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Osetto
10.17.2012 , 06:37 PM | #11
Chapter Eight: First Lessons (Part Three)

Silence. Calm. Reflection. Those were the intended effects of meditation. Intention could be a trouble area for some Padawans. Within Osetto's private residence composed of quaint designs and simple features, he and his student sat upon a simple decorative rug, facing each other a short distance apart. The Consular was the model of repose, knees bent, hands together, serene demeanor. The same could not be said of the Padawan. Ryska sat across from her Master, eyes closed, knees bent, hands together, but the rest of her seemed quite adverse to conforming to the peaceful stance. She swayed from side to side, sneaking a quick peak at her Master every now and again.

"It's been a while since I was a student," Osetto warmly spoke up, "but I'm rather sure they teach proper meditation technique as an initiate."

"I'm sorry, Master," Ryska abashedly apologized. "I've never been too good at, you know, sitting still… completely silent… for extended periods of time…"

"You needn't worry yourself too much, Padawan. Inner peace is an importance aspect of being a proper Jedi. This is, of course, achieved through proper meditation."

"Which I seem to have trouble with…"

"It would appear that way," Osetto offered, completely deadpan. Ryska physically and emotionally drooped, prompting a light chuckle from the Consular. "But as we know… appearances can be deceiving. I like to believe meditation to be a state of mind rather than a defined action."

"But I thought achieving a certain state of mind was the end result of meditation…" Ryska mused. The Miralukan offered an eyeless stare from behind his simple face-wrapping. "I'm sorry… 'honor thy Master'."

The consular offered another chuckle. "You'll do me plenty of honor if you'll assume I'm not one of those Masters who can't stand to be corrected." The Miraluka's warmth put her mind at ease, allowing her to take a deep breath and set herself into the proper meditative stance.
----------
Within Dehros' private residence, he and his student sat upon a simple decorative rug facing each other a short distance apart. The Guardian and his Padawan both sat utterly still, utterly focused, absorbed within their own contemplative minds. That serenity took a quick pause as Dehros opened his eyes.

"I think the other two may have some misconceptions about the nature of meditation," Dehros stoically commented.

"Master?" Torzin broke his trance.

"I'm sorry, Padawan. A meditative state brings with it heightened senses, and it can be hard to tune out Osetto's banter at times."

"You can hear them talking?"

"Yes. Quite well, in fact. They're on the other side of this wall," Dehros explained, jutting a thumb over his shoulder, pointing to the wall behind him. "If you focus, you might be able to hear them."

"I will try, Master."
----------
"I think our friends are talking about us," Osetto jocularly revealed.

"Really? Master Norrida and Torzin?" Ryska asked with an apparent wonder in her eyes.

"Yes, they're on the other side of this wall."

"You can hear them?"

"Not as well as I can see them," Osetto explained. Ryska remained silent, offering only the disbelieving arch of an eyebrow. "The same way I can see you making funny faces." Ryska immediately straightened her posture and wiped the smile from her face, prompting the Consular to adopt one of his own. "I have no eyes, that doesn't mean I cannot see. In fact, I'd say my vision is quite clear. You're eyes provide you a valuable range of information, but they are limited in scope. Your vision is conical. Mine… spherical. It matters not whether you are in front of me or behind me. In light or in darkness. In the open or behind a barrier. I can see you. And I can certainly see their lips moving."
----------
"I afraid I don't hear anything," Torzin admitted. "What are they talking about?"

"Osetto is describing his Force vision," Dehros informed. "It really is a remarkable trait, but any Jedi can achieve a similar effect with proper training. Miralukans simply lack the handicap of relying on their eyes for years before being told to ignore them."

"Do you possess this skill?"

"It requires focus, but yes. It doesn't come as naturally to me as it does Osetto, however. He has superior vision, but I have a firmer grasp on other senses."
----------
Osetto bobbed his head as his lips curled into a grin. "Now he's attempting to downplay my abilities. I think he's trying to impress his Padawan."

Ryska let out a restrained giggle.
----------
"That's not true Osetto," Dehros calmly declared, not breaking his meditative stance. Torzin slightly arched his brow, but focused on maintaining his poise. "I simply believe it important to inform my Padawan that one should not rely on a single sense for information."
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"It's okay to boast every once in a while, Dehros. Or are you just embarrassed that you can only beat me in tests of hearing, smelling, and tasting."
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"Those can be just as important as sight and touch. But if you want boasting, fine. I beat you three to two when it comes to senses."
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"You're forgetting the sixth sense, which I have a firmer grasp of. So, we're even."
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"If you can't even define something you can't claim victory in it."
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"Of course I can. And I'd take limited precognition over the ability to properly identify what I'm putting in my mouth," Osetto joked.
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"And sometimes I regret my ability to properly identify what comes out of your mouth," Dehros joked, although with his usual emotionless candor.
----------
Osetto and his student shared a soft round of laughter. "I managed to pick up that last line," Ryska admitted.

"Very good, Padawan," Osetto praised. "Remember, your mental state is vulnerable to outside stimuli. Maintaining calm whilst also participating in conversation with either friend or foe can be daunting. One mustn't lose one's focus, temper, or bearings. It's easy to be at peace when you're alone with your thoughts… not so much when burdened with unwanted company."

"Yeah, but I still have trouble with the basics," Ryska regretfully admitted.

"Don't worry. All things in time. Dehros wasn't much for meditation in our earlier days."

"Really? Him?"

"He wasn't always Mr. Stoic. Used to be quite the passionate fellow. I was the one constantly chastising him about following the code when his Master wasn't doing so. But, as you know… war has a way of changing things."
----------
"Master Norrida?" Torzin hesitantly spoke up. The guardian seemed entrenched in his meditations. Eyes open, but frozen in place, staring into the distance. "Master?"

Dehros lifted his head, directing his gaze to his Padawan. Only after a series of blinks did the Jedi speak. "Let us continue our meditations."

"Yes, Master."
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

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Osetto
08.04.2013 , 12:17 AM | #12
Chapter Nine: Progress (Part One)

Under the soft light of the rising Tython sun, the temple training grounds were warming up as initiates were getting an early start on their training. Jedi Masters tended to small groups of students, instructing them in the basic arts of swordsmanship and Force utilization. Circles of younglings levitated small rocks, their concentration breaking as soon as a Republic shuttle passed close overhead. Traversing the temple steps, Jedi Knights Dehros and Osetto moved with their Padawans by their sides.

"Ryska. Torzin," Osetto began as he walked and talked at a casual pace. "The lesson Dehros and I have planned for the day will take you beyond the usual training grounds."

"And what lesson might that be?" Ryska enthusiastically asked.

"Finding out is part of the lesson," Osetto warmly teased. "As you may know, Tython is our new home, but it is far from developed, especially when compared to the Coruscant temple. When we arrived, there was little more than dilapidated stonework left behind by the ancient inhabitants. Months were devoted to exploring this world, and months more were spent constructing a permanent settlement. Even today, much of the temple still consists of the ruins that occupied these grounds, and won't see restoration for another year that the least. But even if we do not have a proper 'house', the Jedi have found a 'home' here. Even with only rudimentary facilities and supplies, we dedicate ourselves to rebuilding the Order and training the next generation of Jedi."

Passing by the makeshift arenas and platforms that dotted the temple's lawn, the four Jedi began venturing down a stone path away from the students' usual training grounds. Already, more trees and vegetation began to enter their view as the Tython's impressive flora accentuated the road.

