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Saga Saga - OT Sanctuary Coast (A Leia Organa Alternative Timeline Mod Time Challenge)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails , Aug 22, 2019.

  1. devilinthedetails

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

    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Sanctuary Coast

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Genre: General, Family, Alternative Timeline

    Timeline: Beginning set before ANH; ending set during ROTJ.

    Characters: Leia Organa; Padme Amidala; Breha Organa; Bail Organa; Luke Skywalker

    Summary: In an alternative timeline, Leia Organa meets her birth mother.

    Note: Written for the 72 hour Mod Time Challenge. My random element was a leap. My forecast was a hurricane. My required line of dialogue was: "That's officially too much information." My recycled challenge quote was: "I'll remember you, though. I remember everyone that leaves." My TV Trope was alternative timeline. My reaction gif was crossed arms, a sigh, and an eye roll. My artwork can be seen here. My picture prompt was dirty hands. Thanks to the Mods for coming up with these prompts to inspire me to write an Alternative Timeline piece, which I've never done before!

    Sanctuary Coast

    Leia was six when she was swept up by a hurricane. The hurricane came when she was curled in slumber beneath the blankets of her sleep coach, head resting on pillows that felt fluffy and white as clouds. It tore through the glass doors that separated the gilded balcony overlooking the inland sea from her bedroom in the royal family’s villa in Sanctuary Coast, a city built on stilts that Leia constantly feared would fall into the foaming water.

    The wind that had been so rough breaking through the glass doors was gentle as it gathered her up into the calm of its eye. The hurricane churned around her, sweeping her shimmersilk nightgown about her ankles, and making her heart leap with terror or excitement—she couldn’t be sure which, or even if they were different emotions and not the same feeling making her heart pound against her ribs.

    She expected to be carried over the inland sea and then to be dropped—to plummet to her death beneath the churning durasteel gray waves or against the rocks spattered with guano. Instead she was swallowed into a whirling darkness that felt like a black hole. This was, she thought, how it must feel to travel through space and time.

    Dizzy, she emerged from the dark into the light, the hurricane still spiraling around her. It released her and she fell into a flowerbed. Shocked by the sudden fall, she barely managed to lift her hands in front of her face to cushion the impact. Her palms stung, dirt flying into her eyes, and she was grateful for the crimson blossoms—millaflowers from Naboo, she thought— that smoothed her landing. Gasping, she stared around her, trying to understand where she was.

    She looked to be in the seafront garden of another Sanctuary Coast villa, but this Sanctuary Coast was lit by a golden sun shining in an ocean blue as the arching dome of sky stretching overhead. From across the garden, a woman with the soft, beautiful but sad expression Leia recognized from her dreams—the dreams of a crying woman who had panted out her name, Leia—ran toward her.

    “Where am I?” Leia was dazed, but the woman seemed kind and familiar enough that she felt comfortable asking.

    “Sanctuary Coast.” The woman gave a smile that Leia sensed contained more sorrow than joy. “You’re safe here. Everyone is safe here.”

    Leia remembered her politics tutor telling her that Sanctuary Coast had been established centuries ago by beings fleeing the old Galactic Republic Wars. During the Clone Wars, her tutor had explained her in excruciating detail, Sanctuary Coast had stayed true to its tradition of embracing refugees, welcoming many of those displaced in the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists. Now that the Republic was an Empire, her tutor had concluded in a whisper that many fugitives on the Empire’s most wanted list sought a hiding place in Sanctuary Coast.

    The lecture had bored Leia. Exhaling gustily, she had folded her arms across her chest, rolled her eyes, and repeated in a haughty tone a phrase she had heard her mother, Queen Breha, utter on occasion: “That’s officially too much information.”

    She hadn’t known what it meant exactly, but it had earned her an extra essay as punishment for her rudeness.

    Looking into the woman’s face and sensing how grateful the woman was for this place of refuge, Leia for the first time felt remorse for her dismissive attitude toward her tutor’s instruction on Sanctuary Coast’s history as a safe space for all who felt threatened in the galaxy.

