|In Another's Eyes (PG)
Clarus; Dark_Luke_Junkie; Force-Wielder; Jairen
Archived on: Monday, March 3, 2003
Clarus and friends craft a new look at Return of the Jedi from Darth Vader's P.O.V. Ever wonder what is going on in the story when you don't see Vader on screen? Now you will know. You will never watch Return of the Jedi the same again.
The fear drains from the pores of the pilots and fills the small shuttle. It is appropriate, though disturbing. The fear is of me, and the monster that I am, and the thought that I inspire such abject terror - the terror that makes men lose their bowels at my approach - has always sat skewed on my mind, an angle gone wrong. I cause fear. My men have nightmares about me, and about the mask. The mask is me. In fact, the pilots' fear of me is greater than their awe at the Death Star II, which we are now approaching. The Hangar-Master grants permission to land, though the tone in his voice rankles. It is filled with arrogance, and the darkest voice whispers that I should find him and demonstrate true power. The dark voice is easy to ignore now, but it was not always so.
It began, I think, after the first Death Star was destroyed above Yavin. I watched the holos from the DSI's security cameras - paying particular interest to the one of the detention block where the Princess was held. The pirate and Luke managed to destroy the cameras at the guard's terminal, but they neglected to look for those in the hallway.
"I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you."
And so he did. This child I realized was my child, my son, two seconds after the words had passed his lips. Hate flared at Obi-Wan, hate enough that my Master, sleeping half a world away, dreamed that I had torturously murdered him. I paid for that little vision with the scars I now wear along my back. He hates to fear me. Then there was the obsessive search: any news clipping with his name, all the old holos from his home on Tatooine (and it was impossibly ironic to learn he had grown into manhood on the same barren sand dune I left behind). My informants and spies were paid well, and my collection grew as did his fame.
Finally, I was given permission to hunt him - to chase down my elusive offspring and claim him, as I should have been able to do at the moment of his birth. Admiral Ozzel commanded my ship then, and he was not my choice. He pulled strings and thought that he might do very well under my eye. His intuition was proven wrong, however, above Hoth. He almost cost me my son. I caught him later, but it could have been there! There are no bottomless shafts on Hoth into which he might have jumped! I could have had him! I could have stopped him and reasoned with him and shown him ? ! So, Ozzel's neck collapsing in the Force I held was a satisfying thing. I enjoyed every second.
Captain Needa was a mistake. I admit that freely, and forced a penance upon myself that makes me shudder to remember. It was not his fault that the pirate flew so splendidly - I'd had my eye on the boy once, when he was a boy. I had wanted him as one of my TIE pilots, but that day never came. But as I looked over the asteroid field that had claimed the life of one Destroyer already, all I knew was a deep fear, one that consumed me utterly. I thought that the princess and the pirate, possibly the last links to my wayward son, might be lost or destroyed. I felt time pressing heavily against me and for a long time I considered the fear.
When I realized I had strangled Needa it was too late. Lord Vader must show no mercy, no emotion besides cold rage, so as I stalked past his shuddering form, feeling quite ill, I muttered, "Apology accepted." Later, I forced myself to look up his history. This had been his first command, and he had left behind a wife and three small children to take it - to serve me. I was supposed to bring him home, as I was supposed to bring all of those men home. I failed in that mission. Needa was a mistake. Wherever he is - for I do not know where those who do not touch the Force dwell once their bodies have died - I hope he knows that I suffered more for causing his death than he did in dying. The irony is this, though: his wife's name was Ami.
My fear almost cost me Piett. To my shame, I do not remember what caused it, only that it was long after Bespin. Piett has been a gifted and trustworthy commander; the men love him, and he gets along well enough with me (if it can truly be said that I get on well with anyone). Somehow, he has managed to survive and thrive. He is a good Admiral.
I thank the Force, as well as other less welcome voices in my head, that I realized what was happening before he died. I know only this: he was reporting something, and then he was lying at my feet, gasping and clawing at me. I released the Force ? flung it far from me, actually. I also thank the Force that there was no one else in the chamber with us ? I think we might have been in my conference room, but I am not sure. If anyone else had been watching, I would have had to continue. I cannot appear weak. I think what hurt the most was when he finally looked up, through a veil of tears, and all the respect and faith he had had in me was gone. Instead, there was stark terror, and that hurt me deeply. "You idiot," I muttered as I knelt beside him. I think he was surprised that I healed him, and frankly, I was, too.
And so I have come to DSII, and Jerjerrod awaits me with all the pomp and circumstance warranted the heir of the Empire. Every available man snaps to attention, and another voice, this one light and full of sadness and dim remembered joy, whispers that once men had saluted me because they truly honored and loved me. The dark one is sullenly quiet, for he, too remembers love, though it was bitter and hollow in his mouth. Now, the less disciplined tremble and shake as I walk by them. I do not look at anyone besides Jerjerrod; feces do not have a particularly pleasing smell, and I do not wish to humiliate one of these men before his fellows. I have looked at Jerjerrod's history, too. His son was born three days after he left to come here, and though he has been able to receive holos of the child, he has not been allowed to send any. His son does not know he exists. He is three years old now, and perhaps this business will be over soon enough that the boy does not remember not having a father. The child's name is beautiful: Israel. I linger much on fathers and sons now.
Jerjerrod tries to placate me with pleasantries and platitudes, none of which I have the stomach for just now. I threaten him - vague threats, letting him fill in the blanks with what appears to be quite an imagination. I have no interest in DSII; the game of politics and rebellion wearies me. I just want to find my son.
I stand with my back to Jerjerrod and his officers, inspecting the drive core of DSII. It is offline, and it will take another month, at least, to have it ready. And that is with all the techs and engineers working on this alone. I am disappointed. The drive was supposed to be completed a week ago. Without the drive core, the DSII can only rotate slowly; there will be no locomotion until the fusion inside it begins.
"Explain, Jerjerrod." He hesitates for a moment, thinking of the time when the Grand Moffs had ranked far higher than the Sith Lords. That was in the days of Tarkin, and not so long ago, but since then, Palpatine has become more openly Sith. The beauracrats, like all the Grand Moffs, are losing power, and they do not like it.
"There was a malfunction, milord," he finally stammers. Gods below, how many malfunctions can one construction project have? So far, there have been malfunctions with the Endor generator, the super laser, the small weapons systems on the completed side, and now the drive core. I might have laughed if it were not up to me to form some sort of order from all this madness; Jerjerrod should be weeping.
"W-when the coolant arrived. There was a spill. Many men were injured, three were killed. It set us very far behind -"
I hold up a hand, willing him to be silent. He bites his tongue in his haste to obey. It is a legitimate excuse, but like the rest, I will have to investigate each one. I do not look forward to it, and I regret not taking an aide when I had the chance.
"Very well, Commander. Take me to the communications array, if there is one."
His face goes very pale, and the commanders behind him exchange wary looks. They are not used to my sarcasm. Surprisingly, the communications array is in excellent condition and fully operational. I mention this to Jerjerrod, and after he realizes it is a complement, he inclines his head slightly. He thinks, very loudly, Israel, perhaps I will come home to you after all.
I have to leave him. I have been walking a precarious line for a long time, and this has nearly thrown me off of it. I have realized that we two are very similar ? we have never seen our sons.
"That will be all for today," I announce as I walk quickly from the communications bank. I must hurry; I cannot cry in the mask ? it causes all sorts of electrical problems. I enter the quarters that have been prepared for me near the medical bay and slap a button on the wall as I struggle to keep the emotions from leaking out. A soft chime ? the air is appropriately oxygenated ? and I quickly tear mask and helmet from my head, falling to my knees as the first sob wracks through me.
I do not know how long I lay on the floor or how long the weeping lasted, nor do I know why it came. Surely men would think me mad if they knew how good it had felt to cry just then. I must meditate on this, but later. For now, there are reports to read and malfunctions to investigate. I lock the door, and it disturbs me that I had not locked it before. Anyone might have walked in; the air would have escaped, mixing with the bacteria in the corridor, and I would be dead now. The sad voice wonders if that would be such a bad thing.
I am pleasantly surprised when I begin my tour once more. Jerjerrod insisted on returning to the super laser, and I am astonished to find that it has been completed during the night. Jerjerrod stands at stiff attention as I inspect the terminals, and though I am at my most critical, I can find nothing wrong with the construction and function.
"Well done, Commander," I admit finally. I have looked over this unit more thoroughly than I did the medical facilities this morning. I smirk, ignoring the stretching pain of scar tissue. "How many men did you have to assign here to get it done?" He hesitates, and then seems to sense humor in my tone. "Almost two hundred, milord." The vocorder does not allow my quiet chuckle any farther than my lips, and all Jerjerrod hears is a heavy silence. His confidence slowly dissolves into the ever-present fear. Damn it, why can't I laugh?
The light voice in my head is being more and more persistent, and assures me that he will continue to annoy me until I have listened to him. I remind myself firmly that I would be truly insane to do so. As long as I hear the voice, but do not respond, I can maintain my sanity and control. This thought occurs to me as I enjoy what the light voice has called a sumptuous meal of pastes and liquids. Surprisingly, the darker voices agree with him. So I eat, and make use of the facilities, and the colorful descriptions the light voice merrily delivers is below polite society. The dark voices laugh, and I sit quietly and hope they will be silent. Meditation calms them, finally, though when I rise I am more torn than I was before, and all because of the vision.
I am standing in darkness, and around me there are dim forms that represent all the parts of me ? the voices. All of them are looking at me, beckoning me to follow them. One is so dark that to look upon it would drive men mad; the other's light brings joy so consuming I feel lost in it.
"Follow," the darkest one says, and I shudder at the sound. He turns from me and walks in one direction, towards a darkness so deep and incredible that the light around it is swallowed and destroyed. I cannot go there. The others go in turn, saying, "Follow," and beckoning me down their paths. Some are tempting. Finally, the last one, the bright one calls. He is formless, like the others. "Follow," he says, and turns. I cannot go there; I missed that purity long ago. The bright one turns once more, and I have the vision of a sad smile. "It will be alright, Anakin." The usual hate and revulsion do not appear at the mention of that name, but I turn my eyes from him and look down the darker, but not the darkest path.
My legs tense as I prepare to take a step forward, but the vision ends, and I do not know in which direction I turn.
It is a long, long walk from my quarters to the hangar, and I half fear that I have delayed a proper welcome for my Master. The darker voices mutter quietly, maliciously, just beyond my level of hearing ? insects in the small of the back, where you can't quite reach ? and the light voice is conspicuously silent. "You must be strong," it finally whispers, and I find myself agreeing on the point, though not the method. I must be strong; I must follow the course I have chosen. It is too late, far too late, to rethink that. I remind myself of my power, of the dark energies that swarm to me like hungry dragons. I am an extension of the darkness, of what is called evil.
I learned that the Jedi Council had long deceived its scions with that notion. Darkness is not evil; it is order. There is no static, there is change. There is no chaos, there is order. There is no stillness, there is passion. There is no death, there is the Force. I repeat this litany, over and over again, and the light voice wails in my mind as the dark ones cackle. I enter the hangar.
