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Beyond - Legends Thunderbolt and Lightning (2021 Fanfic Olympics - OC Chaos Twins Decathlon - Enter!verse AU)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ViariSkywalker, Jul 1, 2021.

  1. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    The Chaos Twins are not completely hopeless. They kinda did something good, even if it was probably for the wrong reasons.
     
  2. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    I'll accept that . . . for now. [face_mischief] [face_whistling] [:D]


    Right from the beginning I was hooked. :p [face_laugh]

    THESE TWO AND THEIR BICKERING JUST KILLS ME DEAD. (And some other guys too, it seems. :p)

    Did too! [face_whistling] [face_rofl]

    I loved the entire setup for this: them being mistaken for Jedi and the bright eyed little girl and the refugees trying their best and the Republic that can't protect everyone and then the bad and the really bad . . . [face_mischief]

    Fair!!! [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    Making all kinds of Sithly sense, they still somehow manage to arrive at the right conclusion. Kinda, anyway. :p

    But, at one time, they were in much of a different position themselves as victims, weren't they? Of course this is going to hit near a dark place for then. [face_plain]

    Chills. I know they're Super Evil and all, but still: chills!

    All the smirking and the smiling and the pale eyed intensity and their strange brand of kindness mixed with that awful brutality. Whew! But that was intense.

    I could see this! Especially coming from Lena's POV, that really hit all the harder! The entire framing of this was just brillant. =D=

    Well that leads into WtWS, doesn't it? Plus: all the banter. :p [face_laugh]

    There is that. [face_mischief]


    This was an awesome event and I enjoyed every word! What's coming up for our Super Evil Chaos Twins of Evil next?

    =D= [:D]
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    "Snow Covered Home" - I adored this, the introspection and the sweet gentle innocence that Dorian and Veeran started out with, but the crushing loss of their mother overshadows everything, particularly for their dad. @};-

    "Sometimes Goodbye's the Only Way"

    Kam and Tionne, love that they're the ones greeting Dorian and Veeran; Tionne's gentle warmth is especially seen here:
    He visits two more times before the speeder crash. They don’t understand, but Master Tionne stays with them, and she sings them to sleep.
    :_|


    "Charity" -- it's hard to believe it when someone says "this is a chance for a fresh start" when you feel like you're being exiled.

    "Intimacy" -- The bond isn't missed until it's gone.

    That "Doctor" sure twisted things didn't he? :eek:

    "No Jedi Here" -- great mix of snark and action.

    =D=

    I love @Mira_Jade 's description of "kindness mixed with brutality". Your brilliant writing makes it convincing and doable. [face_thinking]
     
  4. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    You know what this sounds like? It sounds like the opening of a professional SF novel. And I know we've had these discussions: amateur writing is not necessarily of lesser quality than professional and professional doesn't automatically mean good writing. But the atmosphere, and the surety of the wording, and the overall broad scope framing shrinking down to the main characters in the space of a single paragraph - it feels exactly like cracking open a good professional novel.

    Who wouldn't love a bloodthirsty and continually insulting assassin droid?

    ...is it just me, or do an awful lot of droids in the GFFA default to insults? [face_thinking]

    It occurs to me that this is actually a pretty nice and patient reaction coming from Sith. I mean, it's a sliding scale and all, but still

    Lord Space Byron just cannot shake off the poetic leanings

    Lord Space Byron is also the one who's really in charge here, isn't he? :p

    Well, Festus, that's why you were supposed to buy a maintenance droid

    It's almost adorable how they talk themselves into doing something kinda sorta reasonably good that they wanted to do anyway.

    Like I said, sliding scale

    [face_worried]

    An interesting sentiment, considering that in TLotD, Dorian never, ever looked away [face_thinking]

    Mira's right, this is excellent framing. Thank you for not making it too gruesome :p

    So many layers of messed up here. A therapist could get rich off of these two. Assuming s/he survived the sessions :p
     
    ViariSkywalker and Findswoman like this.
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Yay, it’s the Chaos Twins, being both chaotic and twinsy in the way only they can! :D These stories were such a great way to get to know them better, from their origins to their here and now. We see that, for all the chaotic, Sithy stuff they do and the destruction they cause, that they’re not without their own brand of caring and humor, and we see where that comes from—as well as what they have lost along the way. Even Festus’s “creepy” stare is ultimately a way of trying to get to know people better and figure them out, and I think that when his brother says he likes him even though he’s creepy, it’s his way of saying he’s come to appreciate his brother’s idiosyncrasies and loves him just as he is (though I know he would never use quite those words!). The slaver massacre in “There Are No Jedi Here” was an amazing moment where all those seemingly contradictory aspects to the twins’ characters come out together, and as I read it, especially through the eyes of little Lena, I came to see how it fit with the “fantastical fencing” prompt—to see those two straight-up slaughtering the slave-driving goons who have made life so miserable for her and her mom had to have been both more awesome and fantastical than any of the old tales of Jedi liberators. She definitely never will forget that! And you know, I wonder if it will be something at least Festus remembers, too. Wonderful work and amazing characterization in all of our installments so far—I’m very much looking forward to more and will try to do better about keeping up from now on! =D=
     
  6. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @JediMaster_Jen
    I do love writing those moments of sibling normalcy with them. :D Thanks so much for reading!




    @earlybird-obi-wan
    Even super evil chaos twins of evil have their triggers, it seems. [face_thinking]




    @Cowgirl Jedi 1701
    Lol, yeah, there were probably some not-so-good reasons mixed in there. Okay, so there were definitely some not-so-good reasons mixed in there... [face_worried] [face_mischief]




    @Mira_Jade
    [face_whistling] :p

    Hee, I'm glad you liked that! :D

    [face_laugh] They crack me up, my gosh. I know I probably shouldn't get so much enjoyment out of writing a couple of murderous former Sith Lords, but I do. [face_love]

    [face_batting] (He so did.)

    I had a few nebulous ideas for a story with Festus and Ferrus fighting criminals on a space station, but none of them really clicked until I started thinking about the "fantastical" aspect of the prompt, specifically the whole "Muggle-witnessing-magic-for-the-first-time" aspect. And I think most of the time, that sort of story would feature a person witnessing a Jedi... so I thought why not play into that idea, and have the wide-eyed child think she'd come across a couple of Jedi? Needless to say, I very much enjoyed the subversion. [face_mischief]

    These two! [face_laugh] :p

    Ha, yeah, kinda. :p With just a tad more murder than is right or necessary. [face_whistling]

    Obviously they're never going to admit to themselves why they felt compelled to act. Or at least Festus won't. He kills because he wants to kill. Never mind that his compulsion to kill came on so much faster this time. Nope, that couldn't possibly have been triggered by anything... [face_thinking] [face_whistling]

    Success! [face_dancing] [face_mischief]

    This was a scene I could see very vividly in my head, so I'm glad to get this reaction. :D

    Again, I probably got way too much enjoyment out of writing this scene, but I'm really glad you liked it. And as much as I enjoy the bantering and bickering, one of the most morbidly fascinating things about writing these two is getting to these switch-flipping moments, when you see how terrifying they can be, especially when they work together. [face_mischief]

    Thanks, I'm happy to hear it worked so well! I enjoyed playing with that framing device. :D

    [face_whistling] [face_whistling]

    (Their banter is the best. :p)

    Look, Ferrus just wants to go somewhere that isn't terrible, is that too much to ask? :p

    [face_blush] Aw, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! This ended up being a bit lengthier than I'd anticipated, but I was so happy with how it all came together so quickly once the ideas got rolling. I hope you'll like the next event, too! And I so appreciate your feedback, as always. [:D]




    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha
    I'm really happy to hear this! No one is born evil or cruel, and I really wanted to emphasize that here.

    I have a yet-to-be-posted story from Veeran's POV that will show a bit more of this relationship, but yeah, Tionne and Kam are really like surrogate parents. :(

    Right? [face_worried]

    So true. =(( And even though it's not a permanent severing, it still hurts Veeran every time.

    Oh, did he ever. =(( =(( He's so far beyond awful, I don't have the words to describe it.

    Thank you! :D

    Aw, thank you so much! I just love writing these two disasters. [face_love]




    @Gabri_Jade
    [face_blush] [face_blush] [face_blush]

    You already know how thrilled I was to read this, but I'll say it again: this was such a huge compliment, especially coming from you. [:D] And to be honest, when I started writing that opener, I wasn't even sure if it was going to be any good, so it's nice to hear confirmation it was, in fact, good. :D :p

    Right? I really need to reunite them with that murderous droid at some point... [face_thinking] [face_mischief]

    And lol, droid programmers in the GFFA must have a weird sense of humor. :p I like it!

    It really is, when you think about it. Of course, they probably can't just go murdering everyone who annoys them or gets in their way, otherwise they'd end up on the Republic's radar - and the Jedi's - pretty quick. But still, this is a pretty moderate response for them. [face_thinking]

    He really can't. :p And I like that you noticed that here, because I did throw that bit of poetical musing in on purpose. [face_batting]

    Lol, I'd say it shifts back and forth depending on the circumstances, but yeah, despite Ferrus's generally more outgoing attitude and pushiness, Festus is the boss sometimes. :p (I mean, look no further than how quickly Veeran stopped bullying Allana when Dorian intervened.)

    Sheesh. :rolleyes: (I love how you're low-key on Ferrus's side here. [face_batting] ;) )

    Ah, self-deceptive reasoning. And "kinda sorta reasonably good" are definitely key words there. Sliding scale. :p

    [face_mischief]

    My my, look at that, I wonder if I thought of this at all as I was writing the scene... [face_whistling] [face_mischief]

    :D I'm glad you liked that. And yeah, I actually enjoy the challenge of writing these sorts of scenes without being overly gruesome... but still conveying exactly what happened. The images our imaginations conjure are often more terrifying than anything I could write, and sometimes I feel like trying to capture every action with words just ends up diminishing the power of those moments.

    Lol, and now I'm trying to picture these two in therapy. [face_laugh] Although it does make you wonder how many of the galaxy's problems would be solved by a good therapist. [face_thinking]

    Loved reading your feedback, as always, dearest. :D [:D]




    @Findswoman
    So good to have you here! I'm glad you're enjoying the continuing stories of these ridiculous trash lords. :D :p

    One of the things that has kept me coming back to these two characters over the last year is just how much depth I've been able to uncover, little by little, without changing anything I'd written previously or smoothing over their rough edges or downplaying the terrible things they've done (and continue to do). Writing TLotD was really the start of all that, because in order to write that, I had to figure out who these two were before they became Sith Lords, something which I'd only scratched the surface of in the writing of EtF. And it didn't even feel like I was creating their backstory so much as discovering it, which was really cool. Things like Festus having once been a sensitive introvert, which might seem totally counter to his personality in EtF; but once you learn everything he went through, it makes perfect sense. I've also been diving a lot deeper into Ferrus's psychology lately, in the form of a short story that isn't quite ready to be posted - and I'm really looking forward to sharing that when it's ready. :D

    Ooh, I love that you saw it that way! I was really trying to lean into the magical/fantastical elements we associate with the Jedi, without shying away from just how awful this moment was. And yet, for those people they freed, it wasn't completely awful, was it? Ah, complexity. [face_mischief] And you're right, I doubt it's something Lena will ever forget. As for Festus... I'd guess you're probably right there, too. ;)

    Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! It's great to have you here, and I look forward to seeing what you think of the rest of this decathlon. :D



    All right, everyone, the next event will be up shortly!
     
