Hic et Nunc
Characters- Anakin Skywalker
Summary- Here and Now, The Hero with No Fear chooses.
There is no peace to be found in the silence of the council where you were judged guilty of living and here you now sit, an owner of a seat so long desired and yet all you feel is agony.
The muscles in your gut twist, sinew flexing into grim repose for a moment before melting like liquid metal falling into a pit with all the coolness of molten lava.
A grimace finds its way to your face, your white skin stretching downward. You know that in mere moments, there will be no time for thought and pondering and iridescent worry or regret.
And you are afraid.
Because, for the first time in your life…
This is anathema to the very core of your being. The ground upon which you stand--the One Point where all possibilities narrow into an infinitesimal passage --seems to fall out from beneath you. You stand at the place where everything but that single choice has been purged like so much chaff.
In the Force it is a second sun, your eyes tearing of their own accord, making the shadows all the larger. You have never felt so warm… even when you remember the sky ringed with fire, and the flap of homespun cloth as you lowered it to her grave….
Your hand, the one that opened and closed in some strange rhythm that only it can hear, wants to reach out, as if to touch this new sun but you remember yourself and instead grip the coarse, hard stone.
All that is beyond this new light that consumes the sky whole is veiled with a darkness that makes the space between the stars seem like the first rays of dawn cresting the curvature of home.
Midnight's veil stays your gaze from the emanations of the point.
Your eyes narrow to the event horizon of blindness.
You stand at the summit of the Order, a pinnacle that others yearn for with every fabric of their being. Where others strained with simplicity incarnate, for you it was all but the flicker of the mind looking down upon a grain of sand. Where others sweat as their bodies are tormented by failing muscles, you stand serene as a pillar of light breaking through the clouds.
You are strong. The strongest.
The Chosen One.
This is your foundation, your ground…
…now turned to rubble--the root of the fear that fell like hail upon your shoulders.
How can you navigate the currents of the future when you are merely a blind man filled with delusions of superiority, a soul no greater than any that live within the masses, thrust into a conflict that so exceeded your mind? How can you make this choice when you lost the pedestal that separates you from the many?
Because all before you in the darkness lies the vision of her screaming your name, her pulse slowly fading as does the warmth in her womb and the falsetto of her voice…slowly dissipating into oblivion.
But the Shadow can help. It has offered you the stars, the war…the life of your unborn and the life of your wife. It would be so easy to rise from your seat at the Council and take the proffered hand with your palm that is still made of flesh and bone and make the universe the way it should be. The existence where the Tusken's screams are not cut in twain; where you keep your limbs and stay whole, instead of slowly losing parts of yourself to cold nights and rot.
The Shadow can cut the veil and cure your weak-sighted eyes and at only a small price.
Allegiance. Your promise. Your word is such a small price to pay. So what that he will grip your hand and ask you for help and protection. He has not lied to you nor hid himself from your sight. You've merely failed to see the truth because their teachers have twisted your gaze towards their purposes instead of truth. She'll have your heart and soul held close to her breast. That can be enough to live on.
Your eyes open, cracks into the soul. When your neck twists past to the glowing sphere of possibilities that sit on his seat--the one that should have been his so many years ago--you exhale and shame rushes to fill the void. Even though he does not sit there with his crossed legs, tugging on his beard as he recites his learned words, his presence lingers in the air. A ghost that cannot die.[Who? Shouldn't this be Palpatine? He doesn't have a beard. I'm a bit confused here. Is this supposed to be Obi-Wan?
This specter stares at you with transparent, almond eyes that judge you gently as the hand touching your shoulder in brotherly devotion.
A Jedi cannot love.
There is no fairness or justice in this edict. Cruelness alone, instead inhabits it. You want to answer the remark as if you were once more the little boy who knew the truths of the universe and the simplicity behind it all. Causality and all its brethren.
Who decided? You ask in retort. The Council in all their infinite wisdom? Even they have their follies and their sins. The troll and his prodigy. The Korun and the thin line he treads. The Mundi and his wives.
It is not right that they can pass judgment over what is beautiful and just. Over everything else shared between you as her husband and her, your wife. They know nothing of beauty. Of how your heart pounds mercilessly when your name leaves her lips or as her smile lights only upon you, all that you are laid bare and judged good.
And then you question your master's specter. And what do you say?
There is no emotion, there is peace.
Peace, the Shadow whispers in your ear, is a lie or at best, a projected front. There was peace under the whip and shackle as you toiled under twin suns. There was peace in your home in sand and in her tales of stars and heroes. There was peace at your wife's cottage in the mountains where there was sweet grass underneath your feet and sparkling water (blue, clear and smoother than silk on skin) which only mirrored that which you knew.
