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Before the Saga "Legends of the Force"(epic drama with OCs), book 4

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by AzureAngel2, Apr 13, 2020.

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  1. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Title: “Book 4: Red in tooth and claw”

    Time frame: The framework of the story is set during the Clone Wars, but the story itself is played out long before even the Old Republic existed.

    Genre: drama

    Summary:
    Act 1 = Shmi Skywalker gets an unusual visitor telling her a story in the last hours of her life. Later she dies in his arms.
    Act 2 = Leia Organa has a stranger talking to her during her torture session on-board the 1st Death Star. At some point she passes out on him and with that also on the masked person who tortures her personally: Darth Vader.
    Act 3 = A young woman named Rey sets foot on what has been a forgotten island. A Force ghost is watching her as she descends a very long staircase. In the end, the entity decides not to address Rey at all.

    Author:
    AzureAngel2

    Beta-editor: @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    Muse & co-editor: @DarthUncle

    Special inspiration for a re-load: As I already said elsewhere: I was tempted to re-post my fanfic even before watching the movie “The Force awakens”. Back then, Nyota & @Kahara embraced that idea. But, as usual, real life things & some stuff made me postpone my idea.

    Then I saw Kylo Ren in his rage. That raised old questions in me again: Are hate & anger a Skywalker family inheritance? Does the dark side of the Force really push somebody away from beloved ones? Or is it more about ones own choices? Pondering on that, I tweaked some of the characters, changed titles and I altered slight bits of my original plot. I also asked some of the most brilliant minds of the fanfic thread for help.

    And so I re-wrote "Serpent-spawn" into "Dark adapted eyes" (Isabeau´s story).
    "Wolf whelp" became "The Cauldron born" (Sionnach´s story).
    And "Cat litter" was made into "If there be light, then there is darkness" (Grianan´s story).
    Now, the original "Human heritage" (Lucien´s story) will be this one here. With slight chances, as mentioned.

    Disclaimer: SW is owned by Walt Disney, George Lucas and Lucas Lt.!!!

    Notes: Wookiepedia articles helped with research and inspiration. Thanks for all the hard work by all the different authors who enrich the internet with their knowledge.

    Please be aware that this story contains scenes of violence and self-harm, and references to abuse and trauma recovery!

    [​IMG]

    Prologue:

    Shmi Skywalker was in agonizing pain. Sweat trickled over her weary features. She convulsed in her crude bonds over and over again. Her back was an open mess of flesh and blood. Her abductors had almost severed the spinal cord with their whip.

    When I was still alive, I used to know everything related to the art of pain. I felt its flaming embrace very early in life. It should have hardened me so the art tells, but instead it had made me softer. Grianán knew that; as my true soul mate she always knew. Together we formed a so-called "dyad" in the Force. Perhaps this is why I was more cruel to her than I was with anybody else.

    When I look back, aeons later, I can truly tell that love is a blessing. It is the only human heritage that is not loaded with negative energy. Unless one twists it and allows it to be a curse. Something self-destructive.

    I float closer to Shmi Skywalker, slowly so as not to startle her.

    She can feel me in the Force and lifts her chin in surprise. “Whoareyou?” she mutters softly between her swollen lips. They are encrusted with blood and vomit.

    “A friend,” I state and cup her cheeks in a tender gesture. “I would like to spend some time with you while we both wait for Anakin to rescue you.”

    The mentioning of her son’s name enlightens the flame of hope in her hollow eyes. “Ani?” she breaths.

    I nod encouragingly. “He will come for you.”

    We both know that she is dying; nothing in the universe can stop that now. Not even me. I am but a ghost of the past. My healing powers are long gone. I can only help those of my blood line make the passage into the Force vortex. While not every Skywalker is able to join us, this one will. And she will be a great asset.

    As for Anakin, he needs to make his own choices, just as I did in life.

    The future is always in motion, ready for each being’s ultimate decision. It is up to only them to choose the light or the dark. The Force itself has no sides, even though I ask myself whether it has favourites. Such as Nagina, an unofficial offspring of the House Palpatine.

    And this is why we are all here tonight. Because of Sheev and his choices. Concerning life and death. And the usage of the Force.

    There will be an awakening. And it will be paid with a blood sacrifice, the oldest form of service throughout the universe.

    Outside the tent, the Tusken tribe that abducted Shmi Skywalker from her husband’s farm goes about their nightly errands. From their point of view, they committed no crime. The ritual of claw and teeth is ancient. Heulwen once brought it to Tatooine while abducting my youngest daughter, Dawn.

    The memory makes me shudder, but not for long.

    My gentle companion here will not see another morning. But I will lend her some of my strength to set her eyes on her precious son for one last time. The child that was conceived without a father. A true off-spring of the Force.

    “May I tell you a story?” I ask Shmi. “It will help you think of something other than the pain.”

    A weak smile appears on her lovely face.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  2. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Okay, I was not able to post Chapter 1 before, but here it finally is, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, @DarthUncle, @Kahara, @earlybird-obi-wan, @Darth_Furio, @Nehru_Amidala, @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 & all that might be interested.

    Please be aware that this chapter might contain scenes of violence and self-harm, and references to abuse and trauma recovery!


    Chapter 1:


    There is only peace and order in my small universe. And, of course, my twin sister. Her friendly, cheerful presence in the Force is undeniable. I am used to it and am pleased to have her at my side. She echoes even the tiniest of my movements. It fills me with brotherly pride that I am her mirror and that she is mine.

    Together, we float along in our mother’s womb, free from life’s sorrows and worries. It is a time of dreams and joy.

    Life is as it should be, easy and clear. There is no haste to be born. We enjoy the soft semi-darkness in which we live. Our soundless dialogues are full of warm emotions. We do not know many words yet, even though they reach us from the outside world that our mother lives in. There are many other women around her. We hear their laughter. We hear their cries. And sometimes we hear their songs. There is so much beauty in them words.

    But maman, our mother, never sings. She is brooding and nervous and feels trapped inside the serail. The desert calls to her. She would rather hunt through the canyons of the hamada than suffer the experience of idly resting on brocade pillows. Her frustration filters down to us. She misses the hunt, the act of killing the prey.

    Now and then, her hands stroke over her swelling womb, seeking contact with us and assurance that her suffering is worth it.

    “Soon,” she whispers to us, “soon.”

    During another occasion, maman says something else to us. “If you are a boy I will call you Luçien. That means light. And if you happen to be a girl then your name will be Lisiére, selvedge. The woven edge of beautiful fabric. A dream come true. The sky walker would be so proud of you.”

    Our mother does not seem to realize that we are twins. Lisiére and I expect our birth will be a great surprise to her.

    Outside our little world, the universe is humming with activity. The inhabitants of the serail serve maman, bearing her moods silently. No matter how strange her orders are, they are obeyed.

    Though our mother is not allowed to hunt in her state, she still holds power over life and death. Lisiére is often worried about that, but I am not. She would never harm us in any way. We are her flesh and blood. She is bound to us. Mothers cannot help but love their children.

    Lisiére notices that there are drastic changes on their way before I do.

    Within several heartbeats, the peace and order that I am used to vanish. The place that hosted us for so long falls apart bit by bit.

    But that is not the worst of it.

    The lively presence that is my twin sister stops existing. Just like that.

    Numb with shock, I face the person who murdered her on solemn purpose.

    A shadow falls on my heart.

    ********************************************************************

    Within the next hour, Comte Alezan Ankoù, maman’s husband, makes a wise, and crucial decision. He delivers me straight to Ostal Blanc, the local House of Healing. I am to spend the first years of my life in the care of the honoured Madame Minou Yeotenn. She is a powerful Force healer, a so-called beaton.

    Once inside her homestead, the middle aged woman and I bond immediately. There is a special glow about her. It warms me from the inside out, manages to melt my numbness.

    Soon, Minou is like the sun that I orbit around. Most of my days are filled with her face and breasts only.

    I am often silent and sullen. She never takes offense in that. I am grateful for her understanding.

    “There is a time in life for everything, young one. A time for grief, a time for hate. In the end only love remains. You will see.”

    My fostress is not only full of wise words and plenty of milk but also stories and lullabies. They touch that sore spot in my heart, help it heal a bit.

    [​IMG]

    After some time has passed, I find out that many females live with us at the homestead. All of them are bonas-femnas, anointed moon priestesses. Each of them radiates beauty and grace with every movement made. They draw and paint their faces with the concentration of artists. They dress in the finest silks and do their hair in fancy styles. I suppose this is why the locals nicknamed them les Belles de nuit, the Beauties of the Night. Most of them are Lidérc half-bloods like Minou, others are full-blooded such as Alezan. Instead of copper skin and black hair, the latter have a soft and dense fur. Their claws and their fangs are much larger and sharper. Long, elegant tails begin where their spine ends.

    What all Lidérc have in common though are our eyes. We can see in the dark because we are night predators. During the day, our irises retract.

    I discover this when I sneak outside at noon one time. The sun light is so bright that it hurts. Yelping, I run back into the cool shadows of our homestead.

    “Scored by the light, Luçien?” Minou teases me tenderly, when I cling on to her silk skirts. “Well, you would not be the first child on Sapuhru.”

    She leans down and manages to blow a kiss against my brow. Her breath is nice and cool. The pain in my eye sockets eases immediately. Which shows how great a Force healer she is.

    “We’ll go out again,” she announces. “But this time, you will carry a parasol!”

    I do not feel like going out again, but Minou has a way of convincing me to jump over my own shadow. First I am grumpy, but then I start to enjoy myself.

    When it is time for me to go to bed, she teaches me the sunset prayer.

    “In darkness, cold.
    In light, cold.
    The old sun brings no heat.
    But there is heat in breath and life.
    In life, there is the Force.
    In the Force, there is life.
    And the Force is eternal.”


    Like all Lidérc I am active during the night and sleep during the day. It is more natural for desert dwellers to do so. In these latitudes of our planet the temperatures often exceed forty degrees Celsius but may fall to near freezing after sunset.

    ********************************************************************

    One time, my fostress decides to show me around Montségur, the majestic stone city we live in. The occasion is my third birthday.

    I am stiff in her arms when she carries me towards the market place, not happy about the promise of celebration. It will always be the anniversary of Lisiére’s death. Nothing to be joyful about.

    My presence soon draws a big crowd. I feel countless beings. Some weaker, some stronger. My full name is whispered: Vicomte Luçien Ankoù. Some even refer to me as messie, the Messiah.

    I think all those people are very wrong about me. I have not been able to save my sister.

    As for balance, there is a bleakness that seizes me every so often. There is no real balance within me. Lisiére was my shadow, my reflection. And I was hers. I am only half a being without her.

    Minou is begged to hold me up and bless the gathered congregation. With great reluctance, she does. She wants to placate the crowds, but she knows I do not like to be in the spotlight. It feels wrong. I prefer solitude most of the time.

    The crowd cheers. I receive many blessings. People kneel or bow to me. Some even look like they are praying.

    I hope that nobody prays to me. That would make me a divine being and I am just a little boy.

    It would be different if they prayed to Lisiére. Very recently, Minou told me a story about those angels. They are entities that serve the Circle of Heavens. That they consist of light and love. I imagine my sister to have become one of them, watching over me.

    Among the crowd, I feel my mother’s presence rather clear. My sense of smell is poor, but Minou is alerted anyway. With an imperious gesture, she summons her priestesses around us.

    Maman understands the message and wanders off again. Over her shoulders hangs a large, recently killed animal of some kind.

    “She smells like her prey,” a young priestess in training remarks.

    I turn my head towards the speaker.

    Mademoiselle Néné Malo is a child of six, maybe seven years of age. Therefore slightly older than me. I find her very pretty with her grey fur coat.

    Minou’s lips form a hard line of displeasure. “Marquise Goañv is the honoured main wife of the Comte and a chasseuse. That means we owe her respect, my child,” she points out. “I cannot see you crawling through the hamada in pursuit of game to fill our bellies. Not many women can do what Her Ladyship does.”

    Néné flushes and I am sorry for her, because I really like her.

    All of a sudden, her twin sister, Oeillet, is there to put an arm around her.

    I am jealous of the love and bond the sisters share. Such bonds seem to be out of reach for me forever.

    ********************************************************************

    In the grey hours of dawn, Néné is called into the tea parlour for matters of catharsis. Which means that our honoured mistress would like to have a word with her. Rather urgently.

    Everybody believes me to be sleeping peacefully in bed already, but I have some tricks in the sleeves of my tunic. If I do not wish to be seen, heard or smelled, nobody will notice me. I can dull the senses of others. Even that of Minou.

    High and erect, the mistress of Ostal Blanc stands in the middle of the room, while I am eavesdropping in the shadows.

    “Whatever Her Ladyship did when Luçien was born, it was her decision, child.”

    That statement puzzles me and so I keep on listening.

    “There are ancient rights for mothers; she chose how to execute them,” Minou moves on matter-of-factly. “It is not in our place to condemn her for it. The She-Moon will judge her in the after-life.”

    Néné, who has been lying on her belly with her arms outstretched on the floor, jerks her chin up. “Only the nomad women kill their children when the tribe goes hungry,” she tries to reason. “They even place their young ones on a sand dune for one night to see if they can survive on their own.”

    I feel nauseated all of a sudden.

    My mother has killed a child? But when and how?

    Suddenly, I remember. The severity of her actions hits me like a fist against my sternum.

    But there is no time for sorrows. I will be in so much trouble when I am discovered. This counts more urgently than Lisiére. The twin sister that once was. Who is not even there to share this birthday with me.

    I ball my fists and force myself to concentrate again.

    Néné has gotten up in the meantime. “This is why those dirty travellers steal babies from cities like ours.”

    “Mind your words, child!” Minou chides, not moving an inch. “And your place!”

    But the young Lidérc female has not finished yet. The hair of her coat is upright, her teeth are showing. “All desert women are evil Force witches, sticking to the Old Ways.”

    Evil. Force. Witches. Those words stir me, away from my inner uproar, and make me focus again.

    Minou is not pleased with her protégé. “Nonsense! There are no such thing as witches any longer. They exist on Draconis only. No sane Lidérc woman would act out necromancy. No matter where she lives on this planet.”

    Necromancy. That is another word I would like to keep in mind. What exactly is it? It sounds forbidden.

    “Néné, anger does not become you!” The voice of the elderly beaton is as soft as a silk pillow now. “And it leads to the dark side of the Force.”

    The young one hangs her head in sudden submission. “Forgive me, mistress, but I cannot stand nomads.”

    “Which is why you will serve them explicitly should one of them enter this house in future.”

