Returning home again, Cyutadakyr had found herself enjoying some alone time. In a vast desert like world, Korriban's deadly blaze held command for miles in all directions and to those outside the know, this often proved fatal. The small reprieve for the unprepared, was the sprinkling of small oasis that popped up occasionally, offering a breath of fresh air, live giving water and calm tranquillity in an otherwise scorching land.
It was at one of these locations, that the pureblood waited for two Acolytes with dirt on her hands. They were given instructions to wear something suitable, both for practical and combat purposes, and were expected to arrive promptly, as the morning sun rose. The lesson, she was preparing to give, would cease by sunset and there would be no second chances given to the laggard.
Cyutadakyr knew little of the fresh-faced Fiani joining her today, but that would hardly matter. There would be no preference given to either pupil, regardless of previous standing, while the training was on going.
But that didn't mean she hadn't been busy in the meantime. A faint expression lost in the desert, granting nothing to most but all to some. In a small dug bed, under the cover of a cactus, stood a number of freshly planted Hibiscus.
Once they had arrived and introduced themselves, Cyutadakyr would begin.
Param's silver eyes wandered the cliffs and dunes of Korriban. She was like a child, lost in wonder at the magnificence of it all. Everything was so red! It was hot, but Param didn't mind that as much. Of course, it'd probably be a lot cooler in the short term if she wasn't wearing her black robes and trousers. Cyu had told her to wear something practical, and this was about as practical as she got. She even took a pirate base with Master Thel wearing it. Maneuverability and comfort with a dash of fashionable.
She wasn't alone out in the desert though. Vee, a red and silver BD-unit, was perched on her left shoulder, whirring and wooing at the sights as they passed. "Yeah buddy, it's beautiful," Param said. "And terrifying." This was Cyu's homeworld. She'd promised to take Param, but Param guessed something had come up. Cyu had gone first, and then summoned Param. Not exactly what Param had expected from her, but every Sith she'd ever met had always managed to surprise in both good ways and bad.
It was just before the time Cyu had told her to arrive when Param stopped in the oasis. She looked around, happy to see even a shred of green. It wasn't quite enough for her liking though. Cyu was there, with an expression that was anything but inviting. It was terrifying how she could go from the sweet, gentle woman on Troiken to an all business Sith Champion. Param wanted to say something, to at least greet her with a smile, but only managed a faint nod. For the first time since being on Korriban, Param felt uneasy. Her palm itched to grab the lightsaber hilt clipped to her belt. She'd squash those feelings, reminding herself that she had completed the vast majority of her training as an Acolyte. This was just another test to overcome.
(OOC: Rolled a terrible 1, my luck left me and the thread didn't even start!)
S'kenji contemplated the landscape of Korriban while he walked toward the meeting place. Everything was red. The sky, the mountains and the sand. It was like someone had turned a large can of red paint over the entire planet. Or had cut it so deep that blood was spilled, covering the entire world.
The Acolyte thought that the last idea was more poetic and a smile appeared on his lips.
In fact, his thoughts about how poetic Korriban’s landscape seemed weren’t the only reason that brought a smile to the Fiani lips. He was also excited with the possibility of training with other Sith. Since he had joined the Order, the Acolyte didn’t have many opportunities to do it. This is why when Champion Cyutadakyr invited him, S’kenji accepted the offer without even questioning. He was thirsty for knowledge and power, and the Pureblood could give it to him.
Besides it being a good opportunity for him to start a network. Allies were also useful.
When he arrived at the oasis, S’kenji saw that Cyu and another woman were here. Like then, he was also dressed in clothes that were practical. Like many of the things that he wears, it was made by himself. He never wanted to be a ran like his father, but he couldn’t argue that he was pretty good at it.
Deciding to start with a friendly approach, the Acolyte waved at them. “Hello there!” he said, before turning to the Pureblood Sith. “You must be Champion Cyutadakyr. Thank you for inviting me for this training session.” then he turned to the white haired woman and smiled at her. “My name is Kenji.”
