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Saga - ST Lost Saints (Disney Animated Movie Quote Challenge)--Leia, Luke; pre-TFA (author replies 9/21)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by leiamoody, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Title: Lost Saints
    Author: leiamoody
    Genre: Drama
    Characters: Leia, Luke (offscreen yet onscreen), Han (brief mention)
    Timeframe: One year after the massacre at Luke’s Jedi Temple, a few years prior to TFA
    Rating: PG
    Summary: Leia reflects upon the absence of her brother and the presence of her past.
    Author’s Notes: This story was written for the Disney Animated Movie Quote Challenge.

    Quote used: "I'll remember you, though. I remember everyone that leaves." - Lilo and Stitch

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The universe imploded. The stars burnt out. Light was exiled into oblivion.

    Leia opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. Any other time in her life she would have cursed herself for dropping into melodramatic thoughts. The universe wasn’t in physical danger of heat death or the sudden appearance of a massive black hole that might appear at the center and swallow up every celestial body until nothing remained but empty space.

    She pulled herself upright in the chair. This was a minor break in her day, because the Resistance waited for no one (especially the person in charge of running the operation). She needed to take little breaks in between reading reports and perusing strategies. It wasn’t like those ancient days in the Rebellion when she could run on very little sleep or anything else except a burning sense of anger that propelled her through meetings and missions.

    Leia glanced at the paused image on the holoscreen of her datapad. The image of her brother's impassive expression flickered but otherwise remained still. One year ago, exactly to the precise hour, Luke sent the message with those opening words… "I need to disappear. Please understand you aren't to blame. It’s no one’s fault but mine."

    Those words were meant to provide comfort. But nothing could provide her with comfort after that day. What she needed more than anything was hope.

    But hope disappeared with Luke and wasn't likely to return.

    Leia pushed herself from the desk. Her office in the Resistance base was filled with reminders of the past. The ancient carved orowood desk that once belonged to her father was utilized in her daily work. The ancillary sphere once owned by her mother that depicted some unknown artist’s view of the galaxy from around 25,000 BBY (with Coruscant at the center) looked over the affairs of her daily life on a small wooden chest once in the possession of her birth mother. The past was a perpetual comfort during the stress of her daily life. It was also the only comfort allowed to her since a year ago...when the universe imploded and light was exiled into oblivion.

    Leia walked over to a large painting that dominated the room. The painting depicted a sunset over the green expanse of the Apalis Coast. The sky was artificially vibrant, painted in gaudy red and pink to accompany the glaring orange sun just visible above the horizon. It wasn't a high quality image but something created for the tourist market. Yet it was a reminder of some long ago time when the young girl who possessed her name could still believe in hope.

    For much of her life she was either reviled as an “enemy of the people” or lauded as one of the “saviors of the galaxy”. But within the past several years so much of the galaxy turned against her. How could those she considered her compatriots, perhaps some of them friends, want to bring her so far into disgrace? Why did so many beings who had benefited under the relative peace and stability brought into their lives by the New Republic turn away from the reality of the growing threat of the First Order, a threat so obvious to her and the handful of members who now formed the Resistance?

    Of course those anonymous beings on their varied worlds wanted the same kind of existence she often craved but never found…that elusive concept of “normalcy”, where the rhythm of life flowed at a steady pace. But that was some vague hope. Hope was the ultimate fantasy…the greatest delusion experienced by those cursed to live.

    Leia turned away from the painting and looked at the objects which crowded her office. They had been accumulated over the years, from her childhood to her time as Senator. They were supposed to be reminders, not just on a personal level but also on the wider scale of the lives she fought for every day. Personal mementoes provided motivation to make good decisions and remember her problems were never more important than the concerns that affected the ordinary citizen.

    “But they never cared about me.” Her thought made a dash from her brain straight into her mouth then out into the silence. It was a feeling she never dared express because it was unfair to indulge in self-pity. Her life had been filled with tragedy. Yet it was immoral to feel any iota if sadness about her losses.

    Leia moved back across the room to her desk. The end result of all those years struggling to bring order to the galaxy had revealed themselves in the past year. The Galactic Senate had openly splintered into factions. This division forced her and a small group of supporters to depart Hosnian Prime to retreat far out into the galaxy. “The Resistance” was such a lofty name for a group of dissidents who huddled in the shadows while light retreated from the galaxy. It seemed easier for most beings to refuse to believe that the First Order could actually threaten the New Republic. The murder of the Jedi apprentices didn’t waver the belief among certain senators about the growing threat. Since the Knights of Ren weren’t public ally affiliated with the First Order, it was viewed as a religious conflict far outside the concern of the government. It was horrible. The sacrifices Luke had made in order to serve both the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic were made for no reason. The mission given to him by those moldering masters of restoring the Jedi to prominence was more important to Luke than anything else. What did this choice gain him except grief and misery?

