Hi! This is my first, and likely last attempt at an original post: I'm a reader, not a writer. Oh well, every bell curve has to have a lower half too. Please feel free to tell me if something about this piece strikes you as subpar. I really don't mind "negative" feedback, for it actually provides a roadmap on how to improve. I hope you enjoy. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The carnage, the chaos, the quenching of the Light... It's my fault, all mine--yes, mine. Perhaps Palpatine credits his machinations with causing the Overthrow. Maybe Ani bullied hundreds of systems into the so-called Emperor's power. Ultimately their responsibility pales before my own. For it was my hubris which brought the Republic crashing down. I, a footnote to an expunged history, forgotten dust on a destroyed planet, me. Even now the Litany of If dominates my consciousness. If only I had accepted him as my Learner when he was ten or eleven, after the contest when he was twelve, or even when we first met aboard the Monument. If only I hadn't abandoned him physically on Melida-Daan and emotionally on New Apsolon. If only I hadn't discarded him before the Council. If only I hadn't brushed him aside with my last words. If, if, IF! A decade of weaving flaws into the Lightest presence I'd ever known, all of which I blithely justified at the time as following the Will of the Force. The Will of the Force...what an apt term, for I have learned that the Force does have a consciousness and does not tolerate having Its name taken in vain. We have all been punished for our petty blasphemies. The haughty Councillors who presumed to rule--not counsel--"in the Name of the Force"...witnessing their fallibility as the Order, and their all-important "authority," dissolved into naught. The so-called Chosen One, who refused to "enslave" himself to the Order and who forsook the Force for bodily pleasure...now bereft of several body parts, enslaved by the very Dark Side and machines that sustain him. And I? I, the self-professed champion of the Force...forced to witness how my actions defied the Force's intent. For although in life, others heralded my connection to the Force; in death, the Force prevents me from binding with It. I am not one with the Force. I cannot complain. My sentence is just, if not especially enjoyable. My observations have edified me more than I ever dreamed...or feared. And why should I feel peace when my follies wrought galaxy-wide destruction? The worst...the worst is that I cannot visit him. Now that I understand the depth of my wrongdoing, I cannot lessen his self-recriminations or beg his forgiveness. It wasn't my padawan's fault he couldn't save Anakin, after all; I had damaged that corner of Obi-Wan's soul that might have reached him. It...hurts to know he blames himself, and that I cannot disabuse him of his guilt. The Force does allow others to come and comfort him, countless others, but not I. Never I. It's as though the Force fears to let me close, does not trust me with Its Child of Light, lest I thwart destiny once more. I do not blame It.