Before - Legends Saga - PT Saga - OT Before the Saga Saga - Legends Findswoman's Fragments & Miscellanea (assorted short stories)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman , Sep 8, 2014.

  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb response and use of the quote! =D= I like Wym already and Glockel. @};- OCs that rivet and captivate immediately... I guess that is the K'Tai, Chyn, and Findswoman specialty! [:D] Yup, totally. LOL ^:)^
  2. K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku

    K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Apr 18, 2000
    Yea! It's up. =D= Very nicely done. I love how the inner conflict gives way to the moment of truth (so to speak), and Wym is able to do what must be done. Bravo! @};-
  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    So, this is what you have been telling me about...

    Your combined dialect German sounds a lot actual German. *hides*

    I hope we get to see more of Wym - either as a Force ghost or through flashbacks, because otherwise introducing him in a story so perfectly written solely so he could pull an Obi-Wan would be a waste of a very interesting character! He sacrifice himself for a muggle and that was perfectly in-character for a Jedi and - I would assume - a true Nyrgindian, as I imagine they would have some strong opinions and principles.

    Glockel's childhood is something I did not expect to be like this, so reading about it was a surprise. And now her name makes more sense. The whole idea of Nyrgindia being "paired" with Naboo in a way Germanic countries are with Romanic ones is clever. Now I demand to see a globe of that place, the sector drawn on the map of GFFA and a fanon post about their language, once the monthly topic would allow for that. A whole, new, fun world.

    No, certainly not that. Like all good Jedi, Wym knew well that death was really no more than a joining with the Force. All who joined the Force added to its strength and to the strength of those who wielded it for good. And during these dark times, the Force needed all the strength it could get. - I love the approach here.

    He had heard gruesome stories of what Imperial soldiers did to the women and girls of the worlds they conquered... - I often wondered if this was the case. :(
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    Ooh, this is wonderful! It's great to read this fic again after seeing it in its earlier stages -- I love how you inserted extra details here and there to complete the picture about Wym's past, his master and Vader's emotions. I hope we see more of him soon!

    And now we have an extra bit of information about Glockel's story. I can't wait to read about how she left her homeworld and ended up in the company of a Gand [face_thinking]
  5. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005
    Wow, this was fantastic! I love the style of this, it really conveyed Wym's character in his attention to detail and musings of the Force. I have great affection for the Jedi Sentinels and Shadows, so it was wonderful to see that explored - and what an ingenious Force power in finta sempli.

    It was nice to get a bit of background on Glockel as well!
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, thank you all so much! I am glad Wym (and Glockel) came off all right; his inner struggle was hard to write in a balanced and believable way, because it's kind of an odd, offbeat inner struggle. Yes, I do indeed plan to feature him in other stories—perhaps also his Master, Hinrisch thur Mohlen, too. His people do indeed have strong principles, which in some ways is a good match for the Jedi Order—except maybe when principles conflict? Wym obviously wasn't too wild about the nonattachment doctrine, for example... could be a future story... [face_thinking]

    And now I'm curious to know what you did think her childhood might be like...! [face_batting]

    Thanks so much! The Germanic-classical dichotomy is indebted in part to Goethe's Faust, where it's a theme that recurs from time to time—especially in part 2, where Faust (representing the Germanic) marries Helen of Troy (representing the classical). I do indeed want to do a fanon post about Nydringia and its people sometime; I imagine the two planets being geologically similar (rocky honeycomb-like core) and being longtime trade partners and allies. The Kathol Sector in the Outer Rim Territories is established, though.

    Same here—it always seemed pretty darn likely, and in keeping with what we know about Imperial prejudices. :eek:

    Thanks so much, and thanks especially for your role in beta-reading it—your input was immensely appreciated. :)

    Would you believe, I wrote that story many years ago! Or at least the part of it where Glockel and Telfien first meet. Eventually I plan to dust that story off and post it here, though other stories will have to get farther along first.

    Oh, thanks so much for reading! For the inspiration to bring in Jedi Sentinels and Shadows, I am 100% indebted to K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku 's feedback. Although I had known a touch about the Sentinels (or at least that they were one of the three paths you could choose in KOTOR), I didn't know the Shadows even existed before K'Tai suggested in her beta comments that those with the finta sempli ability would be prime candidates for Shadows. When I read more about them, I thought they were so cool that I made Wym's master one as well, and I hope someday I can write more about them going Shadowing together in Wym's padawan years. :D
  7. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    This stands on its own perfectly well, but having prior knowledge of a particular term from this in the Fanon thread definitely enhanced my reading. The minute I saw the words finta sempli, it was that "oh no" moment. :eek: Which comes pretty soon anyway, but still it was the thing -- like pretty much every scene Palpatine is in during the prequels. Except that here we readers and Wym both know that his goose is cooked now that Vader's on the doorstep. The chilling immediacy and suspense of the situation is really well-executed; this is a Darth Vader that seems entirely his OT intimidating self while still having the reference to his past (I loved the Anakin flashbacks being sparked by Wym's own mental struggle.)

    Nydringia is an intriguing place and the Kathol sector has always sounded like a place of wonderful potential from its Wook entries. It definitely has the feel of a lost realm as much as a "backwater", somewhere where the strange and wonderful things of the galaxy might survive in hiding through the Empire's reign... at least for a time. And I'm fascinated by your take on the architecture, dress, and language having some real world echoes in the way of Naboo -- and a relationship with that world too. Cool! I always like to see interconnections between worlds. There was a story I read a long time ago that connected Naboo and Alderaan and that always stuck with me too. I like the idea of far-flung constellations of worlds that share little connections, whether it's explained by being colonies of the same ancestors or by other historical links.

    Wow, that quote carries a kick. First this power saves him from the Purges -- but not the rest of the Jedi -- and then it brings Vader down on him. Yipes. And yet, it did keep him alive all those years, until it didn't anymore. :(

    Aww, I'm with everyone who says they wish we could see more of Wym in flashbacks and such. He seems like such a genuinely nice sentient being. I also like the nuances of his conflict here; it's not just fear of dying, though that's a part of it. There's a perfectly reasonable anxiety about what happens next when he's gone -- and Vader and the Empire are still there, possibly able to take revenge on his homeworld for defying them. [face_worried] I'm less worried about them than I could be, but only because I remember Glockel from your other stories where she's alive and well. And there doesn't seem to have been some kind of major Base Delta Zero on Nydringia there, unless I'm forgetting something. Phew! [face_relieved]I've already gotten attached to the place.

