Palpatine viewpoint; somehow the second person really ups the jitters factor (who is it who’s speaking to him? [face_thinking]). Love the very penetrating ruminations on the differences between Anakin’s and Luke’s tendencies toward the dark side and the all-important commonality of their burning. (A new Mustafar looming in the horizon!) Wonderful, angsty-dark start to your run; can’t wait to see where else your muse will lead! =D=
  9. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    I always loved the Dark Empire comics, and the POV story was an intriguing read, especially from Luke's POV.
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh wow. You took that little strip of Dark Empire here and gave it so much more depth by examining it through Palpatine's POV: the pleasure of a thorough, detailed examination of the situation, comparing it to that on the Death Star, but also of Luke's personality and everything that could make him a good Sith. And then:
    Before this new empire even begins in earnest, the disappointment. Because Luke was not groomed from childhood, and sometime things were bound to go wrong.

  11. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Thank you! I don't write him that often, but I have so many weird Sith headcanons I want to explore, and maybe I ought to dig into them

    Sue, Dark Empire was the first Star Wars EU I ever read and I immediately chased it with the Jedi Academy Trilogy, and the two of those together generated so much fuel for the "I need to fix this" fire in my soul that I remain in the fandom 20 years later :p I really really like the concept of Dark Empire, and some of the ideas in it, I just wanted it to happen the way I wanted it to!

    Thank you! :D

    I have so many food metaphors. Luke is like ...
    - a potato. Because good writers know how to add their own spices and toppings and deliciousness, but in the hands of a bad writer he's bland.
    - chocolate. Delicious, no matter the form factor, but some people like him darker.
    - I had one for toast as well, I can't quite remember it. :p
    - wait maybe I'm just hungry.

    I am absolutely enamored with this idea that Palpatine understands how to manipulate people without really understanding people. Like he instinctively knows how to harness all the worst parts of a person, or to twist virtue to vice, but he doesn't really understand or understand the point of traits like courage or self-sacrifice or where such urges can come from. That the idea of purely unselfish motivations is something that he has observed but doesn't have the capacity or empathy to understand on a personal level, so he misreads them or undersells them.

    I read this really great meta on Tumblr recently about how "Luke’s biggest character flaw isn’t impatience or arrogance … it’s reckless optimism." It made me think a lot. And overthinking is one of my favorite hobbies. And I like the idea of Palpatine seeing something like that, but not fully understanding because he doesn't get our viewer-meta lens.

    Random anecdote, but I recently took this super fancy personality quiz for professional development that totally pegged me as someone who collects factoids like a magpie, recreationally overthinks, explains complicated topics in simplified colloquialisms, and makes points through anecdotes. :p All this is paraphrased from fancy psychology talk, but that was the gist, and I felt SO CALLED OUT. So maybe I'd fit the psychological profile of someone who'd fall to the dark side for the sake of curiosity and gaining ammo for future Jeopardy questions, but I don't think Luke is. [face_laugh]

    Anyway - I totally think someone could write a story of Skywalker seeking to learn about the dark side for an arcane power that serves a higher goal, like maybe saving a beloved wife :padme:. Even saving the galaxy from World Devastators would have been fine if they ... handled it just a bit better? [face_thinking] But they didn't [face_beatup]

    I know, that part was so skeevy [face_laugh] And I absolutely think of Palpatine as someone who'd weaponize touch with his apprentices. Vader knew no human touch on his skin from the time Palpatine found him on Mustafar and Luke took off his helmet in RotJ, and I think that absolutely messed with his head and Palpatine absolutely used it. :vader::emperor:

    THANK YOU and I will TAKE MY PRAISE and happily bask like a lizard. [face_batting]

    He's like, almost self aware? But also absolutely overconfident in his assessment of his own self image and incapable of being completely self aware. [face_laugh]

    Bwahaha [face_devil]:emperor:

    Do you know, I didn't even realize until the day after I'd posted my ficlet that the theme of certainty is already part of the thread title. [face_idea] And then because I'm prone to overthinking according to fancy personality quizzes, and particularly overthinking linguistics, I thought a lot about the original Spanish poem that uses oscuras and is sometimes translated to English as obscure rather than dark? But I like dark; I'm keeping dark. [face_laugh]

    Linking again to this wonderful Tumblr meta! I have this idea that Palpatine is a gifted manipulator - but intrinsically lacks the actual empathy and ability to truly understand people who don't act for selfish reasons. I don't write him often, but it's something I'd like to dig further into at some point.