"Dehros and I were amongst some of the first to relocate to Tython," Osetto continued. "Communing with Force, letting it guide us as we cut through the brush in search of our own history. We were there to assist the Masters, and it proved as worthwhile an experience as any other in our years of training."

"Further down this path lies a region colloquially titled 'The Gnarls'," Dehros detailed in his usual stoic tone. "The majority of it remains covered in a thick undergrowth, but the Order has managed to restore the roads and pathways that run through it. The Masters would like to see it eventually become another training grounds for Padawans."

"So, our task is emulate your actions," Torzin suggested. "Combat the harsh brush of Tython to aid in the Order's recovery."

"An astute observation," Dehros calmly praised.

"If only a bit mistaken," Osetto added with a subtle grin. "I mean, you two are a bit underequipped to take on the wilds of Tython. We're not that cruel."

"Your task is to emulate results, not actions," Dehros clarified. "A physical trial that brings with it understanding, an expansion upon what you know about yourselves and the world around you."

"Then what are we doing in the gnarls if not tearing down brush?" Ryska wondered.

"Your task isn't about tearing down, it's about building up," Osetto answered. As the young Cathar looked upon her Master with a mix of curiosity and confusion, the Miraluka continued to lead them down the stone path in silence.

As the group ventured deeper into the Tythonian wilds, the Padawans caught their first glimpse of what awaited them in the gnarls. Trees sprouted from the earth, casting shadows upon weathered ruins of an age long passed. Little more than an errant wall managed to survive the erosion of time, the crumbling stone structures laying toppled and consumed by the spreading of vegetation. Amidst the shade and brush, the astute eye could pick out statues and monuments that managed to remain standing off the beaten path.

The Masters and their Padawans journeyed further and further from the temple, into the supposed wilds that ought to have abandoned any semblance of civilization. And yet, as they ventured forth, the Padawans began to pick up the subtle sounds of industry. The noises were hard to confirm, however, as they were soon overtaken by the loudening bellow supplied by a nearby waterfall. Seeing the flow of waters amongst the overwhelming vegetation and ruins was a sight to behold, a thing of beauty despite the impediment it ultimately posed.

Crossing over an ancient yet dependable stone bridge, the Padawans could finally see the fringes of construction ahead, figures moving amongst architectural framework. Operating near a cliff's edge, workers and droids were establishing the foundation for a small outpost.

"As you can see, I used the word 'building' quite literally," Osetto declared. "Dehros and I cleared it with the foreman. He agreed to let you two work under him on the condition that he wasn't responsible for your wellbeing."

"Sooo… what exactly do we have to do?" Ryska inquired.

"Whatever is needed of you," Osetto stated. "Lay down some paneling. Pick up a plasma torch. Operate machinery."

"And figure out what our lesson is supposed to be," Torzin stoically added.

"Correct, but do not let your desire to appease us distract you from the task at hand," Dehros calmly advised.

The two Padawans shared a brief look before affixing their gaze toward the small construction site that developed before them. A small outpost, only a dozen construction workers populated the area, bolstered by a mediocre allotment of heavy loader droids. The Cathar and Mirialan took a few steps toward the site before pausing to procure a final confirmation from their Masters. The two adults offered them a brief nod of their heads and the Padawans continued along the stone path.

"We'll return for you at the end of the day," Osetto declared alongside a comforting wave of his hand. Setting their students on their way, the two Masters turned to head back toward the temple grounds. They continued back along the stone path until they were sure that they were out of earshot.

"I still consider this idea rather unorthodox," Dehros confessed.

"You didn't seem to have a problem with it when I suggested it," Osetto teased.

"I didn't. I still don't. I simply wonder if there was a better way to bring about the intended effect," Dehros reasoned.

"There are some things that every Jedi should know. Things that can't be learned in classrooms and archives," Osetto stated. "There's much to do here on Tython, but that does not mean we won't be needed elsewhere. A Jedi should be able to adapt and operate in any environment."

"And their lightsabers, you still wish to allow them to begin construction if they succeed today?" Dehros inquired.

"I think they are ready," Osetto proclaimed. "Besides, hadn't your Padawan constructed one before?"

"Yes, but only because of the war," Dehros informed. "The Masters now believe that the construction of a lightsaber should come at the end of their training, when they're ready to become a Knight."

"The Order changed with the war. It makes sense that it would change with the peace as well," Osetto commented.

"But you still think it's appropriate they receive their lightsabers," Dehros stated.

"The sooner a Padawan receives their lightsaber, the sooner they can be taught how to live without it. Through choice rather than necessity," Osetto explained.

"Ever the model Consular," Dehros stoically commented.

Osetto let out a soft chuckle as he and Dehros continued their trek back to the temple.
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

Adwynyth's Avatar


Adwynyth
08.04.2013 , 02:36 AM | #13
Delivery for Osetto:

SQUEE
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
08.12.2013 , 10:17 PM | #14
Chapter Ten: Progress (Part Two)

Ryska and Torzin approached the cliff-side construction site with a tempered haste, neither thrilled nor enthused with the task they had been given.

As they approached their target, they could better make out the foundations of the outpost, standardized metals and materials covering the grass and stone that dominated the area. A makeshift barrier on the other end of the site marked the cliff's edge, serving as a substitute until a proper energy fence could be erected. On the left and right vestiges of the outpost, unfinished generators supplied the site some modicum of power.

Making the transition from natural ground to metal foundation, the two Padawans scanned their surroundings, seeking out the project's foreman. The search would prove short-lived, as a rugged Human in civilian garb moved toward the two Jedi. The man showed no delight in laying eyes upon the two teenagers.

"Excuse me, sir," Torzin calmly spoke up. "Are you foreman of this construction site?"

"Yeah, I am," the foreman replied with a low grumble. "They didn't tell me they were sending children."

"Hey, we're not children!" Ryska quickly retorted. The other Padawan placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, silently asking her to remain calm.

"We are unaware of the circumstances regarding our arrangement, but we pledge ourselves to help you in any way we can."

"Hrmph," the foreman briskly offered. "I'd rather the Jedi let us work like we're supposed to instead of sending us two kids."

"What do you mean?" Torzin inquired.

"You know how hard it is to work on Tython for us non-Jedi?" the foreman combatted. "I'm working with only a quarter of my normal crew. We got only a single shuttle making supply runs. The Jedi are so intent on keeping this place safe that we couldn't even come here in our own ships. We can't lay down any infrastructure without one of you people second guessing our work. We're one of the few companies willing to work with you and this is how you treat us?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize things were so difficult for those outside the Order here," Ryska apologized. "We'll try and make up for it."

"I'm sure you will," the foreman muttered. "I got nothing for you two until the next supply drop off, so keep yourselves occupied until then." The foreman turned and walked away from the students. The Padawans watched in silence as they were stranded, alone amongst the metal framework and construction.

Workers scuttled across the site, going about their business, occasionally casting a sideward glance toward the younger helpers. Glances containing little appreciation. The Padawans quickly realized they were intruders.

"They don't want us here," Ryska whispered, a quiver in her voice.

"Then we'll have to change their minds," Torzin declared. "Our Masters must have expected this. Our trial isn't to work, but to show ourselves capable of work."

"You think so?"

"Jedi always believe in Jedi. Perceptions and expectations from those outside the Order are far more diverse," Torzin commented. "They don't know what Jedi, even those as young as us, are capable of."

"I don't know," Ryska quietly offered. "He seemed to have a bigger problem with the fact that we are Jedi, rather than our ages."

"All men are not without their prejudices," Torzin declared. "Our task is to help. So we will help."

