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Before - Legends Gnarltree (horror; genesis of tree-cave on Dagobah)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Persephone_Kore, Dec 1, 2006.

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  1. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Title: Gnarltree
    Author: Persephone_Kore
    Rating: PG
    Genre: Horror
    Summary: How the tree-cave Luke enters in The Empire Strikes Back came to be.
    Author's note: This is what happens when I spend too much time thinking about [link=http://www.starwars.com/databank/location/dagobah/]the Star Wars Databank entry on Dagobah[/link]. Relevant quote: Years ago, a group of Jedi in the neighboring Bpfasshi star system went rogue and succumbed to the dark side. Jedi Masters were sent to stop this dark Jedi insurrection, and one of the fallen Jedi escaped to Dagobah. Though circumstances are unclear on what transpired, it is believed a dark Jedi died on Dagobah, and the local flora absorbed his twisted energies.

    The creatures mentioned are also described in the entry.

    Gnarltree

    The Jedi took half a step back. Wobbled. Collapsed to her knees. The mud beneath them squelched and began seeping into the fabric along her shins.

    Her shoulders and back ached; her chest heaved, drawing in steamy air that seemed unduly short on oxygen given the amount of plant life surrounding her. Dagobah's humid air bathed her face, and the sweat ran down into her eyes and mouth. She gagged on the taste of salt, raised a hand toward her mouth, saw the blood on her fingers, and spat instead.

    There were tears running down her cheeks, too. She was not sure whether they were from the sting of sweat or if she wept for her enemy.

    Dark Jedi.

    He had been her brother, in the Force, though they were different species. He had trained beside her. He had been good at lightsaber work, and at persuasion.

    He had been persuaded, and he had fallen, lost.

    Lost years ago.

    He had been expert at lightsaber work. Her blade had never touched him. There were no burns on his corpse. There was only the line across his throat, spilling red, where the razorbug's web had caught him.

    The razorbug had retreated to a corner of its web and was regarding them balefully. The Jedi wasn't sure how long she had sat here, drained of herself but sustained by the Force, but the razorbug had not moved either. She thought the sun had changed. It might have been night once.

    Her panting breaths hitched; something caught in her chest and throat, and after she had choked on it she found it was a sob.

    She wept for him.

    In the tears she poured out the anger and frustration and railing at him and at what he had done, letting go the storm to keep from following him in his fall; she poured out his anger and frustration and railing too, and the pride and the fear and despair that billowed out like a poison cloud from his departing spirit.

    She had wanted to bring him home.

    Pain stabbed at her heart and lungs, under her ribs.

    A crunch-squelch off to her left brought her head up and around, and she forced herself to her feet. The Force flowed through her easily here; Dagobah was rich in life, and when she opened herself to it, even exhausted muscles seemed to float in the heavy air.

    An enormous white stalk-like leg stabbed out from the foliage screen that hung between two trees, piercing a foot into the ground where it landed. She wasn't sure whether the leaves belonged to the trees or were part of some parasite or symbiote attached to them; she didn't particularly care.

    Her lightsaber hissed to life again, but another leg appeared, then another, another, and yet another, and the Jedi backed away as she saw the full form of the creature approaching her.

    It was certainly alive, but did not seem to have much mind, or at least not the type she could sense or touch readily. It felt more like a plant than an animal. She counted at least two dozen legs before she lost track of them, and they all moved without apparent organization, some digging into the ground, some merely tapping at it and bearing little or no weight. Some were spiked on the ends, others almost feathered. She wasn't sure if it had a head or body, but the center of it where all the legs sprouted did have a sort of
     
  2. mari4212

    mari4212 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Oh wow. This was just brilliant imagery, and such a perfect scene.

    I think the line that struck me most was this:

    He had been her brother, in the Force, though they were different species. He had trained beside her. He had been good at lightsaber work, and at persuasion.

    He had been persuaded, and he had fallen, lost.


    It's just coupled the ideas so well, and the reversal really packs a punch.