    ********************************************************************

    Time flies by quickly and so does my fourth birthday flies by, but Minou continues to care for me lovingly at Ostal Blanc. Alezan has agreed that keeping me around a little bit longer can do no harm.

    “It will be rather educational for Luçien,” he purrs one evening over a cup of green tea.

    I am hiding behind a sedan sofa.

    “I love the boy, but I want him out of here before he gets into his teens.”

    “Are you afraid for your bonas-femnas?” Alezan laughs at her.

    Minou purses her lips. “With those troublesome ice-blue eyes he might indeed develop into a lady killer.”

    I feel a clench in my innards, and ignore the rest of the conversation.

    Of course I know what killing is. My lost twin is a murder victim. The thought of killing a true lady like some desert rat makes me sick to my stomach.

    To me all females are wonderful creatures. It makes me sad that Minou and Alezan believe me capable of harming any of them.

    ********************************************************************

    After that night, Comte Ankoù comes around more often. He is a full-blood like the Malo twins. I admire him a lot, even though he is not real my father. But it’s him who visits me almost every day. It is him who teaches me the things a father should.

    The sky walker, a mysterious Celestrial, remains but a bed time story for me. A legend that I cannot connect to.

    Yet, when Alezan comes around for me on my fifth birthday, I do not want to go with him. Instead, I cramp my fingers into the scarlet sari of my fostress.

    The Comte is sorry for me and so is Minou, but they insist on my relocation. The dukedom needs me as the acting heir of House Ankoù. There would be no way around it, I am told.

    I make the furniture in the tea parlour fly around, and destroy the porcelain cups and pots.

    “Luçien, stop that. You are not a Force warlock from Draconis,” Alezan says sternly. His arms are crossed in front of his chest. His ears are flat, his fangs are out, and his hair stands on end.

    But it is not his cold and controlled anger that makes me stop my temper tantrum. There is that word and the feelings that accompany it. Force Warlock. I want to know what it is more than ever and why it is wrong to be thus.

    Carefully, I set all the remaining unbroken flying objects down. Just with my will.

    “There is my boy,” Alezan praises me and opens his arms.

    Reluctantly, I walk towards him.

    Minou is home. Minou is safety. Minou is balance. I do not want to leave her.

    “What,” I try to get the rest of the sentence out of my mouth, “Is a warlock?”

    They exchange worried looks.

    “Please?”

    “You are too young for such knowledge,” Alezan insists. He swiftly stands and puts on his war mask. I look up at him defiantly.

    “I am five.”

    “That you are, my son.” I can hear Alezan smile behind his war mask. He holds his hand out to me, but says nothing more.

    For now, it seems to be better to drop my question. But I do not want to forget about it. Being denied information and knowledge is unacceptable for me.

    I take his hand, and he paces his steps to match my smaller, slower ones as we leave Minou and Ostal Blanc behind.

    ********************************************************************

    “Let me tell you a story,” Alezan suggests. “It is much more suitable for you than the answers you must wait to seek. It is called ´The angel´. It is written by a famous fairy tale writer who lived on Draconis. He may be dead, but he is not forgotten.”

    I know about things that are gone, but not forgotten.

    “Whenever a good child dies, an angel comes down from the Circle of Heavens, takes the dead child in his arms, spreads out his great white wings, and flies with it over all the places which the child had loved during his life. Then he gathers a large handful of flowers, which he carries up to the Circle of Heavens again, that they may bloom more brightly there...”

    My eyes shine as I am swept away by the tale.

    I let Alezan walk me towards my new home, the ducal homestead.

    ********************************************************************

    There are two guards, gardien, at the gate. They look at me with anticipation through their iron war masks, but do not forget to pay their comte the respect that they owe him.

    From the inside, the homestead is bigger than I would have thought. It feels like one of the fairytale castles Minou has told me about. The best construction materials are used; I recognize polished marble and gold. There are also many mirrors.

    Alezan must be a very wealthy man. I am happy for him. He seems to have all that his heart desires. Maman’s sins are not his.

    Sin. This is another word I picked up from the religious texts, that I had free access to at Ostal Blanc. The definition of sin is doing that which is wrong, or purposely harmful. Lisiére dying on me is certainly a sin.

    “Welcome home again, my son!” says Alezan as he knocks at the golden double doors that lead into the serail.

    A female servant opens, but only I am let inside.

    Alezan, still wearing his war mask, is not allowed to enter.

    ********************************************************************

    Straight away, females and their cubs stand before me, eager to make my acquaintance. I get hugged and kissed. The nicest dishes are brought to me. I am washed and receive new closing. Alezan wants to make sure that everybody understands that I am his beloved heir.

    Throughout my welcome ritual, my mother sits in the middle of the serail on a pillow, high and erect. She has pitch-black hair and turquoise eyes. Her cheekbones underline her deadly beauty. She reminds me of the blade of a scimitar – sharp and bloodthirsty. As she shifts a bit on her pillow, her sari falls back, I can see a tiny scar on her belly. I look deeper than her skin allows, and see all the hatred and hunger for power.

    Maman is also anxious about me and, which is even more surprising, regretful. But I ignore her silent pleas, needing much more than that to persuade me. I want her to crawl on her knees in front of me, lament my sister’s passing.

    Among all the various things that Minou told me over the past years was the imperative that children should always love their parents and not question them. I remember her exquisite, long fingers on ancient pergamentus, pointing out the text lines of importance.

    Words of power are within the Holy Scriptures; rules for daily life and relationships.

    But I cannot ponder on my memories of Ostal Blanc for much longer.

    “Luçien!”

    My mother rises up to greet me. But I do not allow her to kiss me. Nor do I let her to take me into her arms. She is deeply hurt by that. I do not care.

    “As you wish, my son,” she hisses, “As you wish.”

    ********************************************************************

    As the days pass, I make many friends among my new brothers and sisters. Of course, none of them can ever be a substitute for Lisiére, but the majority of them welcome me.

    I return their kindness, even to those who hate me as much as their mothers want them to. We stay polite.

    Pretending is something that I am good at. I will show nobody my true feelings, especially not with maman around. She shamelessly watches me from a distance.

    After a while, I sit down at the edge of the large indoor fountain. I have decided to fish for jewellery. One of my younger step-sisters has thrown a necklace in by accident. With my telekinetic powers it would be much easier, but I like the wet, cool caress of the water on my skin.

    “Luçien.” My mother stands next to me all of a sudden. “I know you hate your upcoming birthday, but I have a special present for you.”

    The only thing that I really want from her she cannot give me.

    I let my hands sink deeper into the water, cooling my rising anger.

    Maman leans in closer. “One of the servant girls told me that you are very interested in the Scrolls.”

    She does not say Holy Scriptures, just Scrolls. I find this lack of faith disturbing.

    “Can I tell you a secret, Luçien?”

    I cannot stop her without causing trouble. So I just shrug.

    “When I turned six, my honoured father, Maître Goañv, brought me to a special place.”

    Mentioning the man that I believe to be my grandfather grants her my interest, for now. I turn to look at her directly, piercing her with my eyes.

    “If you really want to learn about Force witches and how to punish them, I could arrange something for you.”

    I can’t fully hide my excitement. Maybe there is a gift that she can give me after all.

    “But it needs to stay secret. Alezan would not understand,” she says flatly and looks around to check if nobody listens to us. “He does not believe as much as you do. As I do.”

    Despite herself and my doubts about her faith, my mother has me hooked.

    “From the moment you were conceived, I hoped that I would raise the saviour that our people need.”

    Maman talks to me as if I am an adult. I like that, but that will not make me like her. I will never forget.

    “It was a shock to me that there were two of you. Only one could be the saviour. What would become of the other?”

    “I know I wronged you as much as I wronged her,” she cries out and all eyes in the serail are set on the two of us. The pride is watching. There will be blood. They can already smell it.

    La vengeance se mange très-bien froide. It’s an old Lidérc saying. Revenge is very good eaten cold.

    I reach deep into the well of anger that is at the bottom of my soul. “Say her name!” I demand.


    Sources:
    The Sunset Prayer of the Whills
    The Danish fairytale “The Angel” by Hans Christian Anderson (1843)
    An old French proverb
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
    Kahara likes this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    A great deal happens as loving bonds are formed with Minou and he feels that essential loss of a twin.
     
    Kahara and AzureAngel2 like this.
  4. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Lucien suffered from the day he was born
     
  5. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Yeah, I have got two commenting readers who give lovely feedback. Thanks, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha & @earlybird-obi-wan. That feels good in strange times like this.

    Okay, here we go again and one warning, also to @DarthUncle, @Kahara, @Darth_Furio and others who might join us:

    Please be aware that this chapter contains scenes of violence and self-harm, and references to abuse and trauma recovery!


    Chapter 2:


    My mother’s ice blue eyes, so similar to mine, are wide open in utter terror. “Luçien, I cannot possibly...”

    “Her name,” I say and cross my arms the way Alezan always does.

    I want to look majestic. And I want my dead sibling to be recognized.

    A shiver goes through her body before maman starts to mutter something in a strangely reverent voice. It seems to be some kind of prayer. Or a recitation even.

    “The wicked band together against the righteous
    and condemn the innocent to death.
    But the Force has become my fortress,
    and my faith the rock in whom I take refuge.”


    Puzzled, I gaze at her.

    Her head drops and she stares at the ornamented floor.

    I already want to ask maman if she is okay, when she yells with all her might, “Your twin sister’s name would have been Lisiére and I killed her!”

    All eyes in the serail stare at her, dumbstruck.

    A bitter smile forms on her face. “I almost forgot that I live to serve, Luçien. You are too kind of reminding me about that. My body, life and soul are insignificant next to the Force.”

    All of a sudden, the ducal guards are around us.

    Her smile deepens.

    My mother does not struggle when she is lead away, but regally keeps her head held up high. Each of her steps is confident.

    “Vergonha!” somebody mutters. “Vergonha!”

    Whatever this word means, it causes maman to laugh out loud. A pearly, surprisingly pleasant laughter.

    ********************************************************************

    In our culture, the Dead stay unmentioned. Due to something evil that the god queens of Draconis did. That much I learn that from Alezan, when I tearfully make inquires about my mother. As much as I beg him, he does not go into details.

    We are in his private tea room. His sanctum as much as the serail is for the ducal pride. There are candied rose petals for me, but I leave them untouched. The same goes for my jasmine tea.

    “Do not waste your tears!” the comte begs me, when embracing me tenderly. “They honour you, but Flor, of all people, does not deserve them. As a grown-up she should know better than to mention those who are no more. Nomen est omen. That is a saying among the Ophelia. Therefore I fear, that I cannot, must not be lenient with her.”

    Thinking it might be just two or three strokes with a bamboo cane, which is the usual punishment for a naughty kitten, I prompt, “Then punish me!”

    His hairy fingers move through my hair. “I won’t. Because this is not your fault.”

    “I provoked her,” I insist heatedly.

    “You are blameless here!” He kisses the top of my head. “Entirely blameless, my boy!”

    “No!” I disagree, eager to speak out about the true cause for my twin’s death. It has been on my mind since years. “I was not the brother I should have been. If I would have been able to protect L...”

    His index finger comes down on my lips, forcing the rest of my speech back. “Never, ever say that beautiful name aloud. Keep it for your dreams only!”

    Tears well up in my eyes.

    This isn’t fair at all! Lisiére should be remembered properly.

    Alezan cups my chin and gently pulls it up. His gaze is insistently. “You are too young to understand why those rules exist, my son.”

    The love in his voice is my undoing.

    Soon his tunic is drenched with my hot tears.

    “Sapuhru is a rough world, Luçien. The rules we live by, helped our people to survive in a time of chaos. It was claw against claw, teeth against teeth. We almost managed to extinct ourselves.”

    I keep on crying, not really listening.

    “Some passages of the Holy Scriptures seem ridiculous, others cruel. But without them we all would be dead.” A shiver travels through his entire body. “Oh, I wish so much, I could make you understand. But you are too young for the truth yet.”

    This is not how I see it. But perhaps he can answer another burning question of mine. “What does vergonha mean?”

    His eyes widen in sheer terror. “Where did you hear that word?”

    “One of the woman said it several times.”

    The comte shakes his head in dismay. “It should be one language, one nation, but no...”

    “Is it a bad word?” I enquire, licking my lips excitedly.

    “It depends,” he says without any joy. “In the language of Flor’s people it means shame.”

    That surprises me. “Who are maman’s people?”

    Alezan rolls his eyes. “Very pious people. Taking the Holy Scriptures very, very literal.” Thoughtful, he runs his hairy fingers through my hair. “For them all visible matter, including the body of a being, is tainted with sin.”

    I want him to continue, but when he shoves the plate with the rose petals in front of me, I know we are finished with the subject of my mother’s heritage.

    ********************************************************************

    Maman’s flogging takes place around dinner and the whole household is required to watch the spectacle in the in-yard. The guards bind her to the pole with iron bands. Then they put a leather gag in her mouth that she cannot spit out.

    “Nobody wants her to cry out the names of more dead family members,” an older cousin of mine whispers to me and pats my head. “Her blood will keep vengeful spirits away.”

    I hope that Lisiére is no vengeful spirit.

    “Twelve strokes with a whip,” Cousin Aligria goes on with grim satisfaction. “Moltu bè!”

    Her last words make me frown, because they are from a different language totally unknown to me.

    “Ah look!” She points out a young, startled service girl to me. “Alyt there has to catch the erupting blood and sweat in a bowl.”

    “What for?” I ask as low as possible.

    “The soul of a stillborn baby is the worst haunting that there is. They seek a body that they can infiltrate. In order to enter the world again, to have the chance of a life that they never got in the first place.”

    Lacking of words, I stare at Cousin Aligria, who goes on speaking eagerly.

    “There comes sophistication.”

    Why she would call Alezan by the title His Serene Highness puzzles me. Like a lot of things today.

    “Could it be?” The teenage Lidérc claps her hands together gleefully. “A flagellum from Draconis. Pay attention at the sharp lamb bones that are woven into the leather bands! Those whips used to inflict great pain on our people ages ago. As if mighty cats like us can be ever compared to obedient lambs.”

    It becomes dead still as Alezan addresses maman.

    “Your honoured father told me that all wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman... What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours,” he tells her ever so softly. “I did not believe him until I witnessed what you did when Luçien was born.”

    My mother snorts at him. There is a slight coating of foam around her lips.

    “I do not know what led to your public confession, but I am glad that you admitted your shortcomings as a mother. Yet, we would not be here today though if you had not chosen to call your dead child’s name. A mother can do as she pleases with the fruit of her womb. That is the custom of our people.”

    I frown at this revelation.

