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Before the Saga The Kyberkerk of Jedha | Very distant past, OCs, drama/tragedy | Epic, award-fic for divapilot

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title:The Kyberkerk of Jedha

    Timeframe: The very, very, VERY distant past, before the foundation of the Jedi Order but after the discovery of interstellar travel. The preface and epilogue take place in 41 BBY and the prologue billions of years before the Republic.

    Continuity: Canon

    Characters: OCs

    Genre: Drama/tragedy

    Length: Epic

    Summary:The Hunchback of Notre-Dame in the GFFA

    Notes: This story mostly follows the plot of Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, but it will diverge from it in some aspects. Given the timeframe in which I placed it, readers can safely assume that any and all worldbuilding elements are my fanon. I will (hopefully) be posting details in the Fanon Thread as I go along, as well as notes at the end of each chapter.

    Acknowledgements: There is a long list of people (besides me) who should be blamed for the existence of this story – namely:
    • divapilot, who requested it be written as her prize for her many well-deserved wins in the 2017 Fanfic Awards (this is your cue to check out the list of her award-winning fics and read them)
    • Findswoman, who planted the idea in my head in the course of a completely unrelated discussion while commenting about another story of mine,
    • Raissa Baiard, who proved with Everyone Comes to Doran’s Place that a pastiche of a classical work of fiction can make a great SW story,
    • Kurisan, who came asking for advice for one of his fics in the Writer’s Desk and unwittingly gave me the worldbuilding element I was looking for,
    • Gamiel, Mistress_Renata, Darth_Mu, Sith-I-5, Snocone, gizkaspice and divapilot (again), whose input about what the GFFA would look like such a long time ago was invaluable,
    • Lastly, Mistress_Renata (again!), who took the time to comment in great detail on the outline of this story and on the opening chapters with remarks that were critical, constructive and encouraging.
    So thanks to everyone :)

    And most importantly congrats again to divapilot for her wins in the 2017 awards =D= I hope you will enjoy this story.
     
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
  3. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The Kyberkerk of Jedha

    Preface

    A few years ago, while visiting or, rather, rummaging about the Temple of the Kyber during the renovation works that that sought to rescue this vestige of Jedha’s fading glory, the author of these lines found, in an obscure nook of one of the meditation rooms, the following word engraved by hand upon the wall:

    UZH

    These letters, now black with age and deeply graven in the stone with scorch marks imprinted around their forms, as though with the purpose of revealing that they had been carved with fire, struck me deeply. For in the tongue spoken by our ancestors in the days before the advent of the Republic, they form the name of the living energy field that the Jedi call the Force, but also the word that the Sith favour to name the thing they crave above all: power.

    I questioned myself; I sought to divine who could have been that soul which had not been willing to quit this world without leaving a mark of his presence upon the brow of the ancient shrine.

    Afterwards, the wall was whitewashed or scraped down, I know not which, and the inscription disappeared. For it is thus that people have been in the habit of proceeding since the foundation of the Republic. All traces of our civilisation’s past are erased, mutilations of our venerable monuments come from every quarter, and the deeper origins of the age-old enmity between the light and the dark are lost to history. A day will come when the worlds that host our most sacred sites will be destroyed; the populace will forget their significance and it will require decades, if not centuries, to rebuild the knowledge that we will have foregone.

    Thus, with the exception of the fragile memory which I here consecrate to it, there remains today nothing whatsoever of the mysterious word engraved within the gloomy cell of the Temple of the Kyber – nothing of the destiny which it summed up. The being who wrote that word upon the wall disappeared from the midst of the generations of sentience many millennia ago; the word, in its turn, has been effaced from the wall of the temple; the temple will, perhaps, itself soon disappear from the face of the galaxy if the new swell of the tide of darkness whose coming began today on Tatooine is allowed to prevail.

    It is upon this word that this book is founded.

    Gali Juta
    643rd Keeper of the Whills
    991st year of the Galactic Republic

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

    Endnotes
    This preface is an almost word-for-word pastiche of the preface to Notre-Dame de Paris, which you can read here.

    ‘Uzh’ is the RL Armenian word meaning ‘force’ or ‘power’.

    The 991st year of the Galactic Republic is 41 BBY. You can draw your own conclusions here :)

    Everyone already knows the Temple of the Kyber, but I’m giving the link anyway.
     
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Prologue: The World and the Comet

    In the age when the galaxy was young, well before sentient life came along to give its name to the Terrabe sector and the systems it comprises, a world and a comet were dancing among the stars. The world was small, but beautiful and verdant. With the blue of its oceans and the snowcaps of its mountains, it reflected light like no other and shone like a precious gem in the darkness of space. It was truly a sight to behold as it spun lazily upon itself and made its way around its sun, and every other celestial body twinkled in admiration at the never-ending flow of its kaleidoscope of colours.

    The comet, for its part, was a streak of red and gold against the black skies. It ambled across the galaxy at the leisurely pace of a wanderer who has set out to explore the universe, but it was distracted from its path by an unexpected sight. As it came near the emerald world, it gathered its trail like a ballroom gown and took a sharp turn for a closer look, to marvel at its beauty. By its second passage, it was completely enthralled, and when it returned again a few years later, it raised its voice and sang to attract the planet’s attention.