    This is some interesting background on Glockel's childhood. I'll admit that like Ewok Poet I also found it surprising, but now that I see it it makes sense. She seems so sheltered in the "Glockel and Telfien" stories that I somehow assumed she'd been raised in a privileged environment with little idea of the outside world. Instead we find out she was raised in an orphanage, though it seems to have been a nice one. (Wym was content enough with the place to leave her there and continue in his duties, even if it wouldn't have been his first choice in a perfect world. Given how much he obviously cares for her, I don't think it could have been that bad there.) And that, when combined with her remote homeworld, also explains the way she is, just in a different way.

    This whole piece is emotionally powerful, but I especially liked this section. I don't have much to say, but "wow." =D=

    I really like Chancellor Tinctorius. Do we get to see her again, or did Vader finish her off after Wym's death? She's fantastic.

    My hero. :D Well, and Wym too by the end but that's obvious. Side note, but I also like the flavor of the Nydringians' dialogue. They seem to have an old-fashioned, formal turn of speech that suits their stoic approach to trouble on the horizon.

    Just amazing. I love this moment so much. Goosebumps!

    And also this one. I really like that you chose to have him do the disappearing act, like we used to think always happened. It's a really neat callback to the OT, and makes me wonder just how many arcane Jedi teachings his old Master thur Molen was keeping in his archives. And it shows us that in the end, he made his choice for the right reasons and with certainty. Brings it right back to the title, and I can imagine that one haunting Force theme playing -- you know the one. ;)
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Kahara, thanks so much for that awesome review! Your reviews are works of art in themselves, and if "There is no death!" merited such a fine specimen, then I know it can't be junk. :p

    Your comments bring to mind some very interesting takes on this story that didn't occur to me before—which is an immensely good thing. Originally, I hadn't intended thur Mohlen's "Who knows but it may save your life sometime?" comment as anything more than an extra little afterthought from a proud-but-concerned teacher, complete with my late grandmother's signature finger-wag. :D But you're right, it takes on a new significance in light of Wym's current predicament, because he's starting to see that his special power can't necessarily save him anymore, and it's partly his own fault. I imagine that could be quite a harrowing realization for anyone with a special power like that.

    I do imagine Glockel's orphanage as being a fairly nice place, almost along the lines of some of those Victorian-era orphanage stories like A Little Princess. Though of course no amount of that can make up for her feelings of loss, or possibly for her feelings of wishing her uncle could be around more often (though she understands why he can't).

    Tinctorius: I rather deliberately left it unclear whether she dies or lives at the end of this piece, because I want to leave that possibly open for other stories (and, truth be told, I haven't decided yet :p ). When she slumps into the stormies' arms at the end of the story she's definitely still alive, but barely conscious. I based her on two strong Germanic women I knew in my college years, one being a professor in the German department and the other being the wife of my organ professor (the latter's name was Sigrid, up which Sigrada is based). I like her too—I hope her no-nonsense way of standing up to Vader came across all right, and it certainly is meant to reflect her people's values of stoicism and steadfastness.

    And I am glad you liked the Anakin flashbacks. They were added at the suggestion of K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku, and I'm so glad she suggested that I do so, because they were a way for me to bring one of my favorite aspects of Vader's character into this story—that one hidden remnant of good that has the tendency to get brought to the fore by the most unlikely of things. And I've always liked the idea of a modicum of respect between adversaries, or the fleeting moment of kinship between them—makes things a little less black-and-white. (That's supposed to be what's happening at the end when Vader runs up the stairs and contemplates what's left of Wym.)

    Now, the disappearing act... this is where you brought up something that really was new to me. Now, of course Obi-Wan's death is the influence for this all the way—no surprise there—right down to the idea of strengthening the Force through the act of self-sacrifice ("If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine"). This has been something I've been curious about ever since Qui-Gon didn't disappear in Ep. I; I confess that I still don't know as much about what goes into it as I probably should, & I should possibly dig around on the Wook some more before I show my ignorance, but... I take it from what you are saying that this is something a Jedi can choose to do at his or her moment of death rather than something that just happens? That is actually something that I confess I didn't realize, but I'm so glad I know it now, because that makes Wym's final decision fit in all the better with his last words and with the title.

    Thanks so much once again—always a treat! :) And stay tuned for the next story, inbound in five... four...
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  9. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Very nice response to the prompt! You have created a world that is detailed and alive, and both exotic and familiar. The imagery makes it so I can really see the events and characters.
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, thanks so much, divapilot! I appreciate that very much. Yes, "both exotic and familiar" is one of the things that I Ioved about the design of Naboo (and thus that drew me to design its Germanic counterpart)—indeed, it's a general aesthetic principle that seems to inform the entire GFFA. :D
    Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: Opus Sixty-Six
    Characters: OCs, Emperor Palpatine, assorted Imperial advisors and soldiers
    Timeframe: Somewhere between about 15 and 10 BBY
    Genre: Drama, introspection
    Rating: PG-13: violence, censorship, speciesism, gaybashing, and a single brief mention of a character’s past sexual assault
    Summary: Two non-Human musicians are forced to perform before the Emperor—and offer protest.
    Notes: Award fic-gift for Chyntuck, in honor of her well-deserved awards for Best New Author, Best Canon, Best Original Character, and Best Original Relationship. Namajib Eskari is her character, and it is with her kind permission that his name appears here. I thank Ewok Poet for beta-reading and providing much-appreciated feedback.

    Opus Sixty-Six

    “Get up, furry. You’re on.”

    Miarla Ligouri rose from her bench in the detention cell and followed the black-uniformed guards down the corridor. Although slightly short for a Selonian worker female, she still stood a whole head taller than both of the Imperial soldiers leading her. The binders on her wrists did not diminish from the regal figure she cut in her floor-length scarlet gown.

    “A recital in His Imperial Majesty’s private auditorium. This’ll be the highlight of your career, otta.” The fur at the nape of Miarla’s neck bristled at this slur, but she said nothing. “Now let’s go get your flamboyant freak of an accompanist.”

    Shortly they arrived at another cell. Sitting there was a lanky, blue-skinned male Twi’lek, clad in snug-fitting black leather trousers and a tunic of goldenrod synthsilk. His hands too were cuffed. He sprang to his feet as he saw Miarla and the guards approach.

    “Miarla! Are you OK? Is it really—”

    “Quiet, flameboy!” barked the soldier. “You’re coming too!”

    “Officer Bormun, if you please.” It was Miarla who spoke, her voice purring and lyrical.

    “What do you want, furball?”

    “Well, since we are about to have the . . . honor of performing for His Imperial Majesty and all, may Jefson and I take a moment to discuss some . . . musical considerations?”