    “But naming the Dead!” He shakes his head in disbelief. “As a daughter of the grand maître, you know better than anybody else what I have to do, Flor.”

    She nods briskly, acceptance in her gaze.

    “This will give me no pleasure.”

    Alezan hangs his masked head, but not for long. His gloved fingers grasp the whip tighter.

    ********************************************************************

    Precisely at the twelfth stroke while my mother’s knees sag. Her eyes turn strangely and she is unconscious.

    Alezan summons his maître de maison. “Do what must be done and do it thoroughly.”

    The threshold and door posts need to be painted with maman’s blood to keep Lisiére’s spirit from entering the homestead at night.

    I find this to be a useless tradition. It will avail nothing. My sister is neither evil nor restless. She is a guardian angel. I am sure of it.

    Alezan frees my mother’s hands and places her body over his right shoulder. Then he addresses the household. “This incident must never be mentioned again. Is that clear?”

    Everybody nods, except me.

    ********************************************************************

    On the morning of my sixth birthday, maman stands in front of my bed when I wake up. She looks much healthier than three days ago. Her body is wrapped in a travel cloak.

    “Congratulations, Luçien.”

    I am not sure whether she refers to my birthday or my involvement in her flogging. What happened still makes me feel dirty.

    “You are indeed the son that I can be proud of. The sword of revenge. The defender of the Faith.” Her smile is radiant and her eyes are hazy. “I think it is time to introduce you to your honoured grandfather, Châtiment Goañv. He cannot wait to meet you in person.”

    Tentatively, I reach out with my mind. I feel no betrayal in my mother’s thoughts. She really means what she says.

    “Why is he called grand maître?”

    “Because he can tell you about the ancient Serpent Family of Draconis,” she promises.

    “Also about witches?” I ask curiously. “I want to know about witches.”

    My request surprises her. She takes my hand and squeezes it lightly. “Your grandfather is also an expert on the subject Force witches. They are the real enemy,” she states somewhat grimly. “Especially when they are of the Tjiehenet line. Those can bend the Force like a sheet of paper and twist all reality.”

    It is strange that maman would say something so weird about the royal family of Draconis. There seems to be a great hatred for them in our homestead.

    My puzzlement must be visible on my face, because my mother strokes my frown away. “How little you know of this universe and the true history of our people yet.”

    I grant her a dark glare. Being stupid, being denied the truth is something that I do not want. All knowledge will be mine.

    “Wherever we go, whatever we will experience today, remember, no word of it to Alezan,” she says out of the blue.

    I nod my head in a silent promise.

    ********************************************************************

    It is a short walk on foot. There are no guards, even though the homestead is as luxurious as the ducal one.

    We are led through the labyrinth of passages by a silent servant. Finally, we are brought into some kind of study room.

    As we enter, my grand-father stares at us in silence from his chair. He is a tall, slender and broad-shouldered half-blood in his fifties. Like me and my mother he has black, curly hair. His eyes are a startling blue, dominating gaunt, haughty features. He is unmasked and wears a crimson house tunic with a gold collar. I cannot help to detect the inner power that he radiates. Not the Force, but great confidence.

    “You seem to have forgotten your manners, both of you!” my grandfather remarks.

    Maman kneels and I follow her example.

    After what seems like an eternity, my grandfather gets up and starts circling us like prey.

    I cannot read his thoughts; they lie in deep shadows.

    “You have failed me many times, wench.” He slaps her turned down head and sends her halfway across the room. She makes no sound of protest when she hits the wall and remains lying against it.

    Then I feel it.

    My mother hates her parent as much as she loves him. A notion not foreign to me.

    “I am glad that you did not fail me this time, Flor.” Strong hands roughly grip me around my ribs and lift me off the floor. “You may leave now. Luçien and I have much to speak about. He is the future of our people.”

    I do not know where everybody gets this idea from. I am just a small boy.

    “Òc, mistral.”

    There it is again, this strange, yet beautiful language.

    Maman raises her head stands as fast as possible, and leaves the room without looking back.

    The door closes behind my mother and I am alone with a man that I hardly know. Somebody, who impresses me and scares me at the same time.

    ********************************************************************

    My grand-father watches me through hooded eyes. “Do you know why you are here, Luçien?”

    As far as I know, future warriors begin practising the basics of fencing with wooden swords at the age of three. But I am five years now. Will I be given a real weapon, a sword for self-defence?

    Hopeful, I look at the elderly man before me.

    “A powerful individual like you is a blessing for our desert world. There are many who have gone astray. The Holy Scriptures are not obeyed as well as they should be.”

    Hearing that makes me sad, but there is not much that I can do about it.

    “I came to understand from Flor that you enjoy the Holy Scriptures.”

    I answer with an enthusiastic nod.

    A ghost of a smile hovers on his lips. “I can teach you all there is to know about them. Do you want me to?”

    [​IMG]

    I have seen what a handshake means between adults. The one that my grandfather gives me is painful and bone crushing. I cry immediately for I don’t expect it.

    “Stop crying like a baby, Luçien!” he shouts at me. “A single life means nothing to the survival of our people. You are just the tool to achieve it, nothing else.”

    I cry on.

    “I will teach you to better yourself and to be the saviour that we all need.”

    He hits me harder than he hit my mother before. His signet ring splits my lips.

    “I want home,” I sniff.

    “Home?” he sneers. “You have no home from now on. Your mother abandoned you to me when she walked out of that door. I am your destiny.”

    ********************************************************************

    As the time wears on, the violence intensifies. The moment that I finally break apart in body and soul, I am told a story. I try to focus solely on the words, to drive out the pain.

    “A long time ago, before I was even born, the mighty witches of Cunabula ruled our people, the Lidérc. They forced them to kill thousands of Elves, almost wiping them out. When the Force witches found no more use in their loyal soldiers, they put them on a large space ship. They were not allowed to stay on the planet Draconis. Oh no! Like buckets full of cat scat they were dropped onto the burning desert sand of Sapuhru by the thousand.”

    The whip drives the words into the depths of my mind, forever.

    “Survival was not easy, but the divine Sodalith and her daughter Calme had an idea. They came down from the Circle of Heavens and passed their knowledge on to Gorge. He wrote it all down.”

    I keep on listening, soak it all in.

    “As time passed, Gorge had many followers. He was a good, righteous man who despised witches and people who did not act according to the Holy Scriptures. In the many generations to follow, we – La Société de L’Aube cramoisie - brought peace and order to the realm.”

    The Society of the Crimson Dawn.

    ********************************************************************

    When Flor comes to pick me up many hours later, I am lying on the floor, rolled into a ball. My skin is a surface of bruises and cuts. I do not care that I am naked. Or that I have wet myself continuously. Fact is that I am a motherless child from now on.

    “That was not part of our deal,” Flor howls. “You just wanted to give him a brief introduction to his training that is to come. This is already too much. I cannot sanction that.”

    My torturer stays in control of the situation. “That silly boy here does not understand the concept of pain yet, nor its glory, its meaning in life. You did better than him at his age, my daughter.”

    “You demand too much from him.”

    The same whip that has turned me into a miserable heap fastens around Flor’s throat.

    “I kindled the boy’s potential.”

    Through my misery, I detect a new tenderness in my torturer.

    “You are both dismissed for today. Bring him back next year.”

    ********************************************************************

    They have talented healers at the main quarters of the Brotherhood of the Crimson Dawn. All of them are Force clerics sworn to the daughter of the She-Moon, to Calme. What was done to me will leave no marks – on the outside anyway. But inside, I feel incredibly hollow.

    The time of fairy-tales and lullabies is over for me. I will never be the same again now that the secrets of faith are revealed to me.

    There is also another hurt. More than once, I have called out to Lisiére. Angels are supposed to save people in need, especially children.

    Flor is dressing me in clean clothes when a servant comes in, fearful and shaking. “His Lordship asks for you, milady. He stands right outside the premises and has brought his entire ducal guard with him.”

    The thought of Alezan sends a warm feeling through my body, but it causes Flor to panic.

    “This can’t be,” she shrieks. “Alezan would never...”

    “You better go outside to meet up with him, milady. He has threatened to come in otherwise. For his beloved son.”

    I am at the door before anybody can hold me back.

    Although I am only dressed in my pants and am barefoot, I run through the underground corridors. For I can feel Alezan’s familiar signature in the Force. Even blinded I could find him.

    ********************************************************************

    When the tall Lidérc nobleman sees me, he kneels into the dust of the street. It is a much needed public display of love for me. I bury myself deep in his open embrace and he wraps his cloak around me.

    “I had no idea,” he confesses to me, his voice muffled by the war mask. “When I did not find you in your bed this morning I feared the worst.”

    “But I am fine, papa,” I lie, simply hoping that olive soap can cover up all the ordeals that lie behind me. “Flor and I just went to see Maître Goañv. He had a present for me. Because of my birthday. Where is your present?”

    Alezan shoves me away from him and studies my face. Suddenly, it occurs to me that I should have used the words maman and grand-père when describing the traitor and the torturer.

    “Your present is at the homestead,” he says thoughtfully. “I will give it to you when I return tomorrow morning.”

    “Where are you going?” I ask, for I can feel a strong urge inside him that has nothing to do with me or Flor. He is on a mission.

    “Doing my duties,” he answers. “As a peer of this realm.”

    “Can I come along?” I beg.

    “I really do not think this is very appropriate.”

    My begging expression intensifies. I want to get away from Flor, who has just arrived behind us, out of breath. Uncertainty ails her. I will not expose her, but I do not wish her to be around me.


    Sources:
    Psalm 94:21
    A passage from "The Malleus Maleficarum" by Heinrich Kramer & James Sprenger (1487)
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    :eek: =D= Intense and traumatic
     
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  7. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Was I the only one here who picked up on the mention of Crimson Dawn?
     
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  8. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701, I didn't catch it so I'm glad you mentioned it! Very interesting connection -- I wonder if the two share direct roots or if the organization in Solo is named after a now-legendary predecessor. [face_thinking] Pretty cool either way!

    It's fascinating to see where the later Luçien comes from, as we have many tales told in other characters' stories but not the whole thing. And he is a very complicated and secretive sort -- which makes so much sense with what we see of his early life here. He grew up in a very dangerous world, both physically and emotionally. Painful secrets seem to have become a way of life from almost the very beginning.

    Yeah, I can see a bit of Anakin there for sure. Turning bereavement into abandonment into betrayal seems to be a thing for them. It breaks my heart to think that on some level he really believes Lisiére chose to leave him. :_| I suspect the fact that he's not able to make contact with her after her death maybe makes things worse -- and no wonder he's so freaked out by Gri's "I see dead people" thing later in life! It must rub salt in the wound.

    Flor certainly is an interesting one; on the one hand she's capable of doing terrible things (poor Lisiére! :() but on the other she's been treated brutally by her father. And (if things like her forced sterilization and the public whipping are any indication, yikes) by Alezan too. He may not like doing those things, but that doesn't make the harm done any less. Just as with Luçien, you can see where Flor's rage has its roots in really awful things. But (and boy are they alike, which I expect her son would not like to hear) she's so very determined to do everything her way or the highway and it makes her extremely dangerous to any unfortunate caught in between her and her extremism.

    This part was just so vivid! =D=

    I guess this is where he started to learn the weird knee-jerk reaction he later has to Gri's... well, everything. They sure were set up for bad things from the beginning. It's really sad to see when he is still very young, and even innocent here! :_| Which is hardly a word one ever associates with him.

    Well, his grandfather sure is a prize. I don't doubt that this kind of treatment is where a lot of Luçien's violent tendencies started. Though there's plenty of violence to be found in the rest of the world around him too.

    Grownup Luçien is a real pain, but wow do I feel bad for his younger self here. :( He really got the short end of the stick in so many ways, and was told all kinds of things about what to believe -- some well-meaning, even -- that really warped his mind when combined with the really hard life he's had from the start. I can imagine he must feel especially alone when he just can't connect to his twin who was once so close to him. And more so when he's been told that it should be possible.

    Alezan has his issues, but I'm so glad that he's there for Luçien in this moment. For all the awfulness, it could and probably would have been much, much worse without his intervention this time. And Luc sure needs a hug at this point! @};-
     
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  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Poor Lucien
     
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  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: This is why I placed a warning at the beginning of the story and will do so with each chapter. [face_blush]


    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701: It seems so. And you are a clever girl. In the original version is was Brotherhood of Shadows, but I was playing around a bit with a certain SW crime organization and some more or less secret guilds here on Earth. Perhaps you can also tell me which, because I put a lot of them into the mixer. O:)

    Thanks, @Kahara, for such a long feedback.

    It might be that the Brotherhood of Sapuhru is a now-legendary predecessor. If Disney can make up things, well I can, too.

    During my first year at a grammar school that was founded in 1885, I had a pretty cool teacher for Catholic education. She taught us to be free thinkers and not a sheep in a herd of dumb cattle. (Later on she got into trouble with the diocese for that and was moved elsewhere. Sigh!)

    Anyway, that wonderful woman introduced us to the shadow sides of the Christian faith very early. Like the Holy Inquisition and various sects.

    Later on in life, when I was with my 4th boy friend, with whom we still have a friendly contact, I experienced and saw things I would never have believed to be true. That left a deep impact on me. His father´s family is fairy old & powerful. The way some of them dealt with questions of faith is... astonishing and made me become a liberal kindergarten teacher even more. I believe in chances education brings. Not old blood lines. And certainly not changing one´s confession like a pair of socks just to remain the status quo

    The whole Luc plot is "salted and peppered" with my own impressions, altered due to story telling within the GL & Disney SW universe. But actually, I know somebody who hurt himself for reasons of faith and I also witnessed other strange stuff.

    May it be as it is, Luc, Flor, Alezan & Châtiment (which means punishment in French by the way) are all the heirs of the Star Wars, that the god queens of Cunabula fought with dark Force magic from their jungle cities to get the Elves off their planet. (In Maya style.)

    We are dealing here with a sun system that had 4 waves of migration:
    1. the direct refugees from Earth who got mixed with the Ophidiea and the midi-chlorians
    2. the Elves that had left Earth centuries ago, but took a wrong term somehow
    3. the humans of Amnion are also a ship from the first wave of refugees, but had trouble with their ship

    and

    4. a third ship of Earth´s star fleet, which shows up in the end of the original story of Lucien

    Ah well, the whole Luc story is complicated, because his original name from the 90ies is Modred Artreidis (!!!) and he is the devine half-brother of Anakin Skywalker. Back then that character was a real baddie. As the royal secretary of Tiberius Organa (!!!) he was also a foe of Queen Tamara Harkonnen (!!!), Lydia Skywalker (!!!) and Morgaine Le Fay (!!!), the abess of the Sisters of Wisdom. Oh and let us not forget Princess Shaya who falls in love with the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, when he visits the planet of Eloy with his comrade-in-arms Ben Kenobi... [face_laugh]

    That Ani & Luc have so much in common, well it all came nicely together in the re-write.

