I'm just completing this now, and I've had a version of this up in the main critiques board a long time ago (and one in the writing group, more recently.) Anyway, this is the first 1000 words of my wip, and I'm wondering for those who've never seen it before if it makes any sense, and for those who have seen it before, if this is closer to the pov than previously. (oh, and does it read like star wars fan lit.)* All head hopping spotting/info dumping appreciated! (and anything else.) *it's not supposed to, btw. The Empress had been advised against it, but the allure was too strong, and she decided to go once more before giving birth. She pulled herself to her feet, her stomach swollen and hard with the babies’ weight. She looked out of the panoramic window, taking in the great city of Abendau spread beneath her, and the ships passing the palace as they accessed the space port opposite. She turned from the window and left her quarters. Her doctor followed, alert and ready, as she walked through the palace, but he didn’t dare to protest at her actions. She reached the the top of a wide, stone flight of stairs, and pulled herself straighter, forcing her tiredness away. Putting one hand on top of her swollen stomach, she noticed it had dropped further, telling her the twins must be almost ready to come. She stepped slowly down the staircase, her other hand on the marble banister. The palace was warm, the hot desert air permeating it, and the banister refreshingly cool. Below, in the main hall, courtiers and servants gathered, waiting for her to pass. She walked to the bottom of the stairs and her people dropped to their knees, heads bent in supplication. The Empress cast out with her power and touched each mind, reminding them they were hers, binding them to her and strengthening their loyalty. Slowly, she walked through their midst, revelling in their adoration and fear. She walked to the archway that led into the ancient castle her palace was built around. The ruin had belonged to the tribal people who had sheltered and nurtured her as a child. It seemed fitting that here, in the centre of her palace, at the heart of her great city of Abendau, she should have the bloodiest part of her Empire. She stepped through the stone entranceway, into the ruins, and followed the twisted corridor to the very bowels of the palace. As the light from the entrance hall faded she stopped and waited for her eyes to adjust to the dim passageway. Recessed lighting cast pools of brightness which barely illuminating the shadows. She started to walk again, taking care on the uneven path, each step tiring her further. Her back ached and the weight in her stomach pulled and stretched her skin. At a fork in the passage, she went to the left, following the steep slope downwards. The stone walls grew colder with none of the desert heat reaching this depth. At last, she came to a cell, set on its own, and stopped in front of its guard. “Let me in,” she said. The guard moved to unlock the gate, but he fumbled, and the key jerked. Impatient, she entered his mind and manipulated his fingers. The gate swung open, and she stepped in. “Leave us,” she said and waited until he did. The prisoner sat in front of her, chained to the wall. In the centre of the cell a prism hung from the ceiling. It twisted and caught the light from a small window, sending rainbows dancing through the dark cell. The prisoner’s mouth moved in soft whispers and he seemed oblivious to her presence. She focused all her power on him and his mind yielded, allowing her to touch his inner thoughts and feelings. Exultant at the thought of victory, she pushed further. Now, she felt his power stir. He brought his head up, his blazing green eyes defiant. His power rose and blocked her. He held firm, glaring at her, angering her, and giving her strength she hadn’t had before. He wavered at her increased power, and for a moment she thought she would defeat him, and take his mind. When he fought back once more, she could no longer hold dominance over him. He gasped as she pulled her power from his mind. “Ealyn Varnon, the great Seer,” she said. “Tell me a vision of my future, and I’ll leave you in peace today.” When she’d first had him captured for her, he would have resisted her demand, and fought to stay in the present. Slowly, he had succumbed to the future's allure, as the prism forced him into vision after vision, finding them preferable to the reality of this dank cell. He moved his eyes so his gaze was fixed on the prism. When he spoke his words were stronger than his appearance would indicate, the power of his vision pulling him into it, so that he was speaking from the future. “I see you, somewhat older, on a balcony,” he told her. “The people below are shouting your name. They’ve come to hear you speak.” “My children?” “Our children are more powerful than either of us. They will expand your empire further, doing it in your name. You will be revered as a Goddess.” “Describe them.” She could imagine it as he spoke: the rite, the acceptance of her divinity, and the promised future filling her with an exultation she couldn’t find anywhere else. “They are in a throne room of grey stone. The woman is quiet - her brother leads the ceremony of remembrance - and it’s you they worship: the Empress who ensnared the galaxy. Their eyes are mine, the colour of emeralds, but cold as stone.” He stopped speaking and his head fell forward as the vision ended. Gone was the strident confidence, the false strength of the future. All that remained was a prisoner, whose defiance was slowly being eroded with each passing day. Tiredness seeped through every bone in her body now, sapping her strength. She turned to leave. “Please,” said his soft voice behind her, his words slower, less strident. She turned to face him. “Take the prism down.” “Are you so close?” she asked. He licked his dry lips and shut his eyes.“You know what lies ahead, don’t you?” she continued. “The guardstell me you See in your dreams now, that there is no respite.” She moved to the barred gate and beckoned the guard over. “Your cell isn’t your prison; your visions are.” She stepped out, smiling at his soft, frightened moan, and cast a last look over her shoulder at him. His head rested against the wall, his pleading eyes staring at her. She waited a moment and his gaze moved back to the prism, becoming softer. The light ebbed and flowed across his gaunt face, emphasizing its shadows. Slowly, the Empress began to walk back to her quarters. She stopped as the first pain blossomed across her stomach, and smiled at the thought of being rid of her burden.