Transcription June 30, 2012

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Well, since I’m stuck with everything else I was doing, I thought you all might like to see this. It started out as a drabble, and now it’s about 300 words… I tried to make it canon-compliant, but I may not have succeeded… anyway, enjoy, and please tell me what you think! :-)

Transcription: June 30, 2012

TOP SECRET. These files are the property of S.H.I.E.L.D. Unauthorized users will be prosecuted.

*Scratches and white noise* (NOTE TO AGENT HILL: Recording equipment unreliable. Request replacement.)

(AGENT LONSLEY) Describe the crash.

(CAPT. ROGERS) All I remember is a lot of white being thrown up. Looking back on it, I’m surprised the plane didn’t shake itself to pieces…

(AGENT LONSLEY) No, I didn’t mean that… How did you feel? What did you think?

(CAPT. ROGERS) Oh. *rustling and creak* It was very quick. I don’t even really remember the impact at all. I wasn’t afraid, if that’s what you meant. After all, dying doesn’t hurt. *slow inhalation* I hadn’t thought about it.

(AGENT LONSLEY) Well, this is supposed to be a therapy session.

(CAPT. ROGERS) Therapy. Is that one of your new inventions? *Agent Lonsley laughing* Actually, I think I’ve thought more about why people make the choices they do. And maybe they’re influenced by what’s in their past, but they’re influenced more strongly by what’s inside them. For instance, I don’t think Johann Schmidt ever really understood why he was doing what he chose to do. He never knew who he was. Perhaps he thought he did, but he didn’t choose to be the person he could have been. He saw what he was doing as inevitable, as something… predestined. And I don’t claim to understand him, much less pardon him, but he… well, he never made that choice.

(AGENT LONSLEY) So you don’t… feel any hatred toward him?

(CAPT. ROGERS) No. Hate is too wasteful. It eats up time and energy that could be devoted to something more useful. Hate is for people who don’t understand what they’re fighting for.

(AGENT LONSLEY) What else? Is there anything you’d like to talk about? Anyone you miss in particular.

(CAPT. ROGERS) No. Not *clearing throat* Not in particular. It hasn’t all sunk in yet. It’ll probably hurt like the dickens later on. Right now, I’m fine, and I’ll worry about the bridges when I come to them.

(AGENT LONSLEY) Well, I guess we’ll wait for the bridges to come up, then. *squeaking and grating* It was great to talk to you, Captain.

END TRANSCRIPTION

The above has been recorded as an addition to the psychological section of the medical file of Captain Steven Rogers (code named ‘Captain America’). As such it is purely confidential. DO NOT COPY THIS MATERIAL. Violators will be prosecuted.

*****PROPERTY OF S.H.I.E.L.D.*****

*****DO NOT REPRODUCE THIS FILE*****

Reasons Why I Loved “Captain America: The First Avenger”

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Hello, dear readers, and sorry about the absence. I really shouldn’t have an excuse and if I do have one, it’s 1) college, 2) rough transfers, and 3) poor time management. So, really my fault this time, and I hope you enjoy the post.

Now, on to the point! I’ve probably told everyone about how I saw Captain America: The First Avenger on Sunday and absolutely loved it. I’ll probably review it once I have the chance to see it twice (I make it a rule not to review anything until the second watching, for obvious reasons; not that the second watch often changes my initial opinion), but for now I’m making a list of reasons why I loved it and why you should go see it if you haven’t yet. ;-) So, without further ado (and in no particular order):

  1. Because underdogs. Everyone cheers for an underdog in a story, though it’s sometimes different in real life (because people in real life want to be on the winning side. Why else would Italy change sides halfway through WWII?) But more than just having an underdog-becomes-awesome story, The First Avenger also gives us a few reasons why it’s an underdog story. Because, as the nice scientist whose name I can’t remember states, a weak man appreciates what strength can do and, if his heart is in the right place, he won’t misuse it.
  2. It has a good portrayal of hero vs. villain. Rather than having all Germans be the bad guys, it is a German scientist who didn’t agree with Hitler (they don’t mention anything about him being Jewish, which in my opinion adds to the character dynamic) and fled the country who first sees something in the young Steven Rogers. Also, to be historically accurate, there were cowardly followers and Nazis who were the spawn of darkness (because. They were.) If this movie lacked anything, it was the nice Goring brother. :-P (Yes, Herman Goring had a brother who could not agree less with his philosophy! Look it up! ;-) )
  3. Patriotism. And what’s more, a balanced portrayal of patriotism vs. nationalism. The Nazis were not patriotic. They were nationalistic. And the guys who repeatedly talk about killing Nazis? They’re nationalistic, too. Also ethnocentrist, but that’s occasionally justified. Steve just wants to get out there and fight for his country. And he’s not just fighting for his country, but he’s fighting for an ideal, which is basically what patriotism is and why patriotism is a Christian virtue. There have always been Americans who were also America-haters out there, but Steve puts these guys to shame. He’s not just fighting for his country. He’s fighting so that Nazi Germany can’t enslave more places (which is also technically ethnocentric, but this is one of ethnocentrism’s proper places, since the Nazi “ideal” was wholly evil.) He’s fighting for those back home. He’s fighting for those who can’t fight, too–especially since, at first, he was one of those.
  4. This brings me to reason #4. Here we have a guy in the public spotlight after becoming a folk hero, being used as an advertising gimmick. Basically, he has attention, but he doesn’t want it. We know that he really hates this and only goes along with it because it’s for the war effort. He really wants to be over there with the soldiers who are fighting and dying. He’s a symbol, and he never particularly wanted to be one. He’s also bad at keeping up the troops’ morale (when he’s not on the field). Yet, when he gets the chance to fight, he’s not disobeying the people higher up until his friend’s life is at stake.
  5. This movie is pretty darn funny! It’s great to watch, has humor, and can make you cry in places. It’s pretty well-balanced, in my opinion.
  6. The protagonist feels pretty helpless around girls. :-P I think it’s charming, and pretty funny, but it does lead to some awkward moments. Basically what I’m trying to say here is he’s not a flirt, which in my opinion is the bane of the new Spiderman movies.
  7. Steve is really against violence. This is made, in my opinion, pretty clear when he makes the distinction between fighting for his country and killing Nazis. Not only is he against violence, but he also understands that sometimes–sometimes–violence is the only way to protect yourself, your friends, and your country. Also, in this occasion, he’s protecting others around the world from being overrun by Nazi Germany. (I believe C.S. Lewis made the point why he wasn’t a pacifist, and that’s what I’m talking about here.)
  8. Last, but certainly not least, he has a shield. No, I’m not going to rave about superhero weaponry… okay. Maybe a little bit. Because you’ve got to admit, that buckler of his is pretty darn cool. It operates on a similar principle to a bulletproof vest, for goodness’ sake! Anyway, though a shield can be used as a weapon (thank you, Roughnut and Toughnut, for that marvelous exhibition), it’s primarily a defensive one. You use it to keep arrows, pikes, lances, and swords (and in this case, bullets and knives) from hitting you. Though it can be thrown like a discus, the edges aren’t sharp like the edges of Racketty Tam MacBurl’s buckler, so it’s mainly used to stun rather than to kill. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi choosing to use Soresu rather than Ataru later in life, Captain America’s fighting style and weaponry are the ultimate statement of his life philosophy. Be ready to defend yourself when necessary; do not attack when not provoked. As Obi-Wan puts it, “There are alternatives to fighting.”

