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Beyond - Legends Where the Waves Shatter (AU, 54 ABY, vignette - OCs, Allana Djo Solo - Romantic Quotes Roulette)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ViariSkywalker, Dec 9, 2020.

  1. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Force Ghost star 4

    Aug 9, 2002
    Title: Where the Waves Shatter
    Author: ViariSkywalker
    Timeframe: 54 ABY
    Characters: Darth Festus (OC), Allana Djo Solo, Darth Ferrus (OC)
    Genre: AU, angst, dark romance, unrequited love, vignette, one-shot

    Feelings are hard, especially for a not-quite-former Sith Lord.
    (Or, Darth Festus and Allana Djo face off in combat for the first time since Vjun.)

    My response for the Romantic Quotes Roulette. I have included the entire sonnet from which my quote came, with the third and fourth stanzas being the ones I was assigned for the challenge. Title comes from the same sonnet.

    This story is set in the same 'verse as The Lands of the Dead and Enter the Foreign. It connects very closely with the former and contains some minor spoilers for the latter. What can I say? My muse refuses to work in chronological order.

    Not my sandbox, just playing in it for a while. Probably for longer than might be considered normal or healthy. :p

    Thanks to @Gabri_Jade for looking over this and for being awesome! [:D]


    There where the waves shatter on the restless rocks
    the clear light bursts and enacts its rose,
    and the sea-circle shrinks to a cluster of buds,
    to one drop of blue salt, falling.

    O bright magnolia bursting in the foam,
    magnetic transient whose death blooms
    and vanishes–being, nothingness–forever:
    broken salt, dazzling lurch of the sea.

    You & I, Love, together we ratify the silence,
    while the sea destroys its perpetual statues,
    collapses its towers of wild speed and whiteness:

    because in the weavings of those invisible fabrics,
    galloping water, incessant sand,
    we make the only permanent tenderness.

    —Sonnet IX, Pablo Neruda


    Where the Waves Shatter

    Darth Festus stands on the cold, storm-struck beach of Kordros, staring up at the Jedi Knight on the rocks above him.

    He wasn’t sure he would ever see her again, but here she is.

    He wonders why she’s alone, where her traitorous bastard of a master is, how she even ended up on this planet to begin with—

    he realizes with a thrill. No one to interfere this time, no one to stop him from running her through and ending her life, no one to see him hold her as she takes her last breath—

    He inhales deep to steady himself.

    She holds her lightsaber vertical in front of her, its cerulean beam pointing toward the gray-clouded sky as if it could call down lightning at her command. White-capped waves break against the rocks beneath her, sending up a cold spray that clings to that bright copper braid, to the stray hairs that have shaken loose around her face.

    A sensation he hasn’t felt in ages, sick and roiling in his gut. For a single moment, he forgets how to breathe.

    —don’t be weak, don’t you dare—

    Every smug remark, every flippant comment is frozen in his throat, dead before they can reach his tongue. He remembers how he kneeled on the ground, pathetic, powerless, waiting to be struck down, only to have her intervene. As if she cared whether he lived or died.

    He hates her. He knows he hates her.

    His boots sink into the sand as the surf crashes around him, and he unhooks his weapon from his belt and activates it with a sizzling hiss. He hates her, and he’ll prove it. Right here, right now.

    She glances up at the cliff above her, maybe wondering if she can escape that way before he reaches her. He tilts his head in that direction and feels a spark of fear from her as she realizes he’s already read her intent. They stare at each other, then – he from the turbulent shore, she from high upon the smooth, gleaming rocks. Isn’t that just how she’s always been, though? So high above him as to be completely and utterly unattainable?

    That’s a weird thing to think,
    he tells himself.

    Another wave shatters against the rocks, startling her, and in that moment he springs forward.


    “You’ve been looking at the same screen for the last five minutes,” his brother says from behind him.

