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Saga "Something is shining like gold, but better" | Dear Diary Challenge 2016

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Pandora, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Title: "Something is shining like gold, but better"
    Genre: Space Western
    Timeframe: The last few years of the intertrilogy period
    Characters: Original Characters
    Summary: A young woman leaves her beautiful, peaceful life on Naboo to teach school in the wilderness of a certain desert rock run by Hutt crime lords.

    *This takes place (as you have no doubt deduced from the summary) on a familiar planet, but with new locations. I have thought, if mostly vaguely, of writing about "the other side of Tatooine" for years--and this is the story where that finally happens.

    *Nothing original in here is anything so glorified as my "headcanon." It's just stuff I made up.

    *The title is from Bruce Cockburn's song "Rumours of Glory."


    ---

    "Something is shining like gold, but better"



    [1]:


    There is only a week of time, and millions of kilometers of deadcold black space, between the world I came from and the one I have arrived on. Yes, I know—I would have only had to wait through a whirlwind of two days if I had taken a place on that new starline. But instead, I gave in and had one of the five private closet-rooms on the freighter, while nearly everyone else was crammed into the public rooms. There were two Pantorian families crowded into the one next to me. Once, when I was out on the walkway, I ran into one of the women. She was rocking a little sundrop-eyed doll of a child, the one I had just heard giving thin teakettle wails.

    She didn’t give me a burning hard glare, though it was what I deserved. I think, though I can’t be certain, that she gave me a little shivered smile. I wanted to apologize (as I cringed with a bright wounded flush), but of course, I didn’t. I kept my mouth properly clenched shut.

    The freighter fell out of hyperspace in the middle of the night. When I looked out the handmirror sized window in my room, I could only just make out the dark planet floating below me. There was only one fingerprint-bruise smudge of light in the lower hemisphere—and, while I have never seen a planet from orbit before, I know this isn’t how it should be.

    Then: I rode down to the surface, and the spaceport, on the supply shuttle. The landing field must have been nearly five kilometers away from the last edges of town. The office, the only building, was a small chalkwhite house that glowed with faded reflected starlight. I could only see the town itself as sleep-dulled lights out in the dark distance. Oh, and it was, and it still is, cold: the sort of knifesharp winter cold I wouldn’t have thought was possible in the desert. Yes, I had read that the temperatures drop at night, but I must not have known how to imagine what that would mean. The control officer told there would be frost on the sand at dawnlight, and I could only respond with a small numbed-sniff nod.

    I had to wait there for a long blur of hours, but it was still dark outside when I caught a northbound transport, which made one of its last two stops at this station. I had to sit on one of the silver droid-skinned crates they had just loaded, and I could feel the engine growl through the floor under my feet. I have been here for three hours now, and I still have kilometers, and hours, to go.

    Its official name is Erewhon Station. When I came in, one of the men at the counter told me, in a crooked sing-song voice: Welcome to nowhere, honey.

    So far as I can tell, it consists mostly of one main building, a long structure made up of puzzle pieces from other buildings, and even salvaged starship walls. It smells like speeder fuel and old soured metal engine parts and dust, and there is glittery sandgrit stamped into the floor—even though the droid that wanders without aim through the room has swept at it. There is a small portable heater with glaring-sore wires near the counter, but I can still feel the air outside through my cloak.

    I haven’t much to do here—which is why I have started writing in this file, and watching the words fall in like raindrop pebbles. But I oughtn’t complain. After all, I was supposed to have made my appearance here ten days ago, when their district driver leaves on the northern run that stops at Avalon. Presently, he is only an hour away, traveling towards Mos Entha on some sort of vague business matter, and so I have to wait.

    An hour ago, I had a cup of dark tea that tasted like tree bark—and I do like tea, proper tea. My stomach feels like a locked-tight fist, and I have made several trips outside to the box they use as a fresher. It is so dark out there behind the station lights, a velvetsoft blackness that I could nearly touch and push away from me, that I can’t see anything. There were only a few pin-pricked stars scattered across the field of the sky. I couldn’t even make out one of the moons.

    There are several little persons in rusted-brown robes sleeping together in a ragheap near the doorway, in the warm breeze from one of the fan-vents. One of them made a little mouse-pitched mumble when I walked, as carefully tip-toed as I could, past, but they didn’t leave their dreams. It might have been at the same faraway echo-howl of a speeder engine that I had heard.

    I have only spoken with one of the station workers, the one who has made the calls to arrange a transport for the rest of my journey. He introduced himself as Ciaran. He is scrawny-thin, like a wild tooka, and his rumpled hair is ashgrey. He looks to be in his fifties—but on this sort of world, I know, he might be years younger. His sing-song accent sounds vaguely familiar, and I have wondered if he came to this world, to this desert rock, from somewhere else.

    When he brought me the tea, I apologized for my inconveniently late arrival date. That was only after I had blinked at him: he looked older than he had from across the room, and he only has several little wooden brown teeth in the black cave of his mouth. He is around my height, or even shorter, so I had to look him directly in the face. But he only shrugged, and:

    There’s no need for that, he said (and I quote) as he smacked his trouser pocket, checking for his cigarets. We do things on desert time here. You’ll see.

    Right now, as I type this, he is talking with the station supervisor, the older man wearing a dustbrown coverall, at his perch behind the counter. He nods and listens to Ciaran, and answers with an occasional grunted sentence. Ciaran has a long paperwhite cigaret dangling out of his mouth. They have a shared hahaha.

    Now the other man (and I have to admit that, unfortunately, all three of them are human men) has come back in from the garage-attachment wrapped up in a thick dirtysnow white jacket. He has black hair and spaceblack eyes, and frozen rosepetal white skin—like, of all the folklore characters I might have thought of, the winter queen Aerena. The resemblance ends there.

    You know the rules, boys, the supervisor just said, with a shrug, and rattled the screen of his old tincan datapad. They play, and we work.

    The black haired man has turned his eyes toward me, or in my direction, as he nods: Yeah Rory. I just don’t want to see you work yourself too hard--

    He already knows who I am. They all know. My cloak, my plain forest-green wool winter cloak I didn’t think I would wear, must have cost more than he earns in a week. I have more, and too many clothes, similar clothes stuffed inside the luggage they carried in. I have a glossynew datapad, full of bright white filepages to write on. I am the nice offworld lady.

    Now the black haired man is letting out a sighing breath (in response to the supervisor’s last remark), and tucking a new cigaret between his lips. But I should end here, and walk about for a few minutes, even if it is only outside to that fresher. They are not watching me—and for the historical record, I am not watching, and then writing, about them.
     
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Super descriptions and of course your OC would be observant of her surroundings and the people there. This has a cool premise, something very RL-relatable but in an SW setting. :cool:
     
  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Intriguing! I like this narrator. The culture change must be pretty significant for her, but still she is aware that she is a newcomer and has to learn to fit in. She seems very patient. I wonder what made her decide to undertake such a life-changing adventure.
     
  4. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    So, this is a SW allegory of those volunteers sent from England when there was a lack of men of what is now USA? Sign me up. Love the way little things are described in this first chapter, especially sounds. On top of it, there's this creepy, hermetic aura to it all.
     
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  5. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    This is just to say that no one in this story will ever drink the "Star Warsy" equivalent of a PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon, the pride of Wisconsin beers). I would have to come up with a name like "Antilles' Bantha Piss" for that.

    Anyhow (now that I have had my moment of sass): I would like to thank everyone who left comments and "likes" for reading.

    ---

    Nyota's Heart: Super descriptions and of course your OC would be observant of her surroundings and the people there.

    She is that--and as you'll see quite soon, there is a reason for that beyond my own inclination for describing everything unto death. Thanks for commenting!

    divapilot: Intriguing! I like this narrator. The culture change must be pretty significant for her, but still she is aware that she is a newcomer and has to learn to fit in. She seems very patient. I wonder what made her decide to undertake such a life-changing adventure.

    The narrator is certainly aware that she has come to a place with a very different culture--and landscape--from what she is used to. (Of course, it could be worse: she doesn't have to adjust to a different gravity or have her bio rhythms messed up by shorter/longer days. But that's space opera for you.) And--while it might not change her life--she is in for an adventure. It's her duty as a protagonist.

    Ewok Poet: So, this is a SW allegory of those volunteers sent from England when there was a lack of men of what is now USA? Sign me up.

    If it is, I'm afraid that is a coincidence--I'm not at all familiar with the reference. It is basically a Star Wars version of the Western story where the eastern schoolteacher comes to teach in a remote town--oftentimes one where there has never been a school before. (Then, of course, she only teaches for several years before she marries a local rancher, or moisture farmer, and starts having kids. Don't worry--I would do many things, but I won't do that.)

    Love the way little things are described in this first chapter, especially sounds.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I thought I'd left a comment on this, but it looks like I didn't—my bad!

    This is off to a fascinating start and is gearing up to be one truly fascinating fish-out-of-water story. Very compelling the way you've depicted the contrast between this "nice offworld lady" and her sandgritty surroundings, and especially with the rough-and-ready Ciaran and his associates. (I'm curious why it's exactly "unfortunate" that they're all Human men—just because of the monotony and banality of it, or some other reason?) Their ramblings about "They play, and we work" seem ominous, and is no doubt part of what's sparking the protagonist's awareness of just how different she is—the kind of work our protagonist will be doing perhaps would seem like comparative play to more blue-collar types like Ciaran and the station supervisor.

    The concept of "desert time" is a neat one that really fits Tatooine well—off by itself in the Outer Rim and not subject to any real authority (besides maybe the capricious authority of the Hutts), it figures that schedules there would have, well, more leeway in general. I'm curious to see how our protagonists' employers will see it. Heck, I'm curious about her employers in general!

    Great to see you back in action again, and I'm looking very much forward to more. :cool:
     
  7. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: This is off to a fascinating start and is gearing up to be one truly fascinating fish-out-of-water story.

