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Before the Saga Peace [Ancient Naboo vignette]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Pandora, May 28, 2006.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Title: Peace
    Characters: OCs
    Summary: It is a time of war on a very different Naboo.




    Peace


    Once upon a long ago time:

    The Kekropian armada floats in space above Naboo. It is made up of large, black bird sharp warships, surrounding the Queen’s flagship. Several scouts zip in and out, silver bright and silent in space. There is the crackle buzz of their comms, and then nothing. Only the endless, black nothingness of space, with the light of far away stars. Far below, there is Naboo, glowing green in its halo of atmosphere. The warships only arrived several days ago, but the Naboo had been waiting. Their own forces are being readied, on the plains outside the city-state of Theed.

    This time, Theed has united with Galla and Fa, and several of the city-states on the Southern continent and island chains. Every able-bodied man above the age of fifteen has been enlisted into this new united army. Theed has pulled its legions away from the latest, and most fierce, skirmish with the native Gungans.

    There are no women in this army.

    No, the daughters of Naboo will not shed blood for their planet. They must be protected, sweet and flower skinned in their homes, in their kitchens. Or, there are the select few who practice the one art allowed to women, politics, who have helped to make this war, but will not fight it. That is for men.

    Oh, there are perhaps a few earnest daughters who snuck out in their brothers’ armor, with their hair piled up romantically into their helmets, instead of, as one would expect, cutting it short. All the better so that they might let it spill out, when, as the audience expects and demands, their sex is inevitably revealed, and they are locked up in their long, heavy gowns again, and perhaps a romance. But this is not that story.

    And this story does not include the prostitutes in their peek-a-boo chemises and ragged skirts, who were never seen nor heard, or the servant girls with their worn down knees. They knew they could not be saved. Remember that.

    There is only room for the Queen and her attendants on the battlefield.

    She, alone amongst her sex.

    Naboo is fragmented from years of warring with the Gungans and amongst themselves, and skirmishes with nearby systems over territory. One hundred years before, there had been a fierce war with Aurat, Kekropia’s neighboring planet, over a pale moon circling the gas giant Govinda, a world as big as Naboo itself. Aurat’s prime minister had called on Kekropia and Ceilon for aid, and they had answered. The moon would become a graveyard, and as the songs will go: Loud and sharp were the deathbirds’ cries, as they feasted on the field.

    History will not remember that.

    The Naboo believed that this world was theirs, and they would keep it by force. They were still doing so. History will remember the several philosophers who protested, who remembered that the Gungans had been born on that world, that they were here before we existed. They were ignored at the time, and quite often, mocked.

    --

    There are always reasons to begin a war:

    This time, the Queen of Theed had arranged a meeting with the Kekropian embassy, with hopes, she said, of ending the ongoing conflicts between the two worlds. She sent her handmaiden in her place, wearing her dress and her white doll face paint. The Kekropians had seen through it, and they knew what this meant. The Queen, and therefore Theed, and Naboo, did not trust them. They had sent the decoy’s head back to the palace in Theed as their reply. Theed responded. Several Kekropians in the Theed court were dragged out into the street. They were spat upon and kicked, and, as they cringed for the holo recorders, had their throats cut open.

    Kekropia answered.

    This time, they attacked a Naboo settlement on a nearby world by air, raining down bombs and fire. The raid was led by the Queen’s swordmaiden. Only three people are known to have survived, though their names are lost to history.

    Naboo responded in turn, when they sent several of their sleek, silver ships to Kekropia’s moon, and burnt the settlement there to the ground. A holo would survive of this event, of a young girl, in rags, with hollowed out black eyes, stumbling across a field, while a white mansion hisses and howls in flames behind her. Perhaps you’ve seen it. There is a copy at the historical museum in Theed, as a reminder of what the holobooks agree with. That those who forget history are the ones doomed to repeat it.

    The books do not include this: Even those who remember history do not learn from it. Even they will repeat it, again and again.

