Jan 8 2010 12:54am
Aleister had tried his best. At least for the moment, he was not meant to go to the top of that mountain. He returned to their seated position in the meditation chamber, and allowed himself to slip into a deep meditation. Dolash would contact him through the Force if he wished him to join him. Patience was the name of the game now.
Jan 11 2010 4:15am
As time wore on, no message from Dolash was forthcoming. Neither did anything else reach through the Force, leaving Aleister in both temporal and spiritual silence.
The deep underground chamber was far less comfortable and inviting than it had seemed before, an impressive feat considering it had seemed before to be a rocky pit under a mountain. What had at first seemed like the glamour of some living energy shifting just beneath the stone and out of sight now felt like a cheap illusion, experienced eyes picking out the true nature of shimmering light or slinking shadow.
This brief repose was not completely without result. At length, one of the foggy spirits of the mountain poked its head out from a rocky outcropping. It approached from a safe distance, curious and shy like an anxious child. Finally, when it had approached what seemed like an appropriate distance, it whispered - in a distant, breezy voice - "Why are you here?"
Jan 13 2010 11:49pm
Aleister pondered this, without opening his eyes, allowing his meditation to form the image of a young boy, in his mind, picturing the child speaking with all the innocence of the world still within him. While he knew that this was not the case for a spirit who had been in these mountains for millenia, it was an excersise in his own visualization and understanding of the spirits that reside here.
Without opening his eyes or breaking his meditation, in his minds eye he turned to face the young boy.
"I am here to learn."
Jan 20 2010 4:45am
The naked eye could catch little of the spirit's expression, but in his gradually opening mind's eye Aleister could now see that hazy image of a boy uncertain. They were not distinct shapes, not of species or body, but rather of themes and concepts - the idea of life, and of indecision. "They mean to test you," the spirit warned. "They want to see if-"
Then suddenly the spirit was away, like a frightened deer hearing a rustle in the undergrowth.
Shortly thereafter the great presence Aleister had sensed before turned its eye back to the mountain's underside. Rich and vast, it felt like a lordly deity gazing down upon an unworthy toad. When it spoke, again it did not do so with what could be called a voice, instead the words it meant to communicate simply had been said.
"For what purpose do you linger?" the voice asked. "You have been given my answer. Begone! The Force shall not move for one such as you, your will is too meagre and your service unwanted."
Jan 20 2010 5:42am
This spirit appeared differently in Aleister's minds eye, which is the only way he saw it, denying it the pleasure of rattling him, he kept to his meditation.
Speaking plainly, to the spirit through his visualization and his minds eye, his lips began to move.
"I beg your pardon good sir, but, Whether the Force shall deign to teach me or not, I find myself very comfortable in this spot and choose not to leave." Aleister's lips curled involuntarilly into a smile even on the outside of his meditation.
"Stubborness flows in my family. Why should I allow you to have all the power and fun by pushing me out? There are no such things as unlockable doors...everything opens to those with patience."
Jan 31 2010 12:49pm
"Ego! Pride! Self!" the voice roared, each tone deep and loud enough to elicit a wince of discomfort. "Each is a mark of your unworthiness, a visible symbol of your lowly stature. One who moves the storms - nay, the very mountains - must be lower in aspirations than even these humble, unassuming forces. A wind claims no special quality, nor a rock trumpets its heritage. You show pride in your stubborness, yet a humble pebble will outlast you and all the while feel nothing about its own tenacity."
The presence and voice, whatever it was, began to move from the chamber. As it departed, its fading voice said "See if you can begin to grasp the commitment of rock to fall and wind to blow, if only to understand the extent of your unworthiness."
As these words lingered, a new sense of awareness began to grow. Faint at first, a background hum of life started to make itself known to Aleister's fledgling Force senses. Yet there was not one living thing in the deep caverns of the temple beyond himself. What was it?
The Force existed in every water droplet, every stalactite, every breeze. All around, this faint, ambient Force activity could be perceived. The living Force surrounded and bound the galaxy together even in so humble a place as Ilum.
Only now could the words of the mighty speaker be made sense of. In each rock lay a humble certainty as to what it was. Likewise, the anxieties and intricacies of a living mind were utterly absent in the substance of an icicle. A larger world just below the surface of thought opened up before Aleister.