    Before he can react, his twin snatches the datapad from his hands, jumping backward to hold it out of reach. In a split-second, Festus weighs two vastly opposite reactions: lunge out of the chair to rip the datapad away from the thieving bastard, or play it off as little more than a nuisance. He opts for the latter.

    Festus leans back in his chair, clasping his hands behind his head. “I was thinking about something else,” he answers casually.

    Ferrus looks down at the datapad, and his eyes narrow to a scowl. “Something?” he says, turning the datapad around and holding it out between them. “Or someone?”

    The rage that fills him in that moment is so quick and hot and blinding, he has to grab hold of it with both hands just to keep it behind the mental wall he so often erects around himself.

    —so what if I was, what of it, why shouldn’t I have this one thing—

    Then the rage levels out, flowing back down into him slowly, emptying into the back of his mind where it always lies in wait.

    He considers whether to lie outright. That would definitely annoy his brother more. Does he feel like dealing with that today?

    He shrugs, saying nothing.

    The scowl on his twin’s face deepens. Ferrus tosses the datapad through the air, aiming just short of Festus’s outstretched hand. He pitches forward without thinking, catching hold of the device before it can hit the ground.

    “Nice save,” Ferrus says with a sneer.

    He stares down at the datapad in his hand, thinking how alien it suddenly feels there. The caption under the image shining up at him, bold, slightly fuzzy from being enlarged—

    Jedi Order reestablishes temple on Tython and receives Republic envoys; pictured are Masters Tahiri Veila and Valin Horn, and Knights Elias Cain, Ben Skywalker, Allana Djo—

    She stands at Skywalker’s side in the image, her long braid draped over one shoulder, and he remembers being close enough to touch that braid, to stare into her gray eyes, to watch her lips curl up in a little smirk at the thought of outwitting him.

    —don’t be weak, don’t be weak, don’t you ever, ever, ever—

    “Time to get your head out of the stars,” his brother says, accusing. “We’ve got work to do anyway.”

    He tears his eyes away from the screen and tosses the datapad onto the table. “A new target?”

    His twin’s features relax, and a slow grin stretches across his face. “Two, actually.”

    “Dead or alive?”

    The grin widens further. “One alive, the other one dead, if necessary. Some sort of serial killer pair that escaped a max prison on Naren.”

    Festus tilts his head to one side, observing his brother. “One for each of us? This is turning out to be a good day after all.” He stands up, yawning as he stretches his arms over his head. “I’ve got dibs on the dead man.”

    “Of course you do. I’ve got a lead, says they might have made their way to Kordros.” Ferrus leans over and shoves him none too gently in the shoulder. “You’re welcome for the distraction, by the way.”

    A trace of that earlier rage curls up in the back of his throat, but he plasters on a smile. “Where would I be without you, brother?”


    He lands on the rocks adjacent to her, taking care not to slip as he pivots to face her. She could maybe leap to the cliff above, but the rocks are slick, and he’d be right behind her anyway. Even if she does technically have the high ground, it’s not the greatest defensive position. And she has to remember how quickly he overpowered her the last time they fought.

    He jumps across the gap to join her on her perch. The flat, slippery surface is less than three meters across, and they are surrounded on nearly all sides by mounds of rock. She looks over her shoulder at the cliff, at the rocks, then raises her lightsaber between them, grim determination set in her slim face. Here, again, would be the perfect moment to put her off balance with a remark about her weak fighting style or how much he’s been looking forward to a rematch; but he still can’t get the words past his throat. His heart is racing. Too fast, he thinks.

    She moves first, slashing up from her hip, and he counters swiftly. Leans into her blade and grins at her through the sparking, hissing beams of light. They break apart and come together again, sabers battering each other, an echo of waves pummeling rock below. She’s gotten better, that’s for sure. No longer the timid, frightened girl he defeated on Vjun. There’s still fear in her – fear of him and what he’ll do to her if he wins – but there’s also a confidence that wasn’t there before. He wonders how her lips would feel against his.

    That sick feeling in his stomach again, a voice that whispers weakness and shame and distraction. He grinds those thoughts out of his head and presses his attack, aware that they are both very close to the edge of the rock.

