Editor’s Note: Originally published on 11/24/2014; updated 12/14/2014 with an ending. 🙂
So, in one of the many Star Wars nerd groups of which I am a member, another member posted a photo for us to caption:
Some of the captions ranged from hilarious (“My bad”) to poignant (“I failed you”) to crude (“I wonder if it’s still warm…”). I, however, decided to write a tiny vignette for the pic, incorporating dialogue from my favorite of the Star Wars novelizations, Dark Lord: The Rise of Lord Vader — page 129, specifically. Everything before the first quotation mark and not italicized is my own writing. Read and feel free to leave comments.
Vader, entombed in the black sarcophagus constructed to sustain his life, approached the opening of his former love’s mausoleum with pomposity, confident that the memories of her soft voice he thought he had long forgotten would have no effect on him. As he entered Padmé’s tomb, however, something…changed. He could have sworn that his artificial palms began to moisten. He could have sworn that he felt sweat emerge from his charred pores and run down his face under the heavy black helmet and mask that aided his now unnatural view of the world. He could have sworn that his heart, hardened by betrayal, deadened by loss, and artificially functional in part due to Sith alchemy, began to warm as memories of his late wife’s face began to surface.
He approached the vault that held his beloved Padmé’s remains, his mechanical breathing echoing dissonantly amidst the silence, and tentatively laid a gloved hand atop it. He looked at it quizzically, and thought back to the exchange he had with Palpatine one year prior during a moment of self-pity…
“Look at us. Are these the faces of victory?”
“We are not this crude stuff, Lord Vader. Have you not heard that before?”
“Yes,” Vader said. “Yes I have heard it before. Too often.”
“But from me, you will learn the truth of it.”
Vader lifted his face. “In the same way you told me the truth about being able to save Padmé?”
“I had nothing to do with Padmé Amidala’s death. She died as a result of your anger at her betrayal, my young apprentice.”
Vader looked at the floor. “You’re right, Master. I brought about the very thing I feared for her. I’m the blame.”
Snapping out of his reverie, and with his hand still atop Padmé’s crypt, Vader repeated the words he said to his Master. “I’m the blame.” His revelation reverberated, bringing an eerie and cold finality to the union of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. With a soft swoosh of his cape, and without the same grandeur of his entrance, Vader left his deceased love’s resting place, never to return.