Takryn scowled as he stepped out into the secondary training hall. His mind was still reeling from the recent events that had occurred. He was one step closer to becoming a Knight and he had a new saber. But it was the blade itself that caused his unease. The other Padawans in the Temple had taken one look at it and the rumors began. The crimson stain inside of a white blade, speaking of a guarded darkness inside the Jedi’s heart. He knew of why it was, his hatred for the Sith and the irreconcilable deeds they had committed upon him. And he was sent off with a warning to stay true to the Light and the way of the Order.
That was a week ago, nearly a month after he’d arrived on Tython and was wheeled into the Medical wing with a hole in his first heart. He rubbed one of the horns that crowned his head, the memory of seeing them lying on the floor around him burned into his mind. He needed to fight something, and soon.
Jaslyn had been watched like a hawk for a whole month. A solid month of constantly seeing the same faces as she turned the corner of a hallway. As she gathered fruits for breakfast. As she had midday meal, and dinner.
Jaslyn wasn't stupid they were keeping an eye on her. Possibly at the urging of the council, possibly just because. After all apparently not all life, according to most of the Padawans, was precious. She lost count of how many times "dark friend" was whispered in her presence.
After the first couple of days Jaslyn stopped reporting it because it got annoying to walk up to Knights and get a blank look after explaining that they're charge was being rude. Merrian, her master, was no help since she was off world and Takryn was pretty much confined to the infirmary until he recovered.
She puffed out a breath that moved the wisps of hair that fell out of her thick braid curling against her cheeks. She spun spinning her twin sabers that she had gotten back after the council meeting. She was alone in one of the many practice rooms and had just finished a round of forms without turning on her sabers.
Flicking them on Jaslyn started from the top. Her body was warmed up from her earlier routine. Normally the movements have her a sense of calm and peace. She'd found no such peace for a month now.
Questions about how things were done weighed on her mind. If Selene was telling the truth. Whether or not that was actually the case was neither here nor there. The questions still plagued her. Haunted her. Still she pushed on. Buried the doubts and kept going. Her movements were aggressive, violent even as she fought her inner battles. Soon enough her conscious mind quieted and her subconscious became what drove her.
Takryn goes over his forms, blocking out the other students as he keeps his lightsaber sheathed. He is quiet, focusing more on keeping his movement smooth and steady. He stops, grabs a few of the soft training balls for telekinetic training and begins to practice with them. He pauses as he spies Jaslyn, unsure if he should go to her. He shrugs inwardly and heads over, keeping out of her way as he observes.
“You appear stressed, Jas.” If he had eyebrows he’d be raising one.
Jaslyn stopped hearing Takryn say her nickname. Flicking off her sabers she turned smoothly to look up at him over her shoulder. Her braid brushed back and forth across her back. "Me stressed? No way." Doing a series of backflips she turned toward him. She left the sabers on the floor where she had started the backflips.
Takryn regards her. “You attack with an aggression that I do not often see from you.” He shrugs. “Care to spar with me? It would do you good and it will let me see how far you have come in your training.” He smirks. “Your forms could use a bit of work from what I’ve seen, though I do not know how far in your Force skills you are.”
Jaslyn raised an eyebrow at Takryn. “You’re not so far advanced over me Taki. Besides shouldn’t you be taking it easy still? Oh I’m sorry let me rephrase that. Taking it easy as usual. You wanna go?”
He always knew how to push her buttons and she was already on edge and ready to hit something. A foreign emotion rose in her as she backed away and crouched calling her sabers to her she gripped them hard. Only for a moment but it would have been noticeable to Taki.
His eyes took on a spark of the old competitive edge and he closed his eyes, focusing himself, drawing to his full height. The air around him seems to become charged as he pulls out his saber, slipping into his stance. His blade remains sheathed and his eyes open, a slight frown when he notices her grip. He isn’t too attuned to the emotional distress of others like his master but he is wary of it nonetheless.
Takryn assumes a playful expression, hand out and standing at a half crouch, ready for the attacks. “I’ll give you the first move. Just like old times.”
Jaslyn smirked and rolled her neck keeping Takryn waiting. There was a touch of mischief in her smirk as she stood upright and walked to the other end of the room hips swaying unconsciously, “This isn’t like old times Taki. You have no idea what you’re dealing with anymore. I’m all grown up. You can come get me. That is if you are good enough.” her words came off with a little bit of a bite. She wasn’t a baby anymore. Wasn’t that little girl he remembered. So she’d have to show him that she had grown. Jaslyn flicked on her sabers and blew him a kiss.
