People are distracted by objects of desire, and afterwards repent of the lust they’ve indulged, because they have indulged with a phantom and are left even farther from Reality than before. Your desire for the illusory is a wing, by means of which a seeker might ascend to Reality. When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off; you become lame and that fantasy flees. Preserve the wing and don’t indulge such lust, so that the wing of desire may bear you to Paradise. People fancy they are enjoying themselves, but they are really tearing out their wings for the sake of an illusion.
“Stupid! Stupid! I am so stupid! I should known better than that!”
Ahsoka Tano, former Padawan learner of Anakin Skywalker and rebel alliance operative known as Fulcrum, found herself waking up face down on the floor of some room that looked absolutely nothing like the dark and decaying ancient temple sanctuary she had been exploring not five minutes ago.
Had it been five minutes ago?
Where was she? How long had she been unconscious?
What in the Force had compelled her to pick up that strangely carved loop of jointed metal that twisted and turned in on itself, over and over, like some kind of infinity symbol? She had felt possessed as if some unseen presence had taken command of her limbs. Ahsoka remembered stumbling forward as if she were struggling through a surging wave made out of the Force. She struggled to stay upright as it kept threatening to knock her over.
Maybe one of those waves had done just that. Ahsoka really couldn’t remember.
She remembered reaching for the silvery band, picking it up and turning it over and over in her hand. She ran her fingertips along the carved glyphs, not recognizing the language but understanding the feeling behind them.
This item was important.
It was dangerous.
I should put it back. Ahsoka thought, shaking her head. I don’t know what this is or what it could do.
Almost regretfully, she lowered her hand to return the sinuous band of metal and ominous energy to the cracked and crumbling stand she found it on.
Apparently it didn’t like that.
“Fierfek!” Ahsoka cursed as the band seemed to leap to life, coiling and wrapping around left her hand, a writhing, twisting, and living thing. She tried to fling it off her hand and when that didn’t work she tried to dig her fingers under the cuff and peel it off.
That didn’t work either.
Ahsoka frowned at the undulating object, horrified at the way it seemed content to spiral endlessly around her wrist as if were living jewelry. She gave her hand another hard shake and when that didn’t work, she plucked the shoto saber from her belt. She carefully changed the length and intensity before laying her left hand down on a nearby flat surface. With the short saber in her right she slowly lowered the blade towards sliding infinite loop of metal and carvings.
“AAAH!” Ahsoka let out a trail of curses in every language she knew as the item constructed around her wrist. The pain was so sudden and intense she almost feared it had cut off her hand and she dropped her saber.
The minute the white blade went out the blistering pain stopped and the cuff went back to what it considered normal,lazily spiralling around her wrist like a silver serpent.
Ahsoka bent down to pick up her saber, returning it to her belt and collapsing into a pile against the far wall. She hung her head, gazing at the floor and wishing that she had someone to help her, someone who knew more about the Force and its mysteries than her half trained experience.
She supposed she could try to meditate and contact Master Yoda through the Force but she doubted he would be of much help. He was difficult enough to understand when you were asking him simple questions. She would spend more time trying to untangle his distinctive grammar than pondering the mystery of the object.
And Anakin, her master, would have been no good. He didn’t have time for the great mysteries of the Force and after that strange episode of lost time and the vague memories of pain and death, he had been even less inclined to ponder the metaphysical.
Not that it mattered.
Anakin Skywalker was gone, beyond her reach and if she thought about it too much she was afraid it might break her. Again.
So many Jedi were lost, destroyed during Order 66 or the nightmare of the purges that came afterward. Master Plo. Master Shaak Ti.
Ahsoka felt tears burn in the corner of her eyes at the memory of her master’s master, of his kind smile and his patient way with her and Anakin. If she were being completely honest she had been impossibly lucky to be assigned to Anakin Skywalker and by extension Obi-Wan Kenobi. She had learned so much from them both, how to lead, how to listen and when to not to listen. She learned when sweet words were more effective than a saber and when it was easier to apologize than ask for permission.
For a few brief years she had a family.
Obi-Wan would have known what to do. He would have remembered some story he had heard from a charming, disreputable friend or recited some old poem Master Jinn had taught him and it would have sparked a germ of an idea. They might have needed a side trip to the Archives but his hunch would have been borne out and between the three of them, they would have found some way to get this confounded piece of chagas off of her wrist.
But Obi-Wan was gone too.
Ahsoka bowed her head, resting it on her arm braced across her knees. Sorrow washed through her, threatening to drown her. Hot tears slipped past her control and it all seemed so horribly unfair, so terribly, nightmarishly wrong.
How could there be a galaxy without her masters? They were always supposed to be there. Even if she wasn’t a Jedi, even if she would never be a Jedi again, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were supposed to be out there, side by side, saving the galaxy one witty quip and affectionate squabble at a time.
She missed them so much.
I miss you. I miss you both so much. I’m so tired and so alone and I just… I just want to give up. I know I can’t. I know you would tell me to keep going but… with Master Obi-Wan dead and Anakin…
No. Ahsoka wouldn’t think about Anakin.
If only Master Obi-Wan was alive, somewhere. If only he was still out there, with a warm cup of tea and smile.
I just wish I could see you again.
And that’s when the pain hit her and she passed out in an overwhelming wave of agony and blinding light.