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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. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Lucien tries to be good. He's just not very good at it.
     
  2. Darth_Furio

    Darth_Furio SWC Jedi Draft Commissioner star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Hi Azure,

    I've been MIA for a while. I'm always around for Lucien's antics.

    Chapter 21: "She is as pure as the snow. Even if it will cost my soul" - This is a great line ;)

    epilogue/prologue: The Shimi/Qui-Gon additions were really good. Seeing Shimi's thoughts were sad though. Leia was really strong to not divulge anything to Vader. Perhaps now we have a reason why.

    Chapter 22: “You know sometimes I wish you would be just an alcoholic like Dian.” I laughed out loud. :p
     
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan: Yeah, hero is not the right job description for him. I totally agree.


    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701: Nope. Even Master Yoda, in all his wisdom, would agree on this one.


    @Darth_Furio: Good to see you around. And as a kindergarten teacher I know all about grown-ups being kept busy by children. Feel hugged!


    Okay, here we go for I am at the start of a very busy week. Perhaps, @Kahara, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @Nehru_Amidala will come along, too.


    Chapter 23:

    Shortly after the wedding, storm clouds bring high winds and the promise of winter. An entire month has passed since the tragic death of Gwenynen and the suicide of Sereno. But the images of their passing continue to haunt me.

    Luckily, Draň did not have another berserkergang. He has since been sweet and attentive with Caelestris. I cannot help but worry though. Something tells me that their love for one another will not tame the blood-thirsty bear warrior inside him.

    My working days in the library of Dún Barr seem endless. The books that should console me make me feel even more devastated.

    My weapon training with my sons is a bliss though.

    Around the Midwinter Solstice, Draň stops in. He wants to surprise Caelestris, but instead of having a romantic night with his wife he has another unannounced bersekergang. She loses their child, an embryo of just twelve weeks. It is the most dreadful sight I ever had to witness.

    I give the nameless princess a decent burial near the waterfall on my property. I enclose the tiny body in a satin scarf and rain flower buds into the open grave, before I fill it up with earth. Afterwards I plant a tiny oak tree on the otherwise unmarked grave.

    Uttering a prayer on her behalf feels like being cut with a thousand knives.

    “Sodalith, ever caring and gentle, we commit to Your love this little one, quickened to life for so short a time. Enfold her in eternal life.”

    Taran shows up when I bring back my shovel to the tool shelter. “Why the new tree?” he asks immediately, not even bothering to greet me decently after six days of absence.

    I shrug my shoulders. “Because I can.”

    Two bloodied claws press me against the shelter. “Since when do you do abortions?”

    “It was an accident,” I insist hotly. “Caelestris slipped and fell badly.”

    “Like she fell on that hammer last time?” In disgust he shakes his head and releases me from his grip. “Luçien, I hate to say it, but Draň is incurable. Love is not the answer to his illness. The only thing you can do for him is to bring him back to his family.”

    “No, there is hope,” I insist. “The fits are infrequent. There is hope.”

    A couple of days later Parhelion stands on my porch, trying to win me for his crusade against the Holy Inquisition.

    I must admit that he delivers his pleas rather impressively, ticking all the five canons of rhetoric. As a cleric, he is a trained demagogue, but nothing he says changes my lack of interest.

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

    The following years my sons visit me frequently for their weapon training and hunting trips.

    Temperance and Taran visit at random intervals, glad when I am not working in the royal library.

    And all of a sudden Parhelion comes to me with outrageous news. It is the end of a promising summer day.

    “Mórag dares to drag Grianán along with her like some dog on a leash?” I repeat and storm towards his star cruiser. “Show me! Show me right now!”

    Parhelion chases after me and flies us to Mórag.

    I had known that my former charge would end up in my half-sister’s fangs sooner or later, but I had hoped that Agathos and Narthex had acted wiser.

    In the mountain village of Càrn Bothan I find out that Grianán is forced to participate in a public witch trial. The fate of Force sensitive siblings drives her to open rebellion against her dark mistress.

    It costs me all my will power not to lash out against Mórag and to stay where I am in the crowd. It is not my fight. My cousin Valiant and Prince Èleos get involved into the entire affair instead. They rush over to the half-unconscious Grianán and carry her off to the major’s parlour.

    I should simply walk away, with the knowledge that all her open fractures will be taken care of, but I have to be certain that she is really okay.

    I sneak in when the two young men finally leave her alone in the room, I lock us in and hurry to her bed side.

    I must say that Grianán has grown into a pretty young lady. But Mórag’s cruelty of has taken its toll. She is too petité for her age, too thin. Her eyes are shaded. I should have never have pushed her away from me. It was not the wisest thing to do. This is all my fault!

    When I reach out for Grianán’s cheek she wakes her up from the Force healing trance, that my cousin Valiant put her in. That is the last thing that I wanted to happen, but I have to stay with her.

    “Can you tell me how you intended to play harp with twelve broken fingers and bones sticking out like the prickles of a hedgehog?” I softly ask.

    “Not.. opportunities... to...” Her words are jumbled and disorganized, but I understand well enough. “Mórag... no... care... music.”

    “I will not have that woman treating you like that,” I feel rage consume me. “There will be consequences.”

    “Join.. Éleos... talking,” Grianán says meekly and barely audible.

    “I am done talking. If violence is the only language that she speaks, I will answer in the same way.”

    She quickly sits up, shock widening her lovely eyes. “Please,... cannot win!”

    “It is not about winning or losing,” I explain bitterly. “It is about what is right.”

    “To... answer... blood...”

    “Leave that to me.” I frame Grianán’s face with both hands. She shivers under my touch. “How old are you now, fifteen?”

    “Fourteen!” She looks annoyed.

    “Then you should be at the royal court, having sweethearts like your sisters do. But your blasted mother forced you down her path, playing an aire échta for my mad half-sister.”

    “Please... promise... not... stupid,” Grianán says as she starts crying.

    “You know that I never make promises that I cannot keep.”Her attempts to pacify me have the opposite effect. “My decision was made the very moment the body of a dead boy was carried out of this building. I do not want to know who was responsible for that. It does not matter. What matters is that I want such things to stop.”

    “Well... done!” she snarls with vehemence. Sensations of heat and awakening begin to swirl from her, penetrating my own life energy.

    “Anger does not become you, my little dreamer.”

    I am agitated. It is time to leave Grianán. I only anger and annoy her.

    With one last hug I vanish.

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

    That night I return to the lodge in grim demeanour. My clothing is drenched with Grianán’s blood. Taran smells it immediately.

    “What in the Name of the frecking Force have you done?” he bellows and rises from the rocking chair on my porch.

    “It’s more what Mórag did,” I reply icily.

    “Is Grianán alive?” Taran asks in a shivering voice, all traces of the great warrior gone.

    “Of course she is,” I ensure him and pat his back while I pass by. “And from now on I will do all what it takes to keep her in the light.”

    “Even if you risk the immortality of your own soul?” Golden Elfin eyes scan me intensely.

    I swiftly turn around, draw my scimitar, cut my shirt open and scratch a deep cross into the skin above my heart.

    “Dear light side of the Force, please send a special assignment of warring angels to remove all spiritually trespassing people from me. In the name, power and authority of the moon goddesses of my people and the prophet Gorge, I take dominion over all astral assignments of witchcraft sent against me, and I break their hold right now through the power of the Force.

    Oh light side of the Force, please have your warring angels strip these witches of their psychic, demonic , and occult powers. Please remove their psychic visions, powers of divination, and any other craft that allows them to interfere with me. Please have all their powers and devices destroyed and cast into the abyss.”

    “What is wrong with the children this Skywalker idiot sired?” Taran’s glare darkens. “You becoming as religiously fanatic as your blasted siblings will cast us all into the abyss.”

    “Then do NOT follow me.”

    He engulfs me in a fierce hug. “You and that clown from the Eastern Prairie are the last friends that I have left in life. I will not abandon you.”

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

    In the months to follow Parhelion reunites me with my own faith. At first we are on our own, but eventually Taran and Draň accompany us regularly. They become important allies against the dark agents of the Holy Inquisition.

    I start to sacrifice weekends and holidays for it, including special days with my two sons. They try to not be discouraged, and think that this has to do with the growing distance between Sionnach and me. I do nothing to confirm their beliefs nor disprove them.

    One morning destiny strikes hard.

    Draň rushes into my bedroom where I am doing push-ups. His face is pale, his clothing a mess. A look of awful terror is on his face.

    I immediately accompany my guilt-ridden friend to his chambers. With the hammer incident still fresh on my mind, I prepare myself for the worst.

    As I open the bedroom door, there is less blood than expected. Something greater is amiss. Caelestris lies on the marriage bed, her back exposed to us.

    Out of the corner of my eyes I see Draň open and close his mouth like a fish out of water.

    Shattered, I walk closer to the dauphine, who does her best to act as natural as possible under the given circumstances.

    My eyes fill with tears and I close them for a brief moment. Then I start a conversation that I dread. Somebody has healed her before I did.

    With my foot, I gently push the poker away that had initially split her back. I stand very close to the bed now, can see the nervousness in her eyes. My mouth pleads to her, but my mind and heart are elsewhere.

    In one swift moment I pull my former disciple out of her hiding place, holding on to her wooden leg.

    “Oh, Sionnach!” I cry out, my tears stinging like acid by now. “Why have you spied on me, on my friends? You should not know all my secrets!”

    The mother of my children is flushed and panicking, trying to walk backwards. Her wooden leg hinders her. Of course she knows that I want to delete her memories. She is not a blundering fool.

    “You would not dare to do anything to me!” she pipes up. “Not after all that we have been through together.”

    My throat feels sore, my heart heavy. “I am so sorry, but there is no other way. You cannot be allowed to remember this incident.”

    ”You have only a strong influence on the weak-minded.” Her blue Elfin eyes are alight with panic. “I am not weak.”

    “No, you are not. You never were.” Despite all, I am so unbelievingly proud of Sionnach. She is the only stainless Tjiehenet woman that I know. Even Grianán has dirty secrets.

    “You should be ashamed of yourself corrupting the Force this way,” she reasons. Despair makes her lovely voice sound thin.

    “I am.” On this I have to agree. “For you have a wonderful mind.”

    My fingers fasten around her shoulders, while my mind attacks hers. There is so much resistance. I am afraid to seriously hurt her brain synapses.

    “Let go, Sionnach!” I plead with her, not willing to rape her mind a second time. “I do not wish to damage you permanently! It is not a memory that you will miss.”

    “Let me judge that for myself!” she shrieks, fighting harder against my mental touch.

    “You will forget!” I growl, summoning all the willpower that I have.

    My friendship with Draň does not have as much priority as the happiness of the royal family. I will not have it tainted by the things that Sionnach saw in this chamber today. Each family member of the Tjiehenet family must stay in the light.

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

    When I gently nudge Sionnach out of her slumber, she is aloof and wary. I fear that from now on our already fragile relationship will turn hollower each day. Hopefully our boys will not glide away like shadows as well.

    “Have you seen Garou today?” I ask, keen on leaving our bed chamber. “I cannot sense him anywhere in the castle.”

    She looks forlorn, but her eyes are not as empty as Caelestris’. Her aura holds many shades of blue with flames of purple at the edges. Then she shrugs. “As you noticed yourself, I was asleep until now.”

    I wish that I would have been less sufficient when I deleted her recent memories. It makes me afraid to think of all the other small, but nonetheless important details of her life.

    “You do not remember when you saw our son last?” I ask, trying not to cry out from all the shame that is inside me.

    “Last night, of course,” Sionnach prompts.

    There is a new, sharp edge to her. It also happened with her royal cousin, the dauphine, when I took the memories of an ill-fated wedding night. There is something unpredictable in this undignified procedure. It makes a person feral.

    I swear to myself that I will never violate Sionnach’s mind again. I have become a monster, unworthy of the love and attention my little family gives me. I have become death and as such I know no bonds, no tenderness any more.

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

    Two more years pass by, in which Parhelion and I develop a fool-proof ritual. First we shock-frost our opponents from the distance and then we go for the final death. No Force witch can survive without her head.

    With prayers and holy incense, we clean the crime scenes, preventing possible revengeful spirits to enter the realm of the Living. But seeing how much the dark passenger within Draň loves to support us and noticing the growing disdain in Taran, I know it is only a question of time before the entire crusade gets out of control.

    Looking for the final answer one evening, I find myself in the royal crypts of Cunabula, swarmed with malicious Undead. “A secret weapon, you say?”

    “Yes,” I snarl, not happy that I attempt to bargain with them once more. But I have little influence at the moment with being a peace bringer. “In return for your service I will not destroy this place.”

    My frankness amuses the Undead instead of making them tremble with fear. Bodiless voices cackle through the stale air of the crypt.

    Suddenly an ancient glass viral flies towards me. I catch it with my left hand. A violent shudder goes through me. Whatever is in this bottle it radiates the evil of the dark side. It makes me physically sick just to hold on to it.

    “Why would I want to use this?” I ask with scorn.

    “This ink has the power to determine a demon’s fate and, in all honesty, you regard all beanmna feasa as demons, do you not?”

    Doubtful, I gaze at the viral. The longer I hold it in my hands, the dizzier I feel. It does not seem wise to open it and use its contains. “Evil to fight evil?”

    “Why not, son of Dealg? Think of all the lives that you can save.”