    I call :luke: my boy a lot, but :anakin: is also my boy. My boys :_|

    The ST took so many story beats from DE, which was doubly insulting because TTT was right there :_| The conversations that Palpatine has with Kylo at the beginning of TRoS and with Rey at the end echo a lot of the arguments he made to Luke in DE; they weren't even good arguments in the first place, thirty years ago, why put them on the big screen with a budget of infinity dollars? Waaah, Disney, give me the infinity dollars instead, it's a much better use of your dollars.

    Mira, I would abuse that smiley so frequently and such ridiculous situations you wouldn't know what hit you [face_laugh]

    Thank you! @};- That one's my favorite.

    Vader was so thoroughly broken; Palpatine took that little boy who in the very first scene we meet him in TPM immediately asserts his personhood. And then he took away everything; his body, his face, even his name. :vader:

    There's a bit in the DE supplement in Palpatine's in-universe Sith textbook Creation of Monsters (is that where my drabble thread title came from? absolutely.) where:


    Basically saying "yeah, he threw me down a reactor shaft, but I derived such joy from his torment that I would absolutely do it again" and I just ... I can't, that's so messed up. Whoever wrote this just nested it into my headcanon of Palpatine so perfectly. (It's Tom Veitch, I will admit that this is one good thing that he did.) Of course he wants to make himself a new Vader; even before you take into account all the benefits of having a super powerful Force user as a servant, it's fun for him.


    He's talking to Luke! But I love how deeply Anakin and Luke both feel about things. And that Luke doesn't really have the qualities that would make a good Jedi on paper because of that - he feels everything keenly, he rages against injustice - but through training and force of will he's able to reign himself in and become the Grand Master Luke of the NJO etc despite his predisposition. He's born into great power and also has the capacity for great evil, but unlike Anakin he was able to choose a different path and I just love him so much that's my boy.

    They're delightfully gothic. That last was Palpatine's POV! Luke's coming up though.

    I have so much visceral rage about this comic, mainly because: I love the idea of Luke going dark at some point, and then coming back. I could see it argued either way, but I admit that I mainly love it for the angst and the aesthetics and the parallel to his father. But Dark Empire did it in such a weird and heavy-handed way that I hate it even though it in theory handles a storyline that I'd very much like to see if only it were handled well.

    I have this headcanon that the point of the Sith is to break someone so that they keep choosing the Dark. Because even though the Jedi in the movies tell us that "once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny," that's not what we see in the movies - Anakin slaughters a Tusken village and is still able to go back to a temple full of psychics without it apparently lingering on his soul. It took years of wartime atrocities and then another pointed an concerted effort on Sidious' part in RotS before Anakin had irrevokably turned; and by then he was so thorougly broken and believed that there was no other way for him than to continue and to keep making his awful awful youngling-killing decisions. Anyway that was a ramble, but Palpatine gets to take his time grooming Anakin and Maul, and Dooku was arguably already somewhat broken - but Luke isn't, and I really don't think that DE created a strong enough argument that Palpatine managed to do that sort of psychological damage to him, where he would deliberately and purposefully continue to seek out the Dark despite all the warning bells and morality and wrong wrong wrongness that must be concurrently ringing through his mind.

    I also have a headcanon that the way you do break someone so badly in an abbreviated timeframe that they'll keep making awful choices again and again is that you'd set up a loop - basically a while programming loop, so that instead of you having to take the years long process on yourself, you'd train them to do it instead. But that's neither here nor there. :p

    Next part up once I get the formatting working [face_dancing]
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2023
  12. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Week 2:
    • Write a story between 400 and 800 words using second-person POV in which a character is lost.
    • Word limit = 400-800 words

    Title: "The Dark Path"
    Author(s): still me
    Timeframe: still in DE, y'all. 10ABY
    Characters: Luke Skywalker
    Genre: introspection, angst

    You are not lost, and you do not fall, and you do not fear the Dark. You don't go crashing down from on high in an explosive and fiery blaze; nor do you go kicking and screaming and fighting against the Dark as you are dragged beneath the surface. You saunter freely forward and downward of your own accord.