Takryn’s eyes narrowed. There was indeed something off with her but he was confident in his abilities. “Very well. Usual training rules. Stop before deathstroke.” He bolted forward, his empty hand stretched forward as he followed along the telekinetic flow of a Push. Following up with a feint to the left and a cross strike to push her off her feet. He knew he had the strength, and he was wary of her agility. “I’ve had some training from a few Sentinels.” He wore a feral grin.
Jaslyn rolled with the Push and let it back her up a few feet giving ground. As Takryn feinted left she blocked his cross strike and used his push as a springboard to flip away from him. She used the wall in conjunction with Leap and launched herself over head doing a flip over him. Landing lightly she cleared her throat.
He smiled. “Nice. However,” He whips out a few of the training balls, sending them speeding at her from different angles while he gets in to deliver a kick to her side, blocking her sabers with his. He dodges any attempt to counter and whirls his blade around, taunting. “Your defense could use a bit of work still.”
She grunted softly as he kicks her and lets him get his blocks in. “Well I want you to feel like you’re winning, it’s more sportsmanlike. Plus how else are you gonna touch a girl? Surely you’re not relying on that nonexistent charm? Oh sorry you are.” She jumped back and put her sabers together forming a saberstaff.
Advancing with the saberstaff Jaslyn swung right then left. She let him block the easy strikes. The movements pulled her into a blank state for a short time everything was calm then something changed. Her strikes came faster and harder. Spinning she reached out to the balls and taking control of them she had them dive at Takryn and she followed with a sweep. She was sure that he would jump it or block the sweep. She spun following through with a rapid side strike on the left and another to the head. Twisting the center she collapsed the staff to twin sabers as she leapt back and smirked knowing she had gotten closer still to showing Taki up. “Getting tired?”
Takryn scowled. This form of taunting was very much unlike what he remembered. He focused his mind, grunting as a strike just grazed his arm, using his Force technique to push it away from him as one of the balls slammed into his side. Taking a breath as she disengaged he let out a deep breath. Focus, Takryn. Draw upon your inner strength. The words of his Master echoed in his head as he used Crucitorn to dull the pain.
The zabrak slid a foot back and focused on Jaslyn before him. For a moment the woman before him flickered and he saw a darkness within him. Whenever he’d looked at her before all he’d seen was Light. “There is something troubling you. It has darkened your heart, Jaslyn.” He spoke her full name, something he’d not done since meeting her. “Your strikes seem incredibly aggressive, a far cry from your usual tactical approach. Have you forgotten my ability to see your attacks? Or do you think you can merely wear me out.”
Jaslyn narrowed her eyes at Takryn. He used her full name. He never used her full name. Spinning she darted left spinning her saberstaff in a feint at his left leg. Pulling that before blades collided she darted behind him and swung aggressively for his right shoulder. His block from across his shoulder was expected and as Takryn blocked. She bounced her saber off his and swept his legs with her own.
Takryn felt the strikes before they came. It was certain, then, that something was indeed wrong. He blocked, like she knew he would and when the sweep hit, he launched his own counterattack. Using his new Force ability to levitate himself, he grabbed her leg as she swept it, flipping her over and into a pin. As he touched her he felt something. Her mind was actively pushing against something, and she felt gaunt. He kicked away her saberstaff, his own held inches from her neck. “Your mind is a mess, Jaslyn.” He scowled as he stood back, the match his. He looked at his arm, wincing as his crucitorn started to fade. “You had no real tactics during the fight. It is most unusual.”
Jaslyn’s eyes flashed then she looked away blanking her mind. She froze tensed. She wouldn’t look at him. She pushed away all thoughts seeking the static. A void that she had found that eased existence in the heightened state she’d been in since the Silent Sands. She functioned but had cut off all emotions. The only problem she found was that she could only stay there for a limited basis and each time she did it seemed as if the emotions when she came back were worse.
Takryn frowned. “What is wrong. Tell me. I’ve always listened.” He sheathed his saber, reaching out to help her up. “It is much easier to bear a burden with a close friend.”
