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Saga - OT EP's Neck of the Woods | One-shot/vignette thread 2015-2017

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Ewok Poet, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, that boy, that boy... yes, ladies, gentlemen, and others, the one and only Anjie Mencuri is back! :D And if memory serves, this is just close to the youngest we've seen him (with the possible exception of some scenes in [hl=black]Letters Never Sent[/hl])—but it's so cool how it's very recognizably the same character, with the same idiosyncratic combination of zany imagination, creative spontaneity, and not-totally-predictable Force-related second sense, if it's all right for me to describe him that way. Take those drawings of his, for example—they are downright prophetic, particularly the one of the wrinkled personage that he got after "closing his eyes and thinking." I can only imagine what the chancellor (and we know exactly who he is...) would have thought of that portrayal of himself, or if he himself knows at this point that he really will end up looking like that. (Ah, now, see what he could have learned if he hadn't mentally dismissed Anjie as "not worth the trouble"! :D )

    We met young Anjie's mother in Letters Never Sent, and I'd been wondering when we might see his dad, so it's very interesting to meet him here. His rather awkward little "Naboo charmeur" schtick arguably makes him even more of a buffoon than Jar Jar Binks, the character regarded as the quintessential PT buffoon—who, humorously and cleverly enough, is in this case the one who puts the kybosh on Aldo's buffoonery! And as I said in the beta, given where Aldo's mind tends to be, I can imagine his consternation at Padmé's friendly pat on her colleague's back. (Which Yilda Lami would probably have a ball with too—indeed, as I recall, she already has! :eek: )

    The "kids say the darndest things" dynamic here is of course hilarious, particularly in juxtaposition with the scheming sheeviness of old Palpatine. Which you have masterfully pulled off: yes, of course Palps would respond coldly and owlishly to a youngling raving about his favorite holoshow (yep, I recognize those Brave Little Banthas! :D ), and he would regard such a holoshow as a potential means of manipulating his followers. But this is no mere crackfic (well, heck, none of your crackfics are), and there's a dark undertone to this story that has nothing to do with Palpatine—and that in a way is even scarier. Hints of Anjie's less-than-optimal family situation keep coming through again and again, from his dad's ham-handed attempt at flirtation to the offhand comments about blondes becoming "less egg-citing." I don't think one needs a Force-related sixth sense to imagine that those family difficulties are going to take a toll on him later in life. Even the near-relentless way Anjie throws himself into his drawings (which we've seen with his creative pursuits in other stories too) seems to suggest that he views creativity as a means of escape from those difficulties. And his dad's consternation at the way his son's prattle is crimping his wooing style, so to speak, makes me wonder too if Anjie is doing some of what he does at least partially on purpose. [face_thinking]

    And then, in contrast, there's Padmé being her wonderful, gracious self. Not only does she not bat an eyelash in the face of Aldo's buffoonish advances, but she also clearly does not view Anjie's presence as a style crimp on anyone. In a way, I interpret Anjie's remark about bedwetting as his way of picking up on her genuine kindness.

    As always, I love the way you pack both humor and character depth into even your shortest stories. Thanks so much for sharing this! =D=
     
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  2. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    I know this story is labeled humor, but to me it is almost tragi-comedy.

    On the one hand, you've got toddler Anjie, with all his little-kid malaprops and non sequiturs, and his constant chatter about the Brave Little Bantha. Hmm...a quartet of heroes named after famous artists with a fondness for pizza, excuse me, huttza (named after Pizza the Hutt, perhaps? ;) ). They remind me of a certain group of heroes in a half-shell, although the theme song and the name make me think of the Paw Patrol for some reason (if you're not familiar, they're a group of puppy heroes inexplicably led by an 8 year old boy). I love the fact that Palpy briefly considers using holotoons as a method of...propaganda? Mind control over Imperial youth? You're a twisted old man, Palpy.

    I just want to hug little Anjie; he's got such a good heart. He only wants to draw to make his daddy and even cranky old Palpatine, who is nobody's uncle, happy. I understand the feeling of drawing a thing and it's not the thing...it happens to every artist. Anjie, with a child's perception describes that frustration perfectly. His "parfait of the Champion" is perceptive; with his Force-sense he sees what's inside the man who is evil even though his robe is nice. And we can see evil coming though him, even in this small interaction. Unlike Padmé, who has a few kind words for the small boy, Palpy contemplates how he could be used, and after writing him off as useless, doesn't scruple to yell at him and make him cry.

    And that brings me to the tragic part of the tragicomedy. Poor little Anjie :_| He has no one to pay attention to him and love him the way a small child should be loved. His selfish father is too busy trying to impress Padmé, even though his marriage hasn't officially ended. I would like to kick him in the beetroot for his utter indifference to his crying son. Palpatine' inital friendliness only lasts as long as it takes for him to decide the boy is useless. Even Padmé's kindness is fleeting. Once again, I just want to take little Anjie and hug and tell him someone cares. (Apparently maternal instincts even apply to fictional children). With this kind of background, it is easy to see why Anjie has such struggles later in life.

    This is an interesting glimpse into Angie's early years. You've managed to balance absurd humor and dark comedy =D=
     
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  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Anjie has a way of winding up in the strangest of circumstances. His father is only marginally aware of him, in that Aldo puts his own ambition and his (misguided) desire to impress Padme Amidala first. It's ironic that he believes that the age difference is insignificant - he's only 8 years older than she is - when in fact she's involved with someone 6 years younger than her.

    Jar Jar is his usual bumbling self, and I adore the reference to Jug-Jug, oh great garlanded goddess. :p

    Palpatine picks up on Anjie's talent, and dismisses it as inconsequential. And yet, Anjie accurately describes what Palpatine will become - the gnarled and distorted Sith lord.