    To round this up nicely: Luc is complicated. Like most cats. I happen to have dear RL friends who are cat owners. Especially Hamish comes to mind, who can cause a drama in Hungerford/ UK by his own terms if he wants. Just the lack of attention when his mistress & I, old university pals, are skyping is reason enough for the half main coon & Angora tom cat to throw a tantrum on a computer keyboard.

    So yeah, since I know my friend, the cat factor of Luc´s character grew.


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Well, I always try to find soft spots behind a bad guy. Behind blue eyes.

    Okay. I will post the new update quickly. Check for 3 paintings in the last updates (Prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2). I cleaned up my art stuff. :D
     
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  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Please be aware that this chapter contains scenes of violence and self-harm, and references to abuse and trauma recovery!


    Chapter 3:


    Not much later, I find myself clad in thick travel clothing and sitting on Sanguinaire, a fierce eopie stallion trained for combat. Around me are the best warriors of the ducal household. And behind me, his right arm wrapped around my waist, Alezan himself. He speaks to me in a low, purring voice.

    “No matter what happens, stay at my side, my son. We must ride into battle tonight. Marquise Gemma Riwalan still refuses to pay her taxes to me, claiming that the desert does not belong to anybody but herself. To emphasise her words, she has sent me the head of my messenger.”

    I nod to myself.

    Alezan is the Comte of Montségur and must be obeyed. Otherwise peace and order are in danger.

    “You will see things that might disturb you,” continues Alezan carefully, and searches for appropriate words.

    After having met Maître Goañv in person, I am sure that nothing ever can disturb me again.

    “War costs lives, Luçien. Some are guilty but others are innocent. Fact is that I must set an example tonight. Gemma showed me that talking to her is pointless. Beheading my messenger was inappropriate and something I will not tolerate from anyone. Not even from an excellent sword woman like her.” Underneath his war mask, he lets out a long and slow breath. “I will have to kill her entire family while she watches, and take her prisoner before she can end her life.”

    That makes sense to me. In the serail, there are also rules to the games that we children play. The winner takes it all, but never another’s life. In fact, our rules are there to prevent just that. When I am grown I want to create rules that demand peace and order. Without killing and hurting.

    “You never witnessed somebody dying, my son. It can be a rather disturbing sight. You know, you could still go home and wait for me there.”

    My fingers close around his arm. “I need to be here.”

    “I am pleased that you are so eager to understand the Art of War.” A wave of pride floods Alezan. “That deserves a reward. You can claim anything that you like tonight.”

    “Anything?” I wonder.

    There is something that I hope for very much. Perhaps dreams can come true after all. I still want to dream. I still want to believe after what happened to me today.

    “Anything you desire,” he reassures me. “Whatever pleases your eyes or you find interesting enough to possess. You have but to ask and it will be yours.”

    I try to be hopeful.

    ********************************************************************

    The attack is nothing like I expect. Because of me, Alezan cannot take the lead as often as he would normally do. I see that my company is a burden and I feel ashamed of asking for it.

    The tribe of Marquise Gemma Riwalan fights back bitterly. Limbs are severed and heads roll through the desert sand. I try not to get sick.

    It is mostly the females who possess knowledge of an ancient fighting style called capoeira. But even their deadly efficiency cannot compare with the brutal strength of our men, who outnumber them.

    Suddenly, I sense somebody straight ahead of me. The desperation of that person affects me before I see her with my own eyes. It is a little girl, barely four-years-old. She runs away from one of our warriors, who is hacking with his scimitar at the air around her. Each time he misses her by inches.

    I think of Lisiére and my heart cramps. “Papa?” I yelp.

    “Oui, Luçien?” he answers from very far away, his gaze fixed on the battle field below.

    “I know what I want,” I state.

    “Really?” Alezan muses. “So what birthday present is it that you wish for? That little bantha over there? Or the eopie calf by the main tent?”

    “I want that one,” I say and point towards the girl.

    The fire of hesitation burns bright in Alezan. “I was thinking about something more...”

    “You promised!” I interrupt him, seeing that the girl is in severe trouble. She is tiring quickly.

    “That I did,” he mutters. “I should have been more precise with you.”

    “Please, papa!” I say quietly and look Alezan deep in the eyes, starring him down behind his war mask. “I want a new sister. Somebody to love as much as you.”

    ********************************************************************

    Sanguinaire’s massive body moves quick as he is stirred down the dune. The stallion rushes between our soldier and his prey.

    “Hold!” orders Alezan. “Leave that one alive!”

    The girl stands still in fright.

    I jump out of the saddle before Alezan can stop me. “Do you want to live?” I ask her.

    She looks at me with wide eyes. “No ho entenc!”

    “Do you want to live?” I repeat.

    “M'ho pot repetir, sisplau?”

    Frustrated about her speaking a language unknown to me, I offer her my hand.

    The moment she reaches out for me, I pull her into my embrace.

    “Deixa’m en pau!”

    She starts to thrash wildly, trying to bite me like a little mammal, but I will not let her go. It is not safe outside my arms.

    “Aren’t you a bit too young for bridal kidnapping, little Vicomte?” the warrior chuckles.

    Alezan glares at the man, and his laughter chokes immediately.

    “It is my son’s birthday and I promised him that he can have everything that he yearns for. I always keep my promises, Reneé.”

    The man bows. “Certainly, sire. It is just that this is Ivet Riwalan, her daughter.”

    “The daughter of the Marquise.” Alezan considers this news.

    I clutch the girl closer to my chest. There are frightening images in the comte’s that show he means to kill her. The look that he gives me is sorrowful.

    “Don’t!” I whimper. “No more pain. Please!”

    His look softens. “I am in a generous mood tonight,” he says slowly. “She may keep her life.”

    The warrior is surprised, but he respects Alezan’s decision. “As you wish, sire.”

    “Luçien, keep your new sister warm and keep her safe.” He hops off Sanguinaire’s back. “Reneé, stay here with my children. It is time to go for the lioness herself.”

    “Little Vicomte, please come closer to me,” the warrior says gently, while Alezan runs off, drawing his scimitar. “If you stay between me and Sanguinaire, no harm will come to you.”

    The girl shivers in my arms. “Shush, Isabeau, all will be well.”

    “Manel,” she sniffs.

    I dive into her head and can tell that she speaks of her twin. Of course! The Marquise had twins not unlike Flor.

    My prayers are answered. I paid with my own blood earlier, and the She-Moon has shown mercy.

    “I also lost a sister,” I whisper into the girl’s dense hair.

    She remains silent.

    “You know, I can be your elder brother.”

    The piercing scream of a woman echoes through the nomad camp, followed by the victorious roar of Alezan.

    ********************************************************************

    While the men around me start to hoot and jeer, I begin to mentally see disturbing images.

    Something bad is happening to Isabeau’s mother. Something that Alezan does to her in front of all the gathered warriors. From their reaction, I gather that it must be part of traditional war making.

    I do not understand it, so I shut the images out and concentrate on my new sister. “I am here for you, Isabeau,” I tell the girl.

    She looks up to me with her tear-streaked face and I wish nothing more in the universe than for those tears to stop falling. “Em dic Ivet!” she calls, looking annoyed now. “Ivet!”

    I take her small head between my palms. If I only could make all the horrible pictures inside her vanish. My finger start to massage her temples. She should not remember what happened here tonight. I want her to live a blissful life.

    My new gift unfolds all by itself.

    The girl’s eyes roll back and she begins vomiting.

    I feel guilty; my good intentions have gone wrong yet again.

    The warrior has not paid full attention to what has just occurred between the two of us. He just sees her throwing up. “Sacre bleu, damaged goods.”

    “This is my sister Isabeau,” I remind him coldly. “Be nice.”

    “I beg Your pardon, little Vicomte.”

    ********************************************************************

    Reneé helps me to clean my new step-sister and then myself. We are just finishing when Alezan comes back, radiating grim satisfaction.

    An unconscious woman is carried behind him on a stretcher. For some reason, she is barely dressed. A blanket is unceremoniously tossed over her twisted limbs.

    “Luçien!” Alezan calls out to me. “I think we should visit before sunset. Minou needs to be introduced to my new wife. And your new sister, of course.”

    That seems like a wonderful idea to me. I hope that Minou can explain what I did wrong with Isabeau’s head. I want her to heal and to have a happy life. There must be a way.

    ********************************************************************

    Minou looks at me thoughtfully. Her thoughts are not as calm as her ageing face. We are alone with the still unconscious Isabeau.

    Alezan has been busy attending to his new wife since our arrival. Even though the healers took care of her sword wounds, the marquise is not well. On our way to Ostal Blanc our men said to each other that she gave Alezan a big fight. But he won. In the end, he always wins. It is his destiny, they whispered. I have no trouble believing that.

    “What went wrong?” I ask Minou, who hovers above my new step-sister.

    “Everything,” she breathes. “You are no Force healer yet.”

    This answer is not the one that I want to hear.

    I gaze at Isabeau. In the soft light of the salt-crystal lamps, she seems even more fragile than she did out in the desert. Her being inside this building seems wrong. But her tribe is gone. There is no way that we can send her back to the smoking ruins of what used to be her home. She needs to stay with us.

    “Stay out of people’s heads, Luçien!” Minou says suddenly. “It causes more harm than good. Do not delete bad memories ever again!”

    “Isabeau was hurting.” My own voice sounds silly in my ears.

    “Bad experiences do hurt. But they are part of our heritage. We Lidérc are more than wild animals. This is why the She-Moon chose us above all other creatures. Besides, her name is Ivet.”

    “Isabeau was hurting,” I repeat.

    “Her hurt belongs to her. It is the way that she learns.”

    I want my new step-sister to learn about life a different way. Hurt should not be a motivation for her, nor a reason to gain experiences.

    “I better put her in a healing trance now. She will wake up in her own time,” Minou informs me.

    “Will she remember?” I am anxious to hear the answer.

    “Not even I know that for sure, Luçien. There is an equal possibility of either outcomes.”

    Prayers do not always get answered. That much I have learnt, especially after spending time with Maître Goañv and his whip.

    But on the rare occasion the moon goddesses seem to listen to a prayer of mine, it is always a sweet feeling of victory. Therefore, I pray that Isabeau will never recall memories of her old family. I pray to Sodalith and to her daughter Calme.

    ********************************************************************

    My new step-sister quickly becomes my shadow. She panics when I am out of reach or, completely out of sight, which seems to be worse for her - even if I am using the toilet.

    It is my duty to hold Isabeau’s hand. I like it, despite a few frustrations. I must keep her safe and warm, especially when her nightmares overwhelm her. It makes me feel strong and wanted. I do not mind playing the older brother at all.

    I am not that much older in years, but since Maître Goañv showed me his way of praying, I feel older than all the other children in the serail.

    There is something wrong with me that I cannot put into words. Deep inside me, there is a pool of hatred and scorn. It poisons my thoughts.

    Without my new step-sister, life would be hard to bear. She reminds me how it is to be a real child. I play games with her. I laugh with her. I walk with her. I do all of it without ever sharing my pain with her. My nightmares are not hers.

    I want nobody to know about those dark things. Nor do I want emotions to dictate my life. I want to have the higher ground.

    While I am busy with Isabeau, Alezan is rather concerned about his new wife. His honest worries leak out of his mind constantly. He asks himself if he was not too harsh on the marquise when he consummated their marriage directly in the desert sand.

    I think that he should let his thoughts go and harden his soft, generous heart instead. He did what had to be done.

    When families have a feud with one another, like the House Ankoù and the House Riwalan, it is solved by blood and violence. 'Red in tooth and claw' it is called or 'the survival of the fittest'.

    The desert is harsh with natural selection, almost as harsh as Maître Goañv. No discussion, no second thoughts. Destinies need to be fulfilled and sacrifices have to be made. A single life does not count for much. It is dust in the wind. The community and one’s own clan – these are important.

    I can clearly see that the Holy Scriptures are on Alezan’s side. The marquise owes him her loyalty and her obedience, but she keeps up a constant fight. She fails to accept her fate by his side.

    Muffled screams and severe curses penetrate the double doors of the ducal chambers.

    If marriage is that troublesome, I will never marry. Females - pretty as they are - just seem to complicate life, endanger the concept of peace and order.

    Even little Isabeau is full of chaos. No matter where she goes, she turns a place upside down within a few moments. She is wild and demanding in all she does. Restriction does not apply to her. But despite it all, she makes me smile. I admire her determination, her zest for life, and her ability to surf the chaos.

    Most of the time though, I feel numb. It is my fear that is locked away deep in my heart.

    Sooner or later I will have to face Maître Goañv again, be exposed to more fear and pain. No matter how far I run, no matter where I seek sanctuary, his whip will find me and teach me humble prayers. I do not know which is worse, the act or the returning memory of it.

    I hide in my step-stister’s soft arms, my face buried in her fuzzy curls. Sometimes it helps and at other times it does not. There are no rules to it that I understand.

    Therefore, I learn to pretend. Pretend that I am the fearless elder brother. Pretend that I am strong, that I am the hero with no fear. Pretend that I am wanted and loved.

    ********************************************************************

    As time moves on, I not only convince Isabeau that I am the skilled heir, but the entire ducal home stead as well. I better start to believe that, too, before the grand maître of the Brotherhood crosses my path again. Lies are best when based on truth.

    Marquise Gemma Riwalan remains locked away in the ducal chambers. It has to do with the new life that grows in her. I can see her pregnancy shining through her skin and in the way the Force gathers around her.

    But she does not want her unborn twins. Nor does she want all the privileges and duties that come with her new position.

    One time, she gives herself a heavy stomach injury with a large shard from a mirror that she broke on purpose. Another time, she cuts her wrists open with the needle of a brooch.

    Alezan orders her to be fastened to the bed with shackles and has her watched continuously.

    When she goes on a hunger strike, they force feed her.

    I am very sorry for the marquise. Maître Goañv had taught me what it feels like to be trapped in a bad place, unable to leave. I want to prove to her that the homestead is nicer than she thinks.

    After thinking on it for some time, I bring Isabeau along for a short visit. But my good intentions make the girl cry. She does not recognize the chained creature and runs away, screaming.

    I had not foreseen this reaction.

    The marquise gives me a dark look. “That did not go very well, did it?”

    I sit down on the mattress, overtaxed and embarrassed. “She asked for you constantly, maman,” I try to explain.