    --

    The Queen stands at the viewing window in her ship.

    The dark queen.

    She stares out, though it is unclear whether she sees the planet waiting below, or the nothingness of space. Her swordmaiden waits behind her, a tough girl in sagging black trousers and a sharp grinning sword at her belt. She kills easily, too easily. Several Ladies huddle and whisper together in the back, where the Queen can ignore them. She is in full armor, and her pale, dead leaf brown hair is done up in two long whip braids. She is pale, almost truly rose white, and wears an eyepiece over her bad, milkblind eye. Her other eye is black, night black, space black, and sees everything. She means to go into battle herself, but then, she is known as the War Queen, as her mother was, before her death in her own bed, sweating and hysterical from a fever that rotted out her brain. She tries not to look it, but she is thirty years old, and hasn’t been a girl, a young girl, for some time.

    But she is beautiful,

    and why not, still.

    An officer stands erect and heels pressed together on the deck. “Your Honor,” he says, or must say. “We are positioned for attack. Permission to land?”

    “Yes,” she says. Her ladies whimper. They are only here because court protocol demands it, and though they are armed with little, ornamental knives, they do not know how to use them. They are more likely to cut themselves. When the swordmaiden looks over at them, not even glaring, they show their teeth like dogs.

    “Yes,” the Queen turns. “Prepare for a surface attack outside Theed, Generale. And send any additional troops you can spare to the Galla area. They’ll never see it coming.”

    --

    Once upon a time

    in Theed, the Queen prepares for war. She is only sixteen, raised from her first memories to serve her city, and she was chosen to rule after the death of the old King, in battle with Gungans in the marshes. She has black hair, and heavy eyebrows, and is tall and clumsy kneed and awkward. Everyone will tell her, and believe, that she is pretty. History will remember her as the White Queen, and though it won’t remember her name, it is Aerena. Her name comes from the goddess, who, barefoot, crossed the northern mountain ranges in legend, and flowers grew from the blood that oozed from her cut feet. Later, she would become an air spirit, and then, only a name.

    Her handmaidens are gathered around her, armed with silver glinting blasters, the earlier versions of the royal pistols. They all expect to die that day.

    Yet: They all want to live, to make this into a story.

    Doesn’t anyone?

    The Queen sinks to her knees, as the Governor speaks with the military leaders in the outer room. She is expected to ride past the troupes in her chariot, drawn by several small, blue eyed white beasts with flowers put, oddly and silly, in their manes. This, her advisors have told her, sternly, will lift the men’s spirits. They will see her as that shining, rose skinned goddess instead of a woman. A girl. But she’s afraid. She doesn’t know how to fight, and she doesn’t want to. But it doesn’t matter:

    “Your Highness,” says one of her handmaidens. She looks up, and stands up, her face made into a regal mask. “It’s time.”

    --

    The dark queen, Autonoë, leaves for her personal shuttle and the battlefield, with her swordmaiden, and her loyal guards in their black armor. She pauses, and whispers a message, a prayer, to the Kekropian death goddess, Koré. It was said in some myths that she was born from between the stone heavy thighs of a dead woman, deep in the underground world. That she had pale hair, and an empty, wind blowing voice. That every year, she crawls back there to find her consort’s wide eyed spirit. That she wears a black cloak, wrapped around her like a shroud. But these are all only stories.

    Aerena, the white queen, climbs up into her war chariot. Her face is powdered white, and her eyes heavily kohled. She wears a battle dress, with black boots, and a blaster tucked awkward into place. Her hands are shaking and too cold and ice stiff, and (no I don’t want this it must stop it has to stop). Her handmaidens throw and fling out little sugar white flowers to the crowds lining the streets, who are adoring, loyal, and screaming for blood. They ride towards the field, where the first of the Kekropian ships have landed, and the Naboo forces swarm forward to meet them.

    Let me be what my people desire, she hopes.

