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Saga Saga - PT Saga - OT Mourning [Vader angst bomb vignette]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by vader_incarnate, Sep 9, 2022.

  1. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Title: Mourning
    Author(s): vader_incarnate
    Timeframe: Saga (between PT and OT)
    Characters: Vader/Anakin, Padmé
    Genre: Angst. Dark. Have some mush ready for a chaser. Like just right now go and open it in another tab. May I suggest this one from my lovely beta Viari?

    Summary: Vader had no one left with whom to share his grief, and knew of no other way to lighten it, so he mourned in the only way he could.

    Note: Welcome to my headcanon of why Anakin talks so oddly in the movies. I am making up linguistics from whole cloth, except: to offer condolences in Vietnamese is indeed to portion out the sadness, more or less.

    Response to the Gothic Literature quotation roulette Angstmongers Anonymous challenge.

    TW: canon typical child murder, slavery, violence.

    "Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made."

    - Edgar Allan Poe, "The Masque of the Red Death"

    Vader’s milk tongue, the language that Anakin had learned at Shmi Skywalker’s knee, was Lower Huttese.

    The language of the slave hovels of Tatooine was bleak and pragmatic: there were few words for beautiful things, many for unpleasant ones, and words were often recycled. Red was the same as blood, the same as labor. Water was also tears and sweat.

    When at nine he arrived at the Temple and began his formal education in earnest, the concept of synonyms had captivated him. How could a person, any person, need so many words for beauty, that simple beauty wasn’t enough? Why also would someone need dazzling and magnificent and gorgeous? He had vivid memories of spending hours hunched over a Basic thesaurus as a young Padawan, marveling at the nuances and complexities of this word or that, the ways he could combine them and construct new meanings. It made his conversational speech patterns florid and awkward, and as a young man he had been prone to declarations of such dramatic overstatement that he could easily see others' eyes widening with ill-concealed distaste that he had overstepped an unspoken rule, that his syntax had somehow become aberrant. Still, he could not stop himself, didn't know how to stop himself.

    Lower Huttese had thirteen words for death, and of those, three were specifically used for the death of a child.

    One word was encapsulated in the Basic medical term "failure to thrive," a nondescript semantic shrugging of the shoulders that described an infant who died from no discernible cause, or a cause no one wished to discuss. Possible candidates included malnutrition, heatstroke, neglect, disease, accident, injury, the Master's simple boredom or sadism; best not to interrogate too closely.

    Rarely in service of the Hutts, but for human masters, the mother's milk would sometimes be demanded to nourish a more important or valuable infant, and the slave's own would wither while suckling weakly at an empty breast.

    Another word was recognized as synonymous with child death; though the circumstances were different, the pragmatics were the same, and the parents would never see their son or daughter again. Simply, "sold." Perhaps that was how Shmi had described his absence.

    The word for the "deliberate death of a child as specifically ordered by the Master" was the closest to describe the culling of the Temple.

    For a language so concerned with describing death, Lower Huttese had no term for murder. The best match was "theft of life" but that implied the sin was committed against the owner, and not the slave; to the murdered, the language was indifferent. Lower Huttese provided no innate value to sentient life, just to the blood or labor or property. Vader had now traveled through all the stars and found them no different from the gutter: the same frantic, feeble scrabble for life and meaning and hope recreated ad infinitum, so often casually and cruelly aborted; failure to thrive. But sometimes he wondered if his disdain for life had sprung from this simple source: how could he appreciate the value of life now or ever, when the concept had never taken linguistic root in his mother's tongue?

    But for bereaved parents, grief became complicated and compound. The word for mourning was roughly translated to "sharing a loss to lessen a burden." For the grief of a child's death, the term was "soul loss," to convey the loss of an essential part of one's self.

    Thus, "I grieve my child's death" became something akin to "I share this hole in my soul with others, that I may lessen the burden."

    The greatest cosmic joke the Force had played upon him, among many, was this: that in his rage, Vader had already murdered anyone with whom he could share the burden.

    But maybe the better joke was this one: that in slaying the Temple's children, he had engineered the death of his own.

