Beyond "Eurydice" (Luke, Mara) Updated 12 October, Complete!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JadeLotus, Oct 11, 2011.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Wow. I completely forgot about this fic. I'm very happy to see an update - very beautiful. I look forward to more.
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  2. divapilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    "It was enough to visit my little girl a few times. She could sense me there, I knew it, even if all I could do was hold her and cry a little." Well, that explains why Leia remembered her real mother as "very beautiful, and very sad." Very nice update! I'm really enjoying this story.
  3. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good to see you, Master! Hope all is going well. Love the update and to read your writing once again. PM list??? If so, I'd love to be on it.

    Bravo! =D=
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  4. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Wow, this is unique and poignant =D= The L/M is flawless, like duh! @};- I'll keep a lookout for updates.
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  5. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    WHAT! Okay, this is unacceptable. How have I missed all these fics to respond to??? gaaaaaaaaah

    This was beautiful. I love Mara and Padme's talk. So Mara. Perfectly done. And now I want moar!!! I am always greedy for more of your writing, lady!! [face_love]
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  6. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Jedi_ Lover: Thanks! I finally got around to updating!

    Briannakin: Thank you!

    divapilot: Thanks! I was thinking it was an appropriate way to explain the "beautiful, but sad" line since it doesn't really make sense in the movies

    Jade_Pilot: Thank you! I know it's been a while, but I've returned to the SW fandom.

    Nyota's Heart: Many thanks! It's good to be writing L/M again

    ginchy: Thanks you! It was nice to have Padme meet Mara - I've never written Padme before, so it was a challenge!
    Last edited by JadeLotus, Apr 28, 2014
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  7. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Part IV: The Will of the Force

    Mara walked through the hallways of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, but it was not as she remembered. The Emperor had often made her visit the ruins of the Temple when she was young, but it had been a tomb, then. The first time he had accompanied her himself, telling her of the Jedi who had once inhabited it – the Jedi who exemplified all the evils of the Old Republic, who had been brought down by their own hubris. It had been the Jedi, after all, who had disfigured him in a failed assassination attempt – Palpatine, the democratically elected Chancellor. The Jedi were elected and governed by no one, and thus ultimately corrupt.

    She had absorbed his words without question, hating the Jedi who had once walked through the same halls, who had built such a shrine to themselves. Mara had visited many times after that, examining the blaster and lightsaber burns in the walls, studying how the Emperor had so effectively cut out the heart of the Jedi Order. The bodies of the slain Jedi had long been cleared away, but it had felt as if their ghosts had remained. The entire complex made her skin crawl, but she went there to remind herself the importance of service.

    The Temple she had known had always been dark, but the halls she now walked through were brightly lit, with all aspects of the massacre gone as if they had never existed. It seemed to be teeming with life, although Mara could not see any inhabitants it was almost as if they were there, around every corner and doorway, just out of view. Mara walked through the great hall, through the pristine training rooms and library until she reached the apex of the Temple, the heart of the Jedi Order – the Council Chamber.

    The Emperor had never allowed anyone to enter the Council Chamber, the doors always locked. Perhaps it was because he hated the Jedi so much, or perhaps he had thought if she had seen it, seen the circle of chairs where no Master was above the other, she may have questioned his teachings on the selfishness and dictatorial nature of the Jedi.

    Musing on this, Mara walked across the room, her boots clacking against the marble floor. Coruscant stretched out before her, but not the Coruscant she knew under the New Republic, or had known under the Empire. In Imperial Palace, in particular, was missing the embellishments and additions Palpatine had made, and her suspicions were confirmed. She was looking at Coruscant as it had been under the Old Republic, and since Padme had told her that her surroundings were chosen by desire, there was little doubt that the next person she was meant to meet had been a Jedi.

    The skin prickled on the back of her neck and Mara turned back around to see a man standing in the doorway, unsurprising, in Jedi garb. There were distinguished streaks of grey at his temples and through his ginger beard, framing a mature but handsome face. He smiled at her, and his blue eyes sparkled, but Mara wasn’t the type to be taken in by such an obvious charm offensive.

    “Hello there,” he greeted her in a rich Coruscanti accent.

    “Hello,” she responded cautiously.

    “I am so pleased to meet you, Mara,” his grin widened. “At last.”

    Mara folded her arms across her chest in annoyance. “Really.”

    “Yes,” he nodded, either not noticing or choosing to ignore her sarcasm. “I am Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

    Mara pointedly looked him up and down, but said nothing. Friendliness was clearly Obi-Wan’s tactics, but silence was hers. She did not doubt his words, but Luke had often fondly described “Ben” and the man before he simply did not match the image in her mind.

    Obi-Wan’s smile faded slightly at her reaction. “Surely Luke has mentioned me?”

