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  1. In Memory of LAJ_FETT: Please share your remembrances and condolences HERE

Beyond - Legends Enchanted - A Star Wars Fairytale (AU; SkySolos, Jag, Tahiri, Vader, etc) - update 29. July

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Iverna, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Title: Enchanted
    Author: Iverna
    Timeframe: AU; the twins are 19 years old, and Ben is almost 7.

    Notes: I’m sure this, or something like it, has probably been done before. I was watching Tangled a while back with my mother, and she kept saying that Flynn reminded her of Han. And I realised that Star Wars really does have a lot in common with fairytales. And then, things got a little out of hand.
    I fudged Ben’s age a little to make the story work, so in this AU, he was born a few years earlier and has two little sisters, Thalia and Lienna. It's also not technically set in the SW universe, but an alternate fairytale-land version of it.
    The main fairytales I’m drawing on for this are Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, Snow White, King Thrushbeard, and Rumpelstiltskin. You’re welcome to try and predict the plot based on that. I know it took me forever.
    And no, it has nothing to do with the Disney/Lucasfilm thing. I was doing this before it was cool.

    Summary:

    [​IMG]

    A long time ago, there lived a princess, held captive in a tower. She was rescued by a long-lost brother, a roguish stranger, and really long hair.
    And there was a wedding. But that wasn’t the end. Because contrary to popular belief, life goes on after a wedding.
    This is the story of their Ever After.

    When Jacen and Jaina Solo venture into the Enchanted Forest, they soon find themselves up to their necks in trouble - and the witch living in the strange house is only the beginning. Meanwhile, their brother Anakin gets more than he bargained for when he sells the shoes that a young lady left at Prince Jagged’s birthday ball. And then there is the shadow man who haunts the dreams of young Ben Skywalker, a ghost from the past about to prove that he is far more real than any nightmare.

    In other words, things are about to change. And the Solos and the Skywalkers are, as usual, caught in the middle of it all.

    Luckily, the Force is with them. Even if it does sometimes work in mysterious ways...

    Dramatis Personae

    Anakin Solo, exiled prince of Alderaan and Jedi apprentice.
    Ben Skywalker, a young Jedi apprentice.
    Callista Ming, Lady of Yavin.
    Chewbacca, Han's partner-in-crime.
    Darth Vader, a Sith Lord and Palpatine's former right-hand-man.
    Han Solo, a smuggler, and reluctantly the King of Alderaan.
    Jacen Solo, exiled prince of Alderaan and Jedi apprentice.
    Jagged Fel, prince of Nirauan.
    Jaina Solo, exiled crown princess of Alderaan and Jedi apprentice.
    Kyp Durron, a Jedi Mage and huntsman for the Queen of Hapes.
    Lando Calrissian, a tavern owner and merchant in Dale.
    Leia Organa Solo, exiled queen of Alderaan.
    Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master.
    Mara Jade Skywalker, Jedi Master and former Sith assassin.
    Palpatine, Emperor and Regent of Alderaan.
    Rovanna Miller, a young woman living in Myrkr Forest.
    Tahiri Veila/Ming, Callista's adopted daughter.
    Tenel Ka Djo, crown princess of Hapes.
    Wedge Antilles, leader of the Rogues.
    Zekk, petty thief, smuggler, bounty hunter, and Jedi mage.

    ... plus many more familiar faces and a few OCs. No droids, though; there's no droid technology in fairy tales.

    Map of the Empire

    [​IMG]

    I have a good chunk of this written already, so I'll be updating this every week - at least, that's the plan. If you want to be added to the PM list, just say the word!
     
  2. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Prologue

    There is a story...

    You might know how it goes. There's a beautiful young princess in terrible danger; a wise old man who knows what to do about it; a young man as eager as he is inexperienced, who must rescue the princess and save the world. There's an evil dark lord, and a morally ambiguous, but nevertheless charming, stranger. There are sword fights and dramatic escapes and important moral lessons. There is a happy ending.

    There are a thousand such stories.

    There's a beautiful young girl whose father dies, and those who take over his role do a terrible job with parenting. There's a young man whose name and character don't matter; he'll be judged on his ability to look good in a royal uniform and the size of his sword. He gallops in on a white horse; the sunlight reflects off his gleaming white teeth as he smiles, and his gleaming silver sword as he fights; and he sweeps the young girl off her feet and into the sunset.

    It plays out in a thousand different ways, in a thousand different worlds.

    On the subject of ever after, these stories are always vague. They are silent about the nightmares of children who grow up with a dragon's head over the fireplace, the guilt over killing your own stepmother (no matter how vain she was), the abandonment issues, the marital problems arising from rushing into things without getting to know each other first.

    And sometimes, the young man insists on having a name. Sometimes, the princess refuses to sit by and wait to be rescued. Sometimes, the happily ever after is not all that happy, but that's okay, because it turns out that contrary to popular belief, life does in fact go on after the wedding.

    This is such a story.

    * * *​

    It was a stormy night, the kind of night that seems tailor made for destiny and story beginnings. Thunder and lightning took impatient turns and spent the rest of the time telling the other to hurry up. Behind the clouds racing across the sky, a full moon watched the show, shining silver light onto the wind-whipped trees.

    A dark figure strode through the howling wind, face obscured by its hood. It wore a black cloak, one of the good ones. This cloak did not get tangled around legs or caught on bushes. It was a cloak made for billowing ominously, which was what it was currently doing. The figure and its cloak were so dark that they seemed to lighten the shadows as they passed.

