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Beyond - Legends The Lost Artist | Ἀνάγκη sequel, post-Vong AU | Short story, OC Challenge, award-fic for divapilot

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: The Lost Artist

    Timeframe: Begins circa 36 ABY (between entries 49 and 50 of divapilot’s The God of Second Chances), ends in 40 ABY.

    Characters: OCs, but a few canon characters will make an appearance.

    Summary: A classic SW story where someone has daddy issues :p

    Genre: This story takes place in divapilot’s Legends AU where Han and Leia have a fourth child, Breha “Bree” Amidala Solo, where no Killik wars took place and where Jacen didn’t turn to the dark side.

    Notes:

    This story is an award-fic for divapilot, who wanted to know more about my OC Simon Kerević and allowed me to borrow her OCs Bree and Blue for the occasion. If you haven’t met Bree and Blue yet, you definitely want to read divapilot’s fics True Blue and The God of Second Chances, for which she won half a dozen awards in the past two years [face_love]

    As for Simon, he appears in my recently-completed long!fic Ἀνάγκη – Necessity beyond sway, from which this story borrows quite a bit (but I don’t think you need to have read it to understand what happens here).

    You can find the list of divapilot’s OCs here and my OCs here.

    At the same time, as I was working on this story, I found inspiration in the challenge proposed by Findswoman for the OC Revolution thread, and divapilot kindly agreed that I could also use this fic as my entry for the challenge:

     
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  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The Lost Artist

    Chapter I: The Twi’lek Dancer

    The old cemetery of Theed was a repository of memory, a series of long, winding alleys and neatly manicured gardens where parents brought their progeny to teach them about the role that their ancestors had played in shaping the planet’s and the galaxy’s fate across the ages. Every noble family of Naboo was represented here, and it was a favourite activity for lovers of art and history to come and admire the elaborate gravestones and family vaults. One could find among the tombs the signature of many famous artists of yore, and at least one professor of the university of Theed was known to have denied his degree to a student who had failed to identify the sculptor of the frieze ornamenting the sumptuous mausoleum commemorating the reign of King Narmlé, that described the colonisation of the moon of Rori before the Explorer set off to the Unknown Regions from whence he never returned. The creator of each tombstone, each statue, each monument was known by name. All of them, but one.

    It was a small, simple grave at the far end of the path that paralleled the cemetery’s wall, one of the last plots to be allocated before a new graveyard was established to cope with the needs of Naboo’s ever-growing population. A life-size statue of a faceless Twi’lek dancer in the middle of a pirouette, her lekku flying gracefully behind her, was perched on the plain black tombstone that was engraved with a short inscription in Basic, Twi’leki and a language that was unknown to the galaxy at the time when the grave was established. Those most curious among the cemetery’s visitors were quick to find out that the plot had been purchased by one Simon Kerević for his wife Uumana, but the sculpture, as stunning as it was, bore no signature, and the artist could not be identified. Political events at the time – the Galactic Civil War had reached the Core, and Naboo, as a key transit point for the Refugee Relief Movement, was bracing itself for a possible outbreak of the Krytos epidemic on the planet – soon drew the public’s attention to more pressing matters, and by the time peace returned to the galaxy, the ch’hala vines that had been planted at the foot of the grave had crawled over the tombstone, hiding most of it from view. Disturbing a sentient’s final resting place in even the smallest way was deemed exceedingly inappropriate by the local population, and the people of Theed soon resigned themselves to the fact that the mystery would remain. The fact that Simon Kerević was very much a loner who kept to himself did not help. Within a few years, even the name of the owner of the grave and the name of the sentient who was buried there were forgotten, and the statue came to be known simply as the Twi’lek Dancer.

    Simon Kerević was a sad, quiet man with a limp that caused him to walk with a stick, the result of several years of captivity in an Imperial labour camp after he was arrested for setting up a clandestine clinic for runaway slaves on Coruscant. His impeccable, if unusual, professional credentials and his indisputable dedication to helping the poor and the downtrodden – it was said that he had returned to Coruscant after his liberation to reactivate the clinic and assist the victims of the Krytos virus – earned him a position with the Theed hospital as soon as he arrived on Naboo, and his experience in treating Ysanne Isard’s monstrous brainchild proved invaluable. Over the decades he spent in Theed, he rose to a prominent position in the trauma department and taught at the Royal Academy of Medicine, and, despite his age and the old wounds he carried, he was still working in the hospital after the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War, mostly providing pro bono surgeries for those in need and helping his younger colleagues become better doctors. He was not known to have any friends – although, more recently, he had been spotted chatting with Breha Amidala Solo in Rosella’s restaurant, where he liked to take his meals, and he had sent a glowing recommendation for her Barolian husband’s application to the Academy.

    It was mid-morning on the Day of Remembrance and a heavily pregnant Bree – as Breha Amidala liked to be called – was rearranging the wreaths around the vault of the Naberrie family before taking her leave from the ancestors she had come to honour and commemorate. The Theed cemetery was almost deserted already, as tradition dictated that remembrance ceremonies be conducted at dawn, and most local families were back home by this time of day, hosting informal receptions where they would recall anecdotes of their dead and celebrate their spirit. It was only Bree’s and her family’s fame that had kept her here for so long, for dozens of common citizens, and not a few sycophants, wanted to express their gratitude to the Naberries for their contribution to Naboo history. She had just started walking towards the cemetery gates when she saw Simon coming to her.

    The doctor gave her one of his rare smiles and surprised her with the customary greeting for the day. “May we live to remember those who had to leave before us.”

    She bowed her head as she gave the formal answer. “And may we find them again in the world beyond.” She then stepped forward and hugged him. “You seem to have become more of a Naboo than me, Simon. I didn’t know about these traditions until Blue and I moved here last year.”

    His smile faltered. “Nearly thirty years of visits to this graveyard will do that to you.”

    Bree gave him a curious look. “Why do you come here?”

    “My wife is buried in this cemetery. She passed away on Coruscant, but after I was freed from the prison camp, I brought her remains here. I didn’t expect that she’d be waiting for me to join her for such a long time though.”

    Bree blushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” She waited for a moment for Simon to speak, but he was lost in thought. “You loved her very much,” she finally prompted.

    Simon smiled again, but with unspeakable sorrow. “I still love her. Like on the very first day.” He steadied himself on his cane. “Would you like to come with me, Breha? I believe you would have been friends.”

    He offered her his free arm and they walked together deeper into the cemetery, taking a right turn on the small path that ran along the wall. Bree was running the list of the graves ahead of them in her mind, trying to understand which one might hold the ashes of Simon’s wife, when she caught a glimpse of a black silhouette in the distance. “Your wife is buried under the Twi’lek Dancer?” she blurted despite herself.

    “My wife is the Twi’lek Dancer,” Simon corrected. “Quite an extraordinary dancer, I may add. There was never a creature so graceful to walk the worlds of this galaxy.” He gave Bree a small grin. “You would expect me to say this of course. I am her husband, after all.”

    They finally reached the grave. The statue towered over them, its black stone scintillating in the morning sunshine. One of the ch’hala vines had climbed on the dancer’s leg and up to her shoulders, where it curled like a red and purple necklace that flashed with every gust of the breeze. Bree watched as Simon extracted pruning shears from his satchel and began trimming the overgrowth on the tombstone, clipping the branches just enough to reveal the inscription at the foot of the sculpture. She had to bow closer to be able to read it among the brush. “Uumana Kerević. Gone too long, taken too early. May she forever rest in peace.”

    She could make out underneath a line of text in Twi’leki, which presumably said the same thing, but it was the section that Simon did not clear that caught her attention. She pulled the colourful vines with one hand and ran the other over the carved ideograms. “Simon...” she whispered. “Is this Cheunh?”

    The doctor nodded indifferently. “Indeed.”

    Bree looked at him with increasing puzzlement. “But... there were no Chiss in the known Galaxy when your wife was buried here.”

    He shrugged. “There was obviously at least one.”

    There was such bitterness in his tone that Bree took a step back. “Simon,” she asked finally. “What happened to your wife?”

    Simon took a deep breath and began to speak very quickly, as if he had decided to get the story off his chest. “She was abducted by a dark side Force user who drained away her soul.” Bree clapped both hands on her mouth, but he didn’t see her, staring as he was at the tombstone. “I have reasons to believe that this was done to her by the Emperor himself. I cared for her for years afterwards. Her body was still alive and I could not bring myself to believe that she was but an empty shell. I tried everything modern medicine has to offer, but to no avail – until the Empire found out about our clinic. When the stormtroopers came to arrest us, she did not react – there wasn’t enough left of her to react to anything. They simply shot her in the head and left her behind as they took me away.”

