The night was cold and still. The only light came from Coruscant’s moons, which shone bright and clear. The silver light was reflected in our eyes, and we intend to enjoy our first and last night under the twinkling stars. But we can’t.
We were led off to yet another holding place. We already saw the platform of doom, where many of us will be executed when the sun came up. Barriss and Kalifa knew this. Yet their manner remained calm and confident, which was the only thing keeping me from paranoia at this point. It seemed to work for Eroda, Ward, and Eva too. If they think we all could survive, then I guess we can. Right?I tried to find the answer in the night sky. But not even a breeze responded to my question.
Bit by bit, the sun came up agonizingly slowly. But finally pedestrians began to pour out on the streets, dragging their footsteps as slowly as they can without rousing suspicion from the troopers. That gave me one shred of hope. They don’t want this to happen either. I had to remind myself that that won’t really help me anyway.
Soon citizens that look like they’re forced to be here were finally assembled. The trumpets blew, indicating that the emperor is about to arrive. A cloud car-or at least I think it was one, I don’t know-came and touched down, and the people cheered politely. There was no enthusiasm in there. If I wasn’t part of the show, I would have laughed at their monotone cheer.
Once the emperor came down, I got a hard slam at the back of me that took me by complete surprise. I fell on my knees with a crash inside my head. I could swear something was broken. Glancing left and right, I saw that the others were also on their knees. We’re apparently forced to pay respect to the emperor. I can see Kalifa’s eyes burn.
I risked a look up, and I wished I hadn’t. His sight alone was painful to the eye. His face was heavily scarred and full of wrinkles, and the skin was an abnormal shade of grey. His back was crooked, and he walked proudly but had a slow gait that would fool a person into thinking that he’s helpless. At least he’s covered in rich black cloth, or the chill in my spine would have sent goose bumps despite the warm weather. But what struck out to me most were the yellow, malicious eyes that held the proof of corruption.
He scanned the area, taking in everything from the smallest to the largest. Then he settled on the platform and spoke from the podium. There was absolute silence.
“Welcome, welcome! Happy Life Day!” said the emperor. He paused, waiting for a cheer or anything. Several officers clapped their hands politely, but when they saw that no one’s joining in they quickly stopped. The emperor ignored this.“We bring you…” he droned on and on about goodness knows what. The only thing he mentioned that caught my ears was that Vader isn’t coming. I’m glad. I don’t want to see another ugly face around here.
My eyelids were droopy from the lack of sleep at night, but now I was too tired to care about anything. I slept, only to be awoken by the sharp nudge from Eroda. I thought she was warning me not to snore since guards were behind us, but it was because the executions were starting.
The guards took a man who look resigned to his fate. They roughly pulled him up and shoved him in front of the crowd. His eyes were shut from the sunlight when they asked if he wanted any last words and if he wanted a blindfold. Oh, how sweet of the empire. All he merely said was goodbye, but I can see it moved the crowd. Maybe only a bit. But still.
I was used to seeing death and dying around me in the prison. But this one still moved me too. It showed me how evil the empire was. Now, more than ever, I made it my goal to bring it down and perhaps execute the emperor the way he did to this guy. I liked him, even though I never knew him. I had a feeling that he would have made a good friend.
This is what happened for the rest of the morning. They announced the name of the prisoners and their crimes, which I strongly suspect are false. Then they pulled the prisoner in, asked him/her/it for any last words, and offer a blindfold. Then the crowd stayed there and watched as people in front of them died. I gritted my teeth. I wanted to do something badly, and all I can do is stay here.
Suddenly I saw an arm move and catch Kalifa. It was Bariss’s. It looked as if Kalifa could barely restrain herself too. I had forgotten that they were here.
In the afternoon we were marched back to the prison, where we stayed. I was thinking it was pretty pointless to take us there in the first place, but maybe it’s just to show us how they’re in control. It hardly matters though- since they already know we’re going to die. Or they think so.
Kalifa moved next to me. “We’re going to do something. A wise teacher of mines said there is always hope where the Force dwells. And the Force dwells everywhere.”
I nodded glumly. “My mom said that there is nothing that lasts forever. Then this won’t too. I only hope I live long enough to see the day it dies.”
Kalifa nodded. “We all do, Kaayla, we all do.”
We sat in silence for a long while, only to be broken when the guards throw in food like we’re dogs. Kalifa was first there-as fast as lightning- and took all of it. She separated it into equal pieces for every prisoner. “We can’t afford to have another fight,” she said.
I agreed. After my small dinner I was ready to sleep since I know we’ll wake up early tomorrow. We all huddled together for warmth. Just before I drift off, I heard Kalifa saying something next to me.
“There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.”
Just before I surrender consciousness I wondered where I heard that before.