There wasn’t room for these scenes in For The Occasion, but they seemed too much fun to pass up altogether.
Also, a window into my mind palace (incidentally this palace is called the Blue House; I don’t know why) the night before we began work on For The Occasion. For the curious.
In the Dragon clan hall, Troon Palo, a truly formidable Master of uncertain species, but resembling nothing so much as the fairytale creature, a fearsome T’K’Ta, greeted Nasriel with slightly less than his usual imposing demeanor. It was not a comfort: Nasriel’s clan in Initiates had been Bergruufta, and she had always been slightly afraid of the Dragon clan Master. And the Dragon clan Initiates, many of whom, although still under ten Standard, were taller than her.
Five minutes later, taking a deep breath, the diminutive teacher began the lesson.
“Anybody here know what an electron is? That will help. Yes, you in back?”
“An electron,” stated the Initiate in a slow clear voice, “is the smallest part’cle there is, and it goes around the outside of the… new-clus, like a world around a sun.”
“Yes!” Nasriel smiled, and extracted from her folder a poster illustrating a simplified quantum-mechanical atom. “Now, look here. The electrons orbit around the nucleus – you were right – and the outside layer of electrons are really important, because they are the ones that interact with the outer electrons of other atoms. Now, can you, who answered the question, pick a friend and come up here to help me show the other kids what I mean?”
Making a big show out of walking among his agemates, the Initiate selected another child and dragged her back to Nasriel with him.
“Okay. Now, you take two marbles…” Nasriel picked two out of the bag on the table. “And you take six. I want you to find a way of holding these so that you’re each holding eight marbles.”
For a few fruitless seconds, the Initiates counted marbles back and forth, before the girl spat angrily, “There is no way! There are only eight total!”
“What if you do this?” asked Nasriel, taking the boy’s hand with the six marbles, and putting it so that he held the girl’s hand with two marbles in it, and making them hold hands with the marbles in between. “Are you each holding eight?”
Troon Palo smiled in the back of the room, and waved to Ali-Alann to take the crying infant he held elsewhere.
“And that’s how the atoms do it. Because some atoms naturally have two electrons, or three, or however many, but they all want to have eight, they share, which links atoms together in molecules. I’m sure Master Palo will tell you all about sharing, but now you see it’s totally natural for any things to do, from big kids like you down to invisible little atoms. Okay?”
If Ghosts Walked
Standing in the anteroom of the Saalisan embassy, Obi-Wan was conscious of an eerie creeping feeling along his spine. Last time he had been here… well. The past was in the past, but what if ghosts still walked? What if in some way she was still there?
“Rasla?” he breathed. “Avayane, vian. Arens he’essai ne lavarn abe, ne lavarn arusi chiaia. Qui-Gon es… es ilya vey. Okharan. Lesten ame; ame mat earr fervenascon arusi. Ame orave e vian abe: ame karium i es raman abens alir. Nasriel… arus nieve aya abe. E arens alys; lesten vian ame.”
“Master Obi-Wan?” Nasriel was looking at him strangely. “Who are you talking to? Are you okay?”
“Oh… nobody. I was just thinking.” A lie, but a kindly one. There were things in her own past Nasriel did not need to know. And the whisper to the back of his mind replied gently and approved.
Ey, raman Obi-Wan. Avayane arens vo’re. Ame si lesten abe. Brei te’ruis, e chiava. Nar’shal, ne lavara abens t’aeyea. And that was vindication enough, for those were the exact words she would have said if she could.
Behind The Scenes: For The Occasion
“And there’s another thing.” The Saalisan princess had been holding forth at length from the window-seat in my office, the morning we were due to start looking over scripts for the upcoming project. “Why the flying green gundarks did you have to call me Hastings?”
“Because that’s your name,” Nasriel shrugged. “Don’t ask silly questions.”
“Because she thought it suited you,” Obi-Wan mused. “Because she doesn’t know anyone in that town.”
“Because…” I stopped, but then decided that the truth will out. “Because I was studying the play Richard III, and wanted to name a character after someone in that. Lord William Hastings is the most noble character in the entire play. You know how it is! Once you start thinking of someone as something, if you don’t change your mind within the minute, there, it’s stuck. So she is Princess Hastings for all eternity.”
“I still think it’s a damn silly name,” grumbled Hastings. “Most of the people around here have nice names! I mean, look at Kijé!”
“Oh, yes, look at me, why don’t you.” Kijé was standing against the wall, running his fingers over the bookshelves that covered every available vertical surface in the office, with spaces left only for windows and the fireplace. “I’m named after a piece of music she liked because it was picked on as the theme to a retelling of Atalanta and the Golden Apples. I like the name, it’s just an odd way of getting it.”
Y’Khaen Ixdaov, sitting in an armchair in front of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, whose red spines set off his face rather well (so well that I privately wondered whether he had chosen that seat deliberately) steepled his fingers in grave musement. “One must wonder, then, the origins of the Saalisan names.”
“Minetz is after the French maid in a murder mystery. Sien is after a tone of paint my father was using on the front of our house. Nahari… I don’t know. You, sir… I still don’t know. Kanxei Threeb? I don’t know. Threeb? Came off the top of a jar of nails. There used to be this hardware store call the Three Brothers,” I said plaintively. “They put the abbreviation on all their labels. So I was helping my father fix the shed, and I thought, hmm, Threeb, that would be a good surname.”
“Now… that is more ridiculous than Hastings,” smiled the princess.
“Well. Now that that is agreed, can we please get on with the job?” Obi-Wan pleaded.
“Yes, of course.” I opened a folder to get the scripts. The first page up was one I had never put in there, so I picked it up to read the Aurebesh charactery scribbled on it. “Obi-Wan, can you please talk to Anakin about breaking into my office, as in, not to?”
“What does it say?” he asked wearily. “Oh. Yes, I see. I’ll talk to him.”
“Thank you. Now, if we could get on? Where’s Ben? We need him for the opening scene, he should be here.”
“Visiting Jay,” Nasriel offered.
Pressing a buzzer on the desk, I sighed. “Why does this have to be so hard? This is not like Breaking Point where you guys were in trouble every other page. This is comparatively tame.”
“Yes, Rosalie?” came the voice of my admirable PA over the intercom.
“Helena, can you send someone for Ben? You’ll find him at the Selay’uu Archives. Thanks. All right, everybody,” I said. “Let’s start on the read-through. Any questions or suggestions, let me know. Obi-Wan and Nasriel, you start it.”
End Of Reel