"I'm sorry," the Master whispered. "The hunters are everywhere...this is the only way." He laid his hand over the child's eyes as his own fell shut, concentrating. No Jedi should ever have to do this, he thought bitterly. How could it have come to this? The Jedi Master had fled Coruscant, carrying with him a Force-sensitive child, Joel Lance. The Lance family had always tended to be renegades, usually disobeying the mandates of marriages and relationships in favor of a more Corellian view. Cy Lance, though not a Corellian, was not the only Jedi who had disobeyed the rules. Nejaa Halcyon came to mind, as well as a few others. Master Riik concentrated on the swirling Force in the child, then slowly, slowly reached out with his own gifts. Hesitantly, angry with himself for the choice being forced upon him, he began to manipulate the child's growing sensitivity. Several of the Masters who had survived the initial attacks had devised the technique to hide the children of the Jedi. Though it meant sacrificing a generation, they hoped that it would ensure the eventual continuation of the Jedi a generation later. Joel Lance was the only child Master Riik had escaped Coruscant with. And now...the child had to be stripped of his potential. The Master grimaced slightly as he finished the technique, feeling as guilty as a Padawan who had cut the cocoon of a shadowmoth on Coruscant. While it was completely necessary, it wasn't right. "I'm sorry, Joel Lance," he murmured to the baby boy, who began to cry. "But this is the only way." I have robbed him of his heritage...but someday the Jedi will rise again. The Jedi rose to his feet, child in his arms. "Someday," he whispered, tears in his eyes, "I hope you find your way back to the Force." Darkness stirred in his senses. A chill prickled his skin. "Vader," he murmured. The Master took a quick stock of his situation. His ship was grounded five kilometers away. Most likely Vader's starfighter pilots had already targeted it, or Vader had staked it out to await the Jedi Master's return. "So it ends." No escape anymore, he thought. At least the child is safe. Gathering the Force around him, though he knew it made him shine like a beacon for the fallen Jedi's senses, Riik slowly laid the child to the ground. He was on a well-traveled path; one of the colonists would find the child. His lightsaber, the last symbol of the Jedi he carried, found its way to his hand. "Time for this to end," he murmured. The man once known as Anakin Skywalker stood at the foot of the Jedi's vessel, crimson lightsaber blazing furiously. Riik's own blade raised in salute, emerald blade shining like starfire. When the lightsaber fell numbly from his hands, a last thought crossed his mind before the Master died: A Jedi sacrifices himself...in service to others.