be our last

4

[170329 ASTRO TWITTER UPDATE]

우리 아스트로의 마지막생일인 은우야~ㅎㅎ
항상 혼자서도 잘이겨내줘서 고맙고 힘든거있음 언제나 엉아한테와~ㅎㅎ 그리구 언능 진차를부탁해 또하장~💕ㅋㅋㅋ

[TRANS]

Our last member of ASTRO’s birthdays, Eunwoo~haha. Thank you for doing well even when you’re alone. If there’s something burdening for you about it then come to me~Also lets do “please take care of JinCha” again~💕hahaha

trans via astrodaily

Ivar playing with a husky pupper at the dog park. He’s an incredibly socially submissive boy, though he does like to play rough-n-tumble when other dogs make it clear that they’re willing to engage.

I wish I’d been able to get video of him playing with the Akita I mentioned in our last post but I was out of battery. He’s been attending the dog park since he was first old enough, and has earned himself a reputation as a slightly socially awkward but incredibly sweet boy who’d much rather walk calmly away from a conflict and play with someone else than take offense to a transgression and escalate the situation.

I notice that doggy-dogs are far more prone to the latter, while well-socialized wolfdogs are more prone to the former. 

anonymous asked:

PHIL SAID "OUR LAST GAMING VIDEO" LIKE THEY'VE GOTTEN TO A POINT WHERE OUR JUST IMMEDIATELY MEANS DAN AND PHIL TOGETHER. THEY ARE OUR.

it used to be me and my flatmate or me and danisnotonfire or even me and dan.. ‘our’ is a power couple move

harrypotterandkate-deactivated2  asked:

Three word prompt? "ask me again" OR prompt based on Into the Blue by Sara Jackson-Holman

I thought this would be our last case.

She doesn’t know why Castle’s words strike her with such a finality, a sharp pang of fear and rejection that she doesn’t understand lancing through her chest, but they resound through her mind long after he’s delivered the blow. She should be relieved - he would be in the Hamptons for an entire summer and Kate would… she’d be with Tom and it’d be great, it is great. 

What if great isn’t enough?

Kate drags a hand through her hair and stares down at the phone grasped in her palm. She’s still stinging from the salt Esposito had thrown in her unexpected wound, her dinner with Tom lost to her wandering mind. He’d driven her home, placed a gentle kiss on her lips and wished her a good night, and she should feel content, happy, not knotted up inside. 

But the idea of Castle leaving has her stomach in tangles and her heart too heavy in her chest and it doesn’t make any sense to miss him so fiercely - to miss him at all - when he’s not even gone, when she doesn’t even like him to begin with. Except…

She does like him. She likes him a lot.

Beckett tugs at the collar of her turtleneck, the material suddenly too tight, constricting her throat, and swipes her thumb across the screen of her phone, brings the device to life and pulls up Castle’s contact information. Maybe… maybe if she just talked to him, smoothed out the awkwardness she had tried and failed to avoid earlier that morning, made him feel less like a nuisance and more like the close friend he had become - maybe that would eradicate the uncomfortable throb resonating through her sternum.

Kate sighs and presses the call button, purses her lips and breathes steadily through her nose while she waits for him to pick up, wondering for the first time if he might actually ignore her call on purpose-

“Detective Beckett, you’re calling rather late this evening,” Castle answers, his greeting infused with its usual charm, but tonight it sounds far more forced than she’s ever heard. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Her lips part, but for a few horrifying seconds, her words become clogged in her throat, nothing but air escaping her lungs, and she can practically hear Castle’s demeanor change.

“Kate, are you okay? Is there someone there-”

“No, no,” she gets out, finally, her heart slowing into a more comfortable rhythm, soothed by his concern. Ever since the Scott Dunn case, he’s subtly become more protective, still unhappy with her current living arrangement because he wasn’t convinced the current place she was renting was safe enough for her. He wasn’t exactly wrong, but - not the point. Not tonight. “Sorry, I just - Castle, I wanted to apologize for earlier-”

“Apologize?” he echoes in confusion. “For - wait, about the Demming and the beach house thing this morning? Beckett, come on, there’s nothing to-“

“You’re still - my partner, you know?” she informs him, biting her lip when he actually goes silent. Never a good sign for Castle. “Tom and I may be together, but you’re still - there’s no one I’d trust more to have my back.” To be her only backup.

She can hear him release a long breath. “Is this your way of saying you’ll miss me when I’m gone?”

