|Acquainted with the Night (PG)
Archived on: Monday, March 1, 2004
Mara struggles with an event in her past.
Painful memories - bitter memories - never spring to my mind during the day. Perhaps sunlight keeps the demons of my past at bay, and those soothing rays help me to focus on the mundane, the ordinary. Noontime finds me at peace; serene, relaxed, and content. No longer am I the caustic, cutting woman that many knew for years. My marriage, this Yuuzhan Vong conflict, and above all my current pregnancy have taught me that there is a time to insult and a time to hold my tongue. I've found that the more I contain myself and avoid damaging remarks, the better I feel. And the happier Luke becomes.
But the night is another matter. I've never been a sound sleeper, and the kicking child inside me has wreaked havoc with my slumber. While my farmboy dozes beside me, free of the anxieties and worries that plague him from sunrise to sunset, I think. And remember. In the silence of those dark hours, my sorrows return, magnified to superhuman proportions. During my years as the Emperor's Hand - even a portion of my time working with Karrde - I was not pure and upright like my husband.
I have been acquainted with the night.
I'm not proud of my past. There are stains in my soul, dark marks of the evil I have known. During my time at the Emperor's command, I did things which...which I can never begin to explain to Luke. He infers, guesses, at part of my history. I know he's learned about some of it, memories that I wish I could erase and do entirely away with. But deep within my inner shield, there are secrets - hidden lies and truths - that no one can ever uncover. They are mine; mine to cry over and regret for the rest of my life.
Seven years ago, Luke would have torn down my mental barriers in an attempt to discover my private pain. No longer. My Luke would never dare to destroy the walls of my personal region, the area that conceals the thoughts I simply can't forget. He respects my privacy, and waits for me to reveal those mysteries myself.
But for some reason, I can't. There's something inside me that prevents any efforts at communication, at relieving my anguish. If he knew...
If he knew.
When it happened, I didn't know better. I was young, na?ve, easily influenced. My position as his Hand had led me to believe that I was important, yet others didn't feel the same way. Arrogance - foolish, reckless conceit - had blinded my eyes, and I committed acts with no regard to the possible consequences.
I don't remember the details surrounding it, or even the man's name. Sometimes, I think I intentionally forgot those facts, as a way to clear this memory from my mind. But I do know that it was my fault.
What an idiotic girl I was. So convinced of my own superiority...
Of course I fumbled. An unwanted pregnancy was no laughing matter, but I regarded it as that. I joked of my stupidity, and talked as though I had merely contracted Bothan Redrash or a common stomach bug. For that's all it was to me at that point: an unfortunate internal infection.
The Emperor did not find it amusing. While never specifically ordering me to do anything, he had "suggested" in his sibilant voice that I deal with my problem.
So I did. I went to the medical wing, and prepared to abort it. The doctor was talkative, efficient; I hate him now. There was nothing evil in his smooth, sallow face and twinkling brown eyes, nothing to make me detest him with all my soul. Yet for the past 27 years, I've had to live with the result of what I allowed him to do.
After the procedure that day, I stumbled into the first dark crummy bar I saw and tried to forget it. But no matter how many Corellian ales I downed, I couldn't remove what I'd just done from my mind. I had killed my child. Not a blob of tissue, or a thing, or a creature, but an unborn baby. My baby.
What if...what if I had somehow, in some way, let my child live? Would I have a daughter, or a son? I could have ignored the Emperor's command, let my belly swell as the small being within me grew and developed; I could have left the Empire for Wild Space, or the Unknown Regions, and raised a little girl - a small boy - away from the only people I'd ever known.
Folly. Inconceivable folly, to even imagine that I could have altered the rules and let my child survive. The New Order was no place for an infant, and I would never been able to get away with it. Darth Vader - or perhaps even my Master himself - would have hunted me down and disposed of the dilemma I posed.
But those possibilities haunted me through the years, continuously reminding me of what could have been. Unconsciously, I built up a dream world where my baby was alive and well, though its gender varied from one fantasy to another. In some I envisioned a tiny, solemn-faced girl with brilliant red-gold hair; a sturdy boy, green-eyed and ruddy-faced, dominated others. I chose names for my dead baby, celebrated its death by drowning my sorrows in alcohol or sarcasm, and never shared my loss. It is my fault, my sin that must be born along for the rest of my existence.
