main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga Courtly Love [Queen Kylantha & OC. Response to Halloween challenge.]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Pandora, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    This was originally written in October 2005 as a response to a Halloween challenge, in which participants were to write a 1000 word story with a terrible opening sentence. The story has changed a bit since then, but the opening sentence remains the same. (And yes: it's what you're probably thinking it is.)

    I should also note that I play even faster and looser with the EU than usual here.

    (Revised note to go with the 3.28.13 revised version.)

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

    Courtly Love


    “If you’re in as much agony as I am, please tell me!”

    Finally, Rollo Mabriee dared to look back at the woman he would give anything, anything at all, to spend his life with: Queen Kylantha. She did not respond. She looked pale through her fading white makeup. Her hands were folded together in her lap. Oh, how he longed reach over and take one of them up in a (gently suitable) grip, but he knew not to. Though he had been courting—as he hoped he could call it—the Queen for some time, he had never once touched her. He had never even been alone with her.

    One of the handmaidens, hidden inside her wine-red velvet cloak, was waiting over by the doors. She only seemed to ignore them. Rollo had never spoken with her, or any of the others, so he only guessed that they regarded him as a joke.

    Just as their mistress did.

    “Your Highness!” he said.

    “Rollo,” she said.

    She said in her regally beautiful, swan-song voice. But her meaning was clear. Rollo felt his heart crack, of course, of course. She had answered his question, and she was not in agony. She was not confused. She was not even interested.

    “Rollo.” The handmaiden looked away. “I have always been fond of you, as I hope you know. But I cannot—I cannot return your affections. I have my duty to Naboo, and to our people, and it does not leave m e room for that sort of relationship.”

    She gave him a slight, fading smile, cold as the woman who slept in the smallest and farthest away of the moons—the same look she would have given to the pirate lord who had sought her hand. Now, as she had then, she said: My duty is to Naboo. I live only to serve my world, and my people.

    “I would never doubt your devotion to our world,” Rollo said. “But I do fail to see why you must live like a nun to serve it.”

    “I do not like that tone, Rollo,” said Kylantha. “But, yes, I must. I know you will remember what happened to the last queen who thought she could remain in office after she married. She was the least popular queen in the last several hundred years. Yet she still made a run for reelection. She was defeated-- No, she was more than defeated.”

    Or: She was crushed by that election. Her career, which should have ended, as was proper, with her marriage, was over. She barely received five percent of the vote.

    “Things must have changed since then,” said Rollo. “And if they haven’t, you can make it so. Surely, surely, you can have another, private side of your life--”

    “Dear Rollo,” she said (with, he would realize later, a condescending sigh). “I cannot. You’ve chosen an area of study where you can play with ideas, but a politician has to be a good deal more practical. Our Queens have always known to be chaste. We’ve never even had to make it into law. This will never, ever change, regardless of what we might want. And I am not as secure in my position as I would like you, and myself, to believe. Amidala is more popular now, after her death, than I will ever be. And I have other cares to think of…”

    She did not have to say it: The Empire.

    Rollo felt his stomach echo as he swallowed. He should have known what her answer would be. It wouldn’t have mattered if she (in her bedtime thoughts, or while whispering in confidence with the handmaidens) did love him, because he would still watch, and never touch, her. No one could touch her. He thought of writing a poem for her, where this would all make sense, and then shook his head. No, he would never write it. He loved her, but he would not name another Kylantha’s Folly.

    He looked back at Queen Kylantha. She was still beautiful. She was twenty-five years old, and past being a young girl—and people, including his own mother and elder sisters, did still long for the days of Amidala, and even Apailana. She wore a severely new black afternoon gown that pooled around her feet, and a new moon-pearl headpiece. Her hair (her nightdark, silky-limp hair) was done up in one of her simpler hairstyles.

    But mostly, Rollo saw the scar of remembrance cut on her lower lip, and the two red dots on her cheeks. She was Queen. She had given herself to Naboo, and there was nothing left for herself, let alone him.

    “I understand, Your Highness,” he said. “Then this is how it must be.”