    This, though. This reminds me of the whole thing about what does Anjie actually see? As an artist (in his case, a musician) he doesn't view things the way ordinary nonartists do. It makes me think about him staring into the night sky with his night-blindess to see what, exactly? Maybe he sees the thing inside...the essence, the truth. [face_thinking]

    Or maybe I don't have a clue.[face_dunno]
     
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  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    (Reserved for replies, because I cannot brain anymore right now!)

    Here they are. :)

    Yup. Scary, huh?

    [​IMG]


    Nothing to add. :)

    He dismissed him because of that amount of silliness. He's concentrating on somebody who was never as silly, remember. :p

    Aldo is an absolute buffoon and the type whose only criterion for women is "a woman", most likely. And if he manages to look that way around Jar Jar, the clown of the Galaxy...then it says a lot.

    Nothing to add. :)

    Living in that family is nowhere near egg-citing. If you cite that egg, you'll get a lot of trouble. Aldo is bored with Gwynda, he's definitely looking for somebody new, whether it's for marriage or "just for fun. And he's completely unaware that Anjie can see it and feel it, given his tremendous sensitivity on all possible fronts.

    As weird as this may sound, that was precisely what I had intended with it. :) And yup,Padmé has probably met many Aldos in her life, so she knows how to get rid of their advances.

    There is always a light in the dark and vice-versa. You're welcome!

    You got the genre right, then!

    Of course that, in our universe, the Ninja Turtles would have probably ended up on the other side - as a mean of torture in a place such as Guantanamo.

    Russian version is particularly weird, the person singing the verses is...drunk?!



    But in the GFFA, they're meant for indoctrination.

    I heard of Paw Patrol in the meantime (there's something good about replies to comments that are four months late) and yes, the Brave Banthas could be a cross between that and the Ninja Turtles.

    Just wait until Anjie meets his ultimate foil. It's...somebody you would not expect to be his foil, or anybody's, for that matter.

    Happens with stories too, but most writers won't admit it. *hurr hurr*

    If there ever was any good in him, it's long gone. That kind of a Champion did not deserve a parfait! Or a nice robe, for that matter!

    And that is precisely what he needs - love. And the bolded part is 100% true.

    Thank you. <3

    It's like raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain on your wedding day etc etc. :D

    Jug-Jug is the bestestest. :D Love her.

    You absolutely do have a clue, you had it the last time around as well, so STOP SAYING NONSENSE. :p I mean, about yourself, not the story. ;) You got it all right.
     
  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Drops of Mustafar

    Genre: Romance, tragedy
    Characters: Unnamed narrator, unnamed listener, unnamed canon characters: Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, Padmé Amidala, Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious
    Timeframe: Told 25 000 years after the Battle of Yavin, retelling the events of PT and OT
    Rating: G
    Summary: When real tragedies become legends...

    A/N: This is an unofficial response to the Celtic Song Challenge, inspired by the song Barbriallen / Barbara Allen. I went by the example that brodiew set when he named the story inspired by one song after another song, and therefore, this story's title was inspired by Train's hit, Drops of Jupiter. On top of it, some of the thoughts in the story were additionally inspired by Elton John's Sacrifice.

    I'm biased when it comes to my favourite version of Barbara Allen, because childhood idols often turn out to be some of our first literary influenzas influences. :D










    Mustafar. This serene planet, the retreat for the most romantic in the Outer Rim, bathed in flowers and vines, had once been the very place some would considered hell. A fire ball of molten lava, dark castle in the distance and the horizon ripped apart by lightnings. Would you believe that? Or do you think it’s a myth? The problem with myths is that, after so many millenia of civilisation, we are unable to determine which ones of them were entirely made up and which were based on real events.

    Don’t let anybody tell you that there had been one of those terraforming projects going on. Don’t let them, because it’s a spacer tale and it will never be true. Don’t allow them to poison you, just because they are scared of what they don’t understand.

    Don't let anybody tell you that the burning red flowers you know as Drops of Mustafar are heart-shaped, and not shaped like two conjoined drops of lovers' blood. Then again, from a certain point of view, they are both. Some loves stop the brightest burning of the hearts and leave a jam in the bloodstream.

    Love is in the stars, love is stars, love is gained and lost in the stars. Love matters because love is matter. And stars are the brightest of the matter there is. Sometimes, the stars go nova and swallow whole systems. That is when madness, lack of trust, unfounded jealousy and the anti-matter prevail.

    ...​

    This story is as old as time. We have been charting and exploring space for fifty thousand years now and only one or two out of quadrillions of us currently living will be remembered in one millenium's time. Is that immortality? Or is it a curse cast upon those notorious enough to remain etched in the skies, forever?

    The tragic lovers I wanted to tell you a story about, they lived somewhere along the way between the early years or hyperspace age and now. Perhaps even halfway. They are not two among quadrillions, they are more like that group of explorers whose carcasses now float somewhere in the intergalactic space, those foolish enough not to understand that two galaxies could only drift further away from one another and that, the further you go, the faster they disappear.

    His hair was like the sand, his eyes were like the blue of the bluest seas and he was poor. Her hair was like the trunks of the trees, her eyes were dark like the night sky and she was rich. She chose a life where others would carry her across the obstacles, he chose a life where he had to blast the obstacles himself. Or maybe their lives and their destinies were chosen for them? Strange is the will of the Force.

    She fought with sophisticated words, he fought with sophisticated weapons. But she was not a conwoman and he was not a warlord.

    She always had lawful power over him, but she was afraid to use it.

    He always had physical and emotional power over her, and there came a point where he was not afraid to use it.

    She was not afraid to die.

    He was not afraid to kill.

    Still, she had no idea that he would die and he had no idea that he would kill.

