2 MONTHS LATER
Luke had learned how to use his ring fairly quickly. Not only in the sense that he had learned how to fly and create constructs, but also how to use it to inspire hope in others. He had learned how to use it to lead others, not only into battle but into the galaxy as a whole, teaching them to help others and shine the light of hope wherever they went. The ring brought out the best in him, and others.
He often spent his days helping people with projects, not just combat operations, but building things and transporting supplies between bases. That was where Leia found him that day; helping some of his fellow rebels with moving an X-wing. She watched as he summoned two large constructs, a man and a woman, to lift the vehicle. They moved it to the other side of the room, set it down gently, and disappeared.
She came up to talk to him after he was finished. "You know
I've learned a lot about these rings," she said, "And the constructs work best when you work with what you know. Those constructs worked pretty well; how do you know those people? Who were they?"
Luke got a far-off look in his eyes. "They were my Aunt and Uncle. They took me in after my father was killed. My Uncle was a bit rough on me at times, but they both loved me very much. They were killed when Imperial troops raided our homestead just before I met you."
Leia put one hand on his shoulder. "Hey. I know what it's like to loose someone you love. I lost my entire planet to the Empire, and it almost tore me apart. But you have to keep moving, ok?"
Luke smiled at her. "That's what the ring keeps telling me. 'All will be well.' And I believe both of you."
Leia looked down. "There was… something else I wanted to talk to you about. When I got the ring, it told me I had great love for my brother. The thing is, I don't have a brother. Or at least… I don't think I do. I don't know, I'm so confused. And I've been getting these… feelings, like premonitions or something, and I don't think they're coming from the ring."
Luke nodded slowly, taking it all in. "Why don't we talk to Yoda? He seems to know a lot about what's going on here, maybe he has some answers." Leia agreed, so they headed off to find the small Green Lantern.
The first thing Palpatine had done after he had fled the scene of the battle with Plagueis was construct a monument to fear. He used his ring to build a symbol of terror right in the heart of the Imperial Capital. Once he had finished that, he had used the ring to further tighten his grip on the Empire.
Rumors spread quickly, and soon most of the residents of the known galaxy knew of this new power backing the might of the Empire. The Emperor moved from system to system, conquering or obliterating everything in his path. The Empire had been strong before, but now it's power was nigh unstoppable.
The next step was to get revenge on his former apprentice.
"So let me get this straight," Luke said. "Leia is my sister, Vader is my father, and you're a Jedi?!"
"Summed it up pretty well, you have." Yoda said.
Luke almost swooned for a second. Leia came up behind him to make sure he didn't fall. "Why didn't you tell us sooner?"
"Waiting for the right time, I was." Yoda claimed. "Want for you to find out too soon, I did not."
All of a sudden, their rings all started giving them the same notification. Warning: there is an emotional spectrum conflict in a nearby system. Immediate action is advised. They all looked at each other, concern quickly spreading throughout the group as the clam-sounding voices their rings projected relayed the message.
"Come on," Leia said. "I'm obviously not the only one thinking that this can only mean the Emperor and Vader are at it again. I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to go join the fight; with luck, maybe I can take out one or both of them for good."
After a long pause, her brother nodded. "I'm with you. Even if he is our father, he's still a threat." With that, the two went off to find Han.
Yoda started to follow them, but as he did, he received a premonition. He sensed that this conflict would bring about another conflict entirely. Not only that, but one far more deadly than itself. And yet, he sensed that he would still have to engage in it. Realizing this, he continued following the two younger Lanterns, hoping that it would not be the death of them.
"Padme, what's wrong?"
The Emperor was a bit taken aback when he found his former apprentice talking to his constructs. Hiding in the shadows of the Naboo royal tombs, he had witnessed part of the one-sided "conversation" Vader was attempting to carry on with a construct made to look like his deceased wife. Fortunately for him, he saw a way to turn the situation to his advantage, as usual.
"Greetings, Lord Vader. Not that you deserve the title anymore, but I thought maybe I could try to be civil. Regardless of what we call each other, the question remains; why were you talking to yourself?"
Darth Vader turned around and activated his lightsaber. At the same time, the majority of the constructs in the room, mostly Jedi, activated ones of their own. "I'm giving you about five seconds to get out of here," the former Sith lord growled.
Palpatine gave him a false look of concern. "Maybe we won't be so civil, then. But the question still remains…" He let his voice trail off questioningly. Vader remained silent. "You know, I've been learning about the different kinds of rings that came to us lucky few on that fateful night. I haven't learned much as to their purpose, and they seem to originate from some other galaxy with planets I don't recognize. However, one of the more fascinating things I have learned is the different types of constructs each ring makes. For example, the orange ring mostly creates constructs based on people the wearer has killed." He said this last part as he nodded over to the construct modeled after Vader's late wife.