    “Yes, Rollo,” she said.

    “I understand very well,” he said. (And she watched him with a look that could have meant anything. She was right: he didn’t understand politics.) “You like to think of yourself as a politician, but you’re not. You’re only a doll for the populace to admire. If you were to ever show you were anything else, they would find another one they liked better.”

    “That is not true, Rollo,” said the Queen.

    He would let her believe that. Rollo realized that, for the first time since they had met, he had nothing left to say to her. Soon, when she dismissed him, he would be relieved to follow the handmaiden out of the room and back into the palace. This was the Queen’s personal drawing room, where she met only with those few people she considered friends, and he had always been flattered, so flushed and nervously pleased, to be amongst those friends. Now, he knew better. He looked over at her another, last, time.

    He could only see the dark inksleek silk of her dress, and the pearls shivering on her headdress. Finally, he knew how to look at her. Finally, he knew she didn’t see him, not truly, when she changed her face and smiled.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  2. KELIA

    KELIA Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Very impressive.

    I can't help but feel sorry for The Queen. No real friends, not allowed to marry...

    Great job with this

    =D= =D= =D= =D=
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  3. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Rangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2000
    Excellent for the Halloween challenge. Poor Queen Kylantha, those last line really break my heart for Rollo as well.
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  4. Jedi-2B

    Jedi-2B Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 2, 2000
    I felt sorry for both Rollo and the Queen. Though it didn't really seem like she wanted to change.

    And yes, that is a very memorable first line! :D

    Great job.
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  5. Anakins_Force

    Anakins_Force Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2005
    The Naboo, the faceless people who voted and spoke, would not allow it. He looked at her, another time. She was still her elaborate dress, with its stiff embroidery, and clicking beads hanging too close to her face. Finally, he knew she hardly saw him, not really, when she smiled.

    Oh my, this was sad. The poor Queen is trapped and she doesn't even know it!

    Great job--it gave me a very eerie feeling.

     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  6. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    KELIA: I get the feeling from what we see in the movies that the Queen is very isolated--more of an image than a person. It couldn't be easy, even though it would be your choice. Anyway, thanks for reading!

    Healer_Leona: I'm glad you liked this story, and thought it fit the Halloween challenge. I wasn't sure about that, as it's not spooky or scary. I'm also glad you felt for Rollo--when I started the story, I thought he was going to be the Uncouth Suitor, who hasn't a single good quality and exists only for the heroine to reject. But then I thought, no. I'm not going there. It really is better this way. Of course, now I want to write about Rollo and Queen Kylantha more. But I must resist for now.

    Jedi-2B: You're right--Queen Kylantha doesn't want to change. Most likely, she doesn't return Rollo's feelings in the least (though he does mean something to her, else she wouldn't be stepping off her pedestal enough to meet with him).

    Anakins_Force: Yes, the story turned out more serious than I thought it would (especially after that first line. Oh, well, at least Rollo doesn't complain about sand or anything...) The Queen is trapped, but I think she knows it. It just seems that in Naboo society, women basically have two choices in life: politician or housewife.
     
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  7. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    I always love your little details.
    She was still her elaborate dress, with its stiff embroidery, and clicking beads hanging too close to her face.

    Great work!
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  8. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Thanks, oqidaun.

    Yes, I do like the details. I once heard it might be because I'm extremely near sighted--that is, I can look in up close at tiny details, but not the big picture. Don't know if that's true, but I heard that from an instructor I had a crush on, so-- I'm inclined to like it.
     
    AzureAngel2 and Ewok Poet like this.
  9. leia_naberrie

    leia_naberrie Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2002
    I like this. It's so sad about the Queens of Naboo and their strict rules of isolation - not just physically but emotionally.
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  10. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Thanks, leia_naberrie.
     
    AzureAngel2 and Ewok Poet like this.
  11. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Back from the dead--and just in time for Halloween.
     
