Author's note: This is the year I stop forgetting to write fanfic while being stressed out by all of my other writing projects. My best character understanding has been of Leia and I realised that I'd like to take a look at her from a slightly different approach than I have in the past. I won't tell you the slight difference, but I hope you'll enjoy it and I promise to keep writing. BTW, I will not be trying to follow the comics on Leia's Rebellion years (mostly because I haven't had the resources to own them) and am just getting into the show Rebels, so this will be largely based on other sources and conjecture. Warning: This will start off very dark for obvious reasons. * ENTRY 1 It took me some time to work up the nerve to ask my parents what the first Empire Day was like for them. I thought that I would get a straightforward answer as I was nearing adolescence. I was old enough to know some of the details of why Darth Vader could not be trusted and why Alderaan was home to so many refugees. I studied the Clone Wars with my tutors and recognized the state of chaos that the Emperor had rescued the Galaxy from. I also knew my parents well enough to realize that it was not that simple. Mother was a pinnacle of charity long before asylum applications began pouring in by the thousands. Father fought in the Senate to preserve justice from his first session, regardless of what title the leader of his government held. They had survived the war, but both arrived at the founding of the Empire having suffered many personal wounds. When I was nearing my Day of Demand, I caught them in a vulnerable moment and dared to ask again. Mother recalled the same story I had heard before about being handed a piece of vellum during dinner that informed her that the Republic had been dissolved and her husband had left the central planet after the first official session of the Imperial Senate. She had excused herself for a few minutes to "take a call from an old friend" and managed to return with her composure. It would be days before she spoke to Father in person and the silence robbed her of more sleep than the reports of what was happening to the Jedi who had attempted a coup. His first comm was the day after Empire Day and told her that he was going to be attending to matters of state for a few days, but his first helpful comm included a promise of joyful news. She smiled fondly at me at this point and I knew that there would be no more information forthcoming on the subject. Father was not so erudite. I asked this days after a crucial vote had failed in the Senate and he was sincerely showing his frustration when not in the public eye. That was Bail at his most vulnerable and I thought it would make Father speak more candidly than usual. He was silent for a long moment, then sighed. "Except for the end of the world, it might have been any ordinary day." I knew that the Empire was founded within hours of the defeat of the Separatist commander, General Grievous, and an assassination attempt on the Supreme Chancellor by the Jedi. It preceded the inevitable end of the Clone Wars by hours and the mass execution of the traitors who had led the opposition. But it was also the day on which Miarku Minor declared its independence, doctors at Coruscant's H-Gen-42 hospital treated eighty-two refugee children with moderate to severe radiation sickness free of charge, and famed dancer Ilorven announced his retirement. As Father said, it might have been an ordinary day. I've been thinking of the last day that Alderaan saw. It was a few days after the Equinox Festival and two days before the next meeting of the Council of Thanes. The open air markets were starting their season and people of all classes and species gravitated towards these. In Crevasse City, they were cautiously optimistic about the likelihood that the worst of the weather was on its way out for the year. Children were looking forward to a summer hiatus from school. Except for the end of the world, it might have been an ordinary day and I couldn't stop that world from never seeing another sunrise. Because Tarkin was a monster, Vader was a demon, and I was a fool, the only thrantas in the Galaxy are members of an endangered species in xenozoological exhibitions. There is no such thing as a native arallute. Someday, someone will romanticize the relics of my culture and talk about the lost treasures of Alderaan. There are now very few of us left who know that Alderaan itself was not just a treasure, but a miracle. So far, no one has wondered why I'm having nightmares.