    His fragile and turbulent inner self told him that she was in danger, he had nightmares where he could see a hand directed to her neck. He would not have believed the truth, if the futures had stopped moving for once and if he could have seen the other side of the story - himself stretching out that open hand towards her.

    Neither of them knew that love could kill. Neither of them knew that love could trap your body and rob you of your soul.

    Once he realised what he had done and that she had died at his hand, he was but a shade of black, a personification, embodiment of anti-matter. All of his limbs were gone and he had to keep himself alive, for many more years to come. He looked through what were no longer his eyes, at the anti-matter of his heart, swallowing world by world.

    Yes, love is dangerous. Love has broken the most durable of the fortresses.

    And in a way, he became his own fortress. He was a walking, black wall.

    She was placed in water enriched by chemicals, on a bed of floating flowers, made to look as if she had still been alive; and then buried in a tomb. It was not in her people’s nature to bury, it’s like they did not want to part with her embalmed body and keep her forever beautiful. The little moles on her cheeks were not to decompose.

    He had to be placed in water enriched by chemicals, hanging like the last leaf from a stalk, in order not to become his own tomb. It was in his servants’ nature, to catter to him, even when they did not want to look at his emaciated body, they had to keep him alive. They had no ideas that he had ever had hair and that it resembled the colour of sand.

    There was this one time he visited her grave. It took him a moment to remember why he was there in the first place, because his memories had started to disappear, the anti-matter was swallowing them. What he had become was doing its best to suffocate what he could have been.

    He brought one of the white flowers to his fortress on Mustafar, where he would retreat every now and then, to be a prison within a prison, a wall within a wall. He wanted to be there more than anywhere else – there lay his limbs, petrified until layers and layers of lava. There lay his heart, which he had abandoned the moment he had killed his lover. That was the only place allowing him to remember his past.

    And then, quarter a century later, or so they say, he died, above a world not far away, a world bathed in forest greens and cloudy silvers. His body was given to the fire and the only thing remaining of the wall was the very coating.

    That was the day of love’s seemingly final redemption. Little did love know that it had to come a long way until it will have truly been redeemed.

    And that was the day Mustafar began cooling down. Its fire died with its master and its slave, and the love remained embalmed as the lava turned to rocks, forever. Eventually, the fortress lost the battle with time and the white flowers, preserved in the same chemicals and water mixture as the dead woman’s body, grew out on vines resembling stalks and brought the dark structure down.

    The white flowers travelled until they reached a clearing. From the other side of the now-pleasant world along came the red dust, the only thing remaining from what was once a fierce fire. One day, they united and the white flowers and red dust became red flowers, shaped like two drops, or a single heart.

    This is why they call them Drops of Mustafar. They have these barely noticable, stitch-like black lines in the middle of the heart, the stitches that bring the two drops of love and blood together, like they could not bring the two lovers.

    And that was the only place where they could get together – in flowers, and in a song, a story.

    ...​

    So, the next time you pick a Drop of Mustafar, remember this, think of its red-orange colour resembling lava, its fragrant black seeds. Stop and smell them. Is your love worth the while? Will the flowers grow from the volcanic stones and will they resemble drops of blood and always grow in pairs? Or will somebody just deliberately step on them, maybe even you?

    Choose your lover wisely. Choose your path wisely. Or you might just be doomed to eternal life of suffering where, no matter how much others say you redeemed yourself, you might end up with a planet-sized memory of your least favourite mistakes.

    Choose the soft-spoken, quiet one in the back of the shuttle. Choose the one whose face turns into a gigantic smile each time they see you. Choose the one whose hugs are always warm, yet never feeling as if they wanted to crush your bones. Choose those whose passionate kisses won’t feel like they’re suffocating you – you will certainly feel breathless every now and then, but you should only feel breathless when you’re happy and turn rosy, rather than a whiter shade of pale.

    Love is forever, but some forevers are a rough trade. Let your heart guide you, but do not let it bleed. For nobody will be able to see that those are drops of you and not Drops of Mustafar until it's too late. Your heart is the quarry, but your soul is the miner.


     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  6. RX_Sith

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

    Registered:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Very mysterious and wondrous this Drop of Mustafar and how it is interwoven into the very fabric of the planet and the two lovers' souls.
     
  7. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Oh, lovely, Ewok Poet! A traditional story teller telling the story as a cautionary tale. And the story was handed down again and again until it is more like myth, legend, or fairy tale, rather than a true story of two real people. I loved your use of imagery, and your contrasts and juxtapositions of the two.

    Especially loved the end:
    LOVED! THAT! =D=
     
  8. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh my gosh, this is gorgeous. It's like a wondrous myth retold around a fireside. The idea of the flower, the delicate, gentle flower, is the strongest and most persistent growth of all. Love will endure, even if the lovers are gone.
    I especially like the idea you have here of one thing encompassing another. There is Anakin, encompassed by his armour, in turn encompassed in his castle in impenetrable volcanic fire of Mustafar. There is Padme, encompassed by her sarcophogas, then in turn encompassed in her tomb. Layer upon layer to seal them in.

    and yet:
    It's the flower, preserved in Padme's embalming chemicals and thus condemned to eternal life in a death's tomb, that has the power to grow and take root and tear apart the walls of the castle.

    The idea of the flower being the two blood drops of Padme and Anakin is brilliant. Their pain and their disastrous love is both destructive and constructive. They are locked in a perpetual dance of contrasts, always touching at the edges, never truly embracing.

    And this, the moral of the tale: this is gorgeous.
    Reminds me of the famous Frida Kahlo quote: "Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic."
     
