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Saga - OT Gem of My Beaches (end of Rogue One; Jyn/Cassian; ad-hoc OTP Challenge #12)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Findswoman , Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Author: Findswoman
    Title: Gem of My Beaches
    Era: Saga–OT, at the very end of Rogue One
    Characters: The Force, Jyn Erso/Cassian Andor
    Genre: vignette, prose poem
    Summary: After Scarif, the Force laments, observes, and acts.
    Notes: A very belated, very ad-hoc, not at all competitive entry for OTP Challenge #12: The Landscape of Love, in which I received the prompt “beach.” Also a bit of an experiment. Many thanks once again to @Raissa Baiard for beta reading and valuable feedback. @};-

    I remember it all, because I saw it all, because I was it all.

    I remember the moment the white-hot death blast scarred my ocean gem, my Scarif. It threw the oceans into a fierce boil, mortally scalding every creature from the tiniest krill to the schools of scalefish to the largest wahrgil. It sent the waters upward in a giant maelstrom of steam, another white-hot death. And the ocean floor lay exposed, its once teeming dwellers clinging to it shriveled, boiled, beached, dead.

    I remember, because I am shriveled, boiled, beached, and near dead along with them.

    In the whitened skies, watergulls immolated in midflight, midsong. On the beach—the gem of my beaches!—swaying palms and lush fronds burned in moments to ash. Sparkling sands (each grain itself a gem!) molten into waves of slag, engulfing the slender legs of the shorepipers...

    I saw them. I felt them. I was engulfed with them.

    For I was them.

    (Ah, work of sentients, unworthy of the name! For they do not know the pain they cause me: that once I have made a world, made its creatures, I cannot make them again! My Pipada, uprooted—my Lasan, devastated—my Jedha, obliterated—and now my Scarif—! Anguish fills me to know that these will not be the last…)

    And yet there they were.

    Ah, even my own creatures amaze me sometimes! Rebel and captain, she and he. Dirty, weak, broken, bedraggled as they staggered against each other there on the beach, the gem of my beaches. He spoke to her: “Your father would have been proud of you, Jyn.”

    And her tired smile shone like stardust through the grit on her face, and their hands touched, and they embraced. Heedless of the deadly blast rolling in, heedless of the sand turning to glass beneath their feet...

    They did not know it, but they were embracing me.

    In that moment they were the gem of my beaches. My chosen, the pinnacle of my creation. For they had set in motion the destruction of the destruction. Set in motion only: I knew what risks they had taken, what rules they had broken, whom they had lost, whom they had antagonized. I knew it would not fall to them to finish that work. But even in starting it they had brought me hope.

    And so I sent them my light.

    I blazed forth whiter, brighter, faster than the death blast. Now, they did not see, of course. Nor did they see that other light, either; they only felt and held and embraced each other, there on the beach. But I blazed, and came after them, and engulfed them. Engulfed them just as—

    * * *​

    My light still holds them.

    Their work is unfinished. My work is unfinished. My next course of action will not finish the work, for I am the work. But still I hold them. Captain and rebel, he and she.

    I shall not be able to hold them long, for I must obey my own laws. I must decide. Do I take them to myself? (Along with the many, from both sides of the battle, that I have had to take this day.) What then? Or do I place them back on the beach—once the gem of my beaches!—that now lies bare and boiled, to drench beneath the driving rains the swollen clouds will unleash? What then?

    And the lonely breeze rustling over the shore repeats: What then?

    The notion that the Force is its creatures, and its creatures are the Force, is influenced by a central tenet of the nondualist strain of Jewish mysticism: that all creation is contained within the Deity, and that there is nothing that exists that is not the Deity. (Nondualist spirituality comes up in many other real-life mystical traditions, too; that’s just the one I know best.)

    scalefish: Specified as a Naboo fish in the Wook, but there’s no reason they couldn’t live on other planets, too, as is true of several other GFFA animals.

    wahrgil: A large fanon aquatic mammal, imagined as a cross between a wahrk (a kind of whale-shark mashup from the D’ni/Myst fandom) and a purrgil.

    shorepipers: fanon long-legged shorebirds, a GFFA version of sandpipers.

    Pipada, Lasan, Jedha, Scarif: All planets that suffered some kind of destruction or devastation (whether of their people, their physical environment, or both) at the hands of the Galactic Empire before the destruction of Alderaan.

    “Their work is unfinished. My work is unfinished. My decision here will not finish the work, for I am the work”: Inspired by the following quote from the Talmud: “It is not for you to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Mishnah Avot 2:16).