(More about the shield. Apparently, rather than hardening up to absorb impacts, thus spreading the impact around a larger area, like a bulletproof vest or liquid armor do, vibranium actually absorbs the kinetic energy of anything coming at it, keeping shock waves running through the shield virtually nil. For instance, if the shield were somehow merely hard enough to stop bullets and other objects at high velocity from penetrating it, the vibrations throughout the shield would be enough to actually break the bones in Cap’s arm and hand. However, since vibranium actually absorbs those shock waves, this is not a problem at all. This is one incidence in which I will not question Marvel pseudo-science, because though this has not theoretically been proven possible yet, it pushes the boundaries and is innovative, like good science fiction should be. I will, however, question the portrayal–if vibranium really absorbs all the kinetic energy, then why do things make noise when they hit it? And why does Steve sometimes stagger backward upon an impact? I know this is to make it look realistic in the film, but it does call the physics into question a little bit, doesn’t it?!)

The one thing that I did not particularly care for was the wording that the scientist uses to describe what happens to the personalities of those who receive the serum he created. Though I suppose we could attribute it to English being (probably) his second language. :-P I don’t think the serum actually changes someone’s personality, per se. It merely underscores, magnifies, or works on what is already there. It gives a good man the opportunity to do great things, and gives a bad man the power to do worse evil. I don’t think it changes people’s personalities. In my experience, most of the time it’s only time and circumstances to do that, and with the serum, time is a factor that doesn’t really play in, since the transformation is relatively quick.

So there you have it, a quick critique and a short post on theoretic science all in one. ;-P

That much said, go watch the movie! :-P

Gordimer’s Law Now Has An Antithesis!

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I was bored on Nanowrimo.

So were a lot of other people.

We were all waiting for the site wipe, which is supposed to happen October 1st but still has not yet occurred.

Anyway, we discovered the antithesis to Gordimer’s Law!

Gordimer’s law states that any discussion on the Internet that goes on long enough will eventually break down into people calling each other Nazis. (I’m not kidding.)

Its antithesis (I would suggest Remidrog’s Law for a name) states that:

Any discussion on the Internet in which the contributors are bored enough will resolve itself into either tea parties or rolelay. (Or both.)

Enjoy the madness! :-P

When Can I See You Again? (Song fic, multi-fandom)

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Here it is, darling readers, my first multi-fandom song fic!

I’ve done enough depressing stuff recently, so I thought I’d do something happy and fun and upbeat for a change. And I used “When Can I see You Again” by Owl City (from Wreck-it Ralph) because I liked it better than “Here’s To Never Growing Up” and I LIKE IT OKAY. :-P Just one thing: This isn’t intended to be romantic (though I do have John and Mary and Obi-Wan and Siri in it…) It’s mostly just for fun.

So, why Jack Frost and Jamie, Obi-Wan and Siri, and Sherlock and John? Well… this song fits Jack Frost, and I thought it would be fun to have Obi-Wan and Siri just be teenagers for once, and I’m STILL dealing with the Season Three mood swings from Sherlock. Please, don’t ask me what and why and when. It’s artistic license. :-P Also, I love these adorable kids. Do I really need a better reason…?

Anyway, enjoy the song fic! :-D


When Can I See You Again?

When can we do this again?

When can I see you again?

                Jack leaped to the sky, waving goodbye to Jamie. There were other places he had to visit, other children to protect, but Jamie would always have a special place in his heart.

When can we do this again?

When can I see you again?

                Obi-Wan dashed down the alleyway, laughing so hard he could scarcely stand upright. Garen dashed after him. “Come back here, you villain!” he shouted dramatically.

“Not on your life!” Obi-Wan shouted back, still laughing. He leaped sideways and ducked under the edge of a building, flattening himself against the wall and trying his hardest to stifle his chuckles before Garen caught him. A hand grasped his shoulder, and he looked sharply over. Siri was standing right next to him, trying with equal fervor to silence her own amusement.

When can we do this again?

When can I see you again?

                Sherlock and John dashed down an alleyway, and their pursuers rushed by. “If you girls are done playing, the case is waiting,” Lestrade shouted them. John almost laughed around.

“This was fun,” he said. Sherlock seemed surprised to find himself nodding.

Switch on the sky and the stars glow for you

Go see the world ‘cause it’s all so brand new

Don’t close your eyes ‘cause your future’s ready to shine

It’s just a matter of time, before we learn how to fly

Welcome to the rhythm of the night

There’s something in the air you can’t deny

                Jack chased the wind, with Sandy beside him. “I’d forgotten how much fun this is!” he shouted over the wind. Sandy grinned widely. Suddenly, the Sandman’s eyes widened and he pointed down.

Jack stared down, shouting aloud in joy and wonder at the sight of the majestic waterfall below them. They raced over the peaks of mountains, flying as fast as a heartbeat.

They chased the northern lights, toward the sunset, watching as the sky turned to night, sprinkled with countless stars.

It’s been fun but now I’ve got to go

Life is way too short to take it slow

But before I go and hit the road

I gotta know, ‘til then,

When can we do this again?

Oh oh oh oh

When can I see you again?

Oh oh oh oh

When can we do this again?

Oh oh oh oh

I gotta know, when can I see you again?

                “We should do this again sometime,” John smiled. Sherlock smiled back. It felt surprisingly good to see a smile on the former army doctor’s face. He hadn’t even been aware that it had been missing, but it felt so right, now.

Donovan might frown and shake her head behind their backs, but Lestrade shut her up. Who cared what Mycroft thought?

Caring might be a disadvantage, but it was one that he would be glad to assume.

When can I see you again?

                Jack gripped Jamie by the hand. “Come on, you have to see this!”

Scraping the sky, Jamie laughed with exhilaration. He wasn’t afraid at all; he trusted Jack. “Wow!”

