Standing here, I remember.
The memories that now rampage my mind are painful, yet so beautiful in their sweetness.
How can this be? How can he be gone? Everything he ever promised, everything he ever wanted... it's gone now. I watch the flames burn. I can see the promises and hopes floating aimlessly away with the smoke into the night sky. I want to follow them, but I know that I cannot.
He would want me to go on. He made me promise to train the boy.
But he promised me. He promised me so many years ago he would stand by my side as I was knighted. He hoped that our paths would cross again. He hoped. He promised. Promises I know that can't be kept, I think. Promises that will waste away with all the other lost promises that humans and other species make that can't be kept. I stare as the smoke billows up, the flames roaring.
The flames dance around his body. I can smell the burning flesh through the Naboo air, usually so sweet and clear, now fogged and choked with smoke. The wood is being eaten, as if being consumed by some rampaging darkness that will not cease. For a second, I want to stop this event. I want to scream and find some way to stop the flames from devouring the body of my Master. I lower my head, my eyes haunted and alone.
The moment passes. The thought of the wood being consumed by darkness fills my mind. Everything has been consumed by darkness. He's gone. And then the thought seems so stupid and confusing that I want to laugh.
If only I could see the good memories. I want to see our good times; I want to see our laughs and triumphs. I want to see when he took me as his Padawan. I want to hear his laugh. I could always make him laugh with my 'biting humor', as he called it, with my sarcastic and dry remarks.
But the memories that invade my mind now are those of darkness.
All I see is the pain on his face as the lightsaber runs through his abdomen. His piercing blue eyes flashing in agony and the way his chest crumpled over the lightsaber. His mouth is wide open in pain. His voice rasping as he struggles to take in precious air.
The flames devour the wood. Blackness is consuming the light. The flames are tearing through my memories, casting them away to a barren and troubled land.
The face of the Sith that killed him drifts across my mind. The black and red tattoos, and the hideous horns. Even more hideous is the sneer that crosses his face as he kills my Master. There is only darkness for that one. The Force shimmering around him is thick with sadistic pleasure and a boiling hatred for me, for the Jedi.
How can you hate what you don't know? I want to scream at him.
Qui-Gon would want me to go on. He would want me to remember the good. He would want me to forget his promises and hopes; to exchange them for my own promises and hopes with the boy standing at my side, his face tear streaked.
I don't want to exchange anything. I want my Master back. I want him to stand at my side as I am knighted, as I am properly released from his tutelage. Again I lower my head, the tears welling up.
Flaming. Everything I once knew has burned out. My Master is gone... I must now build my own landing, my own basis and with that support Anakin Skywalker.
But how can I? I'm not ready. I'm just not ready to train him. It's not my job. It's Qui-Gon's. He's supposed to train the Chosen One. That's what he wanted. I didn't want this. I don't want it now. How can I take his place? No one can give Anakin what Qui-Gon could have. No one has what Qui-Gon has had. No one knows what Qui-Gon had that made him so special and so adapt to training. No one knows. No one will ever know, not even the person who knew him best: me.
I remember his eyes as I stand watching the flames; their cold blueness. His look was so stunning he had halted many in his tracks with one glare. I was on the receiving end more times than I can count. What many people didn't know was that gaze was majesty in its warmth. What Qui-Gon loved, he loved with his entire being. His eyes were a reflection into his soul, and the warmth he showed to me was priceless.
Remember the good times, I tell myself. If I don't, I won't be able to go on.
I have to go on.
There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
There is no death; there is the Force.
Suddenly a breeze passes by me. I glance around. No one else is affected. No tree is stirring. No leaf is blowing. The flames jump in one place.
There is no death...
I see the flames now. I hear Qui-Gon's voice as he recited that mantra so many years ago to me; the Jedi Code.
"There is no death," I whisper to the wind.
Qui-Gon isn't gone. The breeze dancing around my face is speaking to me. He'll be here, always. He promised me he would be there when I was knighted.
I imagine myself, kneeling in front of the Council. And then I imagine myself looking to the back of the room, watching for someone no else can see.
He will be there.
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