    “the driving rains the swollen clouds will unleash”: A reference to my story The Rains of Scarif. And if you know that story (it’s a quick read and not hard to get to know), you may have an idea of “what then”...
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Gorgeous, simply breathtaking! =D=
    Ewok Poet, Kahara, divapilot and 2 others like this.
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Well, dang, girl. That was... glorious.

    Let's just start with the beginning, shall we?
    The Force itself is a sentient creature composed of life itself. I know from your notes that this is influenced by the powerful and beautiful Jewish quote, but it also goes to the most elemental of all religious ideas in the Christian New Testament (Book of John): "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
    That the Force can simultaneously support life and be life and be in those things that live -- that's some heavy duty philosophy there.
    Nice use of anaphora there, too, with the repetition of "I remember..." And what a memory must the Force have! To enfold all of creation in one moment -all of time and space exists right now, in this moment right here. (Like Blake's "eternity in an hour" - I'm apparently feeling poetic this afternoon).

    The Force skims across the seas, across the sky, and then turns its focus to the tiny drama playing out in one small corner of a doomed beach:
    That is some fantastic imagery right there. The idea of the sand becoming glass, transforming from the heat, just as they are transforming into something else as they cross from life to death, from discrete individuals to a joined pair to a part of the great eternity of the Force. And their embrace transcends just two people holding each other -- there's a fusion of Jyn and Cassian's spirits with the Force itself.

    I love this literal deus ex machina: the Force decides not so much as to spare them but as to reprieve them until the Force decides what to do with this brilliant, pure light that blazes in Jyn and Cassian. Let them be consumed with the fire? Put them back after the inferno? Give them a second life elsewhere? And they, having surrendered to their fate, aren't even aware that they have not finished their work here, that the Force is not finished with them. They are caught in amber, frozen in that embrace, until the Force decides what their fate will be.

    This is a brilliant prequel to "The Rains of Scarif", and you have outdone yourself again. =D=
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
  4. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    What an utterly beautiful piece of writing. It took me most of the text to deduct the narrator, but when I did, it was the third time the hairs raised on my arms. Just. Wow.
    You had me from the start. Great hok of an opening line.
    Your description throughout is so devastatingly lyrical. Beautifully tragic.
    The destruction of the destruction. Lovely. This section is what clued me into The Force as narrator. I love the simplicity of the words that are so genuinely pained and heartfelt as the Force is in anguish about what has happened, what tragedy still remains and how the work will be finished. Great piece of writing, @Findswoman.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
    Ewok Poet, Kahara, divapilot and 2 others like this.
  5. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    I have chills! This is so powerful and beautiful. To see how the Force thinks and feels, and in this case it's devistating but still so beautiful.

    This. This really started my chills and then...

    Wow. I'm so moved and inspired by this!

    Absolutely gorgeous! @};-
    Ewok Poet, brodiew, Kahara and 2 others like this.
  6. Kahara

    Kahara Chosen One star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Wow. The Force's perspective is so fascinating here, and so beautifully emotional for all of its creatures. There were so many lines and sections that I could quote and end up quoting the whole thing! I love how there's this vast, cosmic, macro perspective on one hand -- but it's the Force and by its very nature there's really nothing too small to matter either. To the Imperials (or even the Rebels) Scarif was this deserted planet that was taken over for military testing -- but to the Force, it was an "ocean gem", full of life and very loved.

    And Cassian and Jyn! You've really captured the fragility and beauty of that ultimate moment of connection we see in the film. Just wonderful. [face_love] Their love for each other is like one tiny drop in the ruined ocean, one small bright spot of hope. But to the Force, that means something so much more.

    If I had to choose one goosebumps moment from the many here, it's this one! Just incredible. @};- And I really liked that the ending was on that moment of decision still undecided, because that just seems perfect for how the Force exists in the story. The Force is the work, and the work is never finished. Well, paraphrasing there -- but that too was a line that really stuck with me! I'm really glad you included the notes on the Talmud quote that inspired it, and on the Force's portrayal being influenced by nondualist Jewish mysticism -- that is so cool and while the story has depth in plenty without knowing, it really adds to it to have that information!
  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Mods' Dare Challenge 3rd Place Winner star 4 VIP - Game Winner

    Nov 22, 1999
    First of all, I have to give you major kudos; it’s not every author who would write a story from the Force’s point of view and be able to do it without being pretentious. I am not surprised that you were able to do it, though, you brought the Force to life as a character in it’s own right in “Beautiful, Inexactly”. And as you did there, you’ve given the Force a real personality, full or warmth and compassion, but also a certain humility. It is constrained by its own laws; it can’t remake a devastated world or recreate an extinct species and it can’t shelter Jyn and Cassian indefinitely, though it can apparently bend the rules enough to shelter them in that awful moment that the Death Star’s blast hits.

