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Osetto
02.02.2014 , 09:05 PM | #23
Chapter Ten: Flow (Part Two)

Dehros entered his and Osetto’s names and signed the release. Staring at the tools, the Guardian recalled his earliest days of training. It was the same weapon initiates had been using, and would continue using, for decades. The only difference being that during his training, he used it only until he had displayed the basest of competencies. In his time, Jedi were expected to fight in the war, and they needed a Jedi’s weapon to do so. But times had changed. The war was over. It was now an era of peace. But the peace needed to be defended. A task for which the Jedi could not afford half-measures.

“I know it may sound strange coming from an old salt like me…” the keeper spoke up. Dehros snapped to attention, unaware he had been standing there, staring at the training sabers. “Change is a good thing.”

“Pardon?” Dehros politely asked for an explanation.

“I take it you were born after the Great War began,” the keeper suggested. “That means the entirety of your training and most of your time in the Order was dedicated to fighting Sith. This transition, from war to peace, might feel jarring… but the opposite was far… far worse.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Dehros admitted, returning his gaze to the training weapons.

“Disappointed?” the keeper softly asked.

“Should I be?”

“It’s just that for some of the Knights, fighting the Empire was all they knew. You might find a few who object to recent changes with the Order,” the keeper explained.

“I take it you’re not one of them,” Dehros suggested.

“Like I said, change is a good thing,” the keeper repeated.

“Change can be a good thing,” Dehros clarified. “But there’s no intrinsic worth in it. Change can be for the better, but it can also be for the worse.”

“I suppose that’s true,” the keeper conceded. “But it is inevitable. Rather than resisting the flow, it’s better to guide it toward something greater.”

“We’re not in any position to alter our direction,” Dehros declared. “We follow the wisdom of the Council. They guide us and the Order as a whole.”

“We’re all in charge of our own destiny,” said the keeper. “Others may affect us, as we may affect others. The Force may offer guidance, as we may offer ourselves to the Force. But we are ultimately responsible for the directions we take. For the paths we follow.”

“Our paths are dictated by our superiors,” Dehros countered.

“Suggested. Not dictated,” the keeper clarified. “Students are not beholden to the guidance of their masters. That is why we must be extra careful about the paths we offer.”

The room went silent as the younger man offered no immediate response. Instead, he lifted his gaze from the weapons, opting to instead study the elderly man behind the counter. He had expected the man to be once more embedded in his book, but instead found him staring right back. Behind his heavy eyes, beneath his calm and wrinkled visage, there was an understanding and wisdom unbecoming of a mere storeroom attendant.

“Might I ask your name?” Dehros finally broke the silence.

“You might,” the keeper coyly replied. “Of course, you never answered my question.”

“Which one?”

“Whether or not you were disappointed,” the keeper stated, nodding toward the training sabers resting between them.

“No. I’m not,” Dehros declared. “My Padawan might be, though. I understand that things change according to the times, but my student is still young. He fought in the war, barely a teenager at the time. He had earned his lightsaber, but lost it in the Sacking. Now he’ll be told he can’t replace it until he finishes his training.”

“Is that such a bad thing?” the keeper asked.

“He views a lightsaber as a measure of worth. He had proven himself worthy of carrying one. Being denied the chance to replace it could make him feel like he’s regressed,” Dehros explained. “He could feel like he’s being treated like a child.”

“Again, is that so bad?” the keeper asked. “Even without a war enveloping the galaxy, we strip our younglings of much of their childhoods. Giving a piece back now and again won’t hurt.”

Once more the Guardian fell silent. Without another word, he picked up the training sabers from the countertop and hooked them both around his belt. The weapons secured to his waist, the younger man offered one final look to the storeroom keeper. “Are you going to tell me your name?”

“Verdon,” the keeper plainly stated.

The Guardian offered a few brief blinks as he continued to stare at the older gentleman. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I’ve not heard the name before.”

The storeroom keeper let out a soft chuckle. “Did I give the impression that you should have?”

“No, it’s just that… I don’t know… from your words I had expected something more…” Dehros struggled to explain.

“More than a lowly storeroom attendant?” Verdon coyly suggested. “Believe me kid, I’m nothing special. Just a man who’s been in the Order a few more decades than most.”

“Regardless, thanks for the conversation and the supplies,” Dehros said with a polite bow of his head.

“Glad to be of service,” Verdon replied before returning his focus to his book.

Turning his back on the storeroom keeper, the Guardian calmly made his way toward the exit. Before stepping out, he gave one final look toward the man behind the counter, watching him contently reading as the compact chamber returned to its natural state.

Gripping the hilts of the training sabers, Dehros began his walk back through the unfinished halls of the Jedi Temple.

----------

As Tython’s sun continued it graceful ascent, the morning hours were giving way to midday. Continuing their lesson atop a nearby ridge, Osetto and his students heard only the occasional echo from the quickly filling training grounds that surrounded the temple.

Stepping away from the gentle stream, the three Jedi found themselves amongst rocky grounds, surrounded by stones of various sizes. From pebbles to boulders, this area would provide the means of the Consular’s next lesson.

The two students stood patiently under the warming glow of the Tython sun. Though their robes were still damp, neither Padawan was burdened with discomfort. Instead, they were ready to learn, both gazing toward the Miraluka with eager eyes.

“Time to move on to something more solid,” Osetto declared.

“So we’re going to be lifting rocks after all,” Ryska playfully offered.

“That’s right,” Osetto said with a smile. Holding out his hands, the Miraluka drew in a deep breath and calmed his mind.