    A very ugly face materializes in front of me, half skeleton and half rotting meat. It is a mother with a baby. Both are dressed in filthy bandages that hang from them in tatters.

    “They call you the saviour, don’t they? The Messiah of the Lidérc. Their messie.”

    The bottle weighs heavy in my hand. I fear when I leave this sinful place with it I will diminish the last light that is left within my own soul. But then I remember the reason why I started supporting Parhelion with the purges in the first place.

    “Grianán can be saved from the abyss when you use this special ink on one of her fellow sisters in faith. Write a letter of recognition to Mórag.” The Undead starts coiling around me like a snake. “She will have to realize that you are more powerful and cunning than she is. It will end this useless war.”

    My frown deepens. There is a vicious glimmer in the substance that was not there before. It seems as if it is invested with some kind of spirit. “There is no hidden agenda?” I probe.

    “We are not your mother. We are the god queens of old. Take the viral or let us rest in peace. But make a choice.”

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

    When Parhelion suggests paying the Monastery of Suaimhneas a visit, I do not protest. I know little of that particular place other than it is high in the Montes Nubii and fairly isolated. Usually, I trust my half-brother when he chooses our targets.

    Suddenly, there is a deep growl. We all turn to the fireplace.

    “I heard that the walls of Suaimhneas host only little children” Taran says. His back is turned to us, his body tense. “It is a place of peace and prayer with a well stocked library.”

    “You make it sound like a merry nursery.” Parhelion looks displeased. “But it is an elite school for future torture instruments like Arcānā was.”

    Before Taran can rebuke in any way, Draň knocks him unconscious with the handle of his sword. “I say, let us slit them all open and bleed them out. Witch is witch, no matter what age.”

    I start gnawing on my underlip, tasting blood.

    Our companionship is on the brink of breaking up. Draň starts to disgust both Parhelion and me with his suggestions. And Taran is not passionate about the hunt any more.

    My hand wanders to the small glass vial that is nested in the inside of the pocket of my Udaler west.

    There is a way to free us all tomorrow. I just need to write Mórag a letter that will force her hand. I will write it on one of her minions.

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

    The Monastery of Suaimhneas is located in a precipitous cliff side. It clings to the rock formation about nine hundred metres above the valley. As I reach with my mind, I feel twenty-seven presences inside the premises.

    “They are all asleep,” I whisper.

    “Not very sportive to do it this way,” moans Draň, who stands next to me in the nightly pine tree forest.

    “But foolproof,” intervenes Parhelion. “It is also better to get unpleasant things over and done with. Besides, I have to return to Amnion soon.”

    “You are the greatest hypocrite that I ever met.” I turn to face my half-brother. “Folk call Taran a beast. I wonder what they will call you if they ever find out what you are involved with.”

    Draň boldly steps between them, his breathing swallow and irregular. The berserker in him visibly awakes from its slumber. “I want blood!”

    I can tell from the lilt in his voice that the darkness, trapped in him, wants out. Checking on the still unconscious Taran, whom I have wrapped in a warm blanket, I gaze up the mountain.

    “Let us go!”

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

    While I walk around in the dortour of Suaimhneas, my vision is washed with red. Taran was right about this monastery. It is but a children’s ward. This is not what I wanted. Twenty-four girls, slaughtered in their prime because of me and Parhelion.

    My heart beats frantically, making my chest hurt. I lower my eyes, look at my hands. There is no excuse for what I did here. What have I become?

    Outside in the arcade Parhelion and Draň are screaming at each other. Their voices are raised, and I drown them out as I bend my head in prayer.

    “Angels of the Circles of Heavens, I pray that you would take the souls of these little girls into your arms. Please comfort them and welcome them into your eternal kingdom. In the Name of the Force, give comfort to their families and friends and help them bear this terrible loss.

    Next, I pray that I might be given the strength to not commit more terrible crimes like...”

    My thoughts dissolve when I open my eyes.

    Most of the girls clutch to soft toys or dolls even in their death. Some have their thumbs in their mouth. They all look so innocent.

    The burning anger that I usually feel during a raid is gone. The only thing that remains in my chest is shame. “How can I ever trust you again, brother?” I stare at the ground, afraid to see what is in his eyes.

    “You never asked,” Parhelion comments from behind me. His voice is clipped. “Perhaps you did not want to know the details?”

    I grit my teeth.

    “War always has a high cost, especially against sinners. You of all people should know that.”

    My breathing quickens as I let the power of the dark side envelop me in anger and hatred. It is, as always, my choice. I absorb the energy, keep it pent within the core of my being. “Go!” I breathe, feeling that my fury could unleash.

    “But we need to talk,” Parhelion insists. He steps up behind me and places his hands on my shoulders. “I will not leave you like this. You burn with grief and anger.”

    Slowly, ever so slowly I open my eyes. Energy races along my skin. “Go while you still can.”

    My half-brother backs off, wounded surprise on his face. “I expected better of you!”

    “Me, too!”

    Saying thus, I bend down to gently close the eyelids of the girl closest to me. But they won’t obey.

    Agonized, I reach out for a handkerchief that lies on her plain night cabinet. I spread it over the pale Elfin face.

    Within an hour, Draň manages to catch one of the caretakers alive. I hardly look at the woman when I work on her with the poisonous ink. She is insignificant compared to my greater mission.


    Sources:
    Two slightly altered Roman Catholic prayers
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Darth_Furio, Kahara and Nehru_Amidala like this.
  4. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    What a sad and moving chapter. This is like reading a chess match, nobody seems to be in control.
     
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  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ack! Many momentous things with Draň & Sionnach [face_thinking] Lucien continues to be pulled in different directions.
     
  6. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    And the reigning champion of poor life choices... continues to make poor life choices. I think @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 summed it up quite well!

    It is painful and frustrating to see so much unnecessary tragedy, but as always it's interesting to see the layers of different motives in Lucien and those around him.
     
  7. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    sad moments
    making choices this and that way being good and not good
     
  8. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    If I recall previous stories correctly, the caretaker in question is Grianan.
     
  9. Darth_Furio

    Darth_Furio SWC Jedi Draft Commissioner star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Apr 17, 2008
    “War always has a high cost, especially against sinners. You of all people should know that.”

    No truer words. Very intense entry. ;)
     
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @Nehru_Amidala; And Luc is always less in control than he thinks.


    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: I would like to quote Maz Kanata now, who starts the Disney series "Star Wars, Forces of destiny" with the following words: "The choices we make, the actions we take, moments both big and small, shape us into forces of destiny."

    Oh, boy, would she be mad with Luc and give out to them.


    @Kahara: It´s always difficult to follow one´s heart and doing the right choices. For some of us it´s very tricky.
     
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  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @earlybird-obi-wan: What can I say? Things are very difficult in life at times. And some folk are blockheads.


    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701: And if you are right the next chapter will definitely show you straight away.


    @Darth_Furio: Let´s see what you will think about the next one!
     
  12. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Okay, everybody, including @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, @Nehru_Amidala, @Kahara, @earlybird-obi-wan, @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 & @Darth_Furio, finally the actual update:


    Chapter 24:

    Winter is coming and still no message from Mórag. I decide to travel to the Vallum Ventii and confront my half-sister in person.

    The main temple of the beanmna feasa is a gigantic battle fortress from the times of the Star Wars. Only in its upper parts are the vast inward-sloping walls broken by straight rows of countless windows, and flat brick roofs at various levels.

    At the south base of the rock I spot a large space enclosed by walls and gates, with elegant porticoes on the inner side. There are also series of narrow staircases, interrupted here and there by intervals of gentle ascent. I can tell that they all lead to the summit of the rock, where I assume is the throne room.

    Impressed, I look ahead of me while high winds tug at my desert robes. The air is full of ice crystals. Clinging on to my wide travel cloak, I slowly proceed with my ascent. I take time to enjoy my surroundings, despite the hostile climate.

    The temple measures approximately four hundred metres East to West and about three hundred fifty metres North to South. There is enough space to host all the evil acts of the Holy Inquisition.

    I know from historical records that the First Elves built the temple at an altitude of three thousand and seven hundred metres, on the side of An Rubha Lachdann, the ’Red Point’, in the centre of the Linn Valley. The thirteen stories of buildings are said to contain more than thousand rooms, ten thousand shrines and about two hundred thousand statues. I do not plan to see all of them, but if needed, I will do all I can to help me me find Mórag. She cannot hide forever.

    Around me are many pilgrims, barefoot and dressed in uncomfortable hair shirts for sinners. Most of them are Elves, as meek as lambs. Their glances are cast downward, their burst lips mutter prayers and admissions of guilt. Seeing the victims of the Holy Inquisition like this touches me deeply.

    During her reign as spiritual leader Mórag has come up with a lot of mindless rules. She believes, for example, that Elfin women and girls should dress in a proper manner. As a religious fanatic, she wants them to wear black garments that shroud a female body from head to toe. Colourful dresses and make-up are punishable offences. Female hair has to be tied up behind an appropriate head-dress.

    But her extremism does not end there. Musical outdoor-festivals, the Highland Games, and the visiting of old sacred places, such as wishing wells and holy trees, are banned as well. So is the possession of Ophidiae food and technological household items from Amnion.

    Children are not allowed to play on the seventh day of the week, which is a day reserved for prayers, hymns and ancestral worship. The slightest transgressions are handled very cruelly. Public humiliation is paired with harsh corporal punishment.

    This year Mórag has outdone herself though. She has forbidden the midwinter celebrations.

    Due to Grianán I am very fond of this festival. The lighting of candles, carols being sung around a wonderfully decorated tree, the aromatic smell of wonderful dishes and sweets, receiving Season’s greetings from beloved ones, the hope that the light will return and drive back the dark – she introduced me to all of that.

    Looking around me and seeing all these troubled Elves who think they are the cause for the suffering that their families, their entire nation even, makes me sick. There is nothing wrong with them or the traditions that they hold dear. It is my half-sister that is very wrong about a lot of things.

    Holding on to that thought, my teleportation skills enable me to use a short cut.

    In Mórag’s throne room, I am received by a dozen flustered minions. They tell me that Her Holiness is on a secret mission and cannot be reached by anybody.

    In disbelief I stare at the empty throne, part of an ornately carved and painted dais. In a flash of anger I clench my fists and let my power loose. I strip the throne of the carpets that are draped over it and splinter the wooden dais.

    “Come out, come out! Where ever you are!” I shout, causing the women around me to pale.

    “Contain yourself, milord,” somebody says, squeaking at the end. “This is holy ground and you are but a visitor.”

    With a deep sigh I open all the gates of my mind to seek out Mórag, but silence is all I receive. If I did not know any better, I’d think she is dead to the world. But only the good die young; the evil seem to live forever.

    “Tell Her Holiness, that I want to speak to her as soon as she is back from that delicate mission of hers,” I bark at the young Elfin woman standing closest to me.

    While I walk backwards, I bump into another priestess. It feels like being hit by a bolt. The last time I received such an electric shock was when Irmgard stepped into my life. Hastily, I wrench away, but the damage is already done.

    “He slaughtered the young ones at Suaimhneas,” the tóraí na fírinne shrieks. Her eyes are wide with shock, her limbs badly shaking. “And he...”

    Before she can carry on listing up my crimes, somebody reaches out for her neck and makes her faint. It is an aire échta, a Punisher.

    “Vicomte, you better leave!” The woman glares at me, holding the limp body of her comrade. “Death and destruction follow in your wake. This is a place of prayers and contemplation. Do not ever return!”

    More women stand around the speaker, radiating the same irritation and anger. Their auras are a mixture of muddied red and dirty brown overlay.

    My fingertips tingle with the familiar energies that build up inside them. I could take out all the gathered womenfolk right here and right now. But then I think better of it and leave.

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

    After my unsuccessful visit in the Vallum Ventii, I keep myself busy in royal library. I roam it for every scrap of information that I can find about binding spells. My search is interrupted when two members of the Tjiehenet family rush into the library. They face each another like two hostile armies.

    “I can do whatever I want to do with my gift list” Princess Daná reaches into her décolleté. A folded parchment appears, just to be torn into little pieces immediately.

    “Was that the list?” Prince Icous asks his sister in exasperation.

    “Nope! It was my Season’s greeting for Gri.”

    My heartbeat increases with the mention of my favourite Tjiehennet princess.

    “She has to take care of twenty-four boarders at Suaimhneas. Start being reasonable, Daná!” Icous crosses his arms and rolls his eyes.

    Suaimhneas. Desolation sweeps through me like a winter storm.

    “But she has been more than lazy with answering her letters recently.”

    “You are so unforgiving, Daná. Perhaps she has been really busy this winter term. Or even ill.”

    My chest constricts.

    I need to look for Grianán! She cannot be dead. She cannot be.

    I concentrate hard and dissolve into pure energy.

    The evening sun illuminates the monastery of Suaimhneas in an eerie sea of red and orange. It is a foreboding sight, setting my teeth on edge.

    “No,” I keep telling myself in a stern voice, “She is alive.”

    Instead of choosing the windy mountain path, framed by colourful prayer flags and a dense pine forest, I teleport again and reappear in front of the entrance gate.

    I rush into the central courtyard. Its yellow-painted walls are unmarked by ferocious claws. No body parts are scattered on the tiles. All is serene, but inanimate as a tomb. I sense no life sign readings.

