Beta: A huge thank you to cariel for beta reading this for me! *glomps*
Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.
It was the wisdom that exuded from her eyes, so well beyond her young years, the strange aura of peace that lingered about her that told Saché the young woman was a warrior maiden.
Other potential handmaidens claimed they were from noble houses, royal lineages, and powerful families. It was the quiet, watchful stranger that exuded the air of true nobility, the sort found in the legends Saché's father used to share before her mother passed away.
"In another life, you were a warrior queen. The kind that history never forgets, but never accurately remembers," Saché stated upon approaching the young handmaiden in training.
Startled by the bold statement, the young, future decoy furrowed her brow, her expression uncertain. The words were meant as a compliment and the girl's cheeks soon warmed upon realizing it. "I'm hardly noble or even a great warrior."
Saché smirked as she shook her head. "The fact you said that tells me that you are. I'm Saché."
The introduction could not have been any less professional, but the young woman responded with grace and humble poise. Bowing deeply in greeting, she introduced herself as Sabé.
Saché knew in that moment she had found a true friend.
Saché was not a woman meant to wield a blade. Her fingers were short and thick, lacking the agility required to handle the graceful weapon. It did not slow her fascination with swords. She enjoyed the strength felt in the hilt, the delicate grace of the blade, the way it could cut the air without a sound. It was as beautiful as it was deadly. But it was not hers to wield.
Sabé, in contrast, was lithe and agile, perfectly suited for the blades she handled. Her attacks, blocks, and parry's were fluid. Her swordplay was less like a spar and more like a dance. The sword was not a weapon she sought to use in battle, rather in the dojo where they trained. True strength came to those who laid down their swords, never to take them up again.
The young women shared as many similarities as they did differences.
The invasion of Naboo changed everything. Sabé was the first to feel the shift in the air, but Saché was the first to speak of it.
"There's going to be no turning back after this one," she announced as the other handmaidens prepared Sabé in silence for the most important mission of her life.
Sabé did not say a word, but her eyes spoke volumes.
Saché had her own orders and she knew she would abide by them without question. Her duty was to begin a resistance, to find a way to free the prisoners from the camps. Sabé's duty was to embody the queen, to maintain the peaceful front. The irony was not lost on them.
Naboo historians would forever know them asThe Sword and The Shield.
Sabé returned from Tatooine a changed woman. No one noticed the minor shift in her mood, her mannerisms, or even her appearance. To Saché it was obvious. Her friend's eyes seemed brighter, while a smile always hinted on her lips, concealing a secret only she knew. Saché did not know what it meant until Sabé began to carry a deep blue ribbon on her blade's hilt. The mystery was evident, but Sabé's heart's desire was not. Saché knew better than to ask. Sabé knew better than to tell.
Ten years later, the noble Jedi Knight who saved the queen-turned-senator's life returned and with him was an outspoken, spoiled Jedi prince.
Saché watched on as three lives were forever changed: one for the better and two for the worse.
Sabé's secret was revealed only through careful observation. Saché knew her friend well and knew Sabé held deep feelings for Jedi Master Kenobi. She also knew that he returned those affections.
Loyalty to their Masters would forever keep them apart. Nobility had its price and Saché did not question it.
Her friend's secret remained safe with her.
The war made enemies of them all. Friends, families, and lovers were divided, caught in a storm that no one fully understood. Rabé was the first to take sides; Eirtaé soon followed. Had it not been for the love a clone soldier, Saché was certain Yané would have left them too.
Her doubts were not justified until Sabé learned of General Kenobi's mortality. It was the first time Saché ever saw fear in her friend's eyes. Sabé took a leave of absence immediately after, it was the first and last time she ever would.
A private conversation opened Saché's eyes to the truth of the war. Sabé did not speak of the General's concerns, only the facts. It was more than enough and it left Saché uncertain.
"What if Rabé and Eirtaé had the right idea. Maybe we should pack it in and call it a day."
Sabé shook her head. "My place is here. It will always be here."
Her statement struck a chord with Saché. She though of her surrogate sister, Dormé, Captain Typho, and her fellow colleagues. Sabé was right, her place was there.
Both women would remain in the Republic's service until its fall.
Amidala's death affected them all, but Sabé felt it the most. She was the only one who knew their mistress; she was also the only one who cared. For the rest of the handmaidens, it was the end of their careers. For Sabé, it was the end of everything she believed and served.
