Luke Skywalker stands in the Tree library at the site of the First Jedi Temple. All around him is grey: the grey of the dead Tree that had once been a Force-sensitive organism, a larger specimen similar to the sapling he and Shara Bey rescued so many years ago, the grey of the shelf holding the crumbling remains of the sacred Jedi texts, and ... the grey of the particular book resting in his hands.
His cybernetic hand brushes the dust off the sunburst emblem of the Jedi Order: a symbol of his hopes, the hope he once represented, and his own failure. The former Jedi Master, which is what he calls himself in this dead place housing dead things and relics dedicated towards monumental failure, such as himself, doesn't know why he does it. He's not sure, exactly, just why he opens the oldest book with the symbol of the defunct culture he dedicated too much of his life to resurrect. The spine creaks underneath his hands and, despite himself, he turns the book's pages open gently, moving them with just the tips of his organic hand.
He's still not sure why he's doing this, or what he is looking for, or what the point even is to all of this ... until an illustration catches his eye.
There are three figures sketched into the parchment of the page within the book. They are all tall, elongated humanoids. One of them is a woman with long tresses, a dress, and an expression on her face with its pupil-less eyes that is something of a mix between haughtiness and nobility. Across from her is a bald man with markings on his skull and dark clothing. There is an aura of deviousness about him, a certain degree of cleverness and ambition in how he holds himself. But towering over the both of them is an old man: with a long white beard and a long-suffering, yet patient expression on his face. He surrounds the other two, and they hold orbs in their hands.
The language of the writing underneath each one is an older form of Aurebesh, but he makes out what they say.
Daughter. Son. Father.
Luke pauses over the page. A distant memory stirs in the equally dusty corners of his mind. He has never seen these figures before, or this book that he has found in his exile, but there is something about them ... even their simplistic, archetypal names ...
And then, Luke remembers.
It had been on another world, and all too brief. On Dagobah, during one of his many grueling lessons, Master Yoda had told Luke about a mission that Obi-Wan and his father had undertaken to a strange world called Mortis, where they had met Anchorites called The Ones: embodiments of the different aspects of the Force.
The Light. The Dark. And ... Balance. The Cosmic Force.
In Luke's own consultations with Lor San Tekka and other scholars, he knew that there had been many different beliefs and traditions surrounding the Force, and these were archetypes. But what Yoda had told him, so many years ago, was different. The way he described the encounter that his father and Obi-Wan had with The Ones, it sounded like a communal Force vision: as though they had entered a nexus like the Cave on Dagobah.
But then, Luke recalls something else. There had been many stories exchanged by people in the Rebellion, and after Obi-Wan's passing Luke had been thirsty for any stories regarding the Jedi. At one point, over some Corellian ale, he got more than just old legends, or war stories from the Clone Wars. Apparently, the Rebellion once had a few survivors from the Jedi Purge serve in their ranks. According to the account of one of them, there had been a Temple on Lothal: an ancient edifice reminding Luke of the Temple of Eedit that he would find on Devaron and the one on Vrogas Vas, the planet on which he crash landed in a dogfight with the man who would turn out to be his father ... According to this third hand account or so, the Jedi in question had entered the Temple a few times, but before it was destroyed, he had managed to actually go back in time.
Luke shakes his head, just as he did back then. There had been stories of time travel, and teleportation, and god-like droids since before galactic civilization had even begun. Hell, even on Tatooine he still heard more than a few of these stories at Tosche Station. But then, he recalls being told that the Empire had sent a research team to the Lothal Temple, and that the Jedi and others in question had encountered a mural ... with these same three figures. A father and his two children ...
Luke remembers Vrogas Vas now. He recalls being so close to that Temple and all those secrets just out of his reach. It was there he saw a light and Obi-Wan telling him to go back ... But he couldn't see him then. He had been blurred, along with another figure that had been talking ... someone tall ... someone who he had thought had been his father ... He might not be a Jedi Master anymore, but Luke knows enough to realize that the Force works in mysterious ways.
Even so, as he blinks, what he sees startles him.