    I hustle around the premises in fear. The buildings are interconnected through stairways and steps set in rocks. I cross rickety wooden bridges and stairways. By chance, I take a wrong turn and end up in a long arcade, formed by painted wooden columns.

    “Grianán?” I yell, anxiously waiting for an answer.

    The corridors and passages remain as silent as the monastery garden where twenty-four graves are marked. They are extremely small, which indicates that they are urn graves. A lonely shovel juts from one of them. There is frozen blood on the handle.

    I keep telling myself that no one but Grianán herself cremated all the students and teachers. That she put their ashes into urns one by one and she is not resting underneath a frozen mound. That she worked herself into exhaustion when she put everybody else to rest.

    Reverently, I kneel down, but I can not come up with a suitable prayer. But what annoys me even more is that I still cannot match my memories to the Dead around me.

    Dark emotions enveloped me completely when I last walked this place. I am sure I did not see Grianán. But...can it be possible that I did not recognize her? Am I that far lost?

    The only person that I had contact with was the bean feasa that Draň caught. I do not remember her face or hair colour. Let alone her race. All that I can say about her is that she had soft and pliant skin.

    More memory fragments flood my consciousness, and I know where to walk to next.

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

    The table in the refectory is blood-stained, as is the floor. Iron chains lie around, equally tainted.

    “Please, forgive me, Grianán!” I whisper through tears. “I am a monster.”

    I lean down and pick up strands of long hair. Her blond hair. Hair that I stroked so many times in the past, that I washed, combed and braided. I press the strands to my lips and kiss them.

    “If you are anywhere near, do not hide any longer. I mean you no harm.” I beg loudly. “Please, my love!”

    My love.

    Why can I only admit it now it is too late for us!

    “Grianán,” I yelp, my voice small and hoarse. “Please stop hiding! I have something of great importance to tell you. I.. I... love you very much.”

    I said it aloud, but nothing of great consequence happens. It is just me and the wind in a deserted monastery.

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

    As I move on through the halls of Suaimhneas, listening with both my heart and my ears, I pass a row of prayer wheels. With a wistful sigh, I slide my hands over each wheel, making them all move in perfect harmony.

    Mountain Elves use those wheels, embodied with ancient mantras, to accumulate wisdom and merit. They also say that simply touching one brings great purification to the soul.

    While the cylindrical bodies spin around over and over again, I let my mind wander.

    I remember all the occasions when I wanted to hide from the man who was supposed to be my loving grandfather. If Grianán is unsure about running into my arms, especially after my outrageous love confession, then I cannot blame her about it.

    Soft snow flakes fall from the winter sky, covering my hooded cloak.

    “You are so young, you could be my daughter,” I mumble, suddenly fully aware of the eighteen years of age difference. “I am not sure what to do with you. I never was. You overtax me constantly and yet,... I cannot live without you.”

    I remain in front of the prayer wheels until they stop moving. Only then I have gathered enough inner strength to continue my search.

    As I enter the living quarters, I am glad that we did not burn them down during the raid. If Grianán is in hiding, she at least had protection against the elements.

    After a while, I find a bedroom, but it isn’t hers. It is neat and tidy, especially for this time of year. The lack of cheerful chaos of gift wrapping paper, ribbons and stationary is stifling.

    I search on, my heart low.

    When I finally spot a laundry line with Season’s blessings hanging from them, my throat tightens. I pluck off one card.

    “Dear Grianán,” I read, “Midwinter is dull without you. I miss you with all my heart. So does everybody else. In love, your brother Iocus. PS: Your wish list this year was very literary. So I took the liberty to send you a tin box with chocolate cookies instead. I bet Grandpa lets you have every single book title on that list anyway.”

    With tears in my eyes I ask myself if I should really continue to spy on Grianán and her life like this. But in the end, I read all the cards on the laundry line. Only my own card is missing, because I did not send it. It is still nestled against my chest, safe beneath my robes. If she is still alive, I will personally give it to her.

    She must have thought that I feel indifference to her due to our last meeting.

    Sore in heart and mind, I open Grianán’s modest wardrobe and find it empty. No clerical garments, no underwear, no socks or shoes.

    Relief enfolds my entire body and I fall down on her bed.

    Somebody must have come around for Grianán and packed her things for a journey. Whoever it was, that person did not care about her book collection or greeting cards. Considering the things I did to her, it must have been a moment of death or life to get her out of here.

    I remain on the bed for a while, my eyes closed.

    “No matter where you are, I will find you, Grianán. All will be well.”

    I feel the softness of the mattress, only noticing now that there is no bed linen on the bed, not even a pillow case. My eyes open wide as I sit up again. Perhaps her bed was made somewhere else.

    “The infirmary, of course!” I tell myself.

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

    Finding the infirmary of Suaimhneas takes a while. When I finally do, I notice that it is full of withered potted plants. In their middle is a single bed, unmade and with tangled sheets. One of Grianán’s favourite novels lies on the night cabinet, turned upside down. I also spot a knocked over tin mug underneath the bed.

    A tear of gratitude rolls down my cheek.

    I pick the mug up. The smell of ginger and honey still lingers on the surface. Grianán was treated for high fever, I am sure of it.

    “But what about all the plants?” I wonder and start investigating them.

    My conclusion is bleak. They did not die due to lack of water. Nor was it the cold that made them turn black and flabby. Dark magic unmistakably sucked all life energy out of them.

    There is only one person that could be responsible for this.

    Mórag.

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

    Speaking with Agathos, or even worse with Narthex, about what has occurred with Grianán is impossible for me. I have let both men down so many times, that I fear that they have abandoned their friendship with me. No, I must find Mórag and her ward before they have a chance to contact anybody at the royal court. The three of us need to sit down and talk.

    But over the next few days my search remains fruitless. Mórag and Grianán seem to have vanished from the planet. I can feel none of them in the Force.

    After wrestling with myself over the pros and cons, I decide to track down the best pathfinder that I know.

    To my surprise, Taran resides deep in the Vallum Ventii. It is high above the tree line, in the abode of permanent ice and snow. I do not dare to enter his unusual shelter, a shallow bear den, without permission. So I sink down on a boulder, simply waiting for him to join me outside.

    “What could you possibly want from me now, Luçien?” Taran growls from somewhere behind the shabby fur curtain. “I am in hibernation. Isn’t that obvious enough? Go away!”

    “Wolves do not hibernate,” I mumble into the snowy afternoon.

    Taran swirls out of the den like a gust of wind. “I am not a wolf. I am a person on my own terms. Get that into that thick, useless skull of yours!”

    Bewildered, I stare at my naked friend. It is clear that he is half-way through a transformation. Steam comes off his skin. His features are already that of a wolf, but the planes and angles of his skull still suggest the Elfin man underneath. No wonder he is so feral and hostile.

    “If you are in pain, I can help you,” I suggest softly.

    “No thank you,” Taran snarls. “I had everything under control before you arrived.”

    Suddenly, a high pierced scream shatters the evening air.

    “Are you with somebody?” I immediately ask.

    “I am having dinner,” Taran answers hoarsely. The wild glimmer in his bloodshot eyes deepens.

    Inside the den I detect some weak life signs. There is a white aura, strongly compounded with grey shades. That can only mean that someone is dying behind the curtain.

    I glare at Taran and only now I notice that his fur is caked with dried, crusted blood here and there. “Who is with you?” I demand to know. “A woman perhaps?”

    Taran exposes a set of yellowish teeth. “If you can kill a bunch of innocent children, then I can eat what I want. Do not dare judge me!”

    I remember all the meals we shared at the lodge. All the innocent pleasures we found delight in during the past years. My heart is low. “Is it because of the raids?” I say quietly. “Did I turn you into a man-eater?”

    Taran shrugs his furry shoulders. “It is my life, buddy. My diet.”

    I open my mouth in protest, but there is not much for me to argue about here. We both know that I lost control at Suaimhneas.

    “If you’d excuse me...” Taran walks away on large hind legs.

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

    The Elves of the Northern Hemisphere say that nobody ever expects the Holy Inquisition. Surprise actions are the secret of their success.

    One especially gloomy winter morning Grianán steps back into my life again. When she slides off the hood of her travel cloak, I can see that I have written horrible words all over her hairless skull.

    I cannot stop myself from gasping.

    Immediately, Draň rams his elbows into my ribs. I must not fall apart under the eyes of the royal court.

    More family members bid Grianán welcome and she ends up in the castle kitchen with some of them.

    Instead of staying on with Draň and the royal hunting company, I remain outside the kitchen, waiting for my beloved to come out again. There is so much I want to say and I dearly hope that she will listen.

    My well-meant plans are foiled by three fovea centralis agents. They get a hold of Grianán and drag her into the staff toilets.

    Heartbeats seem to stretch into hours.

    Before I can get mixed up in Draconian state affairs, Princess Dáná shows up, radiating anger and confusion. Her fiancé Boreas Kyrene is at her side. “Are you sure they are with Gri?” she snaps and glares towards the staff toilets. “In there?”

    Boreas Kyrene sighs deeply, walking towards the door that lead to the kitchen. “Shouting and a bad attitude only lead you to the dark side of the Force.”

    “I am not bloody Ankoù!”

    “Pride is one of the deadly sins my church says. Don’t let it be yours, latreia mou,” the groom says loud and clear. “Have a calming tea with me later.”

    The door to the kitchen opens and the hearty laughter of the castle servants fills the air.

    Annoyed, Princess Daná stomps towards the staff toilets.

    After a short while, the door opens again and the three secret service agents march out, one of them muttering obscure curses. “Get me barbed wire and let me make a necklace from her broken body.”

    “P.D. has a point, though!” a woman with lemon green eyes muses.

    “Hysterical people never have a clear opinion about anything.”

    After just one glimpse at Grianán, who is battered and beaten by her trials, I immediately seek out Agathos and Narthex.

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

    “I wish that I could banish you from my grand-daughter’s life forever.” Angry tears stream down Narthex’ lined face. The eyes of the master valet are black with rage. “But all I can do is to watch the two of you; hoping, praying for the best. The arrow will find its mark. That is my only certainty.”

    Tenderly, Agathos puts an arm around his old childhood companion. “Whether we like it or not, Grianán dotes on him, even though he is not very deserving of her attention.”

    In silence and tears, I listen to Grianán’s father, and agree to all he demands from me. Under the circumstances he acts most reasonable. I do not deserve his kind judgement. He leaves me behind with many heartfelt wishes, taking the agonized Narthex with him.

    I turn to one of my windows and open it.

    My sons walk past in the courtyard below. Garou looks up and, seeing me there at the window, blows me a kiss. I wave at him and smile, but inside I feel like breaking apart.

    My breath comes in raggedy gasps, hurting my chest. I give a ragged sob.

    All those years of trying to be a righteous man, a good person, and in the end, I failed them. I failed them all.

    I rush to my wardrobe and roam around in it, until I hold a white house tunic in my hands.

    After what I did at Suaimhneas, it seems more than appropriate to wear the colour of deepest mourning among my people.

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

    I can easily appear in Grianán’s new chamber. Now that she no longer shields me, I can also feel her with frightening intensity. Her aura is not as lively and cheerful as it used to be, but it feels good to reconnect with her.

    “Your mutilations speak a clear language. I am so sorry, my little dreamer, so sorry.”

    “Give me a hug,” she begs.

    “Grianán, I possibly could not...” I answer lamely.

    “Please, I need this!”

    My heart clenches in sheer amazement at her clumsy love confession.

    Soon, I can feel her breath, warm against my lips. Her tongue brushes the outline of my mouth, tasting and teasing. Of course, she wants more, but it seems wrong to me. I have already destroyed her health and beauty. I must at least honour her reputation and status. Eagerly, I try to explain my point of view.


    Sources:
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
    Darth_Furio likes this.
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Marvelous intense as Lucien feels drawn and genuinely connected to Grianan but Agathos & Narthex are leery of Gri having anything to do with him, understandably. But Grianan does not wish to deny her own connection to Lucien.
     
  14. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    He is intense, drawn to Grianan but what is he doing to her and still deserving her love
     
  15. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Nope, Gri does not wish to deny that! This is why we all are in for a rough ride...


    @earlybird-obi-wan: Well, love is a strange phenomena at times...

    Okay, everybody (also including @Kahara, @Darth_Furio, @Nehru_Amidala & @Cowgirl Jedi 1701) since I do not feel so super today, I make it brief.


    Chapter 25:

    When her father knocks politely, Grianán is sound asleep in a Force healing trance. Embarrassed, I let Agathos in, and tell him about the kiss that should never have happened.

    He listens to me patiently and in absolute silence. His face is bare of any emotion. When I am finished, he walks over to the window. With his back turned to me he says, “How was it?”

    “What?”

    “I would like to know if you enjoyed yourself, Luçien,” Agathos speaks with great calmness. “It was Grianán’s first real kiss. That is something special for a young woman, you know.”

    “Could you be at least angry with me?” I suggest to my old friend, agitated.

    “Have you any idea how long my daughter has waited to be kissed by you?” He still gazes outside. “Such patience, such hope. She is amazing.”

    “I never did anything to encourage this love,” I reason.

    “You have shown her glimpses of your true self. That was enough. Trust me, I loved my wife for those moments. Moments in which her radiant self would shine, making us forget the darkness for a short while. If only you could look at yourself in that light more often.”