Kate exhales quietly at the teasing tone of his voice, plops down on the edge of her cheap new couch that is far from comfortable, and drops her head back against the top of the sofa. “Well, you will be gone a whole summer.”

“Is that a yes?” he gasps and a huff of laughter escapes her this time. “You know, maybe that long of a break is a bit extreme for-”

“Castle?” she murmurs when he pauses mid sentence, grumbles something under his breath.

“Sorry, Gina’s been relentless these last few days,” he mutters, irritation evident in his voice and tampering down the ridiculous hope that had risen in her chest at his mention of the summer, where that sentence had been headed. “Listen, Kate, do you mind if I take this so I can talk to you in peace and I’ll call you right back?”

Beckett gnaws on her bottom lip, tries not to think too hard about how much she relishes in the sound of her first name in his mouth. 

“You know, it’s getting late. Handle Gina and we’ll pick up this conversation tomorrow,” she compromises softly, brushing her thumb back and forth along the smooth silver of the ring decorating her finger. 

“Okay,” Castle says, something about his agreement gentle, tender, and her heart does a flip in her sternum, stumbles against her ribs when it lands. “I’ll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams, Detective.”

“Until tomorrow,” she replies, cursing herself for it the second the words are out, his words, and withdrawing the phone from her ear before he can respond. 

Until tomorrow. 

Shit, what was she doing? She’d already turned down his offer to the Hamptons, turned him down more times than she can count within the past year, but she just… she doesn’t want to turn him down anymore. And maybe it’s too late, they’ve yet to prove their timing as anything but awful, but maybe there was still time.

But first-

She had to break up with Demming.

-

They hardly have the chance to talk the next morning, to pick up the conversation that had been put on hold the night before due to his persistent ex-wife and publisher, and it has her itching to solve this case even faster. But her hopes still remain dashed even once the case is put away and their afternoon is cleared of all obligation when Castle is forced to leave early, drop Alexis off at Princeton.

“I’ll be back in time for the surprise party the boys are throwing me,” he tells her on his way out, his eyes a gleaming bright blue, tugging his lips up in the corners as he stares back at her with a puzzled expression. “What?”

Beckett shakes her head. “Nothing, just… looking forward to picking up where we left off.”

Surprise splashes through his gaze and Castle takes a step closer to her in front of the murder board. “Are you sure you’re okay? Because you look like you want me to go so I can hurry up and come back and that is wholly unlike you, Beckett. ”

She rolls her eyes and smacks his arm. “You wish.”

“Oh, you know I do,” he grins, swaying when she shoves his chest with her palm. “I’ll see you.”

“Mhmm,” she nods, watching him walk off towards the elevators, a spring in his step that she wonders if she’s responsible for, that adds a slight spring to the beat of her heart. One that falters and collapses as Demming comes into view, excitement about Asbury and their weekend away still written all over his face. 

She’s not sure what she wants, what she’s doing, but ending things with Tom before she makes a regrettable mistake later, before she can truly hurt him, is one of the few courses of action she’s certain of right now.

-

Castle is back quicker than she had expected, not long after her final words with Tom Demming have been exchanged, and she gathers her breath again before she joins their team in the break room, snags a bottle of beer for the sake of something to busy her anxious hands with.

She catches his gaze with the hook of hers, the smirk of her mouth and the line about not needing to drink to take him. That definitely ignites some intrigue in his eyes.

“Castle, do you have a second?”

Lanie shoots her an encouraging look, but Kate ignores her best friend’s thrilled expression, ignores the boys and her captain sharing curious gazes, and instead leads Castle out of the room, into the relative privacy of the hallway.

“Alone at last,” he chuckles, smiling back at her as she fiddles with the bottle in her hands, picking at the paper label with her thumb. “What’s on your mind?”

Kate takes a deep breath and he notices, that same intrigue from mere seconds ago back and blooming through his eyes. 

“Look, I know that I’m not the easiest person to get to know, and I don’t always let on what’s on my mind,” she begins, averting her gaze to the wall for a breath of a moment to gather her courage before redirecting it back to him, holding his eyes with everything laid out in hers for the first time since she’s met him. Because just this once, she wants him to see. “But this past year, working with you, I’ve had a really good time.”

“Yeah,” he smiles, his eyes softening into a beautiful shade of blue. “Me too.”

“So - ask me again.”

The smile falls from his face, his brow creasing, but he already has an idea of what she means, she can see it in the bewildered spark that races through his gaze, ripples through his features.