  7. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: This week’s event is going to be pulling double duty as a response to both the Fanfic Olympics and the OC Revolution’s Summer 2021 Challenge.

    For the Decathlon, we have the 1500 Word Dash (a 1,500-word story about your characters with any theme).

    For the OC Revolution, we have the Extreme Environment Challenge:

    Write a story in which your OC (or OCs) spends the majority of their time in an environment drastically different from standard conditions in some way, whether that's increased gravity, toxic atmosphere, incredible heat or cold, or something similar, anything is possible, but literally knock them out of their biological comfort zone.

    The title for this one comes from the song “Casualty” by Hidden Citizens (feat. Tash). This song is so perfect for the Chaos Twins, I can’t even. Thanks again @Mira_Jade for sharing it with me. [face_love]

    This story takes place sometime after Forces of Gravity, maybe six months later, give or take. You don't need to have read that to follow this, but I figured I'd mention it for anyone interested in the timeline. ;)

    One final note, for those of you who are coming here from the OC thread: this story features my OCs Darth Ferrus and Darth Festus, twin brothers and not-quite-former Sith Lords who at this point in time have become bounty hunters and who, in this vignette, find themselves stranded aboard their failing starship...




    “This Kind of Fire Don’t Keep Us Warm Inside” | 55 ABY | 1500 Word Dash & OC Extreme Environment Challenge


    It’s been four hours since the freak collision that brought their starship to a dead stop in the middle of nowhere. Four hours since they realized both the sublight engines and the hyperdrive were shot and that the ship was venting oxygen faster than the scrubbers could keep up.

    Two hours since the atmospheric regulators failed, and they made a totally uncharacteristic attempt to hail for help across the emergency comm channel, only to realize comms were shot as well.

    Thirty seconds since Ferrus flung a hydrospanner across the hold and finally gave up his attempts to repair the damage. By now the temperature and oxygen levels have plummeted, making any action about a hundred times more difficult than it should be.

    His brother is curled up on the floor of the cargo hold, his arms tucked inside his jacket for warmth. He stares up at Ferrus, unfocused, head lolling back against the curved durasteel frame. “Did you really think someone was going to answer way out here?”

    “I don’t know, okay?” Ferrus snaps as he plods over to the opposite wall of the hold and sits down. “I had to keep trying. I don’t really feel like dying today.”

    “You think I do?”

    The words are out before he has a chance to stop them. “I think you don’t care if you do.”

    Festus doesn’t answer at first. He looks up at him, the rise and fall of his chest more pronounced as he struggles with each icy breath. “Of course I care. I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t.”

    Ferrus stares back at his twin, an echo of old, buried pain dragging like a knife across the frayed edges of their bond. And that’s all it’s ever been. An echo. A shadow. A burden his twin refuses to share, even after all these years. Ferrus isn’t an idiot; he saw the bodies, the ones that didn’t survive. The other initiates used to taunt him with it. Talk to your brother lately, Starskip? What do you think the doctor’s doing to him today?

    I heard he cries like a baby.


    The doctor’s little pet… his little psycho…

    He lost count of the number of fights he got into over those comments. Sometimes he won and sometimes he lost, but he always made them pay for it.

    He blows out a slow breath and watches it condense in the freezing air. “Whatever,” he mutters, turning away from his twin.

    “If I didn’t know better,” Festus says as he closes his eyes, “I’d think you were mad at me.”

    Ferrus hugs his arms to his chest and thinks for a few seconds about the question he wants to ask, the one he’s been holding onto for a while now. Ever since their master’s betrayal. He figures now is as good a time as any.

    “Do you want to die?”

    His brother cracks both eyes open and stares back at him, unblinking. “That’s gotta be the stupidest question you’ve ever asked.”

    Ferrus laughs at that, dark and bitter. Of course. What the hell did he expect? “Yeah, I know that’s what you think of me. A dumb brute, right? Even though I’m the one who gets us jobs and takes care of the ship—”

    Yeah. You’ve done a great job with the ship, brother.”

    Fury races through him, a flame holding back the cold. “This is not my fault! And what the hell have you done for the last four years, huh? You train and you sleep and you stare at that stupid datapad every spare second.” He pauses for a moment, feeling the shift in the space between them as he knocks up against an invisible boundary, one he’s approached many times without ever forcing his way through. Knowing that he’s about to barrel right through it now.

    “What do you think’s gonna happen?” he says. “That one day she’ll wake up and magically forget you’re a sick, murdering bastard? Or that you almost killed her? Or that you might still kill her?”

    Festus draws a ragged breath, and the faltering connection between them closes off completely. Ferrus hates himself for how unprepared he is for that feeling, even now, even after experiencing it so many times over the last twelve years.

    “Yeah, that’s right,” he says. “Shut me out. Does it make you feel better to be all alone in there? As if I don’t already know. As if I haven’t already seen how insane she makes you.”

    His brother’s only outward reaction is a muscle twitching in his cheek. “Are you done yet?” he says in a quiet voice, completely devoid of emotion.

    “Yeah. Sure. All done.” Ferrus throws a hand in the air, ignoring the tingling sensation that motion sends shooting through him.

    Festus looks down for a second, then back up. The muscles in his jaw are tight as he finally speaks. “If I really wanted to end it, don’t you think I would?”

    Ferrus exhales slowly. “Maybe not on your own, but I think you’re daring the universe to take you out. Taunting that one Jedi in the temple when you knew how easily he could kill you, insisting on going after every psycho that comes across the notice, fighting serial killers with your dumb knife when you have a perfectly good lightsaber—”

    “Okay, that was one time—”

    “It only takes one time, you idiot.”

    Silence settles between them as they stare at each other. The air is freezing in his lungs, and he can barely feel his limbs.

    Festus slips his arms back into the sleeves of his jacket and leans forward, one eyebrow raised. “Been a while since I’ve seen you get so emotional.”

    He imagines punching his twin in the face. “Shut up.”

    Festus cocks his head to one side, the corner of his mouth twitching up. “Honestly, I’m a little insulted that you think any of that stuff would kill me.”

    Gods, he’s so fragging irritating. Ferrus shakes his head and tries not to grin, but he can’t help it. “I really hate you sometimes.”

    His brother looks like he’s about to shoot off another smart remark, when the ship gives a violent jolt. Ferrus climbs to his feet, head spinning as he realizes how much harder it’s become to breathe. He staggers to the control panel and leans over it to look out the viewport.

    Looming over them, its cargo bay wide open like the gaping maw of some hungry, lumbering beast, is a bulk freighter many times larger than their ship. And even though he’s having trouble moving, he feels a surge of relief.

    “You see something?” Festus calls out, still curled up on the deck.

    “Yep. Looks like we’re saved.” He tilts his head back and notices the emblem painted in red across one side of the freighter: three claws wreathed in flames, drawn to look as if they’ve torn three giant slashes in the hull. Huh. That complicates things a bit.

    “Correction,” he says as he makes his way back to his twin. “We’re still saved, but we’ll have to work for it a little.”

    Festus blinks up at him, eyes still not fully focused. “What?”

    “Pirates,” Ferrus answers as he reaches down to help his brother up. “We must have hit one of their snares. Told you it wasn’t my fault.”

    Festus drapes an arm across his shoulders and leans nearly all his weight into him as he struggles to his feet. “Dammit,” he mutters. “I can barely stand.”

    Ferrus unclips his brother’s lightsaber and presses it into his hand. “Like that’s ever stopped you before.”

    The grin is slow to come, but when it does, it’s as wide and terrible as ever. “Yeah,” Festus says, extending his sword arm toward the floor. “I guess you’re right.”

    His blade flares to life, filling their cargo hold with its deep, ominous hum. There’s a heavy clank, followed by a screech and a sizzle as the pirates begin to cut through the hull of their ship.

    Ferrus wraps his arm around his brother’s waist to steady him, then he pulls out his own lightsaber and activates it. He hears his twin laugh under his breath. “What?” Ferrus says, glancing sideways.

    Festus takes another labored breath. “You’re actually gonna use it today?”

    Ferrus rolls his eyes and fans the saber back and forth at his side, creating an undulating path of crimson in the air. “Despite what you think, I’m not a moron.”

    His twin pauses. And then, with a hint of mischief: “You still mad at me?”

    Sparks fly as the pirates’ plasma cutters nearly finish the oval they’ve burned through the durasteel. Ferrus takes a deep breath, imagining the rush of oxygen that will follow, and the sweet release of what comes after that. “Furious,” he replies.

    “Good.” Festus pulls away from him and draws himself to full height as a section of their hull crashes to the deck. “Time to go to work.”


    ~~
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  8. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love the bickering between the twins and the rescue by the pirates
     
  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Amazing intensity and complicated undertones. =D=
     
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  10. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Pretty deep and complicated conversation between the twins in this one. Well done. =D=
     
  11. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    I love the countdown intro, very effective :D

    That sums Ferrus up pretty well [face_thinking]

    Communication is just not these boys' forte o_O

    Well, you did it, Vi, you made me sympathize with Ferrus. I mean, you first accomplished that back with the snarky murder droid, but you did it again. Even for a fellow Sith Lord and his own brother, can you imagine how frustrating and irritating living with Festus is?

    Well, Ferrus had to borrow that hashtag sooner or later :p

    I know that pirates like to be flashy, but doesn't it seem impractical? Okay, if you dock at a shadowport with that sort of nonsense you'll probably be fine, but what if you have a sudden critical malfunction or bugs get into half your food supply or something and there's a perfectly good normal port right there but you will never pass for anything but pirates because you just had to irreparably paint "LOOK AT US WE'RE PIRATES ARRRR" on your hull? [face_skull]

    Festus is, in fact, kind of a creepy bastard, Vi :p

    Aw, they're so cute sometimes despite the whole murder thing
     
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ooh, interesting and very psychological approach the “extreme environment” prompt, here! The twins’ predicament in their cold, damaged, oxygen-leaking ship seems to bring out the worst in them at first, including some truly dark memories (I think I caught an allusion to their past torture there). They respond to it in the main way they know how, by arguing with each other (and I have to say, you write great arguments). But the transformation when the hull is being cut open and the pirates board is palpable—they forget all that bickering and bad blood and spring into action! And when that happens, they are known to make quite a team. I think their “extreme environment” experience with the damage to their ship actually strengthened them to it, and maybe even recalling those old memories of pain did too, in its way! Wonderful job with this challenge, and I’m thrilled to see this series continuing—thanks for sharing! =D=
     
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  13. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Love the conversation between the twins and the way that keeping each other angry is what they need to survive. I liked the pirates thinking they've found a bounty when in fact it's the exact opposite. Great stuff.
     
