So Long Sentiment
Weeks turned to months and after two full moon cycles, Wraith was still on Dathomir, learning from the Singing Mountain Clan. They had refused to accept him at first: they considered men to be less in touch with the Force. However both the Matriarch and Elara vouched for him.
Their lives were so simple compared to any other society Wraith had encountered. Their unyielding faith in the Force guided their every breath. They worshipped aspects of the Force, thanking the very energy that gave them life for the day that passed. They celebrated the simple things like the rising sun and gusts of wind – all of which, explained the Matriarch, are the foundation of life on any planet. If one were not to be thankful for the very air they breathe, then what can they be thankful for?
But there wasn’t just blind faith and acceptance. The Singing Mountain Clan was the most powerful clan on the planet and that was for one reason only: their unyielding tenacity to improve themselves. To them, it was a blasphemy not to give one’s best in anything they do, just like it was a blasphemy to harm any living thing unless to preserve balance. Wraith had been most curious about this. To them, hunting would mean taking a life so they sought to repay the planet by channelling the Force through their lands. If a Nightsister harboured murderous intent, it was their duty to destroy that source of negativity. It would topple the balance between Light and Dark.
Wraith realized just how limited his knowledge was. He began by participating in their morning rituals. Prayers of gratitude gradually flowed into meditation and his connection with the Force grew daily. It was an arduous process to unbind himself from his training: all his life he was trained as a Sith and an assassin. All he knew was combat. He had his specialized style of lightsaber combat, coupled with over-practiced Force techniques, mostly involved telekinesis and physical aspects, and hand-to-hand combat suited only for quick killing. As a Jedi he saw how he could use his powers for benevolence and peace rather than blood spill but he was still caught in the clutches of conflict. And yet the more he observed the Witches, the more he realized how misused the Force is. They called them spells and were direct applications of the Force. In reality there was nothing magical about it- just a very specific discipline of Force usage. What surprised Wraith was not the spells themselves but the sheer number of them. The majority had no direct combat application whatsoever. Every witch cultivated plants and vegetation with the Force. They spoke to animals; not to subdue but to ask them for aid. Through the Force, the Witches of Dathomir had achieved a symbiosis with their homeward and the universe.
So Wraith prayed with them. He had two beautiful plants inside the hut he had built by coaxing clay from the land through the Force. One of them even began to blossom. He trained with their warriors, trying to relinquish his body to the will of the Force. Even with his enlightenment, he was still a mess and still fallible as one. He had learnt to understand physics and bend nature to his will. He could conjuror fire, albeit it was nowhere near as powerful and efficient as the Witches’. He had more success extracting water from damp areas and freezing it, he learnt to feel the current of the wind and manipulate it. He learnt to understand the soil beneath him and transmute its minerals. He could create small globules of light. His lightning could take shape of small delicate red bolts, gently snaking around his fingertips or become a raging storm.
And once she felt his training was complete, the Matriarch summoned him.
“You have fully immersed yourself in our ways, Outsider,” she said. “What do you think of us?”
Wraith dipped his head solemnly. “I think that if everyone lived as you do, this foolish war would have never taken place. There would be no Jedi and no Sith: merely a group of co-existing Force-adepts who seek only understanding.”
The Matriarch nodded gently. “I am glad that you understand what we strive so hard for. Do you still intend to take my daughter with you?”
Wraith nodded and gazed at Elara. “Only if she wishes it. I humbly request her aid in my mission.”
Elara’s large eyes softened. “Mother,” she said. “Since my childhood I have desired nothing but to explore the universe and bring about our peace to other worlds. The Outsider is offering me this.”
The elder witch nodded slightly.
“Also,” continued Elara, “according to our laws we must always help those in need. In helping Wraith, I am helping not only our Clan and our allied clans but the entire universe.” She locked eyes with Wraith and he smiled, grateful. She, too, smiled.
The Matriarch let out a chuckle and then a full giggle. “Ah, I see now that it is not just your sense of justice driving you, my child,” she said. Both looked at her and blushed. But their emotions were clear enough for the Matriarch to feel and through the Force she saw its evolution.
She saw Elara and Wraith fighting for the first time. Her instincts had been right – they both felt attracted to each other. When Wraith had kissed Elara, it all became clear. She had refused to speak to him for a week before snapping at him because his form was off. He had been making deliberate mistakes just to get her to talk to him again and felt so happy when she did. After that they spent most of their efforts pretending that the attraction did not exist. But instead it grew stronger. Wraith would listen to her tuition with rapt attention, enthusiastically learning from her. She mesmerized him for a different reason now – he had never met someone he wanted to know better. In turn, he would fascinate her with tales of his missions and his experiences both as a Sith and Jedi. Her heart burned with a desire to experience those memories for herself and once, during a full moon festival, she had told him so. He told her that he would love for that to happen but also that he wished to accompany her. He confessed his fascination that night and, before they knew it, their hands were intertwined as she lay gently on top of him and their faces inched closer. Through the vision, even the Matriarch found herself cheering them on. But their natures prevented them from fully trusting in their emotions and both pulled back at the first contact between their lips. Not all was lost though. From that night onwards they spent every waking moment with each other. Both smiled a lot. Their hearts thumped violently every time their brushed against each other.
The Matriarch grinned as she experienced the feeling between the two sitting across from her.
“You both have my blessing,” she said. “But before you go, you must use the Cleansing Springs. They will restore your strength and remove any negative energy. Both of you will leave from my land with all your fatigue and stress removed and with replenished hope.”