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Beyond - Legends Like Stone - Poetry Challenge response. (Lando and Karrde, talking about Mara)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Annia Piet, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    A/N - for the poetry challenge I got the wonderful 'The soul selects her own society' by Emily Dickinson. I've found this one quite challenging, both for the themes of the poem and because I chose to write Lando and Karrde, neither of whom I've written before and I'm a bit nervous about doing. It's set at the end of Union, although I seem to have lost the last two issues of that (sob!) and couldn't do any checking, so apologies if it is in any way inconsistent with canon...
    Disclaimer: It all belongs to Disney...

    “The soul selects her own society…” by Emily Dickinson

    The Soul selects her own Society—
    Then—shuts the Door—
    To her divine Majority—
    Present no more—

    Unmoved—she notes the Chariots—pausing —
    At her low Gate—
    Unmoved—an Emperor be kneeling
    Upon her Mat—

    I’ve known her—from an ample nation—
    Choose One—
    Then—close the Valves of her attention—
    Like Stone—



    Like Stone

    Lando Calrissian meandered through the crowd of the reception, looking for a quiet corner to escape. As much as he prided himself on being a king in any social situation, the long day of being extremely charming to all comers was starting to tire out even him. Plus he’d had a lot to drink and the day had been full of mixed emotions. He felt concern that his usual suave façade might start to slip.

    Glancing around he spotted a small alcove on the side of the dance floor that contained a table and some chairs and a single occupant. He wandered over.

    “Mind if I join you?” he asked.

    The occupant looked up from where he’d been contemplatively swirling a glass full of brandy, and examined him with cool blue eyes. “Please do.” Karrde gestured graciously to the chair beside him.
    Lando seated himself and set his own glass on the table. They sat for a few moments in companionable silence, both staring out at the dance floor. Only a few dancing couples were left out there after a long night of celebrations. One couple in particular, swaying in the centre of the floor, held each other tightly, oblivious to the world around them as though convinced only the two of them existed. The bride and groom. The pair they were all there together to celebrate the love of.

    “Does it bother you?” Lando asked suddenly.

    “Excuse me?” Karrde’s usually cool voice sounded surprised at the question.

    “Does it bother you that you’re loosing your best employee to this? I can’t imagine you have much patience for romance getting in the way of business.”

    Karrde shrugged lightly. “I can’t and don’t expect my employees to have no personal life. That’s unrealistic. And I have plenty of other skilled personnel.” Lando followed the man’s brief glance up to where Shada D’ukal was at the bar surrounded by a bunch of drunken Rogues. Lando briefly wondered just how badly that was going to go for the pilots. “It wouldn’t say much for me if my business couldn’t stand to loose a particular person, no matter how skilled and talented they are,” he continued. “And anyway, I think I was rather lucky to retain her as long as I did, don’t you?”

    They both looked back at the pair on the dance floor again. Lando turned the comment carefully over in his head. “You knew they were going to get together?” he asked in surprise.

    “Knew?” Karrde raised an eyebrow. “Not at all. It always seemed a possibility, from quite early on, but then the years passed and nothing happened…” He shrugged again. “It’s hardly my area of expertise anyway. But I was extremely surprised by how… surprised everyone else seemed by it, once it finally happened.”

    “Really? They disappeared off for a couple of weeks and came back engaged! Completely out of the blue! That’s cause for some comment, don’t you think?”

    Karrde looked at him blandly. “There are plenty of cultures where people get married after just a few weeks of courtship. And I’ve noticed over the years that my employees are often… brought together by going through stressful missions together.” He frowned at Lando. “Did you really have no inkling of it? I would have thought you, of all people…”

    Lando pursed his lips and swirled the golden liquid in his glass around, remembering… “Yeah, I knew” he admitted shortly. Karrde let the words hang, inviting him to elaborate if he wished. Lando stared out at the beautiful woman in his old friend’s arms. Mara leant back from Luke’s embrace to laugh at something her husband had said, that familiar sardonic quirk to her mouth. She smiled more now. More that he remembered the entire time he’d known her.

    “I pursued her a long time, as you know. I’d be an idiot not to, I mean just look at her. And that mind…. She’s a remarkable woman. I mean. Did you never think to…?” He glanced at the other man.

    “I don’t mix business with pleasure,” Karrde said coolly.

    “Well, yeah, fair enough. But you know, I could just get no-where with her. Business, yeah. And fun, we had some fun times too. But when it came down to it… Like stone. No way in.”

    “Mara doesn’t take on emotional relationships lightly. Given her background, that should not surprise you.”