    Bree seemed as if she were about to be sick. She looked around to find something to say, and her eyes fell on the statue’s head. “Is this why she has no face?”

    The doctor gave her a weak smile. “No. This sculpture was made well before any of this happened. The artist thought Uumana’s grace was in her dancing, and I agreed at the time.” Sorrow clouded his eyes again. “Now I wish I had a portrait of her. I don’t even have a holo left. All I have is this statue, and my fading memories.”

    Bree glanced again at the tombstone. “Was it this Chiss person who made the statue?”

    Simon sighed heavily. “No. It was someone who was bound to suffer the same fate as Uumana.”

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

    Notes: The Day of Remembrance is a Naboo tradition that I made up for this fic. The Theed cemetery is based on the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris (divapilot will know why :p) Soul Drain is a Sith technique that I invented for Ἀνάγκη (fanon post here). The statue of the Twi'lek dancer and the tombstone will be familiar to those who read Ἀνάγκη, and Rosella's is a well-known Naboo restaurant from The God of Second Chances. And yes, it's a bit difficult to disentangle here what's mine and what's divapilot's, because our two totally unrelated storylines are merging in this story!
     
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  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I love, love, love this. Simon is a fascinating character, someone who has given so much all his life and to whom life has given little more than harshness in return. There are interesting dynamics here: the heavily pregnant Bree in a cemetary; the old, quiet man and the gregarious young woman, one man's vibrant young wife and another man's wife in the grave.

    The inscription on her grave is so heartbreaking. And Simon's comments about how he stills loves her to this day are just as sad. Bree and Uumana would have been great friends, just as Ayesha had been friends with Uumana.

    I am so excited to find out more about the Lost Artist and Simon's story!
     
  4. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Glad to see that you're back to writing again! :)

    Really cool details on the way that monuments work on Naboo, and how important they are -- and how that makes the anonymity of the Twi'lek Dancer's artist an unusual thing. I had wondered from the title if this was going to relate to [hl=black]Ayesha[/hl] in some way, and it's neat to see that little intersection of her story and Bree's, through Simon.

    As usual, I feel bad for Simon; he still has a very lonely life after all these years. :( Even if it is a little less isolated than the locals know due to his contact with Bree and Blue, that's still a tenuous thread.

    Really enjoyed this glimpse of Naboo mourning traditions. I'm glad that Simon and Bree happened to run into each other at this particular time. It may be just what they needed.


    It's interesting that the passage of time and forgetting of the world has obscured not just the artist's identity, but the person that the statue was a portrait and later memorial for as well. Only Simon remembers everything anymore, and that is both touching and horribly sad. But maybe he'll be able to tell Bree more in time -- or perhaps some things will remain a mystery. In any case, I am glad that Bree knows Uumana is the Dancer. :)
     
  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read, and thanks to divapilot and Kahara for your very kind comments! [:D]
    Thank you! I loved the dynamics between Bree and Simon since you had them meet up in TGOSC. There's something unlikely about their friendship, seeing as they come from such different backgrounds, but at the same time they have so much in common that they complement each other very well in a way. I always thought that there would be more to their friendship than simply meeting up in a restaurant...
    ... and this, definitely, would be something that Simon sees in Bree. By this point, she has developed the sort of faith in life that would bring them close.
    Thanks again [:D]

    Thanks! [:D]
    Well, you know me :p There would have to be a little bit of [hl=black]Ayesha[/hl] in this story, especially since Bree grew up in the places where she was active as an artist, and she has likely seen at least some of her works (particularly the one Lando owns in TGOSC!)
    Simon never entirely recovered from the loss of his wife, and, quite frankly, who would? He was reluctant to form bonds even after moving to Naboo, and meeting someone like Bree, who could remind him of the beauty of friendship, was something he needed badly.
    The greetings are something I adapted from the RL Greek saying when someone passes away (it translates literally as "Live to remember [the deceased]") I thought it was appropriate for the way divapilot and I developed Simon's personality in his later years. In a way, he just lives to remember his wife.
    There were several reasons I thought many people would be forgotten at this point in galactic history. One aspect of it is that I imagine the Naboo, especially the people of Theed, as a patrician society that, while tolerant and welcoming of foreigners, remains very much focused on its own people. At the same time, as this story takes place after the Vong war, there are so many dead that someone like Uumana, who has been "gone" for such a long time, would be entirely forgotten by anyone but her husband. And, lastly, when it comes to [hl=black]Ayesha[/hl], there's the additional fact that the Emperor did everything to erase her from the records, and then she went and disappeared [hl=black]in the Unknown Regions[/hl]...

    Thanks again for reading and reviewing! Next chapter coming up as soon as I type up the notes.
     
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  6. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 2: The Portraits

    The conversation with Simon had disturbed Bree so deeply that she didn’t dare question him again about his wife, the mysterious artist and the unknown Chiss who had played such a significant role in his life for Uumana’s epitaph to be written in Cheunh. She had heard about the Sith technique of Soul Drain from her Jedi siblings as one of the most abominable crimes that could be committed against a living being, and she could not even begin to fathom the pain of having a loved one stolen in such a way, only to lose them a second time to a violent and meaningless death. She was haunted by the way the doctor had, at times, spoken of his wife in the present tense, as if she were still at his side more than three decades after her passing, and she wished that she had been able to give him a modicum of solace for the grief he had carried for half of his life. She was reluctant to discuss the subject with her husband – Blue was one of Simon’s colleagues at the hospital, and she didn’t feel that it would be appropriate for her to reveal something so intimate that their common friend has told her in a moment of extreme vulnerability; yet at the same time she knew that she wouldn’t be able to keep the story to herself. She gave birth to their daughter Lelila only two short weeks after the Day of Remembrance, and caring for the newborn took up all of her time – but the thought of Simon’s sorrow continued to gnaw at the back of her mind, and, several months later, she took advantage of an afternoon when they were quietly at home and the baby was sleeping to tell the doctor’s tale to Blue.

    Blue listened carefully as she spoke, and she could see that he was lost for words when she was done recalling every detail of the conversation. All he could do was take her hand and lead her to the beach to pray, and it was obvious that he was as troubled as she was in the following weeks. He went about his classes and his work at the hospital, but his mind was clearly elsewhere, until he commed her one day at the end of his shift to tell her that he needed to consult with the master cleric of the Barolian temple.

    He returned home late that evening and told her, “I know what to do.”

    It took a month to make the necessary arrangements, as Blue’s schedule at the hospital and the Academy of Medicine kept him exceedingly busy, but the day finally came when the young couple installed their baby in the back of the speeder, fetched Simon from his home nearby and flew to the temple. Bree and the doctor sat among the congregation, but Blue headed to the front row and, when the service was over, the master cleric invited him to address the assembly.

    His soft, serene voice echoed across the hall as he spoke of the uniqueness of each soul, of the dimensions of the afterlife and of the summation that decides between progress towards the pantheon or reincarnation. He brought the audience to tears as he described the pain caused by those so ensconced in evil that they sought to steal the most luminous among souls, but he also attracted approving nods when he affirmed his deeply held belief that such heinous endeavours were doomed to fail, for the soul’s immortality was never in question, its continued existence could never be challenged regardless of the loss of one’s mind and memories. He finally looked at Simon and steadied himself. “The Sith, the sorcerers, those immersed in the dark arts and seeking to disrupt the flow of nature – they cannot win, and we will never allow them to win. This is why, Doctor Kerević, we are asking today that your wife and you be hold-parents to our child. You may believe that she is gone, that she has been gone for longer than we can tell. But we know that her soul is here, today, with us, and that she always will be.”

    There was a moment of silence as all eyes in the temple turned to Simon, who was visibly overwhelmed with emotion. Bree finally turned to him and placed little Lelila in his arms, and the congregation erupted in cheers and joyous applause.

    * * *​

    By the time the next Day of Remembrance came around, Lelila was nearly one year old. She was a sweet, precocious child who adored her hold-father, and Simon, Blue and Bree decided that it was time to take her to the cemetery and, as Blue put it, to introduce her to Uumana. Bree made the necessary preparations, and, when the day of the commemoration came, they left home at dawn to go to the graveyard.

    Simon and Blue sat in a small kiosk to look after Lelila while her mother stood by the Naberrie family vault and exchanged greetings and flowers with the citizens of Theed who were passing by on the way to their own family graves. Simon explained to the little girl the importance of the ceremony – she was however far more interested in wriggling to escape his grip and catch one of the worms that had been attracted to the surface by the humidity of the night – and, as soon as Bree could escape the polite socialising that was expected of her, Blue perched her on his shoulders and they set off towards the Twi’lek Dancer.

