I know this story's continuation has been long overdue, but as I have told you guys previously this year's been quite challenging for me, especially due to the huge amount of necessary studying required for the college admission process in my country. I am really sorry for always taking too long to upload new chapters and for not doing that regularly. I cannot promise a steady posting schedule, but I hope I can make up for it by at least trying to deliver on the quality of the content.
Speaking of which, why not get right into it? I'll make more comments by the end of the chapter so I don't bother you all that much. Without further ado, here is the next installment in 'The Encounters'!
Chapter 11 : A Greater Purpose
As the sun shone above the cover of trees the foliage filtered the light rays, leaving the forested environment with a mix of shadowy stripes and bright spots disputing for dominance, but neither getting the upper hand.
Such was the nature of the Force: A constant clash between the Light and Dark Side, in which both spectrums opposed each other although one can't exist without the other. The resulting tension of this tribulation was inevitable, but the conflict wasn't. Both sides could engage together for a greater goal, one that would in turn only strengthen them without the need for destruction.
Balance in the Force. Eternal balance.
That is, at least for Luke Skywalker. The Jedi Master pondered on this idea as he observed the lush green clearing to which he'd woken up, even though confused by the sudden change in the environment around him from the dry, arid desert of the day prior. Still, Luke was accustomed to life in the desert, so surviving until nightfall wasn't that hard. He traced some damp soil and found a dry river bed, digging a few feet deep until water started seeping in.
What shocked Luke the most was the reflection he saw on the water as he was finished hydrating himself.
His face looked way younger than he remembered, but he had a scruffy beard which reminded him of the time when he'd started building his Jedi Academy, Still, apart from the beard, he was taken back by his appearance. Last he remembered his face has many wrinkles, a long beard, and his hair was greyer. But here he had his blonde, short hair. Not only that, his body felt lighter, less ravaged by the old age and years of exile he'd endured.
And feeling his body was also a strange part of this equation. The last thing he remembered was gazing upon the twin suns of Ahch-To as his Life Force transcended into the Cosmic Force, sensing a wave of selflessness that made him feel accomplished as if he'd finally done the right thing; the thing he'd been destined to do. And in his mind, he did: Giving the Resistance enough time to escape the onslaught of the First Order, inspiring the Galaxy to fight for what was right, getting to say goodbye to his sister Leia and, hopefully, implanting a seed of redemption within his nephew.
Luke wondered how could have been so incapable to take action before that. The shame, the guilt he felt after the terrible vision he had during that fateful night in the hut haunted him for years. Why did he even come in there in the first place? He knew Ben was stronger than the other students and it sometimes led to feelings of grand superiority within the boy, but he had a good- has a good heart, He always stood for justice and the protection of the vulnerable, things all Jedi should stand for.
As the memories flooded back in, he thought of trying to flush them away, secluding the events in a locked chest inside his mind, but Luke was done trying to escape his past failures. He had to face them to become a better man, a better Jedi, just as Master Yoda had reminded him after burning down the Sacred Texts.
So he let down his barriers, attempting to get into as much detail as he could about that night even as it made him feel disgusted with himself.
Luke had just finished putting back the Holocrons the younglings left scattered after their last lesson. Usually he would not let them go back to their huts without telling them to do so, but those were the youngest ones and they did have a heavy day of Force training, which more than certainly tired them. So, appealing to his softer side, he allowed them to go rest while he took care of the mess. Luckily, being a highly skilled Force User made finding the cubic artifacts easy.
As he walked up the temple staircase to his quarters he looked out of a window, glancing over the Padawan huts. Some had their lights on, but most were already quiet, including Ben's.
Today hadn't been a good day for the boy. Once again he'd lashed out during a training session, claiming that this place was holding him back from achieving his true potential. Luke tried to talk to him, but his nephew just walked past him and stayed the rest of the day isolated on his starship, the Grimtaash. Ben had a short temper just like Luke did during his early days as a Jedi, but the sudden bursts of rashness and loathing to the other students worried him. At sunset he noticed the boy heading back to his hut, but decided it'd be better to talk to him the next day.
When he opened room's door he felt a cold wind slip into the room through the window. The little candle by the side of his bed was blown out by the cold, which soon engulfed him and made the hair on his back stand up. His vision got dazed as a voice soon overhung the place.
"The boy is in peril. You must get to him now."
His eyes widened as he sensed a dark presence eminnating from outside the temple. Grabbing his lightsaber, he rushed to the Padawan huts to track the danger looming over. As he approached the area, he sensed the dark projecting itself from one of the huts. Ben's hut.
Frightened, he ran toward it but stopped at the doorstep. Lifting his hand, he reached to feel Ben's presence and , although he did, he sensed is mingled with the dark presence. Gulping his dispair, Luke quietly entered the hut, only to find his nephew asleep on the bed.
Walking over to the bedside, he glanced around for any potential danger, but there was no one else inside beside Ben. However, the dark kept pulsating and it came from here.
"Help him. The boy is in peril. Reach out."