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  14. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @earlybird-obi-wan
    I honestly love writing their bickering, so I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)




    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha
    Thank you so much! :D




    @JediMaster_Jen
    Thank you! These two have such a complicated and thorny history. There's love and camaraderie, but there's also a lot of resentment, stemming from things that go all the way back to their childhood with the Jedi. It's so twisted, but so interesting to explore.




    @Gabri_Jade
    I'm really glad that worked out. *relief* I wrote like three different intros to this fic before I found one I liked. :p

    Brute :p o_O

    Seriously, imagine if they just talked honestly with each other all the time. Or even half of the time. Hell, 25% of the time would probably be better than now. 8-}

    SUCCESS! [face_dancing]

    ;)

    But really, this is such high praise, as you know. [face_blush] I feel very accomplished. :p

    This does seem to be a recurring thing with them. [face_laugh]

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    I cracked up so hard reading this the first time, just so you know. Also, RIGHT??? Pirates, man. I know that's their Thing, but it makes so much more sense to be discreet.

    He iiiiiiisssss. [face_mischief]

    Adorable murder babies. [face_love] o_O




    @Findswoman
    I'm happy to hear this, because I was a little worried my extreme environment might not have seemed extreme enough for the challenge. (I mean, yeah, hypothermia and hypoxia are definitely pretty extreme, but since I used them more as a backdrop to the twins' issues with each other, I wasn't sure how well it would read as a challenge response. :p) So I'm glad it worked!

    Yep, that was indeed an allusion to past torture. [face_worried] Festus and Ferrus were both brutalized by the Sith, especially in their first few years of captivity - but Festus's experiences were really on a whole different level than Ferrus's, and they've never discussed it out loud. (I hope it's not tacky to plug my own fic here, but if you haven't read The Lands of the Dead and are feeling up to it, that story shows how the twins - especially Festus - became what they are now, and I still consider it some of my best work. :))

    Ha, thank you! I do love a good argument! (In fiction, anyway... in reality, I'm a big wuss who shies away from pretty much all confrontation. :p)

    They do make a pretty formidable team, don't they? [face_thinking] [face_mischief]

    These boys do tend to go in waves, with lots of lows in between their highs, and sometimes those lows stretch out for longer periods, which I think you saw here. We'll see what the future holds! Thanks so much for reading and replying, and I hope you enjoy the next story! (It's a longer one. ;))




    @Kit'
    Thank you so much! Even though these two do care for each other, there's still a lot of guilt and resentment between them - but since they're Sith, they're used to channeling that resentment in order to make themselves stronger. Whether that's sustainable is a different matter entirely. o_O And I did get a kick out of imagining those pirates' faces when they cut into this ship and discovered two murderous former Sith Lords inside. :p Thanks again for reading and replying!




    Next event will be up soon!
     
    Kahara likes this.
  15. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: After a bit of a break, we’re back with Prime Time Coverage! (500+ words of action, adventure, or excitement with your chosen characters as the star.) Here are some lengthy notes to go with this lengthy fic…

    Let me tell you, this vignette went through quite the transformation. Up until a week ago, the whole second (and much longer) part of this story didn’t exist, nor was it a part of any of my plans for this part of the decathlon. In all honesty, I wasn’t really loving what I’d originally written for this event, and I was getting a little discouraged. And then, inspiration struck in the form of a song that I hadn’t listened to in a long time. I won’t bore you with the details, (seriously, they won’t make sense to anyone but me,) but suffice it to say, this piece of music connected all sorts of mental dots for me, and suddenly I had the very pressing urge to write… a Sith Lord bar night. o_O

    But wait! That’s not the end of these notes, because while this new and improved story might have started out as murder and drinking, it ended up becoming something else entirely. Something that sort of wrecked me emotionally. This whole thing clocks in at nearly 7,500 words, and it’s weird and funny and messy and uncomfortable at times, but dangit if it didn’t make me cry real, actual tears.*

    For reference, this takes place in the latter half of 58 ABY, sometime after Festus and Allana ran into each other on Taris (section IV of What If This Storm Ends?), but before the events of In Dreams We Dwell (which takes place in 59 ABY). The title was partially inspired by the song I was listening to when I got the idea for this: “End of Line” by Daft Punk, from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack. Probably not the best of my titles, but hey, my brain is tired. :p

    Lastly, I need to give a huge thank you to @Gabri_Jade for the late-night text session that ended up spawning this idea, for her endless support as I realized just what this fic was becoming, and for betaing this on short notice, because holy cow, 7k+ words, guys. (You're the best, dearest [:D])

    *Also, you probably won’t cry real, actual tears the way I did. I’m a big, emotional baby, and I was listening to some pretty heavy music when I wrote certain scenes. No, not the Tron soundtrack. :p

    Enjoy! [face_mischief]




    “End of the Line, or Creep II / Brute II” | 58 ABY | Prime Time Coverage


    Darth Festus has known from a young age that he unsettles people. It’s one of the things he does best.

    He sits atop a cargo crate in the dingiest, most decrepit docking bay in the known galaxy, watching some Dark Tide big shot do his very best to impersonate an intimidating and dangerous gangster.

    It’s a terrible impersonation.

    There are three guys standing around the boss – well, not the boss, the majordomo, which is a stupid, pompous word – and four more guarding the exit. The henchman closest to Festus keeps glancing over at him, trying not to let on that he’s completely creeped out by all the staring. Maybe he should smile at the guy. That’d really get under his skin.

    Wait a minute. Is it Dark Tide or Death Wave? Or something else? It starts with a “D”, whatever it is. Why do these gangs and crime syndicates always have such ridiculously obvious names? It reminds him of some of his Sith compatriots years ago. People with names like Darth Raze. Man, he hated that guy.

    A forceful shove across the mental bridge between his twin’s mind and his own. Pay attention, idiot.

    Festus doesn’t bother with a retort, mental or otherwise. He plants his hands behind him on the crate and leans back, letting his head roll to one side as he turns his gaze to his brother. Ferrus is standing opposite the Dark Tide majordomo guy, arms crossed over his chest as he leans against the hydraulics for their ship’s ramp. Pretending that he actually gives a damn about what the man has to say. He’s got to hand it to his twin; he does actually seem like he’s listening.

    The boss is going on about this territory and that territory, and something about the spaceport and who’s allowed to bring cargo through it. Usually, Festus would be much more aware of who these Death Wave guys are and why they’re bothering a couple of no-account bounty hunters. But he’s been a little preoccupied lately, ever since they had to leave Taris and find a new place to live. As for why they had to leave Taris…

    Another mental shove, this one more irritated than the last.

    “We’d hate for things to get… unpleasant,” the majordomo is saying, barely concealing his sneer.

    Festus sighs and leans forward, elbows resting on his knees, and he goes back to staring at the Death Wave lackeys. The one closest to him notices, again, and this time he turns to face him, eyes narrowed to slits.

    “What are you looking at?” the lackey says with a hiss.

    Festus doesn’t move. He doesn’t laugh or smirk or react in any way. Instead, he stares up at the man and says, “I’m looking at you.”

    The man’s expression turns smug. “Oh yeah? And why the hell would you wanna do that?”

    Okay, now he’s going to smirk. “Because it’s making you uncomfortable. And because in less than a minute, we’re probably going to kill you all, and the more distracted you are, the better.”

    The man takes a step toward him, and everyone else, including their boss, stops what they’re doing to watch. “What the hell did you say to me?” the lackey growls.

    Festus cocks his head to one side. “I said, you’ve got about ten seconds to get the hell out of here, or you’re going to regret it.”

    The henchman scoffs at that. “Yeah right. There’s eight of us and only two of you.”

    “Four to one, huh? We like those odds.” He glances over at his twin and grins. “Don’t we?”

    Ferrus uncrosses his arms and holds one hand out at his side, and he smiles back. “Yeah, we do.” His lightsaber flies out of the ship and into his open hand, flaring to life mid-swing as he lashes out at the Dark Tide boss. The man stares back at Ferrus, stricken, a scorched trail slashed deep in his chest. He staggers back a step, and Ferrus shifts his weight, pivoting to kick the boss in the stomach, sending him sprawling backward into two of his goons.

    The rest of the lackeys break out of their stupor a second later; the one nearest to Festus swings around, firing off a shot from his hip. Festus is already moving, dodging the blaster bolt as he draws his knife and launches off of the cargo crate. He stays low to the ground, kicks the man’s legs out from under him, slashes through his femoral artery on the way down.

    The next two henchmen come at him together, blasters firing. He throws his hands out, knocking them back with a burst of energy. Lasers singe his shirt, blistering across his skin, but he ignores it, reaching out to call his lightsaber to him.

    Nothing happens, and he looks toward the ship to see that the largest of the criminals has intercepted his saber and is staring at it wide-eyed, as if he can’t believe his incredible luck.

    “Hey!” Festus barks, gesturing with his knife. “That’s mine.”

    The man looks down at the hilt for a second before activating it. His eyes glow red as he gazes into its core and smiles wide. “Come and get it, tiny.”

    Festus shakes his head and sighs. “If you insist.” He looks to the other side of the docking bay where Ferrus is tearing through three guys at once. “Hey, idiot! Give me your lightsaber!”

    His brother growls something obscene as he stomps one of his attackers to the ground and skewers him. “You’re such a pain!” he shouts back, tossing the saber in a low arc toward him.

    As Festus ignites his twin’s lightsaber, he sees The Big Guy take a step back, eyes darting around the room, maybe realizing that only a couple of his people are still alive. “Hey, wait—”

    Festus doesn’t wait. He lunges at the man, disarming him as easily as a master batting away a child’s training saber; and before the man has time to plead for his life, Festus buries the crimson blade in his chest. As the lackey falls backward, Festus plucks his own saber from the man’s grasp.

    “Thanks,” he says quietly, meeting the man’s unfocused, dying gaze.

    Silence settles over the hangar, and Festus turns to survey the damage. He catches his twin’s eye, then throws him his lightsaber. Ferrus snatches it roughly from the air and glares at him.

    “Did you seriously only kill two guys? Out of eight?”

    Festus hooks his own saber to his belt and reaches up to scratch the back of his head as his eyes sweep the room again. The Big Guy and Femoral Artery Guy and… “Huh. I guess so.”

    Ferrus makes a thoroughly disgusted noise. “You’re kriffing ridiculous.”

    “You’re the one who said we shouldn’t keep our sabers on us when we’re docked, so technically you only have yourself to blame.”

    “Of all the times for you to actually listen to me.” Ferrus puts his saber away and drags his hands down his face, leaving a trail of scarlet. “I need a drink,” he mutters.

    Festus looks up at his twin and frowns. “You should probably clean up before you head out. You’ll scare all the girls away.”

    “What?” Ferrus looks down at his hands and turns them over, laughing under his breath. “I didn’t even notice. How bad is it?”

    Festus arches an eyebrow at his brother’s bloodstained face. “Pretty bad.”

    His twin shrugs and lifts the hem of his shirt to wipe his face. “You should come with me.”

    “I’ll pass.” He looks away, glancing over the bodies once more. He can sense his brother’s eyes on him.

    “I don’t get you.”

    And there it is. He takes a breath before responding. “What else is new?”