    Mara forced herself not to smile at his obvious disappointment. “No, he did,” she said finally, and to Obi-Wan’s obvious relief. “More often than I cared for, to be honest,” she added with a sly smile. Obi-Wan’s grin returned, and he seemed more pleased than offended by her words. “It’s just Luke always gave me the impression that you were…old.”

    Obi-Wan laughed, the rich sound echoing around the walls of the room. “We may change our form in either realm,” he explained. “This is my preferred form, naturally, however Luke knew me as an old man, ravaged by the twin suns of Tatooine.” Obi-Wan took several steps forward, into the centre of ringed chairs, giving her a wry smile. “He was going to struggle enough with the concept of seeing a dead man, I did not want to confuse him further.”

    “So why am I seeing you?” she asked.

    “Maybe I’m here to help you pass on.”

    Mara sighed. “And why would I need help doing that?”

    “Because you have not done so already,” Obi-Wan told her calmly. “Those who linger here do so for many reasons…to watch over or wait for someone they love.”
    “Well, there must be some other reason,” Mara said. “Because there’s no one back there that I love.”

    Obi-Wan removed his hands from the folds of his robe and crossed them over his chest, giving her another irritating smile. “Then I should help you discover what that other reason is.” He uncrossed his arms, one hand moving to his chin to stroke his beard in contemplation. “I came here because I was to watch over Luke, prepare him for the hardships ahead, and I was derelict in that duty.” Obi-Wan suddenly seemed very sad. “Owen and Beru were fine custodians of Luke, they raised him well, but Owen blamed the Jedi for what had happened to Anakin, and so I had to content myself with watching him grow from afar. I only had a short time with him, in the end,” Obi-Wan added with palpable regret.

    “The will of the Force it was, Obi-Wan,” another voice spoke up, and Mara looked to her immediate left, surprised to see that a small, green creature had appeared in the chair. Mara took several shocked steps back towards the centre of the room, and Obi-Wan moved to accommodate her, taking a seat two chairs to the creature’s right and crossing one leg over the other.

    “Let me guess,” Mara said dryly. “You’re Yoda.”

    “Hmph,” Yoda did not seem impressed. “Addressed so informally, am I?”

    Obi-Wan covered his smile with one hand and Mara put her hands on her hips. “Well you’re not my Master, and I’m not a Jedi,” she said defiantly.

    “What the boy sees in this one, I cannot,” Yoda said, and Mara winced at his uncomfortable speech patterns. Luke had told her many stories of his Master and his peculiar ways, even imitating his voice and teachings on occasion to make her laugh, but it was entirely different to hear it in person.

    “Ruder than you told me she is, Obi-Wan,” Yoda continued, banging his gnarled stick against his chair in obvious displeasure.

    Mara raised an eyebrow at Obi-Wan, and he held out his hands defensively. “I don’t think I said rude,” he said.

    Mara shrugged. “I’ve been called worse.”

    “Wild, perhaps? Hmmh?” Yoda said, his large eyes appraising her severely. “Directionless. Undisciplined. Indecisive. All of these things you are, Mara Jade.” He shook his head, his large ears drooping slightly. “Accept the will of the Force, I do,” Yoda sad somewhat grumpily. “But agree with it always, I do not.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Mara demanded. “What’s the will of the Force got to do with me?”

    “The will of the Force has everything to do with you.” Another, deeper voice echoed throughout the room, and a dark-skinned man appeared in the chair to Yoda’s immediate left. “The will of the Force has to do with us all,” he said. This man, she recognised from the history holos the Emperor had made her study about the Clone Wars. She had never seen Obi-Wan referenced, or Anakin Skywalker, and assumed later that Palpatine had excised them from Imperial History to conceal Vader’s origins, but Mace Windu had been prominently featured in the anti-Republic and anti-Jedi propaganda she’d been force-fed as a child. It was he who had tried to seize power, or so Palpatine had said – he who’d left him scarred, and so had been cast as the ultimate villain in Palpatine’s revisionist history.

    She could sense that Windu was about to start a lecture, so she turned back to Yoda instead. “No one’s ever described me as directionless or undisciplined before,” she argued. “Most people would say the opposite.”

    “Master Yoda refers to your study of the Jedi arts,” Windu answered. “Or rather, lack thereof.”

    “You proudly say that you are not a Jedi,” Obi-Wan added, once again stroking the side of his bead. “You allowed Luke to teach you briefly, but resisted formal training. Why was that?”

    Mara shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other, painfully aware of the three Jedi Masters seated like a jury before her. “So I am here for judgement?” she asked. “Am I not worthy enough to join the Force yet?”

    “All beings become one with the Force, Mara. It is not a mater of worth” A soft, gentle voice spoke up from behind her, and Mara turned to see yet another man in Jedi robes. Great, she thought, how many more can there be?

