He let himself be struck down. He stood there, resigned, as my lightsaber slashed owedthrough his skin. He gave no fight, did not whine or taunt me, did not even wince as my saber cut through his flesh. That, above everything else, was the thing that trickled through my brain as I walked through the crowded corridor of the Death Star.
Obi-Wan Kenobi had let me kill him. He did not fight me like he could have. It was true he was older, less agile and frailer now, but he was not living up to his par. I don't know why he didn't let me kill him the moment I saw him. The fight he gave me in the murky hanger wasn't even a workout. I don't know why he held back if he was even going to bother fighting at all.
I wanted to kill him in a fair fight. After all the years we had spent, he owed me that much. He owed me the chance to prove that I was better than he. I wanted his death to come after a long, tremendous battle in which one of us died and the other came through the fight close to death. I wanted to show him I could beat him fairly and that the Dark Side was as powerful as the light. When I first "fell" as those insolent Jedi put it, I offered it to Obi-Wan. I wanted my Master to join me in the Dark ways.
When I asked him to join me, he refused. I shook his refusal off; even I had been resistant at first. Palpatine had showed me, however. Oh, how he had showed me the way. I gave Obi-Wan time to think it over and met him on Geonosis again. I don't know why he chose Geonosis to meet, he just did, and I agreed to see him. I thought he had agreed. I thought he would let me take him over to the Dark Side.
I was wrong.
When he showed up he spoke plainly enough: he wouldn't turn. The burning of the volcanoes around us didn't even compare to the burning within me. I had thought the weeks I had given him would change his mind. Palpatine had changed my mind with promise of power and telling me the truth in the lies the Jedi fed to me. I had given Obi-Wan the promise of power.
Obi-Wan Kenobi was not a weak man. He was as strong as any Jedi Master on the Council, in more ways than even Master Yoda. He had this aura about him that followed him and bathed him in light. He was what I wanted to be when I was under his tutelage. He was the perfect example of everything a Jedi Knight should embody: calm, smart, intelligent, agile, cool under fire, and above everything, a brilliant swordsman. Through all the years I was his apprentice I cannot remember beating him once.
When he refused me, the only thing I remember was the flaming hatred inside of me that would not die. I don't remember the fight that followed. Everything blurred as the anger grew to the breaking point and then I snapped, letting myself go to the Dark Side.
He killed whatever sanity I had left that day. I don't think he meant for me to fall into the fire. I remember his stunned face as his saber caught me off guard and I tripped, falling down and down until I met the lava of hell. The pain was unbearable, indescribable. I couldn't manage with the pain. My mind left me, leaving my body to shoulder the pain. I screamed and screamed and couldn't get away. I tried to swim through it but the only thing I could do was scream.
Obi-Wan killed my sanity that day but he saved me as well. Palpatine rescued me and built my body back into a machine. With that he won everything from me: my loyalty, my services, my mind, my soul. I'm grateful to him now, and to Obi-Wan. If he hadn't knocked me into the flames I don't think I could have survived the rigors of the war. Human flesh is prone to pain, to accident. It sickens me now at the thought of what can happen to flesh. A machine, however, does not feel pain. It does not get tired. A machine does not fail.
In the hangar I failed. In some way I failed to something inside me that I never knew existed. I wanted to kill him in a fair fight and he did not give it to me. I wanted to show him how powerful I was and how wrong he was. He refused to give in and let me show him. Instead he let my lightsaber burn his flesh and let me watch him disappear, surprised that the Force cared so much for him that it took his body.
How could he let me do that? How could he let himself be sacrificed for the children who ran for the ship? What did he see in them that was so brilliant and flagging that he had to be killed so that they may live? I don't understand. Life is never worth death.
Master Sidious often tells me I think too much, that I sometimes let human feelings seep into my mask of destruction. It's not something I can control, although he probably could probably stop the emotions if I asked. I don't ask and he doesn't offer. Even now, after all these years, I do not enjoy the sensation of his mind touching mine. Besides, maybe I actually need the emotions inside me.
Beings see me as the face of death. I am Darth Vader and should not be reckoned with. I can't control what they think, nor do I wish to. I do what my Master bids me. I don't connect with those I kill. To do so would be idiocy beyond what I can afford. I cannot allow myself to feel for those who I slaughter. It isn't the way of things. I don't like to feel their pain.
Obi-Wan's death let free an emotion inside me I had not felt since Padm?'s death: pain.
Pain for the lost of my teacher, mentor. Pain for what I am and what I do. Pain for those I murder and those who suffer because of the murders. His unexplained actions have sent my mind into a tailwind of doubt. He made the ultimate sacrifice for children- children. This doubt has brought back to my mind so many other emotions of the past.
I can't allow myself to feel this. It isn't right. I am a machine now, not a man. Anakin Skywalker is a name of the past and shouldn't be mentioned. Emotions aren't supposed to be in my mind's capacity. I shouldn't feel them, see them, want them. To want them is a disgrace. I am a Sith Lord. Sith do not feel emotions, they feel pain and thrive in it. Rage, anger, and fear are the ways we work. Pain is the cause of this, the very base of what we try to bring to the galaxy.
I must not let this feeling of pain come to me. If Master Sidious feels it he will be angry and I fear when Master Sidious is angry. The only thing that comes out of it is hurting on my part.
Pain is not becoming a Sith Lord. Can't feel it. Must not feel it.
Damn Obi-Wan Kenobi. Damn him for making me feel this. Pain is for the weak; pain is for those who can't have power. Sith Lords do not have weakness.
As I walk down the lighted corridors to my quarters, a picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi returns to my mind. It is not a picture of the man I just killed, but rather many years earlier, when Obi-Wan was younger, fitter.
Shouldn't feel this. Can't feel this.
I am a Sith Lord! Why do I feel this? Why now?
When I return to my quarters I sit in the dark for a long time, my thoughts rambling around my head.
Sidious calls me on my comlink as I walk. A few minutes later I report to his hologram in my apartment. "Master."
"I sense distress."
"It is nothing, Master."
"Pain is for fools, Lord Vader. Do not let it overcome you. Pain is for fools."
He left me after that to my thoughts and his words. I stare at the blank space where his hologram had stood. Even from light years away, his control over me was tight enough to choke.
Pain is for fools?
I am not a fool. I will not be called a fool.
Fools? Obi-Wan was a fool. He let himself be cut down for a child. I killed him. That is not becoming a fool. I will not feel pain. I am not a fool. I will never be called a fool for my emotions. I am not a fool.
I leave the quarters, my anger shimmering like boiling water. Pain is for fools. Pain is for fools.
Shoving my emotions back, I head to the bridge. Obi-Wan Kenobi may have been a fool.
But I am not.
Original cover by obaona. HTML formatting copyright 2003 TheForce.Net LLC.