This is fifteen random but chronological moments from the life of Aimeé Lecosse, who is, quite literally, the first handmaiden in the second training class of potential handmaidens chosen from amo...
01.) Asset: It’s not so much that she looks like the new Queen, really – she’s well aware of the fact that her resemblance to Amidala is superficial, at best (her face being too round, her features not refined enough, her mouth too wide and too full, her hair too dark and too straight, and so on), though of course this does not mean that she cannot make herself look more like the Queen, if she wants to, given enough times and cosmetics and the proper kind of elaborate costume – but that she has talents that will make her an asset amongst the handmaidens, having majored in political science and diplomacy and law at school and being, moreover, a skilled dancer with an eye for fashion and a knack for sewing that helped her through a couple of the leaner seasons, when her family otherwise might have had to go without to pay for all of her books, and so she’s not terribly surprised to be told that she’s a shoe-in for the second handmaiden class after her first interview.
02.) Middle: Her parents don’t really want her to seek after a handmaiden position, fearing the amount of danger she’ll be in, but she is a middle child, not willing to marry soon or for security of home and comfort, and she is passionately committed to the realm of politics, and so there’s never really any question as to whether or not she’ll accept an offer, if it’s made.
03.) Commitment: Captain Panaka frankly strikes her as a man more interested in receiving praise for his cleverness and laudations for his greatness than someone truly dedicated to his work, but that’s alright, for Sabé and the other handful or so of principal handmaidens more than make up for his lacks in their commitment and zeal and love for the young Queen they are sworn to serve.
04.) Worship: Three thousand years or so ago, back when the Nabooians were more obvious and religious in their commitment to the ideals of growth and love and light represented by the Great Lady and so commonly observed many far more ritualistic aspects of worship, instead of just keeping certain traditions and holy days sacred and otherwise simply living their everyday lives according to the spiritual tenets and beliefs of their faith, there was a strict list of vows sworn to by the formally titled acolytes (chosen companions and handmaidens, guardians and helpmeets, all rolled up into one) of the monarch, and she can tell that Sabé, at least, is quite serious about reviving the tradition pretty much wholesale – not just in paying the old custom lip-service in order to surround the Queen with overdressed soldiers and overpriced ladies-in-waiting – and so she quietly chooses to write on the subject for one of their individual projects, making sure to thoroughly analyze each individual section of the vows and make possible suggestions for logical updates and modifications to them, based on what seems most likely to bring the handmaidens together as an organized and truly dedicated force.
05.) Offer: There’s a girl in the training class with her (with lovely skin like the lightest shade of caramel and a brilliant smile) she’s caught watching her, a few times, and, when this girl (Justé Talant) quietly offers to treat Aimeé’s hair so that it is closer to the Queen’s more medium shade of brown rather than near-black and completely natural looking in its lighter hue, she thinks it over for a time, and then she accepts the offer and seals their tentative alliance with a soft kiss that soon grows into something much more.
06.) Example: Justé looks no more like the Queen than she does (which is to say that she can, if fitted out with some of the identical robes meant for the handmaidens and a judicious amount of carefully applied camouflaging cosmetics, easily help to fill out the ranks of the handmaidens and confuse the eyes and sense of others by appearing to be so like her fellows that they can all fade into a faceless group, as part of the background, and so protect the Queen with anonymity), but her devotion to the Great Lady is like that of an old-fashioned priestess, and she is both very smart and willing to work hard to learn all that she can, to make herself a better, more useful handmaiden for their sworn lady, and Aimeé frankly rather believes that there are those who could do far worse than to seek to follow Justé’s example.
07.) Wardrobe: Saché and Yané are largely in charge of wardrobe, both for the Queen and the handmaidens (though of course most of the Queen’s elaborate costumes are designed and made by a team of specialized dressmakers and jewelers chosen and carefully vetted by Eirtaé, Sabé, and Amidala herself), but there are occasional questions and options among their less physical instruction and assigned projects dealing with costume design and jewelry, and she is quietly, endlessly pleased when some of her notions make their way into the proposed wardrobes both form them, as handmaidens, and for the Queen and her decoys, to help draw attention away from the body and towards the all but overwhelming splendor of the costume and jewelry being worn.