    But what did her choice to get married and have a child gain her except grief and misery?

    Leia reached out to press the key that would start Luke’s goodbye message. But she couldn’t watch him utter those words again, seeing the pain in his eyes while his face barely remained calm was horrible. Her brother’s grief also hurt Leia; she felt that sharp rip within her own soul at the same moment when he discovered the massacre.

    But that was the last connection with her brother; a brilliant cord of golden light that united them across time and space was severed, replaced by a monolithic black wall (at least that was how her imagination could explain the separation). His departure was a true shock, and she couldn’t find him no matter how much she tried to use those limited and dormant Force powers she once learned.

    Leia pulled her hand back from the datapad. She didn’t need to be reminded of her losses. Not just Luke, but Han…tears began to rise up and wanted to come out, but she pressed the bridge of her nose hard until the sensation was pushed back deep inside where it belonged. Crying never helped the pain. Nothing helped. All she could do was press forward, performing those same duties as leader that always sustained her no matter the tragedies which permeated her own existence.

    She reached out and touched the datapad key. The vid began to play. “I have to go somewhere. I don’t know where to go, although I hope the Force can help me. I don’t want to leave. But what else can I do? If I come to you, they will follow me and destroy everyone.”

    He cast his gaze away from the camera, looking into the future or somewhere or something else. “Maybe I can find what lays at the center of the galaxy. Or perhaps I might be able to find the first Jedi Temple.” He looked into the camera again. “I already know you aren’t going to approve of what I’m doing. You’re thinking that I’m running away.” Luke shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. But I need to disappear. I need to be forgotten. You need to forget me, at least until the day comes when I can return…if that day arrives. Maybe it won’t. Maybe everyone will forget that Luke Skywalker was real. I might become a myth. That’s the best hope for the galaxy.” He tried to smile, to reassure his sister that his decision was made from conscious reflection instead of conscious guilt. “I’m leaving now. This is the last message you’ll receive from me for a long time. I love you.” His right hand, not covered by skin that exposed the circuitry underneath, reached out to switch off the recorder. “You might even learn to forget me. That would be comforting to me…if you could just forget. Goodbye.”

    The screen went black.

    Leia pushed the datapad screen away from her gaze, then looked up at the ceiling. “How could you think that I would forget you?! You actually imagined that I’d be stupid enough to pretend that you don’t exist!”

    Yelling in an empty room to a person who couldn’t and wouldn’t be found was the only response she could offer Luke.

    She leaned back into the chair and sighed. “But I’ll remember you, though. I remember everyone that leaves."
     
    Pandora, Ewok Poet, yahiko and 3 others like this.
  2. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Oh, lovely, leiamoody! Melancholic. Luke is a complete idiot if he REALLY expects that Leia could forget him. She lost so much, lost her Alderaanian family, and with Han and Luke she forged a new family, and Ben was supposed to strengthen it... and she lost everything again.

    And this..
    Oh, this. Gut wrenching. That she truly thinks that about her husband and her son. Yes, maybe she and Han had too many differences, but still... and Ben didn't need to turn out the way he did. Maybe that was her failing... believing that just because he was strong in the Force, he was somehow obligated to follow the path of the Jedi, especially if he was young enough not to understand what that meant. We don't know enough about it yet (hurry up, Ep. 8!), but that she has this thought at all is so sad.

    Anyway. Lovely, as I said!
     
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    This is so tragic. Leia, moreso than anyone else, has had to bear the greatest losses. On top of that, she's been expected to carry on as a leader and act as if she isn't torn into pieces over it. Her entire world - her friends and family, her home, her culture, everything - was destroyed. Her marriage fell apart. Her son became a murderer. Her friends and allies deserted her. And now, to lose Luke, that's just too much to ask of one person.

    The idea that she keeps replaying the message from Luke, even though it breaks her heart a thousand times, because it's the last link she has to him...so sad. :(

    She surrounds herself with memories, the souveniers of all the others who had left her in the past. She remembers them all, because she is their last link, too. Beautifully written!
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    leiamoody -- I am speechless with awe!!!!!!!!! Beautiful, eloquent, poignant, heart-tugging. Exquisite and true to character.

    =D= =D=

    The delusions of the greater populace in denying the real threat of the First Order, the pursuit of normalcy seen also to be futility and a chasing after wind....

    it breaks my heart that Leia feels this way, and I agree with divapilot that she has lost so much :_| and has gained so little if anything from the sacrifices! Not even accurate knowledge of her motives, of her true self, or gratitude. Those things might have provided some soothing balm to her spirit.

    Thank you for writing this; it was indeed a superlatively excellent response to the challenge.