    That metaphor is almost literal too--she is leaving a world full of lakes and rivers, and a literal liquid core, to one where they have to farm every drop of moisture. (Of course, the part of the "real world" that will be playing this part of Tatooine in the story does have creeks and rivers, but it also only has one sun, so.) The narrator isn't much like me--or at least, I don't intend for her to be--but neither of us are desert people. I live in an area with a chain of lakes, and with many other lakes and rivers only a brief trip away. (You can see one of my favorite local lakes in my current avatar, in a photograph I took in May 2011). While I might visit the desert, and I still have hopes of making a research trip soon, I wouldn't want to live there. I would go literally nuts on Tatooine.

    Very compelling the way you've depicted the contrast between this "nice offworld lady" and her sandgritty surroundings, and especially with the rough-and-ready Ciaran and his associates. (I'm curious why it's exactly "unfortunate" that they're all Human men—just because of the monotony and banality of it, or some other reason?)

    I have to admit that Ciaran and the other "boys" (all of whom are based off real people, or my imperfect memories of them) don't seem all that rough to me. But I don't see them the way the narrator would, and she would think they were rather rough. But that might be the same reason she takes so much notice of them--they're quite different from the men she's used to. Naboo men, with several notable exceptions, seem to have the personalities of boiled potatoes. All the better to take orders from little girls (and, presumably, from little boys as well, though that isn't in the movies).

    She finds it unfortunate that they are all human men precisely because she thinks it is monotonous. And yes: while she didn't grow up learning to fear men, she doesn't know what these strange men are capable of.

    Their ramblings about "They play, and we work" seem ominous, and is no doubt part of what's sparking the protagonist's awareness of just how different she is—the kind of work our protagonist will be doing perhaps would seem like comparative play to more blue-collar types like Ciaran and the station supervisor.

    It wasn't meant to be ominous--that's actually a joke I make sometimes in real life, though it comes out of a different situation. I doubt Tatooine gets much (or any) of the sort of tourists who inspired it. I don't know what "The Boys" at the station would make of the narrator's job. But since she isn't a Hutt lieutenant, or one of their enforcers, they would probably not care too much.

    The concept of "desert time" is a neat one that really fits Tatooine well—off by itself in the Outer Rim and not subject to any real authority (besides maybe the capricious authority of the Hutts), it figures that schedules there would have, well, more leeway in general. I'm curious to see how our protagonists' employers will see it. Heck, I'm curious about her employers in general!

    Desert time means (like the real world terms that inspired it) that "we'll get to it when we get to it." And also, I suspect Ciaran told her that partly to calm her down from what was surely a lavish, near sniveling apology. You shall see who her employers are soon--but I can say that they almost certainly are not Hutts.

    Great to see you back in action again, and I'm looking very much forward to more.

    Thanks!

    --

    The next post will be up before the end of the month. (It's finished, but I'm trying to fix things now, instead of when it's online, and I'm doing it in public.) I am hoping to write legions of words on this during the Word Race--and not just because I need to do so in order to finally obtain the colors consisting of blood red letters on a black velvet background, straight from a 1996 goth website, that I failed to gain last May.

    But in the meantime, I offer some Canadian political folk music: the song the title of the story comes from.

     
  8. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    --

    It has only been several weeks now since I was at Rosenrot for the weekend games of Elsé’s wedding. Oh, I know how it sounds—but while my greatest grandmother gave it that name, during one of her most dramatic and pretentious whims, it is only a cottage. The night before the ceremony, I managed to sneak out through the moon-lit dark to the neighborhood beach. It was all right—Mor had drifted back into the one proper-sized bedroom, and no one else minded. The burning moonglow of the cottage lights faded out behind me, but after the first blurred moment, I could see the wrinkled silk waves of the water, and the line of rowboats swaying next to the landing dock, quite well.

    There were several windows glowing with fireworks light in the Vancils’ sunstone villa on the other side of the swaying darkness of the lake. They might have been there, taking a weekend-holiday away from Theed, but I rather doubt it. Of course, the Vancils don’t bother with the other, lower residents—I don’t think I have ever so much as seen one of them.

    But we do all know the servants who maintain that echo-emptied mansion. They row over every year when we have the midsummer bonfire on the beach. Mirella Swan has worked there since she left school. Elsé is still summerfriends with her, though she doesn’t have the time to see us much—when we were last there, she was kept ragged waiting on the Little Vancil.

    (Oh, she understands, as they all do—to quote the knowing words of the station supervisor, Rory—how things go: They play, and we work.)

    The lakeview picture window blinked out into darkness. I sat down in a crouch, and picked out a small rosepink rock from the clutter near the lace-fuzzed edge of the water. When I threw it out into the water, it left only a crack behind as it sank in. Then I picked up another one, and locked it inside my fisted hand. I was wandering about in thought, the sort that I’ve been writing down here—and while I know none of it matters, at least I have kept it silent and locked up in this file.

    I wore that emerald silk dress that Elsé had chosen, and had spent too many creds on, to have her honor-maiden wear. Of course (as Mor was too polite to even mention) Elsé looks well in green—but even though roseheads aren’t to wear that color, I still liked it. Elsé does keep my opinions in mind.

    She was staying in the bedroom with Mor, where her wedding dress hung from the door like a whisperthin ghost. But she had come to see me in the maid’s room earlier, before we left for the dinner party with her fiancé’s (or fine—husband’s) family. After she helped me with the last few closures on the back of the dress, she stayed in place behind me in the doorway. When I turned back around, she gave a twitched little smile, and I waited for her to speak.

    It’s difficult to know how to describe Elsé, although she has modeled for me several times: she looks like she is my sister, but she is thinner, with a pointed-sharp bird beak nose, and the fragile iceglass bones. Her hair isn’t anywhere near as red. She had her flower crown on, the one Mor and the aunts had made, but it was drooping down to her eyebrows. She was still barefoot, and I could see the theatre fan bones clenched in her feet. She had painted her toenails a gilded gold.

    She let out a little scarf-whisp of a breath, and I thought she was going to mention how it was unfortunate, that it was a pity, that she hadn’t been able to see much of me. But instead she said: I should have mentioned this before, I know. But I am sorry you’ve had to alter your plans.

    It wasn’t your fault, I said. Oh, I should admit that, when I first read her comm. call, I had blamed Elsé. I had made certain promises, and she knows what I think of that. But I can also say that what I told her was the truth: It was her bridegroom who had insisted, who actually demanded, that the wedding be changed to a later date for the sake of his great-grandmother.

    When she came in with him, clinging onto his arm, she turned out to be an old dear all done up in white-her skin was buried in snowpowder, and the skirt of her glaring white lace gown slunk along behind her on the floor. The whole family hovered about her, and when she spoke, with a dustsoft dove coo I could only just hear, they turned all their attention to listen. And--the one time she stumbled past me, on the floor of the village green--she smelled so bad I had to cough, to cover up the gag I could feel about to swell out of my throat.

    But if I’m going to trap this all down in a hard black forest of words, I shouldn’t be too unkind. It is only the least one can do for old people—now that they have used up most of their lives, and their youthful, pure ideals, and have retired away into the background.

    Later, on the beach, I looked back to the cabin. I could only hear the people still talking, and finishing a bottle of wine, inside as a rainstorm murmur song. Elsé was there in the center of attention, with the man who is now her husband. There isn’t much I can say about him. He is polite. He is (as nearly everyone has said) nice.

    That makes him the typical Naboo man, the Girl would have said. (Her name, which I haven’t written in months, was Soleria—apparently, for reasons I shan’t attempt to understand, she had to change it when she became one of the Queen’s handmaidens. I can assume she did not mention her experience as an artist’s model, as my model, when she took on the sound of whatever name she has now.)

    It was the sort of thing I only barely had the nerve to do—but if I hadn’t, if I had only considered it as an idea, I would regret that now. It was difficult to get out of the dress by myself, but after several squirming-twisted wrenches, I managed it. Then once I had left it in folded in a pile around my underthings, I walked out into the water, until I could float up, and I leapt forward into the first fish-whipped stroke. I moved for ages inside the glass-bright cold water. It felt as though my skin, my bones, were becoming part of it.

    Finally, I floated onto the surface and lay on my back, staring up at the sky. The last clouds had dissolved hours before, and it was crowded with the stars. Roné was half full, but it was too low in the sky, behind the shadowed trees, for me to see. It occurred to me to look (out beyond The Beggar Witch, and the Ash Girl) for the pair of stars that marked Tatooine. But I couldn’t see them.

    There are no lakes here on Tatooine, a world circling around a pair of suns—and no rivers, and no little silver-bright creeks. That was only an abstract, faraway detail when I was reading over the few articles I could find on the planet—but oh, it had become suddenly, and inevitably, quite real. The fading memory of that night at the lake is all I have now.

    --

    But I won’t miss the girl who was my one private art student. I met with Amidala (and obviously, that is her real name) for her last drawing lesson only the morning before I left for the lake. Her mother, the Lady Vin, had insisted, through a hurried-terse comm. message, that I make the time, and the only excuse I have is that she paid a bonus for it. She might have even have the talent her mother, and personal handmaiden, think she does—and she could do more than the ghost-faded ryoo blossoms of the still-life her mother has framed in the sitting room. But in the end, talent has never mattered for much. It will matter who her mother is.

    It was her mother (or looming up behind her, the grandfather who spent two years on the Royal Council), who insisted she study the arts of drawing and watercolor. She would rather work on the shimmering light sheets of holopictures.

    Obviously, I don’t share the reactionary opinion certain professors I shan’t name here had about holowork. It is art, and it is real—but then, aside from that, one of those same teachers refused to include Gungan works in her art history courses, and then refused to be ashamed about it. But despite that, I learned, and I have continued on to teach, the oldest methods of art.

    But anyhow: Amidala spent most of the lesson in a whispergiggled gossip session with her maiden when she was supposed to be working on a new charpencil technique. She only finished a corner of the preliminary sketch. Usually, I would have gotten her attention with a looming glare, but this time, at the end, I didn’t see the point in it. I worked on some experimental drawings in my own sketchbook, and let them talk.