    Ferrus laughs again, but there’s a bitter edge to it. “I mean, I know you’re saving yourself because of your weird little crush or whatever—”

    Oh, he’s really going to punch this bastard right in the face—

    “—but the drinking thing? Come on, you can’t have one stupid drink with me?”

    He finally looks over at his twin, meets his icy stare. Counts backward from five and exhales. “Fine. One stupid drink.”

    His brother grins, and for one moment he actually looks happy; and that’s not really a word he even uses anymore, because what the hell in their lives could ever be described that way? But for that one fleeting, impossible moment, Ferrus doesn’t look like the fighter who clawed his way past the other initiates on Korriban, or the Sith Lord whose brutal command of the Force rivals those with three times his experience, or the bounty hunter who can kill with his bare hands – he looks like Veeran Starskip, or at least who Veeran might have been, if things had gone differently.

    “Come on,” his brother says, still grinning as he reaches out to punch him in the shoulder. “You need to change, too.”

    Festus looks down at what he’s wearing. “You do realize my other clothes look just like this.”

    Ferrus rolls his eyes, but this time there’s a hint of laughter behind them. “Yeah, idiot, but these ones have blood all over them.”

    Festus examines his right sleeve, remembering Femoral Artery Guy, and he shakes his head. “You’re so picky.”


    ~~


    A couple of Sith Lords walk into a bar.

    It sounds like the start of a bad joke. A really bad joke. Or maybe the most amazing joke ever, he’s not really sure. Technically it’s not a bar, it’s a nightclub – not that he can tell the difference – and they’re not exactly Sith Lords anymore – although they still use the names and the lightsabers, and they still cause plenty of death and chaos, so he’s not sure there’s a difference there, either – and he’s not sure what the punchline of this particular joke would be anyway.

    Okay, that’s a lie; he can think of one punchline:

    A couple of Sith Lords walk into a bar, and everyone dies.

    Wow, he’s really terrible at this.

    It doesn’t take much to get them inside, just a well-timed mind trick, which Ferrus pulls off as easily as breathing. He wonders how many times his brother has done this.

    The club is dark and crowded; the only sources of light are trails of tiny blue and green bulbs embedded in the ceiling and walls, mimicking the effects of bioluminescence. People of all species press in around them, some carrying on loud conversations, others sloshing drinks as they dance. Force, he already hates it in here.

    His brother doesn’t seem bothered in the least. He strides through the crowd like he owns the place, and most people shift out of his path without much fuss. Festus follows, eyes roaming the crowd. It would be real easy to kill someone in here. He wonders how long it would take these people to notice.

    Ferrus waves him over to the bar, a curved counter shaped to resemble an undulating wave. Again, crowded. His twin finds a gap and leans forward over the counter, catching the bartender’s attention. When she comes closer, Ferrus leans even further across the bar and holds up two fingers, saying something he can’t quite make out over the noise. The bartender – a Kiffar woman with a wide smile – produces two small glasses from under the counter and fills them with a dark blue liquid. Ferrus flashes a smile of his own and grabs the drinks, then offers one to him.

    Festus takes the glass and holds it up at eye level, examining the liquid from every angle. “This is what you’ve been so anxious for me to try?”

    Ferrus shrugs and grins. “Sure. Now stop staring and drink it.”

    “And you say I’m weird.” He raises the glass to his lips—

    “No, not like that,” his twin interrupts with a wave. “All at once, like this.” He throws his head back and downs the drink in one gulp, smiling like an idiot when he’s done.

    Festus looks from his brother to the drink in his hand. “Why?”

    “That’s just how you do it.”

    “Right.” He stares down at the dark liquid again and takes a deep breath, then imitates his brother’s technique, swallowing the entire contents of the glass in one shot.

    Oh, he thinks a bit distantly, maybe that’s why they’re called shots.

    And then, less distantly, very immediately in fact, he realizes his throat is on fire.

    He coughs and nearly drops the glass, glaring at his brother. “The hell?” he sputters, unable to manage any words beyond that. Force, it fragging burns.

    Ferrus is still grinning like the absolute childish idiot that he is. “Good, huh? You’ll get used to it.”

    Oh, like hell. “If you think I’m doing that more than once, you’re the one who’s crazy.”

    His brother says nothing as he takes the glass from him and sets in on the bar. He orders two more drinks, amber-colored this time, and steps out into the crowd. “Come on,” he says, “let’s find a seat.”

    Still trying to determine just how much of his throat was destroyed by that blasted drink, Festus follows his twin through the swaying mob. They stop at a half-circle booth near the edge of the dance floor, one that already has two deeply-involved occupants. Ferrus sits down next to one of them, a Twi’lek man, and gestures away from the table.

    “Get lost.”

    The Twi’lek and his companion, a Theelin woman, stare dumbly at Ferrus for a moment before shifting their gaze to Festus. He stares back at them without blinking. “Now.”

    The two lovers shuffle out of the booth quickly and disappear into the crowd. Ferrus laughs under his breath and slides into the booth, placing the drinks on the table. Festus is slow to follow, still watching the crowd. Still feeling the burn from that damn drink.

    “Come on, relax, we’re fine.”

    He sits down next to his brother and frowns at the glass that appears in front of him a second later. “No,” he says. “I told you, one drink.”

    “That was barely anything.”

    “Yeah, it really felt like barely anything.”

    “You know, for someone who can take every beating imaginable, you’re being a real baby about this.”

    Festus picks up the glass and thinks how satisfying it would be to dump the foul liquid on his brother’s head. But Ferrus is right about one thing – he knows how to take a beating.

    “I just want you to know,” he says as he raises the glass to his lips, “I really hate you.”

    Ferrus lifts his own glass. “Drink up, brother.”

    Stars, this one’s even worse than the first. He slams the glass down on the table. “I don’t understand what’s so great about this.”

    “Give it a few more, you’ll see.”

    “Why in all nine Corellian hells would I want to do this even one more time, let alone a few?”

    “Because you need to loosen up, that’s why.” Ferrus waves to a passing server. “Two shots of Tanarin, and two more of the Saberdarts,” he says, gesturing toward their empty glasses.

    “You got it.” The server, a human woman, smiles at them both, but she smiles extra wide at Ferrus, and his brother notices.

    Festus watches the exchange in silence, waiting until the girl leaves. “I’m not drinking another one of those.”

    “Yeah, you are.” Ferrus turns to him and smirks. “Come on, they’re good. Plus they pack a big punch.”

    “You know, I’ve seen you drunk plenty of times. I can’t say I find the experience appealing in any way.”

    “Because you’ve never actually experienced it, you idiot. And like I said, you need to loosen up. This’ll help.”

    Festus pauses just long enough to hold his twin’s gaze. “You say ‘loosen up’ when I think you really mean ‘lose control’.”

    Ferrus shrugs. “Yeah? What’s wrong with that?”

    He doesn’t answer. Control is all he has. Control over his reactions, his pain response, his enemies. Even the face he puts on for the world – unstable, unhinged, chaotic – is its own form of control. He’s already given up too much control of his stupid feelings, and look where that’s gotten him.

    “I know what you’re trying to do,” he says quietly, staring at his brother across the darkened booth.

    “I’m just trying to have a good time.” Ferrus looks out at the dance floor, head bobbing absently in time with the music.

    The girl returns with their drinks, and she lingers at Ferrus’s side, making some inane comment about never having seen them here before. His brother leans back in his seat and gives her his brightest smile. Festus wonders how this girl would react if she’d seen all that blood earlier. He smirks at that thought and looks away. The lights in the wall have a slight haze to them now, and no matter how hard he squints, it doesn’t go away.

    Weird.

    “Hey.”

    He turns to see another drink being pushed in front of him. Make that two drinks. He looks up at this brother. “Seriously?”

    “Seriously. Go on, just get it over with.”

    He picks up the first glass, a clear liquid with a sharp odor. Why the hell is he doing this again?

    “Frag,” he mutters before downing the drink. Okay, that one wasn’t so bad. Still disgusting, but at least it didn’t burn all the way down.

    Ferrus has already emptied both glasses and is shifting toward the edge of the booth. “Think I’m gonna go dance. You coming?”

    He levels his twin with his most withering stare – or at least, he thinks he does. “Not a chance.”

    “Suit yourself.” Ferrus points at the last drink on the table, the Saberdart, or whatever it’s called. “That better be gone when I get back.”

    “Whatever.” Festus leans back in the booth and props one arm along the back of the seat, waving vaguely in the air. “Have fun embarrassing yourself.”

    Ferrus smirks at him one last time before heading toward a small group of women on the edge of the crowd. They’re a mixed species group, at least one Zeltron, one Twi’lek, and three humans – or near-humans; it’s hard to tell in this light – among them. One of the girls stands slightly apart from the others, and that’s who his brother approaches.

    He can’t hear anything they’re saying, but he’s gotten pretty good at reading people over the years. Granted, this is one area he’s largely unfamiliar with, having little observational data to go off of. But based on the way she keeps glancing down and tucking her hair behind her ear, he assumes her hesitant smile is a sign of shyness rather than a signal that she’s uninterested or uncertain. Ferrus holds out his hand, and she takes it and follows him into the sea of dancers.

    Festus glances down at the drink in front of him, frowning at it. Maybe he could dump it somewhere or pass it off to someone else. Maybe leave it on another table. But that means he’d have to get up. Does he feel like dealing with the press of the crowd, or all the drunk revelers, or anything, really? It’s so much easier to sit here and do nothing.

    He tilts his head back against the booth and finds his brother again. Watches him through half-closed eyelids. He’s not really sure what he expected to see – especially when it was perfectly clear from the moment they walked in here what the preferred style of dancing was – but somehow he wasn’t prepared for the sight of his twin engaged in something so intimate. He remembers the bodies again, and how they stepped right over them, still spattered in their blood.

    He thinks Ferrus might actually be the better liar.

    Without meaning to, he finds himself picking up the drink, watching the dim light reflect off the glass and the amber liquid within. He lets out a slow breath, glancing in his brother’s direction for a second before emptying the glass in one gulp. It still burns, but not nearly as bad, and this time he can feel that warmth shoot straight through him. Strange, but not wholly unpleasant. Maybe Ferrus is right.

    Each song bleeds into the next, and he’s not sure how long he watches, or even when he started watching again. It doesn’t even feel like he’s in his head anymore – more like he’s floating just slightly above it, observing everything without the safety of the wall he’s erected around himself. The connection between him and his twin restored, but muffled and hazy, sort of like his vision. Is that why he’s feeling so warm? Or is it the damn alcohol?

    Out on the dance floor, Ferrus dips his head to kiss the girl’s neck, and Festus tells himself he’s going to look away. Any second now. Now. Okay, now.

    “Don’t be so weird,” he mutters, running his fingers around the rim of the empty shot glass. “You can’t just stare at people like that.”

    —poor little psycho, do you think that’s why she’s so afraid of you—

    Her voice echoes in his head – pay attention, I’m only going to do this once – and he sees that teasing smirk and remembers how badly he wanted to kiss her, then and every moment after. But he can never hide from the truth of himself like his brother does. She already knows how damned he is, and even he’s not a good enough liar to pretend otherwise.