Joined at the hip, yeah your sidekick needs you

Life is a trip down the road that leads you

Look all around at all the mountains you haven’t climbed

It’s just a matter of time, before we learn how to fly

Welcome to the rhythm of the night

There’s something in the air you can’t deny

                Obi-Wan smiled up at Qui-Gon. “I was wrong. This was a great idea.” Qui-Gon gave him a silly smirk.

“I told you so, my young apprentice. I am never wrong.” They fell around the hotel room, laughing. It just felt so good to relax like this after so long. “What shall we do next, Padawan?” Qui-Gon asked. Obi-Wan smiled.

“Let’s go find out where Master Adi and Siri are staying and… I don’t know. Maybe just go visit the Old Market?” Qui-Gon grinned.

“That sounds like a good idea, Padawan mine.”

It’s been fun but now I’ve got to go

Life is way too short to take it slow

But before I go and hit the road

I gotta know, ‘til then,

When can we do this again?

Oh oh oh oh

When can I see you again?

Oh oh oh oh

When can we do this again?

Oh oh oh oh

I gotta know,

When can I see you again?

                Sherlock gripped John by the shoulders. “Listen to me. Listen to me, John. I’m back now. I won’t leave again. I promise you.” John took a deep breath.

“Mary, what do you think?” Mary Morstan smiled.

“I think you have incredible friends,” she said. At last, John smiled back. Mary slung her arms around their shoulders. “We should do this again.” To John’s incredulous snort and Sherlock’s “What!”, she replied, “No, not the whole faking deaths thing. I mean, just going out and solving a mystery together, the three of us.”

“You’re right,” said Sherlock.

“We should do this again,” John finished for him.

Don’t close your eyes ‘cause your future’s ready to shine

It’s just a matter of time, before we learn how to fly

Welcome to the rhythm of the night

There’s something in the air you can’t deny

So let me know before I wave goodbye

                “Come on, Kenobi!” Siri gripped Obi-Wan’s arm and dragged him out onto the dance floor.

“Siri, no—”

“Don’t be such a stick in the mud!” Siri laughed, her hair flying in time to the music. Obi-Wan made one last, abortive attempt to escape. Siri recaptured him easily. Obi-Wan glanced pleadingly at the two masters, who were standing by the edge of the square. Qui-Gon made a shooing motion at him, grinning from ear to ear. Obi-Wan made a face at him. Master Gallia was laughing. A moment later, Qui-Gon turned to look at her. Offering her his arm, gallantly, he led her out onto the floor. Shrugging in resignation, Obi-Wan turned back to Siri. She grinned with exhilaration. “You ready, Obi-Wan?”

When can I see you again?

Oh oh oh oh

                Jack perched on the spire, Jamie on his shoulder. Sandy hovered nearby, sending out the soft golden tendrils of dreamsand. Jamie sat open-mouthed, watching. Jack smiled. It wasn’t that surprising. Jamie had only seen this in waking life once before.

When can we do this again?

Oh oh oh oh

                “Just one more song!” Siri whispered as Obi-Wan was about to lead her off the dance floor. Obi-Wan hesitated for a moment, then nodded.

When can I see you again?

Oh oh oh oh

                Mary fell asleep in the cab on the way home, her head on John’s shoulder. John glanced over and smiled at Sherlock, and the detective smiled back.

All was well with their world at long last.

When can we do this again?

Oh oh oh oh

                Siri and Obi-Wan slipped out the back way, sneaking away from Garen and back to the Temple. It might be only a game, but they figured that, at least for now, they had a right to play it.

Yeah, it’s been fun but now I’ve got to go

Life is way too short to take it slow

But before I go and hit the road

Tell me when

When can I see you again?

When can I see you again?

Tell me when

When can I see you again?

                As Jack was carrying Jamie back to bed, Jamie sleepily murmured, “Do this again?” Jack grinned at Sandy.

“Of course.”

“Let’s do this again sometime,” Adi said as the four Jedi were heading back to their hotel. Obi-Wan gaped at her for a moment, then Siri poked him in the arm.

“As long as it gets you off your high horse,” she teased.

“Are we doing this again?” Sherlock asked. John smiled, helping Mary out of the cab.

“Definitely.”

The Villains’ Table: Antagonists Who Made the Biggest Impression On Me

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Hello, and welcome to another list! This time, we are discussing the Top Ten Villains who Made an Impression on Me.

I mentioned in my TCWT post that I was thinking of posting this. Well, here it is, realized. :-)

