Title: Only the Dead Summary: Ben finally sees the end of war. Written for the Over 30 Writer’s challenge: Death of a Character 118 Years ABY Skywalker Homestead Tatooine Death stalks its prey with single-minded ferocity. It gives no mercy when it captures its intended target. It hides in the shadows, just out of sight, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Ben Skywalker had been stalked by death most of his life. His early years were spent in hiding as a battle raged just beyond his protective cocoon. When he emerged, the darkness of the Force disguised itself as a friend and reached menacingly for him; for his very soul. When Darth Caedus fell on the blade of his twin sister, Ben thought death would retreat from his life. It did not. The darkness of an unseen foe continued to encroach upon him, leaving him breathless on occasion. War was still waged in the galaxy and Ben sought to beat it back with raw power. He sought to protect that which he valued; his family. Yet, one by one, they too fell to the unseen predator; death. Now in his ninety-first year, Ben’s life of pain and suffering brought about by war was finally coming to an end. He was on the cusp of learning life’s last great lesson, and he looked forward to it. “Only the dead,” he whispered from his bed, his grandson seated in a chair beside him. His grandson looked up. “What did you say, Grandfather?” Ben coughed a bit, his breathing growing ever shallower with each passing moment. “Only the…the dead have seen…seen the end of war,” he breathed. “Today, I…I shall see the…end of war.” His grandson let the tears fall then. He wondered at that; wondered if it was true. Even at that moment, battles were being fought on many worlds, the fighting seeming never-ending. Perhaps death was the only escape from war. Ben reached out and grasped his grandson’s hand in his own. His grip was the weak touch of an old man long since past his prime, but it carried such love and understanding that his grandson smiled through his heartbreak. “Death is…is the last…great adventure,” Ben muttered. His grandson wiped his tears as he felt his grandfather’s presence in the Force fading. His grandfather was slipping away; slipping into the clutches of death, and he could do nothing to stop it. Just before he took his last breath, Ben’s eyes opened wide and a smile appeared on his face. “Father,” he whispered just as his body faded from existence, leaving only his Jedi robes in his place and a bereaved grandson to mourn. Death stalks its prey with single-minded ferocity. “Goodbye, Grandfather.” *********************************** “Only the dead have seen the end of war”~~Plato There is some debate about whether the quote can actually be attributed to Plato, but since it is the most prevalent theory, I’m crediting Plato.