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Everything divapilot said. =D=

    I have to second everyone on how the storytelling narrator is a perfect choice for this story; the characters are in some way stripped down by the distance of years and myth, but that allows aspects of their true nature to shine through more starkly. Especially liked how you took the "flowers growing from the grave" theme from the song and expanded on it; I've seen that motif crop up in a lot of places and not just Barbriallen. When something gets shuffled from legend to legend like that, it's often because there's something really powerful about it -- and I like your insight on part of what that may be.

    And I like how it's a cautionary tale and yet gives some credit to the realness of the love in Anakin and Padme's relationship. It's not that there is no redemptive power in that love, it's just that one can find deep and true love that does not lead to the sort of destruction we saw in ROTS. No lava dips required.


    This is an amazing ending. I remember reading it last night and being unable to think of a comment to leave, other than something to the effect of: *jawdrop* [face_hypnotized]
     
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    All I can say is =D= ^:)^ @};-, but I will try to elaborate and be as eloquent as the previous posters.

    This is such a beautiful, elegant story--a tragic romance than transforms Anakin and Padmé's doomed love affair into a ballad. The way you contrast the two of them--desert and forest,words and weapons, order and chaos--paints thems as a kind of yin-and-yang, opposites in almost every way. Perhaps if they could have found a balance in their opposition, their love might not have spiraled into heartache and tragedy, but
    Even in the death and living death that follow, they continue to be opposites, Padmé floating like the Lily-maid of Astolat, eternally serene and lovely, while Anakin dwells in torment in his fiery fortress.

    Yet, ultimately the love that redeems Anakin is not the fiery, all-consuming passion he had for Padmé, but his love for his son...the kind of love that gives everything, even unto death. In a way, Luke and Leia, are also the place where Anakin and Padmé come together in love, and that brings about love's redemption and love's triumph over anger, hatred, and mistrust which is later embodied by the Drops of Mustafar.

    I will echo what everyone has said about the story's ending; it's a gorgeous and fitting end. So often the grand, Galaxy-shaking, but ultimately destructive relationships are held up as the Great Romances, as if that is the kind of love we should seek, when in reality one should:
    Lovely continuation of your motif of the stars as love[face_love], and such a beautiful, eloquent tale. Bravo!
     
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    OK... wow. Just. Wow. Absolutely incredible and beautiful piece, though of course I'm by no means surprised. :) So, so much is packed into this short story—and I don't just mean the way it it so effortlessly binds both the immensity of the Galaxy and the entirety of the Saga within its span: yes, it's extremely sobering to think of only a few out of the Galaxy's quadrillions of beings, over close to quadrilions of years, ever are likely to get remembered (which makes the transition from vast to particular, from Galactic quadrillions to two particular tragic lovers, such a whizbang moment). I mean too the way it brings together all your trademark leitmotifs and recurring themes: mortality, stars as love, love as stars, love as matter, love is what matters, and love as rough trade. It quite literally is all here. And if I quoted all the passages where those ideas are articulated in exquisitely beautiful ways, I found super-beautiful I would be here till the shaaks come home.

    Not only is it all here, but it is also emblematized in the story of Anakin and Padmé. All those wonderful, poetic parallels and differences that you recount between the two of them are kind of the heart of the story (at least for me)—and to each one I found myself nodding and saying, "yep, I never thought of that before, but that's totally true of them!" (And I love how Anakin's hair color is described as being that of the gritty, in-everything-getting substance that he claimed to hate so much—just a wonderful little extra icing-on-the-cake touch, especially since I know how fond you are of that quote. :D) As clichéd as this will sound, those comparisons and parallels gave me a whole new perspective on their relationship. (E.g., I never thought of Padmé as having had power over Anakin, but she did, in a way, by virtue of her political position—and she definitely missed the chance to use it.)

    Then there's your really amazing expansion on the "Padmé's death in water"/"Anakin's 'death' in fire" motif in ROTS. It's expressed in such a ton-of-bricks way in the film—but you take it to much more nuanced depths here. For example, you remind us that there was "water" (i.e., bacta) involved in Anakin's "death" into becoming Vader, and that Vader eventually met his final end over a place at least as green and picturesque as Naboo. Nothing is black or white here, nothing is totally as it seems—instead, it's all much more colorful and integrated. And isn't that set up at the very beginning, with that opening panorama of a Mustafar so diametrically different from the lava-ravaged one know—a garden paradise, serene, romantic, full of twining vines?

    And of course as someone who loves flowers, I can only second what the other commenters have said about the exquisite flower imagery in this—absolutely fantastic take on the "twined flowers on graves" motif in "Barbara Allen." I'm picturing the eponymous "drops of Mustafar" as sort of a blood-red version of the Earth bleeding heart—which itself looks like either a heart or a drop or both depending on your point of view. (I'll say too that I have an all-white one in my own yard. Make whatever symbolism you want out of that. ;) ) In a way, after all these thousands (!) of years, this garden-paradise planet of Mustafar has become the grave of both Anakin and Padmé. And then, to all those romantic travelers visiting this garden paradise, we can say, "Si monumentum requiris, circumspice." Just plain gorgeous.

    Perfect advice to the readers at the end: choose your love and your lover carefully, or the lava-like blood of your own suffering will become sublimated into flowers too. And OK, I said I wouldn't quote anything, but this is a just plain amazing final image: "Your heart is the quarry, but your soul is the miner." I'll say a hearty Glückauf to that! <3

    Absolutely stunning addition to the challenge, the A/P repertoire, and your own oeuvre—thank you so much. @};- <-- (gorgeous and highly symbolic red flower!)
     
  12. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I'm trying to find my words right now without being redundant in repeating the previous posters, but I can't just not say something here. So, I will try to sum my thoughts up as succinctly as I can: what a wonderfully rich voice you adopted to tell your story here! This packed quite the punch, walking that fine line between fairy tale and ancient history and cautionary bedtime story. It was a very unique way to frame your prose, to look at a story through the eyes of a story-teller, and I loved the bits of symbolism and imagery you were able to weave together. This was truly, fantastically done.

