The Tao Of Sith
Big day. Receiving the Emperor. Ruminations on the Sith mission statement.
My master, the Dark Lord Sidious, Most Excellent Emperor of the known galaxy Palpatine, has arrived at Endor. Amid only minor pomp and circumstance he debarked from his shuttle and I escorted him to his tower where he has now retired to recuperate from his journey and align himself with the local Force.
It was he who broached the subject of Luke Skywalker. I felt his presence slither among my thoughts and I held my consciousness stock still, repulsed by his cold probe but powerless to resist him. He knows my thoughts dwell on my son. He knows I yearn to take up my post aboard Executor and resume the chase.
And yet he denied it me.
My master's thoughts are an impenetrable miasma to me now, but for a shallow gloss of ritual trivia he maintains like a wig over his true mind. It has not always been this way.
I am no fool. I know he has cast a cloud of obfuscation between us.
Does he prepare himself for death? He is ill, and I tell you this in the strictest confidence. He is gravely ill, he has confessed this to me. This is why turning Skywalker is so vital: who better to be my dark padawan, when my master has been released from this plane?
"You were conceived by the galaxy, my friend," Palpatine has told me. "You are of it, and the immaterial part of you is bound inextricably with the fate of it. Your blood carries the will of the Force, as surely as if it were written in a book."
I am indispensible to the galaxy, but my master is not. He knows this to be true and has accepted it into his heart, for the way of the Sith commands an unflinching communion with pain. "There can only be two," he has reminded me. "When destiny reveals your apprentice, I shall be slain. I am but an instrument in this affair."
And yet, I find myself wondering about my master sometimes. What kind of man did it take to covertly apprentice oneself to the Force, and then engineer a rise to total power? Beyond the guidance of the way of the Sith, what kind of a man does it take to begin such an undertaking?
About Palpatine's childhood on Naboo I know nothing. The archives have been purged. How he escaped the eyes of the Jedi examiners is a mystery. But somehow his gifts remained his secret. By Korriban he learned the way. He had the strength of spirit to look into the darkness and come away alive. By the stewardship of Plagueis he came to know the power of the dark side...
Wait a moment. Do you even know the difference between the light side and dark side of the Force?
It must be understood that the Force is, above all, singular. The so-called "sides" arise from differing matters of perspective. (If you study the way of the Sith you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend entirely on one's point of view.)
The opposite of the singular Force is the all-encompassing void of death. Time began with the Force, and will end in desolation. This is the way of things, and an inevitable consequence of the flow of events from the past into the future.
Without the inertia of the fall toward the abyss, the Force would have nowhere to go.
For in the chaotic tumble toward doom the stuff of the worlds enact loops of complexity that change the grade from life to death, introducing valleys, peaks and cycles. Between creation and destruction comes a flutter of improbability, a brief sonnet of meaning against the noise of time. Life!
It is the causal contagion that ties every ounce of us together through the network of the Force, our actions resonating against our almost-actions and our non-actions in a web of fleeting possibility that spans this galaxy and beyond. The beat of a child's heart detonates supernovae, the beat of a bug's wing tilts the orbit of worlds.
We are all connected.
Anyone who awakens to the Force knows this. The divisive issue is what to do with this knowledge.
When you can run the mechanism of the universe forward or backward, scrubbing through possible histories with a thought, a theme develops. You cannot escape it. Death, death, death. It is the final destiny of all things, great or small, matter or idea. But there is astounding beauty in the arts of the not-death, the filigree dances of life's loops as it spins from light to void. If you are human, it moves you.
It should move you. But this is what the Jedi Order denies. They preach that the heart of a beast cannot judge the destiny of a galaxy. They preach dispassion and detachment, a condescending compassion for the damned. They stand by the sidelines and watch history happen, intervening only in trivia that offends their effete sensibilities.
Every Jedi knew the cycles of civilization, and every Jedi knew an age of barbarism was nigh. And yet they did nothing.
In contrast, the way of the Sith is predicated on a love for man. We have inherited the godhead of the galaxy by colonizing its every world. Though lesser species might have flourished given infinite time, it was our kind who got there first. We have won this galaxy with thousands of generations of our blood and our dreams. We call the others "primitives" because we are their kings.
And we will not sit idly by as it all careens toward a morbid interregnum. Inspired by our passions we will act to bridge the gulf between civilizations, shortening the period of disorder by decisively maintaining connections between societies from one side of the galaxy to the other. We will weather the storm.
Hate! Love! Misery! Joy! These are paths to the dark side, for to invest in the emotional life of civilization is to care about its fate. To care is to suffer, and suffering is real.
The Jedi were mere spectators.
They jabbered amongst themselves as a committee, no one of them wielding enough power to see through my master's veil, their light resting on the shoulders of three. In contrast by the Sith way the Force is gathered and concentrated in a single individual, making him a catalyst for vision. With Jedi arts a gifted one can see the next moment -- with Sith arts a gifted one can read the decade. The Force is focused through my master so that I might by way of his preternatural alignment also brightly see the many forked face of destiny.
Because of this the Dark One traditionally exhibits a bewildering confluence of humility and potency -- the bleak peace of one who has seen the endless doom at the end of time and returned with an oath to steer life well.
Though I wonder lately about my master's humility. How long has it been since he has gazed into the naked face of the Force, and how arrogant has he become in the while? Could he scheme to live forever, as Xizor claimed? Could he truly have forgotten that the prophecy is about me?
And in the time of greatest despair there shall come a saviour, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns....Unless Darth Sidious schemes to use my son in my stead. It is, I think you will agree, the only logical conclusion. There is another Skywalker, and that means I am no longer unique.
I feel my master's shadow breathing over this world. It runs far and it touches many things, but there is no thread that runs to Luke. I alone can sense him, and as I am blocked from my master's intimacy by his cloud of obfuscation my son is not included in the fatescapes my master cultivates...
There is a schism in the Force and it rolls this way like thunder.
I have a bad feeling about this.