    At length, the man—for it was definitely a man, judging by the broadness of the shoulders and that stride which seemed to claim territory every time one of the booted feet hit the ground—came to a stop under the eaves of the forest. The road ended here.

    Before him stood a house, a small cottage with a thatched roof. It had the slightly careless look of a house whose occupants had better things to do than wash the windows every day, the kind of house where children’s fun was more important than clean floors.

    The man stood motionless for a while, watching the storm rage around the house. He seemed to be listening for something. At length, he spoke a single word, his deep voice betraying a smile.

    “Soon.”

    He turned and left, his cloak sweeping up the shadows as he strode back the way he’d come.

    In the house behind him, one of the windows lit up.
     
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  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, if this isn't just fascinating. =D= Your attention to detail is excellent & the way the characters will turn out familiar but different :cool:
     
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  4. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    This looks awesome!

    Love Tahiri as Callista's adopted daughter! Though I'm hoping Callista is not a villain.

    Love the trailer, the cover, and the map. I can tell a ton of time and effort has gone in to this already. (Speaking of the trailer, at 2:25 is that a scene from V? I always thought Logan Huffman would make a good Ben, though I suppose he's too old to be Ben in this story.)

    Looking forward to more!
     
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  5. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Holy crap…I'm not going to ask how long it took you to make your trailer! This looks to be a fun adventure!
     
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  6. PonyTricks

    PonyTricks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 25, 2003
    This is one story I will be faithfully reading! It sounds wonderful, and I do love combining fairy tales and Star Wars. [face_dancing]
     
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  7. SHADOW_MASTER_W

    SHADOW_MASTER_W Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 11, 2005
    I always like projects such as this.

    You use very nice imagery as well as a slight poetry in your descriptions.

    I look forward to more.
     
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  8. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2002
    interesting beginning. More soon
     
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  9. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Nyota's Heart - thank you! I hope you'll enjoy it. Some characters will be a little different, but I'm trying to stay as true to them as possible given the very different setting.

    Tarsier - I have no idea what that picture's from, to be honest. I just found it somewhere and thought it looked like Anakin and Tahiri, so I used it here since I didn't have a better picture of them. But yeah, I've been working on this project for almost two years at this stage, I think. It started out as a fairly simple story but it's morphed into something ridiculous now. But it's fun, so I'm not complaining. As for Callista, I won't spoil anything, but I will say that she's probably one of the most complicated characters in this. I'm glad you like the look of it so far, thanks!

    SiouxFan - heh, it did take a while. Mostly because I had to make most of the graphics - a few of those pictures are 'shopped stills and stuff, like the one of Jacen and Anakin where I 'shopped Taylor Kitsch and Jensen Ackles' faces onto a still from Robin Hood. :p But yeah, hopefully it will be lots of fun, I'm certainly having fun writing it! Thanks!

    PonyTricks - yay, I'm glad to hear that! Welcome aboard! I think SW has a lot of elements of a fairytale, it definitely worked pretty well to weave all the characters and references into a fairytale storyline. I hope you'll enjoy reading!

    SHADOW_MASTER_W - wow, thanks very much! I hope you'll enjoy the rest of it!

    Falcon - thanks! More will be up within the next couple of days. :)
     
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  10. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 13, 2001
    Thanks for the PM, Iverna! :)
    Took me long enough to come around and take a look, didn't it? Your story had put an end to my lurking on the boards. :D

    What an awesome little map you made! I love it. :)

    Oh and the fairytale thing reminded me of an argument I once had with a die-hard Star Wars fan. I claimed SW was sci-fi while he was adamant, that SW is a fairy tale. I've come to the conclusion that we're both right. It's a fairy tale in space. :p
    But I think I like your fairy tale better. :D

    Looking forward to more.
     
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  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] Ceil is in the house [:D] !!!
     
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  12. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Ceillean - muahaha, I dragged you out of hiding! :p Thank you! I made the map for myself, to be honest, because I got confused about where everything was supposed to be... then I figured my readers might get confused as well so here it is. Besides, it's technically a fantasy story, maps are traditional.

    I think you're right about it being a fairytale in space. With a slightly modern twist, I guess. It's been really easy to adapt the backstory, actually, and I guess it's because it is so fairytale-like. Replace the Death Star with a tower, and voila. :D

    More will be up soon!
     
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  13. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Part I: A Long Time Ago
    The storm had gotten worse as the night progressed, howling in the chimney and rattling at the door. Mara lay in bed, listening to it rage. She rather liked storms, as long as she was inside for them; few things were more pleasant than lying in a warm bed while it stormed and rained outside.

    But she didn’t like this one. Try as she might, she couldn’t seem to get comfortable, and sleep eluded her. Something felt different about this one. It was as if the storm was focused on their little cottage, tearing at it, trying to get inside. As if it had a mind of its own, a strong mind, one which meant them ill.

    And it was reaching...

    She snapped fully awake again, heart thudding. The room was the same as always, the rough wooden beams bare suggestions in the darkness above. She turned her head to the side.

    Her husband lay beside her, sound asleep, his snores drowned out by the thunder outside. He didn’t seem bothered by whatever was keeping her awake, but he’d spent the entire day fixing the gate and hauling water for the children’s bath. Maybe he was just too tired to be bothered by anything.

    But something was wrong. Mara swung her legs out of bed. She lit a candle and padded across the landing to the children’s room.

