Desa had chosen a clearing deep in the forest, far away from the Imperial Garrison. Accompanying him was a squad of Elite Stormtroopers and a few Force sensitive acolytes undergoing training to become Hands of the Emperor. He was aware that Skywalker could easily bombard the planet – if the situations were reversed that’s exactly what he would do – but Skywalker seemed too damned sincere. Desa’s Force senses detected no deception within Luke, just a desire to end the conflict.
As he turned this over in his mind, a heavy shuttle appeared over the horizon. Desa could feel the shining presence of Skywalker, but there was another presence too. Strange.
The shuttle landed with a gentle bump and, from the ramp, emerged a squad of three Stormtroopers and three Alliance Commandos. The ramifications of this were not lost on Desa. Behind them emerged Admiral Piett and Ackbar.
Force, he’s laying it on thick, thought Desa signalling his own troops to readiness.
Finally Skywalker emerged flanked by Leia Organa, a scruffy looking smuggler, and the largest Wookie Desa had ever seen.
“Greetings,” offered Skywalker. “Might I have your name before we begin?”
“I am Manok Desa, and I know who you and your lackeys are. Let’s get this over with,” snarled Desa, reaching out with the Force and flooding his senses with awareness.
He shrugged off his midnight-black cloak and pulled his lightsaber from his belt.
Luke watched with a detached fascination as a crimson blade emerged from each end of the long lightsaber, then ignited his own jade and crimson sabers with the customary snap hiss and prepared himself for the eventual attack. In his mind he heard the voice of the Unifying Force, advising him how to prepare for an opponent with a double bladed lightsaber.
With a roar of rage Desa bolted forward with Force enhanced speed, the Lightsaber in his hands a crimson blur. Luke was stunned by the fury of the attack yet managed to deflect every blow that came towards him.
Back and forth across the clearing they battled. Luke was totally immersed in the Force; he let go his conscious self and it felt like his two lightsabers moved of their own accord. Yoda had told him that we were luminous beings and never before had this felt so true. On the physical level, lightsaber blades clashed at speeds the spectators found hard to follow. But, on the higher plane, Luke and Desa probed back and forth, each using the Force to attempt to break the others mind, bones, and blood vessels.
Luke had no idea Jedi battle could be like this. Vader had only ever been toying with him, trying to make him realise how little he knew. Palpatine, by contrast, had been pure evil. He could have killed Skywalker with a thought but chose instead to kill him slowly.
With a jolt, Luke realised that two of the hooded figures that had accompanied Desa were Force sensitive. Their powers were negligible but they were flooding Desa with energy, ensuring the fight continued and revitalising him much in the same way Luke was being nourished by the Will of the Living and Unifying Force.
As Luke battled with this Dark Jedi, Leia watched on. As it had with Luke, the Living Force spoke to her; showed her the battle Luke had against Vader to protect her from him. Leia felt a wave of love for her newfound brother. She had known a connection to him from the moment he stepped into her cell on the first Death Star, and had felt a somewhat similar but also very different connection to the cocky smuggler who had accompanied him. Even then she dreaded the day she would have to choose between the two. Now, thankfully, she never would.
The Living Force spoke to her with the voice of Bail Organa, her adopted father. It explained how it had helped and guided Luke this past day to protect the very fabric of the Force from the parasitic nature of Palpatine’s Sith.
In her mind she saw a vision of the cloning chamber aboard the Vengeance. In its single occupied pod, a familiar face was forming. Without the corrupting influence of the Darkside, Palpatine looked so handsome and peaceful, like a kindly uncle. But Leia needed no reminding that this kindly uncle had exterminated the Jedi, eradicated numerous worlds, destroyed the Republic, and gave evil men like Tarken the power and ability to destroy her homeworld. With a thought her mind became a fist and she clenched the fist around the cloning pod.
The still forming body of Palpatine’s clone was crushed and a wave of chemicals flooded the chamber. Leia used the Force to ignite the fluid and any chance of Palpatine’s resurrection was snuffed out in cleansing flame.
After this, her awareness returned to her body just as Luke leapt over the Dark Jedi and impailed two of Desa’s companions with each of his blades.
Luke smiled with triumph as the Dark Acolytes died; not at their passing, but with the realisation that this was nearly the end. Victory turned to defeat, however, as Desa reacted to the death of his assistants. Rather than back off as Luke expected, Desa swept out with his double bladed lightsaber and swept it across Skywalker’s right wrist at the same time his kicked out with his boot and broke his wrist.
Desa cackled as he prepared the coup de grace with a stylish flury of his double bladed lightsaber.
Luke cried out in shock. The Force was infinite but his ability to call on it was not. In the last few hours Luke had been relying on the Force heavily and, as it faded, every scratch and wound suffered since the throne room of the Death Star affected him anew.
Desa felt an elation he had never felt in his life. He had been a servant all his life, first as a child of the Jedi and its servatude to the Republic, then as a slave to Palpatines will. As he fought Luke he had felt the clone of Palpatine die. He was free! Time to finish Skywalker and his friends.
In the atmosphere above Endor, the debris of the exploded Death Star began to penetrate orbit. Despite being incomplete the Death Star was much larger than the original, that had been destroyed over Yavin IV. Even so, large chunks of wreckage – some the size of a small cruiser – began to rain down on Endor.
Streaks of fire scorched the sky distracting Desa in his moment of triumph. With a final burst of the Force, Luke reacher for the lightsaber still in his amputated hand, and with a gentle nudge it lept up and into Leia’s outstreched hand.
In an instant Leia had ignited the jade blade and stabbed Desa through the heart.
Desa crumpled into a heap, the last of the old Jedi and Sith orders dead with him.
Gathering the last of his strength, Luke approached Leia and fell to one knee.
“Heil Leia Organa, Queen of the Empire!” he bellowed.
Then, one by one, the Imperial and Rebel officers also fell to one knee and echoed Luke’s declaration of Leia as Queen of the Empire. In his shock, Han was the last to take a knee.
The Galaxy was free of the dark influence of the Sith and would never again be limited by the narrow view of the Jedi.A New Force was Rising.
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