Old Man and the Desert

Chapter 42


He thought he heard something. It sounded like someone was calling his name, but his body felt weightless and airy. It was as if he were inside a cloud. He could only make out the syllables. It sounded far away and out of reach.

"Obi-Wan...Obi-Wan...can you hear me, Obi-Wan?"

The voice called to him again, but this time it sounded different. It sounded like a man. This time the voice was stronger and near. He slowly opened his eyes. He saw a thick mist, but then gradually it lifted away and he saw the man. He recognized him immediately. It was Master Qui-Gon.

"Master Qui-Gon? Where am I?"

"We are in the nexus of the Force known as Mortis, Obi-Wan."

Obi-Wan's memory came rushing back to him. He remembered the Gate. He remembered the Emperor. He remembered Mortis. He remembered his son. Obi-Wan no longer felt light and carefree. His worries piled on and give him gravity.

"I have to go back."

Master Qui-Gon unfolded his arms in exasperation. He thought Obi-Wan would know what was happening. He approached him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. He said, "Obi-Wan, you have to understand. You are one with the Force now. You cannot go back."

Obi-Wan rushed his hand away and took a step back. Master Qui-Gon was surprised by his distress. He didn't know why he persisted and not accept his fate.

"No, I must return. I have to protect my family."

Master Qui-Gon was puzzled. Obi-Wan had no family. The last time they spoke they were on Tatooine. He had left Obi-Wan at his cave. He was waiting for Luke to come of age. He was meant to guide young Luke in the ways of the Force. He was to train him so he could meet his destiny. Luke was meant to defeat the Sith. He would be the new Chosen One. He would take Anakin's place. He would be the one to restore balance to the Force.

"Obi-Wan, what family? What has happened?"

He closed his eyes. He knew that his former-Master wouldn't understand. It went against the Code and everything he had learned as a Jedi, but still he would not repent. Obi-Wan did not feel guilt or shame for the love he felt for his family.

He turned and said, "Much as happened, Master. New Force-beings have entered our galaxy. I met one while in exile on Tatooine. I nursed her back to health. I grew to love her. She is my wife. She restored my body. She restored Anakin as well. She and I have a son and he is in grave danger. I must return. I have to protect them. I have to save them. I cannot fail."

"Obi-Wan, you are attached. You have broken the Code."

"Damn the Code!"

Master Qui-Gon grabbed Obi-Wan by the arm. He said, "Listen to me. Regardless of your attachments you still cannot return." He closed his eyes in sympathy. "I'm sorry old friend, but you are dead. You can't go back."

Obi-Wan stilled. Master Qui-Gon allowed his hand to slip from his arm. He sensed the turmoil warring inside him. He knew that Obi-Wan would suffer greatly because of his attachments. He didn't think Obi-Wan would ever be tempted. He thought he would continue on being a great Jedi. He never thought he would have a family. He thought Ob-Wan was already too late in life to even consider a family. He was disappointed, but Qui-Gon wasn't entirely without feeling. He wanted to console him.

In a mentoring voice, he said, "Obi-Wan, I know that it is difficult for you now, but in time your feelings will pass. The Force will find a way. You must not give up hope."

Obi-Wan took a deep breathe. He knew his master was right. He couldn't give up, giving up meant giving up all that he loved. Obi-Wan couldn't afford to lose his loves ones-especially when they needed him. He straightened up and slowly turned. Qui-Gon saw that there was no aguish in his clear gray-blue eyes, only determination.

He took a deep breath and said, "I can no longer let my feelings pass, Master. I have felt the Force and it tells me that my lady needs me. I must go."

He then turned away from his former-Master for the last time. He walked into the thick mist and disappeared into the light. He was resolute. He would not be stopped. Master Qui-Gon hadn't seen Obi-Wan look so stubborn in years.


Location: Mortis, The Castle

"Why aren't you dead?"

Anakin was stunned to see the Son was alive. The tall pale figure grinned maliciously. The Emperor was standing beside him. Anakin saw that Darth Sidious' hood was back and that his skin was decayed. Anakin was glad to see that the Sith's misfortune hadn't been cured yet by the Son.

"Ah, Chosen One, so good of you to come. Have you returned to take your place by my side? I'm willing to put aside the fact that you impaled me with your lightsaber the last time you were here."

Anakin said, "I'd be more than happy to impale you again."

The Son coolly replied, "Oh, I don't think your lightsaber will work on me this time. You see, you made the mistake of thinking I could be killed by such a crude weapon when it is only the Mortis dagger that can kill me. I was only weakened by my Father's passing, but I don't need Father to channel my powers anymore. You and your Master have supplied me with all the hatred I need." The Son then approached Anakin and leaned down to whisper into his ear. He said, "Don't you see, you have been my servant all along."