    The planet did not answer. Was it shy? Was it indifferent? Did it not understand the irresistible attraction its exquisiteness could bring about? No one ever knew, and no one will ever find out. The comet believed at first that it had not been heard, and every time the laws of gravity brought it nearby, it sang louder and louder.

    Yet the world was still not responding. It merely continued its journey across the skies, around the bright star that controlled its movement. At first, the other moons and planets were puzzled. They couldn’t think of a reason why the world would be ignoring the comet; they commended the wanderer as it chanted its serenade on the way in and they pitied it when it sank into a mournful tune on its way out. But soon they became angry. They thought that the world was being mean, selfish, evil. They thought that it was neglecting the comet purposefully, to cause it pain and sorrow. They resented its natural grace and beauty, and they conspired to teach it a lesson it would not forget.

    Upon the comet’s next passage in the vicinity of the world, the celestial bodies rearranged themselves to draw it closer and the red-and-gold trail brushed the planet’s atmosphere. The green orb vibrated in pain as its surface was showered with incandescent shards that burnt through the forests, scorched patches of the valleys and left gaping holes in the snow of the mountains, but the comet was too engrossed in its song of passion to notice that it was ravaging the one it adored. Soon – too soon – the forces of nature dragged it away from its beloved, and the blackness of space became silent once more as the tune faded into the distance.

    The other moons and planets were furious. The emerald world had not acknowledged the comet’s presence, it had not emitted a sound. Did it not see that the comet was worthy, that it deserved to be loved? Was it so consumed by its own beauty that it failed to see the merit of others? Could it be allowed to exist in this self-imposed isolation, to refuse credit where credit was due? No, it could not. It would be united with the comet, whether it liked it or not.

    They deployed in the skies and waited for the comet to return. A moon pulled it a little over here, a planet over there; the sun itself agreed to divert it from its course. The comet was grateful for their help. All its thoughts, wants and desires had crystallised around the enchanting world. It longed intensely for them to become one, and it failed to understand that the little cabal was driving it to its doom.

    The conspirators watched with malicious satisfaction as the world and the comet collided, and for centuries afterwards all there was to see was a ball of flames. The fiery orb raced randomly across the skies, and the moons and planets laughed and jeered at its inability to find a path of its own, until one of the larger bodies took mercy on it and pulled it by its side. It put out the blaze and blew the plumes of smoke into the void, it wiped the soot and cleared the grime, and as its spin brought it to face its new satellite it let out a howl of grief and remorse.

    The emerald world was disfigured. The mountains, the forests and the oceans were gone; the bright colours that had aroused curiosity, praise, envy and hatred were now smothered under a uniform, drab layer of sand that the winds shifted around to reveal chunks of the rocky crust jutting out of the core. The once-verdant orb was now naught but a dead moon, a mesa of dark stone amidst a wide crater the only reminder of the singing comet that had loved it for its beauty.

    Years passed, then decades, centuries, millennia – and the tale of the world and the comet was all but forgotten when a few hesitant notes echoed across the silence of the black. At first there was no one to hear them, for the age of worlds and stars was bygone and the world of living beings was yet to come. The notes grew slowly into a coherent tune, and for aeons thereafter the desert moon sang to itself in the vastness of the void. It sang of devotion and sorrow, of attraction, indifference, passion and scorn; it sang of the burden of beauty and the curse of unrequited love; it sang of the enchanter and the wanderer, of their ill-fated union, of those who had caused it and of the lessons to draw. It sang of the crystals that were multiplying on its surface and shone like speckles of light against the brown of its sand, and it vowed to persist in its song until someone came to find the children of the world and the comet, to listen to their story and heed the warning in their core.

    The moon was still singing when sentient life arose in the heart of the galaxy and the first explorer ships flew past. The mysterious tune guided the travellers to the surface, it led them to the mesa and it prompted them to unearth the largest of the crystals from the depths of the rock. The music grew louder for those who could hear it when the sparkling mass emerged from its natural shrine, and even those to whom it was silent bowed in reverence at the promise of the secrets it would someday disclose.

    And thus it was, in times past, that the world we later named Jedha came to be known as the Moon of Melodies, and from the earliest days of civilisation to the Golden Age of the Republic beings came from across the galaxy to listen to its song.

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

    Endnotes
    This origin story of Jedha is inspired from the explanation that Gareth Edwards gave to Collider last April. To quote the relevant bit:

    “If you look at the establishing shot of Jedha from above, the layout of it is this giant, circular rock formation around where Jedha is. And the idea was that there was a meteor impact that hit Jedha and it came at such a force that it was what created the Kyber Crystals at the center of that crate of impact. So Jedha is like this very unique place in the galaxy in that it’s got a very high density of Kyber Crystals, which is what the Jedi need for lightsabers. So it became this holy city as a result of that meteor impact. But that must’ve happened maybe millions of years ago. We tried to tell that story in the establishing shot, you see the circular formation and at the heart of it is Jedha city.”
     
