Old Man and the Desert

Chapter 43


Anakin was shocked. He saw standing between him and Thrice's lightsaber was Obi-Wan's ghost. The transparent blue glow of his former-Master lit up the dark courtyard like a beacon of hope. His back was turned. He could not see his face. He could only see Thrice. Her expression was unchanged. She gazed up at Obi-Wan with unmoved black eyes. Anakin didn't know if seeing Obi-Wan again would save Thrice, but he was her only hope. He didn't know what had stopped her hand from killing him.

Meanwhile, Thrice was being tortured from within. She didn't dare move. She was afraid. She was afraid that if she moved then the image of her beloved would disappear. Beloved. Yes. Yes—beloved. Love. Love was like a dream, a dream from across the wilds of time and space; across a field of broken bones; across worlds and across the boundaries of death. Was this some sick dream created out of her madness? Did he appear just to torment her? And if he did, did she care? If it meant she could see him again than she would gladly embrace insanity. Madness would be her Light in the Darkness.

"Are you real?"

Obi-Wan nodded his head. He saw the empty blackness in her once beautiful ruby eyes and knew that the Dark Overlord had tainted her Light. He desperately wanted to hold her. He wanted to banish the doubt in her voice. He wanted to protect her. He wanted to keep her safe, but he knew he couldn't because he was dead. He was nothing more than a ghost. There was nothing he could do.

He solemnly said, "Yes, Thrice. I'm here."

Thrice lowered her lightsaber, but kept it in her hand. She stared at him oddly with a slight tilt of her head. "Why are you here?"

Obi-Wan took a step closer to her and said, "Because you called to me. I heard you calling my name."

"No!" she shouted. "That's not true. I need no one. I am—"

"My wife!" Obi-Wan cried. He went to her and stared at her with his clear grey-blue eyes. "You don't belong to him. You belong to me—and I belong to you. Not even death can break the bond we share."

Obi-Wan wanted so badly to set things right. He wanted to reach out to her, but death seemed a distance far too great. Yet, the memory of her lips against his ignited a longing within him he could not ignore. She was only a breath away and the temptation ate at his heart. He wanted so badly to feel her again within through the Force.

Slowly, he shut his eyes closed the distance between them and gave her a kiss. Then, without warning a bright light engulfed them both. It blinded everyone in the room. Anakin shielded his eyes with his hand, but once the light disappeared he was amazed to see that Obi-Wan was no longer a ghost. Wondrously, he was alive and Thrice was restored. Anakin saw that the blackness had faded from her eyes and they were once again vibrant and red. The couple stared at each other stunned. They had no idea what had happened, but they didn't care. It was a miracle. They smiled at each other and hugged.


"NO!" shouted the Son. "THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE! You should be—AAAAAAA!" The Son then cried out in pain.

The Son crumpled to the ground. Anakin and the others looked and saw Darth Sidious smiling over the Son with his hand firmly gripped on the Mortis dagger in the Son's back. He began to laugh wickedly before shoving the Son over. He then placed a device onto his chest. The device looked like a large medallion. It had 4 spikes that pierced the flesh over the Son's heart.

In trumpet, Darth Sidious said, "Fool! Did you really think I would be content to be your servant? With this device I will drain you dry. Your power will be mine and then I will be the new Overlord of the Dark Side of the Force."

Sidious then ripped open the front of his robe and revealed that he had a matching medallion on his chest. With malicious glee the Dark Lord drew from the power of the medallion and began to suck the power out from the Son and into himself. The Son wailed in agony. He started to twist and contort in pain as his power was being drained from his body as black mist. He continued to wither for several long seconds before finally he grew still and his body grew limp.

Darth Sidious laughed and raised his arms with joy. He felt renewed. The power was unimaginable. He felt the raw power of the Dark Side revive his decaying body and make him whole again once more. He was no longer plague by Lord Blackswan's accursed genetic affliction. His body no longer ached. His flesh no longer peeled. At last, he was as he should be—a Sith capable of ruling the universe.

"So, this is the power of a god. I think it suits me."

He then turned towards his former-apprentice and grinned. Anakin saw that Darth Sidious was no longer ugly and deformed. He was healthy and young. He had a full head of red fiery hair and his eyes shone yellow with hate. Anakin had never before seen the Emperor look so fit before in his life. He looked like a difference man, but the sinister smile gave him away.

Darth Sidious said, "I no longer need the Chosen One. With my new power I will leave Mortis and rule the universe."

Obi-Wan grabbed his wife. He did not like the dark prospect of the Emperor ruling with god-like powers. He turned to his former-apprentice and said, "Anakin, he cannot be allowed to leave."

Darth Sidious laughed. He reached down and pulled the Mortis dagger out from the Son's corpse. The tip of the dagger dragged across the stone floor. It made a scratching sound before he finally hid it within his robes.

He said, "It is useless. You cannot hope to defeat me without the Mortis dagger."

