Saga Crystalline (First Sentence Challenge Response)--Leia, Luke

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by leiamoody, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Title: Crystalline
    Author: leiamoody
    Genre: Vignette, Drama
    Timeframe: 2 ABY
    Canonicity: AU
    Type: Short
    Characters: Leia, Luke
    Summary: Leia remembers Alderaan and muses upon the families in her life.
    Author's Notes: This is my second response for the First Sentence Challenge.

    First sentence used (a favorite of @Chyntuck's, so hopefully this will be pleasing):


    How had they met? By chance, like everyone else. In the corridor of a battle station disguised as a metal moon, a princess first encountered a farm boy and scoundrel who came to release her from imprisonment. They would have never known she was imprisoned if the message intended for Obi-Wan Kenobi had not been diverted into the life of a young man who lived on the same desert planet where the aged Jedi Master had spent the past nineteen years hiding from the Empire. The young man left the planet with twin suns behind in the company of Kenobi and a not-quite-so-young-but-not-exactly-middle-aged Corellian who piloted a speedy junk heap toward the princess’ home world that was destroyed by the battle station.

    That was how Princess Leia Organa came into the lives of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Fate, the Force, a quantum fluctuation, or something without a name brought three individuals without homes or families together.

    A breeze floated over the wide green field, interrupting Leia’s reverie. It was late afternoon on Aeithera, a colony world first established by House Organa millennia ago which now served as home to the largest contingent of survivors left behind after the Great Disaster. The long, thick-carved Dalonian crystal wall sat in the midst of a public green space called the Cita dav Ilo, unmarked by any carvings; no list of names or numbers of the known and presumed deceased marred its perfect surface.

    Perhaps it was a place for a new beginning; at least that was the general sentiment echoed by the Survivors’ Committee during their recent meeting. Two years after the destruction of Alderaan and those fortunate few thousands who had been off-world scattered across the galaxy. The largest number of refugees had gathered on this world in the Colonies region. The Alderaani population on Aeithera was spread out across the globe, with a thriving community of the upper class living in the capital.

    Leia remembered those same influential people who now ran the Survivors’ Committee. Most of them made regular appearances at official functions held within the Aldera Royal Palace. The beauty of that one chamber (with its cut-crystal chandeliers, painted frescoes, and stained glass windows) was reflected in every other room of the palace. Even the gardens, enclosed orchards, and greenhouses were famous. Many kinds of fruits, vegetables, and flowering plants flourished under the careful attention of the horticulturists.

    Everything bloomed within the influence of the Organas, not just within the palace but also everywhere on Alderaan.

    But now everything and everyone was gone…especially her childhood family.

    A ray of sunlight pierced the clouds, creating a glimmering ripple inside the crystal wall.

    Orila Shard, one of the favored artists of the Organas, designed the memorial. It was meant to represent the light that Alderaan spread across the galaxy. The planet had disappeared into dust, but Alderaan’s influence could still remain thanks to the work of artists, politicians, and ordinary citizens. All of those people were left behind and scattered far apart, yet united through loss into one spiritual and cultural family.

    A hand rested upon her shoulder. “Are you okay?” Luke stepped forward with his gaze fixed upon the crystal wall.

    Leia held back a little smile. “I’ll be fine.” One farm boy, one smuggler, a Wookiee, and two droids now formed the core of her adopted family. The Rebel Alliance had become her second home, although it was a theoretical space…but it still made Leia feel secure. Yet it was the little group she first met on the Death Star, along with the droids who had been part of her life since childhood, who formed the true center of her current existence.

    “It’s a lovely memorial,” Luke said.

    She leaned forward and traced her fingers across the smooth surface. “A bold statement hidden in plain sight without any obvious significance.”

    “Isn’t that just like us? We hide from the Empire, yet we’re always present.”

    “That’s only been within the past two years. One major attack and then we retreated back into the shadows. The Rebellion spent too long in obscurity. Sometimes it feels like we’ll never truly come into the light.”

    “Darkness can’t hold us forever.”

    “You still have the ability to hope for a better future. I’m losing that as the years drag along.” Leia pulled her light blue shawl around her shoulders. “Sometimes I can’t feel anything but despair. What if this war never ends? Are we always going to be fighting someone?”

    Luke’s voice was gentle. “One day we’ll beat the Empire. I promise.”

    Leia turned away from the memorial. “Only you could make a promise on behalf of the future.”

    “Since I’m a Jedi in training, that promise comes with a guarantee from the Force.”