Even Luke can't know; what would he say? What words could he offer as solace to a woman who's been mourning a child for more than twenty years?
I've always been a loner. Marriage may have changed my life, but there are still some things I must keep to myself.
Today is the anniversary. Funny how I've never lost track of the date, and the exact events that occurred that day. They run verbatim through my brain, every word, every sight preserved like nothing else I have ever experienced.
How I hate that day.
But now I have hope and a chance to start again, to prove that I am capable of being a mother. This little boy I carry may not take the place of my lost firstborn, but he can ease some of the pain. This new baby, the product of our love, is unique. A wonder, especially for one in my condition. I had once given up our dream of children as impossible because of my illness, but once again the Force has proven me wrong. I'm always amazed at the different turns my destiny has taken through the years, taking me along paths I would have never willingly traveled.
The tears still come: silent, overwhelming, burning. Unexpected, yet part of the nature that I keep secreted inside the very core of my being. I only cry at night, when despair becomes too much to bear. I must be weak. The event is so far behind me, so far in the past, that I should be healed. Why does a simple remembrance of that fateful day still move me?
The memory will eventually fade. When my son is born, I'll be so absorbed in his future and my maternal duties that I won't have time to even suffer over my lost baby.
I can't fool myself. I will never forget my child - and sometimes, I think I don't even want to let those recollections vanish.
She - for now I am convinced that I carried a girl, my first daughter - would be in her late twenties now, older than the Solo twins. I can picture her exactly: tall, slender, with even, intelligent features and her mother's bright hair. Her eye color is shaky, changing from green to grey to brown with fancy's whim, but she would be strong in the Force, a Jedi, a leader of the younger generation. Her stepfather would be proud of her progress, and speak of her as a model young woman. Her mother...
The tears come faster, and fall thicker. I stifle a sob, trying not to wake Luke. She - this phantom woman, this specter from my imagination - must not hate me. I was too young, too influenced by those around me to make a wise decision. I know this thought is just a way of passing blame, but it appeases my remorse and eases my mind. When I pass on and become one with the Force, I will finally meet this nameless child. Will she greet me with open arms, accepting the mistake I made in my youth? Or will I be rejected by a daughter I had deemed an 'inconvenience?'
I feel Luke's soft breath against my cheek, and turn to see his eyes glinting like pale jewels in the moonlight. They are so comforting, and such a beautiful, clear tint of blue. Cerulean is the word that springs to mind; so light they're almost startling, and his gaze is so tender, so loving that I can't help but feel reassured in the knowledge that there is someone who cherishes me in spite of my defects and imperfections. He wraps an arm around my shoulders and pulls me to himself, cradling my trembling form gently. I throw concealment to the wind and sob openly, drops running down my cheeks and trickling onto his skin. He speaks softly, consoling words that seem nonsense to my mutinous ears.
And in the stillness of the night, I tell him everything.
Original cover by LianaMara. HTML formatting copyright 2004 TheForce.Net LLC.
Fan Fiction Rating
Current Rating is 9.07 in 80 total ratings.
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Author: Dark Starlighter
Date posted: 3/1/2004 11:15:27 PM
Dark Starlighter's Comments:
Geez, this story is a little on the heavy side. In Sci-Fi/Fantasy, one imagines an escape from the everyday rituals of life, from the politics and issues that constantly drone from our TV sets like a bad Orwellian parody.
The Star Wars fan-fiction forum is not the place for pro-life or pro-abortion sentiments. This piece is not worthy of SW fan fiction.
Date posted: 3/1/2004 11:41:40 PM
I disagree. It's not a statement about a social issue. It's a story about the choices one makes, and the consequences of that decision. Maybe it was the wrong decision, but it was made and it still tears at Mara's soul. Star Wars is full of these stories. This is good work and is WORTHY of being on this site, regardless of one's personal beliefs. Nuff said.