Jaslyn knocked his sabers out of his hands and flung them across the room. She landed a flat handed strike to his wound then pulled her saberstaff over to her she placed the end on his neck. “You underestimate me, Takryn. Yield.”
She lost the void and the emotions came crashing down like a weight and she struggled to maintain the severity of her gaze. Flashes of anger and fear flickered behind her eyes.
Takryn blinked. For a moment he was overwhelmed and then his mind sharpened, pain spiking as he looked her in the eye and gave a rumbling growl. The air around the pair stilled as Takryn mentally apologized to his master. “And you have not seen the limit of my strength.” In a moment he closed his eyes and opened himself to the Force. The subtle shifts in the world and he grunted, sending a controlled telekinetic burst at the saberstaff, pushing it away as he headbutted Jaslyn, calling his blade to his side he struck her side with the sheathed weapon and delivered a kick to her chest.
Takryn’s eyes snapped open as he released a steady breath. The air around the man seemed charged. Tensions running high as the two glared at the other, both bleeding. “I already won. I am not your enemy. But if this is the influence of that Dark Force user, I will do my duty and steer you back into the Light.”
Jaslyn flew backward with the kick and landed on the floor. She yelled and slammed her hand on the floor as things in the room started to rise. “No!! Stop blaming Selene!! She is not even here. It’s so confusing. All of it. Constant and unending.” Jaslyn rose to her hands and knees then leaned up unsteadily. “If you want someone to blame it’s me. I made the choice to not end Selene. And it’s a choice I’d make again. Over and over.” She ran her hands through her hair taking it down as it floated around her.
Her temper ran hot but she had enough control that the objects just floated. Mostly focused around her. She clutched her side and rose to her feet. “I was in as much danger from her as from you. So how much of a threat are you to me Takryn?” She lifted her head, hair floating around her and her saberstaff turning lazily. The other objects moving to and fro gently.
Takryn’s eyes seemed to glaze over for a moment and he sighed. “I do not want to be a threat to you, Jas.” He could sense rage just pouring out of her. He could feel how volatile the situation was and knew that all the trainees had fled when they started to get out of hand. He would need to solve this soon.
Gritting his teeth, he knew he had one chance to pull this off correctly, lest the Battlemasters bring their wrath on their heads. He charged forward, using his saber to clash with hers before getting a hand on her forehead and hitting her with the strongest Force stun he could manage. He felt pain tear into him through her own defensive abilities but he pushed it all aside as he opened himself to the Force and attempted to just look. He pulled her to him, closing his eyes as he did so. “Let me in, Jas.”
Jaslyn’s eyes widened as Takryn charged her. The idiot. She quickly dropped her abilities knowing that if she didn’t he’d suffer more. Then the stun hit her and she crumpled. As he put his hand on her forehead her mind started to unfold before him. Through the Force he saw her and her mind pushed at him a defensive tactic. The push was a gentle thing as if it recognized him or that she was weak.
Takryn gave a push and the world around him flared with light. Opening his eyes, he failed to recognize the area around him. He could not see Jaslyn, though he felt that she was both very close and far away from him. He could see countless stars above him, each in a myriad of colors he never knew existed. A thrum of pure Force could be felt all around him and he was lost to his surroundings for a moment. “What is this place…” His whispered words echoes around him. Takryn taking a step back and slamming against an unseen wall. It pulsed in time with the vibrations of the Force around him, echoing a heartbeat. There was no way but forward so he began to walk.
Jaslyn appeared at his side. “Taki you shouldn’t be here.” She put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot. She looked much better here than outside. She glowed with health and she looked like she was fine. “Taki? What are you doing here?”
A man with dark hair and blue grey eyes with a purple xesh tattooed on his face appeared out of a swirling fog. Beside him a pretty redhead that resembled Jaslyn except had jade green eyes. “Jaslyn come away from him.” The man held out his hand glaring at Takryn.
Jaslyn looked back at the couple. “Tau, Shae. This is Takryn.” She turned to Takryn. “Takryn this is Tau and Shae. My way-too-many-greats-to-list grandparents. Now I know what you’re thinking and they’re Je’daii Force Ghosts that have been trying to help clear things up. So far they’ve been doing a really good job of keeping me together. What’s going on that you’re here Taki?”
