A Breakthrough

Satchal Paige sat in the cold snow just outside the cave entrance, and his heart and mind were filled with despair and hopelessness. He was all alone in the darkness of the Hoth night, and the biting wind cut through his suit with little effort. Without friend and without any sort of idea where he should go or what he should do he simply sat there freezing to death.

The rumbling had finally ended, and though he stretched out with the Force he could sense nothing as to what the rumbling was or what had become of his friends. At last, after some time and nothing happening, Satchal decided to get up and see if he could find another way into the cave. Maybe if he looked around the rocky countryside he might find some sort of additional entrance.

But the cold wind was too much for him. After only traveling for about thirty minutes in no direction in particular the harsh winds began to pick up and soon he could stand it no longer. At least near the entrance to the cave he could feel the heat emanating from inside. It might still provide him with some warmth. Returning to the cave entrance he found that the door was wide open once more, but this time the heat that wafted out was far more intense. Everywhere he looked the walls were red as if superheated, and there were puddles of lava everywhere. The cracks that had once housed plant-life were now filled with the molten rock, and Satchal’s despair grew even more.

What had happened to his friends? They had been trapped inside. There was no way they could have escaped lava! Chances were their dead carcasses wouldn’t even be able to be found. They’d have melted in an instant.

Satchal dared to walk inside. So cold was he that he could not withstand the bitter night any longer. Although the stone burned beneath his feet the environmental suit did well to protect him. Satchal stumbled his way along wishing he’d died with his friends and cursing himself for fleeing. He would never get the image of Brin’tac out of his mind as he flung himself through the doorway. The confusion on his face as he watched his friend abandon him was too much. Satchal fell to his knees in agony. He wished the doors would now shut behind him and the lava would claim him as well.

And then, a voice suddenly came to him out of the darkness. To Satchal’s utter amazement he lifted his head, and there, standing before him, glowing in a bright blue light, illuminating the entire cave, was his former master. Master Lo had died some time ago when the Dark Jedi he now knew to be Wraith had killed him, and unlike many Jedi who have perished Master Lo had never come and spoken to Satchal even when he needed his master most. Now, however, his master stood before him, and Satchal was overcome for joy and grief.

“Master!” he cried in anguish, and that was all he could utter. No other words could pass his choked throat.

“My son,” Master Lo spoke in calming tones. He was a tall Cerean dressed in the same tan and brown combat garb he had worn in life. He was muscular and broad shouldered; the same impressive warrior Satchal had always known and respected. “Long have you grieved for me, but the time for that is ended. The Dark Side clouds much, and your vision has been impaired by it.” Then he raised his hand to stay him from making any defense. “Many Jedi, even the masters, have lost sight in this cloud. Long you have walked in this cloud, but it has lifted. The Enemy has forsaken you, believing you to be dead and no longer concerning himself with you. That is why I am now able to come to you.”

“But what can you possibly do to help me now, Master?” he wondered through clenched teeth. “All my friends are dead, and I’m stranded on this worthless planet to die. What good is it now to come to me? Why not wait until we meet again in the Force?”

“Trust the Force, Satchal,” said Master Lo. “Never give up hope.”

“But…”

Master Lo interrupted him. “Satchal,” he said, his voice once more having a calming effect. “You are strong in the Force, and though many fear you because they think you are weak to the Dark Side I know differently. You know the Dark Side, and though you are rash and many times act without thought you are aware of the dangers of evil far more than most. You fear the Dark Side and hate it because of what it has done to you, and this gives you great strength against it. I am no longer concerned for your future, Satchal. I believe that you have great potential against the Dark Side, and soon your strength will be greatly tested. In this you may find that you have more strength than even you may expect, and while others fail you may prove strong against evil.”

“Why are you telling me all this?” Satchal wanted to know. “How will I be greatly tested here? Is it really possible that the others are still alive?”

“Mysterious are the ways of the Force,” said Master Lo, “and many things you do not see. Be strong, My Son. Always defend yourself against the temptations of the Dark Side. Seek the Force, and it will give you the answers you need. Always and forever you will be my dear son, and remember that there are many ways to defeat the Dark Side of the Force. Look for every avenue before resorting to violence. Seek the Light. Reject the Dark, and be confident in the Force. You have the makings of a great Jedi, and already you have grown far more than I ever imagined. You are at the doorway of becoming a Jedi. Now take that step through the door and shun the darkness forever.”

Satchal stood to his feet before his master in amazement. “How can you say that I’m at the doorway? I’m not even close. I feel so completely not ready. I abandoned my friends to die! How am I ready?”

“The Force has guided you to this point,” said Master Lo. “You left your friends for a purpose. Look for it. Never underestimate the Force. It guides you, and everything happens for a reason, Satchal. Look now for that reason. Let the Force guide you now. I must leave you for now, and though darkness may cloud your vision once more know that I am always with you. May the Force be with you, My Son.”

And with that Master Lo vanished as if he’d never been leaving Satchal standing there feeling both encouraged by his master’s words and a sense of loss that he was gone once more. However, it wasn’t long before Master Lo’s words sunk in, and Satchal began to feel a new sense of confidence and determination. Igniting his lightsaber he decided to investigate the cavern once more to determine what had happened to his friends. Making his way along he now attuned himself to the Force as best he could and searched for signs of them anywhere.





The End

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