Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away…

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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

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That's how all stories start you know. Then there are people who are definitely the heroes and those who are definitely the villains and the lines never blur or cross. The hero and heroine fall in love at first sight, there are a few complications, but true love perseveres and then they get married. And they live happily ever after. Then there are stories where a child must rescue or avenge his or her parent(s). There are still other stories with treachery and betrayal and you have to figure out who to trust. Then there are the fun stories where you have to solve the mystery. This story is not quite like those. But don't worry. It still ends in happily ever after.

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Not all stories are fairy tails for children's ears. There are those where you can't be sure who is the villain and who is the hero. Sometimes your heroes don't kill the bad guy but save him and when you see him for the first time you cry for the devil. Sometimes your hero falls suddenly and you scream at the betrayal, while other times the fall is slow but sure and you can only watch with the doomed felling of inevitability. Love can cause a man to do great good, or great evil. Then, there are stories that seem to usurp the original tale. In the end, who can say which was better or worse?

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There is a story told about a maiden and a unicorn. The maiden is beautiful of course. She is innocent and sweet. She does not seek to fight in word or deed, but meekly submits. Her kindness, goodness, and gentleness woo all to her side. She accepts the world as it is as she, too good for this sinful Earth, merely tries to lighten the path of any she comes across. She seeks them out. She searches of any who may need her help and she gives it freely.

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Padme Amidala was a fighter. A strange description of a pacifist to be sure, but she was. The Trade Federation, her political opponents, and the Separatists all learned this to their peril. First she fought with her words on the senate floor, then went back to Naboo and blasted her way into her own throne room. First she argued after an assassination attempt, and then picked off battle droids in the arena. She drew people to her with her strength of sprit. She refused to accept that the world couldn't be changed, that she couldn't help people. She sought them out. She was always looking for any who might need her help before devoting herself to getting it for them.

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The unicorn is a creature of light. Innocent in both word and deed; innocent in his ignorance of the harsher parts of life. He never knows loss or pain, never anger or hatred, never cruelty or deception. He never knows fear or betrayal. He never knew death. He is untamed and wild. No one and nothing can imprison him. If he does something it is because he wants to, not because he's been forced. The other creatures are in awe of him. Destiny whispers around him as his fate is decided.

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Anakin was a creature of the Living Force. They laughed together as he called upon his heritage. But though he was undoubtedly a being of light, he knew the darkness well. He had grown up a slave to a hutt, innocence was not a luxury he was afforded. Before he had reached his fifth birthday he had seen murder, rape, and torture. He was very familiar with greed, hate, lust, pain, and fear. Strangely enough for one born into bondage, he was as untamed as a sandstorm. His eyes, far too dark far too young, showed the barely-leashed power if one looked deep enough, a fiery dragon coiled around his heart. The others his age at the Temple tended to be in awe of him. The word Chosen wrapped itself around him as fate warped and changed about him, modifying with his whims.

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They meet in a quiet grove one day. They are far from civilization, from the taint of man. She wanders into the woods, picking flowers and listening to the birds. Of course she is dressed in a pure white gown that brushes the ground as she walks and makes her look like an angel. Doves perch on her shoulders and coo softly. She rests next to a tree. When the world goes silent she raises her head to see why. She too is soon awed. Almost hidden just behind a tree the unicorn watches. He has never seen a being such as her. Slowly he emerges.

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The day they met was just like any other on Tatooine. It was hot, dry, and dusty. Mos Espa was overrun with people of questionable morals, some strode down the streets while others were tucked away in shadows. Padme was wearing a blue outfit made from coarse, rough material and dressed as a peasant. To a slave, she still looked like an angel. Anakin came running in from the back of the shop and sat on the counter, watching her. He spoke boldly, life as a slave long since having removed his shyness or decorum. She blushed when he proclaimed her an angel, and even more when he declared he would marry her.

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They do not speak; merely walk side by side to a waterfall. They sit in silence for a while. Then she falls asleep under his watchful gaze. There is no conflict; they have no worry or fear.

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They laughed and talked together by the waterfall on Naboo. That day both somehow said too much and too little. Over the course of their strange courtship there was heartbreak and death, stolen kisses and declarations of love that burned and scarred. And underneath it was the knowledge that all of it was forbidden.

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They decide by some mutual consent to remain together. Everything is sweet and easy as they wander.

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The first day they decided to risk it all, they had been condemned to death, soon to be in an arena battling for their lives. When it was over and they got married, they knew the rules and were prepared to fight for the right to be bound to one another.

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Always together they linger near sparkling brooks and soothing lakes, in quiet grooves and peaceful meadows. Their companions are sun kissed flowers, sweetly singing birds, and lightly scented breezes.

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They were often apart, something that they accepted, but didn't like. Their times apart were spent on blood choked battlefields or in hostile, sometimes hidden, political meetings. Their times together were whispered words or brief kisses veiled in shadows or stolen moments in each other's arms that disappeared so quickly that they soon learned to hate the sunrise.

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But such times do not last forever.

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They murmured promises to one another of a different future, of the "one day" they would have.

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A group of hunters come to the maiden. They tell her of the unicorn's horn's healing powers. She already knows this of course, better than them. They tell her of many people who are sick and how the only way to save them is the unicorn horn. But in order of it to work the unicorn needs to die.

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Padme didn't know how the Jedi found out about their marriage. As soon as they began to explain, she ceased to care. They started by speaking of Anakin's darkness. She knew this even better than them. She remembered Tatooine, they only know from visions. But what visions! They told her of darkness and death. They claimed Anakin (her Ani!) would turn. That he would torture and kill, would destroy the Jedi and the Republic. The only way to insure the safety of the universe was to kill him. But he did not trust them, was wary and would be ready to fight back, and they couldn't let it become a big deal, draw unwanted attention. So they wanted her to help.

