This is an excerpt from my AU novel that I am still in the process of writing. I just wanted to post a small part up and see what the general response would be. This is only the second piece I have ever post.

Disclaimer: Belongs to George Lucas.

The stars shone brightly in the night sky. The wind gently blew through the clearing and the wildlife was quiet. It was a beautiful night. Too beautiful for a night like this. A night where a family and friends gathered to say goodbye to its youngest member. Where parents had to let go of their baby. And three older siblings had to leave behind the youngest. A suedo-sister her annoying tag-along that she secretly adored but would never admit it. A night where two siblings had to lose someone they had just discovered the existence of and never had the chance to get to know.

Winding its way through the forest path, the funeral procession was led by Eirtaé bearing a torch. Immediately following were Vader and Sabé, then their three children. Mara Jade came next carrying a torch also. The Alliance members next were followed by two droids. Bringing up the rear was Jar-Jar Binks bearing another torch.

As the procession left the path through the forest and entered the clearing, they could see where the funeral pyre stood in the middle with the small body of Keirnan Skywalker on top. The people gathered loosely in a semi-circle around each side of the pyre. The immediate family stood to the left side. In the center of them, his mother Sabé. To Sabé's left were Vader and Nikana. On Sabe's right stood Leto and Ghanima. Across from the family on the other side of the pyre, stood the Alliance members and friends. Mon Mothma, General Dodonna. Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade. Leia Organa, General Han Solo and his first mate Chewbacca. Lando Calrissian, General Maximillian Veers, and Admiral Tomas Piet. And the two droids that had served the Skywalker family for so many years; R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Vader stepped in front of the pyre where his youngest son's body rested. He placed his hand on top of the little ones.

"I will find out what happened. You will have justice. I promise." He stepped back. Sabé stepped forward. After silently looking at him for a moment, she brushed a strand of his hair back that the breeze had moved. Leaning down, she placed her forehead against his. She continued to run her hand through his golden hair.

Eirtaé and Jar-Jar stepped forward, each holding a torch. Eirtaé stood at Keirnan's head and Jar-Jar his feet.

"Almost six years ago, I was given a gift, a great gift. I helped bring a child into this world. And he was more beautiful than any I had seen. As is our custom, he was given to me to bring to the temple to greet his first dawn. Never had I seen a more perfect day. I claimed before the Goddess this child to be of my heart. I pledged myself to him as Chada, promising to take the responsibility and honor of guiding him in this life. I learned more from him I fear." She paused and took a deep breath. "I fulfill my duty as Chada this night by bringing him to the Goddess once more. And I beg her to accept him into her arms and give him eternal peace." All gathered were quiet listening to the sounds of the surrounding forest. Jar-Jar took another step closer to the pyre.

"Mesa given great honors years ago, when Sabé chose me as Chadack. Mesa took Keirnan before the Goddess and promise to protect and guide hersa little one." Jar-Jar looked down for a moment. "Mesa here today to fulfill mesa role as Chadack to send him back to the Goddess. Mesa sure the Goddess welcome him to her."

"We will always be with you and you with us. Sleep, little one, and dream." Sabé gently kissed his forehead and stepped back next to her husband. He took her hand in his and squeezed it. She knew that was all the comfort he could give her in the presence of others. But she did not mind. She knew that the Rebels not only believed him a monster but cold and unfeeling. For he had shown no emotion at the death of his child. But to those who knew him, his family, his wife, his children, his friends, they knew how deeply he hurt. Vader saw emotions as a weakness. He could not deny he felt them but he would never show them to his enemies. He would never so willingly give them a weapon to use against him.

Leaning forward both Eirtaé and Jar-Jar touched their torches to the pyre lighting it afire and with it young Keirnan's remains. Sabé gave a small gasp and turned her head into Vader's shoulder. She took a deep breath and turned back to the pyre. Eirtaé and Jar-Jar stepped back to joined the others.

Those gathered watched the family as they stood there. Not one of them made a sound in their grief. Leto grasped his mother's hand as if their lives depended on it. And had his other arm on Ghanima's shoulders. Both of the daughters were quietly crying and Leto looked as if too were ready to tear. Even Mara stood quietly next to Luke with tears in her eyes. What was most shocking to the Rebels was the single tear trailing down Lord Vader's cheek. It seemed the monster had a heart after all.

Mara stepped forward and approached Sabé. She handed her a pair of cutting shears. Sabé stared at them for a moment for taking them. Mara stepped back to stand next to Luke once again. Those on the opposite side of the fire watched Sabé curiously, trying to figure out what she was going to do. Reaching to her long curls that flowed around her shoulders and down her back, she cut off a lock of her hair. She then stepped forward and threw the hair on the pyre. After a moment she handed the shears to Leto. Solo leaned around Leia to ask Mara for an explanation.

"What is she doing?" Without taking her eyes off of them she replied as Leto also cut a lock of hair off and threw it on the pyre.

"The hair will burn and join his ashes. By cutting off a lock of their hair and throwing it on the pyre, they are ensuring a piece of them will always be with him. It is custom on Sabé's home world of Naboo." Ghanima then threw her lock onto the pyre. She handed the shears to Nikana. Though she had trouble with her injured hand, she too cut off a lock of her hair and threw it to join the others.

"Does everyone do this?" Asked Mon Mothma.

"No. Only the blood family," answered Eirtaé. They all watched as Vader was given the shears and cut a lock of his hair off. He stared at it a moment before throwing it on the pyre. Mara stepped forward to take the shears again but Leia stopped her with her hand on her arm. Mara looked to her with a question in her eyes. Leia stepped around her and walked to stand in front of Vader. He looked questioningly at her. She reached her hand out to take the shears from him. He released them to her in surprise. She reached up and cut a lock of her hair and threw it on the pyre before stepping back to Luke to hand him the shears. Luke gave her a small smile before cutting off his own lock and throwing it on the fire. He then handed the shears back to Mara and stood next to Leia and took hold of her hand. He was very proud of his sister.

To say the others were shocked was an understatement. Leia had been very adamant about the fact that she would not acknowledge Vader as her father. And yet here she was claiming the lost boy as her blood kin. No one could believe it. Vader continued to stare at her for a moment before looking back to the pyre.

All was quiet in the clearing except for the sound of the wood on the pyre burning. No one moved or spoke a word. Everyone was surprised when Sabé started to sing. Softly at first but growing louder.

Hush now, my baby
be still love, don't cry
Sleep like you're rocked by the stream
Sleep and remember
my lullaby
And I'll be with you when you dream

Ghanima and Leto shared a small smile, before also starting to sing.

Drift on a river
that flows through my arms
Drift as I'm singing to you
I see you smiling
so peaceful and calm
and holding you, I'm smiling, too

Here in my arms
Safe from all harm
holding you, I'm smiling, too

Nikana latched onto her father's hand and joined her mother in singing the lullaby.

Hush now, my baby
be still, love, don't cry
Sleep like you're rocked by the stream
Sleep and remember this river lullaby
And I'll be with you when you dream

Here in my arms
Safe from all harm
holding you, I'm smiling, too

Later, Han Solo would swear he had a small heart attack the moment he heard Vader join them. Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, sang a lullaby. He thought he was delusional or hallucinating on some really good drugs.

Sleep and remember this river lullaby

And I'll be with you when you dream
Sleep and remember this river lullaby
and I'll be with you when you dream
I'll be with you when you dream

"River Lullaby" song by Amy Grant on "Prince of Egypt" Soundtrack