Also, just another reminder, RPG Fitness is on sale, $5 off, through next week!
Okay, all that said, let’s move on to The Mind of Zeratul.
Zeratul is a rather polarizing character among the Protoss. He recognizes a loyalty to his own people, but also to the preservation of life in the universe, against massive threats like Amon. This loyalty to the preservation of other life in the universe sometimes puts him at odds with his own people, especially after learning that Sarah Kerrigan – The Queen of Blades and leader of the Zerg – may be the universe’s only hope in the coming war.
Zeratul carries his own regrets, as well. He considers himself partially responsible for the fall of Raszagal, the former leader of the Nerazim (The Dark Templar), even though she begged him to kill her by his own hand and take the mantle of leadership. Though he should be the acting leader of the Nerazim, currently he lives in self-imposed exile, dealing with the guilt he holds for his inability to save Raszagal.
Even in exile, however, Zeratul continues to be a leader of his own people. He acts as their agent in ways that he could not if they knew of his deeds, such as the guidance and resurrection of The Queen of Blades. While doing so, he acknowledges what his people would do to him, if they knew, and he admits that he will face their judgement soon enough. This is the sign of one who is willing to accept the consequences of his actions, recognizing the value of the greater good at the expense of his own personal welfare.
To understand the mind of Zeratul, we must understand the mind of the Nerazim – the Dark Templar – and how they survived after their exile to Shakuras. Though Protoss feed off of sunlight, Shakuras is dark, nearly completely. Though Protoss gain their psionic energies from the Khala, Nerazim do not, having cut off their own psionic appendages in protest to joining the Khala. To replenish themselves, physically and mentally, they learned to commune with the Void.
The Void is not giving, or welcoming, or warm, like the Khala. The Void is cold, powerful, and nearly limitless. It is indifferent to those who commune with it, and wielding the powers of The Void requires intense training and willpower. The Nerazim spend countless hours training their bodies through combat practices, and training their minds through meditation, in order to draw their strength from The Void.
Zeratul is an elite among the elites. Powerful, wise, and old, he has seen and experience much in his many years, and is bound to have a hand in shaping the future of sentient life in the universe. Zeratul’s communed with the Overmind, sparred with The Queen of Blades, commanded troops in war, appeared before Protoss and Terran leaders to plead his case, and had a hand in multiple galaxy-altering conflicts in all this time.
Experiences build wisdom. Not all experiences are good, as Zeratul’s example shows us. We all have our own collection of experiences, both good and bad, and these shape who we are. Through meditation, and consultation with our own internal Void, we can control how these experiences shape and affect us. The existence of bad experiences should not turn us off of continuing to seek out new things to try and do. Fear is one of the greatest limiters, but when you face The Void, like Zeratul, there isn’t much that can actually make you afraid.
If you desire true wisdom, strength, and the ability to lead your people, you need to seek out new challenges every day. You must cultivate discipline and a calm mind, so you can ride out and weather the bad experiences, and truly savor the good. Sometimes, you must seek your own time to recharge yourself and reflect upon what you’ve experienced. Zeratul’s self imposed exile may be his way of dealing with his own guilt, but it’s also allowed him time to meditate on both his failings and successes, and to learn more about the coming conflict which threatens all living things.
I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities…
Zeratul’s words carry both literal and metaphorical meaning, here. He has seen much, learned much, and gone many places. Every new thing is observed and interpreted. If we seek to truly be like Zeratul, we must seek out whatever knowledge we can, take what journeys we have available to us, and keep our eyes and minds open all the while. We must live boldly, and in doing so we will change the world, and through this, we will become more awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace