The White Light
Leia Organa Solo struggled to open her eyes. It felt as if someone were physically holding them closed. Her chest felt heavy. She slowly willed her lungs to expand and contract against it. She could feel the Force around her, as if she were floating in an ocean. It filled her lungs and seeped through every pore of her skin.
"Wake up," she heard a familiar voice say. "You don't have a lot of time."
Leia opened her eyes and was greeted with a flash of bright white light. The light faded just enough for her to notice a human figure beside her. She sat up and rubbed her eyes to refocus them. The swirls of colors became the image of a large garden in a courtyard. She was sitting on the edge of a fountain. The tips of her fingers were in the water. She lifted her hand and flicked the water away.
"There's not much time left," she heard someone say again. She raised her head and looked around for the source of the voice, but as far as she could tell, she was alone.
"Where am I?" She looked around for an exit. The entire garden was surrounded by a large oval stone wall. The only place she could go was into the large building behind her. It appeared to be some kind of temple.
"What happened?" she asked herself. Trying to remember, she closed her eyes and tapped into the Force around her. It hit her a lot stronger than she had anticipated. She saw images of a shuttle she vaguely remembered riding moments before. Two Noghri, Robarakh and Meewahl, had been with her. Something happened, but she couldn't remember what. Her mind was in total chaos until she suddenly realized the shuttle had crashed. Leia's eyes shot open. Had she survived the crash alone? "Robarakh! Meewahl!" She turned in circles in vain to find them, but was still all alone.
Panicking, Leia leaned over the fountain to catch her breath. She gasped when she saw her reflection in the water. Her hair, which had once been peppered with grey, was now a complete dark brown. Her skin was tight and flawless. She appeared the same way she had in the days of the Rebellion.
"That's impossible." Leia straightened as a horrible thought passed through her mind. "Am I dead?"
"Not quite," she heard the voice again.
Leia stepped around the fountain and slowly approached the temple. The wall rumbled. Leia watched the stones part themselves to create an entrance. Feeling a strong urge from the Force, she stepped forward into the building. All around her, she could see the Force rippling faintly in the air. Before her was a bridge. She leaned over to see a clear pool beneath. Aquatic life forms swam back and forth among flowers. Leia continued across the bridge while still glancing down on occasion. On the other end she found an empty room made of glass. She could see more of the gardens through the windows. The room was literally thick with the Force. She pushed her way to the other side.
"What is this place?"
"It is the Hall of Wisdom." The Force swirled around Leia. She recognized this voice. She spun on her heel to face him. She felt a moment of fear, which quickly became extreme joy.
"Anakin?" Leia said between pants. She saw her youngest son, who had died on Myrkr during the war against the Yuuzhan Vong, standing there and tapping his foot as if he'd been waiting for her. He greeted her with a smile that nearly brought her to tears. She smothered him against her chest in a tight embrace.
"Mom?" Anakin Solo said. "We must hurry. You can't stay for long."
Leia lingered for a moment. When Anakin died, his body had been filled with pure Force energy. She could feel it still radiating from him. She finally released him. "Am I dead?"
Anakin shook his head. "You live, but your spirit is trapped. The Force brought me here to see you."
"Trapped? Why? What's going on?"
"You were in an accident. The shuttle you were riding in crashed, and right now you're floating in a bacta tank. I'm not allowed to know much more than that. All I know is that I have to take you somewhere."
"And how do you know this?"
"The Force commands it. You should trust it more."
Leia raised an eyebrow at Anakin's comments. Anakin walked past her and motioned for her to follow. Leia placed an arm around his shoulders. "Life just isn't the same without you," she said. "This is the worst thing any parent could possibly endure. I still cry sometimes."
"I know. I can see you." Anakin swept a hand through the air. Leia felt the Force ripple at his touch. "The Force binds us to everything, especially when we merge with it."
Together they walked through the palace to the other side of the gardens. By this time, Leia had gotten used to seeing, breathing, and walking through the Force. On occasion, she could catch a quick glimpse of events through time and space. She could see the past in Alderaan, the present in Kashyyyk, and the future in what was left of Coruscant. Glimpses of the Clone Wars, the Rebellion, and the chaotic times of the New Republic came and went. Leia and Anakin walked and talked for what felt like hours. She was so entranced by his presence that she completely lost all sense of how much time actually passed and where they were going. Leia finally noticed they were in the middle of a forest when she felt another ripple in the Force.
"This is it," Anakin said. "It's time for us to go our separate ways."
"What?" Leia felt her heart skip a beat, though she knew it was coming. "Why?"
"You're still alive, Mom. It's not your time. You can't stay here. Someone else will have to take you from here."
Anakin ignored the question. "It is dangerous the rest of the way. You may need this." Anakin extended his hand towards her. He was offering her a lightsaber. "Take it." Leia stared at him with doubt in her eyes. "Take it!" Anakin urged.
Leia accepted it hesitantly and clutched it to her chest. "What does this mean?"
"Someone else will take you the rest of the way," he repeated. "It is dangerous, but with the Force, trust, and hope, you will make it home."
"Who," Leia stammered, "who is this someone else?"
"Wait until I am gone. Trust me." It was Anakin's turn to smother Leia. "If you hesitate, even for a moment, it could literally be the end of you. Trust the Force, and I promise you'll succeed." He planted a kiss against her cheek. "Goodbye Mom. We'll be together again, when it is your time."
"I love you," Leia said in a low voice. Anakin bowed slightly before turning back towards the way they came. Leia kept her eyes on him until he was out of sight. She let the tears flow and leaned against the nearest tree. "Life is so unfair."
"Tell me about it."
Leia shrieked and turned. She brandished the lightsaber. A bright blue blade extended at her touch. "Who are you!"
"That's not necessary." A young looking man was standing there. Leia could sense he was a Jedi spirit, not to mention he was carrying a lightsaber also. He was dressed in dark brown and black. There was a black glove on his right hand. He had wavy brown hair and a scar along his right eye. "I'm here to help."
"Who are you?"
"I'm the one Anakin Solo sent for you. To take you back to the living."
Leia sighed and calmed herself through the Force. She could sense no duplicity from this man. She deactivated her lightsaber and folded her arms. "Fine. Who are you?"
"That's not important. We have a long way to go, Leia."
Leia wanted to grill him into revealing himself to her, but at the same time, she felt as if she didn't want to know. It did not escape her that he bore a resemblance to Anakin and knew her name without asking, but she took it as a coincidence. She wasn't even sure he was real. "The sooner I get out of here, the better."