"Still, I don't think the foreman is alone in his feelings," Ryska suggested. The subtle glares and sneers directed toward the Padawans by the passing workers seemed to confirm her suspicions.

Minutes passed as the young Jedi surveyed the site in silence, awkwardly standing around, waiting for some opportunity to lend a hand. But none came. They continued to wait. Continued to watch. It was a curious sight for the Padawans watching the unfolding scene. They had witnessed the Order's reconstruction efforts underway at the temple, but this was something different.

Beings without knowledge of the Force, toiling under Tython's gentle sky. Figures of varying shapes and sizes, moving and operating with little uniformity in their actions. Some moved and acted with utmost precision whilst other, larger species exhibited brutish power. It was a snapshot of the Republic. Many peoples. Many aspects. Many methods. Working together. And currently working without Jedi.

There was a heavy rustling amongst the nearby brush as a Republic shuttle approached the construction site, a bundle of materials attached to its belly. The vessel lowered itself amongst the small clearing between the framework and the gnarls, hovering a short distance above the bumpy terrain. A number of workers rushed down the hill to greet the shuttle, carefully maneuvering beneath the floating craft. Seeing the workers flock to its side, the Jedi could get a sense of the delivery's size. Standing as tall as the men who surrounded it, the bundle rivaled the dimensions of a full-sized landspeeder, holding an assortment of panels and rods intended for the construction site.

Carefully, the vessel lowered itself until its package made contact with the ground below. The foreman sounded the all clear and punched a command into his datapad, signaling for the delivery's release. With a soft clank, the shuttle detached itself from the shipment, lifting itself and setting out toward the horizon.

"Alright!" the foreman shouted. "Yev. Haruss. Start dividing the materials. Frakes. Get the loader droid down here."

Rushing down from the site at the top of the hill, the Padawans stood at attention beside the foreman. "What do you need from us, sir?" Ryska enthusiastically asked.

The foreman cast a sideward glance toward the Jedi. "Seems we've got everything under control. We'll call you if we need you," he brushed off.

The energy had been immediately sapped from the Padawans as they were once more forced to stand and watch others work while they did nothing. Slowly, they trudged back up the hill, struggling to keep their heads high.

----------

Back amongst the temple grounds, Osetto and Dehros chatted as they overlooked the training areas where young initiates practiced under the watchful eyes of tutors and weaponsmasters.

"How do you think the students are doing with their trial?" Dehros inquired of the Miraluka.

"The task we left with them cannot be measure in terms of good or bad," Osetto reasoned, casting a subtle grin toward his Human friend. "It is merely an experience, one from which they may learn and advance regardless of any specific outcome."

"I know how little you care for rigidity, but we should make sure we retain control of our Padawans," Dehros stated. "Sending them out into the unknown this early in their training may yield unpredicted and undesirable results."

"You must remember, this isn't early in their training," Osetto reminded. "They've already learned the basics from other teachers, other Masters. It is our duty to expand upon that knowledge base, occasionally reminding them of what is most important."

"They were trained under the toils of war," Dehros declared. "As young as they were, it undoubtedly left a lasting impression."

"I know. Believe me, I know," Osetto calmly stated. "After all, even we have yet not fully adjusted to the peacetime. But just because we aren't at war, it does not mean we must coddle them. They cannot believe in themselves if we do not believe in them."

"It is not my intention to coddle," Dehros emphatically stated. "I know they are capable. I know they are worthy of trust. But the war has changed much. Not just amongst the Order."

"Which was the point of this exercise. Good or bad, there are certain things they must be aware of in order to continue as Jedi," Osetto reasoned.

"I will not dispute as much, but uncontrolled knowledge is not without its dangers," Dehros commented.

"I know. Believe me, I know," Osetto calmly repeated. "But some things they must discover on their own. And then we, as their Masters, must guide them after said discovery. That is our duty."

"It's hard to guide our Padawans if we keep sending them out by themselves," Dehros declared.

"Fine, you can decide how we train the day after tomorrow," Osetto joyfully conceded.

"Very well, I will… the day after tomorrow?" Dehros asked for clarification.

"Yes, I already have an idea for tomorrow's training," Osetto informed.

"And you've just decided I'll go along with what you have planned?"

"Pretty much, yeah."
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

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Osetto
12.09.2013 , 12:44 AM | #15
Chapter Eleven: Progress (Part Three)

The day proceeded at the construction site with little fuss. There was no opportunity for it. The Padawans maintained their stations, sitting on unused crates, heads hung low, watching the surrounding workers walk about the outpost framework. The young Mirialan and Cathar's offers to help went unneeded and unwanted. They had nothing to do and nowhere to go.

"I hate just sitting around," Torzin calmly declared. "What are we supposed to say when we return to the Masters?"

"Maybe we just tell them what happened?" Ryska supposed. "I mean, it's not like we didn't try to help. We did. They just didn't want it. Intent's what matters, right?"

"Intent isn't what get things done. Intent doesn't change the consequences of our actions. Intent is used by people to justify running away from where you're needed, and intruding where you don't belong," Torzin reasoned. "It doesn't change where you are and what you do."

"But we can't just ignore it," Ryska softly replied. "Doing nothing out of obligation is different from doing nothing out of laziness or spite. The workers refusing our help provides the same results as us refusing to help, but I'm sure our Master would prefer one over the other."

"That assumes a single, binary choice," Torzin countered. "We shouldn't be thinking of different ways to get to the same result. We should be thinking of different results and the best way to get to the best one."

"I guess that makes sense," Ryska admitted. "But that assumes we always know the best result or will always choose the best course of action. That's an assumption we cannot possibly make. As people or Jedi, especially as Padawans."

"I am not suggesting that I, that we, that anyone, has all the answers, but we have some," Torzin replied. "But in this situation, it's like that foreman isn't even willing to ask a question. The workers already have all the answers they need, or at least that's what they'd like to think."

"And they are not alone in thinking so," Ryska commented. "It's not easy to see things from another's view, especially one radically different. It's scary to think the answers we've held so dear might be wrong. You can't condemn them for that."

"I can if they're opposing something that's for their own good," Torzin declared. "Besides, it's not like we're challenging their worldview or anything. We're offering to help, which their pride won't allow them to accept. They don't want help from us. They don't want help from Jedi. Do they need it? Maybe not. Would it make things go faster, smoother? Yes. The Republic was built on the ideal of cooperation. Our progress is tied to it. Our survival is dependent upon it. They might think they don't need our help now, but eventually they will. And when that day comes, their pride is going to get them hurt."

"Are we still talking about the construction workers?" Ryska wondered.

The pair was interrupted by the roar of a passing shuttle overhead, bringing in a new bundle of construction materials. The vessel cast a concise shadow as it approached the drop-off point, the Tythonian sun at its peak. Even at its brightest, harshest setting, the star could not overcome the planet's natural temperate temperament. Gently lowering itself and the cargo attached to its belly, the shuttle descended toward the bottom of the hill at the foot of the outpost. The Padawans watched, once more, as the workers flocked to the delivery. The teenagers maintained their sedentary position, knowing the eventual dismissal they'd received from the foreman were they to move.

The foreman sounded the all clear and the shuttle detached the bundle of materials before making its quick ascent. He shouted directions, calling for the workers to divide and sort the package as the loader droid slowly made its way down the hill. The blocky machine hovered a short distance above the ground by way of repulsorlifts in its base, two large prongs extending from its front. A rudimentary droid, it was little more than an automated tool with the basest of artificial intelligences.