  1. Tash, The Last Battle, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. Basically the demonic opposite of Aslan, Tash was a four-armed beast with a vulture’s head and demanded human sacrifice of his worshipers.  Honestly, if Tash was not the father of lies (and desensitization), who’d want to serve him?
  2. Darth Sidious, The Return of the Jedi, Star Wars. Was there ever any quibbling? This villain is something of an archetype, but oh Force, he pulls it off with charisma. Darth Sidious made an impression on me, mostly because he was THE villain, back in the day when I was wide-eyed and clutching my teddy bear as I watched The Return of the Jedi for the first time. I mean, most villains want the hero dead. Sidious wanted Luke’s soul. How creepy is that?!
  3. Gabrielle Damien (Mademoiselle Guillotine), A&E’s Scarlet Pimpernel trilogy, based on the books by Baroness Orczy. Both blatant and shockingly vile, Mademoiselle Guillotine has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. What earns her a place on this list, though, is her hatred for Catholicism and disrespect for the sacred, coupled with her utter disregard for human life or dignity. Surprisingly enough, Damien was shot by the series’ main villain, which redeemed him, slightly, in my eyes. (That alone should tell you exactly what I think of Damien.)
  4. Maguda Razan, The Angel’s Command, Castaways of the Flying Dutchman trilogy, by Brian Jacques. She was a sort of mafia-boss-slash-mother-of-evil-slash-abomination. Think Sidious’ insanity crossed with the White Witch and then throw in a splash of Tash, and you have Maguda Razan. She kidnapped Ben basically because she wanted to feed off of his nightmares and the memories of his time on the Flying Dutchman years before.
  5. Shift, Ginger, and Rishta Tarkaan, The Last Battle, Narnia. Shift and his cadre of liars made a special impression on me. I was as enraged by their deceptions as the heroes of the story were (after reading the book, I had a dream where I was chasing Shift through Narnia, walloping him with a frying pan. I have counted it as one of my sweetest ever.) Their respective, well-deserved deaths (claimed by Tash, losing the power of speech, and claimed by Tash) were received by me with vindictive feelings of justification.
  6. The White Witch, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Narnia. The White Witch was a conniving deceiver, and I still think she hasn’t been portrayed correctly on screen. In the old BBC movies, she looked overdone (though that’s due to the style of the times), and her acting seemed overly dramatic. However, she was the better of the two portrayals, in my opinion. (Those movies also had the perfect Peter, too… *sigh* In fact, all of the Pevensies, Jill, and Eustace were perfectly casted. It’s the costume design and the special effects that I have problems with.) The White Witch in the new movies seems a bit too exotic for the role. (I have not seen the new movies. But from what I have seen, this is what I think.)
  7. Moriarty, Sherlock, based on the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty is one of those generic villains who wanted the hero dead in the original. However, his intellect earned him a spot on this list even before the BBC series. Andrew Scott’s acting brings the character of Moriarty to new levels; from mere brilliant criminal mastermind, he goes to total insane psychopath, playing a game against Sherlock. The biggest difference between Moriarty and Sherlock is that Sherlock has a reason to live, while Moriarty is “bored” by life, and his only reason to live is to play the game. (Also, is he coming back in Season Four?!)
  8. Cluny the Scourge, Redwall. He was the Redwall villain. He made a big impression on me mostly because he was almost like an orc only he was a rat, and I was eleven, I think. It was the more kid-friendly version of orcs, actually. :-P
  9. Grima Wormtongue, The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Sauruman was an also-ran, competing for this spot, but though he managed to nearly permanently wreck the Shire, it was Wormtongue I felt made the bigger impression. There’s something in the human psyche that despises a truth-twister, and as a truth-twister Wormtongue definitely qualifies.
  10. Captain Hook, Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie. There was no way I was going to leave the number one villain of childhood off this list. (Sid, aka The Destructive Kid Next Door, from Toy Story was the only other person I’d consider for this spot, and he comes nowhere near to what I felt from Hook.) Hook was scary. He wanted to kill Peter. He was able to use Peter’s cockiness against him. That’s what I liked about him as a kid.
    Pros as a teenager/young adult: Hook is the most sympathetic villain you will come across in children’s literature. He is wonderfully fleshed out, and even has more backstory than Peter, though parts of his past are shrouded in mystery. Since Peter symbolizes the innocence and wonder of childhood (in my fanfiction re-telling of Peter Pan I go so far as make him a metaphor for fairytales and the far reaches of the imagination,) Hook thus symbolically, by extension, wants to do away with the innocence and wonder and imagination of childhood. Yet he still feels bad about it! (“No little children to love me.”)
    And last but not least, for a word about Hook in The Pirate Fairy. In my opinion, Hook (played by Tom Hiddleston) was the best part of The Pirate Fairy. Without him, it would have been just another Disney fairy movie, (No offense, Secret of the Wings), with its corresponding message of “follow your heart”, “believe in yourself”, and “have faith” (well, scratch that last one, it’s actually from Return to Neverland.) IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE IN ALL THE WORLD WHO WANTS TO SEE A REMAKE OF Peter Pan, only with Hiddleston as Hook and Asa Butterfield as Peter?! (And a properly vindictive Tinker Bell, from which Disney has recently strayed?!)
    Anyway, Tom Hiddleston played a thoroughly entrancing Hook, making us feel like he was a good guy who’d fallen in with bad companions, until the turn-about near the end, when he shocked us by the fact that, though he is able to believe enough to fly (grown-ups flying is still really nausea-inducing for me, unless it’s the Return to Neverland version of Wendy; in my opinion, it detracts from the mystique it should have–Disney, please do your research!), he is the mastermind of the pirates’ plan.
    The other thing I’d love to see with Hook would have to be a story where he ends up helping Peter, Wendy, Michael, John and the Lost Boys to save Neverland (or helps Wendy, Michael, John, and the Lost Boys to rescue Pan.) Actually, this is the plot of the latter part of the retelling I’m working on, though it would be nice to see other people’s takes on it as well. ;-)
  11. Captain/Admiral/Grand Moff Tarkin, Star Wars. No, actually, there is no number eleven. :-P Tarkin is just the runner up. As is everyone else after him on the list. Tarkin struck me as evil because he’s a sociopath who doesn’t care who gets in his way, and he will stop at nothing to see the Jedi removed from military service (mainly because of their MORALS, which is vile in the extreme,) and vilified as well, if possible. Tarkin is a good example of why, after the Clone Wars began, for the Jedi there was really no good way out. They are keepers of the peace, not soldiers, as Master Windu explains, but once they’ve begun as a part of the fighting, they are no longer able to withdraw, due to people like Tarkin, who would gladly perpetrate all kinds of atrocities if the Jedi were to leave the field of war. Also, the war has horrible effects on their young (Ahsoka Tano’s inability to relax, for one, and Barriss Offee’s fall for another), and not just on their young: Pong Krell, a full Jedi Knight, is allured by the power the Dark Side offers and falls. (In fact, Obi-Wan and Anakin’s journey is actually a microcosmic allegory for what is happening to the Jedi as a whole. Ever since Qui-Gon’s death, Obi-Wan has been doomed to failure with Anakin by both his own promise to train Anakin and his [often conflicting] oath to serve the Republic and Jedi Order. Obi-Wan’s unwillingness to talk about his emotions, furthered by Anakin’s tendency to throw it back into his face when he summoned up the guts to do so, exacerbated the problem, sending them, inextricably linked, in a downward spiral, which ended with Anakin’s fall, which wounded Obi-Wan in a way that he never recovered from. Similar things happened with the Jedi Order and the crippled, failing Republic.)
  12. Pong Krell, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Yes, most of my villains are from Star Wars or Narnia, I’m well aware. -_- This guy is the reason why the Jedi were vilified in the latter years of the Clone Wars. As explained above, he sold out his loyalties to the Republic and Jedi Order in the hopes of gaining a place in what he believed to be Dooku’s “New Order”. In the process, a bunch of clones were murdered, including Waxer, the trooper who befriended the little girl (Numa) back in Season One. (I am still in shock from Waxer’s death. And it’s been almost two full seasons since Umbara!) Umbara was an attempt on the Clone Wars writers’ part to show the darker side of war, and was the first incident of friendly fire actually shown on the Clone Wars. Man, did they nail the story. :’-( (I totally wanted to see Obi-Wan finding out about Krell’s treason and come and fight him and be incredibly awesome and do some tail-kicking, but it didn’t happen, and I guess the episode was more effective this way. However, there was a darker side to the clones taking Krell down; they proved that clones could, in fact, defeat Force Users, even those of dubious alignment.)
  13. Sauruman. He laid waste to the Shire, desecrating something we held sacred. And he was killed by Wormtongue, partially redeeming the Rohan traitor.

So, there’s my list of Top Ten Villains who made an impression along with three runner-ups. (Sorry Dooku did not make it onto the list, he’s awesome and I love to write him, but he didn’t make nearly the impression on me that even Cluny did.) I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

TCWT: Beginnings and Endings (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BILBO AND FRODO!)