    There was no time that he hated himself more than when he thought of the children: the desperate gasping from a dozen young throats strangled all at once, the last jerkings from a forest of small suspended feet. There had been a point during the siege of the Temple that the Dark Side had swirled so viciously around him that he had deactivated his lightsaber and simply used his hands and the Force, letting crimson blood spill across his fingers and along his palms and down his forearms until it seemed he was wearing red evening gloves. But that was the Dark Side: the hot wash of blood and the simultaneous urge to sob and scream and rip out a throat with his teeth. It didn't matter what life they had lived and how they had given it meaning - so long as they died, and the blood was warm.

    Those plentiful dead now trailed the ends of his cape, pushing and pressing and crashing into him, the only touch he knew besides that of his Master. Little hands that worked their way into his, little voices whispering, Your daughter would have done this, had you not killed her, and Vader could do nothing, because he could not kill them twice. And as much of a monster as he had become for the sake of instilling order in the galaxy - he did not know if he could do it again. He could not so much as stand next to a child without burning with shame, and he could do nothing but seethe and hate, hate until it seemed like his blood had turned to acid, hate until it was like fire licking at his bones, hate until his hate was a living thing itself and the only thing that understood him, hate himself and hate his Master and hate the galaxy. The apparitions of murdered Jedi children watched in silence as Vader raged, and the pace of life relentlessly proceeded, unabated and ambivalent.

    Padmé had been sure the child would be a boy, and Anakin sure she would be a girl. They had agreed to choose names based on their certainty: Padmé would choose a boy's name, and Anakin would choose a girl's.

    He remembered the giddy happiness with which he had presented his choice, scrawled on a simple piece of flimsi in a cramped and narrow script. He had offered it, of course, with an ostentatious bow and a broad grin, only a few days before - well. Best not to interrogate too closely.

    "My lady," Anakin had said with his unassisted lungs and unmelted vocal chords, and smiled at his living wife with a handsome, unburnt face. "It is my sincerest delight to present you with the name of our cherished daughter."

    "Oh Ani," Padmé had laughed while unfolding the flimsi, bemused but also inured to his theatrics. His gratuitous formality had never bothered her; she had loved him and married him despite it. And as the Clone Wars progressed, she had coached him in improving his speech patterns, to more closely mimic the galactic standard. "Not that I would expect anything less, but this seems dramatic even for you."

    A cheeky grin. "Wait until you see the treasure you hold in your hands, my heart."

    Sure enough, her eyes had widened as she read the paper, brown eyes darting across it again to confirm. "Leia," she had said slowly, tasting the word carefully, an idle hand going to her engorged stomach. "Ani, do you know what this means? In arēm - "

    "In arēm, the native language of Naboo before it was settled by the Republic - it means 'justice and death,'" Anakin had finished proudly for her. He had labored to find the dictionary for the dead language, had stolen moments aboard the Resolute during the Outer Rim sieges to bury his face in the text to find the right name, the perfect word.

    "It just seems ... dramatic," Padmé had said, which Anakin had known didn't necessarily mean no, and with a slowly dawning smile that had decidedly meant yes.

    "I have a feeling she'll come by it honestly," Anakin had replied, still grinning, with his heart full to bursting - that one such as he, born in the hovels of Tatooine but somehow ascended almost to mastery within the Temple itself, could ever have done anything to deserve her. To be the recipient of that smile, to have felt the touch of those lips. "Perhaps the drama is hereditary."

    "It makes my choice pale in comparison, for our son," Padmé had admitted. "Hopefully he doesn't get the drama gene."

    Lower Huttese had few words for beautiful things, but it had a simple one for the most beautiful thing. Luke, the name she had chosen to honor his mother's tongue, meaning love.

    Luke, Padmé's child who he had murdered in rage and madness.

    There was no word for this. No set of syllables or phrases that could be constructed from the dead or living languages across a hundred thousand stars that could convey with anything close to adequacy the depths of his self-knowledge and self-loathing and self-inflicted pain.

    Vader had no one left with whom to share his grief, and knew of no other way to lighten it, so he mourned in the only way he could: by meting out the raw pain from the chasm in his soul, the one that should have been full with a wife and a child, the one that was instead a black hole that could never be sated but that always demanded more and more and more as he ripped open the wounds in his psyche again and again and again until he hemorrhaged pain in unending perpetuity.