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

    The poison in Grianán’s body will spread if I do not fight it, and the dark side as well. Night after night I give her one massage after the other, compose night caps that set her free from the pain while she sleeps. In public we act like strangers.

    Everybody thinks that she is serene and self-controlled, but I know better and so does Agathos. When I am not with his daughter, he and I usually are secretly conversing in his office. Sometimes Narthex joins us, the third person in our plot.

    “You should contact Parhelion,” the old valet suggests during one occasion, while Agathos slumbers in a chair next to the fire place.

    I rub the back of my hand over my tired eyes. “What, in the Name of the Force, would I gain from that?”

    “Perhaps your brother could find Dealg for you and ask him for assistance.”

    My fist slams against the desk. “Never!” I growl. “The man who sired me is not a trustworthy person.”

    Narthex stays at ease, though his eyes are blazing. “Dealg is said to be a wonderful healer.”

    “Are you suggesting that I am not good enough for Grianán?”

    “Your fear clouds your judgement. You need assistance and, on top of all, sleep.” He gives me a look that makes me feel like a piece of dirt. “When was the last time you gave into a healthy sleep?”

    I stare at my clenched fingers. The knuckles are snow-white against my skin. “Meditation can be an excellent substitute for sleep.”

    “In emergencies,” Agathos insists. “But you cannot do it week after week, Luçien. Even you have your limits.”

    “I should not.” With that I look up again, my eyes burning behind my heavy lids. “I should not.”

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

    As the weeks pass, Grianán becomes more fragile. She reminds me of a fairy princess from tragic Elfin legends. Her eyes have an absent look that seldom focus. She tires quickly and lies down in her chambers often. I try hard to balance her deteriorating health, but it evades my help.

    I secretly compose love poems that end up in the chimney fire. I also destroy most of my pencil sketches of her. They just underline her bad health and would probably sicken her more.

    And then the unthinkable happens: Narthex dies. He picks the worst day possible. The arrival day of Sionnach at Dún Barr. She is invited to the midwinter celebrations.

    Shortly after Narthex’ dignified cremation in the rose garden, Garou pays me a visit. He knocks politely, but does not give me enough time to hide all the evidence of the fresh night cap that I prepared. Some plant parts remain on my desk.

    Papa,” he says in a sweet, gentle voice that stabs my heart like a knife. “If you have trouble concentrating on making medicine for your sweetheart, then I can help.”

    I take my youngest son in, who is by no means a fool. He has a sharp perception. “What gave it away?” I murmur.

    “Unlike Aunt Isabeau, I know what you wrote on the princess’ skin. And I can tell from your eyes that you hate yourself for it. You have been punishing yourself ever since.”

    I hide my face in my palms, too ashamed to look at the tiny, red haired figure. “Does your brother know?”

    Garou’s voice sounds much closer now. “He is the one who pointed it out to me and gave me a word-for-word translation.”

    “Oh no,” I grown. “Who exactly am I fooling?”

    Now a hot breath is next to my left temple. “Yourself. With growing success.”

    “Thank you very much.” I let my hands sink, annoyed.

    Papa, we don’t accuse you or fault you for anything. You punish yourself enough. What is the point of putting you under more pressure? Grianán is suffering and you suffer along with her.” He looks critically at the belladonna. “Does she have arthritis?”

    “Sort of,” I confess.

    “Is the ink affecting her?” he probes further.

    I nod.

    Garou opens the drawer in which I shoved in most plants in when he entered. With the eyes of an expert, he takes in all the ingredients. “What is the composition, papa? Can you tell me their amounts?”

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

    One night, Grianán convinces me to lie down with her on the bed. No strange business intended. She just wants to be held.

    Hesitantly, I agree to this still outrageous proposal. In my culture such closeness means so much more. After such intimacy I will need to marry her, otherwise she is dishonoured. A loose woman.

    When I join the young woman on the mattress, keen on having not too much indecent skin contact, it feels like the most natural thing in the universe. Our hearts and breaths synchronize after only an instance. It startles me as much as it pleases me.

    Before I am even aware of it, my mind travels back to the night when I met Isabeau. I relive the slaughter of her tribe, her rescue. There is something very wrong about this time trip though. It seems almost that somebody is watching me, taking in all my actions and feelings.

    I gasp, the sound catching in my throat, as the truth dawns on me.

    I tear away from Grianán immediately. That leech! She can do psychometry with a person’s skin!

    “You are a Seeker? A tóraí na fírinne?” I shout at her.

    Suddenly, her love interest in me seems plausible. She wants a partner she can dominate, somebody with scars she can influence. I am furious with her deceit.

    Visibly shaken she gets up and looks at me, but there is not an ounce of mercy left in me.

    “And you read my memories like I am one of your father’s books? How dare you!” Unwanted tears roll over my cheeks. “I trusted you.”

    Her mouth is moving, but I cannot hear what she is saying. The pain of her betrayal shoots to my core. I silence her immediately.

    “Oh, you better shut up!”

    Grianán tries to touch me again, but I will not have that. Every secret that I ever held, she holds somewhere deep inside her. Every burn, every cut, every break that Châtiment subjected my body to – she knows about in the same way that she knows everything about herself.

    I need to get out of here, before I kill her in an act of passion and despair. “Do not wait for me tonight. Nor tomorrow. Ask Garou for your night caps. He will be more than happy to oblige.”

    She attempts to defend herself, but I still refuse to hear her out. Too many women have hurt me throughout my life. Why did she have to join the list? Why?

    “I do not want to hear your voice or see you right now,” I let her know. “You have betrayed me.”

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

    Later that night, I stand on the highest tower of the castle, glowering into the darkness around me. Thick clouds hide the star light from above. The moon is also out of view. It seems that all of the lights in my life are extinguished.

    I should end it, right here and right now. We cannot go on like this, Grianán and I. Perhaps it would be better if I take her to the Vattenånga River and drown us both in its waters.

    Châtiment had explicitly taught me to destroy the Serpent’s Seed, to wipe out its bloodline completely. Most of my childhood and youth were sacrificed to this holy task. But I have neither obeyed him nor the Brotherhood. Instead, I have fallen in love with the enemy.

    “I have taken her face, but I have not taken her black heart. Or her fallen soul. Not yet, anyway,” I tell nobody but myself and my shaking hands claw into the stone balustrade in front of me.

    “Why are you sad?” a child’s voice suddenly asks.

    As I turn around to face Heulwen, my heart skips a beat or two. “And why are you holding your grandfather’s urn?” I ask as gently as possible. “Should his ashes not rest on the mantelpiece in the library?”

    “He likes it up here,” she disagrees.

    “Yes, he always did… in life.”

    “Grandfather is not dead.” Her tone is sharp, almost defensive. “His body is just messed up. But don’t worry; I’ll get him another one.”

    “How would you achieve something like that?” I inquire as casual as possible and crouch down, to be at eye level with her.

    Heulwen opens her mouth to tell me, but then she closes it again.

    “Tell me!” I speak hard but not loud, trying to rein the storm of feelings inside me.

    “Aunt Grianán knows how to restore bodies.” Her voice is shrill enough that it sends a shiver down my spine. “She promised to teach me, like the ancestors taught her.”

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

    I put a hand on my chest to calm my outraged heart. “What else did your aunt promise you?”

    Heulween keeps silent.

    “Don't force my hand like your aunt just did! There will be retribution this time.”

    Her chin sinks to her chest. “At Fan Cill she learned all about familiar spirits and how to leave her own body to travel the stars.”

    I hear a chattering 'No-no-no-no', and realize that the words come out of my own mouth.

    My knees are shaking. Everything around me is coated in a hazy fog. I press myself against the balustrade.

    “Will you hunt her down now?” Heulwen asks, a feverish look in her eyes.

    “Let Justice roll down like waters,” I quote from the Holy Scriptures. “And Righteousness like an everlasting stream.”

    “But everybody will hate me when they know I betrayed Aunt Grianán to you,” she wails, clinging tighter to the urn in her arms.

    While I continue gazing at Heulwen, I mentally review the Holy Scriptures. Those ancient texts from Terra, that gave my people the strength to end their civil war and, in the end, brought back peace and order into their midst. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” I state.

    Heulwen gasps and opens her mouth to speak.

    I raise a hand to silence her.“I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute him or herself by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.”

    I leave the tower for I have a sinner at hand, who needs to be dealt with. But this sinner is une princess du sang, a princess of the Blood. I must tread carefully.

    My carte blanche, a powerful document issued by the Brotherhood, will not be accepted by all members of the royal family. But there is one who will bow to a higher authority.

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

    When I arrive in Narthex' former chambers Agathos sits alone in the dark. I use the Force to light all the candles in the room. He cowers on his late friend's bed. Forlorn, he holds a huge pillow to his chest. I can see that his eyes are red, the skin around them puffed.

    Following the Amnionian mourning tradition, Agathos is dressed in a jet-black tunic. I pity him for his recent loss and the next one that I need to prepare him for now, but I have no other choice.

    “Nothing is ever settled until it is settled right,” I supply and place the warrant for Grianán on his lap. “You tried to cover up her tracks, but did you think that love would blind me to the appalling facts?”

    Agathos shoots me a weary look. “I fear that hate and anger blind you here. My daughter is innocent.”

    “She is guilty of practising witchcraft,” I bite out. “If you attempt to stop me and my holy work, I will ensure that none of the Serpent's Seed will survive. Do not come between me and the justice of the Force!”

    “But you love her, don't you?” Agathos tries to reason. “Isn't love worth fighting for?”

    “Such things concern no one but myself!”

    “Please wait!” he begs. “There must be other options! This does not need to be terminal. If you would marry her and show her the way of your people –”

    “There is nothing more to be said about the matter,” I bark and start striding out of the room. “And contain yourself, in the Name of the Force!”

    As the door opens, I find myself facing an army of servants glaring at me. From my point of view, their lot should neither be heard nor seen. They are just exist to serve; that is their only task in life. The way the royal household is run angers me. Isabeau is too lenient.

    “Out of my way!” I snarl, regretting that I forgot my stalwart scimitar at Grianán's bedside. My forgetfulness angers me even more.

    “The Vicomte prepares for a hunt,” Agathos says with a quiver in his voice. “I want you all to assist him as much as you possibly can.”

    I wish his daughter would be as insightful and collaborative. But I know Grianán will fight. Of that I am certain. She is sassy and full of spirit.

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

    Instead of going to bed I secretly arrange for Draň to leave his wife Caelestris forever. His psychological condition is frail, and he has almost no chance of healing. I have waited too long for a miracle of love.

    “What about a fox hunt?” I ask the prince consort at the breakfast table and flash him an amiable smile.

    Agathos has joined us in the dining-room at this early hour. I try not to gaze at him directly. He is pale, his clothing is filthy and strained, and he looks haunted. One of his remaining seven children will die as the day progresses. I scheduled her termination for the early evening.

    I concentrate on Draň, who beams at me. “Will Taran join us?” he asks.

    “No, he won't,” I swallow, remembering our last meeting in the Vallum Ventii too clear.

    “That is a pity. We need a third man.” Draň turns to his father-in-law. “Would you consider joining us for once?”

    Agonized, Agathos closes his eyes. “Thanks for the offer, but I fear I am needed here. Besides, I am still...” His voice breaks.

    “Oh, of course.” The blush in Draň's cheeks is honest. Right now, the berserker warrior in him is vacant. “I am sorry that I...”

    Agathos takes his napkin from his lap and starts folding it together. “There is no need to apologize. You two get along and have fun. There are some things that I need to take care of.”

    I hope for his sake that he does not want to hide my convict from me. Such an action would not fare well for either of them. “Are you going to seek out Grianán?” I probe. “She looked so ill last night at dinner.”

    He almost jumps from the breakfast table. “Now that you mention it,” he begins and gives me an anguished gaze. His voice trails off.

    “I would like to see if I can do anything for her later on.” My gaze is hard. “Ask her to stay in her chamber. I will come for her later this afternoon.”

    Agathos leaves the dining-room without another word.

    “What was all that about?” Draň mumbles, his mouth full with buttered toast.

    “I fear the old man has seen too much death recently,” I answer as nonchalant as possible. “And Grianán's health has been very feeble since... you know.”

    “Agathos is not that old, Lu,” Draň corrects me. “He is fifty-six.”

    “Loss can negatively affect a person. First he dealt with losing three of his children, then his wife and now loyal Narthex.” I neatly fold my napkin together. “But enough of that. Let us make a lunch parcel, shall we?”

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

    We spend a joyful morning in the Western Woods together. Draň is his old self; no hints of his berserker heritage show. But I know better. That beast will be always there, lurking in the shadows.

    I think of Adamah, whom I have held in my arms so many times. I have had to watch her suffer from many severe injuries. I vow to stop it.

    Draň first spots the fox. His arrow hisses through the air and brings the unaware animal down.

    While my friend leans over his dying prey to carry out the ritual slaughter, I sneak up from behind. I check that the two castle servants, whom I have taken along as beaters for this hunt, are nowhere to be seen. Then I speak a quick prayer in my head, grip a large bench and give Draň a well-placed blow on the head. He is knocked out immediately.

    It would be merciful to give Grianán a similar treatment later on. I do not want her to be conscious when I behead her.

    Holding back my tears, I restrain my friend in Elven style. As a finishing touch, I put a gag in his mouth to prevent him from biting off his tongue.