Finishing its slow, floating gait down the hill, the machine paused and lowered itself as a pair of workers piled numerous metallic rods and beams onto its prongs. After a full load, the droid ran a charge through the prongs, securing the materials to itself with a magnetic tug. The machine carefully raised itself from the grassy terrain and began its reverse ascent up the hill under the watchful eye of the site's technician.

As the droid continued its slow climb toward the construction site, the pair of workers below readied the next batch for when the machine returned. Everyone focused the entirety of their attention on their respective jobs, all but the Padawans, who offered only their bored stares toward the bustling workers. As the young Jedi continued to slouch on a set of nearby crates, a cold chill shot up the Mirialan's spine.

"Did you feel that?" Torzin whispered to his fellow Padawan.

"Feel what?" Ryska wondered, straightening her posture. "The only thing I feel is my butt going numb."

The Mirialan remained silent, narrowing his gaze toward the construction workers, pondering the strange feeling in his mind.

As the loader droid neared the top of the hill, it came to an abrupt stop a few meters short of its destination. The monitoring technician puzzled for a moment, pouring over his datapad for a diagnostic. The droid had frozen, still hovering above the ground, but refusing to move.

"Frakes!" the foreman shouted to the panicking technician. "What's the hold up?"

The technician was a male Human, younger and thinner than his coworkers. The man in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the crew's automated members, he was the least hardened of motley group of construction workers. His gaze bouncing between the immobilized droid and his datapad, the technician frantically tapped the electronic tablet, trying to find a solution.

"Frakes!" the foreman repeated.

Just then, the loader's repulsorlifts blew out. The droid fell to the ground, striking the grassy hill with a soft thud. Before the workers below could respond to the noise, the magnetic grip the loader used to maintain its grip failed, sending the bundle of supplies tumbling down the hill. The heavy beams and rods bounced and rolled back toward the drop point, threatening to crush the construction workers in their path.

Just as the tumbling materials were about to strike the pair of construction workers below, they were knocked out of the way by Torzin tackling into both of them, the Padawan having begun his rush over mere moments ago. The rolling beams and rods struck the remainder of the bundle of supplies, scattering the once organized pile across the bottom of the hill. The Padawan and the tackled workers skidded across the grassy terrain to relative safety, stopping beyond the radius of the scattered debris.

Torzin quickly picked himself up off the ground, looking over the heavy-built Human and Weequay he had knocked clear as they squirmed on the ground, releasing nondescript grumbles and grunts. The Mirialan offered a helping hand, which neither of the workers accepted. Slowly, they moved to their feet of their own accord, brushing off their clothes whilst ignoring young Jedi.

As the trio remained locked in silence, Ryska rushed over, eyes wide with a slew of emotions. "Whoa! That was amazing Torzin! You totally saved those guys!"

The Padawan's words stewed in the Mirialan's mind. She had shown more appreciation than either of the men he had saved.

"A thank you would have been nice," Torzin mumbled toward the workers, trying to maintain a calm and stoic tone.

The Jedi watched as the workers made their way over to the scattered pile of materials as if nothing had happened, where the foreman paced around releasing a steady stream of hushed slurs and expletives beneath his breath.

"What do you think they're going to do now?" Ryska wondered.

"They're finally going to accept our help," Torzin declared as he made his way toward the group, the Cathar quickly following behind him. As the Padawans drew closer, they could hear the foreman struggling to formulate a plan as the technician joined the huddle of workers.

"What's the status of the loader?" the foreman inquired.

"Not good," the technician revealed. "Software and hardware failure. I can do on-site repairs, but it'll take a while."

The foreman mumbled another curse. "We have a schedule to keep. First thing's first, we need to clear the drop-off point."

"It won't be quick, but I can the move the pieces up myself one at a time," the Weequay declared.

"Alright," the foreman stated. "While Frakes fixes the loader, Yev will fill its role for now. Haruss, can you organize this mess?"

The heavier Human offered an affirming nod.

"We want to help too," Torzin proclaimed, forcing himself into the huddle.

"Sorry kid, got it handled," the foreman dismissed.

"You can't think that," Torzin balked. "There's no way you're moving all this stuff by the time your next shipment arrives. And if you bring more workers down here, that'll just mean more jobs go undone. We can help."

"You think you can lift this stuff?" the foreman inquired.

"I know I can," Torzin confidently stated.

"Hrm. And the girl?" the foreman added. The eyes of the overseer and the Mirialan fell to the Cathar.

"Well…" Ryska began. "I know a thing or two about droids. I could help repair your loader."

"Our technician has it covered," the foreman defended.

"Actually…" the technician hesitantly offered. "I could use a few extra hands."

The foreman released another nondescript grumble. "Fine."

The young Jedi looked to one another, a newfound confidence resting behind their eyes. They were finally given the chance to help. Finally given the chance to prove themselves as more than just a couple of kids in the workers' minds. A chance they did not intend to squander.

The huddle dispersed with little fuss, the various individuals heading toward their respective jobs. Torzin and the Weequay set their sights on the nearby metallic beams that littered the grassy terrain, whilst Ryska and the technician made their way up the hill to the broken loader droid.
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Osetto
12.11.2013 , 11:22 PM | #16
Chapter Twelve: Progress (Part Four)

Torzin watched as the burly Weequay placed his hands around one of the metallic beams that littered the bottom of the hill, his leathery face wincing as he hoisted it over his shoulder. The item was as long as its bearer was tall, composed of a material known for its high strength to weight ratio. It was lighter than a similar object could have been, but still heavy enough to require a great deal of strength and balance to lift, let alone carry up a grassy hill. But Yev was determined to show himself capable, especially as he shot a gruff glare toward the onlooking Mirialan.

As the Weequay made the first trip up the hill and toward the construction site, the stoic Padawan eyed one of the fallen beams for himself. The young Jedi placed a gentle hand upon the metallic surface, in no rush to lift the hefty object. He close his eyes, concentrated, found his center. Wrapping both hands around the beam, he struggled to lift it from the ground, his stoic countenance threatening to collapse as he slowly raised it into the air. He was young, but not inexperienced. He was smaller, but not weak. He was willing, and thanks to the Force, he was able.

Torzin raised the metallic beam, bearing the hefty burden upon his shoulder. He maintained his stance, drawing calm, collected breaths. Setting his sights on the site ahead, the Mirialan took his first steps toward the top of the hill. He drew upon his connection to the Force, as well as his status as a Padawan would allow him. His body sculpted by martial training and the threat of war, that connection was just enough to allow him to match the Weequay's strength.

Whilst the two men hauled materials from the drop-site, they passed the site's technician intently eyeing the disabled loader droid, the young Cathar standing by his side. A toolbox sat at the technician's heels, holding a litany of items intended to disassemble and reassemble the mechanical apparatus, but they went untouched for the moment as the technician and his helper conducted a preliminary examination.

"Do we know what's wrong with it?" Ryska patiently inquired.

"Somewhat," Frakes plainly answered. "It seems the repulsors in its base malfunctioned, then overloaded. After that, it was pretty much a cascading failure of all the other systems."

"No isolation safeguards in the droid's programming?" Ryska wondered.

"There's supposed to be, but I suppose that malfunctioned as well," Frakes offered with a sigh. The technician stared at the depowered husk of the stilled machine for a moment before turning toward the Padawan. "You seem to have some knowledge of droids."

"It's not all swordfights and philosophy at the temple," Ryska replied with a soft chuckle. "When kids are brought into the Order, the Jedi take over the role of providing education. Since not everyone is fit for the path of a Knight, they like to make sure younglings still possess the necessary skills and knowledge to live a good life outside the Order. Studies in agriculture, engineering, history, the like. I picked up quite a bit in my autonomous mechanics class."