    The cemetery was increasingly deserted as they progressed towards the boundary wall, and they encountered only one person after they took a right turn on the little path – a young woman, likely a Pantoran judging from the colour of her skin, who was ambling leisurely up the alley. She raised an elegant eyebrow under her dark specs as she came near them, but then merely nodded and went her way. Minutes later, they were standing before the tomb.

    The ch’hala vine that had climbed on the statue’s leg and hung from her shoulders had been carefully wrapped around the dancer’s head and lekku, and Uumana was now wearing a crown of bright flowers whose red and purple flashes contrasted sharply with the smooth, shiny black of the stone. The effect was so stunning that Lelila immediately reached out with her tiny hands as if to hug her. Bree admired the arrangement in silence for a moment, then turned to Simon. “This is beautiful,” she whispered.

    The doctor’s astonished gaze went from her to her husband. “Did you do this?” he asked.

    They stood there exchanging puzzled looks until Bree noticed a flimsi envelope at the foot of the statue. She extracted it carefully from the vines where it had been tucked and handed it to Simon. “Open it,” she said encouragingly. “There’s clearly someone who wanted to leave a message here for you.”

    The elderly doctor tore the envelope. A series of palm-sized cards slid out. They all bore portraits of Uumana: Uumana in a classic dance position, Uumana bowing at an imaginary audience, Uumana smiling and winking cheerfully, her sparkling eyes seemingly challenging the viewer to match her enthusiasm and love for life – Uumana as Simon could only see her in the depths of his memory. He examined the cards slowly, carefully, and passed them to Bree with trembling hands.

    “There’s a signature,” she breathed. “Initials, at least. A.E. And then there is again a small ideogram in Cheunh.”

    Simon looked back at the alley, where the unknown woman was now nowhere to be seen. He remained lost in thought, until Bree heard him mutter, “Maybe she didn’t suffer Uumana’s fate after all.”

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

    Notes: The elements about Barolian religion are borrowed from the fanon divapilot developed for The God of Second Chances. You can read her fanon post here.
     
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  7. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    The first half of this captures the effect that Simon has on others, even if he himself is not aware of it. His deep and unrelenting love for Uumana affects everyone who knows of their marriage. He truly shows what an unbreakable love is. Even though she has been dead for decades, the love they shared continues to inspire and comfort Simon. I think this becomes another reason why Bree relates to him so much: her own relationship with Blue weathered many storms to become as close and caring as it has, and Bree would see a parallel in the way Simon loved Uumana.

    I love how you have brought the entire family to Simon. At first it was just Bree who befriended him, but it looks like he has become friends with Blue too (who was a bit star-struck by Simon's reputation at first). Simon was denied a family with Uumana, but he can become a welcome member of the Solo family. The other thing that strikes me here is how well you integrated Blue's faith into this section. His religion is the stabilizer in his life, and Bree adapts into that same faith. I can see Blue giving this speech tremendous thought, struggling to find just the right words, all the while doubting his ability to say things as eloquently as he means to, and yet when he nervously speaks, it comes from his heart so the words wind up being exactly the right ones after all. The idea of naming Uumana as Lelila's hold-mother is brilliant. From Simon's point of view, this is a beautiful balance to the exquisite sculpture on her tomb. Uumana's life is honored and she in a sense lives on as she becomes the hold-mother to the baby - the complete antithesis of the cold grave.

    The second section, a year later, sees them back again at the cemetery. This time,while Blue and Simon wait patiently for Bree to fulfill her duties as a descendant of the Naberries, Lelila steals the show by finding worms more interesting than her parents or her hold-father. It's Lelila who reacts most strongly to the statue of the Twi'lek Dancer - she reaches out her arms to the Dancer, as if expecting her to hold her. Lelila seems almost to understand what her father was saying, that Uumana would always be here because her soul is immortal.

    Of course, the big twist is at the end with the portrait cards. They could only have been left there by someone who loved Uumana, and someone with an artistic eye so unique that she turned overgrown weeds into a crown. The fact that the cards were signed with both initials in Basic and an ideogram in Cheunh tells us two people were responsible for this message. I imagine the pictures were taken by a dear friend of Uumana's - perhaps someone who took the portraits as studies for a piece of artwork.

    I am thrilled with this beautiful integration of my characters with yours. In this story it becomes so clear that Simon's isolation was broken through by Bree's charm and openness, and in return he gave Bree and Blue a story of love that their relationship could aspire to. Maybe in a way this sets aside any lingering fears Blue might have of losing Bree because it's obvious that not even death could end the love Simon and Uumana shared.
     
  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Chyntuck!!!! Darling, girl! You got style and umph, and every other adjective I can come up with! =D= A beautiful tribute to all who have loved ones to cherish and remember fondly! [:D] And Bree and Blue-- :) [face_sigh] Thanks for sharing.
     
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  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you so much for that amazing review divapilot! It's so amazing that in fact I don't have much to reply [face_blush]
    It's funny you put it this way, because my assumption was that the reason you'd brought Simon in TGOSC was precisely this. The fear that Bree and Blue have of losing each other is such a recurrent theme in that story that it made sense to me that Bree would be attracted to someone who has experienced this sort of loss, as a way to process her own angst -- and Simon is someone who has many of the same qualities as Blue, so it made sense.
    I'm happy the religion bit came out right. I'm not a religious person at all, so I find writing passages that call upon a character's spirituality rather difficult.
    Hehe. An earlier version of this passage had Lelila trying to eat the worm and Blue shouting "No! Not food!" ;)

    More seriously though, I did want Lelila to be attracted to the statue. She doesn't have any understanding of death at this age, and she would be attracted to a sculpture that expresses so much about life. And of course, the mysterious artist who arranged the flowers around Uumana's head gave her an unexpected present here.
    Yeah, yeah, not telling... although I guess that for you all this is pretty transparent!
    Thanks so much for letting me borrow your characters for this story! There were so many subtle layers in the way you described how Bree and Simon met, I couldn't resist the urge to expand on that [:D]

    Welcome back to the boards WarmNyota_SweetAyesha [:D] [face_dancing] [:D] We all missed you and we are hoping to see more of you from now on. And thanks for your kind comment!
     
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  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 3: The Unfinished Monument

    It was a warm spring morning on Corulag and Bree was sunbathing on the lawn of the park facing the governor’s mansion. Simon was presiding over a conference about the best practices of field medicine that was taking place at the local university and had brought Blue along; the Barolian’s many years of experience as a medic on a refugee ship were entirely relevant to the conference’s topic, but it had taken quite some conspiring between Bree and Simon to persuade Blue to overcome his natural shyness and agree to participate. She accompanied the two to Curamelle and attended most of the lectures, but on the last day of the conference, she escaped with two-year-old Lelila to spend some time in the gardens and avoid the more technical subjects that were due to be discussed during the morning session.

    Curamelle had suffered considerable damage in the Yuuzhan Vong War, particularly in the final battle when the Galactic Alliance’s Second Fleet had retaken Corulag, but the planet’s citizens’ industrious nature had taken over soon after their liberation and, less than ten years later, the scars of the conflict were virtually nowhere to be seen. The municipal gardens had been restored to their former glory, with lush rows of the famed Corulag bamboos lining the alleys, the devastated roads and buildings had been repaired and the governor’s mansion, which had been reduced to rubble under the Vong’s orbital bombardment, was now entirely rebuilt in the architectural style of the middle era of the Old Republic. The last visible worksite was the plaza enclosed between the mansion’s wings, where a monument made of meshed wooden rings was still under construction.

    Bree lifted herself on her elbows to watch Lelila play with the small pile of twigs and sticks that she had collected from the gardens. The toddler was unusually quiet and focused, as if she were engaged in some very serious activity that her mother couldn’t fathom. It was a welcome respite from her usual state of hyper-creativity, Bree thought, and she was about to rest her head on her hands again when a shadow fell over them both and a rich contralto voice said, “Your daughter is very talented.”

    She looked up to see a woman in her late twenties or early thirties who was wearing plain white coveralls. The newcomer had the glowing red eyes of a Chiss, but her skin was the shade of silver associated with Pantorans rather than the usual pale blue of her species. Bree smiled. “Do you know what she is doing?”

    The newcomer pointed at the worksite. “I believe that she is trying to replicate the Curamelle monument.”

    Bree looked at the unstable construct of twigs in front of her daughter to see it collapse under its own weight for the umpteenth time. Lelila’s face contorted in disappointment. “I should probably get her better building blocks for this,” Bree said guiltily.

    The stranger smiled. “I might be able to arrange that for you.”

