A/N

Here the meditations come to their conclusions and some action starts to happen in the last third of the chapter. Will the mission proceed as the visitors anticipated? There will be some interesting encounters. Enjoy it!


After Luke and his three companions climbed the roofless repulsor funicular and sat down, he looked once more upon the unpresentable cover of the Book of One. Not great indeed.

As the funicular began its descent, slower this time due to sudden evening gales, the prophets began singing.

"Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the One been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by the Father, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."

Luke didn't understand much of it, but it was a pleasing song.

"It is from the Book," Elijah said, leaning to Luke with a smile, and then continued singing.

Luke couldn't wait to begin reading it. To get a feel of it, he opened a random page. It was in the Galactic Standard language. The title was "Psalm 90: A Prayer of Moses the man of God." He glanced inquisitively at Moses. As he was lost in the joyful song, Luke just read silently.

"You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world. Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, and say, 'Return, O children of men.' For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past"

He lifted his eyes back up. As he watched the Coronet City in the distance, bathed in purple twilight, he remembered the dream he had last night when he was riding with the prophets to safety. It was a strange dream. Corellia and the whole galaxy was filled with prosperity and technological advancement, and all the citizens of the galaxy were force-wielders, yet there was a horrible feeling of hollowness Luke has never before imagined. As the song stopped, he inquired, "Can I ask you the meaning of the dream I had last night when you picked me up?"

"You may," Enoch responded, "and if it is the will of the One, he will give us wisdom to share."

Luke shared his short dream in its entirety, describing all the details, including what he felt during and after the dream.

Elijah leaned back, as the clear explanation came into his mind. "This was a message of the One," he paused. "He showed you how the galaxy would feel if there would be peace and order the Enemy's way – without love."

"The Enemy first endeavored to achieve it through overpowering terror," Moses added, "by the Empire."

"Now," Enoch continued, "he plans to achieve it by empowering everyone," he paused ominously. "By making everyone obsessed with increasing their own personal power, as he is, the Enemy seeks to make them intimately dependent on his power and thus separate them permanently from the One."

"That is why now is the right time," Moses added, "to relinquish Force-wielding power."

"So," Luke said lowly as he realized, "it is time for the Jedi to end."

"In the present form, yes," Enoch responded. "But not if they substitute Force-wielding for love and prayer. Otherwise, their future will be darker than that of the Sith."

Luke shivered in terror as the image from the dream came back to him of a Jedi who approached him with a smiling face, which soon dissipated under the pull of a terrible void behind the pretending mask, so abysmal that it woke him up screaming from the bottom of his soul. "Would everyone in the galaxy be so hollow as that Jedi from the dream if they would entirely separate themselves from the One?" he asked.

"Yes," Enoch responded with unambiguous certainty.

"May that never happen," Luke said resolutely.

"It will not," Moses affirmed.

"Wait," Luke realized, "in your time, our galaxy's history has ended, hasn't it?"

"Yes."

"So we won!" Luke stood up, filled with victorious relief.

"The One won," Elijah corrected him. "The Enemy's project showed everyone that, no matter how hard he tried, he always failed to produce the peace and order without the law of love."

"It was a bitter defeat for the Enemy," Enoch said, "followed by the complete destruction of the most wicked generation on our planet, except one loyal family that was saved in a ship made according to the specifications given by the One himself. As the flood burst from above and beneath our planet's surface, the Enemy and his Inimical Army feared they will also perish. They were terrified by the outstretched arm of the One that brought a just judgment to a violent generation."

"The Enemy lost all hope of regaining the blessed realm of the Beyond," Moses picked up, "though he didn't share that realization with the others. He still promised he will gather the army among the citizens of our planet, which he would raise to life in the last day and lead to the last battle against the City of the One when it descends down to our planet, thus reconquering the capital of the Beyond for himself and all his followers."

Luke listened intently in spite of the strong winds rushing through his ears and tousling his hair.

"But in his heart," Moses continued, "he knows it is only a fantasy. He knows a fire from above will forever end the miserable existence of him and his minions. His sold-out followers also know it but find it too hard to bear that truth, so they play 'gathering the army' show. But all have heard the words of the One, and tremble whenever they think of their soon last judgment."

"From the ancient moment he realized the doom of his destiny – to the most recent hour," Elijah added, "his only satisfaction is in hurting the One through pulling as many of his children into eternal destruction along with himself. He also enjoys destruction and pain in this life, for every woe that escapes the beings the One created throbs his heart, even it is only an animal."

"But he does not enjoy the pain which brings people to seek the help of the One," Moses added. "Such he rather prospers, as the first and foremost thing that he seeks is their eternal destruction, which will leave eternal scars in the heart of the One."

"So, though we know the One will have victory on our planet," Elijah concluded, "we do not know which souls will share that victory," he paused and then said portentously. "And the same applies to your galaxy."

Luke suddenly felt the solemnity of the moment and the duty that is upon him.