    This isn’t what I wanted to do with my life—teaching art as only a technique to the most lucky and privileged of girls who already have everything.

    Then: I’m twenty nine (and months, only a few months, away from my thirtieth birthday) years old, and perhaps that’s part of it. Of course, I’m still years away yet from my prime: while the visual arts might not be the noblest art, like politics, I wasn’t finished by my nineteenth birthday. I might have gone on, easily and predictably, in that life, but I have gotten this one chance not to.

    After the hour was over, the handmaiden showed me out. She didn’t know that I had been sketching her in the closed pages of my sketchbook. It’s strange that it seems so normal: I gave lessons to Amidala for two years, and she was always, always present for them, but I don’t know one thing about her. I don’t even know her name.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent memories - such a striking contrast between the lovely verdant place she came from to Tatooine :p It highlights the emotional adjustment too. [face_thinking]
     
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  10. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    What a beautiful and evocative reminiscence—besides the lovely glance it gives into the Lake country scenery and the wedding festivities (I love the description of the ripples on the lake as "wrinkled silk"), it shows us just how much that water and those lakes mean to our protagonist—which in turn highlights just incredibly different things are for her now on this world with two suns and no bodies of water.

    It looks like we may also be learning the reason for the protagonist's delay in arriving on Tatooine—is that what Elsé is referring to when she apologizes for the fact that the protagonist had to alter her plans? It's cool, too, to learn that she's an artist and is, presumably, specifically going to be teaching art at whatever her new situation on Tatooine will be. The account of the last lesson with the famous Amidala made me smile—it's fun to think that the young queen (or queen-to-be) who was so serious and expressionless in Ep. I was at one point giggling and whispering when she was supposed to be practicing a drawing technique, and it makes perfect sense somehow.

    A funny little thing that stood out for me: I'm glad that Naboo brides are expected to shoulder the expense for their honor-maidens' dresses (and "honor-maiden" is a very cool term and very Naboo)! The custom on some parts of Earth of the bride choosing the dresses but making the bridesmaids pay never seemed quite fair. I personally think green looks wonderful on redheads (I take it that's what "roseheads" are)—or is there some sort of Naboo clothing-color protocol at work here? I seem to remember that they have several protocols about that sort of thing.

    I also appreciate that we got to meet an elderly Naboo woman, even if she did smell a little funny. :p It's not every day that we get to meet someone from Naboo's older age bracket, since it's so often presented as a world of beautiful young people. And indeed, when the protagonist speaks of the way the elderly "have used up most of their lives, and their youthful, pure ideals, and have retired away into the background," I get a sense that that attitude holds in-universe, too, at least somewhat.

    Finally, I'm curious about the Girl-who's-now-a-handmaiden, about the protagonist's relationship to her, and about what her new name might be—that is, is it one we'd recognize? [face_thinking] She's not the same as the one who was present at Amidala's last drawing lesson, was she? I imagine the relationships will become clearer as the story goes on, though, and I know whatever's coming next will be worlds different from that lesson with "Queen I'm-A-Dolly"! :cool:
     
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    An arts teacher from Naboo moving to Tatooine. Yep, "space western" should be a good description for that :)

    This already has all the qualities I expect from a Pandora story -- the descriptions where times slows down to let us see every detail, the pervasive feeling of nostalgia, the mystery that surrounds the protagonist and of course those wonderful adjectives you create, which manage to say so much in a single word. I'm extremely curious to find out what led the narrator to choose Tatooine as her destination and how her life on her new planet will end up mirroring the most unexpected aspects of her life on Naboo -- and, if I combine the timeframe you give in the OP with the story of 'Amidala' in your second entry, I'm going to take a guess as to who we're talking about, and that wouldn't be Padmé.

    I'm glad you didn't manage to shame yourself into not starting a DDC this year, because this is one of the stories for which I'll be looking out for updates!
     
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  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Rosenrot...as in Rammstein song and album or something more? Curious. I can totally see how it would go with various other flower-related leitmotifs in your other stories. The other shades of red, rosepink, or whatever are painting a very interesting mood for this whole flashback.

    The parallel with a woman from Naboo ending up on Tattooine is interesting, especially given that it's a story where something will have to go beyond ordinary. And given the woman-to-woman undertones elsewhere (OK, everywhere), I am pretty curious if this is one of those scenarios, or if it will be a sinister combo of that and your H/L story.

    Everything you came up with for Naboo and how detailed it is makes this flashback more welcome. I am not going to try and guess anything, I will sit back and see how this relates to the protagonist's life on Tatooine.
     
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  13. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Nyota's Heart: Excellent memories - such a striking contrast between the lovely verdant place she came from to Tatooine :p It highlights the emotional adjustment too. [face_thinking]

    Yes, Tatooine is nearly the complete opposite of the place she left. But the main contrast, I think, is in how she sees the two places--she knows how to see Naboo, whereas she doesn't know what she sees on Tatooine.

    --

    Findswoman: What a beautiful and evocative reminiscence—besides the lovely glance it gives into the Lake country scenery and the wedding festivities (I love the description of the ripples on the lake as "wrinkled silk"), it shows us just how much that water and those lakes mean to our protagonist—which in turn highlights just incredibly different things are for her now on this world with two suns and no bodies of water.

    This is definitely not the sort of world she's used to--and she knows it, which is why she is keeping her recent memories of the wedding at the lake, the last ones she's going to have for quite a while, so close. And since this is on a space operatic scale, she has to live on an entire planet of desert. But despite its reputation, Tatooine has its life (and yes, varied terrain) too--it's always struck me, since I was a kid, how even the most desolate places, the ones that would appear to be utterly lifeless, are anything but.

    It's cool, too, to learn that she's an artist and is, presumably, specifically going to be teaching art at whatever her new situation on Tatooine will be.

    Yes, she's an artist; one of the reasons I hesitated over writing this is that it ought to be accompanied by some of her sketches of the people, and places, in the story--and I haven't the ability to draw them. (I might have the drawing skills of a nine year old, and not a talented one either.) As for whether or not she will teach art in her new post, you'll see about that quite soon.

    The account of the last lesson with the famous Amidala made me smile—it's fun to think that the young queen (or queen-to-be) who was so serious and expressionless in Ep. I was at one point giggling and whispering when she was supposed to be practicing a drawing technique, and it makes perfect sense somehow.

    This isn't (and I edited in the timeframe in the first post to make things a bit more clear--I thought I already had, but it turned out I had only included it in the entry in the prolific writers' index) the famous queen and senator--this is Amidala Vin, a sixteen-year-old girl who was born around a year after she died, during the brief fad for naming girls "Amidala." (I have considered the idea of writing a prose-poem piece about a varied group of these women, all named Amidala, and I might get to it someday.) "Queen I'm-A-Dolly" would be a good nickname for her though.

    A funny little thing that stood out for me: I'm glad that Naboo brides are expected to shoulder the expense for their honor-maidens' dresses (and "honor-maiden" is a very cool term and very Naboo)! The custom on some parts of Earth of the bride choosing the dresses but making the bridesmaids pay never seemed quite fair. I personally think green looks wonderful on redheads (I take it that's what "roseheads" are)—or is there some sort of Naboo clothing-color protocol at work here? I seem to remember that they have several protocols about that sort of thing.

    Thanks--I came up with "honor-maiden" as a minor play on the term "maiden of honor" but it does sound quite different. Yes, "roseheads" are redheads (though it has occurred to me it could also mean having curly hair). I have heard both that redheads shouldn't wear green, and that they look best in it. It's pink that they aren't to wear. But I didn't intend the narrator's observation on that to be reflecting an actual cultural clothing protocol--if it were one, she wouldn't have dared to wear green.

    I also appreciate that we got to meet an elderly Naboo woman, even if she did smell a little funny. :p It's not every day that we get to meet someone from Naboo's older age bracket, since it's so often presented as a world of beautiful young people. And indeed, when the protagonist speaks of the way the elderly "have used up most of their lives, and their youthful, pure ideals, and have retired away into the background," I get a sense that that attitude holds in-universe, too, at least somewhat.

    Well, you do get to see an elderly Naboo man sometimes--Sio Bibble manages to get at least one appearance in all three of the prequels. But basically, I don't care what they might have said to the contrary in the Legends/new EU: a culture that puts youth, and the attendant quality of "purity of heart," up on a mountain-high pedestal has got to have messed up views on aging.

    Finally, I'm curious about the Girl-who's-now-a-handmaiden, about the protagonist's relationship to her, and about what her new name might be—that is, is it one we'd recognize? [face_thinking] She's not the same as the one who was present at Amidala's last drawing lesson, was she? I imagine the relationships will become clearer as the story goes on, though, and I know whatever's coming next will be worlds different from that lesson with "Queen I'm-A-Dolly"! :cool:

    The Girl Who Became a Handmaiden is an original character. Basically, you can assume that all the characters in this story will be--while I'm not adverse to including canon characters, there isn't any way it would work out naturally here. (Remember--when this story takes place, Luke is just this kid hanging out at Tosche Station a hemisphere away.) And no, she is not the handmaiden presiding over "I'm-a-Dolly!"s art lesson. You will find out more about the narrator's relationship with The Girl, though I think I've already somewhat implied what it was. After all, the Girl was her model/muse.

    --

    Chyntuck: An arts teacher from Naboo moving to Tatooine. Yep, "space western" should be a good description for that.

    Oh, it certainly is--and that is only just the beginning.

    I'm extremely curious to find out what led the narrator to choose Tatooine as her destination and how her life on her new planet will end up mirroring the most unexpected aspects of her life on Naboo -- and, if I combine the timeframe you give in the OP with the story of 'Amidala' in your second entry, I'm going to take a guess as to who we're talking about, and that wouldn't be Padmé.

    She did choose Tatooine for a reason, and that will probably come out in some way. And while she came there to try to have a completely different life, she is still the same person. So we shall see how exactly her new life will mirror her old one. And yes, as I wrote in my reply to Findswoman, the Amidala in this story is only named for the one in the movies.

