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Old 10-28-2008, 02:02 AM   #49
The Doctor
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Tawnos draped his leather jacket over the back of the only chair in his room, and pulled off the dark red shirt sticking to his chest and back, despite the undershirt he was wearing beneath it - though it as well was clinging to him as if glued to his skin. A slight pain shot through his knees and shoulders as he tossed the shirt into the clothing receptacle - they had been stiff all day, having to carry Osay through the cavernous depths of the planet to get back to the facility. Ignoring the pain, he cast a half-hearted glance at the small bathroom to his right, contemplating a shower. He certainly felt filthy, but simply didn’t have the energy to bother.

He fell onto the bed, not bothering to finish undressing quite yet. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands, then slid them up to ruffle his hair. It hit him suddenly that only this time yesterday, the biggest problem he had going was making sure he showed up for his classes on time, and dealing with his sister trying to make up for lost time. The events of that night seemed like an eternity ago, and the day between them was nothing but a blur. He had never thought he would have been able to deal with such events - being kidnapped, dodging spice junkies, carrying unconscious companions through the darkest parts of the world that had been more of a home to him in the short time he’d spent there than Gwellin ever really had. Yet he felt he had handled the day fairly well, all things considered - he had even managed to make it through unscathed.

His thoughts turned to those of their little gang who hadn’t been so lucky. His own sister, who he had always seen as somewhat sheltered and innocent, had been forced to not only fight for real for the first time in her life, but had also been forced to take the live of another sentient being; Gherion, who feared and detested violence above all else, had been forced to lower himself to commit the very act he loathed beyond all others; and Osay, who’s pride and fiery passion had led to grave wounds that, had Tawnos not been able to patch her up before bringing her back to Osay, would have cost her a limb, or worse.

His mind began to dwell on the events that had taken place in the apartment. The unnatural desperation he felt when realising the true nature of his sister’s condition; the dark look that had nested itself on the face of the man who had become almost something of a friend to Tawnos after such a brief time; and Osay... the ball of dark emotions that had pulsed within his chest after they left her, as if he could sense her own fear, and anger, and pain. Then there was the taste of bile that had assaulted his mouth when she had stumbled into the apartment, her arm nearly severed and her at the shoulder. He had never experience quite the same kind of fear that he had as he sat at her side - nor had he found himself so willing to do so in a very long time. And he didn’t like it.

A soft chime met his ears, and he rose, ruffling his hair once more. “Come,” he called, casting a glance at his tired, drained-looking reflection.

The door slid open with a quiet hiss, and Erussa stepped into the room. He smiled before speaking. “Good evening,” he said pleasantly, standing just inside the door. “I thought I would check in before allowing you to retire for the night.”

Tawnos sighed, and nodded. “It’s been one hell of a day...” he muttered, more to himself than anything else.

Erussa chuckled appreciatively. “Your exhaustion is understandable - you performed your task admirable today, Tawnos.”

“Well, we didn’t exactly come out of it scot-free,” he said darkly.

Erussa nodded. “Indeed. However, I was referring to yourself specifically.” Tawnos gave him a questioning look, and he continued. “You are a charismatic young man, Tawnos. You have then unique quality that ensures people pay attention to what you have to say, regardless of their personal feelings for you. You are a natural-born leader, whether you are aware of it or not, and you have already demonstrated your abilities today. The others listen to you, and obey your commands simply because you have naturally garnered their respect.”

Tawnos considered for a moment. “I’m not so sure that’s true,” he said slowly. “I mean, sure, I got a bit commanding today, but they didn’t ‘obey’ me - they just... realised that it was what needed to be done. The fact that I asked them to do it has nothing to do with it.”

Erussa shook his head. “But you see, it is the very fact that they know the words you speak are truth that proves you to be a leader. They believe what you say, simply because of the conviction in your words and the charisma enveloping you.”

Tawnos nodded slowly, beginning to understand what he meant. “But... I don’t want to be a leader,” he said, flushing slightly. “I’m not... good at it,” he said, somewhat embarrassed.

“Tell me, Mr. Rashel,” said Erussa, moving into the room and taking a seat at the head of the bed. “When you look at your companions, what is it that you feel? Take Celeb for example: when you see him, and interact with him, what do your feelings tell you?”

“Well... I guess... I see him as a... dark, serious man. Troubled.”

