Prologue: The Fall of Vader.
Disclaimer: I Do not own Star Wars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The characters are not mine and are the property of their respective owners. I do not write this story for profit, mearly my own enjoyment and for yours. I would also like to give a special Thank you to Lighting_Count, Jamie and Psycosama for their contributions to this story. I'd also like to give a special thank you to the Lovely Lori Bush. Without all of you I doubt I would have done half as well with this story as I have. You have my thanks. And with that said lets get down to business....
Prologue: The Fall of Vader.
It was a powerful emotion radiating from all around him, coming off everyone in rolling waves of energy. From the nearby hangar to the corridors on this level and beyond, throughout the entire Death Star itself, panic was in the air and a figure, cloaked in black, who was more half machine than man had a pretty strong suspicion as to why. He'd felt a disturbance in the Force followed by a deep rumbling within the very bowels of the Death Star itself - whatever it was it had the Imperial troops scrambling in mayhem rather than acting in the calm and professional manner in which they had been relentlessly trained. It seems the Rebellion just might have pulled off the crippling blow to the Empire after all. Good for them; but it did nothing to change his current situation.
He barely had the strength to breathe much less move. Each labored breath required more and more effort than the previous one yet, still, he clutched onto that one spark of life left within him as he was half carried and half dragged along the sterile grey corridors of the Death Star.
Reaching the ramp of his personal shuttle, the former Sith lord known as Darth Vader knew he could go no further. Like the Death Star itself his time was growing short.
"Luke… help me take… this mask off." The deep voice reverberated through the mouthpiece. A deep and haunting voice that had once filled so many enemies with terror, that now only filled his son with a sense of dread and anguish.
"But you'll die," Luke responded, desperate to keep his father alive a little longer. He was afraid, afraid to lose his father only after saving him from the Dark Side and bringing him back to the light, and it shone clearly on his face.
Anakin couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu wash over him; the brief glimmer of a memory long forgotten, that now flared as blinding as the sun; that of him holding his mother much the same way as this before she died. Only That brief remembrance helped him to rally his strength to say what needed to be said.
"Nothing… can stop that now," the man formerly known as Vader said, feeling the last of strength beginning to ebb away quickly. He knew his time was growing short and he had so much he wanted to say. "Just for once let me… look on you with my own eyes."
Luke nodded, not trusting himself to speak, but focused on removing the mask that had been the trademark of the Sith Lord, a mask that inspired fear and loathing from a galaxy oppressed by the terrible power of the Empire. With the mask removed both father and son could finally look upon each other with nothing to impede them. So much passed between them without a word spoken, so much regret, so much pain, so much time lost that would never be recovered.
"Now..." He struggled for breath, "Go...my son. Leave me!" The man who was once again Anakin Skywalker pleaded, feeling the great Battle Station under him approach its final destiny as he approached his.
"No, I'll not leave you here, you're coming with me, I've got to save you!" Luke replied passionately. He would not lose his father, not like this.
"You already have, Luke," Anakin pointed out weakly with a pained smile for his Son. "You were right about me!" Anakin gasped, feeling the last of strength leaving him, "Tell your sister you were right."
With his strength spent and his spirit fading, Anakin closed his eyes for the last time as his broken body slumped back against the ramp of his personal shuttle. In his mind's eye he held onto the face of his son for as long as he could until he felt the will of the Force gently pulling him away....and there was nothing more, only peace.
Time, and fate, the immovable certainties of life, rippled. Rippled, torn, shifted, and shattered, as unnatural forces sought and caught hold of four lives. Each was at the end of their thread of life, their mortal purpose done, their legacy left upon those who followed, for good or evil. Their mortal lives were over, their souls remained. Souls, the third constant of all life. Souls can never be destroyed, even after death. They can be torn, shattered, even consumed, but never truly destroyed. Beyond even mortal death, a soul exists: some remain in the world, some pass beyond, into peace, or simply black nothingness. Four were taken, one from peace, one from purgatory, one from blackness, one from the mortal world.
Across the void between, beyond the howling, three sat together as one. Before them, in bonds of chalk and blood, runes glowed, and upon their hands glowed lights like the flickering of a candle. No human light was in their eyes, as each thrust their hands into fire, their cries of pain lost amongst the chanting of their voices. Their purpose was dark, their will set, as they tore at the fabric of the universe, ripping and violating, to drop the four into a new world like pebbles in a frozen pond. One at a time at different points in time.
A dish would be served, in pain and blood and delicious fear. Blood was blood, and the dark circlet would be torn, once the warriors who had passed were summoned. Power they had, dark were their deeds, their threads were tattered, sullied, with pain, and death, and the mortal lives of innocents.
Like pebbles they dropped, one by one, and beneath the cracked ice of the mortal world, fate would ripple and twist at their coming.
Yet the three knew not their peril, nor would have cared had it been shown, for hate was their drive and fear their guide. They cared not who suffered, for they were not builders. Some build, others steal, and others, through fear or misguided intent, destroy that which others have made. Thus the three understood not what they released nor truly cared; for destruction and revenge were their goals, not understanding.
Perhaps some power intervened, bound by some law to maintain the level of the eternal scales of good or evil, or perhaps not. But of the four pebbles, that of light, the soul at peace, was dropped into the pond first.
And so they who had never considered redemption or balance brought forth not just evil, not just blackness, but light…and shades of grey.