Epilogue: Kreia

Caressa awakened to what could only be described as laughter, though it was more felt than heard. In fact, she couldn't hear anything, nor see anything, nor sense anything physical at all. She couldn't even sense her own body, and she wondered if she still had one. But she was far from blind, for she could still feel things. It was similar to the way she used to feel emotions through the Force, but so much… fuller. Having never experienced anything like it while alive in an earthly sense, she lacked the vocabulary to express it in words. But it felt good. Caressa was at peace. More than that, she was at love. She loved everything she felt, in this new, full, spiritual realm. Finally, she was out of the universe, out of the Force, out of the stars and out of the wars. Instead, she was in… bliss.

A voice came to her. It was the voice of an old woman, and in that voice she felt some small portion of the laughter that pervaded this place. "In the end, Caressa, you didn't inherit the legacy of Revan," it said. "You were so close. You sought the power to save the galaxy, just as he did. You sought to unite the light and the dark, to amass allies, to transcend the foolishness of Jedi and Sith, all as he did. But in the critical moment, when you were betrayed as he was, you saw what he could not. And so it was my legacy, the legacy of Darth Traya, that you inherited."

"I don't understand," Caressa responded. It was a thought, not spoken aloud, and yet it somehow felt so much more vibrantly real and present than any sound. "What did I see?"

"You saw that it was not Phyne who betrayed you. Not truly. Just as it was not Scourge that betrayed Revan, nor Sion and Nihlus who betrayed me. You saw that the true betrayer was the Force itself. The Force did not abandon you, Caressa, in that fight with Baras. Rather, you abandoned the Force, cutting off your own connection to it when it used your body as a miniature battleground for the eternal war it wages among the stars. You saw that it had deceived you, that it lied to you when it told you your destiny was to unite the galaxy, just as it lied to Revan, and to Phyne, and to me, and just as it will lie to Jedi and Sith for millennia to come. It lies for the sake of preserving its conflict, for the war between dark and light is all it cares about."

"Yes," Caressa whispered. "Yes, I saw that."

"And so you knew your faith had been misplaced, and so you sought to gain power over the very Force itself. Just as I sought its death, so many years ago. And now, here we are. We won." Her laughter intensified, and so did the laughter that permeated the place. "We truly did. You, and me, and a handful of other Force-sensitives, we wrestled with the Force, strove with it, and we conquered it, in a way no mortal could ever have anticipated."

Caressa smiled. "Yes. Yes, we won, and now… that's it, isn't it? This the end, the resolution. Things don't happen here, conflict doesn't happen here. What happens here is simple satisfaction."

"Indeed," agreed the voice of the old woman. "Let us be merry, now and forever."

The laughter grew still louder.

"Now and forever," Caressa murmured. "An eternity in the place where the Force's endless hunger for war and life and story cannot reach us. The place of final peace."

The deafening laughter boomed all around her and throughout her.

"The place we longed for all along." And Caressa could no longer tell whether it was her who spoke, or the old woman, or the laughter that engulfed her.

And then Caressa laughed with it, laughed with the joyous feeling of eternal laughter, and lost herself in the laughter.