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Beyond - Legends Saga - Legends Overplayed Hands | Drama, Mara-centric, pre-ANH to post-TTT | Short story

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    This is clever - are we seeing here Mara compassionately finding a way to spare the artists life by appealing to her masters cruelty, or a genuine nasty streak in her arising out of her upbringing? It's a delicious bit of moral ambiguity and very appropriate to her character in this era!
     
  2. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Oh! Mara is getting creative here! Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. On one hand, at least she didn't outright kill Ob, which shows she isn't just blindly following orders. On the other hand, it shows that she is actively thinking about what would hurt Ob the most. Interesting stuff.
     
  3. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    Wow, now that is an ironic punishment...

    Good chapter, I especially liked the main confrontation between Ob and his complete lack of resistance while facing his assassin. I also liked him comparing the Emperor's grooming of Mara Jade to that of a sapling.

    Keep up the good work!
     
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  4. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Another great entry, ma'am. =D=

    The concept of a man not afraid of death being punished with a living purgatory on a desert planet where he can't create living art is the ultimate punishment and a prime example of life as death. That's a scary scenario to contemplate. I suppose to Mara it's a small mercy...but the quality of mercy is often impossible to assess, and so often misjudged. Or, like @AnniaPiet said, perhaps this is an example of Mara's moral ambiguity in this time period. Either way, it's a tricky moral event horizon, just one among many she has crossed and will continue to cross until...well, until she either transforms into a more evolved being, or continues pushing forward into darkness.Time will tell...

    (Oh, and thanks again for doing such a lovely job describing Aeithera. In your words it comes across as even more gorgeous than I imagined :D).
     
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  5. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Ok, I am sooooo behind on catching up to this great piece. Quickly read the last several chapters in one sitting and couldn't put it down. Just a few notes on each one.

    Three
    Your great characterization of Mara in this phase of her life shows here in that she would definitely not hesitate killing Pelegard. And then add the cold stepping over the dead body on her way out. Very Vader-like.

    Four
    Hey, I want a bodysuit that turns into a....er, suit. Didn't think that thought through.

    Nice inclusion of Admiral Ozzel and Tarkin.

    So she killed the wrong guy. Ooops.

    I like how you intertwined their Force thoughts with their actual speech.

    Five
    Eerie how Mara relives Vader's pain at how he came to be. Another lesson?

    "You may go and have yourself...repaired, Lord Vader." Don't know if it was intentional, but you hinted at the Emperor's disappointment of Vader's failure on Mustafar all those years ago and become a cyborg. He stills resents the fact that Vader may never live up to the great potential Palpatine thought he would be.

    Do NOT make the Emperor angry! With Vader's punishment of the failure of his officers, he would only choke them and they died. Too quick and easy for Palpy. Just as he did with Mara, the Emperor likes to make them feel the victim's pain and yet still live.

    Dance? All that's missing is the metal bikini. =P~

    Six
    Great imagry of the garden and the flowers. A credit also goes to leaimoody's creation too.

    There's a hint of Mara respecting and enjoying the beauty of art and nature. Something she couldn't expose to her boss.

    Heh, the meaningless tasks reminded me of The Karate Kid. "Wax on! Wax off!" An example of lessons that never seem like lessons.

    Seven
    Hmmm...a holdout blaster. Wonder where she got that? Perhaps when she was 12 in the Valphrin system on her first mission as an assassin? Gee, that sounds familiar.

    So glad that you seemed to take my advice. You found a gap in Ob Khaddor's history and filled it in yourself.

    Mara has learned from her Master to go for the agony of a victim's defeat instead of ending his life. He was expecting death so the punishment would have no meaning.

    I can't tell you how this story has grown so much. You build up tension where it needs to be and end the chapters exactly where they should. The opposite is a tendency to have a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. Some pro writers do that and it bugs me (I'm looking at you, Dan "Da Vinci Code" Brown! [face_not_talking] ) You can have cliffhangers, just don't overuse them. Or in this case, overplay them. :D See what I did there.

    I'll catch up quicker now that one holiday is over. I have several days off coming (one being Dec 18. Hmmm, wonder why I chose that date?)

    Can't wait for Mara's next mission.
     
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  6. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Chyn, you know you've done something right when you get such interesting and varied interpretations of your work!