“Ask you again?” he repeats, drifting in closer until they’re barely an inch apart, his torso nearly bumping into the bottle of her beer. “You mean - to the Hamptons? You want me to ask you-”

“Yes,” she murmurs, pinning her bottom lip between her teeth for what has to be the thousandth time in the last twelve hours, her nerves like ravenous butterflies through her insides, ripping her to shreds. 

“But what about Demming and - and the beach house and the weekend-”

“We broke up. Earlier, I… he wasn’t what I was looking for right now,” she confesses, pieces of the bottle’s label floating to the floor like confetti beneath the relentless scratching of her nails. “I wish I hadn’t… Tom is great, but he wasn’t - right.”

Castle’s adam’s apple bobs with the quick swallow that ripples down his throat. “This is why you called last night?”

Kate’s fingers go still when Castle covers one of the hands clutching the bottle, stilling her nervous ministrations. “Yeah. This wasn’t necessarily what I had planned, but it’s - I don’t want to regret not saying yes to something I want.”

“You want… okay,” he breathes, straightening up in front of her and drawing one of her hands free, holding her slender fingers between his, and she’d laugh at him, if she could find the ability to breathe properly past the percussion of her heartbeat nearly drowning out his words. “Come to the Hamptons with me, Kate.”

The ridiculous smile blossoms across her lips, calms the rhythm in her chest, and Kate nods, tugs on the hand tangled with hers until he’s drifting with her out of sight from the window she knows their friends are using to spy on them. She has no intention of doing anything necessarily worth hiding, but then Castle slips his free hand along the edge of her jaw, into her hair with his palm cradling her cheek.

“Was that a yes, Beckett?” he murmurs, his lips twitching with amusement, his eyes dancing with the same vibrant joy she fills fluttering through her chest. 

All she has to do is lean forward in her heels, smudge her lips to his in a kiss that is tentative and new and has frissons of electricity sparking from the moment they touch, twining through her veins and setting her entire body alight. 

“Yeah, Castle,” she whispers into his mouth, smirking against the breath he sucks in. “I’ll go to the Hamptons with you.”

wednesday. 11:05 am.
i’m trying to be happy
but i keep getting grasped by the clutches of sadness
when i remember how you just don’t care
and you probably won’t ever care
about me
or my happiness ever again… even if you do
it just won’t be the same.

thursday. 11:11 am.
for the first time in months
i didn’t wish for you
but believe me
i wanted to.

friday. 3:00 am.
i woke up to find our last conversation playing on a loop
i can’t sleep without hearing your voice
without wishing to relive that day just to change what happened
without missing what we had
without missing you
as i finally start to drift off to sleep again
i tell myself
that even if we are nothing now
it was an honor
a privilege
to have meant something
anything
to you at one point.

saturday. 7:35 pm.
you posted a selfie on twitter
i had to stop myself from liking it
but i couldn’t stop myself from going back onto your profile
and looking at it once more
i miss you.

sunday. 4:05 pm
i got a haircut today
i want to text you
or send you a selfie
like i used to be able to do
i want to ask you what you think of it
i want to ask if you think of me
i don’t
i won’t.

monday. 1:55 pm.
i had the weirdest dream last night
you were in it
the only part that wasn’t weird
was that even in my dream
you couldn’t be bothered to text me back.

tuesday. 4:57 am.
i’ve dreamt about you
every night
since you left
last night was no exception
and i am so
so tired
but i hope you’re sleeping well.

wednesday. 11:42 am.
whenever something happens
you’re still the first person i think to tell
i still have to stop myself every time
you’re the hardest habit
i’ve ever had to break.
—  a week with you on my mind || inspired by @panamaweddings
(cc, 2017)

anonymous asked:

most aphobes are lgbt aces you ass

And, due to their pathological fear of men (or anyone perceived as a man), most TERFs are lesbians. 

Milo Yiannopolis is gay. Is he absolved of trying to fracture the community as well?

For that matter, a pretty big percentage of biphobes are gay. What about them?

Being LGBT doesn’t exempt you from being duped into Balkanizing your own community, accusing people being clandestine Straights like you’re the Joe McCarthy of pointless tumblr discourse.  

anonymous asked:

Medical worker again. So one of my co-workers got me sick during our last call. I'm going to shove an entire box of face masks up his ass in the hopes that he will remember to wear some next time he insists on showing up sick.

Thought Experiment

If Omar Naber were singing “Dance Alone,” “City Lights,” or any of the higher-ranked songs (from fans) on Eurovision, would he still come in last in (most) everyone’s rankings?