But even then, when you could not smell the charred human flesh in your nostrils or feel the dried covering of blood upon your skin like engine oil, there was emotion. A smile when she laughed at your antics. Tears when she thought you were asleep and let her hands touch the bruises on your back. Kisses with your wife amidst a bed of sweat-stained sheets, not yet dry.
Beautiful but not always bright, so the Shadows says to the Hero With No Fear.
The One Point continues to burn.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There were things you did not know then. Worlds of green. Infinite cold. All the dark space between the stars, full of absence and none else. Chorded strength and power. The sound a body makes as it hits the ground in two pieces.
But now you are tall and see so astutely that primary colors are no longer the sole proprietors of your life. Only subdivision of blue, yellow, red. Infinite and varied.in all manners of shades.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
Those moments are fleeting for you. Occasional glimpses of untouched snow. Pure, white and free from excess. Your family was born into winter's effigy but you into sand. Nine revolutions of twin suns about your head, dirt and sand in your mouth and the only water to be had kept in the canteen banging against your chest.
Then there was your mother. How she carried her in your home that was more a cell with bruises on rough worn skin. The warmth in her voice that spoke of of knights and damsels and the happy ending
There is no death, there is the force.
And this is the one you least understand for when you go into reality, apart from this sanctuary hidden high above so that others could never touch it, you deal death. By either forged light or by bidden thought, their bodies (because they never have names and you never ask) burn and list and turn cold in the growing dark.
Blood runs from wounds and turns sand and grit scarlet brown and when it stops flowing so too does their rhasping breaths that grate like stone against stone. But when that blood patches on your hands, it cracks and dries and peels and when it flakes off it has all the power of a scream cut short amidst the sudden stench of death.
And when their body crumples against the ground and the dirt filters into your mouth, bitter, there will be nothing in them save limp muscle held against hardened calcium.
When they die, you cannot make yourself believe that there is something above for which they flee. Their eyes are always empty and bare and the wind is always a breeze stronger in the passing.
Stop, stop, you cry out with your sky blue eyes to your master's specter who sits pale and translucent on his claimed seat like a mountain hidden by the vast distance and humanity's failing eye. You cannot bear these thoughts, these addictions to the images that are stretched taut across your mind and you silence your traitorous tongue.
You try to apologize to the stalwart master, mumbled words on the level of a whisper, but the Shadow stops you in the pause between breaths. It knows you well for it lived with you since you first heard your name and hero in the same sentence twisted in with glances of awe and joy of people never named. It knows that a picture is enough to hold you still and quiet. It tells you that there is no need to apologize because that you are both a man and a becoming legend and such emotions and thoughts are what separates the greatest from the common.
The shadow turns you head just enough for you to see the apartment where you know she stands. Where she watches you decide her fate. Where she hopes and prays for you in only the way a lover of many years can. The way a fated love writ in the stars is levied to do.
And you can smell that the time is fast approaching. The Windu nears his destination and upon his arrival he will unravel everything you earned for in the battles of this war. All the blood and all the scars and all the hushed messages between you and her and the small growing second heartbeat in her belly will disappear. As if they were but figments of your dreams and naught else.
It smells like wafting ash, the Shadow says, and it will be stained on your tongue. Something to taste forever onwards. Unless it is sweetness that you desire and not bitter burnt wood.
You stare towards her, past the dimming rays and the millions of beings going through their days in ignorance, and beyond the gleaming edifices into her soul. And even though there is such a distance, it as if she is next to you holding your hand, telling you that all will be right no matter his choice. Oh such a selfless thing.
The point is burning, burning through your clothes and through your skin and through the things you call heart and bone until it reaches the center of your spirit. The point is not there just for you, but for the world at large, and if you will not act upon it and choose your prescribed fate, your destiny will stripped from you and given to those who dare.
So here and now you weigh all you have done for the galaxy against the woman who you dreamed and who was made real as was your child and the shadow falls silent, its words no longer needing to be spoken. Because there is no time left to look towards alternatives, to vie for some hidden light, some god sent reprieve, so you weigh your families. Your wife and unborn against your siblings, uncles, aunts, grandparents and a man sometimes thought of as father with the slightly whispered words of the shadow tingling the spine.
And you choose. In a hushed breath and clenching fists, both artificial and true. You look up and outwards and beyond the room that encloses you and you look into the world and for that moment you are the point and everything is revealed. All the mists and veils torn to shreds and as you move to grasp it. To make it your own salvation. But by then the point is gone, leaving all in darkness with the background noise of a woman's tears and screams crying, needing to be dried.
You flee and hear nothing. Into the world of spires and monuments no longer touched by light. Into the enveloping shadow. Away from her and what you now hold dear above all else.