Knights of the New Republic

Session 7 - Q’ayla Ren's Journal

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“A Jedi shall not know anger.
A Jedi shall not know hatred.
A Jedi shall not know love.”

It’s not part of the Jedi Code. Not officially, anyway. It’s more like a mantra that some of the masters would teach us during our History or Philosophy classes. I didn’t remember hearing it as much during my time as an Initiate, or even during my early years as a Padawan. But in more recent times, I’ve been hearing it spoken more often, and by more masters. I’ve never really understood exactly what it means… yet with everything that’s happened in the past couple of days, I find myself dwelling on it tonight.

The first two parts, “A Jedi shall not know anger… nor hatred,” are easy enough to understand. These states of mind are part of a series described and illustrated to us as Jedi from as early as our first weeks at the Academy:

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.”

The progression inevitably leads to destruction and the Dark Side. History has exposed it again and again, and I’ve even heard rumors that a couple of Padawans who recently left the Order had fallen into this cyclical trap. So it’s obvious that all Jedi would want to purge themselves of anger and hatred. I’ve never… well, I shouldn’t say never… but for the most part, I’ve had little difficulty understanding this particular lesson.

It’s the last part, “A Jedi shall not know love,” that’s always troubled me.

I can still remember the first time I got into an argument with Master Carrick over this. It was in his “Early Philosophies of the Force” class, and I hadn’t had him for a teacher before. We were discussing early Jedi precepts – ideas not invalidated, but viewed as apocryphal compared to the established Jedi Code. Master Carrick used this very mantra as an example of such a tenet. He was of the opinion that it should be merged into the greater Code because it illustrated what he called the “dark dichotomy of hate and love.” I motioned with a question – a question I still have not had answered satisfactorily – and I said:

“Master, how can you compare hate and love? Hate, which comes from Bogan, relishes in nothing but destruction. But love… the love from Ashla… in that we find giving, and selflessness, and creation. I know they are both necessary, Master… but how can you even begin to call them equals?”

Heh… that was a time before I knew not to speak of Ashla and Bogan – before I was told to unlearn what my Miraluka upbringing had taught me about the Force. Combine that with the fact that no one had told me about how… strict Master Carrick could be, and it’s no wonder I was removed from class and sent to the western meditation courtyard to “cleanse my mind and find harmony with our Code.” But I’ve not forgotten the fact that he never answered my question. The very idea of my contrary opinion seemed to make him … uncomfortable … and to this day he has shown no willingness to dignify my curiosity with a meaningful response.

At the time, I let it go. Like I said, it didn’t come up as much back then. The next time I struggled with it, I remember, was well into my time as a Padawan. This time, I went to Master Lucien – I still desperately wanted to know why some Jedi are so afraid of love and what it represents. He looked down at me with patient eyes and said simply:

“Remember what happened on Bespin, Q’ayla. You yourself justified your actions as coming from love, not hate.”

And he’s right. I did it for love. For love of him. And my sister. But he wasn’t entirely right. I did hate that kriffing terrorist Navik, and how easily he could throw his life, and ours, away. As Q’ayla, I feel blessed every day that I get to spend with my sister, and my master, because of what I did on Bespin. As a Jedi, though, it was my greatest failing, and as long as I’m part of the Order, I’ll never live down the shame of what I did that day.

Maybe that’s what it means… maybe that’s the “dark dichotomy of hate and love.” Maybe it’s not love that’s the problem, but what you might do – what hatred might be drawn from you – because of love. And yes, love can be corrupted by things like jealousy, anger, and domination – at least, that’s what happens in the holonovels. These emotions are the shadows of fear, and hatred, and greed, and they should absolutely be avoided at all costs. But if that’s what Master Carrick and Master Lucien think of when they turn their deepest thoughts to what love is and what it means to love, then I still think they’re wrong.

That’s not what love is. Not to me.

I’ve always thought of love in terms of a very different mantra, and my favorite one – the Crystal Code. In that chorus, there are four players: the crystal, the blade, the Jedi, and the Force. The crystal is love in its purest form – it is stalwart and enduring, but it’s also rare and easily shattered. The blade is the outward expression of the crystal – it’s the passion and intimacy of that love. The blade is a brilliant aurora, intense and luminous in the vast nighttide. It’s often said of a Jedi that our lightsaber is our life – and that’s true in a way. Likewise, love is vital and constant – it is intrinsic to our very existence. And each of us, as Jedi, are a crystal of the Force itself – that’s why a Jedi must know love in order to bring comfort, compassion, and calm to a galaxy consumed by chaos:

“The Force is the blade of the heart.
All are intertwined.
The crystal, the blade, the Jedi.
We are one.”

That’s what love is, and it’s good and right and perfect.

< sigh > I just… I can’t believe that something like love is of the Dark Side. I won’t. All of it sounds so right to me, but… the truth is… I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

I’ve never been in love.

I mean, I’ve had the occasional crush – I’m only Miraluka, after all – but I’m talking about real love. I’m talking about what I think Alema and Rom have found in each other. I don’t have that kind of love in my life. It’s probably the visor – not super attractive, is it? < laughs, then wincing of pain > So ultimately, how do I know that my feelings about love aren’t just some sentimental fantasy? I don’t.

I just don’t.

Of the three of us traveling together once again, I’m the only one who doesn’t know. Q’aleane apparently came close to dating a Jedi Master while on Zonama Sekot – she didn’t go into details… and right now, I’m not really in the mood to hear about her dalliances! But what was it she said…?

“People will do crazy things for love.”