    I'm glad you didn't manage to shame yourself into not starting a DDC this year, because this is one of the stories for which I'll be looking out for updates!

    Thanks!

    --

    Ewok Poet: Rosenrot...as in Rammstein song and album or something more? Curious. I can totally see how it would go with various other flower-related leitmotifs in your other stories. The other shades of red, rosepink, or whatever are painting a very interesting mood for this whole flashback.

    No, there isn't any connection here with the Rammstein song of the same title. I picked the name "Rosenrot" (from the fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red") in part because I like the way it looks, but it works on several other levels.

    The parallel with a woman from Naboo ending up on Tattooine is interesting, especially given that it's a story where something will have to go beyond ordinary. And given the woman-to-woman undertones elsewhere (OK, everywhere), I am pretty curious if this is one of those scenarios, or if it will be a sinister combo of that and your H/L story.

    *That can only mean one thing--bareback eopie riding!*

    But more seriously (if I ever recreate a fragment of that H/L masterwork, it shall be entirely by accident, because I don't think I can do it on purpose again): I can say that I have most of the rest of the story worked out--though of course, I reserve the right to change various details--and it might well go along with the "sinister combo" you describe.

    Everything you came up with for Naboo and how detailed it is makes this flashback more welcome. I am not going to try and guess anything, I will sit back and see how this relates to the protagonist's life on Tatooine.

    Recently, I ran into this quote by William Faulker on my wandering about the internet: “There is no such thing as was-only is. If was existed, there would be no grief or sorrow," and that sort of informs how I've approached the past, existing only in flashbacks, in this story. The narrator's life on Naboo may be only a memory, but it is still with her, and affects her current new life.
     
  14. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    She is a Naboo girl. They are Tatooine boys. This is not The Phantom Menace.

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

    Since I have hours of time to use while Ciaran finishes sleeping, I took my sketchbook out from my luggage. It was buried in cloud-layers of skirts in the second one I searched through—but that is my own fault for allowing Mor, and Aunt Elaina, to interfere when I was out of the room. The page I left it open on is still an empty white wall. Then again, there isn’t much here to draw: this is a bar, a dark forestwood box of a room, hidden underneath the ragged castle canyonwall, with a sign at the window declaring, defiantly in Basic, EATS. The establishment is closed, but the sign still burns with a sullen candyred light through the sheet of freshraw sunlight outside.

    Yes, I know: it would be more accurate to say, or write, that I don’t know how to portray this place in a drawing. And I don’t know. Obviously, I have made this attempt at describing it, while I’m sitting here at the bar-counter, but it doesn’t have any meaning for me.

    The Girl would have said (and since I’ve mentioned her, and let her lost name burn in this file, once, that makes it only easier to do so again) that it takes a while to learn how to dream about a new place. I think she found that buried in a book she had read. It is quite a silly wisp of a thought--but I know what she meant, and why she took it to remember.

    But I should return to the subject: I don’t know how I managed to drift off into sleep as I sat in the social area back at the station. But after a while of waiting, my eyes felt like rusted-slow, broken chrono gears, and I snapped them shut, and then—several dark minutes later—I was jerking back up, and wiping at the drool that leaked from the corner of my mouth, to see Ciaran. No, he did not attempt to lick the precious moisture off my hand, as I thought he might for that first confused instant. I should hope that water isn’t that precious here.

    His voice had broken the darkness of my brief thin nap. He had come to tell me (he went on to explain) that he had just heard from the person who had agreed to let me ride with him the entire way to Avalon. It turned out that he had canceled his stop here, along with the rest of the trip, while he remained back in a town with a name I can’t remember now.

    After I stared at Ciaran for a dazed-blank moment, I said, and I think I actually forced my mouth into a tiny smile: I’m certain he has a good reason for that.

    Yeah, he had a reason, Ciaran said—he only said, but I could make out what he had been too polite to actually say. Then he moved away from that subject, and told me (while I twitched my head in a nod) that he had some errands that would end in Avalon, and while he still another few hours to work on his shift, once he had finished, we could leave.

    Oh: I knew he was making this trip now, on this particular day, for my benefit. But of course, I accepted his offer. It has been, as Ciaran said, better than sitting around inside that station for another day would have been. And the errands are real enough—he dragged several dustyellow wooden crates into the backroom here after we first arrived.

    He returned to his work in the garage area, and I opened this datapad. There was another message from Annah Darksun, one of my group of employers—since I shall be preparing her two teenaged children for their secondary school certificates from a distance, she didn’t see a reason that my late appearance should delay that. I sent over their first lesson packets while I was still at my flat, the morning I left for Rosenrot and the lake.

    This time, she had written only to say, after thanking me for updating her on my current arrival date, that her family would be making the trip into Avalon to meet me in person. Apparently, it “took some doing” to convince Delight Fardreamer, her husband, to leave their farm for that long. Yes—his name is actually, and quite seriously, Delight. I wouldn’t have ever expected that.

    Once I had sent my response flying off into the void, I went into the office where my luggage was stacked in a corner to search out my black riding boots, the ones I’ve had since I was twenty-four, though I have only worn them those few times I rode one of the lodge tuskcats when I took that holiday in the mountains. While I was pulling them on, the droid appeared during its round to swat at my arched foot with a bright magenta added-on rouge brush. Or at least, I assumed that was a modified addition. I wonder what sort of droid it was originally supposed to be.

    When I walked (or rather, stomped) outside in them, the sky was just beginning to turn to a faded-cold grey—and through it, I could see the land around the station for the first time, a plain littered with small tangled-rough bushes and broken dark rocks that seemed to stretch out for klicks, up until the ragged black fringe of rocks near the skyline. It looked frozen-still in the new light—but I could see a footpath slinking off through the sandy dirt, and something, a small shadow-dark fragment, darted between a pair of bushes.

    Ciaran and the Winter Prince were slouched against the porch rail in a wedding sheet veil of cigaret smoke. They only just moved their eyes to see me, and I returned the favor. Then a lakefly buzz engine snarl suddenly swelled in the distance—and the Winter Prince grinned, and stamped out the last sullen firebug spark of his cigaret. Well, ****, he said.

    He came along with us for the trip. He gave a reason (he wanted, he said in a shrugged-off voice, to visit someone in Avalon), but I have to suppose he decided on that after Ciaran asked him—to assist with the driving, and to help me feel more at ease. I sat in the front with him, and the Winter Prince perched in the back. While they reminisced over an obsolete speeder model, I slumped down into the seat with my arms locked over my chest. My thoughts drifted about as I watched the plains, and the cloud-pale hills behind them, through the window.

    But Ciaran did include me as he discussed, over the first kilometers, the people he had contacted during his attempts to find me another ride, after his first buddy had canceled an hour after he ought to have set out for the station: One of them had the poetical name of Moonspinner, and while he had been willing to help out, he had been occupied in the middle of an ice supply run.

    Then he said, while the Winter Prince’s reflection nodded in the viewfinder window: So I tried the Bantha Kid, since the last I knew he was based in Avalon, but his com never even rang. He must be off deep in the beyond.

    Yes: that is what he said, and I was startled, before I had thoughtfully considered each word, into speaking: You mean this person is actually called the Bantha Kid?

    The Winter Prince’s face broke up into a thunder-crashed laugh, and Ciaran actually gave a little birdsong-pitched titter before he said: It’s his nickname, if you wanna get technical. But yeah, that’s what everyone calls him.

    Then Ciaran’s own com rang, and he snapped it open and turned his attention over to the conversation with the static-fuzzed male voice on the other end. He would take two other, and similar, calls before he stopped his vehicle in front of the bar. The owner’s drowned moon face came up into view in the shadow-tinted front window. She turned out to be a dried-leaf human woman with long grey hair trapped into braids and sunshine stained teeth.

    There isn’t much else to write about: I had a bowl of some sort of porridge the bar owner insisted on heating up for us. It tasted like road dust, but obviously, I am not so arrogant, or selfish, that I complained—though I do wonder if all the food here shall be similar variations. Then (once she had retreated to her rooms, and Ciaran and the Winter Prince to their naps) I took out the tin of dried queenberries I had saved. It was buried away inside the same luggage as my sketchbook.

    Oh, and this: when I stepped out of the vehicle, I expected the sunlight glowing on the blood-stained dark ground to burn through me, but it wasn’t so bad. It has the hard dryness of sand, but I have read up enough on the desert to know that (unlike the swollen-damp, choking, perfumed air we have in the summers) it would be. It was still the first hours of the morning, so that might be it. But Ciaran did tell me, in passing, that it’s winter here now.

    I hadn’t so much as thought of that before. But of course: there would be a winter season here, even here in the desert. It might explain what that woman at the spaceport told me—there was, indeed, a glass-sharp glittering frost of snow on the sand this morning.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
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  15. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    [2]:

    This morning, I had the experience of taking—or really, to be more accurate, enduring—my first sonic shower. It sounds pathetic when I admit to it, I know, but I had put it off for nearly three days, and I might have waited longer. But finally, I had to wash the wilted grease-dulled mess of my hair—and of course, I don’t wish to smell unpleasant. The sonic turned out to be a stall with a coarse stone floor, much like what I still think of as a proper shower. After I took off my clothes, I stood inside and pushed the red button on the window glass wall—and the air shook into vibrating lights. They were whispered-dry and silent, and made my teeth shiver together.

    When the sonic finished several blurred moments later, it had indeed erased every speck of dirt from me—and I suspect it had removed some of my skin as well. My hair had been pulled up into a static-shocked wave, and it crashed back down over my back. I stood there for another minute, with my shoulders in a fist-clenched hunch, staring down at the floor, before I moved.

    Oh, I oughtn’t complain: they have to reserve nearly every shivering diamond drop of water they have here for other needs. I know that. This is the norm for them, and whether or not I actually believe it at this moment, I shall become accustomed to it.

