XX

They sat in a circle on the tan-gold floor; Luke, Leia, Kyp, Mara Jade and the others. Around the walls of what was becoming the meditation-and-reception room of the Jedi Academy stood the senior members of the Republic, including Mon Mothma. Lando had gotten in on his 'General Calrission' resume and his sincere winning smile.

Luke, eyes closed and counting breathing, sat in the circle between Leia and Tionne, facing the three windows. The focused sun lay like gentle liquid on his face.

"I've saved you." said Master Skywalker. "I know you felt what tried to claim you. Some residents of my building have now had the pleasure of watching a Jedi fight, Master against Dark Lord, on their walls. One of us here could've been tempted by the dark side too early had the Sith not been looking for whomever led the current Jedi Knights. He thought that was me.

Do you think so?"

The Force-power in the circle was a firm link, even through Leia who was more a conductor than a generator. It was she who had persuaded the government council to reevaluate Luke and the academy. She was a little worried now, that the only presentation he was going to make was that small speech from his circle of fellow supermen. She had explained all they knew about the Sith spirit and how Luke had reconciled himself from disappointment.

She had told Luke these thoughts, and she spread them out into the Force now.

He opened his eyes and the students moved or made small sounds as if waking from sleep.

Mon Mothma said, "You have won a great victory, Luke. Alone and while facing inner demons which, I was told, stemmed in part from my own decision to...to take from you that dream of Jedi which had sustained you through the long wars. I am sorry. We, representatives of the Senate, do declare the group before me and the people in it to be the will of the Force and of the Republic; the new Jedi Order, with General and Master Luke Skywalker at its head."

She began to clap and they all clapped; the circle rose to their feet. The audience began to talk among themselves and the formality dissipated. As did the Jedi students, who mostly went out into the hall for the light buffet Leia's aides had prepared. Tionne bowed to Luke, with her hand on her heart and her eyes shining with amusement.

He said, "Thank you."

She said, "Revel in how you belong here. I could only do so much for the academy, with the desire coming often to isolate myself with books."

He talked with her and the politicians for a while, comfortably, about the business of the Jedi Order. Even the legal matters sounded fascinating to his deprive ears.

In a quiet moment, he stood and gazed at the bronze-blue cityscape and thought of what Exar Kun had taught him. it made his gaze switch back to the hall, to the quiet party. He thought about the immediacy of the will of the Force, about the realer-than-life memory of the surreal battle on the tower, and about Kun's sensible delusion. He had been convinced that the dark side saved his life and therefor controlled life, when in fact it only bred death and slavery. Maybe he knew at the end, and saw that vision Luke had glimpsed only afterward--the beauty of his potential for good.

Instead of redemption, the concretion of the new Jedi--and their leader--had resulted.

Luke nodded slightly, as if to the Force itself. Then he went out into the hallways, unafraid of anyone or what subjects they might choose to converse on. The little flare of willpower was like the aliveness of the fight.

The End

A/N: Well look at that, Mara didn't die. I think the convos between her and Lando aren't done though. Muaha. I hope you the readers enjoyed this fic and maybe learned something...my original problem isn't solved yet. Helped, maybe. I have learned that fanfics are very distracting, and they're at least good for avoiding problems. Review if you want--I usually return them. "MTFBWY"