    I must carefully consider what I will tell Draň’s clan. We need to come to an arrangement preventing the royal family from ever seeing him again or knowing of his delicate condition.

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

    When Draň’s parents finally come to meet me in the picture gallery of their ancestors, I am very distressed. The servants carried my unconscious friend away about an hour ago. I was sitting hunched in a wooden chair with green tea and figs. Honouring other races and cultures is one thing; leaving an ill friend alone is a different matter.

    “We prayed to the Almighty Sun Father that the family curse would spare him,” Żelazo Syn Od Kerb says with a raspy voice, his eyes fixed on mine. He has a bear-like statue and sun-burned features.

    “I am so sorry,” I tell him. “But I have to inform you it came to him full force and I am unable to help him any longer. This is beyond my control. I have failed him as a friend.”

    Draň’s mother, a dark haired matron, falls down on her knees, hiding her face.

    “When he married the Tjiehennet crown princess we were overjoyed,” Draň’s father speaks on, patting his wifes’ back helplessly. “It was too good to be true. Normally, the curse shows after the twelfth year of life. I wonder if we failed to read the signs. There were no tortured animals, nor was he abusive to our household slaves. He was such a dear, little boy.”

    A strangled sound comes from Draň’s mother.

    Sighing, her husband reaches out for her shoulders. “Dziecinko,” he says to her endearingly. Darling.

    Even though I find it very patronizing that Żelazo Syn Od Kerb calls her thus, I cannot help being touched by the love he shows her. It is not true what they say about the nomad tribes of this realm. They have passionate hearts and honour their loved ones.

    “You can stay here, if you want to,” Draň s father continues, his bearded face contracted in deep sorrow. “There is no need for you to accompany us down there.”

    “Down there?” I repeat.

    “The dungeon, of course.” He frowns at me. “There is no other place for the Undead.”

    My throat tightens.

    The firm belief in zombies, dead bodies animated by dark magic, even exists out here. It is the most gruesome heritage of the Star Wars.

    I remember the ancient words of the mambo asogwe Ishtár, first high priestess of Cunabula:

    “I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
    I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,
    and will let the dead go up to eat the living!
    And the dead will outnumber the living!”


    I am very worried now.“The last time that I saw Draň, he was pretty much alive.”

    “As a man of faith, you should know that Cunabula makes us believe that the Undead are like us, but they are not. The traditions of my tribe are very clear in this. The Undead have to remain bound; there is neither dying nor thinking, neither understanding nor wisdom for them.”

    People believe me to be a religious fanatic, but they have no idea what insane beliefs the locals have. Draň is not a zombie; he is mentally ill. Two persons share one body. This has nothing to do with the god queens of the Holy Isle. They did not cause this problem, even though it originates from them.

    During the Star Wars the local shamans failed their tribes when they helped young men turn into war machines on the battle field. It polluted their souls forever. Black magic is not to be trifled with.


    Sources:
    Amos 5:24, The Holy Bible
    Words of Ishtár, an extract of the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh”, Tablet VI (nearly 5,000 years old)
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow! =D= The point of no return! [face_worried]
     
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  17. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
  18. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha & @earlybird-obi-wan: Without further ado or delay my nect update because at 7pm sharp my brother-in-law expects me & his twin (who happens to be my husband DarthUncle) on Skype to participate in his latest "Dungeons & Dragons" adventure. We also need to have "Roll20" open for that one. (Even though I prefer to roll the real dices we have at home.)


    Chapter 26:

    My eyes fill with tears as I look down into the claustrophobic dungeon cell. Its access hatch consists of an iron grille. Even turning around will be nearly impossible for Draň in this tiny chamber. The straitjacket will hinder him even more. Eventually, he will rot alive.

    “Is there no other way?” I ask, heartbroken.

    “We tried with two of my uncles, but our methods did not work. Too many lives were wasted on those attempts. The curse is so strong that it cannot be contained in a different environment.” The regret and sorrow in the chief’s eyes are not fake. He suffers as much as I do, if not more. Tenderly, he reaches out for his hysterical sobbing wife. “Hush, dziecinko!”

    Suddenly, I wish that everything could have been different between Grianán and me. If I had been more stern to her, we could have lived happily, perhaps even have children. But it is too late now.

    “I will visit regularly,” I promise the chief.

    “Don’t!” he begs me. His voice is almost a whisper. “Remember him the way he was. From now on, he is dead to the world and his name shall never be spoken again. Not even at his funeral service.”

    I must respect other cultures and not interfere with their traditions. “So be it,” I state with a curt military nod.

    When I say those words, screams come from the oubliette.

    “Let me out of here! Let me the … out!”

    With a heartbreaking moan Draň’s mother attempts to throw herself on the grille, but her husband stops her from doing so. “Do not listen to the Undead, dziecinko! That is not our son down there. Our sweet boy died at a hunting accident and the Vicomte was kind enough to bring his body home.”

    My throat becomes tense as the screams of the woman mix with the curses of the creature trapped beneath us in the narrow darkness. It is not my friend, but the berserker. In combat modus he is more dangerous than ever.

    “I will get out of here, Luçien! I will get out and destroy everything that you hold dear! Sionnach will be the first to die, very slowly and very painfully. Then I will down bring your blasted sons one by one. My hands will be red with their blood.”

    Mad, triumphant laughter fills the stale air.

    “The last to die will be your true sweetheart! I am surprises that the Brotherhood lets you have your way with the youngest Tjiehenet! She bewitched you, did she not? Polluted your soul with her foul powers.”

    Żelazo Syn Od Kerb gives me a thoughtful look.

    “I have no idea what he is talking about,” I defend myself lamely.

    “Now, let us bury our son, dziecinko,” he says wearily. “Let us give him all the honours that a great warrior like him deserves.”

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

    Wounded deeply in heart and soul, I take part in the fake funeral service, trying to cling on to the lie as much as Draň’s clan does.

    Żelazo Syn Od Kerb has ordered a fine iron coffin for his son. It is smeared with pitch on the inside, draped with rich brocades. Draň’s parents sprinkle it with musk and ambergris, while a life-sized rag doll is shrouded in linen.

    A bearded priest, who slightly reminds me of my half-brother Parhelion, appears in long dark robes. After greeting the congregation thoroughly, he puts a turquoise crown on the mummy-like shape inside coffin before it is closed.

    Reverent prayers are spoken, reinforcing the farce. It is a requiem for a Living Dead.

    Somewhere a horse whines. I have to search the funeral party carefully, before I can spot Brązowy. He stands secluded with a nervous looking stable boy. As a sign of mourning, my best friend’s horse has had its mane and tail shorn. The saddle, with a mace, quiver, and helmet hanging from it, is reversed by another servant.

    The priest gives a sign and the funeral procession sets in motion. Its members start to wail and to tear their hair in grief. Draň’s mother is among them, crying the loudest. I grit my teeth, hating the pretentiousness of the entire charade.

    We leave the yard of the wooden fortress and start walking into the Eastern Plains which are bland and almost never-changing. The only difference between the burning and cool sands is the lush alpine meadows which are fringed by green forests.

    I can hardly keep myself upright. My vision is still blurry. I am tired and worn out by using my transportation skill over a distance of more than ten-thousand miles. I try to gather new energy from my simmering anger.

    While they place the coffin inside a large funeral mount, Draň’s horse is murdered quickly and efficiently by a horse whisperer. With great care, they position the huge carcass inside the mount as well before a great stone is rolled in front of the entrance and heart-rendering lamentations are sung.

    Hours seem to turn into years. Each lament is more sorrowful than the one before. I try to tolerate it for the body that I helped to bury alive in a dungeon cell.

    But there is one solution still. An act of mercy.

    I reach out with my mind and my mental fingers cause the fierce heartbeat of the berserker to stop.

    “There. There now!” I mumble to nobody but myself.

    To be on the safe side, I hold on to the heart muscles a little bit longer.

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

    When the afternoon sun stands high, I decide return to Dún Barr. My head hurts from so many wailing women. Summoning the necessary concentration to become pure energy is not easy.

    It takes me ages to reach the foot of the Saxum Lucis. I am breathing heavy and I am drenched in sweat. I start to loath Parhelion for his Force powers. He is a true Force bender. I am just a poor beginner. I will never reach his level.

    Angrily, I gather my strength for the last crucial part of my journey.

    Judgement Day has come for one of the ancient Serpent Family.

    I stumble out of time and space, just to end up straight inside Grianán’s chamber. Of course, her bed is empty and, even worse, undone. Her cousin Sionnach was never that way. A neat house wife.

    I touch my burning brow. My skin feels feverish.

    Without thinking, I plunge my head into her nearby washing bowl. The relief that the water gives me is minimal.

    “Grianán,” I yell as I swing my dripping head up. “Where are you hiding? Come out now!”

    That little fiend must shield herself again, but I will not have any more nonsense from her. Justice is on its way.

    My breathing is irregular as I open all my senses and scan the castle grounds for her.

    Of course Grianán is at the only place where she has no business. The bedroom of her sister, Caelestris. I wouldn’t be surprised if she already uses her Force gift of psychometry on every surface her nosy fingers get access to.

    With a deep growl, I open my arms wide and embrace all the darkness inside me.

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

    Frozen in time and space, Grianán stands in front of her sister’s canopy bed. Her six fingered hands are cupped around one of the bed posts. With closed eyes she seems to listen to the echoes of the past. Besides the tattoos I gave her at Suaimhneas, she looks so innocent, so flawless. But I know it to be a lie. She is the Idolatress and the Beast of Revelation combined.

    “Arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls.”
    My head swings ponderously from side to side as I take her garments and jewellery in. Then I sigh, “And here is the mind which hath wisdom.”

    At least Grianán is showing her true colours today. No more hiding, no more games. She is coming out as a necromancer.

    I eye her critically as I draw my scimitar from its sheath.

    All that is good and decent in this universe is at stake due to her. I think of the armies of Undead she could command. Of all the horrors she could not only bring over Draconis, but to the other planets of the realm. My doubts and wrong choices pushed her this way. I am the only hope left.

    My blade is on its way.

    But there is resistance. Grianán is not an obedient lamb. Within a brief heartbeat, she snaps out of her self-inflicted trance. Like a true capoeirista of Clan Riwalan she swirls through the bedroom and is out of my reach.

    “You should have just accepted that death blow!” I roar. “It would have been painless and swift. Think of the battle you have instead forced us into!”

    Grianán does not answer me, but her iris is wide with shock.

    Again, I swing my blade against her with all my might. Serpent-spawn that she is, she is quick and lithe. Her defence is based on the principle of non-resistance, which means she avoids any attack of mine by using evasive moves instead of blocking it.

    “Think of the battle you have now forced us into!” I complain, while I watch her do a series of rolls and acrobatics. They allow her to quickly overcome a take-down or a loss of balance. But she still does not position herself around me in order to lay up for an attack.

    I am so angry with her. “Stop dancing around like a butterfly and start fighting!”

    “I will not fight you,” she states calmly.

    “Then you will die.”

    It is this combination of attacks, defence and mobility which grant Grianán her perceived 'fluidity'. For me it comes in handy that she tires after a while. Due to her bad health she is reduced to mere bantha poodoo.

    “Are we finished yet?” she yelps, bleeding from a shoulder cut that I gave her earlier on. “You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before and I don't believe you'll destroy me now.”

    Despite all Grianán makes me laugh. “My little dreamer! Your faith is incurable.”

    “I have always believed in you, Luçien!”

    It annoys me that my heart is beating fast. I need to focus again. Her voice should not have such power over me. Nor should her eyes.

    She drops to her knees. I can tell that she is finished.

    “You are the mambo asogwe of Cunabula,” I accuse her openly. “Heulwen has confirmed as much to me.”

    There is no denial.

    My limbs are leaden as I walk over to Grianán. She exposes her throat in absolute surrender.

    “Will you grant me a dying wish?”

    My eyes are stinging as I look her straight in the face. “Of course.”

    “As you move on, remember me, and all we could have been.”

    How calm she is. I expected more tears, excuses; outrage even.

    My heart pounds loud in my chest, while my eyesight is reduced to a tunnel. I need to be strong for us. Her soul needs absolution. “Good-bye, Grianán. I love you more than you will ever know.”

    A river of blood sprays everywhere.

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

    Horrified, I gaze at the mess that Grianán just created with her ritual dagger. She had the nerve to cut her own jugular vein. Just like Isabeau's mother once did.

    Suddenly, the sky outside clears and sends a sunbeam through the window, bathing her sagging body in light.

    I blink.

    Can this be the answer?

    When the light side is taken, a person uses the Force for benefit of others and for personal growth. If I am going to be Grianán's benefit, her personal growth, we both can be restored. There can be a happy ending!

    Quickly, I reach out for her.

    I will the gush of blood back to where it belongs; straight into her carotid artery.

    Grianán's heart starts beating again, faint but noticeable.

    Under my healing touch, the larynx heals and the throat wound closes.

    I check for lethal air bubbles to prevent them from causing an air embolism. There are none.

    “Don't you dare to die on me,” I whisper to her. “Your journey with me has only just begun.”

    Her eyelids flicker, and her body stirs slightly. There is enough life left in her body for me to rekindle. After a while her heart muscles work more regular again.

    “Lost, but for me. For I can indeed save you. But it can only be done when you finally acknowledge the truth and forsake your evil ways. When you pledge yourself to me and my mission, only then will you be safe and whole again.”