    The warm glow of the candle revealed peace, and the world grew softer around the edges. All three of them were fast asleep. Ben had kicked his covers half to the floor again and lay flung across his bed, one arm up. The girls were cuddled together on the other bed, Lienna’s blonde head burrowed into Thalia’s shoulder. Despite her unease, Mara smiled.

    “Hey,” Luke’s low, sleepy voice sounded from behind her. Moments later, a strong arm wrapped around her waist. “You okay?”

    “Sure,” Mara murmured, leaning back into him. “Just couldn’t sleep.”

    “It’s more than that.”

    Mara sighed. Of course he’d picked up on it. He always did.

    But that was all right. It was probably better to talk about it.

    “Let’s go downstairs,” he said, tugging at her waist. “I’ll make some tea.”

    “Sounds good.” With one last look at the gently-breathing children, Mara turned to go.

    She’d gotten as far as the second step down when behind her, Ben screamed.

    She reacted instantly. All of the night’s tension sprung loose and she acted without thought. One moment she was on the stairs, the next she was kneeling by Ben’s bed, bent over her son.

    “Shh, Ben.” She reached out to pull him to her, but he fought her, still screaming. His small hands pushed at her, but she held on. “Shh, it’s okay, it’s me. Ben, sweetie, it’s me. You’re okay. Shh.”

    She must have handed Luke the candle, because she no longer had it and the room grew brighter as Luke used it to light the lamp. Ben’s face was twisted in fear, and Mara’s heart lurched. The light seemed to help, though. He looked at her, and as she kept talking and reassuring him, the panic leaked out of his eyes and they became his again, wide and scared. He stopped fighting then, and pulled himself closer, burying his head against her.

    “Mom.”

    “Shh,” she said, wrapping her arms around him. “Shh, it’s okay. I’m here.”

    The tears came and for a few minutes, she just held him, rocking gently. Luke was over by the girls’ bed, reassuring them as they stared over at their brother, sleepy-eyed and worried. But whatever had terrified Ben didn’t seem to have touched them.

    “There’s someone outside,” Ben said, swallowing down his tears and casting a frightened glance at the window. “There’s a man outside.”

    “There’s no one outside, don’t worry,” Mara said. “It was a dream. You had a nightmare.”

    “I saw him!” Ben insisted. “What if... what if...”

    “There’s no one outside.” Mara looked over at Luke. “Daddy will have a look, okay?”

    “No!” The panic was back in Ben’s voice. “He’ll know! He’ll get in!”

    “Nobody’s going to get in,” Luke said. “The door’s locked and—”

    “He can get in. He said so. He told me.” Ben started crying again. “He told me.”

    “Ben, there’s no one outside,” said Mara. “It’s the middle of the night and it’s far too stormy for anyone to go out.”

    Ben shook his head. “Not him. He can go anywhere.”

    Mara cast a worried glance at the girls. She didn’t want Ben’s talk of a stranger lurking outside giving them nightmares in turn.

    Luke seemed to have the same thought. “Come on, girls,” he said. “I think we should go and make Ben some tea, don’t you think?”

    “Yeah!” Thalia jumped up immediately, clearly delighted at being allowed out of bed in the middle of the night. “It’ll make him better. And maybe can I have some too?”

    “And me!” Lienna sounded more asleep than awake, but apparently that didn’t matter when tea past her bedtime was involved. “I wanna help!”

    “Come on then.” Luke stood and lifted Lianna onto his hip. With his free hand, he led Thalia out of the room. “Careful on the stairs.”

    Thalia’s voice floated back in to them, full of reproach. “I know, Daddy.”

    “D’you promise there’s no one outside, Mom?” Ben asked. The interlude seemed to have gotten him back into the real world a little. “Really promise?”

    “I promise,” Mara said.

    “Can you check?”

    That was progress. Mara had sat through enough nightmares with her kids by now to know that once you got to the point where you were allowed to look and make sure and start using reason again, things were looking up. “Of course. You wait here.”

    She crossed to the window and twitched aside the curtains to look out into the night. She saw nothing out of the ordinary, just the small garden, the gate, and beyond it, the track leading through the woods to the road. And yet...

    And yet, there was something there. She couldn’t see it, was sure that no one was out there, but something still felt wrong. Maybe she hadn’t been uneasy because of Ben’s nightmare. Maybe her unease and Ben’s nightmare had a common cause.

    She didn’t like that thought.

    “No one there,” she reported. “Just the garden and the trees.”

    “You sure?”

    “Yes.”

    Small feet padded across the room and Ben peeked past her out of the window. “I saw him right there,” he said, pointing to the woods just off the track. “He was standing there. And he said he was gonna come and get me.”

    “And he was scary?” Mara asked, drawing the curtains closed again and pulling Ben onto her lap on his bed.

    “Yeah.” Ben sniffed again, with finality, and wiped at his eyes with all the annoyance of a boy who didn’t like crying and didn’t do it often. “He was big and all in black, full of shadow. He didn’t have a face. He said I was his and he was gonna come and get me.”

    Mara’s heart lurched for the second time, and for a moment, she felt like she couldn’t breathe. It couldn’t be. That ominous feeling, that fear... but it couldn’t be. It just couldn’t.

    “But I’m not his, right?” asked Ben.

    “No, you’re not,” said Mara, hugging him tightly. “You’re my boy and that’s what you’re going to stay. No one is going to take you away from me.”

    “He told me his name,” said Ben after another silence, just as Luke was tromping back up the stairs with the girls and three mugs of sweet tea. “I know his name.”