    Maman. That title fills her with disgust. “I am so not your mother, cap de suro!” she roars at me and convulses in her shackles.

    Her usually dull eyes are alight with blind rage. The visit of her only remaining child brought back some life into her after all. But not in a good way.

    “But papa made you my mother. One of many,” I correct the marquise friendly. I can tell that she is hurting, so I must do something to get her better.

    “Even if Alezan had the power to gather the stars from the sky, I would not submit to this life,” she rants on. “I will not have the fruit of his loins grow in me. I will not be his obedient pet like Flor and all the others.”

    She clearly does not know Flor. Her only master is her father. Quickly, I throw in, “You should be glad to be alive and part of our family.”

    Her face turns into a mask of pure hatred. “I am dead. And I have been dead ever since my true husband was taken from me. Soon I will leave this useless body behind.”

    “Isabeau needs you.”

    “Her name is Ivet and I do not want to see her grow up as a slave to the House Ankoù.”

    ********************************************************************

    My eyes widen. This desert woman cannot know what she stirs in me, but ignorance is no excuse for wishing one’s own children dead. How dare she say something like this? Children need to be loved.

    I let my anger wash over my old pain. Lisiére’s death.

    Invisible hands clench around the woman’s bare throat. They press harder until I hear her death rattle.

    “Enough,” I tell myself. “Enough.”

    I try to calm myself.

    She needs to live. For her twins. For Isabeau. I let oxygen flood her windpipe again.

    “What are you?” she croaks with narrowing eyes.

    I have asked myself that very question more than once. Flor wants me to be the promised messie. Alezan calls me his heir. Isabeau sees her wonderful brother in me. Who am I?

    Only the Holy Scriptures seem provide an answer. “I am a dark angel, send to purge the disbelievers and Force witches of Draconis,” I state.

    The marquise does not laugh at me or says anything back. She just looks at me.

    The message has sunk in, I think.

    Suddenly, she smiles. “So, dark angel, purge me, for I do not believe in your values.”

    I run away in shock and horror, while I hear the woman’s croaking, cackling laughter behind me.

    ********************************************************************

    Gemma’s deteriorating health means that Minou has to visit us on a daily basis. I like being around my old fostress and listening to her wisdom.

    “Constant restrains cause the skin to produce purulent wounds,” she explains to me, while she investigates her unconscious patient. “In the worst cases, they cause limbs to mortify.”

    “Why?” I want to know and draw closer to the bed.

    “Bonds can cut off the blood circulation or put unnecessary pressure on the nerves, which run through the wrists and ankles. I therefore have to monitor Gemma carefully and keep her meridians in constant motion.”

    “Meridians?”

    “The currents on which your powers ride. That feed your Midi-Chlorians.”

    I understand immediately and listen on.

    “Real cures start within you, not outside of you. Most humanoid beings have seven energy centres. They are called chakras.”

    “Chakras,” I repeat, testing that word on my tongue.

    “They correlate to a planet’s single energy centre, the magnetic core. In our case it is Sapuhru. For our neighbours it is their own home planet.”

    I sink down on my heels, even more enthralled than before. “Amnion and Draconis.”

    Minou nods briefly and continues. And I listen with all my heart. Her lessons are always full of love and light. So very different from what I am taught at the headquarters of the Brotherhood.


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
  12. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love the teachings of Minou
     
  13. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Another difficult chapter, with Ivet/Isabeau (I'd forgotten that wasn't her original name! :eek:) being barely snatched from the jaws of death and her mother horribly abused by the victors of a terrible battle. What a thing for Luc to witness at his young age. :( That said, there are bright spots of goodness as you always weave in -- Isabeau and Luçien being new siblings and having a bit of childhood joy and play time in spite of everything. @};- And Minou is wise and lovely as ever.
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan: She is very wise due to a life time of experience. But Luc remains a difficult student in the ways of the Force.


    @Kahara: My husband always pointed out that Isabeau cannot, should not be her real name. And that she should not speak the same language. So for the re-write I made research into the many languages of France. And there are languages that are influenced by Spanish & Italian. I simply used those.


    Okay everybody - also including @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, @DarthUncle, @Nehru_Amidala, @Darth_Furio & @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 here we go:


    Chapter 4:

    When Gemma dies several months later, taking the twins with her, Isabeau takes no notice of it. My meddling with her memories disconnected her completely.

    Apart from the nightmares and the old wounds that fester in my soul, life is wonderful. Alezan often tells fairy tales to me and Isabeau, enfolding a tapestry of colourful words. My only regret is that he does not fully embrace the Holy Scriptures.

    At the age of seven, I get to kill for the very first time. It is a tribal man who attempts to aim his weapon at the unprotected back of Alezan. My dagger is quicker and catches the scoundrel right in the eye. His brain spreads confusing thoughts before it stops transmitting.

    After this incident, I am allowed to participate in the weapon training of the ducal guard. First they are tough on me, but soon they treat me with comradeship and fairness.

    I leave my powers out of my training sessions. The gardien deserve better from me. I show them only how flexible my body is and how quick my reflexes are. We are frères d’armes, brothers-in-arms.

    ********************************************************************

    On the morning of my ninth birthday, I am miserable, even though Isabeau wakes me up with a kiss. She places it right on the tip of my nose. I laugh and kiss her back immediately, but that is not the shape of my heart.

    Every moment, Flor will appear and guide me to Maître Goañv. He will be in his office waiting for me. No prayers to the She-Moon, her daughter Calme or the Force will prevent that.

    “I have a present for you, Luçien,” my step-sister calls out.

    “Being a good girl?” I smirk.

    Isabeau chooses to ignore my comment as usual and begins jumping around on the mattress. I hate when she does that, but she is so cute in her enthusiasm. “I bought it from my pocket money,” she beams.

    A chaotically wrapped parcel is shoved into my face. Even though my smell is not as excellent as that of a normal Lidérc, I get the sweet, unmistakeable scent of honey into my nose.

    “I wonder what it may be,” I lie and make her giggle.

    The more I get the sticky paper wrapping apart, the better I can see the mess inside. But a present is a present and I value it. I cannot even convince myself to tell her to leave the honey inside the jar next time.

    “Thank you,” I breathe, touched by her cheerful effort.

    While I hug my step-sister again, I see a gloomy shape behind her. It is Flor in a travel cloak.

    ********************************************************************

    “Come here!” Maître Goañv orders me with a dispassionate voice once I am inside his office. He wears a house tunic and is barefoot.

    “No pain, no gain,” I hear myself say boldly.

    The shadow of a smile crosses his face. “When you are in pain, that is when you learn who you really are. I can give you that clarity, Luçien.”

    A bolt of dark energy sends me falling to the ground.

    “If you still fancy to be a witch hunter, a true inquisitor, you need to know all that there is about pain. It is the tool of your work.”

    I stare at his feet, bleeding from my nose.

    Despite all, I want to be a witch hunter. Despite all, I want to learn that skill from him.

    ********************************************************************

    There are harsh interrogation techniques and torture methods that have remained with us from the time of the Star Wars.

    I cannot find it in me to hate the Elves. Instead I develop a deep grudge against the royal House of Tjiehenet and its god queens. They are the true reason I have to suffer. Without their addiction to necromancy there never would have been a war in the first place. And I, of all people, would not be converted into a soldier of faith.

    The ducal homestead is unaware of my regular visits to the headquarters. I don’t want Alezan to get involved. He wouldn’t understand that true faith can only be paid in blood. Prayers alone won’t do.

    Shortly before my tenth birthday I discover that I no longer seem to have any fear. Only I remain and the cold ash of the boy that I once was. Maître Goañv senses it as well, and is satisfied.

    “The next level of your training can begin.”

    The grand maître attempts to show me how to inflict pain on others but I am unwilling to embrace those teachings and to participate in them.

    I am confused when, instead of being punished, I am simply sent back home.

    ********************************************************************

    When I arrive for my next scheduled visit a week later, Maître Goañv is not alone. Isabeau lies on a chaiselonge, obviously drugged.

    I hurry towards my step-sister and check her skin for injuries. Then I look deeper into her body. Her meridians are flowing nicely; there is no real harm done.

    The real danger in this room is the grand maître. He knows that I care for Isabeau. My feelings for her make me vulnerable.

    “Message received,” I get out between my clenched teeth.

    Maître Goañv does not look surprised. He rises from his chair.

    Unless it is a different anaesthetic than I know of, Isabeau will sleep approximately four hours, maybe five.

    The main quarters of the Brotherhood are a labyrinth. Even if I would be skilled enough to leave the office of the grand maître alive, it is doubtful that I can make it to the exit area with an unconscious girl in my arms.

    From now on, her safety depends on what I learn, not how quick I learn it. For her sake, I must agree to anything and push my own morals aside.

    I stroke a finger over her soft cheek.

    No matter what it will cost me, I will protect her. This is not only about me any more.

    “Having a guest of honour here today, who has a fatal attraction to sweets, it is very appropriate that we should start learning about poisons,” Maître Goañv informs me.

    “Whatever you think is necessary,” I say in a monotone voice.

    Inside my head, I am already contemplating his slow and painful death by my own hand, not the coward’s poison.

    Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold, and served in the open. I will push the plate with my misfortunes straight into his face when he expects it less.

    ********************************************************************

    Isabeau wakes up in a side street of the market, her head in my lap. I have brought her here just in time, staging her return to consciousness carefully. “What happened?” she asks, blinking at me.

    “What do you remember?” I follow the lines of her cheeks with my fingertips.

    “I was strolling over the market on my own and one of the merchants offered me sugar-coated ginger bits.”

    “Perhaps you had a sugar shock,” I suggest and manage a small smile.

    “Don’t be silly!” she explodes and struggles to stand. “I never had a sugar shock before.”

    “Which is surprising with all the sweets you stuff yourself with.”

    “When Miel asked me so nicely to have a bite, I could not let him down. Could I now?”

    A vague smile settles on my lips for I know that particular Lidérc very well.

    ********************************************************************

    The next evening, some officials find Monsieur Holen dead in the gutter. He seems to have suffered from a severe heart attack.

    Maître Goañv has the audacity to congratulate me on my choice of poison, and the swiftness of execution. I am not even punished for taking out a member of the Brotherhood. He just shakes my hand and bids me to return to the homestead.

    I decide to spent the early evening hours among the gardien instead of taking a stroll with Isabeau. I need some time on my own.

    My appearance in the sentry makes everybody cheer. I am most welcome and loved, or so the hearts and thoughts of the men around me say. If only they knew what I am capable off. They kill in the line of duty; I kill for much darker reasons in secret.

    Deep in thoughts, I end up wandering to the weapons room and have to stop my gloomy line of thoughts. I am offered tea and cinnamon biscuits by Reneé in the waiting area.

    “What about a wrestling match, young Vicomte?” he asks when my second mug of jasmine tea is empty. The old veteran winks at me.

    I grin back with a nod.

    I like wrestling, because it is an honest sport. The rules are uncomplicated and easy to stick to.

    During the course of the evening, Reneé is not my only opponent. Everybody is keen on sparring with me in a friendly manner. I am their future duke, their hero.

    ********************************************************************

    After a few hours, my wrestling partner and I are interrupted by a human man in his late twenties, maybe early thirties. He wears an Amnionian tunic and looks utterly confused.

    “I am very sorry, gentlemen, but I seem to have lost my way,” he starts. “May I ask where the rest rooms are?”

    “Rest rooms?” Reneé frowns at the intruder.

    “The toilets,” explains the human, blushing.

    I make a friendly bow to Louis, signalling that our match is done. Then I address the stranger with a radiant smile. “The toilets are at the other side of the homestead. Next to the stables.”

    “Right.” The human looks embarrassed. “Not hard to miss, I am sure.”

    “Do not worry, I will show you the way,” I promise him, finding his open and inviting thought-patterns refreshing and intriguing.

    ********************************************************************

    On our way, the stranger introduces himself to me. His name is Senator Agathos Aletheia. He is visiting our homestead with his old friend, Narthex Kyrene. He is more than pleased to find out that I am the heir of the House Ankoù.

    “I have heard so much about you from your honoured father,” he beams.

    I like this human man and the way that he smiles at me. His grey eyes are full of humour and his thoughts create a positive energy. People like him make this universe a better place.

    ********************************************************************

    Eventually, I get summoned to Alezan’s tea room around midnight. He greets me with a polite nod and a warm gaze.

    Senator Aletheia, resting on brocade pillows, displays his loveable smile again.

    A second human from Amnion stands patiently behind him, dressed in a grey suit. His features are unreadable, but his brownish eyes sparkle with zest for life. I suspect that this is Narthex Kyrene and learn very soon that he is a master valet.

    During the evening, neither politics nor religion is discussed between us. We instead focus on the home world of our visitors and the cultural life there. I make a mental note to visit Amnion in the future. It seems a place of great beauty, vibrating life and interesting technologies.

    Alezan, Agathos and I end up playing a game of cards together.

    Tea and light biscuits are served by one of my step-mothers. Like a shadow, Mignon glides through the room with her tray and vanishes again each time her mission is fulfilled.

    Sometimes I can still find peace in life.

    ********************************************************************

    Our visitors from Amnion stay for a week and I grow fond of them. They introduce me to a whole new world.

    Agathos has a doctor title for his research in the field of happiness.

    While I listen to his interesting theories, I wonder if I can ever achieve a title for bringing unhappiness into people’s lives. The harder I try to be good, the worse I make it for everybody.

    Over a cup of decent tea it is explained to me that there are five various variations of luck. The first one can be found in relationships with other beings. The second one he describes as serendipity. The third he calls pleasure. I am very familiar with the fourth, which is the flow. And the last one refers simply to the joy that the beauty of life itself can bring.

    ********************************************************************

    One afternoon Agathos and I have a game of chess together. Etoile, one of my step-mothers, is around to serve us tea and cinnamon cookies.

    Alezan and Narthex are not with us. They left the homestead straight after breakfast to head to the market together. I understand that they are looking for some ingredients for a typical Amnionian dish.

    “Do not think I am impolite,” Agathos says out of the blue, “but when did the abuse start?”

    I look at him, puzzled. “Abuse?”

    His voice turns soft and his expression becomes crestfallen. “As a government intern, I worked closely with several orphanages for a year and a few months. The majority of the children who lived there had a sad history with...”

    I rise so quickly that the chess board falls off the table. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

    “Luçien, I can tell that you are hurting.” Compassion laces the senator’s voice. “Do not be ashamed! I know your culture is a culture of pride and honour, but you must stop hiding. Talk to Alezan. He is your father. He will help. He will understand.”

