“And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything excecpt loneliness.” —Sylvia Plath
The High Council chamber was painted in a gild of gold, the light of Coruscant’s sun warm across the old stones—familiar and timeless—and somehow…
It was anathema to everything she’d fought against over the last three days—as different from the Undercity and the GAR’s HQ as if she’d been dropped into another galaxy—but she could feel the cracks in the stone under her feet; tiny fractures that rubbed against her montrals with each word spoken by the Masters.
“You have shown such strength.”
“This was actually your Great Trial.”
“Back into the Order, you may come.”
Ahsoka felt those cracks under her skin—inside her bones. She’d been worn down to something hollow and brittle by a power she no longer understood.
Three days ago, she’d trusted the Order to do everything it could to fight against the shadow they all felt, the sprawling, insidious pull of the Dark and the constant fight they expected of her Master. She had no reason not to trust—or reason to doubt herself.
But now, the galaxy itself had inverted and she wasn’t sure where the light ended and the darkness began.
It was a realization that hit as hard as Anakin’s words; his one, simple request.
“I’m asking you back.”
He’d reached for her; she could feel the heat of his Force strength, that sheer joy as he’d held out her Padawan beads—the Chosen One, her Master, her brother. A storm of boiling strength when he’d stood in the expanse between the executioner’s vibroblock and the Masters’ empty platitudes and thought all of this could just…go away.
She could see Master Plo, a solid wall of quiet strength, calm and unfazed and the only Master to acknowledge what the Order should have done. “We were wrong to accuse you, little ‘Soka,” —but nothing could erase the simple fact that they had—and had sent her to die.
And Master Kenobi, hunched and silent at Master Plo’s side, his thoughts plain on his face, carved in the lines around his eyes—but he’d still been silent. Why hadn’t he helped her? Didn’t he know her better? Didn’t he know Anakin better?
And her Master, still with the beads in his hand, still thinking all this was done, still hopeful…
Anakin’s glove was rough and heavy beneath her hands, stiff when Ahsoka folded his fingers over the silka, as resistant as his mind against hers.