    He finally manages to close his eyes, and that helps a little, but he can still sense the insistent tangle of his brother’s emotions. Clouded, yet powerful enough to overwhelm. Dammit, he shouldn’t have had those drinks. The barrier between him and his twin is pretty much gone, and it’s not just that he doesn’t want to be a weird third party to Ferrus’s sexual encounters; he doesn’t want his brother seeing into his own head, seeing who is in his head, and what he wants to do to her.

    He sits there for a while, eyes still closed, trying in vain to block out the sounds and the stifling heat of too many bodies in too small a space. He doesn’t know how much time passes, but eventually Ferrus returns to the booth, out of breath and smelling even more strongly of alcohol. Festus cracks both eyes open and turns his head just enough to look at his twin.

    “Where’s your girlfriend?” he says, trying to stay neutral, but unable to keep the contempt out of his voice.

    Ferrus either doesn’t notice or chooses to ignore his tone. He drapes both arms over the back of the seat and reclines against the cushion. “Went to find her friends. A couple of them might be interested in you.”

    Festus actually laughs at that, teeth clenched tight as he holds on to the empty shot glass. Gods, he’s never fragging drinking again. “The hell’s wrong with you?”

    Despite the dampening effect of the alcohol, his brother’s presence flares in the Force. “The hell’s wrong with you? I’m trying to help you out, weirdo.”

    “I don’t want your help. I don’t want anything or anyone in this stupid place.”

    His brother’s eyes narrow to a scowl. “I’m sorry I can’t meet your impossibly high standards. There aren’t a whole lot of princesses slumming it in places like this.”

    Festus inhales slowly. “You’re ridiculous.”

    “No, you’re ridiculous. Waiting around for something that’s never gonna happen.” Ferrus looks away, eyes roaming the crowd. He blows out an angry breath and turns to face him again. “Look,” he says, not quite making eye contact, “you know you can just pretend.”

    “Pretend?”

    “Yeah, you know… pretend it’s what you want it to be.”

    He can’t explain the sick feeling in his stomach all of a sudden, but it’s almost overwhelming. “Is that what you do?”

    Ferrus shrugs. “Sometimes.”

    “Right now?”

    No.” His brother ducks his head for a second, then sneaks a glance at the girl he was with. She stands with her friends, smiling as they all talk over each other. Then she notices Ferrus and gives him a shy wave.

    Oh, that’s just perfect.

    “You actually like her.” Festus leans forward over the table, forcing his twin to look at him. “You’re not pretending she’s someone else. You’re pretending you’re someone else.”

    Ferrus’s breath hitches for just a second, so fleeting anyone else wouldn’t have noticed. But Festus does, because even when they aren’t living inside each other’s heads, he still knows his brother better than anyone.

    “We killed eight people tonight,” Festus continues, shaking his head. “What the hell are you doing? What plane of reality are you on right now?”

    “Probably the same one you’re on,” Ferrus snaps, glaring at him. “You and your little princess, so perfect and pure. At least I picked a girl who isn’t terrified of me.”

    And there’s that familiar rage. The alcohol in his system may have slowed it a little, but it’s just as hot and blinding as ever; and he still has to hold on to it with both hands or risk doing something he really regrets.

    He grips the glass in his hand harder. “That’s because she doesn’t know who you are, idiot.”

    “I’m me,” Ferrus grits out, fighting to keep his voice down. “I’m— dammit, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I can be both.”

    “That’s not how it works, brother.”

    “It’s Veeran.” His twin leans forward, pressing one clenched fist against his mouth as he breathes in and out. He lets that fist fall to the table. “Why can’t you just say it?” he asks, voice shot through with quiet desperation. “Just once.”

    Whatever else you do, don’t lie to yourself.

    Festus stares across the table at his brother, that old, familiar whisper wrapping around his heart like a vise. “Because saying it won’t make it true, no matter how much you want it to be.”

    “Veeran?”

    He and his twin snap toward the sound of that name, so fast it startles the girl who uttered it. She’s standing near the booth, and up close Festus can see she’s human, or near enough, with sandy brown hair and wide, dark eyes. She looks between them, uncertain, as though she realizes she’s said something wrong.

    “I didn’t mean to interrupt,” she says, hesitating a little as she glances nervously at Festus again.

    Ferrus stands and smiles at her, wrapping an arm around her waist. “I was just coming to find you.” He leans down and whispers something in her ear, and even in the dim light, Festus can see the blush spreading across her cheeks.

    “What about your…?” She trails off as Ferrus starts to lead her away.

    “Have fun,” Festus calls out after them, not sure why he’s saying anything at all.

    Ferrus stops dead, still holding the girl close, and he blows out an irritated breath. “Iselle, this is my brother. He’s in a mood.”

    His twin guides the girl back into the crush of people, toward her waiting group of friends. Festus spins the shot glass between his hands, listening to it clink against the plasteel tabletop as he watches. Two of Iselle’s friends are chattering animatedly, and Ferrus says something to them, pointing back toward the booth. What the hell is he saying?

    The two other women make their way to the edge of the dance floor, whispering to each other as they look in his direction. The taller one looks at least part-Zeltron, and her shorter companion is a Twi’lek with a pale complexion. Behind them, Ferrus and his little girlfriend break away from the crowd and head off to a darker corner of the club. Through their twin bond, he can feel his brother’s anticipation, how he wants to pull Iselle close and kiss her like she’s never been kissed…

    Festus holds a growl in the back of his throat, trying to ignore the wash of sensation. He wonders if another drink would make it better or worse.

    The girl’s friends reach his table, and they glance at each other, still whispering. “Hi,” the taller woman says, giggling a little as she smiles at him. “Your brother said you could use some company.”

    He stares up at her, eyes narrowing. “Nope.”

    She exchanges another look with her friend, then slides into the booth, not close enough to brush against him, but definitely within reach. “I promise we don’t bite.”

    He thinks of Allana, of the way her gray eyes and her soft voice have burrowed their way into what’s left of his soul – and then he thinks of the men he killed tonight and how their eyes glazed over as he stared into them, his hands slick with blood.

    A couple of Sith Lords walk into a bar…

    He sets down his glass and turns to face the Zeltron girl directly, and as she looks at him, he waits for that moment, the one where she will realize there’s something wrong with him, and that she has no idea who she’s dealing with.

    There. He sees it flicker in her eyes, a spark of uncertainty and discomfort and fear. He can definitely work with that.

    “You know, I murdered two people before I came here tonight,” he says, slow and deliberate, making sure both girls hear every word, “and my brother murdered six.” He tilts his head toward the dance floor and shrugs. “You might want to warn your friend.”

    The girl next to him leans back, eyeing him warily. “You’ve got a sick sense of humor, you know that?”

    He shifts toward her ever so slightly. “I’m not joking.”

    The Twi’lek girl grabs her friend by the arm and pulls her out of the booth, and they both stumble away, frantic as they push into the crowd. Festus allows himself a small smirk, then scans the room for any sign of his twin. Still nothing. He can sense him, though, not far away, getting everything he wants.

    Festus closes his eyes again, fighting against the effects of the alcohol to reach for his mental defenses. Gods, he hates this, maybe as much as he’s ever hated anything. Too many people and too much noise and heat and he feels like he’s going to be sick, and he sort of wants to beat his brother’s brains in right now, and that’s not at all normal – but then he isn’t normal, is he? He never has been.

    Maybe it’s because he’s blocking out one of his senses, or maybe the alcohol is starting to wear off a little; but he hears the gruff, urgent murmur almost as clearly as if it was coming from right next to him:

    “He spotted both of them in here.”

    “Fine, but we have to make it quick.”

    His eyes snap open, and he shifts to look over the back of his seat. There’s still a slight haze to his surroundings, but he sees them immediately – two men walking through the crowd, steady in their movements, sober, tightly coiled. Ready for a fight.

    He frowns and sinks low in the booth. Word of their little docking bay massacre must have gotten back to the rest of the gang. He wonders if it’s just these two goons or if there are more.

    Festus slides out of the booth and starts to cut through the crowd, away from the men searching for him. He reaches into the Force, tugging at the frayed cord that connects him to his twin. Feels an answering rejection as Ferrus – flush with desire and more than a little annoyed at the intrusion – tries to force him out. He supposes that’s fair. Really damn inconvenient, but fair.

    He heads for the back of the room and sees a hallway branching off near the dance floor, over which hangs a neon sign announcing that public refreshers are to be found within. There’s no sign indicating a rear exit in this direction, which could be a problem. He can detect several people tucked away back here – couples, from the sense of them – but there’s only one person who burns as bright in the Force as his brother does. He’s definitely back there.

    The corridor is brighter than the rest of the club, though still not exactly well-lit; and it’s not so much a single corridor as it is a series of mazelike hallways leading to multiple refresher facilities. Whoever designed this place must have been as drunk as most of the people here. Or maybe it’s confusing because he’s the one who’s drunk.

    He detects a spike of confusion from Ferrus, as if his little tryst has been interrupted, and he hears voices up ahead – the sounds of an argument. As he turns the corner, he sees the Zeltron and Twi’lek girls from earlier standing between Ferrus and Iselle, trying to lead her away while they block his path. Ferrus brushes the two girls aside and takes Iselle by the wrist.

    “Get off of her!” the Twi’lek girl tries to wrench her friend away, but Ferrus is too strong for either of them. “Ada, go get help!”

    His brother raises a hand, and Iselle’s friends let out a scream as they’re both pushed back against the wall, unable to move.

    Stop it,” Ferrus orders, pain and confusion twisting his features. “Just stop.”

    “Iselle, run!” the Twi’lek girl yells, while the Zeltron girl begins shouting for help.

    No, Iselle, wait. Wait.” Ferrus pulls her closer, holding her arms against his chest. He’s as distraught as Festus has ever seen him. “Tell me what I did wrong.”

    She shakes her head. “Please, just let me go.”

    That’s when Ferrus looks up and notices him there, and fury lights in his pale eyes. “What did you say to them?” he growls.

    Festus stares back at his twin, struggling to form a response to this surreal scene. Before he can answer, Ferrus returns his attention to Iselle, his fury melting into desperation.

    “He’s screwing with you because he’s mad at me,” Ferrus says, softer than before, trying to placate her. “You can’t listen to anything he says.”

    She glances over at Festus, then back up at Ferrus, uncertain. “If that’s true, then let me go.”

    “I—” He looks down at his hands around her arms, and Festus can feel the turmoil barely contained beneath his brother’s surface. Ferrus has never been good with emotions, or with pain, or with losing someone. He shakes his head at her. “I don’t want you to go.”

    She’s clearly terrified, but she doesn’t look away. “Veeran,” she whispers, “please.”

    His brother exhales, and he releases her. She steps back, out of arm’s reach, and looks over at her friends. “Them, too.”

    The Zeltron and Twi’lek girls stagger forward, their invisible bonds cut. They rush forward to scoop up Iselle, pulling her away from Ferrus. She doesn’t resist, but she doesn’t turn and run either. She looks nearly as dazed and disoriented as his brother.

    “Wait!” Ferrus takes a few halting steps toward her. “Gods, Iselle, would you just wait?”

    Festus intercepts him before he gets any closer to the retreating women, pressing a hand to his brother’s chest. “We’ve got bigger problems right now,” he says.

