Author's Note: Please forgive me this final opportunity to share my thoughts on this story with you.
This final vignette contains the scene that inspired the entire Face of the Dark Side trilogy that began with Fall of the Sith just over a year ago and will end (when I get to it) with Edge of the Darkness.
The story of Yoda's descent into the dark first emerged almost fully formed in my mind while reading this scene from Anakin's point of view in Stover's Revenge of the Sith novelization. Fall of the Sith was born from that single moment. I chose to write Fall of the Sith first in large part in response to a debate I was having with someone about the nature of the dark side and the Sith in particular. But Yoda's story always gnawed at me and I'm happy to have been able to share it with all of you and to have had you on this journey.
What follows below is my take on what I consider to be the first of two pivotal scenes in Revenge of the Sith (with a few artistic liberties). The title of this post refers to the second scene, which is the starting point of Fall of the Sith. In reverence to Matthew Stover and his magical way with words, I've elected to use much of the same dialogue he used in the novelization. The original scene can be found on pages 182-183 of the hardcover edition of the Revenge of the Sith novelization.
I would also like to thank geo3 for allowing me to adopt her conceptualization of The One Point for use in this story and for being a sounding board in putting the finishing touches on these vignettes.
I also want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my very special beta GrandAdmiralV who has helped me sharpen my figurative quill and, without whom, this story would have been a pale shadow of what you have experienced. Thank you!
Finally, I thank you, my very special readers. Your feedback has buoyed me in ways that I could never express and has made this journey one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had. The most enjoyable aspect of sharing our stories online is the interplay between the reader and the writer and I don't think a writer could possibly hope for better readers than you. Thank you!
And now, the final installment of Descent Into the Dark...
The One Point
The waning sunlight provided by Coruscant's orbital mirrors glowing softly against the slits of the window shades did little to light the room. As Yoda stared about his spare quarters, he contemplated how closely the fading artificial light mirrored the slow diminishment of the Jedi Order in a galaxy increasingly overcome by the darkness of war.
But the war was merely the vehicle, he knew. The war was nothing more than a tool by the dark side to weaken the Jedi into a mere shadow of their former glory. Even now as he sat as comfortably as was possible in his stark home, relatively safe on the planet on which the foundations of the Republic had been born, a thousand Jedi led a million clone warriors in fierce battles across thousands of worlds.
A mere two decades ago, the two words would never have appeared together so casually. But now the HoloNet was filled with stories of the heroic exploits of the Jedi warriors who fought so gallantly to protect the galaxy from the scourge of the CIS. And no other Jedi warrior was better known than Anakin Skywalker, the Hero With No Fear. Tales of his feats were rapidly becoming the stuff of legend. He and Obi-Wan represented the new face of the Jedi Order.
The galaxy had truly changed.
Yoda sighed. He stared into the increasing darkness of his room, contemplating the past two decades with growing sadness. For some, the transformation of the galaxy had seemed gradual. For some, the alteration had been subtle. For some, there had been no revolution.
Not for Yoda.
For the head of the Jedi Order, two decades was an infinitesimal passage of time. For him, the shift from an era of unsurpassed peace to one of cataclysmic wars had been dramatic and sudden. Looking back at the circumstances that had brought the galaxy into its present state, he could only conclude that events had been orchestrated with near-perfect precision, like pieces in the most elaborate game of dejarik ever devised. Now that all the players were set, Yoda sensed that his unnamed opponent was readying to strike—the endgame was near.
The powerful onslaught of the raging storm of darkness would culminate at the One Point.
For three hundred years since the Sith had tried to lay claim to his soul, Yoda had watched the progression of the Sith's plan without recognizing it for what it was—until now. His actions then had delayed the mutual annihilation of the Jedi and the Sith, but the Sith had remained active in their pursuit of the Jedi. The Sith's assault on the Order had begun with the first of the Lost Twenty, and had culminated with their seduction of Count Dooku. Yoda had prepared the Jedi as best he could to face the inevitable clash between Light and Dark.
As Yoda considered his lost Jedi comrades, one thing became abundantly clear to him—the Dark no longer wanted him.
The Dark wanted Anakin Skywalker.
The door chimed.
Yoda looked up from his reverie and felt the roiling thunderstorm that surrounded Skywalker crash against his shields. No doubt the young Jedi knight wanted advice that Yoda no longer knew how to give. Anakin Skywalker's destiny was outside of Yoda's reach.
"Come in, Anakin," Yoda called out with as warm smile as he could muster. "Come in."
As the doors slid apart, the young man strode in purposefully and immediately bowed. Yoda inclined his head and indicated a seat across from him for the Jedi to take. When Anakin opened his mouth to speak, Yoda raised his hand and silenced him.