I am conscious, as I kneel to my master, of his thoughts sweeping not-so-gently over my mind. His presence is black and baneful; the light voice seems to have fled entirely and the darker ones reach forward, as would an animal to be petted.
"Rise, my friend," he says, and I cringe. I find this expression terrifically painful, bending scar tissue in new and interesting ways.
"The Death Star will be completed on schedule," I report, and I do not lie. Only a gross mismanagement or accident could deter Jerjerrod now. For all his annoying ways, he truly has proved himself by turning this project around. I will try to have him stationed near his home, near Israel.
"Good, good." He cackles, and I feel my heart freeze. "And now I sense you wish to resume your search for young Skywalker." How is casual he is! Always, Luke is "son of Skywalker" or "young Skywalker" or (when he has destroyed trillion credit construction projects) "that damn Jedi."
"Yes, my Master."
"Patience, my friend. In time he will seek you out. And when he does, you must bring him before me. He has grown strong. Only together can we turn him to the dark side of the Force."
For no apparent reason, pain lances through my entire body, and the respirator falters slightly. My son will try to find me? The euphoria is instantaneous and aborted. He will come to me...
"As you wish," I answer, but what I want to do is leap for joy! My son! My child!
"Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen," he replies, and cackles once more as we leave the hangar.
Your son is coming, the light voice croons softly as I remove the helmet. I pause and stare into the mirror, into eyes that, by some miracle, my son has inherited. My son. Your son, the voice agrees, with a hint of finality, and then he is gone. Moments later, Palpatine's thoughts brush over mine. Remember who your master is, Lord Vader. There is pain, then blackness, and I am dimly aware of hitting my head as I fall. My muscles begin to seize, and I hurt.
An hour later, lunchtime for the crew and paste time for me. My humor has taken a decidedly sarcastic turn, I notice, perhaps to make up for the gnawing silence of the light voice. The dark one scoffs; there is the sense of rolling eyes, and I swallow my "food." What I would not do for a working intestinal tract. I wave a hand absently, then lean my head into my folded arms ? a mistake, for it constricts already damaged breathing passages. The holonet news comes on, and I listen distractedly, until -
"In other news, Jabba the Hutt, notorious gangster and leader of the Tatooine slave ring, along with most of his court, were killed yesterday afternoon in a freak sailbarge accident. The names of the other victims are not yet released, but bystanders claim a local boy-turned rebel, Luke Skywalker, was responsible. Skywalker is also named as the man who destroyed the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin, taking with it the lives of over two million loyal Imperial subjects. More at ten. In other news..."
She should write a book: How to Shatter the Balance in a Sith Lord's Mind in Ten Seconds or Less.
I stand, moving away from the tubes ? the tempting remains of my lunch ? and approach the broken mirror. I think I hit my head earlier when I fell, for there is a large bruise forming above my eyebrow. I can see it in a thousand reflections. I am not surprised that, when I try, my powers of healing are completely blocked by Palpatine. It is swelling, and the mask will put painful pressure on it. Damn. But on it must go, for there are things to be done. The galaxy does not stop for one Sith Lord, no matter how depressed or uncomfortable he might be.
I have decided, after lengthy introspection, that a singularity of purpose is a good thing. With the light voice either completely eliminated or temporarily silenced, I feel myself again, coming back to ways of thinking I have avoided since Bespin. That is when the light gained the loudest place in my head, and when my officers began to die. This news, delivered by what can only be called a "chipper" anchor, brought the light voice back with an incredible momentum. I almost expect the annoying creature to sing. I can if you like, he says, and I try not to groan. I believe a headache is developing. Annoyed, I flip the holoviewer off and look for a more comfortable place to sit, only to discover that there is no such thing in my quarters as a cushion. For an utterly insane moment, I am grateful that mine is not a line of work for which retirement and old age are considerations. I will probably be dead within a few years.
My thoughts careen wildly back, many years ago, to a little boy saying with absolute faith that "no one can kill a Jedi." For a moment, Qui-Gon's eyes linger in my mind, the deified man who stares at me not in the anger of betrayal, but in the sadness of loss. The dark voice cackles, the light voice whimpers, but the whimper is quelled when my head begins to throb suddenly. Palpatine has, once again, reasserted his authority.
When I wake, it is not to the 'hiss-shush' of the respirator and the false, filtered light of the mask. Sunlight streams about me, bright and terrific, and I realized that I can breathe. I have never known such sweetness! I fill my lungs with air, but it seems as though they have forgotten quite how to work, for I cough. Finally, though, they remember, and I breathe and breathe and breathe. That's when I see him. Not Luke ? I might have died from pain had it been his spirit come to greet me ? but the being from my first vision, with all the paths and the dark creature. It is the one I know only as the light voice, though now there is more to him than voice. I study him-blonde, of course, though it is hard to tell through the omnipresent glow about him; pale skin; large, vulnerable eyes. It occurs to me that it is my face ? or, what my face used to be ? only I was never that innocent. My eyes were never open quite so wide, and I never looked so . . . virginal. Try as I might, that is the only word I can use to describe this incandescent figure: virginal; completely pure and innocent.
"It was not Luke," he says quietly. I have to lean forward to hear him, for he speaks quietly and a wind has risen from nowhere. "But Anakin, what if it was?"
"That is not my name," I insist, though the proclamation does not have quite the same weight as it once did. He waves his hand, as if to ward off an annoying insect or bat away an invalid argument.
"What if it had been Luke?" he asks again. "What if it were your son that the Force is so joyfully welcoming just now?" Then I feel it: a sense of near-completeness around me, a comforting familiarity that almost reaches out to touch.
"Is this ... the Force?" I ask, and I do not notice that whether it is the Dark or Light Side makes not the slightest difference to me. "Am I dead?"
"I hardly think so, but you might be soon. There are many paths, Anakin, and not all of them end in goodness."
"I am a Sith," I persist. The look he shoots me is annoyed. "Well, I am." Stars, that was just about the weakest thing I've ever said.
"Yeah, and I'm a dancing Twi'lek," he responds, and his legs unfold. He comes to stand very close to me. "Listen to me: Luke is alive. It was another who passed."
"There are no others as powerful as Luke," I say.
"Probe the disturbance," he urges. "If you do, you will see that the soul that left your lane is not nearly so bright as Luke's." Relief fills me, but I am a damned thing indeed, for I cannot rejoice that my son lives still.
"You never answered my question. Is this the Force?" He draws himself up, and for a moment, I am very afraid of the intensity in his gaze.
"This is the Force you abandoned, Anakin Skywalker, though you can see it has not given up hope in you."
The dream ends, and I wake once more, surrounded in the smell I now associate with myself, but once associated with hospitals and places of healing. My respirator wheezes though the mask has been removed. I turn my head slightly, and glimpse the external respirator hooked to the implants protruding from my chest. The bright lights ? perfectly unfiltered ? glare in my sensitive eyes, and I am forced to close them.
"Lord Vader? Do you know where you are?"
"Infirmary," I answer. "I don't know what ship," I add, even as my awareness reaches out and I feel the distinct presence of Piett nearby. Thank the Force, they've moved me to the Executor.
"The medical doctor on the Death Star did not feel skilled enough to help you, Lord Vader, so he had you transferred here immediately." It appears there is one genuinely honest human being in the Empire, after all. Most doctors would have operated on me, or whatever they had to do, rather than admit they need the help of colleagues. Not all doctors are like that, but Imperial physicians are notorious for it.
"What has happened? How long was I unconscious?"
"Four hours, my Lord. We feared your respirator was damaged when you fell, so we attached you to this one instead. You were walking with Grand Moff Jerjerrod on the Death Star, and suddenly collapsed against a bulkhead, hitting the chest plate on a protrusion. You then suffered a series of seizures. We felt the situation warranted full medical attention instead of the usual care of the Two-Onebee droid."
"What is your name?"
"Doctor Harreck, my Lord."
"Thank you, Doctor," I reply. This is not something easy to digest. Seizures? From shock, I wonder? Yet another symptom of my trauma so many years ago, just now coming to the surface when I am under such stress? "When will I be able to return to full duty?"
"Tomorrow morning, at the earliest," he states, and there is no question in his tone. He is not going to allow me to leave this room unless he is satisfied that I am capable of walking on my own. "I'll allow you to rest, then." Then he leaves, and Piett enters.
"My Lord." I remember now that I am unmasked, and hot shame fills me. I allowed him to see me ? once, and it was only a reminder and a way to make him fear. "My Lord, I had feared for you." Yes, he had. Piett does not have it in him to lie to me; he did once, but that was before serving as my admiral for a year or more. There is no hostility between us. I wave a hand, and he takes another step closer. A dark voice wonders if it is because he wants to stare, and the light voice tells the other to shut up. I sigh. They are back.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not enjoy and endure physical exertions. I was a child in the desert racing pods, then a Jedi apprentice, and my body was taxed beyond any limit I had imagined. The wars and what came after...that I choose not to think on too much. So, feeling the stretch and tense of each muscle I still possess ? feeling blood pouring in the veins that are still intact ? this brings me great pleasure indeed. I have destroyed many of the extortionately expensive droids since coming into this gym. The hour is late ? or perhaps early ? but I have locked and sealed the door. I do not wish to be disturbed, and any who dared to disturb me would regret the first kiss their father ever gave their mother.
The Force flows over me in a fiery storm ? it is burning ice in my mind and my soul. I long sometimes for the smooth, cool flow it had when I was young, but then I remember the weakness of that current. I draw the Darkness deeper. I know its strength. Here, now, holding it like this, I am powerful. The buzzing of the droids has subsided, and I look about me in shock ? they are all destroyed. How long has this exercise lasted, I wonder as I extinguish the harsh glow of my weapon. When the red hue is gone from the light, the gymnasium seems much calmer, and more ordered. There is soreness in my shoulder, and I recognize it as an old wound ? the one inflicted by my son on Bespin. My mind echoes like an empty theatre as the moment plays in my memory. I hear Luke, screaming in denial as I tell him something I should not have had to reveal. I see Luke, grasping the stump of his arm, slinking back over the catwalk and holding desperately to the central vane, and then falling silently to escape the monster I am. And now I feel Luke, dead at the hand of some unknown entity. I imagine that he died well, fighting and on his feet, surrounded by the corpses of enemies before he was finally overwhelmed. I slap the doors shut on that traitorous thought, closing that part of my mind like a trap. It can only lead to madness.
Returning to the Executor is like returning home. She has not been mine for long ? she has not yet developed the squeaks and twitches of an old ship ? yet she is mine. I stare at her as we approach in the shuttle ? just the fearful pilots to bring the craft home, and me. My breathing is loud in my own ears. The shuttle is brought home in a hangar of gleaming white and sterile durasteel. I exit the shuttle and a weight falls off me. This is my realm. I am in control. Palpatine has little power over my crew. Piett finds me in the corridors approaching the bridge, and his expression is surprised.
"My Lord, we were not expecting you to return."
"The Emperor's commands are not often predictable."
"He is a demanding master, my Lord."
"Did anything unusual happen while I was away?"