Padmé's final words to both women left no room for doubts: "For many years, a great evil unfolded in our midst. If I do not return, it is up to you both to continue our legacy. Free our people from this tyrant's reign. Do whatever it takes and do not look back. You are Naboo's sword and shield. The time has come to show the Empire why."
It was the first time they had heard of their unofficial titles.
Many years passed since Sabé last saw Saché. It was duty that brought her to Tatooine. It was the love of a noble knight, her confident and best friend, that ensured that she would stay.
Since the last time she was on Tatooine, it had become a sanctuary for many. Sabé's position within the Alliance ensured that many lives were saved and protected here. She did not compromise her husband's own personal mission. Together they became a ray of light in the dark.
It was duty that kept Saché in the service of the Empire. She answered to no one, save her new commanders within the Rebellion. Saché became the faceless middle man for those who sought to leave their mark on the Empire. Together with Captain Typho, her confident and love, the two became the striking hammer of justice.
The Empire never learned that a murdered queen's handmaidens set its demise in motion.
It wasn't until Saché was an older woman when Sabé and her paths finally crossed. The messages exchanged over the years paled in comparison to speaking in the flesh. Sabé wore the passing of time like a queen's crown. The years had only added to her grace and wisdom. The weight in her eyes, however, was something that Saché knew far too well. Isellé, the unborn daughter Sabé had loved and lost, would never be forgotten.
Saché was not capable of bearing children of her own, but it was small price paid to ensure the safety of hundreds of lives. It was not her destiny and she was grateful that her lover understood that.
There were no words in greeting or exclamations of delight. The silent grasp of arms spoke volumes and needed no explanations.
"The princess has been captured," Saché began.
Sabé did not speak; her expression said all that needed to be said. A handmaiden's duty to the royal family knew no end, not even with the passing of generations.
It would not be the last time Amidala's daughter's brazen courage and naivety caused the death of innocent lives.
Saché was not a woman who ran. It was cowardly, undignified, and rude. Captain Typho's last words haunted her for months after his death. His final request was the one she loathed to fulfil. It was also the one she knew she could not deny.
It is easier to die for your believes, but to live for it-promise me you will live through this, Saché-
Being alive and living were very different things. It was the need to live that led her to the desert sands of Tatooine.
Her reunion with Sabé was quiet, filled with words unspoken. They respected each other too much to patronize the other with words of sympathy.
"My duty is now here, Saché. The children need me."
The children Sabé spoke of were the victims of the Hutts rule and survivors of the death star's demise. Saché knew the slave trade had always been prosperous when it came to the desert world. Its influence had only grown with the Empire's slow decay. Children, especially orphans, were valued. They were too young to question their masters and easy to break in.
Saché never imagined herself to be a maternal woman, but the children's plight awoke a new sense of loyalty. Her dedication to them ensured that Tatooine would become her home.
Saché and Sabé's lives were filled with the joy and laughter of their surrogate children. The locals loved the two widows and did what they could to ensure that the ever growing younglings always had what they needed.
The years slipped away and with it came much change. Saché was no longer a young woman and she knew it would only be a matter of time. It was Sabé who answered first answered the call. It was a day her friend would never forget.
The children had grown and settled with families of their own. The Empire was all but a scar in the pages of history and Padmé's children had long since fulfilled their own destinies. While the Jedi established a new Order, peace worked its way in many channels in the galaxy.
Saché finished preparing some tea for her friend and some of their eldest children when it occurred to her that Sabé had yet to depart from her room. She was not sensitive to the Force, but something deep within told her that her childhood friend would not be joining them for tea again.
Sabé's form was still, her body half buried beneath handmade blankets. A hint of a smile played on her lips, while her hand remained half curled and stretched towards the beds edge, as if grasping something only she could see. The aura of peace lingered about Sabé as it always had, while a soft breeze gently blew through the windows of her room. From the corner of her eyes, Saché saw a flicker of movement. She could almost make out the shadowy forms of a man taking a woman's hand before fading away together. As quick as it was there it was gone. Saché swore she could smell the scent of wildflowers, desert spice, and paonga tea.
With great care and respect, the blanket was drawn over Sabé's brow as a sad smile crept over Saché's aged features. She could not have imagined a more suited or peaceful passing for her childhood friend.
"Goodbye, old friend. May your journey to Harmony be everything you have imagined and so much more."
As Saché departed to make preparations for a burial, a lone figure watched on from the doorway. Her time was rapidly approaching and Saché knew the Captain would soon be ready to take her home too.