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. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    "There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses." ~ George Bernard Shaw

    Again, nice recall to the Thrawn Trilogy where Thrawn mentions meeting Mara for the first time and tested her on what she wore. Good job "filling in the blanks".

    So Mara has been officially introduced to Thrawn. And I can trust Xizor as far as I can throw him. Vader's strong emotions that Mara felt had to be because of the Falleen's presence. I can see Thrawn, Mara, and Vader performing acts that benefit the Empire. But Xizor? I'm sure you'll reveal his true goals where the Empire is concerned in future updates.
  2. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 7, 2015
    Just catching up on this - fascinating insights into the workings of Palpatine's court. Particularly nice to see that scene referenced in the Thrawn Trilogy actually shown
    Kahara and Chyntuck like this.
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! My apologies for neglecting this story lately -- I'm focusing on finishing Ἀνάγκη right now (after two years I'm seeing the end of it [face_dancing]) so I don't have an update for you just yet, but Overplayed Hands is at the top of my list for the February Word Race, so I'll be coming back to it soon.

    In the meantime, a few replies :)
    I never knew that Xizor is such a popular character :p Although here, like Briannakin said, it's definitely a case of 'keep your friends close but your enemies closer', combined with Palpatine's usual 'keep your underlings on tenterhooks' strategy.
    My reading of the Vader/Xizor story arc was always Palps thinking, 'I'd rather Vader brings me Luke so I can turn him to the dark side, but I'll settle for Xizor killing Luke, and anyway watching Vader being jealous of Xizor is just too much fun to miss' [face_laugh]
    Mara is working increasingly hard to delude herself into remaining loyal to the Emperor by now. She has to find positive motivations for his actions, but bringing Xizor in? Justifying that is going to take some serious mental gymnastics.
    If only Mara knew... but of course Palpatine is setting this up so that she goes for the narrow interpretation of what he needs Thrawn for. He's bringing them together, but not to the extent that she gets to know what Thrawn's true role in the Empire is.
    Thanks! I'm having a lot of fun imagining these scenes that are vaguely described in a throwaway line here and there. There had to be a reason why Palps would reveal Mara's and Thrawn's true identities and ranks to each other, but of course he is ultimately doing it for his own benefit, not for the greater good.
    That's the story of Palpatine's life, isn't it? Until it turns against him of course ;)

    Thanks again, everyone! I'll have an update for this story hopefully in the first week of February.
  4. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    First of all, I really like your choice of title. It's open to multiple interpretations (and even works as a pun, given Mara's job title :p). There is Mara's almost inevitable miscalculation. I got more than a little sense that was a setup for failure. (Or maybe not, but the Emperor saw it as an opportunity to be turned into a lesson. Hard to tell with the sheevster...) Also Ob Khaddor, the court, Thrawn, and Palpatine himself.

    We see here that the Emperor's fatal flaw, perhaps, is that he's so wrapped up in his sadism that he cannot accept fully functional sentients as subordinates -- he prefers to keep everyone from Vader on down the chain in kicked puppy mode. His punishment of Vader as well as using that as a way to terrorize Mara is pretty creepy, and the way he uses Mara's palace dancer cover against her is likewise horrifying.

    It was interesting to see how Mara handled the issue of Ob Khaddor; it really is hard to tell how much of her decision there may have been motivated by mercy and how much was cruelty. (As Annia mentioned in her review, and I agree.) From her later years, we know that she has a better nature (to say the least), but she also seems to be taking on her master's tactics in a way. [face_thinking] The details of how Khaddor's art works and how she figures out its message are really cool, too. As with some of your other artist characters, the works sound like something that would be marvelous to see.

    And then we get the tie-in to the story that we know from Ἀνάγκη with Thrawn's promotion, Ayesha, and the circling of their enemies in the Emperor's court. It's interesting to see Mara's jealousy of Thrawn, since it seems like she had similar feelings about Vader too in the profic. Not a lot of interdepartmental cooperation and fellow feeling going on there, as Palps engineered it. :rolleyes: Mara's outside perspective on all of this is great; I like how to her Ayesha seems to be much more ordinary than we know her to be; barely a side character and dismissed as a "little artist" in her internal narration. It's kind of surreal after reading Ἀνάγκη. ;) Mara is more concerned with the political undercurrents.

    Liked how we get a sense for Mara's reaction to the Palace life in general through all of this. Her relief at Thrawn's exile (potential rival cut out of the competition :p), and her contempt for the swarming celebration of the rest of the courtiers both seem like realistic feelings for a younger Mara. In keeping with her earlier musings about the left and right hand being disconnected in the Empire, she's becoming less and less a complacent player in the game. Though, of course, she still wants to be number one and have the privileges of the Emperor's favor; she's still caught in the trap. She just has contempt for those who seem less aware of it all than herself, which seems pretty plausible to me! (Also, repeating others' reviews -- but if only they knew then. [face_laugh])

    Such a world-weary observation there! Mara has seen many rising stars use the Empire to their own benefit -- and she's also undoubtedly been sent to clean up after those who betrayed it for reasons of ethics too. Totalitarianism has a way of making traitors -- real or imagined, selfish or selfless -- come out of the woodwork on constant basis. Seeing that Black Sun is given such influence disturbs her, but of course she is more distracted with other matters like Thrawn's return and increased status.
  5. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 19, 2007
    Ohhhhhhhh Chyntuck this is breathtaking!!!! I could take days to tell you all the things I love about it, but I have to go to work tomorrow and have been up far too late reading as it is :p I'll do my best to come back and give a more thorough review soon, but will you add me to the tag list, pretty please?
  6. Jedi_Perigrine

    Jedi_Perigrine Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 22, 2008
    Great little story ya got here, Chyntuck. Of course, comparing this to a little story is a bit like comparing a mud puddle to the Mediterranean, but y'know...whatever. ;)

    I love the spy/political/thriller vibe here. You don't see too many stories along these lines, and that you found a way to make Mara at the center of it just makes it that much better. Great characterizations, a plot that drew me in right away. Super job! Please add me to the list. :) =D==D=