Date posted: 3/2/2004 4:45:31 AM
Although this is a heavy issue with many opinions and beliefs, it was definitely worthy o fan-fiction. The story is not the reflection of the writer's beliefs, but what the writer thinks may be part of Mara's past. Very well written. Made me wanna cry...and I'm in Baghdad and have seen death. Good job!!
Date posted: 3/2/2004 6:19:10 AM
Author replies- I'm on time for once! ;)
Thank you to everyone who read this. This viggie was written after a discussion with a friend about the psychological trauma women who have lost a child suffer. After looking over statistics and facts, I felt like I had to write something.
Uber huggies to julie-marthe, my dear Master Mummy, and everyone else who helped beta this. Julie- your beta was so relevent and helped a lot. Thank you! :)
*huggles oba for just being oba, and for helping with fonts*
I'm sorry you didn't like it. While writing this, I tried my hardest to keep any personal feelings on the matter out of the fic, and worked very hard at immersing myself in Mara's mindset. But I've never looked at Star Wars as an escapist world. Many of the issues dwelt upon in the films and the EU rebound with current events in the world, at least for me. Civil wars, corruption, cloning...the SW universe is not any closer to a perfect society than the real world is. People experience pain, and troubles. And to me, Mara is a character who has suffered much, much more than is ever explained in the EU. Whether by a miscarriage or an abortion, the loss of a child leaves emotional and psychological scars on the mother. I tried to portray Mara's sense of loss in a delicate way.
Ghost and Sgt_Bean-
Thank you. :)
Date posted: 3/2/2004 8:05:46 AM
Very well crafted and done, Liana. Had me on the verge of tears. Poor Mara.
Date posted: 3/2/2004 9:55:55 AM
Excuse me mr. Dark Starlighter but if you think that was heavy,than you have not read the New Jedi Order Series. The fan fic archives is the perfect place for stories such as these. I personally loved your story. The Star Wars Galaxy needs more of the things you are writing. keep writing and may the force be with you.
Author: Nameloc Rillem
Date posted: 3/2/2004 11:10:19 AM
Nameloc Rillem's Comments:
Wow! Great story, very emotional and powerful. Do I approve of Mara's choice, no. However her anguish makes the story work and is sorthy to be posted here. I hope you do more as this was very good.
Author: Herman Snerd
Date posted: 3/2/2004 2:34:40 PM
Herman Snerd's Comments:
As one of the reviewers for this story, I felt that the author did a trememdous job writing about a very sensitive subject. While Mara does show regret over her past actions, the story does not go on to imply a moral judgement on what is a real life issue.
As it's written, Mara's remorse is an indictment solely of her own personal choice. The point of the story (as I read it) wasn't to say that anybody who has done as she did is a terrible person, but rather was to show Mara coming to terms with something that she now sorely regrets.
Author: Coruscant JEdi
Date posted: 3/2/2004 3:43:44 PM
Coruscant JEdi's Comments:
Very well written. A good story with the proper mix of emotions. Most worthy and impressive.
Date posted: 3/2/2004 4:02:02 PM
This is intersting I must agree. The intersting thing is that we try not to think about the news or politcs and it follows us. It will hunt us. I am 14 but was very interged by this story. One question was ay satr wars. There are many more books more appoerit. But them again maybe star wars is the most apporite.
Date posted: 3/2/2004 5:56:12 PM
Great Story i really enjoyed betering it. Great work Lina. i'm looking foward to reading it again
Date posted: 3/2/2004 6:25:23 PM
Good work, Liana. You're a wonderful writer.
Date posted: 3/2/2004 7:36:45 PM
I enjoyed this piece of fiction - very well-written!
The idea of Mara's struggling with the repercussions of her past as the Emperor's Hand gives lots of fuel for imagination... I was only sorry that it ended so soon. I would love to see what happens next.
As for the theme of the story, I agree with the fans who said this story does belong here. No matter if your views are pro choice or pro life, it's easy to recognize Mara's tragedy here - because she wasn't given the chance even to make that choice! We know from RotJ that Luke and Leia were put into hiding b/c they were a threat to the Emperor. If Mara were to have a child it would be no different. This story (at least from my point of view :-) is about the Emperorís continued pattern of finding the quick and easy way to dispose of what threatens him, and Mara's regret for ever having giving him power over her and her life.