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    So, if I understood everything on the Wook well, Kylantha is a puppet of the Empire, installed after Apalaina was killed in the Legends timeline. If so, I am not sure if I can draw a fine line between what could be acting on her behalf and what she truly believes in, if she does at all. The fact that she's pale under white make-up makes it even more ambiguous. And...does she actually know the deal with "chaste queens" etc? Hmmm...

    I do feel sorry for Rollo, at least a little bit. He's being played, either way and the explanations don't make much sense, plus whatever is behind this could be super-wacky!
     
    AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.
  13. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    How did I manage to miss commenting on this beautiful piece? Once again, you give us such a keen and striking view into the rarefied, whisperstiff world of Naboo’s doll-queens—though even more so this time, since here we get to see what the fate of love itself must be within such a world. There’s no doubt that Rollo’s completely sincere in his love for Queen Kylantha; in a way, it’s that same sincerity that prompts him to be so brutally honest with her at the end of their interview (I’m pretty sure she knows that he’s right, that he’s got her figured out). I like what you do at that point with the concept of his watching her and seeing her: he is doomed to watch her and never touch her, of course, but his remark to her shows us that he can see what she really is, probably a whole lot better than she can.

    Thing is, though, Kylantha too is completely sincere in her response to Rollo, in her unswerving insistence on the impossibility of reciprocating that love, and on not even trying to. She really and truly believes every word she says about that impossibility; in a way, she has to, as a means of survival. When she recounts the example of That One Queen who MARRIED (gasp!), I think it might be a way of bolstering her own insecurity—not just a warning to Rollo to stand down.

    That one handmaiden by the door, who looks away as soon as her mistress speaks Rollo’s name for the first time, caught my eye. The way things go in the world of Naboo queens, I shouldn’t wonder if that handmaiden were the real Kylantha, with the “queen” in the inksleek dress and pearl headdress talking to Rollo being a decoy. And that possibility adds a whole new dimension of complexity to this story!

    Thanks again for sharing this with us again, and do keep writing—no one can do Naboo like you. @};- =D=
     
    AzureAngel2 and Ewok Poet like this.
  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Pandora, you opened your box and let out another great fic.

    I also adore your eye for detail and you never overload the reader with it. And you show the raw emotions of your characters without getting slushy. Well, another epic piece by you.
     
    Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  15. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Ewok Poet: So, if I understood everything on the Wook well, Kylantha is a puppet of the Empire, installed after Apalaina was killed in the Legends timeline. If so, I am not sure if I can draw a fine line between what could be acting on her behalf and what she truly believes in, if she does at all. The fact that she's pale under white make-up makes it even more ambiguous. And...does she actually know the deal with "chaste queens" etc? Hmmm...

    Well, officially, Kylantha was indeed a puppet-queen--though if I remember correctly, most people seemed to be of the opinion that however loyal she acted in public, she couldn't have been that loyal in private. (Probably in part because it's hard for people to think of a Pure and Beautiful and Wonderful Naboo Queen being an Imperial for real.) I will say that regardless of her personal opinions on the Empire, she would know, as the planetary ruler, that sometimes it's best to play it safe. There would be at least a few examples of rulers who didn't.

    But overall, it is difficult to tell--even in the private setting of this story--how much of what Kylantha says is genuine, and what is part of her act. That seems to just be part of being the Queen of Naboo.

    I do feel sorry for Rollo, at least a little bit. He's being played, either way and the explanations don't make much sense, plus whatever is behind this could be super-wacky!

    It's probably past time for Rollo to walk away from this situation, regardless of how he still feels about Kylantha. (Because he can't be truly over her.) He can't have that romantic relationship he wants, and really, they can't even be friends either. She's too far away from him on that royal pedestal.

    Thanks for reading, and commenting!

    *

    Findswoman: How did I manage to miss commenting on this beautiful piece? Once again, you give us such a keen and striking view into the rarefied, whisperstiff world of Naboo’s doll-queens—though even more so this time, since here we get to see what the fate of love itself must be within such a world.

    I think I must have the darkest view of Naboo (the beautiful peaceful green world invented for the Mother of the Twins to come from--oh, and the most evil man to ever rule the galaxy too, which I have always found an interesting choice on Lucas' part) in fanfiction--that, and a relentless drive to provide complexity to that world and the glimpses one gets of most of its characters.