"The studious type, eh?" Frakes commented as he removed one of the loader droid's external panels.

"Not really," Ryska bashfully confessed. "I actually had the habit of falling asleep during most of my classes. The ones I managed to do pretty good in were ones involving stuff I could get my hands on. If I knew I could go out and do something with what I learned, it managed to hold my attention. At least, well enough for me to pick up a thing or two."

"I'll admit, I didn't take you for much of a machinist when I first saw you," Frakes admitted.

"I suppose most people just think of us as warriors and diplomats," Ryska commented. "At least, with the older Jedi. Your coworkers don't seem to think much of anything about us Padawans. Nothing pleasant at least."

"They're just a little stressed out," Frakes replied.

"A little?" Ryska balked.

"We're understaffed and overworked," Frakes defended. "Our droids were limited to class-fives because they were worried anything more sophisticated might compromise the planet's security. Like we'd trace the astrogation routes on our way here or something. We were ready to work, but they just kept piling restriction after restriction on us."

"So you wanted to help, but they made it difficult to do so? How about that," Ryska said with a coy smirk.

"The irony's not lost on me," the technician understandably remarked. "Yeah, I know we weren't the most accommodating. Just thought you deserved an explanation. Right or wrong, these guys have a reason for acting the way they do."

The young Cathar fell silent as the technician tinkered with the innards of the machine, hands deep beneath the droid's chassis. She watched with bright eyes as he methodically prodded and disconnected various internal mechanisms, eager and ready to offer her abilities.

Torzin and Yev had already made their first trip up the hill and returned to the pile to make their second. The Mirialan and Weequay marched in silence, only diverting their attention from their task to shoot a quick, stern glare toward the other. The next trip proved just as arduous as the first, but neither figure would allow themselves to show any budding signs of weakness. They each hoisted a beam over their shoulder, traversed the hill, and deposited it amongst the construction site, eager to begin the cycle anew. Eager to prove themselves the more capable individual.

They continued up and down the hill, silently enduring the toll the manual labor was taking on their bodies. One more successfully than the other. Even with his enhanced strength, sweat dominated the Mirialan's brow as his breaths increased in pace and intensity. As the two men made their way back toward the bottom of the hill, the Weequay finally saw fit to break the silence, if only to taunt the young Padawan.

"Getting' tired?" Yev asked in a suitably gruff manner, his voice as rough as his wrinkled, leathery face.

"Not at all," Torzin stoically replied. His tone may have possessed its usual calm, collected candor, but the pace with which his lungs drew breath betrayed his condition. The Padawan was used to his body being stressed, partaking in and succeeding in all manner of physical trials and lessons imparted upon him by his tutors over the years. But somehow, this task was proving more than a sufficient challenge. Something so simplistic, so menial as carrying cargo up a hill managed to test him more than any practice duel back at the temple.

The Weequay offered only a curt chortle as the pair neared the bundle of construction materials. Haruss had done a good job gathering the scattered pieces, meaning the haulers could make a more accurate assessment of their progress. The pile was noticeably diminished, but not by much. At best, their efforts would simply save the droid a couple trips when it was finally repaired. But the thought would stop neither the Mirialan nor the Weequay.

As he readied himself for his next trip, the Padawan found his eyes stung by the invasion sweat that dripped from his brow. Wiping his forehead with his sleeve, the young Jedi paused for a moment before reaching for the folds of his jacket. Slipping his arms out, the Mirialan removed the outermost layer of his robes, tossing the beige coat to the ground. His torso still garbed in the thinner under-layer, his arms were no longer covered, their green skin exposed to the elements. Looking back toward the path up the hill, the Padawan saw the curious sight of Ryska hastily averting her gaze, seemingly burying her face into the droid to offer it her full attention.

The Weequay already had a beam in his arms, and Torzin was not content to fall behind. The young Jedi hoisted the next piece over his shoulder and began marching toward the construction site.

"Thought you'd give up by now," Yev gruffly commented as the Padawan followed in his steps.

"If you haven't noticed, I'm rather persistent," Torzin calmly offered through careful breaths.

"Yeah. Ain't that like the Jedi. Always persistent," Yev replied, no sense of warmth in his voice.

"Would you rather us do nothing?" Torzin wondered.

The Weequay stacked his beam with the others he had carried up the hill, and began making his way back down without further delay. Torzin could only offer the arch of his brow to the curt construction worker as he did the same, setting his carried goods down and heading back down the hill.

"Don't ask questions you don't want real answers to, kid," Yev offered.
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Osetto
12.12.2013 , 09:03 PM | #17
Chapter Thirteen: Progress (Part Five)

The Weequay worker came to a stop at the foot of the hill, leaning against what remained of the pile to catch his breath. For all his strength he could not continue unabated. Torzin sought to capitalize upon the momentary reprieve. He had questions, and he most definitely wanted answers.

"What's your problem with the Jedi anyway?" Torzin directly asked, only a small gap separating the Padawan and the worker.

The Weequay offered a gruff scoff. "Y'all are more trouble than you're worth."

"How can you say that after all we've done to protect the Republic from the Sith?" Torzin replied, a sliver of anger slipping through his voice. "How can you hate a group that's willing to sacrifice so much to help you?"

"Because you only see fit to help with the problems you had a hand in creating," Yev replied. "The Sith attacked us, why? Because they wanted revenge against the Jedi. The reason the Sith even exist, is because a group of Jedi got pissed off way back when and decided to make their own Order. But I guess you don't expect us 'normals' to be aware of that fact."

"The Sith exist, because people seek to control things they shouldn't. Without the Jedi, without the Sith, someone else would just fill their role. Only then, you wouldn't have people like us to try and stop them," Torzin defended.

"Good, then maybe we could actually deal with them, instead of staying our hands, not going all out because you're afraid you'll turn to the 'dark side' or whatever," Yev chided.

"We've gone 'all out' before," Torzin growled. "It's the entire reason the Empire hates us. Because we tried to exterminate them more than a thousand years ago. Because we tried to commit genocide. And not just the Jedi. It was the Republic who wanted it done. It was a mistake then, and we're still dealing with the consequences today. But it's our duty to do the best with what we're given, and not make the same mistakes again."

"Then why's it seems like that's all you're capable of?" Yev wondered. "For a bunch of wise, enlightened individuals, you seem dead set on screwing up in the same ways time and time again. We almost lost Coruscant because you took a warmongering Empire at their word that they wanted peace."

"Nothing we've done has been in spite of the senate's wishes," Torzin commented. "Our actions are the Republic's actions."

"And what about the fact that whenever conflict springs up, it's always one of you folks on the other side? Hmm?" Yev inquired. "When you have members constantly 'turning to the dark side', you ever stop to think maybe the problem rests with you and not them? That maybe you oughtn't be taking children away from their families, training 'em to fight, and then wondering why they flip out after tellin' 'em to abandon everything that makes them a sentient being?"

"We're taught the way we are because the Force can be dangerous. Restrictions are needed to keep the peace," Torzin declared. "We don't just let anyone and everyone own a blaster, do we?"

"No. But we also don't have to worry about a blaster going off in our hands 'cause we make it mad, or because it's greedy, or because we broke its heart," Yev dismissively stated. "You've had thousands of years to improve, to adapt. But do yah? Nope. You stick to the same codes. Follow the same guidelines. And when everything's gone to hell, you expect our gratitude when you offer to help clean up a mess you created."