    Some parts, in particular, that jumped out at me:

    I loved this, particularly with the way you referred to Vader's 'anti-matter' constantly, and then found such earthly symbols with the water and fire, and the flowers themselves. Things that will forever endure.

    The imagery here was excellent.

    Then this last line, in particular, I know will linger with me for a while. Just beautiful. [face_love]


    This was another excellent piece done for the challenge! I truly enjoyed reading this, and I thank you for sharing. =D==D=
     
  13. Winama Shiraya

    Winama Shiraya Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Hi, Ewok Poet. :) I originally liked this fic and wanted to leave a review praising it, but others above me have done such a wonderful job pointing out the beauties of this story that I can't add anything original. [face_blush]

    But I'll try...

    First off, I cried (since I'm obviously a Padme fan, what else could you expect? :(). I've always loved the Anakin and Padme love story because it's like high drama, something operatic. Your story is so perfectly in line with this genre. But it's not sappy. It's, if this makes sense, practical. It's a cautionary tale for the ages, but it's also about love, even if that love is ultimately tragic.

    I also loved your use of the stars and flowers as a juxtaposition for the immortality of the doomed love...especially the flowers. :D That something so beautiful could come from something so not beautiful (in the end) is amazing. Of course Luke and Leia came from that union, but things haven't turned out so pretty for them. Maybe the passage of time is the only thing that will ultimately redeem what occurred, even if the names and circumstances are forgotten.

    Again, just wanted to praise this fic. It's so gorgeous and the first thing I've read here and I'm just soooo amazed by it. Thank you. :D
     
  14. darth_treyvah

    darth_treyvah Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 26, 2005
    And:

    These two lines, combined with everything else in here, are excellent. The Drops of Mustafar are a terrible, beautiful commitment. Water and fire. Life and death. This is transcendent writing and I am glad you made this, Ewok Poet.
     
  15. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Hi Ewok Poet ! So I figured out this must be your misc thread - nice title! And I loved Drops of Mustafa. I dived in without reading your summary, but the feel of a sweeping epic Celtic poem certainly came through. Well done.

    When you queried this on the help thread, I thought the idea was a longer story and the viewpoint would fade away, but I see now what you are doing and it works beautifully. The far-future viewpoint looking back on a love story as an epic legend is so nicely executed. The whole idea of the flowers and the magma binding together... the drops, blood, hearts, the wall, the tombs, all the imagery is fantastic.

    You have earned your name with this one! Poetic...
     
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  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    I feel like I have to say something about this one, but I don't know what to say! Like.... just.... wow.
     
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  17. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    It looks like I have arrived after the previous posters have already summed up this story quite well--but I thought I should (as I am DARTH PANDORA, after all) try to add a few of my thoughts in what are hopefully somewhat original words. This is a story that has become--through years of telling, and retelling--a myth, and as a myth, it has several purposes in the telling: but the paramount one, for this unnamed narrator, speaking to an unknown audience, seems to be that of a cautionary tale. The romance in this story is a warning, not an example to swoon over and follow. After all, love matters, and it matters so much that one can't afford to be careless with it. A star is fire, with the power of both life and death.

    The galaxy has changed utterly in the thousands of years since the Saga occurred--Mustafar, the hellworld, has now been a beautiful garden for so long no one remembers it being otherwise. (And poetry aside, and turning to science--I wonder if it might not have been still in its early life as a planet at that time; after all, our own world would have seemed a hellscape in its earliest history.)

    But Anakin and Padmé--those secret lovers who shook the skies when they kissed--are amongst those few beings remembered through the centuries. Though so much time has passed that they are no longer part of history, but have drifted on into legend. Their names, along with the context that they lived in, are lost to time, and they have become archetypes rather than actual persons.

    You have done an incisive job--and possibly one of the best I have yet read--of seeing Padmé and Anakin here, both as who they were as individuals, and who they were in their relationship. They really were opposites in so many ways (and ones which should have led to more conflict between them in the movies, but that's another issue). And they both held power (albeit of differing sorts) over the other. I have also noted, over the years, that people tend to downplay, or even deny, any role Anakin might have had in Padmé's death. But this narrator pulls not one punch on that.

    Then there's the titular flower--a transported Naboo flower that was transformed by this new world into a new flower, a blood-red, lava-red wound of a heart. It is a beautiful flower, and at the same time, it is a symbol of the sort of destructive love that may be true, but is not right.

    All right, that was probably more than a few thoughts, so I shall close here. Thanks for sharing this!
     
  18. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Space for comments #1 - finally posted on November 26th, 2017. Thank you so much for reading, being patient and saying so many wonderful things about this story!





    Thank you. "Interwoven" is the best way to sum this up, without writing a whole essay. You're good. :D


    At this point in time, there's a good chance that nobody is aware of what really happened, where and to whom. It's like a semi-myth going on to becoming a complete myth. That is, at least, how I envisioned it. :)

    Thank you! :)

    "Layer upon layer"...glad you noticed that. That's precisely what I wanted to convey here. And, in addition to that, the history added more layers, until the core became unrecognisable.

    And...some flowers never bloom. But they can still bloom elsewhere. In a different world. Better world. Changed world. Love can be their fuel.

    Love is pain, but...beautiful pain. Does that even make sense? And it can build you up, as much as it can tear you down.

    I didn't know that quote, but it's a perfect fit. Poor Frida, she had Diego instead of what she wanted. :(


    CATCH HER, SHE'S GETTING AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! :p

    Come to think of it, I have seen that motif in other places, too...I just didn't think about that much back in February. There was only Barbriallen, the only focus was Barbriallen.