"No, my Lord. Executor is running smoothly, and the crew does not seem overly taxed by the unusual duration of this mission."
I nod, and we enter the bridge. The crew does not stand ? they tried that the first time, but I would rather they did their job than salute me. A few look up from underneath their caps. There are several women among the crew, something that has earned hard stares from the naval hierarchy. I told my Master when I was given command of the Executor that I would hand pick the bridge crew, and that only the best would be acceptable. He gave me that permission, though I believe he was somewhat amused by the demand, and I chose the best. That the females do not meet the gender standards gives most Admirals an ulcer.
"Admiral Piett, contact the other destroyers. They are to move to the far side of Endor and remain there."
"By order of the Emperor, my Lord?"
"By order of the Emperor."
Piett gives a small bow and moves away to do as I have commanded. I find myself wandering to the view port, my usual position when I am here, and looking out on a field of stars. Slowly, very slowly, the Executor turns, moving to take another position, alongside the DSII. We have a new duty to perform for the glory of the Empire: traffic control.
Piett contacted me an hour ago and informed me of a fight in the mess hall. My boredom is such that I join Piett in the brig to stare at the terrified combatants. Five young men, all in the coveralls of maintenance crew, stare at the deck plates as if some divine truth is to be revealed on the blank surface.
I nod to Piett, and he commences with the questioning. Sometimes, I have learned, it is simply best to stand aside and breath menacingly. According to the story, one had insulted the other, his friend had joined in, and it had escalated into a brawl that disrupted the entire mess hall. I want to sigh ? or scream. I wonder which would make the men jump farther.
Piett dispenses the proper punishment, and makes a very impressive speech. When he is finished, the five combatants are staring at the floor again and blushing to the roots of their hair, shamed to their cores. Piett questions their honor, their loyalty, and their intelligence. He wonders at the negligence of officers, at the forgetfulness of sons for the lessons taught by mothers. Now I want to laugh. This is a dangerous man.
"I have never been so ashamed of my men," he concludes grandly. "We are the best crew in the Empire, selected by Lord Vader himself to man the most important ship in the Fleet. And you fight like boys in the schoolyard. I cannot find words to express my unhappiness at being called into this sad duty." But find words he does ? words and words, then words again. Finally, sensing that the men are quickly losing interest, he steps aside. "I'm finished with you. You are beginning to turn my stomach. Lord Vader, do you have anything to add?"
I find that I do, and I say it very succinctly.
"There is no room for blunders on Executor, gentlemen, nor for personal ego. Find a way to work peacefully, or I shall transfer you all to the Intimidator."
The five blanch, and I suppress the urge to chuckle. A laugh sounds like a growl through the filter, anyway. I turn and leave, Piett trailing behind me.
"They won't so much as sneeze without permission now, my Lord," Piett remarks, and he is almost laughing. "Would you really transfer them, though?" The thought of going from the Lady Ex to another vessel is disgusting, I admit, though I have been forced to do so in the past. No ship is the Executor, no ship carries her reputation for excellence or demands such precision. Most cadets go to sleep dreaming of serving on her.
"If they or anyone is involved in another brawl, they will not serve on my ship a day longer. I'll not have hotheads in my crew."
The ego, the recklessness, of one could destroy this ship, and the hundred thousand lives aboard. My thoughts careen back to that black time between Hoth and Bespin, when I used their lives like fodder to reach my son. My now-dead son. That time fills me with shame. The ego of one could easily kill us all.
"I told you to remain on the command ship."
There it is ? no preamble, no greeting, only a statement that I have defied him. His hands are still on the arms of the throne, but many years ago, I would have been writhing on the floor by now as he threw the lightening at me. I suppress a shudder and speak, wondering, not for the first time, why I have come. I think, perhaps, it is to have my beliefs reaffirmed. My son has come; my Master will confirm it.
"A small Rebel force has penetrated the shield and landed on Endor."
"Yes, I know."
How infuriating he is in his superiority; how very like the Jedi Council he is now, complete with the ego of twelve. His mind is warping ? rotting ? as he ages and continues to rely so heavily on the Dark; I can feel my own mind deteriorating slowly. Do the voices (though they have been unusually silent in the past day) not indicate as much?
"My son is with them." He is so aloof when he replies.
"Are you sure?"
Of course I am sure! He glows like a small sun next to the darkness of space, of this station, of ? Of me. I want to rage then, at my own weakness. I want to strangle this withered old man for taking that light out of my life forever; to throw myself into the bowels of this station for being idiot enough to remove myself from it.
"I have felt him, my Master." Master, to remind myself of what he is, and what he is capable of, and that I alone am no match for this hideous wretch.
"Strange, that I have not." How could anyone not feel that? I wonder as I turn my consciousness toward Endor and feel the brightness of my son. "I wonder if your feelings in this matter are clear, Lord Vader."
That was a threat more than a question. It would not be easy to replace me ? I am a legend in the Empire for my fanatic loyalty and evil, and for the mask ? but Mara Jade sits ready on Coruscant, does she not ? a powerful receiver without the sense to rely on the Force and raised to adore Emperor Palpatine.
"They are clear, my Master," I reply, adding emphasis on the word Master. My Master... first Watto, then Obi-Wan and now Palpatine, what a succession of characters. I could not have told a more blatant lie had I tried. My feelings are anything but clear, if the truth must be known. Oh, I want to be with my son, of course, but what I am not clear on is if whether I want it to be in this life or the next, or in the Darkness or the Light.
"Then you must go to the Sanctuary Moon and wait for him."
"He will come to me?" Why in the name of the Force would he ever come to me? The last time we were face to face, he tried to kill himself instead of coming to me. How could he have changed that much?
"I have foreseen it. His compassion for you will be his undoing." Compassion? For me? For this Sith monster that once called himself Anakin? "He will come to you and then you will bring him before me." He says it in a singsong manner, as though to a child who could hardly be trusted with the simplest of tasks.
"As you wish," I reply, sketching a bow. He gives no acknowledgement, only turns his throne to face the blank darkness of space, and to contemplate horrors beyond even my imagining.
I have been dismissed. I turn to leave, and as I near the lift, he calls out. "Lord Vader?" I turn to face him, to see his gnarled visage leering across the darkness, at the glowing, sickly eyes. "If I do not wish to be disturbed, I do not wish to be disturbed. That is why I have guards. If you must indulge your little strangulation fetish, why don't you try it with that troublesome Admiral Piett?"
I want to scream. How dare he threaten my men? The Executor is my territory; he has never given me orders regarding her before, save where to fly her. Why begin now? To pull my leash a bit tighter? To crack the whip?
"Good. We will discuss your punishment when this attack has been dealt with."
I pause. Punishment? I feel a slow, gnawing fear build in my belly and rise through the remains of my lungs. Had I control over them, I would not be able to breathe, but the respirator continues. Hiss-shush, hiss-shush, loud in the darkness.
"Yes, my Master." I bow once more, and hear his cackling hound my retreating footsteps.
Once, when I was younger and still possessed flesh to feel pain, I stood in the same room as a smelting pit. I was warned not to stand too close, but I was entranced by the bright colors. Though I never managed to stand close enough to see what I wanted to see, the heat still burned me, caused me pain. I learned a valuable lesson that day. That is what standing next to Luke is like.
It occurs to me that what the Captain is saying might be important, and I manage to ignore the glaring, burning, wonderful brightness of my son.
"...I believe there may be more of them, and I request permission to conduct a wider search of the area." With typical precision, the man extends his hand, fist down, and drops Luke's 'saber in my hand. "He was armed only with this."
"Leave us." Leave me alone with my son, let me look at him and learn him... "Conduct your search and bring his companions to me." The Captain and the Stormtroopers return to the Walker and into the darkness of Endor's dawn. And I stare at my son. "So." I pray my voice is more controlled than it sounds to my ears; I pray he senses no weakness in me. "You have come to me." After such a long journey, Luke, you have returned to me, and we will do what we are destined to do.
The Light and Dark voices are silent, but I feel them peering over my shoulder, both staring in the same mute, incredulous wonder they shared on Bespin. Suddenly, the light voice surges forward with desires that I cannot ? must not ? indulge. For the first time, I squash it ruthlessly, but it sits still on my shoulder.
My son speaks. "And you to me."
I was supposed to be the cryptic one, the one to speak in riddles that would leave his mind reeling as he sought the truth in my words. Now, I reel; Light and Dark spin about me in a whirlwind I cannot control, though I know the truth. We have come to each other. Darkness speaks, reminds him of my bonds and my duty, and the path I have chosen.
"The Emperor is expecting you. He believes you will turn to the Dark Side."
"I know, Father."
Father! He called me father! I have the sudden, disturbing image of that iridescent person from my vision dancing in joy behind me. I resist the urge to look. He called me father! I can see that it meant something special to Luke, as well. Once the word is out, his shoulders straighten and he stares into my mask, searching, perhaps, for my eyes. What did this admission cost him, I wonder? My joy diminishes only slightly with this, but the Dark One is whispering like a serpent.
"You have accepted the truth."
"I have accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father," he replies coolly, and I know that is how he has remained sane. Darth Vader is not Anakin Skywalker; he is the man who came after.
Rage builds, hot, white, and I turn toward him, waving his 'saber beneath his nose. I wonder if he would have irritated me like this had things been different. Would we have fought? Would he have gotten on well with me?
"That name no longer has any meaning for me!" I tell him sharply. Does he not see the anger, the fury, inside me?
"It is the name of your true self; you've only forgotten." There is no doubt in his mind that he speaks the truth. "I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully."
I feel myself falling under the spell of his words-mind trick? I want to laugh. I want to place my hands on his shoulders and tell him what a wonderful, ingenious child he is, to try that with me. How can he know that only Palpatine can penetrate my shields, and that rarely?
"That is why you could not destroy me. That's why you won't take me to your Emperor now."
I wish it were true. I want Luke all to myself, to share this brightness with no other. I want him to be mine alone. I stare at my hands, and at what they hold. Luke's lightsaber. My son's lightsaber; the weapon my grown child was taught to use with the motivation to kill me.
"I see you have constructed another lightsaber."
"This one is mine; I no longer use yours." His voice is quiet, and he stares at my hands on this weapon, eyes very blue under his lashes. I break the moment, igniting the 'saber and holding the green blade between us. Death is between us.
"Your skills are complete," I rumble, a sigh that he cannot hear. "Indeed, you are powerful as the Emperor has foreseen."
Energy ? basic, vital energy ? swirls between us, and I stare into his eyes, wondering at the combination of Padme and Anakin that I see there.
"Come with me," he says quietly, and I suspect he had meant it to be more commanding than what I heard. Come with me, come with me, come with me . . . So easy to walk away from all that I am, to go with him, to be his father, to watch his light...
"Obi-Wan once thought as you do," I reply, shaking my head. It is more to allow time to think than to make conversation.
"Don't blame Ben for your fall -"
Blame Ben? How can I not! He pushed me over the edge of that pit and watched as I fell! He walked away though he did not know with any certainty that I was dead! Because of him, I cannot breathe! Ben, Obi-Wan ? stole my child!
Thoughts dissolve into dark, angry clouds, and I tell my son that he does not understand the power of the Dark, and of my master. I must obey.