    --

    And Autonoë: My life is only a crack of light swinging in the abyss. Even if I survive this day, next time, I shan’t be so fortunate.

    --

    It will be said, and written down, that the two queens met at the terrible battle of Theed. Men screamed and whimpered around them, and the air was daydream hazy with blaster smoke, and the roar of cannons in the distance. Autonoë saw Aerena first and approached, while her swordmaiden stayed behind. She smiled, or rather, only bared her cat sharp teeth. Oh you silly, silly little girl, the books will claim she said. Her skirts were splashed with mud. Aerena clenched her eyes shut for a second, a moment, and drew her blaster. No one saw what happened next, but it is known that they fought, and that neither of them survived.

    --

    Once upon a time:

    There was a Queen, a woman who lay on the field of battle on another world, blood dripping from her eye down her face, her mouth still gasped open in surprise, a dark queen, but her people gathered around her, touching her glass cold skin, and a few of them wept. Her Lady began the high, keening chant for the dead. The girl who had killed her had fallen down nearby. Her handmaidens, who had all survived, leaned over her. But they are not worth remembering, or having names. Really! They clicked her eyelids shut, and then, one of them found two coins from a dead man’s purse, and pressed them, soft and quiet, over her eyes, to pay her way to the underworld in the core. They were silent and grim, because, for the first, but not the last time, the unheard of had happened, a handmaiden had lived while her Queen, her lady, had not. They placed her hands, like (the books will sing-song say) two white birds on her chest. Her fingernails were broken and dirty with blood. Perhaps they stood up, and faced the Kekropian Lady, and the swordmaiden, across the several feet between them. We don’t know what they said, if anything, and that doesn’t matter. Picture this: The swordmaiden keeps her sword hidden, and asleep, in its sheath. The Lady’s face is stiff with forced out tears. The handmaidens show their hands, this once, though never again, fluttering and empty. They all do. Almost, for a moment, with peace.



    *
     
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  2. CodyMonKenobi

    CodyMonKenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 29, 2001
    That was an intresting story. You did a good job showing Naboo's history. I think you should do more. I really enjoyed it.
     
  3. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Rangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2000
    Wow, that is really brilliant. I love the look at something different then the peaceful Naboo I'm use to from TPM.

    Most profound in the telling of a history of the women.


    And this story does not include the prostitutes in their peek-a-boo chemises and ragged skirts, who were never seen nor heard,, or the servant girls with their worn down knees They knew they could not be saved. Remember that.

    There is only room for the Queen and her attendants on the battlefield.


    Or the simple fact of they forgot the world was not their own.

    =D= =D=
     
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  4. Meredith_Kenobi

    Meredith_Kenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    =D= wow! That was really original. And it was also brilliant. =D= =D=
    Fantastic job on this, Pandora26!=D=
     
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  5. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Marvelous.

    Your writing has such a distinctive cadence to it. I could feel the war drums and hear the clippy clop of hooves while I read this. You've a way with words.

    =D=

    This was excellent, I love the way you played with the inherrant romanticism of the Naboo and their hair:
    Oh, there are perhaps a few earnest daughters who snuck out in their brothers? armor, with their hair piled up romantically into their helmets, instead of, as one would expect, cutting it short. All the better so that they might let it spill out, when, as the audience expects and demands, their sex is inevitably revealed, and they are locked up in their long, heavy gowns again, and perhaps a romance. But this is not that story.

    Brilliant as always!!
     
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  6. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Excellent! Unique and well written, and certainly an interesting perspective! =D=

    in Theed, the Queen prepares for war. She is only sixteen, raised from her first memories to serve her city, and she was chosen to rule after the death of the old King, in battle with Gungans in the marshes. She has black hair, and heavy eyebrows, and is tall and clumsy kneed and awkward. Everyone will tell her, and believe, that she is pretty. History will remember her as the White Queen, and though it won?t remember her name, it is Aerena. Her name comes from the goddess, who, barefoot, crossed the northern mountain ranges in legend, and flowers grew from the blood that oozed from her cut feet. Later, she would become an air spirit, and then, only a name.