    “What is it?” asked Mara, even though she suddenly didn’t want to play along anymore, didn’t want to talk about it at all anymore.

    Luke was just coming into the room, smiling, as Ben spoke.

    “Darth Vader.”

    Mara and Luke locked eyes, kids and tea momentarily forgotten, and Mara read her own fear in Luke’s expression. It couldn’t be.

    “Ben,” she said, “listen to me. Darth Vader is dead. He can’t hurt you.”

    “How do you know?” Ben asked.

    “Because I saw him get captured, I was there,” she said. “Your father and I met him a long time ago. Remember? Back when I left the Fae?”

    “Daddy fought him.”

    “That’s right. And the Fae caught him. Remember? He’s gone.”

    Ben nodded, looking a little bit reassured at least. He accepted a mug from Luke and snuggled up next to Mara. “Are you sure?”

    “Yes,” Mara said, fighting the urge to close her eyes against the memories. “I’m sure.”

    And she was, she told herself. Once the Fae had something, they did not let it go. She knew that. It was what made them so formidable. It was what had made her hate them, and it was what had made her trust them.

    She kissed the top of Ben’s head and reached out to help him keep his mug steady. “It was just a nightmare, Ben. Only a nightmare.”

    She looked back at Luke again, and knew that they were both trying hard not to remember that she herself was living proof that the Fae sometimes made exceptions.

     
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  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, interesting. I love the family moments mixed with the looming threat. This Fae menace :eek: sounds very much like a Celtic thing Iverna. [face_thinking] It's a great emotive contrast you have here, the blustery storm, the spooky dreams, and the comfy cozy of sweet tea and parental assurances. =D=
     
  15. PonyTricks

    PonyTricks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 25, 2003
    So Darth Vader has come back from the dead? Or is it someone else, pretending to be Darth Vader? [face_dunno]
     
  16. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Oh whoa, Iverna, I love it! Definitely different and intriguing. If you're doing tags, please add me to your list!
     
  17. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Nyota's Heart - thank you! I know the Fae aren't strictly speaking fairytale stuff, but they are folk tale stuff and just fit really well. I also found out that the old Scottish word for them is daoine síth - and it has nothing to do with Star Wars "Sith", technically, but that fit, too. Mara grew up with them, and we'll be seeing more of them later on. And that's all I'll say! ;)

    PonyTricks - well, you'll have to wait and see. Muahaha!

    taramidala - hopefully it'll be a fun ride! I'll add you to the PM list for sure, welcome aboard!

    More will be up soon! Time to meet Prince Jagged...
     
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  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ooh, Iverna you had me at Jagged [face_laugh] =P~ Can't! Wait! :D
     
  19. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    The edges of the storm also reached across the border into the kingdom of Nirauan. The wind chased around Hand Fortress, but it was already weaker here, and by morning, it had died down altogether.

    The Hand Fortress was an impressive building, a collection of four-and-a-half massive towers forming the corners of the castle and keep. Inside, it was equally impressive, with enough chambers and halls to get lost in and long, wide corridors with floors of smooth marble, lined by tall windows.

    In the solar, on the top floor of the palace, the royal family was eating breakfast.

    At least, that was the theory. Queen Syal looked around the table as she sat down. To her right sat Wynssa, the youngest, with delicately beautiful features crowned by golden-blond curls. Her resemblance to Syal was obvious, but where Syal was regal and graceful, Wynssa slouched in her seat like a common farmer. No amount of lectures on the subject seemed to help.

    Seated to the left were Davin and Chak, both with jet-black hair and square jaws, both with broad shoulders and straight backs. Two young women, one blonde and one dark-haired, sat between them. They shot Syal shy smiles, but looked away when she smiled back.

    The seat across from Syal was empty, as were the three next to Wynssa. The first seat presented no mystery to her; Soontir was taking breakfast downstairs while he worked. Another seat was Cem’s, who was in bed recovering from his recent bout of flu. But the other two had no such excuses.

    Syal sighed. “Where are Jagged and Cherith?”

    Chak and Davin looked at each other. Experience said that this question, asked in this tone of voice, was not a good sign. Experience also made them grateful that they weren’t able to answer it this time around. They turned to their little sister. The number one rule of sibling interaction is that there are no alliances when Mother is looking for a culprit.

    Wynssa shot them a betrayed look and mumbled something.

    Syal had good ears, but she wasn’t about to let on. “What was that? Sit up straight, young lady, and speak so that we can hear you.”

    Wynssa only heaved a sigh. Across the table from her, the other two young women now looked like they had steel rods nailed to their backs. They were afraid of Syal. The Queen of Nirauan was beautiful, graceful and gracious, admired and respected by all. She also managed to inject more steel into a smile than any sword in the fortress could boast. So far, no such smile or ensuing lecture had been aimed at them, and they were filled with a terrified determination to keep it that way.

    Wynssa never paid much attention to these things, but after another look from her mother, she straightened as well, every movement heavy with reluctance. “It’s too early to sit up straight.”

    “If we went by your clock on that, we’d never do it,” Syal said. “Now, what did you say?”

    “They’re down in the yard,” Wynssa said loudly, in accordance with rule one for siblings. “For practice.”

    “Right.” Syal folded her napkin and stood, waving for everyone else to stay seated before striding from the room. With determination defining her steps, she made her way down to the yard.

    The practice yard was a wide space off the main courtyard, with painted targets arranged along one wall and a low overhang jutting out from another, extended out from the building that housed the armoury and smithy. Men and elves from the Chiss clan milled about, cleaning weapons, repairing sheaths, and sparring.