    I can’t even make a sound. All that I can do is stare at the human who is not supposed to know about my hurt.

    His thoughts are appalling. This is not what happened to me. I was given a harsh military training, true. But there never has been a sexual assault. The indication alone allows me to kill the senator right here on the spot.

    “Let me be honest about it, the pain and fear will never fully vanish, but life has so much more to offer to you.” The kindness of Agathos feels worse than piercing needles or whip-lashes. “Please let us talk with your father! He deeply loves you.”

    My eyes water.

    I can stand heat.

    I can stand torture instruments of any kind.

    But I cannot stand the look that Agathos gives me.

    How did we end up here? It had been such a promising game. I had been winning and now I am losing it... completely.

    “I wanted to address you much earlier about it, but Narthex advised me against it.”

    I knew the manservant had a hand in this. He and his master put their heads together to conspire against me.

    Trying to shade my eyes, I put my hand on my forehead. “There is nothing to talk about,” I insist. “It is a matter of the Brotherhood.”

    I thought I could trust Agathos. I thought he was my friend.

    Agathos is still keeping a safe distance from me. “So it is Flor’s father doing it to you. I am so sorry. Your own grandfather.”

    “You don’t know anything!” I shout. “You are not even from this planet.”

    “No, I am not. But I am seldom wrong.” he states calmly. “You are not alone, Luçien. Many people are fond of you and would like to work with you, if you would only let them. Please let me help!”

    ********************************************************************

    The next evening, shortly before dîner, Alezan summons Flor and me into the tea room. Agathos and Narthex are present, too. Their nervousness is clearly observable. They are to witness all the decisions that will be made today as his trusted friends, and advisers.

    I am asked to sit down, but Alezan makes Flor kneel in front of him. She complies with dignity.

    “I do not do divorces,” the comte announces. “My marriage vows to you are binding, Flor.”

    To my surprise, she blushes.

    “What you did to our son does not change that,” he moves on. “However, it has consequences. From now on, you will never be alone with him. Not until he is a grown man, able to defend himself against you and, most of all, and asks to be left alone with you. It is up to him to determine this.”

    There is no verbal reply, but I can tell from the way Flor lowers her head that she accepts what was just said.

    “You remain my main wife in public, but we will eat at separate tables and you are never to share the bed with me again.”

    Her face is as cold and as distant as the twin moons at night.

    “You may entertain guests and will receive all the credits for being the leading lady of the hunt. You also will remain in charge of the household affairs, as long as you do it with reason. I have the power to veto any decision I deem inappropriate.”

    On the surface, Flor remains aloof, but there is a crack in her heart that only I can see.

    “As for my son, the damage is done,” Alezan continues, not knowing about the demons that drive his wife’s actions. “I cannot undo the harsh training that he had to undergo. Deprogramming would make it worse for him, impossible to ever find his right place in this universe.”

    There are parts of my heart that are still alive. Alezan touches them with his kind speech. He loves me. I am all he ever wanted.

    “Minou will take on my son as her apprentice until he is twelve,” the comte clarifies. “Luçien can walk over to Ostal Blanc whenever he wants to. My homestead will remain a place he can find safety and shelter at.”

    My heart beats wildly and freely against my chest.

    “Whatever my son will do with the teachings he received from the Brotherhood is his own affair. I know he has the talent for healing, but it will be his choice what to do with his life.”

    There is still no audible reaction from Flor.

    “It is also my wish that Luçien is introduced to Telenn and her tribe.”

    Her head jerks up. “You cannot possibly...”

    ****************************************************************

    It takes Alezan a long time to seek out the mysterious Telenn for she lives in the open desert. This indicates that she is some kind of rogue huntress or even a hermitess, who chooses to live far away from the cities for reasons of faith.

    When I am finally introduced to her in an underground cave, I forget all my education and stare at her with my mouth wide open.

    Gently, the comte pushes me towards the almost two metre high Elfin woman. “Come on, get acquainted!” he laughs.

    I keep on gaping at the giantess with her dark blue skin and long, black hair. It is so black that there are actually green shades in it. A pair of red eyes stares at me. There is no white in them at all.

    What distresses me most though is that Telenn is completely naked. Of course I have seen folk without clothing in the House of Healing, but out here in the middle of the desert it seems out of place.

    “Master,” she exclaims straight into my head and kneels down before I can prevent it from happening, as I know I should.

    All of a sudden, her entire clan, all as naked as her, follows her example.

    Embarrassed, I look unto the crowd of kneeling Elves.

    In a sea of heads, a tiny smile greets me. A boy, who is about my age, does not lower his chin with everybody else.

    At a point I cannot resist that sweet smile any longer and decide to answer it with a grin.

    ****************************************************************

    I quickly befriend Enderv. The young Asrai loves animals as much as I do and shares my interest in the other languages that exist on our home world. When we speak with one another, we prefer using our voices not our minds.

    While I teach my new friend to fight with a weapon made of steel, he introduces me to something amazing. He can change his entire body into that of another personality, but prefers to turn into a desert hawk.

    I find shape-shifting extremely difficult, but I keep trying to manage that skill.

    But there is something rather unexpected to learn from Telenn and her tribe of desert Elves. Each of them can play an instrument.

    I am eager to learn the violin and my fingers, tuned into delicate killing instruments, do not disappoint me.

    It is my secret idols though who show me the key to a meaningful existence. Agathos loves serving the community and Narthex has dedicated his life to the senator. If I can put my life into the service of something that is so much greater than I am, then I will simply be too busy to think about the past.

    Most of the time, I actually feel like crude matter. It is only when I am connected with the Force, I feel complete.

    And, of course, when I am around Isabeau. Whenever my busy schedule allows me to, I ride out with her. During one of our excursions, we discover a salt lake in the middle of nowhere. It becomes our magical place. Even though the water is smelly and sticky, my step-sister likes to swim in there for hours on end.

    [​IMG]

    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  15. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Creeeeeepy!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Pivotal relationships form and sntrengthen. =D=
     
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  17. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Lucien sure had to suffer in his youth but he finds friends too
     
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  18. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I'm glad that he has some good people and influences to lean on -- even if Luc does tend to go overboard in the wrong directions! At least there is that part of him that truly wants to do good for others. I guess you could say that's something of an Anakin trait that he has too. :p Agathos and Narthex are as wonderful as I remember them -- if they were later in time I'd say they'd make very good Alderaanians. :)

    Really interested by the blue Elves -- they're very different from the rest of the Elves that we've seen if I remember right. (The leader made me think of Black Annis from folklore at first, though she seems much less gruesome in nature!) And I like Lucien's new shapeshifting friend, though I seem to remember

    that doesn't end so well. :_|

    Anyway, nice to see more old and new friends showing up in the story! [face_dancing]
     
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  19. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @Nehru_Amidala: When you work with kids between 4 months of age and three years of age for 5 days a week, (okay Corvid-19 changes that) you need the creepiness that fanfic can offer once in a while.


    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: That is important. Otherwise Luc would be totally lost like Monseigneur Claude Frollo in Victor Hugo´s "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" or the inquisitor Bernado Gui in Umberto Eco´s "The Name of the Rose".


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Let us all hope that it will be enough!


    @Kahara: Thanks for comparing Agathos and Narthex with Alderaanians. I just had Greek philosophers in mind when I composed those characters. And a bit of PG Woodhouse "Jeeves and Wooster".

    That you mention Black Annis is interesting. Because I had totally forgotten about her. I actually was strongly influenced by the Elfquest comics from Richard and Wendy Pini. This is why I came up with so many Elfin races. And since Celtic languages fascinate me so much, I wanted almost as many Elfin races as there are Celtic languages.

    The Water Elves are blue because the colour blue and the element water are linked in my mind. A certain SF movie about blue aliens also might have added to the fact that my Water Elves ended up naked and blue.

    As for Enderv, well I do not like to spoil you, so you better read yourself.

    And this is why I finally update, because otherwise you will never read what will happen.


    Chapter 5:

    On her ninth birthday, I lure Isabeau away from the city. I have a delicate mission to perform. Only yesterday, Alezan sat me down and told me that he wants the Riwalan line to end with Isabeau. Therefore she is to be denied the coming-of-age rituals of the bohemiéne.

    My step-sister is slightly ahead of me with Crépuscule, my own mount’s twin. Her chestnut-brown hair flies in the wind, unbound, and her silken garments are torn. She is wild and free and happy. My sweet desert rose.

    Why should Isabeau be burdened with a soul-bond to an animal? It would not be fair to her to cage her in such a way.

    I give Argent the spurs and sidle next to her. “Do you want children?” I ask without preamble.

    She looks at me with big eyes, before bursting out into laughter. “No, I would rather have a fresh desert rat for lunch after our ride.”

    “That is not what I meant.” I roll my eyes. “I was talking about in the future.”

    My step-sister wrinkles her nose. “I hate children. They are noisy and smelly and the serail is full of them. I can’t understand why anyone would keep them, let alone create more! Why do you ask?”

    “Just something that Alezan mentioned to me yesterday,” I reply, which is not a lie.

    “Does he want me to marry one of his business partners?” she exclaims, affronted. “Even to one of those fishy Amnionians?”

    “He just wondered if you could ever turn into somebody with motherly instincts.”

    “Certainly not,” Isabeau sniggers.

    No children then. That was easy. I am glad that Alezan’s decision will not be met with future resentment. And there will be no soul-bound to a bantha, eopie or another desert animal.

    ****************************************************************

    As the years drift away, I manage to keep my step-sister in a protective bubble. She must not know that I am a master assassin of the Brotherhood. That I can kill a person without being in the same room. This is helped by the fact that I can mould and change my features on demand. It remains a taxing skill I seldom make use of though. I like to mask my presence in the Force.

    On my fourteenth birthday, I speak more than ten languages and most of their various dialects fluently.

    My knowledge about cultural aspects, history, geographic and economics is equally inter-planetary and comprehensive.

    When I am finally entrusted with a special mission, it leads me straight to Draconis, the home of the Ophidea. The sword of revenge will wipe them out one day. The royal family Tjiehenet in particular will pay for all the war crimes committed on my people.

    The mission itself is simple. I am to bring back the cursed tongue of a Force witch. The rest of her body is not required.

    I am dropped off in the middle of Ceilonwyn, a great forest area of the Northern Hemisphere.

    Of course I have seen countless illustrations and holograms, but to experience a real forest is an exciting event. There is so much lush green, so much life that makes itself known. The Force is omnipresent in every rock and tree that I pass. I am humbled by so much beauty and majesty. The desert is so simple compared to this, so rough and empty. Here everything is rich and vibrant, distracting in a good way.

    While I walk between the old, proud, trees I ask myself how it would be to live out here on my own. No duties, no people. Isabeau could visit me once in a while with Alezan and Minou.

    ****************************************************************

    I travel for three days and three nights before reaching the foot of the Saxum Lucis, the Stone of Light. It would be a fitting name for this mountain if it was not the property of the god queens. They stole it as war booty centuries ago. What a disgrace!

    Waiting for a Force witch around here is not a lengthy trial. I am sad that it has to be a young Elfin maiden, but it cannot be helped. Death is her only redemption. I catch her in the act of burning a boy with Force lightning. I will not stand by and watch such an act of torture.

    With my scimitar drawn, I fly through the air and take her head. She dies without even knowing what happened.

    Then I rush to the boy. He is also of Elfin origin. By humanoid standards he is not in his teens yet. His body is badly burned by the evil energies that hit him. There is nothing I can do for him. He is beyond my Force healing skills. In an act of compassion, I sweep him into my arms.

    Despite all his pain, he manages a smile. “Are you an angel?”

    “Yes,” I lie.

    “My mother told me that the Circle of Heavens would send an angel whenever I am scared,” he mumbles, while blood runs out of his nose and the corners of his mouth.

    “I am here now,” I assure him.

    His brave, little smile widens, and that almost makes me cry. “Is dying difficult?”

    I improvise. “Initially, yes, but then you leave all your pain and suffering behind. Even your fear. Only then you can become one with the universe. There is no death, there is but the Force.”

    “Will my mother be there?” he asks, shyly.

    I think of Lisiére forever out of reach for me. For the little boy, I can only hope that his mother will not let him down.

    “Of course,” I breathe.

    For a single heartbeat, his small face lights up. Then there is only darkness and emptiness. He is gone.

    It has been long since I last cried. But I cannot help it. Life can be so cruel for very little reason.

    ****************************************************************

    Much later, I manage to erect the funeral pyre for the boy. But I will not mix the ashes of his murderess with his. She does not deserve such kindness from me. Not even in death.

    Ever since their arrival on this planet thousands of years ago, the Elves are afraid of being buried. The god queens of Cunabula have taught them that the Dead can be made to rise from the cold ground.

    I am busy gathering wood for a funeral fire, when I become very alert to the presence of a powerful being. In immediate defence, I rise my hands slowly, my palms crackling with Force energy.

    A tall Elfin woman, unnaturally pale, appears in front of me. Her blood shoot eyes are alight with unholy fire. “Pray, little kitten, have you lost your way?” she sneers.

    “I am no kitten,” I snap back. “I am...”

    Suddenly, I fly straight into one of her open hands. Her fingers tighten
    around my throat.

    “When I say that you are a little kitten, you are one. Do not argue with me!”

    I convulse in her grip. Her fathomless eyes pierce my soul. They change in colour so that her yellow iris is now as black as her long raven hair.

    “Why, in the Name of the Force, can’t Father keep to himself? Always this obsession with women.”

    Father. That is the last word that I really hear before I black out.

    ****************************************************************

    When I surface back to consciousness, a delighted female voice exclaims, “A little inquisitor in the making. And a very determined one.”

    When I want to answer, I am painfully aware that I am wearing a Mask of Shame. It hinders me to use the Force. That angers me a great deal.

    The Elfin woman from earlier on steps in front of me. “I am afraid though that I must teach you a lesson, little brother,” she addresses me. “About what is your jurisdiction. Draconis is my hunting ground. Keep that in mind for the future! And do also inform your superiors that they can’t expect future lenience if I find more of their kittens here!”

    I want to yell that torturing children is not helpful in any ways for the cause. That her minions are mistaken to hunt down their own people. And that the Tjiehenet family is the real enemy.

    Suddenly, there is a polite knock at the door of my cell.

    “Enter!” my captor says crisply.

    A warrior woman, fully clad in battle armour, enters the room.

    My stomach turns violently as I stare into the reptile face of a full-blooded Ophelia. Yellow reptile eyes gleam in the semi-darkness.

    “Her Divine Majesssty wantsss to know, when you are finissshed down here.” The words are rough and harsh. I can tell that they rasp from a throat that is not used to shaping words.