    Mara sighed with frustration and rubbed her eyes, although she was not tired. It seemed to be impossible to be tired when one was dead, and so it was likely a remnant, automatic reaction from her life.

    “So who are you then?” she asked.

    “I am Qui-Gon Jinn,” he told her, nodding his head in what appeared to be a slight bow.

    “Qui-Gon was my Master,” Obi-Wan spoke up. “He was the first of us to find his way here.”

    “Right,” Mara said. “Well why don’t you take a seat and you can all get back to berating me,” she added with good humour.

    Qui-Gon smiled and folded his hands in front of him, but did not move from his place. They’ve got me surrounded, Mara thought with amusement.

    “We are not your judges, Mara,” Qui-Gon said, “nor are we here to reprimand you. We are here to help you.”

    “Oh?” Mara crossed her arms again. “How’s that?”

    “By understanding the choices we made in the life before, we can prepare ourselves for the journey ahead,” Windu said, and she turned back around to face him. “You always held the Jedi in contempt,” he continued, his expression serious, “even when you discovered the falsehood of Palpatine’s teachings. And yet you sacrificed your life to save Luke Skywalker, in part so he could continue his work training more Jedi. It seems to be a contradiction.” Windu smiled at her for the first time.

    Mara looked down at her feet, suddenly uncomfortable, her prepared barbs falling away from her like a discarded cloak. “It wasn’t just for his Jedi,” she said softly, her eyes on the patterns on the floor. “Maybe I thought his life was worth more than mine.” She looked back up to see Windu regarding her thoughtfully, Yoda impassive, and Obi-Wan looking grieved.

    There was movement at her elbow, as Qui-Gon had moved to her side. His eyes were kind and sympathetic and she looked up at him.

    “Would Luke think the same?” he asked. “Or would he think your life was worth more than his instead?”

    She remembered the way Luke had looked at her, as he’d held her in his arms as she was dying. There has been such sorrow in him, such regret. Mara huffed, shaking off her melancholy. “He’s a stupid farmboy – he would think the life of a blister gnat is worth more than his own.”

    Obi-Wan chuckled lightly, as if with remembrance. “He has such a love for others,” he said. “Such selflessness.”

    “Berated him once for choosing the easy path, I did,” Yoda said, nodding. “But wrong I was.”

    “Luke was always wiser than his years,” Obi-Wan continued proudly. “He knew that the quick and easy path would have been to kill Vader, as we had wanted him to do. The harder path to take – the right path – was to redeem him.”

    “And by doing so he enabled Anakin to fulfil the Prophesy,” Qui-Gon said, moving to stand between Yoda and Obi-Wan, although he did not take the empty seat. “To bring balance to the Force by defeating the Sith, and allowing Luke to rebuild the Jedi Order, unencumbered by the dogmatic old ways.” He smiled warmly. “To become an embodiment of the Living Force.”

    “And so my destiny was to save him,” Mara said glumly. “I get it.”

    “Is that what you think?” Qui-Gon asked her.

    “What else can I think?” she shot back. “I’m here, I’m dead. What else can I do?”

    Qui-Gon smiled mysteriously, and shrugged. “Perhaps you are ready to move on,” he said evenly. “Or perhaps there is more you can do.”

    “What, hang around here with you creeps?” she asked, annoyed. “Watching people all day? Spend my time coming up with cryptic little messages and haunting people with them?” Mara shook her head. “No thanks.”

    “Tell you I did,” Yoda banged his stick against his chair again. “Disrespectful is she. Mindful of her choice, she is not.”

    “What choice?” she demanded angrily. “It’s no choice at all.”

    “You may not understand now,” Windu spoke up. “But you will.”

    Mara was ready to continue arguing, but the Jedi and their Temple disappeared, and she was once again engulfed by a white light.


    ************

    A sense of peace permeated Luke’s entire being as his consciousness returned. He knew he was in the right place, he could feel the Force flow through him more keenly than it ever had before. And yet he could feel the other world as well, the one he had come from, and knew that he still had a pathway home.

    Blinking rapidly, the world came into focus, and he saw that a young woman in white stood before him, her eyes wide.

    “Luke!” the woman gasped, her hands flying to her mouth in shock. “It’s you.” She let out an audible sob, and pressed her hands more firmly against her mouth to compose herself. Then she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, before lowering her hands to clasp them in front of her. When she opened her eyes, they were bright with unshed tears. “Do you…know who I am?” she asked, the hope clear in her voice.

    It only took a few seconds for it to click into place in Luke’s mind. If he was blind and deaf, he would know her, just by her presence in the Force, her presence within him. He knew her name, remembered her face, in an instant understanding everything he needed to know. His heart had cried out for hers from the day he was born, and his face cracked into a smile as he felt whole again.

