In a recent e-mail conversation I had with a viewer of my YouTube channel, we started talking about music. I mentioned how I’ve been thinking about examining music lyrics.

One of my favorite bands, before they broke up, was the band Agalloch. And one of my favorite songs by them, was actually the first song I ever heard of them, called: In The Shadow of Our Pale Companion. From their album, The Mantle.

I’ve been listening to the song quite frequently recently and I can’t help but think of the KOTOR 2 character, Visas Marr, when I do. Listening to the song isn’t obligatory, but it is a beautiful song that I would highly recommend.

Lyrics:

Through vast valleys I wander
To the highest peaks
On pathways through a wild forgotten landscape
In search of God, in spite of man
‘til the lost forsaken endless
This is where I choose to tread

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The song tells the story of someone who went in search of God. Searching the land far and wide to find God, perhaps in a more physical way. This is in contrast to Visas and her species. They don’t search for the force. It’s there from the moment they are born, and they perceive the world completely through it. But especially through their sight. The only version of the world they ever see is one that’s filtered through the force. They know the force exists. They rely on it from the moment they’re born to the day they die.

Fall... so shall we fall into the nihil?
The nothingness that we feel in the arms of the pale
In the shadow of the grim companion who walks with us

This is perhaps the most relevant lyric. I used to think that the pale companion that the songs talks about was death, but now I think it’s a manifestation of Nihilism. And what brought this Nihilism? You could say the lack of God, the lack of any kind of Higher Power, or simply something to believe in and/or worship. But in this case it’s God and in Star Wars it’s the force.

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Atheism has become very common in modern times. But I think that even atheists understand that some people absolutely need something to believe in. Whether a religion, cult, some deity, some people gravitate towards such things. We have to be honest about why. We have to accept that without it, the possibility of someone descending into Nihilism very much exists.

Some people are convinced there is no God and they feel free. It works out for them. Some others are convinced there is no God and they think: “What is the point of any of this?” And the latter is what happened to Visas Marr. At least until the exile came along and inspired the former.

Here is the landscape
Here is the sun
Here in the balance of the earth
Where is the god?
Has he fallen and abandoned us?

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As a wound in the force, Darth Nihilus’ sense are also clean and aren’t filtered through the force. He made Visas see through his eyes.

“This is what the universe truly looks like. This is what it is without your God. There is no good, there is no bad, there just is. There is no universal reward, there is no universal punishment. Nothing you do is of any significance. Nothing matters.”

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It took the Exile to show her that the death of the force doesn’t have to be seen as an abandonment. That it doesn’t have to be the Nihilistic sentence that people believe it to be. That instead it could be a new beginning. Where we can better appreciate the limited time we have in this world, and work to improve it by us and for us. Not for some entity that we don’t understand, and based off the countless, horrific events of the past, most likely doesn’t care about us.

Then once we die, whatever comes next, comes next. And we didn’t spent our lives trying to please something, just so we can become one with it. Whatever that really means. But again, this happened later.

As I’m stalked by the shadow of death’s hand
The fire in my heart is forged across the land

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That second line particularly sticks out. Through showing her the world without the force, he convinced her that all life must die.

“This nihilistic approach must be placed upon everyone. It is the only real choice and the only way to stop the force, is to take away its tools.”

She began to help Nihilus in this cause. This was the fire in her heart and it was forged across the galaxy; in the complete death that Nihilus brought.

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Although from the perspective of the person in the story, it can be viewed differently. The second line could mean that the fire was forged, as in it was built up, as he traveled across the land. Because the more he searched, the less he found.

The first line indicates that death is following him. Because of that, he became more determined to find something, otherwise he dies. But how would he die? Well...

Here at the edge of this world
Here I gaze at a pantheon of oak, a citadel of stone
If this grand panorama before me is what you call God
Then God is not dead

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Visas knows that the force exists. The individual in the song found God in Nature, and Visas Marr found nature devoid of the Force. Both were deemed unacceptable. In the former, God simply being nature means that it is not the grand thing to believe in that people tell you it is.

In the latter, we can only really speculate on what the Miraluka see through the force. But she saw that the force is not this benevolent source. Even with it pervading through everything the world is still just entropy.

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I walked down to a river and sat in reflection of what had to be done
An offering of crimson flowed into the water below
A wound of spirit from which it floated and faded away

The moment Visas saw the world through eyes unfiltered by the force, she wanted to die. Someone who has been religious their entire lives became who they are largely because of the religion. Their personality, everything that makes them, them, has been shaped by their worshiping, their beliefs.

Then toss on their lap: “It’s all fake. None of it is true. Not only have you been living a lie, this lie has shaped you into who you are today.”

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There are existential crises and then there’s this. It is indeed a wound of spirit.

...like every hope I’ve ever had
...like every dream I’ve ever known
It washed away in a tide of longing, a longing for a better world
From my will, my throat, to the river, and into the sea
...wash away
...fade away

Visas longed for the Exile. If the exile is male, she longs for him in more than one way. She longs for him romantically. But through the exile she sees a better world.

The person in the song’s story never found an equivalent to the Exile. He longed for a better world but there was no sign of hope. There wasn’t a God or a Force that had some sort of great plan or who could serve as an example of inspiration. There was just… stuff.

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This person slit their own throat. And death washed away all the sorrow. It all faded away, as if they never existed at all.

Here is the landscape
Here is the sun
Here at the edge of the earth
Where is the god?
Has he fallen to ruin?

Even though the final line makes me think of the death of the force. I think the song is saying that the person has died and the edge of the earth represents crossing into the afterlife. Except no afterlife was found, and there is still no God in sight. So the question becomes: Was it never here or was it at one point and has since fallen?

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In the Star Wars universe, the “afterlife” is defined as becoming one with the force, becoming part of God. Sort of like a collective consciousness type of thing? Probably not, at least not in Star Wars.

If the force falls into ruin, and people die, what then? Then everyone shares the same fate, whatever that fate may be. It’s a fate that people who were on the dark side are now aware of. It’s also a fate that the Jedi Council are now aware of. But at least it’s an ending, and not a potentially new form of manipulation.

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As I’m stalked by the shadow of death’s hand
My heathen pride is scarred across the land

Visas can be seen as a heathen, but so can the Exile, and her entire crew. But if there’s any one person that the Jedi Council would especially judge as a heathen, it would be Kreia. In fact, both the Jedi and the Sith judged her as such.

Whether with the Jedi or the Sith, Kreia did not conform. It was Kreia who said: “To believe in an ideal, is to be willing to betray it.” To betray it by questioning it. To accept that it isn’t perfect, how could it be? But it can improved. The first step to fixing any problem is realizing that you have one. And both the Jedi and the Sith have major flaws that they refuse to address.

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But through her teachings, the Exile became the beacon of hope the galaxy needed. And through the Exile’s apprentices, including Visas Marr, a new Jedi order was born. One that at its core carried at least aspect of Kreia’s teachings forward into the future and into all subsequent Jedi. Kreia’s heathen pride was scarred across the galaxy.

Papito Qinn is into the whole YouTube thing, is the winner of the 2016 SpookTAYcular Scary Story Contest, and a twitter incompetent. “That’s it, the last TWT masters event.