    Her handmaidens are gathered around her, armed with silver glinting blasters, the earlier versions of the royal pistols. They all expect to die that day.


    Absolutely lovely! =D=
     
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  7. leia_naberrie

    leia_naberrie Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2002
    I really enjoyed this. You have such a way with words - and it's the little details that delighted me - the booed-down philosophers, the vulture-shaped warships, the little coins on the white queen's eyes...

    Amusing that the 'warrior' Queen had weak handmaidens while the 'lady' Queen had strong ones. There's something very 'Mists of Avalon' in this story and I mean that in the nicest way. :D
     
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  8. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    CodyMonKenobi: Right now, I don't plan to write anything more in this vein, but you never know. It could happen. Thanks for responding!

    Healer_Leona: Yes, this is a *very* different Naboo. And while the Naboo were, unlike most cultures, able to change, and supposedly learn from history, they never did seem to realize that they had indeed taken the world from the Gungans. The eternal problem of colonalism, I suppose.

    Meredith_Kenobi: Thanks!

    oqidaun: The Naboo women do tend to have those long, flowing tresses. And I couldn't resist mocking one of the girl in uniform cliches. Sure, she doesn't cut her hair, but if she did, there couldn't be that dramatic moment when she takes her helmet off.

    As always, thanks.

    VaderLVR64: Thanks for reading!

    leia_naberrie: Amusing that the 'warrior' Queen had weak handmaidens while the 'lady' Queen had strong ones.

    Well, the War Queen's attendants are more like traditional ladies-in-waiting, and not the handmaidens depicted in the prequel trilogy. They aren't trained to fight--the Queen has her swordmaiden, her personal guard, to manage that. The Naboo Queen's handmaidens serve as her knights, and are trained as such. Everyone knows that is their purpose, unlike TPM, where if people saw the handmaidens at all--and I got the impression that for most people, they were nearly literally invisible-- they must have assumed they were only her attendants.
     
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  9. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Back from the depths of 2006 for the new boards.
     
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Pandora - very gripping. Has the legend of a culture feel to it. =D= =D= You really know your Naboo stuff. :cool: @};-
     
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  11. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Really powerful take on the ancient Naboo. I love how it takes everything presented in TPM and other canon about the modern Naboo and then brings it back to this raw, terrible origin. Nothing pretty about the past as it really was -- but there will inevitable alterations. Truth slips out through the cracks. I also liked the different-but-congruent personas of the two queens. They're like two sides of the same coin, shaped by similar cultural forces but brought to war with each other. Really interesting!

    =D= That section gives me chills.
     
  12. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 8, 2005
    This is a very beautifully written piece. I'm particularly intrigued by the nature of how women were viewed and treated during this long ago time. It's very reminiscent of notions that were common during the Middle Ages in Europe, but your wording about Naboo women as "flower skinned" also suggests a more Eastern view. That's an interesting balance.
    Very well done and lovely. :)
     
  13. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Nyota's Heart: You really know your Naboo stuff.
    Well, I should be honest and admit that I am responsible for making up nearly all of it. I did start with a few ideas I picked out from wookieepedia circa 2006--there were city-states, they had hereditary monarchies, and there was a time before the The Great Time of Peace on Naboo--but I almost certainly made different choices than the old legendary EU writers would have.

    very gripping. Has the legend of a culture feel to it. =D= =D=

    Thank you! I was definitely going for this feeling.


    Kahara: When I made up the history for this story, I decided to make it one that made the pacifism in modern era Naboo that hard-earned, that gave meaning to the red Scar of Remembrance the Queens have painted on their lower lips. Of course, I had centuries of ugly history in this world to draw upon. And yes: the two queens are definitely two sides of the same coin, and more alike than either of them could probably ever see, just as I intended the dark/war queen's world to be the other side of the coin from Naboo.