    But though you set foot on this path willingly, with your eyes wide open to all the various avenues and possibilities - you can't quite quash the feeling that as you walk on, the road behind you is closing up. You don’t look back, but you know that if you do, you’ll see a thousand golden eyes gleaming back from the dark, sharp and spittle-flecked teeth eager and waiting and sure with the knowledge that if they wait long enough your eyes too will bleed to gold and when you peer into the Dark you will see not a window but a mirror.

    The only way out is through. And there is a clarity, a certainty to the Dark path that you cannot help but find beautiful in its own way: and you sense more than see the only possible path unfolding before you in sweet and darkly gleaming perfection: a thin and fragile ribbon that weaves a meandering, near impossible route through and past the Dark, and towards a Light on the other side.

    You have to keep going. To serve the Light is to let go, but to serve the Dark is to let yourself go, all that you are, and you know that if you stop for even a moment or take even a small step off the narrow path, it will consume you: wash itself over you and in its insatiable hunger devour everything you are and were and shall ever be, until you are as your father had been.

    But the Dark knows you came here for knowledge, and insidious whispers haunt your footsteps: damned and damning truths that tempt you with secrets about life and death and power and you will not stray you will not you will not you will not -

    Until you do.

    Because everyone does.

    And suddenly you’re sprinting blindly forwards through the darkness tripping and falling and stumbling over what you cannot tell but maybe it’s bodies could it be bodies corpses and skeletons left over from all those before you who tried to walk the Dark path and keep hold of themselves and with all the best intentions but in turn found themselves consumed and you can’t stop you can’t stop you have to keep going there’s no way back only forward even though you don’t know who you’ll be when you get to the other side -

    Your deepest truth is this: you have always done what needed to be done. And now more than ever you harden yourself and your resolve and you know you will push through no matter the cost to yourself or your soul.

    But there is another truth, too, one that you cannot yet confront and cannot yet bear. It is this: that the Force whimpers when you touch it, because it already misses someone you used to be.

    There is a small light not ahead in the distant, dark expanses, but - inside yourself, and something compels you to reach out and cradle the candlelight and blow into it, find kindling to feed it, nurture it to a blaze. When you are alone and have nothing to occupy your hands or your mind - you think about that candlelight, and you think you can feel someone cradling your face.

    A touch at once foreign and familiar; a touch you had never felt during his lifetime but now with new kinship that runs even deeper than blood; a touch full of wordless despair but also piercing understanding; a low, rich voice that murmurs with gentle and loving reassurance, there is a way home.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2023
  13. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Really neat and original take on the “lost” theme; he’s kind of fluxing between genuinely not knowing where to go and being fully confident in the guidance of the Dark. Some really arresting images here in the Sith-yellow eyes morphing together into a golden mirror, and the Force whimpering with each touch, because it knows who Luke used to be. And what could be more Luke than that tiny inner light that emerges and promises to lead him home! Thanks for sharing this stunning and evocative vignette. (And did I tell you that I too caught—and loved—the Neruda reference in your thread title? :D )
  14. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    My only…my precious! GOLLUM!….

    The Dark Side pulls in you in and won’t let go. Creepy!
  15. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fanfic Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002

    Luke is like toast, too light is anemic and too dark is repugnant and ideally you want a perfect balance between dark and light, but a little more on the light or dark side is still great if you know which toppings complement each best (something airy like cinnamon sugar for light; something heavier and savory like baked beans or marmite for dark)

    Hey, if it sparks artistic insights like this :p

    Yes, I can absolutely see this. He understands them in an intellectual way, but he's just completely missing the ability to fully realize how motivating these things are to non-sociopaths

    This is an excellent meta, and it honestly makes me think of TTT, and the fact that Zahn's books are as good as they are not so much because he's a talented writer with a gift for balancing a large cast and intricate plots (although he is), but because he deeply understands the characters, because he has clearly overthought them on an Elli-like level and put a great deal of work into understanding what makes each of them tick on as individuals as well as how and why they all work together in groups, how they see and understand and love each other, and therefore the ECs are instantly recognizable and his OCs are equally authentic and relatable people. Because the very best stories begin not with plot or setting, but with characters. And indomitable optimism is a huge, huge part of who Luke fundamentally is.

