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Gungan to the left

Degrees of Death (G)

By : Jaina Fel

Archived on: Monday, December 2, 2002

In the aftermath of the Republic’s fall and Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, Padmé flees to Alderaan with baby Leia. There, she contemplates her life, and comprehends that one does not necessarily have to stop breathing in order to die.

I am dead.

Not deceased in the literal sense, for my body still functions. But my soul and spirit are lifeless within me.

I am on Alderaan, now. This planet is so like my old home of Naboo it makes me ache inside. It is so peaceful, so full of beauty. It is not fair that loveliness should survive here while Naboo has been ravaged, all its beauty stripped away. Why? I want to cry to the universe. However, I do not cry out. I know why.


My husband, Anakin Skywalker, is why.

Or rather, Darth Vader, the monster my husband has become, is why.

Vader. Father. If only he knew... If only he knew he really is a father. That he has children. Twins.

The twins. I have only one child now. Leia. Little Leia, so full of life, like I once was. She is one of the few things that bring a small degree of joy into my barren existence. Luke is far away from me now, never to know he once had a mother named Padm?. Obi-Wan has taken him away from me, deeming it best that I not know the whereabouts of my own son. I pray that he finds someone compassionate and loving to raise my little Luke.

I fled to Alderaan after Ani perished to live with Bail and his wife. They understand what seeing the Republic I have sought to preserve tumble down around my ears does to me, as Bail has been fighting for the preservation of the Republic even longer than I have. Alderaan is one of the last places in the galaxy where peace is preserved. I pray daily that evil will never gain a foothold here and that Vader will never find me. I could not bear to look at him and know that he was once Anakin Skywalker, my husband.

Anakin Skywalker is dead. Each morning, these words slap me in the face with all the painful intensity of the day I first heard them. The body encased in black armor is not Anakin Skywalker. My Ani could never have become a monster dependent on machines for every breath he takes. I wish this were all just a bad dream, wish it with all the pieces of my heart. How I wish that I could simply wake up from the nightmare that is my existence.

I am no longer able to shed tears, as they have all been spent long ago. Nevertheless, I weep inwardly, wondering how my soul mate could become a machine that could not be trusted even with the knowledge that he has children. I weep for circumstances beyond our control that forced Ani to turn to the Dark Side. I weep for my poor children, growing up in a galaxy unsafe for them to know their own father. But most of all, I weep for my lost love.

I feel that my life has been in vain. All I have accomplished is to instigate the action that would ultimately bring about the fall of the Republic I once treasured. I opened the way for Palpatine to become Chancellor, and from there it was an easy step for him to become Emperor. I failed Ani, and by doing so have unleashed upon the galaxy a greater threat than it has ever known in Darth Vader himself. I am the cause of the destruction of both Naboo and the Jedi Order. Guilt weighs heavily on me, and I feel that I have failed the entire galaxy.

This is my life now. I sit by the window staring out unseeing at the beautiful landscape before me, reliving all the wonderful times I spent with Ani. I search our past for a hint of the monster he would become, but I am unsuccessful. All I am able to see is Ani, my wonderful, loving Ani.

I am fading day by day. I can feel it. My soul is already dead, and now my body is catching up. It does not matter to me. I have no desire to live without my Ani.

Original cover by Cosmic. HTML formatting copyright 2002 TheForce.Net LLC.

Fan Fiction Rating

Current Rating is 8.8 in 218 total ratings.

Reader Comments

Add a comment about this Fan Fiction

Author: Jenos  (signed)
Date posted: 12/2/2002 10:51:45 PM
Jenos's Comments:

Nice! This is sad...but shows an insight into the mind of Padme...great work!

Author: Mcily Nochi  (signed)
Date posted: 12/2/2002 11:53:50 PM
Mcily Nochi's Comments:

This is a very stylistically interesting vignette. Your sentence structure really added a lot to the tone of the piece. The short, halting sentences with many commas and stops made me pause in my own reading of it and pull back to examine the structure of the piece. I discovered that it is extremely well-balanced and thought-out.

