Ora ran as fast as she could. Even so, something deep inside was telling her that she wasn’t moving quickly enough.
Your father is in danger, the Force seemed to whisper in her ear.
She shook her head. No, she thought to herself. No.
And yet, the image showing her holding her dying father in her arms had been shown to her twice. She wanted to believe it was the dark side taunting her to want to go to the dark side but there was a truth to both of the visions that made her heart pound in her chest.
She exited the chamber, her new lightsaber blazing blue in the darkness. The sight before her sent sorrow coursing through her in jarring pangs.
Her father was lying on the ground in a small puddle of his own blood. His chest, marred by a deep gash, was heaving faintly as the man with the sword of darkness stood over him.
“No,” she whispered.
The man saw her and smiled. “So, you have finally arrived. I hoped your father’s last moments would lure you to me.”
She practically trembled with rage. “You’ll die for this.”
He pointed his sword at her, his smile fading. “You got me last time. I will not fail again.”
She sneered. “We’ll see about that,” she said, walking forward and twirling her lightsaber.
She didn’t let him make the first move. She vaulted forward with a cry full of rage, battering his defenses with a flurry of anger-driven swings. He, however, was a skilled opponent. He withstood the onslaught, parrying her attacks with worrying ease as she pushed him further and further down the hall, away from her father.
And then, their blades clashed, one a strengthened blue that colored the hall around her in a deep blue glow and the other an appropriate dark blade wreathed in a violet mist that reeked of the dark side.
Being taller than her, he sneered down at her.
“You could’ve joined me and you would’ve been made powerful,” he hissed. “Together, we could’ve defeated HER and ruled the galaxy.”
“Too bad I don’t like you,” she said through gritted teeth before pushing him away.
The push was enhanced by the Force, sending him stumbling backward further than he expected. As he strived to regain his composure she had already leapt forward, pummeling him with another set of fierce blows that would have felled any other warrior. But this was not any other warrior.
As she swung down at him he deflected the attack powerfully, sending her reeling. It was his time to press the advantage. He came at her with a flurry of elaborate strikes that were fueled by rage and anger. His power was nearly overwhelming and she felt her strength fading.
“The dark side is powerful,” he said to her as he pummeled her defenses. “But you are so stubborn you refuse to give in to its impulses. And for that, you will die…” their blades clashed once more but this time she was struggling to withstand his might, “just like your father.”
She bared her teeth, seeking whatever strength she had left to defeat him, but he could practically smell her fear and used it to push past her defenses. He knocked her saber aside and with a twirl, he sent his sword up at her. She managed to take a step back but not before the very tip of the blade cut a vertical line through her right eyebrow.
She cried out and before she could recover he used the Force to push her into the wall. The breath was knocked from her as she fell to the ground, her lightsaber clattering to the floor. She wanted to move, she knew she had to if she wanted to survive, but her body wasn’t responding. There was just a numbing pain all over and the Force whirling about her erratically.
She could hear his slow footsteps approaching, could feel his joy at the sight of her suffering, and she knew, no matter what it took, she would prevail.
She looked toward her father, who was lying several feet away. Even in the throes of death, he found a way to look at her and his gaze was assuring. His mouth moved noiselessly as he spoke to her secretly.
“You are both the light and the dark,” he mouthed. “You are the most powerful person I have ever met. And you are the chosen one. Take it.”
And with his words lending her strength, she rose to one knee, reached out, and pulled both her new lightsaber and his lightsaber to her.
Her enemy chuckled. “Two lightsabers doesn’t mean you will win.”
She looked at him, smirking. “I disagree.”
Fully rising, she ignited the blue and red lightsaber and for the first time in her life, she felt complete. Yes, she was of the light and the dark and she would embrace it.
As he swung his blade at her neck she simply bent backward, letting the blade fly over her, before bringing her father’s lightsaber up at his arm. He stopped the blade with a desperate thrust of his left hand as he used the Force but it would not save him.
She delivered strike after strike and with every blow, she felt stronger until finally, she knocked his blade from his hand, twirled and with a backward thrust with both sabers, sent the red and blue blades through his torso.
He gasped in pained shock and as she pulled the sabers from his body, he slumped to the ground, dead.
Breathing heavily, the lightsabers’ blades retracted into their hilts and the power that had suffused her very being seemed to somewhat dissipate. She rushed to her father who was still lying on the ground.
It was just like the visions had shown her. Him, lying bloodied and dying in her arms while she cried. And she could only embrace her father’s fate.
Ben now understood how Rey felt when she had felt death pulling at her. He knew he should’ve been scared or should’ve strived to stay alive to protect his daughter but there was something greater at work here. This was the destiny his life had been leading to and he was ready to embrace what would come next.
Ora appeared beside him. He could feel her holding him, could feel her tears raining down upon him, and he smiled.
“Do not be afraid,” he managed to whisper.
“I’m not afraid,” she told him.
He blinked slowly. “Good.”
Past his daughter’s head he could see a warm glowing light where the ceiling was supposed to be. Out of the light, appeared Rey reaching toward him, a smile on her face.
“It is time,” she said.
Ben unknowingly echoed his wife’s words as he reached toward her. And then, he was gone.
“It is time,” was her father’s last words before Ora felt him pass away in the Force. His solid form dissolved into nothingness and in her hands lied his clothes, like an empty crab’s shell.
She bowed her head and wept.
Maz Kanata was asleep. She knew that there was a very good chance that the next few hours had a chance to be chaotic so she was taking this time to get the rest that she needed. That is until she felt a disturbance in the Force. A disturbance that she had grown too used to feel.
Her eyes snapped open and she hurriedly pulled her goggles over her eyes.
“Ben is dead,” she said aloud.
She jumped out of her chair and hurried out of the conference room, scrambling to the cockpit where Chewbacca and the droids would be waiting.
When she entered the cockpit Chewbacca turned as if startled to see her. The talkative golden droid noticed her alertness and stepped forward.
“What trouble are we in now?” C-3PO asked.
Maz shook her head. “No trouble. At least, not that I know of. But I do believe that something has happened. Scan the forest for activity.”
Chewbacca did as she said and when she appeared by his side there was indeed activity. An unidentified ship was taking off and leaving the planet just a little over a mile away.
“Follow that ship,” Kanata ordered.
Chewbacca growled in disapproval.
“We should wait for Ora? Ora’s aboard that ship! And she may need our help so we have to go.”
Chewbacca didn’t argue. He fired the ship up and sent the old Rebellion craft soaring toward the hemisphere. BB-8 and R2-D2 whistled ominously and C-3PO looked down at them.
“Here we go again,” the golden protocol droid announced.
Ora, piloting the “unidentified ship” that just so happened to be her enemy’s craft, had only one destination in mind: Carcuun. The planet, once home to the city dubbed as New Alderaan by the Resistance, was now known as the capital of The Whisper’s empire. There, thousands had died. Now, she had a chance to avenge their deaths.