    She trod to the bamboo hedge and selected a stalk of adequate width before returning to crouch near Bree and Lelila. She pulled a small, sharp knife from her coveralls and began slicing the stick into rings, then carved a small indent into each one and showed Lelila how to fit the pieces into each other. The toddler squealed with delight and set about rebuilding a clumsy but much steadier version of her miniature monument.

    Bree laughed. “I hope you realise that you won’t be able to leave until this is as big as the original.”

    “It’s okay. I’ve been working since dawn, I needed a break anyway.”

    “Then you should probably settle in.” She shifted to a sitting position. “I’m Bree, by the way. And this is Lelila.”

    The woman shook her outstretched hand and mussed the child’s blue-streaked hair. “I’m Thriyé.”

    Bree observed her for a few minutes as she cut more slices of bamboo for Lelila. “Where are you from, Thriyé?”

    “I live on a small planet near the Chiss Ascendancy. In what you call the Unknown Regions.”

    “And what brought you to Curamelle?”

    Thriyé pointed her chin at the plaza. “I am here to re-build this monument.”

    Bree looked at the meshed wood rings in the distance. “What is it?”

    “It was originally commissioned by Governor Snopps in the last few years of the Empire, to celebrate trade and industry on the Perlemian Trade Route. It was a remarkable piece, it projected a map of nearby constellations on the governor’s mansion when the inclination of the sun was right.” Bree whistled with admiration. “Yes, that artist is... was exceptional,” Thriyé said with a heartfelt smile. “She had a way of playing with light and shadows like no other sculptor of her time.”

    “Who was she?” Bree asked.

    Lelila tugged at Thriyé’s sleeve, urging her to cut up the bamboo stalk faster. There was a brief silence.

    “Anyway, when the Far Outsiders – the Yuuzhan Vong – came to this planet, they tore it down and burnt it. Industry, cogged wheels, all that... it didn’t sit very well with them.”

    “No,” Bree sighed. “It didn’t.”

    There was another silence. “So you are an artist yourself,” Bree prompted.

    “You could say that – although I’ve been working mostly as a restorer of pieces of art created by others. But this one is difficult.” She pointed her chin at the plaza again. “The original plans are lost, so I have to rely on what few holos I could find to reconstitute it.” She bowed to help Lelila stabilise the construct by inserting a stick through the rings. “It will take as long as it takes, but I’ll figure it out. We lost so much of our civilisation, so many people – not just those who were killed, but also those who were forgotten. I want to do my bit to help us remember some of it.”

    Bree looked at her carefully. “You suffered greatly in the war.”

    Thriyé shrugged. “Not really, no. My planet is very small and essentially uninhabited. The Far Outsiders flew past us without giving us a second look. But I can’t help but wonder what would have been if –” She sucked in a sharp breath, carved a final notch in the last ring and arranged it in Lelila’s installation, then looked at Bree with a radiant smile that was all the more unexpected because of her stern Chiss features. “I think I may have figured it out,” she said cheerfully, pointing at the toy monument. “Your daughter is really very, very talented.”

    She sprang to her feet. Lelila tried to hold her back by her coverall trousers, but she merely mussed her hair again and lifted her into a hug. “I have to go now, little one. But since you like bamboo rings so much, I could probably take you with me to the forest tomorrow when I go and collect giant stalks.”

    Bree stood up and took her daughter in her arms. The other woman’s enthusiasm made her laugh. “Unfortunately we’ll be leaving Corulag tomorrow, but I’m glad that we could be of help. We’ll remember you every time we come here, now that you’ll be able to complete the monument. I wish you all the best.”

    She shook the other woman’s hand and watched her skip away happily. It was only during lunch, after Blue and Simon were done ooh-ing and aah-ing over Lelila’s miniature and asked her about the monument, that she realised that Thriyé had forgotten to tell her the original artist’s name.

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

    Notes: The monument to the Perlemian Trade Route is something I had created for part II, chapter 11 of Ἀνάγκη.
     
  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    This is off to quite a nice start. :) I really liked Simon K. in Anánke, and it's wonderful to have the opportunity here to see what his life is like post-Anánke, post-Uumana. One thing I liked about him was the way he was not only very good at what he did professionally, but also a real mensch. And he still is those things here. Even if his grief for his wife has hit him hard, to the point where he isolates himself so severely, he can still recognize true kindness and respond to it with true kindness—as he does with Bree in the opening chapter. And she is, of course, pretty much the perfect friend and supporter for him to have at this point in his life—his meetings with her at the café, as well as this pivotal one at the cemetery, are of paramount importance in keeping him from completely holing up in his grief. Bree and Blue and their new family are reminders that life goes on. As divapilot says, the image of a pregnant Bree arranging the wreaths in the cemetery and talking to Simon about his deceased wife is indeed a striking one in that regard, but the point at which it really hits home is at the Barolian service when Simon is named as Lelila's holdfather. (And I too enjoyed the depiction of the temple and the religion—I'm

    The envelope of portraits left on the statue seemed sort of like a brighter, happier version of the pictures that get spat out of the music box in the film The Music Box. There, the photos confirm that the protagonist's father (Armin Mueller-Stahl) was a Nazi war criminal, somethnig that had long been suspected of him without adequate proof. Here, however, they prove that the Tw'lek Dancer—who was first a living corpse and now a cold corpse beneath stone statue—was once a vibrant, beautiful, artistic, living person. And with the twining of the vine and the addition of the flower crown, even the statue itself has been adjusted to reflect that, with the vine and flower crown. And naturally I know exactly who "A. E." is, and who put that Cheunh ideogram on there!

    For a moment I actually did think that the mysterious woman might be [hl=black]Ayesha[/hl] herself. But given the time frame (now that I've looked a little closer), it makes sense for it to be Thriyé (or, in full, [hl=black]Mitth'riy'eskari[/hl] ;) ), and for [hl=black]Ayesha[/hl] to be the absent-but-important character. Given what I know of Thriyé's early own origins from the very end of Anánke, I will be curious to hear more from her in the chapters ahead, because I bet she has many a tale to tell. And yes, restorers of artworks most definitely count as artists—that kind of work is absolutely a very important and vital art form.

    Thanks for sharing and continuing the tale—I'll be looking forward to more! =D=
     
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I love how you have developed the friendship between Simon and the young Solo family. Simon seems to not only have opened up to Bree and allowed her to hear his reminiscences about his life, but he has taken Blue under his wing. I can also see Bree going with her husband on a conference, especially one that he feels anxious about, since she has been the one to oversee his health issues for him. (But even love has limits and I would ditch the boring presentations, too.)

    It's wonderful how you are integrating the elements of Anánke here. The mysterious young woman from the previous chapter has to be [hl=black]Ayesha and Thrawn's daughter[/hl]. A new generation of artists is emerging with not just the charming Thriyé but, surprisingly, little Lelila. We've seen her before drawing pictures for her father; now that almost-throwaway scene has another significance. Maybe Lelila's inscrutable scribbles aren't just scribbles but sketches, just like [hl=black]Ayesha used to make when she was planning her projects.[/hl]

    Simon and Thriyé have come so close to meeting up. I hope they get to see each other; it will bring back some important memories for him and give her an insight to her family's own past.
     
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  13. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the review Findswoman and welcome to this story [:D]
    Thank you! When I developed Simon's character in the first segment of Ἀνάγκη, I was thinking of him as Ayesha's moral compass, in the fact that he always sought to treat people fairly and most importantly never gave up -- which is why she would be so upset by his attitude after he was released from the prison camp, and why she was so adamant that he needed to "snap out of it". In a way, I wanted Bree to finish what Ayesha had begun after divapilot re-introduced him in TGOSC, so her request for this fic was a great opportunity to do that :)
    Haha. Of course you would know who A.E. is :p

    The photos were indeed intended to serve a double purpose by highlighting the fact that there are still people who remember who Uumana was. On the one hand, this story takes place at a time of galactic history where so much has happened, so many beings were killed in the two consecutive wars, that individuals stop mattering to anyone but those who knew and loved them personally. This applies of course to Uumana, but also to Ayesha, as both have very few surviving friends at this point, and who were minor enough artists whose careers were cut short that posterity wouldn't really take note of them. At the same time, I wanted Simon to be able to find comfort in the fact that there is someone out there who had never met Uumana but knew about her and cared about her -- and it was a way to rekindle hope in him that a long-lost friend could still be around, even if he doesn't quite know where to find her.
    Thanks again :)

    Thank you! The idea of Simon taking Blue under his wing is really just something I expanded upon from TGOSC. I thought that, if Simon sent a recommendation for Blue at the Academy of Medicine (and this because he has followed what was going on with his applications, even if Bree never told him directly) he would keep an eye on his career from that point onward. And of course Bree would want to come along! I could perfectly imagine her sitting in the medical conference and swelling with pride every time her husband opens his mouth (okay, unless it gets too technical and jargon-y!)
    Well... there's a bit about Lelila's scribbles later on in this story, so for now, I'll just [face_whistling]
    Well, that's going to have to happen soon... ;)

    Thanks again for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! Next chapter up straight away.
     
