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re: A Heart's Enlightenment

A Heart's Enlightenment

Part I: Ask Before Knocking

It had been a long trip from Ord Mantell to Coruscant. Dodging blockades, avoiding inspections, using fake ID's, hiding his face, trying not to be found, spotted, or recognized. Like a fugitive criminal was how Maxon traveled his way through the galaxy to finally arrive at the Republic's Capital: the skyscrapers and massive buildings covering the planets surface streets, the numerous amounts of ships and transporters flying around. The icon of galactic civilization.

- Hello Mr... Oxwell. Welcome to Coruscant. Are you here on business or pleasure?- Asked the customs officer while checking the fake ID Maxon had acquired with a smuggler on his way there.

- Pleasure.

Maxon rented a room in one of the middle levels, medium class. He couldn't use the credits from his personal account, or else the Jedi Order would have been able to track his location. Instead, he had to use credits earned through gambling at a small colony he had to stop to refuel. Jedi powers can come quite in handy when gambling, specially when you can trick somebody into believing they saw a 7 instead of 5, or making a dice stop right where you need it. Just don't use it too much, or they might find out you are a force user, and that will put you in trouble.

After taking a good nap to recover the energy taken from the long trip, Maxon woke up during the middle of sunset. Too bad he had a couple buildings blocking his view of the sun. That didn't stop him from gazing at the horizon though and rethinking his newly acquired convictions...

Maxon did not believe in the Jedi Code as much as he did when he first learned it. He had agreed to his master's secret philosophy that the Jedi traditionalism and inflexibility had stagnated the Order's prosperity. There had to be more about the Force than what they taught at the academy. Not that he was curious about the dark side, but he believed there was more about the “light” side of the force. There was something beyond the barrier the code imposed, something that could take the Jedi to the next level of comprehension of the Force, and possibly give the advantaged needed to rid the Sith from the galaxy once and for all.

But that wasn't all. A promise had to be fulfilled, and for that Maxon would have to risk everything. He had already lost his reputation with the Order anyway, barely being assigned to any mission, and when being so, the mission would be so easy a padawan could do it. But the risk did not only include being expelled from the order. It could be his one-way ticket to the dark side as well. He knew he was going to play with fire, and the burn could be permanent. Still, it was a weight that needed to be taken out of his shoulders, a splinter in his mind to be removed, his fate about to happen...

He left to go to the place that haunted his dreams. Memories that couldn't be forgotten, the very visions that threatened his fall to the dark side. But he had to face the truth, specially after the events that lead him to discover the Saints. Since his re-encounter with lord Ganok, his old ghosts had come back to life. He had lost again to the Sith lord, and now he had just left his unit to die in the hands of the Sith. As much as he tried to meditate, he was still confused about himself, not knowing what to think, what to believe anymore. It could be self-denial, or anything else, but he needed to find answers, and soon. He couldn't stand his situation anymore, he needed to find out what was wrong with him. And the only one who could shed a light was on Coruscant.

While taking the elevator, he remembered its panoramic view, which he never thought would see again, but this time he was more anxious than ever. His long waiting and procrastination were about to end. What he didn't know though was that the conclusion to his dilemma would be far from what he could ever imagine...

He stood in front of the door. Just stood there for a moment. His mind went blank, his heart wanted to jump out his mouth. Taking a deep breath, he rang the door chime.

- Coming!- Shouted a female voice from inside the apartment. And Maxon's heart jumped...

[to be continued]

What if you were locked in a prison you can't see, hear, taste, smell or touch?...
"Free your spirit"

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re: A Heart's Enlightenment

Part II: Old Wounds, New Healing

When the woman opened the door, she was surprised. Perplex. She simply froze in sight of Maxon, not knowing how to react.

- Hello Serina. You still remember me?- asked Maxon doubtly.

She took a while to finally find her words.

- Of course... I mean, I would never forget you Maxon. But I never thought I would see you again!

- I thought the same thing... But I had to.

- Why?... I thought you couldn't.

- I still can't, but I don't care anymore. I need to talk to you. Can I come in?

