by Valerie Vancollie
valeriev84 at hotmail dot com
Note: This fic appeared in the Imperial fanzine Imperium in May 2002.
Also, while this fic is only just appearing here now, this is not the first time that it has appeared online, that was over a decade ago but never made it here for some reason. I've only just realized this and so am posting it here as my Star Wars website that had it went down years ago.
With her face twisted into a mask of concentration, Leia carefully reached up and placed the last brightly painted wooden block onto the tower she'd made. Momentarily waiting to see if the wobbly structure would topple, she laughed with delight when it didn't. Gazing at the masterpiece, the six-year-old girl couldn't wait to show it off to her father, knowing how proud he'd be of her. Getting to her feet, she walked over to a closet, got out her holocamera and took a holo of the tower. Leia took the chip from the machine and moved to her shelf where she picked up the holoframe containing the holo of the sand castle she'd made last week. Placing the new holo in the frame, she set it back and added the old holo to her collection.
"Nanna," Leia said as she turned to face her new nanny. "Look what I made!"
"Wow! Did you do that all by yourself?" the older woman asked as she moved to inspect the creation.
"Yes," Leia declared proudly. "Wait till Daddy sees it!"
"I'm sure he'll be impressed. However it's now time for you to get ready for bed."
"But I'm not tired yet!"
"It's already eight o'clock and your father said that he'd tell you a story if you were in bed when he came up."
"A story?" Leia questioned and quickly rushed out of her bedroom to her personal bathroom when the other nodded her head. "Yippee!"
Nanna laughed as she followed her charge to make sure that the young princess washed her face, brushed her teeth and so that she could help her comb her shoulder-length hair.
"Ouch," Leia exclaimed a few minutes later as the brush got caught in a knot. "That hurts!"
"I'm sorry," Nanna apologized as she got the knot out and carefully finished her task. "Now, go to the toilet," she ordered as she left the room and headed for the grand staircase. There, she held up two fingers to the servant waiting at the bottom, telling him to alert the Viceroy that he should come up in two minutes. Going back to the bedroom, she waited for the little girl to come out. "Let's clean up some of this mess," she said as she indicated the toys which littered the floor. "You really should keep all this stuff in your playroom."
"But its cooler up here," Leia pouted. "Can I keep the tower up? I want to show it to Daddy."
"The tower can stay, but the rest must be put away."
Leia picked up her small dolls and put them into the chest at the foot of her bed, quickly adding in the rich array of fancy clothes and accessories she had for them. She then moved to pick up the books she'd flipped through and put them in their rightful place on the shelf. Seeing that Nanna was putting away the last few animal figures, she got her favorite stuffed animal and crawled into bed.
"You all set?" Nanna inquired as she tucked the little princess in.
"Good," Nanna replied as she moved towards the door, hearing Bail Organa's approach. "Goodnight."
"Is my little angel in bed?" Bail asked as he entered the room.
"Daddy!" Leia exclaimed as she proudly indicated her tower. "Look what I made!"
"Amazing. Did you do that all by yourself?"
"Yes, I used all the blocks too!"
"Well, we'll just have to get you some more then so that you can build even larger towers," Bail said as he came to sit on the bed.
"Goodie," Leia replied eagerly, clutching her stuffed animal. "Nanna said you'd tell me a story."
"I did, didn't I? Very well, I'll tell you a story about a queen and a slave."
"When was it? A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?"
"Yes and no," Bail answered, knowing that Leia would consider his youth a long time ago. "It was long before you were born, but it happened in this galaxy."
"Was the queen beautiful?"
"Yes, she was very beautiful with extremely long hair. And the slave was a handsome young man too, with blue eyes and blond hair."
"How old were they?"
"At the beginning of the story, she was fourteen and he was nine."
"Why was he a slave? I thought that there wasn't any slavery in the Old Republic."
"Not in the Republic, but outside of it there was," Bail explained. "But do you want me to tell you the story, or are you going to ask questions the whole time?"
"Just one more question?" Leia asked hopefully.
"Okay, one more."
"What were their names?"
"Their names?" Bail repeated, caught of guard. He hadn't thought about that one and he definitely couldn't give Leia the real names of the people in question. That knowledge could prove to be lethal. Then what...? "The queen's name was Annie and the slave's name was Padre."
"Annie, I like that name."
"As I said, they lived a long time ago," Bail started. "Padre had been born into slavery and thus didn't know anything else, but he did know that not everyone were slaves as he saw free people all the time. When he was still very young, his master learned that he was a good pilot and had him race a very dangerous vehicle in many races to win him money."
"That's mean!" Leia declared fiercely. "I hate slavers."
"Indeed, which is why the Old Republic forbade slavery. Unfortunately, the Empire allows it with many alien races," Bail said, his words laced with anger. "Annie, on the other hand, grew up with all she needed and became a queen when she was only fourteen-years-old. Despite her young age, she was a very good queen and the people loved her a lot. One day her planet was attacked and she had to flee with two Jedi Knights who had come to help her."
"Is it true that the Jedi Knights had magic?" Leia demanded, her eyes getting round at the mention of the mystical warriors.
"No, they didn't have magic," Bail said sadly, angered at the way so much was already forgotten about the brave knights who had often given their lives for justice. "They used the Force."
"What is the Force?"
"Only the Jedi truly know. And the Sith."
"Sith? Like Vader?" Leia demanded, her eyes wide with horror as the image of the tall, machine-like monster swam before her eyes.
"Yes, like Vader," Bail confirmed. "However, the Sith want to keep the knowledge to themselves. The Jedi, though, tried to explain it to people who couldn't touch the Force, but they never really succeeded. The Force is one of those things which can only be understood by experiencing it. Anyway, the two Jedi made sure that Queen Annie got away safely, but they ended up on the planet Padre lived on because they had trouble with their ship. Since this planet was outside the Republic, no one really wanted to help them but Padre and his mother. When one of the Jedi met Padre, he felt that he could become a powerful Jedi."