"I'll admit, we're not perfect. We've made mistakes in the past," Torzin conceded.

The Weequay released a heavy harrumph. "Good luck getting any of the others to admit that. They're all the same. Think they're better than the rest of us because they got some fancy mystical powers. When a soldier commits treason, they're rightfully punished. When a Jedi does it, so long as they 'turn back to the light' all is forgiven. You operate by double standards. You people stand in your temple, deciding what's best for us, when you can't even decide what's best for yourselves. Like we wouldn't be able to survive without the gracious charity of the Jedi. Despite the fact that you don't give a damn about things like crime or poverty. Nope, you gotta be in top shape for when the 'forces of darkness' eventually attack. You're too important, too special to deal with 'normal' problems. You got your Force wars to worry about. The fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance every day, doesn't it? Can't worry about the insignificant stuff the rest of us do."

"We're not like that," Torzin softly declared. "Not all of us."

"Really? You don't think you're better than those with no connection to the Force?" Yev inquired.

"Not better, just different," Torzin commented.

"You don't say?" Yev scoffed. "Because where I've been standing, all I've seen is some kid trying to do a man's share of work. Is it really because you want to help this construction along? Or is it because you want to prove that you're able to do what we can? That because of the Force, you can match the work of a man who's been doin' this his whole life, while you're still a teenager?"

"I wanted to prove that I was willing to help," Torzin proclaimed.

"You wanted to prove you were able," Yev countered. "You proved yourself willing when you marched up to our site. But you couldn't stand us not accepting the help of the oh so generous Jedi. You wanted to prove us wrong. Wanted to make us regret pushing you away. So you pushed back. Intruded where you weren't wanted. Just like the Jedi always do."

The Weequay turned from the Padawan who was left standing silent and frozen. The construction worker picked up his next beam, leaving the young Mirialan behind as he made his way up the hill. Torzin eyed one of the beams near his feet, but he struggled to make himself retrieve it. He didn't know if he was unable, or unwilling, but the one thing he did know was that he was unsure.

Back at the loader droid, the technician had been poking and prodding the disabled machine's innards, Ryska handing him tools as he was arms deep beneath the droid's chassis. Reaching deeper into the machine, the technician pushed himself as close as he could before relenting, releasing a quick sigh as he withdrew his arm.

"Damn. I can't reach a component from here," Frakes informed.

"Is there another way to get to it?" Ryska politely inquired. "From the other side, or…"

"There's another panel on the bottom, but… we can't exactly flip the droid on its side to reach it," Frakes admitted.

"Can I have a look?" Ryska wondered.

"Go ahead," Frakes replied. The technician shifted upon the ground, letting the Padawan get in close to the exposed part of the droid's chassis. As the young Cathar peered deeper into the machine's inner workings, the Human shined a small light, illuminating the scrambled metals and mechanisms that comprised the droid's core. "I need to swap out a power cell around that corner, but I'm having a hard time reaching it."

"Hey, I've got small arms," Ryska warmly offered.

"Unless they've got a couple extra joints, they won't do you any good," Frakes joked.

"Alright then. What's the cell look like?" Ryska wondered as she scratched her chin. The technician reached down to his toolbox, retrieved a small metallic cylinder, edges tapered as if to fit in some sort of socket.

"It's the same as one of these," Frakes informed. "This is the new one that'll take its place."

Ryska took the new power cell and held it gently in her hand. Studying the item, the Padawan inserted her other arm into the droid's open chassis. The technician watched with curious wonder as the young Jedi closed her eyes, drawing careful, concise breaths. Deep within the machine's core, the Human could hear the subtle sounds of motion, despite the fact that the Cathar could not possibly reach the interior component. But to his surprise, when she withdrew her arm, her hand was grasped around the droid's spent power cell.

"Whoa, that's amazing," Frakes proclaimed.

The Cathar offered a soft giggle. "If you can't reach something, just have it come to you." As she spoke, the broken power cell hovered slightly above her palm, levitating through the power of the Force. The technician took the component from the Padawan as she went to work installing the other by the same means. Reaching as far in as she could before letting the Force do what she physically could not, telekinetically guiding and connecting the new power cell. Pulling her arm out once more, she shot the technician a confident look. "Alright, try it now."

The Human offered an appreciative nod before tapping away at his datapad. Hoping the repairs they had made would prove sufficient, the technician remotely fired up the loader droid. The heavy machine offered a mechanical cough as it sputtered to life, but it was functioning as well could be expected of it. As the droid's repulsors came back online, the machine slowly lifted itself from the grassy hillside.

Raising his her hand high into the air, Ryska shared a celebratory high five with the enthused technician.
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Osetto
12.17.2013 , 09:18 AM | #18
Chapter Fourteen: Progress (Part Six)

The site's technician guided the loader droid back down the hill, those in its path clearing the way. Torzin picked his previously shed coat up from the grass and slung it over his shoulder. Looking back up the hill, the Mirialan saw his fellow Padawan silently beckoning him to join her. Panning his gaze amongst the surrounding scene, the workers had already begun their return to the previous norm, not paying the slightest attention to the young Jedi.

The construction was fast getting back on schedule. With the loader droid up and running, the landing site would be clear by the time of the next shipment, and the workers would be free to continue their jobs about the site. The adults went about their business, whilst the teenagers retreated from the eyes and minds of the workers.

The Padawans sat themselves atop a grouping of empty crates near the construction site as they had before, watching the scene unfold around them. The motley group of crewmen went about their assigned tasks as if little had occurred in the time prior. No breakdown of the droid. No avalanche of metallic rods and beams. Nothing worth a second thought. What's done was done. It spoke to the men's characters. Spoke of simplicity, but also of resolve, and a willingness to press forward despite any setbacks. The Cathar found it all oddly endearing. The Mirialan, however, found himself dwelling on his previous exchange with the Weequay.

Torzin wore his usual stoicism, but as his eyes lowered and his head dipped, he could not mask his disappointment.

"What's the matter, Torzin?" Ryska wondered, a tinge of concern in her voice.

The Mirialan slowly rubbed his brow as he gathered his thoughts. He didn't know how to answer that question. He was bothered, because some part of him told him that he should be bothered. Whether he could explain it, or more importantly, could justify it, was another matter.

"I don't know," Torzin eventually muttered. "It's just… some of the things Yev said."

"Yev? The big Weequay?" Ryska curiously shot back. "What'd he say?"

"That basically the only reason I wanted to help is because it would make me feel better about myself," Torzin plainly stated.

"Come on, that's not true," Ryska warmly replied. "I mean, it's not, right?"

"The only reason we were here in the first place was because of our Masters. We wanted to be good students, not good people," Torzin reasoned. "I really only wanted to help after they refused it. I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted to prove I could do something."

"Hey, I didn't exactly appreciate being cast aside either," Ryska admitted. "Luckily, the technician didn't harbor the same ill will as some of the other workers."

"Except my problem isn't with the workers. It's with me," Torzin confessed. "I've wanted to prove myself ever since my induction into the Order. Prove that I was able to be a Jedi. All the learning, all the training… was it done because I believed in their purpose, or because I simply wanted to succeed? I mean, you said it yourself, intent matters. If I'm only doing good for selfish reasons, am I really doing good?"

"Except you aren't only doing this for selfish reasons," Ryska declared. "I mean, is there a part of you that's a little selfish? Sure. But that's to be expected. You're still a Padawan, not a freakin' Jedi Master. You've still got time to figure this stuff out. But for now, you're doing your best, right?"

"I don't know," Torzin muttered.