    Going to the dark side for future Jeopardy questions [face_rofl]

    There are some aspects of the EU (and new canon, though I'm not nearly so familiar with most of it) that I just plain think are stupid, end of, someone made a very bad writing decision and I reject it. But there are lots of aspects I think are bad overall that had potential, and my irritation with them is that the potential was wasted. I still maintain that the DE premise needed to be an AU rather than canon, but in AU, my goodness, yes, the potential, and it was squandered and that is a travesty

    That's my girl [:D]

    "Your overconfidence is your weakness" :emperor:

    Mira, please, please can we have this smiley just for the sake of this, please

    Yes, this, this is fully the reasoning I see behind all of Palpatine's manipulations, but especially the up close and personal ones with individuals, he's a puppet master and he's not in the Sith business just to be a sadist, but because he genuinely finds joy in the manipulation, in turning a person into what he wants them to be, but so subtly that they don't even see the danger. He has the Sith name Darth Sidious, Palpatine loves pulling strings behind the scenes without anyone knowing. He's not even in this for personal aggrandizement; power, yes, but look, he had the galactic spotlight as Supreme Chancellor, yet what did he apparently do as soon as he was genuinely Emperor and his power was unquestioned? Put on a big old dark hooded robe and skulked around the Palace, seeing only his closest advisors and agents. He didn't want the spotlight, he wanted the shadows, and to pull others into the shadows with his spiderweb.


    Ahhh, the poetically lurking claustrophobia

    Hee, I love it, so thumpingly final and pragmatic

    This is so horribly atmospheric and awful, I love it, argh


    AAAHHHHHHHH ELLI WHHHYYYYY look at you giving your boys hope amidst all the despair :luke: :vader: So well written, I love it, I'm so glad you're back, Elli [face_love]
  16. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    His thoughts about the dark. But at the end the Force and the light that's still there inside him. Great response and I love it
  17. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    Unfortunately, @A Chorus of Disapproval knows better than to put such power in the hands of us mere fanfic mods. Can you imagine what we'd do with a dark!Luke emoji? Heck, we don't even have a Mara emoji yet. :p

    [face_hypnotized] YES, THIS! A THOUSAND TIMES THIS!

    What a way to answer the prompt! Five stars outta five on the rip-your-heart-out scale. This really summarizes everything from every meta and DE fix-it (make-it-better-by-worsening-it fic? :p) you've posted since coming back to the boards. Luke fell because he was dangerously curious and unwittingly arrogant and completely overly optimistic about his ability to stay in the light while dabbling in the dark. That's the only way his turning makes sense!

    "Not a window but a mirror." *shivers*

    Spot on insight is spot on!

    My gosh, but I love how every lovingly crafted and gloriously poetic and verbose sentence abruptly cut off for this short, jagged truth. This was a hit, a palpable hit! [face_hypnotized] =D=

    =(( :_| =(( :_| =((

    Because the path doesn't just go one way, does it? Goodness, but the hope here - in quintessential SW fashion - hurt so good! =(( :_| [face_love]

    Still, if you think that this wee bit of silver lining amongst the overwhelmingly obfuscating storm clouds got you out of the timeout corner, it did not. Stay there until you write something happy. [face_not_talking] [face_shame_on_you]

    That said, keep up the most excellent work! ;) =D= [:D]
  18. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fanfic Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002
    Admittedly, the emoji update request thread in Comms does not infuse me with hope, but surely our magnanimous head admin realizes the potential if this issue was handed over to FanFic. Just think of all the sad oversights we could correct. Sure it'd be some grand craic [face_batting] [face_mischief]
  19. A Chorus of Disapproval

