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Old 09-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #1
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Krein Ul'timatum ("Kreia's Ultimatum")

(Author's Note: "Kreia's Ultimatum," also known as "Vremya, Part 19"...)

In the blackness of a half-state between wakefulness and dreams, I thrashed around on my bunk in the starboard dormitory, thankful (at least when I was lucid) that Rodion wasn't around to see me or hear my moans, and to wonder if I was crazy after all. I saw the galaxy collapsing into darkness and folding in on itself, as if consumed by a black hole larger than anyone had ever known. I saw the stars go out, one by one, like eyes closing in the sleep of death. The planets either sundered, exploded, or dissolved into dust. I heard billions of screams through the Force, billions upon billions, the torment of sentient creatures dying before their time. Above all, I heard a voice, the soft and yet stern voice of one whom I had known, and still loved...

Hope is a useless thing, said the voice, if hope is all in which you believe. If your hope lies in hope, then it will fail.

"What?" I cried in the dark dream, covering the ears of my dream-self so that I would not fall deaf via the screaming. "Kreia?"

You hoped you could find Revan. You hoped, albeit unconsciously, you could gather the rest of the former crew of the Ebon Hawk to help you in your mission. You even hoped you could find Bastila Shan, monster that she is, so that her heart, dark as it is, could lead you to the one you sought. Above all, you hoped that you and your paramour could escape detection, could escape the consequences for what you've done. Look where hope has brought you, and look where hope will leave you if you never realize the truth.

"What is the truth?" I asked Kreia in the dream, my voice growing angry. "Is it that I should never hope in anything, or have hope about anything? Is it that hope is futile? Is hope like the Force, too, which you wanted to destroy?!" Silence from Kreia, and then the barely-perceptible sound of weeping, soft agony at the edge of hearing and consciousness. After a long while, almost an eternity even in the timeframe of the Force, my former Master spoke again:

The truth, my priceless Exile, is that hope is not enough. It is never enough unless the object in which you have hope is strong enough to conquer that which causes you to lose it. If you think I'm speaking in riddles, the cryptic tongue of the Jedi Order and myself that you hate, then so be it, but I must explain. Right now, you have hope in yourself, in Revan, and in Rodion. This is the kind of hope I've taught you to have, and having it pleases me beyond all measure. You also have hope in the Force, and this, oddly, also pleases me, for you believe the Force ultimately favors those such as we and not those such as Bastila and her newfound apprentices. The Force is strong enough to conquer them all, but the three of you are not.

Revan is enslaved to Bastila and the artifact that she carries, and the reason he was not able to break this hold on his own, even though he is Revan, is that he still loves her. He still believes love can save her--namely his love, but also the love of the Force. Revan does not realize that love can only save someone if they accept that love. If they reject it, then how can it redeem them? Bastila has reached a point where she no longer loves, for love is one of the passions she is teaching everyone to deny, forsake, and hate. Her only feelings, Jedi or human, are for duty. Duty is the only thing that causes a favorable response in her wicked heart! In her plot to control the galaxy in the name of Light, she does wrong and believes she's doing right! Her drunkenness was a ploy, an utter sham. She's been planning this all along. She only had to wait for you, Tysyacha Dvyx, and make you believe she was a wretch worthy of your pity and compassion! You, and Revan.

As for Rodion, your dearest love, the thing that will doom him is, ironically, self-denial. Don't you know he loathes himself for his violent temper and passions? I know you've long suspected it, but it's time I confirmed your suspicions as fact. What Rodion really needs to do in order to conquer his inner fear and self-hatred is accept himself for whom he is--a Mandalorian and a warrior. He must embrace his fury, his love and lust for you, his focus on battle and fighting at the expense of futile diplomacy and peacekeeping. Rodion needs to be more like himself, not less. If he keeps trying to be a saint instead of accepting himself as a transgressor, he'll die. Only if he finds the strength to know he is Beviin can he defeat Bastila.

"And I?" I rasped in the dream, knowing and fearing the forthcoming answer.

Kreia laughed and laughed, her voice ringing hollow and cold. Dvyx. You have long known what it is that will destroy you. Do you remember Krov'yu Rakhtin, the eerie apparition that you had in a fever dream after you fainted while scrubbing the steps of Czerka Corporation's headquarters? You thought he was one of the True Sith, and you were having a Force vision about him. My former Master laughed again. What was he but a manifestation of your guilt? There is no Krov'yu Rakhtin, save the one that personifies it. Ancient Sith for 'blood broken'? What have you and Rodion done but break two bodies and spill their blood? Guilt squirms in you like a worm, Tysyacha.

Unlike the worm that squirmed in that fool Atton Rand, however, your worm has teeth. It's going to devour you from the inside out, and it's already made much progress. First it will consume your mind, for your mind and its efficacy are a very large part of what can save you from it. Your concentration is already faltering--your ability to focus. Eventually, if you keep treading the path you do, you will be able to think of nothing else but the murders. Then the worm will gnaw upon your body, which it's already doing. You'll lose more weight than you have, thinking that only by self-starvation, conscious or otherwise, will you be able to relieve yourself from the guilt you feel. At last, it will engorge itself upon your soul. You'll believe yourself too far gone for redemption or mercy. That is what will permanently sever you from the Force.

After the worm has eaten you, it will find a new victim. Such is guilt's way.

"What must I do?" I cried, sobbing in the dream and in my real, waking life.

This time Kreia didn't laugh. There is a word uncouth commoners, like the ones in Tirda's Blight, say when referring to infernal tortures: Hollenqualen. There are worse things, worse tortures, than hard labor--even for twenty years instead of eight. Accept your 'Hollenqualen' at last, Dvyx, and the worm shall be torn out of your chest, where it resides and shall stay if you keep on believing--hoping--that you'll continue to live with the guilt.

"I can't!" I shrieked in the dream. This time my scream matched the Force's.

Kreia was silent. Then she said: Can't, or won't? Suddenly, I awoke...

Sitting bolt-upright, I snatched Kreia's holocron necklace from the metal nightstand next to my bunk and slipped it on.

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Old 10-24-2008, 02:49 AM   #2
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