    Mara has learnt at her Master's knee, and is slowly getting even more corrupted in her desperation to please him. We all know where this ends up, but the journey is fascinating.
     
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  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I'm terribly sorry that I can't do replies today, because I'm having a crazy time at work, but I'll catch up next week. In the meantime, I have a new chapter for you :)

    Tags: Annia Piet Briannakin Exeter Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku madman007 mavjade whiskers
    Please let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from the tag list.

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

    Eight

    Seventeen months after the Battle of Yavin

    The Imperial Palace’s grand hall was packed with hundreds of courtiers, far more than was usual for this type of ceremony, and Mara knew that many, like herself, had come to witness the promotion of the first alien admiral in the history of the Empire. For some, this heralded the dawn of a new era, in which non-Humans would no longer be confined to subordinate roles in the Imperial chain of command; to others, who formed the backbone of the Navy and who were firm believers in the tenets of Humanocentrism, this was an insult that stabbed at the very core of their being. To Mara, it would have been an entirely indifferent event, one she would not even bother to attend on her last day of leave, had the officer graced with a promotion not been the mysterious blue-skinned alien who had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat during her mission to the Poln system.

    No, she corrected herself. He had never been at risk of defeat. He had come there with a carefully elaborated scheme, he had coordinated it with her master, and her presence on planet had been part of his plan all along. Having read all the operation reports, that was the only possible explanation. There was no way so many people – herself, the Rebels, Vader, Thrawn – with so many different agendas could have been in that backrocket area of space at the same time, looking for the same thing, unless someone was pulling the strings. That someone could have been soon-to-be-promoted Admiral Thrawn, of course. But she knew in her heart that even Thrawn couldn’t manipulate the Emperor. Her master had sent her there without letting her in on the bigger holo. It annoyed her.

    She had worked hard to regain his trust. She had performed every one of her missions flawlessly since the day she had abandoned Ob Khaddor on that Force-forsaken planet of the Outer Rim, she had gone above and beyond what he demanded of her every time. She had been given more responsibilities too, she admitted reluctantly. She was now truly the Emperor’s Hand, the extension of his will. She was investigator, judge, and executioner, she dispensed her master’s justice to those officials who thought, even for a moment, that they could challenge the security and well-being of the citizens of the Empire, and she was a law unto herself, deciding who would die and who was worthy of mercy or forgiveness. Yet on such a crucial mission, she had not been told of the grander scheme at work – in the end, she had been sent to Poln Major as a mere pawn for the insufferably arrogant alien officer who was now receiving his rank bars from Darth Vader himself.

    She envied him.

    The ceremony came to an end, and she pushed her thoughts aside to focus on her courtesan persona as the crowd broke up and began streaming out of the hall. She caught a glimpse of the little artist from the Northern Lights room moving towards the doors, and she had to refrain from letting out a snort – rumour had it that she was Thrawn’s lover, and her presence tonight was an indication that, for once, the Palace gossipmongers might have been right. She was about to join the throng gathering around the refreshments table when she noticed that Grand Admiral Zaarin, followed by his counterpart Tigellinus and the Emperor’s advisor Pradeux, was making a beeline for the other woman, and she took a step back to watch.

    The scene that followed was highly entertaining. The little artist not only turned down Zaarin’s offer for a drink, but when Vader intervened she took advantage of his presence to remind her three suitors that Thrawn had just been promoted and was hot on their heels. Their hatred for anything non-Human was legendary, and their failed attempt to suppress frowns of distaste in front of their Supreme Commander was nothing short of hilarious. What surprised Mara was that Vader himself seemed to take pleasure in provoking them. He described Thrawn as ‘the best commander in the Imperial Navy’, and, having dropped a thermal detonator the size of the Death Star – that Thrawn would be inducted in the Order of the Canted Circle at the Emperor’s request, a piece of information that caused Tigellinus, whose own induction had just been announced, to suck in a sharp breath – he took off with what sounded suspiciously like a chuckle. Mara filed away the information for later. For all his being unhinged, as her encounter with him aboard the Executor near Shelkonwa had proven, the Dark Lord was an old hand at court politics, and she would do well to investigate what might have prompted him to humiliate three powerful courtiers in that way.

    The little artist was now bowing to Zaarin with an ironic smile, but before she could take her leave the Grand Admiral grabbed her arm and pulled her closer. “This isn’t over, you little harlot,” he hissed in her ear. “You’re going to regret falling for that alien freak. A day will come when even Vader won’t be able to protect you and when that happens you’ll be begging me for mercy.”