"Alright, you said you wanted to prove yourself to these guys. Did you only want to prove how capable you were?"

"I guess not. I wanted to show that we could help, even though we were young. I wanted to show that Jedi could help, even though the work might be considered menial for us," Torzin reasoned.

"See? You were looking out for me and the rest of the Order," Ryska stated. "Defending our good name."

"Except I wasn't," Torzin replied. "The more I tried to prove him wrong, the more I proved him right. That Jedi feel the need to intrude in other people's business. That we think we're better than those who aren't Jedi."

"We don't think that, do we?"

"Don't we? We're always telling people what's best for them. Telling the Republic what and what not to do," Torzin detailed.

"Maybe the Council does, but they're the wisest, most powerful Jedi in the entire galaxy," Ryska reasoned. "The rest of us, we're just doing everything in our power to help out, maintain the peace, keep people safe."

"Not everyone sees it that way," Torzin proclaimed.

"No, I wouldn't expect them to," Ryska replied. "Everyone's going to have their own way of looking at things. Some will offer praise. Some criticism. Neither will be inherently right or wrong. But there will always be a reason people believe the things they do. The best thing for us to do is not immediately seek to correct that which we think is wrong, but understand why someone might think that way."

"Hate is a hard thing to understand," Torzin muttered.

"Or an incredibly easy one," Ryska countered. "It's one of the simplest emotions to trigger, and one of the hardest to be rid of."

"I just wonder what it takes to make someone hate the Jedi," Torzin stated.

"Nothing pleasant," Ryska softly whispered. "But sometimes, after losing so much, all you have left is hate. Frakes said every one of these guys has a reason for acting the way they do. I think we might be better off not knowing the specifics."

The Mirialan release a low sigh as he push himself off the crate. Removing the coat he had slung over his shoulder, he set it upon where he had previously sat before making his way down the hill.

"Uh, Torzin? Where you going?" Ryska inquired.

"I need to settle something," Torzin stoically replied without turning to face his addresser. The Cathar's brow softly furrowed as she remained upon her crate, unable to produce an adequate response.

The male Padawan marched toward the dropzone where Yev and Haruss were piling the last of the bundled materials onto the loader droid's prongs. The machine's magnetic grip secured, they signaled the technician who directed the droid up the hill for its final trip before the next delivery. The two construction workers walked beside it when they spotted the young Jedi making his way toward them.

"What'ya want kid?" Yev inquired, momentarily halting his ascent up the hill whilst the other Human continued without him.

"I just wanted to say something," Torzin declared, plain and direct.

"Yeah? What?" Yev curtly offered.

"You were wrong. But… you were also right," Torzin confessed. The Weequay remained silent, sending a message in the form of his arched brow. "My offers to help weren't entirely unselfish. I wanted to prove myself. More importantly, I wanted to prove you wrong. I wanted you to be wrong about me. I wanted you to be wrong about the Jedi. And while we do not all act the way you say, I cannot deny that some of us do. And you're right, we do think we're better. Or rather, we believe we ought to be. Not that we're more important, or more valuable, but that we should strive to be better. Because if we are better, then we can fight, we can defend, we can sacrifice, so that others don't have to. But even in that pursuit, we are not perfect. We make mistakes. We occasionally fail. And you're right, we are persistent. Because we need to be. Because if we weren't, things would be much, much worse. We have to push ourselves forward, ignoring setbacks, keeping our eyes on the future. Because like it or not, people depend on us. And we don't always know who those people are. All we know is, we have to make sure that when the day comes that someone needs us, we are ready, and that person is willing to accept our help. We care. And for every one of us you think doesn't, countless others do."

"You done?" Yev finally replied.

"Yeah. I'm done," Torzin stoically stated. "Thanks for listening."

The Mirialan offered a respectful bow of his head, and made his way back toward his fellow Padawan up the hill. The Weequay continued to arch his brow as he studied the resolute teenager. Not much could be gleamed from the worker's rough visage, but he wore neither a glare nor a snarl, which suited the Jedi just fine. As the Mirialan took a seat next to the young Cathar, Yev returned to his duties, making his way toward the construction site to unload the last of the materials from the droid's arms.

"Well? Did you settle something?" Ryska jokingly inquired as her fellow Padawan returned to the crates.

"I think so," Torzin hesitantly admitted. "If only for myself."

The Mirialan lifted his coat from his seat, and draped it over his shoulder once more. Looking at the other Padawan's still exposed arms, Cathar placed her hand over her mouth, trying to hide the soft chuckle that passed between her lips.

"You planning on getting properly dressed before the Masters return?" Ryska playfully prodded.

"Sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable?" Torzin genuinely wondered, his stoicism possessing an almost underlying innocence. Unslinging the coat from his shoulder, the Padawan slipped his arms back through the sleeves, returning to his typical garb.

"Oh, not at all," Ryska unthinkingly replied, not catching her own eagerness until a moment too late. "I mean, I don't care one way or another. I barely even noticed anything different."

The sun above continued to cast its rays upon the construction site below as it followed its slow path across the sky. The workers had no need to call upon the Padawans' aid as the day progressed, leaving them to observe the proceedings as they had become accustomed to. But whereas previously they had wanted nothing more than to leave their mark on their surroundings, now they were content to stand aside.

The construction would proceed with or without them. They had influenced the world around them in manners big and small, direct and indirect. In the grand scheme of things, their additions would prove insignificant, but it was something they could take pride in. In their minds, they had accomplished something, regardless of whether or not it could be measured by others.

As the Tythonian sun drifted nearer and nearer to the horizon, and the soft orange glow of dusk fell upon the construction site, Osetto and Dehros had come to retrieve their students. The two pairs of Knights and Padawans met at the foot of the hill, Ryska and Torzin greeting their Masters with the respectful bow of their heads.

"You both seem no worse for wear," Osetto warmly stated. "I trust the foreman didn't work you too hard did he?"

"That's something of an understatement," Ryska admitted. "They barely asked anything of us."

"Technically they didn't ask a single thing of us," Torzin added. "And they only accepted out help when after things went a bit… awry."

"But you managed to find a way to help?" Dehros plainly asked, delivered with his usual emotionless candor.

"Yeah! I helped fix a droid!" Ryska declared with a hearty glee.

The Miraluka released a soft chuckle. "I'm pleased to see you so excited. What about you Torzin?"

"I took over for the droid," Torzin informed, much less enthused.

The Human scratched the scruff of his chin. "Did you happen to learn anything over the course of the day?"

Torzin and Ryska offered a pair of determine, confident nods.

A smile beamed across the Miraluka's face. "Great! You can tell us the details on the way back to the temple. Are you sure they don't need any more help here?"

The two Padawans shared a brief look before answering simultaneously, "We're sure."
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Osetto
01.26.2014 , 12:16 AM | #19
Chapter Fifteen: Progress (Part Seven)

Together, the two Masters and their students walked the stony path back to the temple. Rather than one pair leading the other, they all walked shoulder to shoulder, Knight beside Padawan.

"So, what did you manage to take away from your experience?" Osetto warmly asked of the teenagers.

"For one thing, we realized that not everyone shares the same opinion of Jedi," Torzin answered, speaking matter-of-factly rather than out of hostility. "I guess we've spent so much time amongst our own we sort of forgot about the ordinary citizens. We're just used to the Masters and our fellow students. You wanted to remind us of the people outside our circle."

"That's correct, Torzin," Dehros stoically stated. Though emotionless, the Guardian's words did manage to instill a touch of warmth in the young Mirialan. "The truth is, many in the Republic blame us for much of the recent troubles that have befallen them. Our ongoing conflict with the Sith has taken its toll on the populace, and our sacrifices have not been ours alone."