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

    Within the blink of an eye I teleport us both to Varykino. There, I place Grianán, still unconscious from her near-death experience, on one of the guest beds.

    Helpless and vulnerable, she lies in front of me; nothing but flesh and bones. She has always been petité, but right now she seems more fragile than ever before.

    With great care I take off her boots and undress her. I done her in a clean penitential garb.

    Making her walk the endura like I did as a child might lead to her demise, but I will be by her side with each precious step that she takes. She will have my strength and my guidance.

    Fondly, I smile at Grianán. “I will cleanse my own soul by purifying yours, my love. All will be well.”

    But first she must learn how bare the life of a sinner is. Only then I can lift her up again.

    Then I rush downstairs.

    The bottle is where I left it.

    Giving Grianán just a little bit of the mandrake potion will do her no harm. It will only enhance her perception, make her believe my empty threats. I have to exploit that.

    Of course, there will be no honour in the things that I have to do. I am under no illusion about that. She will not have the freedom to move or to speak. All she can do, once we start the process of the endura, is listen and to suffer in silence.

    While I close the kitchen cupboard again, an old verse comes to mind. I speak it aloud.

    “The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
    and at our door is every delicacy,
    both new and old,
    that I have stored up for you, my lover.”


    With the bottle in my hand I open the chest in the hall.

    There they are, the effective tools of my trade. Since Grianán's early childhood, when she first found out about them, she has been fearful of them.

    “I will catch you when you fall, Grianán,” I promise myself. “It will be like a bad dream. But I have the power to end it for you. I can be strong enough for the two of us. You will heal after I break you, trust me.”

    From my own history I know it is possible.

    With a bit of effort from my side, I will perform a true Force miracle. But first I need to wear her out physically and emotionally.

    Iron shackles are too crude for the bonds that I have in mind for her. I fish a couple of jute robes from my tool box.

    “I will help you to repent your sins, Grianán. All of them! You need an exorcism from the demons in your mind.”

    First she must wake up though.

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

    A fairy tale of lost Terra speaks of a sleeping princess. She slept for hundred years before the loving kiss of a prince woke her up again. Grianán is like this princess. For reasons unkown to me she does not wake up.

    But we need to go on with one another. I will not leave my work unfinished. She needs to be shown the true ways of the Force.

    The teachers that Grianán had until now were a disaster. They made her weak against the assaults of the dark side. I need to re-establish her innocence, which will be a painful, difficult process.

    I start quoting from the Holy Scriptures to distract myself of the task I must complete.

    “I will destroy your witchcraft, and you will no longer cast spells. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

    I will make Grianán listen. She needs protection from her own folly.

    “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.”

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

    The hours crawl by like years. I am painfully aware of their passing. Grianán stays stubborn. Her closed eyes speak a clear and unmistakeable language to me. I am so annoyed with her.

    My gaze lingers on the bottle that contains the mandrake potion.

    I should not give Grianán any of it, for the moment at least. Brain damage is the last thing that I want for her.

    Perhaps it is now time to take some care of myself. My clothing is drenched in blood and I am very thirsty.

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

    My fist easily breaks through the ice layer of the rain barrel. I plunge my hurting head deep into the water. The sensation is quiet refreshing.

    Keen on more exhilarating energy, I bring my hands towards my mouth. The precious water makes my palms tingle. I drink three times.

    It could be such a wonderful winter day if the circumstances would not be so dire. But I promise myself that this will be a day of victory, of liberation.

    As I walk back into the house, I notice that the front door is wide open.

    I reach out with the Force, but I only feel some nearby forest animals and the surrounding plant life.

    Nevertheless, I draw my scimitar and sneak inside Varykino.

    All is as it should be. There is one exception though!

    Frowning, I take the object into my hands. It is a leather-bound book that lies on my favourite sofa. I open the book to handwriting that is all too familiar.

    I am born dead. It is a matter of the heart. In fact it is broken before it all begins. My mother, god queen Arcānā Tamisra Tjiehenet, cries for me. Lifelessly, my body lies in her arms, while my cheerful spirit remains in the Force vortex. I like it here. It is a place of great beauty, wisdom and peace. Glittering mist is everywhere. Time and space have no meaning. Serenity reigns.

    But Mother is strong in the Force and knows how to manipulate it for her own goals. The ancestors taught her a long time ago. She listened too long and too much. It corrupted her at the core of her being.

    This is not what I expected. Such beautiful words, honest and full of light. These are not the murderous confessions of a keen Darksider. Or of somebody who knows the unnatural ways of necromancy.

    Nervously, I read on, enthralled but scared of what my discovery means.

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

    Within the course of the next hour, I have to pause over and over again. All the things I learn from Grianán's diary humble me. Her heart is, as she wrote herself, her compass. There are no holy texts hindering her or inspiring her. She was simply born with a great compassion for life and everybody that ever crossed her way. Including me.

    My fingers skim the pages, while my eyes try to take everything in. Every little joke, every heartfelt hurt.

    Then I reach an incident that I dread very much.

    I wake up lying on my belly in the empty common room. Iron shackles bind me to the low table I am on.

    A faint noise reaches my ear.

    The diary slides out of my hands, drops to the floor.

    “Oh no!”

    I hurry through the lodge, which seems ridiculously large all of a sudden.

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

    When I finally reach Grianán, she is but a mass of perverted limbs and hideous tattoos on the floor. Her right hand is still cramped around the bottle of mandrake potion. She must have woken up from her slumber and, having been thirsty, she drank the poison by accident.

    I feel like a complete idiot for leaving her alone.

    Her pupils are contracted. She is highly delirious.

    I take her head into my hands and sense that there is very little brain function. There is also the beginning of asphyxiation.

    As I attempt to investigate my beloved more thoroughly, her meridians remain unreadable for me. There is just blackness.

    Carefully, I open her mouth.

    A mix of foam and black bile comes free.

    Without the help of the Force, I clean her wind-pipe as best as I can with my left index finger and work on pumping air back into her lungs.

    It becomes clear to me that only the Healing Crystals of Fire can help Grianán now! I need to get her to my birth planet as quick as possible.


    Sources:
    Revelation 17:4, The Holy Bible
    Alfred Hitchcock´s thriller movie "Marnie" (1964)
    Song of Solomon 7:13, The Holy Bible
    Micah 5:12, The Holy Bible
    1 Samuel 15:23, The Holy Bible
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and the SW universe
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Grianan is in dire straits. [face_worried] You can sense Lucien's genuine concern. @};-
     
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  20. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    He will do everything to save her
     
  21. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Thanks, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha & @earlybird-obi-wan, it´s always nice when people find the time to not only read my texts, but leave an actual comment. And Ny does so much more for she is also beta-reading without getting tired of my gibberish. Thanks, girls! I really appreciate your thoughts.

    I am way tired after a somewhat rough week at work and a long day spend outside with my husband, DarthUncle.

    And this is what I came up with for you this time and yes, Ny, there are some last moment changes of this chapter. Again:


    Chapter 27:


    A noise from outside startles me. As I rush to the window, I can spot the 'Paracelsus' high above the lodge. She is on her final descent.

    Grim certainty fills me. Someone has come to arrest me. In the end it does not matter whether it is the fianna of Prince Èleos, a bunch of Shesha guards or agents of the fovea centralis. The outcome is the same. I committed high treason by harming two princesses of the blood for questionable motives. My death sentence is signed.

    I brace myself for the inevitable.

    All that matters now is that Grianán must survive her latest trials with me. And that the current dauphin heals. I hope I can convince whoever is on board to send somebody capable to my home world with her. Otherwise she is doomed to die.

    Gently, I wrap Grianán into a fresh quilt and scoop her into my arms. Then I rush downstairs with her.

    When I open the front door, I see a lone figure coming out of the ship. Even from the distance Temperance looks puzzled and uncertain. She is alone.

    I hurry to meet the military pilot half-way.

    “Agathos sends me.” Her gaze scans Grianán. “I am to bring you to Sapuhru immediately, no questions asked.”

    I can tell that Temperance has many, but she manages to push each one of them aside for the moment. Once given a direct order, she is reliable and loyal.

    “I need to take the princess with me,” I inform her. “The two of us need help from my old mentor, Minou Yeotenn. She is the main healer of Montségur.

    My former lover bites her lips and manages to give me a curt, military nod. “Follow me!”

    Irritation and concern radiate from Temperance as she ushers me into the ship.

    There is so much left to say, but this is neither the time nor the place.

    “Watch out for Her Royal Highness! She is dear to her people, including me,” the pilot warns me before she storms towards the cockpit.

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

    Once I am on Sapuhrian soil, I run all the way from the space port towards Ostal Blanc. Life energy is leaking out of Grianán constantly. Luckily, nobody dares to stand in my way.

    Minou herself opens the door. “Luçien?” the elderly Lidérc woman asks surprised.


    “I am incapable of healing this woman!” My breath is haggard and irregular. “I beseech you to do better than me. Use the crystals on her!”

    With a quickness that betrays her age, Minou bends down towards Grianán. She must smell the mandrake root. “You forced a royal serpent-spawn through the endura?” I see her nostrils flare as she speaks. “How could you?”

    There is only one thing left to say. “I fear that I had lost my judgement for a while. The shroud of the dark side had fallen.”

    There is an increased intensity in the lines of her mouth, and a deepening of the creases that bracket it.

    Several bonas-femnas appear, Irmgard among them. Her eyes are round with disbelief.“Was, im Namen der Macht, hast du getan?” The large Udaler woman looks over me disapprovingly. What, in the Name of the Force, have you done?

    Close-mouthed, I place Grianán in her chubby arms.

    In horrified dismay Irmgard's eyes fly open as all my crimes are exposed to her via her special Force talent.

    Suddenly, I pick up familiar aura readings: Parhelion and Dealg.

    “Yes, they are here,” Minou confirms to me. “Sionnach begged for their help a couple of hours ago. They have been waiting for you. Especially your father.”

    “He never cared for his prodigal son before,” I mutter.

    But I hope that Grianán can count on the powerful Force bender. Not keen on meeting him, I hurry off as fast as I can.

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

    Restless, I wander the city, until I feel the weight of a certain diary again. If the bonas-femnas cannot save Grianán, this leather bond book is all what will remain of her. I must know the rest of it's contents before I deliver myself into the hands of Alezan. He took me in as his son. My punishment is up to him. And no matter what he decides, I will gladly obey him without question.

    I sit down at the dwell in the middle of the market place and begin to read, not caring that people stare at me in puzzlement. All that matters is the woman that I wronged in a thousand ways.

    This time I concentrate more about the people around her, the various relationships she has forged.

    I make a mental note to make peace with the loyal servants at Dún Barr. For Grianán to heal I need their care and friendliness as well.

    Soon, the diary points out that I also will need my blood cousin. Valiant will be an asset in my attempt to heal my fiancé from the inside out.

    The light side of the Force is about community, shared wisdom. I must learn to stop to be a loner, admit that I need help from another beaton.

    Then there is the matter of Agathos. My old friend must be mad with sorrow and concern. This is worse than Polysýndeton. It was not the dark side taking his daughter; it was me, only me.

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

    A group of boys with water buckets forces me to make another reading break. But it is very brief. Each child is aware that I am not in the mood to be bothered for long.

    When I am able to sit at the rim again, my eyes hurry through the text.

    Mostly, I hope very much that I can repair Grianán's relationship with her siblings again. Perhaps even reacquaint with Taran, who was not only her secret tutor. But who also has become her godfather.

    A soul in peril needs all the love in the universe. My tainted love alone is not enough. For now I have nothing else though.

    My eyes narrow as I sense the arrival of several presences known to me.

    I get up slowly, full of purpose.

    Justice has finally come for me.

    Affectionate, I tuck the diary back into my sash.

    “Bonsoir!” I greet the approaching riders. All are seated on white eopies that are donned in the colours of House Ankóu. Good evening!

    Reneé, my former second-in-command, approaches me. He is actually ridding Argent. “Milord,” he calls out, “There was a shooting at the space port.”

    “Why should I care?” I snap.

    “Somebody injured your honoured sister, the Marquise.”

    My heart thumps.

    Against all common sense Isabeau is here. Here on Sapuhru. She was never to come back.

    There are too many headstrong women around me. They never do what they are told to.

    I send a quick prayer to the moon goddesses, hoping that I can fix another relationship that has turned into a pit of desert scorpions. I need to restore Isabeau’s honour, her former status as the adopted daughter of Count Ankóu. Her death mark has to be revoked.

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

    At my arrival at the passenger hall I find my step-sister lying in her own blood. For some reason Ruadhan and Skylt are also there, but I ignore them for now.

    “Move it!” I shout. “My sister needs privacy. Everybody out.”


    I take my gloves off, but the familiar glow of healing Force powers does not show. Another valuable gift of mine is gone. The bad timing is appalling.

    “I did warn you, did I not?” I spit out, regretting that my inability to heal Isabeau will be her undoing. She should not be here, nor should I. “I ordered you to never come back home. You chose to disobey me. You were aware of the consequences.”

    I bark more cruel things. I do not want to, but seeing her like this is unbearable. It is too much. Lisére comes to mind. I have not thought about my murdered twin in ages-

    Suddenly, Flor is there, screaming at me. “Luçien! Alezan forgave her! Do NOT kill her!”

    I see the light dying in Isabeau’s eyes.