    “Fine. But be quick about it.”

    “Yeah,” grunted his colleague. “His Majesty doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”

    Miarla and Jefson sat together on the bench in the cell. “So it’s time, isn’t it?” the Twi’lek asked in a whisper.

    “Looks like it.”

    “You sure you want to go through with this?”

    “Jefs, we have to.”

    “Of all the pieces, though . . . you know both Bel Fiora and Eskari are banned . . .”

    “That’s why we have to,” sighed Miarla. “We can’t let that wrinkled old brute tell us or anyone else what we can and can’t perform. We’ve always believed that, right?”

    “Well, yes, but—”

    “And anyway,” she continued, cocking her head, “there’s no way in any of the nine Hells that I’m singing ‘Glory of the Empire’ for him or anyone.”

    “Hurry up, you two!” yapped Bormun.

    “Just another sec, OK?” Jefson retorted, then twiddled his fingers nervously as he lowered his voice again. “So, um—I know we talked about doing either number three or number four—”

    “Maybe number four? That was always my favorite.”

    “How did I guess? You and that sustained triple-p high cresh.”

    The lutrinoid singer gave a little chirping laugh. For a moment it seemed as though she and Jefson were back in the practice halls of the Coronet City Conservatory of Music. They had known each other ever since Master Niskus Navlys’s first-year Intro to Galactic Music course in their first year. Together they had survived countless rehearsals, master classes, juries, and recitals. After graduation their friendship and collaboration had continued, and both went on to become up-and-coming young performers on the Coreworld art music scene. The stages of some of the finest concert halls in the Galaxy—in Imperial City, Theed, Chibias, and Empress Teta, among many others—had been graced by Miarla Ligouri, soprano, and Jefson Er’kap, clavi-pian.

    And then came COMPNOR, and with it the censorship, the speciesism, the scarlet holopanels that strove to screen non-Human artistry from public view. Non-Human artists and performers of all kinds were banned from the Galaxy’s major concert halls, theaters, opera houses, and galleries. Some gave up their careers altogether. But not Miarla and Jefson. The two old schoolmates found ways to continue making music, seeking out smaller, less regulated venues: small recital halls, streetside galleries, tapcafes, private homes. With renewed determination they sang and played the works of banned composers both Human and non-Human.

    After that, the arrest and detention was inevitable. This very engagement—if it could be called that—was inevitable. They had always known that. But would it be worth it? That they didn’t yet know.

    “All right, you two!” Bormun’s voice broke the silence. “You’ve wasted enough time. Get a move on!”

    They were escorted through the corridors of the Imperial Palace to an unlabeled door at the end of a short, dim hallway—the stage door of the Emperor’s private auditorium. As Bormun opened the door, Miarla caught a glimpse of the heavy curtain of silver-blue velvoid, the dim red sconces, and the angular, black-and-gray geometric patterns on the wall—typical banal Neo-Sith Deco ornamentation. The stage was empty except for a standard concert-size clavi-pian.

    “A Nidwalb,” remarked Jefson in an undertone. “Probably dreadfully out of tune.”

    “Quiet, tailhead,” snapped Bormun. “Sprugg, take their binders off.”

    As Sprugg did so, Bormun strode out to the middle of the stage and puffed out his chest. “Your Imperial Majesty, ladies, and gentlemen!” he bellowed. “It is my great pleasure tonight to introduce the reek-nowned Selonian soprano Miarla Ligouri, who will now perform our beloved Imperial anthem, ‘Glory of the Empire’!”

    Applause broke out. At a prod from Sprugg, Miarla and Jefson ascended the stage. Miarla noticed out of the corner of her eye that the tips of her collaborator’s lekku were twitching in irritation. Just trust those boorish gray-coats to ignore the accompanist!

    As she took her bow, Miarla looked out over the audience—over the advisors in their pompous caftans and oversized hats, the gray-uniformed officers of all shapes and sizes, the courtesans in their slinky gowns. She saw the raised, semi-enclosed dais in the middle of the room where His Imperial Majesty sat, cloaked in black. A leering grin flashed across his wrinkled features as she caught his eye. For a moment it occurred to Miarla that she was probably taller and stronger than he or anyone else in the room, and that she—unlike any of them—possessed razor-sharp claws and teeth . . . what if, just what if she were to jump from the stage and use them to claw those hideous orbs—those horrid, bloodshot, yellow excuses for eyes—from their sunken sockets . . . ?

    The applause subsided. Jefson was sitting ready at the clavi-pian. Miarla turned and gave him a nod.

    An ethereal cresh-minor chord shimmered forth from the clavi-pian’s high register.

    Here, in the luminous, windswept dusk . . .

    Murmurs and whispers hissed across the auditorium. “Wait a minute . . . What’s going on . . . That’s not . . .”

    Now!” A crashing unison gave way to turbid, rumbling tremolo in the low register. “Before the strings of the vye are slashed . . .

    “What’s this?! How dare they!” The Emperor’s voice crackled above the ripple of murmurs. He turned to a corpulent advisor sitting nearby. “Vandron, what is this degenerate hogswill?!”

    “I . . . I don’t know, Sire . . . it sounds like maybe Ugon Sal-Stiller, or Lorne Bel Fiora, or someone else in the Second Corellian School—”

    Before the moons bleed to death . . .” Louder and louder grew the tremolo chords as they climbed higher and higher. “Before the hyperdrive of the day fails . . .

    Another advisor, an equus-faced man in a wide-brimmed black hat, chimed in. “It is Bel Fiora, Sire. From his opus-sixty-six Eskari Songs.

    Eskari?! That deranged, alien-loving—”

    The agitation of the tremolo gave way to a plangent, lyrical melody. “Give me your hand—O jebwa-petal-small!

    “Yes, Sire. Namajib Eskari and Lorne Bel Fiora were good friends, and Bel Fiora set several of Eskari’s poems to music—mostly as large orchestral and choral works, but he wrote the opus-sixty-six songs as a personal gesture shortly after Eskari’s death. They’re based on poems from The Vortex, Eskari’s very first—”

    “NO!!” The Emperor sprang to his feet. “GUARDS! SILENCE THEM! NOW!”

    Give me your hand, and whisper, and remember . . .

    Like a green meteor, a bolt of blaster fire sailed across the stage from the direction of the stage door. Still singing, Miarla jumped out of its way as it hit the clavi-pian, leaving a gaping, smoking hole in the black-brown wood. Raucous cheering exploded from the audience.

    . . . that you are all that is left of my song . . .