    The books do not include this: Even those who remember history do not learn from it. Even they will repeat it, again and again.​
    =D= That section gives me chills.

    People, as a species, never do seem to learn. To quote singer-songwriter Mark Mallman: "Nothing changes; it just rearranges."


    leiamoody: I'm particularly intrigued by the nature of how women were viewed and treated during this long ago time. It's very reminiscent of notions that were common during the Middle Ages in Europe, but your wording about Naboo women as "flower skinned" also suggests a more Eastern view. That's an interesting balance.

    I should admit that any Eastern influence here is probably subconscious-when I used the phrase "flower skinned," I was (probably, since it has been nearly nine years since I wrote this) drawing on the "damask cheek" of the beloved in your average Elizabethan blazon. And then, I got the impression from the movies that Naboo still had some confused attitudes towards women in their modern, peaceful era: they seem fine with women (or little girls) having power, so long as they don't ever truly use it.

    Very well done and lovely.

    Thank you!
     
  14. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    I'm so glad I found this! I absolutely adore it. Your worldbuilding is great, but even more, I love the way you write.

    A holo would survive of this event, of a young girl, in rags, with hollowed out black eyes, stumbling across a field, while a white mansion hisses and howls in flames behind her. Perhaps you’ve seen it. There is a copy at the historical museum in Theed, as a reminder of what the holobooks agree with. That those who forget history are the ones doomed to repeat it.

    The books do not include this: Even those who remember history do not learn from it. Even they will repeat it, again and again.


    This is my favorite line. Very haunting! And so, so lovely. I'd love to read more of your stories!
     
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  15. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    NYCitygurl: I'm so glad I found this! I absolutely adore it. Your worldbuilding is great, but even more, I love the way you write.

    This story has definitely gotten a second life--while obviously, as you can see further up the thread, I did have some readers when I originally posted it, it is not the sort of thing most people come to fanfiction to read, and it drifted down to the deep pages of the boards fairly fast. (I mean, really--there isn't a Jedi in sight!) I'm glad you liked the worldbuilding. I think it goes along with the style, since they both sort of came to me in a trance, the way I imagine the old storytellers would get as they began to recite a story everyone in the audience knew.

    As for that one line, I can only say that I'm a product of the late 20th century, and I'm cynical.

    I'd love to read more of your stories!

    I have some stories lying around here, and I've been able to fix the truncation on most of them. And I may write something else in the future (so long as it is a 2000ish word thing that fits in one post--I've had to impose limits on my fanfiction play for my own good).

    Thanks for reading, and commenting!
     
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  16. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Since I was the one who requested this thread to be re-opened, I am terribly sorry that it took me this long to comment. I have concentration issues, so I often can read things and not know what I'm reading. Had I replied before, the response would've been insulting for a piece of this quality.

    If I was to sum this up in three words, they would be GOTHIC CHESS GAME, but since there is so much to each single fragment that makes up this story, I'll comment on each and single one of them.

    One question: are the "once upon a time" bits official versions of what happened, is it the other way round or am I getting this completely wrong?

    --

    The dystopian Naboo of the past is nothing like what I would've assumed it to be - blame the rosey legends material that depicted Gungans as warlike and Humans as perfect art devotees. This seems more like it.

    And there they come, the sexist undertones that are disgusted as "protection". Women have to be pretty and serve us. Pfft. Love the irony of this. Given the bit about servants and prostitutes, who are basically described as lesser citizens, I am wondering if some strange religion is involved?

    Love how a past war involved a celestial body named Govinda. Clever.

    --

    The Kekropians' answer to a decoy as opposed to the actual queen is freaky. Wondering if they would have done the same to the actual queen.

    And then, there is the surprise of the Naboo doing a similarly savage thing. Eeek.