    He sees the opening before she even creates it, blazing out at him in the Force like a target directly over her heart. In three moves he will disarm her, send her lightsaber flying far from her grasp; and before she can spring away from him to retrieve it, he will bury the crimson blade in her chest. Be rid of her storm-gray eyes and her sun-fire hair and her soft voice and her mercy, forever and ever.

    He catches her lightsaber against his, and this is the moment, where he will roll his wrists and snap them up, tear the weapon from her hands and end this, end her. He stares across the blades, into those eyes reflecting sky and sea, and then Darth Festus does something he hasn’t done in years.

    He hesitates.

    She shoves back at him, sending him tumbling from the rock, crashing hard to the sand below. He gasps at the impact, swallowing seawater as the surf smashes into him and tries to drag him away from the shore. When he finally pulls himself to his knees and looks up at the rocks above, she is already gone.

    He digs his fingers into the wet sand, realizing as he does that it isn’t exactly rage he feels. He’s not sure what it is, really. It sits heavy in his chest, filling the usual void in a way he’s never experienced.

    —don’t be weak, what are you doing, you can’t be weak—

    He hates her. He knows he hates her.

    Another voice in his head, not his own this time, but one that is just as familiar to him. One that he hasn’t heard out loud in three years, though it still whispers to him in his nightmares.

    My dear, dear boy,
    he hears the doctor say. Whatever else you do, don’t lie to yourself.

    The waves shatter against him and around him, and all he can think is that they never said a word to each other, and wouldn’t it have been nice to hear her voice one more time?

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  2. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002


    This is a fantastic combination of psychology, ordinary infatuation (or more? Hard to say with Festus, since he hasn't got the faintest idea himself) mixed with bone-deep, survival mechanism dysfunction. Plus poetically expressed!

    I mean, honestly, this section is enough to make you feel sorry for the creepy murdery boy. He wasn't like Anakin or Jacen, choosing the dark side - he was a tortured kid trying to survive. He quite literally doesn't even understand what normal emotions are anymore.

    Where did you even come up with this, it's gorgeous [face_love] The depth of history and psychology and emotion covered in all of three sentences, then back down to earth with a thump because Festus cannot possibly handle any sort of conscious analysis of what that thought really means.

    I can see it ;)

    This cracks me up, because it's such a normal sibling interaction, dialed up to Sith-level :p

    Again, you actually feel sorry for him here, because he really doesn't have anything for himself (or anything normal, even) and he's so messed up that he honestly thinks that anything worth having is a weakness to be avoided at all costs. Also, brilliant description of his anger and a reminder that his reserve is a very deliberate thing that he chose to create and now probably doesn't know how to let go of even if he wanted to.

    The depth of this boy's emotional damage...

    And yet he is genuinely warped and dangerous, however much the genesis of that transformation was forced upon him rather than chosen.

    Does it make me an awful person to side-eye Ferrus most of the time and wonder just why Festus endured so much to protect him? Dude's a jerk, even for a Sith o_O

    Again, this is just a beautiful passage. Your use of language is simply gorgeous throughout. I also like your description of his perception of the Force, and the way you make it clear that all the things Festus loves (or thinks he loves) about her are also the things coded as "weakness" in his psyche and thus what he tells himself he hates about her to hide from the truth, without ever being so pedestrian as to state any of that outright. Just the epitome of showing rather than telling, the whole thing.

    Ouch. But as far as narrative craftsmanship? I love it [face_love]

    It's often hard to find exactly the right way to end a fic, but you did it. Absolutely a perfect closing line. The whole thing is art on par with the sonnet that inspired it, if you ask me. (Fight me, Pablo Neruda!) Such a wildly talented whippersnapper you are [face_love]
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Marvelous response to the challenge and lyrical, compelling use of the quote. =D=
    ViariSkywalker likes this.
  4. GregMcP

    GregMcP Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 7, 2015
    So damn dramatic!
    I loved it.
  5. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Force Ghost star 4

    Aug 9, 2002
    @Gabri_Jade [:D]
    I KNOW, RIGHT?! Pretty sure this paragraph and the one before it were the very first ones I wrote. And now you know why I freaked myself out a little when I started writing this! Also, I’d never actually written from Festus’s POV, post-Sith transformation. Yikes.