    “Yes, I know you,” he said, swallowing heavily. “Mother.”

    “Luke,” she said again, tears beginning to fall. “My beautiful boy, you are so brave. I wish…I wish I could hold you in my arms.”

    Luke stepped forward hopefully, but she held up a hard to stop him. “I can’t,” she said with obvious sorrow. “If you touch anyone here, you will not be able to return to the world of the living.”

    His hands dropped to his sides, disappointment lancing through him. He had so often wondered about his mother, and now she was before him, as beautiful and kind as he had imagined, but unable to embrace her as a son should.

    “There are so many things I want to say to you, my darling,” Padmé said, tears falling unimpeded onto her face. “But you must go, or you will not be able to reach her in time.”

    “Mara?” His purpose re-asserted himself.

    Padmé nodded. “You must follow the path she has taken,” she told him. “If you can catch up to her, and take her hand you will be able to return her to your world.” She gestured to the whiteness behind her. “That way. But Luke, you must hurry,” she urged him. “If she takes the hand of another, someone from this place, she can never go back. And if you take too long, you will not be able to leave, either.”

    Luke nodded purposefully, and moved past Padmé to the path she had indicated, willing himself not to reach out and embrace her.

    “Luke,” she called out to him, and he turned around. Sorrow mingled with joy on her face, and she smiled at him. “You were such a lonely boy, and I am sorry for that,” she said through her tears. “But I want you to know that you were wanted, and that you were always – always – loved.”

    He wanted to answer, to tell her that he had always loved her, too, but she had faded from view as he was once again surrounded by nothing but white.
  8. Demendora Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2010
    star 2
    Finally you updated! Yeah! I like Mara's meeting with Jedi. And Luke meeting his mother at last.
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  9. Jade_Pilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2005
    star 5
    Yay! =D= Love the update and can't wait for more!!!
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  10. Findswoman Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2014
    star 4
    Neat so far, and I see the influence of the Orpheus/Eurydice story. I particularly like Mara's meetings with Padmé and the prequel-era Jedi and your explanation of how Leia got to know the "images" of her mother (and why Luke didn't get to know those same "images"). Looking forward to seeing how Luke gets his wife out of this one.
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  11. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Yay! An update! Luke meeting his mother was simply beautiful!
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  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Loved the scenes with snarky Mara with the Jedi and Luke with Padme. Sweet. I really picked up on the urgency of the situation. Luke must get to Mara in time and each of them must follow certain restrictions to return ... together. [face_dancing] I loved especially in the philosophical discussion the insights on Luke's strengths and motivations. =D=
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  13. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    You are back JadeLotus!!! No comments right now on the story because I need to reread from the start. My memory sucks. It is great to have you back though! [:D]
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  14. taramidala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    Ah, it's wonderful to see this story back. I love the imagery and imagination. And I'd never before considered that the Emperor would have allowed information about the other Jedi to remain in existence, so as to brand them as traitors. It's fantastic. Luke's moment with his mother was simply heartbreaking.
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  15. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    That was beautiful. I loved the scene with the Jedi.

    Can't wait for more
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  16. divapilot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 30, 2005
    star 4
    beautiful! I could picture the scene at the temple so perfectly in my mind! Excellent writing, as always.
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  17. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    Thank you @Demendora, @Jade_Pilot, @Findswoman, @Briannakin, @Nyota's Heart, @Jedi_Lover, @taramidala, @EmeraldJediFire and @divapilot for your lovely comments. I've promised myself that I won't start posting any new fic until I've at least finished this one, so here's the next chapter (only two more to go after this.) Hope you enjoy!

    ********

    Part V: Ignite the Stars



    Mara stood in high grass, her boots sinking slightly into the soft earth. She could feel a cool, crisp breeze upon her face, and although she knew she no longer had lungs, inhaled it gratefully. Magnificent waterfalls tumbled in the distance, pooling into a stream of rivers, and she could hear the powerful roar of the water as it coursed past her into a distant and unseen sea. Above her the sky was the clearest blue, punctuated occasionally by white, fluffy clouds which did not prevent the bright and gentle sun from beaming down and warming her face.

    “Lovely, isn’t it?”

    Mara whipped around at the sound of the voice behind her. A young man stood a few metres away, wearing Jedi robes of black and dark brown. Light brown hair framed a handsome face, albeit marred by a long scar which ran down the right side of his forehead beside his eye.

    “Oh no,” she shook her head and took a step backwards. “Not you.” Even though she had never seen his true face, Mara knew exactly who stood before her. And despite herself, she remembered being in the dark and hearing nothing but mechanical breath, always watching, always judging, never speaking. She remembered her Master once sending her to his training room for lightsaber practice and spending three weeks in the medcentre afterwards. She remembered his imposing figure at her Master’s right hand and envying him, hating him and fearing him in equal measure.