    Every bystander turned around to see where the gasp that followed came from – the artist had pinched Zaarin’s arm so roughly that he let out a stifled cry of pain – but Mara’s mind went on high alert. Was Zaarin conspiring against Vader, together with Pradeux and Tigellinus? Could they possibly believe that they could supplant the Lord of the Sith? Not even she had ever considered such a thing, and she had the Force – they didn’t.

    Or maybe it was another one of her master’s convoluted schemes that she knew nothing about. Her shoulders sagged in defeat, but she caught herself immediately and stood upright. It was not her place to question his will. She headed out of the hall, nodding haughtily at Thrawn, who was accepting congratulations, and walked back to her quarters. A small light was blinking on her desktop holocomm, indicating that she had received the documents for her next assignment. She slipped out of her evening gown and sat down to peruse them, but despite her best efforts she couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling that, some day, things would go terribly wrong for the Empire because the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.

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

    Notes: This chapter ties in to Part I, chapter 36 of Ανάγκη which describes Thrawn’s promotion from Senior Captain to Admiral (but you needn’t have read it to understand events here). Mara’s mission in the Poln system takes place in the novel Choices of One by Timothy Zahn and her encounter with Vader in Allegiance.
     
  8. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    This is a great chapter - Mara being introspective and finally starting to question Palpatine's schemes, or at least realising that she'd not as valued as she thought she was.

    And I love seeing a glimpse of Ayesha's life through Mara's eyes.
     
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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Woot, jinkies! I remember that chapter and it was awesome and now through Mara's eyes, even cooler! =D= =D= I too enjoyed Mara's introspection about Palp's agendas & Vader, Thrawn, etc. :) Yup, that insight about the downfall being not knowing what the other hand is doing - quite astute. If that tendnecy continues past Endor, that will continue to be a major flaw, divided from within and at cross-purposes while the New Republic can come to more of a coherent unified strength of goals and upfront coalitions. [face_thinking]
     
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  10. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Mara filed away the information for later. And we have our theme of the chapter. Information gleaned from either of the two Obs, as a movie detective once said: Observation and Objectivity. And you've shown Mara using both. Some people write Mara as just a bad-ass fighter, forgetting that she has skills of real spies with gaining the right information and using it for future reference. Well done.

    Nice references to each of those profic books. And it seems Mara has learned her lesson on interfering with situations outside of her mission. Although, in this case, her inactivity might spell the end of the Empire. With the Emperor allowing her to decide "who would die and who was worthy of mercy or forgiveness" she is almost the antithesis of Vader and the Emperor themselves. Those two only give death when someone makes a mistake. It brings into question of why the Emperor would allow Mara to show the mercy she has.

    And the Word Of The Day, kiddies: gossipmongers!

    This story just keeps getting better. Can't wait to read more!
     
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  11. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Great introspective chapter. I particularly liked this line:

    How very apt.

    And I do wish I could somehow find the time to read Ανάγκη, but I'm loving getting glimpses of it here.
     
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  12. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I'm loving these little glimpses into the Emperor's court; intrigue upon intrigue and even the schemes have schemes.
     
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  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I completely forgot to update on Tuesday [face_blush] and now I'm catching up with some replies before I post Chapter 9.

    Nyota's Heart Thanks! Mara is finding her place in the Imperial nomenclature of power at this point. She does what it takes to gain a privileged rank among the Emperor's servants, but she also sees what could go wrong, partly at least. As we know from the EU, it will take her a while to fully understand how badly Palps overdid it with his endless manipulation schemes [face_devil]

    Annia Piet "Morally ambiguous" is a great description of Mara at this point in her life. She says repeatedly in the post-RotJ books that she's done a lot of ugly things in the service of the Emperor, and her punishment of Ob Khaddor is definitely one of them, even though she didn't kill him.

    Briannakin I don't think that "being creative" is good or bad for Mara, it's just Mara ;) She's always been shown as coming up with creative plans in the official literature, and to me it made sense that she was always applying that talent to the situation at hand, including when executing Palpatine's decisions. Of course, that will come back to haunt her later on, but deep down she's the same person all along.

    whiskers I'm glad you liked the comparison to the sapling, because that one really mattered to me :) Shaping the world to his will must be the only thing Ob Khaddor has in common with Palpatine, but of course Ob Khaddor is applying it to plants, not people. Palpatine on the other hand is constantly scheming in a way that shows that he thinks of all his underlings as private property.