The students watched as their tutor remained stilled, but the world began to shift around him. Slowly, tiny pebbles hovered and lifted themselves from the ground. Dozens of tiny stones rose through the air with grace, halting as they reached their manipulator’s waist. Spread out around the Consular, they rotated and orbited the Jedi by the grace of his will. Rather than a display of strength, it was one of concentration and poise.

The Cathar looked with wide eyes, mouth agape with wonder. “That looks so cool, master!”

Osetto release a soft chuckle as he maintained the system of orbiting pebbles and stones. “You’ll be doing the same in no time, Padawan.”

With subtle waves of his open palms, the circle of pebbles broke their cycle, forming a snaking line of rocks that rose and fell in accordance with the Consular’s movements. Eventually, the string of pebbles was straightened out and stacked upright, forming a thin column in front of the students. Composed of rough and uneven stones, the stack should have instantly crumbled, but under the influence of Osetto, it remained upright and rigid.

“If you’d please take a pebble from the stack,” Osetto advised the Padawans. The teenagers took a careful step toward the frozen pillar, reaching out with their hands. Almost afraid to upset the column, each slowly snatched a small stone from the top of the chest high stack. As Torzin and Ryska each held a pebble snuggly within their palms, the Consular released his mental grip on the others, sending the stack of rocks crumbling to the ground.

Taking a step toward the students, Osetto neatly tucked his hands behind his back, taking the stance of the wise sage before the young Jedi. “Now, hold out your hand, palm toward the sky, pebble in its center.”

The Padawans complied, holding the stones they had taken in the flat of their right palms. Extending their arms, their joints went rigid, locking their stance.

“Now, let me see you lift these pebbles with the Force,” Osetto suggested.

There was a moment of hesitation in the students.

“That’s it?” Torzin calmly asked. “I mean, a child could lift something this small.”

“Then you should have no problem, right?” Osetto offered with a knowing smile. The Padawans went along with their master’s direction, lifting the singular pebbles they possessed with the Force. The small stones rose through the air before coming to a gentle stop at eye level. There they remained, secure in the teenagers’ telekinetic grips, not an ounce of wobble in either of them. “One’s strength in the Force comes from understanding, and understanding is achieved through increments. There is no universal application of the Force, but there are underlying principles that carry through whether you are lifting a pebble or a boulder. Understanding these variations and constants allows a Jedi to more efficiently and effectively channel the Force.”

The Padawans listened to their teacher, minds unstrained by lifting the pebble. With a couple of nods, the students signaled their understanding, as well as their ability to concentrate on multiple items calling for their attention.

“Think about what it takes to lift that pebble,” Osetto continued. “Even if it is so effortless as to seem unconscious, remember that it still draws upon you. Neither you nor the Force is ultimately responsible for your actions. It is a give and take, each guiding one another. One must respect and understand the other. You must know yourself just as much as the Force. How is it you were able to lift that pebble? What was your state of mind? Where did you put your focus? The Force is limited by you, but you are also the one to set it free. Do you understand?”

“To use the Force, we have to believe in ourselves,” Ryska warmly offered.

“That’s right,” Osetto declared. “Your mental state has the most profound impact on your connection to the Force. That is why you are taught to understand your emotions, to seek out knowledge, to possess an internal harmony.”

“Because if we don’t, we risk falling to the dark side, correct?” Torzin suggested.

“That’s right,” Osetto calmly answered. “The dark side possesses a natural allure. It is easy to give into anger, into hate. So easy in fact, that some Jedi don’t even realize they’ve done so.”

“But people can turn away, right?” Ryska asked. “I mean, if our mental state can set us on that path, it can lead us away from it too, right?”

“That’s right,” Osetto warmly repeated. “The dark side is… magnetic. Once within its grasp, it can be hard to tear free. But not impossible. That is why we must never give up on those who fall. It’s up to us to offer our hand, that they may pick themselves up.”

The teens offered another pair of nods.

“Now,” Osetto perked up, somewhat more chipper. “Time to take things up a notch.”

As the students watched the Miraluka turn upon his heels, they allowed the pebbles to drop back into their palms. They waited patiently as the Consular circled around the various stones that littered the ground before he finally stopped beside a large rock. Already reaching up to the Osetto’s waist, the boulder beside the Jedi had even more of its heft buried beneath the dirt. With a solid slap, the Miraluka set his hand upon the immense stone.

“You’ll be lifting this next,” Osetto warmly declared. The student’s offered only bewildered gazes.

“We can’t lift that!” Ryska balked.

Osetto’s smile widened. “Of course you can. Remember, it’s all about incremental changes.”

“That’s a pretty big increment!” Ryska exclaimed.

“You just have to remember what I’ve taught you,” Osetto calmly reasoned. As the students fell silent, the Consular once more calmed his mind. Maintaining contact with the boulder, Osetto began exerting his will upon the embedded rock. The Padawans watched in amazement as the stone began to stir from its deep rest. The Miraluka showing no signs of visible strain, the boulder began to lift itself from the ground, the Jedi’s hand still resting upon its top.

The large stone now floated in the air, its bottom stained with dirt. Slowly, Osetto began walking toward the students with the lifted rock moving alongside him. The boulder, heavier than the three organics’ combined weights, gently hovered beneath the Consular’s hand, guided by the Jedi’s mind. Stopping just short of the Padawans, Osetto set the stone back on the ground with a sizable thud. The impact was enough to make the Cathar flinch. When she recovered, she was left with the smiling gaze of her master before her.

“Who would like to try first?” Osetto warmly asked.

The Padawans looked to each other and, for the first time that morning, neither seemed too eager.