Washboard Wednesday - Slightly Damaged Edition

Hello Delicious!

A bad man came along and kicked the crap out of our pretty last week. Oh, the poor dear. I’m still kind of upset because while it’s only makeup, fake blood has a tendency to detract from the muscles and the loveliness, you know? But here we are. Now, Stephen has suggested that the workouts will be coming into play in quite a number of episodes, so perhaps we’ll see some prettier shirtless soon that are not filmed in a dark, dingy room. In the meantime, I have tried to make the most of what we have. 

Turned on its side. He looks pretty yummy. Could use a shower and years of therapy, but quite tasty. 

Arty makes the blood less ick and the arms way yes!

Crunch, baby!

Wait, how about a quick bit of perfect pretty from another show, just to make us grin? I mean, it makes a girl want to learn braille.

  Yeah, dude is sad, but sexy in a Fight Club kind of way. The pants. The arms. The glorious belly button. The lost will to live…not so much. I just want to inspire him, you know?

I like this one best. 

Thanks for reading today. I hope that you have a great day. If you are able to watch tonight’s episode, I hope you love it. I am excited to see where things are going and how it all shakes out. Do take care of fabulous self! Tags after…

Keep reading

April Book Club Picks

Here are three options for next month’s books. These are from different fairy tales- once you guys vote on a book, that fairy tale will be our choice! As you can tell, I’m doing things a little differently each time the first couple months until I can figure out what way works best.

1) The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. Based on the Grimms’ fairy tale Girl With No Hands, Minnow Bly is about a girl escaping from a cult that has taken her family, her freedom, and her hands. After she’s escaped, the cult leader is murdered and Minnow is a suspect. I think this book could be a good choice because it’s based on a fairy tale that doesn’t often get many reimaginings. It’s also much darker than our last book club choice, and it’s a modern retelling. Trigger warnings for graphic violence and implied sexual abuse (based on Goodreads reviews- I have not personally read this book.)

2) Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. Based on the Russian tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, this book tells a modern fantasy story about a girl named Vassa who lives in a fairy tale version of New York, complete with talking wooden dolls. Vassa finds herself one night in the convenience store owned by Babs Yagg, a vicious witch. This book might be a fun choice because it’s based on Russian folklore, it’s a modern fantasy which I know many of us adore, and every single review on Goodreads says it’s “really weird.” Trigger warnings I’ve found include blood and violence, but I have not personally read this book.

3) Ash by Malinda Lo. Based on Cinderella, this book tells the story of Ash who meets a dangerous and dark faerie. But she begins to fall in love with Kasia, the king’s huntress and she is torn between faeries and true love. I think this could be a good option because it is one of the rare LGBT fairy tale retellings around, it is another “classic” fantasy setting, and seems to be about grief and recovery. I could not find any trigger warnings for this book. Once again, I have not read the book.

Please vote! The books not picked will be considered again at a later date. Please vote on this post or send me an ask if you prefer to be on anon. So tell me: 1, 2, 3?

4
Drinks At Diamondbacks - Wednesday, 1:20pm

After ordering snacks, something she couldn’t really stomach at the moment, Pri finally said, “Let’s not pretend we don’t know why I asked you here. Especially after our last conversation.”

“Okay…”

“Are you going to tell me why you’ve been avoiding me? You say I haven’t done anything wrong, but, I can’t really believe that.”

“You…haven’t.”

He sat there, silent. Just looking at her as if he was waiting for her to finish. The pressure. “…I’m sure you know what you look like.”

His eyebrows creased together. “Yeah, I’ve glanced in a few mirrors.”

“And you remember what I said to you Downtown…about…what I am.”

“Yeah.”



Previous 👽👽 Next
Case worker came over tonight

It was a mess because she showed up 20 minutes early and I was making homemade pizza (like the dough and everything) and asparagus, with four small children. Then my husband forgot about it, so instead of swooping In, he was there almost an hour after she arrived.

Nothing new, just recertification stuff.

I told her we could take emergency (one night only) placements after our last adoption was finalIzed since we will have a license for two years and technically we have a crib in our bedroom and a spare bedroom with a queen sized bed.

I also told my husband I sort of want a bio baby in a few years.

I guess I am crazy after all. I’m blaming PMS.