The zabrakian jedi just blinked at everyone. “I uh…” He swallowed and looked around. “I don’t even know how I got here I just wanted to help you. I don’t like the thought of you being in trouble or pain.” He blushes softly. “I just did was Master Rekka did to me when I was stuck inside that awful place. I thought I was using Telepathy.”
Jaslyn turned toward Tau and Shae. "I'm fine. Let me talk to Taki." she smiled at Tau's taciturn look. "Alone."
The couple left them alone and Jaslyn turned back to Takryn. "Telepathy? This isn't a dream? Taki what's going on? Please tell me why you're so worried."
Jaslyn looked very concerned and reached out to Takryn. Grabbing his hands the scene changed to the old temple at Coruscant. Where they shared their kiss six years ago. She blushed and looked down at their hands and let go hesitantly.
Takryn watched the scene play and as she let go, he kept his hand up, missing hers. “You…” He sighed. “You went off on me in the training room.” He looked around, spying the very bench they had huddled on between two exotic ferns. “I had to step into your Whirlwind to try and Stun you. You’ve been extremely aggressive.”
He looked down into his lap. “I know I’m not the smart one. That’s always been you. But I made a promise. That I’d protect you. That I would make sure you would always be safe.” As he spoke he spied two young jedi dash into the corner, a zabrak with a crown of horns and a redheaded human. The human was in the lead, pointing to the spot that they had always taken, where they would share their secrets and doubts. Where the Zabrak called out a shouted promise as they took the Human away. “That one day I’d find you again, and we’d forget about ever being apart.”
Jaslyn smiled at the memory of that promise making her blush. "I remember you saying that." her smile faltered. "I also remember that we were separated for 'our own Good's. I can't do that again Taki. Is this right, when everyone else says its wrong? I'm so confused."
The scene changed to the Silent Sands on Tython the hole that lead down to the buried Thor Yor. They were at the bottom of the hole. The scene after Selene and Jaslyn played out. Jaslyn protecting Selene from the other Padawan.
Jaslyn rubbed her head. "So confused Taki…"
Takryn observed the scene in front of him. “I don’t know what’s right or wrong. But this…” He takes her hand and squeezes. “It feels right to me. It feels like I’m starting to find myself again.” He looks at her, eyes filled with a longing he’d felt for years. “Why would the Force bring us together, only to tear us apart? I would challenge the very universe to be with you, Jaslyn Dayne.” He smirks. “I mean, I apparently telepathied so hard that I’m inside your head. Lovely place, by the way. Beautiful scenery.”
Jaslyn laughed blushing to the roots of her hair. "You've always known what to say. And you claim you're not smart. What a romantic you are Taki. So what happens now?"
Takryn shrugged. “I have no idea. You think I paid any attention to the Lorekeepers? I thought Tython was a myth until Rekka cuffed me and told me to get in the damn pilot seat. Still don’t know why she thought I’ll be good at piloting.” He shakes his head. “I didn’t have any sort of plan when I did the mind thing. I just told the Force to do whatever it wanted so long as I could get through to you.”
Jaslyn shook her head. "I take it back ya big goof. I'm gonna be mad at you if we're stuck here with no way out because you don't know how to reverse the process. Maybe you'll leave once the reason you're here is complete? So what is it Taki? It's more than protecting me. Think. I bet if you do we can find out what it is that you… need? So clear your mind and focus. Maybe the Force will show you the right way." Jaslyn reached for his hands again. Closing her eyes and clearing her mind she relaxed.
Takryn just held Jaslyn’s hands, looking at them. “I’m.. Not exactly sure what I need. I know what I want. I know that there is a lot going on that will complicate it, but... “ He gave a deep sigh, resting his forehead on hers. “I want us to never be apart. No matter where in the Galaxy and Universe the Force takes us, I want to be there with you. Into eternity. I don’t know the future but right now, here in this mindspace... “ He leaned down farther, lips hovering over hers. “I know I’m in love with you, Jaslyn. And I’ve been in love with you for a long time.” He kisses her, a question he leaves open to the universe, a challenge that he would fulfil all his promises and then some.
As Takryn kissed her Jaslyn felt herself blush and kissed him back. As soon as she did she felt something in her fall into place. She slid her arms up his to his shoulders and stayed there. A wind started to pick up and whip around them.
Jaslyn pulled back and looked Takryn in the eye. "I-" The wind grew increasingly cold and thunder rumbled.