He looks back down at the page in the book to see that the illustration is different. There is no other way to describe it. Son has a sly smile on his face as he is crouching down. Daughter is crouching as well, almost bowing, and there is something of a nod in her glance at Luke's direction. And Father ... Father seems to share Luke's sense of resignation, while also having something of an encouraging smile of his own, one of empathy, even as he is pointing ... pointing at something Luke can't see on the page ...
The Force suddenly whispers, loudly, in Luke's mind. He jolts hard as the energy between the land and the air, the water and life, between worlds and stars, returns to him with a vengeance. Luke almost drops the book as he falls to one knee himself, gasping for air, for an excess of life flowing through his tired veins. It's not possible, he thinks to himself. He was done with the Force. He shut himself away from the pain, from the echoes of his terrible choices, and his failures, the deaths of his students, the disappointment of his brother in law, and sister ... away from the ignorance and suffering of the Galaxy ... from his nephew ...
But while Luke Skywalker may have been done with the Force, the Force is not done with Luke Skywalker.
He shakes his shaggy head, looking down at the book as he sees Father's image continuing to point. Luke slowly gets up, and realizes that the Force wants him to walk in the direction the illustration indicates. He follows the whispers and the image back to the ruins of the rest of the First Temple. The sea spray in the air of Ahch-To cools his burning skin, the fresh air lessening the suffocating feeling in his lungs, and the feel of life fills him again in a way it hadn't in decades. He walks into the central chamber of the Temple, as he has so many times before, to the dais on the floor with the mosaic of the "Prime Jedi": the depiction of the founder of the culture that would give rise to the entirety of the Jedi Order.
The faded light of the sun plays on the mosaic. Luke doesn't know what he is supposed to be looking for, here. Is this a reminder of his uselessness? Of how he has failed the Galaxy and the Force? Is it trying to moralize with him? To tell him to return back to the Galaxy and stop feeling sorry for himself? That he has to start again? No. Not even by the Force. Luke has gotten tired of being lectured. There is some humour, not from his mind, at that thought. But even those irritable thoughts fade away, as something occurs to him.
Luke looks down at the book again. This time, Father is pointing up. Right up at the dais.
A strange thrill passes down Luke's spine. He walks over to the dais, and looks at the bumps and contours of the image: of the light and dark, black and white, two spheres, the figure ...
He hasn't seen this before: really seen it. The disk isn't just a mosaic or a raised dais. It is a ceramic, perhaps a lid.
Or a grate.
Luke places the book in one hand, his gloved cybernetic one, and reaches his flesh hand out. He stretches out his feelings, just like that first time, when Obi-Wan instructed him on the Millennium Falcon so long ago now ... He can sense, more than see the figures on the page of the book flow down the parchment like ink, or mist ... The Force opens up inside of him, singing in a multitude of voices: of radiance and shadows, and a variety of colours beyond sentient understanding or perception. It roars in him as powerfully as it had when he had been in his twenties, perhaps even more so now. It hurts. It hurts after all that time with which he tried to run from it, to hide right in plain sight of the origins of the Jedi Order that sought to follow its ebb and flow ...
The mist glows as it drifts towards the ancient mosaic that is actually a grate. The disk glows in return. Old metal grinds hollowly on stone as the grate moves under the power of Luke's telekinesis, retreating into the hollow like a slowly, opening door. Then, there is a click and a rumble. Then nothing. Luke opens his eyes, but it's almost not even necessary. The Force is burning inside of him. He realizes, now, staring down into the smooth blackness with its shifting white lines, that he doesn't have a lot of time. In fact, he has all of it. None of it.
Of course, he thinks to himself. Surely Lothal hadn't been the only place touched by The Ones, by the aspects of the Force. Especially not when this had been the First Jedi Temple. Luke places the book down gently, reverently, as he gets up. He walks towards the hole in the ground, swirling between planes, perhaps even between other galaxies, and universes. For the first time in ages, his steps are sure and clear. They are true.
The Jedi Master draws on the Force and leaps down into the gate, even as it slowly closes behind him: leaving nothing but the dust, the wind, and a lonely, empty book.