Meeting In Secret // Kol Mikaelson // requested .part three

Original Request : kol mikaelson imagine where the reader is damon and stefans sister and they sneak out to see each other and one day elena catches them and tells damon nd they all turn against her and then when Jeremy kills him she tries to kill him and maybeyou can  use a lot of gifs too ???? sorry if its so long lol

Is there any chance you could do an epilogue for Meeting in Secret? Maybe like Stefan and Damon’s reaction to their sisters death and maybe regret?

You have to write part three to elena tell Stefan and Damon that their little sister is dead.


People have been requesting an epilogue where Elena tells Damon and Stefan that she killed their little sister so.. Here it is!

Part One  Part Two

Originally posted by moonskitten

Originally posted by scoddersstyle


“Damon? Do you remember our last summer as humans?” Stefan asked.

“Of course, that was the summer Katherine manipulated her way into our home.” Damon responded, clutching the steering wheel.

“Well, yeah. But do you remember that one night? Before everyone was hunting vampires, Y/N snuck us out of the house just before dawn. She was only 15 at the time. And when we asked her what she was doing, she said-”

Keep reading

9

Baby Shower

We had our baby shower last weekend, it was cool to have the whole family together. Yes, even her mom that I still don't fuck with like that, and mines as well. We had a great time laughing listen to music and playing games. It might be worth have them over again. I was super glad my big brother and little sister came it was a highlight for me. 

Sorry, we have been inactive I just been working and GK been trying to keep her stress down. My grandma came back to help Gavina since I been working more. 

The Quad Squad Coming Soon- Three Princesses and One Prince. 

brokenknifefrisk  asked:

"Human-made food/ingredients make their way to the Underground occasionally, right? How does that sort of thing fit into monster cuisine?"

*Encouraged by his friends, Caddy seems to be sending a text back to Dr. Greenburg @thegreenburggolem

Meaux:
 “Well, ‘sides from seafood washin’ up in Waterfall, there ain’t much that comes down from above that ain’t already gone bad. When we left, so did all the magic, so human food don’t last like ours does.”

Cleaver: “We have, however, imitated human dishes through various media that ends up down here. And while I am not sure how closely our cuisine emulates the ‘real thing’, I feel we do fairly well, considering most of our ingredients are alchemized.”

Until Our Last Breath

Pairing: John Murphy X Reader
Requested: yes by @montyscupcake
Warnings: light cursing
A/N: I hope you enjoy this! I don’t think this is necessarily what you had hoped for but I think you’ll like it. If not you can always ask me to rewrite it (I won’t mind)!
Word Count: 1168
———————————————-

“Get off of me!” You scream at Bellamy as he grabs your wrist dragging you over to the raging fire. Two of his goons come racing over to help him hold you down. Bellamy tries to break your wrist band off, digging a crowbar into your skin. Everyone is just standing and staring as you scream bloody murder, tears streaming down your face. Out of nowhere Bellamy gets shoved away from you. Bellamy starts toward the person that pushed him but gets a fist to the nose before he can duck. Then the unidentified person swipes his legs out from under him, causing Bellamy to fall to the ground and get the wind knocked out of him. Then the two guys holding you let go to run to Bellamy’s aid, while you run into your savior’s arms.

“Thank you, thank you John,” you keep repeating into his shoulder. Murphy was your knight in shining armor, once again saving you from harm.

You and Murphy have been friends for as long as you can remember. Technically it’s been since you were thirteen. You’d met one day when you were sneaking through the halls past curfew.

~~~

You were tiptoeing down the hallway, it was past curfew and you had to be quiet. Someone grabbed your shoulder and pulled you into a corner, hidden from the passing guard’s sight. A hand was placed over your mouth to keep you quiet, and your back was pressed against the stranger’s front. Once the guard had walked down the hall and turned the corner you licked the person’s hand.

“Ew! What the hells your problem?” You turned around coming face to face with the boy that saved you.

“Next time don’t put your hand over my damn mouth,” you tell him defensively.

“How about a thank you for saving your ass back there?” The boy takes a step closer to you. You sigh giving in.

“You’re right, thank you,” you say to him.

“No problem, sweetheart,” he smirks while pushing a lock of your hair behind your ear. You stop his hand in its path.

“First off, don’t call me sweetheart. Second off, just because you saved my ass doesn’t mean that you can touch me.”

“Feisty I like it,” the smirk stays put on his face. He takes his hand back and goes to leave the corner.

“Wait! Where are you going?” You ask him following him down the hall.

“The same place I was on my way to before that guard interrupted me,” he replies not looking back at you. “And last time I checked I didn’t invite you to come with me.” He stops in his tracks making you smack into his back, and stumble backwards.

“Well, how do you know I wasn’t going to the same place as you…” You trail off.

“The names Murphy.” You raise an eyebrow at that.

“You expect me to believe your name is Murphy? If you don’t want me to know it then you can just say so,” you place a hand on your hip.

“My names John Murphy, but everyone calls me Murphy, okay?”

“Now that, I believe,” you say to him before starting to walk past him.

“Wait, I told you mine now you get to tell me yours,” he grabs your arm swinging you around to look at him.

“It’s Y/N, but you can call me your new best friend,” you say to him grasping his hand and shaking it.

“Deal,” He says with a wink.