Erussa shook his head. “You misunderstand - not what you see, what you feel.”

He looked at the old man sidelong, and spoke. “I feel... desperate. A dull, deep seated ache for acceptance. But... also a fierce pride, and strong sense of independence.”

“Excellent!” said Erussa emphatically. “And how do you react to these feelings?”

“I... guess I try to help. I tried to get his input a few times, when we were in a bad spot. I tried to include him; be a kind of... catalyst for him with the others.”

Erussa nodded. “And that is what makes you a leader. Your deep seated desire to bring those around you together, and make them part of a greater whole.”

Tawnos considered Erussa’s words for a moment. The very idea of being the leader of such a group, of being the one of the other five would-be Jedi looked to to take on the responsibility of guiding their team towards whatever destiny Erussa had in store for them, wasn’t something he was sure he was comfortable with. He wasn’t entirely sure of the validity of Erussa’s points - while the others certainly had seemed to obey his instructions today, there was absolutely nothing to say that they would continue to do so. Particularly Osay, who seemed to take particular pleasure in giving him a hard time about anything she could.

He put that aside, however, as the thought about Osay brought to his attention another matter he had meant to discuss with the old Master.

“There’s, uhm... something I’d... like to discuss with you, Master,” he said, the last word tumbling out before he could stop himself. Erussa ignored the term, and motioned for him to continue. “Well, it’s... something of a... personal concern.”

“I assure you that nothing you say to me shall leave these four walls.”

Tawnos nodded, took a deep breath, and continued. “Well, it’s... it’s about Osay. When we first met, we were... to put it mildly... ‘contrasting personalities’.”

Erussa grinned slightly. “You were, in a word, ‘at each other’s throats’.”

Tawnos also grinned. “Yeah, I guess you could say that. But this morning, after we found Lite, I was tending to her wound. We were talking - just pointless banter, that led to both of us apologising. And... before she passed out, she... She made a fairly... odd request.” Erussa looked at him with a politely questioning glance, but Tawnos had the feeling he already knew exactly what she had said. “She said... ‘please don’t leave me’.”

Erussa nodded in silence for a moment. Then, “So, you believe that she has formed an emotional connection to you?”

Tawnos stuttered for a moment. “So--Sorry, uhm... I’m not... good with this kind of thing. Uhm... maybe? I don’t... I don’t really know how to... to put it into words...” He stopped for a moment, gathered his thoughts, and pressed on. “I remember my mother always saying that the strongest of positive emotions tend to spring from the most negative; that strong anger, or hate, often breeds the stronger forms of compassion, and... attraction. And... I feel... drawn to her, in a weird way. We don’t get along, but I feel as if... we were brought together for a reason. Something bigger than whatever it is you have in store for us. But... tied to it, somehow.” He laughed. “I’m not really explaining this very well, am I?”

Erussa gazed into his eyes for a moment, and Tawnos once again felt as if he were able to see into his core. When he spoke, it was a slow, careful tone. “I fear you are travelling dangerous waters, Tawnos,” he said. “Emotion is one of the most mysterious forces in our Galaxy. A Jedi must always be on guard against their emotions - your feelings can be a useful tool, but you must always be mindful of how they influence you. You cannot allow them to cloud your judgement. A Jedi must be serene, and at peace.”

“But... in order to make peace with my feelings, I have to understand them first, don’t I?” he asked. “I can’t resolve them until I know what they mean, and where they’re coming from.”

Erussa smiled. “Your wisdom serves you well,” he said. “It is true that in order to make peace with your emotions, you must first know where they are seated. But as you search your feelings, and seek out their source, you must be strong, and not allow yourself to be controlled by them. The answers will come in due course - do not allow yourself to be dominated by the search for their core. It shall be revealed to you when the time is right.”

Tawnos nodded. “I understand,” he said. “Thank you, Master. I appreciate your guidance.”

Erussa smiled kindly. “I am glad I was able to put your mind at ease.” He rose from his seat. “I must bid you good night,” he said, making his way back to the door. “I must see to our newest guest.”

“Right. Goodnight, Master,” he said. He hesitated for a moment, then continued, uttering a phrase he had wished to speak since he had first read it as a child; the phrase that had spurred him to learn as much as he could about the Jedi, and made him yearn to become a Jedi. “May the Force be with you.”

Erussa smiled at him from the door. “And also with you.” He turned, and the door sealed shut behind him.
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