08.) Opinion: There’s a girl in their class who worries Aimeé, not only because she personally finds her too lazy and self-centered for a life in political service to the people but because she’s heard that Sabé thinks there is something mentally/emotionally wrong with her, and Justé seems to share the opinion, having admitted more than once to feeling unsettled and anxious and even sometimes vaguely (and otherwise inexplicably) nauseous in Essé’s presence, as she has before only in the presence of a tried and confirmed killer, and so Aimeé makes it a point to watch this girl, so she can hopefully do something to help get her out of the program before anyone can get hurt, Panaka’s insistent support for Essé or not.
09.) Chosen: Despite her red hair and green eyes, Dané is the handmaiden most likely to be chosen, from their training class, as a decoy for the Queen, for her facial features and build and overall passion and intelligence and mien are most like the Queen’s, and so she makes it a point to do whatever she can to encourage the other handmaidens to draw in about Dané and to treat her as the head of their little coterie-in-training.
10.) Family: The Trade Federation’s increasingly belligerent tone towards Naboo worries her deeply, enough that she quietly sends word to her family that they need to make plans to be able to go to ground, if the worst (as she can imagine it) should happen and the Trade Federation make an attempt to overthrow the Queen and seize control of their plasma mining operations by force, and even more quietly suggests to her fellow trainees (Essé excluded, for she cannot bring herself to speak to the girl outside of classes, disliking the bad feeling she gets whenever she’s around Essé and her flat, dead, unfeeling blue eyes) that they should probably think about doing the same, for their loved ones.
11.) Active: Under less potentially dangerous circumstances, their training would last for at least two full months (approximately fifty to sixty days on Varykino plus at least two to four weeks at the Palace, simply observing and getting some more hands-on practical experience, before finally starting a rotation of full, active duty) before they began active duty as handmaidens, but with a third class of potentials already finalized and waiting to start their training and the situation getting worse as the Trade Federation become more and more openly prone to using violent force, she considers herself lucky to have gotten even a full month of instruction.
12.) Worthy: Most of the girls in the first class of handmaidens were apparently either deliberately recruited, for their political ties and knowledge of both the noble class and workings of the royal court and of protocol and law, or else chosen for a combination of skills and intelligence and resemblance to the Queen, and she is pleased beyond words to find that most of her predecessors are more than worthy of that honor, but she’s also horrified to find that two of their number seem to be more like that Essé character than the Queen for anyone’s peace of mind, and so is sorely tempted to try to find a way to file a complaint against Panaka that will get that damned idiot off of the advisory board that interviews and chooses the potential trainees out of all the various applicants.
13.) Evidence: She and Justé discuss trying to find a way to get close enough to Lietté and Roché to gather evidence of their (obvious) unfitness for their positions, as handmaidens to the Queen, but Sabé seems to know what they’re thinking and takes them aside to warn them off, assuring them that she and the other principal handmaidens are aware that there’s something badly off about those two and that they are keeping a close eye on them, already, and that there’s no need for her and Justé to perhaps endanger themselves doing what others already are, so she makes sure Sabé knows what little she and Justé have already observed about not only those two but Essé as well, and they agree to let the matter go . . . at least for now.
14.) Comfort: The Great Goddess alone knows how many plans the Trade Federation’s sudden attack is derailing, but she takes some comfort, at least, in the notion that anything Lietté, Roché, or Essé may’ve been scheming has been as thoroughly stopped as Sabé and the others’ attempts to get those troublesome individuals out of the handmaiden program.
15.) Choice: The Princess of Theed is not their sworn lady, but with Amidala attempting to flee to Coruscant, to plead their case before the Senate, the people of Naboo will need someone to rally behind, and Ellie is logically the first choice among those available to serve as such a rallying point, so she doesn’t hesitate to throw herself between the escaping Princess and the thugs and droids and traitors all trying to capture her, and she is smiling grimly (inordinately pleased with Ellie’s escape) when she is finally cut down.