When Order 66 was given, they shot my taun-taun out from under me and left me there to die. An animal of that size holds
its heat for a long while, though, and a body half-buried in snow takes longer still to freeze. And of course, even as my
physical self weakened and died, I was alive in the Force.
I felt my brethren dying, felt each of their lights go out. One by one out on the Rim, and in great bursts of new darkness
as each room of the Temple fell, I felt each of my brothers and sisters go to the Force. I confess that I forgot my training
for a few moments, long enough to weep and have my tears freeze to my face. I couldn't rejoice for them as was proper, not
with so many gone at once. And not when I knew that this was not a peaceful letting go, not a free union with the energy
of life. Not when I could feel their fear, their confusion, their pain.
And his anger.
Perhaps that gave me the heat that kept me alive through Hoth's midnight. Anakin and I entered the Temple in the same year.
We trained together as younglings, practicing our meditation and combat skills until I knew the feel of him in the Force as
well as I knew my own Master. As I lay in the snow, the furious pounding of his heart echoed in my chest, overriding the
entropy that should have stopped my own.
I felt the flicker of sorrow in him when he raised his lightsaber against the younglings, and the wave of cold determination
that replaced it. It must be done, his voice rang in my mind, loud and startling without the murmur of all the others
to buffer it. For her. Sharp fear, and grim resolve; then the fervor of his emotions eased, and I lost the feel of
him in the Force.
And still I did not die. Heat ebbed, and life should have followed, but I wrapped myself in the Force and searched for others.
Where once the soul-lights of the Jedi lit up the eternal like stars against the sky, now there only a handful remained.
Anakin, growing more twisted and terrible with each heartbeat. The Sith Lord's unmistakable blight on our ways. And two
others, their lights still strong and pure, which after a moment my tired mind knew as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda.
I relaxed a bit deeper into the snow, unable to force my face to move but smiling in my heart, despite the weight of the dead
taun-taun crushing my legs. My name is Sketh Anna, and I am not the last of the Jedi, I thought out into the
dead chill of Hoth's night, and farther, into the Force. Others survive me...and they will not abandon our code.
I could feel their grief, their determination. Neither of them seemed aware of me in the Force-mists; I had never been powerful
enough for them to take any notice of me. Middling-average padawan of a second-rate Master...ah, but I would die a Jedi Knight
I drifted for a while, knowing that by now I had to be dying, that the Force could not sustain me indefinitely, not here.
It was good to be able to lose myself in the mystery, to trace the flows of energy out through the galaxy to everything that
was or ever had been. And not only all that would be, but all that could be- the glorious ever-in-motion future...
I lost myself walking those paths, as I had learned in my first days as a padawan, when Anakin Skywalker had sometimes served
as my anchor, a stable point in the swirling Force-energy to guide me home. And because thought is as deed in the infinite,
remembering Anakin took me to him, sending my soul-self racing across the energy fields to Mustafa.
Somehow Obi-Wan was there was wel- how much time had I lost wandering through the Force?- and their combined rage and grief
was like burning coals dumped onto my frozen body. Too much to bear.
I was sucked into their dance, the giving and taking, the surges of the Force around them. And it was a dance; their
mastery of the Force was equal and consummate, and they mirrored each other perfectly with each strike and blow. Master and
student, youth and age, passion and control...in all things they stood poised on the razor's edge, perfectly balanced.
Balance, I thought suddenly, freezing solid to the snowy earth on Hoth. He will bring balance to the Force. Oh,
Anakin, the prophecy was true after all.
Two Sith Lords as always, and now two Jedi. Students and masters on each side, fighting to create an equillibrium...
And they would. The motion of the future stilled long enough for me to see it with aching clarity. The balance would hold,
as long as it was needed...until everything was changed...
They danced on and on, and the beauty of it blinded me, the beauty of point and counterpoint, of balance, echoing from them
out into the Force.
I think it was the fire meeting Anakin's body that stopped my heart.
I was tied into them too deeply, breathing the same heated air. Anakin's pain and Obi-Wan's grief were too much for a broken
body to bear. I stepped free of it, dismissing the meaningless shell of life, and entered the Force. Once I was free of
the body's weight, I could see that the others were there, waiting.
We gathered around Anakin, a crowd of ghosts that the shadows in his mind would not let him see. We looked down at his broken,
mutilated body, and remembered the beauty that had been. But there is no sorrow in the Force; only acceptance.
He will live we murmured together, secure in the absolute knowledge that exists beyond the flesh. There is more
work for him to do.
Most drifted away then, out into the mysterious infinite to which we had pledged our hearts and minds, forgotten ghosts of
an ended time. Only two were left to remember our names, and in time, they too would fade. I studied that broken, raving
body for another moment. He would never be forgotten.
I wondered if he knew, lying there thinking himself abandoned, too blinded by his pride and pain to see us on the other side,
that the Force was still with him.