Feb 4 2010 1:10am
Aleister's plan had worked.
By forcing the spirit into believing that he was smarter, stronger, or faster than it, it forced the spirit into giving away the beginning of the knowledge he hoped to gain. With time, more would come, but for now, Aleister was content with simply feeling more deeply the essence of the cold stone beneath him, pondering on the philosophical implications of that which the stone was. Not physically. but...metaphyiscally... how it came to be.
Aleister spent the next two days in deep meditation, pondering the reason that the window blew, and the physical implications of stone. From then he would come to judge the understanding of the spark of intuition in the flame of knowledge, and listen to the sweet emotion of a single droplet of water.
It was by meditating on the purposes and understandings of these four things, did Aleister truly understand and allow himself to realize that the ultimate understanding was of the self. It would only be through the gates of those four elements of understanding to enable him to reach further knowledge. It was his time.
He spent several more days there, pondering the earthy stone, and its place in the cosmos, almost as a metaphor for humanity.
When he was done, he got up and left, climbing the mountain with trouble, as the howling winds blew.
To them he spoke "Begone, friend, for whilst thou comforts me in your creation, you impede my unending quest for understanding and knowledge, come to me again when i have reached the top."
For some strange reason, the wind seemed to acquisce to his request, and lessened, allowing him to make the journey. At the top of the mountain he didst find two things, a burning pyre, and a cool rippling creek. He spent the next three days going between these two things, watching the soul of the flame, and listening to the emotional plea, the heartsong of the stream, as he gently ran his hands through each one, allowing it to meld with his own soul.
He had finally taken the words of the spirit to heart.
He was learning.
During this several day period, he saw Master Dolash not even once. Nor did he question where he had gone. He knew that the Force wished this for him, and he did not question it.
Dolash, he knew, would reappear upon the proper time, when the Force used him as a vessell to give Aleister more knowledge.
Feb 13 2010 4:14am
It seemed a great deal of time before Dolash finally made his presence known once more. His senses more attuned to the movements of nature, Aleister became aware of a parting of the winds that harried the mountainside. Their movement was meant as an invitation, parted this time not by his request but an outside force.
Investigating, Aleister at last spied his master cross-legged upon a jutting side-peak looking down upon the the lands below. It appeared to Aleister that the giant was brooding, his expression unreadable and distant. He did not note Aleister's approach at first. When Aleister stood at the base of Dolash's perch, only then did the Jedi Master turn his eyes downwards at his pupil.
Be not proud of what you have learned, Dolash warned. It is the simplest thing to trick nature. Manipulation, the using of others and not the respecting of their wishes, these are not the ways of a Jedi. Perhaps there would have been another way to know the will of the weather, or perhaps it was not for you to know - no matter. The winds here are too docile now, they will not be conducive to our teaching. We must climb higher.
Brooking no response or consideration, Dolash began to climb the mountain once more with Aleister following close behind. They had travelled up the mountain before, this was true, but with his eyes opened to the living Force in every humble pebble Aleister now saw the world differently. It was true - the world below was saturated with the power of the Force, flowing easily and responsively. Further up towards the peak both the air and the will of their strange benefactor grew weaker.
In this thin environment one could see for many miles, above much of the snow and mist that filled much of Ilum's sky. The peaks were more defined, sharper, somehow more sparse. Settling on a point near the top where the sun fell easily upon them, Dolash bid for them to stop.
Hunger and thirst welled up within Aleister, which Dolash seemed to sense. There is precious little food this far up, and water is hard to access. To survive up here one must do without them and subsist upon the grace of the Force alone.
Taking up his meditative position once more, Dolash invited Aleister to join him. You must relearn yourself, rediscover who you are. When you truly understand your being, you can sustain it. Taking a deep breath and exhaling, Dolash began to radiate pleasing heat among the freezing breezes of the high mountain. We take this service from the living world around us, and for this grace we must be rightly grateful.
Feb 15 2010 12:16am
Sitting down with Master Dolash, Aleister soon slipped into a calm but very deep meditation. He had found that these could go on for hours, depending on the topic that he managed to unearth.
