Epilogue

Fear, anger, hate, and suffering – they all stem from love. Even the absence of love can trigger fear, and therefore cause the rest of the cycle. For the absence of love leads to fear, and fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering, and suffering leads to fear, and fear leads to anger, and anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering, and . . .

And so the cycle continues.

But sometimes, if one is lucky, the cycle can be broken the same thing that started it.

Love.

I, Carissa of Silima, am not lying when I said that I hated the Jedi with every fiber of my mind, every molecule of my body, every speck of my soul.

I hated them, and I passed on that hate to my son, Ewan. In a way, I punished him for everything I could not punish the Jedi, for Ewan was weak and the Jedi were strong, and I reasoned that I had to prepare him to hate the Jedi as I did.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I succeeded.

By the time my son was old enough to stand on his own, my husband was dead, and I wasn't that far from death myself. He left us to make his way in life, to pave his own path, and to explore the Outer Rim territories and the Unknown Regions, and I never saw him again. I do not know if he came to my funeral when I died shortly afterwards.

But Ewan raised his family as I had always hoped he would.

Ewan made his life, just as my husband had predicted, with the flair that came with his christened last name – Skywalker. And he did walk the sky. Perhaps the Force guided him, but his business revolutionized air and space transport and he always walked away with the better end of the deal.

And his family carried the hate that had burned for so long.

His son, Kiros, was Force-sensitive as well, after all, but when the Jedi came calling, Ewan sent them packing. He swore, and his wife swore, and his son in turn swore that no child of the Skywalker line would ever bear the title of a Jedi.

And so we avoided them.

Ewan died wealthy, and Kiros inherited the business. He managed it well, stabilized it, made the name of the business known, respected, powerful. My great-grandson, Kael, in turn, expanded the business beyond just the Mid-Rim circles. Soon his technology was being used for fancy celebrations on Coruscant as well as dangerous excursions in the Outer Rim. All of them were Force-sensitive, but none even bothered to consider sending one of the Skywalker clan to join the Jedi Order.

But the true triumph, I suppose, came with the dealings of my great-great grandson.

His daughter, Shmi, became friendly with a Jedi who, at the time, was stationed in the sector as a . . . well, a watchman, I suppose. There were about 2,000 other Jedi stationed around the galaxy in the same positions in other sectors.

Shmi was Force-sensitive, just not too strong, but it was enough to catch the Jedi's eye.

They were friends, about the same age, shared meals, talked, laughed, and in general were friendly. They had met when she had one day fallen asleep . . . and not woken up. Frantically, her parents had searched for a cure – and unfortunately, the Jedi had been the one to supply it, waking her with a simple application of the Force. And that initial meeting had turned, somehow, into friendship.

My great-great grandson disapproved, of course, but could not do anything.

Not with the Jedi Order watching.

The Jedi, of course, did not know of why the Skywalker line disapproved so vehemently of the idea of sending one of their own to join the Order, for Thame Cerulian, I guessed, had never sensed how my anger had boiled over – or how I was so intimately connected to the Skywalkers. But then again, he was dead long before my great-great grandson's time, and I doubted he had confided anything to Dooku, who in a way was his son, just as Ewan was mine.

But nevertheless, they kept a close eye on the Skywalkers.

Then, only three months after Shmi and the Jedi had become friendly, the Jedi was recalled to Coruscant. He was to take an apprentice. And he was not to return, ever. A new Sentinel was being assigned to the sector.

Shmi, understandably, was devastated, and not two days after the Jedi left she collapsed.

The doctors were at a loss to explain it – Shmi was simply in a coma, and could not be roused, but there seemed to be no cause or cure. There was nothing to be done except do a full examination, to which her parents quickly agreed . . . only the explanation that came then was everything to be undesired.

Shmi was pregnant.

No one could explain how, or why, or who was the father, but my great-great grandson thought he knew.

He had demanded that Shmi explain – or confess, as he desired – immediately as to the identity of the father the second she woke. To his anger, she denied everything. All she could tell them was that she had just woken out of a daze of sorts . . . a daze that the Jedi's presence had cast upon her, and that when they had first met, cold had crept across her body and pain had flared in her womb, and yet . . . somehow, for some reason, she had been bewitched in becoming friends with him all the same.

To my great-great grandson, that was all he needed.

In his hatred for the Jedi, the deed that needed to be done was clear. Shmi's child was clearly going to be Force-sensitive, and there was no doubt that if a Jedi had sired the child, he would come back for him or her – and not be said no to this time.

A perfect trap, my great-great grandson knew, but with one tiny flaw.

After all, if the Jedi couldn't find Shmi, he couldn't find her child, and besides . . . no child of Skywalker line was going to be a Jedi, and no one of the Skywalker clan was going to be associated with the Jedi, even the brat of one.