    It’s like we’ve talked about before – how would he even begin to understand any feelings like that when he’s barely (never?) had any kind of context for them and also spent such a long time hyper-focused on survival at any cost? And you’re right, it could be more than infatuation, but would he even know the difference at this point? It’s a mess. I’m glad you found it poetic, though. :p

    His life has been so damn bleak. :( It’s been really interesting – and challenging – writing him as opposed to writing Anakin or Jacen. I still love writing those two, and writing Jacen in particular is its own brand of challenging. But Festus’s pain and denial is so intense, it can be hard to interact with his POV on a creative level. Kind of reminds me of how I felt reading Traitor the first time. And the second time. Okay, all the times. :p (Dang Stover)

    [face_blush] It came from my brain? [face_batting]:p Seriously though, I love that you love it! There ended up being a lot more beauty in this vig than I anticipated when I began writing it. (Not that I ever meant to make it ugly, but you know... it’s Festus.) There’s definitely a sort of reverence in the way he observes Allana (even as he’s swearing he hates her) that seems less like what you’d expect from a brutal Sith Lord and maybe more like what you’d expect from that kid who loved to read and who spent more time studying the world and people around him than he did interacting with them. It’s enough to make you wonder if there might not be the teeny tiniest glimmer of Dorian left inside this sad, creepy, murdery Sith Lord, albeit buried very, very deep. [face_thinking]

    Yay! Success! [face_dancing]

    It really is. :p That’s always been one of the fun things about writing these ridiculous Sith twins, how relatively normal their interactions with each other will seem even while their interactions with everyone else are terrifying. And I kind of imagine them being somewhat of a riddle to the other Sith as well, who don’t really understand that sibling bond. [face_thinking]

    You know what I just realized? The first time I ever introduced these two, in EtF, Festus threw a datapad at Ferrus’s head. [face_laugh]

    I mean, he literally sacrificed his body and his sanity for his brother. He really doesn’t have anything that’s his own, at least not in any meaningful way. And at this point, he doesn’t even have the master he was so devoted to, the person who gave him purpose and filled that void inside him. So I guess, in a way, he’s back to where he was before he took on the mantle of Darth Festus. Only he’s worse off now, because he’s still got that dramatic persona that he developed for himself during his time as a Sith apprentice, where he really leans into the crazy. And while he did start to let his mental wall down more around Ferrus once his time with the doctor ended, I can see him relying on it more and more now that they’re on their own, and he doesn’t have the “safety” his master provided. I think it’s safe to say he rarely lets that wall down now, even with his twin.

    He really can’t have a single, decent thought without it getting all twisted up inside him, can he?

    Oh, absolutely. And going back to TLotD and that void inside him: the only thing – besides Krayt – that ever filled that emptiness was taking a life (his own way of taking back some control of his own life? And also the thing that ultimately freed him from his torture?) So maybe it’s not a surprise that now – without his master to center or direct him – he turns to a job that allows him to kill. To be honest, when he shows up in EtF, he’s probably only ever killed a few other trainees/rivals, likely ones that were also trying to kill him. He and Ferrus mostly served as babysitters on Vjun. Which is a large part of why he was so excited to fight Allana back then, since she was an actual Jedi as well as a proxy for Ben, who he blamed for abandoning him. But I think it’s only after EtF that he really comes into his own as a killer. He’s pretty well screwed up.