Good stuff. Hope to read more like it...
Date posted: 3/3/2004 9:16:17 AM
You're all missing the point. It's a good story and leave it at that!
Author: Daughter of Flame
Date posted: 3/3/2004 12:45:17 PM
Daughter of Flame's Comments:
I have to disagree with [b] Darklighter [/b] . Trying to escape from every-day-life to the point that you avoid valid issues is nothing short of cowardly. Falling into a fantasy world is great. We all do it everyday, but issues still exist there, too. While maybe openly discussing ethical issues is somewhat uncomfortable, it shouldn't be disallowed.
I loved the way you wrote this from first person. It added depth to the entire thing.
I thought the best part of this, though, is how you tied Mara's past to her present. Not many authors do that very well.
I have to say that you did a wonderful job overall, both with the remorse the character feels, and her thoughts to the future.
No matter what anyone else says, even if it does deal with touchy issues, this vignette is very well written. END OF STORY.
Date posted: 3/3/2004 2:00:48 PM
I think that this story seems abit unnatural for Mara. It seems absurd that this didn't affect her more profoundly and alter the NJO series.
Date posted: 3/4/2004 3:05:54 PM
I was very impressed with your story. Whether we, as a society, choose to accept abortion or not, it is a part of our world and cannot simply be left in the corner. The feelings of anguish felt by Mara were so vivid that they were practically real. I commend you on your excellent piece of writing and encourage you to continue to follow your heart.
Author: Mark Jade
Date posted: 3/4/2004 9:10:04 PM
Mark Jade's Comments:
Very powerful and inciteful. Full of very real imagery and emotions.. Good Job with a touchy subject. But like Anakin.. Mara made a choice, on that she regrets after she matured and had time to think of it.
I think you could have expanded the ending just a little. Knowing Luke as we do he would be understanding, loving and supportive of her delemia and her pain.
But than again, by leaving it this way the reader can write the scene in their imagination as well... both very good ways to end a powerful story like this
Date posted: 3/5/2004 2:19:22 PM
Awsome fic very well written. I have never written a response to a fic here but this story is amazing. Keep it up!
Date posted: 3/6/2004 11:11:37 AM
I must admit, I am not a big fan of Mara-centered fanfictions. I generally tend to skip over any stories with Mara listed as a main character, but this one drew me in, simply because I've admired some of your other work. I'm very glad I stumbled upon this piece.
I absolutely *must* applaud for your courage to place such a touchy political subject into the Star Wars universe, knowing that it might strike the nerves of some readers (as we have seen). I personally thought, like many others, that Mara's regret is the dominating theme, and her coming to terms with it- NOT whether she is pro-life or pro-choice.
A very well-written vignette, full of power and nearly-overwhelming emotion. (I, too, was near tears!) Thank you, Liana.
Date posted: 3/8/2004 6:03:18 PM
I'm with Nade_Naberrie on this one. I enjoyed the story, but your guts impressed me even more! Rock on. :-P
Date posted: 3/8/2004 7:10:00 PM
Liana: this is a very very well written piece... while different... it is still a must read
and while yes i do think of SW as a way to escape my life... i disagree with Darklighter wholeheartedly... Abortions and such tramatic matters happen everywhere including Star Wars
Date posted: 3/9/2004 8:48:30 PM
I love it!! I'm really anti-abortion (but I'm also really liberal...)
Author: Shadow Jedi 1
Date posted: 3/9/2004 9:13:40 PM
Shadow Jedi 1's Comments:
I liked this story and the way it was written. Keep up the good work.
Author: Nol Tel Sete
Date posted: 3/23/2004 11:14:55 AM
Nol Tel Sete's Comments:
This is a very powerful peice of writting in both the SW Universe as well as teh universe that we call reallity I believe that you captured Mara Jade pain and regret perfectly. I commend you on your ability to see and feel through the characters. Keep up the good work I hope to read more from you.