    A young man stood across from the targets, bow in one hand, loosing arrow after arrow at his chosen circle. He was of average height and lean build, handsome in a serious sort of way, but not a man who tended to draw attention even if he stood in the centre of the room.

    But that changed the minute he moved. Under his loose, wide-sleeved white shirt and black pants, his motions were precise and economic. He gave off the impression that every slight flexing of muscle had purpose, and a thought-out purpose at that.

    His other striking feature was a white streak that ran into his jet-black hair from above his left temple. It followed the line of a scar, which traced down to his left eye.

    His name was Jagged Fel, and he was currently in his element.

    He pulled another arrow from the quiver on his back, nocked it to the string, drew, exhaled, and let fly. The arrow embedded itself neatly in the straw, completing the small circle that its predecessors had started to form.

    Jag lowered his bow, strode over to inspect his work, and gave a satisfied nod.

    “Show-off,” a voice remarked from beside him. It belonged to a young woman. Her resemblance to Jag was immediately apparent; she had the same high cheekbones, the same pale green eyes, and the same straight nose. Her features were softer, however, and the long hair spilling down her back was a rich golden-brown. She was clad in a simple grey dress and, like Jag, held a bow in her hand.

    Few people would have taken her for Princess Cherith, but this was because most people put too much store in appearance. Even in a plain dress, with her hair unstyled and no paint on her face, Cherith held herself with an unmistakable grace. She did everything with grace, including archery. She could make a man fall in love by simply nocking an arrow to her string, not that she would have done so had she been aware of it.

    Jag began plucking the arrows out of the straw with quick, neat motions. “I’m practicing.”

    “Showing off,” Cherith insisted, her smile growing.

    He raised his eyebrows. “Jealous?”

    “Critical. Showing off is for pretty boys.”

    “I’m not a pretty boy.”

    “Then why are you showing off?”

    Syal, who had made it down to the yard by now, stood in the doorway and watched them bicker. When Cherith tapped Jagged with the feathered end of an arrow and he moved to retaliate, she stepped forward into the yard and raised her voice. “Good morning!”

    * * *


    His mother’s voice made Jag flinch, even though he didn’t, strictly speaking, have anything to feel guilty about. The voice was doing its best to persuade him of the opposite. He exchanged a look with Cherith, who looked as guilty as he was trying hard not to feel.

    They turned. Syal was walking towards them across the cobblestones, her dress floating around her lithe figure. Her expression was a mix of friendly smile and determined blue eyes that Jag knew well.

    He stood to attention. “Good morning, Mother.”

    “Oh, don’t,” she said. “What are you doing here?”

    Jag indicated the straw target and the arrows in his hand. “Target practice.”

    “I can see that. I suppose what I meant to ask was, ‘why are you here instead of at your dance lesson’?”

    Jag glanced up. The sun was not yet high enough to slant down into the yard. It was barely halfway down the West Tower, which at this time of year meant that he still had a quarter of an hour. “It’s not until half past nine.”

    Syal blew out a sigh. “Jagged.” She came closer and gave him a look that was half-appealing, half-knowing. “If you’re going to get up early and beg off breakfast, why don’t you spend the extra time at your dance lessons? You hardly need more target practice, but the ball is less than a week away.”

    “That would defeat the purpose of getting up early,” Jag told her. “I wanted some time for this.”

    “You didn’t even excuse yourself. Neither of you did. I had to ask the others.”

    “Sorry,” Cherith said. “But you weren’t awake yet, and we figured...”

    “Yes, yes.” Syal waved the matter away. “The point is, you have better things to do.”

    “But Jag already knows how to dance.” Cherith caught Jag’s arm and began a waltz. Jag almost stumbled before he caught himself and fell into the rhythm, leading Cherith through a few steps.

    Syal watched them, eyebrows raised. Then her eyes narrowed. “Very nice. So why is it that only yesterday, I heard Master Posiandro tell Shawnkyr that we’d left it too late and you’d take another month or two to learn?”

    “Master Posiandro is given to exaggeration,” Jag said.

    “And he gossips like a lady,” Cherith added.

    Syal just looked at them. Jag shrugged. “It’s my responsibility as a student to challenge my teachers, is it not? And that would be impossible if I always displayed the full range of my abilities.”

    Cherith laughed. Syal managed to hold the stern look on her face for another moment, then she, too, broke into a smile and chuckled. “I’m glad you’re so sure of yourself.”

    Jag blew out a breath. “I promise I’ll be up to the job next week.”

    “Why don’t you prove it to Master Posiandro?”

    “Because watching his desperation is the only fun part of dancing lessons,” Cherith answered, grinning her impish grin. “Being good at it takes all the fun out of it.”

    Jag shook his head before his mother could voice her exasperation. “If I don’t give the man a challenge, he’ll get bored and start teaching me ballet.” He began stowing the arrows back into his quiver. “It’s simple strategy.”

    Cherith giggled. Syal nodded. “I appreciate your concern in sparing the world that sight.” Amusement sparked in her eyes, but she maintained her expression this time. “But Jagged, you know this ball is a privilege, not a chore. Most young men in the realm would gladly trade places with you.”

    “Let them,” Jag muttered before he could stop himself. That particular argument had never made any sense to him. If starving children would be happy to eat the mashed peas he hated so much, if most young men would love to be fussed and giggled over by a score of young ladies, then as far as he was concerned they could take his place and both parties would be happier. Other people’s jealousy was not a valid reason to like something.

