Title: The Grey Book Genre: Drama with occasional tragedy Author's Note: This thread will serve as an anthology of short pieces, many of which will be inspired by Ultimate Drabble Challenge prompts, both past and present, and other prompts I've picked up around the internet. Since I do not have an aptitude for drabbles (to put it as kindly as possible), this will quite obviously be independent of the actual drabble challenge. Most of the pieces will stay in the Saga category, though I may on occasion travel beyond that into the past and the future. * The Index: (The face that sees you from the mirror should not be your own) Entropy Triptych/this will hurt you more than it hurts me Dear Pelly: Come to Dust Versé, transformed into a flower "Getting it on" Dutiful Fantastica -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Title: (The face that sees you from the mirror should not be your own) Genre: Possible AU Characters: Sabé Inspired by: baby/child/teenager/adult/old age (from the 7th Ultimate Drabble Challenge) (The face that sees you from the mirror should not be your own) When Sabé was little, she would make up stories about the mother she could not remember. The Sisters had told her she was a housewife in Theed, and that the man who supported her was a minor government official. But Sabé wasn’t old enough to care about what her mother did. She only imagined her dark hair, and the dwarf snowlilies she wore clipped just above her chignon, and her (matching, commonly pretty) dark eyes. She would watch her mouth open to speak, but only a rose-scented breeze sighed out. She must have wept when she left Sabé behind with the Sisters, murmuring the name Sabé would never have again. Sabé would never know the truth: that when the Nursery Sister laid her in the cot, when she told the other Sisters what a quiet, good baby she was, her mother had become pregnant again. She looked in the mirror over her vanity, touched her bread-swelling stomach, and smiled. * Sabé was only a child for a few years. The Sisters soon enough bullied her out of her daydreams—about her mother, and the places she saw in her dreams—and she would soon look back on them with an embarrassed cringe. She was always quiet. She stayed quiet even when she was tired, after hours and hours of training with the other maidens, or the last few times she wanted something for herself, and was angry to have to live without it. The girls in her class all received their first blasters when they were ten, small silversleek things that showed their distorted reflections. You have been chosen for a higher purpose than mere ordinary life, the Sisters would tell them, over and over again until the words became a meaningless blur. It would finally make sense the day Sabé saw a picture of the new Princess of Theed. It was like looking into a mirror at herself. She won’t be Princess for too long, the Sister said, while Sabé studied the girl she had already started to daydream about. You will suit her well. * After Amidala turned eighteen, she took a weekend holiday at her family’s house in the Lake Country. Sabé was surprised (and of course, delighted) when Amidala asked her to accompany her. Captain Panaka would have preferred she chose one of the other handmaidens, (so the public could look at Sabé and think their queen was still dutifully, relentlessly, at work), but she only listened to him when she wanted to. It was, Sabé would think for years, the best time of her life. She slept with Amidala in her huge sleigh-bed, and braided her hair while Amidala read a political history book Senator Vancil had given her. There was one moment in particular that Sabé would remember: She had been standing on the upstairs balcony with a glass-mug of tea when Amidala came up the beach-path. She wore a white silk shift with a long bloody-red overdress that dragged behind her, the same frock she had worn to an earlier luncheon with the local governor--but her hair was a wet, tangled mess, and she was barefoot. Sabé couldn't believe she had thought, even recently, that she resembled her. When she had convinced others (including Governor Bibble, who ought to have known better) that she was the Queen, she should not have believed it along with them. But she had wanted to--when she was Amidala, she knew what to say, and people heard her. She had never been in love—all handmaidens took a promise of celibacy the night before their service began—and she would never learn how. This was the closest she came. When Amidala joined her on the balcony, she never mentioned if she had looked up and seen Sabé, or her shadow-silhouette against the burning sunshine. Sabé didn’t tell Amidala that she had seen her. They merely stood together looking out across the lake. * When Sabé went to Alderaan, Amidala had been dead for nearly five years. She had lived without interest, or purpose, for all of those years. She had moved back into the training school, and had taught the intermediate etiquette classes in a dreamstate. She knew her students did not like her, and she hardly bothered to remember their names. That changed when she found out that Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan was looking for a tutor for her daughter, the Crown Princess Leia. The Princess’s father, Bail Organa, had been one of Amidala’s closest colleagues when she was in the Senate. This was a purpose worthy of her. The Princess Leia was five years old. She would have been born during the last days of the Republic. She looked like Sabé’s own childhood holostills, with her long easily tangled brown hair and dark eyes—and one of the Queen’s Maidens told her the Princess was adopted, and that she had heard the birth mother came from Naboo. Sabé would also have an unexpected second student—Winter, a girl the Organas had taken in after her mother died in a speeder crash. She was the Princess Leia’s companion, and her friend, and nearly her equal. She was taller, with moonlight-white hair, and could not have been a convincing decoy. But Sabé still knew her for what she was. That may have been why she favored the Princess Leia. She tried not to admit it even to herself, but once they were old enough, both girls knew it to be true. When they were twelve, the Princess Leia and Winter wondered--when they didn’t think Sabé could hear them--why Sabé had never gotten married, and why she didn’t have a life outside their classroom and her small nun-plain room. They wouldn’t have been able to understand, and so Sabé never told them. They expected her to be like the Queen’s Maidens who, when they were not attending their queen, would spend their days out in the city. They would go to plays at the university theatre with their friends, and meet up with their lovers for romantic meetings in the gardens during their breaks. They still knew their families. They did not have to keep any of this secret from the Queen. Sabé did not know how to like them. They had tried to befriend her during her first year at the palace, but after that, they left her alone. They told the new Maidens, who came in to replace women who left for marriage or other careers, to do the same. She’s from Naboo, they would say. They do things differently there, and we need to respect that. * A handmaiden, the Sister who taught Sabé’s first class in the politics of loyalty would say, can only live into old age if her mistress does the same. Sabé would never forgive herself for outliving Amidala. She envied Moteé, the handmaiden who had failed to take Amidala’s death for her, who committed suicide days after her funeral. Sabé wanted to follow her example. She would never know why—after she took long walks along the most dangerous river-cliffs, and kept a set of razors wrapped inside a silk handkerchief inside her purse, and after she bought a bottle of dream-pills—she did not. She would only take a single one of the dream-pills when she was unable to hide away inside sleep. Sabé was only forty-seven, twenty years older than Amidala would ever be, when the Death Star, a small moon hidden inside the sunbright sky, blew Alderaan into smashed, floating-loose pieces. She could not have seen it before it happened. She was walking in the palace gardens one minute, and then the next, she was gone. But if she had known, if she had looked up and seen the death moon open its red eye, she would have stood still and waited. She would have been, in that last moment, relieved.