    Another blaster bolt flew from the same direction. An earsplitting scream combined with a cacophonous clang as Jefson collapsed face-first onto the keyboard of the clavi-pian. A voice grumbled, “Oh, kriff! I’m out!” More cheering erupted.

    Miarla shuddered visibly but kept singing. With the sublime high cresh just ahead, she barely noticed that the Emperor was now standing, his hands extended toward her and the lurid yellow of his eyes trained on her . . .

    . . . in this . . . luminous . . . windswept . . .

    Miarla shrieked and doubled over in sudden, excruciating pain. A barrage of images were bombarding her mind like a hailstorm of razor blades. Late-night cramming in the practice room . . . nerve-wracking juries . . . embarrassing concert-night flubs . . . devastating masterclass criticism . . . the eminent visiting professor who forced his way into her practice room one evening . . . the humiliating arrest at the Works benefit concert . . .

    With a final bloodcurdling scream, she collapsed to the stage floor, unconscious.

    And thunderous applause filled the auditorium. ¶

    Yes, the title is meant to be reminiscent of A Certain Order Executed in Episode III.

    The otta is an established GFFA creature ( Its use as a slur for a lutrinoid being is not officially established; I use it here in keeping with the common strategy of using the name of a “lower,” nonsentient being as a slur for a similar sentient being (compare, for example, how Bossk calls Zuckuss “bug” in The Yavin Vassilika, or the use of “rabbit” as a slur for hares in Brian Jacques’s Redwall books).

    Nine [Corellian] Hells:


    Chibias concert hall:

    Theed concert hall:


    Jebwa: (I chose it because it’s native to Eskari’s homeworld of Corellia—no idea whether its petals are actually small or not, because the Wook doesn’t say, but it sounded pretty!)

    Vandron: His daughter, Marika, is a Chyntuck OC introduced in “A Tree-Dweller in Imperial City.”

    The “equus-faced man in a wide-brimmed black hat” is meant to be Kren Blista-Vanee, whose Wook entry describes him as being “a socialite and connoisseur of fine art”:

    Coronet City Conservatory, Ugon Sal-Stiller, Lorne Bel Fiora, and the Second Corellian School are all my own creations. The clavi-pian is as well, and is the result of my further ruminations on this post in the Writer’s Desk thread.

    The Works: It is also the site of the Plebeian Exhibition at which Ayesha Eskari exhibits in part 2, chapter 10 of Chyntuck's Anánke.

    The concept of the forced concert at which the performer protests by playing a different piece than expected was inspired by the climactic concert scene in act 2, scene 5 of the opera The Passenger by Miecysław Weinberg (1968; premiered 2006). (See this post in “You Know You’re a Fan Fiction Writer When . . .” ;) )

    Nidwalb: my own creation, named after Baldwin Pianos.

    Niskus Navlys is named for Sylvan Suskin (d. 2008), a longtime professor of music history at my own alma mater, Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Although I never actually took it (I placed out), his Music History 101 class was something by way of an institution and a rite of passage for first-year conservatory students.

    The Emperor’s use of the word “degenerate” is indeed meant to echo the Nazi regime’s use of that term to mean pretty much any kind of modern art by people they didn’t like.

    “Triple-p,” “unison,” and “tremolo” are all real-life musical terms.

  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Findswoman - breathtaking and riveting - a blend of artistic brilliance and courage by the artists.

    An awesome and appropos tribute to the spectacularly talented Chyntuck !!!!!

    =D= =D=


  13. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Very interesting. I really like how you've used art as an expression of revolution. It's the writers and poets and musicians etc who inspire others to act. After all, the first act of a totalitarian state is to stifle free expression so that only the dictator's ideas can be heard.

    Ironically, I'm writing this as my daughter is playing Csárdás, very gypsy-like, on her violin. :)
  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Clash of Titans Winner star 5 VIP - Game Winner

    Jul 11, 2014
    *shrieks, cries, laughs, weeps, applauds and tries to pull herself together* Oh where is that GIF when you need it?


    Can I say how much I enjoyed seeing what the Emperor's private auditorium looks like backstage? The auditorium itself I spent a great deal of time picturing in my head as "typical banal Neo-Sith Deco" (even though only you could come up with that artistic movement!) but I didn't think for a second of what it would look like behind the scenes -- and, indeed, that given Palpatine's viciousness, it would communicate with the detention area of the Palace, which simply makes perfect sense.

    The second little detail that struck me is how these two characters -- these two powerful, poignant characters trapped in a situation from which there is no escaping -- maintain their dignity until the bitter end, with their gala attire, their choice of a piece of music that is supremely difficult to perform, their steadfastness in front of the audience, its murmurs and its jeers, and those two priceless comments: "A Nidwalb. Probably dreadfully out of tune" and "Just trust those boorish gray-coats to ignore the accompanist!" in what they very well know is their last performance. Those little nuggets of professional pride really hit home for me.

    And then -- the little bits and pieces about the musical scene in the Old Republic and the Empire, the masterful insertion of just enough technical details and Italian-sounding names to make it feel "real", Eskari getting his first poem in written form (quadruple SQUEE for every line!), the backstory to Bel Fiora's Opus sixty-six summarized by that insufferable snob Blista-Vanee, Miarla being so absorbed in her singing that she didn't notice Palpatine stand up, everything that me exulting and wriggling on my chair...

    ... until I read the very last sentence, and then I cried.

    Thank you for this. It's simply a beautiful gift.
  15. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005
    Absolutely chilling last line! Artists are often the first wave of a revolution, and even if the audience wasn't to be swayed, such an act of defiance and bravery would no doubt be told and re-told throughout the galaxy.
  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    You changed my view on Hutts forever. Now I like some of them. [face_not_talking];):*
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  17. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    This is one of your most powerful gut-puncher stories yet, and that's saying something. I'm in awe of how you manage to keep the emotional sharpness and reality of both the brutality of the Imperials and the bravery of the musicians without lessening either, all the way through to the bitter end.

    The sheer level of detail grounds it without ever feeling like a distraction, because every little thing means something important and helps flesh out the conflicting forces at work. We see through these trappings of the court and shared memories of music that it is a real conflict -- not the one-sided defeat that COMPNOR and the Emperor intended. The illusion of total control is undermined when Miarla and Jefson choose their home ground and refuse to cede an inch. Even though it costs them their lives, they do what everything about the Palace is designed to make unthinkable and they are kriffing well magnificent in doing so.

    Perfect cinnamon rolls too good for this --

    well, poodoo. :( But I love them dearly for being total music nerds in the midst of all this. [face_love]

    And I love this very realistic sense of fear and uncertainty. They may be tough enough to go through with this thing, but it wouldn't have been their first choice. But they still always knew it was a likelihood and went through with living to the fullest anyway.