    In his lightsaber he imbued the smell of corpses as they ballooned and decayed in dry desert heat. In his fist he held tight the memory of digging sand out of the long, bloodied grooves of fresh whip marks. The sight of his mother collapsing from overworked exhaustion under the burning suns. The scarlet spray of blood and bone and flesh when a slave’s transmitter detonated. The impotent fear and rage as he huddled in the foxholes of a dozen worlds while Separatist fighters roared overhead with the certainty that his luck had run out and today he would die. The trusting young faces of those who had gone to Council chambers to seek protection from the wisest and most powerful of the Order and the child's high, clear voice: Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. Obi-Wan's disappointment. Padmé's last gasps. The gaping absence where her child's presence should be. The searing obsidian sand as his fingertips clawed uselessly on the bank and his lungs bubbled and boiled and burned until he could no longer even scream. The knowledge that he had destroyed everything good he had ever known or would ever know and that everything hereafter would be horror and pain and servitude because his reprieve had ended and he was back in the slave quarters, spent and broken and alone, and he knew now that he would never leave.

    He had no one left with which to share his pain so he resolved to share it with everyone: to teach to the galaxy the meaning of pain and hate and suffering, to show them the faintest, faintest echo of that which bled ceaselessly from his heart and soaked his soul.

    It never ends.

    It does end, we all know how the OT ends, Vader's just really dramatic and depressed; don't worry, he'll be okay in like twenty years.

    I'm so sorry. These puppies are coming to comfort you!
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2022
  2. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Kessel Run Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 9, 2002
    [face_dancing] ANGST! [face_dancing]

    Obviously I will be back with more comments asap, but this vignette is just absolutely brilliant, and I still can't believe how quickly you wrote it. [face_hypnotized]
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Stunning, excellent description of how Anakin became Vader after all those murders
  4. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fanfic Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002
    I love this so much [face_love]


    I mean, until the devastation, but still

    Look, I don't know the full psychology behind this, but - it seems within the realm of plausibility? Not to an absolute, because even as a child Anakin clearly did care about people and value life, but could the nuances of the language he first learned to experience the world through color the core of his perceptions and morality that way? Again, I honestly don't know - but it immediately makes me think, and I love that, and also I love all these musings about the philosophies and morals encompassed within the structure of a language and I love it so much, Elli, so much [face_love]

    Okay, yes, but also? I was not expecting to see Vader characterized as a bereaved parent, and that's kind of great?

    I also love this - I love it all, except the most devastating paragraph, YOU KNOW WHICH ONE I'M TALKING ABOUT - because that was obviously the worst part about the assault on the Temple, and the hardest to reconcile with Anakin's characterization, and this feels right, that that in particular would haunt him forever and feed that self-hatred. Also, just gorgeously written despite everything =((


    lol, it was a nice thought while it lasted, Padmé

    Okay, I'm just going to go lie on the floor and think deep thoughts about angsty linguistics now

    -is a sentence I never expected to type, but here we are
  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    Ooh, I am in love with the glorious angst of this piece!

    This feels like a meditation on language, its meanings, and its limitations, which I think is very fitting with the gothic quote you received for the challenge.

    You were able to use language to explore culture and character so effectively. The details of how a slave child who died young would be described as failing to thrive and how a child sold away from the parent could be described as dead in a different way were so true and heartbreaking. =((

    I also appreciated how you had Anakin sort of marveling at the beauty of the language he was exposed to at the temple (makes sense for a boy raised in the harsh conditions of slavery on Tatooine). That connected so well for the dramatic flair Anakin often had to his language in, for instance, AOTC.

    Then my heart broke again with how you wrote Anakin’s grief. It is true that mourning can be this shared experience that by being shared can be lessened. However, Anakin has to his knowledge killed all those with whom he could have shared his grief. So it is guilt and grief on top of grief. Angst piled on angst in a profound way.

    Thank you for sharing this gem of angst with us and know that if I specifically listed everything heartbreaking and wonderful about it, we would be here until next Saturday!
  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The (FavoriteTM) Fanfic Mod With the Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004

    What kind of a fandom are we all in, that these warnings are just par for the course? Also: jolly gee willikers, Batman, but you really meant it! [face_hypnotized] [face_hypnotized]

    Just like that I was absolutely hooked - no, spellbound, is more like it. Your use of prose and linguistics was absolutely sublime throughout this piece, all to explore such a horrible subject as Vader's guilt and wrath! The juxtaposition between the two made your story hit twice as hard! [face_hypnotized] =D=

    Honest to goodness, but when Vi gave me the prompt Lugubrious for my drabbles, I was just thinking about this as a possible plot point: how strange Anakin must have found his studies once he came to the Temple. (I imagine that for some things, like language arts, he'd be in remedial classes, even though he could undoubtedly teach a master's course in mechanics. Maybe, anyway - he'd have to be able to explain the method to his madness. :p [face_thinking])

    I love that you then took that idea a step further, and explained that Anakin wasn't just perplexed, but fascinated, and he dove right in. You did a great job taking what has been a critique about the PT - and George's dialogue, in general - and making it a point to expound on for characterization.

