The Girl and the Sorcerer
Disclaimer: The franchise belongs to George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company.
Notes: This is a gender-reversed version of the Grimm's Fairy Tale Jorinda and Joringel.
Once upon a time, in the forest kingdom of Alderaan, lived a strong and fair maiden named Leia Organa. She became engaged to a handsome, hearty trader named Han Solo. They were seldom seen without each other. They would go for long walks in the woods and fields, with Han's beloved dog Chewbacca by their side. Han brought Leia the most beautiful flowers from the lands he traveled to. Leia sold the flowers and fruits and vegetables he brought in her shop on the edge of Alder Town.
There was an old castle on the edge of the Alderaan Forest. Bast Castle was the home of the fearsome Darth Vader and his master Palpatine. Vader was a shape-shifter. He'd once been human, happily married to a beautiful court lady named Padme. One day, she went out walking in the woods...and never returned. Vader searched for his beloved Padme for years, but she had vanished into thin air. A dark sorcerer in the woods told him that she had run away with another. He vowed that if he could not be happy and have his bride, no man would. Any man in love who came close to the castle was transformed into a helpless creature, a small bird or kitten or mouse. A woman would be frozen in place until the moon rose.
One evening, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca wandered further from Alder Town than usual. It was a chilly spring evening, cold and windy. Leia shivered and pulled her wrap around her shoulders. Big, furry Chewbacca stayed close to his master. Even Han, who was normally laughing and joking, seemed worried.
“I don't like this,” he said. “I think we're lost.” Chewie whimpered by his leg. He reached down and gave him a comforting scratch between the ears.
Leia tried to smile, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. “We'll be all right. I'm sure my shop is just around the next corner.”
“Maybe it was an hour ago.” Han squeezed her hand. “Face it. We're lost. We have no idea where we are. We could be at the sorcerer's castle, for all we know! I heard hundreds of men have just up and disappeared here. They say the Prince of Yavin vanished near this very spot just a few months ago.”
Leia shook her head. “Oh, I'm sure we're not that far...”
The sun was just going down when it's last dying rays illuminated a crumbling old castle. It was tall and forbidding, with ancient stone towers and moss-covered walls. A rusted gate surrounded the entire area.
Han stepped back. Chewie snarled at his master's feet. Something didn't smell right to him. “I think this is it. It sure looks like the place everyone talks about in the stories.”
“I don't see Vader, though.” Leia turned around, expecting the imposing black figure of everyone's nightmares to suddenly appear before her eyes. “Maybe he finally died.”
“No, sweetheart. If the stories are true, he's a sorcerer. They live for hundreds of years.” The dark-haired trader shivered. “I'm afraid we're not gonna get out of this alive.”
“Don't be such a spoil sport!” Leia put her arm around his back. “We'll be fine.”
Han winced as a cat hissed in the distance, and an owl hooted. “I hope you're right, sweetheart.”
They'd gone no more than a few steps when Chewie stopped, growling. A huge black cat with yellow eyes crossed in front of them, hissing at the trio. Chewie lunged for the cat...but the cat lifted it's claws, knocking Chewie into a tree despite its smaller size.
Han lunged angrily for the cat as it sprinted towards the castle gates. “Hey, you ball of black fur, that's my dog you just attacked! He didn't do anything to you!”
Leia tried to follow him, but to her horror, she found she couldn't move a muscle. Her legs were rooted to the spot. She couldn't call to Han, or hurry to Chewie to see if he was all right.
“Leia!” Han had started back towards her when he saw her stop. “What's goin' on?” The cat hissed again, lunging for him. As he grabbed the cat by the scruff of it's neck, a misty black light surrounded him. “What are you doing?” His hazel eyes widened as he dropped the feline onto the mossy ground. “What's happening to me?” To his horror, his fingers were lengthening into brown wings, his mouth into a grayish beak. Feathers grew over his navy peasant jacket and brown trousers. “Lei...lei...lei..”
When the black light receded, a reddish-brown sparrow was flying as fast as it could away from the cat. The sparrow landed on Leia's shoulder and tried to nuzzle her, then sing in her ear. Leia wanted badly to respond to him, but the moon was not yet out, and she remained paralyzed.
The black mist surrounded the cat. A figure stepped from the black wind, tall and imposing in a thick cape and glossy black armor. “I would be honored if you would remain with us, little sparrow.”