- Hum.. Maybe now is not a good time.- She said it reluctantly.

- Please Serina, it's really important. You have no idea how long I've traveled, how long I've waited to tell you this-

- Honey, who's there?- Interrupted the male voice.

Maxon didn't understand at first, he was curious. Who could that be? The man came to the door, standing behind Serina. He was well dressed and had a good physique. Maxon stared at him surprised, then changed his focus to Serina, like wanting an explanation.

- Oh, hello there.- Greeted the human male.

- Ben, this is Maxon, an old friend. Maxon, this is my husband Bennard Rilkson.

He didn't know how to react. As much logic as it had, he had not thought about that possibility.

- Hello... Sir... Nice to meet you.- Replied Maxon, followed by a weird silence between the three. Ben soon realized the two must have had a meaningful past, but that doesn't mean he knew what to do.

- Maxon decided to pay me a visit so we can catch up with each other. We haven't talked in a long time. Would you mind if we have a moment alone?

- No, not at all... Do you want me to leave?

- No, please stay.- Intruded Maxon.- We'll go to the top landing platform.
Serina looked at Maxon with a serious expression. She knew why he wanted to go there the moment he said it. On the way in the elevator, they didn't know what to say to each other. Serina started breaking the silence.

- So, why have you decided to come see me after all these years?

- Because... I couldn't take you out of my mind.

- Max... You're a Jedi Consular. You know we would never work out.

- And yet you kissed me when I said goodbye.

She left the elevator first as soon as the door opened, like she didn't wanted to hear that. They were out in the open, at the top of the building.

- And because I kissed you once you thought I would wait for you forever, hopeful that you would ever come back?

- No... I didn't know what to expect from you, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that I can't forget that day... I can't forget that kiss you gave me in this very place.

- And what you want me to do? Erase your memory?... Why are you telling me this now?!- She said harshly.

- That day you said you loved me... Your words were craved in my mind... I've been trying to hide my feelings for your since that day. I've tried to suppress it, I meditated for so long trying to let you go, but I just couldn't. The more I meditated on the force, it was like it was pulling me back to you... I've been denying my feelings, who I really am, all this time... Until I almost died facing a sith lord. When the dark side draws closer, it stirs up your emotions. After losing to him I realized that denying my feelings was only drawing me back from my full potential.

- What are you saying? That you turned to the dark side??

- No, what I'm saying is that I finally accepted who I am... And that I love you Serina!

She turned her back to him, facing the city's horizon. A deep silence screamed in their hearts. Maxon came close to her, but still standing behind her. Both were gazing the lit up city at night.

- I thought Jedi could not love.- she whispered while a tear fell.

- They can, they're just not allowed to. But I don't care about the code anymore.- At that she turned to him.- I keep having dreams with you, about the days we spent together. And I've always been told that passion leads you to the dark side. But what I feel for you right now is not a burning passion... It's more like a soft breeze... Like the one you and I are feeling right now.

- Please Maxon, stop...

- It's true. I was afraid I would lose control once I admitted my love for you. I thought I'd start losing control over my feelings, but I don't feel out of control like they say passion does... All I want is hold you in my arms and be with you.

Maxon slowly hugged her.

- It's such a serene emotion it feels like the time is passing by slower.

For a few seconds Serina loved it too, but she soon came to her senses, pulling away from him.

- I'm sorry Maxon, but I'm married now!... I can't do this... I'm so sorry...
Maxon just looked at her with tenure, just as she.

- You must understand I had to move on with my life. I couldn't spend my life hoping a Jedi would ignore his code because of me.

- I don't blame you Serina... But it doesn't change the fact that I still love you. Even though I do want you, I don't want you to leave your husband because of me, I just want you to be happy.- Maxon started to smile at her like he haven't in a long time. He closed his eyes and turned to sky laughing, then became quiet.

- Are you ok?- She asked a little worried with the weird reactions.

- I understand it now... Love and passion are two different things. Love is something much greater than just passion... I can't really describe it with words... But it's bringing such peace in my heart, like I never felt before.