~~~

Ever since that day you two have been inseparable. It seemed you two had more in common than you thought at first. His dad had died when he was younger, and your mom had passed around the same time. His mother turned into a drunk, while your dad got floated for making and selling moonshine. You had both vowed to stick together no matter what until your last breaths, you’d stand by each other’s side through anything. You’re brought back to present when you hear Bellamy’s voice.

“What the hell, Murphy. Step away from her and let me take her wristband off,” Bellamy stood up, and wiped the blood away from his nose.

“No, if she doesn’t want to take it off then she doesn’t have to,” Murphy defends you.

“Why does she even want it on? It’s not like anybody up there even cares if she’s alive.” With that Murphy lunges, going to attack him again, but you hold him back.

“It’s okay John, he’s not wrong,” you whisper into his ear, “besides the only person that really cares about me, is right in front of me. And I care about you just as much, don’t do this,” he calms down and stops struggling in your arms. Taking a deep breath he places his arm around your shoulders.

“If I ever see you try to harm Y/N again I will slit your throat,” he turns you two away from the group and starts waking you into the woods.

“If you disrespect me again, you’ll both regret it!” Bellamy yells at your retreating figures.

Murphy was the person you could count on to stay by your side through everything, and you his. But what you didn’t know was that would lead your demise.

When you heard Murphy had been banished you found yourself out there with him. You didn’t even regret that decision when you guys got kidnapped by the grounders. Then he was there to comfort you as the grounders tortured you, trying to get him to tell them everything about the delinquents. Once he had told them every single thing he knew, it was too late. You’d lost too much blood. You lie on the ground as Murphy kneels beside you.

“Y/N you can’t die, please don’t die,” John whispers to you as he hugs you to his body. You feel tears against your neck as he cries into your shoulder.

“J-John don’t worry, I’ll always be with you. You have to survive, for both of us, for me,” you tell him, your words coming out slow. You were about to die, you both knew it.

“I can’t, I can’t go on without you. I love you Y/N.”

“I love you too John. Please, warn the others about what you told them. They need to know, tell them for me,” you say getting weaker, your words start to slur together.

“What about staying together until our last breath?” He says clinging onto your body.

“It’s until your last breath now, survive for me,” your last words slip out of your mouth. John holds your body to him as he shakes from crying so hard, he doesn’t let go of you until the grounders come in to take you away. In the morning he wakes up, and the door to his cell is open. He bolts out of it. He’s decided that he’s going to survive no matter what gets thrown at him. Not for him, but for you.

Author’s Notes: The Secret Academy, Pt. 2

WARNING: These notes will completely spoil Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy. Haven’t read it? Stop and go here.

(Go here for notes for Edge of the Galaxy, here for Rebel in the Ranks and here for Imperial Justice. And here’s Pt. 1 of The Secret Academy. )

All right! It’s our last go-round for Servants of the Empire author’s notes. Thanks to everybody who’s followed along this far – I’ve had a blast writing these notes and hope they’ve been useful, whether you’re a budding author or an interested reader.

Part 2: Merei

At the end of Imperial Justice, Merei Spanjaf escaped her service to the crime boss Yahenna Laxo and her mother Jessa’s investigation of her intrusion into the Imperial data network. Yet Merei then immediately used her forged credentials to resume her snooping, discovering that Zare Leonis was sent to Arkanis at the Inquisitor’s orders.

I did that in Imperial Justice so the reader would go into The Secret Academy worrying about Zare and suspecting that Merei wouldn’t be able to leave well enough alone – in Godfather-style, she thinks she’s out but they pull her back in.

What pulls her back in is her determination to save Holshef, an elderly poet endangered by Laxo’s demise. She’s worried about Holshef himself, but also frustrated by her inability to help Zare and guilt-ridden about Laxo’s death. Holshef becomes her way of turning that frustration and guilt into something positive.