    I should have made a start on that when I was on the freighter—but along with my private cabin, my ticket included two of the exclusive water showers. Most of the others passengers shared the bank of sonics. I only used one of them, on the lowest setting, and spent five minutes standing under a thin raindrip of recycled water—and it didn’t make me feel any less guilty. It’s only now that I have considered that all those people might not have envied me for it.

    Then I put on my wrapper, and retreated down the hallway to the room I live in. None of the occupants in the other rooms were about, and the empty air glittered with drifting snow dust motes. But once the door was closed behind me, I took down one of the few dresses I have hung up from the end of the iron curtain bar. I had spent enough hours alone in this room. After I arrived here, my meandering journey finally already a memory, I only just had the energy to take off my boots before I dropped across the bed. My eyes felt like burnt-dry wood, and I had a slight stiff headache, and I was lost in sleep as soon as I closed my eyes. I must have slept for most of the first day.

    When I woke up in the faded evening light glowing through the curtains, my mouth was sticky, and I was lying on my side, staring over at the orange rat-eyed light on the side of this datapad as it made another cooed-soft chrono chime, announcing a newly arrived message. I pushed myself up onto my feet. My boots lay on the floor in a drooled heap of laces, and my key-card was inside the wrinkles of the blanket.

    But I haven’t any more time left for that: the opening day of school is tomorrow, and I still have a few things left to organize in the classroom. Then, three more days from now, I will have my first meeting with Killeshandra and Juniper Darksun. And oh yes: I have yet to read, let alone mark up, the essay draft from Killeshandra hovering in my letter-box.

    I went out into the courtyard-garden behind the hotel. There was a whispered-faint breeze coming from the humidifier, and Avila, the owner and my landlady, was tending to one of the bony little limon trees growing from the creekbed of bloodstained red soil. I could see the long violet blue skirts of her dress swaying through the leaves before she stepped out, with her basket hanging from her arm with three small bitter limons inside.

    Avila is a Twi’lek woman. She looks to be in her middle forties, though I know (from what she has told me in passing) that she is actually at least fifty. She has several faded teastained brown flowers tattooed on her lekku—bruise-scars, I suppose, from another life she used to have. She must have been beautiful then, and you can (or I should say, I can) still see that in her. Her pale dustdulled beige skin takes on a golden flush in certain lights, and she still knows how to walk.

    She didn’t seem surprised when she saw I was there. We went through the usual pleasantries, and then she continued on to the next tree, and I sat on the cloudgrey stone bench in the rock garden corner with my sketchbook. I have started on my first several new pieces, though I can’t say that I expect to expand on any of them. Yes: I know Professor L. used to say in my performance reviews that I had a tendency to kick myself too hard—but I don’t see how that is a problem.

    Yesterday evening, after I left the bar, I worked on a charcoal image of the courtyard trees—but they came out looking too much like the graceful-boned, dancing trees in our orchard, and that was not the affect I had wanted to achieve. Today, I brought out my chalk-pencils, and played around a little more with the one sketch of the tallest tree, and its burst of fluttering winged leaves; but then I turned over to the next page, and started to draw Avila.

    Of course, she knew I was going about it—I have never drawn a Twi’lek before (alas, I have met far too few non-humans at all), but I’m quite aware of the clichéd images everyone knows; I was so carefully nervous, that I wouldn’t be respectful enough, that my hand shivered on the first lines. It wasn’t a portrait, so I had to remind her, though only a few times, that she should continue on naturally with what she was doing.

    I do want to draw some of the people who live in this place—besides the obvious reasons, I have always preferred mythic portraiture to landscapes. Yes, I know the figure is still passé in the Imperial Center scene, but I don’t have to consider their opinions.

    That does remind me: I haven’t figured out how I will include art lessons with the rest of the curriculum. Oh, my employers know I’m an artist, but they haven’t so much as mentioned the matter with me. It seems likely, from my few educated assumptions, that they would tolerate the idea—but I could only do it once a week, and it would only be with the youngest students.

    I would actually work better with the older ones--but even if they are interested, and it might well be several years too late for that, they have to focus on the general, the practical, subjects. No one has needed to tell me the arts are a luxury here. But I also know that they chose to hire me, if only in part, because I can teach the children things that might prepare them for lives in the universe outside this world. They already know how to go about fixing a farm sweeper-droid.

    I told Avila as much at luncheon, and she only lifted her eyebrows, and: Well, I can only wish you luck. You’ll have to deal with moisture farmers on that.

    There is a public dining area in the barroom—but so far, I have taken my meals with Avila and at least several of the other residents in the privacy of the kitchen. She is actually (and oh, I know how condescending that looks when I have it written down) quite a good cook. Today, she had made up a mint-spiced fowl dish with a yogurt side. Actually, I thought it was a pudding at my first dinner here, because it’s blue—a pale summersky blue. But it is only plain yogurt.

    Brother Mercy mentioned the Bantha Kid when he asked Avila if he has sent her a message from the faraway reaches of the polar canyonlands. Apparently (as I had already heard) that was where he intended to go when he left three weeks ago. Oh yes: the Bantha Kid rents the room, the one that is presently a silent lightfilled box, across the hall from me. I thought it was empty when I first moved in, but I soon learned otherwise.

    It shouldn’t have come as a dramatic surprise. After all—and I have read over what I wrote in this journal-file to be certain—Ciaran did say quite clearly that the Kid, as Avila calls him, lives here in Avalon when he isn’t out on his haunts in the desert.

    When they came to a pause, I was moved to speak: What does he do out there?

    And Avila said, though I hadn’t expected an actual answer: You can ask him when he finally drags himself back in. He’ll tell you.

    Perhaps (as I went on to tell them) I shall do just that. I have heard several varied stories about him so far, and I don’t know how much of them I should believe. But I’ll have to write further ruminating words on that another, later time. The afternoon “sunshour” is nearly over, and I need to go back over to the classroom. I have several last things I ought to finish up there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I applaud how well our heroine is managing to stay on top of her professional responsibilities and correspondence despite her late arrival and the other setbacks she's encountered, and of course it's cool to begin learning about the people she will be working for (or some of them). The name "Delight Fardreamer" brought a smile to my face because it sounds like the Tatooine equivalent of those Puritan names like Increase Mather, and I'm curious to see if there will be any sort of similar ethics at work. [face_thinking] Nice of Ciaran to offer to give her a lift, and I appreciate that he took the time to contact several people to see if they could drive her. Her trip with him and the Winter Prince is certainly teaching her some interesting tidbits of local lore, most notably this mysterious Bantha Kid. (I may have a guess or two about said kid, but given that my guess about Amidala in the last entry was wrong, I may hold off on them, too. :p ) Hopefully the food will improve eventually, too—and I'm glad it does in the next chapter.

    [2]: Here's definitely one of the more literal "fish-out-of-water" moments: the sonic shower! I think this is probably the first time I've actually read a detailed description of how one actually goes, either in pro- or fanfic, and I can see why not only this character but others prefer the genuine article involving water (though naturally, as our heroine notes, she's in a place where water has to be carefully conserved). It's interesting to learn more about what her teaching responsibilities will be, and how much art she'll actually get to teach, namely not much. Of course (as she understands) the reasons for that make sense, but from another viewpoint... well, heck, maybe if more art was taught in a place like Tatooine, it might be a nice place. Maybe our heroine will end up contributing to that, even in a small way.

    Avila seems simpatico, and I hope we'll see more of her. Tantalizing, too, to see that we may meet the Bantha Kid sooner than previously anticipated! :D
     
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  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Space Western indeed! The contrast between the life our narrator is used to, and the one she finds, is wonderfully described, and it will definitely take some time to adjust to the sonic shower ([face_laugh]) She really is settling on the frontier here, and it's interesting to see how grasping this new environment entails all these musings about how to adjust her art. And the social context is so un-Naboo, with all these new acquaintances and those to come. Dealing with the moisture farmer parents of her pupils in the school promises to be a challenge too (and I second Findswoman's comment about the names -- there's a very Tatooine-ish feel to them, but they do remind of a certain brand of migrant).
     
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  18. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: The name "Delight Fardreamer" brought a smile to my face because it sounds like the Tatooine equivalent of those Puritan names like Increase Mather, and I'm curious to see if there will be any sort of similar ethics at work.

    Actually, Delight's name was inspired by a minor character in a story by Annie Proulx, a tough cowboy from a large family of tough boys who was named "Bliss." It just seemed like such an odd choice in the context of the story's setting. But it's interesting that you brought up the resemblance, even if it is a coincidence in this case--there is a minor character, Brother Mercy, who has what was actually a Puritan name, and there may be similar names in several of the characters' backgrounds.

    Her trip with him and the Winter Prince is certainly teaching her some interesting tidbits of local lore, most notably this mysterious Bantha Kid. (I may have a guess or two about said kid, but given that my guess about Amidala in the last entry was wrong, I may hold off on them, too. :p )

    The Bantha Kid (and I don't think it's a spoiler to say that he shall most definitely be showing up) is an original character--but, out of curiosity, what guesses did you have in mind about him?

    Here's definitely one of the more literal "fish-out-of-water" moments: the sonic shower! I think this is probably the first time I've actually read a detailed description of how one actually goes, either in pro- or fanfic, and I can see why not only this character but others prefer the genuine article involving water (though naturally, as our heroine notes, she's in a place where water has to be carefully conserved).

    Before I wrote that scene, I did consult the (relatively brief) article on sonic showers on the wookieepedia, but I had to make up most of the narrator's actual, subjective experience of taking one myself. I'm not usually impressed with the use of sonic showers, or similar variations, in science fiction. (They're there to show that, to quote the TVtropes, "Our showers are different!") But on Tatooine, there would be a legitimate reason for sonics--other than a flashy reminder that my story is set in ooooh space.

    It's interesting to learn more about what her teaching responsibilities will be, and how much art she'll actually get to teach, namely not much. Of course (as she understands) the reasons for that make sense, but from another viewpoint... well, heck, maybe if more art was taught in a place like Tatooine, it might be a nice place. Maybe our heroine will end up contributing to that, even in a small way.