"Acolyte Vour." The pureblood began with a nod, matching hers. It was a tough transition to take on so much responsibility all of a sudden, even without yet the rank to go with it. Glancing between the Echani and the nearby spring with just a hint of red growing, a small smile finally appeared. "It's not much yet, but I think it could be the start of something beautiful."
Not long after, the second trainee showed, also sporting black attire. "Acolyte Kenji." She glanced his way, nodding. Taking stock of the two, she could tell that they would be relatively evenly matched in any confrontation. This would serve them well for part of the training, but being effective wasn't just all about fighting capability.
"Tell me, both of you. We are in a vast and dangerous desert that kills the unprepared, and yet life still thrives here. Why do you think this occurs?" There would be no right or wrong answers, but the Pureblood was curious as to where their minds were before they began. "What do you feel?" She placed her hand against her chest, invoking an emotional response from the pair.
Param turned to the spring, her silver eyes taking in the splendor that was thriving life in a world of death. A small patch of hibiscus flowers caught her eye, underneath a cactus just close enough to the water to be hydrated yet far enough away to never be washed away. She smiled, but it faded. Despite the thriving life around her, the only thing she could be feel was the cold of the dark side.
She knew full well that Cyu wasn't looking for the scientific answer. The "life finds a way" sort. Instead, Param walked over the hibiscus flowers, crouching next to them. She gently touched their petals, faintly smelled their aroma, and gave a contented side. Vee chattered a series of beeps, and Param shook her head as she moved away from the spring. "No, Vee, that's not it. Everything in nature competes. Flowers strive to beat other flowers, vines strive to be the only plant left. Even animals fight for territory, food... mates. Life thrives here because it won. Tomorrow it could be gone, or it could continue to win and spread."
Maybe the Sith were just like nature. There was an order, strife for all manner of reasons, and they were all just trying to survive regardless of who they hurt or killed. They were nothing like a garden, where every plant had a place and a time; where a tree could grow without worrying if vines were going to kill it before it matured. Param much preferred the garden.
S’kenji bowed respectfully when Cyutadakyr greeted him. When she started to talk, the Fiani noticed that she was going to start the lesson with a philosophical conversation. This wasn’t exactly what he expected for this training class, having expected that they were going to start with the physical part at once. However, the Acolyte didn’t voice his frustration. He buried it deep into himself and maintained his smile.
Before he could answer her question, Acolyte Vour was faster than him. He nodded, agreeing with what she was saying. However, he felt that what she said wasn’t all that could describe what was happening there. “Yes, life thrives because it won, but only those that are stronger enough are capable of winning.”
After saying it, the Acolyte approached the hibiscus. “These plants survive because they are stronger than their peers.” he kneeled down next to the flowers, while pointing to the source of water of the oasis. “Their strength comes from this source, when it disappears they’ll too. Then, something more powerful than them will take their place.” the Fiani gestured at the cactus that grew in the sand.
“Life is an eternal quest for power.” S’kenji moved his hand to one of the hibiscus. He looked at their red color with fascination. “The stronger will always crush the weak.” he clenched his fist around it, a small devious smile appearing at his lips when he saw what remained of the plant. The Sith were this way, the stronger will always destroy the weak. They have no place in the Galaxy. No, in the universe.
As if waking up from a trance, the Acolyte got up and turned to look at the other Sith. “Well, this is what I think.” a friendly smile at his lips, while the remains of the flower fell from his hand.
As it turned out, the pair of Acolytes were about as similar as Ziost was to Korriban even if their answers appeared similar on the surface. Listening to each student voice their thoughts, she had hoped that a little conversation would enlighten her to where their minds were placed.
Param's answer was correct, but guarded. An internal discord, perhaps, but a realist.
Cyutadakyr paused as she watched Kenji utterly destroy the flower within his grasp at the end of his answer. On its own his answer would also have been correct, as so often this scenario played out across the galaxy, but it wasn't the thing he said that stopped her, but the action.