  5. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    It's great that you decided to go ahead and start writing this! This really reminds me of something out of Tolkien---the creation/destruction of a world kind of theme and the detailed poetic descriptions that bring a lot of life to the scenes. This is already looking great and is a unique take of a distant past for the GFFA :)
     
  6. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I need to go read the Hunchback of Notre Dame now. I'm sure it won't be as good as what comes from Chyntuck, though. @};-

    I really, really, REALLY loved the fable of the planet and the comet, though. I told her in PM and I'm saying it here. ^:)^
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Chyntuck - so you're writing another epic -- Broke the mold the last time you did that you realize. =D= [face_dancing] A beautiful beginning and we haven't even gotten to chapter 1. Wow. The fable was indeed Tolkienesque & breathtaking. FTW. [face_love] =D=
     
  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Thus, with the exception of the fragile memory which I here consecrate to it, there remains today nothing whatsoever of the mysterious word engraved within the gloomy cell of the Temple of the Kyber – nothing of the destiny which it summed up. The being who wrote that word upon the wall disappeared from the midst of the generations of sentience many millennia ago; the word, in its turn, has been effaced from the wall of the temple; the temple will, perhaps, itself soon disappear from the face of the galaxy if the new swell of the tide of darkness whose coming began today on Tatooine is allowed to prevail.

    Foreshadowing and a lot of drama ahead! And the age of cathedrals... ;)

     
    Chyntuck likes this.
  9. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Chyntuck, this is beautiful. The language is lyrical and dreamy, and I like the sense of detachment that you assume, as if you are an academic reporting on the ancient civilization that has passed into the dust. The origin of Jedha, once a fertile and verdant planet, and the importance of the kyber - loved it. The mythological explanation of why Jedha was struck by such a catastrophe was fascinating. I'm very curious as to what the "new swelling of the tide of darkness whose coming began today on Tatooine" might be.

    Also - the word Kyberkerk is so very cool. The Church of the Kyber. You know I've been obsessed recently with the symbiotic relationship of the kyber crystal and the Force user, so the possibilities here are kind of mind-asploding. Is this a link to the Church of the Force? Is this connected to the Guardians of the Whills, as your prologue hints? How will the kyber play out in the worlds of Jedha and Tatooine and possibly other Force centers like Jakku? I am excited to find out!
     
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! A few quick replies before I post chapter 1.
    Thank you, you are very kind [face_blush] I loved Gareth Edwards's comment about how the mesa of Jedha city came to be and it just happened to fit so well with the themes of this story that I just had to write the origin myth. This is very different from my usual writing style and I'm glad that it worked! But don't worry, I won't be pillaging only his ideas for this fic; all the stuff we discussed in the writer's desk will come up soon too!

    Now that's a bit of an exaggeration :p but I never say no to compliments, so thanks!
    And thanks again – not only for the compliment this time but also for the feedback on PM. You know what I'm talking about ;)

    Hahaha! Well, this one is going to be a 50K-word epic, not a 350K-word epic, but it still counts as an epic, right? I hope you'll enjoy it! Thank you :)

    Thanks! You already know the story, but I hope I'll manage to put my own twist on it. And yes, the age of the cathedrals (or the Kyber temples) is coming up in the next chapter.

    Welcome to your story, award girl! And thanks for your comment. I'm glad you liked the opening salvo, and I hope you'll enjoy the rest of it too! TBH I could have done without the preface altogether, but the opening lines of Hunchback are so close to my idea of literary perfection that I just had to pastiche them for you. As for the tide of darkness on Tatooine, well, just check out who was born on Tatooine in 41 BBY ;)
    I am SO glad that you like the word "Kyberkerk"! I agonised a lot about how I would call the temple of the Kyber in ancient times (and hence the story), but when I found "Kyberkerk" was the moment when the story just wouldn't let me go. And yes, there will be a lot of Kyber-worshipping in this story, although it's all of course much more primitive than once you reach the times of the Jedi Order. Also, yes, the Guardians of the Whills (or an ancient version of them) will play a role in this fic, as will various Force-related religious orders and of course the Keeper of the Whills, who is writing the story in more ways than you (probably) expect.

    Thanks again for all your kind comments, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! Now on with the story itself...
     
  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter I: The Night of the Feasts

    In those distant times it was seldom that one would find such a flurry of activity on the Moon of Melodies. For all the dreams, assumptions and overweening expectations of those in the Core whose sole ambition was to travel to the desert world and pay their respects to the secret of the Kyber, daily life in the Holy City was a subdued affair. To many of its residents, it was solely about gathering sufficient resources to survive until tomorrow – and, in the harsh environment of the moon, resources were exceedingly scarce. There were no local industries to speak of, farming was virtually impossible due to the nature of the soil, and, most importantly, only two springs were available to supply water to the ever-growing population that lived atop the mesa. Males, females and younglings of all species, armed with all manners of containers, constantly crowded the two fountains to gather a few bucketfuls of the precious liquid so as to drink, cook and wash until the next morning, when they would again have to dedicate several hours to this indispensable ritual.