"Meditate together, we shall, then discuss your nightmares, we will."
To his credit, Anakin only allowed the look of surprise to linger on his face briefly before nodding respectfully. The young Jedi closed his eyes and feigned what Yoda knew was his best attempt at a meditative pose. Yoda frowned.
It was not Anakin's brashness that was his greatest flaw, Yoda mused. So many of his fellow Jedi Masters believed that Skywalker was too bold, too sure of himself, and too convinced that anything was possible to ever truly grasp all the subtleties of the Force. While these traits were indeed present in the young man, they were hardly surprising and certainly not without merit. For Anakin Skywalker, all things were possible. His power in the Force was undeniably formidable and virtually unstoppable. No…Anakin had every right to be as confident as he was.
Still other Jedi Masters believed that it was Anakin's incessant connection to unacknowledged attachments that could spell his eventual doom and take the Jedi Order into the murky depths of destruction with him. Mace Windu, in particular, held this point of view, though he mistakenly attributed this attachment to Skywalker's friendship with Palpatine. Again, that insight was not without merit.
Yoda sensed that Skywalker's greatest weakness was his inability to completely surrender his will to the Force. It was a flaw that Yoda once carried in his core as well. For Skywalker, the Force was a tool, not a guide. It was a mechanism by which he made the impossible seem mundane. It was the pathway to the salvation of those who depended on him—but never the pathway to saving himself.
Anakin Skywalker never considered the possibility that he, himself, might need saving.
And so, as the great Jedi warrior sat across from Yoda, his mind swirling and his will crashing against the currents of the Force, Yoda knew that Anakin needed to learn a lesson that words could never teach.
Anakin Skywalker needed to learn to accept.
Closing his eyes, he breathed in deeply, calling on the Light. The dark shroud that clouded the Force pulled away quickly, as darkness always receded before the presence of the Light.
With Skywalker so close to him, the Chosen One's image appeared in Yoda's mind in an instant. He could readily perceive the pathways of the Force flowing into the Jedi's past and—more importantly—into his future. Focusing on the myriad strands that passed through the young man and into the possibilities of what was to come, Yoda plunged through the Dark.
All around the young man, the battle between the Light and the Dark raged. The apparent stalemate in the war being fought across the galaxy was equally deadlocked within the young Jedi. The fear that ensconced Skywalker was being held at bay by his undying compassion and desire for good.
But just as the Clone Wars would have a single, irrevocable tipping point—a shatterpoint—that would give one side the advantage and bring an end to the war, so too would the war for Skywalker's soul. Yoda waited patiently within the waters of the Force, hoping to find the One Point.
The Force crystallized into an image of Palpatine's private office. Standing above an indiscernible shadow, Mace Windu stood triumphantly, his amethyst blade pointed at the Shadow with rage in his eyes. Skywalker was there as well, but the confusion and fear in the boy were at a fever pitch, freezing the young man into inaction.
Three masters of the Force stood in the massive room—a triumvirate of power around which the future of the Galaxy would be decided. The Force was a torrent of rage and a desire for vengeance flowing from Windu and the Shadow with equal potency. Skywalker stood between them, a volcano of fear ready to erupt.
I NEED HIM!
The One Point.
The image vanished.
Yoda opened his eyes and knew in an instant that Skywalker had not meditated at all. The Jedi's impatience poured from him in a deluge of fear that was only matched by a fierce determination to prevent that fear from being realized.
The One Point could no longer be avoided. The particle and antiparticle had parted and their inevitable reengagement would occur in Palpatine's office on a night filled with lightning, fear…and rage.
He stared at the young warrior, knowing that his words would mean no more to Anakin Skywalker than they would have meant to Yoda so many years before. Yoda furrowed his brow. Perhaps if he could convince the Jedi to acknowledge his fears—to confront them in the open—Skywalker might be prepared to choose wisely when the time came.
Yoda drew his brows together. "Premonitions….premonitions...deep questions they are," he whispered into the silence. "Sense the future, once all Jedi could; now few alone have this skill. Visions…gifts from the Force, they are…and curses. Signposts and snares." He fixed his gaze firmly on Anakin. "These visions of yours…"
"They are of pain," Anakin replied. "Of suffering." The boy looked down and swallowed. He seemed to screw up his courage before looking directly into Yoda's eyes. "And death."
Yoda nodded. Skywalker was close to revealing his concerns. Yoda knew he could not push too hard. "In these troubled times, no surprise this is. Yourself you see?" Yoda lowered his head slightly but kept his gaze on Anakin's eyes, and then continued. "Or someone you know?"