    [:D]
     
  5. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You show us a broken heroine here, somebody who still goes through the motions because there is no other way for her. Her life has become her work. Because her private life is hunted by shadows and tragic losses.

    Thanks for sharing such a heartbreaking piece of work with us! The rage, the sorrow, the person behind the legend. Because she is one, too.
     
  6. yahiko

    yahiko Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 12, 2015
    I've discovered this fic through the Reader's Choice thread and it's a nice one. The tone is moving and the unbreakable bond between Leia and Luke is nicely depicted (a brilliant cord of golden light that united them across time and space).
    I enjoyed the way Luke telled to Leia his desire to get away from everyone using a video recording and not a simple letter. Maybe, inconciously, he (you) meant he does not believe to be forgotten after all.
    Glad to see you're back at writing. See you for more later, let's hope so ;)
     
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow, this is one amazing vignette. Definitely one of the most wrenching views of TFA-era Leia that I've seen, and one of the most striking explorations of her connection to her brother. The "Light exiled into oblivion" is of course Luke himself, the light of the whole saga, and hope has gone with him—which of course ties back to Leia as embodiment of hope in both Rogue One and A New Hope. Without the light brought by her brother to the Force and to the universe, is it even possible for her to be that embodiment anymore? Particularly at a time in Galactic history when hope itself has become "the ultimate fantasy…the greatest delusion experienced by those cursed to live"?

    In stark juxtaposition to the absence of Luke, light, and hope are of course the various material possessions that remind Leia of her past. On one hand, it's very beautiful and poignant that she still has, and uses those beautiful artifacts of Alderaan: the orowood desk, the sphere, the chest, even the gaudy painting; they remind her of the time way back when, when she did believe in hope. On the other hand, they highlight the bleakness of her current situation; the fact that she's insisted on gathering them so close about her suggests that she's trying to fill an emptiness of sorts. And it's notable that even Luke has at this point become somewhat of an object, or at least a simulacrum of himself, in the form of this video message that Leia has likewise kept around her as an artifact.

    I can only second what everyone else has said about the video message: absolutely haunting. The way Luke insists on being forgotten—"Maybe everyone will forget that Luke Skywalker was real. I might become a myth. That’s the best hope for the galaxy"—wow, that is one pretty amazing inversion of all the saga's themes right there, and yet one that's utterly consistent with what Luke seems to have done in TFA. (And in a way, the new trilogy does seem to have that kind of inversion at its center.) And Leia's response to it is utterly believable: first lashing out at him, then thinking a bit about what that remembrance might mean for her. Maybe the act of remembrance will turn out to be a form of hope.

    And let me just close by saying you really struck gold with this quote. Of all the ones I've seen come out of this roulette so far, this one is just such an excellent fit for the themes of your fanfic work in general—particularly in connection with those who "leave" (this life, this consciousness, etc.) but are not fully gone. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful and haunting story with us! @};-
     
  8. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    This is the kind of a story that punches you into the stomach and then, when you bend over, kicks you in the head. Poignant, strong and so very you!

    Leia is 100% in character here, like she always is in your stories. From the very beginning, the hint that she would've cursed herself in any other situation is so.Leia. She always had to be the strong one, in all the peer groups, the one who keeps the straight face, the one who has to bottle up her emotions in order to make everyone else stable and keep them on task, keep their feet on the ground.

    A subtle way to describe age and doubt. Love it. At the same time, one can see that even after one year, she finds it hard to process and digest Luke's message. And everything around her is past, the recent past being hopeless. Past mistakes, past memories, past everything. And the only way to deal with the past is to understand it and make sure that there is a future.

    On the other hand, no matter how artificially vibrant the painting is, no matter the fact that it depicts the sunset and not the sunrise - it's hope.

    The dichotomy of the "loved" Leia and "hated" Leia is a good observation. She is stuck somewhere in the middle, among all these mementos.

    Both she and her brother had only good things in mind when she got married and when he reformed the Jedi order - it's the curse following them through their lives. They were the chosen ones, much like their father and the burden is too hard to carry.

    There cannot be peace for either until they unite, despite Luke's message.

    The very ending of the story shows Leia at her most vulnerable - she remembers everyone who leaves...because everyone has left. All her memories are connected to those who left.

    Hang in there, our princess. <3
     
    Findswoman, leiamoody and yahiko like this.
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Gracious Ewok Poet -- that review was as gorgeous as the original post by leiamoody, compassionate and eloquent. @};- [:D] Anyone who saw Leia "surviving" and carrying on would never guess how fragile and fragmented she feels on the inside. [face_thinking] Yet and still that too is undeniable courage. [face_love]
     
  10. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Just wanted to pop in and thank everyone for the reviews! :D They're wonderful to read, and I want to take the time to respond to each one in greater detail, and will do so in the coming days. Thanks again. :)
     
  11. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    I think that Luke honestly believes that running away was the best solution because if he disappeared, that would make it easier for Leia to run the Resistance. By disappearing from the known galaxy, he wouldn’t put others in danger. But his wish to be forgotten comes, of course, from guilt. It’s not much of a stretch to compare the canon Luke to Job from the Old Testament.