    Despite all her years of etiquette lessons, she didn’t know what to say. Fortunately, the woman didn’t appear to expect a response as she went on, holding out her palms, “Let me see your hands, sweetheart.”

    Leia should have bristled at being referred to with such an endearment by a stranger, but that odd feeling of familiarity with this woman brought a warm feeling to her heart as she placed her hands in the woman’s outstretched ones, seeing for the first time how stained they were with dirt. Her aunts, she could imagine, would scold her until they ran out of breath if they could see her now, assuring her in no uncertain terms that a princess of Alderaan had never been so filthy, and she would bring disgrace down on the entire illustrious history of House Organa.

    “Ah, you’re a mess from your fall.” The woman’s tongue clicked against her mouth, but sympathetically not reproachfully. Like a mother, she decided, not a pesky aunt. “Come inside and I’ll tidy you up.”

    Leia found herself escorted into a refresher where the woman scrubbed her hands clean, the dirt disappearing down the drain. Drying Leia’s hands, the woman invited, “Would you like to keep me company for awhile?”

    Leia got the impression that this sad woman didn’t get many visitors, so she agreed. She followed the woman into a living room. Settling into the veda sofa, she found her attention captured by an oil canvas on the wall depicting a woman with copper-gold hair blowing in a stormy wind as she knelt over a figure emerging from the ocean. The woman on the canvas seemed as sad and beautiful as the woman sitting on the coach across from her.

    Noticing where her gaze had fallen, the woman on the sofa remarked, “It’s a classical Naboo painting. It wasn’t easy to have it bought and brought here secretly, but it reminds me of home.”

    “Is Naboo your home?” Leia tilted her head.

    “It was my home.” The woman sighed. “Now I can never go back there. It would attract too much attention from the Empire. I have to hide here like so many others.”

    “Why do you have to hide here?” Leia’s forehead furrowed. The woman didn’t seem like a criminal who would have to flee from the law.

    “The same reason I had to hide my daughter with a trusted friend.” The woman’s eyes locked on Leia’s face as if willing her to understand the incomprehensible. “My husband was a hero of the Clone Wars. If the Emperor knew that I lived and so did my daughter, he would kill us both.”

    “Am I your daughter?” Leia had always known that she was adopted—that she was the child of a hero from the Clone Wars.

    “Yes.” Grief rippled through the woman’s expression like a stone disturbing a pond’s tranquil surface as a commotion echoed from the streets outside the villa. “Forgive me, Leia, but you must leave now. The Empire is coming to conduct another search for fugitives, and you can’t be caught here.”

    Leia had a foreboding sense that the woman shouldn’t be caught by the Empire either, and she burst out, “I don’t want to leave you.”

    “You must.” The woman cupped Leia’s cheeks between her palms, and Leia had the sense the woman was memorizing her features. “Don’t worry. I’ll remember you, though. I remember everyone that leaves.”

    “How do I leave?” Leia frowned as it occurred to her that since she had no idea how she had arrived her, she had no clue how to leave.

    “I think”—The woman’s fingers combed through Leia’s hair—“that if you went into the garden and leapt, you’d find your way back to where you belong—where you’ll be safe from the Empire.”

    Leia didn’t want to leave this woman alone in her sadness, but the boots of stormtroopers could be heard marching up the permacrete path to the villa, and the woman nudged her out the back door to the garden, urging her, “Go before the Empire finds you.”

    Spurred by the desperation in the woman’s voice, Leia obeyed, leaping into the air. The hurricane swept her up again. Wind whistled in her ears, howling like a mother torn from her child, and rain whipped against her cheeks.

    She landed with a thump on her sleep coach, her throat dry and scratchy as if she had been crying for a long time.

    “Leia!” Hands shook her shoulders, and she looked into the worried eyes of Queen Breha, the woman who had raised her as a daughter. “What’s wrong, dear?”

    “You were calling for your mother,” her father added, standing in the shadows of her bedroom’s doorway.

