When he was five years old, they told him the truth. The smallest details of that day were engraved on his memory. He was certain they were memories, because no one had ever talked about that day again. But the pictures in his mind were as vivid as if he had just opened his eyes and looked at them. ...Playing in the mound of sand he'd built in the center of the courtyard, hearing the adults' raised voices, Owen and Beru and Ben calling him inside...
He was only five and, for better or for worse, the path of his life was changed forever.
"Sit here next to me, dear," Aunt Beru said.
Luke climbed onto the sofa beside her, and she put her arm around him. He flew his toy speeder across her lap, making zooming noises until she took it away. "Pay attention, Luke. Uncle Owen and Uncle Ben have something to tell you."
"About school?" he asked eagerly. "It's only three days!" Three days until he could go to school in Anchorhead - finally! All the kids would be there, even the older ones. He was so thrilled, he could hardly wait.
"Partly," Uncle Owen said. "Luke..." He squatted on the floor and leaned forward, his big hand curling around Luke's shoulder. "You need to stop doing those...things...that you do. You can't do them at school."
"What things?" Probably those things that made Uncle Owen mad, but he didn't know how he did them and he sure didn't know how to stop doing them.
"Don't be difficult, Luke. You know what I mean."
"Let me," Uncle Ben interrupted gently.
Uncle Owen returned to his chair and sat scowling at them. "I hope you know what you're doing."
"Luke, you have a special gift," Uncle Ben began.
"Can I have it now?" he asked excitedly. "What is it?"
Uncle Owen grumbled something.
"You already have the gift," Uncle Ben said. "You can do things that very few people can. You know things that other people don't. Not many people are like you."
"You are." That's what Uncle Owen said. Just like damned old Ben, and sounded angry when he said it.
"Yes, I am," he agreed. "You and I can do these special things. But you must not let anyone else know that you and I are different."
"Are we bad?" he asked doubtfully. That's what Uncle Owen said.
"No, just different," Uncle Ben said slowly. "Luke, I have to tell you secrets that you must never, ever tell anyone. Only you and me and Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen know. These are very special secrets, dangerous secrets, and I'm asking you to be a grown-up about them and never repeat what I tell you. Can you promise not to tell?"
"I promise," he agreed enthusiastically. He liked secrets. "I know lots of secrets and I never tell."
That's good. But these are especially secret secrets. If you tell anyone, I could die. And you might die, too. People would kill us."
Now he didn't like these secrets. He was scared. He'd seen animals dead in the desert, and once he'd found a lizard that was really sick and he'd stayed with it while it died. It made him sad when it just lay there in the sand, empty.
He stuck his thumb in his mouth. Aunt Beru took it out, saying absently, "Don't put dirty fingers in your mouth, Luke," and held his hand.
"You and I have the power to access the Force," Uncle Ben said. "The Force is an energy field that surrounds us and -- Well, it lets us do special things that other people can't do."
"Sort of." Uncle Ben sighed. "Some people who use the Force are called Jedi. I used to be a Jedi."
"Am I a Jedi?" Luke interrupted.
"No, but you could have been," Uncle Ben said, looking sad. "Right around the time you were born, all the Jedi were killed by the Emperor and Darth Vader. I escaped and I have been hiding here."
Luke thought about this. He'd seen holos of the Emperor and Darth Vader. They both looked scary, and Uncle Owen said they were really mean. "Did they get killed 'cause they were bad?"
"No, Jedi were good."
"Then why did they get killed?"
"Sometimes good people die, Luke, when evil people want to destroy all the good in the galaxy. Do you understand why you can never tell anyone about you and me? And you can never let anyone know that you can do magic. That means you can't call your toys to you; you have to go over and pick them up. You can't tell people when something is going to happen before it happens -- like when a sandstorm is coming or when Tuskens are going to attack."
"But..." Luke stopped, overwhelmed. "Those are good things. To help people."
"I know. But you can't do that anymore. You will find other ways to help people."
He cuddled closer to Aunt Beru. She smelled good, like cookies. "Okay."
He nodded, pouting. "But I don't like it!"
"Neither do I, Luke." Uncle Ben glanced at Uncle Owen. "There's something else I have to tell you."
"I still say it's a bad idea," Uncle Owen said harshly.
"It's necessary," Uncle Ben replied shortly. "Luke, it's about your father."
He put his thumb back in his mouth. This time Aunt Beru let him keep it there. He didn't like to talk about his daddy or his mommy. They died when Luke was very little and that still made him feel sad.
"There's no easy way -- " Uncle Ben paused and sighed again. "Luke, we didn't tell you the entire truth about your father. We told you he was a spice smuggler and a bad man. The truth is, your father is more than bad. He is... evil. He killed all the Jedi. He tried to kill me. If he found you, he would kill you. Or he would make you be evil like him."
That was a lot to think about. He felt a tear slip down his face. He thought his daddy was only regular bad, but he was really really bad? His daddy killed people? How could his daddy want to kill him? "But he's dead."
"No, he isn't dead. He's -- "
"I have to tell him, Owen. He has to know. It's the only way to protect him." Uncle Ben's finger went under Luke's chin and tilted his head up so their eyes met. "Luke, your father is Darth Vader."