    It makes sense given the circumstances that Leia would regret her life choices. Not just marriage and having a child, but how she raised Ben. Did her decision to send him with Luke play some part in his fate? Or would the same thing have happened even if she denied him the opportunity to develop his Force talents? (One could possibly make that argument, I suppose).

    (For the record, I have my own opinions about the actions of Luke, Leia, and Han in the Sequel Trilogy…basically, I don’t recognize those people. :\).

    I wonder how much Leia’s role as leader was chosen, and how much she felt it was “inherited” from her adoptive parents. Either way it happened the role now defines her existence and how she functions. It gives her life purpose, it gives her an emotional reason to wake up every morning instead of wallowing in misery. It’s a self-created coping mechanism…not great (miserable actually)…but it’s what gets her through. That’s my POV, based upon how some people cope with tragedy in real life, and I’m sticking to it.

    Replaying the message is the only animated reminder of those people who left her, so she replays it because it’s not static. The worst thing about the objects that surround her in the office is the fact they don’t move, they don’t have voices or any sense of human presence emanting from them. So they only provide a limited amount of emotional comfort to Leia. Watching the hologram is simultaneously torturing herself…yet, in some weird way, it’s also comforting.

    That’s always one of the worst things about being a leader of some great “cause”. You have to give up so much of your personal and emotional life, but you get very little satisfaction in exchange for what you have to give up in order to be a successful leader. Losses occur on the macro and micro levels to everyone, but those in charge tend to lose more simply because they’re expected to give up so much in the first place.

    I don’t want to think of Leia as a broken heroine, but after the events of the Jedi Temple massacre, even she would crumble psychologically. Her work becomes her life because it becomes her redemption.

    I don’t think Luke wants to really be forgotten, despite his expressed wish to Leia. If he truly wanted to disappear from everyone’s conscious memory, he would have never left a video message for his sister or placed the coordinates of a map into Artoo. But it was a logical wish after what transpired at his temple. I’m probably contradicting the actual events of the Sequel Trilogy here in my story; it will probably wind up that Luke never left any message for Leia or anyone behind (there was no suggestion of such an occurrence in the TFA novelization). But I didn’t want Luke to be so monstrous that he just RUNS AWAY without leaving something behind.

    That theme of people who leave yet don’t leave is something that has interested me for most of my life. History always leaves tangible objects behind, so that’s something that carries over into my writing.

    The concept of Luke as the light and Leia as the hope is a juxtaposition that I find interesting in that it seems to reflect the balance between Light and Dark, peace and chaos that permeates the backstory of the GFFA. One cannot exist in harmony without the other, and the fact that Luke and Leia are somehow physical embodiments of these qualities means that when one of them undergoes chaos, the whole physical realm is also plunged into chaos. That’s just my perspective, FTR.

    I really like the idea that you suggested Luke became a simulacrum of himself through the video message. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of imitations, copies, reproductions and how they are perceived as part of conscious reality. Even Leia has a simulacrum of herself through her public image.

    Luke’s expressed wish to be considered a myth, at least from my perspective, is based upon the notion that he already considers himself a myth. I first came across that idea in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor and was intrigued by that possibility. It was something I wrote about a little bit in some older fics that I need to repost, but I never really followed the concept down the proverbial garden path. But the way Matthew Stover wrote about it, which led to Luke’s metaphysical breakdown in the meltmassif, was fascinating.

    I wanted to include that contrast about age because it shows the difference between Leia’s existence in the Rebellion and the Resistance. When she was younger Leia could use that energy to distract her from personal concerns. From personal experience it’s a great coping mechanism. But time marches on, and so do you, so that energy disappears, and you have to find some other way of getting through the horridness of daily life. Of course Leia’s daily life in this case is far beyond horrid…living nightmare, perhaps? So those artifacts from the past are her primary way to get through life, because things have to get done. The option of walking away has never been in Leia’s mind, and it wouldn’t occur to her even when she’s been left behind by the people most important to her. Her office is jammed with those artifacts because she has nobody and nothing left except for “The Cause”, which isn’t comforting because it’s overwhelming and nebulous. Not something to hang one’s emotions upon when in the midst of a crisis.

    Leia is clearly at a crossroads in this fic, and in that point of history in the canon GFFA. The Skywalker curse follows her, and Luke, and in spite of their best efforts has come to define them. It remains to be seen if the curse can be overthrown (sacrifice, as usual, shall be required).