    On the evening when this story begins, however, the Holy City was a hive of feverish excitement. It was not only that a long-awaited ship had arrived from the Core only two days earlier, bringing along much-needed supplies and a group of young colonists who would inject fresh blood into the town’s population, but this night would witness one of the most eagerly anticipated celebrations of the year. For two hours, shortly before dusk, the large planet around which the moon traced its orbit would come in front of the sun, plunging the city into silvery darkness. As tradition dictated, the people of the mesa would then elect the ugliest among their ranks to the ephemeral position of Lord of the Budallenjsh, as a reminder that, in the twilight of the eclipse, all beings were equal regardless of appearance or species.

    The coincidence of the two feasts – the Feast of Arrival and the Feast of the Budallenjsh – thus generated a frenetic buzz across the town, and nowhere was this buzz more keenly felt than in Initiation Square. A dense crowd thronged the empty expanse by the Gate of Laments, just inside the city walls. Merrymakers had already gathered to witness the election of the Lord that was due to take place on the balconies of Pilgrim’s House as soon as the eclipse began; they chatted, laughed and offered each other what few sweets they had been able to set aside for this night of revelry. Meanwhile, meandering lines of workers wound their way across the congregation, carrying crates of supplies under the watchful eye of the Guardians of the Whills. The Moon of Melodies was not equipped with a hyperspace cannon so as to send ships and passengers back to the Core, and any craft that was propelled from Coruscant through the Terrabe Bypass was offloaded and then cannibalised for anything and everything that could be salvaged and reused to benefit the population. The recent arrival was already naught but a hollow carcass on the stretch of desert that served as a landing area outside the gate, and once the metal plates themselves were dismantled every scrap would be carefully apportioned among the residents so as to meet their most pressing needs. The fact that this particular ship had come arrayed with solar sails that could be repurposed to improve the public power supply and provide heating against the constant, bitter cold only added to the sense of elation that pervaded the city.

    A young man going by the name of Sinunu was posted near the Well of Prosperity in a narrow street off the square. He was tall and lanky, with ginger hair, bright blue eyes and a face so freckled one would have been forgiven for believing that his skin had taken the colour of the sand, as happened to every being with any form of pigmentation after a few weeks of exposure to the moon’s sun. Nevertheless, his attire alone was ample evidence that he had only just arrived with the latest newcomers. The bright fabric and the cut of his clothes were typical of the Coruscanti working class – and, incidentally, entirely unsuited to the frigid climate of the moon. Yet they stood in sharp contrast to the sophisticated tone in which he declaimed his poetry for passers-by to hear. This was obviously a bard who had trained himself to speak the language of the wealthy, and he might even have managed to fool a few innocent bystanders were it not for the cup that was placed at his feet, awaiting the alms of the audience.

    The problem, however, was that so far Sinunu was failing to attract any audience at all. For all the time, effort and thought he had put into composing his poems, for all the rhymes, the alliterations, the hyberboles and the metaphors he had so carefully crafted, for all the complex messages of purity, righteousness and justice he had strived to convey in his works, not a single soul expressed any interest in listening to him. Except, that is, a group of street urchins led by an impish teenage girl with dishevelled auburn hair and olive skin. They had settled on the other side of the alley with the sole purpose of shouting, jeering, whistling, and more generally making as much noise as they could so as to interrupt his chant in every possible manner. He was about to address them and request politely that they be on their way when a particularly loud catcall caused the bundle of rags that was huddled against the fountain to stir. The elderly woman stretched and yawned, and her high-pitched voice pierced the hubbub of the street as she shook the myriad little bells attached to her clothing.

    “May the uzh of others be with you!”

    The street urchins burst out laughing. “Jindi Korkuu!” the leader of the teens whooped gleefully. “Did we wake you up, my fair lady? Should we remind you to bestow your blessings upon the good people of the Moon?”

    The tiny bells tintinnabulated again as the woman called Jindi shrugged and swept her long braids behind her shoulders. It occurred to Sinunu that she was perhaps not that old after all. Her wrinkled, leathery face had misled him at first, but he could see, now that she had somehow straightened herself, the lipless mouth and the bony protrusions along her jaw that identified her as a Weequay. His previous dealings with a few of the humanoid aliens back on Coruscant had convinced him that they were barely capable of intelligent thought, and this particular female appeared to be so shabby, so destitute, so covered in filth that she was clearly a vagabond who scrounged a living from seeking charity on the streets of the city. An unlikely audience for his art, then. With a despondent sigh he turned away from her and opened his mouth to resume his chant.

    “May the uzh of others be with you!” the Weequay wailed again, so shrilly that Sinunu thought his ears would bleed. “May the uzh of others be with you!” She produced a beggar’s cup from under her rags and waved it at the bard.

