Join Date: Jun 2008
All was silent in the medbay as Gherion sat with his arms around his knees, staring into the pitch black of the room, the only light seeping through the gaps around the exit, framing its oval shape in a perfect white line. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he inspected his surroundings, the healer droid deactivated in the corner, its instruments sitting next to it in neat rows on a short table. Hours recently, that same droid had patched up a few minor wounds, and administered medication for the shock Ashalle and himself were experiencing. Osay had been treated for her severe arm wound, but had no mental issues to deal with and did not need constant monitoring, so she was sent to her quarters. Gherion and Ashalle were not so lucky, however, and Erussa ordered them to a night in the medbay after the ordeal with Lite. There were four beds in the room, and he had opted for the bed directly left of Ashalle, though he had little use for it. Gherion rarely slept, and with his current mental state, the prospect of falling into a slumber was wholly impossible. His mind returned to the visions of his father as he fell forward to the ground, his mother screaming, his sisters standing perfectly still, staring at him blankly. For the first five years following that day, Gherion’s life had been haunted by those images, yet as the memories of killing left him, his psyche had come to ease, and he had found peace in himself. Now that he was once again face-to-face with bloodshed by his own hand, the images were back, and he could not remove himself from them.
Gherion knew that to be a Jedi, he would have to end the lives of others to make the world a better place. There were few things he yet understood of the Force, but he knew from personal experience that the tiniest change in direction caused tremendous ripples in the lives of everyone involved. Strike a key point, and you heal the galaxy, or fracture it irrevocably. He just had doubts, in himself and his abilities to predict what he must do to act out the will of the Jedi. To bring peace and order, as opposed to meaningless bloodshed. He turned his head slowly to the right and saw that Ashalle was also sitting up in her bed, staring into empty space. Gherion felt closer to her than anyone at the time, even Tawnos, because she had felt the same pain that he had, while the others had seen death and remained relatively unharmed emotionally. For them it had been more difficult, and though Gherion did not know her reasons for trauma, he saw in her a kinship that transcended any omnipotent “Force”.
“They would have killed us.” The half-Echani whispered as quietly as he could in the dark. He did not wish to startle her, but he felt the need to say something.
She didn't move, apart from tightening her hold on her own knees as if trying to pull them inside herself. Her face was tear stained, and her eyes were unfocused and staring off into space. The image of that man lying limp on the ground, with her dagger jutting out of the back of his neck... she had never even been in a real fight before - sure, she had taken self defense classes as a 16th birthday gift from her over-protective father, but had never had to use them before; yet her reaction to the thug's attack had come so quickly, so naturally... she hadn't even thought about it, she had merely acted on impulse. She opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again, not sure what to say. Then it all came spilling out, a recitation of the mindless monologue that had been streaming through her head for hours now.
"I've never killed before," she began, the words streaming out of her of their own will. "I've never even really fought before, I mean, not any further than a jab to the stomach, or a pop in the nose of a guy trying to get cute with me. I've carried that dagger for years now, but I've never been forced to use it before, and I just pulled it out and lashed out. I could have just knocked him cold, I could have smashed the hilt into his skull and given him a concussion, but I just... killed him, stone dead, and I don't know why I did it. I can't get the image out of my head - just a pool of blood, his limbs twitching randomly every once in a while..."
Gherion slouched forward tiredly, revealing that even though his body was rested from the past few hours, his mind still felt the pain of his action. He was dealing with it far better than Ashalle, and was sure to learn to deal with what he had done and would undoubtedly do as a protector of the galaxy, but it would take time. He paused a moment, searching for the right words, then sighed and hid his face in his hands. He had killed before, but he had no way of telling her, so he opted to avoid the situation altogether.
“I’ve never gotten used to death, and I never wish to, because if a time ever came that watching another die was easy for me, I would be a perversion of who I truly am. Seeing it, causing another’s demise, making it happen… It’s horrible. I know that it had to be done, that it was my survival at stake, yet as I witnessed him slip away, watched that spark of life leave his dark and troubled eyes, I can’t help seeing all those that cared about him, those that had loved him and he had loved in turn, regardless of his addiction or his deeds, or what he had, in his weakness, become. Every life has a family, and perhaps they are dead, or perhaps he had nobody to love at all. But I can’t help but feel that with every existence I end, others grieve and suffer for years in repentance for what I had done.”
The doors opened quietly, though Ashalle still jumped about a light-year as they broke the stillness. Her eyes already adjusted to the dark after many hours now lying awake, she quickly realised that it was Erussa. He swept calmly into the room, stopping at the foot of her bed.
"How are you feeling?" he asked warmly of them both, a kind smile gracing his features.
Gherion tried to return the smile, but did so unsuccessfully. He stared down at his hands, whiter than they typically were, and opened his mouth to speak. For a few moments, no sound escaped, and then suddenly, words flooded out. “I had forgotten what it was like to end a life, and I’m terrified of what the future means if I am to become a Jedi Knight, protector of the galaxy, destroyer of evil. Destroyer.”
Ashalle burst into speech before Erussa could reply. "It can't be like this. If being a Jedi means having to kill, even in battle, I... I don't think I can. I'm just not cut out for this sort of thing..."