    Nope, you can side-eye him all you want. I know I do. o_O Honestly, it probably says way more about Dorian’s character than it does about Veeran’s, that he sacrificed so much for him. Not to say that Ferrus couldn’t have turned out good, had things gone differently. And I do think Ferrus cares about his brother in his own way and thinks he’s looking out for his best interests here. He’s just a real jerk about it. :p

    [face_blush][face_blush] Aw, thanks, Gabri! This might have been my favorite section. [face_love] It was certainly the part I had in mind from the beginning. I love that everything I put into this, you understood, without me needing to spell it all out. That is so gratifying for me as a writer, and a feeling I know you’re familiar with. ;)

    Is it weird/conceited to admit that every time I reread that line, where he’s listing off those things he hates (loves) about her, it hurts? Just the saddest mixture of longing and self-loathing and denial, and I feel it every time. =((

    I also became really drawn to the idea that Allana wins this duel not necessarily because she’s improved her lightsaber skills, but because Festus hesitates – and he hesitates because of who she is. Someone who truly values life, who valued his life enough to defend it. Sure, she’s a beautiful girl, but that’s not why he can’t get her out of his head. So even though Allana’s skills have improved, it’s her heart that saves her here, without her even realizing it. And I just think that’s really beautiful, and for me it reinforces the idea that Force power and tricks and swordsmanship are not the be-all and end-all of being a Jedi.

    Ugh, these characters. I have a lot of feelings, clearly. :p

    You don’t even know how delighted I was when I realized I could slip in that line from TLotD and have it work so flawlessly. [face_mischief] I mean, it was cruel, obviously. But so perfect.

    And to think I almost ended it with the doctor’s line. :p But then I thought that was too depressing, and I wanted to end it with something, I don’t know, not hopeful exactly, but maybe contemplative? Something quiet, rather than disturbing. I’m so glad it worked.

    It still has me giddy that you enjoyed this so much. [face_love] As always, thank you for all your wonderful support and feedback, especially whenever I’m dealing with such a complicated mess of a character. [:D]

    (Not sure I qualify as a whippersnapper anymore, but you’re very sweet to say so. [face_batting])

    Thank you very much! I enjoyed writing for this challenge quite a lot! :D

    Festus is definitely dramatic, lol! [face_laugh] So glad to hear you liked it, and thank you for reading! :)
  6. Mira_Jade

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

    Jun 29, 2004
    I. LOVED. This.

    So, you already know that I am sooooo on the Festus garbage train. He just fascinates me as a creature born of his circumstances, forged from the animalistic instinct to survival the horrors of his youth, but also a villain who has made and continues to make such horrible life decisions that now bring pain to other innocents. This vignette really painted a clear picture of how far he's really fallenl he just doesn't know how to process or feel basic human emotions anymore. Especially positive ones. Anything good, like happiness or attraction or love, is a weakness that could have spelled death for him or his brother, and that weakness had to be squashed at all cost. Now, here he is. =((

    Also, what an amazing sonnet to work from! Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets ever, and this was an absolute gem of inspiration. :D

    And, in particular, I enjoyed . . .

    Ya know, I have to echo Gabri with the creepy, Stalkeriest Stalker who ever Stalked vibe. This is . . . well, it's in no way heathy or well adjusted, that's for sure, but, really what else is Festus capable of? He's processing his emotions in the only way he can. (And I am so intrigued by the potential of this pairing now, especially with the sequel and AU ideas you mentioned. ;))

    The dysfunction in how he interprets such a natural human emotion as a weakness, again - here and throughout the story - is just so spot-on tragic and chilling, again. Like was said above, he's no Anakin or Jacen who chose the Dark - or, yikes, a Kylo Ren who actively searched out and embraced the Dark (ew, but I can't understand why he's such a fan fave, but this is not the place for a ST rant) - but he still very much is a creature of the Dark Side, through and through.

    Gorgeous imagery is gorgeous!!!

    Really, this entire vignette had such a poetic beauty to its prose that was worthy of Neruda himself, but this passage in particular really stood out to me. Talk about A+ use of symbolism, there. Your subtle 'show' rather than 'tell' nuances in characterization really showed off here in spades. =D=

    What a vivid description of his rage! I almost wanted to say that it was a beautiful portrayal, except that it's not; it's ugly and fetid and rotting. But, this just perfectly encompasses what Dorian has turned into after all these years with just a few well choosen words.