    Ferrus strains against his hold, staring past him. Festus glances over his shoulder and sees Iselle and her friends disappear around the corner. His twin stops struggling, and Festus drops his arm and takes a step back.

    He knows the hit is coming, and he doesn’t move to block it, or to lessen the impact. His brother’s fist drives hard into his jaw, nearly knocking him to the ground. It’s only through sheer determination and years of taking similar hits that he’s able to remain standing.

    He’s always wondered what it would take to get Ferrus to punch him for real. Now he knows.

    “Feel better?” he says quietly as he pulls himself upright, tasting blood.

    Ferrus shakes his head, jaw clenched tight. “You bastard.”

    Festus presses his mouth in a thin line and nods. “You can yell at me later. Right now, we’ve got company.”

    Ferrus looks ready to hit him a second time. “What are you…?” He trails off, staring at the entrance to the corridor. Festus turns and lets out a grim laugh. The two guys from earlier are standing at the end of the hall, hands resting on their blasters.

    “End of the line, boys,” one of the men says. “You’ve got nowhere to run.”

    Festus drags his wrist across his mouth, wiping away the blood there. He glances sideways at his brother and raises an eyebrow.

    Ferrus glares at him. “I don’t have my saber.”

    Festus huffs out a breath, blowing his bangs from his eyes. “I guess it’s a good thing I don’t listen to you, then.” He reaches into his jacket and pulls out his own lightsaber. “You’ll just have to punch your way through them.”

    He thumbs the weapon to life, and the gang members flinch away from the sight of it, blasters snapping up on instinct.

    “You’re still a bastard,” Ferrus says in a cold voice as he raises his hands toward the two men, ensnaring them in his invisible grip. They go completely motionless, unable to fight back.

    Festus flourishes the crimson blade at his side. “I know.”

    He advances on the immobilized men, stabbing through each of them in turn. Then he deactivates his saber, and Ferrus drops the bodies. His brother follows after him, silent as they make their way back to the club’s main room. The music seems even louder than before, but now there’s a nervous energy in the air. Several sets of eyes turn on them the moment they leave the back corridor; he wonders if they heard the girls’ screams earlier. The lights are dimmer out here than they were in the hallway, and it takes his eyes a moment to adjust.

    There are more Dark Tide gang members out here, prowling the edges of the club. He looks around the room and spots them… four, six, eight… dammit, twelve in total. That’s not great. Not terrible, but not great. As he and his brother push their way through the crowd, their pursuers begin to converge on them. They must have really pissed these guys off, if they’re willing to do this right here, in the middle of all these unsuspecting people.

    The first man to reach them pulls his blaster, trying to get in close; but Festus ducks past his outstretched arm and positions the hilt of his lightsaber up under the man’s rib cage. He ignites the weapon, killing the gangster instantly as the blade passes through his heart. The people around him scream, tripping over themselves to get away from him, and the rest of the gang abandons any pretense of subtlety as they raise their blasters and take aim.

    Festus steps in front of his brother to deflect blaster fire. Behind him, Ferrus lifts a hand, sending one of the henchmen crashing into the ceiling before dropping him down on top of his companions. Their attackers fan out, using the crowd as a shield as they snake their way through it.

    Panic sweeps the club as more and more people try to flee. Then a stray blaster bolt hits a shelf of drinks behind the bar, shattering them and spraying patrons with glass – and it’s like a switch flips as everyone loses their collective minds. Festus climbs onto a table to escape the stampeding crowd. A short distance away, he sees Ferrus do the same. It might make them easier targets, but it sure beats being trampled to death.

    Several gang members converge on Ferrus, probably thinking he’s less of a threat because he doesn’t have a weapon. His brother dodges their fire and knocks a couple of them back, but his position is tenuous at best, and his opponents all have blasters.

    “Here!” Festus shouts, deactivating his lightsaber and throwing it to his twin. In the same instant he hears it activate in Ferrus’s hand, Festus slips his knife out of his sleeve, and he grins at the lackeys taking aim at him.

    “This is going to hurt,” he warns them, diving off of the table and colliding with the first of his opponents.

    As he fights his way through the gang members, he sees Ferrus leap off of the table, kicking one man in the head and driving him to the floor in one fluid motion. Even with so much noise around him, Festus can hear the sound of the impact. Maybe Ferrus doesn’t need the lightsaber after all.

    Then his brother freezes, eyes fixed on a point in the distance. Festus throws out his hands to knock back their attackers with a wave of energy. He follows Ferrus’s gaze to the front entrance of the club, where panicked patrons are jostling to get out, and where Iselle is standing still amid the sea of bodies, staring back at them, heedless of her friends’ attempts to move her.

    “Hey, idiot!” Festus slashes at another gang member with his knife, catching him across the stomach. Really wishing he had his lightsaber back. “Pay attention!”

    Ferrus jerks his head back and snaps the saber up to defend, deflecting blaster bolts back at three of their attackers, dropping all three to the ground instantly. Two more move forward to intercept, but Ferrus is moving now, too, and he grabs one by the wrist and flings him into the other man. Without pausing, he charges forward and body slams them both against the wall, then impales them simultaneously.

    In a distant part of his mind, Festus observes the whole scene with a bit of wonder, because watching his twin brother in battle has always filled him with awe, even before he was ever willing to admit that feeling to himself. Back when he was a frightened, skinny, talentless kid who everyone wanted dead, his brother was there, daring anyone to come at him. Completely confident in his ability to come out on top, no matter the odds. Of the two of them, Ferrus has always been stronger, faster, more amazing. Festus managed to survive his childhood with the Sith, but he only ever thrived when his brother was beside him.

    He catches one last glimpse of Iselle before her friends shove her out the door; she’s still staring back at Ferrus, and even though her horror is obvious, she has a hint of that same awe in her eyes. For once, he wishes he’d kept his stupid mouth shut.

    There’s only one man left now, and he’s clearly got more brains than the rest, because he runs for the exit. Ferrus reaches out, right hand closing into a fist as he yanks back. The man’s fingers rake desperately at the air as he’s dragged backward, straight into Ferrus’s grip. His brother locks one arm around the man’s neck, deactivates the saber, then shoves the hilt into the man’s spine.

    “No, no, please—”

    The blade ignites, and the man goes limp. Ferrus holds him there for a moment, the hum of his saber filling the silence that follows. Then he switches the weapon off and lets the last gang member drop to the floor.

    Festus wipes the blood from his knife and slips it back into the sheath under his sleeve. “Security forces will probably be here any minute.”

    Ferrus nods, his gaze once more on the entrance, now empty. He looks down at the lightsaber in his hand, then turns to Festus.

    “Here,” he says distantly, tossing the hilt across the gap between them. Festus catches it and clips it to his belt.

    They both cast their eyes around the room, staring down at the bodies of the dead. Then Festus looks up at Ferrus, at the grim resignation etched in his face. He’s never forgotten why he took his brother’s place all those years ago; but watching him now, feeling the helplessness and even despair that fills him, Festus is reminded again of that choice and why it was the right one.

    Sirens wail in the distance. They don’t have long. They probably won’t be able to come back to this planet again, not after this.

    A couple of Sith Lords walk into a bar…

    Festus laughs under his breath, unable to stop the smirk tugging at his lips, and he thinks fate must have a pretty sick sense of humor, too.

    “Hey,” he says as he catches his twin’s eye. “You wanna hear a joke?”


    ~~
     
  16. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    great bickering and the 'a couple of Sith Lords walk into a bar' is hilarious
     
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  17. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Love the bickering between the two. It actually shows how much they care about each other.
     
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  18. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Honestly, we come up with some pretty great ideas in these text sessions :cool: Also, would you please make some actual mistakes in your drafts so I can beta? It's getting ridiculous o_O

    You gotta lean into your talents in life *philosophical*

    lololol

    I swear the beginning of this story cracks me up all the way through :p Well, until Femoral Artery Guy, anyway

    Hey, sometimes the truth is an effective weapon even for a Sith Lord

    It will never not amuse me that "idiot" is their general address for each other :p

    Femoral Artery Guy is going down in history along with the vivisection, I warn you now

    It's not the blood that's creepy here, it's the nonchalance [face_worried]

    Aw, he's so happy to do something with his creepy brother. It's honestly sweet. And going to end badly.

    Amazing. Definitely amazing.

    lolll

    I'm with Festus :p

    And I'm with Festus again. I'd like to actually taste my drink, thank you :p

    Wasn't it your brother-in-law who got you to do a tequila shot that time? Waste of good tequila if you ask me :p

    Festus lies better to other people. Ferrus lies better to himself.

    Look at all the miserable angsty depth you gave these boys, Vi :_|

    Is Festus ever not in a mood? [face_thinking]

    There's our Stalkeriest Stalker Who Ever Stalked

    lol again

    This is some solid friendship here, trying to get Iselle away from the psychopath

    Have you gotten over the emotional wreckage yet? :p:_|

    And Iselle is probably never going to trust another guy again unless she runs a full background check

    How often does the muse hand you a perfectly bookended fic, with the perfect beginning and the perfect ending already right there? C'est magnifique [face_love]:*
     
  19. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Okay, so my reply to End of the Line turned a wee bit long, even by my standards. :p So, I thought it best to split this up and review This Kind of Fire Doesn't Keep Us Warm Inside on its own first. Because both are brilliant and deserve all of the flailing!

    To that end, here we go. ;)

    I LOVE how you combined the challenges in this piece. The extreme environment really fed the story, in ways I'm gonna get into in a moment, and was SO fitting. It was a brilliant decision on your part!

    Yaaaaaaas! Because this perfect song is perfect for the Chaos Twins, and more than fitting in this setting. [face_love]

    You know, it tells you it's bad when they're comming for help. [face_plain]

    The countdown really helped ratchet up the tension. Wow.

    Also: hypoxia and freezing temperatures are no joke, yikes. (That was a fun part of training for flying, learning to spot symptoms of any changes in cabin pressure early on and drilling for depressurizations.) If it's scary in our own atmosphere, in the voids of outer space it's downright terrifying. I really enjoyed how you embraced that. Both the physical and psychological aspects of staring down a slow and certain death really fit the parameters of the challenge.

    I could've quoted their entire conversation here to this point! Because what they have already done to survive isn't lost on either of them. Even when they're facing another seemingly certain end that they can't fight against. That certainly sets the stage for their argument.

    =(( =(( =((

    But: yes, THIS! Exactly. And for Ferrus to know exactly why Festus never shares this with him and holds back from their bond and the messy guilt and blame and the need for him to be strong all wrapped up in one. Then mix that with the pressure and discomfort and inevitability of their current circumstances all boiling up . . . gah! So good!

    Where's HK-47 when they need him. [face_laugh]

    Of course this is when they are going to bring out the rancor in the room in Allana. Or at least Ferrus is attempting to. You know, immovable force and unstoppable object and all that. :p Ferrus is litteraly hitting his head up against a brick wall with nothing but a headache to show for it, but you can't blame him for trying.

    I really, really feel for Ferrus here. :oops:

    And well done on the more physical side effects of their situation, again! All these details really made the piece. =D=

    Aw. Brotherly love. [face_laugh] [face_mischief]

    Also, Ferrus has a point.