The magician took the bird in his gloved hands. The small bird struggled and bit and pecked at his fingers, squirming as hard as he could. “You're behaving more like a human than a bird. We'll have to change that.” He gently ran his thumb over the sparrow's back and wings, murmuring something in its ear. The sparrow finally stopped struggling, but he continued to chirp, trying to call to his beloved fiancee. “No, little bird. You belong to my master now. You'll never see your mate again.”
The moment the moon rose, Leia stumbled, now able to move again. She stomped over to the black magician, grabbing him by the arm. “I know who you are. You're Darth Vader, the evil sorcerer who kidnapped all those men in the woods. I won't let you keep my Han. I love him!” Leia swore the bird chirped something that sounded like “I know.”
Vader continued stroking the bird with his thumb, until it's hazel eyes became glassy and it's song vacant. The owl they saw earlier soared by, an old white and black owl with glowing yellow eyes. Vader opened his hands, allowing the owl to carry the sparrow off to the castle. Leia tried to grab at the owl, but Vader took her by the arms before she could reach it. “You're better off returning to town and forgetting about love. It'll only hurt you in the end.”
“No!” Leia tried hard not to cry around this monster. “I won't lose Han the way you lost your Padme.”
“Do not mention her name! Ever!” He finally threw the struggling girl to the ground. “If I ever see you anywhere near this castle ever again, I will turn you completely into stone. Go, and take that giant mountain of fur with you!”
Leia took Chewbacca into arms as best she could. “Han,” she sobbed into the night, “if you can hear me, I will come for you. I swear it. I don't know how, but I will.”
Determined to find the way to defeat Vader, Leia closed her shop, gathered Chewbacca and a few necessary items into Han's old carriage, and left for the desert kingdom Tatoonie. Her twin brother Luke had moved there years ago. He was apprenticed to a great magician, Obi-Wan Kenobi, before the elderly man passed away. He now ran Obi-Wan's school and garden, with the help of his servants Artur and Cecil.
“Leia!” He went out to greet her the moment she arrived. “I'm so glad to see you.” He wrapped his arms around her. For all his great powers, Luke was really a gentle youth, with golden hair and blue eyes. He knew Han Solo as well, for the trader often brought him news and supplies when passing through Tatoonie. He gave Leia a sunny smile. “For what do I owe this visit? Where's Han? When's the wedding?”
To Luke's surprised, his strong-willed sister blinked back tears at the mention of her fiancee. “That's what I'm here about. Han's gone. We got lost in the forest and found Bast Castle. Vader has him. There isn't going to be a wedding unless I can turn him back!”
“Bast Castle?” Luke's sweet face darkened. “Come on. You can explain this better inside.”
Leia told Luke everything that had happened a few weeks before over a meal of goat's milk, rabbit and vegetable stew, and just-baked bread. “I miss Han so much, but I don't know how to use magic like you do.” She finally pushed her bowl aside. “Now I wish I'd come with you when you asked and learned, too. I spent two weeks wandering around near the woods, hoping to even get a glimpse of him.”
“Leia,” Luke said quietly, “there is one thing. There's a lily that grows in the desert scrub land that is said to be so powerful, it can not only ward off evil magic, but end it. Anything enchanted that you touch with it will be cured. Anything evil will lose its potency.”
“Well,” his sister insisted eagerly, “where is it? I have to find it!”
Luke frowned. “It's in Obi-Wan's garden. He was cultivating it in the hope that he and I would be able to restore Vader to his original form. It only appears at night, in the light of the full moon.”
Chewbacca whimpered under the table. Leia handed him a bit of rabbit. “Well then,” she stood and picked up the bowl, “why don't I help you with the dishes? As soon as the moon comes out, I'll look for it in the garden.”
“Leia.” Luke put his hand on his sister's shoulder. “If you're going to go after Vader and his master, I'm coming with you. I won't let you do this alone. You're my twin, and Han is my friend.” He gave her a small smile. “I know a few tricks that will distract him while you release your fiancee.”
Leia threw her arms around him. “Thank you, Luke. You're the best twin ever.”
“What are twins for?” He hefted the soup pot. Chewie licked his bowl filled with scraps clean. “Let's go out and get these washed. The sooner we can get to the garden, the better.”
That night, the two and the dog made their way out to the plot of land behind Luke's cottage. Obi-Wan had originally planted the garden when he first came to Tatoonie in the hopes of training magic-sensitive youths. It was filled with every magical plant or flower that could grow in a desert, from cacti blossoms whose juice could heal gaping wounds to lupine with the ability to put anything to sleep. The flora was planted in neat rows, bordered by sagebrush and cacti.
