To First Excerpt ("A New Master")
[Upon returning to the Jedi headquarters on the planet Tython, Cailen meets the leader of the unorthodox Grey Jedi sect, who believe in using both Light and Dark Side techniques after achieving true inner balance. Cailen desires to join their ranks, hoping to better understand and control his unwieldy emotions and Force abilities.
Cailen will need to learn of the Dark Side without succumbing to it: and for that, he'll need a teacher...]
A shiver wracked Cailen's spine. He tilted his face away from Scourge's overwhelming presence, but otherwise, he couldn't move. Ice and fire, fear and rage mixed together to anchor him to the spot.
He knew it was proper protocol to greet a new master--
A new Master?
I could never train under HIM. Surely... surely Master Barsen'thor must know, as a member of the Council. He must KNOW what Scourge did--did to my family! To my people!
Cailen pursed his lips and remained silent. But he was certain everyone could feel the overwhelming tide of his rage.
"There is anger in this one. Raw and barely restrained," Scourge said, almost matter-of-factly. He was much different from any Sith Cailen had seen. It felt as if he didn't have any emotion at all. "It is a start."
"Scourge invokes such emotion in you, young one. Interesting." Barsen'thor said. "Your objective is simple, yet it will be the most difficult task you'll ever face: learn the Dark Side, but never fall to it. It is Scourge's goal to turn you into a Sith. You must not let him win."
"I can't--" Cailen wanted to say. But how many times had Master Teek told him, or Master Edrasi before? He had to let go of self-doubt and overconfidence. “There is no Emotion…”
But how can I? How could I not fall to the Dark Side with this...
"He's a murderer," the words slipped out in a hoarse whisper before Cailen could contain them. "He killed my colony."
"You'll have to refresh my memory. I've destroyed many colonies," Scourge said.
Scourge's voice remained apathetic, even while delivering this information... It only enraged Cailen more.
"I will be observing. I won't interfere unless Scourge gets out of hand," Barsen'thor said, taking a seat on the floor.
Master Barsen'thor! Not even an acknowledgement! Was this part of this... sick test? What was there to observe here?
Well, he'd receive no help here. He was on his own. And he had to do something to corral his raging emotions.
"The Emperor sent you to a small Miralukan colony in the Outer Rim to find me. He wanted to make me his Child," Cailen explained very slowly. Every word was painful to eke out.
He felt like he was reliving the visions. He could almost feel the heat of the fires, hear the screams of his people all over again. The anger felt like a fire itself, burning him on the inside.
"But by the time you got there, the Jedi had already taken me. You failed. So you killed everyone there." Cailen still couldn't even turn in Scourge's direction. Yes, his anger felt nearly uncontrollable, but the terror of that enormous Dark Side presence standing here was equally terrifying. Cailen was rooted. He was too angry to walk away but too afraid to move.
"I feel your anger," Scourge said: words Cailen had heard many times before, but this was different, coming from such an apathetic being. "Yes, I remember you. The one that got away. The Emperor was most displeased. When I inquired why, he told me of your special talent he foresaw. Thank the Force that it allowed the Jedi to retrieve you first. Otherwise, this Galaxy would be cleansed of life by now."
Well that... was... confusing. Cailen wanted to reply, but... he really had no idea what to say to that.
Well of course he's not serving the Emperor now. He wouldn't be allowed here if he were.
He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting, but none of this was going how he expected.
I should probably apologize... But he really had no intention of doing that, either. "I... had no idea. About any of it. My past, my gift... not until my training on Tatooine. I saw visions..." But, not wanting to relive those any more than he was already, Cailen trailed off.
"I had visions of you too. Of what you could become. Of what you could accomplish. I see now that my visions haven't led me astray.
"It seems the Force favors your kind. You are filled with raw emotion, and that will give you strength. Even better, you already have a growing hatred of me. Good.
"I am not your friend. I am not your ally. I am your master. I am your enemy. Learn from my example and survive my punishments until the day comes where you have grown powerful enough to slay me. You will only be given one chance. Your attack on that day must be sure, or you will be destroyed completely and utterly."
A shiver went down Cailen's back. He turned to Scourge, though he really had no idea why. Anger must have won out over the fear for a fleeting second, because almost as soon as he had, he turned to Barsen'thor. "You're really going to allow this, Master?" he barked. "This is... what kind of training is this?!"
|NH Lightning by Derek Thomson on Unsplash|
In one smooth motion, Cailen spun around and, flicking his arms out to either side, parted the lightning.
He... had no idea how, but he did.
The lightning cracked and roared as it cascaded on either side of him before dissipating with an angry hiss.
And then Cailen's legs collapsed from under him. But I was... I tried that before, and I... How did...? He--! He scrambled a few paces backward from Scourge. I--Is he going to attack me again?! Get up! GET UP!
Scourge allowed himself a faint smile. "Excellent. My faith in you is growing by the second. The Force is fueled by emotion. You can see how much stronger you've become already. Your hatred of me, whether you acknowledge it or not, will get you far in our training. My proof? What you did just now."
"I--I didn't--that wasn't out of hatred! It was--" Instinct? You know better than that. Cailen quickly staggered to his feet. "I didn't feel anything."
"Deny it all you want," he said. "You will learn the truth soon enough."
"That's enough for now, Lord Scourge," Barsen'thor said suddenly.
"Yes, I feel it as well," Scourge replied simply. "Remember, apprentice: your emotions are the key to your strength. The whole point of this is to utilize the power of the Dark Side as a Jedi. A silly notion, but one that has true merit. While I disagree that this 'greyness' is the truth path of power, I will not deny it. Revan showed me this strength. Without it, the one I travel with would not have succeeded in killing the Emperor.
"There is power in darkness, however. Power that this greyness cannot grant. You Grey Jedi are on the right path, but in order to achieve more strength, only the Dark Side can provide that. The Emperor still lives due to this. Can you deny that the Dark Side is weak when your combination of the two Sides still cannot defeat a true master of the Dark Side?"
"I never said it was weak. I just won't be a slave to it," Cailen muttered, again unable to face Scourge. Suddenly he felt ashamed. Exposed. And he really had no idea what to make of any of this.
"Your emotions are like a river flowing through a cracked dam. You cannot deny them," Scourge said. "I can feel it intensely. I am unable to feel my own emotions; they are long dead. A side-effect of my own immortality. To compensate, I have learned to draw my power from the emotions of others. So, trust me, apprentice: your denial of emotion, of hatred, is a lie. It gives you potential in the use of the Dark Side, but whether or not you wish to become Grey is irrelevant if you cannot restrain it to some degree. Despite what you think, the Sith are not mindless beasts that indulge in their every emotion. We simply are not afraid of them. Fearing your own power will make them spiral out of control."
My emotions give him strength...? Terrifying and irritating. Mostly irritating because Cailen knew Lord Scourge was right. Nothing good had ever come of the fear he felt toward his own emotions.
Of course, he was also far too proud to admit that to Scourge, so he just kept quiet. Angry and sullen and quiet.
"There are things that must be taught and things that must be learned. Think on this," Lord Scourge said as he took his leave.
Barsen'thor patted the space across from himself. "Take a seat, facing me. Let's talk about what you've learned today."
Previous Excerpt ("Return to Tython")
Adapted from writing by Kaze and me. Used with permission.
Star Wars and all related names and terms property of LucasFilm and Walt Disney Studios. And, unfortunately, I am not affiliated with them.
From Him, To Him