Episode X: The Reckoning: Chapter Twenty-Nine

Rey was still running, urging herself to move faster and faster until she was practically running on air. And then, from out of the darkness, something dark and wispy rushed through her, sucking her strength and causing her to fall to her knees.

She could barely keep herself from falling on her face as her arms upholding her trembled. Her breaths came in short pants but she could feel her strength returning. She turned and found someone wreathed in blackness walking toward her. The thing’s eyes were like red coals as it sauntered forward. She gritted her teeth.

“What are you?” she hissed.

“Death,” it spoke.

She struggled to stand, igniting her lightsaber before her. “You’re not real.”

“Death is always real,” it responded.

She twirled her saber. “Then you will find it.”

The creature surged forward in a fierce attack but this time she was ready. She thrust her hand forward, using the Force to push her attacker back. The Force push did not stop her assailant but simply dispersed it as if parting a cloud. It cried out as if in pain and with a simple whirl, she sliced her saber through its dispersed bodice. It was like cutting through mist. There was no tug at her saber nor was there a sound from the blade, but the creature howled in accordance.

The cloud of darkness dispersed completely and she found herself feeling relieved. Until suddenly, she grew impossibly tired in the blink of an eye. She dropped her saber and collapsed, unable to move a single muscle. Barely able to breathe, she stared at the starry sky that gazed back down at her.

She could feel her life force fading. The Force was calling to her, waiting for her to come home. She knew she should feel fear. And she wanted to. But there was something so heartwarming about letting go. Escaping the pain of this world where the light and the dark constantly crashed was a beautiful thought.

“I love you, Ben,” she whispered.

And then her eyes closed.

Ora was walking down the ramp of her ship when she stopped in her tracks, gasping in utter horror. She felt her depart from the Force as easily as the sensation of a cold breeze touching one’s skin.

With her eyes instantly tearing she looked toward the sky and screamed, “Ma!”

The teenagers were preparing a burial for their leader, Terra when Ben Solo fell to his knees. They looked to him to find him staring at the ground, gaped-mouthed and teary-eyed.

“Rey? No.”

They watched as he ran out of the cave where he once again was overcome with emotion, falling to his knees in utter despair.

With tears pouring from his eyes he bellowed, “No!”

The teenagers hurried from the cave to help him but Dusaachae stopped them. So they watched from afar as he knelt on the ground, his shoulders trembling from grief. And then they gasped as the sky changed from darkness to a blue sky filled with white clouds. Everything surrounding them became a field of vibrant flowers and sparkling streams cut through the landscape.

Ben’s gaze rose in shock. And then, walking across the fields toward him, was Rey. But she was not the same. She was translucent and slightly blue. Her clothing was different and harked back to a time when she was once the scavenger he knew that lived on Jakku. He didn’t want to believe what he was seeing, for he knew what it meant, but there was no denying that this wasn’t a dream. It was real and he didn’t know if he could handle that truth.

“Rey,” he said when she reached him.

She knelt, cupping his face with her hand, smiling.

“I don’t understand what is happening,” he continued. “And I don’t think I want to.”

“Death came for me and I destroyed it…but not without losing myself in return,” she told him.

He shook his head. “Don’t say that. You are okay. I can save you.”

She smiled sadly. “No. Not this time.”

He couldn’t speak. He could barely breathe. The thought of Rey being dead was crippling. He had worked so hard to be with her again and now…no, this couldn’t be true. He wouldn’t allow it.

“I was brought here for a reason,” she continued. “And so were you. Our destinies are veering in different directions but one day, they will cross again. Here on Mortis, there was only death. You and I. We have been given a chance to change things.”

“I don’t understand,” he told her. “Please help me to understand.”

“Ben. Know this. I love you. And now, it is you who will have to help Ora in this time of her life. And when the time is right, come back to me.”

He shook his head. “No. No. Please, don’t go. I can’t live without you.”

She smiled. “You won’t have to because I will always be with you.”

And then she was gone. Just like that. He still couldn’t quite comprehend what happened or how to take this heartbreaking development but he knew one thing for sure, if Rey was happy then she accepted her fate with open arms. He just didn’t want to believe it.

He heard the teenagers approaching and when they reached him they showered him in their support as he had helped them earlier. As they did this, he closed his eyes and forced himself to relax. And in his mind, he promised himself he would not fail Rey.

Suddenly, there was a great gust of wind and when his eyes opened the landscape was entirely different. They were in a forest and the sky was filled with sunset hues. His eyebrows furrowed.

“Where are we?”

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