    Vader.

    He smiled at her and it was the most unnerving thing Mara had ever seen. It was the normality of it, she decided. Darth Vader was not a man with a single scar and a youthful complexion – he was not a man at all. He was a Sith encased in black armour, a deep voice punctuated by staccato breath. Behind a grotesque mask were eyes of yellow, not blue, and he did not smile because his charred skin was stretched too light over a brittle skull.

    “I’m Anakin Skywalker,” he said to her, and she had trouble reconciling herself to the pitch in his voice. “But I’m sure you already figured that out, right Mara?”

    She bristled at being addressed so informally. “Why are you here?” she managed to spit out.

    Vader laughed then, but not the low, mocking rumble which he had often directed to her in the past, but a light, amused chuckle, as if he was appreciating a joke she had made. “This is my small corner of the Force,” he told her.

    So she was in Vader’s construction - Mara remembered Padmé had told her that they could conjure happy memories, and was surprised that there was anything so beautiful within his mind.

    “I should be the one asking why you are here,” he added.

    “I’ve been telling everyone the same thing,” she retorted, crossing her arms over her chest defensively. “I don’t know why I’m here.”

    “If you say so.” He looked and sounded so much like Luke in that moment that Mara had to turn away. If you say so. It was a private joke, almost, between her and Luke, when one of them had said something the other thought was ridiculous but not worth arguing over. She didn’t want it tainted by him.

    “Look, Vader-”

    Anakin,” he cut her off firmly, his smirk at once falling into a frown.

    They stared each other down for several moments, Mara unwilling to call him by that name, and Vader seemingly refusing to continue until she did. Eventually, he sighed deeply, and looked away.

    “I understand why it is so hard for you to say,” he said quietly. “I refused to think of myself that way for so many years. I had dishonoured that name.”

    Mara shrugged dismissively – she could not disagree. “So why insist on it now?”

    “Because I am Anakin here,” he answered simply, his blue eyes locking back on hers.

    “How nice for you,” she said dully, wrapping her arms tighter around herself.

    “I know that I was…cruel to you sometimes, Mara,” Vader said, taking a step towards her. “I am deeply sorry for that.”

    Mara looked away again. “It was to be expected.”

    “Oh?”

    “You were threatened by me,” she reasoned.

    Vader laughed, and this time there was a hint of derision. “You are strong in the Force, Jade,” he admitted. “But not strong enough for Palpatine. He wanted a Skywalker.”

    Mara looked back at him, clenching her jaw to clamp down on her sudden anger. When she’d served the Emperor, she had been proud that he’d nurtured and encouraged her abilities in the Force. Of course, he had never trained her in the ways of the Sith, but it had gratified her to think that Vader’s dislike of her was in part due because he feared she would take his place.

    “Does it hurt?” Vader asked, drawing closer to her, but his voice was soft and full of understanding. “To know that despite your loyalty and service, it never would have been good enough for him?”

    Mara looked away again, not wanting him to see he’d struck a nerve. “Palpatine was evil,” she said haltingly. “It only hurts to know that I served him.”

    “You don’t have to conceal yourself, Mara,” Vader told her kindly. “Of all people I understand the hold he could have on a person.”

    “I should have known better,” she insisted.

    “No,” he told her firmly. “I should have known better.” He put a hand on her shoulder, and she looked back up at him, amazed by the comfort and understanding of his gaze. He was Luke’s father, she realised, understanding hitting her forcefully.

    “We bear the burden of our service to evil Mara,” he continued. “You will carry that regret for the rest of your life.”

    “What life?” she asked him. Did she have to stay here in the world between the living and the Force until she was absolved of the evil she had done under Palpatine’s order?

    Anakin squeezed her shoulder slightly in comfort, but did not answer. He turned to look at the waterfalls in the distance. “This is Naboo,” he told her, a small smile lighting up his face. “My wife’s homeworld.”

    “It’s beautiful,” Mara conceded, unsure of what else to say.

    “Like her,” Anakin smiled, and he seemed very far away in that moment. He sat down in the grass and crossed his legs with a practiced ease, absently running his hands over the pink and yellow wildflowers. “We were so happy, here.”

    Mara cocked her head and studied him, intrigued by the information. While Padmé had chosen to show her the Senate chambers on Coruscant, Anakin had chosen to meet Mara here, not in the simulated surrounds of the Jedi Temple or his own home, but his wife’s. He had loved her deeply, Mara realised, and she had never thought such a thing possible.

    Mara steeled herself, and then knelt down in the grass near him. “What happened?” she asked.

    A shadow crossed Anakin’s face as his gaze dropped, and his left hand encased in a black glove clenched tightly around the stem of a blade of grass. “The Force showed me a vision of Padmé dying in childbirth,” he began softly.