A voice was heard. "Jaslyn Dayne!!" it was female and the hurt rolling off it made Jaslyn wince.
Jaslyn didn't let go of Takryn but looked around for the source of the voice. Jaslyn looked stunned. "Selene?"
"I think you should tell your precious Taki about what happened between us." The voice spat sneering Takryn's nickname with venom.
Jaslyn looked at Takryn stunned and pale with guilt. "I...I… Taki… please…"
Takryn blinked. “What exactly happened? I was not aware anything serious occurred other than you meeting her.” He leveled his gaze at her “But… Why is she here inside your mind?”
Jaslyn looked away from Takryn. "We have a… connection." she looked back at Takryn and bit her lip. "Like ours… I've seen… things. I think she has as well. I can feel her. She's not happy with what just happened. Or what I think just happened."
Takryn scowled. “I see..” Hurt was present in his eyes as he stepped back. He didn’t necessarily let go of her but he turned away and looked around. “So you are the woman who came to Tython.” He was defensive, wholly untrusting of the dark force user. “You’ve caused a lot of trouble here.”
Jaslyn could feel the hurt from Takryn and Selene. It made things worse. She couldn't tell either of them that. She pushed down the emotion and turned back to Takryn. "Taki not here. Not going to fight over me in my own head." she grabbed his shirt and made him look at her. "The council wasn't pleased the first time they found this happened that was purely by accident. This time they'll see it as a conscious decision that we made. That might help. But for Lights sake Taki. We tell no one. I can't lose you… not again. Not for anything." Jaslyn kissed him soundly clinging to him. Hoping to erase the hurt and anger in him.
The tall zabrak let out a deep sigh. “I would probably fight them. Mother did when she met my father’s parents.” He shook his head. “I don’t even know what we did. I didn’t even know I could do this to begin with. Would have done it a long time ago. Wouldn’t be here now, that’s for damn sure.” He grumbled. “I won’t fight you on this. For now. It’s a little disturbing but I will have to trust in your judgement.”
Jaslyn smiled and kissed him again meaningfully, deeply and thoroughly. She clung to him for a long moment and reluctantly let him go. Touching till she faded away and Takryn was back in the practice room holding her as she lay limply in his arms.
Takryn stood up and grimaced as he tried to carry her, sitting back down and keeping her head in his lap as he leaned against the wall. Looking up he could see the medics running over to fuss over them, Takryn closing his eyes as they looked over his arms, recognizing Healer Mara’s voice scolding him as he closed his eyes and drifted off. ’Wonder how the Masters will handle this…’
Light shone through the trees, basking the undergrove of the forest in brightness as a small grazing herd of Guid shifted across the grassy ground. The peaceful creatures had moved at the sight of two Jedi strolling up the calm hillside. One of the Jedi paused in her stride, glancing at her padawan. The battlemaster watched the Guid herd migrate away from her and San Anin until the herbivores had moved out of sight and elsewhere to continue their grazing. Birds sang songs which echoed deeper in the forest, as multicolored wings flapped and others danced on branches, trying to find a mate. A small pack of manka cats relaxed on a hillside opposite of the Jedi, a trio of young cubs play fighting with each other as their mother watched for danger solemnly. The sun hanged high in a near cloudless sky as the two Jedi had walked a few miles away from the temple, entirely on foot.
"San, how do you feel? Walking out here in the wilderness?" The Jedi master asked, halfway turning towards her padawan while her eyes watched a duo of birds chirp and dance at each other in the sky. She had brought her apprentice into the most scenic part of the scenic hills of the world, where the planet was most alive.
“Calm,” San Anin said simply, gazing around once more before speaking once more, “Happy.” The padawan looked to her master, silently wondering why they were strolling through this place, not that she had qualms with it. Her mind instinctively started going back to a sort of mental study as she began to silently recite notes upon notes of force abilities and proper force control and how to best become in tune with the force. In her absentmindedness, San Anin caught herself on a tree’s root, letting out a slight sound of surprise.
Quickly recovering, she stood upright while continuing their walk, now being more cautious about the roots of trees.
“Master, n-not that I don’t like this walk, b-but why are we here?” The padawan asked timidly.