He stares up at me; he is small and slender like Padme was.
"I will not turn ? you will be forced to destroy me." It was a duty I embraced once, and I do not know why it should be so difficult now.
"If that is your destiny." If it is our destiny, that he should die and I should be damned, then so be it.
"Search your feelings, Father. You can't do this. I feel the conflict within you; let go of your hate."
The boy has no inkling what I am capable of. Perhaps his Princess could offer him insight...but of course, it is too late for that bit of elucidation. I am capable, if not willing, and the conflict is only my disgust with myself. Hate is too strong an emotion to be doled out as willingly as he apparently believes I do. I hate Obi-Wan, but that hatred is old and stale now that he is dead.
"Someone has filled your mind with these foolish ideas, young one. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your Master now."
I wave my hand ? with witnesses, he will keep his silence, I hope. The Stormtroopers stand behind him, ready to do my bidding. They know who he is.
I do not know why I speak again, especially with the Stormtroopers standing nearby. The words seem to comfort him and disturb him at once.
"It is too late for me, my son." His eyes fall to the floor, then rise to behold me once more.
"Then my father is truly dead."
He is led away, and I watch him go, as a thousand knives twist in my heart. I turn to stare over Endor once more, my thoughts confused and jumbled, and the voices have begun what sounds like an enthusiastic brawl in the back of my skull.
That is the second time I have been declared dead. I wonder if Luke's statement is more accurate than the one that took him from me in the first place.
Luke is wearing black, and I do not like it. It makes him too old, and it takes the life from his eyes. I cannot tear my eyes away from his face and his hands ? or, rather, hand. He has only one hand; the other is a mechanical construct. The Force in him shudders to a halt at the beginnings of that hand; it is unnatural and ugly, though necessary. I regret now taking a piece of his life, of his body, but the lesson that was learned was too important to completely expunge those moments.
We stand before my Master for an instant before I kneel. I feel Luke's pain scream across the canvas of the Force, and I wince. My eyes move from his eyes, locked on Palpatine, to my Master, who regards him with a malignant glee. My Master spares me a glance, tells me to rise, and I do so. I join him in his study of my son, though I am sure I look for different things than he. He stares at the defined muscles, signs that he is fit and capable, but I look at his eyes (they are clear, if confused and sad), and the set of his shoulders (which are slumped slightly, as though beset with a despair he does not truly believe). I notice a long, brown hair on his collar, and wonder whose it is. Is it a lover, waiting for him on Endor and watching the sky? A friend filled with sadness that he has disappeared? The Pirate perhaps...or the Princess, who stood so bravely and watched one lover sink into the carbonite pit? I hope it is the Princess.
"Welcome, young Skywalker," he says, leering in a way he thinks is cordial. "I have been expecting you."
Everything has been expecting this. The galaxy was born in expectation of this moment. My son's eyes flash with defiance, and I feel sorrow. The dark voice whispers that I, too, exhibited such defiance once, and I stand at my Master's side. The light voice tells it to be quiet. I wish to rub my temples and soothe away the forming headache.
"You'll no longer need those," he adds, and with a gesture, a thread of the Dark Side, the manacles binding Luke's wrists fall to the floor.
Luke stares at his freed hands, as do I, and the moment hums with possibility. If he strikes now, I know I am not fast enough to stop him... I might choose to be too slow. It could be ended right now, and Palpatine's corpse would twitch as I took the throne and accepted Luke as my apprentice, my heir. The moment passes; Luke does nothing.
"Guards, leave us," Palpatine calls, and the crimson guards vanish, bloody shadows in the distance. "I'm looking forward to completing your training." He leans slightly closer to my boy as he speaks, as if sharing a precious secret. "In time, you will call me Master."
Not a precious secret, then, but a hideous truth. He is right, of course. Luke, naive and innocent, has no chance. Luke stands a bit straighter, as if the Emperor has reminded him of something.
"You are gravely mistaken. You won't convert me as you did my father."
Brave words, my boy, brave words. Once, I, too, spoke bravely. But where do brave words leave us? Hanging over the edge of molten pits, with fingers shoved into tiny cracks, bones finally breaking to let us fall? That is where brave words leave us; they are only words, and will not stop the saber; will not stop destiny.
Palpatine steps closer to my son, and allows the hood of his dark cloak to fall back slightly, finally revealing his entire, hideous visage to Luke. Luke does not flinch, and the light voice exults silently. The dark voice replies that Luke is still here, standing before Darth Sidious, as his sire once did.
"Oh, no, my young Jedi. You will find that it is you who are mistaken...about a great many things."
"His lightsaber," I say. I suppose I want to stall, to keep this moment when they threaten each other with words and glances and wills, and make it last as long as possible. I drop the 'saber into my Master's hands.
"Ah, yes, a Jedi's weapon. Much like your father's. By now, you must know that your father can never be turned from the Dark Side." The light voice whispers, In life only. "So will it be with you."
Luke smiles ? actually smiles! ? at the old tyrant. Or, rather, at his back, for he has turned to reclaim his throne.
"You're wrong. Soon I'll be dead...and you with me." Light and dark voices cringe at the thought of Luke dying, but for different reasons, and Palpatine laughs. It sends fear into my heart.
"Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your Rebel fleet." The face he makes is similar to the one I saw on Bespin. He is not the wailing child now, but his face is naked with despair and terror. Palpatine's tone becomes distinctly more cruel as he twists the knife lodged deep in my son's heart. "Yes...I assure you, we are quite safe from your friends here."
I turn my face to see my son. He has collected himself, smoothed the Force around him. He stares Palpatine down with a new resolve.
"Your overconfidence is your weakness."
"Your faith in your friends is yours!" Palpatine spits.
Oh, Luke, he will break you in the end. There is no hope for you ? for us. There is no need to suffer more than you already will. I try to convey what I have learned from experience with this demon.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." I am reminded of speaking to Obi-Wan, for he does not glance at me, and my words bounce off of his mind.
I am not in the spotlight, here. This is my son's time of destiny, his time to choose. My time came many years ago, and my decision was made.
"Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design." Not true. It was Xizor's idea, but he no longer exists to dispute creative property, does he? "Your friends on the Sanctuary Moon are walking into a trap." He laughs, dark menace filling the empty spaces. "As is your Rebel fleet! It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator! It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them !"
Luke's eyes dart to me, then to Palpatine, and finally to his 'saber. Stars Luke, just take it, take it! Destroy this creature, and I will stop the attack! Join me, and I can deny you nothing!
"Oh..." Palpatine says, mocking sympathy, "I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive."
The battle has begun. Luke has gone to the large, asymmetrical port behind my Master's throne, and he stares at the newly arrived Rebel fleet. Someone is clever, and has discovered that the shield is still operational. The discerning pilot leads the rest away from the Death Star. They fly into the fleet. Not the entire fleet, of course, but enough to bring a stop to their sudden retreat. They are trapped between the shield, which is impenetrable, and the awaiting Star Destroyers. The Executor hulks among them, a mountain among low hills.
"Come, boy. See for yourself." Palpatine baits Luke as he stares in horror at the numerous explosions that have suddenly begun to flash in some bizarre unison. "From here you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance, and the end of your insignificant Rebellion."
The horror turns to hate as it slowly rises to the front of Luke's mind. He glances at his lightsaber sitting on the armrest of the throne.
"You want this, don't you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment, you make yourself more my servant."
Luke turns sharply from the window to give my Master a look that could kill a normal man. But Palpatine is far from normal.
"No." Luke manages to say through clenched hatred and sorrow.
"It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine!"
Luke's anger turns sour as he looks at me by my Master's side. How could any man, let alone a Jedi, serve this hideous creature. If only Luke knew the power of the Dark Side. Then he would understand. He turns again from the blackness of his enemies to watch destruction taking place around the orbit of Endor.
"As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!" He clicks a button on his throne to notify Jerjerrod. "Fire at will, commander!"
Luke's eyes widen in horror and understanding, and his world crashes about his shoulders as the first shot whips out of the Death Star and caresses one of the rebel ships. The explosion, and the subsequent loss of life sends agony and terror raging across the fabric of the Force. Shock comes off Luke in waves, taking his mind from the Force. Foolish boy, he must keep his center if he is to survive this.
More rebel ships are destroyed. Luke turns his eyes toward me, as if begging for mercy, for a boon, but it is one I am incapable of giving. He does not see my weariness, my constant pain, the duality, in my eyes; he turns his attention to the battle. I suppose things have never looked more bleak for the Rebel alliance. We watch, my boy and I, as chaos spreads across in the Rebel fleet. One or two of them may realize what has happened, perhaps. Then, someone does something very intelligent. A command is given, and the Rebels disperse towards the formation of Star Destroyers. Excellent plan. Perhaps it was Ackbar? I do not believe Palpatine will risk one of our capital ships to destroy the rebels. The only purpose the laser served was to unsettle Luke. It has.
"Your fleet has lost. And your friends on the Endor moon will not survive." Palpatine does not know how that thought hurts Luke; he never had a heart to bruise. "There is no escape my young apprentice. The Alliance will die...as will your friends."
Victory is so close for him now, and he can hardly sense it. The Darkness sings in this room, in this space, its voice loud and discordant; it vibrates.
"Good." Palpatine sighs. He is almost at the point of ecstasy, his breath short and excited. His own power trembles in the moment. He does not understand how powerful he is sometimes. "I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon! Strike me down, and your journey toward the Dark Side will be complete!"
Luke does it. The Gods help us all. His 'saber flies from the throne and into his outstretched hand. There, he has activated it and the green glow illuminates his thin, pale face in the darkness. My golden, delicate son. There, he swings, and it will be finished, there will be no more Emperor, and no more need for Vader.
His blade is intercepted by mine, even though I do not remember drawing. Palpatine laughs under the heat of our crossed weapons, and in the confusion of adrenaline and despair, the darkness consumes me, and I fight my son.
I stare, and my son blocks Palpatine from my sight. I wonder if it is symbolic. He stands there, shoulders straight, though he is tired, and stares defiantly into the mouth of darkness. Pain rips across my consciousness once again. It would be such a simple thing to close my eyes, to sleep, to wait for death, damnation, or Palpatine to claim me. I am very, very weary in this moment, but the galaxy does not stand still for one Sith Lord who has decided that he is no longer interested in the title.
"If you will not be turned," Palpatine says, his voice so low and so dark, "you will be destroyed."
That is when the lightening starts. It shoots from my Master's hands, a dozen tiny, poison-toothed vipers straining for flesh to bite, to tear. It strikes my son, and for a single, blessed instant, he is able to deflect the worst of it. Still, he is untrained, untried in this, and the energy strikes him. Luke is not the first Skywalker to sink to his knees in pain at this onslaught, before this man. He allows himself to fall, slowly, as I rise.
Dark voices whisper and shush against my mind, and I watch, clinically, detached. Luke falls finally, and my breath catches as he nearly tumbles over the railing, down the shaft. He grasps one of the many canisters, though, and pulls himself back to the dubious safety of the walkway, to the unrelenting assault of my Master's wrath.