    “Yeah, I know, and that’s why I gave it time, didn’t give up too easily. Gave her every opportunity to ease up and let me in. But ultimately, those barriers never came down.

    “Then one time, we were travelling together to a business meet up somewhere. Stopped off at Yavin to make a supply drop, as it was on our route. It was weird. She and Luke just avoided each other. I’d never noticed before how odd things had got between them, somewhere along the way. Then they decided to catch up on lightsaber practice, and went off to spar together. I tagged along to watch… And then I knew.” He sighed. “All that time chasing her, but in truth she’d let someone else in long ago, and shut the doors firmly on the rest of us.”

    Karrde stared at him for long moments, an eyebrow raised and amusement in his eyes. Lando feared the alcohol was making him sound a little morose. “Did it ever occur to you she just wasn’t interested in you like that?” Karrde suggested.

    Lando was a little taken aback by the idea. The idea that he’d actually just… never stood a chance was a little disturbing. He quickly re-caught his balance though. “What, a woman not willing to fall at the feet of Lando Calrissian, Death Star destroyer and businessman extraordinaire! The very thought!” he exclaimed sardonically, and the two men chuckled. Lando’s ego was legendary, but they both knew that it was just part of the show.

    “It seems to me that you found yourself a much more enthusiastic – and suitable – partner in the end though. Tendra is a rather formidable lady, I’m impressed at your luck there.”

    Lando glanced round the room for his own wife, a smile unconsciously spreading across his lips as his eyes found her, making conversation with Leia. Despite the lateness of the evening, she still looked as poised and perfect as always, even when the rest of the guests were showing the wear and tear of a long day of celebrations. He felt a swell of pride. “Yeah, I’ve always been a lucky guy.” Karrde laughed shortly at that. “Well okay, most of the time. This time all my chips came in though.”

    “I do think you’re looking at the Mara situation incorrectly though.” Karrde observed.

    “Oh? How so?”

    “Your romantic inclinations towards her may have been misplaced, but there’s more between you than that. We have a saying where I come from; ‘The soul selects her own society.’”

    Lando frowned. “What does that mean?” It was the first time he had ever heard the cynical old smuggler refer to his origins. Karrde must be nearly as drunk as he was.

    “It refers to the fact that we only meet a few people who we really let into our inner most lives. Mara and I are similar in that we let very few people get that close to us. Friendship is a precious and rare commodity. You spent so much time chasing after her for that very specific extra angle, that you failed to notice she already let you in. She accepted you as her friend. She put up with your cheesy come on’s and inability to take a hint, because she valued you for more than that. Friendship. You and I are among the privileged few she has accorded that status to, and neither of us have lost that now.”

    Lando blinked, and stared at the man in front of him. He had never heard Karrde hold forth on anything so personal. Well on anything personal at all. He really was drunk.

    And of course, he was also right.

    “Well,” Lando struggled for words. “Here’s to friendship.” He lifted his glass.

    Karrde chinked his glass against Lando’s, and downed the rest of his drink in one gulp. Then he pushed back his chair in a slightly haphazard fashion. “It’s been nice talking, Calrissian,” he said, and wandered off in the direction of Shada and the Rogues, who looked like they needed an intervention before things started getting out of hand.

    Lando slowly finished his drink, thinking deeply. The current musical number came tinkering to an end. Standing, he headed to the dance floor and tapped Luke on the shoulder. “May I claim a dance with the beautiful bride?”

    Mara grinned at him over Luke’s shoulder. “What, for old time’s sake?”

    “No,” he said, very sincerely. “For friendship’s sake.”

    Mara glanced at Luke, something silently passing between them, then she turned a genuine smile to Lando. “Well, I can’t say no to that.”

    She took his hand.
     
  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Any kind of a reflection, especially in complicated situations, or in cases of people with long and complicated personal history is interesting. Plus, with *cough cough* raise of Tendra's appearances in fics, it's nice to see her here too, even if it's just for one scene and for the sake of her husband's reflection. :)

    Lando Calrissian meandered through the crowd of the reception, looking for a quiet corner to escape. As much as he prided himself on being a king in any social situation, the long day of being extremely charming to all comers was starting to tire out even him. Plus he’d had a lot to drink and the day had been full of mixed emotions. He felt concern that his usual suave façade might start to slip.

    For some reason, this does not come as a surprise. Those who always try to be at their best, whatever they feel the said best may mean, they eventually get tired of it. Awesome opener, awesome invitation to read the rest of the story. :)

    “I pursued her a long time, as you know. I’d be an idiot not to, I mean just look at her. And that mind…. She’s a remarkable woman. I mean. Did you never think to…?” He glanced at the other man.