Luke stepped forward and bravely shouted, "It doesn't matter. We will defeat you, Sith. You're out numbered."

Darth Sidious grinned. "Try me, Jedi. You will lose."

Anakin ignited his lightsaber and approached the Sith. He was ready for battle. He knew that they had to win. They could not afford to let the Sith Lord escape, especially since had absorbed the powers of the Son. He would unleash unspeakable Darkness into the universe in his wake. The two clashed and Darth Sidious stopped Anakin's lightsaber with his own red blade. Anakin tried with all his might to overcome his strength, but it wasn't enough. Darth Sidious grinned.

He inched closer to Anakin and said, "Pathetic. My powers are now far beyond yours, my former-apprentice."

Thrice then shot a bolt of Force-lightening at Sidious, but he sprang away from Anakin just in time to dodge her attack. A second later, Obi-Wan ignited the red lightsaber he had taken from his wife and began to duel the Emperor back with Anakin. The both began to attack the Emperor together as a pair. Obi-Wan had not fought alongside his former-Padawan in years, but soon they soon they fell into step and began working as a team. They both took turns thrusting and parrying at the Emperor and moved to drive him back while Thrice quickly ushered Luke and Leia to safely out of the Castle.

However, Luke did not want to leave. He said to Thrice, "No. I want to stay. I want to help."

"There's no time," said Thrice. "You're unarmed. What chance do you stand?"

"I have to try!" He then met her eyes and said, "He's my father. I can't leave him."

Thrice stared into his clear blue eyes and saw the conviction there. She knew that Luke wanted to fight. She knew because she wanted to fight as badly as him, but without weapons she knew that they could not last long. She knew that the odds were against them no matter the odds, but Luke sensed her frustration and understood. She wasn't sending them away like children. She thought it was a hopeless cause like the Emperor said, but she was wrong. They had a chance. They're had to be.

Luke grabbed her arm and said, "We have to try, Thrice. The universe is depending on us. They're depending on you and me."

Thrice's heart once again found its steel. She knew that Luke was right. They couldn't' afford to lose. They had to win. There was more at stake here than just their lives. Luke silently nodded his head and took her hand. Leia took his other hand and grinned. They knew that had to make their stand. Yet, a second later a powerful blast erupted from the Sith. Darth Sidious threw up his arms and used the Force to blast Obi-Wan and Anakin away. They both fell to the ground and their lightsabers were deactivated.

"Foolish Jedi! You are wasting my time. You are all but insects to me."

Anakin straggled up to his feet and said, "What the matter? Are you afraid to fight me?"

Darth Sidious laughed. He said, "No, but it is pointless. Why kill you when I can trap you all here in Mortis for eternity."

Then, with a malicious grin the Emperor pulled the hood up on his black cloak and turned away. Enraged, Anakin tried to reach him, but he could not keep up. He was tried from the fight. He stood and watched as the Emperor transformed into a giant bat and took off into the air.

"NO!" roared the reborn-Jedi. Anakin pounded his fist into the ground and the skies finally opened up and it began to pour. Rain began to fall and matted down his hair against his skull. Obi-Wan approached him and clipped the lightsaber onto his belt.

"Come on, Anakin. We can't let him get away."

Anakin then got up and turned to Obi-Wan so fast that it took the elder Jedi Master by surprise. Anakin grabbed a fistful of his robes in rage before shoving him back. "What's the point? We'll never be able to reach him in time. He's too powerful."

Obi-Wan said, "Then we have to find another way."

"What other way!" shouted Anakin.

"Perhaps I can help," said a voice.

The group turned towards the direction of the voice and saw that it was the Son. He was crawling on the ground. He didn't have much time left. Anakin towered over him. He activated his lightsaber and pointed it to the back of his head.

"Why would you help us?"

The Son looked up at him and sneered. He lowered his head and with great effort said, "Because Darth Sidious betrayed me. He took away what was mine. I want to see that he pays with his life for what he did."

Leia asked, "What makes you think we can trust you? What can you do? You not exactly in great shape."

The Son looked at her and grinned. "I can take you all to the Gate. You can make it there before Darth Sidious arrives."

Luke asked, "How do we know we can trust you?"

The Son replied, "You don't, but willing or not you will be my instrument for revenge."

He then raised his hand and a swirling mist of black smoke engulfed them all. They could see nothing, but when the mist finally cleared they saw that they were in the plain. They had been transported miles away from the Castle to the threshold of the Gate.


Location: Mortis, The Gateway

Luke didn't know why he hadn't seen it before, but the Gate was enormous. He saw a large circular archway in the middle of the rocky plain. The archway was made of metal and strange symbols were carved into the frame and in the center of the archway was a window, a window in thin air that led directly back to the Imperial space-platform where they had entered. Luke could see Captain Rex, Lord Blackswan, Bail Organa and the Rebel Leaders. They were giving out orders and stormtroopers were talking with the Rebel men. Luke had no idea what was going on, but when he tried shouting at them they couldn't hear.

