Star Wars for Fanfic 100Characters:
Darth Vader leads the stormtroopers in the invasion of Hoth.Hearth
The vapor blown upwards from the shuttle's repulsors froze to the ship's viewscreen, his first clue as to exactly how bitter the cold was on Hoth. Once outside, a strong wind sent his cloak snapping and whipping around him, but he didn't feel its bite. He barely noticed the crunch of snow underneath his boots as he led the troopers towards the Rebel stronghold.
He tried to tell himself that his suit's insulating ability kept Hoth's cold from him, but that was a deception. The leather was brittle here, creaking and restricting his motion in a way that it never did in more temperate settings.
The flush he felt then, must be from the adrenalin of the ground invasion. Leading the snow troopers into the underground Rebel base reminded him of any of a number of other campaigns : Jabiim, Aargonar, Virujansi. It was as if the last twenty years hadn't happened, and he was again a young man surrounded by clone troopers, wearing armor because they all did, not because his very existence was dependent on his helmet and life support suit. His favorite role awaited him : the rescuing hero who would save the Republic. Or the Empire, it was all the same to him .
Explosions rocked the narrow corridors as they blasted their way past the Rebels' defenses. Striding through icy tunnels chiseled into the planet itself, his mind was cleared by the immediacy of physical danger. He could forget that above him his Super Star Destroyer hung in orbit, an entire city of men dependent on his decisions. The oppressive presence of Palpatine receded into nothingness. For the moment, all that existed was the small group of troopers who accompanied him and of course, his quarry.
His quarry, who had haunted his thoughts even with light-years between them. And now that they trod the same ground, Luke's presence was so startlingly brilliant in the Force that he could perceive nothing else. He saw him slipping around every corner, heard his footsteps vanishing down every corridor. At any moment he would come face to face with the stranger who was his son.
And even though they had never met he would know
him when he saw him. Recognize the eyes that matched his own, or perhaps hers. Feel a connection in the Force that broke through all barriers. Somehow he would know, as his son would him, because their destinies were intertwined. It was a belief that burned in him with the power of a star gone nova.
With every step further into the Rebel base that internal fire burnt hotter. The Force roiled through the ruins of the building, a harbinger of the importance of their meeting, and a disturbance recognizable to all who felt the Force. On the cusp of the fulfillment of that destiny, the Millennium Falcon
burst from its icy hangar, stripping him of his protection.
Immediately his exhale crystalized against his mask and the cold of Hoth pierced him to the bone, because he had been kept warm not by the suit or the exertion of battle, but by an emotion so dangerous he dared not admit it. The departure of the Corellian freighter doused the fire of his hope, and he was once again, alone.