Inspired by: Jody's illustration
Summary: Dormé tells a tale to her young children so that they will know their dead sister.
A/N: This takes place betweenThe Empire II: The Vader Dynasty and The Empire III: The Empire Falls
One-year-old Runa rested in Dormé’s arms as she rocked her to sleep for her nap. Today was the anniversary of Aené’s death and though not as many people visited and paid respects to her memorial, it was still a sacred day of rest for the empire. Aené would have been five this year, perhaps beginning to learn to read tales on her own, but still insisting Ama read her stories at nap and bed time. Thinking about such things tore at Dormé’s heart, but she couldn’t help thinking about it.
At two, Laic was already learning how to say simple sentences to express what he wanted. He was playing with some blocks not too far from where she sat with Runa. Dormé wondered if Aené and he would have gotten along and thought they would have. If she thought about it hard enough, she could almost see Aené showing Laic how to play games and teaching him about the world. Dormé wasn’t aware of the tears making their way down her cheeks as she thought of it.
‘Nah!’ said Runa, as though trying to tell her ama that she wanted her attention.
Dormé’s eyes snapped back to Runa. ‘I know, darling,’ she murmured, running her hand over her thick auburn hair. ‘Laic, come here, please,’ she said, calling to the preoccupied little boy. ‘Come sit on Ama’s lap. Yes, that’s right. There we go,’ she said as she pulled him onto her lap. Now holding both of her children, she began to tell them about their elder sister, who had returned to the stars before they ever had a chance to meet her.
With his sensitivity to the Force, Laic could tell Ama was sad and didn’t know why. For this reason, he was calm and attentive to her words as she began to speak of Aené. It was a name he was intimately familiar with. Just like the name Dormé was what Daddy called Ama, the name Aené served a significant, almost supernatural purpose for Laic. Every time he heard it, he was immediately silent and pensive as though looking for the mysterious girl.
‘There once was a little girl with bright blonde hair and blue eyes like your, Laic. Her name was Aené. Aené liked to read about adventures and faraway places and was very smart. She often went on adventures of her own and would get into trouble, but always managed to find her way out. Her mother was always worried about her, hoping that on her adventures she wouldn’t be hurt.
‘One day, Aené was in the woods and she found a strange carving on a tree stump. She thought it reminded her of something her ama told her at bedtime. For this reason, she studied the carving very carefully, thinking that it held the key to her next adventure.
‘At this time, Aené hoped her adventure would help her ama. Her ama was very scared because she was going to have another baby and things were very tough in their kingdom. Aené didn’t know what she could do, for none of the healers or medics were able to do anything for her ama. Aené had been reading herself now and read about the gods and goddesses and wondered if there was a way to get them to help her ama.
‘The carvings seemed to move and weave into different positions as though trying to get her attention. Vines twisted around and formed a path for the young girl to follow.
‘Aené dutifully followed the flower vines all the way into the deep depths of the forest. She entered a small clearing where the songs of birds filled her ears. A magical being spoke to her from the flowerbed, telling her of the Goddess of Spring that was entrapped by a miserly, evil spirit.
‘“If you are able to free the goddess, she will grant your request,” the eldest flower said.
Aené thanked the flowers before heading on her way. She walked on and on until she reached the dark cave where the goddess was being kept. In the middle of the dark cave was a naceae flower, the largest and most beautiful naceae she had ever seen. “Are you the goddess?” she asked.
‘“Yes, I am, little one,” the goddess replied. “But I am long without water and far from my home. Will you take me there, Aené?”
‘“If I free you will you help my ama and my little brother?”
‘And with that, Aené went to speak to the one holding the goddess captive. She stumbled through the cave, going further down until she was at the core, finally immersed in darkness as she asked, “Father of the Underworld, I have come to claim the Goddess of Spring and bring her back to her domain so that I may have a wish granted to me.”
‘“The Goddess of Spring is MINE. You cannot have her!” the God of the Underworld replied in a gruff voice. “But you’re killing her. She’ll die and then my ama and brother will die too!” Aené argued.
‘“What will you give me in return for freeing the Goddess of Spring?” the god asked. “I will give you whatever you want, so long as the goddess can grant my wish.” Aené replied.
‘The god, bathing in the blood of his latest victims, looked on her in a new light. He said, “Give me your soul and I will free the goddess and she will grant your wish.”
‘Aené nodded in agreement. The god took a pinch of her finger, taking a small drop of her blood which was added to the pool below. Light burst forth, illuminating every crevice of the dark cave. The goddess disappeared from the cave, emerging with Aené in the lake.
‘The goddess flower turned into the form of a beautiful lady who took Aené into her arms, assuring her, “Your mother and brother are safe and happy now. But you promised your soul to the God of the Underworld, a sacrifice not made lightly. By sacrificing yourself for your family, you have outwitted and destroyed him. Now you will not be able to go home to your family, but instead of remaining in darkness, you will come with me. I will take you to the Realms of Harmony where you will wait for your family. In time, they will all come to see you again.”
‘All of this the goddess promised her and little Aené went to visit her family to say goodbye in their dreams before leaving with the Goddess of Spring to her new home. And every year, her ama would remember her and thank her for what she did for her family,’ Dormé concluded.
Dormé looked to the sleeping children in her arms as tears streamed down her cheeks. Though she was incredibly thankful for the little ones in her arms, she couldn’t help thinking about the three she had lost before, especially Aené. She recalled the vision of Aené she had seen in her memorial before Laic’s birth. She was so pretty. Blonde hair, brown eyes, hints of mischief in the freckles on her cheeks…
But Aené, she had to believe, was in a better place and had saved their family. Someday, they would see her. Someday, Laic and Runa would know their sister and love her as much as Anakin and she did.
For now and in the years to come, she would tell them, and their other children, the tale of Aené in hopes that they would preserve her memory and not think she was a stranger when they finally did get to meet her in the Realms of Harmony.