    And yes, isn't it different when you're looking at characters as archetypes in some legend, not what they really are? Their legacy is gone, their looks become only loosely described in some folksy terms, but the essence remains.

    Mmmm...lava dip. It sounds like some delicious sweet sauce to me at this point. But don't mind me.

    Glad that the balance I longed for is there. :D I did not mean to romanticise the relationship, rather make it ambiguous.

    That was a late addition to the story, as far as I can remember. I guess I won't regret the fact that I put it there in the end! :)

    And I know that you can! :D

    I...did not notice the word "elegant" the first time I read comments on this, but now that I do...I guess that it makes sense. The style is different from my usual, maybe that's why? I went with a different tone, radically different tone, to give this fictional narrator an unique voice. :)

    The latter is a very, very clever remark. Didn't even think about such an alternate interpretation - I thought about both of them as "enclosed" and "layered", but this makes PERFECT sense, too!

    The key to all of this being moderation. The right measure. Letting it go, yet holding it close to your heart. Not suffocate it - whether for real, as in this case, or figuratively, as it would be in many other cases.

    IT'S A TRAP!

    As in...somebody looking for a Great Love Story could totally overlook that part. But then again, that happens with romcoms, chick flicks and - yes - fairy-tales themselves.

    I'm probably overdoing that motif, aren't I? :D



    You're...not?

    Because I am. O_O To this very day, I'm not sure how this came out of my mouth and from underneath my fingers. [face_blush]


    Fridge horror moment: that could happen to us, too. If the Sun doesn't swallow us or if we don't collide with Andromeda, I am pretty sure that the only person remembered from our days will be somebody like Adolf Hitler. Hope they won't romanticise him like this. [face_plain]

    I repeat myself with those leitmotifs AND you repeat yourself with that shaaks thing. B.A.L.A.N.C.E!

    I am the only person in the world who sees something in that quote, probs. :p SEND HELP1!!!

    And so many subtle things about those two are EVERYWHERE throughout the PT, but one needs to ignore the cheesy romance moments (which, IMHO, make sense, too - both of them are sheltered, clueless and without a good example of a relationship!) and dig deeper in order to notice those subtle things.

    This just doesn't come to us as a natural thought, I think. And why so? Because she was sheltered in her own way, too. Always privileged, always had a straight road ahead, never experienced poverty...and so on.

    Always wanted to expand on that, ROTS was rushed near its ending and I think that people could have used a couple of more hints to notice the similarities and contrasts.

    This is an interesting observation. Anakin was born on a desolate world, died over a lush, immaculate one. It was the other way round for Padmé...they even differ there.

    That's precisely the plant that inspired me. I never saw one IRL, but I thought they would totally make sense in this context. Their name makes them even cooler.

    And wait...YOU LIVE ON MUSTAFAR?

    :eek:

    :eek: :eek:

    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Now, THAT was clever. I was not aware of that particular saying! I guessed what it means, but I am glad that I clicked the link - had no idea it could be specific to miners. WHOA!


    Hehe, your attention to details shines, again. :D
     
  19. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Space for comments #2 - comments added on November 26th, 2017





    You're braver than me. Usually, when I arrive to a story that had seven comments already (using the exact number here, since your comment was #8, but yeah, can be less, can be more :p), my poor commenting sense turns into dust and I'm like NOTHING I EVER SAY WILL MAKE SENSE. [face_hypnotized]

    As said to somebody above, the voice was not my usual one, it was a bit of an experiment - create this anonymous narrator persona and imagine the way they would talk. It could have ended up being incredibly, incredibly cheesy.

    [face_blush][face_blush][face_blush]

    Some things are cosmic. Some are plain. And physical in the sense of physical, not physics. ;)

    It was at first hard to imagine, so I'm glad that I managed to depict what I had an idea of, in the end!

    The more people quote that one, the happier I am that I kept it in the end. [face_blush]


    You are welcome. :) And, to be fair, this was an unofficial response to the challenge. The original receiver of the song Barbriallen is doing a very good job with it, too. :D

    Been ages since this happened, but I remember getting notified about your like and being all like OMGCOPTER A NEW MEMBER LIKED MY STORY OUT OF PRACTICALLY NOWHERE. LET'S HOPE SHE POSTS A COMMENT!111!1!!!! :D LOL, I was such a dork back then. :p

    Making it sappy or trying to excluse Anakin would be like BAAAH, SEEN IT BEFORE. So...why not turn space!opera into...proper space!opera?

    And aww, totally didn't want anybody to cry! [:D] (this smiley is so smug, btw) But if this story made you feel something, then I guess that even crying is good, sometimes?

    I do the stars thing...a lot. To the point where half of my stories have the word "star" or "moon" in their titles and I could probably parody myself and get away with it. :p

    The beautiful from ugly motif did occur in Star Wars other than the obvious through Luke and Leia. At the end of the Ewoks episode Sunstar vs. Shadowstone, the dead witch becomes a beautiful tree. And that's probably the crowning moment of the entire series.

    Back on topic: there is probably no true redemption, rather some sort of romantisation of the past. As Finds said, there are colours here, not just black and white. And since my mindset naturally tends to be black and white, like, all the time...in a way, I challenged myself here. [face_blush]

    Hope you discovered many, many, many cool fics in the meantime. And I'll remain forever proud that mine was the first story you commented on. :D

    I was hoping that somebody will notice the mole thing. :D I always thought how interesting it was that they did not cover Natalie Portman's in make-up and that they're visible in most of media, wherever Padmé was used. So, I kind of tried to make them significant in-universe, too.

    "Terrible, beautiful commitment" - HECK, YES!

    Whoa, you are brave, sir Kurisan. Wait, that was a pleonasm. :p Anywayyyy...you sure meant Mustafar, though I have nothing against Mustafa, he's a nice guy...and yeah, as I have said, you're brave not to read summaries. I always do, I see them as the gospel of fics.

