A TIME TO LIVE AND A TIME TO DIE

REMEMBRANCE

                Ben Kenobi sat quietly in the heat of the day, appreciating the warmth of twin suns to burn away the familiar ache of old bones.  Tatooine.  Force knew this was the last place he'd ever expected to return to, much less spend the last twenty years of his life in.  As he did often, and as no one was around to hear him anyway, he sighed deeply with the burden of responsibility that sat on his shoulders just as heavily now as it had all those years ago when he'd been dispatched to carry out this mission.  The most important mission of his entire life, succinctly spoken in those musical, backwards-phrased tones of Yoda back on Coruscant.

                "Take the boy you must.  Hide him well you will.   Our last hope is he."

                It had been the darkest night of his life, second only to the loss of Anakin to the Dark Side.  The separation of twins, yet new to this life, from one another…Ben even now shivered as he recalled his leave-taking of the Jedi Temple, fairly deserted and gone to ruin as Darth Vader's new master continued his campaign of death against the Order.  As it was the most obvious place to search for them, it would also be the last and so there it was that he and Yoda had agreed to meet to discuss what should be done for the children born to Padmé.

                Take the boy…

                It was the second time that a charge had been given him to protect a child by a Master he respected.  The first charge had ended in disaster.  He could not allow that to happen again.  So it was that Luke Skywalker had been taken as nearly all Jedi-potentials were…a squirming child wrapped in blankets and laid in the arms of a Jedi Knight to be carried away to his destiny.

                A destiny, Kenobi reflected thoughtfully, that was fast catching up to them.  Luke was nearly twenty now, well beyond the age when most Jedi-initiates were taken as Padawans for further training to become a Jedi Knight.  Twenty years without benefit of the prior conditioning and tutelage that initiates received at the Temple.  Fitting him to face his future would be something of a challenge.  It would not be long now; soon events would be set in motion, events that Yoda had foreseen, that would bring the youth to him.

                Take the boy…

                "Train him…promise me…"  Broken, desperate breathing and whispered words in a voice not heard in his ears for decades echoed suddenly in his memory, a familiar haunting that his failure with Anakin had left him with.  Master Qui-Gon's death all those years ago still had the ability to make him mourn, and despite the doubled solar heat of Tatooine Kenobi shivered suddenly.

                Qui-Gon existed now in the Force just as surely as he had in this plane of existence as his master years ago, and suddenly Ben found himself remembering a pair of intensely intelligent, perceptive eyes in a face framed by the hood of Jedi robes, long greying hair bound back and hidden by that hood.

                The mental image took on an abrupt clarity, a sharp focus that could only come from the Force, and Ben found himself compelled to look back to memories long buried, as if there was a message inside him that was only now meant to be heard.  Ben closed his eyes and cast himself into the sweet river-flow that was the living Force all around him.  When he opened his eyes again, it was not the present sandy heat-drenched dunes of Tatooine that met his steady gaze, but rather another place that he had not darkened the door of in many, many years.

                Giving himself over to the vision, he stepped into the cool familiar hallway and was enveloped completely.