    Wow, but there is so much to unpack here. Where do I even begin? One, I appreciated how Festus and Ferrus were just such siblings here, even if they are, you know, super evil chaos twins of evil. There's still that playfulness and teasing and annoyance of brothers - just amped up to an almost uncomfortably intense level. Then, for the sheer blood-lust in this passage, it really hammers home that while these boys are victims who've done what they've had to in order to survive, they still are incredibly dangerous villains, not to be taken lightly. I don't know how you've done it, but I really pity Festus and want some sort of ultimate peace for him while also being disturbed and able to admit that he's a character who's made choices that don't necessarily deserve redemption, no matter the circumstances of his origin. Which is really the mark of a well developed and powerfully portrayed character. :p

    Also: what you mentioned about Festus and Ferrus kinda being a fun-house mirror of Loki and Thor? I could totally hear Tom Hiddleston voicing that line in my head, all unwittingly. You're too right! [face_laugh] :p

    Again, your short, succinct sentences intermixed with your longer descriptions just packs such a punch. I love it. :D

    So much more to unpack here too. [face_hypnotized] Oh, what an awful mess all around . . .

    I love how, all throughout, you used the imagery of the waves crashing and falling and rising as a metaphor for Festus and Allana. Your prose was gorgeous, and I could perfectly envision every movement of this scene. There's still that little bit of Dorian here in that last line - in Festus' hesitation to land a killing blow - and that just ends this on such a heartbreaking, poignant note that echoed well beyond the final words.

    Really, truly well done with this piece! This was as intense as they come, and I'm now even more intrigued to finish catching up on EtF so that I can better enjoy this and any further stories in this 'verse. Five stars outta five, hands down. =D= [:D]
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2020
  7. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Force Ghost star 4

    Aug 9, 2002
    I was wondering if you’d end up reading this right now, since it takes place after EtF – so I did a happy dance when I saw you liked it and an even happier dance when you left your review! And I’m so glad you love it! [face_dancing]

    Festus really is seriously damaged. It makes sense after everything he went through, but it’s still disturbing, and it makes it a challenge trying to engage with his thought process. But I do like challenges, apparently. ;)

    Also, "Festus garbage train" [face_laugh]

    I confess, I don’t know that I’d ever read Pablo Neruda before this, but it was such a great sonnet! I went into this challenge wanting to write this particular pairing, knowing that it might be nigh impossible and I might have to choose a pairing with an actual romantic relationship – and then I received my quote. And I was like “hmm, yes, I think we have something here…” And I looked up the full sonnet, and I thought “oh yes, I’ve really got something here…” And as with TLotD, the whole thing sort of popped into my head almost fully formed, and I wrote it in like two days, and I love it so much, Mira. [face_love]

    It seems so strange to rationalize a behavior that we all know is wrong, but yeah, he really doesn’t know what the hell he is doing. He was ten when he was kidnapped, and he has almost zero context for how to behave or act upon any kind of attraction. What are the odds that any of those Sith Lords ever had “the talk” with these kids? When you combine that with the severity of Festus’s psychological and physical trauma, it makes sense that this is how he would respond to these kinds of feelings. Still creepy, though!

    Like I was telling Gabri, those were pretty much the first lines I wrote for this, and as I went on, I started wondering if this was all going to be a little much, you know? Ultimately it all worked out better than I could have hoped, but whew, was I worried there for a little while. This was my first time writing from Festus’s POV after his Sith transformation, if you can believe it. I’d always avoided his POV in EtF, in part because I thought it might be too disturbing, and also, I think, to preserve some of the mystery surrounding his character.