This particular meditation drifted back to his childhood, and the sword that was placed at his crib. He studied its symbols, pondering their meaning for years, He wondered what the bloodred symbols might mean, and the small signature inscription HS towards the hilt, seemeed to finally make him wonder.
He was told by his adoptive parents that they were the initials of his father. He had been described as a great man who had power thrust upon him, which pushed him into darkness....
This still did not explain Aleister's alienesque winged form, though the young boy could only assume, as he seemed to be the only one of his kind left, that his father had mated with his mother, and then slaughtered their entire species after his birth. Not being able to bear to look at the boy, his own blood after what he had done to the childs mother and their entire species, but not being able to kill his own son, he left him in the under area of Coruscant, shortly before his death, with a sword, and nothing else.
Aleister's meditative form wept, the emotions of the images presented to him, were overwhelming. The note left on the childs crib said "I will always watch over him from afar. He will make me proud."
Aleister had always despised his father for leaving, But, He knew, or at least he supposed, that it was for the best. he learned what he needed to know from his adoptive parents, and when they were killed, he was left to fend for himself. Han's spirit had found him not shortly thereafter, and had guided him here to Master Dolash. Aleister assumed it was because Han was trying to redeem himself for some of his past actions, but, He wasn't sure why Han had chosen him, to be that guinea pig of redemption.
He drew upon the force, listening to the voices of the midichlorians, understanding their will.
He had no idea how long he had been meditating, but the deep connection to his past, fed his soul in no way that any consumables could. He felt no pang of hunger or thirst though he had not eaten or drunken anything in at least a day.
His life was that of a student of the Force now, not just some teenager without focus. It was time for him to truly listen to the will of the Force.
Feb 17 2010 3:52am
For the next week, the two rarely moved from their position high above the mountain. In the silence above the weather below could be heard whispers at the very edge of audibility. The Force was thin around them, yet in light tones it spoke to both master and student. The words were hard to grasp, harder still to relate, as a dream upon waking. Yet the sense was unmistakable - that of peace beyond mortal means, of integration with the living world. When they opened their eyes it was to see with the sight of the sky. When they rose the very clouds rose with them. Their thirst was slaked by the water that ran through the mountain even though they went not to drink, their hunger settled by the mere presence of the moss below. Nourishment was carried in the very spirit of the Force.
Still, their physical needs were not altogether quenched. After a week in silence Dolash marked their meditations had reached another milestone. They descended for a time to eat lichen and drink stream water, rebuilding their strength. They rarely spoke now. Even within their minds only the barest thought was needed to communicate a world of meaning.
When at last they were restored, Dolash and Aleister set about climbing the mountain once more. Hand over hand, up sheer rock cliffs and along narrow crevices, the difficult contours of the mountain had become familiar and navigable. On shifting grounds of snow they moved lightly and treacherous ice posed no hazard. At last cresting the peak of their previous high, the two paused to look down upon the vast territory so far overcome.
There remains one trial to hone your spirit, said Dolash. Should you succeed, should you continue, it will not be the last trial in your life, but it will bring to an end what you might learn here on this barren rock. I will tell you now, it is no shame to turn back and descend the mountain - I cannot vouch for your safety. I do not see in you the sort of strength necessary to overcome this final challenge, you will have to find it on your own.
Turning now to the very highest peak of the mountain, they could see the outline of the ruins at the top. Aleister recalled having seen the ruins when he had travelled there early on. By comparison he had been blind when he first set foot on the mountain-top. What lay there now he could only wonder.
A chill wind blew, throwing out their ragged cloaks behind them. Out towards the horizon came rolling clouds, blotting out the sky with their darkness. Their forbidding rolls seemed to consume all before them, engulfing whole mountains from base to point. It was coming their way.
Dolash glanced peakward again before turning to face Aleister. That storm is meant for you. We will await it here. When it arrives... you will be utterly alone. The Force has no voice any further up the mountain, you will not have it to guide you. Nor will I be there. Your eyes will see only darkness and your ears only the screaming winds. That is all I can say. Meditate with me now, upon your decision to continue. I wish to hear not one word of your answer until the storm is upon us.