    As others commented, this is a perfect name for what the Emperor would choose to decorate his lair. The fact that it's known and acknowledged as that, even though his Sith-dom is technically secret -- yes. This is the stronghold and so it's built to emphasize everything that the Empire really stands for at its core; in other words, it has less life and appeal than Alderaan's cold, drifting chunks.

    Indeed! I liked this very in-character moment of artistic annoyance from the two of them. It's the kind of bleak humor that carries a sharp pang because of the situation and it's perfect there.

    Oh. My. This is wonderful -- I love how the Eskari poem reflects the situation here. Music and voices being destroyed, and yet one catches the glimmers of hope where they can. I like the not-gradual but stumbling realization of the Imperials of just what kind of music these two artists have brought to their final performance. They managed to pick something forbidden, unmistakable, and entirely suited to the occasion. And the brief background on Bel Fiora and Namajib Eskari's work being combined in this anti-Imperial piece is lovely.

    The sheer willingness of the audience to applaud everything horrific that happens is terrifying, and entirely believable. Given the real-world basis of the fic with comparisons to the Nazi regime, it's exactly what one expects of them. Applause, because of course everything that goes on must be right. And maybe they're totally into it, and maybe they're afraid to be seen not being approving -- but in the end the result is the same. That's how the anonymity of the crowd wipes away any strand of morality.

    One thing that really impressed me was the end of this when compared to Miarla's earlier brief thought that she's physically capable of taking down much of the room before they could stop her. Knowing that Palpatine is Sidious, we know that isn't really the case (and I'm sure she at least suspects it wouldn't be so simple.) But her decision to go on and perform the music with all her skill shows a civilization that the Emperor directly contrasts in the next moment. She and Jefson have class and dignity. The Emperor is like a child having a tantrum over a lost game and sweeping all the pieces away as if that made the point. Perhaps no one sees it, but it's an object demonstration of just what they have put up on their throne as the exemplar of all things "High" and "Human." He's the one who responds to this situation with tooth and claw -- and I doubt anyone witnessing Miarla's collapse doesn't know exactly what's going on. They've probably seen it all before.

    Wow. Not just for the emphasis of the creepy audience that goes all the way through the performance, but I also really like the echo of Padme's "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause." I like to think that in keeping with what JadeLotus said:

    That maybe in some small way, this will be how liberty revives as well. Whispers of second- and third-hand stories making their way through the music circles perhaps...
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= Whew, I like Kahara's review as much as I liked the original post. @};- :D
  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and commenting. @};-

    Why, thank you! And Bonvika thanks you too. She is definitely meant to be a little... different from most of her species, at least as we know them. :D

    Thank you, Ny! It was a huge honor to be asked by her to write something. She gave me pretty much free rein, but when I read about that one opera plot, an immediate lightbulb came in my head—one that would allow me not only to get Namajib and his poetry in there, but also to address some of the same themes that come up in Chyn's own writing: the arts, Imperial culture and all its flaws (especially as regards its view of aliens), professional pride in all its forms, and advocacy for the downtrodden. (Chyn, sorry I'm talking about you in the third-person here—hope I am saying nothing inaccurate. @};- )

    Yes, you all are right on target here! In overly pragmatic times like those of the Emperor, it's easy to fall into the trap of seeing art as just a pretty, inconsequential extra. Perhaps that's even how the Emperor and his cronies see it. But Miarla and Jefson know art is more than that: it has real power because of the way it can affect the emotions so powerfully—and when that happens, its inspiration can't help but spread. And now you've got me pondering who from that audience might have passed it on, and how... [face_thinking]

    Wow, that's awesome—not just for the beauty of the piece, but also (especially) because the forced-concert opera scene that inspired this story involved a solo violinist: a young Polish man imprisoned in Auschwitz is forced to put on a recital and play the camp commandant's favorite waltz. But instead he starts playing the Bach Chaconne (BWV 1004, movement 5), and is hauled off. That is the last main scene of the opera before a brief epilogue.

    Well, you are most exceedingly welcome. [:D] It really was a huge honor to have the opportunity to write this for you, and I wanted to put my best work into it in honor of your very well-deserved wins. It didn't hurt that the original plot bunny (described above) just begged and begged to be written—and that this was an opportunity to distill some of my own educational and professional background into fanfic form.

    All right on. I hadn't thought about the stage door quite that way before, but yes, it makes perfect sense that the auditorium stage door communicates with the detention cells—because Miarla and Jefson are most certainly not the first beings the Emperor has forced to perform for him in this manner. And yes, their pride in their talents and abilities is first and foremost here. In a way, their strategy is to treat this as just any other concert, giving 100% of their talents just as they have done since their conservatory days, and just as they would do on any other stage—"the show must go on." That's their way of going down fighting, and it's one that (they know) arguably will have an even deeper effect than brute-force fighting in the traditional sense.

    As both of you point out, the Nidwalb comment and the "ignoring the accompanist" bit are manifestations of their pride in their training and talent, and they need that pride now more than ever, if for no other reason than that it will help bolster their courage in this impossible situation. They are allowed a little snobbishness here.

    And the accompanist thing is very true—even in real life people sometimes forget that accompanists are an integral part of performances like this one. Art songs like this one for solo voice and piano are just as much intended to showcase the talents of the pianist as the vocalist.

    I'm so thrilled glad you liked how the poem came out! Of everything in this story, giving N. Eskari his first written-out poem was probably the thing was most honored to have the chance to do. I checked out two books of poetry by Pablo Neruda (gorgeous stuff!) to page through for inspiration (his 100 Love Sonnets especially so). "Before the strings of the vye are slashed" and the similar lines were also partly inspired by this poem by Yehuda Amichai (originally in Hebrew):

    Before the gate closes,
    before everything is said,
    before I become estranged.

    Before the discerning blood dries up,
    before things are boxed in,
    before the concrete hardens.

    Before all the flute holes are blocked,
    before all principles are explained,
    before everything is broken,
    before the law goes into effect,
    before God’s hand closes,
    before we go away from here.

    Oh, he's a real piece of work, isn't he? [face_laughing] Though I kind of sort of see his eagerness to show off his knowledge about the piece, Eskari and Bel Fiora, the Second Corellian School composers, etc. as indicating that, deep down, he really kind of likes this sort of music.

