The Struggle of One
He seemed to struggle for the control that he had never truly had, always wondering who was the Master and who was the Apprentice. There was something in the boy that would alternate between respect and defiance, never lingering very long in the same spot. He knew that his charge listened to him and attempted to keep his teachings in mind, but there always seemed to be something else that resided with his student that would...shove the words away.
And it wasn't just his Padawan that plagued his thoughts. It always seemed that there was something else to dwell on in addition to the issues surrounding the training of his apprentice. So much had happened in ten years; so much time had passed. He'd learned to cope with the death of his Master ? learned to accept that death was a part of life as much as living was. One could not carry on in this mortal existence forever. It was the last, true lesson that his Master had taught him.
But this young one - this boy only a decade and a half younger than he - had much to learn. He knew that the Padawan's powers had grown beyond any limits that one could imagine. Even the boy's readings could not be measured, for no chart extended to that particular level of strength in the Force. And there was reason to believe that the length and depth of the student's true power was yet to be discovered. For some reason, that particular thought frightened him in a way. Unsure of the path his Padawan would take, he did his best to guide the youth and fought at times to keep him in his place, keep him on the path that would ultimately - prayerfully ? lead him toward light.
But there was a danger here. Some other force was at work, he suspected, for the boy was becoming overly defiant...now more than ever. Something was coming; he could feel it. But he knew not what.
The Burden of One
There was so much on his mind, so much that he felt he could not share with anyone. His Master had inquired as to the reason he was troubled. True, he had explained to him the problems as best he could, but there was no way to convey exactly what he was feeling. There was no way to precisely express the pain and the torture that afflicted him at night in his fitful sleep. The agony of watching his dreams, of not being able to make them disappear, was enraging.
And then there was the fact that he could not control his thoughts, could not throw them aside. Just this one inability made him feel as if he were out of control, as if he did not have the power over his own future. And he was infuriated. If he could not have control over his life - over the events that occurred - what would the life of a Jedi be like? If he failed himself, he believed he would surely fail others as well.
And to his horror, it had already happened. Before he had even gained the chance to try to help, to save the one who had meant the most to him throughout his life and always, fate had been against him. But he saw it as a pitfall of his own character - the failure wrought out of his own inability to succeed. In his mind, a Jedi did not fail. And there was always that constant aching, that feeling in his heart, in his very soul, that would not diminish. He fought within himself to recognize it, attempted to somehow trace it back to its origins. The struggle was in vain. Never once was he able to pinpoint the exact reasoning behind his feelings. He could not even extricate the emotions themselves. Jedi were supposed to be ever mindful of their thoughts, for feelings often betray you or so his Master had said before.
But what was there to be betrayed? What secrets did he have that the universe would want to know? The simple loss of a loved one was a common thing in life. Why would another find the repercussions of that loss so important?
The Rise of One
He could not contemplate exactly how the galaxy had made it thus far. The fate of millions of star systems were held in the slippery fingers of individuals no more capable of making decisions to benefit their own pitiful existence, let alone for entire worlds. Their lives were so meaningless, with no true future tied to any one of them - no dreams or goals or aspirations. There was nothing...save the desire to bicker endlessly in their psycho-babble and prosaic filibusters.
All about him, life buzzed with the mundane activity that so often filled the minds of lesser beings. He found it to be an echoing throb in his temples if he let himself listen to it pulse, ultimately pushing him to the limits of his patience. But it was slowly coming to be. The subtle workings of an intricate mind, each slight push in the appropriate direction - all was bringing about his desired future. A future that was not just to see the final stages of a once proud world move from being trapped on the edge of twilight to being ultimately ruled by darkness.
No, it extended much further than that. To witness the decimation of a long ago resplendent Order which had presently begun to lose its focus, denying itself the true powers it was capable of obtaining. To watch as whole worlds honored him for his accomplishments and feared him for his domination. This was what he would lie in waiting for, stealthily biding his time until he finally reigned supreme over the dying galaxy, seeking then to bring to it a new life nourished by the power of darkness. Each piece of his patient plan was proceeding to come together as was originally and carefully crafted.
All that remained was the final step that would initiate the final downward stream of corollaries, each aftereffect building upon the kinetic energy of the other - ultimately ensuing his favored, preconceived future. This was the final moment, to bring that last fragile piece into his carefully crafted plan of the present...to ultimately create the power and prestige of the future.
Original cover by Kaylle. HTML formatting copyright 2003 TheForce.Net LLC.