We now return to the present time, to the beginning of this story. While a multitude of guests from all over Oz and beyond gather in the valley for a gala performance, let us shift to the gardens of Lindens End where the housemaid Mary has just received an important message...
Closing the comlink, Mary Stokes appeared concerned but relieved. Upon hearing
the Tin Woodman's message, her pretty mouth downturned into a slight frown at first,
but, while glancing upwards to the second story window, a smile spread across her
face. Perhaps it was a stroke of good timing, even divine providence, that the
concert had been delayed due a certain baby stegosaurus' bottomless appetite.
However, several Ozites, old and new, pitched in to save what could have been a disastrous blow to an otherwise memorable afternoon. Those wonderful ancient creatures from the Great Valley and Nesting Grounds, specifically the elderly gentlemen of both herds, lent their vocal talents to soothe the gathering crowd. Much applause to this Mesozoic choir. Right now, Number Nine and Six's sibling, Sister Seven, has taken center stage in an impromptu performance of popular Broadway tunes, ending with a raucous rendition of an old music-hall song Mary instantly remembered from her former life.
How marvelous for Glinda to cast a brief, ingenious spell for Seven's performance. A gifted singer, Seven, in her usual blue satin gown of the Munchkin style, began the medley with tender operatic Puccini aria. Then, by magic, she was transformed into the murderous Velma Kelly and all that jazz, the tragic Maria serenading her doomed lover Tony, a boisterous Mama Rose determined to take her girls to stardom, a hip Sandy clad in black leather which highly impressed Danny, a mesmerized Christine under the Phantom's spell. Finally, she became, as Mary recognized, Clemence Delice, headliner at the Deptford Empire, a music hall Mary visited once or twice after leaving Eaton Place.
Of course, Mary knew all about the celebrated Clemence, who was actually Sarah
Moffat, Mary's predecessor at 165. Rose told Mary about Sarah, how the girl so much
wanted out of domestic service that she struck a forbidden friendship with James
Bellamy, who in turn helped Sarah land a gig at a music hall. A star was born, but
it didn't last.
"That song," Mary giggled as she watched the performance via the handheld viewscreen, "is so naughty. How to explain that to the youngsters! An old man given to flirting shamelessly with young girls...What are we going to do with Uncle Arthur?"
Mary sang along, trying hard not to laugh at Seven's raucous and very funny performance. Well, Mary did teach Seven that song; she just didn't know the lady would actually perform it before hundreds of people, including children!
So caught up in that bawdy song, and Sister Seven's perfect impression of Miss Delice, Mary almost didn't sense the footsteps from behind. Thank goodness for instinct, for the housemaid immediately turned around to see Leia Organa. Now what has happened? Did Miss Maddie and company receive the same message, that the concert was delayed? Oh yes, the lady from Alderaan confirmed that; besides, Luke and Han were too busy listening to Madeline's last minute rehearsing, and exchanging several tales of their past galactic adventures.
Leia laughed, saying, "Would you believe I got bored?"
Mary returned the good humor with, "Oh no, madam. Surely you never tire
of recounting all your amazing adventures with Captain Solo and Mr Skywalker..."
She returned attention to the viewscreen, sharing the transmitted images with Leia.
"I suppose you received the same message, how Spike nibbled on the fresh pumpkin to serve as Jack's new head. Quite a delay, though the little dinosaurs quickly brought another pumpkin, and your droid, R2D2, expertly carved that head so beautifully..."
"How did you know?"
"Beg pardon, madam?"
Leia repeated the question, this time reflecting on a similar situation of the
not so distant past.
"When Luke revealed himself as my brother, and that I also had inherited our father's Force-sensitivity, somehow I already knew. I also knew, deep down, though so many times I wanted to deny it, that Anakin Skywalker was my father. Of course, my only encounters with Anakin was while he was under the spell of the dark side, personified as Darth Vader."