    PS: I had vague plans to include Mara's encounter with Lumiya/Shira Brie in this fic, but that would have required a ton of research that I just can't get into right now. If I ever come up with a director's cut of this story, I'll come to you for advice.

    leiamoody Thank you again and again for letting me use Aeithera for this story! Your description of the planet (and the tip about Art Aeon) not only fit what I was looking for perfectly, but it also helped me get unstuck just when I needed it. It really gave me a better idea of who and what Ob Khaddor would be and how he would choose to stay with other Alderaanians instead of hiding on some random planet, and it just made a lot of sense to me. I still need to catch up on your fics that take place on that planet, but I hope to get there soon ^:)^

    madman007 Thank you so much for the extensive reviews! Mara most definitely got her holdout blaster in the Valphrin system ;) although as you probably noticed I chose to make her slightly less experienced as the Emperor's Hand because I decided to stick very closely to Timothy Zahn's timeline, and he says repeatedly in Allegiance that she's fairly new in the role (okay, I also have trouble writing teenagers, so I decided to skip that part of her life altogether :p )
    [face_laugh]

    I agree that we don't see enough of Mara's spy skills, especially in the profic books, actually. As much as she may dislike it, she learned a lot from Palps, and once she managed to throw off his influence one would expect that she further enhanced the skills that enable her not to kill. She is obviously very different from Vader, to whom the sole idea of punishment is death, but she's also very different from Palps from early on -- to the Emperor letting someone live is not an act of mercy, but a scheme within a scheme. Mara doesn't let people live just because they might come in useful at a later stage, she genuinely feels that sometimes it's the right thing to do.

    JadeLotus Thanks for the reviews and most importantly thanks (again) for all your help with this story! I believe I mentioned this somewhere but I initially had a whole sub-plot in Ἀνάγκη where Mara and Ayesha met properly. I had to discard it because the story was really, really growing out of proportion, so I'm catching up here instead :)

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming up straight away.
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Tags: Annia Piet Briannakin Exeter Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku madman007 mavjade whiskers
    Please let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from the tag list.

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

    Nine

    26 months after the Battle of Yavin

    Mara scowled as she took her place among her fellow courtesans behind the throne that had been prepared for the Emperor. The great hall was crowded once more with row upon row of military officers standing to stiff attention while the senior courtiers lined the walls, but the dominant sense emanating from the assembly this time was excitement, eager anticipation and even glee. She knew what to expect of the ceremony that would follow, and the thought was not entirely unpleasant to her, but she couldn’t help but snort at the pettiness of the emotions gripping the crowd.

    She hadn’t spent much time in the Palace over the past nine months. The Emperor had sent her on mission after mission, each one more important than the previous. He was increasingly relying on her to weed out corruption in the Empire, he even allowed her sometimes to choose her targets, and he accepted her advice on the importance of letting her prioritise her goals. She had gone from system to system to dispense justice and right wrongs against Imperial citizens. But even after being away for so long, it would have been difficult not to know that the senior ranks of the Navy were in turmoil, and that Admiral Thrawn was at the centre of it.

    She hadn’t seen much of the blue-skinned admiral since his promotion – she only caught a glimpse of him in official functions here and there when she had been on planet and able to attend, and her lingering jealousy made her steer clear of his path – but the HoloNet was awash with reports of how his differences with Grand Admiral Tigellinus had gotten out of hand until they took epic proportions. There had been a panel discussion where Thrawn shrugged so dismissively at Tigellinus’s explanation about the Empire’s progress in quelling the Rebellion that he had sent the Grand Admiral in a public fit of rage. Both men were inducted into the Order of the Canted Circle months apart from each other, and that only enhanced their rivalry – Tigellinus was a staunch supporter of Human High Culture and could not bear the idea that a measly alien could achieve what he had only just been granted, especially when rumour had it that Thrawn had been inducted at the Emperor’s personal request. And then, there was that speech Thrawn gave at the funeral of some famous artist who was a well-known critic of the Empire. He had praised her tolerance and her interest for diversity, and when Mara saw it on the evening broadcast she wondered what the man was thinking – if he was trying to make enemies, this was certainly the way to go.

