Found and Lost

KyloRenfindsVadersHelmet
Kylo Ren and Vader’s Mask by Livio Ramondelli

On the forest moon of Endor, Kylo Ren sifted through the layer of ash that had lain forgotten for more than a generation. He was beginning to panic – his gloved hands working faster – believing that the Force had failed him in his search. But then his fingers brushed something unmistakably crafted the Dark Side. The warped and jagged grill of what was once a respiratory vent protruded from the charred remains of a funeral pyre. A little more careful brushing revealed empty eye sockets that had once contained transparisteel lenses. He was glad he hadn’t preformed a Force-summons and risked damaging the fragile object.

Before full dark, the excavation was complete. Ren reverently carried the artifact back to his waiting command shuttle, his knights in tow shouldering their weapons. Although he had said very little and his face was hidden beneath his helmet, they could sense the raw emotion playing over their leader. He was both elated at recovering what he long desired and resentful that there had been so little left. At the shuttle door, he dismissed them with a nod and retrieved an ancient pouch from a blonde woman who held it out to him.

“Take your time,” she told him with a knowing smile, placing the pouch in his outstretched hand. She took his free hand, kissed his fingertips, and let him go. “We’re in no hurry.”

Under the watchful eyes of the little ones, he returned to the forest clearing. He was acutely aware of their fear and drew it to him like a shroud. They would not bother him, afraid as they were of the flash of chrome in the firelight surrounding his sightless eyes. Ren set the melted artifact on the ground and knelt before the small fire he’d kindled.

“On the wings of the Night,” he intoned, opening his arms in an expansive gesture, “I lay you before the feet of the Great Ones to be reborn and return again.” From the pouch, he lifted a pinch of powder – the dried blood of a powerful enemy and a mixture of potent life-giving herbs – and sprinkled it first over the charred helmet and then cast the rest into the fire. The flames flared a brilliant sapphire before settling back into a molten red. “Grandfather, from the coming Night, gather your ancient might. In the light of the stricken sun, drive away the spectre of death and come once more to draw breath.”

He spread his hands over the artifact, splaying his fingers around it as he captured and focused the living Force and imparted it to the ruined thing. Then for a long while, he prostrated himself before it, lying humble and vulnerable as he sought to connect to the Great Ones who were omnipotent and wise. It wasn’t until the near planet had rotated out of view that the answer he sought came upon a light breeze.

“I find your lack of faith in your power disturbing.”

Kylo Ren lifted his head and stared at Darth Vader’s melted helmet. “Grandfather?” The voice in his head was even deeper than he had remembered from old holovids. “Show me the power of the Dark Side and I will finish what you started.”

“Alone you will perish – you a mere mortal – just as I did when I gave into human sentiment. To reach your full potential, you must cast aside all attachments and give yourself to the Supreme Leader who is wise and will guide your training.”

“Yes, Grandfather,” Ren answered, bowing his head again. He waited, but when no more instructions came, he slowly got to his feet, kicked the fire out, and returned to the waiting shuttle.

Amanda Snoke stood as he came through the door and watched as he carefully set the helmet in a special receptacle made to receive it. Before he could do anything else, she reached out and removed his own helmet to look upon his stoic features. She laid a hand on his cheek.

“I can see you have your answer,” she said, pressing in close.

She smiled and kissed him.

 

@MyKyloRen     26 July 2016

The Tracker

KyloDown
Kid by Suz

Onboard the Finalizer, Kylo Ren came to in a fog, surfacing somewhere between oblivion and consciousness, and flailed against the pain. He knew from the sterile smell and the electronic voices of the medi-droids that he must be in some medevac unit and that he’d probably undergone surgery, but his drugged mind couldn’t work out why. Had there been an explosion? He struggled to reach a hand to his bandaged face, but the restraining bed held him fast. He’d been given just enough anesthesia to get him through the worst of the pain but no more. He tried to use the Force to free himself, but the drugs blocked the connection. He sank back, defeated and confused.

What had happened?

He drifted for a while on the inadequate narcotics until he heard a familiar female voice somewhere in the back of his mind.

“Oh, sweetie! I’m so sorry!”

Another voice – masculine and impatient – followed. “Leia, let the kid breathe. He’ll be fine. Let’s just get out of here.”

“Han, those bounty hunters had him in shackles for three days! I need to look at his wrists.”

“Threepio can look after him. We’ve got to get clear of this system before any other thugs take an interest in him.”

Ren began to remember that day, and in his confused state, he wondered if he were ten-year-old Ben Solo again. Although his father had left the smuggling business behind, Han was never able to clear his debts, and the risk that some bounty hunter would come looking to collect – one way or another – was always a real possibility. On more than one occasion, Ben had been targeted for ransom, but until that fateful day, he’d outmaneuvered his assailants with his budding Force abilities. But that day they’d used a device that interfered with his ability to tap into the Force and shot him with a stun bolt.