    It had to be difficult to maintain that optimism after the losses he suffered both as a person and leader. Yet it was a shining beacon to everyone who came into his presence. Maybe a day might come when that idealism would be tested, but Leia knew it could never be taken from him.

    She could never lose her faith in hope…so long as Luke and the other members of her little family remained in her life. “Are you ready to head to the spaceport?”

    Luke nodded. “The hyperdrive motivator is still having a personality crisis, so Han and Chewie are trying get it fixed. But we should be able to lift off within a couple hours.”

    Leia smiled. “Something is going wrong. Just like always.” She reached out her hand to Luke. “Shall we go?”
    Background for certain elements contained in the story (contains links to Wookieepedia or SW Fanon pages):

    Canon (Legends or NEU)
    The Disaster
    Shard Memorial
    Dalonian crystal

    Fanon (created by me)
    The Survivors' Committee and Orila Shard are my own creations, but I do not have any information pages on them.
  2. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    So much has not been said about the non-military survivors of Alderaan that it's glad to get a look at it. I also liked the look at the relationship that Leia had with the core group that you showed here, how they were already a family before any legal ties. Great work, especially with the first sentence prompt!
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Lovely missing piece of Leia's life. I can't imagine what it must be like not just to lose your only remaining parent and all your relatives, but your physical homeland and your culture. Leia manages her grief with stoic grace. Of course, she has her brother by her side, the living version of the luminous crystal that shines hope into the future.
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous and moving use of the first sentence. Vivid details of the scene and on-the-mark characterizations! =D=
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and leiamoody like this.
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    "It’s a lovely memorial"—that goes for this story too. As others have said, it's nice to find out what became of the non-military survivors of Alderaan; the idea of transforming the old Organa colony world into a place both for survivors and for a memorial is a lovely one. The fact that "no list of names or numbers of the known and presumed deceased marred its perfect surface" jumps out at me and makes perfect sense, because of course how could there ever be any way of finding that out in such an immense and sudden disaster? Indeed, the lack of names on the stone just brings the suddenness and immensity out all the more. And, also as others have said, Luke, with his bright, gentle optimism, is the incarnation of the hope symbolized by the crystal—right down to his "hyperdrive motivator personality crisis" comment! (Indeed, one could say that spirit shines through in that line most of all! :D ) Beautiful work, once again. @};-
  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Well, I told you already on PM that I really enjoyed this, but now it's time for some details.

    First of all, I love what you did with the first sentence. There's a fantastic irony to 'meeting by chance in the corridor of a battle station' -- although an old-school Jedi would tell you that there's no such thing as chance ;) -- and in that sense if reflects the whimsical mood of the opening lines of Jacques the Fatalist.

    Like whiskers I thought it was a brilliant idea to write about the non-military survivors of Alderaan, and I will add to what he said that the way you handled it is masterful. Of course Alderaan would have colony worlds, of course they would be highly cultured and serene worlds like the one you depict -- so similar to Alderaan without being Alderaan -- and of course the survivors would engage in acts of peaceful resistance 'in plain sight'. I already told you that I would be borrowing Aeithera for a story in the near future, I hope I can do it justice.

    As a side note, I really enjoyed that in the moodyverse, the Shard Memorial was named after Orila Shard, not after the shape of the monument. It's one of those little details that show how well you appropriate even the tiniest details of canon =D=

    Now getting to the scene itself...
    Again, great use of the first sentence as a lead-in to explain what the three people who met by chance have in common, and to highlight the contrast between Luke and Leia's personalities in the dialogue that follows. It's interesting how you wrote this from Leia's POV -- almost as if she thinks that Luke is relying on his own optimism, whereas she is relying on her newfound family for strength. I would be curious to know how Luke processes the same thoughts at the same time.

    And of course...
    Back to nitty-gritty reality, and when that involves the Falcon, it means this sort of mechanical trouble :D
  7. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thanks for reading. :D

    Reply time:

    When I first developed the planet of Aeithera about a decade ago for a series of stories starring Luke, Leia, and Han post-ROTJ, I needed a convincing reason for Leia and Co. to come to the same planet where a major OC resided. So I created a world with connections to Alderaan where refugees from there lived. I really wanted to see how ordinary Alderaani civilians adjusted to a new reality on a new world they needed to call “home”. That’s a concept I wanted to explore, particularly in a situation where the notion required some fluidity, just like the concept of “family”. For Leia this fluid concept proves a blessing.