"Hey! Hey! Can you hear me? Hey!"

"They can't hear you. Stop!" said Leia.

Obi-Wan said, "It appears that only those strong in the Force may enter Mortis. Luke, you and Leia should leave. Go back across the Gate. Get reinforcements."

"I'm not leaving, Obi-Wan. I'm staying."

"Fine," said Leia. "I'll go back and get reinforcements."

The Rebel-Princess was about to leave when suddenly Darth Sidious appeared right in front of her. He grabbed her by the throat with the Force. She began to choke.

"Leia!" shouted Luke.

The teen tried to attack the Sith, but the was quickly thrown back with the Force. The Emperor smiled and moved to caress the Princess' cheek. Leia tried to pull away but she couldn't break free.

"Let her go," said Anakin.

He ignited his lightsaber and Obi-Wan did the same. They approached the Emperor and prepared to duel. Darth Sidious grinned and dropped Leia to the ground. She fell to her knees and began to cough. Her lungs were starved for air. Thrice quickly went to her and got her to her feet.

Darth Sidious said, "The Princess is strong in the Force. She is untrained. She reminds me very much of her mother."

Anakin's blood began to rage. He fisted his lightsaber and attempted to let go of his hate. He knew that was what the Emperor wanted most. He wanted him to lose control. He wanted to confuse and manipulate, but Anakin silently vowed to never walk the path of Darkness again. He was done with that old life. He would never again be a Sith.

"Forget her, Darth Sidious. This fight is between you and me. If I recall it's the apprentice that's supposed to defeat the master."

The Emperor smiled. He relished his new body. He knew that Anakin, even in perfect health, would not be able to defeat him. He ignited his red lightsaber and the two began to duel. Red and blue began to clash and Obi-Wan soon joined in. The two Jedi began to battle the Sith again.

Meanwhile, Luke rose from the ground. He saw his father and his master fighting the Emperor across the rocky plain. Lightning and thunder began to break across the skies. Even the heavens seemed to be at war in Mortis as the forces of good and evil began to duel. Yet, when Luke saw Leia lying still on the ground he rushed to her to see if she was ok.

"Leia!" he turned to Thrice. "She is OK?"

"Yes. She'll be fine." Thrice then got up in frustration and said, "Heaven and earth! If only I had my sword!"

Then, without warning Thrice's black iron sword sailed through the Gate like a ripple in a pond. The entire Gate began to shimmer was the sword broke through the barrier. Luke watched in amazement as Thrice gripped the handle and finally pulled it through from the other side. Gradually, the ripples of the Gate started to calm and directly on the other side Luke saw Lady Nina holding baby Jinn in her arms. The white warrior-maiden stared at them from the other side. A silent understanding passed between the two women.

She nodded her head. She then turned to Luke and handed him her sword. "You will know what to do when the time comes."


Luke was shocked. He watched as Thrice picked up Leia over her shoulder and began walking towards the Gate. Luke shouted after her, "Thrice! What do you mean I'll know what to do?"

"Trust the Force, Luke."

In a flash of light, Thrice and Leia were gone. They had crossed the Gate. Luke was standing alone with only Thrice's sword in hand. The blade was heavy. The weight was reassuring in his grip. Luke turned to join the fight. However, just as he turned Anakin and Obi-Wan were thrown back to the ground in front of him. Darth Sidious was too much for them. Both men were blooded and bruised, but unwilling to yield.

"Just like old times, right old friend?" said Anakin.

"I'm hardly old, Anakin. Luke, where is Thrice and Leia?"

"Across the Gate," answered the teen.

Obi-Wan inwardly sighed in relief. He wanted nothing more than for his lady to be safe. He was glad to hear she had left Mortis. "Blasted, woman will be the death of me yet."

Anakin grinned, but soon all three Jedi were withering in pain as the Emperor shocked them all with a bolt of Force-lightening before blasting them back with the Force. He flew towards them with the power of the Force. He smiled viciously as they contorted with pain. And with a sweep of his hand he disarmed them.

"Enough of these foolish games. It is time to end this."

Luke rose to his feet with sheer willpower alone. He staggered to rise and with gritted teeth said, "Y-Yes, Sith. It is time to end this."

The Emperor smiled. "You are weak, boy. You cannot defeat me. I am a god."

Luke tightened his hold on Thrice's black sword. The iron was hard and real and more importantly it was saturated with the power of the Living Force. Luke straightened up and took hold of the sword in both hands.

He said, "I will defeat you, Sith for I am a Jedi and a Jedi is a guardian of the peace." He then raised the black sword high over his head. "And a warrior never yields!" Then, in one blinding sweep of his sword, Luke cut through the archway of the Gate and broke the portal to the other side.

"NOOOOOOOOO!" shouted Darth Sidious.

A bright burst of light swallowed them whole. A strong force of wind threw them into the air and after a moment Luke knocked his head on the hard ground. He had blacked out and in an instant everything grew still.




Please read and review. Thank you.