It was Chewbacca and a few of his Wookiee friends who had finally tracked down Ben’s captors and set the boy free. Save for the lesion where the irons had cut into this wrists and ankles, he was unharmed and was quickly bundled aboard the Millennium Falcon. Dr. Amanda Snoke, his counselor and guardian in the absence of his parents, had come with the Solos to offer her professional assistance to cope with trauma of the kidnapping.

“You know,” she told them once they were safely cruising through hyperspace, “it might not be a bad idea to install a tracker in him.”

It was a moment before Leia answered. “You mean a surgical implant?”

Han broke in. “I’m not going to have my son treated like some Yapi.”

Dr. Snoke held up a hand. “There’s no pain.” She took Ben’s hand and gave him a reassuring smile. “If he’d had the device in him before this, we could have immediately zeroed in on his location, but as it was, he suffered for three days until your friends were able to find him by more conventional means.”

“We’re listening.” Leia shot Han a look that told him to be quiet.

Dr. Snoke lifted a hand to stroke the back of Ben’s head. “The tracker is tiny – almost microscopic – and is installed under the skin at the nape of the neck.” She lifted his hair and pointed to the precise location with a slender finger. Then she reached into her satchel and pulled out a hypo-syringe.  “I happen to have a tracker here and can install it in a second with everyone’s permission.” When no one said anything, she went on, “We use these things all the time for high-risk children.”

Without further debate, the three Solos gave their consent and Ben bent his head to the administrations of Dr. Snoke.

“There,” she said, packing away the hypo and giving Ben’s dark hair a tousle. “Now we’ll be able to track you anywhere in the galaxy.”

Kylo Ren’s eyes fluttered as the voice morphed into one he recognized as Captain Phasma’s. “Looks like you retrieved him just in time.”

“Yes,” General Hux sneered. There was no mistaking the disgust in his voice. “Aren’t we lucky Ren had that tracker installed, since the transmitter on his belt failed?”

Kylo Ren’s eyes opened and narrowed.

 

@MyKyloRen     20 July 2016

Little One

Rey sat on the cliff face, overlooking the islands in the distance and swung her legs over the edge. She was supposed to be cultivating the art of farsight, tapping into the Force to sense pending danger, but her mind was restless. She longed to be flying the Falcon, off exploring worlds she’d only dreamed about or seen through flight simulators. She smoothed out a bare patch of dirt among the moss and stones, letting her fingers wander, tracing a series of simple designs she remembered from…somewhere.

Luke was always practicing farsight anyway and deftly attune to the distant menace that was the First Order, so what was the point? Every time she tried, she found herself looking straight into the eyes of that monster, the one she apparently used to know as “Ben.” The one who used to tell her stories that made her laugh. The one who gave her piggyback rides and cuddled her when the Force raged in electrical storms. The one who – she almost gasped, the memory came to mind so clearly – gave her her first lightsaber lesson.

She remembered a clearing in a forest where the scent of resinous trees was heavy in the humid air. She’d not remembered shady green like that before now, and recalled the dappled sunlight caressing his face as it broke into a grin.

Artist unknown
Artist unknown

“That’s it!” he encouraged with a laugh as she lunged at him with her tiny training saber. He swung low to block a sting to the knees, but he nearly missed. She was small but lightning quick. He stepped back, panting, signaling that the lesson was over. “You wore me out, Little One.”

“What’s up there?” She pointed to a spot high up on the treed slope.

He followed her gaze. “A guest cottage. We’ll be staying there tonight with Doctor Snoke.”

The little girl was only half listening as her gaze focused on a shadow under the trees. “There’s a woman watching us.”

“That’s her now – Amanda Snoke.” He deactivated his lightsaber and shoved a hand through his dark unruly hair. “She’s a friend of mine.”

Little Rey watched the woman a moment longer then peered up at Ben with doleful eyes. “Do we have to stay with her?”

He dropped to a crouch before the five-year-old and looked her in the eye. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t like the way she looks at me.”

He turned to look up at the woman again and frowned. “How can you tell? She’s so far away.” When the little girl shook her head, he took her by the hand. “Don’t worry. She’s a lot of fun. She’ll show you how to play Dejarik and teach you how to write your name.”

“I want to learn now!” Rey squirmed excitedly. “Show me how to write my name!”

She watched as he picked up a twig and scratched eight symbols in the damp earth.

“I’ll let her teach you your name,” he told Rey as he finished, “but this says Little One.” He handed her the stick. “You try.”

She took it eagerly and made her marks alongside his.

“Words have power,” he told her, his voice adopting a serious tone. “Don’t write them unless you mean them.”

