Darth Vaderís thoughts as he goes to confront Ben Kenobi on the Death Star.
I would like to thank Elaine Carter and Jedimistress for beta reading and encouragement.
All dialogue belongs to George Lucas.
In the beginning, it had been a small tremor in the Force; so slight that it nearly passed unnoticed. A familiarity that long ago had been granted access to Darth Vader?s mind, one that had passed a thousand times without thought. But that was before.
Before the darkness and the betrayal that had destroyed all he once believed in.
Vader moved swiftly to mentally crush those sentimentalities that he no longer allowed himself; signs of weakness that he could no longer afford; ghosts of a past that was no longer his. Still the tremor remained, haunting him.
Taunting him with the idea?the memory?that he had been someone else once.
He had longed to stand in that presence again.
Lusted to finish what he had begun so long ago.
He was pleased by the knowledge that he was on the cusp of victory, that soon all that remained of the past would be completely eradicated. It would not be soon enough. For now, Vader focused on that warm, beckoning disturbance in the Force.
It was the strangest sensation. The Force, in all its glory and light, had been quiet for so long that Vader had nearly forgotten what it was like to sense another Force user?s presence outside that of his dark master. A signature cloaked in light that alternately drew and repelled him. It was so unlike the darkness that he had become willingly accustomed to.
A deadly purpose drove the dark lord through the labyrinthine belly of the Empire?s newest weapon, the Death Star. Like wings of a dark bird of prey, the long black cloak swept out along the edges of the corridor, viciously driving fearful Imperial officers to the walls and out of his way. Vague courtesies and shuddering Imperials were only an obstacle designed to slow him from reaching his ultimate goal. He had no time to humor them. There would be no cowering today; there would only be swift, decisive action.
The gentle warnings in the swirling might of the Force charged him with a purpose. The ancient fire burned bright from the depths of his being; it fueled every waking moment. He had long looked forward to this day. And yet the Force had moved so subtly that he had tried to ignore its siren call out of disbelief, unwilling to give the fantasy credence.
It was a part of his past that should have remained dead. Lost, beyond his grasp where he had long ago willed it.
Today, everything would change.
Vader strode the long, gray corridor with only one purpose in mind: To face the last of his ghosts and to destroy his former master.
The Force sang to him in a bitter tongue. The beckoning light at the edge of his consciousness drew the dark lord toward destiny. Automatically, he reached for his lightsaber, a weapon he had not drawn against his former kind in years, not since he had wiped the ancient Jedi Order out of existence.
The blood red cast of the activated blade glowed eerily against the neutral gray walls. The hum that had once represented peace and justice was now grim and menacing in the silence of the corridor. The deadly blade cut through the air as Vader readied himself for the approaching battle.
He would not have to search, for he knew his opponent would willingly come to him.
The dark lord?s patience was not tried; as expected, a figure soon appeared. His eyes would have deceived him where the Force spoke only the truth.
Vader had been searching for a spry, ginger haired knight?the one that had haunted his memories and nightmares for so long. But what stood before him was a surprise. Time had been unkind to the Jedi. His hair was white under the frayed edges of the cowl. Weariness with the world clung to his weathered features and his movements were slow, stilted with age.
The dark lord just stood there as the old man fearlessly approached. For a moment, all he could do was study the other man. It was not until the man with the keen eyes and calm expression activated a blue lightsaber that Vader truly accepted who stood before him.
?I?ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last.? This was a day he had long believed would never happen. A day he had long looked forward too and long dreaded. ?The circle is now complete.? Readying his weapon, the dark lord prepared to finish what should have been done years ago.
Kill the man that had betrayed him.
The man he had once trusted.
Once believed in.
Vader shook off the childish notion the moment the old man shifted. Obi-Wan Kenobi easily took the offensive and quickly put Vader on the defensive.
The dark lord bristled. He would not allow his former master to control the battle. The dark side was more powerful, and he would make sure the old Jedi understood that.
Still, Kenobi directed the fight.
He would make the old man answer, Vader decided. He would not bow down; he did that enough for his true master, the Emperor. ?When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.?
?Only a master of evil, Darth.?
Even now, facing each other for the first and final time in nearly two decades, his former master dishonored him. Not that he had expected Kenobi to address him by his proper title, that of a dark lord of the Sith. At least, Vader decided the old man did not insist on reminding him of who he had once been. The boy Kenobi had killed.