    She made a few attempts to research his background, but she was able to find very little. The reports of his campaigns in the Imperial Navy database showed that the man was a tactical genius and possibly the best strategist that the Fleet had ever seen, but there were substantial gaps in the timeline, and after going through the files twice she wondered what he might have been doing for months at a time. Moreover, his early life was a total mystery. He had appeared on the Star Destroyer Admonitor shortly after the Empire was established, and the database didn’t even mention his homeworld or species. Having so little to go on about him annoyed Mara. She liked to know who she was dealing with in the Imperial court, and someone whose life was shrouded in such secrecy was a potential threat – or a rival. More than once, she wondered if Thrawn was one of the Emperor’s secret agents, like she was – but she knew for a fact that he wasn’t Force-sensitive, and she pushed the thought aside.

    The double doors opened with a swoosh, bringing her thoughts back to the ceremony at hand. Admiral Thrawn walked in, followed by a posse of lesser-ranking officers. He led them across the crowd to the foot of the dais, where they all dropped to one knee with perfect military precision. Mara let her eyes wander across their faces as the Emperor began to speak. Their posture bore the hallmarks of defeat – they bowed their heads ever more deeply as her master listed their crimes, and it was clear that some of them expected to be executed for treason. Only Thrawn remained perfectly impassive, his chin raised defiantly as he looked straight into the Emperor’s yellow eyes – Thrawn and another officer, whom she recognised as Voss Parck, the captain of the Admonitor.

    This gave her pause. The blue-skinned alien was known for his aloofness, but Parck wasn’t the trouble-making type. Thrawn must somehow have hoodwinked him into going along with his schemes against Tigellinus. Well, given the tone and the direction that the Emperor’s speech was taking, Tigellinus had gained the upper hand – not that this surprised Mara. Her master cared little for aliens, but he cared even less for any form of sedition, and Thrawn’s way of rocking the spaceship was definitely sedition in her eyes.

    The sentence finally fell as the Emperor uttered his last words. Thrawn and his followers were to be exiled to the Unknown Regions, never to be seen in Imperial Centre again. The great hall erupted into rambunctious jeers and catcalls as the small group of officers stood up and spun on their heels to exit the room. Tigellinus stepped forward to present his compliments to the Emperor, and Zaarin followed suit. The glee in their eyes was obvious, and as much as she disliked the two men, Mara allowed herself a small smile. If Thrawn had been a rival – not that he could really be one, after such a political blunder – she wouldn’t need to eliminate him. He had eliminated himself.

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

    Note: There's some confusion in the profics about when Thrawn became a grand admiral, when he was exiled and when he came back. For the purposes of this story I'm using the timeline I constructed for Ἀνάγκη, which, once again, you needn't read to follow here. Basically I'm ignoring the fact that he's portrayed as a GA in Command Decision and Side Trip and I'm moving his promotion to after the Battle of Derra IV.
     
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  15. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Great update. Little does Mara know, Thrawn's exile will play a huge part in her future.
     
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful sense of drama and intrigue. =D= I love how things flow so well together. Very well written.
     
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  17. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Great scene of Thrawn's exile. You're right that I can't recall the actual occurance being written in profic. This is what I've always said about the greatness of writing fan fiction - we get to fill in those missing scenes.

    I came away from this thinking of some of my Star Wars friends and general online comments over the years since HTTE came out. I've heard or read them saying that if Thrawn had been in charge of the Empire. or at least the Imperial Navy, we would have a very different outcome in Star Wars. I disagree, and you nailed the reason why here. The Emperor did not fear Thrawn as an alien, he feared him as a possible rival. In his genius at stategy, Thrawn would be willing to do things to harm the Empire even if the endgame was to strengthen it. Palpatine did not want the Empire to follow that path. I think the Emperor would have banished any officer regardless of being human or the rare alien for doing what Thrawn did. In Thrawn, the Emperor saw a possible role model for other officers to follow. Mara was right here. Thrawn overstepped his position and killed his own career. And Palpatine used that mistake for an excuse to get him out of the way.

    Of course, eventually, it would mean the downfall of the Empire anyway. But, to borrow the words of one of the greatest of Jedi, the future is always in motion.

    But I foresee more great chapters to this story. Or Han being tortured for no reason.