- I guess you finally got it Max.. Just remember this: love is a rose, and every true rose has its thorns.- Maxon stared a her trying to understand.

- And you not able to be with me is the thorn, am I right?

- Like I said Maxon, I'm sorry...- Maxon closed in on her again.

- It's ok Serina. All I want is for you to be happy, and us to be ok. I'm sorry too that I didn't let my feelings for you go when I had the chance to have you. But thank you for showing me what true love is like.

- But... I didn't do anything.

- Yes you did. You are an amazing person Serina, and I'll never forget the days we spent together years ago. You're still that same caring, loving person you were.

They smiled and hugged again, but this time the embrace was different. They felt in peace with each other, with themselves. Their matter had been resolved. Serina finally knew that Maxon did care for her, and Maxon finally took the giant leap of faith by releasing his emotions for Serina, and so fulfilling the promise he had made to his master.

- I know you're probably thinking I'm strange right now, but for me this means a lot. This his whole love thing is all too new to me. Jedi never learn about this.

- Just take it easy, please. The thorn didn't cut you yet, but when it does, you must learn how to deal with it. I don't know anything about the force, but a broken heart will take anyone down the wrong path if it's not taken care of.

- I'll make sure to remember that...- As they started going back to the apartment, Maxon seemed very reflexive.- All the things my master taught me.. Makes so much sense now. I need time to wrap my mind around all this. I'm overwhelmed!- They laughed.

Little they knew that the thorn would be much thicker and sharp then they thought...

[to be continued]

What if you were locked in a prison you can't see, hear, taste, smell or touch?...
"Free your spirit"

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re: A Heart's Enlightenment

Part III: Tragedy

They reached her apartment door. It was time to say goodbye.

- Thanks for coming make things clear Max. This meant a lot to me too.

- I'm glad we settled our hearts.

- Yes... You should stop by more often though.- They laughed.

- I'll try-

- Help!!!- Ben screamed inside the apartment. Without thinking Serina quickly opened the door and rushed into the room while Maxon followed her and lit up his lightsaber.

The first thing they saw when they entered was a speeder gliding by the opened window. Before they could do anything they heard laser shots in the bedroom. Serina instantly ran to open the bedroom door. When she opened it she saw a mercenary with his back to her facing the bed, and in it was laying his last victim: Ben was dead.

Before she could scream the mercenary turned aiming for her, but before he started shooting Maxon pushed her just in time to start deflecting the mercenary shots. Realising he was dealing with a Jedi, the merc didn't stop shooting, but rather started coming closer to Maxon, who in reaction had to step back, or else he wouldn't be able to deflect the rapid shots. The battle had moved to the living room, but the merc was giving more steps forward than Maxon stepping back. Because the shots were being fired rapidly, Maxon was unable to focus enough to use his force power between deflections.

When he saw he was close enough, the bounty hunter used his arm flamethrower on Maxon, who was caught up on fire. Serina had just recovered from being knocked down by Maxon, and ran to get Ben's weapon which was next to his body. But the merc sensed Serina movement just before putting Maxon in flames. Him and Serina turned to each other at the same time... But the mercenary was quicker to shot.
With one shot right in the chest Serina droped the gun and fell to her knees, falling flat on her face to the ground.

- No!!!- Screamed Maxon in flames.

All of a sudden in a liberation movement he used a force blast to put down the flames in one blow, even levitating himself a little. When the bounty hunter turned again to Maxon it was too late. Maxon force pushed him with all his strength against the wall. The impact was such that it cracked the wall a little bit. Maxon kept pressing him against the wall with the force, suspending his stretched out body in the air, like if an invisible chain was holding the mercenary totally defenseless.

Maxon rushed in a streak of rage and with 4 quick lightsaber blows he cut off the merc's arms, legs, and ultimately his head, letting the body fall to the ground piece by piece. Although he didn't give his back, he wanted to watch it as the pieces of the body fell...

Then he remembered that Serina might still be alive and ran to the bedroom.