    So many great details!

    And point to Festus. :p

    The conversation about the obviousness of pirates to their own detriment in the comments had me cracking up. Because it's so true! [face_laugh]

    Plus, these pirates are so not ready for what their trap has swept in. I almost pity them, in a way. [face_whistling]

    The sentiment behind this is so creepily sweet. They've always been able to do what they have to do to survive, and they will again.

    And no matter what else they are stronger together, and sadly their anger feeds that in a vicious circle, and my but these pirates are really in for a surprise. [face_mischief] [face_whistling]


    This was such a great psychological piece, and I enjoyed every word. Really, truly well done!

    Now! Onto End of the Line. [face_mischief] [face_dancing]

    [:D]
     
  20. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    I haven't read the rest yet, but great job with your OC Challenge entry! Sitting in a dying ship with no rescue in sight is a very raw, helpless time, and I can understand how lots of buried emotions would come to the surface then. Maybe getting some of that out in the open might have helped them in a way. At least it looks like they got to bond a bit again while teaming up against the pirates. ;) Great work!
     
  21. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    @earlybird-obi-wan
    Thank you! I love these two idiots, they're so morbidly ridiculous. :p




    @JediMaster_Jen
    Yep, they do care, even if it's all kinds of complicated! [face_worried] :p So glad you liked it! :D




    @Gabri_Jade
    We dooooo. So many great ideas. ;)

    (Also, :p. But I can try to write terribly, if that's what you want. [face_whistling] [face_mischief])

    Lol, embrace the creepy! [face_laugh]

    :D

    I love writing Festus's bored, irreverent musings. He really doesn't have any patience for people who aren't on his level, does he?

    Festus is pretty good at wielding the truth as a weapon exactly when he needs it. [face_thinking]

    [face_laugh] Yeah, I figure they get tired of calling each other "brother" all the time, they had to switch it up. :p Which really kinda feeds back into the whole identity thing, because neither of them ever calls the other by their Sith names. [face_thinking]

    Plus, they do actually think of each other as idiots, so there's that. [face_mischief]

    Lololll... I'll take it. o_O :p

    Right? I know I tend to focus on Festus’s creepiness factor, but Ferrus really is super creepy here, without even trying to be. (Which may or may not have been my intention... [face_whistling])

    =((

    I still can't believe how perfectly this all came together. [face_love]

    And there's the socially awkward, introverted center of our otherwise terrifying Sith Lord. :p

    Ha, me too. Although I do like the idea of all those little lights in the ceiling and walls. [face_thinking] Bioluminescence is cool, even when it's fake. :p

    I was nowhere near as skeptical as Festus was here, but in a way, this is so me and my brother, the first time I did shots. 8-}

    Lololol... yes, it was. [face_plain]

    In that particular instance, I should not have tried to drink it all at once, but I was committed. 8-} Come to think of it, that was probably the last time I actually drank shots like this. Not because of the tequila, just life and getting older. Can't say I miss it, even if it did help me write Sith Lord bar night. :p

    :eek: Damn, girl, talk about spot-on. *is impressed*

    I love them so much, but they're so broken, Gabri. =(( :_|

    [face_laugh]

    Atta boy, Festus, you go on being your creepy self. ;) [face_mischief]

    Seriously, how brave are these girls? I figure they probably tried to nonchalantly pull Iselle away for "just a minute", but by the time Festus gets there, they're actually putting themselves in Ferrus’s path. Can you imagine how scary? Especially since they were pretty sure he was a murderer. [face_worried]

    Nope, I'm never going to be over stupid Ferrus and his stupid inability to deal with his emotions, or the fact that he very maybe possibly fell halfway in love with this nice, normal, unsuspecting girl in like two seconds flat and then somehow fooled himself into thinking there was any chance of it working out for him, or the way he spiraled when he realized what was happening and all of his strength and power were absolutely meaningless in the face of it. [face_plain]

    But if you're asking if I've broken down in stupid tears recently over how screwed up and sad Ferrus is, then no, I don't think I've cried about it in the last week. 8-} (Although that might be because I had something new to cry over with the Allana/Festus decathlon, so... [face_whistling])

    Poor Iselle. :( Man, when I realized she was going to be just an average girl who ended up in the wrong bar with the wrong guy, I felt kinda bad for inflicting that on her. But it just goes to show you how little you know about the random guys you meet at bars... [face_whistling]

    The middle may have taken a turn that I didn't anticipate when Ferrus decided to have actual feelings, but yeah, as soon as I sent you the first few lines of that scene, the rest of it - especially the end - just clicked, AND IT WAS AMAZING. Still can't believe how perfectly it all fell into place. [face_love]




    @Mira_Jade
    :D [face_blush] I've loved reading your thoughts so far, and I'm excited to read what you thought of End of the Line! [face_batting]

    Yay, I'm so glad to hear it worked! I worried that the extreme environment wouldn't seem all that extreme, or that the psychological focus would take away from the physical circumstances, so this is really reassuring. :D

    IT'S SO PERFECT, I CAN'T EVEN. I listen to it pretty much any time I'm writing these characters, so there's that. And you know it's going to be played pretty frequently when I get back to working on the Ferrus fic. [face_mischief]

    Right? [face_worried]

    :D

    Again, I'm really happy you enjoyed both the physical and psychological aspects of this scenario! Especially since you've had training that actually deals with this type of thing, lol. My only personal experience with oxygen deprivation is hypoxic training sets when I was a swimmer, which isn't nearly as dramatic as it sounds. :p I figured the psychological angle was probably where my skills were better put to use in this story. ;)

    I'm glad you liked the buildup and the ensuing argument. Since it was only 1,500 words, I had to trim some things that I originally wanted to include, but I think this is overall a good snapshot of the tension between them and of some of the things that have been on Ferrus's mind that he hasn't brought up before. I think especially after writing their fight scene in the latest chapter of EtF, with how close Festus came to dying there, I wanted to get in Ferrus's head a little more and show the effect that sort of thing has had on him.

    This is another one of those things I've sort of discovered as I've continued to write these stories: Ferrus isn't nearly as in-the-dark about what happened as Festus seems to think, or at least used to think. Originally, Ferrus was supposed to be less aware of the full scope of everything Festus endured, but really, how could he not have had some idea, especially after witnessing the things the doctor did when they were assigned to Vjun? Even if he didn't already know before then, I think by the time we get to EtF, Ferrus had to have known. Which feeds into that whole idea of their bond, and how they each deflect each other and hide certain parts away. We usually see it from Festus's side, that he hides his pain and trauma, but what about Ferrus? What does he hide from his brother? Maybe it's this, that he does actually know what Festus went through, that he's known for years and has carried that horrible guilt for his part in it this whole time. =((

    Um, I think I might have rambled a bit? I don't know if that came out nearly as coherent as it was in my head. :p

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    Yeah, Ferrus really has a chip on his shoulder about Allana, doesn't he? o_O

    Thanks! I did try to get a few believable physical details in there. ;) :p

    I'm telling you, Ferrus was not happy about that serial killer business. Hmm, maybe I do need to finish that vig someday... [face_thinking]

    :D

    [face_laugh] I loved writing this line in particular. He's such a smug jerk sometimes, and I love it. And really? After everything he's endured, you believe him.

    Forever cracking up at "LOOK AT US WE'RE PIRATES ARRRR" [face_rofl]

    Oh, they definitely aren't ready. [face_mischief] I imagine two angry, oxygen-deprived, half-frozen Sith Lords might actually be more frightening and unpredictable than if they were completely healthy, so that'll be a fun treat.

    Heh, creepily sweet sounds about right. I did love writing this section, too. :D

    Tragic and hilarious and terrifying. Those are my Chaos Twins, yep. [face_love] [face_mischief]

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this piece! I'm so glad you liked it! :D [:D]





    @Thumper09
    Thank you very much! These two definitely have a lot of issues and emotions buried between them, and I enjoyed putting them in a situation where some of those things would come up. They certainly have their highs and lows, some of them lasting longer than others. But that's one of the things I enjoy about writing their relationship, that ebb and flow. In real life, our relationships don't always proceed in a tidy, linear fashion. We have fights and we make up, and we circle back to the same issues and hurts over and over again. Maybe eventually there's healing, or new understanding. Or maybe we grow more distant. As for the pirates... yeah, I think the twins can definitely bond over some chaos and murder. [face_mischief] [face_worried] :p Thanks again for reading!




    The final events are coming up next! :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
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  22. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Notes: Here we are, guys, the final two events of this decathlon. We’re starting out with AU Archery (a story of at least 100 words set in an alternate universe). The Enter!verse is already an AU, but I’ve actually spun quite a few AUs of my AU in my head by now. Some are happier and some are darker than the original EtF timeline, but today we’re visiting the overall happiest one of the bunch.

    Even though I wrote this ficlet brand-new for the decathlon, I first started dabbling in this particular AU a few weeks after writing The Lands of the Dead. This is a ‘verse where Anakin Skywalker wasn’t an idiot and didn’t turn to the dark side, and therefore things went a lot better for the galaxy. (If you’ve read either Those Three Words or my unfinished fancy dress story, then you’ve already gotten a tiny glimpse into this world, albeit much earlier in the timeline.) Now, that’s not to say that everything is wonderful all the time – this is Star Wars, after all, and there are still plenty of battles to be fought in this world. However, by the time this ficlet starts, things have been pretty good for a solid decade or more, and the future is bright.

    You may note, based on the year it takes place, that the Chaos Twins are only sixteen years old in this story – the same age they were when they became Sith Lords in TLotD. The title comes once again from Matthew Stover’s The New Jedi Order: Traitor.

    And then I kinda hate to bring things down after our foray into a happier universe, but the final event takes us right back to the main EtF timeline with the Single Sentence Shot Put (a story told in a single sentence about your characters). The title for that one comes from the song “Dark Matter” by Les Friction.

    Thanks to everyone who has been reading about my Super Evil Chaos Twins of Evil. For those who are less familiar with them, I hope this decathlon has provided a good intro! And for those of you who’ve been with me for a while, I hope you enjoyed diving even further into these characters’ stories. ;) [face_mischief]




    “The Bright Fields of Day” | 49 ABY | AU Archery


    In the Jedi Temple on Ossus, Dorian Starskip sits in his room, reading through the latest entry in the Galaxy at War series. They’ve all been decently good, but this one is on such a whole new level, he’s hardly been able to put it down.

    A clap of thunder rattles the window, startling him. He looks up, his reading momentarily forgotten as he stares at the rivulets of rainwater trailing down the transparisteel. Lightning splinters silently across the darkened sky, followed seconds later by a low, steady rumble. He tells himself he’s going to go back to reading, but he likes watching the storm, too. The rainy season must be starting early this year.

    He’s so enthralled, he doesn’t notice his twin brother until he’s already entered the room. Veeran bends down and leans over the back of the chair, resting his chin on Dorian’s shoulder. “What are you reading now?”

    Dorian glances at his brother out of the corner of his eye. “The newest Galaxy at War.”

