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STORY -- "Let Us Begin"

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BossaMatam
01.09.2014 , 05:04 PM | #1
LET US BEGIN
by Stefan St. John / © 2014

DISCLAIMER : This story is an original prose based on situations and themes from the MMO game Star Wars: The Old Republic. All characters, with the exception of all Original Characters created by the Author are the property of Bioware and LucasFilm, Ltd..
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This story is the rightful property of the author; all original characters and the plot depicted within are protected by copyright law.
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This story was produced to entertain fans of the original game, and is in no way, shape or form intended to be published for monetary gain. Please do not sue.



The Jedi Temple, Planet Tython….


The soft clik! of the door release preceding the light, slow tread of feet across the polished stone floor, was all that Master Keth-Wyn Ma’tam needed to know that Nadia Grell had arrived.

Clad in his tan, light clothing that he usually wore with his Consular robes, Keth appeared to be resting on his hovering meditation chair. With his back to the wide, slat-covered window of his quarters, the Jedi continued to “meditate” amid the shadows and light falling across his body. He held that pose for several moments as his student silently approached. With his eyes closed, Keth could picture in his mind’s eye the hesitant poise in his padawan’s posture, the way she bit her underlip as she hovered between interrupting his “repose” or staying silent until he noticed her.

However, the tone in her voice was hardly that particular emotional-hue as she asked, “Are you going to play this game again, Master?”

Keth couldn’t help the soft chuckle that slipped past his lips, nor keep from smiling at her pouting tone. “Am I becoming so easy to read, Nadia?”

Nadia made a soft, scornful-yet-playful sound. “Only when it comes to moments like this, Master. You knew when I was right outside your door all this time.”

Opening his eyes, Keth allowed a smile to spread across his face as he stared at the young Sarkhai woman. “I see I shall have to be more imaginative in the future.” Unfolding his tall form, Keth rose from his chair and made a small bow. “Thank you for coming so quickly, Nadia.

Returning his bow, Nadia cast a small look over her shoulder at the open doorway.

Keth chuckled again, before making a small gesture with one hand. Across the room, the door control clicked home and the opening was sealed closed once more.

With a grin, Nadia took two, quick steps before she leaped towards Keth. who caught her easily. She embraced him tightly. “I missed you.”

“I was hardly gone for that long, Nadia.”

Nadia pulled back to look at him squarely. “When you leave, any amount of time is like . . . an eternity, when we’re apart, Keth.”

Keth’s smile turned soft as he placed a fond kiss on her forehead. “You are hardly apart from me, Nadia. Not when we are so connected, together.”

Their connection -- a bond far deeper than that of simply a teacher and student, master and apprentice -- had been forged in the tests of the on-going conflict between the Republic and the Empire of the Sith. Once, he was simply the liaison of the Chancellor, and she the young, force-sensitive daughter of an influential Senator from Sarkhai. He, the experienced and she, the novice.

Now, against convention, tradition and dogma, they had formed a pairing. Steeped in their mutual goal of learning of, and through the Force, they presented a public showing of two dedicated Jedi; both Master and padawan. But here, in private, they could cast away the public mask and seek solace in their love for the other. A love that Keth could see clearly in Nadia’s dark eyes, which widened now as she smiled up at him.

“Still, you’re back now. That is all that matters.” She arched up to give him a kiss in return. “How was your visit with the Alliance on Coruscant?”

Keth chuckled, then sighed. “The Rift Alliance is working wonders for the Republic, but I’m afraid a few frayed ends still remain to be taken care of.” Setting her down, Keth turned to guide her over to his meditation chair. Taking his seat again, he said, “Senator Alauni is still decrying restitution for Salucami, even as the Senate has done far and beyond in assisting her world.”

Nadia pulled a small seat closer to him, sitting down with nod. “She never did seem satisfied with how things unfolded before the end of the fight on Corellia.” Her tattooed face twisted into a frown. “Why is it some people can never be satisfied with what they have in life?”

Keth folded his arms and said, “It is a sad fact of the Universe we live in, Nadia. Some will never be satisfied with their lot, until they have consumed all in spite of reason. The special committee that the Senate assembled for aiding the Rift Alliance is practically bending over backwards to satisfy the Senator’s demands.” He looked at Nadia and gave her a half-smile. “Fortunately, Tai Cordan and Diab Duin are balancing Alauni’s pressure by using what resources they can provide. With their checks to Alauni’s temper, the Alliance will go far to better their new ties to the Republic.”