"Young fool," Palpatine laments. He is thinking of power that might have been his, "...only now, at the end, do you understand."
This peculiar detachment intensifies. It is another man's son who writhes on the floor, his bones alive beneath the flesh. Another man's son cries weakly through clenched teeth, unwilling or unable to scream as I (his father) did so very long ago.
"Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side," Palpatine snarls beside me. A particularly vicious bolt snaps into the boy's body, and he does cry out, this time. "You have paid the price for your lack of vision!"
This does not bode well for that other man's son, who reaches a hand toward me. But why does he do that? Doesn't he know that I don't know him? That he is helpless? How many have died of this, in this same way, felt the same pain the boy feels now? What does it matter? He is not my son.
"Father, please. Help me!" he cries, and I remember.
The woman was small and thin, and I loved her. I loved her that last time, and gave her a baby. I never knew it, though. I left and found a new Master, and knelt at his feet, and when I misbehaved, I felt the lightening strike me again and again. Then I felt flame, and I died in every way imaginable. I walked in Darkness. Suddenly, light came to me, saying, "I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you." And damn it all, that's just what he's done.
"And now, young Skywalker...you will die."
There is no question in his tone, only a dark lust. He would kill my son, right now, as I stand here, watching! I understand the detachment, now; it was the Dark Voices, standing in my mind, influencing me, manipulating me. I would hate them, but I do not think I am capable of that just now.
The energy comes faster; Dark Voices scream denial and light voices howl in triumph. They know what I plan. The know, they understand, and I glance once more at my son's writhing, pained body before I move on my Master. He is not heavy. I lift him over my head and walk quickly to the pit, preparing -
Aaaaaaah! His energy assaults me now, burning across my mind, piercing my flesh, and I almost stumble, almost drop him ? too soon! ? he would kill my son then kill me, maybe burn us both alive, and I will not let that happen! There! The edge! Just throw and watch him; watch him spin as he falls, still shooting that lightening from his fingertips, still trying to hurt. The Dark voices plummet down, down, down with him, and the Light voices spin a great song that echoes across the galaxy. O Sithgods, please just let him die! And he does. He must have hit an outcropping and broken his thin little neck; maybe he was impaled on one of the many thin antennae. Maybe he fell into space and was frozen instantly. However he died, the backlash, his energy, careens up and over, and a new pain, one I remember from before the Burning, comes. It is the raw, naked pain of a torn bond, one ripped from the mind, leaving a great, gaping, bleeding wound in its place.
Despair and self-loathing overwhelm me. I am weeping behind the mask, and something is going to short-circuit, probably. Damn it all.
I step closer to the edge, and I have never wanted anything more than I want to die at this moment. I want to kill myself and not think or feel or hurt anymore, and I do not want to look at my son and answer the questions I know will be in his blue, blue eyes. Goodbye, my son, luminous beings are we -
Strong hands, smaller than my own, grasp my shoulders and pull me back. I want to rail against them, throw them off, but moving is too much an effort. My son. My beautiful, golden son. He cradles my broken, heavy form against his own, young and scarred, and holds one of my hands in his own. My son holds my hand. That is a miracle all of its own.
I cannot breathe. The respirator is making the noises, in a gasping way, and I realize I will die here, in my son's arms, and that I will watch his emotions play across his vulnerable, perfect features. Something clicks, then; a wire shifts or a circuit depolarizes, and I can breathe again, shallowly. I might have time to tell my son that I love him.
There are new emotions in me now. Pride, I recognize easily. Joy is harder to acknowledge. Love, I vaguely remember, and it shines bright for my son and a bit dimmer for the daughter I knew as an enemy. There is another, though. I am content; there is no rage inside me, no pain or hate. The envy has burned away. It takes many, many moments to define this peculiar combination of non-feeling, but finally I do. I now have the candor to admit that it is something I have sought my entire life, in some form or another.
I am in my son's arms, and he is holding my hand. The last of the Sith is dead, his apprentice to follow very soon, and all I feel is a deep, blue peace.
Beside me, Master Yoda appears perched on a log, and farther away, Obi-Wan's smile is enigmatic. It is a fulfilled, self-satisfied smile; it appears things have arranged themselves as they were supposed to. But I have all of eternity to ponder such things. I turn my attention to my son.
He stands a little distance away, separate from the celebrants in the firelight. His eyes are tired, and he is hurt; he should be in an infirmary. But he smiles as he sees us, glowing pale blue in the moonlight. The moment stretches on, though I know it has been mere seconds.
Then Leia ? my daughter! ? steps to his side and wraps an arm about his shoulders, affectionate and smiling. Luke turns to meet her gaze, and then glances over his shoulder, toward the dancing, singing Alliance. His eyes turn back to us, shining bright, and I remember times very much like this one. When the last of the clone armies had been destroyed, we, too, held bonfires and danced and sang; our young voices had lifted with joy and sorrow and regret. For no reason, I laugh; there is no vocorder to stop it from coming to life this time, and I see my son blink and smile brightly as he feels my joy ripple across the Force. Luke turns, swings his own arm over Leia's, and they go to celebrate with their friends.
"Come the time has," Yoda says quietly, "for old ghosts to return home. Come."
He flickers and vanishes, and Obi-Wan meets my eyes across the empty space.
"We will talk," he says and I feel he wants to lay a hand on my arm, perhaps to hug me, but there is still too much between us. Qui-Gon and Padm? forgave me without reservation, but Obi-Wan and I know the wounds between us are deep, and became infected over time. Even for the dead ? or perhaps especially for the dead ? it takes time to heal scars. After a long silence, in which neither of us move or speak, he adds, "Padawan."
I do not wish for him to see the confused joy and pain that title brings, so I will myself away from him. I find myself on a plateau overlooking the dawn. I do not believe it is Endor's dawn, however. I am quickly discovering that the power of my soul is limited only by my creativity. Still, I am surprised that he does not appear at my side instantly. So, I watch the dawn. The horizon changes gradually, the black of night fading to navy, fading to azure, and then to all the myriad colors of daybreak.
Beneath my plateau, birds burst into song in a great, wide swamp, a place full of life and growth. In the distance, I can see an ocean and a small town. In that town, men and women are opening their eyes to freedom, real freedom. Today, the Empire is dead. Which brings my thoughts back to me. What becomes of this tired, blemished soul now? My form makes the motions of sigh, though I no longer have lungs to inhale. For an instant, I am angry, infuriated, but it is a formless rage and fades quickly into nothingness. This time, I do not try to sigh. I simply watch as the sun rises on a planet I do not recognize.
Another warmth strikes me, at my back, and I turn this "body" to face Qui-Gon Jinn. His own energy is gathered neatly about himself, but he strokes my cheek with it, and I am nine years old once more, wanting nothing so badly as I wanted his approval and his trust.
"It's very symbolic, Anakin," he says. It takes me a moment, and then I realize he is talking about the dawn. He comes closer and stands very near to me. We watch the sun for another long time. Finally, he continues. "The night on this planet ends even as the night in your own soul. With the coming of this planet's freedom from darkness, so does light come to the galaxy and everyone in it. The sun rises."
"But it also sets," I counter, feeling a quiet, bitter melancholy in my soul.
"Yes. And darkness will come again to the galaxy, one day. But that day is not today. For now, the Skywalkers have done their duty to the galaxy."
"My sins are not so easily abolished," I reply. He inclines his head in agreement.
"To the galaxy, no. The death of one very evil man does not negate the deaths and sufferings on your hands. Darth Vader will always be known as an evil man. Many will not believe Luke's telling of what happened there, above Endor. To the living galaxy, Anakin, you are a demon."
"Better than I deserve," I whisper. A flight of birds emerges from the swamp and sweeps past us, beneath us.
"The Force does not pay much attention to the opinions of the living, Anakin. It has been, and always will be, a tool for their use. But a hammer does not care for the disposition of the one wielding it, does it? In the eyes of the Force, your great sin was turning, and betraying the trust of the Chosen One. And how it cried when you embraced the Dark Side, Anakin."
I hear it now as though I had twenty years ago, when I first kneeled to Sidious: a soul-deep keening rises around me, fills my mind with a dark, painful longing and sorrow. I caused that sorrow. Qui-Gonn continues, oblivious to my burgeoning misery.
"In the Force's eyes, what happened in those years did not matter. You were only being a Sith ? if a somewhat enthusiastic one ? and it does not see that as something extraordinary. In the eyes of the Force, all of your sins were cancelled out the minute you rose and lifted Palpatine up. And what a song rose then, Ani, what an incredible song."
And that swells then, flinging my grief far away. It is a new song, one of fulfillment and joy, and I recognize it. Had I a heart, it would stop; had I knees, they would collapse. This rejoicing song ? it is the light voices! The voices in my mind that argued constantly with the darkness, with the Dark Side. Epiphany strikes. The light voices were the Force, the dark voices the Dark Side, and I had been their battlefield for years. It is good to know this, unbelievably good.
I sense the conflict within you.
Yes, he must have. He sensed the battle that was being fought over my soul, and I thought it was mere insanity. I laugh suddenly, long and loud, and around us, the grass grows a bit higher and flowers bloom. Light fills me, fulfills me, and I glory in it. Qui-Gon leads me away, perhaps forever, but I smile as I go, leaving the galaxy in the care of my children.
Original cover by FernWithy. HTML formatting copyright 2003 TheForce.Net LLC.
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Author: Kyp Karrde
Date posted: 3/4/2003 12:45:07 AM
Kyp Karrde's Comments:
My senses are still quivering, my veins still thundering with the intense emotions this piece evoked. This was no fan fiction; this was a work of art. Setting any Star Wars connection aside for the moment, this writing as itself is wrenching and masterful. From a Star Wars perspective, it's a tour de force, a vital background, seeming almost to have been written before the films as source material, in which Vader's actions were all based on the emotions described here.
I always liked Vader for being being a hateful, completely evil villian with no weak spots. But he always seemed a bit jerky in his actions and emotions, as would befit the machine he became - but then how to explain his apparent love for Luke and his subsequent turnaround? His actions didn't seem to be coherently linked. Oh, it stood up well enough, I guess. But this piece pulls it all TOGETHER, doesn't make him out to be an old softy inside, or a secret weakling, or a one-dimensional evil droid, as I've read in other fics and books. The Vader here is evil, twisted; but he is also human, and tortured, and suddenly he is not just Evil in a black cape. He has become alive in a way that I've never understood before. In every single piece of writing I've read (and they are many) on Vader other than the movies' novellizations, he's "cheapened" - no other word for it. You were right, this does forever change the way you look at the movies - now it all holds together.
It all held together seamlessly (are you SURE a FEW writers wrote it together?! Rarely to styles blend so beautifully. Kudos to you.) Beyond for the overall enjoyment and the emotionally - twisting journey, I also loved little quirks here and there - calling Han Solo "the Pirate", for instance, because that is exactly what Vader would have mentally referred him as. The authors obviously spent lots of time researching and thinking it through, BECOMING Vader, thinking like him, reacting in human ways (and not necessary the cliche, expected ways.) All scheduling, etc. was carefully thought out - WE know Yoda died, but Vader didn't; Vader wonders who trained Luke besides Obi-Wan...remember, Luke was at Dagobah alone! No trip-ups. The nods to Mara Jade and Xixor were appreciated, too - and the final scene with the Solos actually coaxed tears to my ears and tightened my throat...(although Mara married Luke when Anakin was nine. Where is she? Oh, well, I think Vader -er, Anakin Sr.'s - spirit would have had a really difficult time understanding that one.)