    This kind of logic is hard to argue with. Syal, therefore, did not try. Instead, she fell back on the time-honoured tradition of mothers everywhere, and appealed to her son’s sense of duty.

    “Jagged! You’re almost twenty-one. You know it’s high time you took a bride.”

    This much was true. It is hard not to know something when people insist on telling you, and Jag had always been quick on the uptake. He wasn’t entirely against the idea of marriage, either. He just didn’t agree that it had to be now.

    “Things you can just take usually aren’t worth it,” he said.

    Syal shook her head. “I hope you don’t live to regret those words.” She put a hand on his shoulder and looked him in the eye. “Love and marriage aren’t the worst things in the world, you know. Your brothers are very happy. Your father and I are happy. Why are you fighting it so hard?”

    Jagged grunted. “It’s not that. It’s the part where I have to dress up and get paraded around like a prize stallion that bothers me. Davin and Chak had a fun time of it, didn’t they? It was an adventure. For you and Dad, too.”

    Cherith chuckled. “You had an adventure too. You just didn’t want the girl. Your fault.”

    Jag grimaced. It hadn’t been his fault at all. Really, it hadn’t been anyone’s. He had gone along with Chak and Davin on their adventure, and he had helped them rescue Aurora and Yasmina—not sisters, but two young ladies who had been imprisoned in a tower, in the best of traditions. It hadn’t been his fault that the third, the youngest, had failed to live up to the folk tale standards and been hideously ugly as well as spoilt, demanding, and generally the most unpleasant person he’d ever met.

    When “kiss me” sounds like a threat of the highest order, it’s quite a clear sign that true love is nowhere near the vicinity. True love had, in fact, already run, screaming and wailing in terror, to the hills. Jag had not, but that was down to self-control, which true love lacks almost entirely, and of which Jag had more than he really needed.

    Things had worked out for his brothers, though, and so Jag was now top of the list of Fel children to be married off. He wasn’t altogether sad about that. It did mean that at least he wasn’t married yet.

    “I think,” said Syal carefully, “that was rather for the best, all things considered. I don’t want my children to just be married, you know. I want you to find love. True love.”

    “You really think I’ll find true love in a ballroom?” Jag asked.

    “Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, you’ll meet some new people. You only spend time with your sisters and Cem these days. It’ll be good to be around other young people for a change.”

    Jag nodded. He knew that there was no point in arguing the matter. His twenty-first birthday was a week away and the ball had been arranged for months; he’d signed and sent the last of the invitations a month ago. It was part of his job, one of his duties as a prince of Nirauan.

    And maybe he would meet a young lady, and maybe they would hit it off and he’d have what his brothers and parents had found. But he doubted it. For whatever reason, true love had taken a good, long look at Jagged Fel, and decided that he was going to have to work for it.

    Jag did not tell his mother any of this. He only nodded. “Yes, I know. And I am grateful.”

    He smiled, a subtle quirk of his mouth, and had the satisfaction of seeing her smile brightly at him in return. Then he unstrung his bow, stored it and the quiver back in the armoury, and went to his dance lesson. Because that was his duty.
     
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Kessel Run Champion star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Loved the glimpse of the Fels =D= Syal is definitely the matriarch of the family :cool: Cherith & Jag seem particularly close. No, I don't want him to be just married either, but happy. [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Looking forward to the ball. :)
     
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  21. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Getting more and more interesting. More soon?
     
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  22. DLINE

    DLINE Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2013
    That's really cool I enjoy it please write more soon.
     
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  23. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Good updates! I enjoyed meeting the Fels, especially Prince Jagged. I like the background on how Chak and Davin found their brides, and Jag did not. And Jag pretending not to know how to dance to "challenge" his teacher - awesome! :D

    I really like this line: Other people’s jealousy was not a valid reason to like something.

    Looking forward to more!
     
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  24. SiouxFan

    SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Hee-hee--I love the interaction between Cherith and Jagged! My sister and I used to 'fight' like that all of the time…drove our parents nuts!

    You have quite a few rather profound lines in this chapter: "Things you can just take aren't worth it." Nicely said!
     
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  25. Iverna

    Iverna Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Sorry guys, I've been sick the last few days, and I'm heading to a con this weekend so I don't have much time, but I wanted to post the next update before I go. Thanks for all the comments! I'm glad you guys liked the Fels so far, we'll see them again soon. But first... here's more!

    * * *​


    This was a different castle, back across the border from Nirauan, sitting amidst dewy fields and forests in the kingdom of Alderaan.

    It wasn’t, strictly speaking, a castle. It had been built as a temple, a heavy, no-nonsense affair in granite and oak, shaped like a pyramid. Like all good temples, it was ancient and looked it, with weeds and lichen covering its rough-hewn stone exterior. Its many floors boasted enough space to house an army, if it was a small, badly-equipped army whose members didn’t care about personal space.

    It was currently known as Yavin Castle, and it only housed a small, badly-equipped household consisting of Lady Callista and her daughters and servants. Only two of its floors were in use.

    They, that is, the floors, were routinely scrubbed. Right at this moment, this was being done with a marked lack of enthusiasm by a young woman wearing a shabby dress, a fierce scowl, and no shoes.

    Technically, her name was Tahiri Ming, but she never used it. Like Sunday best, she reserved that name for formal occasions, or more precisely, situations where she didn’t have a choice. This was not an act of rebellion, but simple preference. She did not like being called “Ming”.