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The maiden is horrified at the thought. She knows one of the hunters well and that he is a good man. He too knows the unicorn and already seems to be in mourning. She asks him and listens as he confirms all that they have said.

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She defied them. Then Obi-Wan spoke to her. He loved Anakin like a brother, wept for him. But he was a Jedi and had enough control over his emotions to bow to the greater good. He murmured of a place called Mustfar and a "Death Star" (what ever that was). But he could never bring himself to speak of what would happen there. He did speak of other things though. He told her of the pain that Anakin suffered though for twenty-three years. Perhaps it was better, he said, for Anakin to die a hero rather than a villain.

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She puts it off as long as she can.

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When Anakin returned to her arms, she held him tightly and wept. Her husband murmured in Pamde's hair, asked her what happened, swore he would do anything for her, that he would protect her, if only she would tell him what was wrong he would fix it, he promised. Of course all of this just made her cry harder. She didn't tell him what the Jedi had said, what Obi-Wan had said. She would not share his brother's betrayal, but she would not turn him over to the Jedi, to death, either. Visions be damn they would not take her husband!

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But when she learns of family that might die she weakens.

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Then she learned she was pregnant. Her celebration lasted until the Jedi called for her again. The visions they showed her then… her son losing his hand, screaming when learning of his heritage and willing to commit suicide rather than acknowledge it, being held under lightening begging for his father as Anakin just stands there, just watches; her daughter being tortured by his hand, watching her love frozen before her eyes on Anakin's orders, hating her father. She had not known herself to be so selfish before. But now she discovered that the knowledge of what he would do to their children tipped the scale as the horrors of his actions to the universe did not.

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Finally the hunters receive word to come to a certain place at a certain time.

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Padme sent the fatal message to the council, hating herself.

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The unicorn comes to her as always. He trusts her.

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Anakin slipped away to visit her, risked everything for just a few moments with his wife. He was overjoyed to learn he was to be a father. Padme insisted that they discuss names that night. He obeyed her eagerly, too deliriously happy to protest to anything she might say, to even notice her force signature. If so he might have asked her what was wrong. Instead, he happily did as she wished, and willing followed her when she led him to their bed.

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He lays his head in her lap and sleeps as she winds her fingers though his mane.

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Afterward, they slipped into their sleeping clothes, Anakin's face lighting up as Padme's nightgown did nothing to conceal her condition. Then he laid his head on her lap, and whispered a litany of praise for her, rubbing a proud hand over her stomach occasionally. His reverence almost changed to worship as he gazed upon his pregnant wife. She ran her fingers through his hair murmuring lyrical, undefined words. Eventually he drifted off to sleep, secure in the love of his family and the arms of his wife. He was relieved to be away from battle and free to relax and so did not scan for danger and didn't know of the Jedi who had just arrived.

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He does not awaken.

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Darth Sideous prepared to send a dream to his apprentice-to-be, but there was a sudden scream in the force then Anakin Skywalker was no more.

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No one else knows of how the unicorn dies. The hunters, solemn, are assured of the necessary of their actions. Though there is one hunter who leaves their number forever.

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No one outside of the council ever knew what happened. Oh there was an official story of course. It was spread through the Temple and released on the Holonet. They had destroyed Palpatine and claimed that the Sith Master killed the Chosen One. After all, it was true from a certain point of view. If Anakin had lived then Palpatine's influence would have destroyed the hero and Jedi that he was. Besides, his influence on Skywalker, caught too late, too deeply imbedded in the boy to undo, was what would have turned him. The Sith had forced their hand against one of their own. Obi-Wan, however, did not remain with the Jedi. It was claimed that he took the loss of his former Padwan too deeply. If this assumption was not the whole truth than nothing was ever done to correct it.

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No one knows what happens to the maiden. There are many stories of course. One of them talks about how she was honored by the hunters. One of them says the opposite - that she hated the hunters for what they had done.

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Luke was with her step-brother-in-law's family. Leia was with the Organas. Both were childless couples so deserving of a babe to raise as their own. She had given neither to the Jedi. They would not have her children as well.

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It speaks of her being overcome with guilt.

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She had arranged everything. Done all she needed to.

Now all that was left was to deliver the sentence of a murder and a traitor. She picked up the gun.

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There was one part of that story that spoke of their meeting in the afterlife. But it has been lost to time. Either way, that version of the story isn't told often.

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Had she not made her decision, he would have lived in pain like no other, his legacy would horrify his family, millions would have been slaughtered, she would have died because of the person she loved and trusted most, her children would have suffered at their father's hand, the universe would have reeled with the amount of evil one man could do...

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The favorite one is her mourning the unicorn, but also perceptive and intelligent enough to understand why it was for the best. It tells of how she goes back to the grove and comes away with peace and understanding in her heart. The unicorn forgives her for his murder and her utter betrayal of his trust. He empathizes, knows why it was necessary that he died. He reassures her that he holds no grudge, feels about her as he always did and will never turn his back on her, never reject her, always be there for her, to wipe away her tears, etc. Everything is good and happy and wonderful. Everyone is forgiving, at peace, in love with each other. And there are no tears, no screams, no disgust. No one asks, "how could you!" or suffers from a heart that is not only broken but ripped, torn, shattered in a million and one ways. And Heaven's rage never has a chance to be compared to love turned to hatred.

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...so surely this is the happier ending.

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No doubt that's the true story. After all, everyone always lives happily ever after, right?