This was just incredible. I think I may have been the very first to read this, and it's a real honor- to read a fan fiction that transcends the genre! A real first class job on a really difficult subject, one that could've been messed up in a million ways. Now, I can't imagine introducing anyone to Star Wars without this...Vader suddenly becomes painfully alive, no longer the contradictory figure he once was. Many fanfics detract by contradicting or trivializing characters. This fan fiction does the opposite, fully fleshing out the character everyone thought they knew, explaining the character and entire movie set instead of sending "Urgh, he'd NEVER do/think/feel that!!" flags popping up in my brain . Brilliant idea, nearly flawless execution. Gives you a whole new dimension. Congratulations on a breathtaking job.
P.S. I never write essays on fan fics, but I was just blown over by this one. And I still have got more to say...
Date posted: 3/4/2003 8:54:35 AM
Possibly the best fanfic I've read. Ever.
I've always felt sorry for Anakin, stuck inside Vader's body. You're right, I'll never see him the same way again.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 10:18:24 AM
Breathless. This piece left me absolutley breathless. My prayer is that George (lucas) has read this. If he has not, or will not, it will be positively criminal.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 11:00:10 AM
I was also blown away by this story. I don't have anything palpable to say about it that wasn't already said by the first reviewer, but I did want to say that not only will it change my perception of RotJ, but Empire as well.
I have to admit I was a little concerned as the 1st person narrative approached the moment of his death, as it's pretty difficult for narrators to tell their OWN death story, but in this case it was handled brilliantly.
I'm sure I could say a lot more about this story, but I'm still trying to sort through all my impressions and feelings about it.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 11:24:37 AM
Author: Fox Mcleod
Date posted: 3/4/2003 11:34:46 AM
Fox Mcleod's Comments:
This is a really great fanfic. Awesome job keeping styles together, otherwise the story would have been really messy. Nice references to EU and the prequels allowing it all to tie together. There is even foreshadowing to the NJO era which I really like.
I hope more people read this as it deserves to be. Greak work!
Date posted: 3/4/2003 12:28:41 PM
Encore, Encore!! This was quite possibly the best and most touching fan fiction I have ever, or will ever have the opportunity to read. Thanks for writing it.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 1:30:15 PM
OH MY GOD!!!!! THIS IS WAS GREAT....For once An excellent FAN FIC....BRAVO. I will never see Vader the same way and he's my all time favorite character....
How bout a Boba Fan Fic.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 2:53:07 PM
Extraordinary. The single best fan fiction I've ever read, and better than many of the books. The emotional impact of this story is stunning, and the descriptive language is utterly amazing. You four should be writing novels. I am impressed.
However, if I do poorly on the essay I was supposed to be writing while I read this, I will hold you all responsible...
Date posted: 3/4/2003 3:23:22 PM
Date posted: 3/4/2003 3:33:14 PM
Date posted: 3/4/2003 4:06:31 PM
Great FanFic. I have never read one until now, but am glad I finally did. I wish I good go and watch ROTJ now, for I would indeed view it differently.
Since we are talking movies from a different POV, how about the Prequels from Palpatine's POV. That would be fun to read IF WRITTEN correctly.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 4:07:18 PM
This is a great insight into the mind of Darth Vader. It is very creative and I'm in awe at how real Vader seems.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 4:07:26 PM
Great FanFic. I have never read one until now, but am glad I finally did. I wish I could go and watch ROTJ now, for I would indeed view it differently.
Since we are talking movies from a different POV, how about the Prequels from Palpatine's POV. That would be fun to read IF WRITTEN correctly.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 4:15:52 PM
amazing work...should be published somewhere...
lucas would love it...or SHOULD love it..
Date posted: 3/4/2003 5:56:40 PM
AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I loved this story! It was long, but very very good. you captured vader perfectly, through his thoughts and flashbacks. cheers to ur great work!
Date posted: 3/4/2003 6:41:27 PM
In all honesty, after seeing Episodes 1 & 2, I never looked at Vader the same again. I could almost sense the conflict Luke described in ROTJ.I have often sat and pondered Vader's thoughts during ROTJ. For this story, I thank you. You put my own thoughts into your words beautifully. I'm so happy to know that others thought the same as me. That although Vader seemed all evil, all darkness and black, he wasn't. He was a human. What I'd love to read (and I think you guys could seriously pull this off) is what Anakin's thoughts were as he made the transformation to Darth Vader and realized he was again the one thing he despised being. A slave. Kudos for not ending it at his 'death'. I loved that you went on beyond to when he joined the Force. That was nice. Great job guys, I'll be recommending this story.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 6:43:34 PM
I have by now read nearly all of the archived stories on this board, and only felt the need once before to post a comment. This deserves it! The thin line between sentimentality and seeming ingnorance of the pure pain and human emotion anyone,I have to beleive, even a willingly sworn Sith, would face in the situation Anakin/Vader is and had been in, is easily and disastrously crossed in so many stories. This story, in my opinion, walks that line like a professional acrobat. Dipping and twirling and nearly falling off at times, maybe, but always coming back to center. I also agree that the styles mesh quite convincingly. A testament to the power of pooling several minds over such a relatively long piece of work. I imagine it must have taken QUITE a while of planning, and likely strained egos as well (If any of the authors are anything like I am).
May the force be with our word processors, good luck and good night.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 6:59:19 PM
This was absolutly breath taking. You should get this published.
Author: RU ARTOO?
Date posted: 3/4/2003 7:42:49 PM
RU ARTOO?'s Comments:
Wonderful, the introspection and the understanding of the conflict in Anikin was very well played out. One of the best I've read!
Author: Arden Yoshi
Date posted: 3/4/2003 7:50:07 PM
Arden Yoshi's Comments:
Thank God for the fans......thank God for giving us a means to share are talents with one another. Being a writer I approached this story with the mild intrest that I give all the fan fics I read. It captured my senses from the start and left me weeping at it's end. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi for the first time and the excitement that came with it. I have never experianced the joy or pureness of emotion(in regards to Star Wars)since now. This piece has reaffirmed my passion, my love for this saga. I can say without a doubt that this is the most awe inspiring work of Star Wars fiction that exsits. This is the vision that I feel G.L has in his mind, for the saga of Anakin Skywalker. The prequels have diminished the aura of this brillant epic. Never has Vader/Anakin been portrayed so human, so real. This work makes Episodes 1 and 2 better pictures. I have nothing but respect for the individuals who created this piece. It is often true that although we may possess the talent and creativity to crate someting of this magnatuide, we often lack the determination to sit down and translate a vison into words. Art takes work, this is a prefected piece of art. It lacks flaws on every spectrum. My only trouble, was with the resolvement of Anakin's and Obi Wan's realtionship, at the finale. This is however my personal taste and matters very little in regards to the force and power in which this writing comes off. I feel more inspired than ever to get back to work on my first fan fic. The bar has been rised. This is the best, this is what you have to beat for the top. Once again, a huge thank you to all the writers on this work, thank you for sharing and bringing joy back to my passion. To all the writers, keep writing, your fourm is here, the world is waiting for your opus. Stay focused and spread the love.
Date posted: 3/4/2003 9:12:00 PM
Ah, very good. ;) It was quite interesting to read this story, and see Vader through the eyes of the different writers. The differences in each author's portrayal is there, but all the parts seem to fit anyway.
Good job. :)
Date posted: 3/4/2003 9:47:09 PM
WOW. I am so blown away by this, especially the way the good and evil battles are written. This is definitely one of the best fanfics in this archive. This should be published!!!!
Date posted: 3/5/2003 2:36:31 AM
Wow... this fic is so incredibly great. Words cannot express the sheer enjoyment this fic brings. This is definately a candidate for illegal publishing ;).
Date posted: 3/5/2003 5:43:10 AM
This is not only one of the single best fanfics I have read, it is, as far as I am concerned, canon. This is it. This is exactly what happened and how he thought and felt, and I will know it every time I watch the OT.
I thought everything was handled beautifully, but the way you revealed Vader's relationship with the Emperor was exceptional. What was it like? What did it feel like? What kind of a grip did the Evil One keep over Vader? You showed it all - the pain, the humiliation, the belief that it could not be any other way.... until....until....
I also thought Vader's mistaking the death of another for that of Luke was sterling.
Thank you for writing this!
Date posted: 3/5/2003 11:19:29 AM
WOW! I just LOVE this. My absolute favourite story EVER! :D :D :D :D :D
Date posted: 3/5/2003 12:52:38 PM
You gentlemen should really give ol' Lucas a call.........send him this!!!!!!!
I cried when I read this..Just like every time I still cry when I watch the end of Jedi............You really hit it on the nose..........Im serious when I say you should write for Lucasbooks.........
Date posted: 3/5/2003 12:55:13 PM
Umm... OK... feeling very overwhelmed at the moment. On behalf of the group, whom I am sure will be coming along here at some point, I'd just like to say thank you for the amazing comments.
I know that we all felt a lot of pleasure writing this, and we were all drained by the end, but this kind of response makes it all worth while.
Again, thank you.
Date posted: 3/5/2003 2:25:49 PM
o.O Wow. Thank you guys so much for all these incredible comments. We had a great time writing, and it was really amazing how nicely our styles clicked together. I was afraid it wouldn't at first, but Jairen, DLJ, and FW are all incredibly talented. Writing with them was a real pleasure. I am very happy to see this up here, and the response has been stellar.
Thanks again. Ja matta.
Date posted: 3/5/2003 3:28:14 PM
.... I'm not exactly sure what to say. But i know I want to say something... uh
Wonderfully excellent? No no no, story was far better than that. Uh... fantastically awesome?.. still no.
Ok, I got it... take the best compliment you were ever given... then multiply it by like... 10000. There, that's my compliment to this story.
Well done guys, I look forward to reading your next (i hope i hope i hope) submission.
Date posted: 3/5/2003 4:38:04 PM
Dear Clarus, Dark_Luke_Junkie, Force-Weilder, and Jarien,
Your fan fic is stunning mostly for its depth and detail and epic scope. I admit there were parts of it that did not strike me as 100% realistic the first time I read it, but afterward, I could not get your story out of my mind. It posesses such a richness of detail that it surpasses the movies themselves (in that respect). Now, whenever I think of Vader or ROTJ, emotional impressions that I got from reading your story rise immediately and undeniably to my mind. Regardless of my first judgment of your story, its content left lasting impressions--not just a main idea, but hundreds and hundreds of details, quirks, Vader's feelings. I have a sense that whether I like it or not (I'm a purist), this story is canon for me and will always have a life and vitality that will accompany Darth Vader through the byways of my memory forever.