    “No luck, Jindi!” the auburn-haired girl shouted over the ruckus of hundreds of passers-by who were still heading towards Initiation Square. “You’ve got competition from this gentleman today. And what a gentleman he is! Freshly arrived from the Core, no less, and with ambitions to seduce us all with the harmony of his hymns. I’m told he wanted to join the psalmists of the Kyberkerk. There was just the usual... complication, if you get my meaning. So here he is now, stranded in the back end of space, all dressed up and nowhere to go.”

    The gang of teenagers roared with laughter and Sinunu felt his cheeks turn crimson under the tramp’s appraising gaze. “I am afraid you are gravely mistaken, young mistress,” he told the girl in a brave attempt at a dignified response. “My reasons for coming to the Moon of Melodies –”

    The teen hopped off the windowsill where she had been perching and came to place her palm on his chest. “No need to explain yourself, friend. My brother is the High Priest of the Kyberkerk. I know everything about you, and then some more. You’re not the first one who was fooled into coming to this moon, and you certainly won’t be the last.” At this Sinunu’s blush darkened, if that were even possible. The girl turned to the Weequay. “Anyway, he’s been regaling Prosperity Alley with his carols all afternoon. And with such poise! Such grace! Such elegance! You wouldn’t believe the level of refinement that this single being has brought to our world, Jindi. I don’t know where we found the nerve to exist without him until now, barbarians that we are.” Her eyes sparkled with mischief and she added casually, “Your feeble blessings stand no chance as long he is standing by your side.”

    A malicious smile played on Jindi Korkuu’s wrinkled face. “Well then, my dear Genade, I believe that I must ask you to remove him from my presence.”

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

    Endnotes and Wookieepedia links
    ‘Budallenjsh’ is Albanian for ‘fool’. The Feast of the Budallenjsh is a reference to the Feast of Fools in the opening chapter of Hunchback.

    The idea of hyperspace cannons and solar sails as the main means of powering interstellar ships in ancient times were both helpfully provided by the one and only Gamiel.

    Sinunu is the GFFA version of Victor Hugo’s character Gringoire, who acts as the narrator throughout a significant chunk of Hunchback. The name means ‘swallow’ (the bird) in Arabic, because the name Gringoire is said to mean originally ‘he who brings the spring’ and there’s a saying about swallows and the spring (or lack thereof) in French.

    Genade is the GFFA version of Jehan Frollo, who is male in the novel. The name means ‘grace’ in Afrikaans, from the Hebrew version of John, Yochanan, which means ‘Yahweh is gracious’.

    Jindi Korkuu is the GFFA version of Clopin Trouillefou, the King of Truands in the novel. The name means ‘mad fear’ in Kyrgyz, a literal translation of the portmanteau Trouillefou.

    Kyberkerk is the (hopefully) ancient-sounding name I chose for the Temple of the Kyber in the era when this story takes place. I based it on the Dutch/Flemish word structure for naming churches (see for instance the French city of Dunkirk, whose name means ‘the church of the dunes’).

    Terrabe Bypass

    Weequay (Legends version)
     
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic details on the carrying out of an important festival and election and how it is founded in a long tradition, associated with an eclipse. :cool:

    Nice mention also of how the daily lives of the populace are to eke out a harsh livelihood, making the night of revelry even more welcome, besides the fact that a supply /colony ship has arrived.
     
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  13. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I love the use of the hyperspace cannon; isn't that something that has actually been discussed in terms of exploring Mars? I love the description of the city, and our introduction to the Guardians. I do NOT like Jindi; mean girls exist even in GFFA! :(
     
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  14. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Have you ever considered eventually modifying this into an original sci-fi story? because that's how unique and engaging it is. It definitely has a lot of potential. In terms of its relation to SW---it is a very original take in that it is very unfamiliar, yet somehow feels SWish. Sinunu definitely caught my interest as a fascinating character :)
     
  15. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    I've bookmarked this to read on my next days off! :)
     
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  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You always manage to bring new life to old stories, by making them your own with so many rich details of new worlds and alien races. ^:)^
     
  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! A few quick replies before I post chapter 2 earlier than planned, because tomorrow will be a busy day.

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you! I had been looking for a pretext for the celebration that would take place in chapter 1, and it was the total eclipse in your country in August that gave me my entry point.
    The GFFA has no shortage of harsh, inhospitable planets and Jedha is definitely one of them! In RO and related novels it seems that the local economy revolves around the pilgrims who visit the Holy City, but that implies a level of development of space travel that wouldn't exist in ancient times. I'm having a blast trying to imagine how constricted things would be if jumping in and out of hyperspace at a whim isn't an option.

    Mistress_Renata Thanks :) Unfortunately I cannot claim the idea of the hyperspace cannon as my own, both it and the solar sails were helpfully supplied by Gamiel in the Writer's Desk. I don't know if the idea was ever researched in the real world; in Jules Verne though they use a cannon to go to the moon (and I don't remember how they were planning to come back).