    And yes, that's what's happening, or at least what Palpatine thinks is happening: he thinks he is killing artistic liberty by striking down these two degenerate, alien musicians who dared perform the "wrong" piece in front of him (the Auschwitz commandant and his cronies no doubt felt the same in that opera scene). But he has lost already. Miarla and Jefson already did perform that "wrong" piece. The impression has been made—that's the power of art.

    As to what the crowd thinks—well, they are probably thinking all sorts of things, as you point out, Kahara. Some may not know what to think and may just feel kind of deer-in-the-headlights about it all. But certainly some of the more repugnant among them are enjoying the spectacle of these two alien artists being attacked and tortured. They definitely have seen this sort of thing before. (And again, you have me wondering who from this crowd might have passed on the story of what happened, and in what tone and vein, and to what larger effect...)

    Well, yes. That realization is part of what makes her go on with performing as planned anyway, though of course her natural classiness is part of it too. As is the collegiality inherent in music-making: Jefson's depending on her, and neither of them can in conscience leave the other to go it alone.

    (I'll admit that Miarla's ruminations about attacking the Emperor were added partly to get a little more of her alien characteristics into the picture—Selonians are on average taller than humans, and Selonia has a distinct warrior that is made up mainly of worker females like Miarla. In her youth she most certainly learned some ways of using those claws and teeth to defend herself.)

    Oh, so did I! :D That kind of review is an artwork in itself, and shows that her award was well-deserved too. :)

    Thanks again, all. I appreciate you and all you have said all so much—really and truly. :)
  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    I'm being a horrible beta here, by commenting after a bunch of others. I'm sorry about that - I guess I wanted to leave a response that will be at least a little different from the back-and-forth feedback I was sending you before the story was actually published.

    From the very beginning, Miarla comes across as the stronger of the two and that reminds me of a certain badass Selonian worker female from the Corellian trilogy, regardless of how different they are in terms of what they do and what their motivations are. Always ready for fight, deep inside, and it shows at one point here, too. Perhaps I just love strong female Selonians! ;)

    That said, Jefson is OK, but apart from the moment when his lekku twitch, I see him as more of a pianist in salons in cowboy films than a standalone character. And since the story is an award for a story featuring a strong female character, that is the right measure.

    It's been said that the society that has no art is dead, or close to death. Therefore, the crescendo leading from artists being repressed and tortured to their actual death and the tempo of the story itself being, on the contrary, a decrescendo, means much more than many other art-related metaphors could. The Galactic Empire is vile and you are not even trying to tone down the scope of their twisted views and the things they would do for nothing but their own amusement. Not to mention that what they DO consider to be high culture is completely flat, to say the least.

    Love it how the typical banal Neo-Sith Deco is basically the Nazi colour pallette. Even though you hadn't described the high-profile concert halls and the random places that Miarla and Jefson performed before being caught, I can totally imagine three different colour pallettes here.

    Another thing that I found interesting here is that Vandron sort of recognises the piece of music and that the other advisor perfectly knows what it is. I bet they were the first to listen to it back when it was in vogue. Snobbery at its finest.

    And, of course, this is the first time that we get to imagine what Namajib Eskari's writing is like. I like the poem/song and given the amount of poetry I wrote and read, that should err, say something. On this most recent read, I started crying when I imagined Miarla's life flashing before her eyes, blending with those words. Incredibly well-done!

    One of my favourite scenes in music videos is the moment from the end of Alicia Keys' Falling when a bunch of sheet music sheets (?) falls on the floor. If this story was a short film, that is how I would imagine the last scene. Flimsi inscribed with notes falls on the floor and, who knows, maybe it gets dissolved by blood, sweat, tears or all of it.

    I am still not sure if the applause (nice ROTS reference!) was for the Emperor because he got rid or the dirty alien rebels, for Miarla and Jefson because everybody is on their side or if the audience is a bunch of schmucks who clap whatever happens and who may have thought that this was a part of the performance. The second of these three options inevitably leads to the disturbing idea of all the spectators being killed, so I err...choose to believe that different people in the audience clapped for different reason and that some of them were blissfully ignorant to the big picture.

    Hands down, your best piece of work so far. I can't even quote the best bits because I would end up quoting everything.
  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    I've owed this wonderful review a proper response for some time now, so here goes...

    Now you've got me curious to read said trilogy, which I haven't done yet. What's the name of the badass Selonian worker female, so I can at least start by looking her up on the Wook? :D

    Ah, but do give him some credit too... he's the one who snaps at the Imperial officer who yaps at them to hurry up, and there's the Nidwalb comment, too, which he makes in full hearing of the officer. Though it's true enough that accompanists often get overshadowed by their singers—ask anyone who plays any keyboard instrument who has ever accompanied a singer, ever. Hmm, maybe I should write a story from Jefson's earlier career, about one of his solo recitals... [face_thinking]

    Thanks! (And thanks for using the terms crescendo and decrescendo in a way that makes sense—I know that your Italian knowledge is at work in that, too.)

    For that I am entirely indebted to the scene from The Passenger that inspired this fic, because that was absolutely saying the same thing. The banal waltz requested by the camp commandant is, as I understand it, meant to represent of the state of "high" art in the Third Reich—and when Tadeusz (the violinist) strikes up the Bach Chaconne it throws that into such powerful, subversive relief that of course they have to haul him off. And it says in some ways more about them than about him. Exactly same deal here.

    Thanks! It wasn't conscious at all—I guess we're so ingrained to think of that color scheme as "evil" that it just happened that way (and indeed the black-and-gray-heavy color scheme given to the Empire in the movies is derived from the Nazi scheme as well). The Naboo hall, in contrast, was probably some beautiful beaux-arts-ish structure with reddish granite walls covered with flowering vines, topped with a copper-patina-green dome. You and I both place a lot of importance on color and color descriptions, I can tell. :cool:

    Yes! As I said above, the fact that Blista-Vanee jabbers on about the piece and its composer is sort of meant to give the hint that he maybe kind of secretly likes it. Hey, the two of them hearing it at its premiere years before could be a very interesting story... [face_thinking]

    That is an immense compliment coming form you—thanks so much. As Kahara noted, the text of the song is indeed meant to reflect the situation that Miarla and Jefson are in, and that (apart, of course, from the the beautiful extra-soft high cresh!) is a large part of why they chose it: here, in what we know is going to be the dusk of our lives, before the inevitable darkness and destruction close in on us, let's enjoy making music one more time.

    But even before the two musicians found themselves in their current situation, it was no doubt a theme that ran through their whole post-COMPNOR performance career: we know the darkness and destruction will eventually close in, so let's enjoy making music while we can.