    Tahiri Veila, daughter of Cassa and Tryst, child of the Tusken, slapped more water onto the floor with a sodden mop. It didn’t do much more than redistribute the grime.

    “Tahiri!” called a voice from the other end of the hall. It should have been shrill. It should have screeched. Instead, it was rich and slightly husky, the audio equivalent of dark chocolate and coffee.

    Tahiri sighed and stuck the mop into the water bucket. It considered staying upright for about two seconds, then fell over, the handle bouncing off the flagstones. Tahiri skipped over it and hurried along the hallway.

    “Tahiri!” the voice called again.

    “Coming!” Tahiri yelled.

    She reached the end of the hallway and turned right. A tall, heavy door led into what Lady Callista insisted on calling the ladies’ boudoir.

    The lady herself was sitting in her usual chair by the window, a book on her lap. It was one of those unmarked, fabric-bound books which looked like it should contain poetry in some long-dead language but could equally well be full of blood boiling in veins, eyes with hidden depths, swooning galore, and words like “molten”, “dashing”, and “oh, Edward”. It was difficult to tell, but the fact that Callista insisted on a ‘boudoir’ seemed to point in the direction of the latter.

    She regarded Tahiri with smoky grey eyes. “There you are. Come here. Alema’s dress is falling apart.”

    Alema Rar Ming stood nearby, resplendent in a fashionably cut, dark blue dress that complemented her light blue skin. Her long braids, the traditional style of the Twi’lek elf clan, lay draped over her shoulders, and her pretty features were framed by an elaborate elvish head band that matched her dress. She glowered at Tahiri, who did her best not to glower back.

    Alema and her twin sister Numa were adopted, just like Tahiri, but unlike Tahiri, they were ladies in practice as well as name. They had dance lessons and fancy dresses while Tahiri cleaned the fire places and wore old, torn skirts. But she didn’t mind. She was astute enough to realise that being a lady involved a lot of duties she wouldn’t like, and she was used to hard work. Life at Yavin wasn’t nearly as hard as life with the Tusken had been.

    Admittedly, at moments like this, she had to struggle to remember that.

    “The skirt’s coming loose,” Alema said, her tone making it an accusation. Tahiri didn’t take it personally. She was too busy trying not to snigger.

    “It was born loose,” she muttered, unable to resist.

    “What?”

    “Probably torn loose,” Tahiri said, more loudly. “Let me have a look.”

    The dress was beautiful, especially since Alema’s curves filled it out perfectly. Tahiri knew it inside out—literally, because she had done most of the sewing. It took her less than a minute to find the place where the seam was coming apart.

    “Got it,” she announced. “It shouldn’t take long to fix. I’ll go get my sewing kit—”

    “Later,” Callista interrupted. “Alema, you’ll just have to get changed. And you too, Tahiri. We’re going into town.”

    Tahiri turned in surprise. “All of us?”

    Callista went into the various nearby towns quite often, along with Tahiri’s two stepsisters. Tahiri herself was usually excluded from these outings. When she went to town, she went alone, with a basket and strict instructions from either Callista or the cook.

    “Yes. Kam is ill, so you’ll have to drive us.”

    “Can’t Miko—oh.” Tahiri cut herself off. Callista had fired Miko two weeks ago, because he’d supposedly made an inappropriate comment towards Alema. Tahiri had been there, so she knew that it was true. “No, I’m married” was a very inappropriate thing to say to Alema.



    “Yes, yes, oh,” Callista said impatiently, waving Alema towards the door that led towards the twins’ chambers. “Go on and change, darling. Tahiri, take the dress with you and go put on your best.”

    Alema glowered. “This better not happen to my ball gown,” she said. “I don’t want her anywhere near it, Mother.”

    “Of course not,” Callista assured her. When Alema had swept out, Callista stood. She was a tall woman, half a head taller than Tahiri, and slender and graceful along with it. Her grey eyes narrowed and her beautiful features took on a nasty edge as she glared.

    “Tahiri, just so we’re clear. If you try to sabotage the ball for them, I swear, you’ll never see the outside of the kitchen again. So any smart ideas about accidents that these dresses might have on the way home or thereafter, forget them right now.”

    Tahiri stifled a sigh. Ever since the invitations had arrived, Callista and the twins had been gripped by an oddly serious excitement. Prince Jagged and his ball had become the sole subject of discussion. Tahiri had made a comment about it once, which had sent the kitchen boy into hysterics but thankfully gone over Callista’s head by a mile. (Her “Of course he’s only having one, why would he have two balls for his birthday?” hadn’t made things any better.) It was a big chance for the Rar sisters, the opportunity to meet and ensnare influential young men, preferably the prince himself.

    And Tahiri wasn’t going anywhere. That much had been clear from the start. She had an invitation, of course; Callista had thrown it in the fire, but Tahiri was in charge of tending the fires and had rescued it. She wasn’t sure why. The gold-leafed card with its careful calligraphy lay tucked under her mattress now, a small reminder of defiance.

    Somehow, thinking of it seemed to make it easier to put up with her putative sisters’ whining and whims. It made a lot of things easier. It said that she hadn’t been forgotten entirely.

    “I don’t want to sabotage anything,” Tahiri said now. She couldn’t help feeling a little insulted. Even if she had wanted to sabotage the Rar sisters somehow, she would have thought of something a little more clever. And less redundant. Making Alema’s skirt come loose at the ball probably came under help rather than sabotage, anyway.