    A Chorus of Disapproval Head Admin & TV Screaming Service star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Aug 19, 2003
    If we allowed that we would have arguments in Comms over Dark Luke Emoji not being canon.
  20. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fanfic Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002
    He's right. My God, he's right. This giant bunch of nerds :p Well, at least remember that FanFic wants Mara if ever we get new emojis, please, Chorus. You can sic us on anyone who argues that she's no longer canon :p
  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    My goodness, but why did I not think of this? Comms would implode from the mass rioting; blood would flow in the steets; chaos would reign in an eternal night - which dark!Luke and co. would probably approve of. [dark]:luke:[/dark] :vader: :emperor:

    But yeah, we'll man the guns for Mara. [face_mischief]
  22. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    I'm not brave enough to take this up in comms, but I occasionally wonder why we have :kylo: but not Rey, Finn, Poe. Even before we get to Mara. [face_beatup]

    Also [face_chicken][face_cow][face_pig][face_monkey][face_clown]

    Edit: I guess we have @};-

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
  23. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 12, 2018

    Magnificent imagery. Stunningly angsty-beautiful. Superb, from start to finish.
  24. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm back! Before I get to your latest offering, two things.

    First, Neruda! That sonnet is indeed phenomenal, as is, in my view, all of his writing; and the title would definitely have brought me to this thread even if it weren't for the Kessel Run Challenge. You may or may not know that Neruda's Canto General was set to music by Mikis Theodorakis in the form of an oratorio. Now I know that Theodorakis is mostly known outside of Greece as the composer of the soundtrack of Zorba, but he was a phenomenal artist himself and I Just. Don't. Get. how his take on the Canto General could fall through the cracks of international fame. This is my little bit of propaganda for the day, but really, it's worth listening to, especially for Neruda readers.

    Second, Dark Empire. Yeah. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this comic elicits "visceral rage" for me because I just don't get that worked up about fiction, but indeed, it's pretty bad. And I say this as an almost-unconditional SW fan who's happy to enjoy anything SW as long as it's a good story and it's well told. That story was definitely not well told, and it was simply not a good story. What is interesting though is that it has motivated people to write some pretty amazing fanfic about it, to elaborate on the storyline, or to take it to its logical conclusion, or even to develop aspects of it that made for good stories. So even though I don't like that comic, I'm grateful for its existence since it gave me the opportunity to read your fics :)

    As a side note, I'm completely on board with your head-canon about how the Sith operate to break someone, and I was happy (if such a thing can be said of this story) to see it at work in The Dark Path. This story is so claustrophobic, I just can't even. But its outcome was just grand. It makes sense that Luke would believe that you can come back from the dark, because he saw his father do it (which is, IMO, an essential point that needs to be emphasized over and over again in any story where Luke turns to the dark side) – and therefore, it makes sense that the presence that reminds him that he can find his way back, even once he's almost lost, would be his father's.

  25. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Thank you! @};- I have so many feelings and theories and headcanons about the Force and the Dark side, and in another life I was probably an absolutely arresting Greek philosopher expounding on the meaning of life in a square in Athens - or hanging around in a wine barrel, I dunno; I could be a Diogenes. And I just love exploring them! This is such a weird time for him, and such a weird headspace for him, and on the one hand I hate it and how it was handled in the EU, and on the other hand - I can work with this, I love working with this, this is my jam.

    Hooray! <3 I ran through a few different iterations but that was my first instinct and I went with it. [face_love]

    Thank you! @};- I have so many thoughts about this! But mostly that: I think that despite what the Jedi tell us in the movies, the Dark is a thing that you have to keep actively choosing. That it will let you go, even at the last possible moment as it let Vader go - but you have to choose it, you have to want it. And the ultimate point of Sith training is breaking someone thoroughly enough that they'd actively choose the Dark again and again and again despite it ultimately being a repugnant and unnatural choice.

    Yes yes this is perfect.


    Also also, my toaster broke last night, and I miss it.

    Yeah, Rian Johnson. I feel like Luke is just one fourth-wall break from becoming aware, like Deadpool. :p Like, his optimism that he's gonna make it is just one meta joke away from him realizing that he's going to survive even if the writer is really really bad and destroys his characterization unless it serves the plot. He is the definition of main character energy, except for once it's absolutely justified, because he's the main character!

