Join Date: Jun 2008
Gherion held his hand steadily poised above the grid on the side of the dejarik table, looking at the holographic figures and working out various stratagems in his head. For a while after Erussa’s lessons on the Jedi Code, Gherion had spent time alone in his quarters, writing in his journal about how eerily similar the morals, values, and ethics of the Jedi were to the lore he had read. They were guardians of peace and goodness, without passion or desire, decency and wholesomeness implanting itself in their wake. The code was clearly not just a way to live life with the power of the Force in your hands, as it undoubtedly was: it also doubled as a weapon against the darkness in us all. If one took the code seriously, followed it to a certain degree, then their dark selves were thwarted. The Half-Echani wondered how many years of refinement the code had taken, and how many revisions had been made. He surmised from the way that history had followed the Jedi, and from his studies on key figures in the Old Jedi Order, that this was an ancient and relatively unaltered mantra that had made the Jedi that valiant force against the vile Sith for so long.
Their philosophies for seeking out knowledge mirrored this dedication in many ways, and without such things, devotion to the light would be nearly impossible. They constantly sought knowledge in the most unlikely of places, looking at every situation as a way to learn, and seeing themselves constantly for validation in their loyalty. Arrogance had no place in their methods, as they only saw themselves as children in their wisdom, no matter how learned or scholarly they became. The humility that this entailed had been pointedly relevant to Gherion, who recognized that though he held similar ideas in seeing knowledge in all things, he had traits of self-importance that would be ingredients for conflict in later days, when his training as a Jedi would progress even further. This imperative sensation lead Gherion to gain a more humble mental demeanor since the second lesson with Erussa.
Tiring of typing, however, he had ventured into the small entertainment room, where a pazaak table and a dejarik board lay, in addition to various other methods of diversion. A simple viewscreen in the corner showed various news announcements all across the galaxy, rambling on about new additions to the Alliance, and other minor stories. All was normal in the galaxy, except for six young men and women who had been kidnapped and given the heavy burden of being Jedi. Tawnos had been playing a game of dejarik by himself, and offered to play Gherion. The young philosopher had picked up on the game very young, when he first started in astrogation on small cargo freighters. Due to his keen intellect and swift wit, he had mastered it rather quickly, until nobody wished to play him. Tawnos, even though they were only two moves in, had shown that he, too, was exceptionally adept at the game, and would give Gherion a run for his money, so to speak.
Gherion finally decided on a move after five minutes of deliberation, and typed in the command. He caught Tawnos in a fork, sacrificing his best piece, but putting his opponent in a considerably difficult situation: a calculated risk, but a profitable one. Tawnos cursed under his breath, running his hand through his hair in his near-trademark way, leaving it standing up at the top. He typed in a command of his own, moving his more important piece out of danger, but leaving the second open to an attack - an attack it didn't stand a chance of surviving. He watched helplessly as his piece was mauled by Gherion's, and vanished in a flicker of light. Gherion looked up and smiled triumphantly, but the grin vanished almost immediately as he looked at Tawnos. Over the past few days, Gherion had been noticing that his intuition, which he now knew was some sort of Force sense, had been growing stronger, and could tell him the moods of those around him if he concentrated hard enough. Gherion could sense troubled thoughts from Tawnos, and shockingly, he hadn’t needed to concentrate at all, signaling to him that his friend was in emotional turmoil of a high degree.
“I get the feeling that something’s bothering you.” Gherion blurted out, not catching himself in his thoughts.
Tawnos looked up from the board, his eyes dark. He was silent for a moment, then spoke. "It's... not something I'm comfortable talking about. No offense."
Gherion shrugged, then cast his eyes toward the board. As he considered his next move, he stroked his goatee stoically before speaking. “I’m no expert on solving problems, but I do know that it can’t be healthy to bottle it up. I think you know you that I’m not exactly the gossiping type, and getting it out of your system could be very therapeutic.”
Tawnos watched as Gherion's piece moved into a maneuver intended to draw out his more useful pieces. He reacted without thinking, and moved a more mundane piece in the way. "It's... Osay," he said, once he had finally worked up the courage to say it out loud. "I'm finding myself..." he struggled to find the words. "I'm thinking about her when I should be focusing on something else. I've caught myself watching her when I don't mean to."
“Hmmmm…” Gherion sat forward abruptly, and performed a feint on the board that left Tawnos’ most valuable piece open for attack next turn. “Well, you two have been getting along quite well since the night of our first mission. You think that might be part of it, that some sort of feelings might be blooming from that newly forged friendship?”