Now Mary understood. Sitting down, she replied to Leia, "I had that feeling
the moment I gave birth to my baby only to see him die. I felt some grief for my
dead baby, but not in a cold sense. I mean, I had no feelings for the baby's father.
You know of my trouble, how the son of my last employer took advantage of me,
getting me pregnant."
Leia nodded, saying, "Yes, how you tried to hide that fact, even after you landed the job at Eaton Place. I know all that, but what made you realize you were..."
"A Jedi?," Mary said wistfully. "Oh, it was ever so long after I left domestic service, when I was on the ship bound for America. I suppose you know all about that, too."
"Yeah, the ship sank after hitting an iceberg. But Gladys said you met someone on that ship days ago, almost immediately after leaving Southampton. Who was that person, and did he go down with the ship?"
Upon asking that question, Leia Organa studied Mary Stokes. So odd, but not all that strange, to sit in the company of another Jedi. Yet Mary, like Luke had no inkling of the greatest within, that the Force ran strong in both. She presented, like Luke, the persona of an ordinary, unassuming person, content with the lot in life handed to both. And, as with Luke, the discovery of that Force potential came late, far later than with those who trained as children. What was so amazing about Mary was that the woman still carries herself like a servant, having lived most of her life as an Edwardian housemaid. She continued, decades after coming to Oz, to address people as a servant would address her "betters." It was "Yes, madam," "No, sir," "Very good, m'lady," and so forth.
Even Miss Stokes' mode of dress still echoed the early 1900's, hardly something suggesting Jedi. Although not in housemaid's uniform today, Mary was, for the special occasion, appropriately clad in a plain yet stylish Edwardian afternoon dress of spring green and a simple straw hat trimmed with a single yellow ribbon, not at all like the elaborate, befeathered cartwheels worn by Lady Marjorie.
Perhaps is that projected persona of the unassuming servant which kept Mary's secret just that: A secret that wouldn't be revealed until the very last minute, when her assistance would be the turning point in the Battle of Emerald City. Naturally, by the way Mary conducted herself in dress and manner, she was a Jedi, totally focusing off the self.
As for that question, about the man Mary met on Titanic, she could not recall
his name or why he even approached her. All he could tell Mary was that he knew her
grandmother. However, years after settling in Oz, Mary met him again, only this time
she learned the truth about her grandparents.
"And that's how I discovered my folks were Jedi. Oh, Miss Leia, I kept that secret with me all these years, only rediscovering the truth again when I received visitors–"
Leia nodded. "Just like Madeline receiving visitations from people long dead. Force Ghosts."
"Yes," answered Mary, "and the memories...So many of us encountered faces and places of our respective pasts. The dinosaurs experienced the same thing, especially Xander..."
She stopped herself, gathered her thoughts, then said to Leia, "It will be some time before we depart for the Valley. Gladys and Mrs Fellowes have already left. Here, why don't I make us a cup of tea, then I'll tell more. How our memories pointed to the truth."
"About ourselves. Too many secrets and too many unwanted presences abounded in
Oz and beyond. You see Sister Seven on the viewscreen, Well, she was unwittingly
involved in the evil plot to overthrow Ozma. And Kaliko, the Nome sorcerer...What he
did was so inexcusable, so horrible..."
"And," said Leia, "don't forget that Luke and I learned a few telling truths about Parva Eugui, before we left Coruscant for Oz. That lady was not all what she pretended to be. Oh yes, she indeed persuaded Kirel Tasou to the dark side and did much damage in Oz and throughout the Great Outside World. But she had many weaknesses which spelled her ultimate undoing..."
Mary was right, about how the memories came back to each player in an
increasingly complicated tale of intrigue, betrayal, misplaced loyalties, and
And what were Parva's shortcomings to which Leia alluded? Only a few players knew these secrets, one a displaced magical lady, the others a handful of loyal Republicans. The sorceress went to extreme lengths to make things right for Oz and its neighboring fairylands. Those steadfast souls loyal to the Old Republic finally revealed many facts about one Parva Eugui and why she went so bad.
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