    Just . . . ten stars out of ten for concept and execution! =D=

    =(( =(( =(( (Dangit, once again, I need a stronger emoji for heartbreak!)

    =(( =(( =(( (I'm pretty much smashing my keyboard for those emojis, just in case you can't hear the emphasis. ;))

    =((! =((! =((!

    This is such a great bit of meta. It doesn't excuse Vader's actions, especially because Anakin Skywalker clearly had the capacity for understanding the value of life and the need to safeguard that life, and yet . . . That this was at the core of his psyche from such a young age - a root in his mother's tongue - it does, perhaps, help explain why Anakin was capable of falling as far as he did.

    =(( =(( =(( (I'm getting repetitive, I know, but I don't have much to say oh but this is brilliant and it hurts and I need to say it with emphasis for these selections. ;))

    So much of Vader's character is defined by his self-loathing - that's been explored before at length by so many brilliant authors, both in profic and fanfic - but, again like Gabri said, that you really explored his mindset as a bereaved parent and as an executioner, both, drawing a correlation between that and what was undoubtedly once of his darkest sins . . .

    . . . yeah. You definitely fulfilled the parameters of the challenge, and utilized your quote to a T. This is nothing about which one can jest. :(

    So close, yet so far away . . .


    THIS. IS. PERFECT. [face_love] [face_love] [face_love]

    Oh, it is. :p

    Too late! [face_mischief] [face_whistling]

    This stunningly beautiful detail made everything else just hurt so much more.

    I'm a bit in awe here for how you brought everything full circle. [face_hypnotized]

    And for that: ^:)^ ^:)^ ^:)^ you get all of the gold stars, congratulations!

    Yep, another spit-take. [face_laugh] 8-}

    This was an amazing response to the challenge - and I truly mean that. Thank you so much for sharing your work with the rest of us! =D= =D=
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2022
  7. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 7

    Oct 3, 2016
    That was beautiful! As someone who likes her angst mixed with romance, this was a different read for me. The use of language and its use of meanings, from Lower Huttese to Basic, like Anakin to Vader, are two sides of the same coin- who we are in the dark, our shadow self.

  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    You're spoiling me with all your superb!!! Vader characterization/introspection. An excellent use of the prompt. He would so totally have to squelch all the non-guilt/remorse over his actions at the Temple. the flashback to he and Padme teasing and rejoicing over baby names, particularly heart tugging. =D=
  9. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    You gave me the perfect quote to explore some ideas I'd been thinking about for a while! [:D] But yeah, my muse is all or nothing; she's 17 pages in 17 years OR all this stuff in three hours, there's no in between. :p

    Thank you! @};-

    So one of my side-gigs is translation! And it's absolutely fascinating trying to translate (for example) mental health terms into languages where there really isn't an equivalent. It's really really hard to communicate "chronic depression" when the language only has "super sadness" as a reasonable translation. I think about this a lot. [face_thinking] Linguistics was never something I studied formally, but I did study anthropology, and I'm enthralled by the questions of how language shapes culture or is shaped by environment. Like that tidbit about the Inuit having so many words for snow.


    From the 2015 Darth Vader series #5, set right after ANH (when he doesn't know about Luke yet; that happens in the next issue). "He is sensitive on the topic of children," says Palpatine, and it's never given any more explanation than that, but gah of course he is, I love it.

    (And also, now that I've posted that screenshot, look at Palpatine's amazing manicure?! I have questions. That's absolutely not a natural occurrence; someone shaped those nails.)

    Vader's relationship to his own children and his angst about murdering the Jedi children is just such an angsty goldmine that keeps going and going.