Luke raised his arm and attempted to send a sensation of comfort to Ben so he could maybe help him, but was hit back by a thud of dark clouds taking over his surroundings. Luke saw the rage, destruction, pain and death and the end of everything he loved: Leia, Han, his friends and the Jedi Order
And the harbinger of it all. His very own nephew. Ben Solo. The boy had succumbed to the serpentine tricks of Snoke and, because of that, would bring about the end of the balanced achieved by his father.
"The boy is the peril. You must choose the right path. Do it."
Before Luke realized what he was doing the lightsaberwas already ignited and his arms ready for a killing blow. And the realization came down to him: He was considering murdering his nephew, his own blood, the son of his sister because of a sudden dark vision. He couldn't do that - he would NEVER do that. If he was able to redeem his father, so was he capable of preventing Ben's potential fall. But the fact that he subconsciously attempted the act left him with shame.
And consequence. Before he could react, he gazed upon his nephew's eyes as they stared at the ignited green blade and immediately took action, summoning his lightsaber and clashing it against Luke's
"BEN NO!" It was all he managed to let out before everything went black.
When he came back to his senses he emerged from the hut's rubble only to find the temple burning to the ground and his students slaughtered. The downfall he'd long dreaded had happened because of him. He tried to snuff out the darkness inside of Ben instead of concilling it with his Light. He didn't help him face his issues like a true mentor would. All because Luke Skywalker, legendary hero of the Rebellion, couldn't admit he'd failed as a master, failed as an uncle to a confused boy.
Opening his eyes with a gasp, Luke fell to his knees clutching his chest, catching his breath. The memories were nearly too much to bear, but he needed to revisit them. To understand his failure, to overcome his guilt and do the right thing.
Balance wasn't about erradicating one side or the other. The Sith sought to erradicate the Light, but inserting yourself in the Dark Side fueled selfishness and led to conflict and chaos. The Jedi of old aimed to get rid of the Dark, but only focusing on the Light led to negligence and dogmaticism. If the new Jedi were to rise, they would need to find a way to coexist along the middle line of both spectrums, just like the forest clearing laid out with harmonic shadowy stripes and bright light spots.
Luke didn't know what this place was, but from the moment he appeared in it he sensed it had a greater purpose and, given this brief reflexion, he believed it was coupled up with achieving an ultimate balance in the Force.
Therefore, he would act accordingly to the will of the energy field in hopes of contributing to such balance. Closing his eyes, Luke let himself be guided by his feelings, trying to find a path to follow.
He started to wander around the forest, seemingly without a defined route, but a clear course. The Force was Luke's compass, and he trusted it with all his willpower. Along his path he observed the environment intently, noticing details across the nature surrounding him.
Eventually he found a large, downed tree in a clearing at the middle of two other large trees. Approaching the fallen trunk, he ran his fingers through the wood, finding several scorch marks that could have only been made by a peculiar weapon. A lightsaber.
Someone else was in this place, and Luke knew he had to find them if he were to fulfill his goal. Reaching out to the Force yet again, he attempted to sense any beings around him.
He suddenly dodged a spinning red blade thrown right at his head, avoiding possible decapitation. Force-Speeding to the other side of the clearing, Luke saw as the double-bladed lightsaber made its way back to the hands of its owner:
A Zabrak with his face covered in red and back tattoos giving him a yellow teethed-smile.
"It can't be." Luke thought to himself as the figure stared him intensively with his burning eyes.
"There you are, Chosen One." Darth Maul spoke, a sense of satisfaction in his voice.
Well here it is! I know it wasn't eventful but yet again, I really want to establish each characters' mindset before heading over to the all-out free for all where they all die- oops, guess I just spoiled the ending :/ (jk)
So this chapter was originally going to be a Dooku and Kylo chapter but I just wasn't feeling the drive to write it properly, so I decided to just let it flow as I wrote and hey, it turned out that I introduced Luke into the mix. Personally, I don't think this is going to be a beloved chapter, however it has its relevance as it establishes Luke's vision surrounding the mysterious place our characters find themselves in, and how he relates it to his goals. I will be controversial in here by saying I liked Luke's arc in TLJ (even though I agree he should have been portrayed in a different manner) and it has a beautiful conclusion, therefore Luke isn't necessarily seeking to correct his wrong doings as much as he's trying to assure none of them will ever be committed again. This is what he thinks this place represents. Now lets wait and see how this point of view will make certain situations unfold, starting off with a savage Maul! I wonder what he's up to?
Now, to the comments:
THEguitarist117: Agreed, Yoda is just such a fun character to write and develop, not only is he wise but he's also the original master of trolling. And yes, that conversation (hint, HINT) will be revealed within the next chapters.
TaitanoRules555: Thank you mate! I will do my best!
pervy sage (Guest): Oh God no. Hux just going out like a little rabbit in TROS just made me so mad at the movie (but honestly, after his character murder in TLJ I can't blame them for choosing to go with Pryde in his place). If it makes you feel better, Hux will have a more satisfying conclusion in this story.
If you have any comments, questions or doubts leave a review of send me a PM. Thank you all so very much for the continuous support for this story and remember...
May the Force be with you.