A week later, my great-great grandson arranged for Shmi to be sent to a new colony being built on the edge the Unknown Regions.

She never made it there.

A search effort lasted a month, but found no trace of Shmi or the pirates that had attacked the ship and taken her. The search ended then, and Shmi's funeral was held for the public; but in the confines of the family, everything Shmi had ever owned – including her place on the family tree – was burned.

Shmi gave birth not long afterwards, and she called her son "Anakin". It was the name, she had repeatedly been told from childhood, that the ancestress of the Skywalker line had wished would be bestowed upon the one that would change the universe.

Of course, she had also been told that that child would fulfill that duty by destroying the Jedi.

But Shmi hoped that her child would learn compassion over revenge, replace despair with hope, and hold love dearer than hate.

Change, she truly believed, her Anakin would bring to the universe, yes – only change for the better, not for the worse as the ancestress had wished for.

Her family never saw her again, or her son, and to their surprise, the Jedi that they believed had sired Shmi's child never returned. In fact, when they tried to search him out to flaunt what had been done, they found that he had died . . . over a hundred years ago.

The man who had sired the child was not a Jedi.

Horrified, my great-great grandson sought Shmi out for the rest of his days, but he had done his work too well. He never found her, and died in grief and anguish when the ship he was traveling in for one last search effort in the Unknown Regions exploded and killed him.

Shmi never knew, of course, but perhaps the Force guided her in naming the son she bore the name I had chosen generations ago: Anakin.

Anakin, the chosen one, the warrior, the epitome of the Skywalker line.

No one ever realized, of course, that Anakin had no father.

The Jedi Knight, the one who had called himself "Andur Skywalker", had actually been a Sith Lord called Darth Plagueis. He had sired the boy not through normal means but through influencing the Force and the midi-chlorians to bring about life in a virgin womb in a barren land of slavery and drudgery.

In many ways, Anakin Skywalker was the miracle of our line.

And of course, he did manage to fulfill the vow all my sons had sworn.

Shmi never let the boy know a whisper about the true nature of the origin of the Skywalker family. He knew nothing about me, about the vow, or about why he had grown up in slavery. She kept him away from fear, away from anger, and away from hate. She tried, to the best of her ability, only to let Anakin know love, the very opposite of everything her family – my line, the Skywalker line – had taught her, her father, and her grandfather before her.

She succeeded.

But she also failed.

The boy loved her so much that it caused him to feel fear, anger, and hate concerning her fate.

In the most ironic and twisted way, I suppose, Shmi and I tried our best to defeat each other's purpose only to fulfill it.

Shmi tried her best to defeat my vow of revenge by ensuring her son saw neither hair nor hide about it.

Yet it would be her son, Anakin Skywalker, who would be my chosen one, for it would be Anakin Skywalker who would carry out my vow by not just hurting the Jedi – he would go so far that he would actually destroy them. With the fulfillment of Order 66, Anakin Skywalker finally managed to carry out my vow by slaughtering the entire Jedi Temple and then roaming the galaxy killing all the rest of the Jedi who survived Order 66 over the years.

At the same time, though, he defeated me through Shmi.

For it was her memory that allowed him to finally turn against Darth Sidious and save his son, allowing for the Jedi Order to be revived.

And with that . . . the cycle was broken.

I provided the fear, thanks to Master Unskette and Thame Cerulian.

Ewan provided the anger, thanks to Thame Cerulian and Dooku.

Kael provided the suffering, thanks to a certain Darth Plagueis and Dooku and Qui-Gon Jinn.

And Shmi provided the love that broke the entire cycle altogether, thanks to Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Quite a cycle, it was, I guess.

And we proved the Jedi saying true. Much as I hate them, I have to admit that it did work. My fear lead to Ewan's anger which lead to Kael's hate which lead to Shmi's suffering that lead to Anakin's final fatal strike against the Jedi Order.

But in a way, I guess, Shmi is really the last one standing. She suffered the most, yes, but she also reaped the most.

Her son destroyed the Jedi Order that, from Unskette to Obi-Wan Kenobi, had destroyed me. But by doing so, he allowed for the rise of a new Order – a better Order, in fact.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

The Jedi were right about that bit. I wasn't even a Jedi, but it happened to me, and it happened to all those who followed my line, the Skywalker line.

But Shmi was right to.

She was the one who asked, And what does love do?

And she provided the answer.

Love conquers, love outlasts, and love shines brighter than the very stars.

My name was Carissa of Silima, and I was the great-great-great grandmother of the worst enemy and greatest savior of the Jedi Order ever, perhaps, to exist in the entire universe – Anakin Skywalker. It was through my existence and my hatred for the Jedi Order that the Skywalker line began.

This was my story, and the story of my line – the Skywalker line – still continues.

Perhaps it will never end.

That will be my legacy, even though no one will ever remember my name or how the Skywalker name came to be.

THE END