    “Well yeah, I figured that.” Veeran stands and circles in front of him, casting a brief, irritated look at the storm outside. “You know Master Tionne hates that depressing stuff. You should stick to reading about the heroic deeds of Jedi past.” He adopts a dramatic pose at those last few words and then rolls his eyes.

    Dorian looks up at his twin and shrugs. “These are basically the same.”

    “Yeah right.” Veeran plops down into the chair next to him. “That’s like saying Ossus and Coruscant are basically the same just because they both have Jedi Temples on them.”

    Dorian returns his attention to the datapad in his hands. He kind of hates it when his twin makes a valid point.

    “Why do you want to read that Vong War stuff anyway?” Veeran continues. “We’re literally training to become Jedi Knights. That’s not exciting enough for you?”

    Dorian shrugs, looking up from his screen. “I don’t know. It’s different.”

    “Different how?”

    He sets the datapad in his lap and meets Veeran’s pale blue stare. “You actually want to know?”

    “I’m asking, aren’t I?”

    He’s never really tried to articulate it before now. He’s never had to. Not many of the other apprentices his age still read as much as he does, and the ones who do wouldn’t ever touch this particular series. And he’s definitely never tried to talk to Veeran about it before now.

    “I guess,” he starts, searching for an explanation that won’t make him sound too weird. “I guess I like the struggle. Even if we become Knights—”

    When we become Knights.”

    “Right,” he says, throwing his brother a pointed look. “Anyway, we’re never going to face anything like this. Not even close. I’ll never know what it’s like to be pushed to my limits, to see what I’m really capable of.”

    Veeran leans over and quirks one eyebrow at him. “You wanna be pushed to your limits, come spar with me; I’ll show you your limits.”

    “Wow, that’s such a tempting offer, thanks, Veeran.”

    “Okay, I’m sorry, continue.”

    Dorian looks down at his lap, at the datapad resting there. “Never mind. It’s stupid.”

    “Hey.” The playful mockery is gone. “I get it. You want to be the hero.” Veeran reaches over and plucks the datapad from Dorian’s lap. “Like all those stories about knights and monsters and stuff you used to read when we were kids.”

    He’s not about to admit that he still reads those stories, sometimes.

    Another long, steady rumble of thunder, reverberating deep in his bones as it rolls through, shaking the whole room.

    “I’m never going to be someone like that,” he says quietly, watching raindrops pelt the window, backlit by blue-white flashes of light. “But reading these stories… I like how it feels, imagining I could face anything.”

    Veeran’s eyes go wide as he scans the datapad. “Damn,” he says with a slowly spreading grin. “You didn’t say you were reading about Ganner Rhysode.” He hands the device over. “I take it all back, that story is awesome.”

    Dorian shakes his head, fighting a smile, trying not to get too excited at the prospect of a shared interest with his twin. “Finally, something we agree on,” he says evenly.

    Veeran stands abruptly and spins around to face him. “Come spar with me. You’ve been reading all day.”

    Dorian sighs as he glances down at the device in his hands. “I was just getting to a really good part…”

    Veeran rolls his eyes, though the gesture lacks any real frustration. “Okay, fine.”

    “Next time,” Dorian says as his brother starts to walk toward the door.

    “Uh-huh.” Veeran leans over and plants an exaggerated kiss on top of his head. “Later, weirdo.”

    Dorian smirks down at his screen as his twin heads out the door. “Later.”

    He returns to the story he was reading, picking up right where he left off. Outside, lightning illuminates the dark and thunder crashes in response as the storm continues on.





    “You’re a Bolt of Lightning in the Sky Now” | Single Sentence Shot Put


    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there were two brothers who dreamed of being Jedi Knights, of winning against impossible odds and helping people in need, of being good and noble and daring heroes… and then those two brothers learned that life is not a fairy tale, and they fell to darkness and became monsters – and everyone knows what happens to monsters in the end.


    ~~

    Fin

    ~~
     
  23. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    great with Dorian reading all that stuff about the Vong and his brother egging him.

    Even good brothers can fall but monsters?
    I like the funny bickering chaos brothers

    congrats on finishing
     
  24. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    That one sentence summed everything up perfectly. Congrats on finishing. =D=
     
    Kahara and ViariSkywalker like this.
  25. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Here I am with feedback for End of the Line, finally! I think I started rambling in here somewhere, but my thoughts were definitely all over the place in response to this, so that's not wholly surprising. Let's see how coherent I can be now. ;) [:D]

    Quite the transformation is right, wow! It's fascinating how inspiration works sometimes. :D

    Well, as much as I'm all for embracing one's strengths, Festus may be enjoying this a bit too much.

    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh]

    I snickered probably way more than I should have for this opening scene.

    Yep. Definitely enjoying this too much! [face_laugh]

    It's a fair point about crime syndicates with the ridiculously obvious names. They may as well just name themselves Bad Guys. And that's just as true for ridiculously obvious Sith Lords! Raze sounds like, just from his name alone, he was missing a few intellectual nuances for Festus to respect. :p

    Gotta love it when Ferrus is the one throwing the idiot term of endrarment around. :p

    Another point to Ferrus. [face_mischief] [face_whistling]

    Putting the brutal in brutal honesty.

    Drama, much? :p

    I don't know how you managed to make such a brutal fight so amusing, but you really pulled it off. This felt like a quintessentially Star Wars scene, until, you know, Femoral Artery Guy. I'm with @Gabri_Jade on the really, yikes? there. ;)

    Ooph. Talk about famous last words . . .

    And brothers will still be brothers. :p

    :rolleyes: o_O :p

    Pretty bad if Festus is pointing it out. It's really the nonchalance that's so disturbing here, as has already been mentioned.

    I had a few instances when the quotes I pulled got longer and longer, and this is one of them. You can feel Ferrus' frustration, and Festus', too. They both want to punch each other in the face, and you can kind of understand both sides. But its because of that that Ferrus gives, which really says a lot.

    Even if he still wants to punch Ferrus in the face. :p

    Aw! Not a word or emotion I'm used to associating with Ferrus, but that trace of Veeran and who he could have been without everything they've endured . . . it's heartbreaking. =((

    And oh boy, but that's where the feelings pulled up a chair to hang out and they just didn't leave . . .

    Some balance is restored to the universe, at least. ;)

    Yep. Gonna put that one right next to vivisection. o_O Even if Femoral Artery Guy was a Bad Guy, too.

    Honestly, probably more of the former but still a bit of both. [face_laugh]

    Just slightly. :p

    Ooooh, bioluminescence. What a pretty setting! [face_hypnotized]

    Not creepy in the slightest, that. :p

    But, again, I like the juxtaposition between the twins and how they are coping with . . . everything.

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    There was something just so normal about this. I had a chuckle at Festus' expense, even if I'm more with him than Ferrus. I'd rather nurse one good drink than chug back shots like that any day, thanks but no thanks.

    The casual Sith-y intimidation cracked me up. [face_laugh]

    Still getting a hoot out of this!

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    The speed with which these two can go from bantering to . . . well, trauma, is impressive, to say the least. Ferrus needs to surrender control to feel human, while Festus has nothing but his control. [face_plain]

    I found Festus' reflection about the 'unhinged' face he puts on really interesting, too. In a way it's something expected of the villain, even as he wonders if that's just who he is after what he's survived. He plays the role he thinks he has to because what even is the alternative?

    I can't tell if Festus is a funny drunk or a mean drunk. [face_mischief]

    I feel like this would still be them in any AU. ;)

    That kinda sums Festus up post-Sith, doesn't it? He's really just existing, in a way.

    I love the insight in the comments about Ferrus being better at lying to himself while Festus is is better lying to others. It's true, and goodness but I wasn't expecting that to hurt so much . . .

    Whew. There's a bit to unpack here, isn't there? The alcohol lowers his inhibitions and thus the wall in his bond with Ferrus. His wall with life, too.

    There's such an interesting contrast here with Festus' memories of Allana - and gosh that's still just one of my favorite scenes between them - and how Ferrus interacts with Iselle later. I just love how this passage, in particular, came together. =D=

    Festus' introspection is definitely in a dark place here, but: fair. Not the best perk of a twin bond, that. :oops:

    Oh boy, and now all of that messy introspection is finding a voice out loud. That's exactly what Ferrus is doing - and has undoubtedly done before - to cope. :(

    Yes. Exactly that. So, so awful and heartbreaking. =((

    Oh boy. Fighting words. On both sides. They're both hitting where it hurts because it all hurts and these two are such a mess in so many ways. Viiiiiii!

    I couldn't read this conversation fast enough, their dialogue just cut and whipped back and forth more like an actual fist fight. This is definitely that quiet awful thing in the back of their minds, between their minds, that they don't talk about, and now that they are . . . everything is just such a mess. =(( I'm looking for more coherent words to basically say that this argument had so many spot on insights, and I loved it. =D=

    =(( =(( =(( =((

    EVERY WORD OF THIS.

    The use of his name threw me, too, I was so immersed in their dialogue. [face_hypnotized]

    Depends on what your definition of better or worse is. [face_whistling]

    Well, Festus is earning the creep part of the title here. o_O

    That certainly escalated. :oops:But, not at all in a surprising way. [face_plain]

    You did a really great job here, and all throughout, setting up the atmosphere of the scene and letting that tie into and play off the emotion of the story. Which you're always aces at! You could feel Festus spiraling. His mind is not a kind place to be for himself, let alone for Ferrus too.

    Talk about bad timing! :oops:

    Fair. [face_laugh] [face_mischief] [face_whistling]

    [face_rofl] [face_rofl]

    You did such a fantastic job of juggling genres, again! It's rare when you can laugh at and be disgusted by and genuinely sympathetic for a fixed pair of characters, but you managed to pull it off with aplomb once more. =D=

    I was already feeling sympathetic for Ferrus, but this is really when that feeling rooted in deep . . . =((

    This was such a great character insight, and powerfully expressed. I want to have something uber awesome to add, but really all I can do is point and say THIS.

    THE NAME HIT AND HIT HARD.

    Creep, meet Brute. [face_plain] This is another one of those long quotes that I couldn't trim down because it was just so good.

    Play with your strong suits, right? [face_plain]

    I just really liked this detail in the action. :p

    More excellent introspection! Because that sums it up, doesn't it? Survival took on different faces for both Dorian and Veeran in what they individually endured, but even as a Jedi there was always a part of Veeran that was going to thrive as a warrior. The Sith just let him reach that potential in a more violent way. I really liked Festus' insight, here - and his awe, too, especially.

    Very powerful few lines!

    =(( =(( =(( =((

    Dang ninjas . . . because if Ferrus thrived as a warrior, then Festus survived where his brother wouldn't have been able to close himself off and endure in a different way. Gosh, but the Sith really did a number on these two and it still hurts.

    This final line really just wrote itself and was perfect! It was all angsty black humor, but still perfect. [face_laugh] =D=


    This was dark and twisty and awful, but such a great character study in every word. I can't believe how many feelings you made me feel for Ferrus, in particular. You know I've gotta end this by pestering for his origin story now. When you can, of course. [face_mischief] [face_batting]


    Alrighty, but that's enough rambling from me! I'll be back with feedback for your last two events soon! [:D]
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021