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  14. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm going to put a spoiler warning for Kahara here, because I don't think you've read as far as the events from Ἀνάγκη that are referenced in this chapter.

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

    Chapter 4: The Memorial

    Bree usually thought of visits to Bastion as an opportunity to see her siblings, particularly now that Jaina, who was married to Jag and pregnant with their first child, was rarely able to travel off-world unless it was on some official trip where she was constantly constrained by decorum and etiquette. However, the occasion for which they had been invited to the Imperial capital world this time was something that upset her deeply. It was the tenth anniversary of the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War, and Emperor Fel had commissioned a memorial to the Battle of the Edge, a little-known event of galactic history in which the forces of the Empire of the Hand, led by Grand Admiral Thrawn, had pushed back the invading fleet nearly twenty years before the New Republic had even found out about the Vong’s existence.

    Despite everything that had been revealed about Thrawn’s true intentions after the Republic had joined forces with the Imperial Remnant and the Chiss Ascendancy in the war, Bree couldn’t help but think of him as the man who had sought to abduct her brother and sister and hand them over to a dark Jedi, and she was adamant that the Solo family should not attend the inauguration of a memorial that would honour him in any shape or form. She was a mother herself now and the mere thought of such a threat to her child made her sick to her heart. It had taken a lot of soothing, arguing and persuading to convince her to make the journey at all.

    “Jaya’s the Empress now,” Jacen said. “Plus, Allana and Lelila haven’t seen each other for months, and I’m stuck in Hapes all the time. If you don’t come, they’ll forget about each other.”

    “Don’t get me wrong, kid,” Han told her over the holocomm. “I hate the man’s afterburners, but if the Vong had invaded around that time, we’d be toast and you wouldn’t exist. That’s gotta count for something.”

    Mara’s contribution came as a laconic text message. “Just a reminder that I tried to kill your uncle before I married him.”

    As for Leia, she had been her usual self. “You must come, Breha. It is your duty.”

    They had her neatly cornered – as always – and she was only still resisting out of sheer stubbornness, when she took up the subject in Simon’s presence. To her surprise, the doctor not only immediately agreed with Blue that they should go, but also offered to tag along. “It’s settled then,” Blue said before she could come up with a new objection. “I’ll comm Jaina and organise our transport.”

    It turned out that Bree’s hold-parents, Lando and Tendra Calrissian, were among Jag and Jaina’s guests and that they were willing to make a stop in Naboo to pick up the little family. Before Bree could properly come to terms with the event she was to attend, the Lady Luck was landing in the main civilian spaceport of Bastion. The presence of the Falcon and the Jade Sabre on the landing pads, as well as the Hapan royal flagship that they had seen in orbit, told Bree that the rest of the Skywalker-Solo clan had already arrived, and they were immediately whisked away to the Empress’s private lounge, where they were greeted by a resplendent Jaina.

    “Yes, Jedi robes,” she said in response to her sister’s question. “I wear them anytime I can, it’s far more comfortable for both of us.” She patted her bulging belly. “I’m sorry we rushed you here, but this is as good a time as ever for a quick family get-together, and then the artist will give us a private tour of the memorial. We get the first look. You’ll see, it’s gorgeous.”

    It took a while to greet everyone – Bree’s parents were there chatting with Luke and Mara as Artoo looked on, and Ben and Tenel Ka were teasing Threepio while Jacen kept a watchful eye on Allana – but Bree and Blue finally found themselves alone near the table where refreshments were being served. Lelila had gone off to play with her cousin and Simon was deep in conversation with Leia. “You noticed that Jag and his father aren’t here,” Blue murmured.

    “I’m sure they’re very busy,” Bree answered. “It’s a big event they’re holding tomorrow. Half the galaxy is invited.”

    “I don’t think so.” She looked at him questioningly. “Jaina organised things this way so that you could vent against Thrawn if you wanted to.” He smiled. “Don’t. It’s just a boring official function tomorrow, and we’re happy to see them all, aren’t we?”

    Bree looked at the two children, who were running after each other around the room, and slipped her arm around her husband’s waist. “We are.”

    A little later, Jaina guided her family to an immense ceremonial hall whose walls were covered in gleaming panels. “This is it,” she said proudly. “And this,” she added, gesturing towards a silver-skinned woman with glowing red eyes who was standing near the doors, “is –”

    “Thriyé?”

    All eyes turned to Bree, who was grinning widely as Lelila rushed forward to hug the artist. “Do you know each other?” Blue asked.

    “We do. We met on Corulag last year. Thriyé was re-building the monument I told you about, she helped Lelila make that miniature, you remember? The one we still have on the shelf in her bedroom. And we wanted to ask her –”

    Jaina coughed discreetly. “We don’t have much time, there’s going to be a rehearsal of the ceremony in an hour. Shall we go ahead with the visit and then Thriyé can join us for a cup of caf back in the lounge, so you two can catch up?”

    Bree took hold of Lelila’s hand and stood in the front row to listen to Thriyé’s commentary. She didn’t know as much about art as she thought she should, but she could plainly see that the Chiss had created such a masterpiece that it required little effort, if any at all, to suppress her urge to scowl in disgust every time Thrawn’s name was mentioned. The panels were made of black stone encrusted with tiny snow crystals and covered in a thin layer of a translucent material that looked that molten ice. While abstract, they still managed to convey to the viewer a sense of the various stages of the Battle of the Edge through the way they reflected the light. The leftmost panel depicted the arrival of the Imperial fleet on the edge of the galaxy, a coherent group of twinkling gems set against the void of space, with spiralling carvings in the stone representing the Vong worldships. The wall on the other side of the hall portrayed the destruction that had prevailed on both sides after the engagement was over. The stone was jagged and torn under its ice-like coating and the lights were few and far between. The two middle panels, where the crystals seemed to erupt and burn under the sunshine that streamed through the windows, stood for the key moment of the battle.

    “There was a moment when the fleet thought that all hope was lost,” Thriyé said. “The Star Destroyer Discipline had been mostly disabled, and the remaining Vong went after the imperial flagship, the Admonitor.” She pointed at the ominous spirals in the stone that were circling around a wedge-shaped relief. “That is when the Discipline’s captain, Matthias Ruud, decided to give his life for Grand Admiral Thrawn. He evacuated the last of his personnel and drove his Star Destroyer into the worldships. It’s said that the explosion that followed was wondrous to behold.” She stared for a moment at the blue supernova of crystals that was pulsating in the centre of the panel, creating the impression that everything else was pushed away by a centrifugal force. “They were the true heroes of this battle. Senior Captain Ruud, his wife Valeria who chose to stay with him, and the Discipline’s helmsman – whose name, sadly, is lost to history.”

    Simon was observing her carefully. “You know a lot about these events.”

    “I was able to interview several survivors of the battle when I started preparing for this memorial. His Excellency Assistant Syndic Baron Fel” – she nodded politely at Jaina – “remembers this particular moment most vividly.”

    Blue took a step forward and brushed the tips of his fingers on the nearest panel. “You know what this reminds me of?” he asked Bree. “That clay piece Lando and Tendra have on the Lady Luck.”

    “You mean the Northern Lights? Yes, I was thinking the same. It’s –”

    “You have a fragment of the Northern Lights room? From the Imperial Palace on Coruscant?”

    Thriyé had spoken in a voice so hoarse that Bree had to look at her to ascertain that it was her. The Chiss artist seemed overwhelmed with emotion, but she composed herself quickly. “I apologise for interrupting you,” she said. “I am simply very curious about that work. I have heard a lot about its technique and it was an important source of inspiration for me” – she gestured towards the walls – “although the materials I used are different of course, save for the snow crystals. But I have never seen it.” She paused and added hesitantly, “I thought it was destroyed, together with the rest of the palace.”

    “It was,” Bree said. “Most of it was reduced to dust. But a single fragment survived, and Uncle Lando was able to buy it at a private auction a few years ago. I’m sure you could come and have a look if you want.”

    Simon was still observing the Chiss woman, who was now looking at Lando pleadingly. There was something familiar about her expression that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. His gaze went from her to the wall panels representing Thrawn’s fleet, then to her hands, that were remarkably small and delicate, and back to her silver-blue face and her glowing red eyes. And suddenly the pieces of the puzzle fell in place.