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Hello, everyone!

Now, before I get into the TCWT post, I want to just make one little announcement.

Today is the shared birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! *confetti flies everywhere* Happy birthday to the Ringbearers!

sept. 22Okay, now that I’ve said that… ;-)

Beginnings and endings. Now this reminds me of a paper I wrote in high school! Which will never see the light of day until it gets a boatload of revising. So don’t ask. Or you can ask, but be prepared for it to not happen for a very, very long time.

Specifically, my favorite beginnings and endings.

Let’s do this by series.

First of all, favorite beginnings and endings for The Chronicles of Narnia.

  1. The Magician’s Nephew, both as a beginning to the series, and its own beginning and ending. This. Book. Rocked.
    First of all, we have the story of how Diggory and Polly met, and the fact that they were sent into Narnia by a ruthless pseudo-scientist/magician who was also partly insane (wouldn’t any number of YA authors just love to try their hand at a plot this juicy nowadays?!), but it’s not just that that makes the book great. It foreshadows World War II and people like Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler. (I would not be surprised to hear that Lewis did not approve of the US’s alliance with the USSR. Good grief, I don’t approve of it. And I’m American.)
    *cough* Anyway…
    Well, this book as a whole is the beginning of Narnia and the Chronicles of Narnia series. But its opening, while modest, is no less of a favorite for me. And its ending! The hiding of the magic rings (we’ll get to Tolkien and the rest of the Inklings later, I promise!), the cure of Diggory’s mother, and the promise of hope.
  2. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The book that began it all. Seriously. Was ever story so well encapsulated? It wraps itself up very well, and smaller elements that were included (especially the Professor, who is–guess who? Diggory Kirk [yes, that is really his last name!], all grown up! and Susan’s horn, which becomes a major point in the plot of Prince Caspian.)
  3. The Horse and His Boy. Unlike the rest of the Narnia stories, this one actually does not have anything to do with “our world”, unless you count the presence of the Pevensies (SPOILER! :-P Who cares, anyway?! Most of you have already read all of the Chronicles of Narnia!) The ending is good, okay, but it’s the ending I really love. This is the one Narnia book that describes Archenland, and it tells us about the people of Archenland, and gives a very satisfying ending.
  4. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Okay, yes, I love pretty much all of the Narnia series, but Dawn Treader stands out among the Narnia books. Again, the beginning is not nearly as euphoria-inducing as the ending is. It appears that Lewis may have been playing with the idea of the Seven Friends of Narnia at this point–of course, though, at this point only Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and Dawn Treader were written, which means that Diggory was only a flight of imagination, and Polly probably hadn’t ever (in Lewis’ mind) come into Narnia at all yet. The three aforementioned books were intended to be a trilogy, complete in themselves, and it seems that Lewis didn’t plan to write any more books. However, step back and take the series as a whole. If you read them in Narnian-time order, not writing order, then by the end of Dawn Treader there are seven friends of Narnia. (Susan hasn’t left the group yet, remember.) And Dawn Treader and The Last Battle are the most similar in style, and ending as well. Coincidence? Most likely not.
  5. The Last Battle. If I have to pick one favorite Narnia book, it is this one. (Dawn Treader is a close second.) First of all, the opening is riveting. An impostor Aslan? Narnia’s King captured? WHAT?! IT DOESN’T EVEN BEGIN IN “OUR WORLD”?! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?! *squees*
    Seriously, though. <3
    This Narnia book raises the stakes like no other. (I plan on making a list of the top villains who made an impression on me, to show you what I mean.) However, this book is also probably the one which is hardest for a child to read. (You’ve been warned.) It is both heartbreaking, exciting with its call to war, the rage against the lies… It is a true emotional rollercoaster. This one, more than any other of Lewis’s books, made me understand what “passion” really meant. More than any other book, really.
    And now, for the ending. While some people are upset that Susan didn’t get to the “True Narnia” in Aslan’s Country at the end of the series (read more about that here, and I highly recommend the rest of his blog for thought-provoking stuff on theology and popular culture!), I was both saddened by the fact that Susan had made herself not to believe in Narnia (which was, by the way, a recurring theme throughout the book–which is why, now, whenever I hear anyone say anything REMOTELY smacking of “We’re out for ourselves!” [*cough cough* "The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs!"], I always throw a fit and demolish their argument in a blaze of righteous flurry and the occasional lightsaber-to-their-newspaper), and gladdened by the fact that by the very fact of her leaving the Friends of Narnia she was given a second chance. The problem, really, that we’re talking about here, is the bland/blase reaction of the remaining Friends of Narnia to her exclusion. But you’ll just have to read Malcolm’s post, linked in above, if you want to know what Lewis’s thoughts on the whole “Problem with Susan” issue was. I’m not giving it away to you! You wouldn’t go find his completely awesome blog otherwise!
    Anyway, back to the ending, proper. It is, in my opinion, a very satisfying close to the series. It was a blissful, happy, euphoric ending. It echoed the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse to Tridentine Rite lovers like me). In fact, I am thinking about making myself a T-Shirt that says “The Rapture only happens to people who loved The Last Battle!” (DISCLAIMER: The author of this post does not believe in the Rapture as preached by certain Christian sects. She does, however, believe that reading The Last Battle will bring you pretty freaking close!)

Sadly, I have not read Lewis’s Space Trilogy often enough to include it in the runners. I haven’t even finished it. :’-( Still, enjoy my dear friend Rosalie’s description of Dr. Ransom here. ;-P *notices some people in the crowd gawking at the picture* *bangs them on the head with a newspaper* READ THE DESCRIPTION! NO GAWKING AT THE PHOTO!!! (I don’t care HOW attractive you may find Ewan McGregor, keep the fawning off my blog!)

Next up: Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet!

A Wrinkle in Time begins with the cliche beginning “It was a dark and stormy night.” It doesn’t stop there, though. It makes it its own. And in the end, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which vanish in a gust of wind.

However, A Wind in the Door gets the top place on this list, I think. It begins with “There are dragons in the twins’ vegetable garden.” and ends with the unforgettable:

“You were gone long enough. Did you count the stars or something?”

“We don’t have to count them,” Meg said. “They just need to be known by Name.” Calvin’s eyes met hers for a long moment and held her gaze, not speaking, not kything, simply being.

Then she went up to Charles Wallace.

Seriously! BEST. ENDING. EVER!

A Swiftly Tilting Planet, both beginning and ending, is tied up in Mrs. L’Engle’s adaption of St. Patrick’s Breastplate, called “Patrick’s Rune” in the story:

In this fateful hour
I place all heaven with its power
And the sun with its brightness
And the snow with its whiteness
And the fire with all the strength it hath
And the lightning with its rapid wrathAnd the winds with their swiftness along their path
And the sea with its deepness
And the rocks with their steepness
And the earth with its starkness,
All these I place
By God’s almighty help and grace
Between myself and all the powers of darkness.