This finally drew him over the edge. With a roar, Vader lunged out at Palpatine, sending his constructs to attack as well.
With a cackle, the Emperor unleashed his own constructs, golden spikes and chains that were intended to restrain and destroy the orange constructs. The first one he targeted was the one furthest towards the back of the group; "Padme".
Vader saw this coming, and regrouped his other constructs around it to protect it. As he did, he continued sprinting forward, swinging his lightsaber out at his former master. The Emperor blocked with his own lightsaber, and then diverted some of his attacking constructs, using them to spear Vader in the back. This time the black-clad figure roared in pain as he fell to his knees, weakened by the wounds the golden spikes were inflicting.
Out in the vast silence of space, the rubble of Alderaan stirred.
Suddenly, a spear of blue light flew through the air and hit Palpatine squarely in the chest. As the force of the blow threw him back, Luke and Leia moved to the aid of their father, while Yoda and Han kept up the attack.
Unfortunately, Vader wasn't in a mood to be reasoned with. "Get away from me," He bellowed. "This moment is mine! This vengeance is supposed to be mine!"
Luke and Leia gave each other a nod, and then employed their rings like they had planned. Luke used his to sooth the madness that the orange ring had inspired in him, while his sister used hers to show him the truth of their relationship. She showed him that he was their father, and that despite the past, they could learn to love him, as they knew that, deep down, they loved him as well.
With the help of the rings, his eyes were truly opened, for the first time in years. He finally felt beyond the rage, and the grief, and the hunger that had consumed him for so long. "My… children…"
They smiled and welcomed him with open arms, able to forgive him out of love and hope for the future. The influence of the orange ring was strong, but so was the influence of their own rings. They could help him fight it.
The battle against Palpatine wasn't going quite as well. They obviously weren't going to get him to join the cause, so instead they were going to have to use force, an option that was proving to be only slightly more effective. They were bombarding the Sith lord with beams of colored light, but he deflected them away easily with a shield construct.
Yoda tried bringing a hammer construct down on his head, but he merely shifted the shield to accommodate the new form of attack. Then he let loose an attack of his own, sending lightening springing out from his fingertips towards his foes. This time it was the two attackers who were sent flying backwards, and now the Emperor was on the attack, sending more of those horrible spikes tearing through the air.
Han used a shield construct of his own to block them. It was far more difficult than it looked, but he held them back. Meanwhile, Yoda tried a Force attack of his own, sending a blast of telekinetic energy towards their opponent.
He saw it coming just before it hit. He let the spikes dissipate as he used a Force blast of his own to deflect Yoda's. Thankfully, this gave Han a chance to fight back. Channeling some of the yellow fear energy he had been gathering from the attack he blocked, he summoned several wraith-like creatures that attacked their target with sharp, bony fingers.
Around the same time, Luke and Leia were able to join the fight, with Vader at their side. While it was still a somewhat uneasy alliance, it was growing stronger by the second, especially due to the fact that they were still working towards essentially the same goal. Not allowing the Emperor a chance to get his wits about him, he summoned a full-size construct shaped as an X-wing and slammed it into the withered and battered Sith lord. He appeared to be beaten.
Suddenly, a black-robed and hooded figure came out from the shadows behind him. As it drew closer to him, the rebels wondered who this new figure was, and whether he was a friend or a foe. They held their rings at the ready, but they were in no way prepared for what happened next.
They watched in horror as the figure knelt down over the fallen Emperor and plunged it's hand into his chest. Having done this, the figure ripped out his heart, and then quickly started biting into it. This was about when they decided to attack the enigma. They moved in to do so, until the thing's hood fell back and revealed it's face. The Black Lantern was rotting and falling apart, but everyone in the room could recognize who it was.
The ring saw through Obi-wan's eyes, but it still had a single purpose; to feed.
It saw through his eyes, but it did not see light. It saw emotions; rage, avarice, will, hope, compassion, love… and under it all, fear. They all feared him. But for now, the other emotions were stronger, so he decided to work with those first.
"Vader, my old apprentice, is that really you? It feels like so long since you killed me! Not to mention destroying the rest of our order…"
He could see the attack coming from the rage that was growing in the burnt-out heart under all the machinery. "Shut up! You're not him. I killed him, so you're not him!" Vader lashed out with his lightsaber, and Obi-wan created a sword-like construct to block it.