“To experience some calmness, it's been a hectic time of late. Walking out here, it's so serene and quiet. A bit different than the temple and its constant activity. The only sounds are nature and our voices.” Kyla replied, then continued her stride as she kept walking in her stroll up the hill. It had occurred to her that she had not taken San this far into the wilderness before. That was no worry though to the battlemaster.
“It's the perfect place to have a conversation and to train, well once we reach the top of this hill. Which is not much further.” She added, lifting a hand above her eyebrows to block the shining sun in order estimate just how much more they needed to walk.
They were headed to a quaint spot that the master Jedi had trained by herself before. At this time of the day the most vicious of predators native to the world weren’t on the prowl. The fierce razor toothed horranth tended to avoid the lower elevation parts of the planet, at least until the sun set. While the manka cats were in the midst of mating season and were more concerned with raising their cubs than preying wandering Jedi. The sight of a happy pack of the felines playing brought a brief smile to Kyla’s face as she once more focused on making her way up the grassy hill. The sound of the waterfall could be heard ahead, gaining in strength as the two Jedi moved further up towards it.
“To train,” San Anin echoed as her mind began to wonder once again, this time on what training Kyla had in store for her outside of lightsaber practice. It was obvious that San Anin was not focusing much on the nature as a whole, despite knowing that her master desired her to, and instead went back to what her mind had been focusing on earlier. Movement caught her attention, the Kel Dor’s head snapping to see what it was, only to finally see the same pack of felines that Kyla had seen before her. Without so much as a moment to bask in the tranquiness, San Anin went back to her thoughts.
“...maintain proper defensive stance and maintain balance to…” she paused in the walk as she tried to remember the words as she spoke to herself, “avoid being put into a disadvantage against your opponent…”
The tall grass shifted under Kyla’s boots as the duo of Jedi’s reached the top of the hill. Immediately in front of them was a large river stream. Clear deep blue water filled out the pond, allowing easy spotting of the many fishes inhabiting it below the surface. So many colorful denizens of the water floated around the river, of varying shapes and sizes. As the stream flowed onwards it gave way to a large waterfall which cascaded the water over the side and an even larger pool of water several hundreds of feet below. It was quite the drop, but a survivable dive for thrillseekers.
“We’re here.” Kyla stated calmly as she strolled towards the waterfall, walking along the grassy edgy. On the other side of the river was lush forest, where the sounds of life echoed from within. Their focus today was not on that forest, it was here.
The battlemaster stood on the edge of the waterfall’s cliffside, letting out a deep breath as she took in the beautiful view. The canvas below stretched out widely, giving an impressive sight for miles of Tython’s lush land. Seemingly endless amounts of land stretched out as far as the eye could see. Rolling hills of grass and fern teeming with wildlife and vegetation. A thick mist hung above, veiling the treeline in a humid fog. The humongous mountains in the far distance, snow capped tops offering a far different climate to the lush warm jungles.
“I don’t think you’ve ever been up here, San. Come here.” Kyle said calmly, motioning with a hand for her padawan to stand beside her. Her robes whipped gently in the breeze.
San Anin followed, staying close to her master as she looked over the edge of the waterfall before taking a single step back. Her eyes drifted towards the scenery and finally, for once in the entire trip, her mind focused on the nature of the planet rather than on complicated force techniques or lightsaber training. She was tempted to take off her breathing mask in order to take in the air, if the air wasn’t poisonous to her. However, for once, her hurried and focused mind began to relax and that was all that was needed.
The Kel Dor looked to her master for a moment before asking, “What kind of training are we going to be doing?”
“Emotional control, during the chaos in the Silent desert you lashed out at an unarmed opponent. While I do understand what you were going through, and it had been a horrific day I am going to need you be able to control your emotions no matter the situation. Even if you are frightened or enraged, a Jedi must be able to put themselves beyond those and focus on the Force. A clear mind is a brilliant weapon.” Kyla stated, then strolled away from the cliff’s edge, moving towards even ground alongside the pond.
“I’ve noticed the Force flows beautifully in this part of the hills.” She added as she sat crosslegged on the dirt ground, motioning for San to sit across from her. The battlemaster reached one hand to the side as she ran her fingers gently through the pond.