    “No!” I cry out, the word a seemingly endless sob.

    I shake her body like a madman, but her soul is gone. Instead of ranting, I should have comforted her in the last moments of her life.

    Flor dares to touch my shoulder.

    “Be gone, you monster!” I snarl.

    “Luçien!” somebody addresses me gently, but it is not the woman who destroyed my life the very moment that I was born.

    “Why are you always too late, Dealg?” I yell. “Can’t you manage to be on time when it really matters?”

    My father does not answer, not verbally anyway. I huddle up in his arms like a distressed child. He lets me cry until there are no tears left.

    “And now,” he says, a smile singing in his voice. “Be the Force healer that you always were meant to be! Be what Grianán needs you to be!”

    I am dizzy when he lets go of me and presses a final kiss against my brow. All my questions, all my allegations vanish. He is right. This is not the time for self-pity or grief.

    Isabeau is gone, but her most precious ward is still in need of me.

    “Flor,” I address my mother in a civilised manner. “I need bandages to wrap the Holy consort of Cunabula in for her final journey. Please hurry!”

    “Of course, Luçien!” she mutters demure, not able to look me straight in the eyes.

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

    I am not able to leave my dead step-sister behind. Knowing that I break with all traditions, I place her over my shoulder anyway and turn towards the entrance of Ostal Blanc.

    A giant with blond, long hair, who looks somewhat forlorn in his winter clothing, steps boldly in my way.

    “Skje, why are you here?”

    His bushy eyebrows draw together. “Guess.”

    “Of course, you can marry Sionnach.” Despite all, I smile wryly underneath my war mask. “I should have allowed you to do so much earlier, but I have been busy cleaning up the mess that I call my life.”

    “I can see that. Spring cleaning.”

    A muscle twitches in the right corner of his mouth, but that is the only reaction that I get. He does not even ask whose corpse that it. How considerate of him. Because his honour would force him to ask me for a duel at once. And there has been enough death for today.

    I am lucky that he does not recognize the corpse of his regent due to her bindings.

    “Sionnach will get a generous dowry from me,” I promise quickly. “I owe her a thousand times for keeping up with me the past years.”

    Now Skje lifts a brow. “I did not ask for any money, kitty. Give me your written consent that I am allowed to marry Sionnach.” He takes a step closer to me, measures me sharply. “That is all I ask of you.”

    My word is not enough any more. Only a document will do.

    I start to ask myself what miracle I have to work to win the royal family for my course. Especially after killing their mater familias.



    “I will send you something as soon as I can. But if you would excuse me now, there is an important mission for me.”

    The Udhaler grunts. “Are you not always on a run?”

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

    Irmgard is on door duty still. Her gaze widens at the burden that I carry. With a shriek she attempts to close the door again, but I force myself in.

    “Bitte, ich muss Grianán sehen,” I beg. Please, I must see Grianán.

    “You should leave the princess alone if there is any decency left in you,” my former lover cries. “Your sheer touch could trigger the greatest nightmares in her.”

    “But you do not know for sure,” I say, my voice small.

    “You traumatized a psychic, Blödmann.” Her nostrils flare. “Stupid. Somebody who can read every surface she touches. You should have killed her off properly in that bedroom. Not even the crystals were able to heal her soul.”

    “I feel that my love still can save her.”

    “You mix up love and obsession,” Irmgard snorts.

    With a soft sigh, I reach inside my tunic, where I keep Grianán’s diary. “I have nothing to hide any longer. Please take this and read it!”

    “I will not,” she fumes. But then she understands.

    Gingerly, Irmgard takes the diary and presses it against her massive chest. Her special ability makes her realise what I cannot put into proper words. She reads the object carefully by retrieving all my feelings from it.

    After a while big tears roll over her cheeks. “Oh, Luçien. You are such a... a... Rindvieh!”

    Cattle? Is that really the right word?”

    “Rein mit dir! Aber schnell!” Irmgard hicks, propelling me inside. Come on in! But be quick!

    As I hurry towards the tea parlour, I try to feel Grianán in the Force. But I can only sense a bleak spot. This makes me more determined to restore the light that I extinguished.

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

    “You bring death itself into Ostal Blanc?” my former master asks incredulously when I enter her room.

    “I am death,” I answer. “And my work follows me everywhere. It did not disturb you before, did it now, Minou? Not as long as I defended faith itself.”

    There is more that I wish to say, but instead my burning gaze locks with that of Grianán. She is alive, her looks restored to frail beauty. The power of the Healing Crystals of Fire have erased my tattoos, made her hair grow back in place.

    As my gaze lingers on, I notice the cruel joke Minou poses on me.

    My stomach does a complete flip-flop.

    Grianán wears the red garments and bridal henna, which is normally applied one or three days before the wedding night. The stains must be allowed to mature and to deepen. The colour is manipulated with the Force.

    Dazed, I stare into grey eyes as my bride-to-be comes closer. Her hands reach out for me.

    No, not for me. For my dead step-sister.

    Her face is as empty as an unfilled goblet as she plunges into the void of Isabeau’s last moments. I am too exhausted to cut off my mental connection to her and so I get sucked in as well.

    Luçien takes his leather gloves off, throwing them on the ground. He looks at his hands, stretches his fingers.

    I feel my lungs more and more collapsing. If he refuses to heal me, I will drown from the inside.

    It is ironic, really. It will be the very death that I once had dreamt of, but never expected to happen like this. It is not a lake or the ocean that will kill me off. My own blood will coax me. There is no dignity in it. He will not even grant me a fair fight with him. His esteem for me s seems very low.

    He saunters towards me very, very slowly. His voice is hoarse. “I did warn you, did I not?”

    I notice something unexpected. He carries Grianán’s scent. That cannot be. That is impossible!

    Carefully, I move my nasal wings. Perhaps I am hallucinating towards the end.

    I sniff again.


    It is indeed her scent. Underlining it I smell naked fear, tears and blood. All relatively fresh. I look at Luçien in horror. What has he done to my darling girl since I have left Draconis for Heulwen?

    “I ordered you to never come back home. You chose to disobey me.” He opens his arms. “You were aware of the consequences.”

    I roll my eyes at him.

    “Even in death you mock me, Isabeau,” he complaints. How dare you!”


    As breathing gets more and more painful, thinking is now a complicated act of balance. But Grianán is here with him, here on Sapuhru. It is a fact that I cannot deny. And even though she is badly hurt, she was alive. Death carries a different scent. Alezan’s death has stuck to Flor like a very bad perfume. There is still hope.

    While Luçien rants on, I move one of my blood smeared hands away from my belly and towards my throat.

    Finally, my fingers cramp around the amulet that I am wearing.

    Flor sprints towards us, coming closer. I smell her blind panic. My smile is genuine.

    Luçien turns towards his mother.

    It takes all the strength that is left in me to tear the leather band from my neck.

    It hurts a big deal, but the leather bursts, leaving a deep cut in my neck.

    “Luçien! Alezan forgave her! Do not kill her!”

    My hand sinks down with its precious contents.

    Luçien leaps towards me. The very moment his arms close around me the light in my eyes breaks.

    “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”


    I leave it all behind me, including my precious message for Grianán. A message only she would be able to read.

    Revenge will be mine after all.

    My sweet girl will fight Luçien with all she can. She is a survivor. Not a darksider like him. Her light cannot be diminished.


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

    Instead of killing me on the spot, which I do deserve by all means, Grianán decides to follow me into the desert. For my people, this is the purest nuptial promise that there is. But my bride is not aware of that, I fear. All that she wants is to put the lifeless body of her nanny at rest. With or without me.

    I remain silent on our journey. The past forty-eight hours have been wrought with so much damage, that Grianán might never again believe a single word that I say.

    Much later on, after the funeral ritual has taken place, my offer to bring my bride home provokes an unexpected announcement.

    “To my father’s funeral? Yes!”

    I gulp.

    Agathos cannot be dead. I remember meeting him in the breakfast room before I left with Draň. He had looked worn out, true, but not anyway near the brink of death.

    “It was not I who broke his heart,” Grianán sneers, aware of my precipitate thoughts. “Look closer to home.”

    Agitated, I glance at her. I have turned her into an orphan in a time where she actually needs nest warmth the most. The dark side preys on the weak, the fearful.

    Her eyes turn soft again, lose their unhealthy fire. “I would not mind staying in the desert tonight,” she admits.

    At least I had the wits to prepare for this possibility. I happen to have a tent and other useful equipment in my saddle bags.

    I build up everything as quick as possible.

    It will become none of us when I give into a depression. Out here in the desert, I must concentrate on our survival. A simple wrong-turn can be a death-sentence and we end up lying on a dune like my step-sister forever more.

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

    In the hours to follow Grianán does not sleep well. Concerned, I touch her brow to bring her ease, but it backfires on both of us. I get sucked into the recent past with her:

    For somebody focused on grace and precision in combat, Luçien resorts to physical contact with astonishing regularity. He attempts to knock me in the face with his hilt just before kicking into the lower zones of my body.

    Every feint of his, every dodge and every block would have been a trap to somebody unwary. Luckily, the snake style techniques Taran has taught me bring fluidity into my movements. They are useful in bending just outside Luçien’s reach.


    “Are we finished yet?” I get out with clenched teeth. “You couldn't bring yourself to kill me before and I don't believe you'll destroy me now.”

    “My little dreamer!” he booms with laughter. “Your faith is incurable.”

    “I have always believed in you, Luçien!” I argue carefully.

    His gaze briefly softens, but then he bites out, “You are the mambo asogwe of Cunabula. Heulween has confirmed as much to me.”


    This is already old news, but it makes me sad for my niece. The ancestors have corrupted the girl, gave her the Tjiehennet heritage I never wanted. I will only waste my time defending myself. The truth will be lost on Luçien.

    My arms and legs grow tired despite the Unifying Force. I drop to my knees. My throat is exposed to him in absolute surrender. It is the Lidérc way when a battle was lost. “Will you grant me a dying wish?”


    “Of course.” Tears run over his cheeks.

    “As you move on, remember me, and all we could have been.”

    He bends over to kiss me lightly on the mouth. “Good-bye, Grianán. I love you more than you ever will know.”

    My resolve is quicker than his. And so are my hands. Blood splatters through the room as I cut the arteries of my neck with one stroke.



    Sources:

    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and books
     
    Kahara likes this.
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Whew, intense and their destinies lie together still @};-
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    intense and will they survive?
     
  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Because I might be busy off-line this weekend and because I am on two weeks winter holidays in the midst of a pandemic, I give you another update right now, my dear @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha & @earlybird-obi-wan.

    Perhaps others are still out there, too. Such as @Kahara, @Cowgirl Jedi 1701, @Darth_Furio & @Nehru_Amidala.


    Chapter 28:

    My bride returns into the present, screaming. Not even the thickness of the desert night can hide the truth. Her blanket is wet.

    A deadly chill hangs around us like a misty cloud. The shroud of the dark side of the Force. I must fight it with love and understanding.

    “Can I get you something? Tea?” I ask Grianán gently and keep my distance. “Fresh clothing? A sponge to clean yourself? A new blanket?”

    “My life,” she whispers. “All has trickled away like water.”

    “I have hurt you in unspeakable ways.” I make my voice as soft as a psalm. “So many wounds in your soul. I can feel them.”

    Grianán hides her face between shaky knees, not caring that her nightgown is soaked with urine. “I will be fine,” she grunts through gritted teeth.

    There are some wounds that never might heal. I wish I hadn’t been so thorough breaking her. I sink down next to her pillow, which causes her to shiver even more. “Easy, Grianán! I will not touch you, but allow me to freshen up your bed.”

    Reluctantly, my bride does my bidding. She draws back into a corner of the tent hidden by shadows and starts cleaning herself.

    I stare at my boots jerkily.

    Unpleasant glimpses of my own past rise in me. I remember urine poodles, hurt flesh. Why, in the Name of the Force, have I put the love of my life through similar ordeals?

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

    Not much later I am outside, the dirty laundry carefully pressed against my chest like a bijou. In my saddle bags I find a laundry bag and stuff everything in. And I seem to have spare pants and an extra tunic. It will be by far too big for Grianán, but for now I have nothing more sufficient.

    Stray hairs stick to to both of my cheeks with sweat. I get hold of them and retie my ponytail.

    When I am just about to re-enter the tent, I can hear my bride talking to somebody in a hushed, angry voice.

    “Just go away! I do not want to discuss that with you.”

    My heart skips a beat or two. She is talking to the Dead. Realizing that, goose bumps prick my skin.

    “Just because you believe in Luçien, does not mean that I have to. Don’t be ridiculous, father!”

    Agathos. She is in a conversation with Agathos.

    A tear of gratitude runs down my cheek. After all that I have pulled Agathos still believes in me. Even in the after-life. He continues to trust me with his daughter.

    I swipe the back of my hand over my face.

    “Thank you, my old friend!” I whisper into the desert wind.

    Due to Agathos I have learned much about gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity. Traits, he undoubtedly passed on to Grianán. I should have seen that before. But I was blinded by prejudice. Only regarded her as a foul necromancer in the tradition of her ancestors.

    I gather all my strength to face the young woman that I have wronged in so many ways.

    “This is all that I can offer you at present,” I say loudly when I march into the tent.

    Keeping my gaze downwards, I put the clothing bundle on her sleeping mattress. I step back and turn around to grant her privacy.

