Well, with a new board - and with the truncated posts - I thought I would make a fresh thread for this story and one other I had on the former board. Here goes... Star WarsEpisode Four A Glimmer of Hope Prologue - The Will of the Force Within the public office of the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, a dark angel fought blade-to-blade against a white shadow. And Anakin Skywalker could only watch. Soul wracked by indecision, he followed each whirl of blade and each flare of light as the two men fought for the soul of the Republic, for the safety of a billion billion beings, for the destiny of a single, frightened galaxy. And Anakin Skywalker could only watch. Watch as Mace Windu fought, seemingly effortlessly against the Sith Lord Sidious. Watch as Windu seemed to take notice of him for the first time. Watch as the dark-skinned Master disengaged and leapt for the window, slashing the transparisteel away. Watch as with a flick of his blade, Mace Windu, Jedi Master, sliced the Sith Lord Sidious’ lightsaber in half. Silence fell as both pieces spun from the shadow’s grasp, flipping over and over as they tumbled down through the rain towards the distant streets far below. The shadow fell back and seemed to materialise into the old and shrunken form of Palpatine. My friend. Palpatine looked at Anakin and his eyes were full of pain, exhaustion and fear. Anakin, my boy. Help me. Along with the words came a push from the Force, stoking Anakin’s own fear and anger. Do it, the Force seemed to say. Help him. It is your destiny. “For all your power,” Mace was saying, “you are no Jedi. All you are, my lord, is under arrest.” “Do you see Anakin?” Help me. “Do you? Didn’t I warn you of the Jedi and their treason?” “Save your twisted words, my lord. There are no politicians here. The Sith will never regain control of the Republic. It’s over. You’ve lost.” Anakin watched Mace level his blade. “You lost for the same reason the Sith always lose : defeated by your own fear.” Palpatine lifted his head and Anakin took a step back when he saw the hatred blazing in those eyes. “Fool.” He lifted his arms, the sleeves of his robes falling back and revealing hands hooked into talons. “Fool!” Lightning blasted from Palpatine’s fingertips. Mace barely had time to angle his violet blade to catch the forks that clawed towards him. The blade refected the lightning away, back towards its source. Palpatine staggered and Anakin felt the Force push him again. No. No, he can’t die. I need him. Padme… “Anakin!” Mace’s voice. “Anakin, help me! This is your chance.” The Force seemed to have seized control of Anakin’s body. He felt himself move without controlling it, stepping over to stand closer to Mace and the Chancellor. In his head, the Force whispered. This is your chance. Your chance. Bring balance. Use your anger and your fear. Save her. Save yourself. Save them all. This is your chance. “Destroy this traitor,” Palpatine howled. “This was never an arrest. It’s an assassination.” Now Anakin was at Mace’s shoulder. The will of the Force continued to echo in his mind, pushing him towards his personal shatterpoint, towards his meeting with his destiny. You are our Chosen One. This is your path. This is your chance. Kill him. Save him. Other voices, breaking through the will of the Force. “He is a traitor, Anakin. Destroy him.” “You’re the chosen one, Anakin. Take him. It’s your destiny.” “Destiny,” Anakin whispered and the Force howled the word in his mind, again and again. “Help me!” Palpatine begged. “I can’t hold on any longer!” The lightning began to lick at his skin, turning it into liquid that flowed across muscle and bone, softening and bending, bulging and deforming, creating pockets and wrinkles and scarred tissue that bubbled and boiled. The stench of charred flesh began to fill the room. “He is killing me Anakin. Please, Ana- Arghhh!” Palpatine threw back his head, screaming in agony. No! Padme! Again, the Force pushed. He had never known it to speak to him so clearly. Kill the Jedi. Save the Chancellor. Fulfill your destiny. It all seemed so clear. Anakin moved his hand towards his lightsabre. So clear. They were alone. He had done it once before. He had killed Dooku. He could kill Mace. Kill Mace and save Palpatine. Save Palpatine and save his love. Padme. Her face appeared before him, swam before his mind’s eye. She smiled and he felt her love for him. Then he saw Obi-Wan’s face beside hers. Then his mother’s. And Qui-Gon’s. They all smiled at them and he bathed in their love. “Anakin, he’s too strong for me-“ Palpatine’s roar turned into a moan of despair. He fell back, the lightning evaporating into the night and the rain and an old man crumpled in a ball. “I… can’t. I give up. I… I am too weak, in the end. Too old, and too weak. Don’t kill me, Master Jedi. Please. I surrender.” Mace lifted his blade. “You Sith disease…” “Wait!” Anakin grasped the Jedi Master’s arm. His mind was whirling, the Force pushing at him. But with every pulse from the will of the Force, he heard Padme telling him she loved him. Obi-Wan asking him to mind his feelings. Qui-Gon telling him not to be afraid. His mother… His mother telling him she forgave him. “Don’t,” Anakin whispered. “You can’t just kill him.” “Yes I can,” Mace said. The Force howled. No! “”You came to arrest him. He has to stand trial – “ Don’t let him die. Fulfill your destiny. No Anakin, mind your feelings. Do not give in. Do not give in to the dark. Do it Anakin. It is the only way. You can bring balance. Mind your feelings. Kill him. Save him. Kill the Jedi. Kill the Sith. Save them. “He controls the Senate.” “No!” Do it. Stop it. Stop him. Save him. Kill him. Take him. Stop him. Give in. Stand up. Do nothing. Do everything. Padme. Obi-Wan. Anakin. Anakin. Anakin… “Anakin, please,” Palpatine begged. Mired in indecision, his mind whirling with the voices in his head, Anakin could only watch. Watch as Mace lifted his lightsabre. Watch as the blade swung down towards the fallen Chancellor. Watch as Palpatine lifted his head and snarled. As the blade fell, it was as if it severed Anakin’s link to the Force. The binding field that had surrounded and supported Anakin, without him even realising it was there, was suddenly gone. Anakin gasped. In pain. In fear. He felt lost. Palpatine screamed with hatred and anger. The blade never reached him. Lightning speared from his hands, catching the blade and crackling over the hilt. With a flash of heat and light, the sabre exploded. Blood spattered Anakin’s face, but he barely felt it next to the loss of the Force. “Fool! You damnable fool. You could have been the most powerful Sith in history. Now, you will die.” The last thing Anakin saw was Palpatine’s hate filled eyes turned on him before the white sparkle of lightning caught him up and flung him into the darkness.