    [BTW, if you're having trouble figuring out Mara Jade, the teenage years - follow this equation:]

    Mara Jade + teenager = a brain, an althete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal - all in one :cool:
     
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  18. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I love the dramatic irony of the happiness of all of the Imperials at Thrawn's exile when in just under a decade he'd be there last hope at returning the Empire to their former glory. Great work, as always.
     
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  19. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I thought I had replied to this chapter but clearly not!

    I really love seeing these events from Mara's perspective - its limited and clouded by her role as the Emperor's Hand since to some extent she his seeing everything through the lens he has given her, but we see Mara slowly starting to break away if not from his hold that his perspective as she grows in age, intelligence and experience. She's starting to make up her own mind about things although the goal is still only Palpatine's favour - with everyone a potential rival, thinking she's making moves on a chessboard when really its Palpatine playing the players.
     
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  20. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing!
    Thanks! There's a lot Mara doesn't know yet, and it will take her many, many years to find out what exactly. Now I'm almost tempted to prolong this story until VotF :p

    Thank you :) It's Palps having fun again, wheels within wheels within wheels. But you've read the other story, so you know what's really at stake here [face_whistling]

    As far as I know, there is indeed no description of the scene itself in profic (that's something that whiskers may be able to confirm, since he's a Legends expert including video games, which I haven't played) and it's a scene I always wanted to see, because we know that Thrawn's exile is a semi-fake exile in the sense that he had agreed with Palps to be sent to the Unknown Regions -- so there would have to be a few little clues that he's more relaxed about it than he should be. This does not mean however that Palps wasn't happy to exile him, because it's Palps we're talking about, so there's always interpretation A, interpretation B and all the way to Z.
    Well, Palps wanted Thrawn to pacify the Unknown Regions, and he also wanted him out of the way because he was just too good at what he did. In my other fic I also came up with an extra-convoluted reason why he needed to exile Thrawn, but that's a story for another time.
    [face_laugh]

    Thank you! I remember reading on the Wook that it's mentioned here and there that other Imperial warlords, and clone-Palpatine himself, were undermining Thrawn during his campaign against the New Republic. No doubt a side-effect of the bad habits they got undermining everyone they could during Palpatine's reign [face_devil]

    Thanks! Mara is only just beginning to understand that something is seriously wrong with the Empire, and for now she's still blaming it on everyone but Palps. It won't take anything less than realising that she was herself a pawn in his game to enable her to let go of Hand-Mara and become future-Jedi-Mara.

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter up straight away!
     
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  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Tags: Annia Piet Briannakin Exeter Gemma K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku madman007 mavjade whiskers
    Please let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from the tag list.

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

    Ten

    30 months after the Battle of Yavin

    Mara was investigating yet another Outer Rim Moff who, she suspected, was involved in a variety of lucrative business deals in preparation for a power grab, when the Emperor called her back to Coruscant. She acknowledged the mental summons and returned to her ship, but the electronic invitation she found in her holocomm puzzled her. Her master wanted her to attend the public dedication of the Imperial Palace’s new Assemblage wing, yet another official function that was entirely devoid of interest. Well, she was accustomed to his mysterious ways by now. She would find out his true purpose when she got there.

    Her protocol droid had downloaded for her a batch of recent reports from the Imperial databases, and she caught up on the latest news as she travelled through hyperspace. The Empire had scored a major victory against the Rebellion in the Derra system, and the battle’s protagonists, Soontir Fel, Turr Phenir and Evir Derricote, had all been rewarded lavishly in an extravagant ceremony that was broadcast live on the HoloNet for everyone to see. She took particular note of the newly minted Colonel-Baron Fel. A man of such skill was a rising star in the Imperial hierarchy – or a possible danger, should he choose to turn against the Empire.

    There was a sad irony to the fact that she would think of the hero of the day as a potential traitor, but she had dealt with turncoats far too often to ignore such a possibility.

    She landed in the Imperial Palace with little time to spare. She showered and changed to a simple but elegant white dress with an embroidered sash, and picked a Xyquine shoulder sculp from her jewellery box to complete her outfit. She gave herself a quick once-over in the mirror, went through the relaxation exercises her master had taught her in order to revert to her harmless dancer persona, and made her way to the evening’s event.

