Chapter Eighteen: Seers (Part Four)
For almost a decade, Syrosk studied under the tutelage of Lord Omnus. Honing his mind. Bolstering his spirit. Testing his body against the wilds and Lord Leshai’s rather large stock of training droids.
Under the perpetually cloudy skies of midday, Lord Omnus had taken his apprentice away from the Imperial capital, away from his peer’s facilities. Instead, they sat upon a hill, meditating across from one another as the dark forests surrounded them. Their minds and bodies focused, a series of hefty stones lifted themselves from the ground and began to hover. Slowly, the small boulders began to circle the pair as they focused on keeping them telekinetically afloat.
Syrosk had grown. Matured. He had seen much of the Empire that he never could have witnessed scrounging in the back alleys of Kaas City. His master had taught him much. How to control and conceal his mental prowess. How to direct it toward a singular goal. Only a few short years ago did the apprentice craft his first lightsaber, his martial training seeming to always take up a tertiary position.
As the two meditated, the hovering stones kept their steady pace, staying at an unfaltering altitude as the pair shared the burden of lifting them.
“Reach out with your mind,” Omnus calmly spoke up, body still locked in the stillness of meditation. “Tell me, what do you sense?”
Syrosk followed his master’s lead, remaining locked in his meditative state as he mentally scanned his surroundings. “Vine cats. Small pack. Six strong. Four hundred meters north-northwest of here. Unaware of our presence. No other mental signatures between us and the nearest Imperial outpost.”
“Excellent work. You’re focus has shown remarkable improvement,” Omnus said, compliments subservient to his stoicism. “It can be argued that the mind is the most important aspect for a Sith to perfect. That is why so much of your training has been focused on it, and why I took an interest in you in the first place. You displayed a talent and potential beyond any of the children I’ve encountered as a recruiter.”
“Thank you, master,” Syrosk stated, still focused on keeping the stones afloat.
“The body and its senses are subservient to the mind. It drives us. It allows us to act outside the realm of simplicity. But it does not rest above all else. No, to admit so would be unbecoming of a Sith. The spirit is what ultimately reigns supreme. It is our connection to the Force from which we derive our superiority. That we must never forget.”
“I’m sorry master, but I believe we’ve sufficiently covered the importance of the Force over the past few years,” Syrosk replied with a usual deadpanned-ness.
“Few Sith possess the humility to admit that they don’t understand their connection to the Force. That is what prevents them from unlocking their true potential. Most initiates believe the Force to be some material thing, something they can grasp ahold of and wring out some measure of power,” Omnus explained. “In truth, nothing as powerful as the Force could ever be so simplistic. The Force is energy. It affects us. We affect it. It is a source. It is an engine, a tool. But perhaps most important to your training, it is a lens.”
“I’d have said a filter, but I think lens better suits the motif.”
“Of the Seer,” Omnus explained. “The body has its limits. And although it has less, the mind does as well. Pass those through the lens of the Force, however, and those limitations are slowly peeled away. The body becomes stronger, faster, more resilient. The mind gathers information well beyond the capabilities of the natural senses. By passing the entirety of our essence through that lens, the Seer gains his power.”
“But I’m not a Seer.”
“No. Not yet. But you will be,” Omnus declared. “You’ve all the potential skills. All you must learn, is how to immerse yourself into the Force. To connect your senses to that which touches everything. To reach out across the stars. To receive visions of the future. To be my successor.”
“To follow in your footsteps.”
“I don’t intend for you to follow me. I intend for you to surpass me,” Omnus explained. “To be everything I am and more.”
“A Sith unique amongst Sith. Valued for your skills despite your being an alien. The Empire has enough warriors, enough inquisitors. Enough strong bodies and capable minds. It needs people who are not only capable of defeating its enemies, but challenging itself. The Empire has become too set in its ways. Though the inevitable war may shake things up, it cannot promise the change it needs to survive. The weekly feasts, the parades, the flashy showings of luxury and excess… they are mere reminders to the populace that there is a reason to keep fighting. To keep believing in the Empire. But there are cracks in the foundation. There is a creeping decay. A cannibalism present in its ranks. If the Empire is to survive, it needs something new. Something I believe you can provide.”
“I’ll be in no position to do affect anything if I am not strong,” Syrosk declared. “As much as I value the skills and training you’ve provided, there have been gaps in your tutelage. All the information in the galaxy will do me no good if I am not capable of acting on it. Leshai’s combat droids have proven poor tests of martial combat. I’ve trained my mind. Accompanied you on recruitment mission. I understand you one day hope for me to take your place, but I’ve my own desires. Though many of them align with yours, I’ll not see them go unfulfilled.”