Anakin kept his face neutral but said nothing.
"Someone close to you?" Yoda prompted gently.
"Yes," Anakin replied, and turned his eyes away from Yoda's stare.
It was clear that Skywalker wanted to keep his secret a little longer. Yoda frowned. How could they discuss the problem freely if Anakin refused to be open?
"The fear of loss is a path to the dark side, young one," Yoda said with as much compassion as he could muster.
"I won't let my visions come true, Master. I won't."
And there it was.
Yoda tried again. "Rejoice for those who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not." The moment the words had left his mouth, Yoda regretted them. As true as they were, they sounded hollow in the face of Skywalker's determination.
"Then why do we fight at all, Master? Why save anybody?"
"Speaking of anybody, we are not," Yoda replied sternly. "Speaking of you, and your vision, and your fear, we are." He would not lie to the boy, Yoda decided. He would tell the truth, as hard as it would be for Anakin to hear. The lessons Yoda had learned were hard-won and painful and he owed it to the Jedi to share them.
"The shadow of greed, attachment is. What you fear to lose, train yourself to release. Let go of fear, and loss cannot harm you."
Yoda stared at him, hopeful that Anakin would let him to explain. Yoda prepared himself to tell Anakin his story of love and loss; his fear and his rage. He took a deep breath and swallowed his pride and guilt to force himself to relay the truest danger of attachments and the fear of loss: that in fighting your fear, you risk losing your soul.
Skywalker fidgeted inside his robes.
"Thank you for your time, Master Yoda," Anakin interrupted, his face unreadable. "You've given me a lot to think about. Unfortunately I'm late for a briefing on the Outer Rim sieges with Master Kenobi."
Yoda sighed. "Please, Anakin, more to say, I have."
Anakin stood and moved to the door. "I'm sure you do, Master." His best efforts could not hide his growing irritation. "But as I said, I'm already late. I will come back and talk with you when the opportunity presents itself."
Yoda knew he could order Anakin to stay. He could make the boy sit down and listen. His hand reached up instinctively as if to do just that when Anakin glared down at him, his red-splotched eyes full of disdain. Yoda withdrew his hand as if stung.
Skywalker was no longer willing to listen.
Yoda sighed in resignation as he realized that Anakin had come to the conclusion that Yoda did not have the answers he sought. He stared into the troubled eyes of Anakin Skywalker. Darkness roiled about him. If Skywalker chose poorly, then the Jedi Order would likely fall. Yoda's chest tightened with an overwhelming sense of helplessness. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply into the Force.
There was always hope, Yoda reminded himself.
He let out a loud breath, holding firm to the knowledge that no matter how dark the night grew, the morning always came. All things die, and this had to be true of the Jedi Order as well. It was the way of things. The way of the Force.
But life springs from death.
The decay of the fallen tree provides nourishment for the growing seedling. This was also the way of the Force. Patience, was required—patience and faith.
Yoda lowered his head. "See that you do, Anakin," he replied. "See that you do…"
The Chosen One turned and left without another word.
"Certain, you are?"
"Yes," Mace Windu replied from across the galaxy, blue scanning lasers giving him form in the hollowed out wroshyr tree in which Yoda stood on Kashyyyk. "He revealed himself to Skywalker just now."
Yoda furrowed his brow. "Where is Anakin now?"
"I've sent him to wait for us in the Council chambers," Mace replied, his face stern. "He's full of confusion and fear. I believe it is best to have him stay out of this."
"Do I have your agreement then?" Mace pressed.
"Mace," Yoda whispered, "fully prepared for this fight, you are. A more powerful Jedi to face this Lord Sidious, there is not."
Mace screwed up his face. "Thank you, Master Yoda."
"But a battle with lightsabers alone, this will not be," Yoda continued as if Mace had not spoken. "Careful, you must be, that in facing the darkness, swallowed by it, you do not become."
Mace lifted his chin. "I know where the line between light and dark is, Yoda. I won't cross it."
"To the One Point, you go, Mace." Yoda lifted his eyes and stared intently at his closest friend. "Rest on your decisions, the fate of the Galaxy does. Act as a Jedi throughout this conflict, you must."
Mace grew silent and seemed to ponder Yoda's words. "I understand," Mace replied at length. "May the Force be with us all."
"May the Force be with you, my friend."
The blue tinged hologram evaporated and Yoda stared out at the vista of Kashyyyk as it was rocked by explosions and blaster fire. No longer the center of the battle between Light and Dark, Yoda took solace in the knowledge that he had done everything he could to prepare the Order for its greatest test. He could not see past the One Point, no matter how fiercely he had meditated on it.
He could only wait…