Leia was about to despair of every finding the flower when she saw something sparkle in a dark corner. An enormous white star-shaped bloom stood all alone, surrounded by a strange silvery mist. The moonlight fell on a single pearl in its center. The mists danced around the pearl, giving it a strange, lustrous sheen.
“You found it!” Luke hurried over to her, with Chewbacca at her heels. “The Luminous Pearl Star is one of a kind. It only grows in Tatoonie, and even here, it's rare. It's made of pure white magic. Dark magic can't touch it. When you go to Bast Castle, you'll be able to walk in without being paralyzed.”
His sister frowned. “But what about you? Vader will turn you into a bird, or a kitten! I couldn't bear to lose two men I love.”
“You won't.” Luke pulled out a small bag. “Obi-Wan taught me a few tricks and potions before he died. I can handle Vader. You concentrate on finding Han.” Chewie barked, nudging Luke's leg. “You too, boy. I know you miss him.”
They returned to Alderaan the very next morning in the carriage. Leia kept the flower close to her in a small pouch. She was amazed by its ability to retain its shape and color, even after being confined for several days. Its glow seemed more intense than ever.
This time, they were able to ride right up to the castle gate. Vader once again met them there. “So, you defied my orders and came back.”
“I want my fiancee.” Leia held out the flower. Vader pulled back, hissing angrily.
“Where did you get that?” Vader's voice sounded strained.
“I gave it to her.” Luke pulled out his bag. “My master Obi-Wan wanted you to return to us, Anakin Skywalker. Your love Padme was murdered by your master. Palpatine wants your magic. He's using you.”
“No!” Vader shot black light out at the young man. “He's easing my pain! He wasn't the sorcerer who took Padme from me!”
“He's using your power!” Luke easily leaped away from the light. “When he's gotten what he wants, he'll get rid of you!”
Leia wanted to help her brother, but she knew there was very little she could do. The flower could protect, but she doubted it could shoot magic. She and Chewbacca hurried past the combatants and into the castle.
She and Chewbacca listened for the sound of animals calling out. Chewbacca was a dog, and his hearing was far more sensitive than any human's. The moment he heard his master's warble, he let out a happy bark and loped over to a long, winding staircase.
“You hear something, Chewie?” The big, furry brown dog nodded, tugging his mistress up the stairs. There was a heavy door at the top. Leia touched the flower to the lock, opening it easily.
The tower room was far larger on the inside than it was on the outside! Cages lined the circular walls. Each one contained a poor small animal that had once been a man, a mouse or a kitten or a puppy or a bird. They were far less noisy than Leia expected. The dogs whimpered. The kittens purred sadly. The mice barely squeaked. The birds' chirping was subdued. Some were little more than skin, bones, and wrinkles, too old-looking for young animals.
At the far end of the room was what appeared to be a black cloak. A withered, dead-white finger stuck out of the fabric. A small reddish-brown sparrow perched on the tip. Another finger stroked the scar under his beak. “Yes, my handsome pet. You will sing for me, on my bidding.” The bird sang, but its warble was heartrendingly sad and full of longing. “Yes, sing for me, pretty bird. Sing, and then I will take enough energy to keep me young for a long time.”
“That's what you think!” Leia waved the flower at him. “Release my fiancee at once!” Chewbacca bared his teeth at the elderly sorcerer.
Palpatine was truly an awful sight. He was all skin and bones and wrinkles. His eyes glowed a hideous shade of yellow. “How did you get in here, girl? Didn't my apprentice turn you into stone at the doorway? He must be getting lazy.”
“My brother's keeping him occupied.” She held out the flower. “I won't let you take Han's life. I'll bet that's what you did to Vader's Padme, didn't you? Drained her of her energy, then killed her.”
“Ahh, my first pet.” Palpatine's thin-lipped smile chilled the young woman to her bones. “She made such a graceful little swan. I did so enjoy watching her swim on the pond in the courtyard before I drained her. I never tasted such delicate, sweet energy.” He lifted his hands. “If you will not leave, little one...you will be destroyed.”
Leia braced herself as he shot purple lightning from his fingertips. Chewbacca leaned against her leg, whimpering. To her surprise, a white mist from the flower surrounded her and Chewie, protecting them. The lightning only went around it.
Palpatine hissed. “That flower...it has white magic. I can feel it. Where did you get it?”
“Wouldn't you like to know?” Leia reached over him. “You can't hurt me while I have this. Now, I'm just going to free my fiancee...”