Kudos to the betas, as well: No typos!

Very nice.

Author: Bimo  (signed)
Date posted: 12/3/2002 2:48:20 AM
Bimo's Comments:

A moving character study of Padmé. Very well written and stunningly beautiful. As somebody who has specialized on vignettes, I can only guess the amount of "blood, sweat and tears" that went into writing this piece. Great job!

Author: Nol-Tel-Sete
Date posted: 12/3/2002 11:51:21 AM
Nol-Tel-Sete's Comments:

I disagree with the Story I do not believe that it is going to be padme's fault. I believe that each make up there own minds. I believe that ani was predestend to fall so no matter what she did he would have still fallen from the light. I also believe that if not for her then the future would have been much worse then it was for she made it possible for the hope of the future to be born in the she bore Luke and Leia. Well that is my thoghts on this matter.

Author: KGolaSkywalker  (signed)
Date posted: 12/3/2002 9:47:29 PM
KGolaSkywalker's Comments:

Just a reply to Nol-Tel-Sete's comment that he (she?) doesn't think it's Padme's fault. I didn't think this story was about it being her fault, but more that she FEELS like it was her fault - the ultimate guilt. Just because you weren't the cause of something doesn't mean you don't still feel guilty for it. I thought this vignette was very good, and I don't usually like them, as I feel they're too short to convey enough feeling.

Author: NaomiOrgana  (signed)
Date posted: 12/4/2002 11:47:27 AM
NaomiOrgana's Comments:

This was great. I agree with KGolaSkywalker in that it's about Padme feeling guilty, rather than being guilty.

Author: spasticmadoushi
Date posted: 12/4/2002 2:20:50 PM
spasticmadoushi's Comments:

Hi Nannerl!
This was REALLY good, so I'm giving it a 10. You did an excellent job of setting the tone and pulling the reader (that's me! ^_^) into Padme's situation. Even though I don't have much interest at all in Star Wars stuffs, I liked this a lot. So what do you mean about not being able to write? You go girl! ^_^


Author: Bobill
Date posted: 12/4/2002 4:50:57 PM
Bobill's Comments:

Wow! Very sad and moving! I loved how strong it was, really a tearjerker!

Author: Jaina Pere
Date posted: 12/5/2002 11:18:27 AM
Jaina Pere's Comments:

"Degrees of Death" is an apt title for this very moving piece. Clearly there are worse things than mere physical death. Bereft of her son, facing the expropriation of her daughter, having suffered not only the loss of her beloved Ani, but also forced to endure the knowledge of what he has become, Padme has entered the seventh circle of a living hell. I found this vignette emotionally and intellectually stimulating, especially the way in which the author has captured the inner feelings of Padme. It would be a good feat to understand and write of the deepest feelings of someone you actually know, but to get in side the head of a totally fictional character in such a moving way is really an outstanding bit of writing skill! Great work Jaina!!

Author: Naboos_Princess  (signed)
Date posted: 12/5/2002 1:22:18 PM
Naboos_Princess's Comments:

I really enjoyed your story, Jaina! You conveyed Padme's emotions wonderfully. It was emotional, well-written, and short--a difficult thing to write. Awesome work!

Author: Jediknightrivan
Date posted: 12/5/2002 7:28:38 PM
Jediknightrivan's Comments:

This a very good story. I just wish their was an entire book! great job, keep up the good work.

Author: PoorLittleYo-da
Date posted: 12/6/2002 6:32:34 AM
PoorLittleYo-da's Comments:

That's great stuff. How do you come up with it? I've always wanted to do something like that, but I never had any good ideas. That's great stuff. I totally understand how Padme could blame herself in some way. Undoubtedly she would feel she should've stayed on Coruscant before the Clone War started, and maybe none of the stuff in Episode III would have happened. But that's very well done. Bravo!