    As for Genade, she is one mean young girl, as you said; but she also has (some) qualities that will appear later in this story. In the end she's just a bored teenager on a planet where there's little to do.

    gizkaspice Thank you again and again, I'm glad that you're enjoying this story so much! Actually, I never thought of writing any original sci-fi fiction; all of my original writing is firmly RL-based, but now you're encouraging me to give it a try :) There are moments when I'm finding it really tricky to keep this story anchored in the SW universe; I don't want to use too many "modern" SW things because it takes place so far away in the past. As for Sinunu... well, you'll see a lot of him throughout the story, and he's in for quite a few misadventures. Poor bloke [face_mischief]

    CairnsTony Welcome to this story! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I'm enjoying yours.

    AzureAngel2 Thanks! More aliens to come in this chapter, including one of a species you've never met before because I made it up :D

    Thanks again, everyone! Next chapter coming right up.
     
  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter II: The Election of the Lord

    The street urchins perked up at Jindi Korkuu’s words, Genade’s mischievous grin widened and Sinunu’s heart sank. He knew the look they were giving him all too well from his younger years in the alleys of Cannon Town on Coruscant, when he was a frail, sickly child at the mercy of the neighbourhood bullies. Before he could react, the teenagers were all over him. One snatched his bright green scarf, another plucked his bonnet off his head, a third came to yank the buttons off his waistcoat. Within seconds he had lost his belt, his headgear and his pelerine, the cuffs of his shirt were torn and frayed and his shoes were deprived of their buckles. His only consolation was that the hands rummaging in his pockets would find nothing – he had spent the last of his credits on a bunk in Pilgrim’s House last night, and the donations he had attracted with his poetry readings amounted to precisely zero.

    He pushed back against his assailants with all his might and ran, dodging in and out of the crowd as fast as he could and ignoring the laughter that his dishevelled appearance elicited from the bystanders. His dread at the idea of finding himself in naught but his undergarments – if the urchins allowed him to keep even that, which he doubted – was such that he set aside his basic sense of decency and the good manners he had cultivated as part of his sophisticated persona. He elbowed women unceremoniously, shoved children and elders aside, ducked under a reptilian beast of burden while it was relieving itself and had to wriggle out of the grip of several angry passers-by on his way to Initiation Square. It was a small mercy that the throng was now so dense that it carried him forward, but he could still hear Genade’s outbursts of glee and her shouted instructions at her party, and it was increasingly difficult for him to control the direction in which the living tide was taking him. He finally arrived in front of Pilgrim’s House and some more scrambling and jostling enabled him to reach the other side of the esplanade, where he dived in the middle of a group of fat porcine beings. The aliens sniffed the air with disgust and turned their backs on him – his shirt was splattered with droplets of foul-smelling animal urine – but they thankfully didn’t move away and allowed him to remain hidden in their midst.

    He was still huffing and puffing, trying to catch his breath and straighten what was left of his clothes, when a hum rose among the crowd. It started out as a whisper but quickly grew into a thunderous roar as the thousands gathered on Initiation Square clapped their hands, stomped their feet, whipped their tails, cheered, whistled and blew the horns or rattled the noisemakers they had brought along for the evening’s celebration. Daylight began to dwindle and Sinunu’s eyes followed the crowd’s collective gaze just in time to see a black crescent forming against the face of the sun. The temperature dropped sharply in the few minutes it took for the moon’s planet to swallow the bright star, and soon the city was bathed in an eerie silvery-grey glow that was neither day nor night, neither dawn nor dusk, but one of those unique moments when celestial phenomena conspire to remind sentient beings that there are forces in the universe well beyond their reach.

    The bard’s musings about the poem he would compose to sing the praises of the Moon of Melodies’ light in the eclipse were short-lived, as the silence that had taken hold of the assembly when the city was plunged into darkness was interrupted by the appearance of a grotesque figure on the balcony of Pilgrim’s House. As far as Sinunu could tell, it was a middle-aged human matron he was seeing, but she had rigged herself out in such ridiculous clothes, she had painted her face with such gaudy colours, she had styled her hair into such a vertiginous tower that he could not be entirely certain that she wasn’t an alien of an unknown kind. The audience erupted into cheers again as she fumbled with the cords of the loudspeaker while two assistants attired in costumes as ludicrous as her own stepped behind her to set up a black curtain hanging from a crude frame. The noise finally receded when she brought a black metallic wand to her mouth.

    “Greetings, people of the Moon!” she called in a cheerful, booming voice. “To those who arrived only days ago, welcome! To the old hands who already know the purpose of this gathering, welcome back! Welcome to the merriest evening our world has to offer! The Feast of Arrival and ...” – she paused for effect – “... the Feast of the Budallenjsh!”

    She paused again for the hurrahs of the populace to subside a little and raised the microphone once more. “Now, there are newcomers among us that our strange customs and uncouth manners might send flying back to the Core at the first opportunity – not that there will be such an opportunity, if you get my meaning.” At this the crowd roared with laughter. “Anyhow, introductions are in order.” She reached for her prodigious mound of hair and tipped it off the top of her head in salutation, revealing that it was merely an elaborate contraption halfway between a hat and a wig. “First of all, you should know that I am Iakova Koppenol, prominent citizen and hosier of this town. On any other day of the year, you will find me in my store on the Path of Judgements by the entrance to the market, one floor up from the Home of the Beatific Countenance. But you should not let the mystics’ austere appearance intimidate you! I will be delighted to supply you with everything you need to keep your feet warm, rain or shine.” She surveyed the crowd and giggled. “Not rain. Never mind that. Tonight however, you will address me as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the Feast of the Budallenjsh.”