    “You’re their daughter, aren’t you?” he asked somewhat absent-mindedly, as if he were thinking aloud. “You’re the daughter of Thrawn and –”

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

    Notes: Like other works of art mentioned in this story, the Northern Lights sculpt is something I created for Ἀνάγκη, where it appears in the early chapters -- and then, to my extreme delight, divapilot inserted it in entry 31 of The God of Second Chances. The Battle of the Edge is also a creation of mine, in part III, chapter 37 of Ἀνάγκη.
     
  15. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I love the family gathering. Anytime you can have an ensemble together, that rocks. Everyone is in character, especially Bree, who takes the emotional reaction and needs her Blue to calm her down and smooth her feathers. Bree, understandably, can't forget how Thrawn threatened her family, but everyone else has let it go. Eventually Bree agrees to put it aside when Blue points out the sacrifice Jag and his father have made, specifically for her. It might take a little while but eventually she gets it.

    The messages to her were great, too, especially from Leia-
    Complete throwback to TGOSC where Leia talks Bree into a corner about another social obligation.

    Best part, however, is the painting itself. It brings back such memories of your wonderful story and the characters we grew to love, like Captain Rudd and Valeria. The painting does them honor to remember them as bright points of light that drove away the chaos and darkness. Thriyé is a very talented artist indeed. What I like about her is her open and honest emotion, so un-Chiss but so like [hl=black] her mother Ayesha. [/hl] It must have been with great mixed emotions that she learned of the existence of a fragment of the Northern Lights. To have thought this masterpiece lost, especially since it obviously holds such incredible personal importance to her, then to discover it exists - it's like a piece of her own past being found.

    I like that it's Blue who makes the connection. Maybe Lelila gets her artistic sensibilities from him. Bree also makes the connection. Either way, Lelila is shaping up to be an interesting character in her own right. She clearly remembers Thriyé, and feels great affection for her. Perhaps these two daughters of mixed relationships have a bit more in common than first meets the eye. They both wear their hearts on their sleeves, and they both see their world in a completely different way - the artist's way.

    I can't say enough how much I love this story. You have taken the characters from both Ἀνάγκη and The God of Second Chances and integrated them so seamlessly that they seem to naturally co-exist in the same universe. I love the character of Thriyé and I am looking forward to reading more about this dynamic young woman.
     
  16. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks for the review divapilot and thanks to everyone who dropped by to read!
    One aspect of Bree I really enjoyed in True Blue and TGOSC was how she had difficulty coping with her family history. She seemed to feel that she led a very sheltered existence compared to her Force-sensitive siblings, and that made it more difficult for her to handle her place in the Skywalker-Solo clan. Plus, she's more impulsive -- less Jedi, really -- so I thought that for her, keeping a grudge against Thrawn would be a way to position herself as protective of her family, even when it's not necessary.
    I think you meant "direct quote" instead of "complete thrownback" there :p Yes, I loved that scene in TGOSC, especially the fact that Bree expects Leia to say exactly this, so I thought I'd find a way to repeat it.
    Well, I think (or hope, at least) that it's pretty obvious by now that Thriyé is on something of a mission here. She's both trying to "do her bit for people to be remembered", as she told Bree in Curamelle, and trying to track down pieces of her family history. There's a bit more about that in the coming chapter and the epilogue :)
    I thought it should be Blue making the connection here because he was the one to notice the piece in TGOSC too :) That was another scene I had really enjoyed in your story, how Blue was amazed at the fact that Lando owned that piece whereas Bree perceived it as perfectly normal. And in my head-fanon (is that a thing?) Lelila definitely gets her artistic sensibilities from her daddy -- which is not to say that Bree isn't a sensitive, tasteful person of course, but Blue's attention to spiritual harmony is something I feel would translate into a more tangible expression for his child.
    Thanks, and thank you most importantly for allowing me to make our characters meet! I was very excited every time a titbit from Ἀνάγκη appeared in TGOSC - plot bunnies galore, and I'm so happy you gave me the opportunity to write at least one of them.

    Thanks again to everyone who stopped by this thread. Next chapter up in a few minutes.
     
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  17. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Spoiler warning again -- not only for the end of Ἀνάγκη but also for True Blue and The God of Second Chances this time.

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

    Chapter 5: Father and Mother

    The end of Simon’s sentence was drowned by the astonished gasps of the little assembly. Bree was the first to collect her wits. She raised herself to her full height and asked accusingly, “You’re Grand Admiral Thrawn’s daughter?”

    The Chiss took a moment to answer. “Yes,” she said finally. “I am.”

    Blue grabbed Bree’s hand, but she was visibly in no mood to listen. “What are you doing here?”

    Thriyé gestured at the wall panels. “I believe that you already know that.”

    The Barolian tried to hold back his wife again, to no avail. The words seemed to be jostling to come out of her mouth. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. Your father tried to kidnap Jaina and Jacen. What are you doing in my sister’s home?”

    Jaina stepped forward to somehow defuse the situation, but the Chiss artist answered with absolute calm. “My father did terrible things, believing that he was protecting the woman he loved and the child she was carrying.” She crossed her arms and added, defiantly this time, “Which is why I feel quite at home among the descendants of Darth Vader.”

    “My grandfather was redeemed!” Bree shouted. “He turned back to the light. Your father –”

    “My father spent more than two decades in self-imposed exile,” Thriyé said glacially. “You may not want to view it as redemption, but it certainly qualifies as atonement.”

    There was an awkward silence as every person in attendance wondered how to handle this unexpected turn of events. “Grand Admiral Thrawn died in the battle of Bilbringi,” Bree blurted.

    The Chiss shook her head. “The man who died in Bilbringi was a clone. My father had already left the Empire and gone in exile by then.”

    “Does this mean...?” Leia asked. There was a hint of fear in her voice.

    Thriyé laughed with such bitterness that she sent a shiver down everyone’s spine. “You have nothing to worry about, Your Excellency. The man you knew as Grand Admiral Thrawn passed away six years ago. I built his funeral pyre myself.” She held out her calloused hands for emphasis.

    Bree went to speak again, but Blue pulled her back sharply and Jaina intervened, giving her sister a stern look. “Why didn’t you simply tell us, Thriyé?” she asked. “You know how much Jag and his father admire Grand Admiral Thrawn. You should have known that we wouldn’t reject you.”

    “I spent most of my life alone on a jungle planet with my parents, Your Highness. I did not set out to discover the galaxy to be thought of solely as the daughter of Grand Admiral Thrawn.” Her stare went to each one of the Skywalkers and Solos before returning to Bree. “You had the luxury of hiding the truth about your ancestry from the galaxy at large, and that allowed you to be your own person. Not only that, you got to be thought of as a child of heroes – the hero of the Clone Wars, the heroes of the Rebellion. I demand the same luxury for myself.”

    “Being the child of heroes isn’t as easy as you think,” Bree said defensively.

    Thriyé snorted. “Right. Try being the child of someone that, as you and your mother made abundantly clear, everyone wants to remain dead.”

    Jaina gave her sister another, withering look, and Bree finally understood that she had overstepped the boundaries of decency. She bowed her head in shame. Jaina turned majestically to Thriyé again. “You will find this difficult to believe after all this unpleasantness, but I truly regret that your father chose to sit out the Vong War. It would not have been an easy alliance, but his military acumen would have helped save billions of lives.” She paused and added hastily, visibly fearing to be misunderstood, “I do not say this as a criticism of his choice. I am certain that he had compelling reasons to believe that the galaxy was better off without him.”

    There was a long silence until Thriyé began to speak. “My mother’s mind is fragile. She had been tortured by a Sith Acolyte as a child, and she faced the risk of breaking down completely throughout her life. When she found out that my father was intending to abduct you and your brother – my father had been hiding it from her, he knew that she would not approve – when she found out, she snapped. She did it deliberately, to force him to abandon his campaign and look after her. She has been slipping in and out of self-awareness ever since... mostly out since my father died. He was able to bring her back for me, but she’s slipping away again. Right now she’s alone on our planet with our Emdee droid. She doesn’t want to live anymore, she’s just waiting to join my father on the other side. I try not to go away too often, but I also feel that I have to do something for her to be remembered.” She sighed. “But she still believes that it was her duty to do it at the time. She feels very strongly about this. She cares for Anakin Skywalker and his family a great deal.”

    “Why?” Bree asked. “What did she have to do with my grandfather?”

    Thriyé smiled wistfully. “My mother knows more about Anakin than any living being. She shared his mind for a while, she carries all his memories to this day as if they were her own.”