    There’s no doubt that Rollo’s completely sincere in his love for Queen Kylantha; in a way, it’s that same sincerity that prompts him to be so brutally honest with her at the end of their interview (I’m pretty sure she knows that he’s right, that he’s got her figured out). I like what you do at that point with the concept of his watching her and seeing her: he is doomed to watch her and never touch her, of course, but his remark to her shows us that he can see what she really is, probably a whole lot better than she can.

    When I commenced writing this story--starting as I did with that terrible opening sentence--I could see Rollo becoming one of those buffonish suitor characters who exists only for the heroine to reject, who is unappealing in every way: he's dull-witted, he has crude manners, he's incompetent at whatever he seeks to do, and oh, he's ugly too. But as I wrote in one of my 2005 era responses, I decided not to go there. I don't find that kind of scenario very interesting, and therefore it wasn't what I wanted to explore.

    Yes, Rollo does sincerely love her. More the pity! And he does, of all the people who watch her, get close enough to truly see her. I don't think I make it clear how long they've known each other, and if he knew her before she took on the whiteface mask of the Queen (and if I had that figured out when I originally wrote it, I've since forgot). But they have known each other for a while, which is why she's probably as honest with him as she can be with anyone.

    Thing is, though, Kylantha too is completely sincere in her response to Rollo, in her unswerving insistence on the impossibility of reciprocating that love, and on not even trying to. She really and truly believes every word she says about that impossibility; in a way, she has to, as a means of survival. When she recounts the example of That One Queen who MARRIED (gasp!), I think it might be a way of bolstering her own insecurity—not just a warning to Rollo to stand down.

    I left it ambiguous as to whether or not Kylantha returns Rollo's feelings--in fact, I have never decided on that for myself, and I don't suppose I ever will. But for Kylantha, that is irrelevant (and it occurs to me that if she does feel the same way about him, she may think it too cruel to show him that love, only to snatch it away). She is playing a part she has chosen, out of her own free will, and she needs to stick to it. And yes, I just get the impression that the Naboo monarchs are expected to be chaste. The populace want young--sometimes ridiculously young--rulers who, in their "purity of heart," are above ordinary human needs.

    That one handmaiden by the door, who looks away as soon as her mistress speaks Rollo’s name for the first time, caught my eye. The way things go in the world of Naboo queens, I shouldn’t wonder if that handmaiden were the real Kylantha, with the “queen” in the inksleek dress and pearl headdress talking to Rollo being a decoy. And that possibility adds a whole new dimension of complexity to this story!

    Since I'm the author, I can tell you that Kylantha is here as herself--there would be no reason to pull the decoy trick for a private meeting with a man she does actually trust. The handmaiden is just looking away to give them as much privacy as she can whilst still being on guard.

    More to the point, Rollo knows her well enough that he wouldn't be fooled by someone else in her place, and he would know it to be a betrayal--and more importantly, while Kylantha may be emotionally repressed, she would see it that way as well. So yes, the story is what it appears to be. As you may know, I don't care much for the decoy trick and think it was overused--so if Kylantha had used it here, I would have made it plain.

    Thanks again for sharing this with us again, and do keep writing—no one can do Naboo like you. @};- =D=

    Thank you, and thank you for reading and commenting!

    *

    AzureAngel2: Pandora, you opened your box and let out another great fic.

    I do have a fair few stories in my box (which is good, given that I haven't been able to write one word for several months at this point--hey, perhaps this sentence will prove me a liar and I'll churn forth 1000 words this very late midnight, oh probably not) and occasionally, I let one loose out on the first page.

    I also adore your eye for detail and you never overload the reader with it. And you show the raw emotions of your characters without getting slushy. Well, another epic piece by you.

    This story may have started out as a joke (well, it was for a Halloween challenge that required a terrible opening line), but it certainly got serious and pretty fast.

    Thank you for reading, and commenting!
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
    Ewok Poet, AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.