“I… understand,” Omnus stated. “I have been neglecting your martial training, likely because my line of work never called for direct confrontation. But lest I contradict my own creed, I must be open to progress. I will give you the training you seek, but first, I must impart upon you some prudent information.”
“Very well, master,” Syrosk offered, reaffirming his meditation.
“Sith have always possessed a curious relationship with the Force,” Omnus began. “We seek power. We seek that power through the dark side of the Force. You’ll not find many Imperials willing to espouse the dangers of that path. The dark side degenerates the body, it clouds the mind, it shatters the spirit… if you cannot control it. And it demand utter control. Otherwise it will be in control of you. It allows the body to drive itself on only emotion and pain. It allows Sith to channel destructive energies from their fingertips. But it does not grant peace. It does not grant its knowledge except to only the strongest and most dedicated Sith. A Seer cannot draw from the dark side without countless years of practice… and drastic sacrifice. Sometimes a warrior seeped in death will be granted a vision of future destruction, but sustained precognition is beyond their reach. What you possess now is involuntary. A self-defense mechanism. Automated for your own protection, much like your heartbeat. And like a heartbeat, you’ve some measure of control over it, but not yet enough to be a proper Seer. And only through the Force can you attain proper control.”
“So what you’re saying is. The Force is my greatest ally as well as my greatest enemy.”
“Your greatest restrictor and liberator,” Omnus added. “You must learn to balance the body, mind and spirit.”
“As well as the light side and dark side of the Force,” Syrosk suggested.
Omnus took pause. “There are some things in the universe that cannot be balanced. Some things, that will not cease until they see the other destroyed. And if you find yourself caught between them, they’ll see you destroyed as well.”
“I see. Then how do I tap into the Force as a Seer would?”
“Let me show you…”
The day’s training ended, and more like it would follow. Lord Omnus instructed his apprentice in the ways of the Seer, reaching out even beyond the threshold of his own mind. Amidst the dark forests of Dromund Kaas, he would meditate, sensing the creatures that populated the shadows. Seeing the paths they’d traveled, and the ones they currently tread upon. Each life, each tree, each stone had a story to tell. Taking his already honed mind, Syrosk slowly learned to pass it through the lens of the Force, seeing that which could not be seen.
For months he would train in such a manner with his master. Solely guided along the singular path of perfecting the mind. The apprentice was unsatisfied with his master’s handling of other aspects. His lightsaber had seen little use. His martial prowess paled in comparison to his mental capabilities.
On his own time, on his own terms, Syrosk walked through the halls of the Citadel alone, one particular destination in mind. As he eventually came to a stop in front of a familiar door, his senses told him that only a single denizen rested behind it, in line with his calculations. The alien delivered a few firm knocks to the door, and patiently awaited an answer. A few moments later, the door would rescind, a familiar Human greeting his guest.
“Tash,” Syrosk calmly greeted.
“Syrosk,” Tash warmly replied. “Are you here for a training session.”
“You could say that.”
“Well, feel free to come inside, the battle room should be in ready condition.”
“Actually, I had something else in mind,” Syrosk stated as he entered the sanctum. “It is to my understanding that Lord Leshai is occupied off-world with some sort of excavation, and he’s left you in charge of his affairs on Dromund Kaas.”
“It would seem my master’s not as good at keeping secrets as he thinks he is,” Tash joked. “Or maybe you’ve just come far along in your training to be privy to such information.”
“That is what I wished to discuss,” Syrosk explained. “I imagine your master hasn’t left you with much to do in his absence. Meanwhile, I have been somewhat dissatisfied with my own master’s ability to provide martial training.”
A smile stretched across the Human’s face. “Ah, you want a sparring partner. I must admit, things do get a bit boring around here. But that doesn’t exactly dismiss the fact that I’d basically be freely aiding my master’s rival’s apprentice. Something I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate. And something I’m not exactly too thrilled about either.”
“I do not intend to merely take what I desire from you. I propose a trade.”
“A trade? Well, I’m always interested in making an exchange. What are your terms?”
“You provide me the necessary skills I lack, and I will provide the same to you.”
“While I’m sure the sparring would help me a little, I don’t know if I’d call it necessary.”
“No, but I could offer you something else," Syrosk suggested. "Something you so greatly desire.”
“And what might that be?” Tash asked.
“I can stop Leshai from getting into your head.”
Tash continued to stare at his fellow apprentice, smile still plastered across his face. “Alright. You have a deal.”