Title: Slave or Chosen One Author: devilinthedetails Characters: Anakin Skywalker; Obi-Wan Kenobi Genre: General, Friendship Summary: Anakin and Obi-Wan discuss the nature of the Sith, the return of the Sith, and the role of the Chosen One in all that. A Slave or a Chosen One “What are the Sith?” Anakin finally found the courage to ask his Master one day. He had heard many whispers around the Temple about the mysterious Sith being back and about how Obi-Wan had killed one, the black-and-red tatooed one with the horns who had slain Qui-Gon back on Naboo. Anakin wanted to believe that Obi-Wan had killed the only Sith in the galaxy, but the whisperers Anakin heard around the Temple didn’t seem to think so. “They’re an ancient order focused on the study and manipulation of the Dark Side of the Force.” Obi-Wan’s surprise at Anakin’s unexpected question showed in his tone and widening eyes. Shadows sank over Obi-Wan’s face as he continued in a soft, somber manner that would have been appropriate for a funeral, “We thought they were extinct for a thousand years, because they preyed on each other as much as they ever did the Jedi. The Dark Side with its relentless anger, ruthless ambition, unquenchable thirst for power, and endless hatred always devours its own in the end. It’s a black hole whose pull inevitably sucks all light and life down it.” “But if they were extinct for a thousand years, how can they be back now?” Anakin burst out with the question that frustrated him the most. “I think they were never really gone.” Obi-Wan kneaded his temples as if discussing the Sith was giving him a migraine. “I think they were hiding in the shadows, regaining their strength where we couldn’t see them, because Sith gain power through darkness and deception. It’s one of the ways they are the antithesis of the Jedi, who gain are strength through light and truth.” “Is that what the Sith are then?” Anakin chewed his lower lip, contemplating this. “Are they opposites of the Jedi?” “You could say that.” Obi-Wan sighed. “They were formed by a rogue Jedi millennia ago during the Hundred Year Darkness and embrace a code that is the antithesis of ours. In that way, they can be considered as much our brothers as our bane.” “What do you mean, Master?” Anakin’s forehead furrowed. Obi-Wan’s explanation was too complicated for him to understand. “You know the Jedi Code, Padawan?” Obi-Wan arched an eyebrow. “There is no emotion; there is peace. There is no ignorance; there is knowledge. There is no passion; there is serenity. There is no chaos; there is harmony. There is no death; there is the Force,” Anakin dutifully reeled off the litany he had been made to memorize as soon as he arrived at the Temple to begin his training, the litany that too often felt like a stream of lies flowing from his lips after a childhood spent on the harsh world of Tatooine. There had been much emotion—most of it anger and despair—in Mos Espa, and no peace to be found except in his mother’s arms. There had been plenty of ignorance in slave owners like Watto and thugs like Sebulba. There had been far more chaos than harmony in the streets, shops, and slave quarters of Mos Espa. There had been death lurking in every shadow and the Force never came up except as an outlander fable to be scorned. “Very good.” Obi-Wan gave one of his slight, sparing nods of approval, and Anakin might have glowed with pride inside if his Master’s next words hadn’t made him want to shiver with fear at how much Sith philosophy resembled some of his own darkest thoughts. “The Sith mantra is that peace is a lie, and there is only passion. They believe that through passion, they gain strength, and through strength, victory—victory over the Force and over others. They desire this victory above all else because they seek to control the Force and everyone in the galaxy so the galaxy is ordered according to their will.” “And the Jedi don’t, Master?” Anakin frowned. Much of his Jedi training had centered around him learning how to use the Force, and what was using the Force if not controlling it? Jedi missions also seemed to be about bringing peace and justice to the galaxy—about ordering the galaxy according to the will of the Jedi. “No, Anakin.” Obi-Wan smiled faintly as if he could read the confused jumble of Anakin’s thoughts. “When the Jedi speak of using the Force, we’re using a figure of speech to describe how we truly allow the Force to move within us so that we become servants of its will. The Jedi allow the Force to control us—to guide us. We do not seek to control the Force. It’s the same with our interactions with the rest of the galaxy. We do not rule over others. Instead we serve others, promoting peace and justice wherever we can.” “It feels like I’m the one in the pilot’s seat, not the Force.” Anakin shook his head, still baffled by what his Master was saying. “When I tell the Force to do something—even without meaning to—it does it. It did it even before I knew I had the Force—before I knew what the Force really was back on Tatooine.” “When it seems you’re telling the Force to do something, it is only because the Force is speaking to you and guiding you to do its will.” Obi-Wan’s answer was calm but Anakin saw a distinctive knot in his brow that normally meant his Master was puzzling over another odd aspect of Anakin being the Chosen One. Sometimes with his powers, Anakin had the disorienting impression that both he and his Master were bumbling about in the dark, trying to find a path forward without too much falling flat on their faces. Neither one of them really knew how to proceed. It was like a blind womprat leading a blind womprat but at least they were blind together. “You hear the Force speaking to you, don’t you?” “All the time, Master.” Anakin bobbed his head enthusiastically, eager for some semblance of certainty in a bemusing universe. “The Force likely speaks very strongly to you because you’re the Chosen One meant to bring balance to it.” Obi-Wan gave Anakin’s shoulder a gentle squeeze, and Anakin let himself be reassured by the words and gesture he sensed were as much to comfort his Master as they were him. “In a time of great darkness—when the Sith have returned after a thousand year absence—there must be a greater light that shines. You are that greater light, Anakin.” Anakin nodded, though he didn’t particularly want to be anyone’s Chosen One. He just wanted to be a little boy free of burdens, free of responsibilities, and free of sorrows, but he knew that would never be possible. He would always be a slave to someone or something whether he was called a slave or a Chosen One.