    Probably the wall of text of a penultimate paragraph where I took his hatred of sand and made it terrible. :p

    Star Wars media keeps revisiting Order 66!! And I was completely blindsided when in the very first scene of the Obi-Wan Kenobi show when they showed that scene so viscerally in the week right after a school shooting. Wow, guys. But I get why we keep coming back to it, because it's so important in showing the transition from PT to OT, from Anakin to Vader, because - no matter who Anakin was or who he became, so much of his life is defined by that moment. He was the only human who ever won a podrace (and also a childkiller). He was a brilliant general (and also a childkiller). He redeemed himself and saved his son (and also he was a childkiller). And that's just from a meta perspective; what did it mean for him?

    Gah. Vader's been living in my head for the past two weeks, and he pays his rent in angsty drabbles and vigs.

    *hands you a pillow*

    We actually do call it that in English! "Failure to thrive" is how pediatricians describe it when children don't meet growth markers at the expected pace, and it's kind of a catch all term for all sorts of things but usually malnutrition either because of poverty or something not yet diagnosed with the child's digestion or metabolism. I remember learning about it when my kid was small and finding it absolutely horrifying in how clinical it was, just a semantic shoulder shrug. I mean, doctors will of course investigate and try to fix it anyway, but the term itself is just ... haunting, to me. Whose failure is it?

    I characterized Anakin as a wordsmith, and I love that for him. I was an ESL kid growing up, and I like, learned all the rules and structures of English in school, but idioms are still difficult for me. I don't have the same flair for the dramatic in conversational speech, but I definitely do that in writing, and I could totally imagine a guy who sounds like Anakin to have recreationally read a thesaurus as a tween.

    I absolutely did, and I was low-key wondering if the line about the evening gloves was going to be too much for the TOS. :p I sometimes wonder if George meant for Anakin's slavery to be taken to like ... the extremely bad but also historically substantiated extremes? Or was it just an interesting world-building tool and characterization he thought would be narratively interesting without overly considering the implications?

    I was an ESL kid growing up and like - who talks like Anakin? I did, sometimes, and so did my friends! What is overstatement, and what is idiom, and what is too much drama? Who knows, let's figure it out as we go along! :p There's just so much you miss out on in not being a native speaker and learning it all from a book.

    Give me a weird Anakin/Vader trait, and I will find you a thoughtful and/or depressing in-universe headcanon for it. :p

    One of my side-gigs is translation, so I end up thinking about language and nuance a lot. It's really really hard to translate things that just don't have a natural word in another language. And of course this is a problem with other disciplines as well, and we end up making new terms to match new concepts ... but linguistics is fascinating. :D

    I don't remember how long I've been holding onto this idea, that this quote just gave me the opportunity and the impetus to unleash: that in the matter of like, twenty minutes of screentime in RotS Vader murders the Temple's children to save his own children and then also realizes how spectacularly he failed. So much about Vader's existence is agonizingly sad, but that in particular feels like one of those things that he had to have seen as a giant cosmic joke.

    (Also, I'm so curious about the existence of stories like Oedipus in the GFFA, and the existence or lack of stories about self-fulfilling prophecies. Vader is so into the idea of prophecy and destiny, and of course he is, he was the subject of a prophecy and had prophetic dreams, but was that reflected in broader culture? I have thoughts and questions. Many thoughts.)

    He talks so stiltedly in AotC and RotS but sounds absolutely normal in TCW!! And of course we know it's because the writer changed :p ... but let's give it an in-universe explanation! (Also, I think TCW severely undersold the comedy aspect of having Anakin just continue to be hilariously extra in his dialogue. Imagine him going "my powers have doubled since the last time we met" after he gets a cup of coffee. Twelve year old Anakin proclaiming "you underestimate my power" when Obi-Wan observes that he grabbed maybe a little too much cake from the mess hall and might give himself a stomachache eating it all.)

    I'm honestly still going back and forth between what's written in the fic and "freedom and justice" instead because how metal would it be for a former slave and current Jedi to choose that name for his daughter, but also that probably wouldn't elicit such a "wow that's dramatic" dialogue moment with Padmé :p Or maybe "freedom and death" but that feels more like Anakin than like Leia; but maybe that makes sense because Anakin is doing the naming? I am a chronic overthinker.

    And then of course also back and forth for Luke being love or hope. But I love the idea of Vader, whenever he's saying Luke's name, mentally saying "love" instead. That's just ... pretty sweet. (Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. You cannot hide forever, Luke.)