The thing I especially appreciated about your characterization of Vader was the way you made him so unpredictable, even to himself. It gave him humanity because most people are like that, but rarely will an author let a character change his mind without some logical reason or external stimulus. You've captured reality in a way most novelists never will.
I read this fan fic during a quiet hour at work, and I floated between the stars of some other galaxy for the rest of my day. You became Vader to write this story, and you made ME become Vader to read it. For the rest of my day, I found myself really SEEING the things around me and the people I helped at the counter. It was as though the rich details of your characterization of Vader jumped out at me from the words and the faces of those I served. I was seeing everyone around me as potentially on your fine, terrifying line between evil and goodness; I saw everyone as a potential Anakin Skywalker. I couldn't help it.
I want to thank you for the inspiration and for adding something to my world.
Jacquelyn E. Pillsbury
Date posted: 3/5/2003 8:28:52 PM
Wow. Very good. My compliments. Dark and touching and dramatic and everything you'd want from a tragic tale.
Date posted: 3/5/2003 10:52:34 PM
*Takes a bow and then falls over from the praise.* I really enjoyed writing this story with Clarus, Jairen, and DLJ who unfortunately didn't finish it through. Whereever she may be, I hope she logs on and reads the wonderful responses that I have so far. We wrote this back in 2001 and I edited it only a few short months ago with the others' permission and I never dreamed it would become the first multi-authored story in the archive. I guess I thought there more, but this is a first for the boards I guess and it makes me feel even prouder than before. Thank everyone for reading it and their comments (good and bad) along the way. I fancy myself a very amateur writer at best, but this story and its fellow creators brought out the best in me. Thanks again. You hear that Lucas...lol
Date posted: 3/6/2003 12:29:40 PM
This was better than a good majority of the EU books I have read. Lucas needs to be offering a job I think. Bravo!!
Date posted: 3/6/2003 4:59:12 PM
Oh my god guys...
this is the frist fanfic i ever cryed for..when ani saw qui gon at the end when he became one with the force..i just broke down and let a few tears drop.
To try to feel what anikin was feeling when he saw qui gon and then felt padme..
you guys are great lucas really needs to say something about how good this is, i sure as hell would watch ROTJ in theaters again if they did it like this.
Date posted: 3/6/2003 8:21:43 PM
I am simply blown away in the care taken to bring this story to life.I have never felt the need to make a response to any fanfic,but this one should be taken to GL and have him forced to read it.Unbelievable story.
Date posted: 3/6/2003 8:55:53 PM
Vader was always the character that I loved to hate and hated to love, but you have finally given him the gift of humility, in my eyes. This was the most emotional fanfic I have ever read. I am glad that it was writtten as beautifully as it was!! Superb!!!!!!!!!
Date posted: 3/7/2003 1:10:20 AM
I absolutely loved it!!!!!!
Date posted: 3/7/2003 2:00:21 AM
*sighs in frustration*
Your stroy was so long and engrossing, now that I've finished it, I'm so down the comment list that you probably won't even have time to read it! Not that I have anything to say that hasn't been said before. I only know that here it is, two in the morning, and me having to be up at five, just now finishing your story. But I loved how you combined all the different genres to make this phenomenal story. I'm glad you were able to portray Vader for who he truly was instead of making him appear weak, as if Anakin were somehow weak just because he fought for good.
Since no one as of yet - I hope! - has mentioned it, I wanted to tell you guys that my favorite part came after Anakin said, "You haven't changed a bit. You're exactly the way I remember you in my dreams." I always wondered what happened 'after'. And what you guys wrote just fit perfectly. I also liked how you chose to write in different colors, as the story was so seamless it would have been impossible otherwise to tell where one author ended and another began.
I really enjoyed this story, far more than words can express. The way you portrayed Vader/Anakin's destiny, and that of the entire universe, fascinates me to no end. Thank you for a wonderful fan fic! :p
Date posted: 3/7/2003 2:52:34 PM
Wow! I'm glad that this made it into the archives! I knew it would when I beta-read it! Congrats!
Date posted: 3/8/2003 4:08:32 PM
OMG!!! George should put that in the super special edition of the OT. Awesome work man! I am still quivering with emotion, my heart is punding with excitement, and I feel a joy for Vader as I have never felt before. This made me reallize how much Vader had suffered, and how great his rescue was.
Thanks alot and keep up the good work,
Author: Obi Anne
Date posted: 3/9/2003 12:34:05 PM
Obi Anne's Comments:
I had to wipe the tears out of my own eyes when I read about Vader/Ani seeing the Solo family. This is the best characterisation of Vader that I've read! Most of the things I want to say have already been said, I wont repeat them.
Date posted: 3/9/2003 6:58:33 PM
Words cannot do this story justice. It w3as extraordinary and very well done. I enjoyed it very much and it is the best I have read yet. Definitely better than some of the storied I have read in the published books.
Author: Ryape Molay
Date posted: 3/10/2003 10:23:07 AM
Ryape Molay's Comments:
I have to say that this was the best Fan Fiction that I have read to date. The power of the emotions that Vader felt, and actually seeing/hearing the conflict that was raging within him was just incredible.
So many times we fail to see that humanity in Vader and the love and compassion that he had for Padme and his children.
Reading this has caused me to look at the OT and the Prequels in an entirely new light.
Thanks for this.
Date posted: 3/10/2003 10:55:42 AM
Someone help me pick my jaw up off the floor. I think this story even helped me come to some realization about my own life and my personal choices, my bond with my parents and children... This brings so much more life to the OT.
Impeccable. GL should be proud.
Author: Jedi XCool
Date posted: 3/10/2003 6:39:13 PM
Jedi XCool's Comments:
Woah woah woah woah woah!!! This is the best Star Wars fan fiction that I've ever placed my eyes on! Vader was the best villian of all time. And now we get to hear what is in his mind! The conflict that Luke was mentioning all this while was perfectly depicted by this fan fiction! I suggest that this be made into a Lucas-approved novel. Great reading!
Date posted: 3/11/2003 8:28:32 PM
This story was amazing, not like i have to say it since its been mentioned so many times before.
I have always been a huge Anakin/Vader fan and always am looking on things to read up on but never would i think to come across such an amazing touching story.
Date posted: 3/12/2003 8:20:56 PM
Wow, that was the most amazing fanfiction I've ever read, I swear I was crying my eyes out when it ended, it was as bad as when ROTJ ended (big tearfest.)
I really loved when Anakin/Vader compared his eyes to Luke's. It was so innocent and sweet but threw in so much action and drama you'd be forgiven for thinking you were back in
the theater watching ROTJ for the first time.
Author: Squidhead Jax
Date posted: 3/14/2003 5:13:15 AM
Squidhead Jax's Comments:
This is the first time I have cried while reading. Ever.
Vader's inner thoughts are captured with perfect humanity, and the reader's heart is twisted around as terribly as his is. I am in awe.
Author: Master Solo
Date posted: 3/15/2003 1:42:17 AM
Master Solo's Comments:
That was soooo touching!
Date posted: 3/16/2003 5:34:50 PM
This story was a masterpiece! I have been a SW Fan for a long time and I have always read Star Wars Fan Fiction here and I got to say this was the best one i have read so far This captures all the experience and emotion of Darth Vader aka Anakin Skywalker and what he has to go through. I LOVE THIS STORY!!
Date posted: 3/17/2003 7:39:31 PM
This is the best fan fictions I've read. Possibly the best. I loved how you managed to get Vader, the real Vader, the one I think Lucas envisions for his story.
Your story was a perfect blend of drama, realism of thought, and even humour! I love that Anakin/Vader could still be sarcastic as his soul became the battleground for both sides of the force. You have really tapped into the real Anakin, the one that non-Anakin fans don't see and don't understand why we see it. Bravo to you all!!!
Author: umich jedi
Date posted: 3/20/2003 6:40:21 PM
umich jedi's Comments:
I've always wondered just what was going on behind the mask....was he all evil?...what did he think when he looked at his son?...was the Anakin from Ep.I and II truly dead? This Fan Fic will now make me forever view ROTJ in a whole new way. The ending...when Anakin was a spirit, and encountered past friends and loved ones, was just unreal!!! I loved it!!!! Thanks-possibly the best Fan Fic I've ever read
Author: Lady Padme
Date posted: 3/21/2003 4:55:47 PM
Lady Padme's Comments:
This was absolutely wonderful! A brilliant tour-de-force fic! This was an all-encompassing, awe-inspiring character study of operatic scope and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved how elements of the prequels through to the post-saga stories were added in to give this the feeling of a true multigenerational saga.
Even though four people wrote this, I really felt it was written with one voice. There were never areas of jarring discordance. It was all Darth Vader to a T. You made him into a true three-dimensional human being, complete with flaws and flashes of the Light.
I normally never give fics a perfect ten, but felt I could do no less here.
LP bows in homage to this superlative piece and its authors.
Date posted: 3/25/2003 8:15:22 AM
i loved it! a truly wonderful piece of fanfic!
Author: Elinon Byebth
Date posted: 3/27/2003 10:58:31 PM
Elinon Byebth's Comments:
This piece is absolutely breathtaking and chilling and just plain amazing.
You guys were right-ill never watch ROTJ the same way again!!
Author: Sith Master 21
Date posted: 3/29/2003 10:46:15 PM
Sith Master 21's Comments:
I will never watch ROTJ in the same mind set again. I didn't think any story could top "Apprentice Sidious". Thanks, its great to be proven wrong.
Date posted: 3/31/2003 5:54:22 PM
Perfect...just absolutely perfect!
Date posted: 4/12/2003 2:22:09 PM
This story brought me to tears. Guess I better put ROTJ in the VCR! The thing that always amazes me about fanfics in general, including my own, is the conceit of the writers that they know these characters better than their creator; yet there is nothing here I cannot imagine Vader/Anakin thinking or feeling. Had to give it a 10, and I give very few things a 10.
Thanks for the ride, keep it going!
Date posted: 6/1/2003 6:48:07 PM
I am just completely blown away! I'm still in shock! I have never read a fanfic that so totally filled in the gaps in the movies. Vader's character now finally seems full and I need to watch ROTJ again to get the real sense of his character. You never really see what's behind that mask; he always seems so evil and focused, but now he is a real character, not just a simple villain. Hats off!! This one gets a 10!
Author: Lady MR
Date posted: 6/7/2003 7:54:15 PM
Lady MR's Comments:
Wow. I'm speechless... This is a masterpiece, it should be published. This piece made me cry at the end and I can honestly see Anakin feeling and acting this way... It was perfect. ^_^
Author: Sky Zalom
Date posted: 7/23/2003 5:45:18 PM
Sky Zalom's Comments:
Wow! This was beyound fanfiction - this was a peice of true art. I have never been so emotionally involved with a peice of work like this one!!! This work, in my mind, should obviously be published - its is MUCH better then 90% of the EU.
This obviously is my number one fan fic, and not only that, probley one of the top 15 star wars books I've ever read! I would pay money for this story, that's for sure.
Keep up the good work, even if you will never read this comment down at the bottem ;)
Date posted: 7/29/2003 12:47:18 PM
I read this story outloud to someone, and there were times of such emotion it became difficult to speak...my throat tightened, my eyes teared up. This is by far the best fan fiction ever. You must write another.