Anakin was furious. He shoved the Son away and shouted. "NO! I will never be your servant!"

The Son laughed aloud. It echoed out inside the castle chamber as he raised his arms in joy. "Yes! Rage! Hate me! HAHAH! Your Darkness feeds my strength."

Meanwhile, Darth Sidious disliked these turn of events. He thought he could harness the raw power of the Darkness by stealing it from the Son, but Anakin's interference was hindering his progress. He wanted to be chosen by the Dark One, not his apprentice. He only hoped that the Son would grow tired of Anakin's resistance and dispose of him.

Anakin sneered. He knew how to control his feelings. He couldn't succumb to his hate or he would be open to the Son's manipulation. With great effort, Anakin turned away from the Son. He knew he had to find balance within himself before he could take on the Son. Anakin clenched his fist.

The Son sensed the change in him. He sensed that he was releasing his feeling to the Force. He was trying to find his balance. The Son shook his head and grabbed Anakin by the shoulders.

"No! No! No! Don't fight it," said the Son in a pleading voice. He smirked sinisterly. "Don't you remember? It's the Darkness that kept you strong."

Then, out of nowhere, Thrice appeared at the door. Her energy was dark and grave. Her darkness swallowed up the chamber and it grew dim. Shadows began to creep along the walls. Her aura was like a living thing. Her blood red eyes shone in the dark. The Son released his hold on Anakin. He was drawn to the raw darkness he felt from the warrior. He turned to her as she strode into the room, but she seemed completely unaware of their presence. Instead, she honed solely onto Darth Sidious.

She was out for revenge. Only the Sith Lord's blood would quench her thirst. Meanwhile, Darth Sidious read her thoughts. He knew she meant to kill him, but she was a fool to think he could be defeated so easily. It did not matter if she was full of Darkness. She was still not as dark as him. He rather thought it was amusing that Obi-Wan's bride would fall so far into the Dark.

Sidious wasted no time. Once she was near, he blasted her with bolts of Force-lightening. Thrice deflected his attack with her hands. She nullified his attack with the Force. Nothing would slow her down.

"Weak! I'll have your head for slaying my Knight!"

Then, Luke and Leia appeared at the door. They had been running after her since they arrived. Luke quickly rushed to her. "No, Thrice! This isn't what Ben would want."

Thrice shoved Luke away with the power of the Force. Luke was amazed. Thrice had never been able to move objects with the Force before. She had only been able to move her sword. It was the difference between Jedi and Warriors. Luke thought maybe it had something to do with Mortis. The Force was strong here. Thrice was probably stronger here too.

She said, "Out of my way, child!"

In response, Darth Sidious began to laugh. He was glad to see them fight amongst themselves. He knew that the boy would try to restore the Clan-woman back to the path of Light. Yet, Sidious knew that her heart would never yield.

He smirked and said, "Foolish, boy. You cannot save a woman scorned. She is already one with the Dark Side."

"No," cried Luke. "You're wrong. Thrice is stronger than the Darkness."

Thrice continued to struggle with Luke, but finally she broke free. She knocked the wind out from his gut with her elbow. She then used the Force to shove Sidious against a wall, but instead he was thrown out the window and crash through the stain glass. He landed outside in a courtyard. Lightening flashed in the sky and the clouds grew darker. Thrice pursued him and followed him outside.

In response, Sidious raised his hands and shot another bolt of Force-lightening, but Thrice again deflected his attack with a sweep of her hand. She attacked him instead with a Force-bolt of her relentlessly approached him without remorse.

Darth Sidious struggled to stand. His body was still weak from Blackswan's poor clone body. He gazed venomously at the she-warrior with pure hate. She was strong. She was by far stronger than him. He would have to manipulate her mind in order to win. Yet, he knew that unlike the Jedi she would not fall for sympathy. She was a cold hearted warrior. She would have no issue killing him in cold blood. His only option was to cloud her judgment with hate.

He said, "You are strong warrior…but your husband…your Knightwas weak. He deserved to die."

Enraged, she roared and suddenly the courtyard began to quake. In a flash, she had crossed the path and grabbed hold of Darth Sidious by the neck. He groaned and gasped for air, but the she-warrior continued to squeeze.

With her eyes ablaze, all she could feel was hate. All she wanted was to kill. She wanted to see the Sith's blood to flow out from his veins. She wanted to see his dead pale yellow eyes. And all she had to do was squeeze. On Mortis, the Sith was weak and she was strong. She felt strong. She felt stronger than she had ever felt in her 600 years.

Then, Anakin placed his hand over her wrist. He softly said, "No. Thrice, please. He isn't worth it."