    Forbidden donut knowledge! =P~

    I have overthought this a lot, but I feel like Luke growing up under the big, empty sky of Tatooine would have a love of wide, open spaces - apparently agoraphilia is a word that exists, so that. Don't look up the alternative definition, though. Oh no, you did it; I'm sorry. He'd feel most comfortable in spaces like that, and I headcanon that he developed a mild claustrophobia after the incident in the trash chute in ANH. So maybe you don't fear the Dark, Luke, but I'm gonna find a way to give you a little shiver up your spine anyway. :p

    Also also Vader absolutely had claustrophobia issues in his suit. Anything can be a sad Vader headcanon.

    (What does it mean that Luke doesn't fear the Dark?? Tell me, Matt Stover! And if you don't, I will overthink it myself! A lot! That's not a threat, that's a promise!)

    I think that Luke's tragedy here is that he really thought there was a way through. That Palpatine and the Dark and his own reckless optimism together convinced him that there was a possible path for him, and it would be narrow and almost impossible, but it was there. But there wasn't, there isn't, there can't be. He was wrong, just like everyone else who thought the same before him. My boy.


    I headcanon that the Force "felt" the same way about Vader. =(( And about all her (the Force is a her, okay?) fallen children, but especially her Skywalker boys. I don't know why I personify the Force to this extent. :p

    MY BOYS!! And that's one of the things I wanted DE to do, to draw that connection more clearly. Because there is a way home, and Luke helped Vader find it; and now, Luke needs to find it himself. You can't just rewrite RotJ with Leia in Luke's place and Luke in Vader's, Veitch, the characters are distinct and different. :p

    Between the candle metaphor and not fearing the Dark, I guess this ficlet is more heavily informed by Stover than Veitch, and I had the sudden revelation that that's what I actually wanted from DE: a lovingly rendered chronicle of Luke's fall as carefully crafted as Stover's for Anakin in RotS. Is that really so much to ask? :p

    Thank you! @};-

    I feel like Palpatine is one of my stronger characterizations. He's so FUN. :p Pompous evil thesaurus. :emperor

    I jokingly call it "canon kriffed it, let's kriff it harder." [face_laugh] This was the only thing I thought of when I saw the prompt for this week. Though for some reason I wrote the last three paragraphs immediately and had to like. Find a way to write the rest and get there while honoring the prompt. :p

    [face_devil] Something about gazing too long into the abyss. Which is perhaps a pretty surface level reading of the Nietzsche quote, which I think was actually about guarding against apathy - but if there's ever a situation in which a completely literal reading of that works, I think the GFFA is the place. Oh oh oh but I should make Luke read Nietzche.

    He thought he was different, Mira! He thought he could make it through! My optimistic boy. :luke:

    The Force misses all her fallen children. =(( And she's especially heartbroken here because she knows what happened with his father, and no one broke the Force's heart as badly as Anakin Skywalker.

    Mira, I wrote an adorable fluff crack modern Parent Trap AU drabble set, I'll have you know. :p Just don't read the sets immediately before or after. [face_whistling] But - my preferred flavor of angst is angst with a bit of hope. Just that little pinch, for flavor.

    Thank you! I really enjoyed writing this one.

    Thank you thank you, I will take this recommendation to heart.

    My first instinct was to deny or rephrase the visceral rage thing - but honestly, a lot of things elicit visceral rage for me, including fiction? It’s incredibly exhausting, I don’t really recommend it. :p

    Yay, thank you! I’m glad you’re here. [face_hug] There's bits and pieces of and concepts of Veitch's work that I really enjoy, and part of the problem, I think, is the medium; you can only go so deep in that format. And there are some really good comics that work in the format, but unfortunately DE wasn't one of them.

    I think what I want from DE, or any storyline where Luke falls, is the same care that Stover took to write Anakin’s fall in RotS - someone to fill in the gaps and philosophy and moral questions unique to Luke along the way, not rehash RotJ but this time Luke falls and Leia saves him. I’ll write it myself, I guess. :p

    Sidenote, didn't Viari do an amazing job writing the Sith training in her EtF interrelated fics, I love her. [face_love]