Date posted: 8/23/2003 8:35:57 PM
Wow, people are still reading this and enjoying all these months later...cool. It sure was a blast to be involved with. I am also a fan of this story like so many others apparently. Keep reading and we will keep writing...if I can only get Clarus to the computer
Date posted: 9/4/2003 11:50:57 PM
This is by FAR the most compelling piece of Star Wars fanfiction I have ever read. Such refreshing insight into the most misunderstood villain in film history is a rare and welcome treat indeed. 'In Another's Eyes' has forever changed my view of Darth Vader. Already a personal favorite, my affection for the character has now been reaffirmed a thousandfold by this masterpiece of a story. Kudos to the authors for creating such an exceedingly well written, emotional, inspired epic.
If you'll excuse me, I think I need to rewatch the entire OT now...
Date posted: 10/13/2003 1:03:50 AM
You, my good sirs and/or madams, win the game. This is some of the best writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and it fits so well into the context of the movies. Vader has always been, since his conception on screen in '77, an archetype of evil. This has changed that, and shown the human side that those who only watch the movies get to see for a mere five minutes. What else can I say? A masterpiece.
Date posted: 10/17/2003 2:08:27 AM
Whew. Incredibly awesome. The part about the color in Padme's eyes was my favorite, by far. If he had said that in Episode 2 I would've cried, haha. Instead he talks about how her skin is unlike the wastelands of Tatooine. Lucas needs to hire you as a screenwriter.
You and the other authors are true geniuses.
Date posted: 1/8/2004 11:00:20 AM
Words simply defy how awesome this fan-fic is. You not only captured Vader/Ani perfectly, but everyone he spoke to as well. If that plastic tauntaun thing can get the George Lucas selects award, this should be included with the DVD release.
I repeat, wow!
Date posted: 4/15/2004 11:17:49 AM
Date posted: 4/15/2004 11:36:50 AM
I canīt find any words for this, I just canīt speak or write. This one canīt be described by any words and I canīt describe the emotions this one cause in my heart. Itīs just unbeliveable. I only wanted to read a bit, because I was bored, but I couldnīt stop reading and it took me five hours to read it, because Iīm German and have my problems with reading English fanfics. I think it is the greatest one Iīve ever read and I read many others! It is just Vader you describe, just him. Itīs like all of you had been him, itīs a crazy idea but I think the only way to describe his emotions and feelings so wonderful is that you all were this person. All of the things you wrote fits and nothing sounds wrong. I canīt believe it and Iīm still crying. I think I canīt sleep this night, because of you all who wrote this wonderful piece of art, emotions, feelings and all.
All I want is to thank you all for this wonderful touching fanfic. Nothing ever in my live touched me like this did and I will keep your names in my mind. Please continue this wonderful work and write much more of this powerful stuff.
Author: Count Boobu
Date posted: 6/4/2004 2:20:37 AM
Count Boobu's Comments:
I don't agree with some of the other comments made on this message thread here that this is better than GL's works with the prequels, but I do agree that it's a great companion piece to them. It's obvious that you feel very strongly about the character of Darth Vader, bringing out the human side in him that he burried for over 2 decades. I commend you and your fellow writers for all of your hard work in writing this great piece of fiction.
Author: Smuggler Shidakis
Date posted: 7/27/2004 1:04:54 PM
Smuggler Shidakis's Comments:
I was bored and going through the archives when I found this... this... masterpiece doesn't seem to describe it! It showed all the conflicting emotions of the furious inner battles that everyone has at some point (though ours don't decide the fate of the galaxy. I think). 'The voices' were awesome. Voices inside your head are a joke in lots of humor fics, and a joke with me and my friends, but the voices in this story weren't ridiculous or unrealistic. To quote my priest's wife (an insanely nice lady), they were 'The good angel and the bad angel'.
I still can't believe it was written by four people- the only way to discern between the different authors was the color coding. While reading I actually forgot that there was more than one author.
This was, frankly, ******* amazing. Thanks for a great story and an awesome look into our favorite hero turned villian turned hero.
Edit: That word needs to be starred out.
Date posted: 9/14/2004 9:58:57 AM
Quite honestly....pure genius....thnx 10/10
Author: Darth Carious
Date posted: 9/16/2004 11:15:05 PM
Darth Carious's Comments:
oh my god!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! without a doubt the greatest fanfic ever written. i never really looked at vader that way. always torn between two sides. as a fan of the sith i never got to lok at it from anakin's pov. his views as vader are 180* that of maul. beneath all the armor and the helmet, he's just a sad man trying to reconnect with his family. loved it.
Author: K9: The First
Date posted: 10/2/2004 11:23:25 AM
K9: The First's Comments:
THAT WAS FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sure it took me forever to read it all, BUT I 'LOVED' IT!!!!!!!!!!
Date posted: 2/19/2005 5:24:56 PM
I really enjoyed this story!!!!! It was awsome!!!! Anakin/Darth Vader is my favorite character, and I am always on the look out for new peices that explore his thoughts. When I started reading this story, I thought that perhaps it portrayed Vader as too emotional. But now that we are nearing Episode III, and I have learned some new details concernig it, I think that there is a side to Vader we never knew existed. This story did an incredible job of explaining the struggle within Vader's mind. I also loved him having a chance to see Anakin Solo. I always thought that it would be awsome for him to know that his grandson had been named for him. Wow!!! Awsome writting, and a real joy to read. I loved it. Thank you for writting it!
Date posted: 3/20/2005 3:44:43 PM
Wow. That's like, all I can come up with. Wow. I love it! You should now write one where it states Luke's feelings or Leia's or Han's or Ben's or Yoda's and countless others. You did great kid. Totally amazing. Keep at it!
May the Force be with you.
Author: padme's faith
Date posted: 3/28/2005 5:50:15 AM
padme's faith's Comments:
over two years after... i've discovered Star Wars only few weeks ago watching ROTJ in polish TV. By this time I've read all original scripts of all movies and.. I've been haunted by Anakin trapped in/by Vader. Each time I closed my eyes I'd been taken by the visions of his slavory and final liberation. And what you guys wrote perfectly fulfilled my dreams. I've alwas had faith in anakin and goog in him - thank you for proving that even evil can love...
ps. sorry for my english ;)
Author: online casino slot
Date posted: 5/7/2005 3:24:49 PM
online casino slot's Comments:
Date posted: 5/21/2005 10:37:33 AM
THE BEST OF THE BEST! THE BEST OF THE FIRST 3 MOVIES, SO EMOTIONAL, AMAZING, COOL, BRILLIANT, FANTASTIC, ABSOLUTLY WONDERFUL, AND SPECTACULAR!!!!
THANKS GEORGE LUCAS!!
Date posted: 7/5/2005 6:17:22 PM
Just checking in to say, once again, thank you on behalf of all the authors. It is a real pleasure to read these comments, and I find real inspiration for my writing by coming back here to see them on occasion.
Author: Darth Slaya
Date posted: 7/30/2005 3:21:05 AM
Darth Slaya's Comments:
That was the most breath taking peice of star wars fan forum i have ever read i can actuly immagion Darth Vader doing these things i always wondered how he could be so heartless but now i understand it was all a cover up i mean who before they read this can imagine Darth Vader crying? i will never look at him the same way it tied together so well with the story it was like it was acctualy part of the story and it was so imotionaly moving he was constatly having conflic with himself as he wanted so much to break free but not dare in fear of what the emporor might do to him. it hasall the makings of a great feature film.
Author: Darth Slaya
Date posted: 7/30/2005 5:33:04 PM
Darth Slaya's Comments:
Ps from my other comment above i just have to say that this perfectly dicribes darth vader he is my favorite character in star wars ever and i just love the self conflics he has all the time i will definitly be sending this story to my friend because we are both star wars fanatics and i know she will LOVE it and who knows her mom probibly will too she loves star wars nearly as much as us!
Date posted: 8/23/2005 12:16:29 PM
That is the only word I could come up with for this one...and that does not happen to me very often...!
Best fic I have read!
Date posted: 8/23/2005 7:12:11 PM
Its overwhelming to me that after all this time people are still reading this and leaving their own judgements on the story. It was fantastic to be a part of this and I hope the readers keep coming back to this. Thank you everyone.
Author: Master Thorne
Date posted: 10/11/2005 6:47:24 PM
Master Thorne's Comments:
Excellent piece of work. I was very interested in the thought process of Vader. It took him a long time, subtley through Palpatine, to become the evil being he was; and he would not revert instantly back to a being on the light side. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Keep up the good work.
I did note, however, the use of lines pulled from an old episode of Cheers, spoken by Sam Malone, about the sunset and a girl's eyes. Not sure if a young Anakin would have used a line like that, though. ;)
Date posted: 10/12/2005 9:20:35 PM
The CHEERS part was sloppy on my part. I put that in there because I liked that particular speech...in my defense, it has taken someone this long to say anything about it...almost got away with it too...the rest of the story was totally original though...nice catch btw.
Date posted: 3/29/2006 8:14:24 PM
Its been 3 years and this is still on here...I reread and edited a little of it to send to a friend and it is still as good as it ever was...brillaint maybe...ok, too much...but still excellent if you like Star Wars...
Author: Darth Auntie
Date posted: 10/9/2006 12:05:12 AM
Darth Auntie's Comments:
Wow...this was great. I just happened to run into this website. I used to write alot of this kind of stuff when I was kid, but threw it out when I started college. Wish I would have saved that stuff now
Author: Arwen Skywalker
Date posted: 3/5/2007 9:40:05 PM
Arwen Skywalker's Comments:
**Stands up and applaudes with tears running down her face** Amazing fic all of you!!! Thank you all so much for writing this. I was never the same after ROTS, and I will never be the same after reading this. Bravo!! May your days as a writer be long and prosperous!!!! Love ya!
Date posted: 8/27/2008 10:26:52 AM
I know I am WAY after the fact here, and all the way at the bottom, but I felt an incredible desire to comment on this story...As the others said, I agree with every positive comment about this story that has already been said...This was absolutely breathtaking! There are no true words to describe it! I have known and loved the SW saga nearly all my life (being 31 and all), and this story did something for me, that I'd wanted since I was a child - it made Vader into a true human, not just some confusing bad guy. When I was a kid, SW seemed like a ton of fun & adventure, and now, though it still does, I see it through adult eyes, as well, with the feelings and emotions behind the characters, and this story perfectly depicts how I thought Vader would have felt, especially after Eps. 1 & 2. You guys are amazing, and truly gifted! I dearly hope you will keep them coming, even though I entered this well after the fact. I will search the archive for more of your writing!
Again, absolutely superb! No words could really do this justice! I will never watch ROTJ the same again!
Author: Kidvi Luwai
Date posted: 12/19/2015 9:24:50 AM
Kidvi Luwai's Comments:
This is exactly what I thought was going on in Vaders head ever since I saw RotJ. Thank you for writing this. I've just come home from watching episode VII and needed more SW input!
Date posted: 1/16/2016 2:42:32 AM
Eceiomnos are in dire straits, but I can count on this!
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