    Girl, you and me both. I’ll be honest, the idea of this pairing, even as a one-sided thing, was never even a glimmer in my eye when I was first writing EtF, not even when I was writing the first – and so far, only – scene they’ve shared in that story (not including chapters I have yet to post). But somehow it developed into this sad, creepy, one-sided thing, and I don’t know. Maybe there’s more story to be told here. [face_whistling]

    Right? His whole past is just a mess of impossible choices, but he still embraced the darkness when it was offered to him, and he continues to embrace it even when no one forces him to. Though he’s so dysfunctional at this point, he might not know how to give up that side of him even if he wanted to. (And I’m not saying he wants to, either.)

    I’m also not saying I have better ideas than the pros, but can you imagine if we’d gotten a character like Festus in the ST instead of… you know. And I give all credit to Adam Driver’s acting ability for that character’s popularity and zero credit to the character as written/created… wait, what do you mean we shouldn’t rant about the ST here?

    A wise friend once told me: “Canon is what I say it is.” :p

    [face_blush] I really didn’t expect to include so much actual beauty in this vig, but maybe that was inevitable with Allana being the focus of Festus’s attention here. Over the course of writing EtF (and beyond) I’ve really come to love her character. (Admittedly, it’s my version of the character, the person I imagine Jacen and Tenel Ka’s daughter to be, but still as real to me as Jacen himself.) I can really see her being this radiant presence, without even realizing it. She really lent herself to being written about in a romantic, reverent light.

    And just like when he was a kid, Festus criticizes his own thoughts, especially anything that comes too close to reflecting something he yearns for deep down – or perhaps comes too close to the kinds of thoughts he would have had in a saner version of his life.

    I’m glad you liked this part! For all that Festus usually comes across as the calm, calculating twin, I’ve always seen his rage as being more explosive and intense and feral than his brother’s.

    “Super evil chaos twins of evil” is the most apt description of these two that I can think of. [face_laugh] It’s always been important to me that these two relate to each other as normal brothers would, even though they are quite the opposite of normal. That’s not to say that their relationship is perfect or that they’re always the best of friends. I don’t think they’re the kind of twins we’re used to seeing in stories, those super-connected, finish-each-other’s-sentence twins who have been best friends their entire lives… but then, they haven’t not been those things, in a way. That’s really been an interesting challenge for me, writing all the ways their sibling/twin bond has waxed and waned over the years, while showing that at their core, they still relate to each other in much the same way they did when they were kids.

    I can’t express how thrilled I am that you feel this way. [face_blush] This character has come such a long way since I started writing him. I’ve continually been amazed at how many layers of detail and nuance I’ve been able to add to him, without having to go back and change any details previously written. (Continuity, yay!)

    ;) You’re welcome.

    One of those things where I can’t always articulate why I make certain artistic/writing choices, but I’m always glad to hear that they work! :D

    The doctor really is like this ever-present shadow looming over Festus, relentless and inescapable, no matter how much time and distance there is between them. :(

    This might have been my favorite setting I’ve ever written, honestly. There are just so many amazing words that exist in connection to beaches and storms, and it made it really easy to keep things moving without getting repetitive. As I was reading the sonnet, I was so struck by the imagery of waves rolling in and crashing against the rocks… and I thought, well, what would that look like when you have a Sith Lord pining after a Jedi Knight? Stormy, for sure, but maybe more like that short period of time before the storm makes landfall, when you can feel the pressure change in the air, and it’s just cold and gray and tumultuous. It came together so perfectly in my mind, and I could see everything, so I’m glad I was able to convey all the movement of the scene. :D

    I still have so many feelings about these characters. Seriously, I could probably go on and on. (I won’t, at least not here.:p) But I’m so glad you saw that tiny shred of Dorian in Festus. And maybe that’s all it will ever be… I guess we’ll have to see. [face_thinking][face_batting]

    Thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful comments! I’m really just thrilled that you loved it! [:D]
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
    Gabri_Jade and Mira_Jade like this.
  8. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Hi, I came here to read this so I could read and review your latest drabble set, because everything is connected. [gif of the conspiracy theory guy at the whiteboard]

    Also I love Neruda. <3 Also also I just wanted you to know that I clicked over here from the WR thread read/review and you mentioned this was only 2k words and I was like, "oh, I can read that and review it relatively quickly" but your writing is so dense and poetic and has so many layers that I need to dig into and it's altogether possible I'm going to ramble out an essay that's longer than the actual fic. Also also also I just love me some Sith with intense and yet somehow beautiful emotional damage, let's take a minute to enjoy this thing that we both enjoy together.