Gentle waves cascaded against her skin, under her fingertips the fish in the pond danced just out of reach in the cool water. A breeze blew through the trees and sent leaves across the grassy floor beneath them. Some of the leaves landed on the water as they floated softly across the surface. The veteran Jedi lifted her fingers out of the water, then brought her hands together softly just in front of her stomach. Her eyes looked intently at her now seated padawan as the two prepared to meditate.
“Close your eyes San, surround yourself in the Force. I want you to only think of serene thoughts, bat away any internal battles and doubts which beset you.” Kyla stated calmly, she kept her own eyes open for a few more moments as she picked up movement to their flank from the same hillside they had walked up.
A small pack of manka cats had apparently arrived for a drink from the pond. It was the same group that had been watching them go up the hill, the vigilant mother feline leading the way as the three cubs followed her closely. The battlemaster did not move or show any outward reaction as she watched them draw closer. Then another one appeared, a larger male, a fierce mane decorating its neck as it stared at the Jedi duo. It paused in its stride, taking a defensive stance as it walked cautiously towards them. As the cubs reached the stream a few yards away from Kyla and San, the mother cat joined its mate in inspecting the two Jedi.
“Breath deeply San, battle back the uncertainty and fear.” The battlemaster said softly, as she too shut her eyes, well aware of the encroaching predatory cats, sensing them in the Force. They now only stood a few feet away, sniffing the duo. She did not expect either to attack, they were not on the prowl and did not typically hunt people. But one sudden move would be very unwise.
San, however, was deeply worried about the cats, wanting to go for her lightsaber just in case they decided to pounce upon the meditating Jedi. Yet, she knew that the worry was not what her master had wanted, knowing that she had to control that worry and stress within her mind. Instead, her mind once again went to force as she allowed it to move through her and allow her to become one with it. After a singular deep breath, a calm washed over her and her worried and focus mind began to relax, even as she heard the sniffing of the predators.
She could feel the manka cats within the force and as she focused on their presence, she could feel their worry over the two strange Jedi that were meditating in front of them. That worry, though she could barely sense it, began to creep up her spine. San Anin began to force herself to take deep breaths as she struggled to focus on something other than the worry that the manka cats felt. It was then when she turned to her master in the force, her presence exuding a calm and control, which allowed for San Anin to grasp onto the emotion.
Kyla slowly reached her hand towards her padawan as the predators glanced back towards their offspring. The cubs were hungrily drinking from the water, one had a fish between its teeth, a fine snack for the young manka cat. The battlemaster gently set her hand down on San’s leg, the Force tingling underneath her palm. She was very pleased to sense no fear in her padawan despite the presence of the watchful felines. The claws of the creatures were still tense, digging into the dirt as they kept a silent gaze upon both the Jedi.
The battlemaster was still silent in meditation, the Force calling out all around her on the highly attuned world. Tython was unlike anywhere else in the entire galaxy, the Force flowed through every single part of the planet. She could still recall the pause in her steps and thoughts as she took her first steps on the planet, how powerfully the richness of the Force on the world struck her. She could sense every single animal around them, the fish swimming under the waves, the birds in the trees and especially the predatory manka cats right near them. As she let out a gentle breath she sensed the felines move away from her and San, the trio of curious cubs leading the way as they wandered back down the hillside followed by their parents. As they were left alone once more Kyla opened her eyes calmly.
“Excellent job San. I could feel you battle away the fear inside. That is what I need of you, what I ask of you to always do. It is one of the many duties of a Jedi, not allowing ourselves to let our lives be dictated by fear and uncertainty. When you find yourself shaking inside, when things are too much I want you to center yourself and find the Force. No matter the situation. It will guide you.” She firmly stated, looking upon her padawan with proudness.
San Anin looked at her master, a silent appreciation washing over her, knowing that she had finally done something to please her master despite the failures that she had gone through when fighting the monsters and then attempting to strike down the person who caused it. The padawan’s gaze shifted to the pond, looking to the motionless mirror that it presented of the world above.
“I just hope that I can continue to center myself in the future,” San Anin stated, feeling her own doubt within herself rise about what the future may hold.
"You will, San. Have faith in yourself and the Force. You have the potential for immense greatness inside of you," The Jedi master replied with a comforting smile and a hand on her padawan's shoulder. Then she spoke again, as she gave a last glance down the hillside the felines had descended, she could see the creatures continuing their trek through the beautiful plains. "Lets return to the Temple, that was enough of an encounter with wildlife for the day."