    Yup, that's the story which I still don't know where to place. I tentatively listed it as Beyond the Saga (canon), but I can guarantee that, once it's the time to index the 2017 stories and once it's the time to sort things for awards, THIS will be the story that the sock's head will ASPLODE from.

    Ummm..."sock's head"...okay, it's late early here. :p

    And this is a cool perspective - you're, like, really interested in viewpoints in general, while I just...go with the flow. :)

    All those things that mould together form a strange, strange conglomerate...don't they?

    That is...quite a compliment. [face_blush]
    A "wow" is enough. :) You taught me that sometimes short comments are as awesome as the essay-like ones. @};- I have not learned much in 2017, but that's one thing that I won't forget, for sure.



    ...and now I can't remember if it was me who blurted out the "Darth Pandora" thing or if you made it up yourself. GAH. :p



    Nothing to add. You have absolutely nailed it, even though there were thirteen people commenting before you. This, m'lady, takes courage...and U HAZ IT.



    The bolded part was one of the things I took into considerations, one that was fun to play with. If it was a young planet when we first saw it in the Prequel Trilogy, what happened later? And, of course, how could one make a legend out of it, by combining physics with a story lost to time? ;)



    Once again, nothing to add. I think I used these exact words somewhere at the beginning of the first part of replies to comments, without even re-reading your comment. And that means you got it. As usual. ;)



    Knowing how much A/P fics there have been since 1999 or so, that is QUITE a compliment!

    And those details got lost because we were taught to look at the big picture - Star Wars films can trap us like this, details don't pop out immediately.



    I don't get that, either. One can still explore this 'ship without downplaying the horrible things Anakin had done. Sadly, my approach to life closely mirrors his (see: https://www.livescience.com/10679-psychology-darth-vader-revealed.html), so I can kinda sorta get into his shoes and see his ways of thinking through some twisted, twisted "logic" which I too tend to employ when in a crisis...but excuse him? Nope!



    You see red here. More than I saw when I wrote it. Knowing how much importance colours play in your stories, I guess this is a good thing!



    Always. :)
     
  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Echo Bounces

    Genre: Character study, hints of romance
    Characters: Mara Jade. Mentions of the Wild Karrde crew, Luke Skywalker and Sheev Palpatine/Darth Sidious.
    Timeframe: 9 ABY Right before the Thrawn Trilogy in the Legends continuity.
    Rating: G
    Summary: A look into Mara Jade's soul.




    When you are empty on the inside, your whole inner being is an echo. When you hear only one message, the words bounce against every single vein in the twenty-five kilometres of your vascular system. But they avoid the clenched fist-shaped silver object, sleeping tightly somewhere near the place where the hungry gazes of those who had one drink too many and happen to love jumpsuit-clad redheads end up.

    You don't know where they are, but each and every time they reach your head, you experience pain, your sense of duty rebuilds itself over and over.

    You have changed yourself to run away from everything, to be somebody else, somewhere else, but the voice repeating the same message like a broken holocomm is not leaving you. Your fate keeps on coming back to hunt you.

    You don't know that the only solution to this is to face your fears, attempt to do what the message says and trick the bearer of the voice, trick the dust speckled on the top of conifer trees somewhere under a pink sky. You don't know that, this way, you will find the peace within.

    Your new friends, they may be running from things too. Surprise! But it's their way. They like running, their inner mazes are fueled by danger. They have no permanent haven foe their thoughts and dreams. And they like being the way they are. They like sitting under a tree on the only planet where somebody like you can feel some peace.

    Ironically, that peace strips you of everything you are. Normally, when the jumpsuit pools at your feet and any mask you might have worn is removed, what remains is the mask you never take off and the power that never leaves you.

    It's a high time to face your fears.

    You may find the silver, clenched fist turning into an open hand. Initially, it's an empty hand, for you have nothing to offer, but the Hutt palace circus in your head. And then, it takes the shape of an instrument from a primitive, future world and starts playing music, the one of a fire-red soul.

    At first, the music is jarring. The kind of a cacophony that makes you want to throw pomatoes at your own mind and shut up the orchestra of swirls and ripples. However, you should not worry. At some point, there will be melody. This melody has been given a simple name seconds after the dawn or time: the light.

    Don't worry if you cry. It doesn't matter if you cry, the tear will form a pearl. And when this pearl travels through you, it may not silence the voice, but it reflect a pair of blues and a smile you have been looking for. Because you have been looking for them all along, in the ways you have never known.

    It's up to you to get to know them.

    Go and face your fears. The bearer of the voice bouncing against your sides' bones will be beaten by his own mace. For he does not know that the copy is not always the original.


     
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  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, this is quite an incredible little character study—very lyrical, full of arresting images (in true EP fashion), and spot-on for Mara and the "last command" that was bouncing around inside her for so long. She thought for all those years that THAT was what she had been looking for, unaware that her subconscious had been seeking something totally different—something that was eventually found in those smiling blue eyes that turned out to be attached to that clenched silver hand. Perhaps it was once that hand turned into the instrument and started playing that fiery, soulful music that she could then, by way of contrast, start hearing that empty echo for what it really was—an empty echo. Beautiful synaesthetic dovetailing here of the music, the tear, the pearl, the eyes—all rich, beautiful images that contrast so strongly with that monotonous echo of the Emperor's command. That command shall become a copy without original (leitmotif spotted—+1! :D), and the one who uttered it shall be beaten just as the sound of his voice is beating around inside Mara!

    Absolutely amazing stuff in a short space—thanks so much for sharing. =D=
     
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  22. mavjade

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

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Woah... =D=

    That was beautiful and haunting.