    “Won’t you be competing, Mistress Koppenol?” a familiar voice shouted. “That outfit you chose for yourself is quite fetching! It might even earn you my vote.”

    Iakova Koppenol laughed. “Sadly, Genade, the rules regarding the master of ceremonies are clear, but I have no doubt that there will be many worthy candidates. Now, where was I? Ah, yes. The Feast of the Budallenjsh in simple, one-syllable words. It is quite straightforward, really. Should you opt to participate, you’ll want to be ugly, as ugly as you can. Come to this balcony, show us your face, pull your best grimace. Makeup and costumes are allowed. No need to register, we will admire your ugliness on a first-come, first-served basis. Is there anything I forgot?”

    “The vote!” Genade bellowed. “Do the newcomers even know how to vote? They don’t have important elections like ours in the Core.”

    Her voice was closer now. Sinunu abandoned all pretence at dignified indifference and crouched behind the porcine aliens to better hide himself from view.

    “Oh my, oh my. What was I thinking? Of course, the supremely important vote! Well... no need to register to vote either, we aren’t choosing the captain of the Guardians of the Whills, after all. All you have to do is boo the candidates that you don’t find ugly enough, and cheer those who did the best job at uglying themselves... or should that be uglyfying? At being ugly in any case. The candidate that elicits the loudest cheers wins. And make no mistake: this is a much-coveted position. The winner will keep the title of Lord of the Budallenjsh until the end of the eclipse, that is...” – she extracted a chronometer from her pocket and checked the time – “... for all of two hours, if we do not delay any further. Shall we begin?”

    There was yet another round of cheers, horn-blowing, ratchet-rattling and applause, and the crowd shifted a little to allow the would-be lords of the Budallenjsh to reach the doors of Pilgrim’s House. Sinunu caught a glimpse of Genade’s auburn hair. She was now standing in the front row of the audience, surrounded by her sidekicks, as far away from him as was physically possible on Initiation Square. Still, he took a prudent step back into the shadows of an alcove in the city walls.

    It wasn’t a bad spot he’d found. He was safely out of sight here, yet he could observe the spectacle in all its glory – and, while the whole thing was loutish and vulgar, it was also highly entertaining. The first few competitors, a group of ragamuffins who were doing their best to frown, squint, bulge their eyes or pull in their cheeks, were swiftly booed off the balcony. After them came a few older contestants who had tried more or less successfully to masquerade as beings from another species; a woman disguised as a male Devaronian whose horns wiggled with every step attracted a standing ovation when the black curtain parted for her. She was followed by a Twi’lek who had painted her face and lekku with a black paste that was already flaking off her skin while long fangs stretched out of her mouth all the way to her chin. A porcine being of the same ilk as Sinunu’s fellow audience members drew particularly loud cheers; the tusks protruding from his jaw were encased in bright chrome, giving him an ominous outlook that was belied by the soft pastel colours of his baby-like clothes. The crowd below applauded, jeered, hollered and shouted joyfully throughout the process, making such a racket that Sinunu half-expected the ramparts to crumble, when the curtain opened again to reveal an alien of a kind he had never encountered before. Sudden silence blanketed the square.

    It wasn’t so much that the alien was ugly, although his physiology was definitely unusual. His body was ape-like; he was bandy-legged but stood upright and held the balcony railing with his five-fingered hands, yet Sinunu could make out what appeared to be retractable hooves where his wrists should have been. However, his powerful, barrel-like torso, covered in thick dark fur, was topped by a head that came across as mostly caprine, with a long, grinning snout that revealed the single row of teeth typical of ruminants. But what made him truly terrifying in the silvery-grey light of the eclipse wasn’t the two tall, curved horns that sprouted from his forehead, nor was it the sinewy muscles that played under his hide. No, it was the half-demented expression on his face, the ceaseless twitching of his ears, the constant quiver of his beard, and, above all, his eyes – two cloudy, pupil-less orbs of milky white that rolled about in their sockets, zooming left and right above the audience as if he couldn’t decide where to look.

    The absolute stillness that had taken hold of the crowd at the strange alien’s appearance – one could now hear the sands of the desert shift beyond the city walls – was broken by Genade’s astonished cry.

    “By the light of the Kyber! It’s Ino!”

    The name spread among the crowd like wildfire.

    “Ino?”

    “Ino of the Kyberkerk?”

    “Is Ino allowed outside now?”

    “The High Priest let Ino participate?”

    “Good on him, the poor thing! That’s not a life, always cooped up inside!”

    “What do you mean, good on him? He’s a Cjap! He shouldn’t be allowed among us!”

    “He shouldn’t be allowed in the city at all!”

    But whatever objections some tried to raise to the alien’s presence on the balcony of Pilgrim’s House were drowned in a deafening chorus led by Genade and her company of street urchins.

