Behind The Leaves
by Rachel

His aged frame shivers; the suns have long since set. He could warm himself but does not, instead pulling his robes closer about his body. No one remembers, or will admit to remembering, the significance of the rough brown and tan cloth, but he does not wear them in the light. He keeps them in a wooden chest, beneath his apprentice's lightsaber, except on nights like these, when he ventures into the Jundland Wastes.

The sand turns to rock beneath his bare feet, nicking the skin; his well-worn and well-oiled boots are sitting beside the chest. He could heal himself but does not. Somewhere, banthas exhale heavily, shadowed by the softer breaths of their masters. He could enhance his senses to hear them but does not. He can wait.

His arms strain beneath the familiar weight of the robes as he lifts himself. His feet curve over the boulder then arch to push him higher. His arms tighten again, a sheen of sweat covering his wrinkled brow as he reaches the summit. The cliff is smooth and just barely concave; standing in its center, he feels as if a hand gently cradles him.

His lifts his head to the stars and remembers his first visit to this planet. When he was younger, he wondered if only he had directed them elsewhere--would it have mattered? It is too late and he is too old to wonder now. He remembers Theed, the sight of the red blade thrust through his master's chest. He remembers how his rage dissipated into grief upon halving the Sith foe. He remembers the caress of a strong hand as the words his master could not draw the breath to speak sounded faintly in his mind. He remembers pressing his lips to his master's too late, finding only crude matter.

He realizes that he is crying.


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