    And then, Kekropia basically does a carpet of bombs thing, like the freakin' February 13th 1945 in Dresden. Brr..

    Naboo's response goes one step further and err...it's inspired by Kim Phuc in Vietnam, running away from napalm, right?

    This passage, though short, is incredibly powerful, goes through the past couple hundred of years of *our* history and how the immediate brutality of these countless retributions may be getting less graphic and brutal, yet it kills more and more people and it's harder and harder to escape.

    --

    I know that this was written ten years ago, but it's like...the dark queen passage predicted the hypocricy of the Alice in Wonderland film. And you take it up to eleven. The queen is too noble to kill herself, so she needs somebody else to do that for her. She doesn't get her hands dirty, but she doesn't mind somebody who does it for her.

    I can see that her being the black queen follows the actual Through the Looking Glass narrative more, though.

    --

    The white queen is strange in terms of what is behind all that make-up and posesses a great deal of awkwardness, just like the "original" white queen and just like a teenager turned into a monarch. Expected this after having read about the black queen.

    Her handmaidens are gathered around her, armed with silver glinting blasters, the earlier versions of the royal pistols. They all expect to die that day.

    Yet: They all want to live, to make this into a story

    Crazy, crazy contrast...and it makes me wonder if one of them is the in-universe narrator for this. :)

    --

    Love the myth Autonoë clinges on to and the whole description of Koré, especially the "wind-blowing voice.

    --

    Is Autonoë Force-sensitive or...just a pessimist?

    --

    Two rams on the log, right there. Eeep!

    --

    I can see where the two coins on eyes come from, but since the handmaidens are nameless and that it's OK to take stuff from a dead man's purse, the class differences still persist. And I love it that the handmaidens survived, despite being token redshirts.

    Wondering if this is what brought the eventual peace.
     
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  17. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Wonderful that this fanfic was re-opened! And that I stumbled over it.

    You give Naboo a beautiful, yet haunting past. I was reminded like some other readers of Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L. Paxon, but you have your own writing style, of course. A style that sucks the reader in. I felt the sadness of the queen the very minute I started reading. @};-
     
  18. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Ewok Poet: Firstly, it's quite all right to take a while to comment. I know (probably remembering far too well) that I last left a comment on a story here in 2011, so I am in no position to judge. And now it's time for me to gift your reply with an appropriate response.

    One question: are the "once upon a time" bits official versions of what happened, is it the other way round or am I getting this completely wrong?

    Those bits have a particular feeling for me that I actually find hard to describe. But no, they're not actually part of the official versions of what happened. They're more like an external framing device. Of course, you can always read it another way.

    *

    The dystopian Naboo of the past is nothing like what I would've assumed it to be - blame the rosey legends material that depicted Gungans as warlike and Humans as perfect art devotees. This seems more like it.

    And there they come, the sexist undertones that are disgusted as "protection". Women have to be pretty and serve us. Pfft. Love the irony of this. Given the bit about servants and prostitutes, who are basically described as lesser citizens, I am wondering if some strange religion is involved?

    There wasn't much Legends work on the ancient history of Naboo--just enough to give a few monarchs names, and to establish a reason for the red Scar of Remembrance the modern-day Queens have painted on their lower lips. But I got the impression that the history that inspired that scar would have to be a violent one, and I made up one that, I suspect, has little resemblance to anything the Legends authors would have been allowed to dare to do. It wouldn't have been only the Naboo. The Gungans were equally as fierce, but then, they never made any pretenses of being "perfect art devotees."

    I didn't actually plan out the religious aspects of the society in this story, but I would suppose that it would be centered around the worship of a goddess. Some of the aspects of that worship would have been transferred, eventually, into the idealized figurehead of the Queen. But the worship of a goddess does not necessarily lead to actual human women (aside, of course, from the chosen few, like the Queen and politicians who stay behind the scenes planning strategy) having power. And I get the impression that, as I mentioned earlier, even in the peaceful present the Naboo still have odd attitudes towards women. They like them safely up on a pedestal. Remember, Padmé believed that she would lose her position if the Queen were to learn she was pregnant (not married to the forbidden Jedi knight, only pregnant)--the Queen gave her the position, and she can take it away.