    This is probably leading into the larger argument of whether art is a luxury or a necessity. But on places like Tatooine, it wouldn't even warrant a discussion: art is a luxury only rich people can afford, not people like us. And more than that, there is the mostly subconscious idea that not only can they not afford it, they don't deserve it either. It's all right enough to let little kids play--and "play" is the operative verb--around with "coloring." But once they are no longer so little, they need to outgrow it to focus on the omnipresent "real life."

    But at any rate, the narrator hasn't given up on offering some sort of arts education. And then, despite what I wrote above, there is this: every culture has some sort of art, even if they themselves don't recognize it as "art," and the frontiers of Tatooine would be no exception.

    Anyhow, thanks for reading and commenting!

    Chyntuck: Space Western indeed! The contrast between the life our narrator is used to, and the one she finds, is wonderfully described, and it will definitely take some time to adjust to the sonic shower ([face_laugh]) She really is settling on the frontier here, and it's interesting to see how grasping this new environment entails all these musings about how to adjust her art.

    Well, she did know to expect things to be different, but it will still take her a while to adjust. (I couldn't help but notice, while I've been working on this story, that it feels more than a little like writing a portal fantasy, and there is a reason for that.) The narrator is certainly serious about her art--and she knows that the style of work she did on Naboo wouldn't fit in this new landscape. But she still has to figure out how to truly see the desert to know what will.

    And the social context is so un-Naboo, with all these new acquaintances and those to come.

    I see Tatooine culture as being (in general, of course, with obvious variations) a great deal more casual than Naboo. Most people there tend to have a basically friendly, but no bs, attitude--and that may sometimes lead to a bit of culture clashing.

    Dealing with the moisture farmer parents of her pupils in the school promises to be a challenge too.

    I can only say that any resemblance there to ranchers in the western United States is probably a coincidence, but also probably completely accurate.

    Thanks for reading!

    --------

    So I managed to write just a little over 10000 words in the recent Word Race, and I have colors to show for it. Yes, I know it's a minor thing, but I have been here for nearly eleven years, and this is the first time I have ever had them (though, to be fair, for most of those years they gave out prize colors very sparingly). Most of those words were on this story, and so I have enough posts for this month--which is what I had hoped to achieve, since I shall be away for a few weeks.

    Yes: I have made the previously wishy-washy idea of a desert research trip into a reality, and I will be leaving for New Mexico next week (oh, and also my sister lives there, and there will be family time, maybe family time in Roswell). I'm going to be busy, but I may still cram in a bit of writing and/or posting. I will have to see.
     
  19. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    The first two days of school are over now, and I do think (though I have hesitated to write it up into actual words) that it has gone well enough. There are fifteen students in all—and of course, that includes the three faraway pupils in Rusted Rock, who have to attend their classes through the static-blurred holoconnection I have worked out. Obviously, as I knew to expect, they vary quite a bit in age: the youngest one is only just five years old, and the eldest ones are around fourteen, though I think one of them might be lying about her age. And while most of them are humans, I am pleased that I can say not all of them are.

    When I arrived to unlock the classroom building on the first dark morning, a group of them were already waiting out in the front yard. Many of the girls wore what must be their best frocks—floral print dresses that are trimmed with ribbon and foam-white lace, and tie in the back with apron strings. I thought, rather absurdly, that those flowers growing on their dresses are the only ones here.

    There were several adults, all of them women, with the youngest children. They were dressed in the more usual coarse, and practically plain, desert clothing. I wasn’t certain how to go about approaching them, but then the first woman decided that for me.

    Her name, it turned out when she introduced herself, is Gaila Jensen, one of the employers I corresponded with a few times. She manages a garage at the fringes of the town, which may explain why I hadn’t seen her before this. She had her sandbrown hair done up in braided rolls that were not unlike a few of the traditional villages styles, and some of the eldest girls had done the same. It might be, I think, one of the few ways in which I fit in here.

    She managed the talking for the welcoming party. While we spoke, her little girl, Wenché, cringed back against her skirts with her limp black hair hanging in her face. And no: she is not the youngest child I referred to; that is a little boy who only speaks in garbled stutters, and who is too young still to be at school. She is (as I knew from her mother’s letters) already seven years old.

    Wenché Jensen twisted a handful of the skirt of her coarse mudred frock, and Mx. Jensen patted at her shoulder, and told me, with only a hint of apology: She’s just shy.

    But finally, nearly ten minutes after I had intended to start class, I turned towards the opened door, and: I’m sorry, I said, and I made certain to give a shivering harmless smile along with it. Once again, I do appreciate the welcome. But it’s time to get along with things.

    Oh, I was sorry--I don’t wish to offend the people who pay my salary, and that is aside from the faraway more important issue of making a cultural mistake. But I had to make it clear I shan’t be running the school on “desert time.” Mx. Jensen seemed to understand that when she snapped out a nod, and said: Of course, Miss. Good luck today.

    And I am afraid I needed it: the first few hours of that day were the most difficult. It soon became quite obvious that I would have to make some adjustments to the lesson plans I had sorted out when I was still on Naboo. I must admit I am still working some of that out. I have also had to admit that I lack a gift for working with children below the age of reason—but then, the youngest student I have ever taught before now was eleven years old. I had not expected on dealing with a child as young as little Daffyd, but at least he doesn’t appear to mind.

    This evening--after I had to discourage Thinta, one of the older students, from taking on that role when she was supposed to be focused on a maths review—I have been considering the idea of taking on an assistant to help with the younger children. I certainly have enough students for it. But I shall have to think on that more before I even mention it to my employers.

    There are three older students at the age I am more used to working with—and while I’m not certain that I know how to teach these ones, they have been, mostly, tractable. Joelle is a pale rosehead, and Thinta is dark. They are both fourteen years old. Diva Minera is a Theelin girl with a mousenest mess of purple hair. She gave off a little harp-shriek giggle when she introduced herself and told me, obviously lying, that she is fifteen.

    And of course: just behind them is Gerda, the Rodian girl, who is twelve. It shames me to have to admit--even here in the silence of a private file--to my appalling ignorance, but I only knew she was female from the sagging floral print frock she was wearing. She does have orange hair, but she wears it in a short masculine brushfringe.

    Yesterday, I implemented the first storytime during the last hour of school. It was nearly the sunshour anyhow, when the students are accustomed to resting. But while I had hoped to hear some of their own local folklore stories, they wanted me to tell them about Naboo. Of course, it is natural enough that they would be curious about the world I come from. They liked hearing about the various animals, in particular the tuskcats at the mountain lodge. They were not impressed, however--or hesitant in saying as much--when I told them about our Queens.

    I would have thought that Thinta and Joelle (and especially Joelle) would find interest in the idea of a girl, only around their own age, who was elected to rule an entire planet. I didn’t get around to mentioning that our present Queen, Her Imperial Majesty Kylantha, must be at least forty years old. It was obvious they didn’t—and perhaps they were right not to see much of a resemblance in the holopicture I showed them of Queen Apailana, a doll of a girl in an elaborate black dress with crusted pearl cuffs. It would have cost more creds than their parents earn in a month.

    I remember that, when she was elected, I was eleven, only one year younger than she was. But I knew, of course, without having to think on it, that I was nothing at all like her. And no, I’m not referring to what must be the obvious—that she was a strategic genius, and I hadn’t so much as applied to the youth political programs. We don’t want a Queen we can identify with.

    I explained to them, at some length, that the Queen is a figurehead who represents our planet—who is more, who is better, than a mere human girl. But Joelle only interrupted me to say, in an unusually flat voice: It sounds like you lot all worship them.

    Yeah, said Herme, the little blue-skinned Twi’lek boy, with a shivered whip of his left lekku, and Diva Minera finished with: Sorry, but the bitches sound too much like one of the Hutts for my liking. They just happen to be a lot prettier.

    Oh yes—she compared our Queens, including Amidala, the one name they already knew, to the petty crimelords running things on this planet. I corrected Diva Minera’s language lapse, and allowed that there are some aspects of the ancient Grizmalti moongoddess worship still present in the figure of the Queen. Then I opened the floor to other stories.

    Of course, Joelle snatched that opportunity to start with telling one of her stories. I won’t go into the details, though it was clear Thinta was familiar with it. Joelle tends to dominate the classtime with her constant talking, though I do think that Thinta and Diva Minera are both far more intelligent than she is. But she is clever enough to know when to stop, so I haven’t had to give her a silence time. I allowed her to finish, and then made certain Herme had his turn.

    Oh, and I should mention this: the Darksuns have been delayed. Apparently, one of the banthas in their herd had a difficult delivery, and the calf isn’t likely to make it. But Annah Darksun assured me they should be leaving their farm (and I still cannot help but think that a farm in a desert is an oxymoron, though obviously, I know to keep this opinion to myself) in another few days. I should get to reading through those essays then.
     
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  20. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Cool to meet our heroine's students at last—been looking forward to this moment! :) And in many ways I bet she has, too. Though gosh, I completely sympathize with those feelings of (a) ending up with different students and age groups than expected, and especially (b) having to revamp all your lesson plans in the face of actual, real-life, unpredictable students. Those feelings are pretty much universal to everyone who's ever taught anything anywhere. :D

    Some very intriguing details here. First, the fancy, flowery clothing of the kids, especially the little girls, in comparison to the more homespun, more obviously Tatooinian attire of the mothers, and the fancy hairdos that are like the ones the narrator is used to wearing. It almost seems like these families are going an extra mile to impress the teacher that they know is from a beautiful and refined world. Second, what you do with the way the Naboo monarchs are viewed—both by the Naboo themselves and by some very distant outsiders—is very interesting here. I'm not sure how much of this you're basing on canon material and how much is your own fanon (the moon goddess does sound familiar, though), but the whole business that the queen shouldn't be someone the people identify with—that she's an idealized version of a human girl—is very intriguing. But equally intriguing is the way the protagonist has certain expectations for how her students would react to learning about the Naboo queens—and the way those expectations are disappointed. Diva Minera's reaction is particularly intriguing, and very telling, in a way: the Hutts are the most powerful authority figures she knows, so why wouldn't she compare the Naboo queens to them? And naturally the idea of worshiping such an idealized figure is going to be a foreign idea on a rough-and-tumble world like Tatooine.