“That’s good to hear,” Nadia said. “Is there news from the Jedi Council on Coruscant, Master?”

“Fortunately, yes. Our fellow Jedi are working to restore the Jedi Temple ruins. With hard work and ample assistance, we may see it finished within a few years.”

Smiling, Nadia said, “I hope to see it someday, Master. The temple here on Typhon is impressive, yet I hear many of the knights and Masters speaking of how the old temple used to be like.”

Keth nodded. “We’ll make a trip to view the temple grounds when they are finally restored . . . in the future.” With a grunt, he levered himself back to his feet. “However, today I have a special lesson for you to learn, my padawan.”

Rising to join him, Nadia’s face brightened, “Great. What are you going to teach me today?” Together, they walked across the room to where a long storage case sat against the far wall.

Keth knelt and made quick work of the case’s locks, sliding it open and reaching in to remove a long-shafted object. “Something that I feel I have been neglectful with your training, Nadia.”

“What is that, Master?”

“Your martial skills.” Keth craned his neck around and fixed her with a bemused smile. “You have a rare talent with the Force; one that proves both powerful and at times limiting. Force skill alone may take you far, my padawan . . . but, without training in the martial arts you may never attain the rank of Jedi.”

“Oh, I . . . I see.” Nadia turned thoughtful for a moment. “But, what is there to learn about fighting? I mean, we have fought together, in battle--.”

“Yes, and you have fared better than most Jedi would, Nadia.” Rising, he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “However, you cannot rely all your life on blind luck.” Lifting his hand he slowly ticked off a couple of points on his fingers, before closing it into a fist. “If you apply yourself to discipline, training, and seeking to perfect the physical arts of our Jedi heritage . . . combined with your Force gifts, it may make you one of the most powerful Jedi of our time.”

Nadia took heart from his words. “I understand, Master.” She squared her shoulders and asked, “So, where do we begin?”

“Building on what you already know, Nadia. You fight well enough, but true mastery comes from constant and evolving practice. Even with things we may find unfamiliar.” He held the long object with both hands, keeping it at chest-level so Nadia could examine it better. As she swept her eyes along its length, he explained, “A lightsaber may be a Jedi’s weapon, but its use stems from techniques used by other weapons, other cultures. Part of my formal Jedi training was with Master Opa Bi-Gorsa; one of our finest weapons-masters. Part of the reason why my skills in combat are as good as any of our Order, is due to the extensive weapon training I undertook as his padawan.” With a smile, Keth said, “I shall continue his tradition, by teaching you the same.”

Nodding, Nadia reached out and traced a finger along the fittings on the weapon’s shaft, trailing over flared blade fixed on one end. “What weapon is this, Master?”

Keth said, “This, my pupil is a warstaff . . . one of the ceremonial weapons of the Cathar.” He motioned for her withdraw her hand, before twisting a portion of the staff with both of his. The wide blade at each end snapped open and shifted, forming longer, keener-edged ones, each with a ribbon of rippling energy flowing down their centers. Stepping back a pace, Keth slowly twirled the weapon, making the blades softly sing as air flowed across them. “The Cathar consider this to be a honor-weapon, used in their hunting and coming-of-age rituals.”

Nadia eyed the whirling weapon with interest. “I see. It does resemble a saberstaff . . . I, would presume it follows it in function.”

Keth nodded. “You have good insight, my padawan.” He slowed and brought the warstaff to a stop, before holding it out to her. “Take it. Tell me what you think of it.”

Doing as he bade, Nadia plucked it from his hand and slowly moved it through a small pattern of defensive moves. “It’s . . . stout, and heavy. but . . . it does have good balance.”

“The extra weight from the blades and the field-generator inside it give it mass,” Keth explained. “But the blades are fine-honed metals. Durasteel with some cortorsis ore.” He made a motion towards his waist, unclipping his own lightsaber and bringing it up in one, quick action. As the weapon’s purple blade extended, he brought it around to clip the warstaff’s near-blade; connecting with a flash of light.

Surprised, Nadia still kept her grip and didn’t drop her guard. “Oh!”