Originally Holshef’s rescue had more moving parts: Merei enlisted his daughter to help and played a game of cat and mouse with the bounty hunter trying to apprehend him. But I realized I didn’t have room to weave another strand into the plot. In fact, I was worried I didn’t have enough room to do everything necessary to wrap up book and series properly. So Holshef’s daughter got pared down to a quick reference and the bounty hunter was reduced to a briefly glimpsed antagonist. 

I had to economize elsewhere too, sometimes to a fault – I agree with reviewers who found the last two sections of The Secret Academy a little rushed. This book taught me that while wrapping up a series is easier than constructing a middle chapter, the little grace notes needed for a satisfying ending require more words than you think. Live and learn. 

One dynamic I liked in Merei’s story was how Jessa turns cool and resourceful once Merei reveals the truth about the Empire. Rather than waste time mourning misplaced loyalties, Jessa swings into action and becomes an effective partner for her daughter. Which makes sense – apple and tree and all that. But I wish I’d seen the dramatic possibilities earlier and played up the conflict between Jessa and Merei in Rebel in the Ranks and Imperial Justice. That would have made the payoff from Jessa’s turn more satisfying. 

An unexpected complication was how to get Holshef, the Spanjafs and the Leonises from Lothal to Garel. My original idea was that Merei would call in a favor from the Spectres via Old Jho, with Ezra insisting that his compatriots pay their debt to Zare by joining the raid on Arkanis. But at that point in the Rebels timeline the Spectres were laying low and avoiding Lothal. I could use them for the raid, but not the rescue.

Plan B was using Lando Calrissian, but I hated the idea – Lando had played no role in the series and I felt a cameo would distract readers and slam the story to a halt. At that point I needed readers to be biting their nails, not going, “Hey neat it’s Lando!”

Plan C was using Old Jho himself, and I disliked that idea too. But I warmed to it out of necessity since there was no Plan D. At least I liked the character – his trolling the Imperials in “Idiot’s Array” was pretty funny – and I’d already decided to pair him with Holshef as another elegiac voice for Lothal. Expanding Jho’s role from go-between to rescuer wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t the end of the world, either. So I added some light comedy about whether or not his ship would fly, dropped a few The Force Awakens Easter eggs and moved on. 

Some notes on Part 2:

  • “Wox ho uffdon comda,” mutters a speeder truck after Merei cuts it off in traffic. That’s Bocce, derived from the Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide. An approximate translation would be “You go shut down now.”
  • Merei and Holshef talk about jogan blossoms, with the old poet musing that scent can unlock memory. This is, of course, exactly how Zare will cut through Beck’s brainwashing around 60 pages later. I’d woven the theme of scent and memory through all four books, but needed to double down on it now that I was so close to the story’s climax.
  • The events of Chapter 14 tie in with the Rebels episode “Call to Action.” I liked that Tarkin’s toppling the tower creates problems for the Empire that insurgents can exploit – I thought that was a realistic consequence, and one it would be natural for Jessa and Gandr to comment on.
  • Operation Guiding Light, the directive that Holshef ran afoul of, is another fascist strategy designed to mesh with Imperial Justice. Its directive that nostalgia should be suppressed as “a product of dissatisfaction and anger” is an homage to a line I love in Don DeLillo’s White Noise.
  • On a less highbrow note, Old Jho’s sorrowful note that the forests of his youth have been “turned into mines and machines” is right out of Lord of the Rings. Which makes sense, as Ithorians are basically the Legends version of Ents.
  • Merei’s long speech to her parents recounting everything she’s done behind their backs was meant as a bit of domestic comedy, with Jessa and Gandr staring at their daughter in disbelief as this treasonous chronicle rolls on and on. There’s a similar scene with Tycho and his family in Jupiter Pirates: The Rise of Earth, which was written at much the same time. In both books, a few readers missed the joke and complained about getting a big chunk of exposition about things they already knew. Oh well.
  • Something went awry with the bit about the locator in Chapter 17, or else I’ve forgotten what I was trying to do. Jessa tells Merei to leave it with Gandr, but then tells Gandr she’ll send him their location. Huh?
  • Some readers have asked what happened to Jix. Beats me – I assume he went to prison. An experiment I tried in Servants of the Empire was letting things be a bit messy. Merei forgets to tell Zare about Project Unity, we don’t find out what happened to Oleg or Jix, and Chiron makes a promise to Penn that he winds up unable to keep. I think a certain amount of messiness is realistic – certainly more so than having every single plot thread tied off neatly by the end of a series.
  • Merei stunning Leo – and Tepha’s reaction to it – was a scene I had in mind from the very beginning of the series. It’s Merei’s Indy in the Casbah moment. Auntie Nags was supposed to then lecture Merei that it’s bad manners for guests to shoot people, but I unthinkingly used that joke in The Weapon of a Jedi and so had to drop it here. I wish I’d done the reverse – C-3PO has plenty of good lines already. 