    Sitting up on her sleep coach, Leia discovered that her blankets and shimmersilk nightgown were soaked with sweat.

    “I was swept up in a hurricane and just got back.” Leia found it was hard to speak with a mouth that felt full of sand.

    “A nightmare only.” Her adoptive mother—the only mother she had ever really known—kissed her clammy forehead soothingly. “There was no hurricane, darling.”

    “There was no hurricane,” Leia repeated, struggling to absorb this and wondering if the woman she met had been real or fake.

    Years later, when Luke, raised by his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, asked her adopted child to adopted child, if she remembered her real mother, it was of this woman—who bore such an uncanny resemblance to her now only with more grief carved into the lines of her face as if by some cruel sculptor—that she thought as she answered in that dark Endor forest, “Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.”

    When Luke pressed her for what she remembered, she thought of the marching boots of the stormtroopers hunting the haunted woman she had met during the hurricane that never happened and fumbled for words to describe the impossible. “Just images really, feelings. She was very beautiful, kind, but sad.”

    She gazed at Luke, sensing the same sorrow she had felt in the woman she had met during the hurricane and posed a question of her own that would sweep her up into another hurricane: “Why are you asking me this?”
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb blending of all the prompts. Sanctuary Coast really does seem like a place Alderaan would set up for refugees and just the right place for Padme to have retreated to. And to find out it was "just a dream," [face_thinking] doesn't take away from the sweet sense of connection Leia felt to Padme.
  3. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    Nicely done, devilinthedetails! I really enjoyed the atmosphere of a city raised above the water that is hit by a mystical hurricane. I also loved the name, Sanctuary Coast. It resonates well.

    I also enjoyed the details of Leia's fall and the 'stinging hands' and Padme's motherly attention to her wound.
    Let me drop this bomb as I push you out the door. :p

    Your characterization of Padme was a welcome change. I loved her peaceful apprehension, if that oxymoron makes sense. She is alive and she is safe, but the danger to Leia is still ever present in Vader and the Emperor.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  4. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost star 4

    Jun 3, 2002
    For never having written and alternate timeline story before, this one is remarkable. =D= Just a dream? Perhaps, but the meeting of Leia and Padme was beautiful, sad, heartwarming and heartbreaking at their goodbye. Wonderful story.
  5. devilinthedetails

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

    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting! I'm so flattered that you thought the blending of the prompts was superb since there were so many of them to include this time, and Sanctuary Coast does seem like exactly the sort of place Alderaan would have to take in refugees. I really love the element of peace and acceptance that Alderaan seems to have brought to the galaxy. The galaxy lost so much when Alderaan was destroyed. When I first watched ROTJ as a little girl, I pictured Leia's mother as spending some time in hiding on Alderaan before she died and I thought that would be how Leia knew her mother a bit when Luke didn't, so that shaped my idea of having Padme take refuge on Alderaan in this alternative timeline. I'm so glad that it being "all a dream" didn't take away from the story for you, since I still wanted that sense of sweet connection between Leia and Padme to really have a chance to shine in this story. It makes me so happy that you felt it did. @};-

    @brodiew Thanks so much for commenting! It's great to hear you thought this piece was nicely done, and that you enjoyed the atmosphere of a city on stilts with a mystical hurricane. I wanted to sort of mix some of the magic of a shore city with the magic of a hurricane like the tornado in the Wizard of Oz. I really like the sound of Sanctuary Coast too. It has the poetic tone that seems to fit Alderaan so well.

    I was definitely drawing on some of my own childhood experiences of falls (dirty and stinging hands) so I'm so glad you found those details added to the story and that you enjoyed seeing Padme in a motherly role with Leia. Being able to show Padme as a mother was one of the most rewarding parts of this story for me.

    Ha ha, yes, I did feel bad for Leia getting that bomb dropped on her as Padme shunted her out the door. [face_laugh] But I'm so happy that Padme's characterization worked for you and that feeling of peaceful anxiety with her you describe is a great way to express the feeling I was hoping readers would get from Padme in this story. There's a sense of peace because she is alive and gets to meet her daughter but also the sense of the menace of the Emperor and Vader looming over everything. At least that's what I was hoping to achieve. So it makes me super pleased that worked for you.