“Cortorsis is one of a rare, few materials that can withstand and even interrupt a lightsaber’s blade. This makes a warstaff a potent weapon against Jedi.” Keth said, withdrawing his weapon. “It may be less of a sort of weapon a Jedi might use, but as Master Opa told me many times, ‘To know a weapon for all its strengths and weaknesses, is to know how to best fight against it.’.”

Nadia brought the warstaff around, holding it edge-on to examine it closely. “Well, I can see where it’s strengths lay, Master. It’s robust, tough and if it can block a lightsaber, it can make a formidable weapon.”

Keth deactivated his lightsaber. “Mm-hmm. What can you tell me of its weaknesses, Nadia?”

She frowned, before shifting her stance to take several, more forceful swings with it. “Well, it is . . . heavier than my saberstaff. I’d have to . . . train with it more, before it became natural to use.” She paused and made a thrust-strike with it. “It might be good in melee, but . . . how would it fair against blasters, I wonder? I know, our lightsabers can deflect blaster shots--?”

“Indeed, and the warstaff might stop a few shots, before the metal gave way to damage,” Keth said. Replacing his lightsaber on his belt, he reached out and took the warstaff from her hands. “It is an elegant weapon, but modern technology would render it useless in a prolonged fight.”

Nadia frowned. “Why train in using it at all, then?”

“Say, perhaps, in a fight you lose your lightsaber? A foe might damage it beyond repair,” Keth stated.

Nadia quickly took his meaning. “Do you mean I’m to carry two weapons around with me?”

Chuckling, Keth said, “It would be unwieldy and impractical. However, my point is that should you find yourself in battle and without your main weapon--.” He pointed to where her own saberstaff hung from her belt. “Then, you could improvise. Find another. Use it to win through and survive.”

Nodding, Nadia frowned. “Not many battles may have us near such weapons, I would think.” She looked down, but lifted her gaze back with comprehension filling her face. “Still, the knowledge of such skills would prepare us for any eventuality, and . . . well, it seems daunting to me, Master. There are dozens of combat weapons I can name!”

Keth quickly moved to soothe her rising anxiety. “True, but many follow basic theories and forms. Those basics are what I wish to teach you, Nadia. With those, you’ll be able to identify any form of weapon, and know the best way to use them in a fight.” He reached out, cupping his hands over the points of her shoulders when she started to turn away. “Nadia, take comfort in this; what I will teach you is nothing more than what I learned under Master Opa’s guidance. It may seem enormous in task, yet anything worth doing shall ever be so easy. Once begun and learned true, you will never find it so hard as when you first begun.”

She sighed, reaching up to grip one of his forearms with a free hand. “Nothing ventured, is ever truly gained . . . or so my father said once.” Squeezing his arm, she smiled softly. “Why is it I hear a lot of my father in you, Keth?”

Giving her shoulders a reassuring grip, he said, “Tobias Grell was a good man, Nadia. I feel he, and I after a fashion, only say what you truly need to hear. As well, for the short time I knew your father I could see that he loved his daughter very much.” Grinning, he said, “He wanted what was best for you, Nadia. As do I, and I shall not fail him on that score.”

With a soft laugh, Nadia cupped Keth’s cheek fondly. “I know you won’t fail, Master.” Letting her hand drop, she stepped back to let his hands fall away and raised the warstaff to look at it briefly. “So, practice it is then? How are we to proceed?”

Keth smirked, then turned to reach back down into the case to remove another warstaff. “Before I let you bash away with that, the next thing you must learn is how wielding it conforms to what you know about using a lightsaber.” Motioning her to stand near him, he snapped his own warstaff into active-mode and put himself into a ready-combat stance. “Now, what is the form we know is best for users of saberstaffs, my pupil?”

Nadia moved smartly to mirror his stance, saying, “The Sixth Form, ah . . . Niman, right? It emphasizes use of Force-techniques in combination with dueling skills.”

“Correct.” Keth moved to spin his warstaff into a ready position, before he said, “Yet, aside from Force-techniques, it does emphasize the use of knowing where each of your blades are in combat. Now, observe my form . . . .”


… and thus, Keth and Nadia began the first step in her martial training; the first of many ‘firsts’ they would take together.


END
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