The funicular finished its descent, and Luke disembarked along with his companions. The beach was almost entirely empty now that the evening has darkened it. Pearly sand shore reflected the twilight skies in a million shades of purple, orange and turquoise, the latter coming from the moon Gus Treta. What a conclusion to the day. Just last night, it was the same turquoise reflection of that same moon which Luke thought would be the last sight he would see before dying. But the One did not let that the last reflection Luke would see of that moon be on the sharp teeth of the beast that was about to devour him. Instead, he let him see it once again, on the infinite pearly sands. Luke saw it as a beautiful token of the hope and the everlasting future that the One has for him.

As it was late, Luke and his companions took one of the small roofless silent tram wagons that traversed the elongated beach thousands of times a day. As they enjoyed the silent travel, interrupted only by wind gusts, Luke's thoughts went to the father he never had. Speaking over the increasing wind, he asked his friends, "If my father was alive today, do you think he would also choose the One?"

Elijah looked at him warmly. "He would," he paused, putting a hand on Luke's shoulder, "and he already did."

Luke barely nodded and his eyes were moistened with tears as he looked away. "Thank you," again he whispered to the One.

They disembarked at the spot where their krahbus were waiting patiently. Elijah went to one of them and caressed its hair, to which the animal affectionately neighed. He released the others to happy freedom, while he led this one to Luke. "Here, this faithful krahbu will take you to your X-Wing."

Luke gently tapped the lovely animal. "Will I ever see you again?" he asked his companions with pathos.

Elijah set his hand on Luke's shoulder and looked straight into his eyes, "That depends on you, my friend," he paused. "Not in this world. But if you will be faithful to the end, we will see you in the Beyond. Who knows, maybe even before the day of recollection of the dust. Maybe the One will honor you with ascension as he did us."

"But in this life," Moses said, "the agreement was only one meeting with you. We must proceed to help others. And you must learn to make the One your friend and comfort." He too looked straight into Luke's eyes. "Pray to him. Read his Book with pleading for understanding. It will be a fountain of life to you. You will have even better times of fellowship than you had today by that fountain on the mount. You will know the One as your friend though you do not yet see him with your eyes."

"It is possible," Enoch said. "I lived thus for three hundred three score and five years. He was my closest friend, and that is why he took me up to see him face to face."

"And beware," Elijah warned, "you will be tempted to use the Force again. Since you know the full truth, the One will not come to your side if you use it. You would fall under the control of the Enemy. You will be tempted to contact your dead friends. Remember that those are impersonations of the inimical spirits. Your friends are lying in the dust, awaiting the day of recollection."

The evening winds increased.

"Do not trust your instinct and feelings," Moses added. "They are not bad, but they are unsteady and prone to manipulation by the inimical spirits. The Book will help you discern all the illusions, even when your own eyes deceive you. Listen to the silent voice of the spirit of the One, yet still test all voices and see whether they agree with the Book. When you seek answers, do not search your feelings. Search the Scriptures, gain the grounded faith, and only then will the feelings align with reality. But never make them a foundation for your decisions," he paused significantly. "Your nephew will get some more time. Help him."

"When you come into temptation," Elijah added, "pray to the One. When you need supernatural intervention, pray to the One. When you need wisdom, pray to the One," he paused. "Through prayer of faith, hearers of the One have subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." He raised his tone as the waves were getting louder. "Supernatural powers have slipped out of your hands, but you are in the hands of the omnipotent One. He will care for you."

"It is time," Moses said. Luke came to him and hugged him long. He did the same to Enoch. Then he came and hugged Elijah too, for several moments longer. "I feel especially close to you."

Elijah smiled and looked him in the eyes with fatherly care, "My brother, that is because you are equally prone to discouragement as I was. After my failure to stand up to a wicked queen, though the One wrought miracles through me that very day, I felt so disappointed with myself that I escaped into the wilderness, far from the eyes of the civilization, and wanted to die. Do not to that, my friend. The One is always ready to accept us, no matter what our failure was. He will never turn away his sincere, heartsick child. Learn to listen to his still, small voice."

Luke hugged Elijah tight once more, as Moses and Enoch watched, smiling with empathy. After releasing him and seeing the joyful faces of his two long-time friends, Luke said, "I want to have what you have. No Force is good as this love."

"You already have it," Moses said.

"Keep receiving it," Enoch added.

"And... may the One be with you," Elijah finished.

Suddenly, the three figures began changing, shining with bright glory. With a blinding flash of light, they ascended above the sea and disappeared into the skies.

Luke continued looking toward the skies, and then looked down to the Book. He thought he heard a silent voice in his mind: "Down is a way up. It is written here." They did told him to be attentive to his voice. But this was not a real voice, more like a thought, yet it clearly felt as coming from outside. He opened the Book at a random page.

It read, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us." As he looked up the top of the page, it was written: "The Gospel of Luke."

Another flash of light interrupted his reading. This one came from the opposite direction, from the city. A familiar sound of an S-foiled starfighter settled behind him. He turned around and saw his own X-Wing, hovering directly in front of him. Ben was in the cockpit. Luke held his lightsaber in one hand and the Book of One in the other. He stood without moving.