Does that give you goosebumps? It does to me!

And finally, for the Hobbit  and the Lord of the Rings books. Now, I think that, while LotR’s beginning was interesting enough, it’s not quite the same as Hobbit‘s. “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” How’s that for a great opening? It certainly gets questions started as to what a Hobbit is and why it lives in the ground! However, since Hobbit is the prequel to LotR, it makes a lot of sense that way. Frankly, though Hobbit‘s ending is satisfying enough, LotR’s is, in my opinion, the stronger of the two. Both bring about great changes in the world of Middle-Earth. Hobbit sees the return of the King Under the Mountain and the cities of Dale and Esgaroth, while LotR has no less than the return of the King Elessar to both Gondor and Arnor, and the destruction of the One Ring and the overthrowing of Sauron to boot!

In Hobbit, it was Bilbo’s poem that made the greatest impression on me.

Roads go ever on and on
Over rock, and under tree
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass, and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever on and on,
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that have a-wandering gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows greenAnd trees and hills they long have known.

And in LotR, Frodo sums it up best: “We set out to save the Shire, Sam, and it has been saved; but not for me.”

In the end, both the Bagginses go into the West with the Elves, in search of Valinor, and Sam returns home to his wife and children. “Well, I’m back.”

Note to Ranger’s Apprentice fans:

I am so sorry, but RA is not eligible to run. Like the Space Trilogy, I haven’t read it enough to know the beginnings and endings very well.

Now for Brian Jaques’ work.

I especially love Mariel of Redwall for its beginning and ending. The book begins with an amnesiac Mariel arriving on the coast of Mossflower country, promising (as Liam would say) the search for the truth about her past. And it closes with the defeat of Gabool and the departure of Mariel and Dandin to go in search of adventure. However, The Legend of Luke and Martin the Warrior, not to mention Mossflower, were close seconds: Legend of Luke for its opening and closing sequences, detailing the building of Redwall Abbey, Martin the Warrior for its description of Martin’s barely-existent childhood and (SPOILER ALERT!) the cheek to kill off a character we really loved to drive Martin southward, toward Mossflower Country, and Mossflower for the arrival of Martin at Kotir in Mossflower and the closing defeat of Tsarmina, who had enslaved the woodlanders.

And as you’re probably already tired of this, I think I will stop after just one more.

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman trilogy.

WHY MR. JACQUES!? WHY!? *bursts into tears*

Each of these books is complex, detailed, involves a much intenser battle between good and evil (sometimes more openly manifested!) than the Redwall books, and remains vivid in the imagination for days and years afterward. (Why do you think I keep on forgetting and naming yet another protagonist “Ben”?! Hint: It’s not just Obi-Wan’s doing! *Obi-Wan shoots an annoyed glance in my direction*) It’s like… gah! I don’t know what to compare it to! Think Jedi Apprentice (Melida-Daan specifically), only little Obi-Wan has a dog and his destiny is tied to the sea, and gaaah the feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelsss…. *breaks down crying* *Obi-Wan relents and comes over to pat me on the back*

Okay, bad comparison. Let’s see. I think the closest I can get is it’s a bit like Treasure Island (which had a marvelous ending in its own rite,) a bit like what Star Wars would have been if the story centered around Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had survived to train Anakin, and the sorrows the Elves must face when the younger Children of Illuvatar die. It also has strong resonances with Ranger’s Apprentice (shut it with the whatever-apprentice similes, Erin, before you burst into tears again!) It’s the only series with a ‘young’ protagonist (SPOILER the protagonist is eternally fourteen) I’ve ever read where the hero had no permanent mentor. Sure, he has a mentor/father figure who dies, but after that other people mentor him as well… sort of.

The thing about these books is that the endings are always both sweet, and at the same time, heartbreaking, since Ben and Ned (that’s Ben’s telepathic friend, the dog) must wander the world constantly, helping those they come across, and they can’t let anyone know that they’re immortal. I just want to give them both a great big hug.

*sigh* Excuse me, please. I just wanted to make myself reread all those books. (Dare I say, oops?)

Thanks for reading (and especially for sticking through until the end!), and God Bless!

Colorblind: Sample Chapter

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As requested by Professor V.J. Duke and icedmocha34, here it is. My latest endeavor, and my first attempt at sci-fi/psychological thriller. It’s also my first attempt at first person POV, so don’t expect it to be perfect. This isn’t the whole book, though, and be forewarned: It’s not even a “complete”, coherent short story, just a sample chapter. It will not explain itself. It’s only meant to whet your appetite…

That much said, carry on, brave reader. >:-D


Colorblind

Chapter I

                When you’re an amnesia victim, the only thing that’s certain is that life won’t be easy. Because when you have amnesia, nothing is certain.

For a victim of amnesia, life is full of uncertainties, undecided variables. Do you remember nothing of your past? Fragments? Up to a certain point? Or are you able to remember everything in your past, but are unable to form any new memories?

My past is a blank slate, one that won’t ever be written on. It’s hard when you can’t recall your childhood, when you don’t know who taught you to read, your parents, the little lessons you learned… the skills remain, but you can’t remember learning them. You can’t remember who taught you. Some days, I just stare blankly at the pages filled with my handwriting, which is familiar, and at the same time subtly wrong, as if it should be different, somehow.

There are other people in the support group, people who still have their families, the identities they have built up over the years. They tell me about the strange feeling they get when looking at photographs in the albums, pictures of them at places they can’t remember ever going; they tell me about similar happenings when a casual acquaintance who doesn’t know comes up to them and makes small talk, and their smiles remain frozen on their faces as they try to recall where they have met—and more difficult still, what their names are.

Myself, I can’t rely on any of that. I had to create myself, because when they found me I was alone. They’ve never been able to identify my family. I had nothing on me to tell who or what I was before. The first memory I have after waking up in the hospital is looking down at my personal effects. A polo shirt—a rusty brown color. Faded jeans. A belt. Nothing more. There was nothing in my pockets when I was found, battered and bruised and unconscious after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. They weren’t sure how long I lay there before I was found and rushed to the hospital, but it was long enough that I should not have survived.

Somehow, against the odds, I did survive.

Sometimes, I remember scraps—bits and pieces. A glimpse of color. A smell. The corner of the rain-washed sky, such a vibrant, lovely blue, with brilliant white, fluffy clouds scudding across it. The waving branches of trees. A chalkboard, with one equation written on it, that’s somehow significant, but I don’t know how or why.

Try as I might, I’ve never been able to find that equation elsewhere.

