THE LAST JEDI (PART 2)
Luke eyed the four masked figures who hemmed him in, cutting him off from his padawan — but only in the physical sense. Powerful as the Knights of Ren were, they could not sever the Force connection he shared with Rey. He felt her struggling and scraping with their determined leader — the padawan who’d betrayed him and pushed aside his careful teachings. The bond between uncle and nephew, master and padawan, was still there and would continue beyond this life, but the Dark side had thrown up a shroud of cinder and vapor between them — or at least that’s how it seemed in Luke’s mind. He couldn’t reach Ben that way, but there were other minds not so veiled.
The old Jedi inhaled deeply and let his words out through the Force, along with a slight wave of his hand. “You do not wish to be on this island.” He felt two of the knights jerk as if stung, but none made a move or a reply. They didn’t seem bent on harming him — not yet anyway — only guarding him, keeping him out of the fray. “You will return to your ship and leave this world,” he continued to compel them a little more Forcefully.
The four dark warriors raised their blaster rifles and took aim. Luke didn’t blink. Instead, he closed his eyes, as if he were prepared to meet his death, but his inner eye was focused on the balance between the Dark and the Light. The blow by blow match between Kylo and Rey.
And then, it was over.
The Force tumbled head over heels around them, turning, spinning...plunging. Three of the knights went sprawling backwards as if a huge invisible hand had knocked them over. The remaining warrior, still on his feet, let loose a volley of blaster fire at the old hermit. Luke’s lightsaber was a blur, a pinwheel of blazing green light as he deflected bolt after bolt. Several of the blazing shots slammed back into the knight but couldn’t pierce his armor.
A split second later, Luke lunged sideways and stopped, reaching out with the Force, diverting all his strength to the small form plummeting down the cliff face. Still ten meters from the edge, he arrested her fall and guided her grasping hands with his mind to the dangling roots. Rey gripped them in desperation, clinging for life, as her lightsaber slipped from her grasp and tumbled, knocking out first one side of the staff then the other before clanking on the rocks below.
On the cliff’s edge, another fire went out. Kylo Ren stepped to the edge, extinguishing his lightsaber. His left hand shot out, steadying Rey, holding her in position, his face a mixture of hope and anguish.
“It’s just us now,” he repeated softly, taking her mind back through the past and imploring her to reconsider.
She lifted her eyes to him, blinking aside the bits of soil and moss that rained down from crumbling edge.
“I will never join you,” she managed to get out between gasps.
She let go.
She hit the water hard — the water, well clear of the jutting rocks — and lost all sense of direction as she went under, way under, dragged and shoved by rip current and wave. She painstakingly clawed her way to the surface, gasping and sputtering. The roar was deafening and cold. It sucked all the life out of her and tossed her around as if she were no more than a twig. Rey forgot all about her training. She forgot about the Force.
She didn’t know how to swim.
She gagged in a mouthful of air and spray — her last, she knew — and thrashed as hard as she could, but there was nothing solid to hold onto. The water closed in over her head. A voice. Luke’s voice.
“Rey, let go and flow with it. Let it surround you and buoy you up.”
She didn’t make it to the surface before her lungs screamed for air again. Brine flooded them when she heeded the urge, and blackness followed.
And then receded as if she were in a long dark tunnel. A tunnel with no light at its entrance. A tunnel with a soothing, pleading voice.
“Come back to me, sweetheart.”
The roar was gone. She was wet, but the water was no longer filling every orifice. Her eyes were open but there was only blackness.
There was the Force.
He’d save her and she was bundled in his cloak, safe upon the shore. He’d killed Kylo Ren.
She coughed against the burning in her lungs and throat then retched up watery heaves. A supportive hand pounded her back, and she allowed herself to be nestled close and warmed as her vision slowly returned. She clutched at the robe thrown around her, marveling at the strength and sensation returning to her fingers. In the near distance she was aware of the steady roll of the breakers…and the throbbing heartbeat of the muscled chest beneath her ear.
The dark cloth was smooth — almost silky between her fingers and still wet from the sea.
Dark. Silky. Black.
Black gloves — also wet — touched her face and smoothed the wet strands of her hair.
Rey looked up into the face of Kylo Ren.
@MyKyloRen 16 February 2017
Special thanks to graphic artist Drew Norman for illustrating this story. See what Drew’s up to at http://drewnorman.com/2017/02/09/star-wars-balance-in-the-force-comics/