In the dying days of the old Republic, they had been formidable warriors; time had not diminished this fact. The flame of the old religion burned with a blinding brilliance as the two great men faced one another.
Robbed of his quickness of foot, but not his determination, the old Jedi fiercely lunged toward the black armored figure. Vader moved swiftly to block. Sabers crashed in a flash of light and static. Red on blue. Vader broke free, efficiently countered, attacked and was met by an equally powerful response. Yet Kenobi did not back down; he drove the dark lord through the corridor. Vader slashed at the air violently, taking the offensive and forcing his former master toward the Death Star?s hangar.
Sabers crashed together, briefly locking, as neither warrior was willing to give the other any latitude.
Over the low hum of the lightsabers, Vader taunted, ?Your powers are weak, old man.?
?You can?t win, Darth.?
Blast, you old fool.
Kenobi spoke evenly, warning the dark lord, ?If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.?
Did his former master think him still a naive child?
Incensed, Vader lashed out with the crimson blade, only to be blocked again. Blue on red. There was no question in Vader?s mind that the dark side was more powerful. It had fueled the fire that had kept him alive long after Kenobi had tried to snuff the flame out. Hate had driven him to pursue those he had once stood among. Had made him despise those who represented what he could no longer have. Anger smoldered in the ashes of who he had once been.
The old man?s attentions were drawn toward the massive hangar, giving Vader that much needed distraction. The dark lord was tired of this game. He would finish it now! With a powerful sweep of his blade, Vader brought the weapon to bear?red on blue?only to be expertly deflected by his former master. Red on blue.
Again that word.
How he loathed the sound of it and everything it once stood for. He was no longer an impressionable, stupid child.
The dark lord lashed out, determined to quickly end the battle. Determined to be the victor.
In the beat between saber clashes, Vader realized that Master was not fighting to win the battle. Not that he could.
The old man was buying time.
Touching the Force with the same ease that breathing had once had, Vader?s extended senses felt the mingling of fear and panic. The escaping rebels!
Kenobi calmly glanced into the hangar, eyeing the group as they slipped passed the distracted stormtroopers.
Caught up in the frenzy of the battle, Vader paid the rebels little attention. Their time was limited, and their rebellion would soon be crushed under the Empire?s mighty hand. More important things possessed his attention now. Not enough spilled blood could quench his thirst for revenge. With Kenobi?s death, the last of his ghosts would be destroyed, and he would be free.
The dark lord would cast the past off like an old skin.
It would all be over soon.
The keen blue eyes of the old Jedi studied the emotionless black mask of the former apprentice. And then something changed. Something?
Calmly, Kenobi raised his weapon, leaving himself open.
In an automatic response, driven by the madness of the moment, Vader delivered the powerful coup de grace. The sheer force and violence of the motion cleanly sliced through cloak and bone.
In one clean stroke, all that the Jedi had ever been ceased.
Suddenly devoid of its owner, the worn brown material fell empty to the floor. The deactivated lightsaber landed unceremoniously with a dull thud on the folds of the cloak.
Vader just stood there, taking little note of the horrified cry that emanated from within the hangar.
Or the powerful sense of loss that radiated from it.
Oblivious to the explosion of blaster fire, the dark lord?s attention was focused on the fallen remains on the floor. Furiously, he drove his foot down into the rumpled material but found nothing.
Anger as focused as his lightsaber blade bloomed in the armored figure. Another one of his former master?s tricks! He had been a fool to believe it would end today.
The long black cape swept out over the gray floor as the dark lord turned sharply toward the battle and the fleeing rebels. A well-aimed blaster bolt sealed Vader off from the fight, leaving him alone to seethe at the thought of Kenobi slipping through his clutches yet again.
For a time the dark lord just stood there, staring at the sealed passageway.
It could not end like this!
And yet it had.
Twisting around, Vader reached out and called Kenobi?s weapon to him. A strange reverence brought him to study the silver cylinder he turned in his gloved hand. There had to be more. A brief flare of anger caused his fingers to tighten around the hilt.
It had been too easy.
He felt cheated.
Even in death, Vader knew the wily old Jedi still had one more trick up his sleeve.
He would be waiting.
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