    A universal truth, surely.

    Gah this is just such a lovely and cinematic description.

    OH THIS BOY. A sensation he doesn't name, but we can name for him - or guess at, because the reader has a higher EQ than our narrator. =(( And that our narrator has trained himself to instinctively and immediately push away these feelings and deny them and see them as weakness. This poor broken child.

    I love that little call-out of himself? The soaring prose, and then yanked right back down to earth by Festus' self-recrimination.

    Gorgeous and evocative description of this emotion, and so reminiscent of the sonnet and the watery, beachy setting.

    I know that Festus is the brains of the operation and Ferrus is the brawn, but that's a clever and also somewhat Sithy mean way to get him to get him to reveal a little something about himself that he didn't intend, Ferrus, well played. :p You write their brotherly interactions so well; that they're the only thing the other one has, and they love each other and they depend on each other but also they hate it and they don't know how to love each other but they still do their best even though they'd never put it like that. Ah, siblings.

    Ah, siblings, again. So normal, and yet also Sithy. And Ferrus seeing that his brother has this infatuation and having similar emotional damages and trying to protect his brother from this, sorta, in his own way, in the only way he knows how, which is a messed up way, but that's all they know.

    I snorted. And yet, also - great tactical insight and description in the detail of the fight setting, and the slippery rocks.

    This whole wordless interaction between them, when there's so much to be said. He can't bring himself to taunt her! He can't even put on his crazy evil Sith lord mask around her! Beautiful.

    Lovely fight description and - then you just slip that little sentence in there. It sneaks up on me as the reader, the same way it seemingly sneaks up on Festus. Perfect.

    I think that's the closest he's come to admitting something to himself during this whole story, and of course that instinctive denial and retreat. So much emotional damage on this child. :_|

    I don't have anything insightful to say here, but it's just so pretty.

    Vi, I love how you write the Sith :p and how this kriffed up doctor is just so perfect in his vileness, and how well and how thoroughly he's broken this child - I don't think (but I also haven't finished reading all the connected stories) you expand on whether or not he does this emotional damage on purpose or if it's actually all just a nice afterthought and consolation prize in his experimentation, but he couldn't have done it more thoroughly if he tried. I love that ambiguity - because, like, we all know that Sidious meant to do it. But did the good doctor intend this, or was it just a happy accident? The way he trained Dorian to keep embracing the Dark even when there's nothing to spur him to it, trained him to see positive feelings and emotions as weak. It's all so gorgeous perfect terrible and bleak.

    And then how you cut off his inner monologue by ending the vig before he could have a chance to call this thought weak, and I love it for that. That the beauty got the last word in edgewise.

    I chortled. :p

    OMG I see it. [face_hypnotized]

    VI. VI VI VI VI VI VI. Crocodile Festus. He'd be so bitey and so feisty.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2022
  9. vader_incarnate

    vader_incarnate Force Ghost star 4

    Jul 29, 2002
    Hi I had more thoughts, and -

    This whole mental space of, "I think I’m a horrible evil person so I’m going to do horrible evil **** to prove that I’m a horrible evil person." It's like finding an ant on the counter so you just decide to fire a missile into your house.

    And in some ways it's like, if he keeps getting lower, if he keeps doing worse ... he never has to confront where he is - that his life is an on-fire garbage can, that his existence is endless misery. You never have to confront how awful you are if you just keep getting worse.

    And it's - clinical depression in a nutshell. And also just a fantastic testament to how well the Sith broke him.

    And aaah, Vi, I have so many thoughts -