    The ceremony was, predictably, one of those functions of which she had attended too many. There were the usual grandiloquent speeches, the usual Navy officers in dress uniforms who applauded politely at the right moment, and the usual assortment of courtiers and courtesans who were milling around the buffet. She stood haughtily near a window, marvelling at Coruscant’s socialites endless capacity for small talk, until she caught a glimpse of the Emperor who was working his way through the crowd. He was accompanied by the blue-skinned alien admiral who had been banished to the Unknown Regions only months earlier.

    By the time the Emperor had joined her by the window, she had thought over, analysed and dissected the reports she had read during her trip home, and she had concluded that Thrawn had somehow been involved in the victory at Derra IV. The strategies described in the files bore the hallmarks of his technique, and despite the official version of events she realised that Vader was not capable of such finesse. She curtseyed politely to Thrawn as the Emperor introduced her as Lianna, still wondering how he had managed to get himself recalled from exile, when her train of thought was interrupted by a mental prod. Come to my throne room after the reception, child. Be discreet. The future is in motion, and you will be part of it.

    By the time she left the Assemblage wing, Mara was so giddy with curiosity that she had to run once more through her calming techniques, lest she betrayed herself to Ysanne Isard, who was staring at her inquisitively – apparently the Emperor had not invited his own Director of Intelligence to whatever secret gathering he had in mind. She remembered her master’s recommendation that she be inconspicuous and slipped out of the main hallway leading to the orichalc doors to activate the panel to one of the secret passages only she knew. A few twists and turns later, she entered the throne room from behind an elegant Fijisi wood folding screen. She stepped out of the shadows to find herself facing the oddest assembly she could ever expect to find.

    The Emperor stood at the foot of the dais, flanked by Darth Vader. Facing them were Prince Xizor and Admiral Thrawn. Her master motioned for her to come closer and waved a hand to include her in the little group.

    She struggled hard not to crinkle her nose in disgust at the sight of the Falleen nobleman, who was a well-known criminal lord – she had suggested several times to the Emperor that she investigate his activities, but her requests had always been rejected. It took only a distant brush to her mind to bring her back to attention, but she could sense that Darth Vader would not be so easily tamed. The Dark Lord was seething, not even bothering to shield his discontent in the Force. Only the blue-skinned admiral was perfectly calm and impassive, as if such considerations were below him – he was visibly willing to work hand in glove with whomever it took to achieve the Emperor’s goals.

    “The time has come for the Empire to confront its enemies,” her master said. “The enemy without, and the enemy within. You will henceforth work solely towards eliminating the threats that we are facing. Sometimes you will operate together, sometimes apart, but be certain that the role each one of you has to play will ensure the stability of the Empire for generations to come and reward you with more power and glory than you can imagine. The identities of two of you are already well-known. It is now time that you learn of the secret identities of the two others.” He gestured towards Mara. “Prince Xizor, Admiral Thrawn, meet Mara Jade – the Emperor’s Hand.”

    Mara raised her chin and stared at the two aliens unwaveringly while they examined her. Neither showed the slightest sign of emotion, but she saw Xizor’s skin take a faint tinge of pink. She shoved back his pheromones with the Force and smiled inwardly at the flash of surprise in his eyes.

    Her victory was short-lived, as the Emperor’s next statement left her open-mouthed. “And it is my pleasure to announce that I have expanded the Circle of Twelve to include a thirteenth member, whose promotion will be revealed to the public in due time. I am referring, of course, to Grand Admiral Thrawn.”
     
  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, cool stuff!!!!!!! =D= That Xizor is - I don't have much use for him either. :eek: I do love Mara in this, her excitement and anticipation and hauteur, then the announcement at the end. :) :) Thrawn is one thing beyond all dispute: a brilliant strategist who deserves to be recognized. @};-
     
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  23. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I just see Xizor's name and I become a panto audience - Boo! Hiss! Grrr!

    And we have the first official meeting between Thrawn and Mara, and I have no doubt Thrawn as been observing her observing him over time. But Mara really is evolving, although slowly, the Emperor bringing her closer into his inner circle while perhaps she is starting to drift away from him.
     
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  24. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Lol. I agree with JadeLotus. Xizor is a guy I just can't see any redeeming qualities in.

    Great update. I think this is a definite case of 'keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
     
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  25. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    And so Xizor makes his debut. He's certainly a character that I love to hate. And poor Vader, having to stand in the same room with him. Loved the description of Mara feeling his own emotions rolling off of him.
     
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