On the day the Republic died, the Empire was born.
On the day Anakin Skywalker died, Darth Vader was born.
On the day Padmé Amidala died, Luke and Leia were born.
This is what the galaxy knows to be truth.
Divisions are never this simple, not when the Living Force works so mysteriously. It swirls, thrumming with life and the complexities of living, blurring lines between black and white with iridescent colour. Indeed, the lines are as blurry as a tauntaun’s vision in a hailstorm, lethargy and sub-zero temperatures having the same effect of one of Corellia’s notorious spiced whiskeys.
The shroud of darkness rises and falls, and suddenly everything is at once clear as one of Alderaan’s many glacial lakes and as murky as the depths of Coruscant’s sewers.
The Republic had always been rotting from the inside, its artificially golden aura of glitz and glamour masking the stench of decay. The Empire is new in name, but the corruption that fed it had been festering for decades.
Padmé knows this now. So naïve she had been, to believe the entire galaxy valued truth and justice as much as she – to think that the man behind all this chaos hailed from the same planet as herself.
To think she hadn’t noticed, to think even the Jedi hadn’t noticed his machinations – it’s an oddly reassuring realization. If Master Yoda, nine centuries of experience etched in his features, hadn’t sensed the evil within the former Chancellor until it was too late, what could a hopeful and ambitious young girl have done?
Better, she thinks. She might have not recognized the Sith Lord sharpening his weapons, but she should’ve noticed the change in Anakin. Done more to reassure him, taken his worries to the Jedi – to Obi Wan, at least, who would’ve understood the difference between love and obsession, between compassion and attachment.
Her friend gazes down at her sadly, the same regret written in the creases of his forehead and eyes.
But it is too late, and the Republic is the Empire, and her Anakin is dead.
She wants to follow his footsteps, follow the path of the Republic and the rest of the Jedi (the younglings) and succumb to the endless darkness behind her eyelids –
But Luke coos, and Leia looks at her with wide brown eyes –
And guilt weighs down on her shoulders.
She needs to live, if only to rectify her sins.
So she sits with Bail on one side and Obi Wan on the other, her children in her arms as she looks to the last of the Jedi.
“Tell them I died,” Padmé says, gently rocking a squirming Leia. “And that the children died with me.”
“Arrange for a funeral, we must,” Yoda says solemnly.
“And the children?” Bail asks. “How will you hide with two infants?”
“Hidden, safe, the children must be kept,” Yoda interjects, looking at Padmé. “Disaster if the Emperor finds them, will it be.”
“We must take them somewhere where the Sith cannot sense them,” Obi Wan adds. “That includes you, Padmé.”
“No,” she shakes her head, curls sliding over her shoulder. “I have work to do.” She looks at Bail.
“We must split them up. I can’t bring- I can’t bring them with me.” Her voice falters and she looks down at the twins. The three of them being separated so soon after birth – it breaks her heart, truly, but it must be done.
Obi Wan meets her gaze with sad eyes.
“My wife and I will take the girl,” Bail says softly. “You know we’ve always talked of adopting one.”
She nods, and her lips curve into a gentle smile. “She will be loved with you, I know it.”
“And the boy?”
She locks eyes with her husband’s beloved mentor, and she knows what must be done. “Take him back to his family.”
“I will watch over him – make sure he knows the ways of the Force when it is time,” Obi Wan says. “And I will make sure he is safe and loved.”
“That is all I can ask for,” Padmé replies.
“But what about you?” Bail asks. “What are you going to do?”
“The Loyalist committee – the Delegation of Two Thousand.” Bail nods, much to the confusion of the two Jedi.
She explains: “We thought we could soothe this war with words and diplomacy, and we failed – but now I know we never could have succeeded, not with Palpatine’s real intentions.”
“What about it now?”
“There are people in the Senate who will never support this Empire. But instead of words, we must act.”
“We must rebel.”
Padme learns, painstakingly slowly, that the realities of the galaxy are darker and more complicated than anything she could ever have imagined, like a slimy tentacle grasping at her ankles in the dark.
The Empire is the Republic.
Darth Vader is her husband.
She is a rebel.