    There was an explosion of electronic beeps and chirrups, and Artoo wheeled to the front of the little group in a whirr of servomotors. He activated his projector to display a three-dimensional image of a vivacious young woman with black hair and olive skin. She was smiling nervously at the camera and her small hands, so similar to Thriyé’s, were fidgeting with the hem of her tunic. Lelila left her mother’s side and stepped forward to try and touch the immaterial Qukuuf mark on her left cheekbone, Simon drew in a sharp breath and Thriyé’s eyes filled with tears. “Is this the message she left for you, Master Jedi?” she asked Luke, who was standing silently in the back. “She told me once how she sneaked to your suite in the Imperial Palace to talk to you, and she found your astromech.”

    Bree looked at her uncle, who gave her an imperceptible nod. “We’ve all seen this message, Thriyé. Nearly everything we know about my grandfather comes from it. He’d be a perfect stranger to us if it weren’t for your mother. But she didn’t tell us anything about herself – not even her name.”

    Before Thriyé could answer, Bree felt a soft contact on her shoulder and Simon spoke, his voice heavy with emotion. “It’s her. The creator of the Northern Lights, the builder of the Curamelle monument, the maker of the Twi’lek Dancer. Uumana’s dearest friend. Ayesha Eskari.”

    Epilogue

    To: Mitth’riy’eskari
    Chiss-Imperial Dominion/Jungle Planet
    Unknown Regions

    Dear Thriyé,

    I hope this letter finds you well. I expect that it will be a while until it reaches you, but Jag told me that they now have regular shuttles to your homeworld, so I’m hoping it won’t be that long.

    Simon arrived back on Naboo yesterday. Six months without him was a long time for us, but he was very happy to spend this time with your mother. He loves her dearly and they were apparently able to talk a little too! He is incredibly grateful to you for bringing him the portraits of his wife when you visited here. He told me once that he didn’t have a single holo of her; all he had was the statue your mother made and he feared that he was beginning to forget her face.

    Simon talked a lot about your parents last night when he came over to see Lelila. I learned so much about your father from him! Is it true that he hit a Black Sun warehouse for bacta during the Krytos epidemic? This is something I would expect from my father (you know that he was a smuggler before he met my mother, yes?), not from Grand Admiral Thrawn – or rather, I should say, Mitth’raw’nuruodo. What do you know, you and I have apparently a lot more in common than I thought – and I am grateful that I was given the chance to find out.

    Simon also told us a million stories about your mother. She must be a truly remarkable woman and I wish I could meet her someday. Apparently they spent a lot of time together in that underground clinic he used to run on Coruscant, and he kept referring to her as “li’l one” which I thought was very sweet. He talked a lot about those indecipherable sketches that she used to make when she was preparing for a new sculpture, and how, exactly when no one could make heads or tails of it, it would all come together into one of her gorgeous works. So I thought I’d send you one of Lelila’s drawings – she said that she made it for you, so maybe you can explain it to me?

    Another thing we discussed at length last night is the fact that you have very few of your mother’s works from the time before your family moved to the Unknown Regions. I commed my uncle Lando today and he said he could help us find those that are in private collections, so hopefully you’ll be able to see more of them soon. Simon says that the Northern Lights piece has found its place on the wall facing the door of your house, and that the sunshine makes the snow crystal threads shine twice a day. My aunt Mara was able to find some holos of the Northern Lights room as it was before the Palace’s destruction; I added them to the datachip that comes with this letter, together with holos of Lelila.

    I hope we’ll get to see you again soon. As I told you in my previous letter, my husband’s parole time on Baroli is now over and we can call him by his real name: Ryoki. We’ll be moving to Baroli at some point after he finishes medical school, but for now we’re still on Naboo. At any rate, wherever we are, we hope you’ll come and visit us and bring your mother along. I promise we’ll take good care of her – of both of you.

    Your friend,

    Bree


     
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  18. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 19, 2005
    I really liked this story, Chyntuck, especially with the vividness of the descriptions--especially in the chapters concerning the Twi'lek Dancer statue. Good OCs as well!
     
  19. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh Bree, you always rush into everything! You're so right, she is the spontaneous one in the Skysolo family, but as I think it was Ewok Poet pointed out, she's the only one who could afford to be that way. Since she doesn't have any Force sensitivity, she doesn't have to worry about emotion leading to excess and then to the dark side. I think in my own head-fanon ( :)) she kind of makes up for the rest of the family, who due to their commitment as Jedi must carefully monitor their emotional reactions.

    A great scene that also shows how Bree and Blue balance themselves out. Blue is not above literally holding his impetuous wife back when he sees she's about to stick her foot in it. Between him and Jaina's serene Jedi common sense, they manage to corral Bree and her outburst.

    This, I think, is where Bree finally starts to get it, she finally starts to settle down and actually listen. Thriyé says the word that hits Bree like an arrow - "atonement." Bree has seen Blue struggle with the terms of his own atonement for what he did, the ten years Blue has struggled to observe the terms of his own exile. She knows what a sacrifice it is and what a burden it is to bear. To think that Thriyé's father did that for twenty years ... that, I think, is what gets Bree to begin to truly understand Thriyé herself and her family's situation, and not just hold a grudge against them for things that happened years ago.

    The best part, of course, is when we finally meet the absent but so very present Ayesha. Leave it to Artoo to (once again) hold the key to the missing part of the puzzle. (I like that Luke has a very important cameo here, too.) Seeing Ayesha, even as a hologram, is the thing that unites everyone in the room. She's the artist, the mother, the friend, the one link that connects every single person here. The Skysolos owe her a tremendous debt, not only for the information that she was able to give the family about Anakin, but because her works transcend time and continue to inspire others. I think we see hints of this when little Lelila tries to touch her image - because of Ayesha, even Lelila is inspired.

    The letter at the end is so touching and so Bree. It's awesome that the Northern Lights piece is back with Ayesha and Thriyé. and it's wonderful that Lando is searching for more of her works to bring back to her. The best part of course is that Simon has found happiness again with his friend, sharing in their memories of Uumana and all those who they loved before. It heals them both. And the ending is perfect - Bree sees Thrawn in a new light, Ayesha gets a part of her heart back when Simon returns, Simon finds that he doesn't have to live in loneliness, and Thriyé has a welcome, special place as Bree's friend.

    This was a wonderful story. My only regret is that it has to end. Thank you for this amazing fic-gift.
     
  20. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    All right, time for me to catch up yet again... [face_blush]

    I totally understand Bree's mixed feelings about going to the Battle of the Edge memorial—and given her very understandable opinion of Thrawn, I imagine things could become pretty... awkward if she finds out about Thriyé's parentage! But it's at least nice that a nice little SkySolo family reunion comes out of it as well. I need to catch up with divapilot 's other stories about Bree, but it's fun to see even just for a bit how she gets on with her better-known siblings here.

    And now we get the treat of seeing Thriyé's work not only as a restorer but also as an artist—as always, very cool description of the artwork (and those snow crystals are sure familiar ;) ).

    Just as Simon was the one responsible for bringing Thriyé and Bree together in the earlier chapters, and thus for bringing them both to the understanding of how their heritages are linked, it's neat to see him here as the one who puts the puzzle pieces together and who drops the potentially divisive bombshell about Thriyé's parentage. And boy, it sure does almost lead to some pretty serious division at the beginning of chapter 5, though in the process it explores a very interesting "pot calling the kettle black" dynamic between a descendant of Thrawn and certain descendants of Vader: who did really get redeemed? do certain kinds of redemption count more than others? There are no easy answers to that, of course. But in the end, peace is restored between the two sets of descendants, who discover their common ground through what was one of my own favorite aspects of Anánke: Ayesha's connection to Vader. I remember well that message left to Luke via Artoo. And Simon, who has been mostly quiet throughout chapter five, crowns the whole thing by drawing the final connection to Ayesha. His quiet, gentle way of bringing people together harmoniously is one of those things that distinguish him as a true mensch, and the friendship we see blossoming between Bree and Thriyé in that beuatiful final letter is pretty much all thanks to him.

    And it sure is encouraging to see that he not only had the chance to visit Ayesha but also apparently to talk to her a bit. Definitely a good sign, and I imagine that the state of goodwill that Simon has helped restore is contributing to Ayesha's healing!

    Bravissima, and thanks for sharing—it's been really neat to learn more about these characters' "afterlife," of sorts. @};-
     
  21. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews and thank you to everyone who took the time to read!
    Thanks :) The Twi'lek Dancer has been with me for more than two years now. Given how hopeless I am at drawing, I'm happy I can make her "real" at least a little bit with words.

