Kneeling, eyes closed, Darrus finally let himself do what he'd been putting off for weeks. Ever since he began this Scarlet Wake business, he'd set aside part of his mind. Day after day, he had avoided what he was doing now. With a deep breath, Darrus opened the gates of his consciousness and let himself remember.
There were those who called the Jedi heartless. Unfeeling, uncaring monastics with mystical powers at the cost of their own souls. The truth was a little more complicated that that. Jedi were not at all uncaring. Quite to the contrary, the reason they seemed this way was because their connection to the Force made them exactly the opposite. The Jedi were not unfeeling.
They felt everything.
When someone without the ability to sense the Force had an emotional reaction to something, their thoughts and feelings remained within themselves. This could be a very strong reaction but it was centralized and limited. A Jedi's feelings echoed through the Force, affecting others and feeding on their reactions in turn. All intense emotion became amplified this way, resounding and increasing until even the smallest thought could become overwhelming.
And it did not stop there. Jedi were in touch with life and with all living things. They were not just affected by their own emotions. If someone near a Jedi felt strongly, he or she would start to feel that way as well. It was hard enough to control one's own mind; filtering out the untrained thoughts of others could border on the impossible.
Focusing on himself now, letting himself finally think after so long trapped in the persona of Wraith, it occurred to Darrus that this was probably why he had appreciated the clone troopers in his army so much. They were disciplined, trained to control themselves in battle and in everyday life. In a way, their minds were quiet. Even when they did show emotion, they never let it get out of control, thus providing him a certain peace in their company.
What had brought up that thought? Was he drawing a correlation between his clone troops and the Mandaloreans? Perhaps, though the only real denominator linking the two was their military lifestyle. In every other way, they were two very different animals.
Darrus moved past that, placing his hands on his knees as he straightened his back and breathed in deeply. There was more troubling him tonight than just runaway emotions.
During the battle, he could feel every death just as he had during the many engagements of the Clone Wars. Back then, it had taken all his training not to be overwhelmed by the loss. It had not always been easy to block out the dark echoes of ending life.
But during the battle earlier that day, there hadn't been any trauma at all. Each death, each fading light disappearing into oblivion, had been like a brief flicker of pain. Nothing more. What once had been so hard to endure was now barely more than a second of mental discomfort. By the end of the combat, there had been no sadness or anguish at all.
What was happening to him? Was he losing his connection to the Force?
No. That would have been a better answer than what he feared was the truth. For years he had struggled with the Dark Side, trying to keep himself for ever forging a true connection to its powers. No matter how badly his emotions had strayed from his control, he'd always been able to keep them from going too far. He had always drawn the line at death, always been able to make the distinction between right and wrong.
Now, the loss of so many lives wasn't affecting him at all. He sensed them but there was nothing there. No impact. No emotion. How could he feel this way, or more to the point, not feel? He had finally become jaded. Apathy was as dangerous as hatred. Not caring was as sure a path to the Dark Side as passion.
And of course, that word brought up other issues. Passion takes many forms.
"Darrus? You all right in there?"
Speaking of which...
He rose quietly, smoothing down his black metasilk robe over his legs. His arms and legs were bare, his hair loose and falling over one shoulder. Only his bantha leather belt and his lightsaber accompanied his robe; the rest of his garments were in the other room. With her.
"I am well. Just taking a moment to meditate. I haven't done it in a while."
Maya opened the adjoining door, leaning against its silver frame, one bare leg pulled up to rest foot first against her other knee. "You mind company?" Even in the half light of the bed chamber beyond, her gown clung to her invitingly.
Darrus closed his eyes, folding his hands and trying to center. "I really should do this alone."
There was a soft sigh and then the sound of the door closing again. "I understand, Darrus. No trouble. Just come back to bed when you're done? Please?"
He nodded, knowing she wouldn't be able to see the gesture and returned to his crouch on the floor. Lightsaber in hand, resting it across his lap, he tried to regain his focus.
There is no emotion; there is peace.
Very little in his life felt peaceful right now. At one time, he had been able to set all the turmoil in his soul aside and concentrate on the Code. Now... that was harder than ever. There was blood on his hands. Blood of friends. Blood of the innocent.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
He was lost in this. He had no idea how to save himself, especially if he truly was starting to lose the ability to feel the darkness and find his way through it. Emotional detachment was useful but being heartblind was not. He needed help. He needed advice.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
That was not at all true these days. Passion was almost a given and not just because of the beautiful woman in the other room. The last few battles he'd fought had been more than just tactical. The rush of combat, the touch of fury riding every nerve. Dangerously close to the Dark Side each time, this was why he'd sworn his oath not to take a life again.
An oath he was no longer sure he could keep.
There is no death. There is the Force.
Groaning, Darrus stood up, returning the saber to his belt. This wasn't working. He felt no better now than when he'd started. Whatever was wrong, the Code was no comfort. If he was going to find himself again, it wouldn't be here.
Perhaps, and this concept terrified him deeply, it wouldn't even be as a Jedi.