…And I saw Irsin’s face change. It was subtle, and I’ll admit, had I not been watching him in that moment, I might have missed it completely. But there was a twinge in his face… like remembering something. And I think Irsin … I think he loves someone. Or loved in any case. He’s a good man, Irsin – and he continues to surprise me, in ways both good and not so good. He’s been hurt so many times now that he’s closed himself off from others… but I can imagine a time when that wasn’t the case. And Irsin could trust other people – and he could love other people. Maybe it was with the Imperial Knights – could it have been amongst the Sith? Can the Sith even love? Or is their love all like Vorman Grale’s mad obsession with Laena? I’m not a scholar of the Sith – is Q’aleane even? – but I know that their Code speaks of passion and strength gained from that passion. Does that qualify as love – maybe not like the love I dream of, but then I don’t know what I’m talking about, remember? And so what if Irsin does have someone, or did? I hope he can trust and love again someday – he definitely deserves it. But am I jealous? In a way… yes, perhaps. Maybe I do envy that person… the same way I seem to envy everyone who has had a chance to know what love really is like.

Because I want to know. Someday, I really want to know – I want to know that it’s right, and good, and perfect. I want to feel it in my body, in my mind, and in the Force itself. But… at least for now, I walk a different path.

< deep sighs >

Which ultimately means I have no idea what to say to Alema about her and Rom. She was willing to get herself into this mess, all for the love of this young man. Who am I to tell her that she’s wrong? What do I know? Well, I do know that it won’t be easy for her if she wants to stay with him and continue on as a Padawan. For all the masters speaking out against romantic attachment in recent years, it’s still not a crime for a Jedi Knight or Master to love and marry. But that’s not true for Padawans. And Alema isn’t ready for the trials yet. She’s a talented duelist to be sure – that she could protect her wounded boyfriend from dozens of rakghouls is proof enough for me – and I’m glad that my instruction helped her in that moment of need. But the trials aren’t just about wielding a saber. And I don’t know enough about Master Drea to get a feel for how he might react to the news of his Padawan’s blossoming romance. She’s in a tough spot – in more ways than one! – and she needs my help. When the time comes, I sense I’ll need to make a choice between Knight Ren the Lightsaber Instructor and regular old Q’ayla… between deception and honesty… dark and light, or is it light and dark?

What will I choose? What will I say? … I hate to admit it, but there’s a part of me that actually wants to activate Bastila Shan’s holocron and ask her. I mean, who better to ask about the question of Jedi love than the companion, lover, and wife of a man whose title changed but who always remained simply Revan?

The first “gray” holocron – Bastila’s holocron – we found it. It was right here on Taris all along… though, in a most unlikely place: a legendary “promised land” deep beneath the undercity. It’s like a massive vault under the ground, and filled with simple, kindly subsistence farmers. Which is all well and good except… once you get into this safe haven, you can’t get out. From what I read in that book Cale found for me, though, it appears that Bastila was able to leave at least once, so I think there’s hope for us now that Alema’s past the worst of it. That poor girl… I told Irsin how afraid I was, both of what was happening to Alema, and what I’d have to do to her if she turned fully into a rakghoul. I’ve known Alema for years… the thought of having to turn my blade on her…

And then a remarkable thing happened.

My fear started to ebb away, like a wave of warmth washing over me. And I knew right away what was going on – but it took my breath away nonetheless: Irsin was using the Force to calm my spirits. I couldn’t help but smile up at him, because whether he knew it or not, he was repaying me in kind for what had happened in Doone’s apartment. The bruise on my face, the cut still healing, none of that mattered. The rage – his rage – had subsided, even if just in that moment. And then later on, after Q’aleane messed up my head something fierce, and I was struggling with the idea of defacing Bastila’s grave to find the holocron, Irsin surprised me again. When I couldn’t bear to hear any sound, he picked up the shovel and wrapped himself with the Force – muffling the noise – and began digging. It was so kind of him, and I told him how much I liked his digging – fully making an ass of myself in the process, no doubt. But he did it all – Irsin found the holocron – while I stayed completely useless up against that massive tree. And when he finally pulled the old box out from under the roots, and we both saw the holocron inside, I grabbed Irsin’s arm warmly, and he turned to me and smiled. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile before! < laughs – then winces > So sure, Irsin did use Force lightning to seriously injure a thug on the streets of the undercity – but that’s not what I remember about yesterday…

Anyways, getting back to the holocron, it was not easy to find. At all. Not only did it involve getting ourselves locked in an underground paradise… prison… thing, but we also had to carve our way through several dozen rakghouls just for the privilege of locking ourselves inside! < wince of pain > Ehh… when is this monstrous headache going to go away?! Ehh! < sharp intake of breath > And then there’s that… Q’aleane had the brilliant… no, you know what? It was stupid. Really, really stupid! < winces > Rather than just leaving the med-lab to come and attune herself to Vergere’s holocron, she used our new Force link to let me see where the holocron was located… except that Vergere said only one of us could be attuned at a time. So while I did indeed see the general location of Bastila’s holocron beneath the tree, I also passed out from an overload of pain! Oh Ashla… I haven’t felt pain like that since Ansion. Since Trasa. And my sister did it to me – Q’aleane did this?! I know she’s so accustomed to having her mind filled with data, but I’m not! How could she do that without thinking about what it might do to me?!!

< harsh wince… long pause… deep breaths >

I love my sister, I really do. But I’m going to kill her for this.

And… heh… this was supposed to be our vacation!

< laughs >

Oww…

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Darkside989

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