X-Wing finally landed and the cockpit was opened. His black-clad nephew descended from it and walked several steps toward Luke.

Luke continued to hold tight his lightsaber and the Book.

Ben approached further, slowly walking toward Luke. At last, he stopped some three meters before him. He didn't say anything.

Neither did Luke.

Suddenly, Ben took out his cross-shaped lightsaber hilt. He held it tightly in his right hand, but didn't turn it on. He had a blank expression on his face.

Luke still didn't move.

Finally, Ben threw his cross-shaped hilt on the sandy ground and fell down on his knees. "I'm sorry, uncle," he began crying. "I was wrong."

Luke immediately dropped his lightsaber and the Book, ran toward Ben, and hugged him tight, with his eyes closed, while Ben was sobbing. Then he held Ben's shoulders and looked him in the eyes. "Ben, it's okay," he said reassuringly. "It's okay."

"Thank you, master," Ben responded in a subdued voice, ducking his eyes for a moment, before lifting them again to gaze at Luke.

"I think you won't have to call me that, anymore."

The winds were blowing the sand over the cross-shaped lightsaber hilt, as if beginning its burial.

"And Ben," Luke paused as he looked him in the eyes, "thank you."

"For what, uncle?"

After a short pause, Luke replied, "For praying for me."

Ben lowered his eyes, as if trying to avoid the topic. "What is that?"

"I think you know well." Luke gripped Ben's shoulders more tightly, looking him straight in the eyes. "Ben, I would be dead."

After several moments of silence, Ben finally said, "Thank the One."

"Indeed." Luke nodded, put his hands off Ben's shoulders and turned to go to pick up his stuff. "I learned marvelous things today," he shouted as he walked. "All the time, we were learning about the Jedi, the Sith, the light and the dark side of the Force..." Luke shook his head in excitement, "It's so much bigger. Reality is so much bigger." He picked up the Book. Then he looked at the lightsaber. He hesitated for a moment. He picked it up, turned and ran after Ben.

"I know, uncle." Ben finally sounded a little more encouraged. "I want to read the Book they gave you," he said as he climbed the X-Wing.

Luke came quickly and sat behind him. "Oh, I will gladly share it with you. And I will tell you everything I learned today," he said as the engines started, and the starfighter began to hover. "I thought I lost you. I thought I would never be able to tell you any of this."

"Thank the One that it was not so," Ben said as the cockpit closed. "I was wrong. But now I know what I have to do," he paused and turned around to look in the eyes of his uncle. "Will you help me?"

"With joy, Ben," Luke responded warmly, tapping his shoulder once, "that is what uncles do."

Ben smiled for the first time and turned around as R2D2 chirped happily.

"Oh I'm happy to see you too, Artoo!" Luke responded. "You won't believe when you hear about all that happened in one day."

The shrill of the starfighter's engines was getting louder.

"This is coming up better than I thought," Luke mumbled to himself with content as he tightened his belts in preparation for flight.

Under Ben's control, X-Wing began to ascend beside the mountain, turning slowly toward the clear dark-blue skies it was about to speedily fly through.

But one more encounter had to happen before it.

The three prophets haven't yet gone from the planet. When they saw that Ben has returned so quickly, contrary to what they expected, they returned to watch Luke's encounter with him. They stood at the nearest mountain top, observing keenly.

As the X-Wing continued to ascend in a hovering mode, it came close to where they were standing. Ben looked to the left and noticed the three figures.

He recognized them.

Last time, it was only a vision. Now, for the first time, he saw them with his own eyes.

His eyes met with theirs. He paused for a few moments. He didn't say a word.

Neither did they.

At last, with an expression of utter disinterest, Ben turned his head forward. And punched the X-Wing toward the dark skies.

The prophets remained standing in silence as the evening insects graced the air with their mellow sounds. The usual evening gales abated. A very distant lightning flashed over the horizon.

As the prophets ruminated in this calm before the storm, one thought dominated their minds.

When he realizes Ben's deception and darkness, will Luke Skywalker cling to the One above the sky and walk through the storm with him? Or will he reach for the familiar?

The calm was deafening.

"Poor brother Luke," Enoch finally broke the silence.

Another distant flash of lightning.

"This mission may take longer than we thought," Moses said.

Insects hummed untroubled.

Elijah just stood in silence. And prayed.

A/N

That's it - FIN, THE END.

How did you like it? Do you think it provided a good backstory for the sequel trilogy? Are the characters portrayed faithfully? Are the two worlds connected/crossovered convincingly? What feelings did it provoke? I really look forward to hear your impressions!

P.S. In the end, I have to give credits to the Conflict of the Ages series, Ellen G. White's novelization of the Biblical cosmic conflict narrative, which was of significant help in composing this story. Since it's in public domain, I've collected the links to all 5 vols in chronological order and various formats and put it in the Downloads section of my blog (see my bio).