    Can't tell if he's afraid he's losing his cred as a ladies' man, conforming to what he thinks social norms are or some other corny manly thing...but he needs to remember that his wife may or may not be able to give him a good beating. At least with the way they described her and with the healthy, good food she was probably eating for the first thirty years of her life, she strikes me as capable of such a thing. :D

    Lando glanced round the room for his own wife, a smile unconsciously spreading across his lips as his eyes found her, making conversation with Leia. Despite the lateness of the evening, she still looked as poised and perfect as always, even when the rest of the guests were showing the wear and tear of a long day of celebrations. He felt a swell of pride. “Yeah, I’ve always been a lucky guy.” Karrde laughed shortly at that. “Well okay, most of the time. This time all my chips came in though.”

    And this is a part where the man child acknowledges he's a grown-up.

    Love how Karrde serves as Lando's catalyst here and how the ending is basically a bunch of averted old Hollywood tropes. Enjoyed this.
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent characterizations & talk. Karrde is right about Mara's barriers and friendship. :) =D= A lovely profound poem, very well-written challenge response!
     
  4. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, I really enjoyed this! This was just the sort of thing I was looking for with this poetry challenge—you really made both the themes and language of the poem pervade the whole story. I'm tickled especially pink by how you made the poem's first line a saying from Karrde's homeworld. The poem does apply well to Mara, probably right down to the bit about "an Emperor... kneeling /Upon her Mat—"

    Also, I love the concept of a conversation between two wedding guests about the newlyweds, plus the setting at the end of the wedding reception, when things are winding down in a happily lethargic sort of way and the last slow dance isn't too far off—you captured that atmosphere well. The drunken Rogues at the bar were a fun touch. :D

    Thanks so much for partcipating in the challenge—great to have you on board! =D=
     
  5. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Thanks folks, glad you enjoyed it, and thanks Findswoman for such a challenging and stimulating poem! (I feel I need to brush up on my Dickinson now :) )


    That's exactly what I was trying to capture. He's rather drunkenly lamenting loosing at this old 'game', and being a gambler he hates loosing. Karrde reminds him that he won a much bigger, important pair of prizes. And the best prize of all, of course, is that he finally grew up!

    Mind you, I always thought Lando's intentions to Mara were quite genuine, if misjudged, and I also feel he sometimes gets short changed into being a stereotype of himself in the pro-fic. I wanted to try and show a bit more of Lando's complexities.

    I have to confess that I've never paid enough attention to Tendra to feel I could bring her more into the story than I have, but looking through her Wookiepedia entry, I think I need to pay a bit more attention to her next time I re-read those books. As you say, I think she's more than a match for Lando!
     
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  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Karrde stared at him for long moments, an eyebrow raised and amusement in his eyes. Lando feared the alcohol was making him sound a little morose. “Did it ever occur to you she just wasn’t interested in you like that?” Karrde suggested.

    Lando was a little taken aback by the idea. The idea that he’d actually just… never stood a chance was a little disturbing. He quickly re-caught his balance though. “What, a woman not willing to fall at the feet of Lando Calrissian, Death Star destroyer and businessman extraordinaire! The very thought!” he exclaimed sardonically, and the two men chuckled. Lando’s ego was legendary, but they both knew that it was just part of the show.

    Loved that fic! And the poem that inspired you to it is magnificent! =D=

    You drew the characters so well.

    And you renewed my hope that the real SW, that I used to know, is still out there. In fanfic like yours! @};-
     
  7. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Ahhhhh! Lando! Karrde! I love this so much.

    I can't appropriately squee at the moment as I'm at work but will be back with more gushing comments later.

    EDIT: Okay, so is there a more perfect quote to describe Mara than "the soul selects her own society"? I think not. The whole poem really fits her character well, and that you've framed this in a conversation between Lando and Karrde - arguably the two people who are closest to Mara (after Luke) is just perfect.

    I also like Lando getting a bit of real talk from Karrde in that he naturally assumes he never had a chance with Mara because of Luke, whereas in any event she was Just Not That Into Him - but did let him in as a friend which was more than could be said for most people. Karrde being astute as always!

    Lovely little fic, and you wrote Karrde and Lando wonderfully! (That is a hint that you should write more fic with them ;))
     
  8. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    That makes two of us, LOL.

