Disclaimer: It's George's sandbox, I'm simply wrecking the sandcastles.
Title: Heart of Ice
Genre: sonfic - 2011 Dare Challenge Fic
Timeframe: Rebellion Era
Summary: Ysanne Isard's ideas of fun never included romance...
Author's Note: A little background as I've never seen this Opera (Though now I want to - go figure) as to what we can assume has happened before now since it's supposed to follow the basic line:
In the act before this aria, Calaf [Luke] has correctly answered the three riddles put to all of Princess Turandot's [Isard's] prospective suitors. Nonetheless, she recoils at the thought of marriage to him. Calaf [Luke] offers her another chance by challenging her to guess his name by dawn. (As he kneels before her, the Nessun dorma theme makes a first appearance, to his words, "Il mio nome non sai!") If she does so, she can execute him; but if she does not, she must marry him. The cruel and emotionally cold princess then decrees that none of her subjects shall sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will be killed.
As the final act opens, it is now night. Calaf [Luke] is alone in the moonlit palace gardens. In the distance, he hears Turandot's [Isard's] heralds proclaiming her command...
Because Ish always sends in some of the most awesome and difficult dares and, as far as I've seen, seldom sees them realized. So, here… this one's for you, Ish; I did my best!
Song lyrics (English translations) in italics :D Check the Wiki if you wish the original Italian.
Dare at the end of the fic ;)
Heart of Ice
It had begun simply enough; a quest to win the hand of a Princess said to have a heart of ice. A Princess and an unknown Prince who had the power to wreak havoc and devastation even as he met and surpassed each of the tests she placed before him. In an effort to win her hand, to count himself among the chosen and finally the victor, he dared her to answer the ultimate riddle; his identity.
Unable to do so without assistance, she put this decree to the Empire:
"All will die… unless someone finds the name of this Prince!"
And so the search began, but the Princess had left it too long, too late and even now our hero rejoices that this cold hearted Princess will soon be his…
"None shall sleep! None shall sleep!
Even you, O Princess, in your cold bedroom, watch the stars.
That tremble with love and with hope!"
Alone in the Palace gardens, Luke Skywalker, known to the Imperial Court only as "The Prince", settled himself on a bench with a view of his chosen bride's chambers. Her light still burned, though it was well after midnight; an hour where most would be in their beds.
But not this night.
Even now, beyond the wall of the Imperial palace, he could see the flashing signs of foretold doom; feel the despair of her decree as it spread outwards like a vile poison; a poison whose reach held no bounds.
Yet, even as it spread, it stayed, festering in her mind as well, her lights flickering as they turned off at a pre appointed time, only to come back on almost immediately. A sure sign she thought of him and his challenge to her; proof she was no closer now than she had been when he'd placed the challenge before her.
His lips tilted up at one corner. She was a master of intelligence, a woman without equal; a goddess among the players at court, but in this she was the same as the lowliest of peasants. In this she would kneel before him – and she would fight him every step of the way.
A flutter of curtains heralded the next black out as the hour drew near, Luke crossing his hands under his head as he stared at the balcony. He wasn't disappointed. Ysanne Isard stepped into view, dressed in an ensemble he'd not yet seen. It was plain; a simple shift under a dressing gown of deep red.
Her black hair blended with the night as the lights were extinguished, the streak of white along one side like a beacon, calling to the sky beyond to imbue it with starlight. He smiled, picturing the frustration on her cool visage, determined to be the one to melt it into something more. No matter how she rebuffed him, it only drove him to desire her more.
In this, and this alone, he was his father's son.
She moved to the edge, planting her hands very deliberately along the railing. Luke could see, even from his place in the shadows, that she was displeased. What's more, he could feel it.
Wishing for some way to banish her misery without removing himself from the equation, he stood, moving into her line of sight. "No frown should mar the features of one so fair. I shall win this game of yours, do not despair."
She stiffened upon seeing him, her eyes narrowing. "Begone, Princeling," she snapped, glaring. "Can you not leave me in peace?"
"Perish the thought! How could I not? To stop the beating of my heart? I'll not surrender such a start!"
"Don't you see I have no wish for your suit?"
"Need or not, it is light I bring. And light, my lady, is a precious thing."
"Even if it costs the lives of every man woman and child on the planet?"
"Many or we two, it matters not. Either way, it will have been well fought."
"Forget your stupid wager for a moment if you can. Guess you that I am bluffing? How arrogant you are to think I won't follow through on my vow! I wish to know who you are as much as you must wish to stop this so-called atrocity!"
"But my secret is hidden within me;
None will know my name! No, no!
On your mouth I will say it when the light shines!"