    “Ino! Ino! I-NO! I-NO! I-NO! I-NO!

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

    Endnotes
    Iakova Koppenol is the GFFA version of Master Jacques Coppenole, “hosier at the sign of the ‘Three Little Chains,’ of Ghent” in the Hunchback novel. The origin of her name is quite transparent.

    Ino is the GFFA version of Quasimodo. His name means ‘deformed’ in Hawaiian.


    Canon species: Devaronian, Twilek, Gamorrean

    Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenance (although the monastic order that is mentioned in this post is a very archaic version of it)
     
  19. gizkaspice

    gizkaspice Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Poor Sinunu-- all my sympathies his way!

    Very nice integration of some familiar aliens—nice to see a Twi’lek there!

    What a lovely description of strange alien, but strange alien is not loved at all it seems. :( What mysterious background does he have?
     
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  20. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    What a great description of the contest, and the contestants. And such a great introduction to Ino! Poor guy does sound pretty hideous, but it seems as if there are crowd members sympathetic to him.
     
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  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Very vivid description and I can believe it would be daunting and just what the crowd desires for their "vote" [face_thinking] You are definitely staying true to the essence of the original story =D=
     
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  22. CairnsTony

    CairnsTony Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 7, 2014
    This is fantastic! You've drawn me right in and already I'm getting a real feel for these characters.

    The crowd scene in the Esplanade had me thinking of some of the crowd scenes in Game of Thrones such as King's Landing and Braavos, coupled with the multitude of the Faith Militant with all those devotees who come to Jedha for one purpose only. Wonderfully evocative...

    I've not read Hunchback and now I really ought to!

    OK I'm ready for the next installment! =D= :D
     
  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You merged the two worlds - Victor Hugo´s mediveal Paris and the SW universe - so perfectly well and created a third one: your own vivid fanfic.

    Wonderful, lyrical - a surprise from every angle. ;)
     
  24. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Chapter 1. Such a lush and vivid picture you paint here! I can smell the cooking stalls, I can feel the grit of sand against my skin. Your introduction of the characters is brilliant and I really like the way you’ve created their names and attributes. I hate to admit that I have never read the book and must rely on my knowledge of the movies to set the characters into the Hugo original. The idea of everything being immediately scrapped and the solar sails refitted into solar energy panels adds such a realistic touch, and reminds me of Rey’s scavenging on Jakku. A long tradition, it would seem.
    The convergence of new arrivals and the Feast of Fools with an eclipse must be very fortuitous indeed.

    Chapter 2. The festivity begins! And the anti-beauty pageant is underway. I like how Sinunu escapes with very little dignity intact, but his natural curiosity allows him to want to witness this strange ceremony. And Ino - a Gamorrean, perhaps? But he’s got goat-like horns…. He reminds me of the very gargoyles of the great cathedrals themselves. The eerie light of the eclipse makes everything otherworldly and fantastical, a situation where normalcy is reversed. Even the most hidden can come to light in the anti-world of a day grown dark.


    Chyntuck, this is an amazing work. Your lyrical writing is perfectly suited for this dream-world, and I am hopelessly hooked on this. Beautiful, beautiful!
     
  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! I'm sorry for being late with this update; I've had something of a crazy week.

    A few quick replies:
    Thanks! Sinunu isn't out of the woods quite yet; Jedha was definitely the wrong place to go for someone like him. As for Ino, his background is an important plot point in this story, so I can't say much quite yet; but more will be revealed soon :)
    Thank you! Indeed, Ino is not particularly pretty, but in truth he isn't really hideous either – or rather, he wouldn't be if he didn't seem to be a bit deranged.
    Thanks :) I'm trying to keep the medieval feel of the original story for this fic, it's good to hear that it's mostly working!
    Thank you and welcome to this story! I must be one of a handful of people around the world who haven't watched Game of Thrones, but from the bits and pieces I've seen it's definitely the effect I was going for :)
    Awww, thanks [face_love]
    Thanks so much! I wish I could claim credit for all the worldbuilding ideas in this story, but most of them were helpfully provided by the community in the Writer's Desk (including yourself), although I think that I came up with the idea of recycling pretty much everything that arrives on Jedha on my own. It's a recurring concept for desert planets in the GFFA, after all – when the world you live on hardly produces anything, you have to become creative and use/reuse everything that's available.

    It's actually the porcine audience members behind whom Sinunu hides who are Gamorreans in this chapter; but you're absolutely right about the fact that I "designed" Ino in my mind after the gargoyles of Notre-Dame – I'm still struggling with Photoshop to produce an image, but he basically looks like an ape with the head of an ibex. Meanwhile, however, I played around a bit with Azalea's Dolls this week and I found good options to portray Sinunu and Genade :D

    Sinunu (spoilered for size)
    [​IMG]
    Genade (spoilered for size)
    [​IMG]
    Also, this is the moment where I'll say that it's a relief no one has read Hunchback, because you can all pretend that this is a good story since you don't have that particular element of comparison ;)

    Thanks again to readers, reviewers and lurkers! New chapter coming up straight away.