     
  3. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Community Squirrel Whisperer star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2000
    I have to second the Oh wow!.

    That was a stunning explanation of the tree-cave. Definitely well done and creepy!! Bravo! =D=
     
  4. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    The root gathered her underneath the tree, next to her friend and enemy.

    *shivers*

    Wow! This was incredible. Eerie, a little sad...and such vivid descriptions. Excellent work! =D=
     
  5. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2006
    mari4212: Thank you so much. I started with the image, after reading about the local flora absorbing a Dark Jedi and then about some of the local flora(!), and sketched in the characters from there. Falling to something that had been a strength seemed to suit the way the Dark Side worked. I'm glad you liked it.

    Healer_Leona: Many thanks! I was very struck by the description of the gnarltree in the databank. It seemed to have a lot of potential for creepiness. I don't usually write anything approaching horror, and it's good to hear that it worked.

    amidalachick: Thank you. :) Somehow that seemed an appropriate resting place. I really wanted to do the descriptions justice; the images I got from the SW Databank were very compelling!
     
  6. BrentusofGath

    BrentusofGath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 12, 2005
    I like eerie stories. Yours qualifies. ;)

    I liked the ending especially. Human relationships are such fragile things, but the tree grows regardless of whether its meal is Light or Dark.

    Good story! =D=
     
  7. Elana

    Elana Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 2, 2005
    I just saw this one, Padawan.

    Wonderful work! Such a spooky, creepy atmosphere.

    I like that the tree grows from the bodies of two Jedi, one light and one dark. It goes with the duel message Luke learns from his vision, that there is a part of Vader in Luke, but also that there is a part of Luke in Vader...
     
  8. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Stunning imagery and an incredibly compelling story. I loved the sense of time in this piece - both finite and infinite.

    Then there was the tree itself - The gnarltree was so very natural and very alien at the same time. I loved it.=D=

    Z
     
  9. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Oh, well described and very tragic. She tried so hard to warn the tree off and it came on anyway and pulled her under, too, like the only one left who had something to live for anymore was tree.
     
  10. leia_naberrie

    leia_naberrie Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Oh gross! Lovely! :p I don't know what I liked best - the mythic nature of the story, or the carnivorous plant. :p
     
  11. rocketscientist

    rocketscientist Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 16, 2005
    OOHH! What a cool fic! Reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe - GFFA style. [face_skull]

    =D=
     
  12. Charmisjess

    Charmisjess Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2003
    No Dooku, no Scoutling, no Qui-Gon, and yet I absolutely adore this fic as much as any of your others. You really are a fabulous writer, with familiar characters or nonfamiliar--and you have a particularly distinctive way of hooking in a reader and making one truly care, achingly, about whatever it is you chose. This was so well crafted; the setting, the alienness of Dagobah, the character force of the tree...all very specific. It gives such a vivid image, such a real feeling.

    I love your protagonist--doesn't even have a name, yet she's such a bright little color, and you create such empathy for her by the time you're done. I feel quite fond of her, and as much as I know you couldn't really give her a backstory, I find myself wanting one quite a bit. :)

    Brilliant, woeful, perfect little fic. Goodness, Peeks, you really got it on this one.

    She had wanted to bring him home.

    This was absolutely cutting.

    I love how you ended it. It really isn't a sad ending, in a way, and yet it is. You've captured the paradox exquisitely.
     
  13. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2006
    BrentusofGath: Thanks! It's outside my usual style in a lot of ways, but I'm glad it succeeded.

    Elana: Thank you! :) The tree, when I thought about it, struck me as... maybe not having had an unadulterated evil influence. And not being one, for that matter.

    Zonoma: Many thanks. Credit for the gnarltree goes to whoever stuck it in the Star Wars Databank -- the idea of a tree with a mobile spidery phase seemed very appropriate to Dagobah, and really grabbed my imagination.