Thrice roared. She used her other hand to pull free, but Anakin would not let go. He made her drop Sidious. The Emperor fell to the ground and wheezed. He sneered and plotted his revenge. He did not count on his former-apprentice to save him. Patiently, he looked on as Anakin sternly held his grip and pulled her close. Physically, Anakin was stronger than Thrice, but he knew that her powers were now stronger than his. She was far too out of control for him to subdue.

"Let go. That dog must die!"

"No," said Anakin. "Killing the Sith won't bring him back. You have to stay focused. We have to go back. Lord Blackswan might be able to save Obi-Wan like he did me."

She slowed her head and began to laugh mirthlessly. Each laugh was a stab through Anakin's heart. He knew how much she loved him. Anakin knew how happy Thrice and Obi-Wan had been. The grief she felt was tangible, but the laugh she utter now was hollow and empty.

"HAHAHA. Obi-Wan...HAHAHA...saved? Saved? HAHAHA...he can't be saved. He has no body. He's gone. He's gone."

She lifted her head and Anakin peer directly into her shining red orbs. The life and steel were gone. She was no longer the steadfast warrior at her Lord's side. She was no longer the war-like bride of his former-Master. She was no longer the wise guardian who took him as her discipline. Instead, all he saw was a woman nearly driven mad by grief. Anakin knew her grief. He had felt it when he had lost Padme. He tenderly drew her into a hug. He knew it was his turn to save her from the Darkness.

"No," said the Son. "She's mine."

The Son appeared out of nowhere and took Thrice's hand and bit into it. A venom of Darkness began to course through her veins. She started to scream and contort with pain.


She covered her eyes with her hands in agony and fell to her knees. Anakin bent down to grab her. He held her shoulders. "No! Fight it, Thrice! Fight it!"

The Son smiled. He was pleased. He folded his hands behind his back and said, "It's too late for that. Lady Thrice is already weak with grief. All the fight she had she spent on trying to kill Darth Sidious. She's mine now."

Anakin said, "No, that's a lie! She would never give in to the Dark Side."

The Son replied, "Open your eyes, Anakin. A warrior is no better than a murder. The only difference is that warriors kill for other people and murders kill for themselves." He then raised his hand to the she-warrior and said, "Now, rise my warrior. Rise and obey your new master."

Thrice opened her eyes and they were no longer blood red. Instead they were black and lifeless. The Son smiled and used the Force to create a lightsaber and placed it in her hand. The warrior grinned and activated the red blade.

Anakin stepped back and shook his head. He couldn't believe what was happening. The Son had played the same trick on Ahsoka years before. He turned her over to the Dark Side and made her fight him. Ahsoka had died because of the Son. She was only saved because of the Daughter, but there was no Daughter to save them now. Anakin wasn't even sure he could take Thrice on. He only had one hand and he didn't have a weapon. Luke and Leia were out of the question. They didn't stand a chance against her.

Darth Sidious laughed. He said, "You will do well to choose the Dark Side, my apprentice. Join us or die."

"I'd rather die!" shouted Anakin.

The Son said, "Then you have sealed your own fate, Chosen One."

Thrice then raised the red lightsaber over her head and lunged at Anakin. He managed to dodge. He leapt away, but the she-warrior was fast and nearly cut him in two. Anakin then used the Force to pry a chunk of rock out from the wall and threw it at her. Thrice skillfully slit the rock and moved to stab him. Anakin moved away just in time and watched as the lightsaber melted the ground near his feet. Thrice was in top form. Anakin knew he had to stop her quickly.

"Look out!" shouted Luke.

The teen knocked Anakin away. Thrice had blasted a bolt of Force-lightening at them, but missed and scorched the stone floor. Leia ran to them and lifted one of Anakin's arms and helped him up.

Leia said, "Come on. Let's get out of here."

Anakin said, "No. We have to save her."

The Princess narrowed her brow and said, "Yeah well if we stay then we're dead meat."

Thrice laughed. She said, "Go on, run away little Ani. Run away and abandon me. I thought you were the Chosen One. Why can't you save me? Or do you only care about your own little family?"

Anakin got up and said, "No, Thrice. Stop."

Thrice roared with laughter. She raised her hand and shocked all three with Force-lightening. Luke, Leia and Anakin withered in pain. She moved to slay Anakin. She raised her lightsaber and the red light shone brightly on her face. The blackness of her eyes were like hallow orbs.

She smiled evilly and said, "I'll stop. I'll stop when you are all dead!"

Anakin raised his hand. He was prepared to shove her back with the Force, but amazingly she stopped dead in her tracks. She paused in mid-strike. Anakin looked up to see why. He saw standing between them was a ghost.





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