    I...I just...thank you for writing this, it was lovely. Oh, Lando, heh. The bro-ness, the candid and ultimately enlightening conversation and insight...yes, yes to all this, with all of these thumbs.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I like how Karrde pointed out to Lando that he had a friendship with Mara which was also something to consider and that it was a rare gift. Bravo for Karrde.@};-
     
  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    You're most welcome, and I thank you for rising to that challenge so wonderfully. :) I did briefly toy with the idea of doing an all-Dickinson poetry challenge... she's one of my favorites, and I love her stuff for its concision, its pithiness, its musicality... you get the idea.

    As it is, your poem was one of two Dickinson poems on my list—I tried to stick to just one poem per poet for most of the list, but I simply couldn't resist putting two of hers on there. (There's only one other poet on the list represented by two poems, and as more stories get written you may find out who. ;) )
     
  11. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Great characterization! I love the way you handled the Mara-Lando relationship here. (I cringe at any suggestion of them actually being romantically involved, but this was perfect.) And I agree that the poem fits Mara beautifully. Very nice!
     
  12. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    I loved the discussion between Karrde and Lando. Perfect characters
     
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  13. Kahara

    Kahara Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    I really enjoyed this glimpse into both Lando and Karrde's thoughts on this change for Mara, who has been a major figure in both of their lives. I think it's quite realistic to have Lando questioning the "what ifs", not because he seriously regrets the outcome of things but because there's often that clinging impulse to re-check old ambitions. Especially ones regarding people, that didn't work out as originally hoped.

    Your characterization of Lando is really insightful and I admire your ability to get into his head. He's a dynamic person full of unexpected twists and turns in the OT, and it always seemed like his potential was a bit wasted in the EU. This story really captures his complexity, IMHO. =D= And figures it into the events of the books. It's so, so easy to conflate the self-conscious image with the real person underneath -- and that's as inaccurate with Lando as it is with anyone. And yet that image contains echoes of the truth. It's not a lie so much as an exaggeration of how he really is. So there is this moment of regret when he faces the idea that he never had a chance with Mara, because A) it does conflict with his self-image as the dashing ladies' man -- though he's self-aware of this and doesn't take it a hundred percent seriously, as his joking with Karrde proves. ;) And B) one gets the feeling that he really did have some serious feelings for Mara, based on what's said between the lines.

    And I absolutely love Karrde's response. It shows both his practicality and the deeper wisdom that he has developed over the years.

    Just excellent! :D And I love Lando's response to this (and to the reference of Tendra, which shows that he does know just how lucky he is at the end of the day.) He knows the value of their friendship as it is -- it just takes a reminder to snap him out of the funk of reminiscing. :) I really enjoy the underlying message that it's not about counting relationships as a "win" or "loss" based on whether the results match up to your original plan -- it's about appreciating the friendships you have regardless of where they fall on some outdated scorecard. [face_dancing]People are not rewards that one can win by achieving the right score -- and how dull would life be if they were? It's the unexpected treasures, whatever they may be, that are the real gifts. On that note, I really liked this ending.

    Beautifully done! :D
     
  14. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Thanks Tarsier earlybird-obi-wan Kahara :)

    This sums up my thought process perfectly! I guess it's a riff on the 'Friend-zone' concept, with the point being that the friend-zone is a great place to be, because it means someone's granted you their friendship, which is an amazing gift :)
     
  15. aleja2

    aleja2 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Aug 4, 2005
    I absolutely loved this. Loved, loved, loved. You captured Karrde and Lando perfectly. And I loved setting this at the wedding reception.
     
  16. MaraJade1225

    MaraJade1225 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Absolutely lovely! The poem you picked was perfect for the setting, and just so very appropriate. Love, love, love this!
     
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    And once again I'm late to the party and everyone else has said pretty much all I wanted to say... I'll add one thing though, I liked how you painted the similarities but also the differences between Karrde and Lando in this story. Both are characters who are concerned about how they are perceived and who cultivate carefully their public persona, but the image they seek to project is very different and is a reflection of their personalities. I like how you translated Lando's flashy exterior into a cover for his insecurities. Maybe Karrde is drunk indeed, but methinks that he's less drunk than Lando likes to believe -- in the end, he hasn't disclosed much personal information, has he?

    =D=
     
  18. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Thank you :) they are characters that make an interesting counterpoint to each other. Remembering now that Lando was the only one to have met Karrde before HTTE, and described him as a 'cold fish' I'm now wondering if writing up their first meeting would make an interesting missing scene :)
     
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  19. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Seriously amazing stuff right here! I feel like I may have seen it before, but not truly read it. Thank goodness for the awards for bringing this to my attention!!! You've done an incredible job communicating feelings we're all rather familiar with through a different medium (Karrde and Lando). Plus, Karrde is one of my favorite characters. I think there's so much more to him than we ever got to see in profic!!!

    Love it!!!
     
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