    The picture you paint of the destruction is so compelling. It’s painful to read about the
    creatures caught up in the wave of destruction—I think the image of the fragile-legged shore birds engulfed in the melting sand that hit me the hardest. :( And I love that every grain of sand is a gem in its own right in the Force’s (metaphysical) eyes. Each tiny particle is a unique creation that’s being destroyed and the Force mourns it no less than the mightiest wahrgil.

    And then there’s Jyn and Cassian, embracing in the face of so much death and destruction, holding on to what little is for them in that moment.
    This is lovely for two reasons; first it echoes the theme of hope that runs through so much of Star Wars and second, again, it shows a unique humility on the Force’s part that its own creations can give it hope. It could, if it chose, act against the evil that is destroying its worlds, but instead it’s up to fragile, fallible creatures like Jyn and Cassian to act, and because they have the Force shelters them with its own light. Even as it ponders, what next, we readers know—as if we had any doubt that it wouldn’t act with compassion towards these two gems.

    Lovely, lovely story! Thank you so much for sharing this unique, uplifting tale.
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Thank you all so much for reading and commenting! @};-

    Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed and always glad to have you here. :)

    Why, thank you, ma'am! :)

    Yes, great point there—and I would say that that those amazing verses from John chapter 1 could be interpreted as a statement of nondualism, too! It's a pretty intriguing concept that I am curious to read more about.

    Thanks again! And that is so much what that final embrace in Rogue One feels like: now that the mission is completed, the future and eternity are now, and they join that future and eternity (see also below, too). And as I recall, you once wrote a stunningly beautiful Rogue One story based on that very same moment and Blake quote, and I know it's a theme of your fantastic Rogue One drabble series—both which have been major inspirations to all my own attempts at doing anything RO-related, so thank you! @};-

    Exactly! That end scene seemed in a way more like a transformation than a death—kind of an apotheosis, really! And it got me thinking that even though the Force seems to be mostly absent from Rogue One—at least compared to the way it comes up in other films, with Jedi tricks and techniques of one sort and another—that, well, maybe it isn't really so absent from this movie, just present in this other way. (Again, a theme of your "Stardust," too!)

    In a way, the Force's indecision mirrors my own initial indecision when planning this story: should I make it just plain canon-compliant (!) or lead in to the AU of "Rains of Scarif"? And then I thought, "why not both?" The reader can decide. Though, too, as you say...

    ...that is pretty much how I was imagining this piece, so perhaps you guess which direction I lean. ;) Thanks so much once again, and I'm so glad this was enjoyed by such a Rogue One and Rebelcaptain authority as yourself! @};-

    Thank you so much! I’m so glad you came by to read. I guess that was indeed supposed to be a bit of a guessing game, so I’m glad it worked!

    Thanks so much! This was the opening line I knew I wanted from the start (which isn’t always the case with me and my opening lines), and it kind of became the prompt for the whole rest of the story, in keeping with the nondualist theme mentioned above.

    Aw, thank you! I have to say, even just doing the research on this scenery was a bit of a wrench—looking at all the beautiful Scarif scenes and just knowing that this kind of destruction would be their ultimate fate. It’s as though the makers of the film made a point of making that planet as gorgeous as possible, so that the destruction would hit all the harder! And it did, at least for me.

    Thank you again, Brodie, I certainly try! Ever since seeing Obi-Wan’s reaction to Alderaan I’ve believed that destruction of that kind, on that scale, couldn’t not have some effect on the Force itself. I so appreciate your coming by to read and comment; always glad to have you here! :)

    Thank you so much, and I'm so glad you came by to read! So glad you enjoyed this story! :)

    That, too, was one of the first lines I wrote for this story. If there's nothing that is not part of the Force, then just think what the Force itself experiences when something is so ruthlessly and unnaturally destroyed! Or that's what I was hoping to get across, at least.

    Thanks! In a way, the work of which the Force speaks will never truly be finished—but that too is part and parcel of the Force's omnipotence. It takes notice—and appreciation!—when its mortal creatures truly lean into the ongoing work, the way Jyn and Cassian did. (If that made sense!)

    Thank you so much once again! So glad to have you here. @};-

    Thanks so much! And that is exactly how I feel the Force must be working here. Yes, it created the universe and the worlds, but it also created each of those creatures, from the tiny shorebirds to the gigantic wahrgils, and takes pride in each of them, and hurts when any of them is destroyed (because it can't make the same ones again). And again, I feel like they made a point of making Scarif's scenery super beautiful so that its destruction would hit extra hard!

