An accident reveals an old deception, and Darth Vader must make a decision that will change not only his life.
Anakin desperately raised his lightsaber to parry Obi-Wan's angry attacks. The blows rained down on his defense, pushing him back further and further. Behind him, though, was the abyss. Hot, poisonous smoke billowed from the volcanic crater, making his eyes water. Deep down Anakin could hear the noise of the boiling lava. Strange how mortal fear sharpened ones senses. Anakin was wounded already; a hit from Obi-Wans luminous blade had laid open his face and scalp. But he lived still. He could still fight for his life. Obi-Wan, too, was bleeding from several wounds.
With a wild scream Anakin threw himself to one side, sword raised to counter another attack, but his foot slipped on a loose pebble. Time seemed to stretch and like in slow motion he saw Obi-Wan's blade sever his right hand. The hand, still clutching the lightsaber, whirled away. Anakin saw less blood than one would expect from such a severe injury. The energy blade had cauterized the stump. His brain barely had time to register the pain when he felt the ground crumble beneath his feet and he plummeted into the abyss. He tried to call up the Force, but it eluded him.
The crater wall was not smooth, but pocked with fissures and ledges. Anakin hit several of the latter during his fall and he felt his ribs break and the bone in his left upper arm splinter. He did not scream; it would be pointless, he would die anyway, burned to ashes by the lava. But he was wrong. Another ledge stopped his fall. He did not feel the impact; he only heard the sickenig sound of his neck breaking. Neither did he feel the pain from his severed hand anymore, nor that from his broken arm, although he could see the white bone splinters protrude from his flesh.
For a moment he thought he heard Obi-Wans voice call his name.
Breathing became increasingly difficult. He could barely draw air into his lungs. At least he did not have to feel the acrid smoke burn his lungs. Finally, darkness descended upon him.
To be continued...