    A very compelling image, and very suited to the story, but remember they're performing from memory here—they have to for their gesture of protest to work, otherwise the guards would catch on before they even get on stage. And again, that hints at the fact that they've performed this piece together already numerous times, and that it's one of their signature pieces.

    Interesting interpretations. I guess this is one of those places where I left the interpretation up to the reader, but I too could see people in the audience clapping for all three of those reasons. Certainly a lot of people were the type who just clap at anything, and others may have been clapping for the Emperor. But I'm sure there must have been those in the audience who really and truly were applauding for Miarla and Jefson (those who, as JadeLotus and Kahara surmise, will eventually pass on the story). Now as to why they didn't take action... well, what Kahara said about the anonymity of the crowd.

    Hvala. :) I threw many aspects of own background into this, so that compliment means an especial lot to me.
    AzureAngel2, Ewok Poet and Kahara like this.
  22. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Her name is Dracmus and she beats the poodoo out of Han Solo and then befriends him. She also has quite a role in JadeLotus ' Shadow of Fate.

    I owe you - and Jefson - an apology, then. Knowing...what I do for fun, you know, a certain website, I should have known better.

    I was aware of this, but I assumed that there might have been a set of notes for what they were forced to play. My bad. :)
  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman

    Title: The Chronomaker and the Findsman

    Characters: OC (nameless Gand male commoner), with brief appearances by others, OC and non.

    Genre: Vignette, introspection, slice of life, whimsy

    Summary: “Though that chronomaker had certainly not needed a Findsman to recover his long-tipped pliers from his waste-flimsi receptacle, for fog’s sake” (The Book of Gand, chapter 11). Except he really kind of did—except not in the way one might expect.

    (a) This story was spurred by a comment the lovely and talented Kahara made on a just-for-fun parenthetical aside in chapter 11 of my Book of Gand (quoted above). There are a few brief, passing references to things in that story, but one doesn’t have to have read it in order for this story to (hopefully) make sense.

    (b) It is a bit of an experiment, riffing on one of my favorite Beatrix Potter stories The Tailor of Gloucester (1903), some of whose style elements it consciously borrows.

    (c) It turned out to fit at least somewhat with the OC Revolution summer challenge, initiated by Ewok Poet: “Your character experiences walking in somebody else's shoes. You may interpret that in any way you like: they can fill in for somebody at work, read somebody's mind...or pretty much anything in between!” I also thank EP for her much-appreciated feedback on earlier drafts.

    (d) Finally, it is by way of a fic-gift for Kahara—not only in appreciation of her taking the time to comment on that one little moment in the longfic, but also in sincere gratitude for her invaluable beta-reading help.

    The Chronomaker and the Findsman

    In N’xid, the smallest and humblest of the pocket colonies that loom from the mists of Gand, there lived a chronomaker of the Breather subspecies.

    All day, and most of the evening, he would sit in the window of his shop in the central street of N’xid, crafting and repairing timepieces of all every description—from the tiniest, quietest watch for a Findsman’s pocket to the stateliest chiming cabinet-chrono for an industrialist’s drawing room.

    But although his craftsmanship was of the finest quality, although he built his timepieces from the choicest metals and crystals and finest precision parts, he was aged and in poor health. Several facets of his compound eyes—particularly around the edges—had gone dim from constant squinting. And he was poor.

    Before him on his workbench lay the parts for an exquisite pocketwatch. The case was of platinum, inlaid with corusca gems and a family emblem; the movement was an intricate filigree of miniature cogs and wheels and coils; and at its heart was an oscillator driven by a single, crimson-glowing dragite crystal, mined from the depths of the Surface of Gand. It was for Semfod Sylonn, governor of the pocket colony of N’xid, in honor of his recent attainment of the honor of janwuine.

    It would be the most beautiful timepiece ever created by this poor chronomaker of N’xid, and it would earn him his fortune—perhaps also his name.

    He had handcrafted each of its parts, one by one; it was his claws and his tools that had set each corsuca gem into the platinum case, lined up each cog with its neighbor, placed the dragite crystal between the tendril-thin tines of the resonator fork. And now it was time to put all the parts together, one by one.

    But one of the tools he needed was missing: his long-tipped pliers. He needed them for joining the pieces of the movement one to another and for soldering the movement in place inside the case. If he used any other tool, the radius of the connecting links would be incorrect, and friction would build inside the mechanism.

    The chronomaker rummaged anxiously through the gears, springs, balance wheels, bezels, hand tools, and power cells that besprinkled his workspace, as countless as the droplets that formed the evening mists. As he did, he clacked his mandibles worriedly and murmured to himself as he was wont to do.

    “Size-triple-zero cogs, springs smaller than a clawtip . . . how can this Gand possibly connect one to the other with nothing but his chunky claws? The flat-nosed pliers are too short, the toothed grippers will leave scratches . . .”

    He looked in the drawer where he usually stored his hand tools—nothing. He looked on the shelf near the soldering apparatus in case he had left it there—nothing. Or perhaps it somehow had ended up in the cabinet where the lathe was kept? Well, the mid-size wire cutters were there—Mists only knew why. But not the long-tipped pliers. The chronomaker clacked and murmured some more.

    “O Sacred Visionary Mists! Today is the middle day of the Warm Season, and the governor’s secretary will be coming by early this evening . . . and shall Governor Semfod Sylonn be without his jeweled pocket-chrono on the day of his janwuine-jika?

    It was at times like these that the chronomaker wished he had been gifted with the talent of the Mists, the talent of the Findsman. No one else but a Findsman stood any chance of recovering anything in this untidy fog-pit of a chronoshop. There was only one member of his family who had ever that talent: a second cousin (or was he a third cousin? he couldn’t remember) by the name of Vennlok Ssympk. And he had seen this cousin at work a few times before . . .

    “Now, what does Cousin Vennlok do when he’s hunting for something? . . . Oh yes. First the incense lamp.” He took one from his shelf. “Gand only has this little tiny one, but it should do . . .”

    He lit it and set it on the floor. After a few moments wisps of green smoke began to curl upward.

    “And then he usually sits and closes his eyes for a while . . . somewhere comfortable . . .” He looked around. “The workbench won’t do . . . maybe here . . .”

    Along the back wall of the shop, between a cabinet-chrono that had just gotten new foam pads and another that needed new foam pads, there was a space just big enough to hold an average-sized adult Gand. The chronomaker’s aging exoskeleton creaked as he squeezed himself in, lowered himself to the floor, and sat.

    And closed his eyes.

    And sat.

    And sat.