There are things lurking just beyond conscious thought, waiting for me to uncover them.

And then there are the dreams. Sometimes they’re simple flashes, like the memories. Sometimes they are simple words, isolated from both meaning and circumstance, sounding stilted and strange severed from both execution and consequence. “Anomaly” is one that comes back over and over again, with never an explanation. Sometimes they’re complex chains that I can never remember afterwards, though I can remember the impression that they were vivid, and complex. More than once, I have racked my brains and come back with nothing after such a dream. It is the most frustrating thing in the world, to feel that the mystery of your past is finally within your grasp, yet to feel it melting away, not fully comprehended. The second most frightening fate an amnesia victim has to face—every day—is the possibility that they might never remember.

The absolute most frightening is coming to terms with it.

“He forgot his umbrella today.”

The ceiling fans rotated slowly, moving the air around despite the fact that the temperature had dropped just after the downpour started. Outside, things were colored blue and gray and streaming watery, like half-finished watercolors sprinkled with vodka on a tilted canvas, but inside the colors were bright, well-coordinated, dominated by sunny lemon yellow; unusual for a coffee shop, but unsurprising, considering that the building had started life as a small café, before being bought by a different owner.

All eyes turned toward Nell, where she sat in her regular seat at the second of the two tables by the window. She, in turn, was gazing out the full-length windows that faced the sidewalk and street. Kara and Leslie shrugged it off and went back to their earnest conversation at their table in the corner, like the stereotypical pair of checker players in a country store; but Justine, though her expression remained bored and she did not look up from her newspaper, perked up enough to ask, “Who?”

Nell leaned her head sideways against the glass, the better to watch the blurred figure through the storm water streaming down the other side of the glass and the sheets of rain. “That man. He passes by here at exactly five-seventeen each day. I suppose he takes the bus home.” Justine shrugged, apathetically, and went back to her newspaper. Nell stared out the window with a slow sigh.

The figure was of medium height, its only distinguishable feature through the water-hazed glass. His features were a vague, indistinct smear of dark juxtaposed on light. Indeed, Nell had identified him by posture alone. He walked along the sidewalk in exactly the same way each day; now, at the end of summer and beginning of back-to-school madness, he carried the briefcase in one hand, the jacket he had worn in the morning slung across his other arm. He always walked upright, unusually so, giving the illusion that he was taller than he really was. His gait was much brisker than the other people traversing the sidewalk. Nell frowned. There was something vaguely different today, something that could not be attributed to just the rain…

Her train of thought was interrupted as the bell over the door jangled—someone really needs to tune that thing, Nell thought, wincing—and someone entered, accompanied by a gust of wind and veritable sheet of rain. The person had to throw all their weight against the door to close it again, despite the spring-loaded catch. The bell clanged again as the door closed, and the stranger stood inside, dripping on the patterned tile floor.

Before she looked, Nell knew instinctively that the person was the man she had been watching a moment ago. She stared at him, bored out of her mind, and thus interested in the smallest of details. Tousled brown hair plastered close to his head dripped onto his shoulders; his dress shirt was soaked through, the material becoming transparent and clinging to his skin. He was lean, not overly muscular, but looked slightly out-of-place in the formal outfit. The trousers had to be uncomfortable, as wet as they were. His thin, slightly angular face sparkled with water droplets; darkish eyelashes clung together over mild brown eyes.

Realizing that everyone was staring at him, he laughed, self-consciously. “The weather man is proven wrong, yet again,” he said, and walked up to the counter to order a hot chocolate, his shoes squeaking wetly and squishing with each step. All the eyes in the coffee shop followed him, some curiously, others absently. After waiting a few minutes, he received his drink and went to a corner to sit down. The others stared at him for a while longer, rudely, but eventually all of them went back to what they were doing. Nell finally looked away, uncertain as if she should say something or if she should leave the matter alone. At last, she decided to leave it alone. Eventually, the stranger finished his hot chocolate and got up and left the shop as a brief respite from the rain allowed him to exit, still only partly damp.

“How are you doing today, Connor?” Mr. Aglana asked. I sat up very straight in the chair, hands folded on my lap, my postured correct, but guarded and tense. There was something about him that always made me uncomfortable, put me on my guard.

“Very well, sir,” I replied. Perhaps it was the office. The décor had always seemed ostentatious, yet at the same time, depressing to me. The colors were all dark, the upholstery ornate. A huge painting in a gilt frame adorned the wall behind the desk, but I could not distinguish any details. I had never been able to see the painting. It had always been in shadow from the draperies. I tried to keep from glancing around, instead gazing fixedly at a spot a little to the left of Mr. Aglana’s balding head.

“And how was your week?” I fought the urge to fidget or shrug.

“Uneventful,” I said, casually. In the silence, I could distinctly hear every sound in the room. The soft wuff-hiss of the air conditioning. The soft squeaking of Mr. Aglana’s fine office chair as he leaned forward. The dynamic rap-tap-tap as he drummed his fingers lightly on the desk. He eyed me with some asperity.

“You know that won’t do, Connor,” he said.

“The job… is going fine,” I said, haltingly. Somehow, I felt uncomfortable, discussing my life—my private life, what was left of it—with Mr. Aglana. “I began two more articles but for some reason I can’t access the business search engine from the apartment any more. I’ve had to do all my research from the office. Everyone is doing their best to not pressure me too much—thank you for that, sir—” I did owe him that much—“and Mr. Clark said he’d move the deadline back, due to the fact that the Wi-Fi in the apartment is acting up again.”

“What about your personal life?” Mr. Aglana pressed. I shook my head.

“I still haven’t made any friends yet,” I said. Mr. Aglana raised an eyebrow. “I don’t want to tell anyone I have amnesia,” I said, unwillingness almost choking me. “I don’t want pity. I want people to interact with me normally. Still, I’m too—too—”

“Socially awkward?” Mr. Aglana put in. I opened my motuh. The words sounded like they should be right, yet they felt so inescapably wrong, as if there was something off, something that I was missing. I wracked my memory for the word I was searching for, then settled for a simple nod when I couldn’t locate it.

Well, it was close enough, anyway.

Seemingly satisfied, Mr. Aglana rose and offered me his hand, and I took it. As always, his grip was not very firm, and his hand was icy. Strangely enough, as my fingers touched his, a chilly current ran through me, like a cold thrill. Something buried deep in my psyche strained for the surface; I grasped desperately at it.

Bright lights in my eyes, making it hard to see. I blinked. Snatches of a conversation, not meant for me or directed at me. “Failed—try one more time—” Pain. I struggled, fighting against unseen demons seeking to drag me down. Something—there was something I needed to see—to hear—to remember. Scraps of a face, bits and bytes incoherently blended, broken apart. Something raked across my memory. I fought. I didn’t fight long. Oblivion.