    Mara didn’t know what to say, although she thought, not for the first time, that the Force was spectacularly unfair and often cruel.

    “I let fear overtake me,” Anakin continued, his voice thick. “Master Yoda told me that I should let go of everything I feared to lose, but I thought I knew better.” He sighed deeply. “In my arrogance, I did not understand the wisdom of his advice, and so in trying to save her, I only made sure that my vision would come to pass.”

    Mara was moved by his honest and obvious regret. She had never before thought Vader capable of such emotion, but she realised now that there was so much she did not know about him. Mara had always seen him as a brute enforcer, unsubtle and uncompromising, and therefore so much lesser than the Emperor, than herself. Now she saw that she hadn’t understood him at all.

    “My wife died because I chose power and darkness over the happiness I could have had with her,” Anakin continued with obvious regret. “My son and daughter grew up without her, without one another because of that.” He ran his hand through the grass again, plucking a small yellow flower and twisting the stem between his fingers. “Luke knew better than me – his love was purer,” he added. “He loved his sister and his friends, but he left to protect them. He cared for me, but would not let me draw him to the Dark Side. He quite literally threw away all defence and renounced everything, so that the Emperor had no weapon to turn him.”

    Mara looked away at the intimacy of Anakin’s words. And yet irritation coursed through her as well, her first and most reliable refuge when faced with emotions that made her uncomfortable.

    “Skywalker,” Mara said derisively, and waved her hand. “Everyone wants to talk to me about Skywalker,” she added. “Isn’t this supposed to be my spiritual journey, or whatever shavit you goons have been sprouting off about? But so far I’ve had to talk to Skywalker’s mother, Skywalker’s old Jedi Masters and you.”

    “That’s true,” Anakin conceded, and leaned back casually on his hands. “But he’s why you’re here – you gave your life to save his. That requires examination, don’t you think?”

    “Not really,” Mara said dismissively, shifting her knees in the soft earth. “You’ve just articulated why he needed to live.”

    “More than you?” Anakin asked, raising his eyebrows. “The Mara Jade I knew had more self-preservation than that.”

    Mara sighed harshly. “You didn’t know me at all.”

    Anakin shrugged, and looked carelessly up at the sky. “I could say that he changed you,” he said conversationally. “But Luke doesn’t change people. He just brings out what was always there.”

    “If you say so,” the words came out of her mouth before she could stop them, and Anakin laughed.

    “I do,” he said. “Because I understand,” Anakin admitted. “Luke has such a light about him that you cannot help but feel dwarfed by it.”

    That was true, Mara reasoned. And yet… Anakin and the others had barely known Luke. They had watched him from afar with hope and admiration. All of them – Padmé, the Jedi, and now Anakin held him in such reverence. He was the beloved son who had redeemed his father, the first of a new breed of Jedi, greater than the old, the embodiment of balance in the Force. But Mara knew the doubts and anxieties that plagued Luke, the mistakes he had made, the struggles he still faced. Yes, he was everything Anakin and the others had said, but Luke was still just a man. As flawed as Mara herself was.

    Anakin looked at her curiously, and she had the feeling that her thoughts were being read. Stay out of my head, Skywalker, she wanted to say, but those words, again, were those she shared with Luke.

    “Why didn’t you want to become a Jedi?” Anakin asked. “Do you doubt your own judgement?”

    “If there’s one thing in life I trust, it’s my own judgement,” Mara replied tartly.

    “Oh, I see,” Anakin grinned. “Maybe it’s that being a Jedi is such hard work – so many responsibilities. Much better to go out in a blaze of glory,” he nodded and waved a hand airily. “That way you’ll always be remembered as the woman who saved not only Luke’s life, but an entire planet. You never had to give being a Jedi a proper shot, and so never had the chance to fail.”

    Mara practically leapt to her feet, turning away from Vader angrily. How dare he question her resolve? And what did it matter now – why was she forced through this torment?

    “Or perhaps you feel that it is your penance?” Anakin called after her, standing as well. “As it was mine?" Mara brushed his words off forcefully, walking away from him. He caught her quickly, jumping in front of her so she was blocked by his tall and imposing form. He waited until she looked up into his eyes.

    “Mara,” he began softly. “I have spent many years here, in this place, among those I love and who love me in return. I feel the burden and regret of my service to evil, and know that it will not truly be lifted until I move on and I become one with the Force. And yet I have been forgiven, by my son, by my wife, and my brother Jedi who I had betrayed.” He cupped and hovered his hands around her cheeks in an almost fatherly gesture and yet did not quite touch her. “My crimes were so much worse than yours, and I had chosen my service, where you were indoctrinated into it. Won’t you forgive yourself?”

