Disclaimer: The franchise belongs to George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company.
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Atch-To, lived a young prince named Finn. He was the adopted son of the gentle King Luke and the Princess Leia and Prince Han, his sister and her husband. On a visit to the neighboring Empire of the First Order, Finn happened to see a tall, beautiful woman marching in bright, shiny silver armor with the rest of her men.
“She's the Princess Phasma,” his closest friend and guard Poe explained. “She's the only daughter of King Snoke, and the commander of his armies. It's said she prefers to live with her troops than in his castle, and would rather have armor and weapons of battle than fine silks and jewels.”
“I've never seen anyone so lovely,” Finn murmured. The princess was tall and strong, with short hair of the palest gold and eyes the deep azure of the waters that surrounded Atch-To. “And she's a commander?”
“No less than the head of the armies of First Order,” said Rey, Finn's adopted sister. “Her brother Hux commands from Starkiller Castle. She's good friends with Leia and Han's son Prince Benjamin, too.”
“I wonder,” Finn mused dreamily, “if Ben could arrange for us to meet?”
Rey made a face. “I don't think she's your type, Finn. I've heard she cares about nothing but battle and strategy.”
But Finn was determined to have an audience with the lovely Princess Phasma. After he returned to Atch-To, he sent his steward, Brennan Brixby the Eighth (or “BB,” as the royal family called him), to bring two gifts to Starkiller Castle.
“What are they?” Phasma demanded of the little orange-haired man. “Well? Show me!”
“Your Highness,” said little Brennan, “Prince Finn of Atch-To wishes to court you. He's hoping you'll find his presents for you to be to your liking. The Kingdom of Atch-To is not nearly as wealthy as the Kingdom of the First Order, but these are two of their greatest treasures.” And with this, Brennan handed her a cage with a nightingale and a long white box.
Phasma opened the box greedily. Her adopted brother General Hux and Prince Benjamin, the envoy from Atch-To, looked over her shoulder. She made a face at the contents. “A rose? Just a single, boring flower? We can get these anywhere!” Brennan winced as she threw the rose back at him. “And a silly old bird? What good would that do me? Roses and birds can't win battles, or attack your enemies. They don't help with battle strategy or lead your men into a fight. Tell him I want nothing to do with him or his useless gifts.”
Finn was not one to be deterred. He rubbed mud on his face and dressed in old clothes and a cap he borrowed from Prince Han, who had been a peasant thief before he married Leia. He made his way to the Kingdom of the First Order and presented himself at the court.
“Do you have some work open for a simple peasant?” He asked General Hux, Phasma's brother. He was as tall as his sister, with brilliant red hair that was slicked back to a harsh shine. His slender nose was constantly in the air, and the look on his face said clearly that he was far better than this dirty interloper.
Hux sniffed. “We need a new swineherd. The previous one just left to marry his sweetheart in Arkansis Village. I think you'll do.”
So Finn was now in charge of the pigs in the courtyard. He lived in a tiny room over the stables with the other servants. During the day, he tended to the pigs in the sty near the horse corrals. At night, he worked on carving a strong and intricate staff that he hoped Phasma would find far more pleasing.
Finn was a kind young man by nature, and he made quite a few friends around the farm yard. His closest friend was a girl named Rose. She worked in the stables, tending to the horses. Two days after he arrived, he found her crying in one of the stalls as she raked the hay.
He could never resist someone in need. Rose looked up when the dark hand rested on her shoulder. “Hey there, miss. Are you all right?”
“No,” she sobbed. “My sister Paige was just conscripted into the army. I don't want to see her go away! She's the only relative I have left. The First Order destroyed our village and killed many people. We had no choice but to work here...and now, I'm all alone.”
“No, you're not.” Finn gave her his brilliant smile. “I don't know anybody here. Maybe you could help me.”
Rose nodded as she wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “Well, all right. It'll take my mind off everything, if nothing else.”
From then on, he spent any time he wasn't with the pigs with Rose and the horses. It was she who introduced him to the other stable hands, including three children who showed him their toys made to look like legendary kings and queens and knights. She taught him how to cook his own dinner, clean up after animals, and make sure that they were eating all right and that their young were fed.
He had just fed the pigs their slop one morning when he saw Phasma stride across the yard. She was followed by several members of the First Order Army, including her brother Hux and Prince Benjamin of Atch-To. Rose and the stable hands had just brought out five of the most beautiful thoroughbreds the Emperor Snoke owned for them to ride on parade in Finalizer Village.
Phasma got on her horse first, pulling him out hard with the reigns. She spoke loud and harsh to him, threatening him with dark and angry tones. Finn winced when she cracked the whip at the creature. It reared up, forcing everyone around it to flee.
“Stupid whelp!” Phasma lashed at it again. “Your next stop is the glue factory!”
“No!” Rose rushed out, trying to block the horse. “It's not his fault, Your Highness! You frightened him!”
Finn saw the look in Phasma's eyes. That look was angry enough to kill, or at least turn Rose and the horse into glue without the factory. He was about to rush to Rose's aid when the girl turned back to the snorting animal behind her.
“Poor boy,” she murmured gently. “Did the princess scare you? Is there something wrong with you? Let me check your hooves.” It pulled up each leg obediently. “Oh, dear. You have a rock in your left shoe. Let me get it out. That'll feel better.”
Phasma was stomping her foot harder than her horse. “What's taking so long?”
“This is a delicate procedure, Your Highness.” Rose dug at the large stone until it popped out of the horse's hoof. “There you go, boy.” She lead him to the impatient princess. “He should be happier now. But please,” she took her riding crop, “don't beat him! No one likes to be beaten, including animals.”
“You're lucky I don't beat you for showing me up like that.” She pushed Rose aside. “Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to meet my troops outside of Finalizer Village.”