    I'll be watching Diva Minera with great interest—she seems like quite a character, and the things she blurts out hint strongly that there's more to her than meets the eye. (Besides, it's fun to see another purple-haired Theelin OC! :D ) Looking forward to meeting the Darksuns; I have an inkling that many contrasts will show themselves in that meeting, too.
     
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  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    What Findswoman said ^^^ :)

    I really enjoyed the description of the class -- the different species, the clothes they chose, their attitude to the outside world -- and I find it interesting that the strong personalities, those that deserve a mention by name and an anecdote in this first diary entry about the school, are all girls. Is this something that shows who our narrator connected with, or should it tell us something about Tatooine society? Perhaps the older boys are not in school anymore because they are already earning their keep?

    And of course the comparison of the Naboo queens with the Hutts had me roaring with laughter. It's very revealing that the Theelin girl would have that reaction -- she just doesn't trust the political authority, does she? But the narrator's description of the Queen as a girl you can't identify with was interesting as well. You know how much I like the Naboo lore you've developed, and this little titbit was an interesting addition.
     
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  22. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: Cool to meet our heroine's students at last—been looking forward to this moment! :) And in many ways I bet she has, too. Though gosh, I completely sympathize with those feelings of (a) ending up with different students and age groups than expected, and especially (b) having to revamp all your lesson plans in the face of actual, real-life, unpredictable students. Those feelings are pretty much universal to everyone who's ever taught anything anywhere.

    Well, I'm glad to see that I portrayed that well--since I've never worked as a teacher, I couldn't draw on actual experience. But I do know that plans seldom survive contact with real life (especially when you're working with limited information, as the narrator was) so that probably helped.

    Some very intriguing details here. First, the fancy, flowery clothing of the kids, especially the little girls, in comparison to the more homespun, more obviously Tatooinian attire of the mothers, and the fancy hairdos that are like the ones the narrator is used to wearing. It almost seems like these families are going an extra mile to impress the teacher that they know is from a beautiful and refined world.

    I was considering writing up something on the clothing in this story for the OC thread, but since I will most likely never get around to that, I might as well do some of it here: the girls are wearing (in an homage to both westerns and the era in which the first Star Wars movie was released) 1970s prairie dresses, the style made famous by Gunne Sax, and imitated by more than a few other purveyors of fine calico. Though theirs would probably look more like the ones that people still made at home, rather than the ones out of the factory in San Francisco.

    As for the hairstyles, those were actually inspired by the movies--I noticed that Beru and the two slave girls in TPM had their hair done up in braided buns not entirely unlike the styles on Naboo.

    Second, what you do with the way the Naboo monarchs are viewed—both by the Naboo themselves and by some very distant outsiders—is very interesting here. I'm not sure how much of this you're basing on canon material and how much is your own fanon (the moon goddess does sound familiar, though), but the whole business that the queen shouldn't be someone the people identify with—that she's an idealized version of a human girl—is very intriguing.

    There might very well be some extended universe canon on this matter, but if so, I'm not familiar with it--my views are based almost entirely from my interpretations of the films. And it seems quite obvious to me what the Naboo want of their monarchs. That could explain why (or apparently, anyhow, based off only a few canonical hints) most queens leave politics young. It would be difficult to live as that idealized image for very long.

    But equally intriguing is the way the protagonist has certain expectations for how her students would react to learning about the Naboo queens—and the way those expectations are disappointed. Diva Minera's reaction is particularly intriguing, and very telling, in a way: the Hutts are the most powerful authority figures she knows, so why wouldn't she compare the Naboo queens to them? And naturally the idea of worshiping such an idealized figure is going to be a foreign idea on a rough-and-tumble world like Tatooine.

    The narrator is more critical of her culture than most of the Naboo characters I've written have been, but she still has her blind spots. And on Tatooine, they would look straight through the idealistic trappings of the Naboo queens and see just another authority figure. I have always found it somewhat off that Anakin never did--but then, since the story demanded it, he seemed to forget entirely about where he came from.

    I'll be watching Diva Minera with great interest—she seems like quite a character, and the things she blurts out hint strongly that there's more to her than meets the eye. (Besides, it's fun to see another purple-haired Theelin OC! :D ) Looking forward to meeting the Darksuns; I have an inkling that many contrasts will show themselves in that meeting, too.

    I should admit that I intended Diva Minera to be a fairly minor character--but I can always change my mind, and she may find a larger role to play. As for the Darksuns, you shall be seeing them quite soon.

    Thanks for reading, and commenting!

    --

    Chyntuck: I really enjoyed the description of the class -- the different species, the clothes they chose, their attitude to the outside world -- and I find it interesting that the strong personalities, those that deserve a mention by name and an anecdote in this first diary entry about the school, are all girls. Is this something that shows who our narrator connected with, or should it tell us something about Tatooine society? Perhaps the older boys are not in school anymore because they are already earning their keep?

    It is indeed a combination of both factors--the narrator is not without bias, and she does tend to connect with, and notice, the girls more (and I may as well admit here that this is also an authorial bias on my part); and the older boys are not present because they have already been put fully to work in the "real world." And I don't think it is too much of a spoiler to say here that those teenaged boys are not the only local kids who are not attending the brand new school.

    And of course the comparison of the Naboo queens with the Hutts had me roaring with laughter. It's very revealing that the Theelin girl would have that reaction -- she just doesn't trust the political authority, does she?

    That would be an understatement--but then, given where she lives, and her limited basis of comparison, it isn't a surprise. To her, every authority figure is basically, in the end, like another; the Queens might be prettier to look at, but their goodness is too good to believe in. And if you thought that comparison was hilarious--I have more where it came from.

    But the narrator's description of the Queen as a girl you can't identify with was interesting as well. You know how much I like the Naboo lore you've developed, and this little titbit was an interesting addition.

    Thanks!
     
  23. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    It seems I may not have been entirely truthful earlier: someone eventually will drink an ABP (Antilles' Bantha Piss--the beer of choice for rim mining rats) in this story.


    ---

    This afternoon, I stopped in the shadowsoft cold of the barroom for a few minutes to visit with Avila while she was working on her inventory files. I had only been there for around five minutes when this woman entered in from the wilting sunlight in the street, pausing only long enough at the doorway to knock out a little teacup-rattled tap. She was well turned out: she wore a wine red velvet frock with a swollen balloon heap of skirts, and a little silver hat (with a stuffed dun-furred bird attached, rather showily, to the band) arched in a perch on the side of her perfectly glossy cinnamon hair. Obviously, she fancied herself as some sort of lady.

    She stood there in the window of light on the floor. She tapped her (dainty, doll-hooved) foot in a chrono tick. She arched her thin black silk ribbon eyebrows, and then she spoke:

    Well, good afternoon, Avila. I didn’t mean to interrupt anything of importance. She arched her mouth into a tiny rosebud kissed smile.

    You’ve never let that bother you before, Avila said, letting each word fall out with a boot-stamped thud. She was still standing at her place behind the bar counter, her arms crossed into locked bars over her chest, and her eyes were black and glasshard. This woman might have spoken her name with a careless, knowing ease, but oh, I could see she was not Avila’s friend.

    She continued: And all I have to offer you is a nice lukewarm ABP. What do you want, Madame. Because I know you want something.

    The woman let her breath out in a fluttering mothwinged sigh, and widened her eyes. Oh Avila. I thought I ought to come over and see the new schoolteacher.

    She turned her face to look at me, and snapped out another little smile. It was obvious (and yes, I think I would noticed it even if Avila hadn’t been glaring in the background) that this woman choreographed her every gesture. Our district Princess uses a version of that same smile. Of course, she is another grimly virginal sixteen-year-old political wonder, while this woman—I could see now, through her whiteface powder—was clearly no longer young.

    She allowed her hand, locked inside a pale doll-skinned glove, to drift towards me. You must be Miss Taafe. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.

    Likewise, I said—and while I had intended it to sound politely distant, my coldly mean voice made the words sound like a slamming door. I took several hovering steps back, and the woman let her hand fall back into place against the sides of her skirts.

    But she didn’t leave quite yet: Well. (She said, letting that one word float out.) I have other business to attend to, but I would like to invite you to my establishment, Miss Taafe. We don’t often get women there, but, and I am this bold, I think you might find it agreeable.

    Then, while I stared at her (in a way that I still hope seemed coldly amused , rather than confused) she swayed back out onto the streetwalk, her brightdark skirts floating around her. Oh—and she nearly knocked over the little droid trotting towards her into a heap of little silverware-silver stick limbs out in the dusty floor of the street. I should mention that last part.

    I went back over to the bar. After another few long silent moments dripped past, Avila spoke, watching the casket-box of beer bottles she was unloading: She must have seemed like a fine enough lady. And I suppose she does make a fair imitation of one. So you must have been wondering what I could have against her.

    Of course, I had been curious, but I hadn’t even thought of asking her to explain. It wasn’t my concern to know. But she told me: it seems this woman, Madame Aramat, owns the grand, and rather showy, midsummer white cake house I have noticed standing out of place along the main street. She refers to it as a “dancing hall,” but (and I quote Avila on this) the women there do a great deal more than dancing. They belong to the Madame—they are either slaves she brought with her, or ones she inherited from the previous pimp when she kicked him out to the kerb with her dainty foot only two years ago.

    But despite all of that, Avila has to go along with tolerating the Madame. She pays around ten percent of her proceeds to the local Hutt syndicate lieutenant—and as his part of the arrangement, he has left her, and the rest of the town, alone. It might not matter, though I’m certain it doesn’t hurt, that several of his main enforcers are known to regularly frequent her place.

    (We can only guess at what the Gamorrean one finds of interest there, Avila said, but she let her hahaha drag off when she saw I wasn’t amused. It really was not a joking matter.)