The little girl nodded, filing the information away in her young mind. She knew that many species could not read and write and those who did had an advantage over those who didn’t. She felt powerful drawing the lines in the dirt and couldn’t wait to learn more. She looked up at her teacher. “Is this good, Ben?”

She thought her heart would burst with joy as he tousled her hair and smiled. “It’s very good, Little One.”LittleOne

“What’s this?”

Luke’s grave tone brought Rey out of her memory and back to Ahch-To. She looked to where his boot smeared her handiwork in the earth – Little One, it said – but he didn’t give her a chance to answer. It was just as well, she thought, because she didn’t know what to say.

“Is there a reason why you were calling upon a Sith spirit?”

 

@MyKyloRen   12 July 2016

Sith writing source:
Rinzler, J.W. (ed). (2015). Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, p. 44.

I’m Coming

Onboard the Finalizer, Kylo Ren stood in his quarters before the holo image of Supreme Leader Snoke, listening to his master’s instructions. He already knew what heinous task lay before him, now that he was healed of his wounds and restored to strength.

“Find Skywalker,” Snoke intoned in a throaty voice. “He is of no use to me. Kill him. But the girl…bring her to me…broken but biddable.”

Ren inclined his helmeted head. “As you wish.”

“Go now.” Snoke waved him off.

The transmission faded and Ren raised his head. He didn’t move for a long moment, curling his gloved fingers into fists at his side. Then casting a long last look at the melted helmet upon the altar, he fled the room, hurried to the launch bay, and entered a series of commands into a hangar control console.  Without a backward glance, he began to make his way to the bank of TIE fighters.

“Where do you think you’re going, Ren? You filed a flight plan to Jakku. The last I knew the girl was on Ahch-To.”

The snide challenge in General Hux’s voice brought Ren up cold. He turned halfway, knowing how easy it would be for the psychotic co-commander to make trouble for him. “I do not have to explain myself to you, General,” Ren bit out and started off again, thinking that would be the end of it.

Hux smirked and called after him, “No, but you’ll have to explain yourself to the Supreme Leader when you fail to return with her.”

Ren halted again, balling his fists, but he did not turn around. For a split second, he fought to breathe.  How did Hux know what he planned to do – plans he’d spoken of to no one nor logged anywhere.

“I may not be able to read you mind, Ren,” Hux told the dark warrior’s back, “but you failed to find the last surveillance device in your quarters – the place where you confess all your pathetic secrets.”

Hux knew Ren couldn’t kill him because the command of the First Order rested solely now with him.  He had Snoke’s protection. If Ren Force-choked him – as he knew Solo’s son so desperately wanted to do – Hux’s troops would open fire. There was a limit to the number of blaster bolts a dark lord could fend off.

He watched with great satisfaction as Ren stormed off in a swirl of robes and launched the TIE without another word.

Ren worked the nav controls and set the computer on autopilot before unlocking and tearing off his helmet. His expression was one of complete shock. The helmet. His grandfather’s precious helmet – all that was left of Darth Vader’s power. And that slimy sycophant Hux had bugged it. With no one to talk to, Ren had poured out his most private thoughts in that alcove – his sanctuary. How had he been so stupid?

With a primal scream, he launched himself out of his set, but in the TIE there was nowhere to pace out his frustration. There was barely any room to move, so he just stood there and buried his face in his hands. He wanted so badly to sob like a child, but he knew even now Hux was probably watching…and laughing. Ren sat back down again and reclaimed control of the ship.

It wasn’t long before Jakku loomed big and dusty in his viewscreen, and he brought the TIE down with precision in the Goazon Badlands next to a fallen and partially buried AT-AT walker. He wasted no time exploring the wreck, donning his concealing helmet again, and entered in through the auxiliary hatch in the vehicle’s underbelly.

Get out of My Head by cheeto-rlb17
Get out of My Head
by cheeto-rlb17

He stood transfixed. This had been her world – the home she’d known for so long. Inside the lower troop deck, where she lived and slept, her presence was strong. He could feel her, smell her. He removed his helmet, so that he could sense her more clearly through the Force, and laid it on a table near a vase of spinebarrel blooms and nightblossoms. He touched the fragile dry stems and felt the ghost of her fingers. Picking up the doll she’d make from an orange Rebel flight uniform, he saw the little girl – not much older than when he’d left her – curled in sleep with it. He touched the hammock and brought the think blanket to his face. After a long agonizing moment, he let it go. He ran a finger along the wall where she had made over a thousand scratches, each one ticking off another day she’d survived the harsh existence of Jakku.

Outside he found the helmet belonging to Captain Dosmit Raeh she’d worn on endless evenings pretending she was a pilot of the Tierfon Yellow Aces. He felt the residue of her imagination and her young resilience and determination.

He sat down. There was no use holding back the tears now.

He let them come.

 

@MyKyloRen    4 July 2016