    Mara could not escape his probing gaze, and searched her feelings for the truth of his words. She had spent the past few years, since learning the truth about the Emperor, trying to forget what she had done as his Hand. Was that what was stopping her from embracing being trained as a Jedi? Had she hidden behind her business responsibilities and doubt in Skywalker’s ability to teach so she would not have to face her own fear? Had she pulled away from Luke’s encouragement and desire help her because she had not felt worthy of it?

    When she did not speak, Anakin dropped his hands again, folding them in front of him and continued.

    “The last thing I in life saw was my son,” he told her, and tears filled his eyes. “My Luke who loved me, who had saved me, and wanted so badly for me to live.” Anakin looked away. “But that was not the will of the Force,” he added. “And a part of me – the selfish part - is glad for that. The true penance for my crimes would have been to live and attempt to atone for them, and yet I know that it would be my children, and not myself, who would have struggled under the weight of that burden. My son would have taken it from me gladly, would have defended and protected me even at the cost of his own reputation.”

    Mara nodded, remembering how vigorously Luke had always defended his father, never condoning his actions, of course, but the good that had been in him. It was easier for people to accept that as a son’s love for his lost father, but if Vader had lived, and Luke was required to defend the person rather than the memory, Mara knew things would have been difficult for him.

    “He is so much like his mother,” Anakin added softly as a tear slipped down his cheek. “She always saw the good in people, and always forgave, even when they did not deserve it. Especially when they did not deserve it.”

    Mara couldn’t disagree. She had boldly claimed she wanted to kill Luke; that she had been Palpatine’s assassin, that she hated everything he stood for, and yet he had not recoiled from her. Rather, he had reached out to her, accepted her, and encouraged her. And he hadn’t even known her.

    “So you see, I had to die,” Anakin continued. “So that he and Leia could move on.”

    Mara couldn’t help but be affected by his words. “I understand,” she said, nodding. “But I don’t know what this has to do with me.” It wasn’t as if she could explain all of this to Luke.

    “It has everything to do with you Mara,” Anakin replied. He looked over her shoulder as if he could see something beautiful in the distance. “Padmé used to say that love was stronger than anything. Love could ignite the stars.”

    Mara looked at him curiously and without comprehension.

    “I turned to the darkness to try and save the woman I loved,” Anakin told her. “Now I know that the answer I sought could only have been found in the light.”

    “What does that mean?” she asked, frustrated.

    Anakin smiled. “You will understand, soon,” he said. “You have one more person to meet before you move on.”

    Mara sighed and began to walk in the direction he had indicated, feeling as if every person she met only confused her further.

    “Wait.” She halted suddenly and turned back to Anakin. He stood there, arms clasped in front of him, as if he had been expecting her to do just that. Quenching her irritation at the presumption, she continued. “When you were on the Death Star, Luke said he was almost dead before you saved him.” She remembered Luke speaking of being held in Palpatine’s Force lightening, the appeal to his father that had only been answered at the last possible moment. “I guess I wonder what made up your mind?”

    Anakin regarded her thoughtfully. “There are so many answers to that question, Mara” he began. “I could tell you that I had been in the same situation before, and had made the wrong, selfish choice. I could say that I thought Palpatine had done everything he could to break me, and that I yearned to be unbroken again. Or I was thinking of Padmé, of how much she would have wanted me to save him. Perhaps I finally understood the prophesy, and that the only way I could bring balance to the Force was for both myself and Palpatine to die.”

    “So what’s the truth?” Mara pressed.

    “The truth,” Anakin smiled broadly. “Is that I saved Luke for the same reason you did.”

    Before Mara could question him further, her surroundings dissolved once again into blinding, pure light.


    ****************************************


    Luke had barely left his mother’s presence before the light surrounding him dissolved. His new location was immediately apparent as a council chamber, with huge transpirasteel windows overlooking a city and a ring of chairs surrounding his position on a marbled floor. In front of him were four beings, three seated in the chairs and one standing between them.

    Yoda, he recognised immediately. Then Obi-Wan, although it took a few moments to reconcile the youthful image before him with the memory of old Ben Kenobi.

    “Luke,” Obi-Wan greeted him with a familiar smile. “My boy, it is so good to see you again.”

    “Hmmph,” Yoda grunted. “Under better circumstances, it should be,” he continued, banging his gimer stick against his chair. “Reckless you are still.”

    Luke couldn’t help but smile, for he had missed Ben’s kind words and Yoda’s reprimands.

    “Luke.” The silver-haired man standing between Obi-Wan and Yoda’s chairs gave him a kind smile. “I am Qui-Gon Jinn, and this is Mace Windu.” He gestured to the dark-skinned man seated in the chair beside Yoda.