Finn watched her as she and her brother and Prince Benjamin rode off into town. “She's the one who ought to be whipped for the way she treated that horse!” He said angrily. “You can be arrested in the Kingdom of Atch-To for abusing animals.”
Rose sighed. “Unfortunately, she does that all the time. I've known servants who were fired – or even attacked themselves – for trying to tattle on her. Phasma doesn't care about anyone but herself. Her father taught her too well, I'm afraid.”
Finn was beginning to have second thoughts about courting Phasma. Her stunning outsides didn't seem to match the arrogance and haughtiness in her heart. Poe and Rey had been right about her from the beginning. It was time someone taught her a lesson.
That night, he finished the staff. It was the most beautiful object he'd ever made. He didn't have Rey or his father Luke's skills with wood carving, but he thought it came out very well. The staff was carved with intricate symbols of the First Order Army, including the ghost that Phasma was often compared to. The handle was a strip of supple leather he got off the tanner in exchange for several smaller carvings for his children.
The next morning, as soon as he'd finished with the pigs, he set up a dummy made of wood and straw near their enclosure. While the pigs ate their breakfast of corn and scraps, Finn practiced with the staff. He did the most elaborate moves he could, hoping that Phasma would notice him.
Indeed, just a few minutes after he started, she came through the barnyard with her brother Hux and their friend Prince Benjamin. “Swineherd,” she said haughtily, “that's a magnificent weapon you have there.”
“Thank you.” Finn bowed before her. “I made it myself, Your Highness.”
“I want that weapon.” Phasma put out her hand. “Name your price.”
“Only one.” Finn's wide grin spread across his face. “I want a hundred kisses from you.”
Phasma made a face. “I'd rather kiss the pigs.”
Finn pulled back, tossing the staff between his hands. “Then you don't get it. Rules are rules, Your Highness.”
“It's not that important, sister.” Hux tried to pull her back. “He's just a common swineherd. His lips are probably filthy, and he reeks of his porcine charges. Let's get along to inspect the troops. We're late as it is.”
Benjamin squinted. “You know, swineherd, there's something familiar about you. I've seen you before. What kingdom are you from, originally?”
“Oh, here and there.” Finn pulled his cap lower over his eyes. “My offer still stands. Ten kisses for this fine staff.”
“Oh, very well.” Phasma, who was very tall for a princess, had to lean over to kiss Finn, but she did do it. Her brother glared icicles at her, while Prince Benjamin looked the pig keeper over, trying to figure out where he'd seen him before.
“Phasma!” Emperor Snoke, dressed in his fine gold robes, made his way around the muddy yard just as Finn reached his hundredth kiss. “What are you doing, making love to peasant swineherds in my courtyard?”
“He had something I wanted, Father.” Phasma grabbed the staff from him. “There! I hope you're happy.”
“I am.” Finn bowed before them, sweeping off his cap...but he turned to Prince Benjamin first. “You were right, Your Highness. You do know me. I'm Prince Finn of Atch-To, your own adopted cousin.”
“I thought I knew you!” Benjamin frowned. “What are you doing here? I thought you were studying with your tutor at home with Rey and Poe.”
Finn shrugged. “I thought I was in love...but it was with the wrong person.” He turned to Phasma. “From the moment I first laid eyes on you, I thought you were a stunning goddess, above reproach. You refused my gifts, so I thought I'd come here and woo you in this way.”
“You're a prince?” Phasma's blue eyes widened slightly. “Well, that's not something I expected. If you're still interested, I accept your proposal of marriage.”
The young swineherd's large chocolate brown eyes darkened. “No, Phasma. I have no intention of marrying you now. I know what you're really like. I've seen you abuse the animals in the yard and run for cover at the first sign of danger to your person. The only person you care about is you. I gave you the rose and nightingale because I thought you were beautiful...but real beauty is in the heart, not a pretty face.”
He marched off to the stalls and came back with Rose on his arm. “You did help me in one way. I found the girl I want to court here. She's brave, honest, loyal, and a real friend.”
“Finn?” Rose's round face was screwed up in shock. “What's going on?”
“I'm a prince, Rose.” He took her hand gently. “I'm sorry I lied to you. I do like you. I saw how you saved that poor horse from being beaten yesterday. You're kind and faithful, and you're certainly no coward!” He gave her his brilliant wide smile. “Come back with me to the Kingdom of Atch-To. I want to introduce you to my father and the rest of my family. My Uncle Han has a whole stable of horses from when he raced them in his younger years. We could ride together, and you'd never have to muck another stall as long as you lived.” He chuckled. “Unless you wanted to.”
Rose took his hand. “I love my job...but not the people I work with. I accept your offer, Your Highness.”
“Wonderful!” Snoke hissed. “Now we'll need a new stable hand and swineherd!” The old Emperor turned angrily on his daughter. “As for you, young lady, you're stepping down from your post as commander of my armies this very minute! There are at least six other men who are just as competent as you.”
Phasma narrowed her eyes. “You'll regret this, Father.” But she said nothing else, nor made another move against him.
So, Finn took Rose back to Atch-To. King Luke was delighted that his adopted son had brought such a sweet and charming young woman home with him. Ignoring some grumbles from his court about Rose's peasant status, he encouraged their courtship, and several years later, gave the bride away at their wedding. Princess Rose became good friends with both horse-loving Poe and practical Princess Rey. Indeed, the four were seldom seen without each other, often going for rides on their favorite horses through the countryside, happily racing each other or leaping over fences.
As for Princess Phasma, she never again commanded an army. Her father made her the new stable master. She spent the rest of her days mucking stalls, tending to horses who barely tolerated her, and wondering what would have happened if she'd only accepted Prince Finn's simple gifts from the start.