The twin suns slowly lower below the horizon, sending a rush of brilliant color to the desert before darkness washes it away. I glance out at them, and then turn away from their glare, not thinking of them, not truly seeing them. I can only think of...
That word has a bitter taste on my tongue. I had my first taste of extreme failure more than ten years before on Naboo. I knew all was lost when the Sith's blade cut through Qui-Gon, burning through flesh and bone. When he died, he left me with the responsibility of training Anakin Skywalker. He died not knowing that this responsibility was more than I could handle. Of course, I didn't realize it either. I never once considered that I would fail. I was arrogant, thinking that I could be the best teacher - better than Yoda, even. I never knew that I would pay for my arrogance later.
My eyes close, remembering. If only I had known about the pain that would come later. My shoulders slumped as I realized what a fool I had been. Anakin had turned only a year ago - the pain and grief has lasted so long, it feels like it's been forever.
That boy - that sweet, innocent boy - was the biggest challenge I've ever encountered in my life. We became very good friends and were close. But as he grew older, he lost more and more patience and developed a mind of his own. He had a streak of independence in him that was alarming. It was upsetting to see his arrogance slowly begin to control him. I loved him like a son, and never once considered the possibility of...
The suns disappear below the horizon, but I do not notice. I pull my old, rough Jedi cloak tighter around myself as I dwell on my chilling thoughts of Anakin and what became of him. He was in his mid-twenties when it happened. He was so young, but he had grown powerful in his hatred and fear. In a vain attempt to bring him back to his senses, I confronted him. But he would hear none of it. We fought ... I knocked him backwards into the boiling pit of lava. His scream as the lava engulfed him is one sound I will never forget.
And then he emerged from the lava pit, his Force-signature livid with hate so strong, it almost knocked me over. It was then that I knew it was too late. I hadn't watched him closely enough. I hadn't taught him as well as I could have. I had failed. I raised my lightsaber to deliver the fatal blow, but I couldn't do it. Anakin was gone, but I just couldn't kill any remainder of his goodness that he might still have, buried deep inside all his hatred.
This guilt - and grief - that I've felt is worse than anything that I've ever experienced. When Qui-Gon died, I thought that it would be impossible to ever feel such grief again. I was wrong. Anakin Skywalker - funny, intelligent, quick to learn ... that boy is no more. I know now that any remainder of him was killed in that lava - killed by his hatred and anger. If any of him had remained, he wouldn't kill the Jedi so ruthlessly.
How did this all come about? We were good friends - a master and apprentice. Yes, our bond was shaky from the start and we never learned to fight as a team, although Anakin had always fought well. Somewhere we went wrong. Anakin, what did I do to cause you to turn? I had thought that I could teach you as well as Qui-Gon taught me. Obviously, I was wrong.
Anakin, I have failed you.
Crossing the room, I open a trunk that is layered with dust. I lift an old lightsaber from a hidden compartment in the lid. The black grip covers most of the handle. Wondering if the power cell is still working, I move the middle of the room and activate it with the push of a button. The green blade blazes to life as it had always done; soft humming fills the room. Qui-Gon Jinn's lightsaber. It is still working - that's a sign of my former master's good workmanship.
Qui-Gon had thought that this was something I could handle. I should have followed Qui-Gon's example. I should have listened to him more attentively. Qui-Gon made sure that I was always concentrating on the moment, that I always controlled my anger in trying situations. I should have done the same with my Padawan. I shouldn't have let my arrogance and pride take over.
Falling onto my sleep couch, I deactivate the lightsaber and bury my face in my hands. Hot tears sting my cheeks as they slide into my rough beard.
Master, I have failed you.
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