Tawnos shook his head, taking advantage of the opportunity and moving a piece forward - on his next turn, he would have Gherion's most valuable piece set up to fall. "That's just it, I... I don't know. And until I do, until I understand what it is that's causing this, then... I can't get over it. I can't settle it in my mind, and put it to rest."
“Well, you remember what Erussa told us about emotion. ‘There is no emotion, there is peace’. You and I know better than anyone that Jedi typically didn’t have families or loved ones. It’s not that it wasn’t done, it just made the road ahead much easier to remove those factors from their lives, and we both know that many Jedi connected by love didn’t last long before they became Sith.” Gherion performed a rarely seen gambit, catching Tawnos’ piece with two flanks and destroying it completely. He smiled before continuing. “I think that, if you plan to face these emotions, seek validation or explanation within yourself, you should do so with the attitude that no matter what, you will not give yourself into them.”
Tawnos considered for a moment. "The old Jedi idea that emotional attachments were to be avoided has always been... hard for me to wrap my head around. The Order encouraged compassion, and a love for all life - how can one love something, or someone, without becoming somehow attached to them? How does one prevent such attachments from forming?"
Gherion stroked his beard thoughtfully, staring at the ceiling. “I think the danger of love is not the act of loving, but rather, the pain of loss or rejection. Jedi are trained to let go of that which they fear to lose, yes, but love for another can be more powerful than any training against it. The grief of losing a loved one, or the pain of being told by another that they do not share your feelings, could send you spiraling into darker thoughts, darker emotions, and inevitably, the Dark Side.”
Tawnos looked up from the game board. "You must do a lot more reading than I thought. How exactly do you know so much about the Jedi, and their ideas of love?"
Gherion grinned toothily, the first one he had ever portrayed to Tawnos. “Well, just before Erussa brought us here, I was reading about a man named Jolee Bindo. A grey Jedi who had left the order of his own accord, because he had been denied a punishment he felt he deserved. You see, in his journal, Bindo described the Jedi policies on love in context with his own life. When he was a padawan, he fell in love and trained a woman far too old in the ways of the Force, but during a great war, she turned on him, and tried to kill him. He survived the encounter, turned away from the pain and loss of love, and went before the Jedi to be punished. When they refused to give him that punishment, because of the value of what he had learned, he left.”
Tawnos reflected on Gherion's story for a moment. Then, "That doesn't really help me understand how to avoid attachment - if anything; it just proves that it's possible to remain objective even when emotionally attached to someone."
“Actually…” Gherion pressed a quick command into the dejarik table, moving a piece back in defense. “It tells us that no matter what we do; love will leave its scars. And Jolee Bindo was exceptionally strong in the Force and the Light Side to remain as unscaved as he was. At the very least, giving into love could lead you to leave our group, and, quite honestly, we need you.”
Tawnos sighed, noticing Gherion's trap too late - no matter which piece he moved, he'd be opening his larger pieces to attack. "Maybe," he said slowly. "But... I can't help think 'what if?'. I mean, me 'falling', or leaving for any reason depends solely on the prospect of being hurt by my feelings. But... what if I'm not? What if they come to fruition?"
“And what happens if Osay happens to die? If she falls to the Dark Side herself? Fighting the evils within yourself is a task already putting anyone in constant struggle, but to add that much extra internal conflict is more than any person should bear, at least if they intend to use the Force.” Gherion used a smaller piece to attack Tawnos, taking out a simple pawn to elongate the game. He did not want to give Tawnos a reason to cut the conversation short. He wanted to help.
"So you're saying that even if there is a chance of her... reciprocating, that it wouldn't be worth the risk?"
“No. I don’t pretend to understand love, or what risks it’s worth. But I will tell you that should you choose to pursue it, then you may start walking down a road you can’t turn away from. Just remember that, and if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to about emotions you can’t control, don’t be afraid, or too prideful, to contact me.” Gherion smiled, and finished the game in a whirlwind gambit, the last of Tawnos’ pieces falling to a brutally efficient flank. “At least, unlike Erussa, I’m on the same page you are.”
Tawnos gronaed as his piece fell to Gherion's, and the board fizzled out at his defeat. He rubbed his eyes, and cast a glance at his time piece. He considered for a moment, a grin stretching across his face. "Best three out of five?"
“Why not.” Gherion nodded happily, starting another game. He considered for a moment about Tawnos’ feelings, and sensed in their future a touch of darkness that did not fully manifest itself to him, but gave the young philosopher a heavy clump in the depths of his stomach. He was not trained in the Force properly, however, so he did not see what was growing in Tawnos to the extent of understanding it. He instead chose to force the notions out of his mind, and focus on the next game of dejarik.
It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built.