    Leia is the ultimate representative of every refugee left behind after Alderaan’s destruction. She has to maintain the detached air of the stoic leader in battle because that’s what everyone expects of a leader. But she does feel that grief, and yet doesn’t have to be overcome by it due to her relationships with Luke and Han. Luke provides that sense of hope and purpose through his optimism, which does shine like a (crystal) beacon into the present darkness.

    It was a great first sentence to set the mood and the characterizations.

    The immensity of a planetary cataclysm is such that everyone and everything is obliterated, except for the persistence of memory. But the political oppressive reality of daily life under the Empire means the names of those known dead or missing cannot easily be engraved upon the memorial. So there is that obvious and hidden sadness, where the ultimate cenotaphs to those who died can only exist in the memories of the survivors. Luke’s optimism really is hope personified, perhaps provided as a symbol of hope by unseen forces through the Force ;).

    Oh, and the “hyperdrive personality crisis” line is meant to remind everyone that Luke has a sense of humor. I used to be a Luke fangirl when I was younger, and something that always bothered me about the EU (aside from the crappy way Han and Leia’s relationship was handled…oh, and Chewie getting killed) was how overly serious Luke was portrayed. That was not fair to his characterization, because you could see in the films he had his own sense of humor that wasn’t flashy, but was detached and funny.

    That old-school Jedi would be right…from a certain point of view :p. But that sense of irony is definitely present in the manner of their meeting, and Leia would be the one most likely to remember and reflect upon those circumstances.

    I think you’ll do just fine with Aeithera. I don’t hand out my planets to just anyone. ;)

    Naming the Shard Memorial after an artist rather than have it simply is the shape of the memorial was a last-minute idea that came up when I was struggling to finish up this fic.

    I think Leia…would think that the only thing keeping her going was strength born from anger and a sense of injustice. She envies Luke’s optimism, especially at this point in time before ESB when it seems to come easily to him in spite of the responsibilities and tragedies he’s endured within the past two years. So Leia would tell herself that little family she found on the Death Star is her other source of strength.

    Of course Luke would think something completely different.
  8. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005
    This was lovely - the memorial beautifully described. Art in the wake of a tragedy is so powerful, and Leia's feeling of loss is palpable despite her "found family".

    And yes, someone remembers that Luke is funny!
  9. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thank you for reading. :D

    I'm an art lover, and the use of art to memorialize tragedy is something that would be common for the Alderaani, even if they are on some other world. It's a tangible way for a civilization and the individuals from that culture to honor the dead while also acknowledging their losses.

    I couldn't help throwing that Luke comment. Everyone needs a reminder. :p
  10. KELIA

    KELIA Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 26, 2005
    That was lovely

    I’ve always enjoys Leia’s reflections and this one was superb.

    I’m glad to see she stayed connected to the Alderaan survivors.

    Great job on this

  11. mavjade

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

    Sep 10, 2005
    This was beautiful!

    I never thought about a Survivor's Committee, but it makes perfect sense. There would be Alderaanians all over the galaxy feeling the hurt and loss of their planet, family and friends.

    The planet had disappeared into dust, but Alderaan’s influence could still remain thanks to the work of artists, politicians, and ordinary citizens. All of those people were left behind and scattered far apart, yet united through loss into one spiritual and cultural family.
    I found this line so beautiful and so true, not only for this situation, but any kind of destruction.

    I loved to see Luke's optimism and him trying to cheer up Leia, who had seen so much by this point.

    Fantastic job!
  12. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thanks for reading. :D

    Leia would definitely stay connected with her people, adopted or otherwise. She may seem a remote and unemotional figure, but even figureheads need a sense of connection to others (finding one's tribe, so to speak).

    I always wondered how the surviving Alderaanians would have coped post-disaster. There wasn't much that I ever read in the EU that I found particularly agreeable (Leia marrying Isolder was supposed to benefit the Alderaanians? I still don't get that plot line). The only element I ever liked was the idea of the survivors settling on another planet (New Alderaan). But that didn't come along until after ROTJ. Where did they go for those years before then? That's how Aeithera came into being.

    The influence of Alderaan would endure no matter that the planet is now gone. A planet with such an ancient history that already influenced much of galactic history and culture wouldn't disappear.