"The Jedi can sense these things. The Force tells it to them."
"I honestly don't know, Leia dear," Bail replied wearily. His little princess was always full of questions about anything and everything. He supposed that in a way it was good as it displayed a desire to learn, but it did get very annoying at times as he could never tell more than a few lines of a story before she interrupted him.
"Oh, sorry," Leia apologized, smiling sheepishly.
"That's okay," Bail responded. "Now where was I? Oh yes. Because of this, the Jedi wanted to take Padre to the Jedi Temple to be trained. Padre's owner, however, didn't want to sell him, so the Jedi played on his greed, making a bet with him. If Padre won the next race, the Jedi and Queen would get what they needed to get away and Padre would be free. If Padre lost, the owner would get the Queen's ship. Padre won and thus the owner lost everything."
"Exactly. See how it doesn't pay to be greedy?"
"Now that he was free, Padre went with the Jedi to the Temple to learn to become a Knight," Bail continued. "However, when he had met the Jedi for the first time, he had also met Queen Annie and fallen in love with her."
"But he's only nine!" Leia exclaimed and made a face. "That's disgusting!"
"Because boys are iky."
"Are they really?" Bail inquired with a twinkle in his eye. "Does this mean that you won't get married and have children?"
"No..." Leia began, thinking. "When I marry, it will be with a man, not a boy."
"Ah, I see," Bail stated, amused. "But Padre fell in love with Annie instantly and said that he would marry her."
"But that can't be," Leia interrupted with conviction. "A slave can't marry a queen. Only a king or prince can."
"Who ever said that?" Bail asked as he frowned, not liking the snobby implications behind her words at all.
"Mr. Ferguson did. He said that royalty can only marry royalty and not the ordinary folk."
"That is not true, Leia," Bail corrected, making a mental note to have a talk with Ferguson. "Just because someone is royalty doesn't mean that they can't marry people who aren't. Sure, some families will only allow their children to marry other royalty, but I won't do that. Marriage is about love, not status. It is arrogance to disregard the people as a partner for royalty simply because they don't have a title or status. If the chosen one has a good heart and loves the royal member in question, then that should be all that is necessary, regardless of past mistakes or current position. Understood?"
"Yes, Daddy," Leia replied seriously. "But I will never marry a bad person like a pirate, thief, scoundrel or smuggler! They're greedy and ill mannered."
"I certainly hope not," Bail exclaimed with a smile. "Anyway, about Padre and Annie. After being freed, Padre went to the Temple and began his training as a Jedi Knight. Queen Annie returned home and ruled her people." Pausing, Bail took a breath and drew upon his creative streak, knowing that he had to deviate from the truth now in order to protect the little girl before him. "Years went by during which they didn't see each other as they were kept busy with what they had to do on different planets. Destiny, however, would not let them be separated forever. They met again when they were both adults and Annie fell in love with Padre who had never stopped loving her. During all the years apart, Padre had never looked at another girl, thinking only of Annie."
"Because he loved her. Some day, when you fall in love, you will know what that is like," Bail explained. "Soon afterwards, Padre, who was now nearly a full Jedi Knight, and Annie got married. They were so happy together and loved each other so much that many people were jealous of their love."
"Why would people be jealous of other people's happiness?" Leia questioned, confused.
"Because they want that happiness, that love, that they see. They don't have it and thus they want it. But not everyone was like that and the two of them had many friends as they were both extremely kind and gentle people. Their greatest weakness was Padre's temper and his inability to control his emotions, two dangerous things for a Jedi as they need to be able to control themselves to control their power."
"Did they have many children? Many princes and princesses?"
"No," Bail lied bluntly. "They had no children, although they both wanted them. You see, as a Jedi, Padre was an enemy of the Sith and only the Jedi could fight the Sith as they too have the Force. Normal people can't fight a Sith directly as they have the Dark Side. So, when a Sith appeared, Padre had to fight him to protect the people and the Republic. It was a long and hard battle, during which Padre did all he could, but it wasn't enough."
"He wasn't killed, was he?" Leia exclaimed, clutching her stuffed animal tightly in dread.
"No, Padre wasn't killed, but it would probably have been better if he had been," Bail responded, forcing back tears as memories came rushing forward. Memories of Anakin and Amidala, their happiness and love. Both had been good friends of his. "You see, the Sith did something to him, changing him forever. Padre was turned into a mean person who no longer loved Annie and who would do bad things to the people and the Republic which he had once promised to protect."
"But how could they do that?" Leia inquired, horrified. "How can they change a good man into a bad man?"
"I don't know, honey. But you must never, ever trust the Sith. They are evil and they like destruction and death."
"Poor Annie," Leia stated sadly. "And Padre, he couldn't help it that the Sith changed him."
"Yes," Bail agreed. "It's a sad story. But it does teach us something important about the Sith and what they can do."
"I'll remember it," Leia promised. "Never trust a Sith."
"Exactly," Bail said as he leaned forward to kiss his little Princess on the head. "Now you need to sleep."
Bail stood silently outside of Leia's room, a pained expression on his face. How he longed to tell Leia the full truth about what had happened to the queen and the slave-turned-Jedi! But he couldn't. If he hadn't deviated from the truth when he had, Leia was bound to put two and two together when she was older and had access to the Old Republic files he and Mothma had managed to salvage. Something which needed to be prevented at all costs until the time was right for her to know exactly what had transpired between her parents.
IF the right time ever came.
There was no way that he would unnecessarily jeopardize her life. Enough people had died already, there was no need to add to the death toll.