“Kylo Ren,” Snoke purred, “you have done well today. Your strength grows with each new lesson.”
Ren inclined his helmeted head. “It is your teachings that make me strong.”
Snoke held up a long, bony finger. “The finest sculptor cannot fashion a masterpiece from poor materials…and I will fashion such a masterpiece from you, my most promising student.”
Ren watched the enormous hologram fade and the assembly hall grow dark. He stood there for a long moment in silence as his master’s parting words continued to echo in his head. Snoke was not one to dole out compliments and the praise should have strengthened Ren’s conviction, but he’d heard those words before. He was sure of it. And not from Snoke. A feminine voice – almost motherly – overlaid Snoke’s deep throaty drone in his mind until the two were speaking in unison.
The finest sculptor cannot fashion a masterpiece from poor materials.
The woman had been blond and very tall. He could barely picture her face in his mind, but he could see her squatting down beside him as his small hands worked to unwrap a package. A box of aqua pencils – a rare medium for artists in that sector of the galaxy.
“Don’t you like them?” she had laughed.
Ren had been about seven years old at the time, and he must have given her an astonished look. He loved to draw, but no one had ever given him anything so precious. He was afraid to touch the beautiful colors, afraid he might break the delicate tips.
“Are these really for me?” he heard himself say.
“Of course.” She reached out a hand to tousle his hair. “Even the finest sculptor cannot fashion a masterpiece from poor materials. I’ve seen your work, remember? It’s very good – especially for your age.” She beamed at him. “Now it’ll be even better. Go draw me a picture of your happiest day.”
He sensed the encouraging warmth of her hand on his back and felt buoyed, felt like he could truly be who he wanted to be. He rushed off to the drawing table in his room and spent hours drawing all the images that flooded his young mind. He remembered she had to take the pencils away from him and made him scurry off to bed that first night. He had never felt so connected to anything – to anyone – before, and the feeling washed over him like the waves he’d seen on the oceans of Naboo.
He remembered other days with the sunny lady who took him by the hand, until he was too old for such things. She took him on speeder bike rides to parks and amusements, to concerts, plays, races, and every game of sport imaginable. She had been there for him, been his nanny, his teacher, his friend. She had been the counselor his parents had sought to help them make sense of their unusual son….
Ren stood immobilized by the past. Only the gloved fingers of his right hand flexed and then straightened as if he were trying to reach something, trying to sense something through his fingertips. He didn’t react to the bootfalls echoing through the cavernous chamber behind him.
“Sir,” Captain Phasma began. “General Hux wishes to see you straight away. We’ve intercepted some important intelligence from the Resistance.”
She stood at attention, waiting for his response.
Slowly Ren half turned and said through the vocabulator in his helmet, “I’ll be there.”
She gave him a smart salute and marched back down the dimly lit aisle. Ren stared after her, thinking. Thinking how much her voice was not unlike the woman’s in his head. Phasma’s helmet distorted it to be sure, but the pitch, cadence, and accent were remarkably similar.
Ren turned to look up at the place reserved for Snoke’s hologram then back towards the doors Phasma had exited. He gave Snoke’s platform one last lingering look then turned to follow the captain.
@MyKyloRen 24 April 2016