    Oh definitely! I think that I said in a previous reply that Bree is the "least Jedi" of the lot, and that's certainly part of it. I also remember fondly a scene of True Blue where Bree and Han have a heart-to-heart and where he says "at last a kid that takes after her old man" -- and to me, Bree's reaction here is something that a young Han would have done, as opposed to Leia who, in her diplomacy, would have sought to analyse the situation from all possible angles and discuss the implications (which is also why I thought that Leia's first reaction in this situation would be to wonder if Thrawn is still around).
    Hehe. I didn't elaborate on this in the story because it would have been quite a tangent, but I was kind of imagining Blue's embarrassment at his wife whipping up a scandal among all this (real and figurative) royalty. I don't think he ever got used to the idea of dancing with the queen of Hapes at his own wedding [face_laugh] More seriously though, I think of Blue as someone to whom the idea of keeping a grudge is fundamentally foreign -- that's the whole idea of the process of atonement that he is going through, isn't it? -- and even more so when it comes to keeping a grudge against someone who isn't responsible for whatever may have happened. So he would immediately see that Bree is in the wrong, but also that it's not her place to handle the situation here.
    This is another aspect of Bree's personality that is in sharp contrast to her siblings and her mother IMO. Not being a Jedi (or a diplomat), she's much more self-centered and needs something that she can relate to in order to see an argument that she initially would disagree with -- and I'm not saying "self-centered" in a bad way here. I mean, who in their right mind would want to have the level of detachment of a Jedi or a diplomat? In terms of personality and emotions, Bree is in many ways a "regular Jane", and that's what makes her such an interesting character in the Solo family.
    Squee! You know that I had to, just had to put Artoo in there to save the day, because how could he appear in any fic without saving the day? :D Okay, I also wanted to write something about how Ayesha's message to Luke played a role in the SkySolo clan at some point, and I had no idea how to do that until you gave me the idea for this fic [face_love]
    :) I thought of this as Ayesha's biggest contribution to the encounter between her daughter, Simon and the SkySolos: without being present (and without being even aware of what is happening) she still manages to give everyone a form of closure and a sense of purpose. For Simon, it means realising that his previous life isn't all gone; for Bree it means coming to terms with aspects of her family life that she has been struggling with; for Thriyé it means finding out that she isn't alone in the galaxy and in her endeavour to have her parents remembered -- but there would also be smaller bits and pieces for others, e.g. Luke finally finding out the identity of the woman who left a message for him thirty years ago, or Lando giving a more meaningful purpose to his hunt for rare pieces of art.
    Thank you so much, and thank you again for allowing me to borrow your OCs for this! Your Blue and Bree stories were a real treat to read, and I'm happy that I could contribute, if only a tiny bit, to developing their lives.

    Thanks! And there's nothing to [face_blush] about!
    Oh yes! You definitely need to catch up with divapilot's stories -- they're amazing both in terms of plot and in terms of character development [face_love] (and that's not to mention that they're so well-written!)
    Thanks! Thriyé is slowly coming into her own as the years pass in this story. She's still very much in her mother's shadow at this point, and how could she not after spending so much time in isolation with only her parents for company? But she's also growing out of it now that she's beginning to create pieces of her own.
    Simon had to play an important role in this process, despite his remaining silence for most of the duration of the conversation, because he had to overcome the same issues with Ayesha and Thrawn that Bree has to overcome now. As you may remember, he didn't like Thrawn very much -- he was even openly hostile to him, and by extension to Ayesha, at one point in their previous life. But thirty years have passed, and, in addition to him restoring his friendship with Ayesha in Ἀνάγκη, he also had plenty of time to reflect on what he knew about Thrawn, and to piece together the bits he didn't really know about Vader, the Vong, etc. Okay, he still doesn't like Thrawn very much :p as shown by the fact that he doesn't clear the brush over the Cheunh inscription on Uumana's grave in chapter 1, but he does realise that it's not all black and white and, in his own way, he helps Bree understand it too.
    In my head-fanon (since that's officially a thing now ;)) there is something bittersweet in Simon and Ayesha's reunion, because while Simon would obviously rejoice that his friend isn't completely "gone", it would also remind him of the time he spent looking after Uumana. On the other hand, of course, Simon finds closure of sorts in discovering that his past life isn't entirely gone, and that would also apply in a way to Ayesha, who had lost virtually all her friends by the time Thrawn took her to the jungle planet. And, knowing that her daughter now has friends in her life would also be an additional reason to watch Thriyé develop into more than what she could be by remaining confined in their place of exile.
    Thank *you* :)
     
  22. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I stopped reading Ἀνάγκη at some point because it became too painful and impossible to follow with all those Legends references I had no idea about, but I know how it ended and I somehow assumed that whatever next thing you write will feature the second baby, because that baby not making it...that would be too grim.

    In a way, what dominates this story is a spectrum of possibilities, with there no being clear "right" and "wrong" and the sense that nothing ever ends. There is no closure, except maybe for Bree, Blue and Lelila with that letter at the end. Ayesha will be going in an out of her soul-drained state, Simon will be going back and forth to the only remnant of what he knows to his new life, Thrawn will probably never be redeemed and will be one of those controversial figures in the future much like Vader/Anakin himself, Thriyé will be going back and forth much like Simon...but she at least has some friends. Her mission to fix everything that was broken will, in a way, make the love she was born from - no matter how turbulent - live forever.

    A thought provoking series of events and a solid collision of two people's own universes. :)
     
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  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I am glad that I found it before I am off to bed. (It would be embarrassing when a kindergarten teacher falls asleep in the morning circle singing a song with her group.)

    Thanks that you introduced me to Thriyé with this fan fic. So there is a sort of a happy end for Thrawn and the love of her life. Both have a daughter who carries the torch on. Who can achieve things her parents could not. @};-
     
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  24. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    As Ewok Poet mentioned, Ayesha and Thrawn's story ended on such a bittersweet and even painful note, so it's good to learn that Ayesha was able to come back to herself and know her daughter. Though it may not be "happily ever after", it seems that she and Thrawn had moments of peace and happiness, at least enough to raise Thriyé to be the kind of gracious young woman who will help a small child create a work of art.

    This piece is all about what was lost being restored. Simon's memories of Umaana as vital and vibrant and his friendship with Ayesha, the knowledge of the man who was Anakin, Ayesha's damaged artwork...and most of all the Lost Artist herself. Thanks to her daughter and Simon, the Lost Artist has been found again.

    Lovely melding of fan fic universes. Bravo! =D= @};-
     
  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm back for a second round of replies :) Thanks everyone for reading and special thanks to EP, Azure and Raissa for reviewing!
    I never knew that Legends references could be painful [face_laugh] Okay, just kidding, I just wasn't completely awake the first time I read your comment, so I didn't quite get it that time around. I'm sorry that made you stop reading, but in a way I'll take it as a compliment -- it was supposed to be painful, and I guess it worked (just a bit too much, apparently).
    Even for me, you mean? :p Yeah, even for me. As I said in a previous reply, I did consider having things end in an even worse fashion, but I finally decided that it would be completely over the top and, frankly, unnecessary.
    I think that we don't mean the same thing by "closure" here -- I certainly don't understand it as a version of "happy end" (not that there was the slightest chance for anything like a happy end in an Ayesha-related story anyway) but rather as coming to terms with something unpleasant or even outright tragic that you experienced in your life. For Simon it means finding out that he's not the only person to remember Uumana as he knew her, for Thriyé it means that the complexity of her father's motivations are acknowledged and that her mother isn't erased from history, and for Ayesha herself it means that she hasn't completely failed her daughter. This is why I still call it closure, even if it's not an entirely happy end.

    Nah, don't fall asleep in class. That would be bad form and could lead to all sorts of toddler-induced chaos [face_laugh]
    Thank *you* :) Indeed, one reason I decided to write a little about Thriyé (and end Ἀνάγκη with a tiny glimmer of hope) was to show that, even though Thrawn and Ayesha's relationship was such a disaster for both of them, they were still able to get something out of it. Once fate decided that things didn't need to go to the dogs anymore, they were able to salvage what could still be salvaged.

    Thanks for mentioning that! I wanted to insert in this story bits and pieces about how Thriyé grew up to be like Ayesha that couldn't have happened entirely by chance or by genetics, things that she would have to learn from Ayesha and that Ayesha therefore needed to be present to teach her -- and I thought that Ayesha's kindness to children in general should be one of them, even though the only child on their planet of exile was Thriyé.
    Thanks again! This is an aspect that I thought was under-explored in the Legends - EU (which I guess is in many ways a consequence of having so many authors writing in it at the same time): we never saw in detail how the galaxy handled some events or facts that were not widely known when the time came to appraise the legacy of controversial figures like Anakin/Vader or Thrawn. I'm happy that the new films and EU seem intent on exploring that a bit more -- and meanwhile, I thought I'd do it for my OCs :)

    Thanks again for the lovely reviews, and thanks to everyone who dropped by to read!
     
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