    *

    The Kekropians' answer to a decoy as opposed to the actual queen is freaky. Wondering if they would have done the same to the actual queen.

    Since I'm the author and know all (or most), I can say that they wouldn't have. They beheaded the decoy to send a message to the real queen--that they knew what she had done, they considered it a betrayal, and this was the consequence.

    And then, Kekropia basically does a carpet of bombs thing, like the freakin' February 13th 1945 in Dresden. Brr..

    Naboo's response goes one step further and err...it's inspired by Kim Phuc in Vietnam, running away from napalm, right?

    This passage, though short, is incredibly powerful, goes through the past couple hundred of years of *our* history and how the immediate brutality of these countless retributions may be getting less graphic and brutal, yet it kills more and more people and it's harder and harder to escape.

    While this passage was influenced by the history of the mid-late 20th century, I wasn't (at least, not consciously) inspired by any one particular event. I do know the photograph you mention, of the little girl with her clothes burnt off by napalm, running down a road with dark clouds in the distance. It's a terrible moment frozen and preserved in time--and I sort of think of the images in this part as the written equivalent.

    *

    I see the "dark queen" and the "white queen" as being certain types of feminine archetypes more than characters. It goes along with the folklore/myth type feeling I have for the story. (Interestingly enough, one of them was nominated for Best Female OC in the Before category in the fanfiction awards the year I originally posted this, which I found bemusing for that reason.) Each one is the foil to the other one, and the opposite side of the same coin. But neither of them is supposed to be all "good" or all "bad"--remember, the awkward, well-meaning white queen is the one who sent her decoy (probably with the urging of her advisers, but still) to do her work, and die for it.

    *

    Her handmaidens are gathered around her, armed with silver glinting blasters, the earlier versions of the royal pistols. They all expect to die that day.

    Yet: They all want to live, to make this into a story

    Crazy, crazy contrast...and it makes me wonder if one of them is the in-universe narrator for this. :)

    I'm afraid that isn't the case, since this is told centuries upon centuries in the future, when even the "white queen," the figurehead who always matters in a Naboo story, is fading away from history. That will have to be another story.

    Love the myth Autonoë clinges on to and the whole description of Koré, especially the "wind-blowing voice."

    That myth was also inspired by the Mesopotamian myth of the descent of Inanna/Ishtar, as well as the oldest versions of Persephone.

    Is Autonoë Force-sensitive or...just a pessimist?

    She's just a pessimist. My characters tend to be, with only a few exceptions, Force-blind.

    *

    I can see where the two coins on eyes come from, but since the handmaidens are nameless and that it's OK to take stuff from a dead man's purse, the class differences still persist. And I love it that the handmaidens survived, despite being token redshirts.

    Wondering if this is what brought the eventual peace.

    The class differences always persist, but (and I suppose this makes me callus and strange) the dead man no longer needs that money. And the handmaidens survived to pass the story into history--as I said elsewhere, it's nearly always more interesting when they live. As for the peace, it probably, and sadly, lasted for about five minutes at the most--Naboo still has hundreds of years of fighting before they begin the peace they will be known for.

    In closing, thanks for reading, and commenting!

    AzureAngel2: You give Naboo a beautiful, yet haunting past. I was reminded like some other readers of Marion Zimmer Bradley & Diana L. Paxon, but you have your own writing style, of course. A style that sucks the reader in. I felt the sadness of the queen the very minute I started reading.

    The style sort of just came to me, though it (I suppose obviously) has aspects of my own usual style. It's meant to have aspects of oral storytelling, and in many ways, it's a lament--for a terrible time, and the people who were trapped in it. Thanks for reading!
     
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