"Luke!" He called out. "Help me! Help me defeat him!" He knew it wouldn't work though. The fear was growing stronger, taking hold. No matter, he would just play along. Any emotion would do.
Suddenly there was a flash of orange and green light and- connection severed.
"What was that?!" Luke shouted. "What did you guys just do?"
Han moved over to console him. "Calm down, kid. It's alright. It wasn't him."
"I know that," he replied, "but what was it? Why did it… what was it doing?"
Vader was just coherent enough to respond to his son's question. "It was a Black Lantern. Like the one we saw before. As to why it came here, or why it took the form of my old master…" He let out a frustrated, exhausted sigh. "Yoda, what can you tell us about this?"
The former Jedi master closed his eyes, reaching out with the force. "Tell you, not much, can I. Safe here, we are not. Leave quickly, we must. Ring, come from, where did this Black Lantern?"
A new Black Lantern power battery that has formed around the remains of the planet Alderaan. Han's eyes widened as he realized the gravity of the situation. "Wait a minute, you want to go to where this thing came from to avoid more of them? That's crazy, even for me!"
"To escape them, I do not want," Yoda said. "Destroy them, we must."
"I'm telling you, this guy is a complete nut," Han said as they flew towards the ruins of Alderaan. "Why are we following him again?"
Luke turned to him in mid-flight. "Han, relax. All will be well."
His friend looked at him with a critical eye. "You keep saying things like that, and every time things end up going down the drain anyway."
"But they always work out in the end, don't they?" Luke said with a nervous smile.
Han's smile was somewhat less convincing. "Yeah, yeah. Point taken."
Suddenly, their attention was wholly taken up by the view ahead of them. Instead of the asteroid field they had been expecting, there was a fully-formed planet, black as coal. On it's surface, they could see a massive, lantern-shaped power battery. They also noticed several small dots moving towards them.
The dots were soon revealed to be more Black Lanterns. The group watched in horror as they drew closer, revealing the faces of their long lost friends and family.
Before Luke were the late Owen and Beru Lars. They came closer, moaning, "Save us, Luke, why didn't you save us?" They lunged for him, but suddenly a wall of violet crystal blocked them from reaching him. He saw that it had come from Leia, who was now attempting to cover the rest of the two Black Lanterns in more of the same crystal.
Yoda came over as well, using the green light from his own ring in conjunction with hers to break off the Black Lantern's connection to their power battery. Luke numbly nodded his thanks, but then his expression turned to shock as he looked over his sister's shoulder.
She whirled around to see her adoptive father behind her, lunging out to grab her. She attempted to put up another barrier, but this time her opponent was ready. The undead Origana smashed through the construct, continuing to fly towards her, arms outstretched.
Now it was the brother's turn to protect his sibling. Almost without thinking, he sent a ray of blue light towards the assailant. Yoda again added his own light to the mix, again destroying the Black Lantern.
A short distance away, Darth Vader was facing his own personal demon. He watched numbly as his wife, Padme, reached out to him, almost as though to embrace him. Overcome by love and avarice, he reached out to her as well.
Luke felt a disturbance in the force. He turned around in place, just in time to see the Black Lantern rip his father's heart out. With a cry of rage and despair, he launched himself at the monster, sending another beam of light towards it. His friends soon followed suit, helping him dispatch the final Black Lantern.
He flew over to his father, tears in his eyes. Sobbing, he held the body of a man that he had never truly known, but also one who had helped bring him into this world. And one who, deep down, had cared about him greatly.
Yoda floated over to him. "Luke. Later, there will be time to grieve. For now, we must end this threat."
Luke looked up at him, wiping the tears from his eyes. "You're right. It's time to end this." He looked to his friends. "It's time to avenge the ones we loved."
With renewed energy, they sped towards the black power battery, throwing everything they had at it. Using every last bit of strength they had in their bodies, they sent spears of light hurling through space. Under their combined might, the battery cracked and crumbled, quickly fading to ash.
As the dust settled, they looked to each other. "That… almost seemed too easy. As though the Black Lantern's power wasn't really centered here."
Luke nodded. "I've been thinking it over, and I bet you're right. These rings don't really feel like they came from our galaxy… something tells me their power source is rooted somewhere else. But as long as they are here… something keeps telling me those things will keep coming back."
Yoda nodded, a sage air about him. "Right, Luke is. Relinquish the rings, we must."
They all nodded solemnly. Understanding that they had to give up their power for the greater good of the galaxy, they commanded their rings to self-destruct, ending the threat.