May The Force Be With You Always
Author: Jedi Antane
Date posted: 3/24/2004 8:30:48 AM
Jedi Antane's Comments:
Wonderful story! I applaud you for making so pro-life story, a very believable, very accurate portrayal of what a woman goes through when she realizes she's murdered her child. I was hoping Mara could find a Project Rachel (organization that helps those who have had an abortion and are suffering because of it), but she's got Luke and that will be enough. And for those who don't think it belongs - I ask you to read (or re-read) Dark Empire, Balance Point and Rebirth - all deal with the reality and humanity of the unborn child. So bravo, Lina, more, more!
Author: Jedi Knight Quia Lor
Date posted: 3/26/2004 3:49:56 PM
Jedi Knight Quia Lor's Comments:
A beautiful job, LianaMara! I didn't even note the contreversy it may stir up until I read the comment. You did extremely well with such a delicate subject matter! Having just ventured in the world of the New Jedi Order and finally truly meeting Mara, I can see the new Mara conflicting with the old in this piece.
Ali-in-all, a great piece.
Date posted: 4/6/2004 8:57:24 PM
Wow! That was so beautiful and sad! Great job, LianaMara!
Date posted: 4/8/2004 9:51:54 PM
You're the best writer here because your the bravest. I've read all of your fan-fics except one. The way you write with such clarity and conviction and then at the same time not pushing the views expressed in your story to a point where they would only fall on deaf ears shows not only a great talent but also some very admirable standards. Keep it up.
Date posted: 4/24/2004 6:24:58 AM
It is not as superficial as some SW-novels, especialy as the New Jedi Order.
There are not much people that can write heavy stories that good!
I realy like heavy srories like that.
I think you have a great understanding of people, their emotions and their sorrows.
Never stop writing!
Date posted: 10/10/2004 5:34:02 PM
Great story. I liked the way you portrayed a mother's anguish at losing a child. Very realistic. And the ending was a surprise, considering Mara's character. I really liked it.
Date posted: 12/14/2004 8:57:06 PM
I don't really see this happening in Mara's past. It looks to me a past pregnancy would have shown up in the books somehow.
Date posted: 12/20/2004 12:59:04 PM
It was a little heavy, but still very good. i love it when someone puts a character through something people with in realy life. It helps us get through the real thing when someone we relate too and admire goes through the same thing. Even if they aren't real.
Date posted: 12/27/2004 6:30:27 PM
Wow. That was definately heavy, but completely amazing. It was sad, but Mara's past was sad-- all in all, it captures the emotions very, very well. And though I must admit I speak from a very anti-abortion standpoint, I think that both sides of that issue should be able to appreciate what is really conveyed in this story. It does come over heavily pro-life, but even pro-choice people can see that in this story, Mara was given no choice. This is more than anything a love story-- a mother's love for her child, and a person's love and trust in his or her spouse.
Date posted: 12/30/2004 12:50:52 PM
Great fic. I think you deal with the gravity of the issue well. How the issue is a deep one.
Date posted: 12/30/2004 12:50:56 PM
Great fic. I think you deal with the gravity of the issue well. How the issue is a deep one.
Author: Jedi Grey
Date posted: 2/21/2005 8:45:18 AM
Jedi Grey's Comments:
I have to say that this is an excellent piece, and strangely enough, VERY in character for Mara Jade. The idea of having such feelings of regret, and there description leads me to wonder. Did you happen to speak to a woman who's had an abortion? I have, and this sounds disturbingly like experience talking. A wonderful piece altogether.
Date posted: 2/23/2005 4:58:37 PM
Thank you! Wow, I'm glad you liked it! :)
I did a bit of research before writing this - one of my friends' mum is a women's therapist, so I asked her some questions and then she gave me a book to read. It was stories about women who had lost babies, whether through abortion, a natural miscarriage, a stillborn birth, or an early sickness; learning about those experiences really influenced my writing of this story. I gained a lot of insight from those stories, so I tried to mesh the knowledge I gained from that book with how I thought Mara Jade would respond.
Date posted: 10/24/2005 7:05:26 AM
This is great stuff. I've wondered about Mara's life as the EH and this is testament to some of the harships she would have had to endure.
Emotional, impeccibly written and fantastic.