Erussa held up a hand, and they both trailed into silence. The smile had slid from his face, to be replaced by a calm, serene expression, his aura radiating a peaceful. vibrant intelligence. "Calm, Apprentices." He was silent for a moment, taking up position between their beds and perching on the edge of Ashalle's. "To take the life of another being is... far more difficult than it would appear to be," he began, his voice gentle. "The act has been portrayed as one performed in passing, having little to no effect on the being committing the act. The truth, however, is that taking a life is a far more painful task than that."
"But... it gets easier, right?" whimpered Ashalle, almost pleadingly. "I mean, you get used to it, don't you? After a while..."
Erussa shook his head, adopting a sad yet strangely stoic look. "I'm afraid that I know from personal experience that taking a life is never easy, even under the most strenuating of circumstances," he said. "It is when it does become easier to kill that one loses themselves, and will inevitably fall to the Dark Side."
Gherion took a deep sigh, staring into nothingness for a moment. “… I understand from certain holo-novels that there were other factions of Jedi who did not seek battle, who were diplomats and negotiators, understood how to fight, were trained in the Jedi arts of saber combat, but did not focus on it solely to carry out their work in the galaxy. Have I read correctly?”
Erussa nodded. "There were many different classes of Jedi over the millennia. The Arbiter was the most extreme of the type you speak of, completely avoiding direct battle and focusing solely on negotiation, diplomacy, and peace keeping. The Paxist class, though it only existed for a handful of centuries, were highly regarded as keepers of the peace across the Galaxy. All these types were considered part of a single class: the Jedi Consular."
Gherion nodded slowly. “I think that will be the path I take in my training. A less combat-intensive career, so I’m not thrown into death on a large scale. Yet… I will face conflict again before my life is over… and I will kill again, of this I am certain, but… I can’t get past it. Sure, they have fallen, become twisted and evil, but what of their families, of their loved ones that have earned no malice, but will suffer all the same?”
Erussa again raised his hand. "You must not mourn those who perish at your hand, Gherion," he said. "Rather, rejoice at their passing, for they then become one with those that they have loved, and have loved them. There is no death; there is only the Force."
Ashalle spoke next. "No matter how many times I end up doing it, I'll never be able to justify killing," she said softly. "To take the life of another seems so... vile. Cruel. But... if what Gherion said earlier was right... that means that as the Jedi return, so will their enemies. Those who'll do anything they can to hurt the innocent. I can't let that happen. I won't let what I did tonight happen again."
Erussa bowed his head. "The most difficult of tasks taken on by the Jedi Order is the destruction of the Dark Side, and the security of the Light. There have been many Jedi, particularly in the latter years of the Order, who chose to take it upon themselves to pull back the shroud of the Dark Side, and return those who cower beneath it to the Light." He bowed to her once more. "A truly noble path, Ashalle; that taken by the ancient Deist sects, and the Knights of the Protectorate class. These Jedi were classed as Sentinels, devoted to the destruction of the evil within the darkest beings in the Galaxy."
She nodded slowly. The colour had begun to return to her cheeks, and her eyes had all but dried up. "I killed that man, when I could have let him live. It was a mistake, and one that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. I won't let it be repeated. Not if I can do something to stop it."
“Perhaps the best way to achieve that is to learn the ways of the Jedi. To learn ways to avoid conflict and resolve situations without death, or hone combat skills to the point where we can incapacitate enemies, not kill them.” Gherion looked at Ashalle, what little color that was taken from him flooding back to his features. “Never forget our mistakes, and learn never to repeat them.”
Erussa smiled. "Your words show wisdom greatly beyond your years, Gherion," he said warmly. "But you must not become enthralled with visions of power, or grandeur - ambition, while at times admirable, can lead to arrogance. Becoming too sure of your own abilities will lead to recklessness. You must always be mindful of the Living Force, and see it clearly, without allowing emotion to cloud your judgment."
Gherion smiled and nodded. He felt at ease with himself, given a fresh new outlook on death, and saw that his future was not hopelessly stained with the blood of innocence. The images of his past faded away, and he felt calm, collected, oriented in his path and optimistic in his future. He looked over to Ashalle, who looked much better, nearly 100%. Erussa had a magical quality about him, a Jedi art no doubt honed in the centuries of his life. “Thank you… Master?” He said hesitantly, unsure if the title was premature.
Erussa waved the title aside. "There have been many in my lifetimes who have insisted on referring to me as 'Master'. Please, do not feel as if you must do the same. It has been many years since I've felt the propensity for such things. 'Erussa' will do nicely, though whatever you are most comfortable with is acceptable."
“Erussa, then.” Gherion shot his eyes toward Ashalle before looking back at the Jedi. “I think we’re going to get some sleep now, if that’s okay with you.”
Ashalle nodded, taking a deep, cleansing breath. She managed a small smile. "Thank you, Erussa," she said, her voice much calmer and more natural than it had been.
“Oh, of course, of course.” The aging man smiled sheepishly as if slightly embarrassed, striding towards the door. “I must have lost track of the time, and you both must be very tired. Rest well; we have training on the morrow.” With a final smile, Erussa turned and left the room, closing the door behind him, enveloping the room in darkness once more.
Last edited by Adavardes; 10-27-2008 at 10:27 PM.