“Oh no. I'm not losing my pet that easily!” He dodged her lunge, surprisingly nimble for such an ancient crone. Before Leia or Chewbacca could stop him, his purple lightning gathered around him. When it burst away, he was now a ragged, yellow-eyed owl. The larger bird wrapped his talon around the sparrow as it tried to fly to Leia and flapped speedily out the window.
“No!” Leia watched the owl...but then, her gaze fell on the other cages. She needed help to rescue Han. She touched each cage with the pearl. It and its occupant glowed white, and was replaced by a handsome man. She ran around the room with the pearl, opening every cage, until the entire room was filled with men of various ages and sizes.
One tall man with curly dark hair and a gentle smile bowed before her. “I thank you, Senorita. I am Principe Kes, of the Kingdom of Yavin. I became lost in the forest two months ago and was captured by that terrible enchanter and turned into a kitten. I wanted nothing more than to return to my wife, the Principa Shara.”
Leia curtsied as best she could. “Thank you, Your Highness. I'm glad I could help.” She stood, turning to the doorway. “Now, I must ask a favor of all of you. Palpatine has my fiancee, Han Solo. Will you all help me get him back?”
The men bowed as one for her, including the Prince. “Anything for the woman who saved our lives and our energy,” Kes insisted.
They all followed her downstairs, just in time to see Luke knock Vader to the ground, white magic surrounding him. “You're not really evil, Vader,” Luke said gently. “You're hurt and angry and heartbroken, but not evil. I can feel it.”
Leia took advantage of the distraction to touch Vader with the flower. To her surprise, instead of killing him, the white mist seemed to penetrate him, change him. When the mist dissolved, it revealed a good-looking older man in his 40's, with curly gray-yellow hair and a scraggly grayish beard. His eyes, once the same muddy yellow as his master, were now a clear sapphire blue.
“You're Sir Anakin!” yelled one tall man with brown hair pulled back into a bun. “You were one of the greatest knights ever in the Kingdom of Naboo. Everyone thought you were dead!” The other men glared at him, angry for his part their abductions and abuse.
“Look out!” Another man, a tall fellow with straight black hair, pointed upwards at the sky. The round, gold moon gave enough light to reveal the owl diving straight for them, the sparrow still in its talon. It's hooting seemed more like evil cackles to Leia.
“No!” Anakin reached out and grabbed the owl before it could fly away. “I won't let this young woman lose her lover like I lost Padme!” It took Kes, Anakin, and Luke to subdue the owl and pry the sparrow out of its talon.
Luke handed the little brown bird to Leia. The brown bird chirped happily, nudging Luke's finger. “Here, sis. I believe turning him back should be your job.”
He set the bird on the ground. Leia smiled and touched him with the flower. The white mist enveloped the sparrow. His chirping became a very human groan. When the mist subsided, Han Solo was rubbing his fluffy red-brown head. “What took you so long, sweetheart?” he asked with a teasing grin.
“Han!” she threw herself into his arms. “God, I missed you so much!” The men around them cheered.
Han just hugged as hard as he could. “I love you, Leia.”
She gave him a grin in return. “I know.”
Kes and Luke still held Palpatine the owl, who struggled in their arms. “What are we going to do with him?”
Anakin's blue eyes had a nasty gleam in them. He took the owl by the scruff of its neck and deposited it in front of Chewbacca. “Here, dog. How'd you like a nice, plump, juicy bird for dinner?” The enormous brown mastiff barked and leaped onto the owl, tearing it and biting it until there was nothing left but a few feathers.
Han and Leia returned to the Kingdom of Alderaan, where they were wed. They became the most prosperous traders and store owners in the land. They also remained good friends with the Prince and Princess, later King and Queen, of Yavin. The royal couple even made them the godparents of their son Poe after his birth, and they in turn became the godparents of Leia and Han's son Benjamin. Chewbacca stayed their beloved and faithful companion.
Anakin did not get as warm a reception in the Kingdom of Naboo. He was put on trial for kidnapping and accessory to murder. The tribunal acquitted him, but others continued to accuse him. He fled to the hills, where it's assumed he lives out the rest of his days quietly, for he has never been seen again.
Luke went back to Tatoonie with the flower...but not alone. He was quite taken with the handsome fellow with the dark hair and blue eyes, a young horseman from the Kingdom of Corellia named Wedge. The two lived together in Obi-Wan's cottage for years, tending to the magical flowers and raising a little orphan girl named Rey. The pearl star flower was replanted in the garden, where it remains to this day.