Author: Darth Din
Date posted: 12/6/2002 8:05:07 AM
Darth Din's Comments:

Emotional and fresh. I was more intrigued by this short piece than any official Star Wars novel. Usually, SW novels pretty much follow the imagination and structure of Lucas' movies. I feel like I'm frequently reading the same story. This however, has an emotional quality wich is beautifull. AOTC, as much as I loved it, didn't have enough time to show more of Anakins redeeming and beautifull qualities. Howeve, I hve only one question. Wouldn't Padme have gotten a clue of Ani's dark side from his slaughter of the Tuesken men and women. The innocent children? What's interesting is how some people can be blinded by love. She could see his evil, but, I would have to suggest she was blinded by Love or convinced she could help him or both.

Author: Yoda
Date posted: 12/6/2002 6:53:22 PM
Yoda's Comments:

Overall, the writer accurately portrayed Padme's feelings inbetween Episodes 3 and 4, but I would have to agree with a previous comment that she knew Anakin had problems, with not just the Sandpeople massacre, but his frustration with Obi-Wan and his life in general.

Anakin Skywalker, before the tragedy of Episode three was a good guy. At age 10, he helped save Naboo from the Trade Federation thorough some successful piloting. He went on to become one of the most noteworthy Jedi Knights of the clone wars and a loving husband to Padme. This is the Anakin she looks back on.

Her love for this Anakin, is what blinded her to the inner demons he was facing. She thought she could temper the hero, but was overcome largely by an unfortunate turn of events, likely including the seductive hiss of Palpatine.

Author: spasticmadoushi
Date posted: 12/7/2002 1:19:28 PM
spasticmadoushi's Comments:

You peoples! You can't change the author's persepctive in her own story. Just read and enjoy!


P.S: Again, great job Jaina! ^_^

EDIT: In the future be careful with your use of adjectives. Consider this a warning.

Author: Anakin'sGurl
Date posted: 12/7/2002 4:35:17 PM
Anakin'sGurl's Comments:

All I can say is WOW. That was an extremely well written story. No matter how many times I said to myself, "It's only a movie, it isn't real," I couldn't help feeling horrible for Padme. And the thought of Hayden Christiansen's wonderful face being covered up by that aweful helmet made me feel badly for me! LOL Seriously, that was a great piece. Great job.

Author: Your Roguish Friend
Date posted: 12/7/2002 8:08:23 PM
Your Roguish Friend's Comments:

Love the story Jaina. Great stuff, definately up to par. And feeling guity is completely different from actually being guilty. It is human nature to feel guilty for things that are uncontrolable, but that doesn't make them our fault.

Author: MaraJade
Date posted: 12/8/2002 10:15:51 AM
MaraJade's Comments:

It was really well written and incredibly sad. I really hope that the third movie doesn't make me cry, but it probably will. Anakin's Gurl has good taste.

Author: JediSkywalker13
Date posted: 12/8/2002 1:35:27 PM
JediSkywalker13's Comments:

Great story, but it's sad on Padme's part.

Author: Jedi1977
Date posted: 12/8/2002 3:18:24 PM
Jedi1977's Comments:

On the Ewoks bridge in ROTJ; Luke asked Leia about her mother, I have since wondered...what could have caused her to die so young. The emotional pain your version releases answers my question. After reading your story, I had that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. That feeling all of us get when we lose that one great love.

Author: jedi21
Date posted: 12/8/2002 4:36:51 PM
jedi21's Comments:


Author: jedi_michele
Date posted: 12/9/2002 6:29:43 PM
jedi_michele's Comments:

when i started to read this, i was like this sounds familar. i remeber u sending this to me!
congragulations on making it to the archives. u should be so proud of putting together such a piece of art that describes how a person can feel such guilt over a cause of events. this was a well crafted writing piece, and i know i speak for all who of read this when we want to see more!

Author: Kevin C.
Date posted: 12/10/2002 1:18:39 PM
Kevin C.'s Comments:

Superbly written piece. I found it very emotional. Also, very accurate. I agree that it is more the feeling of guilt than actually being guity, but, guilty or not, Padme had a big part in the events that lead to the rise of the Empire. I give this piece a 10. Very, very nice work indeed.