    @JediMaster_Jen Thank you so much for your sweet comment! [:D] I''m so flattered you found this alternative time line remarkable for someone who never wrote one before and that you still found the interaction between Padme and Leia so meaningful even though it was just a dream. That was exactly the reaction I was hoping readers would have.
  6. Findswoman

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

    Feb 27, 2014
    Ooh, this is lovely! <3 This makes for such a beautiful, perfect explanation for the way Leia remembers those "feelings" and "images" of her mother when she talks to Luke in ROTJ (the "through the Force" business never really seemed completely convincing, given that Padmé canonically dies while Leia's just hours old :p ). It was a dream, but definitely more than "just" a dream in its vividness and lasting effect on Leia. And it wasn't just a static vision, either: in that dream Padmé was actively rescuing Leia and offering her sanctuary even when her own (i.e., Padmé's) life was in danger, too. It exemplifies to her the kind of love that was her birth mother's way of life, so how could she not remember it later? And all in such beautiful settings, with such beautiful details like the landscape of Sanctuary Coast, the fabrics of the couch and the nightgown, and even the painting in the room, based on your prompt painting, which is perfect for the scene in that it, too, seems to depict a loving rescue. Beautiful work all around—thanks for another fantastic contribution to this challenge! =D=
  7. devilinthedetails

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

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Findswoman As always, thanks so much for commenting! :D I'm so glad you found this to be a beautiful, perfect explanation for why Leia remembers those "feelings" and "images" of her mother in ROTJ despite not really getting a chance to know her at all in ROTS. Although I really love the Prequels, that was always a detail that niggled with me, so I tried to embrace this alternative timeline challenge as a a chance to sort of reconcile that in my mind a bit.

    I agree that while it was "just a dream" it was also much more than that in the long-lasting impact it had one Leia, and it was definitely a very active dream in which Padme made a point of showing how much she cared about Leia despite the danger she was in. I think it is those experiences of Padme showing a motherly love and tenderness that left such a strong impression on Leia even years later when she talks to Luke.

    Something about Alderaan makes me really want to write beautiful settings so I'm so happy you appreciated all the details of the landscape, the fabrics, and the picture on the wall. The picture on the wall did end up feeling so appropriate for this story, so it was awesome to have it as a prompt for my challenge.

    Thank you again for the kind comment! I always appreciate your feedback=D=
  8. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 25, 2010
    Oh, wow. I loved this moment - this dream-like sequence - that allowed Leia and Padme to meet and I adore how it explains Leia remembering her as "kind, yet sad." Amazing job weaving all the elements in here.
  9. devilinthedetails

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

    Jun 19, 2019
    Thank you so much for commenting! :DI'd never written any sort of alternative timeline story before this one so it is awesome to hear that you loved the dreamlike sequence that allowed Padme and Leia to meet. I always found the line in ROTJ where Leia remembers her mother as this tragic "kind yet sad" figure so moving, and one of the few issues I had with the PT was that fact that I couldn't really see how Leia could remember Padme when Padme died so soon after Leia was born, so I decided to take advantage of the alterative timeline prompt to create a potential explanation. Oh, and I'm so flattered that you felt I wove all the elements together so well here since this story did require quite a few transitions that I had to plan out in order to get them to fit together in a way that hopefully made sense for readers.
    AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Jun 14, 2005
    You create such extraordinary pearls of writing without effort it seems. Even under extreme time pressure they are constructions of beauty and thoughtfulness. And your fics are very lyrical and rich with motions.
  11. devilinthedetails

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

    Jun 19, 2019
    @AzureAngel2 As always, thank you so much for your sweet comments on my work! The idea that my writing would seem beautiful, effortless, and thoughtful all at once is probably the greatest compliment I could receive as a writer, so thank you so much for that. :D I try my best to capture a lyrical quality in my writing, so it makes me so happy that shows. Thank you again for your kind words!