    “Arcānā should know better than to disturb me while I am at work. She is my dark acolyte, not the other way around, Kaya.”

    “What ssshould I tell Her Divine Majesssty?” The Ophidea clamps her claws around her sword hilt.

    “If Arcānā wants this kitten gone from her dungeon, she better take care of it herself.”

    The Shesha guard nods curtly, and is gone quickly.

    Almond-shaped eyes dart over me, a twinge of yellow and red in them. The mark of the dark side. This Elfin woman is tainted, tainted by sin.

    Velvet sleeves scoop low, while eight fingers, thin and fragile looking as spider legs, reach out for my masked head. “Never hunt in my domain again, little brother. I might not be so merciful the next time our paths cross. May the Force be with you!”

    Without any further explanations, she sweeps out of my cell and I am left alone with nothing else to cling to, but my faith. A faith that has always helped me to navigate through the dark, to conquer my childhood fears and my own weak body.

    I squeeze my eyes shut with such force, that tiny spots of colour dance on my retina.

    The crown princess already carries the sins of her ancestors around. But in her case the evidence is graver. She has made a pact with the Holy Inquisition, a blaspheme organization that kills High Elves and humans at random. That worsens her case.

    With great effort, I can clench my bound hands into fists and take a solemn oath. I will cleanse and redeem the unworthy bride of Agathos.

    ****************************************************************

    When the latest spawn of the Serpent Family, Arcānā Tamisra Tjiehenet, finally decides to look after me, she wears nothing but a thin sari with gold threads. It only covers one of her breasts, allowing the other to dangle wild and free. Henna tattoos wind around her skin like vines. Her blond hair is done in hundreds of little dreadlocks.

    “Oh, hello there, little man,” the sinful creature giggles, her gaze remaining too long between my legs. “It seems that you are in a tight spot there.”

    I give her a hard look.

    “If I had known that the situation was so serious, I would have come down here sooner.”

    The Force witch tugs at the mask with surprising expertise and gentleness. It is gone in one swift movement.

    “It must be personal when Mórag leaves you naked. Take it as a compliment; she has interested in you.”

    Her remarks do not strike me, but her unbelievably strong Force presence does. It makes me breathless.

    I wonder if the dauphine is even aware that she could take out her dark mistress like a candle flame. But there is too much old fear in her. And I detect a thin layer of madness, most likely caused by constant abuse.

    “Let me help you with that rope,” the Force witch suggests to me in a friendly tone of voice that is unacceptable.

    We cannot bond. She serves the darkness and I am loyal to the light.

    “No, thank you,” I snarl and let my restraints dissolve into ashes.

    “That must have hurt,” she states with a compassion that makes me sick.

    “Pain is part of life,” I snap back, because light burns are the least of my current concerns.

    ****************************************************************

    When the Force witch leads me upstairs, she is in a better mood again. I am not. She shared half of her sari with me to cover my nakedness. It angers me.

    “Green suits you,” she babbles. “Normally only my family is allowed to wear the Holy Colour. For you, today only, I will make an exception.”

    I hate her. Right now, I hate the entire universe.

    “Ah, hate is even more powerful,” she smiles. “But Agathos wants me to learn new ways of thinking and feeling. He worries for our children.”

    “And I find your lack of regard for my privacy disturbing, Your Royal Highness,” I snarl.

    “Somebody with your telepathic powers is no angel either,” she states and her green emerald eyes glow like a hearth fire. “I bet you also like sneaking around in the thoughts of others. Get used to it.”

    The Force witch drives me crazy. She does not even have the high intellect that I would expect of somebody who is married to Agathos.

    “This is the West wing of Dún Barr,” she continues, as if I would be interested in her midwinter castle in any way.

    ****************************************************************

    Carefully, I look around in the royal bed chamber which is less pompous than I expected it to be. Besides, I can spot no books about necromancy or other unholy artefacts of Cunabula. All I see are titles on farming, cooking, gardening, animal care and children’s rhymes. I suspect that it is just a cover-up.

    The Force witch pulls a bell rope, and with a little delay, a puzzled minion arrives. It is a human girl around sixteen or seventeen years of age. She has brown hair and equally brown eyes.

    “Bricka, I know that this is an unusual request, but I just want some decent clothing for this young gentleman here. Mórag put him in an awkward situation.”

    The servant girl grins. “I thought it was your doing, Arcānā dear.”

    Instead of punishing her servant, the Force witch laughs heartily. The chain of command is not as clear as it is back at the ducal homestead. What an uncivilised place!

    Bricka takes me in, trying to decide what garments would suit me. I can detect no malice in her. Just slight concern. “He seems to be the same size as my fiancé.” She pauses. “But can I be frank? Your great-aunt really goes too far at times.”

    The Force witch turns white and clutches the servant girl to her chest. “Never, ever tell her that, Bricka.”

    “But it is true, Arcānā. She messes around with the lives of other people. You should rule on this planet and not her. She treats you like...”

    The servant girl never comes to finish this sentence, because a too familiar figure rushes in.

    “Darling, you were not at the landing platform,” Agathos points out, his face concerned. “Just the children and… Luçien? Can it be true?”

    Stiffly, I bow to my old friend, but he will have none of it. Instead, he sweeps me into his arms and hugs me like a girl. That annoys me, especially since I am still dressed in a sliver of green silk.

    “Are you all right, Luçien? What happened?”

    “Mórag happened,” the Force witch answers for me.

    “Mórag,” he echoes darkly. “Of course. Bricka, please let the children take their tea in the nursery. My wife and I have a special guest.”

    [​IMG]

    ****************************************************************

    At the table, I cannot help to follow the caring glances that Narthex gives Agathos’ wife, and the gentleness he bestows upon her. This is highly unusual.

    Finally, the Force witch throws her cake fork aside and snaps out, “Father, stop treating me like a baby!”

    The master valet clasps his hand around hers. “I know that I have no right to interfere between you and your dark mistress, but it is wrong that she pays you visits during your winter holidays. You are a grown-up woman, and nearly a mother. There is nothing that Mórag can do to oppose you. The Force is strong in you.”

    The Force witch storms away, the tea table forgotten. Narthex follows her, full of concern.

    “All of this must be very confusing and troublesome for you,” Agathos offers over his cup of lemon tea.

    “You have no idea,” I smirk.

    The future god queen of Draconis is fathered by the personal valet of a senator’s son. And not just any senator; the man that she is married to.

    Agathos takes a shortbread finger without eating it. “Why are you here, Luçien? How have you become the victim of Her Holiness’ scrutiny?”

    “Her Holiness?” I wonder.

    “Her Holiness, Mórag MagUdhir.”

    My fist comes down hard on the table. The Elfin porcelain clutters. “That twisted old man! He wanted me dead when he came up with this assignment.”

    “Ah, your grandfather, Châtiment, again.” His fingertips scratch against his dense beard. “And there you see the entire madness of this Force witch hunting business. It is all about manipulation and power, Luçien. Not about love, understanding and forgiveness. It abuses and enhances already existing fears and dark emotions. Please understand this!”

    I rise from my chair. “Lecture your future wife, but not me!”

    “This is not really you, my friend; you can do better with your life. Let it not be dictated by lies. There is still hope for you.”

    “I abused the hospitality of this castle long enough.”

    The servant girl from earlier on rushes back in again. A letter rests on a tray in front of her. “This was just delivered at the draw bridge. You are Vicomte Ankoù, correct?”

    Nodding, I take the treasure chest. A letter is attached to it. I open it.

    Her name was Siobhan. She was one of my Punishers. The boy, whom she took out, had tried to attack Agathos with acid. Things are not always what they seem, little brother. I hope you develop better judgement in future.

    Mórag.

    PS: May your path be righteous!


    ****************************************************************

    By the courtesy of Agathos, it takes me two hours to fly back home. Maître Goañv is alone in his office when I enter it in a cold rage. If he is surprised to see me, he does not show it.

    “Luçien, something tells me that you were successful.”

    I lean my hands on his desk. “At surviving Mórag and her pet Arcānā?”

    “I was referring more to your mission. You need not share particulars.” He dares to grin at me.

    My fingertips begin to bleed as my claws drill deep into the ebony wood. “You knew, Châtiment.” This is the first time I use this name and it feels liberating. “You knew all along.”

    “You must always be one step ahead of your enemies, boy. You need to know more than they do. This was an important step. You are commended for taking it.”

    “Oh, let me take another step,” I reply grimly and peel off my gloves with slow deliberation.

    My first blast of dark energy burns right through his throat, destroying his larynx. His office doors are thick enough to muffle screams of any kind, but I do not want to hear his voice any more. I want him to suffer in horrified silence like I always had to as a child.

    When he runs towards the door, I melt down his legs with Force lightning. It feels liberating.

    “Who has the power now, old man?” I sneer. “Who is the one wetting his pants like some baby?”

    ****************************************************************

    Nobody asks me why Maître Goañv is not able to attend the guild meeting. The scent of burnt flesh and fur are omnipresent throughout the headquarters of La Société L'Aube cramoisie.

    But there is no arrest for me. Not because I am the heir of House Ankoù. I acted according to our oldest law, the one of tooth and claw. That does not make me a criminal. In their eyes it turns me into a champion of the Force.

    The new grand-maître, of course elected in a democratic manner, is eager to shake my hand.

    I bear no grudge against Monsieur Voltaire. And why should I as a special branch man for religious matters? Besides, I survived my training with no physical evidence. My four uncles – Albi, Béziers, Perpignan and Quéribus – died during their training. They were not worthy; I am.

    Like the brotherhood, I believe in morality, charity, and an obedience to the law of the land. The guild evolves from stone masons who were forced to build the pyramids on Draconis. Especially those in the River Valley of Cunabula.

    I wait an entire moon year to take the war mask of a gardien though. With just fifteen I am to be the commanding officer of the ducal guard.

    Slowly, I retreat from Isabeau’s life. With almost thirteen she is getting too old for lullabies and good-night stories. I also start reducing our trips to the salt lake to a minimum.

    It is not that I love my step-sister less, but my duties are more grim and bloody. I want to keep her away from the filth that I wade in.

    *********************************************************************

    On my sixteenth birthday, nobody waits for me with ancient torture instruments. Instead, I am asked to Ostal Blanc for I am finally to participate in the rituals of manhood.

    Two companions from my early childhood days wait for me: the honoured Néné and Oeillet Malo. As anointed moon priestesses, bonas-femnas, the twins have dedicated their life to the Way of the Tea. This does not only include the knowledge about herbs and their preparation. The sisters entertain through performing the ancient traditions of art, dance and singing. And they are skilled masseuses who can use their entire bodies to relieve the tension of their patients.

    Hour after hour, I am shown a world I did not know could exist. So sensual, so full of joy, so free of decorum. Strangely, it reminds me of my arch-enemy, Arcānā.

    When I am outside the House of Healing again, the night wind seems colder and the street more empty than before.

    My instincts tell me that something is wrong. I open my mind and listen.

    The majority of the citizens are already in bed, hiding away from the murderous heat of day light. Their thoughts are busy with household concerns, with family and friends.

    But there are other thought patterns. There is greed, there is unrighteousness.

    My heart, which was full with joy, suddenly begins to feel heavy.

    Reneé steps up to me. “Mon Capitaine, somebody just reported a theft. The gang of scoundrels is on still the run. This way!”

    It is not wise to commit murder in my city. The price of jewels can never pay for the life of a single individual.


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent, as we read of Lucien's embarking on a twisted path
     
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  21. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    great to see an update of Lucien's adventures going on
     
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  22. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    It's really interesting to see Luçien in this middle ground between childhood (however troubled and harrowing) and the much colder man that we see in later tales. The fate of Maître Goañv is chilling, though it sure couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. (Not.) The new mission was full of complexity that Luçien was unprepared for. After all, there's not much to doubt if you see someone being Force-fried, right? [face_thinking] (It's rather ironic that his strain of witch-hunters and Morag's Holy Inquisition are so opposed to one another when there's little practical difference between them as far as their victims are concerned. But isn't that the way...) Anyway, it's interesting to think that this chain of events could have taken him in many directions.
     
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  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Yes, sometimes justice seekers are too desperate, too eager, too self-righteous. Luc should have looked for Matthew 7:5 (= Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. ... You hypocrite!)

    Actually, his character is slightly modulated after Frollo in the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo. The best version of Frollo can be found in the French musical "Notre Dame de Paris".

    My original Luc was a black magician by the name of Modred and the secretary to the queen´s husband, a Senator. That is about 28 years ago by now. I must say that he mutated into something else over the course of time.

    When I paired him with the Skywalker line, he turned into a man keen on hunting evil Force witches down. But there are folk who can overdue it being good. Like in the old saying: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Don´t worry, there is enough for you to read. My husband & Ny made sure that I continue. Plus I do not want to let down you or Kahara or other readers, that still stick to this story.


    @Kahara: Yepp, you are right with your longer and insightful comment. To say it with the lyrical words of Alanis Morissette in a certain song of her´s: "And isn't it ironic, don't you think?"

    Okay, you guys waited long enough, perhaps even @Darth_Furio, @gizkaspice, @Nehru_Amidala & @Cowgirl Jedi 1701... :D


    Chapter 6:

    A couple of nights later, a different kind of trash begins to pollute Montségur and the palace that has become home for me.

    The Force bends around the golem from Cunabula in weird ways. Darkness whispers in its veins.

    Secretly, I send a sample of Solitaire’s hair to Amnion. Due to Agathos I have some acquaintances there. Just in case, I also provide a hair sample of Arcānā, which I happen to possess since my involuntary stay at Dún Barr.

    When the test results come back to me, I am simply stunned. “This is sick, so sick,” I mutter.

    Not much later, I am in Alezan’s tea parlour. He reads the test results twice. Then he hands them back to me.

    “And?” I ask.

    “That does not change the fact that she is good at fulfilling her marital duties, my son.”

    I wring my hands. “Anybody can hunt, sing lullabies to children and please a partner in bed.”

    He cocks an eyebrow at me.

    “It must at least worry you who her biological parents are. This is not natural.”

    Alezan laughs at my concerns. “There was a time when the Ophidea ran out of males and came up with unconventional solutions.”

    I try not to get angry with an ageing man who enjoys a warm body next to him. “It is against the Holy Scriptures.”

    “When you can give me more proof of an evil nature, I will listen to you again and re-consider.”

    “But she is a golem,” I snarl. “And a Force witch. I am sure of it.”

    He gives me a long, considering look through his car eyes. “Don’t you think that you are too harsh on female Force users at times?”

    Alezan should not doubt my ability to judge right from wrong. My work is too holy, too important to give in.