    Luke realised he stood in the presence of his Jedi forbears, and straightened his shoulders, clasping his hands in front of him in respect. “It is an honour to meet you both.”

    “No, Luke,” Qui-Gon said. “The honour is ours.”

    “We have been watching you for a long time, young Skywalker,” Mace Windu spoke up, his rich vice filling the room. “Your failures, and your successes.”

    Luke bowed his head – he had made so many mistakes in the past few years, and it hurt to think he may have disappointed the Jedi of the old Order he had so revered.

    “Failure is part of life,” Qui-Gon said. “A part of the Force. Do not regret your failures, Luke, for you have borne them better than most.”

    “You have never failed us, Luke,” Obi-Wan told him, stroking his beard thoughtfully. “Never think that.”

    “Thank you, Master,” Luke was relieved. He wanted to ask them so much, but knew time was critical. “I’m here for Mara.”

    “She was here,” Mace told him.

    “Delightful girl,” Obi-Wan smiled.

    Luke wasn’t sure he’d ever heard Mara described as delightful before, and in fact noticed that Yoda scowled to himself. Qui-Gon looked at him with an easy yet penetrating gaze, and Mace openly studied him.

    “You have to follow the path she has taken,” Mace explained, waving his hand and Luke felt a slight tug in the Force.

    “You must be strong,” Qui-Gon warned him. “Only then can you take her back with you.”

    “Promised me to finish what you begin, you once did,” Yoda said. “Hold you to that, I do.”

    “I will, Master” he vowed, determined that he would find Mara, and unwilling to accept any alternative. Then, he would return to his mission of rebuilding the Jedi as Yoda had commanded him.

    “Know this I do.” Yoda nodded, and smiled, his ears twitching.

    “Go,” Mace told him. “And know that you are an equal here,” he added, nodding his head respectfully. “Master Skywalker.”

    Luke’s heart felt full at those words. He had declared himself a Jedi Master, but he’d had no barometer to make such a claim. He’d taken the mantle because it had seemed necessary in order to start the Jedi Academy, but there’d always been that niggling voice of doubt and uncertainty. To hear it from the lips of the Jedi of old was reassuring and gladdened his heart.

    “Thank you,” Luke said again, looking over each of the Jedi before him trying to commit their faces to memory. But he felt a tug from the Force, and gave himself over to it willingly as the light consumed him again.
    Last edited by JadeLotus, Aug 18, 2014
  18. taramidala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4
    [:D] The scene with Mara and Anakin was wonderful. She'll get it eventually, won't she? ;) And it's nice to know that Luke is, and will be, accepted as a true Master when the time comes. More soon? :D
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  19. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Both scenes were amazing! Very in character for Mara, as well as everyone else. I am eagerly awaiting more.
  20. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Nice talk between Anakin and Mara. Great story! =D=
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  21. ThreadSketch Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2013
    star 3
    OI! IT'S ALIVE!!! (No pun intended, lol.)

    Seriously, I was worried this story would be left hanging; I'm so glad you're back to complete it. *thumbs through thesaurus to attempt finding enough superlatives to give this installment its due accolades*

    Oh, hang it; it's gorgeous, dahling, gorgeous. @};-
    Last edited by ThreadSketch, Aug 10, 2014
    AzureAngel2 and Nyota's Heart like this.
  22. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Agreeing with ThreadSketch's description - gorgeous just stunningly insightful into the characters and their motives/choices. =D= =D=
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  23. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    First the title drew me in for I love Greek myths & legends.

    Then I was happy that two of beloved SW characters where in it: Mara & Luke.

    The more I read on, just freshly back from my short summer holidays, the more I delighted in that fanfic of yours. Your writing style. The wit of your dialogues. Fantastic!

    You have such a light about you that one cannot help but feel dwarfed by it... ;):p
  24. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    @taramidala - [:D] I think Mara is being willfully ignorant there, but she will have the face it eventually ;) The scene with the old Jedi acknowledging Luke and making him a Master was very important for me, especially to contrast Anakin being all pissy in ROTS about not being made one (at the grand old age of 21 :rolleyes:). I didn't want to be all Luke rules, Anakin drools about it, but Luke needed a bit of validation at this point of his life.

    @Briannakin - Thank you! :) I was worried that Mara was a bit too reactive in this chapter, but she needed to hear what Anakin had to say.

    @Jedi_Lover - Thanks! :D

    @ThreadSketch - [face_laugh] Thanks so much. It has taken me a while to update, I know! I've promised myself I'm going to finish all my old WiPs (basically this and Life Not the Painted Veil) in the near future.

    @Nyota's Heart - Thank you! :D
  25. JadeLotus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 4
    @AzureAngel2 - Wow, thank you! [face_blush] I love stealing my ideas from mythology ;) - and I absolutely love all the Greek myths.
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