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The Exchange

Chapter Text

The Daughter lacked her usual grace as she floated through the passages of her tower. She was suffering through a particularly bad day and, as a result, was having difficulty maintaining her selfless serenity. After all, it was hard to remain peaceful when it seemed like the galaxy was against you.

The horror of a day began when she noticed her hair in the large, ornate mirror that hung on the wall in one of the lower level hallways. The humidity that morning had turned her soft green waves into an untameable, frizzy afro and no amount of brushing, water or even Force use could stop it from bouncing up, curling and wisping in any direction it wished. In fact, the longer she tried to tame it, the more stubborn it was and the more frustrated she became. Eventually, she was forced to accept her dishevelled appearance, however, that particular morning, she found she couldn't quite let go of the negative feelings she had about it.

During her morning flight her bad luck (for lack of a better word) continued. Her daily ritual of transforming into a light griffin and flying around Mortis was rudely disturbed when she became caught in one of her brother’s thunderstorms. Something had upset the temperamental man, causing him to set the wild weather on her as though whatever was bothering him was somehow her fault. Between the targeted lightning strikes and drenching rain she wound up walking home, singed, soaked and silently repeating the mantra: ‘it is his nature to be selfish’.

The hours following consisted of numerous bothersome occurrences which built up her not-anger-but-something-like-it.

Her soothing mid-morning meditation was interrupted by a heated argument between her father and brother. At noon, she found that the bookmark in the thousand page book she was reading had been moved (a joke her brother found continuously hilarious), and that she had lost one of her favorite earrings (presumably during the storm). Then, in the early afternoon, she discovered a black lightning burn on the back of her white dress. Despite her rising ire, throughout each moment she endeavored to keep herself serene. But, even she had a breaking point, and it came later that afternoon.

Everyday her brother and she spent the early evening playing a magnificent board game in the ancient den of her father's tower. It was a game of strategy, one that required intimate knowledge of the pieces and their possible movements. In order to win, one needed to plan meticulously and be endlessly patient, so needless to say, she was rather good at it.

Looking at it, many across the galaxy would say it was a game of Chess, but while it had started as such, it could no longer be played that way. Over time, her brother and she had worked together to evolve it so that would appeal to both their personalities, creating new rules and including extra pieces as needed. And now, the never-ending game was about balance and winning was based on control of the board.

The Daughter knew her brother often cheated. It was The Son’s nature to be selfish and losing was not something he handled well. As she had been winning for years, she mostly ignored it. Her numerous powerful pieces made up for his deceptions and she found that she could keep up with him, regardless of his deceit. But today, after giving up on finding where she was up to in her book, she had flown (awkwardly, due to her charred feathers) to her father’s tower and sat down at their game early. Without the distraction of her brother’s charms she had stared at the game board that sat on the large, wooden table, in the center of the stone-walled room and realized just how much he had changed.

The board was much like a chessboard with sixty-four evenly sized squares; although, instead of being checked black and white, the squares on their board were colored according to who currently owned them. Her brother played black, and in that moment she could see just how much of the board he had taken. The change was now glaringly obvious. Almost all of her white squares had either shifted to black or were fading to grey. Worse, she could see what he was setting himself up to do.

Her brother was going to steal her favorite piece and use it to devastate her side!

Shaking with rage, she let her fingers brush over her favorite Knight, the one known as Anakin Skywalker. Years ago, when they had first begun adapting the rules, he had been her Chosen One. She had supported and guided him for years… Oh, what he could do if he turned! She pursed her lips; this was a problem.

The Daughter moved her gaze across the board to her favorite defender, Councillor Obi-Wan Kenobi. The piece had replaced the need to have a Queen, just as the Temple behind him had replaced what was once a King. He could beat Anakin, if her brother was successful in his thievery, but he would break and never be the same again. Plus, there was no guarantee that without the Councillor and Knight that her two former-Castles, Masters of the Order, Yoda and Mace Windu, would be able to keep the Temple from falling.

The Daughter breathed in and out through her nose and her fingernails dug into her palms as she clenched her hands into fists. She had been playing these pieces for years and she was quite attached to them. She did not want to start anew. She had never aimed for anything but balance. She had never attempted to completely annihilate his beloved pieces.

Gritting her teeth, she released what she could into the Force and then, as calm returned, focused on her remaining pieces. She hadn’t realized just how many she had lost over the past few years. It made her wonder just how many extra turns he had been taking in her absence.

It was then that it occurred to her that, from a certain point of view, that meant it was undeniably her turn and she decided to act.

Gently, The Daughter lifted Knight Skywalker and Councillor Kenobi from the game board. Then, she called on her power to manipulate time, one that she rarely used, one that her brother did not possess, and she turned the board back. Pieces rushed around, and the squares flashed black and white as she rewound through years’ worth of plays until she found one of the many pivotal points in the game. Living in the moment, she picked up the newly-freed Anakin and Padawan Kenobi and placed the Knight and Councillor in their stead. Then, she fast forwarded back through time until she could place the boy and apprentice on the squares most recently occupied by their older selves.

Smiling with satisfaction she leaned back in her seat and looked over the board, her mind busy with strategy.

Sometime later, a disturbance in the Force alerted her to her brother’s sudden presence. He glared at her when he found her studying the game board, instantly suspicious of her presence. As his gaze flickered over their pieces, his eyes widened and his jaw dropped open and she struggled to suppress a smirk.

“You cheated!" he accused, shocked.

“You will find I have not,” she replied coolly.

He brought his fists down hard, thumping the edge of the table, making the pieces jump. “You changed the board!" he snarled, raw fury burning in his eyes and his anger leaking into the Force. While most would cower in the face of his wild rage, she merely quirked an eyebrow.

“How so, dear brother?” she asked, lightly feigning ignorance.

“You…” he trailed off, giving away that he knew he didn't have grounds to complain. After all, the pieces were technically the same. “They are not as strong. You have weakened them,” he argued desperately.

“And how is that breaking the rules we agreed on?” she quiried, a smile playing on her pink lips.

"It’s tampering.”

“Really?” she asked, two eyebrows now raised. “I’m certain the rules on exchange that you laid out stated only that the new pieces were not to be stronger than the original piece.”

Her brother scowled and his anger flared once more. “They are too weak for this late stage. You will still fail!” he roared.

“I have faith that they will do what they must,” she argued.

The Son's face twisted into back into a snarl. “This is about the lightning this morning, isn’t it?!” he growled dangerously, as he turned his narrowed eyes to the two changed pieces on the board.

“I do not know revenge,” she replied calmly, as she gracefully rose from her chair and floated towards room’s exit. “Good night, brother mine.”

“You will pay for this!” he yelled.

The Daughter grinned at that, because although she still lacked grace, still felt like the galaxy may not be done with her yet, and still had horrible hair, she now felt much better about her day.