Forceful Insights

A story of Ebon Chaval
Bryon Mosely

(This story takes place shortly before Media West Con 2000)

Sweat flew from his body in sheets. Taunt muscles fling his upper body upright. And terror continues to claim his heart and soul.

The first thing he had felt was emotion…fire…not anger, not hatred, but fire. A rage so great that it is a thing unto itself…not consuming of itself, but of all things around it. It was a beautiful, abhorrent, glorious and dangerous thing. Not at all the sort of thing Ebon would think he would see at the core of his being. Ebon always thought himself to be an honorable man, principled and centered. But it was undeniable. It was him, he was fire and the terror of it was…he loved it.

Next were the images. A woman seated at a bar. Was she dressed in black or was that just the nature of her, Ebon wasn’t sure. He had never seen her before…he could almost claim a name, then her essence, the dark of her soul, assailed him. Being sensitive to such things was Ebon’s bane. She had the fire…and it burned him. He moved to put her out, as he had drawn his blaster, but pain claimed him first. He’d been shot by another man who moved to protect her. He lived. Only to be betrayed by Tara? His teacher mocked him…battled him physically, as she danced around his enraged, clumsy attempts to kill her, and mentally, as she stoked the fire within him. He lost. In everyway a being could lose. He lost his honor, his control, and worst of all…his dignity and identity, as he had become fire. And Tara smiled through it all. It had been easy for her and it was her intent! For the smallest accountable period of time, the fire that had been him was so great that he could have incinerated her, erased her from existence. And he simply wouldn’t have cared.

Ebon rises from his bed, to stare out the window of Tara’s palatial home. As he paces, breathing as heavily as any animal five times his considerable size, to clear the images from his mind, to sort through it all…to make sense of it, one thing is absolutely clear…it was real. It was no dream. He has no memory of any of this in his past. The force…it most be the force, he thought to himself. He looks out to the night blacken forest for solace. He sees shadows moving in the night.

He was in the caves, a boy among teenagers. And they were circling him. This was nothing unusual. All the new miners went through this. The blue boys, they were called. They had worked so long and hard that every part of them was covered in the colbolt they mined for energy, the principle export at the time. And now it was his turn. One had charged Ebon. He fell quickly, as a swift punch to the throat was Ebon’s gift to him. The others charged him…only to join the first on the cave floor as Ebon had continued to dispense his gifts. Eventually, Ebon was overwhelmed by their number. But, that didn’t matter; he had stood his ground. He had proven that he would fight for himself, that he was chiseled from the same stone they were cut from. He was all this and still young.

Ebon takes little regard of that triumph now. He wonders where was this boy in the man that gave way to such reckless disregard, as he had in the vision. The vision still haunts him. It was…no, he thought, it will be. He saw the future. Ebon’s mind drifted again to another time.

He had wondered if he would live. He had taken a wrong turn or two in the vast caverns of abandoned tunnels. The light of his suit failed and he was immersed in total darkness. The pride within him had beat back the fear he had felt swelling in him. He could..feel his way through the tunnels now. Now, that he was calm, in control. The darkness and the shadow beasts that had claimed other blue boys had not worried him then. He simply had known where to go. He was sure he would be fine. And he was right, as he had moved toward the search party sent to find him. They had searched for hours and had started to despair when Ebon caught up with them. He had marveled at his own strength that day. Not the strength of his body, but that he had beaten fear. His elation had blinded Ebon from recognizing his first use of the force that day.

Where was…no, where will this inner strength be when the time comes Ebon thought as the water of the shower caressed him. He continued thinking, had he beaten the blue boy initiation, mastered his own fear, and set his own path only to fail in the future when he needed all his experience the most?

He dried himself and started to put on his clothes. He paused and thought of his father.

Ebon’s future was his father’s concern as he looked to his son. Ebon was seated at the dining table and the light of the room backlit his father’s frame. Mining and considerable saving had made his father profitable. Not rich, but profitable. But, he knew, as Ebon did, that the mining industry was dying on Obecka. Ebon could not follow in his father’s steps. He had to forge his own way. In truth, this is what he wanted. He and his father discussed the issue. Ebon would make his way in hauling cargo. But he had needed a ship. His father supplied the funds for it. His father had considered it a gift. Ebon had made it a loan. He would pay his father from his industry. Ebon had thought that fair, his father had supported him after all. The pride of his father had meant a great deal to Ebon. And the pride in his father’s eyes that day was clear.

Ebon smiled weakly. Pride and dignity are family hallmarks. If his vision comes to pass, he will woefully disgrace these traits.

The door’s chime sounds and Ebon answers. Tara is there, calling on him for his training. She enters graceful as a dancer. Exuberance and charm are evident in her voice and stride. She may not like this aspect of her existence, Ebon thinks, but she is truly regal. Ebon summons everything within him to suppress his visions and thoughts and then accompanies her to the training room. He will beat this vision, he thinks to himself. He must. Failure is not in his creed.

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