Author: Princess Achlys
Date posted: 6/7/2006 10:28:43 PM
Princess Achlys's Comments:
this was an amazing fanfiction. i agree with some of the reviewers when they say that this story is about the choices we make. i believe that this fanfiction teaches us how to think before we make a life-changing decision, in other words, "look before we leap". true, Mara made the wrong choice, but that will help her to see that one has many things to hesitate for. maybe i'm just over-analyzing, but this is a wonderful fanfiction. i applaud you!
Date posted: 2/26/2007 10:33:47 PM
"Geez, this story is a little on the heavy side. In Sci-Fi/Fantasy, one imagines an escape from the everyday rituals of life, from the politics and issues that constantly drone from our TV sets like a bad Orwellian parody.
The Star Wars fan-fiction forum is not the place for pro-life or pro-abortion sentiments. This piece is not worthy of SW fan fiction."
dude what makes it unworthy of being here? all its saying is that Mara regretted a decision that she made, and i regret to tell you that we are not perfect and i regret most if not all mistakes ive made...theres maeby a little pro life but nothing to complain about!
"I disagree. It's not a statement about a social issue. It's a story about the choices one makes, and the consequences of that decision. Maybe it was the wrong decision, but it was made and it still tears at Mara's soul. Star Wars is full of these stories. This is good work and is WORTHY of being on this site, regardless of one's personal beliefs. Nuff said. "
couldnt have said it better
Date posted: 5/3/2008 3:40:01 PM
This is a wonderful piece of work. I really can see how a younger, more reckless Mara could have gotten herself pregnant in the heat of the moment, forgetting the birth control in the midst of an early mission, and how the Emperor would have made her do away with it.
Some here have said that basically Mara isn't sentimental enough to regret something like this, but I disagree. Point one, Mara is probably very young and less jaded here than later in her life as an assassin. Point two, as with Vader and Luke fiction, my opinion is that being able to love your own child doesn't alone make you a good person, it might be called the basest requirement of a person who isn't a complete sociopath. So Mara can be a merciless assassin and still mourn her unborn child. Point three, just because Mara doesn't show her feelings easily doesn't mean she has none. Its not like she is telling the tale of her life to some obscure confidant here.
This fic was very well written and I like everything with Mara on it. Well, not everything, but Mara can redeem a whole lot. Keep up the good work!
Date posted: 10/9/2008 9:43:09 PM
honestly idon't agree with Dark Starlighter
i think that star wars can be used as an escape from daily life
but you need connections to make it seem real
to know its not all flowers and fairies
but its difficult
just like our world
GREAT story! sad and somewhat awkward but good
Date posted: 4/18/2010 11:40:47 PM
This is the best story on the site. Fantastic. Seriously, why havn't abortion issues come up in SW before? You totally displayed the situation how it (relatively, considering most people don't have to contend with Siths) really is. Abortion brings absolute trauma, nothing else. And I don't see why it would be a bad thing if you meant this to be pro-life. I loved this. 14 years old and homeschooled and thought it was totally appropriate. Didn't want it to happen to Mara but it was great any-freaking-way. Yeah, I am pro-life, and murder is not a political issue. Thank you for writing this. I'm done.
Date posted: 3/3/2011 10:45:31 PM
The stories well written, but I didn't find it that emotionally gripping. It felt to me like we were hammered with how we should feel about Mara's decision, rather than telling a story. But a good piece regardless.
I do however, have to take issue with this statement by the author.
"Thank you to everyone who read this. This viggie was written after a discussion with a friend about the psychological trauma women who have lost a child suffer. After looking over statistics and facts, I felt like I had to write something."
If you want Mara to be a woman who feels psychological trauma over that decision, that's fine and some women do indeed feel that way. However, your reference to "statistics and facts" heavily implies that this is how the vast majority of women who have an abortion feel. And that just isn't true.
Studies show that the rate of women with emotional trauma post-abortion is in fact not significantly higher than the rate of women seeking psychological help after giving birth. 15/1000 women, or 1.5% of those having abortions suffer from emotional trauma afterwards. It's hardly the widespread, devastating issue that a number of commenters are making it out to be.
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