Part 3: The Tower

This section brings everything together and so moves quickly, reuniting Zare and Merei and then Zare and Dhara, sacrificing Beck, then getting everybody off Arkanis for a pair of emotional reunions.

I worked hard on Zare’s speech, reading it out loud to myself until I thought it was right. I like it both as an emotional recitation of the journey he’s been on and a call to arms – an indictment of the Empire that could only be made by someone who’d once believed in it.

Three books’ worth of work on scent and memory pays off with Beck’s turn, but I also brought grav-ball back as a reference point. I overdid the grav-ball references – Zare and Beck talking about a center-striker sneak would have been enough – but think it works. That last image of Beck’s hand with the jogan blossom clutched in it is a little cheesy, but I figured I’d earned it.

Another scene I polished obsessively was Zare’s long-awaited reunion with Dhara. I mulled including brief interludes in the series from Dhara’s point of view, but decided it was more dramatic to reveal nothing about her fate until we see her here. As for why Dhara was kidnapped, there are clues in what she tells Zare in her cell and aboard the Ghost. That’s all I’ll say for now.

Chiron’s death was another part of the endgame that I had in mind from the very beginning, complete with Dhara’s burning eyes and Zare swearing Merei to secrecy about her Force tantrum. I liked that there’s no real villain in Chiron’s demise – he follows his misguided sense of duty to the very end, Dhara acts out of self-preservation, and you can’t really blame either of them. A nice bit of tragedy, if I do say so myself. The logistics were a pain, though – I had to isolate Zare, Merei and Dhara, figure out how the auxiliary elevator came into play and then get everybody to the roof.

The scenes aboard the Ghost were reworked at the very end of the process. My editor Jen Heddle asked for a quiet scene between Zare and Dhara, which was a great call, giving them a moment that Zare had worked so hard for. As for Zare and Merei’s vow to make use of the data she’d stolen and keep fighting, it was another late addition. Once again, that’s all I’ll say for now.

Thanks so much to everyone who’s begged, cajoled or campaigned for further adventures of Zare and Merei. There are no plans that I know of, but I’d love to bring them back for another story. I want to know what became of their campaign against the Empire, where their relationship went, and if Dhara recovered from her ordeal at the Inquisitor’s hands. (And yes, I have ideas about all of those things.) But if that never happens, it’s fun to think of Zare and Merei continuing to fight the good fight, as they learned to do so capably over four books. 

Quick notes on Part 3:

  • The other cadets stripping Zare’s uniform and breaking his saber was borrowed from descriptions of Han Solo’s expulsion from the Imperial Academy in Han Solo at Stars’ End and the Dark Empire Sourcebook. To keep the reader from being distracted by a new uniform, I made sure the cadets wore their dress blacks in an earlier scene.
  • Beck mentioning that he stopped taking his medication was a quick add to reinforce the idea of the jogan perfume cutting through his brainwashing. I think little buttressing details like that are effective provided they neither stop the narrative nor give the game away.
  • I liked that Zare doesn’t really have a plan once he and Beck break out. Zare’s a smart kid who’s cool under fire, but he’s in a facility he knows nothing about so he’s just improvising wildly. Hey, when you’ve got a date with a firing squad any plan is better than nothing.
  • Where’s the rest of the Ghost crew? I left Kanan out because he would have sensed Dhara’s dark-side tantrum and started asking questions. Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo also taught me a good trick from TV: leave out a member of an ensemble cast in case you need to explain what happened in some later project. That way you can handle the needed exposition through conversation. 
  • I enjoyed writing Dhara’s reunion with Tepha and Leo – after so much tension and anxiety, it was satisfying to craft a scene that was just pure love and joy. But if Servants of the Empire is ever collected into a single volume, I’m campaigning to edit out that last line. After everything the Leonises had been through, Dhara telling the rest of her family not to let go said it all.

If you enjoyed these notes and are going to Orlando for Star Wars Celebration 2017, I’m leading a Star Wars University session about writing and storytelling on Friday April 14 at 6:30 pm. Come on out! 

Thanks for coming along on the journey with me, and here’s to new adventures ahead.