    With an effort, Tahiri kept her tongue in check. “It’s their big chance. I get it. Fine. Good luck.”

    “Oh, please. Don’t pretend that you wish them well.”

    “I wish them all the luck in the world in finding a husband,” Tahiri said, her tone leaving it up to Callista to decide whether that counted as “well” or “ill”. She wasn’t sure herself if it would be a good or bad thing, but she meant it either way. If the Rar sisters married, they would go to live with their husbands and become their problems.

    “You just make sure you fix this dress,” Callista said sharply. She tended to get snappy when Tahiri said things that sounded innocent or friendly. Their real meaning did tend to fly over her head, but she was good at hearing the whooshing sound as they sped past. It made her suspicious. Sometimes she even heard it when it wasn’t there.

    Alema’s torn dress came flying through the door, borne by a spell, and Tahiri hurried to pick it up. Callista nodded, still annoyed. “Hurry up and get changed. Then get the carriage and wait outside.”

    “Yes, m’lady.” Tahiri executed a perfect curtsy and ran up to her room. Maybe I will go to the ball, she thought savagely as she pulled on the plain blouse and brown woollen frock, grimacing when she slipped her feet into the hated shoes that she would have to wear. Maybe I’ll find a dress somewhere, or steal some money and buy one, and I’ll go and impress Prince Jagged and marry him, and then let them try to order me around...

    It should have been a tempting thought. But even while she thought it, Tahiri knew that she wouldn’t do it. Life at Yavin wasn’t bad, really. Sure, Callista and the girls tried to provoke her at every turn, but Tahiri wasn’t stupid. She had a place to sleep and plenty of food, and she liked the castle and grounds.

    And right now, she had a trip into town to look forward to. She wouldn’t be able to hear any complaints from up on the driver’s seat, and she’d get to talk to the people in Hormford while the others went to the dressmaker’s. Life wasn’t all that bad, when you thought about it.


    * * *


    The town of Hormford covered the side of a hill, with a castle at the top. Its name was a testament to the humility of the castle’s lord, one Threkim Horm.

    It was also currently the scene of a crime, which was still in the process of being committed. It was an unusual sort of crime, and – so far – no one had noticed.

    The only thing out of the ordinary – so far – was the sight of two young men walking up the main street, straight towards the castle. The unusual thing about them was that one had his hands tied behind his back, and the other was marching him firmly along the cobbled street. People were watching. It was the most exciting thing that had happened in Hormford in weeks. Boys yelled insults and speculations at the two men and each other, girls crowded together to giggle and watch, and the women were all twice as busy with their work as usual. Most of said work seemed to take them close to the main street, which was a remarkable coincidence that everyone was careful not to comment on.

    “Who is that?” asked one, in low tones.

    “I don’t know, some criminal,” said another, carefully rearranging the contents of her basket. “That’s the second one this week. Good to see his lordship cracking down on them.”

    “Poor lad,” said a third, in between avidly discussing her need for a new door handle with the first woman, the carpenter’s wife. “He’s too young for this.”

    “Oh, Martha, you and your pity. If he’s not too young for crime, he’s not too young for the dungeons,” said the carpenter’s wife, in the firm tones of one who has never stolen, or at any rate, never been caught.

    The two men drew closer. The captor looked cheerful, sending a smile their way. He looked anything but respectable, in a plain homespun shirt and a dark wool tunic that didn’t quite fit, but that didn’t matter. To anyone on the receiving end of his smile, nothing much seemed to matter at all.

    Seeing that smile, Martha’s curiosity decided that this man could be trusted, and would surely satisfy it. She smiled back at him. “Good morning, young man. And who’s this?”

    The young man flashed a proud grin. “This, ma’am, is Anakin Solo. Give the ladies a smile, Anakin.”

    Anakin only sent a sullen glare their way. He was a tall young man of eighteen, dark-haired and handsome with the bluest eyes that the three women had ever seen. The way they glared made all three women take a step back. Something about that look made you suddenly notice the way muscles flexed under his torn shirt, the broadness of his shoulders, and the indefinable but unmistakable air of power that seemed to cling to him.

    The other young man did not seem to notice. “Don’t mind him, he’s having a bad day.” He tugged at Anakin. “Come on, you, you have a date with the dungeons. Good day to you, ladies.” He waved over his shoulder as he kept walking.

    “Anakin Solo?” Martha echoed, watching the two disappear. “The one from the poster?”

    “I heard he fought a dozen guards in Bespin,” said the carpenter’s wife.

    “Yes, and he killed three archers near Yavin,” said Martha. “With their own arrows.”

    “And he stole the sword in the stone over in Belleau-a-Lir.”

    “Just plucked them out of the air and threw them back. Just like that.”

    “Of course the sword’s quite useless, half-rusted away, but even so...”

    “And he ambushed Lady Norette and stole her jewels,” said the woman with the basket, not to be left out.

    “I’ve always wondered about that,” said Martha. “Do you suppose it was her actual jewels, or her... you know...”

    “He’d hardly have to steal that,” said the carpenter’s daughter, who’d squeezed past her mother to watch the two young men leave. Her eyes lingered on Anakin Solo’s slowly disappearing back, especially one particular section of it.

    Her mother slapped her ear. “You go back inside, young lady!”

    “She has a point—,” began Martha thoughtfully.

    The carpenter’s wife made a little disapproving sound in her throat. “Well, I say good riddance,” she said haughtily. “I for one am quite glad that his lordship is cracking down on the criminals around here.”
     
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