Break the Circle

My favorite moment in all of Star Wars happens in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s a throwaway line in the first act. Blink and you’ll probably miss it.

Essentially, Han and Leia are arguing because Han, who had decided to stay, has a sudden change of heart. When her highness presses him as to why, he says, “Well, the bounty hunter we ran into on Ord Mantell changed my mind.”

It’s a brilliant moment. One that points to a larger lived-in world leaving a savvy single digit viewer like me with lungfuls of questions. Thankfully, the details are never paid off in the films, leaving them to dance in my mind for years, unencumbered by canon.


The broken world of Achades fractured centuries ago. Every culture may lay claim to the how or why. You may even find details of events strewn across the background in tapestries or woven into the sing-song hymns of holy men, but I don’t ever plan to spell it out. Not entirely anyway, and Ord Mantell is clearly to blame.

On a meta-level, The Rending represents my rage. Something honed into the finest steel when I was young. Now, I don’t know if anyone ever had a perfect childhood. I know I certainly didn’t.

“So, I built a world in effigy.”

It always seemed to me childhood was something we all had to survive. But, for all of its pain and inarticulate noise, I still remember its profound charm, and I never wanted to let that go.

So, I built a world in effigy. An imaginary place that drew in the soup of half-lost dreams and comic book scribbles with unexpected gravity — mashing all of it together into a single setting. Years later, when the strain of all that intermingled love and pain and creation grew too much to bear, the only thing that made any sense was to break the world. When I did, Achades became a crucible. A place to temper ideas, keeping what worked, and savagely killing off what didn’t.

It’s Not Misdirection

Sure, we get some hint of what Han’s referring to on N64, over a decade later, But, even then it’s not a detail that general audiences consumed, as far as I know. Point is a single line of dialogue can create great depth for the right invested fan. Too much and you risk overdoing it. Too little and it goes unnoticed. If you can find that sweet spot, all the work you pour into world building can pay off in multitudes.


Soon, that too became part of the narrative as the world of my mind’s eye forged its heroes. It wasn’t gentle about it either. Humanity is regularly pushed down and enslaved by the powerful, and still, we adapt – discovering the untapped potential necessary to break our bonds.

Now that you know that little tidbit, I must warn you, those who suffer the most on Achades regularly fall to their own corruption in time, and again the circle turns. Still, even in its darkest moments when it has tested and hurt good people, I promise you, there’s hope.

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