    Ardavenport: Thanks. :) The Jedi survived the battle, but not in very good condition, especially mentally. Warning the gnarltree is the only time she does remember that she might still have things to do, and I think she spent the last of her resources there.

    And the tree, of course, doesn't see what her problem is. But perhaps she did it some good after all.

    leia_naberrie: I want you to know, the start of your response cracked me up. Thanks. ;)

    rocketscientist: Now there's a flattering comparison... if perhaps slightly unsettling. ;) Thank you!

    charmisjess: *hugs* Thank you so much. The story showed up first as an image, or part of one, and writing it out brought in the other details. It was the Databank entry, you see; it mentioned the story about a Dark Jedi being killed there, and the local flora absorbing his dark energies, and then the description of the gnarltrees and their mobile juvenile stage like scuttling spiders, and... well. Yes.

    Which all means that the protagonist took form out of the story; actually for all you can tell in the Databank, the Dark Jedi who escaped to Dagobah just drowned in a mudhole or something. But I figured on having somebody go after him. This all makes it all the nicer to hear that she felt vivid and real and drew sympathy from the reader. :)
     
  14. sonnymyson

    sonnymyson Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Kecen pointed me here.

    This has got to be the best of all your stories I have so far had the pleasure to read. But then, I have a thing for Neti, especially T'ra Saa.
     
  15. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2006
    sonnymyson: Thank you very much; I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm afraid I wasn't really thinking of either Jedi as a Neti, and a gnarltree seems to be something else, but from what I've read they sound like a really cool species. I can imagine the tree-cave as a Neti instead, though....
     
  16. Darth Muis

    Darth Muis Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 11, 2000
    I was just browsing around the boards and stumbled upon this. Nice story! Very creepy, very original. It really captures the feel of Dagobah to me. Also, I like that main protagonist doesn't have a name. It doesn't really matter what her name is; it wouldn't add anything to the story. It's somehow much stronger this way. Good writing as well, nice imagery.

    Good stuff, good stuff.
     
  17. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Excellent and original job you've done in creating the origina of the Dark Force cave, Persephone. But, you're right that this is a creepy and unsettlleing story. The heart wrenching duel that took place just before this piece began must have been catostrophic. Not only was our Jedi's friend killed by the spider web, but she also lost her will to live?

    It was certainly alive, but did not seem to have much mind, or at least not the type she could sense or touch readily. It felt more like a plant than an animal. She counted at least two dozen legs before she lost track of them, and they all moved without apparent organization, some digging into the ground, some merely tapping at it and bearing little or no weight. Some were spiked on the ends, others almost feathered. She wasn't sure if it had a head or body, but the center of it where all the legs sprouted did have a sort of green tuft at the top.

    The arrival of the gnarltree was creepy for me, because the devastating scene had already been set and then this creature arrives and wants to squat on the corpse fo the Dark Jedi.

    Satisfied with what it had found, it hooked itself over her and dragged her closer through the mud. She kept sinking deeper, digging a small shallow trench.

    The root gathered her underneath the tree, next to her friend and enemy.


    And, just when I thought our beleaguered Jedi would just leave the tree to its fate, she dies as well. Tragically well played, Persephone.
     
  18. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Darth Muis: I'm glad you like it! It was a creepy thought, but the gnarltree was a fascinating-sounding creature.

    brodiew: Thank you very much! I think that the Jedi was very battered herself during the fight, and ended it in pretty bad shape in several ways. I'm also not altogether sure whether there's an intact ship on the planet at the moment, but as she seems to have forgotten to look for one, that doesn't seem to matter.

    The tree thinks they're both delicious and is probably congratulating itself on finding such a great place to put down its roots.
     
  19. Durhelediel

    Durhelediel Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2004
    I absolutely LOVED this! What amazing insight and imagination! I love how you weaved the dark and light Jedi into the shaping of this tree...the nameless Jedi's emotions and thoughts are so clear I can very easily see her kneeling there on the ground, mourning her friend and trying to keep the tree from planting itself there.

    Simply amazing!
     
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