    I have to resist the urge to quote the entire thing line by line and say 'this was amazing' because it was and I'm so moved I wouldn't be able to say much more than 'I love this, it's amazing'. A few parts I will pull out that I particularly found to be breathtaking:
    This start... I just... wow.
    As someone who works in health care, I was particularly moved by the idea of that one message bouncing around with each beat of your heart, like your blood is saturated with that message instead of oxygen. Carbon monoxide has a higher affinity for hemoglobin than oxygen does meaning your blood gets filled with CO and not O2, which is why CO poisoning is so dangerous. I was imagining this all encompassing thought of the Emperor's last command to have more affinity, starving out the oxygen and making it hard to breathe or even deadly. [/respiratory nerd :p ]

    This about made me cry. I'm so moved by it, but I can't really articulate it. The Emperor had a hold on her for so long, even after death, but that she sees there is more to life and that she can beat that voice and not listen to it.

    This was a perfect character study of Mara, and I loved every word of it. Amazing job!
    @};-
     
  23. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    This is really fascinating! I love the use of the second person to tell us these things about Mara, and of course I can't help but wonder -- is this Mara's future self speaking to her? Someone, perhaps, from her future? The Force itself? We don't know and I don't think I need to know, it's just lovely and strange. And we learn things that she would not yet know how to articulate herself, if she were ever the kind to attempt it.

    I like how everything is told in metaphors, but seems very real and concrete at the same time; these stories of the future are within Mara at the level of flesh and bone. The comparison of that silver clenched fist (and later the open hand) to what lies inside her ribcage that she doesn't have a name for, feels so true to what she is going through at this point in her life. And I noticed a rather neat incorporation of a phrase that I remember from elsewhere.

    =D= Really liked this conclusion, it brings such a sense of both hope and defiance!
     
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  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I apologise for commenting much earlier than usual - I am behind with comments, so I thought that replying in portions of 2-3 would be acceptable. And one of these got me super giddy! ^:)^=D=[face_chicken][face_cow][face_dancing]

    Comments to Chancellor and I and Drops of Mustafar WILL be handled. I apologise once again.




    Arresting images 'Я' us, ya, ya, ya. :D

    That was corny, right?

    And I did intend this to be a character study, so spasibo.

    That was even cornier, right?

    Do they have corn in Mother Russia? [face_not_talking]

    Her subconscious wanted her to go Light, but she needed to balance Dark and Light in a way that was unorthodox, much like her whole life and her eventual fate. She had to do a...reverse Sith, almost!

    Synaesthesia 5ever, yes. [face_love]

    No, that would be Luuke Skywalker, whom she DOES kill. He's a copy, but he is a copy that is so obviously NOT an original. I subverted my own trope. :D

    And beating around the bush, but he's not aware. // twelve year old boy comment


    You know that I have a problem with making things THAT short, so it was also a challenge...AND IT WORKED, as far as I am concerned.

    That part was there especially for you and OMG YOU FOUND IT.

    *does a happy dance*

    *falls over because dizzy from Lamictal and Abilify*

    *types from the floor, like in cartoons*

    I was impressed with the idea of three month blood sugar levels and how hemoglobin is related to everything in the blood cells and what it does, so I thought about the idea of Palpatine being a suffocating substance. CO was the eventual idea. He's the kind that leaves you to die in the garage, like in The Virgin Suicides.

    And yeah, that's a crazy series of connections overall, but CO as sound would also result in something as stupid as the Coco Pops cereal. Or something as *infectious* as...



    Knowing what you have to put up with on daily basis at work and how mortality may be viewed by your peers, I am pretty much frightened that a story like this can leave such a strong impact. But at the same time, it's an IMMENSE compliment! [face_blush]

    I got it from TTT and Emperor's Hand series. I am yet to explore her at later age, but here, she was fascinating like WHOA. Since you're a confection confetti convor connoisseur, this means a lot. Thank you so much! <3

    My idea was the Force, but your theory with Mara's future self can be retconned into it perfectly. The ways of the omnipresent power of the GFFA universe WOULD pull that off, all right. :D

    [​IMG]

    The heart is also shaped like the fist. So, in a way, Luke shows her how to use her heart. The fist was my first thought.

    And yes, concrete = too firm, goes to flesh and bone. Or, well, truth and bone!




    The leitmotif at the end, as Findswoman pointed out, is from my original non-fiction works. :D
     
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  25. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Echo Bounces:

    Terrific character study of Mara Jade. You’ve gotten her voice down well here. I love the idea of her being an empty cartridge, an empty vessel with nothing inside but the echo of the command pinging around, echoing in the chamber. It has taken over whatever she had wanted to become of herself, and it has forced her to empty herself so that it can take over her own will and desires.

    Not sure if that was a typo for “haunt” but it works this way, too. She’s hunted by her predatory past, that stalks her wherever she goes.

    This is really interesting. You mention the silver, clenched fist before: “the clenched fist-shaped silver object,” which I presume to be her own heart – metallic, hard, clenched tightly.

    Now we see it again in the quote and it turns into an “open hand” – The idea of an open hand, offering peace and welcome, and an open Hand, she herself now open to the opportunities of a new life. But (and maybe I’m reading too much here?) it could also allude to Luke himself, with his metallic hand held out in friendship and kindness.

    At first she can’t understand this new sound, this cacophony that competes with the interminable drumming of the command in her head. But eventually the cacophony will be come a rhythm and then a melody and she will understand it for the light that it is. And once she embraces that light, there is no way that darkness can survive.

    Love the last line:
    Yes! The Emperor has given her the command to obey, but he underestimated her own will to be herself. She cannot be a copy of his desires, a programmed automaton to do his bidding without her own thoughts and agency. Neither is Luke a mere copy of his father. They have transcended the original and are completely new and powerful beings of their own right.

    Excellent story!

     
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