You remember some things to forget others.

The feel of your child's hand for instance, soft and pale like the color of snow made flesh, white and round all over the pain of the body that has betrayed you. Or the smell of the nursery, milky and warm, far removed from the antiseptics and the bitter taste of medicine in your mouth. You gag and swallow to stop acid reflex fleeing up your throat.

You remember other little things, too. The scent of pale starlily flowers with their spiral blossoms (a present from your daughter), petals turning in upon themselves until infinity, cupped in your hands. Quiet evenings in the flatlands, flashbugs lighting across the landscape under stars and murmuring grass sounding in your ears. The color of the Talravinian sky: brown and soft like silken hair, braided and combed across the hills with loose strands spilling over nimbus pillows in the twilight…

The hallucinations are an effect of the drugs, the doctors tell you. An odd and unexpected gift in the sunset of your life. At a time when everything else is fading, the memories return twice as vivid as before. Salmon silks and a man with darkness in his eyes. Was that someone standing behind her? You can't remember. The heat and deception of the sand steals the vision from your eye.

The rooms are growing hotter, more crowded by the day. The doctors shake their heads and wave nervously at the medical droids. They say it's an illusion, but you see the worry in their eyes. More and more are coming in, and the hospitals are running out of space. You've heard this, in their sequestered conversations, blurry white and gray-robed forms hovering in the corner of your vision while they think you are sleeping. You'll leave, soon enough, and then they'll have more space.

At least, you think you'll leave. You would wait, you told her, no matter how long. And now you wait. You wait for your daughter to return even as the darkness is closing in.

The hospital is quiet today. The sounds of lives breaking outside have ceased for the hour. In the quiet aftermath, she comes. She must have been here sometime, because you can see the pale coating on her dust-hemmed robe. She is wearing black on black with her silver saber hanging like a star falling from her waist. The eyes of darkness in her face make her seem older somehow, ancient. You wonder who is the mother and who is the child. I've come to release you, She says, You've held on for much too long.

I had hoped, You say, You kept me waiting. The darkness is closing in fast. Peace, you think. Perhaps you even say that out loud.

The flowers in her hands are white, like snow made flesh. She lays them over your heart. Peace is a lie, she tells you, There is only passion. Through passion I gain strength, through strength I gain power. Through power I gain victory, through victory my chains are broken. I will set you free, Mother. Only strength can bring you that.

Like the clouds you have watched outside your window for so long, the pillow is soft against your skin, and light. You feel the chains of your bondage lifting as it presses down against your face. You smile, knowing that she is right. Her strength has set you free.


The sky was brown and soft, and the air held a hint of earth. Revan laid his hand across his lover's cheek, a dark-gloved, tender kiss. "It is done," Bastila said, and her voice held no regrets. Helena's still form lay discarded on the hospital bed.

"You've done well, my apprentice."

She nodded.

"Only by breaking our worldly ties can we hope to achieve greatness within the Force."

"There's nothing left for us here. The galaxy awaits, My Lord."

The Dark Lord held out his hand and she gave him hers in return. "Shall we?"

She nodded. They walked together, into the night, and the future of an empire lay at their feet.