    To be fair, that was an eleventh hour addition when I realized I needed to add another dot to bring it completely around. I was not initially that clever. <3 But I'm very glad I added it!

    He'll be okay eventually. :p My muse is just sadistically luxuriating in his torment.

    Thank you! I think I gave Anakin and Padmé a nice moment, but one of the things I hate about their romance is how doomed it was, and how great it could have been. Poor doomed young lovers. =((

    Thank you! @};- Vader's been in my head a lot, and he's spilling out in angsty drabbles and vigs. :vader:
  10. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Kessel Run Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 9, 2002
    So when I said I would be back asap, I didn't mean three weeks later, but I'm finally here, and OMG ELLI. THIS FIC.


    On the one hand, I'm so honored for the mention. [face_love] [:D] On the other hand, I couldn't help laughing at the irony of having written the mush chaser for this story. [face_laugh] :p

    I mean, come on, this is like the most perfect summary in the history of summaries. [face_hypnotized]


    I know I already told you this in the beta, but my gosh, was this whole introduction on language and Lower Huttese and Anakin's early years such a perfect setup for the entire rest of the vig. And this first line is wonderful, because you're drawing that direct link from Vader to Anakin, without hiding behind the idea that they're somehow not the same person. I love it.

    This was a surprisingly poignant insight? It captures how complex language is and how we can't ever assume that different languages operate in all the same ways, while at the same time hammering home just how different Anakin's life was compared to basically anyone in the Jedi Temple.

    I love all of this, Elli, gaaaaah! My headcanon for a long time has been that Anakin talked the way he did because of the nature of his upbringing, but you took that idea and ran with it and it's so good and makes so much sense!

    (Oh look, there's aberrant. :D)

    A small thing, but this really sums up Anakin, doesn't it? o_O

    Okay, I had to stop myself from quoting absolutely everything, but this entire section describing all the words for the death of a child are completely horrifying and terrible and... [face_worried]

    And just like that, I realized where you were going with all of this - or I thought I did, but I still wasn't prepared - and I just wanted to stop in the middle of reading to slow clap for your brilliance. =D= =((

    (I will never be over the horrifyingly full circle nature of Vader's fall)

    This is so awful and so well written. [face_plain]

    Like the others have said, this is a really fascinating idea, and I feel like I don't have anything unique to add, but it just works perfectly in this vig.

    Look at all the brilliance that spun off of that quote, you angstmonger supreme. This was a terribly beautiful echo of his realization at the end of the RotS novelization, that he had done all of this to himself. =((

    Possibly the second most disturbing image in this story. Visceral and gutting and vivid, it instantly formed a picture in my head, and it was absolutely awful. So, you know, well done there. :p

    (Vader absolutely would hate himself most when remembering back to this massacre [face_plain])

    Aaand, here's the most disturbing image in the entire story, for me at least, and by the way you've officially ruined evening gloves for me, how am I supposed to write a fancy London ball story set in Regency England and have people wearing evening gloves without thinking about THIS MOMENT. THANKS SO MUCH ELLI.

    (Okay, I'm not actually mad, I'll probably be able to think of evening gloves again, once the shock wears off... but yikes, I thought I might have to turn in my angst card after reading this fic and particularly this paragraph, good job. [face_hypnotized] )

    Everything about this is perfect: perfect characterization, perfect narrative technique, perfect sentence structure and flow, perfect word choice and repetition and yeah. Stop being so good at this. (But don't, I love it.)

    Apparition and ambivalent in one sentence, look at you go. ;)

    I just love how you structured this, because even while we were seeing a glimpse of Anakin in his dramatic prime, you were also punching us in the face with every damn thing that Vader has lost. *chef's kiss*

    =(( =(( =((

    :_| :_| :_|

    (I couldn't even with this, it was just too heartbreaking)

    Uuuuugh, I can't get over how amazing this story is. And dark and angsty and terrible and beautiful and horrifying and brilliant. And all the other adjectives, Elli. All of them. You took that intro on language and wove it throughout the story with a steadiness that couldn't have been done more perfectly if you tried, and then you brought it full circle here at the end. I'm overusing the word, but it's just perfect bookending. Gah!