"I will have you, body and soul, my sweet. For once you are mine, you may entreat. Know you what you will ask beyond my name? Or will you have by then tired of this game?"
"Just what do you imply?"
"A fickle mistress, you do so seem. You allow young bucks to hope and dream. But I will win you, and end this game. For you will never, ever guess my name!"
"Kindly credit me with some intelligence… have you not heard I'll have no man who seeks to dominate me?"
Luke modulated his tone, passionately trying to reach the woman beneath the frozen façade. "And what of love, my heart's desire? Have you no wish to feel my fire? A warm embrace to hold you near? To melt the ice and ease your fears?"
Ysanne snatched her hands back from the ledge as if his words had been enough to burn her by themselves. "Love is for saps, not grown men and women who understand basic chemistry. Many who feel it are burned by it and I have no wish to join those fools!"
Luke cocked his head at her, a faint smile on his lips as he enjoyed the back and forth with her – but not from this distance. He longed nothing more than to show her his intent, not to banter words with her, to be rebuffed when she didn't understand what he offered.
In those moments of silence, she seemed to take it as meaning she had won this particular round. With a haughty toss of her head, she spun and strode away.
"And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!"
Looking around to ensure his isolation, Luke gauged the distance to Ysanne's balcony. With a quick step, he called on the Force and lept to her balcony. Landing with barely a whisper, he slid down without a sound before stepping through the curtained entryway and into Ysanne's inner sanctum.
He would not be denied his purpose this night; Ysanne Isard would be his and he would have her capitulation by her own admission.
She didn't sense him with her back turned, one hand dragging a brush through her hair, His steps were muffled by a plush carpet as he moved towards her, reaching out to grasp the brush, stilling her motions and drawing her around, her hair whipping across his face with a faint sting.
She looked almost comically shocked, her eyes widening as she took a half step back. Whomever she'd expected, it clearly wasn't him.
"Torture not your hair like so. It's done nothing to deserve your blows." He held the brush, catching the same lock of her hair in his hand and stroked it deliberately. "I'll not have you ruin your abundant beauty. Consider this my pledge and honored duty."
"Need I remind you, I have no wish for your pledges?"
"Wish or not, on this I'm sworn. You will be mine this very morn."
Her mouth formed a perfect little "O" at the confidence in his tone. "Of all the arrogant, conceited…. does my agreement mean so little? Perhaps I shan't find your name and deny you anyway."
"And break the faith of those you rule? I doubt you think me such a fool," he ran the brush back over the lock of her hair, which drove her to promptly tear it from his grasp. "Might I ask a question, fair? One that might entice your care?"
"Questions – more questions for me? Really?"
The chill, condescending underlying tone in her voice would have put off many other men, but Luke – having grown up with sharper tongues than hers, had long since decided he enjoyed their banter and the way the lady held him at bay; the way she challenged him – simply smiled, stepping closer and her eyes widened. His gaze locked on hers, ice blue determination clashing with steely pride.
"Then I pray ask, my love, how like you this?"
His mouth came down to caress hers, claiming it gently, not at all forcefully the way he'd been implying he would. It was an unexpected assault after his forceful pursuit from the garden. His lips whispered across hers, introducing her to pleasures she'd never before experienced. He lifted his head barely heartbeats later, noting the slightly dazed look in her eyes, and caressed her cheek with the pad of his thumb as he cupped her face. Searching her expression, his words took on an almost reverent, benedictory, tone.
"Say it was not my lady's first kiss?"
Ysanne blinked, as if trying to get her bearings, but Luke took full advantage, sweeping her into another, deeper kiss, drawing her along with him and demanding her reaction with each brush of his lips. It took several long minutes before she was able to form a coherent thought, so swept away by the sheer power in his caress, she said the first thing that came to her mind.
"Stop," she moaned softly, feeling his hands trailing through her hair, drawing her closer, flush against his body. He didn't do as she pleaded and instead shifted to drag his lips from hers and down the column of her throat. She gasped, pressing into his touch, and he laughed softly against her neck.
"You have the softest skin, my lady fair." They trailed further downwards as her head fell back, her fingers digging into his shoulders. "But go further, I do not dare."
"Then tell me your name if you've no wish to stop." Ysanne's demand was breathless.
It was a kind of capitulation, but not the one he wished. True, he'd intended to drug her with passion, to force an admission, but he wanted her willing, unable to deny her attraction to him despite her reservations.
This would not do.
Luke pulled back, lifting his head, his thumb tracing the under curve of her lip. Searching her face again, his brows drew together with what he saw. "I can't help wonder at your capitulation. Think you I need the rise of station?"
