With the hot wind whipping at my robe, I crossed into the Jundland wastes. Seriously, the dust is engulfing my diary. WHY?
It gave me time to think: Really. I shouldn't be mad at Owen and Cleigg for giving up. They cared for my mother, but they're only human. They can only do so much. I didn't wonder why the Tuskens had taken my mother, or why they didn't kill her immediately. For all I know they could be using her as the guinea pig in some outrageous ritual. I don't care about their motives, I just want my mother back. And I also want her back in one piece. I mean, knowing what the Tuskens did to Cleigg...I hit the pedal harder, launching it even faster over the wastes.
I was about 150 kilometers away from my stepfamily's home when my eyes beheld an eerie sight...no, wait. But yes. Sandcrawlers. They're eerie. I parked my speeder. This is the perfect time to daydream...about doing the monster mash and crushing those pesky Jawas...wait, the Jawas walked up to me and demanded identification.
The way it turned out, these ones were friendly. Although they apprehended the Tuskens as much as anyone here, I figured if I gave them something in return it might put them at ease. In exchange for a multitool and a portable scanner, the Jawas told me I should head east. There I would find a Tusken camp. Hopefully my mom is there, alive and well.
Tatooine's suns had set when I saw a flicker of clustering campfires at the bottom of a deep valley. Leaving my speeder on the edge of the cliff, I jumped off the cliff overlooking the camp and oof! I hit the ground, coughing up blood.
Ha! I was joking and you fell for it! Mom says I'm not supposed to joke that way, but since she's suffering...I'll make an acception. *scribbles joke out*
OK, here's what really happened: I jumped off and used the Force to slow my landing. I landed on my feet, unharmed.
The camp consisted of about 2 dozen tents made of skins and salvaged woods. Two Tuskens stood guard at one tent. It's time to reach out with the Force...
Yep, she's in there.
Using the Force to mask my presence, I maneuvered to the back of the tent, cut a hole in it, and stepped inside.
There's my mother. And she's...NO!
She was tied up in the center of the tent. She was badly beaten. OK, I'm scared. "Mom?"
No response. She's barely alive. She continued to moan as I set her wrists free from the straps that bound her from the frame. I gently lowered her to the ground and cradled her in my arms. "Mom?"
Her bruised eyelids fluttered open as she struggled to focus on my face. "Ani?" she moaned. "Is it you?"
"Of course it's me!" I said. Incredibly she managed to smile at me and started moaning, but I could hardly take it in. "Just stay with me, Mom," I said. "Everything's going to be fine, you'll see."
She continued to speak, gasping between breaths...I kept nodding with each gasp...and her eyes fell closed, and her head fell back.
NO! She...has died in my arms.
I stood there in stunned silence. This can't be! If I'd only gotten here sooner, I could have saved her! I won't leave her here. I'm taking you back to the bike. But the Tuskens...how could they do this? How could anyone do this?
Earlier, I hadn't questioned their motives. But now I remember the Tusken I'd encountered as a boy. I SAVED HIS LIFE! It makes me wonder: would the Tuskens have killed my mom if they knew I saved one of their kind? OR is this how Tuskens say thank you? I should have let him die! I should have!
Before I knew it, my grief transformed into anger. They did this because they wanted to. They did this because they could.
I jumped out of the tent, my lightsaber ablaze. I cut down two Tuskens guarding the door.
More Tuskens came pouring in. I don't give a damn about masking my presence now. All I want is...I'll show you! I'll get you all!
I'm not stopping with the men.
When I arrived back at the homestead, Padme, Cleigg, and the rest emerged from the entry dome. They watched in silence as I got up and carried Mom's body toward the doorway. I was in no mood to talk at this point. I don't know if I'll ever be all right again. In fact, this is when I considered my view that the Lars were "good people." What's the advantage of being good if you're so weak?
My grim expression locked down toward Cleigg. Perhaps you're wishing you didn't give up so soon?
Then I turned toward Owen and Beru. Maybe my mom didn't tell you how to be prepared to take care of things?
I didn't even look at Padme or C-3PO as I went downstairs with my mom.
Later, I was in the workshop, fixing a part of the speeder bike the Tuskens broke...well, they didn't break it but I wish they did. Soon Padme arrived with a tray. "I brought you something. Are you hungry?" she asked.
I didn't even glance at her. "Life seems so much easier when you're fixing things. I'm good at fixing things. Always was. But I couldn't..." I turned to Padme. "Why did she have to die? Why couldn't I save her? I know I could have." I turned away toward a dark corner of the room. "Why?"
"Sometimes there are things no one can fix," Padme replied. "You're not all-powerful, Ani."
STOP CALLING ME THAT, YOU BRAT! "Well, I should be!" I shouted, causing her to flinch. "Someday, I will be! I promise, I will be the most powerful Jedi ever! I will even learn to stop people from dying." Suddenly, it hit me. "It's Obi-Wan's fault! He's jealous! He's holding me back!"
Padme asked me what was wrong.
You know bloody well what's wrong! "I killed them. I killed them all. They're dead. Every single one of them." I turned to Padme, inadvertently revealing the tears on my face. In case you're too dense, Padme, let me reexplain. "And not just the men, but the women and the children. I HATE THEM!!!"
Padme told me my anger was only human. "To control it is to be a Jedi," I countered. "I know I'm better than this. I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"
And I also know something far worse--killing the Tuskens had brought me satisfaction.
I knelt besides my mother's final resting place, a grave next to their home. Two headstones already laid beside the new one. Looks like this wasn't thee first person the Tuskens killed off.
"I wasn't strong enough to save you," I told her corpse, trying not to choke on the words. I've failed. Not just as your son, but as a Jedi. "I wasn't strong enough. But I promise, I won't fail again." I could feel my teeth clench as I stood up. "I miss you so much!"
Padme, Cleigg, Owen, Beru, and C-3PO were standing outside behind me. Just then R2-D2 pulled up behind us and beeped.
C-3PO translated, telling us he had a message from Obi-Wan. Surprised, Padme and I rushed toward the ship.
Obi-Wan had sent R2-D2 a message and asked us to retransmit it to Coruscant. That we did.
He told us he had--finally!--found out who Zam's boss was. It had been so long that I completely forgot about that but I'm still glad he discovered him. Her boss was named Jango Fett, who Obi-Wan had tracked to Geonosis. There he found out that Nute Gunray had hired Jango to assassinate Padme. Also Count Dooku had rallied even more star systems to join the Separatists and they were making a droid army.
But before he could tell us any more, he ignited his lightsaber and held off a hail of laserfire from the enemy. The message ended with a droideka stepping on the projector.
A moment later Master Windu appeared on a hologram. He told me to stay here while the Jedi left to fight Count Dooku. "Protect the Senator at all costs," he told me. "That is your first priority."
As his hologram winked out, Padme insisted we go help. She doubted the Jedi wouldn't get there in time, but we could because Geonosis was so much closer.
"If he's still alive," I said grimly.
"Anakin, are you just gonna sit here and let him die?" she replied. "He's your friend, your mentor--"
He's more than that. Way more than that. Yet I reminded her that Master Windu had told us to stay here. I know we defied his last order to stay on Naboo, but my mom's life was on the line.
"He gave you strict orders to protect me, and I'm going to save Obi-Wan." She hit a switch, thus activating the ship's engines. "So, if you plan to protect me, you will have to come along."
Hopefully we won't die. :)