    Minutes passed, maybe hours. Everything remained dark before the chronomaker’s eyes. No swirling mists had formed in the eye of his intuition (or whatever it was Vennlok used to say) to lead him with their intricate patterns toward the missing tool. He saw nothing but the dark inside of his own nictitating membranes.

    He was just thinking of what he might try next—“Sometimes he chants things, doesn’t he? Or holds up his hands in fancy ways?”—when a gruff voice intruded on his thoughts.

    There you are! Gand feared you had closed! If you could kindly take a look at this—”

    The chronomaker’s eyes popped open to see a large, purple-chitined male looming over him, thrusting a non-platinum, non-jewel-inlaid pocketwatch in his face and blathering something about smashed crystals and corroded power cells. The words washed over him almost like mists—though not mists that showed any signs of parting to reveal his missing pliers.

    Even so, the chronomaker found himself jumping to his feet, taking the watch, and saying something like, “Yes, by all means, honored citizen. Gand shall tend to it immediately.” The citizen thanked him, saluted, and left.

    Clacking his outermost mandibles in resignation and embarrassment, the chronomaker made his way back to his workbench. This was not working. He set down the citizen’s ordinary chrono and eyed the pieces of the governor’s ornate one.

    “Mother and Father and Master Tergloss were right all along . . . some things on Gand just can’t be grasped by a lowly Secular . . .” He glanced at one of the many timepieces up on his shelf. “And meanwhile—O dear Mists!—it is only an hour before the governor’s secretary comes . . . and Gand has no pocketwatch to show him, only some gears and two halves of a case . . .

    “But wait! What is this Gand sees out his window, that comes like a column of light piercing the fog?”

    This was, of course, a bit of an exaggeration, for what the chronomaker saw coming was really more like a column of dark-brown robes piercing the neutral-colored monotony of the other townsfolk’s tunics. It was a Findsman, walking along the cobbled street past the shop. It was not Vennlok Ssympk, but someone much younger, likely an apprentice—a well-looking youth, with bright silver eyes.

    The chronomaker ran out onto the street and grabbed this wondrous apparition by a capacious brown sleeve.

    “Oh, Your Mystical Honor, this Gand begs you to help him! His long-tipped pliers are missing, and without them he cannot finish the pocket-chrono for Governor Semfod Sylonn . . .” If the Findsman’s mouthparts ground slightly at the sound of this name, the chronomaker did not notice it. “Please, Gand begs you . . . please help him find them!”

    “By all means, honored citizen, with the Mists’ help,” the Findsman replied, and followed the chronomaker into the shop.

    The chronomaker watched as his visitor looked intently about, taking in every detail of every object that sat on every shelf and listening to every tick and whir. He watched as the Findsman seated himself at the workbench and looked over the parts of the governor’s watch laid out neatly before him. He wondered what the youth meant by placing his hands gently on the tools lying off to one side of the workbench, then on the handle of one tool drawer, then on the handle of the other.

    But as the young Findsman hunched over the bench, squinted, turned to face the supply cabinet, and then turned back to the bench, it all became clear: he was placing himself in the same physical postures and attitudes that the chronomaker would be likely to assume his work.

    Then the Findsman looked under the workbench, scanning the floor beneath it. There was nothing on the floor besides a few stray, broken bits of wire and a half-full waste-flimsi receptacle that sat directly below the tool drawers. This he peered into, then reached into, then rummaged through. After a few moments he held up a pair of long-tipped pliers with a rubberized handle.

    “Here they are, honored citizen.”

    “By the Holy Madman’s cloak . . .” The chronomaker’s mouth popped fully open. “You mean they had fallen into the—”

    “Yes.” He handed the tool to the chronomaker, who still stood agape. “Take and use them in good health, and may the Mists show you the way.”

    With that, before the chronomaker could say anything, he bowed slightly and took his leave, fading off into the evening mists as he walked away down the street. ¶

    N’xid is an original Gand pocket colony, first appearing in chapter 9 of The Book of Gand (see also the notes to that chapter).

    Semfod Sylonn is an OC, first mentioned in The Book of Gand, chapter 9.

    Although I did do a bit of Internet research on watchmaking in the course of writing this story, both by browsing watchmaking supply catalogs and consulting Wikipedia’s quartz watch entry, some of the watchmaker talk is basically just Treknobabble (well, technically Warsnobabble, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it ;) ).

    Two of the names mentioned in the story are homages to The Tailor of Gloucester: Tergloss and Vennlok Ssympk, the latter being named for the tailor’s cat, Simpkin.

    If you have read The Book of Gand at least through chapter 11, you will likely recognize the young Findsman in this story, and you’ll know why he snarls at the mention of the governor. Neither piece of knowledge is absolutely essential for understanding the story, however.

    “May the Mists show you the way” is given as Zuckuss’s characteristic quote in one of the West End Games guides, though I can no longer remember which one. I understand it as a familiar Findsman’s greeting and/or blessing.

    corusca gem: (I don’t see why they couldn’t be found on other planets besides those listed in the Wook article)
    dragite crystal: (ditto)
    power cell: (certainly there must be watch-sized ones in the GFFA, as there are in the GNFA)
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Findswoman - what a whimsical and fun piece! Your attention to detail is superb. You can really feel the chronomaker's anxiety ramping up and then the tangible relief afterwards. =D= And the beauty of the timepieces and his justifiable pride in the finished products.

    "For fog's sake" - I really like that. [face_laugh] [face_mischief]
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  25. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    A lovely little story and definitely not something one sees on this forum every day. A slice of life, yet not the usual kind, not something one would expect. Seeing people in the moments of creation, at work, gives this piece both taste of ordinary and extraordinary. :)

    There is a strong Dickens vibe here. N'xid, both here and in The Book of Gand, is reminiscent of some slightly depressing place, sort of slums. The colours of gold, perhaps silver/metallic as well, purple and green, on the other hand, take this to some sort of an alternate history and give it a steampunk vibe. So does the issue in the question itself...the watch has got to have some niiice shiny cogs, r-right?

    I can imagine the position of the chronomaker's mandibles, probably wide open in excitement, when his mock ritual brought an actual Findsman (and we know who that is, of course...[face_love]) to his humble workshop. Trippy! Perhaps, for a moment or two, he doubted his own mind or even thought that he had the talents Findsmen have? That moment is open to so many different interpretations.

    As in all of your other Gand-stories, self-deprecating behaviour of the species is spot-on!

    And I am pretty sure we can walk in the chronomaker's shoes, too...say, who didn't accidentally drop something into garbage?

    P.S. Is the governer a take on Sanford Sylvan? :)
    AzureAngel2, Kahara and Findswoman like this.