    Thanks! Just like divapilot said above—that whole scene really had that "eternity in a moment" feeling. (I am so glad I rewatched it, because it hit me even harder on the subsequent watch!) How could even the Force not notice the beauty and sincerity of their final moments? Because it is itself that beauty and sincerity. @};-

    Aw, thank you again! That was another line that I knew I wanted in the story from the start, given what an apotheosis moment that scene feels like (at least to me). Again, I had some indecision at first about what to have the Force do in that moment—and then decided to give that indecision to the Force itself, just to show how truly unfinished its work was. And I'm so glad you enjoyed the tie-ins from Jewish mysticism and philosophy; pulling things like that into my stories is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, but also a great way to make sense of the ideas for myself. Always wonderful to have you here; thanks so much again for reading and commenting! :)

    Thank you so much, I really appreciate that, and I definitely try! Both this story and "Beautiful, Inexactly" were a bit experimental in nature, and I'm glad they turned out successful. Humility is a great way of putting it: in a way, maybe the Force's limitations are is part and parcel of its omnipotence. Its compassion for its works certainly is!

    I have to say, that image hit me hard, too! I just love the way sandpipers, etc. run around beaches on those slender little legs, and it hit me that in a scenario like this that very sand would be their death, and that the very characteristic that allows them to live as wading birds would prove fatal. And yes, the "ocean gem" of Scarif is indeed made up of gems of all sizes and kinds that will never be able to be remade after the Human-made destruction they suffer. =((

    How can the Force itself not admire the way Jyn and Cassian hold on to that final moment together? They did their part of the work and they did it well; they know they have brought hope, so whatever happens next cannot faze them. And if it is indeed fragile, fallible creatures like them to continue the work, then that will make the ultimate triumph all the more impressive, in a way! The Force knows that, and that's why it does what it does, even if it means suspending its own rules for a bit. Whichever way it ends up will be the right way, in a way. (Again, if that makes sense!)

    You are so welcome, and thank you so much, as always, for reading, and commenting and being part of the genesis of this story! @};-
    Ewok Poet, Kahara, mavjade and 3 others like this.
  9. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh my . . . oh my my my. Just: wow!

    I've sat down a few times to leave my thoughts here, and yet I keep putting off doing so because I wanted to write a review worthy of your work - a state you know I've found myself in before! I don't think I'm still quite succeeding, but I'm going to give it my best shot. So! Because this is beyond lovely, in every way. There's such a haunting tone of myth and legend, all the while still being so humanly relatable. This reads more like poetry rather than prose, which is quite the feat!

    Then, in particular:

    And just like that, I was drawn in and hooked. As soon as you mentioned a beaches project in the WIPuary index, I was hoping for a companion piece to your Rains of Scariff. (Which I am completely taking this to be - so hush, Canon - though the ambiguity of your ending has an amazingly heavy impact either way!), and this most certainly did not disappoint!

    Oh ow ow ow! The details here were so lush in their horrific intensity, and made for such incredibly poignant reading. To see such beauty laid to waste and the innocent suffering thanks to greed and cruelty was so vividly expressed with just a few well picked sentences. And that omniscient presence mourning all the while! So, so heavy hitting!

    It was here, right here, where I understood for a fact that it was the Force itself that was speaking, and that comprehension slammed into me like a tidal wave. I had to go back and restart from the beginning just to get the full impact and: wow. I have no words. I still have gooseflesh, just thinking about it while typing!

    Unworthy of the name, indeed! The Force is life and death, it doesn't take away free will for better or worse, but rather is affected and then effects in return, but the destruction wrought here is truly senseless. The Force remembers and holds all of its creation dear, even while holding everything that ever is and was and will be through eternity - it remembers. I had such awe for this paragraph, in particular! =D=

    Oh! [face_love] Amongst the despair, this little bit of light heartened me, as it did also for the Force! Where the worst of sentience is on display here, so also is the best! Balance, always and ever.

    I had to stop reading and get up and walk this line off - as I sometimes have to do when something I read really checks all of my emotional boxes, and this well did above and beyond.

    No. Words. ^:)^


    What then, indeed??? Well, I know what ending I subscribe too, personally, but I adore how you left this open to interpretation!

    Thank you for sharing this breathtaking, hauntingly beautiful piece with us. I am well blown away by genius here. This one is going to stay with me and linger, and will be a piece that I revisit often in the future. Bravo!