"To be a Jedi, you must be able to walk amongst all sorts, and your prime motivation ought to be understanding," Osetto added. "We can't be all lightsabers and the Force all the time. We must understand why people think the way they do, act the way they do. Tell me, were you upset by how the worker treated you?"

The teenagers shared a brief look as they took the next few steps in silence, dwelling on their answer.

"Yes," Torzin confessed with a gentle dip of his head.

"And why was that?" Osetto asked.

"At first, pride," Torzin answered. "We were there to help, and they refused us. My first thought was that they thought us incapable. Because we were young. Because we were just Padawans. Eventually, I learned that wasn't the case at all. They didn't want us there because we weren't one of them. Because they felt like we were forced upon them. Because they wanted to prove they didn't need us."

"And after learning that, were you still upset?" Osetto continued.

"In a way, yes," Torzin replied, a softness in his voice. "But it was different that time. It wasn't an angry upset. More like a sad one, I guess. I didn't want them to think those things, because I thought if we could learn to cooperate, we could really start to get thing done. It became about more than the construction. I wanted them to not be afraid to ask for help. I wanted them to think of us as allies instead of some outside force trying to impose our will on them. I wanted us all to be people working together. Not Jedi and non-Jedi. Not adults and teenagers. Not insiders and outsiders."

"How do you think they feel about you now?" Osetto inquired.

"I don't know," Torzin softly declared. "Their feelings ran deep. I tried to convince them otherwise but… now I know why Jedi are taught to ignore their emotions."

"Not ignore… understand," Osetto warmly corrected. "Like I said, always strive to understand. Understand their source. Understand their purpose. Understand how they affect us and those around us. A Jedi does not eschew his emotions, they simply try to avoid letting them take control."

The Consular turned his head as he walked, focusing his eyeless gaze upon the Guardian on the opposite side of the group. Dehros continued the trek back toward the temple unfazed, stone-faced as his gaze remained permanently set upon the path ahead.

"We also learned that we cannot view ourselves as different from those we hope to defend," Ryska jumped in.

"Is that so?" Osetto offered, shooting his Padawan a warm smile.

"We must hold ourselves to different standards as the general populace," Dehros stoically replied. "To do the things we must do, and not do the things we mustn't, we cannot act as a normal person might."

"But we are normal people, right?" Ryska wondered, a hint of disappointment in her voice. "I mean, just because we have the gift of the Force, that doesn't automatically make us better than those who don't."

"With the Force comes a great many boons as well as caveats," Osetto replied. "We must take special care that we do not abuse or misuse or gift."

The Consular looked to his student, her eyes drifting to her feet as her head dipped.

"But you are right," Osetto consoled. "We are not as wholly different as some would believe. By no means are we perfect or infallible, and we have much more in common with those untouched by the Force than we are different."

The young Cathar's gaze lifted as a gentle smile graced her lips. "It's just that, a lot of the problems people have with Jedi come from the fact that they think we're different. That we think we're different. They see us as Jedi who happen to be people, instead of people who happen to be Jedi."

"A wise observation Padawan," Osetto congratulated. "We hold the fates of countless lives in our hands. A responsibility many would be unwilling to place in the hands of anyone but unwavering paragons of justice and peace. But you're right. We are people. People with an innate talent, and it's up to us to see that talent put to use in ways that make the galaxy a better place., but people nonetheless You did well Padawans. The lesson was merely meant to be an inoculation for what you might experience once you leave Tython, but it would seem you walked away with more."

"My only question is, how exactly did you know how the construction workers would treat us?" Torzin wondered. "For your test to work, they pretty much had to treat us poorly."

"Wait a minute, you didn't meet them earlier and tell them to mistreat us, did you?" Ryska wondered, a slight squeal in her voice.

The Miraluka let out a soft chuckle. "No, nothing so sinister. I merely witnessed the foreman's interactions with the Masters in the days prior. He had to finalize the details with Syo Bakarn before the Council would let his crew begin construction. His words were… less than pleasant."

"So, does this mean we're ready to leave Tython?" Torzin wondered.

"With the accompaniment of your Master, absolutely," Dehros answered. "But just because you are ready, doesn't mean there isn't more to be done here."

"Dehros is correct," Osetto added. "Your training will continue over the coming months, the coming years. The time will come that we begin to carry out missions together throughout the galaxy. But for now, Tython remains the best place to offer lessons and hone your skills. We will utilize the temple grounds for as long as they can be utilized."

"Alright, so what's our next test going to be?" Ryska inquired.

"I'd prefer to call them lessons," Osetto offered with a gentle smile. "These are supposed to be learning experiences. Tasks to expand your minds and broaden your horizons. Test puts too much of a stress on passing or failing, preventing you from focusing on what truly matters. Besides, I don't really think there was a way for you to 'fail' your 'test' at the outpost."

"I don't know, Torzin could have socked one of the workers in the jaw," Ryska supposed with a slight giggle.

"I could have," Torzin plainly offered. "But I didn't."

"That's good to hear Padawan," Dehros bluntly added.

"I mean, I thought about it…" Torzin continued.

"Hostility fostered is hostility festered," Osetto stoically recanted.

"What was that?" Ryska curiously asked.

"A bit of wisdom from back when I was a student," Osetto warmly answered. "One of my teachers had a thing for 'sayings'. Most of them amounted to nothing and were just excuses to get the initiates thinking about something."

"The galaxy being at war, however, pithy slogans and words of wisdom weren't as stressed as they might have been otherwise," Dehros added.

"After spending hours and hours in the practicing circles, we could stand to hear about how 'even the most stubborn farmer must admire the tenacity of stone'," Osetto joked. "But don't worry, we'll attempt to provide you two a more balanced training experience."

"Aw, you mean our next lesson isn't going to be a lecture on Jedi witticisms," Ryska offered with a faux disappointed.

"No. At least, not your next lesson," Osetto clarified with a smile.

"Then what will we be doing next?" Torzin wondered.

"You remember how I said we can't be all lightsabers and the Force all the time?" Osetto recalled. "Well, the truth is sometimes, we have to be."

"Does this mean we're getting our lightsabers?" Torzin inquired, a spark of hope in his otherwise calm visage.

"I'm afraid not," Osetto gently revealed.

"Then what? Sparring with training sabers?" Ryska asked.

"Still no, I'm afraid," Osetto answered, a delighted coyness in his tone.

The four Jedi continued along the path, nearing the boundaries of the temple grounds. Though the day's light had not yet been lost, the time for training was over, if not for the rest of the Order, then for the two Masters and their students. Walking through the grounds, past spars and training circles, the small group was set on retiring for the evening. The two Padawans needed to rest, and the Knights needed them rested. Osetto already had the next day's lesson planned out in his head and wanted the students to be at their best.

The Jedi slept, and as soon as the sun would cast its first rays over the Tython mountaintops, the Consular intended to test their bodies, minds, and spirits.
-------------------- The Fan Fiction Index --------------------

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LaxKnight
01.28.2014 , 12:29 PM | #20
I just want to say I'm enjoying this. I love your namesake, the wit about him and his cheeriness compared to the stoic (word used a lot!) Dehros. The interaction between them, the chemistry, is awesome. The back and forth quips as Osetto constantly tries to get Dehro to break his stoicism. I love it.
LaxKnight
"I'm not blind, I just see from a different perspective." - Serenity Williams, Miraluka Jedi Apprentice