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

    In the dim hours of morning, my bride finally falls into an uneasy sleep. I want to give her a special type of medicine. One that I have not considered before. If she is to relive her greatest nightmares with me over and over again, I must grant her moments of happiness.

    When I searched my saddle bags earlier on, I found a little tin box. Irmgard must have put it there. Not long ago, I would have killed my former lover for the possession of this dark powder.

    Carefully, I open the lid and sniff at the crushed coca beans.

    I remember how eagerly her royal siblings enjoy mug after mug during meals at Dún Barr. Right now I want such solace for Grianán, too.

    The preparation is all too easy.

    When I walk back into the tent, a mug in my hands, my bride is fully awake.

    “I have made some hot chocolate for you,” I announce cheerfully.

    Her answer is a single Force bolt, that she shoots right through the mug. She is very powerful. I must grant her that.

    “If you don’t want chocolate,” I continue firmly, “I can prepare some jasmine tea for you. The fire is still on.”

    Grianán drags her knees up under her chin. “Care to throw me in and be over with it? Use oil! Then I will burn even better.”

    “I will not do such a thing, my love. Your healing process is only beginning,” I assure her. “And I can see that it will be challenging.”

    “You love only yourself,” she accuses me.

    “I will prove that you are very wrong about that,” I sigh and add, “If you let me.”

    “Do you do love potions?” my bride chides me, her eyes yellow twin fires. “I did not think that you could sink so low. You know what? I think it may be safer if I didn’t eat or drink at all.”

    At least she talks back now. I should see that as a little victory against the dark side of the Force.

    “Grianán, I know you remember, and this is very hard for you. I was unbelievably cruel. Please understand that I want to help you to have a normal life again. Free from fear.”

    She starts to cry. Soft sobs at first, but they end in hot, bitter tears.

    I run outside and hurry back with a new mug in my hand. This time it contains Sionnach’s favourite: ordinary jasmine tea.

    Her right arm moves protectively over her head. “Do not come any closer!”

    “I won’t!” I bite out. “I gave you a promise. Please be assured that I will honour it.”

    “Like the ones before?” She curls into a fetal position.

    My mouth tightens.

    The only way I can redeem both of us is to treat her with affection and kindness. She will doubt me, of course, but I will continue to make her feel wanted and needed and loved.

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

    The next day I let my bride sit under the sun sail of our tent. For hours and hours she stares into the hot desert sand. Her features are as stony as the statues of her ancestors. She does not move and her breathing is flat.

    “Mens sana in corpore sano,” I murmur in the language of the Holy Isle. A healthy spirit in a healthy body.

    The only way I can redeem both of us is to treat her with affection and kindness. She will doubt me, of course, but I will continue to make her feel wanted and needed and loved.

    I step deeper into the tent and, while moving backwards, I appear inside my old room in the ducal homestead. My gift of dissolving into pure energy to travel great distances has come back to me. I am grateful for that.

    Within a relatively short time, I pack two luggage bags with warm blankets, pillows, socks, underpants for me and some of Sionnach’s old cotton dresses. My step-father, Alezan, has left my chamber the way it has been. I am grateful for his foresight.

    I do not turn around as the chamber door opens.

    “Milord?” Reneé, my former second officer, is pleased to see me. “It really is you. I thought I was imagining things.”

    “Please close the door!” I ask the veteran friendly. “I do not want to alert anybody else to my presence.”

    It does not take me long to tell him what I need: water bottles and food supplies. I will try to cook all of Grianán’s favourite meals to bring her back to full consciousness.

    “Will that be all, milord?” he asks.

    I am glad that I am wearing my warrior mask. A hot surge rushes over my face. I am not comfortable discussing such topics with anyone. “If you could get me some flowers, I would be very grateful.”

    “Are you sure that this is all you need?”

    “Erm, if you would manage to find me ladies underwear for a rather small woman, I would appreciate it.”

    “Is Her Royal Highness as slender as Her Ladyship O’Conghaile?” Reneé does not chuckle nor does he sound affronted.

    “Grianán and Sionnach are indeed the same seize,” I confirm. “Oh and can you add soap and towels, too?”

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

    Good and healthy nutrition will be another way to support Grianán’s healing process. Therefore I roam the market of Montségur the next evening.

    Not only are the food merchants willing to help me, but I also end up loaded with presents. The citizens show their sympathy for my bride, and their deeply felt appreciation. She freed me from the grip of the dark side. Some already start worshipping her as a martyr of faith. I cannot stop this process, nor do I want to. It would not be fair to her, not after all her sacrifices.

    Reneé and the ducal guard help me store the tokens: exquisite bales of cloth for at least fifty saris; valuable jewellery, sweet herbs and scented candles; expensive make-up that I really cannot see my wife wearing, and fragile pottery that I can see her treating with care. It is almost the ransom for a god queen. Everything is stored in a warehouse close to the space port to wait for when my wife is more aware of what she has received. I only return with the flowers and all the groceries to our desert camp.

    When I start cooking, Grianán does not turn around. No scent tempts her, no external stimuli makes her change her position. I remember a time when I hardly could stop her chopping groceries or meat for me.

    I sit next to my bride when we eat. Her face is as smooth as a sand dune, while her eyes are as empty as usual. She chews everything without joy and swallows it mechanically. At least she is eating and is not on a hunger strike.

    That night she has no nightmares. Her sleep is sound.

    I allow my body to be claimed by sleep as well. If I am to act as her beaton, I need to be well rested myself.

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

    It takes another two weeks before we have real interaction again. Grianán wears a jewel that I know too well; Sionnach’s wedding ring.

    Without thinking, I reach out for her left hand. She collapses on me the very instant that we have skin contact. This time I do not allow the ocean of impressions to close in around me. Instead, I reach out for Grianán’s twitching form, so frail and painfully thin.

    She is mad with me, when she returns to the present.

    I force myself not to clean my bride, when she loses control of her bladder again. Instead I create a private corner for her in the tent once more. I get her a wash stand and a cloth in no time, place fresh clothing on her pillow.

    Even if it will drive me crazy not to intervene, I should learn to acknowledge her freedom and her autonomy as much as possible. She needs to make her own choices again. Needs to be restored as a person by her own rights.

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

    In the days to come the dark side feeds on Grianán’s soul like a black hole, diminishing her remaining light. Her tantrums get worse. And her self-control is almost gone. Soon, she will be a brainless pawn like her sister Adamah shortly before her unfortunate demise.

    “Might I suggest to you that we return to the city,” I voice carefully.

    She wrings her hands, “I actually like it out here.”

    The snort of an eopie startles her.

    “How rude of me!” I call out, laughing. “I hope the three of you can forgive me that I never made any proper introduction before.”

    Her gaze follows my index finger.

    “This is Argent, my loyal eopie stead. Next to him is his sister, Crépuscule.”

    The old eopie mare once had been Isabeau’s favourite. My chest feels heavy as I watch Grianán walking towards her. The animal looks at her through fathomless eyes.

    My bride bows politely.

    Nothing happens.

    When I am at the brink of tears Crépuscule’s knees give in. Grianán waits until it is appropriate to stroke the long eopie trunk.

    Suddenly, Argent is behind my bride, trustfully rubbing his lowered head against her.

    Then Crépuscule also starts to brush herself against the slender humanoid who starts crying profoundly.

    The large animals gently squeeze my bride between them. They treat her like a very young eopie calf.

    I watch the three of them for a while, my hands clasped behind my back. Then I start to dismantle the tent.

    There is much to learn here.

    The animals show me how it is done. How to bring back a lost individual into the safety of the herd. But there is more. This is a manual, how to bring back the self-esteem.

    The dark side separates a being from the community.

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

    While we ride back to the city on our eopies, I stare at my gloved hands most of the time.

    The reception that I am given by Minou is so frosty that I decide to pay a visit to the Headquarters of the Brotherhood immediately after I see her.

    My superiors sit down with me to have a decent cup of coffee and to enquire about the health of my wife.

    “I quit,” I hear myself say suddenly.

    All eyes in the room rest on me.

    “The ability to channel the Force into healing energy is one of the rarest and most precious of all Force gifts. I have corrupted my own gift too many times the past years. Therefore it is twisted and withered. I am not the healer that I should be.”

    I stare into my porcelain mug as if it magically contains all the answers and strategies that I am looking for.

    Suddenly, I am reminded of Grianán’s father, a daily café drinker. In his young days he had been a heated politician, but when he had married into the Tjiehennet family he had become a peaceful scholar. Even though he had not been strong in the Force, he had loved meditating on it. His example should be my new road to travel on.

    “I cannot be helpful for the holy course any longer. I am a sinner. Unworthy really.”

    There is more to say.

    And just like that, they let me go. Alive.

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

    That night I forget to place my boots next to the door when I crawl into my own bed. My inexcusable sloppiness causes my bride to stumble over them not much later. She has one of her greatest fits ever. Her eyes glow like twin flames in the darkness of our chamber. She fights like a lunatic. I defend myself with gentle movements.

    When I am able to hold her flailing limbs down, I open all the barriers of my mind and heart. “How can I make you less frightened of me? Please tell me, Grianán! I am running out of answers here. You need to help me. I would do anything to win back your heart.”

    When I begin to think that I lost her for good, she whispers in a stricken voice. “Can you stay and hold me for a while? Just hold me? No talking?”

    This is a wish that I am more than happy to oblige.

    I lift her to the bed and shift to a comfortable position. Her heartbeat is still as frantic as my own. As hers slows, so does mine, until she is left with regular breaths. Eventually her body softens and she drifts to sleep.

    Relief floods me. Somehow we will make it as husband and wife.

    I think of all the marriages I have witnessed. The most stable one, and I can see that only now, was the one of Grianán’s parents. I feel guilty that I was blinded with so much prejudice. Not only were Agathos and Arcānā good parents to their children, they also cared deeply for one another.

    Plans for a romantic wedding ceremony are on my mind, when I fall asleep. I snatched Grianán away from her family in a brutal manner. Therefore I must make amends to her. Perhaps Parhelion can help me out.

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

    Waking up next to my wife is nice and frightening at the same time. When I notice that she has opened her eyes, I back off in slow motion. I must not cause another flashback of her abduction. It would destroy everything that I worked for last night.

    “Bonjour!” I say kindly. My smile is winning.

    Grianán rises without answering, obviously not knowing what to make of our situation as well.

    “I would like to leave Sapuhru as soon as possible,” I inform her as I get out of bed.

    “Is that okay with your mother and the rest of your family?” she croaks; drowsiness has not left her body yet. “And the Brotherhood?”

    “I can assure you that have been many philosophical debates since we returned to the city. Your sacrifices for me question the core of the Holy Scriptures.”

    She gives me an uncertain glance.

    “You get compared with Calme herself. Soon there will be legends about you. Let it happen!”

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

    We stay at Ostal Blanc for two more days. While my wife gets spoiled and pampered by Irmgard, I am leaving the premises a lot. There are heavy negotiations going on with Flor and the rest of the ducal pride. They have the nerve to be furious with me. Just because I want to step back from all my duties to House Ankoù.

    Tourbillion, a gentle eopie whisperer, will be the perfect substitute. The city needs a ruler like him. It will be the beginning of a new area.

    “Do I need to suspect possible assassination attempts on my life?” my wife mumbles while Irmgard sponge-bathes her.

    “The ducal pride will not dare to harm you,” I ensure Grianán. “It would not become the honour of House Ankoù very well if a daughter of the most beloved senator from Amnion would join him in death.”

    It pains me that my culture forbids me to speak out Agathos name aloud. I can still not believe that he is gone from my life. Or that Grianán is fully orphaned by now. I give her a tender, yet sorrowful look.

    “Flor is certainly not happy with you, princess, ja?” Irmgard throws in, kneading my wife like a loaf of bread. “All that she built up around Luçien crumbled to dust with your arrival.”

    I could not care less what the woman who mothered me is feeling. I am done with her. And I am also done with reminding people of their duties. It will be great to rather concentrate on being a husband and a Force healer for the rest of my life.

    By putting her own life into risk Grianán has turned the tables around for me. Her deeds practically re-wrote my life. I must honour her and not House Ankoù.

    The ducal pride is better off accepting my bidding. For I am not used to repeat myself.

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

    In the private salón of Minou, we receive the travel blessing that usually a clan mother will give. With the assurance that our eopies will be cared for until our return, we are finally let to the door. We are bearing many wedding gifts and also letters for Sionnach.

    Gallantly, I lead my wife on board my retrieved star cruiser. “This time you will travel first class,” I ensure her for I can feel how jumpy she is.

    “Where are we going?”

    “To Amnion first and then Draconis.”

    She stares at our mingled fingers. “I am not so sure that I will be welcome on Amnion as a Tjiehennet.”

    “You are with me. Nobody in his or her right frame of mind would attack you.”

    I can tell that my wife does not fully believe me. Her eyes are clouded by concern.

    On the gangway we pass our flight captain who beams at us radiantly. “Your Highness, it is an honour.”

    “Oh, the honour is on my side, Captain Magenta.”

    Both women smile at one another.


    Sources:

    A Latin proverb
    Wookieepedia – The Star Wars Wiki
    Hidden quotes from SW movies and books
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
    Kahara likes this.
  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Their relationship is full of depth and complexity =D= Grianan's destiny is intertwined with Lucien's @};-
     
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