Author: Sarah Hills
Date posted: 12/12/2002 6:20:23 PM
Sarah Hills's Comments:

I read this story and I do believe that it part it was Padme fault. The magority fault is that it was Ani. After Ani mother died a part of him died with her and that is why he has fallen. Padme probaly feeling it is her fault.

Author: Anakin'sGurl
Date posted: 12/29/2002 3:33:21 PM
Anakin'sGurl's Comments:

I think that the blame of Anakin's turn to the dark side falls on several people. Padme had a part in the rise of the Empire, even if she didn't know it at the time. But I have a feeling that if she and Anakin were living together and were married without having to keep it a secret, he wouldn't have become Darth Vader because she was always so reassuring. I think that Obi-Wan was at fault for Anakin's frustration because of the slow pace of the training and Palpatine was at fault for his dreams of power. If Watto hadn't been so selfish, Shmi wouldn't have died like that, which made Anakin so hateful.

Author: Princess Leia
Date posted: 1/1/2003 10:24:43 AM
Princess Leia's Comments:

I think that the story was great, but very depressing. I agree that it was several people's fault and that Shmi's death had a large part in his anger.

Author: StarWarsGirl
Date posted: 1/11/2003 6:21:25 PM
StarWarsGirl's Comments:

Wonderful story! Enjoyed it very very much. It conveys the heart and soul of Padme. It's easy to see how things might turn out for her in Episode 3 and beyond. George Lucas mentioned in the AOTC DVD that those who can't adapt die. This was a theme in Star Wars movies.

Author: Master Dalf
Date posted: 1/12/2003 4:11:14 PM
Master Dalf's Comments:

I totally disagree with the story. Padme makes herself out to be the reason the empire grows and Anakin turns evil which isn't true at all. Episode two is a big hint as to why he goes evil and this fan fic doesn't incorporate any of it.
A good writer with some talent, but not by any means a good story.

Author: Tanara
Date posted: 2/25/2003 10:15:00 AM
Tanara's Comments:

Hmmm... excellent... Nice, short read, perfect for
School Lunchbreak...
Loved the sentence structure. As before said, it makes
you pause, and take account of Padme's feelings.
Very well characterization of Padme, and her love for Anakin.
All that to say: Wunderbar!!!
Tanara BrightStar

Author: sashask8ter
Date posted: 6/1/2003 12:30:59 PM
sashask8ter's Comments:

This was the first fanfic i ever read. i was ten at the time, and you told the story so well i thought it was true... i'm eleven now, big difference
nicely done

Author: DarthyVader
Date posted: 7/21/2003 3:21:18 PM
DarthyVader's Comments:

Oh, I am literally crying (I do that with most sad fics, and movies...) and while I've got tears are rolling down my cheeks, my brother is trying to figure out new verses to 'This Old Man'. Oh this is not the right atmosphere!

Author: StarFan
Date posted: 5/23/2005 5:14:25 PM
StarFan's Comments:

Great Story. Expresses many deep feelings.
The only other comment I have is that Padmae
and A. Skywalker had too much against them from the beginning. We all know that sooner or later,
one too many negative factors can doom, even the best of relationships between 2 characters. Their love was their choice. Everything that happened to them was not. Fear can destroy so much. I still think their twin children are proof that their love would prove to be stronger than anything, ultimately. After all 6 Episodes, no matter how one interprets it, this is the story of a young man who fell into a dark, mental break-down, out of fear and struggle. He was desperately in love with his wife, he wanted to be more than he was, and yet his pain, past and all he was, is and could be became too much for him and all those near him. The good news is that his own son Luke in "Return of the Jedi" gives his father, at this point Lord Vader, a chance to make things right and knows his father can be convinced to turn back to the right side. Vader dies and Anakin Skywalker is born again, from his sons hope and strength and faith.

Author: Rhaya  (signed)
Date posted: 6/2/2005 1:12:33 AM
Rhaya's Comments:

Very nicely done.

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Archived: Monday, December 2, 2002

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