I blinked, and the flash was gone. Mr. Aglana’s secretary was already escorting me out.


Meh. Why do I always label my chapters with Roman numerals? It’s certainly not intentional, to look classy… hmm.

Who cares, anyway!?

Come Little Children (Sidious’ Lullaby)

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Hello, my dear readers!

It’s been a while since I turned out a song fic, so I think this one isn’t overdue, by any means. This one is to Erutan’s cover of “Come Little Children.” (Yes, I know the video is a BBC Merlin fan video, but the original video was disturbing. Certainly much, much more disturbing than this one. Remind me to never watch Pan’s Labyrinth. *shudders*)

Anyway, if this doesn’t turn out self-explanatory, please tell me in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to fix it. I’ve been working on it so long I certainly need a second opinion.

Content Warning: Very dark in places, though there’s a shine of hope at the end (I had to give you that much, right?! ;-) ) Slight language warning. Death. That’s it.

Come Little Children (Sidious’ Lullaby)

                Sidious smiled at the limp form of the Jedi growing cold on the ground by his foot, arms still wound around his dead apprentice, even in death. He turned his back on the dead apprentice and dying Jedi, laughing inwardly as he thought how it had come to this. The ultimate revenge, even if it did mean that he lost his potential apprentice.

A sound behind him disturbed his delightful musings. Sidious whirled around to see the Jedi rising to his feet. It seemed that Kenobi was not quite dead yet, and his eyes were hard, cold, empty, bereft of anything save purpose. Before Sidious could react, he had taken the dying Jedi’s lightsaber through the body. The last thing Sidious heard before departing from the world he had only ruled for mere hours was Kenobi’s cold, merciless voice whispering, “That was for Padme, and for Anakin.”

Damn you, Sith. Damn you to hell.

Come little children

I’ll take thee away

Into a land of enchantment

Come little children

The time’s come to play

Here in my garden of shadow

                Dark gray eyes glistened with tears as the Jedi Master cradled his one-time apprentice. He sobbed into Anakin’s hair, unwilling to let go, even though Anakin had long since gone still, was beginning to go cold.

There were no words to this grief, only tears. There was no peace, only pain. There was no comfort. Only guilt.

I did this. I did this. I killed him!

Sidious stood over the Jedi, gloating. “You finally found a battle you could not win, didn’t you, Master Kenobi?” Slowly, Obi-Wan moved to rise, still holding Anakin’s still form. Sidious ignited his lightsaber through the Jedi Master’s defenseless body, and Obi-Wan slid back to the ground, without a cry or a gasp.

Follow sweet children

I’ll show thee the way

Through all the pain and the sorrows

Weep not poor children

For life is this way

Murdering beauty and passion

                Lightsabers clashed, blue on blue, the edges of one blade a dirty, smoky color, the other almost pure white to its core. Sidious watched and smiled sardonically. It had been easy, all too easy, to twist the apprentice’s mind, to deceive the master. And now, they were locked in mortal combat. The Sith Lord cackled in glee, relishing the mental torment and the conflict.

It ended all too quickly. Kenobi did not see the opening that Skywalker had left, or perhaps he had, and did not capitalize on it. That was the irony. A second later, Skywalker’s enraged attack forced him forward, impaling him on his mentor’s blade. The lightsabers fell from nerveless hands, in unison, clattering and growing still in a terrible syncopation. Kenobi slid to the floor, catching Skywalker, his face a broken mask of concentration with pain and horror showing through the cracks. “Anakin? Anakin!” The cry was a howl of grief and loss in the Force.

“You’ve caught me again, Master,” Skywalker coughed. Sidious frowned. He thought the boy had actually turned on his mentor. Kenobi held him close as the death rattle proclaimed Skywalker’s last exhalation.

“I won’t ever let you go again,” he promised, his voice breaking. Hardening, ice-scoured eyes turned toward Sidious. “You. You did this. You did this!”

Hush now dear children

It must be this way

To weary of life and deceptions

Rest now my children

For soon we’ll away

Into the calm and the quiet

                Sidious smiled down at the half-open, confused, cloudy green-blue eyes of the new knight. Kenobi blinked, unseeing. Sidious’ hand hovered over the oblivious Jedi’s face, the black heart within him urging him to put those eyes out forever, but he stayed it. No. It would be far sweeter to force the Jedi to watch as the world around him fell to pieces.

 

Obi-Wan groaned. The smell in the air around him reminded him of the perfume of death: sickly sweet. Horrid decay mingled with the half-remembered echoes of something… something… He struggled, surging upward, but he seemed to be pinned down. In the murk, there was something lurking, hiding just beyond his reach. A cold melody, alluring but with a heart of stone, echoed through his mind. He shuddered instinctively away from it. He was alone… why was he alone? Shouldn’t there be someone with him?

Above him, somewhere, a voice, as cold and harsh as stone, shot with the fires of some damnation beyond imagination’s span, as ancient as the bones of the earth but with none of earth’s lasting strength and stability and kindness to support life, dry and rattling as some desiccated, dead thing, spoke. “Sleep, Jedi. Sleep, and do not forget how your master fell. Yes, he left you. His failure will become yours in time. Soon, very soon, the Jedi will fall.”

Resolve hardened in him like steel leaping from the flames of the forge. He fought; he strove against the will, and it was not his loss that pressed him down into the empty inky blackness of oblivion, into deeper, swoon-like sleep.

Come little children

I’ll take thee away

Into a land of enchantment

Come little children

The time’s come to play

Here in my garden of shadow

                Obi-Wan held his apprentice’s body, redeemed in death, and prayed that his tears would be enough. For himself, he did not fear. He had never been afraid of death; he had always been more concerned with hurting people. Death had a tendency to follow him around, but it never got easier. It was growing cold already, and Obi-Wan wondered for a moment how long it would take for him to follow Anakin in death.

It was strange. There had been pain at first, but now there was none. It didn’t hurt any more, and though he could feel his heart stutter, his mind was no less clear. He drew in a breath, the tell-tale rattle already in his lungs.

In the last moments, the confines of space and time opened to him, and he saw a vision in which their heroes—Padmé and Yoda, and Ahsoka—continued on, renewed the Jedi Order, which rose from the ashes, wiser and stronger. The Republic returned, to democracy, and reforms began. Anakin’s unborn children grew, and Ahsoka and Ben guided them to adulthood, as Jedi, in peace.

Sidious was dead. The shadows had departed from the Force.

He and Anakin had triumphed. They had given rise to a new era.

Then, peaceful, Obi-Wan slipped the bonds of matter and awoke to a wider world.

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