"Useless to you." She gasped, still drugged on his passionate kisses. "Very useless to you. Wasted."
"Then what am I to make of this reversal so quick? Before you held me at arm's length, a touch xenophobic."
"Xenophobic?" The word seemed to drag her from the fogged state of mind. "You have no concept of the term if you think that is why I held you at bay!" Spitting the words out spitefully, she tore herself from his grasp; hurt was visible in her posture, but her words stung him the way his had her.
Unable to help himself as the frustration of her denial tore through him, he begged an answer. "If not that, then what is the reason, love? My age; my looks…all of the above?"
"Perhaps it's not the age my friend, but your lack of experience?" Wedge Antilles appeared in the main doorway, glancing back over his shoulder as he leaned against the door frame. "If her guards are any indication, you're in good company."
"You assistance, friend, I'm afraid won't help. Not when I'm considered little more than a whelp!"
Ysanne swore, something about her bed chamber being busier than the palace audience hall during grievance hour, and called for the head of her guard. "Zarakas!"
"My lady Isard, if you are as smart as the rumors say, you'll heed this advice. No matter how wide a search you make for a husband, you'll find no better than this man; my friend."
"And now you sound like him – if you know his name, speak it!"
"Alas," Wedge had the audacity to wink as the sound of booted heels striking the deck could be heard drawing closer. "The perils of friendship; I'll not betray his trust." Wedge straightened and bowed gracefully to the two of them. "And that, my Lady, is the signal to take my leave. You're on your own pal; good luck!"
Turning, Wedge disappeared from her chambers, drawing the guards away with a well timed flight. The doors opened beyond as he led them away, and the wail of Coruscant's population seemed to permeate the air as the first colors of false dawn began to light the sky.
"No one will know his name... and we will have to, alas, die, die!"
Ysanne watched the door, but Luke's touch drew her attention back his way as he cupped her elbow. "Ignore my friend for he means well. It is not on his actions I would wish you to dwell. Have you no care for me at all? Do my actions in face of his, so pall?"
"Before I answer, my unknown Prince, can you assure me of something?" Her gaze and posture were wary, as if expecting him to pounce on her again.
"To ease your fears, I would make any claim. But, I warn you, do not ask my name."
"Can you honestly think I'd ask that now? Dawn will come before it passes your lips and I have no use for such a wasted boon."
"Then let day come, before you ask of me a gift. For once you are mine, I dare not drift. Let the dawn come, with sun and with joy. It will herald the end for those with whom you toy."
"Even so, I would ask this of you."
"Then speak it now, oh lady of night. I will do what I can to set it right."
"Finally a pledge I can accept," her lips twisted. "Give me one good reason, aside from love, that you pursue me, and I will accept your suit."
Startled by the sudden turn about, Luke's head snapped back and his gaze narrowed on her face; it was the gleam of intelligence that caught him, the crafty way she'd phrased the question and an admiring smile crossed his lips. "I see your game, your request so benign. I'll not answer it now, but in due time."
"How can that be when it's all that I ask?"
"You ask, my lady, for the key. A clue, indeed, to my identity."
"I did no such thing! Just assure me you find some practical reason for this pursuit."
He smiled roguishly. Stepping back, Luke reached out to grasp her hand and brought her fingers to his lips – and then by passed them to brush against the pulse at the base of her hand. "Some things, my lady, are worth the fight. I'll see you again, when it is light."
She gasped as his lips lingered on her skin, and then he was gone. Leaving the way he came, she did nothing but stare at where he'd once stood. The Prince, she knew with a sinking feeling, had won.
She would, indeed, be his.
"Vanish, o night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!"
Author's Note: Okay, that was one of the hardest, yet most fun dares I've written to date! What a blast! :D :D
The Dare from DarthIshtar
Write a romantic interlude between Luke and Ysanne Isard. It must get somewhat intimate, but not break .net TOS. All intimacy must be on-screen (i.e. You cannot have them jump from scene 1 to having them wake up next to each other in the Imperial Palace or something to that effect). Wedge Antilles must act in a 'wingman' capacity at some point. All of this must be a songfic set to the lyrics of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot and the storyline must reflect the original plotline and intentions of that song [look it up in the wiki].
In addition, all of Luke's lines of dialogue must rhyme with each other. All of Isard's lines must start with a succeeding letter of the alphabet. (i.e. "All right, we can do this the hard way or...never mind there is no hard way." "Because I don't believe in taking things easy." "Certainly.", etc.) The fic must be 37 words short of the maximum length.
Word Count: with lyrics – 2555 / without lyrics = 2463… 37 short of the maximum word length ;)