    It must be the last, black hours of the night right now. I haven’t dared to open the chrono time on this datapad to know for certain. Last night, I heard, or only thought I heard, a thorn-sharp animal cry out in the darkness, but I haven’t heard one single thing through the hovering silence. I ought to have been asleep hours ago; it will still be dark when I have to wake up, and I need to be rested, and sharp, to manage things at the school. It isn’t as though I’m not tired. I am tired, but I can still feel the scattered words drifting about in my thoughts.

    Avila didn’t reveal anything that shocked me. I am not so naïve, even though I was raised up to be—oh, I know, even if it was only in the abstract, that the Empire allows slavery, even in the Core worlds, and especially when “aliens” are involved.

    But I can’t quite believe—even though I can still see the fresh memory of it clearly—that woman had the audacity to invite me to her brothel as a customer. But oh, she most certainly did, and she was serious about it. It feels as though she had cracked open my journal files, and drank up all the words, and known every last thing she wanted to about me. Of course (and I must have shown a flash of anger, because Avila told me as much ) she doesn’t actually know me at all. But I have to suppose that, in her trade, she has learned how to read people.

    However: while I would prefer not to be celibate, I should think I can manage it for a few years. I am not so desperate to have a woman, or man, in my bed that I would go pay for it.

    But I think that is enough of that for now. I’m tired enough that, when I look over what I’ve written, I can’t focus enough to actually read the words. I had better, and finally so, retreat into bed. The next cold rawsharp winter morning will be arriving soon, too soon, enough.

    --

    There was an older desert-burned couple waiting for me in the barroom after school today. The Darksuns had arrived this morning, only a week too late, and they had already set up their camp in the public area out in the scrub behind the courtyard. Annah Darksun wore a sand-dry wool robe over a long skirt with scattered fireflame flowers on a blue velvet background, and her husband, Delight Fardreamer, was dressed for work on his farm. They were sharing an expensive glass of limon water, and they were actually, truly holding hands on the counter. Then my last two students, Killeshandra and Juniper, came wandering in from the courtyard to see what their mother wanted. It turns out that the little darlings, who I have only known before now as the ghost-voices of their written essays, are actually behemoths:

    Juniper is a towering tall, awkward-boned tawny blond bear who stood with his shoulders hunched into a slump. When he looked down at me, I saw that he has a long thorn-pointed nose, and gloomy soft grey eyes. Killeshandra has the figure of an ancient warrior-queen. I am reasonably tall for a woman, and she looms for a head above me. She has thick black-winged eyebrows, and her nightblue floral print frock strained over her broad shoulders.

    Since I have only had several brief shallow interactions with them, I don’t have much else to say of them. But I did notice that Killeshandra greeted me formally in her thick gruff voice; and that Juniper, after his mother gave him a pinched-sharp look, mumbled out a single blurred word.

    Mx. Darksun--or since I do want to respect her wishes, Annah--invited me to share dinner at their campfire. I thought it the polite thing to accept. Afterwards, I went for a walk with them in the evening-soft purple light. I wore my new whipstiff black sunhat. Killeshandra walked along behind us in the distance, and Juniper had gone to read, or sulk, inside his tent. The sand is different than how I imagined it: it is dark, and soft, soft as dust, and it rumpled easily into prints underneath the heels of my boots. When I dared to look up into the sky, the first bruised-red sun had begun to sway down towards the ragged shadow-silhouette of the far off mountains.

    Mor would refer to Annah as a lovely woman. But it is actually true: she is nice, even if it is in an odd way, and while I can’t logically explain it, it feels as though I have known her before. Delight is a severely plain man—except for his intense icepale blue eyes. She managed most of their part of the conversation, and he seemed to prefer to listen in.

    But he did tell me the answer as to why his children didn’t inherit his name: I have my mother’s name, and I wanted them to take theirs. That’s how it ought to be. After all, you don’t need a bloodtest to know who your mother is.

    But otherwise, they wanted to discuss their children’s educational futures. They are, if only legally, already adults—Killeshandra is seventeen, and Juniper recently turned nineteen. They want Killeshandra to earn an honors-level result, which I would expect, but they have something more specific in mind for Juniper: they have hopes that he will score high enough for a place at the naval academy. And—as Delight spoke up to emphasize—they want him to “make officer.”

    He went on to say: If he’s going to be in the stormie ranks, he might as well stay here and collect the morning frost off the sand. The navy can get its boom fodder somewhere else.

    Oh, I said, a single empty nod of a word. I have to admit to some surprise—I would have expected, from what I have heard of the farming mindset, that they would want one of their children, and probably Juniper, to continue on with their farm. But they don’t. Annah said that Delight took over the place from his uncle’s widow; and he has at least several nephews who haven’t much prospects he wants to pass the favor on to.

    Tomorrow, I will have individual meetings with Killeshandra and Juniper, where I plan to discuss how they might go about revising the red-scratched over essays I have returned to them—and they should have their packets completed for me. So far, I can say that they both know how to write a proper constructed sentence, but they aren’t quite so good with ideas.

    They shall be staying here for another few days while their parents are managing some of their business affairs, so I have been thinking on some books Killeshandra might like. I don’t think I would know of anything Juniper would actually want to read. No, I haven’t mentioned this to their parents—but then, I should think it would be evident that this is part of my job.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  24. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    How do you do, Miss Taafe. :) Good to begin to learn at least part of our heroine's name; I wonder if it's at all inspired by the modern-day American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

    This Madame Aramat sounds like quite a piece of work—move over, Bella Cohen! :eek: The preposterous hat and dress are just the tip of the iceberg, though they say a lot in their way. One gets the feeling that even Avila feels that way too and wouldn't want to deal with her more than necessary. That, um, recommendation of hers... what incredible chutzpah! :eek: But it almost makes me wonder if there's more than what some people call "gaydar" at work here—perhaps she somehow does know more about Miss Taafe and her preferences than she lets on. The question is, how she would know: [hl=black]has the Girl been blabbing?[/hl] Whatever the case may be, I have a feeling this isn't the last we'll be seeing of the Madame even if Miss Taafe wouldn't want to come within a mile of her "establishment."

    Wonderful to finally meet the Darksuns. They do indeed contrast with Miss Taafe, as guessed, but the contrast isn't a discordant one the way some have been in the story, and they do like a genuinely friendly, hospitable family (though Juniper he's got a few sullen-teen-boy issues to work out—perhaps unsurprising, given the ambitions his parents are holding up for him, of which I'm sure he's not oblivious). Looking forward to see how further interactions with these two "big darlings" will go, and what books Miss T. will recommend. :cool:
     
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  25. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    So I was standing on a balcony overlooking a beautiful sapphire lake--come on, I never said metaphors were my strong point--with a beautiful, and unavailable, and perfectly powerful child-woman in a backless frock when I said idly: "Sand. I really hate it."

    [​IMG]

    I have returned from the desert. It turns out that sand (at least in the high desert) doesn't actually get everywhere, but a strong wind will blow it into one's eyes.

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

    Findswoman: How do you do, Miss Taafe. :) Good to begin to learn at least part of our heroine's name; I wonder if it's at all inspired by the modern-day American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

    I'm still not certain that I should have revealed her name--after all, most diary writers are talking to themselves, and that's one piece of information they don't need to think about. But I do think the narrator here is writing with a potential, and invisible, audience in mind (hence the fact that she writes out dialogue fairly often) so it works well enough. And I'm afraid her name isn't inspired by the composer, who I must admit I hadn't previously heard of.

    This Madame Aramat sounds like quite a piece of work—move over, Bella Cohen! :eek: The preposterous hat and dress are just the tip of the iceberg, though they say a lot in their way. One gets the feeling that even Avila feels that way too and wouldn't want to deal with her more than necessary.

    Actually, Avila hates the Madame's guts--she's a Twi'lek, and a female Twi'lek, and that alone should indicate how she would feel about a woman she will likely refer to bluntly at some point as a "whoremonger." The Madame is definitely a piece of work, but she is a piece of work with a not inconsiderable amount of local power, which is inspired by actual "real world" history--many brothel madams in the old western days had prominent roles in the community as a whole (I've never researched the details, but I suspect it may have been in part because they had clients who were top men. Top Men.) There was a notorious madam in Missoula, Montana who gained enough power to be buried quite well, with a flamboyant headstone, at the local cemetery.

    That, um, recommendation of hers... what incredible chutzpah! :eek: But it almost makes me wonder if there's more than what some people call "gaydar" at work here—perhaps she somehow does know more about Miss Taafe and her preferences than she lets on. The question is, how she would know: has the Girl been blabbing?

    The Madame doesn't lack for audacity, but she doesn't know even half as much as she assumes she does. She might have picked up a signal with her "gaydar," but she doesn't know one actual thing about the narrator. And to be honest, the Madame wouldn't have expected her to accept that offer--she had another motive in mind.

    Whatever the case may be, I have a feeling this isn't the last we'll be seeing of the Madame even if Miss Taafe wouldn't want to come within a mile of her "establishment."

    Well: considering that it is a big showy white mansion taking up more than its fair share of street space, she might have to come closer than a mile. But you'll see.

    Wonderful to finally meet the Darksuns. They do indeed contrast with Miss Taafe, as guessed, but the contrast isn't a discordant one the way some have been in the story, and they do like a genuinely friendly, hospitable family (though Juniper he's got a few sullen-teen-boy issues to work out—perhaps unsurprising, given the ambitions his parents are holding up for him, of which I'm sure he's not oblivious).

    Oh, Juniper certainly knows about his parents' ambitions (and it's a good thing for him that he's far too tall to be a stormtrooper). But mostly, they want him to have the qualities of the tree they named him for--a tough, indomitable tree that can grow from a mere crack in a rock cliff, in the most arid of climates.

    Looking forward to see how further interactions with these two "big darlings" will go, and what books Miss T. will recommend. :cool:

    She is making a list, and taking it very seriously.

    Thanks for reading, and commenting!
     
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