    ********************************************************************

    Solitaire passes me on my way out, a knowing smile on her devious lips. Her skin is as dark as ebony. Curly hair, pitch-black as a starless night, falls on her lean shoulders. She is a muscular beauty, combining strength and elegance.

    I dread to think what could happen if the golem decided to take Alezan out during their intimacies. It easily could.

    I concentrate all my hatred and send a telepathical message. “One false move, one false word and I will take you out.”

    Voiceless laughter fills my thoughts. “Alezan is right, you are afraid of your own shadow. My poor, poor child.”

    Child? She dares to call me a child? I am her senior. According to the gene test, this thing is less than two years old.

    She grins at me, producing a set of perfect white teeth. “Being the only telepath around here, you must be so lonely.”

    “That is not your business,” I hiss.

    She comes uncomfortably close and says aloud, “But I am your mother now. And a mother should love a child entrusted to her. I can do better than Flor.”

    My mood is murderous by now.

    “As for the record, I am a clone, my dearest Luçien,” she continues icily. “Golems are the stuff of fairy tales. I was born in a laboratory and not in a clay pit. It annoys me that you think that Arcānā created me entirely from inanimate matter. Your knowledge of Draconian science is more than just out-dated. It is utterly wrong.”

    ********************************************************************

    Some nights later, I am at the salt lake with Isabeau. After a promising start, my step-sister gets moody and makes remarks that do not become her. Of late, she often has those annoying mood swings.

    Painfully, I come to realize how spoiled and selfish my step-sister is. It also becomes overly clear to me that she romanticises desert life too much. She would rather be a bergére with a small flock than the privileged daughter of a noble man.

    [​IMG]

    Well, I cannot let her return to the Old Ways. Each Riwalan had been a dangerous ceiporeia fighter, an ancient martial arts style from Draconis. The clan’s finances were made by attacking travelling merchants and moisture farmers, who lived outside the city limits.

    We do not agree on the blessing of motherhood, which was to be expected, but at least I can persuade Isabeau to put on her jewellery again. The two of us have a reputation we need to live up to. Alezan’s homestead needs to be represented by us.

    On our way back, I am not in a talkative mood. I have a headache, which seldom happens to me. All my senses scream at me that something is wrong, very wrong. And usually I am not paranoid.

    Isabeau stays far behind me, yearning for a nomad life that I wanted her to forget. But I am too nervous diving into her brain ever again. At short notice I buy a little present for her. A salt rose.

    When we are almost at ease with one another again, the Force shows that it possesses a great deal of humour.

    There is a saying among the Elves of the Western Prairies of Draconis. Is ait an mac an saol. Life is strange.

    Our sun system has three inhabited planets and more than five billion citizens of various origins. And we happen to bump into history’s most famous fugitive, Ruadhan Ahearne.

    I smile behind my war mask.

    This Elf in front of us is the reason why Adamah Tamisra Tjiehenet, the original crown princess, had to die. At the hand of her demented little sister, Arcānā.

    And the outlaw is not alone. The equally famous Ciall O’Maoilrian is with him.

    The stars itself seem to aline on my behalf, until we arrive at the ducal palace.

    There the golem is just about to strip off the war mask of a gardien on duty, chiding Zouave like a little boy.

    I intervene immediately and while I do, Isabeau stops being my little sister. Right in front of my eyes she changes into a woman.

    All that I ever wanted is suddenly out of reach.

    Broodingly, I walk towards the serail again. Laughing females pass me, eager to join Isabeau and the hunt.

    ********************************************************************

    At my arrival, I nod towards our guests of honour, who have calmed down in the meantime. I sink down on one of the huge silk pillows and remove my war mask.

    In the soft light of the salt crystal lamps, Ruadhan Ahearne looks more tame and civil. He is an extremely muscular Daoine Sidhe with an abundance of blond hair. His unknown father left him a heavy legacy. During the Star Wars, magically changed Elves fought against the troops of the god queens. The werewolf unit was a crack unit.

    My eyes wander on to Ciall O’Maoilrian, who is keeping his hood up. I suspect the Dark Elf hides scars. His meridians, full of dark magic, run in disorganized patterns around his skull. It is very possible that somebody took his scalp and that the wounds healed badly.

    Then I seek eye contact with Alezan, who is curious to know why I left.

    “Isabeau,” I say.

    “Solitaire mentioned something like that before she went off.”

    “Where to?” I muse.

    “She insisted on joining the hunt. I give you the details later,” says my foster-father.

    With all the womenfolk gone, I am to serve tea and sweets while papa remains seated. But I do not mind. This will distract me from thinking too much.

    ********************************************************************

    As the evening passes, slow and serene, I take the risk of letting our guests of honour know that I am a gifted telepath. I also ensure them that meant no harm using their secret names earlier on.

    The werewolf believes me, but the dubh sith does not. Dark magicians like him are always suspicious of their surroundings.

    I invite them to stay in the sanctuary of Ostal Blanc as my guests. Money is no issue for me.

    “Agathos Aletheia, is a good friend of this family,” I state calmly. “The circumstances that lead to the unfortunate death of the former dauphine, Princess Adamah Tamisra Tjiehenet, pain him a lot. If he were here in my place, he would make amends, too.”

    “The senator sounds like a reasonable man to me,” Ciall O’Maoilrian observes. “I recall having read his thesis on happiness in a library on Amnion once. Perhaps he can make Arcānā happy. She deserves it. That lass has been through a lot with Her Holiness.”

    I could not care less about what my half-sister did to her dark acolyte. From my own experience, I know that Arcānā must have willed what happened to her as a little girl.

    “You were on Amnion?” I ask, which is the most interesting piece of information for me.

    “Aye,” Ruadhan Ahearne states. “But it was a short stay. Philiki Eteria, the so-called Friendly Society, has their issues with Elves and users of magic.”

    Even though this is a grave subject, we have something to talk about. It is better than speaking on about the occasional madness that comes over Agathos’ wife.

    Besides, I like Elves very much. There is one exception though. The half-sister that I never asked for.

    ********************************************************************

    As I lead our guests to the entrance, Flor and the other huntresses traipse back in the homestead. “Where is Isabeau?” I blurt out without thinking.

    “With Solitaire. She was hurt in action.”

    “It was your duty to bring Isabeau back,” I growl at Flor.

    “You can discuss that with the honoured Solitaire when both are back from the trip into the dune sea.”

    “The dune sea?” I repeat, my voice catching in my throat.

    “Solitaire knows that Isabeau is a Daughter of the Ways,” she offers and walks off.

    Arcānā’s creature does not realize the trouble she is in.

    Ruadhan looks at me in deep sympathy. “You seem very worried about your little sister, milord.”

    “I am,” I state truthfully. “Her rituals came suddenly and there was almost no time for a decent good-bye. We also had a stupid quarrel earlier tonight.”

    He tries to smile. “One of those days, when all goes wrong?”

    I nod, remembering every line of distress in Isabeau’s face when the other women came for her.

    “Your honoured sister seems to be a survivor, milord. That much I could sense in the short time of our meeting. She may be a half-blood, but I would say she has the seven lives of a true Lidérc.

    ********************************************************************

    The next evening, I am in the Elfin underground kingdom of Ty Yec’hed. Billions of crystals are down here, singing their voiceless song. Around them, I always feel sharper with my senses, more focused.

    “Are you sure about this?” I ask Enderv and give my childhood friend a questioning look.

    His red eyes glow brighter than usual. They speak of mischief, of possible pranks. “Your step-sister will not see me. I promise you that. There is no way that she can mistake me for food.”

    Finally, we have come to an agreement.

    “Luçien, why are you not glad that Ivet has rediscovered her roots?”

    I turn away and stare at a group of white crystals.

    “Luçien,” my old friend repeats. “Will you answer me?”

    “Isabeau. Her name is Isabeau.” My voice is quiet as Enderv shifts closer to me. “Please drop the subject!”

    “The Riwalans were proud caporeia fighters. The rules that they lived by were as cruel than those of city people.”

    Now I am really upset. “Do you ever see me wearing mummy-like bandages under my robes?”

    “You are masked most of the time, which is also a masquerade in its own form. But it’s more sophisticated and therefore, in some ways, more devious.”

    The mere suggestion disgusts me. “Clan Riwalan did not even distinct between male and female. How distorted is that?”

    Reserve sneaks into his Elfin features. “And yet no man in their society would have dared to violate a woman. They did not need assassins like you to set things straight afterwards. The desert has its own justice to take care of all that.”

    “But they were wild and untameable. A danger to all righteous people,” I insist.

    “The next thing that you will tell me is that they were like animals and deserved to get slaughtered as such.”

    Now I am really irritated. “Clan Riwalan stole babies to stock up their numbers. And why? Because their own offspring did not survive the murderous tribe rituals they put them through.”

    Enderv steps away from me and puts his arms in front of his chest. “And you had a happy and blissful childhood. I see.”

    I am so enraged that I hit him straight in the face, knocking him down.

    Slowly, the Water Elf stands back up and I notice that he is bleeding from a split lip. “Different people have different beliefs and customs,” he says acidly. “We may not see the sense in all of them nor agree with them, Luc, but killing those who don’t conform to our customs is not civilised, and is certain to wreak havoc in the universe. Please think before you act rashly, as a Force witch of Draconis would.”

    “I am nothing like Arcānā.” I have to clench my teeth so that I don’t yell at him. “And I do not need your advice. I am your master, remember?”

    “Her soul is not as poisoned as yours yet, true” Enderv comments. “But give it a couple of years and you’ll see that the well is so poisoned that you cannot hide any longer. Not even from yourself.”

    “How dare you!” I scream.

    My friend looks at me, sad and appalled alike. “How dare you?” he asks back quietly.

    Trembling with blind ire, I leave the underground cave.

    ********************************************************************

    During Isabeau’s absence from the ducal homestead, I accept every contract killing that I receive. When I am not busy finishing off people, I meet with Alezan in the tea parlour, where he entertains Ruadhan and Ciall.

    My goal is to get Agathos to secretly pardon the two Elves and let them return to Draconis.

    Love is no crime; therefore the werewolf committed none when courting the original crown princess, Adamah Tamisra Tjiehenet.

    During one evening, Ciall sets his lavender eyes thoughtfully on my face. “I gather that there is something personal between you and the current regent of Cunabula, milord.”

    “One could say so,” I snort.

    “Never underestimate a Tjiehenet when it is about family affairs. The fact that Arcānā sent her clone toy to spy on you shows me that you are already in her focus. That is very unhealthy for you.”

    “She does not stir any kind of fear in my heart,” I reason.

    “Milord, I warn against choosing the path of revenge.” His eyes are half closed, yet his melodious voice is crystal clear. “It can be a suicidal pursuit. You should search a different salvation.”

    My manners stay mild and friendly. “Why should I look for salvation?”

    “The rites of passage can be gruelling on this planet. I paid attention to what your honoured step-sister was asked to do by the other women.” He shivers. “But your own rites were of a different kind, and much earlier. I sense that darkness festers in you, breeding seeds of violence.”

    First Enderv places doubt in me, and now a Dark Elf suggests that there is something wrong with me.

    I cannot stand being criticised like that; at the same time I know that it is true that two family members harmed my soul. Could my anger and fear truly set the path of my undoing?

    Ciall remains silent for a while, then he mouths, “I was once in love with her.”

    “With Arcānā?” It surprises me to hear that.

    “Perhaps I still am in one way or the other.” He gazes ahead of him, his lips a grim line of displeasure. “You might have heard of the kidnapping affair.”

    “There was never an actual kidnapping,” I throw in “The court of Cunabula made that up just to cover the fact that the dauphine had run off with a lover.”

    “But Arcānā believed it and considered everything else as fake news.” His scared features turned milder again. “She decided to come after us.”

    I frown. “Was she not only fourteen at that time?”

    “As if Arcānā ever has been an innocent teenager.” There is pain in his eyes. “By that time we met, Her Holiness had fully trained her as an aire échta.”

    During the Millenarian Star Wars, the leader of an Elfin war band was called an aire échta. That roughly translates to 'Lord of Blood-Vengeance' or 'Lord of Violence'. Nowadays this term refers to the henchwomen of the Holy Inquisition.

    “The current regent of Draconis is part of Mórag’s plan to wipe out the midi-chlorians among her own people?”

    My mouth drops open in shock, because I had not known before.

    The dubh sith nods. “You have picked a worthy foe. Her training was as harsh and thorough as yours, Milord.” His voice dims down to a whisper. “Beware for your soul! With a kiss she has stolen what was left of mine.”

    My fury knows no boundaries. “Are you implying she tried to seduce you? A teenager, barely a true woman?”

    “It’s complicated.” He gazes at his cramped fingers that are lying in his lap.

    “I would like to know anyway,” I demand, eager to receive a clearer picture of the past.

    Ciall sighs. “In the end everything that has happened is my fault, and my fault alone. I was the grown-up.”

    “What happened?” I enquire, more than curious now.

    “The moment that Arcānā had entered our camp, I had put her under a strong sleeping spell. A solution that was not greeted with enthusiasm. Certainly not by Ruadhan or Arcānā’s elder sister.” First it seems that he loses focus, but then he continues his story. “Anyway, due to another reiver, checking on Arcānā, her right hand came to lie outside the magic circle. Thus, she was able to gain contact to the forest floor.”

    My heart starts to pound very, very quickly. “Earth is the main element of a Tjiehenet Force witch.”

    There is an uncontrollable tremor in my counterpart. “She called forth a great mist.”

    “Witches of the mist,” I mutter for it makes perfectly sense to me.

    “Where exactly the zombies came from is hard to say. Perhaps their bones rested in the forest since the Star Wars. Or they came from the World Between Words, also known as the Vergance Scatter. Fact is, they attacked immediately and reduced our merry gang.”

    Now, I have the inevitable proof that the current regent of Draconis is a necromancer. By an eye witness who is an expert on dark magic. This gives me a carte blanche as a Force witch hunter. I can do whatever I please to her now.

    Yet, I have a nagging question. “When did you kiss her?”

    “Oh that was much later.” He blushes. “Never mind.”

    But I do.

    “What I wanted to say is, beware of your soul, Milord, when dealing with her or her husband.”

    That is a warning that I can ease immediately. “Agathos is a good person.”

    “Is he?” Something very close to jealousy sparkles in Ciall’s Elfin eyes. Then he sighs, looking like a heart-broken man. “I wouldn’t know. Perhaps he changed her for the better.”


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
    Kahara and gizkaspice like this.
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Affections and loyalties become even more tangled [face_thinking] Especially with Isabeau
     
  25. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Marriage problems can always be manipulated...


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