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The gathering of knowledge can be a powerful tool.

Why are you here at the Force Academy studying? Is it merely social interaction you seek?

If so, there are many other chat channels that are available.

I hope all here are seeking knowledge.

What knowledge is useful to us? All knowledge is useful. Anything learned can be applied elsewhere, in your daily working or social lives.

All knowledge is learned for a reason… and can be exploited in some manner… The mindful Dark Warrior will find and be able to apply everything their mind absorbs to their benefit.

All Dark Warriors should view life as a political battle or a game of chess… A battle to be won at all costs. My personal philosophy in life is to see what you can gain from people… Now, this doesn’t have to apply to everyone. I believe that people can be friends for no thought of gain, but then again, even they can be useful, by coincidence.

Taking this thought further, you can continue along this vein and place your pieces in buckets. Let me expand.

Taking the classical chess board to heart is a fine way to grasp this theorem. There are several levels of piece. All expendable, some only to be sacrificed at great gain…

We have the pawn. The fodder of the conflict- the true sheep of the field. They have little intellect and merely plod along in a forward motion, using no thought pattern of their own. They can be useful, to exploit an enemies weakness, or merely to “feel out” the opposition and their stance on items or agendas. By this, I mean the pawns only have the info they are passed. Rarely privy to any great gems of information, but can be useful for seeing what the enemy is trying to present. Take for instance a facet of the Force: The lowest soldiers or merest Apprentices in their early days shall mirror what they have learned as “acceptable”. This is where insight into the thought pattern of your opponents can be viewed. Has the projection seemed subversive? Are the Pawns being used for misinformation? Are they to be sacrificed to shadow an opponents hand? This is where the value of such lowly and non-thinking pieces is placed. Do not underestimate the pawn, for they have strength in numbers, expendability and as sources of information or disinformation.

We also have the Rook (Castle). Moves forward, backwards and side to side. A formidable opponent in his determination. They are the light artillery of a conflict and can cause some serious damage. They are the swift aggressive players on the battlefield of life. They are the right arm of their leaders and are usually wielded with some skill. In the circles we keep they may be considered as a Knight of the Force. Doing as they are bidden, but with some skill. They are to be considered possibly dangerous, but not to an experienced user. They are an excellent opportunity for misinformation. They are oft very self-important and can be used by taking advantage of this handle. A Rook can also be used wisely by a skilful master to achieve objectives through sacrificing. Be warned that a skilful Rook can be dangerous. They can strike and swiftly retreat, leaving a swath of destruction in their wake.

The Bishop. They are a little better than pawns and not quite on a par with a Rook. They attack diagonally in any direction. As such they can be a real distraction to a well placed figure. They can be forgotten in the scheme of things and this can return to haunt any combatant not Mindful enough. Their strike can be swift and painful, but they usually lack the direction or skill of their own to wreak any real havoc. A threat to be mindful of, but can be put on low priority.

The Knight. One of my favourite opponents or tools. They move in an erratic pattern of two spaces in one direction, then one in another. They are useful to any side who would wield them correctly. Their attacks are oft hard to notice and they can wreak a swift, vengeful, hateful attack. I see them as free thinking and with the common good at mind. A knight can easily seal the game and can sway other pieces with its facades. It is this ability to think for itself that makes the Knight such a useful tool. Be mindful that I do NOT equate a Knight of this Academy with this combative equivalent. This player may be of nearly any rank or station and as such can present an unobvious assailant. They are wise in their planning and attacks. They are constantly planning and calculating. They can be lethal at the most unexpected times. This is a rare piece in this academy. They are the true Wolves clothed as sheep. If you have one, utilise them wisely. Should you encounter one, Beware!

Now the Queen and King. The Queen. An interesting Combatant in her abilities and ego. This piece can strike thee dead, and she knows it. A rare case when Ego does not lead to a downfall. A key player for any side, though not all “sides” seem to have one. She weilds great power and influence. And knows it. She can go anywhere and knows it. She can confront and destroy any, and she knows it. Beware her frontal attack. Confronting this opponent openly is not the way. They need to be baited and lured to a place of your design. They need to be destroyed with wits, not with brute strength. A collection of well placed pieces will conquer, but at what price? This you need to decide. As for using your Queen… Strike hard and fast with her. Use her to threaten from one angle and attack with a Knight. She offers you the ultimate Sword with which to swing, but strike with the dagger. A valuable piece which can be used like a blunt club or gracefully arcing like the swiftest saber. To sacrifice her you must have the ultimate goal in thy reach. To battle her you must have the ultimate plan in place.

The King. One square at a time, any way you please. A doddering old fool? Nay. He may be slow to flee or hard to strike with, but the reason is clear. It is hard for him to wear the Garb of the Sheep. He is obvious. He stands out. But his true value is in the Knowledge of Years. Mayhaps he cannot strike telling blows, but the blows that are dealt are usually his doing. A strategist. Safe from harm within the Armour of his troops he amasses.

Now, judge for yourself in which bucket your friends go, your allies go, your opponents go and lastly yourself.

Where do you want to be? What goal do you reach for? It can be achieved with the Mindful thought of the Dark Warrior. Categorise your enemies. Know their weaknesses and strengths. Amass your armies and troops. Know THEIR weaknesses and strengths. Lastly know yourself: Know your strengths and weaknesses. The most Mindful Master has glaring weaknesses if they are searched for… The pawns have their own. Seek and ye shall find.

Now to wrap this up… and answer the questions of the less mindful… “How does this apply to me?” “I am just a pawn, I have no armies!”

If this is the case, ’tis your own doing. Gather your forces, gather those who would call thee “Friend”. Build the bridges necessary to gain your goals, whether they be the claiming of a Queen to your army or the moving of a Knight to your opponent’s King. You decide your place on this board of life. You decide where you work, how your Life progresses, whether you get a promotion, how your relationships are conducted. You are in control if you want to be…

If you wish to be a sheep, that is fine. All armies need fodder, all wolves need food. I know where I place myself. Perhaps I shall see you at dinner?

Always Mindful, always Dark.

- Straif