Tuesday, April 8, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 6: Leia Was the Jedi Savior

No one knew more about the Jedi than Leia.  She was a regular fangirl.  No one had seen them in twenty years, not since the Purge, the infamous Order 66 and the rise of Darth Vader.  But Leia grew up with the whole history of the Jedi Order.  She wouldn't go to bed until her father had told her more.

One day, her father told her a new story.  It involved Darth Vader, the days of the Purge.  When Leia's birth mother was still alive.  The Naboo queen, Amidala.  The wife of Darth Vader.  Her father told her Vader's other name, Anakin Skywalker, how he had once been a hero of the Old Republic, and one of the greatest warriors during the Clone Wars.  And that's when her father told her something else.

Somehow, she'd always known.  She looked nothing like the Organas, either side.  She'd never been told outright, but she knew in her gut that she hadn't been born on Alderaan, didn't have a trace of its DNA in her.  Vader was her father.

At first, she didn't believe it.  How could she?  It was abhorrent just to consider, let alone accept as fact.  But the more she lived with it, the more it began to explain things.

On Alderaan, it had always been easy to hero worship the extinct Jedi.  It was the only planet in the galaxy that kept the Order alive, even if there were no actual Jedi to serve it.  Alderaan had elders, who had told Leia's father the stories he later told her.  There were craftsmen who forged lightsabers, the ancient, elegant weapon of the Jedi.  Leia trained in the use of these blades.  And she had always gotten the highest marks from among all her tutor's students.

There was a reason after all.  Maybe she always knew.

When she began taking secret missions for the Rebellion, Leia put these thoughts behind her, until she became the captive of Governor Tarkin...and Vader.  Being in the presence of Vader awakened even more of Leia's awareness of what the Jedi called the Force.  They didn't speak of their familial bond at all.  She didn't even think he knew.  But she did.

After the pirate rescued her, along with the farmboy, her brother, the one who brought Obi-Wan Kenodi into Leia's life, she began to explore her potential.  She had heard many stories about Kenobi, both as her father's compatriot and his career as a Jedi.  Like everyone else, she'd assumed he was dead.  The old man on Tatooine, she guessed, was a distant relation.  She hoped, though, that it was the Jedi himself.  She dared herself to believe it.  That was why she slipped the plans for the Death Star into the memory circuits of the droid, when her ship was captured in orbit of Tatooine.  Somehow she knew it would find its way to Kenobi.

Jedi intuition, perhaps.

Kenodi died in her escape from the Death Star.  She was devastated.  She never even got a chance to see him.  The farmboy, her brother, though, had lived in proximity to Kenobi for years.  Had no idea who he was all that time, but had called him friend.  Kenobi gave the farmboy Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber.  But the farmboy was careless.  He lost track of it on the Death Star.  Leia quickly, quietly, retrieved it.

And she began training more earnestly than ever before.  Alderaan itself was now gone, destroyed in a callous demonstration of the Death Star's potential.  She had no one else left to help her.  Even Kenobi was dead.  But she persisted.  She kept the farmboy around.  Kenobi had understood that her brother was a dreamer.  But he was unfocused, undisciplined.  Leia had no such limitations.

One day, the pirate told her he loved her.  She thought it was a joke.  It was in the middle of the evacuation from Hoth.  The Empire was in hot pursuit.  They hid in Cloud City.  Vader came to them.  But he was cornered, isolated.  Trapped.  And Leia saw her moment.  She finally took her lightsaber, Vader's own lightsaber, from a lifetime ago, and engaged him in combat.

It was spectacular.  He never saw it coming.  His instincts had dulled over the years.  He kept babbling about the farmboy.  The Emperor, who was Vader's Sith mentor, had foreseen the threat to come from the son.  Neither ever even considered the daughter.  Leia.

It was spectacular.  She couldn't believe how well she conducted herself, against the feared right hand of the Emperor.  One of the worst scourges the galaxy had ever known.  Whatever he attempted, she was two steps ahead of him.  She was too fast, too mobile.  She danced all over him.  He died, whispering her name, gasping it.  He asked only that she forgive him.  Avenge him.  Seek out the Emperor.

And so that was what she did.

The pirate, whom she'd never really understood, supported her the whole time.  He didn't understand the Force at all, which was probably why he was so valuable.  Then she realized she loved, him, too.  It was this love that gave her the courage to complete her mission, confront the Emperor, right in his home on Coruscant, in the ruins of the old Jedi Temple.  The arrogance of that man.  By then he knew who Leia was.  He should have seen it coming.  But he remained convinced that the farmboy was the true threat, the one who would replace Vader.

So Leia had an even easier time defeating him than she'd had against her own father.  She'd been preparing for it her whole life.  And now, she prepared for the future.  And she was ready for that, too.  No one knew the Jedi like she did.  And no one knew better than her the extreme cost of the old ways.  And how to set them right.

To bring balance to the Force.

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