    Words are utterly failing to capture how incredible this whole ending is, so I'm just going to say it in all caps: HOW DARE YOU WITH THIS INCREDIBLE PIECE OF ANGST. :_|

    Again, I was trying not to quote the entire story, but I could have, especially these last several paragraphs. A+ writing and technique and structure all the way around. [face_love] =D=

    [face_dancing] ANGST! [face_dancing]

    Seriously though, this was truly an amazing piece of writing, Elli, like... I don't even know what else to say other than to tell you how much I loved it and that it hurt to read and it affected me to the point where I was like, damn, I give up, I surrender, I forfeit my right to write angst...

    (Obviously I got over it, but still. :p)

    LOL YOU ARE AMAZING. [face_mischief]


    I gotta be honest, I feel a little guilty now that I didn't have any puppies waiting for you at the end of TLotD. Or BtGotBS. Or the decathlon of death. [face_worried] :oops::p
  11. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vi I love him so much; he's my awful fatalistic giant hate wizard war criminal adopted child, I want to pat him gently on his terrifying skull helmet and tell him he's going to be okay (and then he'd twitch a braincell and casually turn me into a blood smear, but the sentiment remains)
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh wow, this is absolutely stunning for so many reasons! The linguistic fanons and details: the language nerd in me smiled a huge grin reading all of those, and they’re such a spot-on fit for both Anakin and Huttese. The Anakin/Vader characterization: oh man, do I really need to say more than that? You plumb the depths of that murder cyborg wizard like no one else. The role of language, drama, Padmé, and children in that characterization: (a) yes, he’s a true drama Darth and always has been, even before his lungs were soldered into metal; (b) the name reveal ritual with Padmé is at once such a tender, private moment and so prophetic; and (c) it’s nothing short of amazing how you get the themes of Anakin’s own childhood and his murder of the Jedi children and his own children to all meld seamlessly together into the weave of Vader’s endless pain, the pain he wants to make sure the whole universe feels. A real dark gem; bravissima to you! :vader:
  13. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 3, 2001
    Okay, next up on my quest to review more things that I have So Many Big Feelings and can't make coherent sentences about. :p Read this one soon after it came out and it's one of the most interesting Vader studies that I've come across (and it's not like I haven't read a lot of Vader fics [face_laugh] ). I really like how you've combined together all these cultural and psychological elements from his early life to show how they contribute to his prequel-era self and then the combination of all that to his... everything, in the OT. :vader:

    Seconding everyone who said that this makes PT Anakin's odd dialogue read so differently in a really fascinating way.

    I really like how you've given Lower Huttese a character of its own that tells us so much about what the speakers experience and are taught about their world. It all feels really seamless and logical for a language that was created by a culture that engaged in slavery for long enough that it would shape the words available to both the masters and the slaves. (And thus, it's really, really grim. :() The way that bleak vocabulary and linguistic toolbox wraps into his idea of what he is and has done as Vader is just brilliant.

    This is just so painful and it fits with his later thoughts on Vader perfectly. (Also, thanks for that author's note on the phrase having a less Goth, real-life counterpart of sorts in Vietnamese; that is really cool to know! It's fascinating to learn about idioms and other such stuff that make the full picture of a language so much richer.)

    I really like how elegantly you've stated the core thing that makes the whole plotline of Anakin's fall so full of bitter irony.

    And though I'm not going to quote it because frankly I'm too squeamish, the whole description of those few, terrible details we get from his murders of the Jedi children is absolutely perfect for understanding his mind here. In the film, it pulls away at that moment and it's the right choice for visual -- both because it would be way too horrible for PG-13 and because what you imagine is inevitably worse. But Anakin/Vader doesn't ever get to look away from what he did and saw, and that would have to stick with him forever.

    This is just so horrible, and so plausible a thing for him to have in his mind constantly. :(

    This is one take on Vader that I don't know if I've ever seen in another fic, and it makes so much sense. It just does, and I really admire how you've gotten into his twisty Sith brain.

    This part has such a feeling of trapped misery, like this is the monologue that he'd be venting if he ever dared speak about it but just can't, because who in the Galaxy would he even tell. (Because as he says, they're all dead on account of having been killed, by him. =(( )

    Again, this is just so very Vader, and it's taking the whole "hurt people hurt people" thing to a spiritual level that is parsecs beyond the usual. I really love and was deeply pained by how you did the closing, so how dare you/good job. =D= :p @};-

    [face_laugh] Excellent author's note!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2024
  14. LLL

    LLL Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 16, 2000

    This is just ... staggering.