- Serina!- He shouted while arriving. He knelled down and took her in his arms. She was bleeding bad and was barely alive.

- Max...- She whispered softly.

- Don't say anything, save your strength.

- I'm going to die Max.

- Don't say that!

- You know I will... No better place to die than in your arms though.- She started to cough blood. Maxon couldn't hold himself no more and started crying.- Max... Promise me... You won't let... Our love... Become... Bitterness of heart.- She whispered almost breathless.

- I promise.- Maxon didn't really understand at the time what she meant.- I'll always love you Serina!

- Me too... I... Love... You... Max...- And then she closed her eyes in her last breath.

Maxon closed his eyes, face down. The tears didn't stop coming...

[to be concluded]

What if you were locked in a prison you can't see, hear, taste, smell or touch?...
"Free your spirit"

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re: A Heart's Enlightenment

And now, the conclusion:

Part IV: Enlightenment

Some days had past since Serina's death.

Maxon was fighting intensely with his feelings. The thorn did cut him, and deep. He mourned Serina's death for days, struggling not to feel anger, not to want revenge... He went over their conversation several times, trying to keep the memory fresh and understand each word she said to him. At the same time flashes of the incident kept giving him nightmares at night...

After doing little investigation Maxon found out Ben was working in a Republic's secret weapon research project and that the bounty hunter was working for the empire. He wanted to hunt down whoever gave the order to the bounty hunter and kill him (or her). At the same time he knew if he did that it would be the start of his fall. Maxon knew he had to let go of this anger, and cultivate his love instead.

It was after that insight Maxon decided to take a look at Serina's work while he was away. The last time they said goodbye Serina was starting her work as a writer. She had studied psychology and philosophy at a renowned university, and was a pacifist at heart. Maxon dug deep into her work, and found out she had become an amazing writer. Her ideas and views on war, love, hate and peace fit exactly her sweet, loving and caring personality. Reading her books helped Maxon understand what she said about broken and bitter hearts, and get over his own loss and anger. It was very interesting for him to see how his master's ideologies on the interaction of the force with one's love actually related greatly with Serina's research and theories about inter-personal relationships and their reflection on society and politics.

Intrigued by the subject, Maxon continued his studies for a couple weeks. His meditation exercises started to change. His focus started to change. Not simply serenity anymore, but how love was bringing him a deeper serenity. Not denying his emotions anymore, but letting his love for Serina transcend into the other parts of his heart and mind...

When Maxon realized, his anger had faded away, and now the only thing he could feel was love for others and for life itself. That was the only way to express his love for Serina: to love what she loved, and fight for what she believed in: a galaxy at peace where love flows naturally within society, without boundaries, without enemies.

That also reflected in his Jedi training. His movements never felt so smooth, light and sharp. His use of the force seemed somehow easier to execute. He felt closer to it, more intimate to it. After all the force was also helping him, guiding him through this process of “enlightenment”, which created a deeper connection between him and the force. It was like he could “listen clearer” the force guiding him through thoughts and decisions.

Maxon finally let go of the idea of persecuting the hunter's boss. It was not going to bring Serina back anyways. It was going to be a waste of time and effort, for what? Kill some random empire agent? There were more important things to do...

After a month of rediscovery and internal revolutions, Maxon had found a new and better motive to continue serving as a Jedi Consular: The Republic needs to be defended. Its people need to be protected. Protected from the evil sith, from the greed of the empire and its dark emperor. The people deserve a safe and peaceful galaxy where they can live without fearing their loved ones will be taken from them. To give them a galaxy where their children can grow without wars, without hate, without the dark side trying to destroy everything that's beautiful and worth living (and dying) for in the galaxy...

But there isn't much he can do alone. He had to find the Saints, the only group that has given Maxon a chance to really fight the Sith, to do good to innocent people, and the only people who accepts his unorthodox views of the force. It was his destiny to be reunited with them. He has just foreseen it...

- The End... For now.

What if you were locked in a prison you can't see, hear, taste, smell or touch?...
"Free your spirit"
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