The darkness slowly lifts. He looks around, confusion evident in his wondering glance. Soft light replaces the hellish darkness, illuminating an all too familiar figure. He is amazed, yet sorrowed, to see his old master standing before him. For a moment, his guilt and shame threaten to overwhelm him, to send him back into the darkness from whence he had so lately come. Tentatively, he reaches out to the Force, expecting harsh rejection, the ultimate payment for his crimes that he believes he truly deserves. But the Force is awash with the forgiveness and the love of the person before him. His wearied heart lifts, an unrealized, unnoticed burden falling away.
He sees others from his past, those who had joined the Force before him. As he scans the heartbreakingly familiar faces, he finds himself both longing and dreading finding one particular face, the face of the one he has wronged the most grievously. Without warning, the small group surrounding him parts. He looks up… and pain sears his aching heart, driving him to his knees. Memories crash down on him once more, the twenty-odd years separating him from the hideous events now assaulting his mind doing nothing to ease his pain. He had spent a lifetime hating himself for the single action he regretted above all, an action he believed unforgivable…a soul-tearing grief that could not be easily assuaged. For a moment, the darkness whispers again you can never be forgiven for what you did to her...
A gentle hand brushes his shoulder. Lost in his grief and guilt, he doesn't feel it until a firm but loving touch forces him to meet a pair of tear-bright eyes. The bonds that have constricted his broken heart for so long break under her loving, forgiving gaze. A half-forgotten sensation floods him… is this what pure, unadulterated joy feels like? he wonders as his wife takes his hand and raises him up to stand tall once more.
A moment, an age, an eon passes, time without meaning here. With the help of his master, he parts the gossamer veil separating the realm of the Force from the world of the living. With a smile, he sees his son, the son who redeemed him in the end. Mirror images, father and son, they share one, ephemeral moment before his daughter tugs his son away, back to their friends and the warmth of the gentle fire. A last loving look; he turns back to his wife, allowing the veil to close once more. Walking hand in hand, they finish their long journey to a place unimaginable, together.
The universe silently rejoices in its newfound balance, the regime of terror and darkness it has suffered under for so long replaced by the light of love.
Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.