    I wanted to show Luke as a source of strength, because so often it's usually shown the other way around.
  13. gaarastar58

    gaarastar58 Jedi Master star 3

    Dec 19, 2010
    This is a really great piece. So much is made of Leia as a warrior or a leader and it's nice to see her vulnerability and self reflection. The destruction of her homeworld must have been a massive part of her life, it's no wonder she formed such a strong bond with Han and Luke, they met her right after she was orphaned and the droids must represent a part of her surviving childhood and a connection to Bail. As others above have commented it is always great to see the effect war has on the civilian population and the devastation it leaves behind.
  14. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thanks for reading. :D

    It's probably pretty obvious Leia is my favorite character. :p One thing I always imagined about her interior life is that it was a study in contrasts. Her exterior life is always focused upon aiding others, defending the galaxy, bringing peace and order back into other beings' daily lives. But what about her own life? Her grief and sadness are usually held back in order to keep going...but even she has to stop and think about how events affected her. Yes, the droids do provide a lasting, tangible connection to her childhood.

    As for how the war affected the civilian population, I would really like to write a follow-up about life for the Alderaanians who live on Aeithera, perhaps including the work of the Survivors' Committee. If a good idea ever comes along, then I will definitely write the story. :)
  15. amidalachick

    amidalachick Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 3, 2003
    Beautiful piece! I love your description of the memorial, and Leia's reflections on families. And it's always nice to see Luke and Leia interacting in quiet moments like this.
  16. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thanks for reading. :D

    I did like focusing upon the relationship between Leia and Luke. This peaceful interlude would have been a rare moment for the both of them, given this would be around the time Echo Base was being established on Hoth. And the concept of family was just a perfect fit.
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Kahara like this.
  17. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Why did I think this was really long back in the days? Guess that with so many glassy, ethearal and colourful titles, one starts mixing these up, which probably isn't logical to most people, but yeah, I hope you get what I mean.

    The first paragraph is...packed with symbols, whether this was intentional or spontaneous. Moon versus Sun(s), people known by the most basic characterisation, as opposed to their And the quote you got was so, so fitting for the Big Three!

    The idea of a crystal wall as the monument that bears no names is somewhat painful at first, but then one remembers how many people died when Alderaan was destroyed and realises that there was no other way. :(

    Cut-crystal chandeliers, painted frescoes, and stained glass windows? LOVE IT how these are like a thread going through all of your stories.

    And then, the punchline just...kills me.

    Did they just...did they just compare themselves to the monument? Wow! There are so many interpretations behind being a wall, that I don't dare to choose a single one!
    AzureAngel2, Findswoman and leiamoody like this.
  18. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Back in the days? It was just posted in November. Time is fleeting and all, but really now...:p

    But I can understand the misunderstanding. Most of the stuff I write isn't long in terms of words, but in terms of imagery and meaning. It can be dense, impenetrable, and quite honestly frakking BOOOOORIRRIINNGG. That's what happens when you get a self-contained author who lives too much in her own head. Hazards of the business of writing and living.

    Unlike many things that pop up in my writing, the symbolism inherent in the opening paragraph WAS intentional. It took me almost a month just to come up with that paragraph after the first sentence. I actually wrote the rest of the story first, then completed the beginning last. When you're working with a Diderot quote, you need the sentences which come after it to match in tone.

    The crystal wall with no names is meant to be a painful reminder for anyone who walks by it. Considering its location in a public park, it's sort of a penitential reminder of the life that you lead versus the ones others cannot because of destruction caused by oppression.

    Glass artworks have always been fascinating to me, so it's no surprise they show up in my fics. It's a unifying theme. Painted frescoes...well, that comes from my love of the Minoan and Roman frescoes that have been discovered over the centuries.

    Yes, that's a deliberate comparison to the monument. Because it's true.
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Findswoman like this.
  19. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    Your fanfic gives Leia space and yet privacy for her feelings. And you are able to give her & Luke a moment that matters, a step-stone in their relationship. You also show Leia´s other relationships towards the people and droids which she describes as 2nd family. [face_love]
    leiamoody and Nyota's Heart like this.
  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Some replies to comments truly deserve a reply. [face_blush]

    To me, every day in the last six months or so feels like year, so November is...well, more than a century ago. :p

    I live in mine, too. Nice place! And I appreciate dense in this type of a story. It works and it gives more substance to it than err...whatever else wherever else?! It never was, it's not and will never be boring. It all depends on the reader's mindset in general and at the moment. :)

    That's an approach that would've probably resulted in a completely different story had I thought of it when I responded to the first of my two responses to that challenge. I may give it a go myself.


    I guess I totally missed out on the positive aspect of the wall and took only the disturbing side into account, so thanks for opening my eyes to the brighter side!
    Findswoman and leiamoody like this.