Center yourself Ember.

Her words are hard, but quiet. We've been at this for days. Even with her humanity restored, Eclipse has been nothing if not relentless. The physical training has been slightly less brutal than before. The mental training, on the other hand, has been grueling. I sit indian-style on the cool grass. Even with my eyes closed I can feel her slowly circling.

This forced meditation has done little to ease my frustration. I'm sure she's trying to help me regain the humanity I have no desire to reconnect with. I'm still confused by the fact she's lost no strength since casting off the monster within. I always thought her strength came from the darkness and her psychosis. Yet, without both, she's still uninmaginally powerful. Still what I aspire to learn from. Still my master.

Because of these facts I will try anything she asks me to. No matter how ridiculous or frustrating. No matter how much I hate this meditation training. I must become stronger. Even if it makes me like she currently is.

You're thinking too much.

Thinking too much? Isn't meditation about thinking? I grit my teeth. I'm mentally exhausted. I'm tired of sitting still. Why can't we just go back to combat training?

Because training the body isn't enough. You must hone your mind...

Did she just read my mind? My fingers curl into the fabric of my pants. Gripping them in frustration.

Calm yourself...Your anger cannot help you in this. This exercise requires passive focus.

Passive focus? Isn't that an oxymoron? How the hell do I manage that? I squint my eyes harder as if having to force them to stay shut. I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere with this.

You need to relax. Search for calmness within. Be one with the present. Let go of your desires...of yourself...

I..I can't. I can't maintain this. My eyes open and I lean forward and lament my lack of understanding this exercise. She stops in front of me. I look up her, unable to restrain my irritation.

This is ridiculous. We're wasting our time. This doesn't make any sense to me.

There's no visble reaction to my words. No expression at all. Just that eerie calmness I'm slowly growing accustomed to.

That's enough for tonight. We'll resume this tomorrow. Don't think so hard. It'll come to you.

Her hand reaches out and ruffles my hair. I can't help my reaction. I pull away from her touch. I'm still not used to what she has become. She doesn't react to this either. Instead she just walks off without another word. Once again leaving me to my confusion.

Nothing makes sense anymore. It's not just with the training. Our patterns have changed. We no longer stay at safe houses owned by her mother. There is no contact with her parents at all. It's like she doesn't want anything to do with them. We are also no longer fully nocturnal. She wakes up around noon these days and goes off on her own for a few hours while letting me sleep till three or four in the afternoon. She told me she likes feeling the light. When we do have combat training she no longer knocks me out. She's also more verbal. I worry both these things could make me soft. I fear losing my edge.

I'm not sure what to make of it all, but I will continue to follow her lead. I no longer spend my days in fear of her. Rather I live in awe of her. I realize now I could never fully comprehend her no matter what form she takes. That doesn't stop me from desperately wanting to. I rip a handful of grass from the ground and toss it into the air. It falls in many directions. I stand up and stretch my legs before heading towards the empty shack we are staying in. My bedroll is sounding more inviting by the second. I know I won't sleep right away. I never do. All this same stuff will scratch at my mind till I'm too exhausted to think about it anymore. Then the nightmares will come. Anymore they always do.

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