There was no shudder, no cry of pain when you fell.
My one consoling thought is that you were able to look upon your children, even if only for a moment, before the darkness came to claim you. You were holding those precious lives, only minutes old, within your loving arms when you slipped into a state of unconsciousness, your already injured, broken body unable to withstand the demands of their birth. At least, that is what I was told by the Jedi Healer charged with attending to you as she rescued the infants from your rapidly fading grasp.
After keeping you safely hidden for weeks, we were forced to flee as troopers began to invade the sector. Healer Karil was holding your hand tightly, guiding you through the chaotic streets when I heard the fire of blasters behind us. I fell back to fight off the troopers now following us, secure in the knowledge that Healer Karil would see you to safety. I had almost reached you, Milady, when it happened.
I heard the telltale sound and watched helplessly as the weapon streaked through the sky. You were thrown by the explosion, the force of it wrenching your hand free of Healer Karil's grasp.
As I lifted you tenderly from the debris, I knew.
Swallowing my own despair, I carried you, cradled in my arms, whispering repeated reassurances as I followed Healer Karil, trying not to notice the wounds and pretending not to hear your shallow breathing.
You were so brave, Milady. Even as the walls of the abandoned building where we had taken refuge shook around us with the initial blows of the impending battle, you remained strong, intent to bring your children safely into an otherwise unsafe galaxy. Finally, after a troubled delivery, your cries of pain mingled with their cries of life. As Healer Karil whisked your daughter and son away to examine them, I wiped the sweat from your searing brow and the tears from your flushed, burning cheeks.
I could see it in your eyes. Your pain wasn't only a physical one.
"It wasn't supposed to happen this way, Obi-Wan," you rasped, the effort of speaking causing you to cough uncontrollably.
It was supposed to be Anakin by your side as you brought his children into the galaxy. This moment was supposed to make you a family. Instead, it was the man charged with protecting your infants from their own father who held your hand as you endured their birth. This moment that was supposed to be utter joy was instead one of unspeakable misery.
I held you close and whispered soothing words as the painful sobs wracked your weary body. Soon after, as the Healer placed your babies in your embrace, your tears at last became those of joy, but it was not to be, Milady.
"I will never leave you," I barely heard you whisper, struggling to bestow this final promise to them as your eyes slowly began to close, at last surrendering to the shadows closing in around you. When Healer Karil took the infants from you, the tiny lives you had fought so hard to protect, I tried in vain to fight back my own tears, refusing to believe her as she uttered the cruel truth.
"I'm sorry. There is nothing we can do."
As you began to slip away, I held your hand. There was no equipment to monitor your condition, yet I knew the very moment when you became one with the Force. There was a sudden void, a sadness in the Force, as if something precious and beautiful had been extinguished.
Even now, after you are gone, I hold your hand even more tightly, as if I can keep you from leaving by simply refusing to let go.
"Master Kenobi, there is no more time. We must leave now," Healer Karil calls frantically to me, the bundled infants held tightly beneath her cloak.
Reluctantly, I nod to her, and she hurries from the room just as another explosion, this one much closer, causes the building to quake yet again. I wipe my eyes viciously on my sleeve as I pick up a blanket from Healer Karil's now-discarded pack and carefully, reverently, cover your worn, broken body.
But I cannot bring myself to cover your face.
I brush the hair from your eyes and gently kiss your forehead as I look upon your countenance for the final time. It is a beautiful face, one no longer marred by pain and sadness.
When I first learned of your deception, Milady, I resented you, cursing the day that the Force caused your paths to cross once again. I resented the way you took his heart when it was never yours to claim. The Chosen One belonged to the Force. I convinced myself that you were the reason he now bows before a new Master.
Now I see that it was foolish pride that guided my reasoning. It was much easier to blame you for his fall to the Darkness than to look to Anakin, the Order or within myself to find accountability, but I understand now that Master Yoda was correct. The Force will be brought into balance, and the descendants of Skywalker will be the catalysts of that balance. They must be protected at all costs.
Only days ago, in a fit of melancholy that overwhelmed you as we sat hidden in the cold darkness of the shelter that had become your prison, you told me that when you first met him in that dusty hovel on Tatooine, Anakin believed you were an angel, one of the beautiful creatures that live on the moons of Iego.
Perhaps he was right.
Perhaps now, at last, you can watch over them, guarding them, accomplishing in death what you could no longer do in life.
I sense him growing closer.
I know if they are discovered, all you have suffered will be in vain. Reluctantly, I leave you for the last time, offering my final farewell to that emptiness in the Force.
Go in peace, Milady. You have earned your rest. Fear not, angel, for your precious ones.
Know that I am with them.
Original cover by obaona. HTML formatting copyright 2004 TheForce.Net LLC.