Her icy glare upon him, she remarked, coiling her answer behind another, but the intent clear. "Perhaps they just need the right fertiliser." Cyu stood, arms at her side. "Perhaps you will also learn not to vandalise my garden in the midst of a lesson."
Cyu's eyes turned to meet Param's, "It appears Acolyte Kenji wishes to test his hypothesis, if you will oblige him." As it turned out, Kenji would get his wish of prompt training. Doing it herself would prove the point, but rob them both of the opportunity to train. Fist clenched, she waited. Perhaps once that was out of the way, Cyu thought, she could reinforce the lesson she was attempting to impart.
"To first blood." She started to say, before correcting herself. "Or second."
Param watched the other Acolyte give his answer. It was odd that she'd meet another Fiani; seems they were multiplying across the galaxy. First Kodi, then Iko, and now this Kenji. His cute appearance only offset by the uneasy, calculated tone in his voice. Of course, whatever the boy had been saying would soon be completely lost on her as his fist crushed the hibiscus.
The two before her would see her silver eyes begin to twitch, her lips taught, and her expression turn into a cold, calculating glare. One that would hold the burning, SEETHING hatred and rage that would turn her eyes a bright gold. The weak should perish? Would he feel the same when she rips his belongings from him and deposits his naked-self on Felucia? How would he fair against nature in his own, natural state?
The boiling in her core worsened the moment Cyu called the oasis a garden. There was no fighting in the garden. Gardens were meant for peace. Gardens were meant for all the things the Sith weren't; a place for them to go to be themselves and free. This boy destroyed the one sacred thing in the galaxy.
Cyu would feel the metallic feet of Vee jumping up on her shoulder, giving a worried beep and woo. The moment Cyu said "to first blood," Param burst forward. She was a monochromatic blur, clearing the distance in the blink of an eye. The saber hilt on her belt was in her right hand and ignited in an instant. The boy would see her close up, see the hatred in her eyes and feel the rage burning from her core. But she was Echani, and despite her rage, she would be smart about this.
Her first attack came in the form of an aggressive thrust with the lightsaber, aimed straight at the boy's stomach. Param's stance ending with her right hand extended with the lightsaber, left hand in front of her, palm toward Kenji and ready. Her right foot was forward and her left leg was rearward, making her body twist ever so slightly to her left.
S'Kenji's ears dropped when he saw Cyutadakyr's reaction. He had no idea that it was a garden, having previously thought that these were wild flowers. The Fiani would have refrained himself if he had known that before. He wasn’t dumb to piss off a Champion on purpose.
He was going to say something, but the Champion continued talking and he didn’t want to interrupt her, fearing to piss off her even more. Besides, the growing rage that was coming from Acolyte Vour made him turn his attention to her. It was obvious that by killing the flower he had also brought her rage into himself.
The Fiani weren't sure what was happening with these two, but it was obvious that this garden was important to them. Maybe it was a shared experience for the two women? He would guard this information for later and propose a way of compensating them when he has time, because as soon as Cyutadakyr said ‘to first blood’, Vour was already coming toward him.
Vour came so fast that S’kenji had only time to pick his lightsaber and stretch his hand in front of him and use a strong Force push in an attempt to throw her away or slow her down. If his attempt was successful and the Echani was thrown off balance by it, he would rush toward her in equal speed. He would swing his lightsaber vertically, from left to right, aiming at her head.
He expected that she would defend herself easily, but this move was more of a distraction. Because while Vour blocked his blade, S’kenji would take an opening and try to use the claws of his left hand to slash her belly.
Didn’t Cyutadakyr wanted blood? So blood he would give to her.
The Force push stopped her advance, interrupting her thrust. It even pushed her back a little, but the progress of hatred couldn't be stopped. The boy's movements were telegraphed like an actor in a holo-series on the net. Each move and counter-move played out in her mind in an instant, as if the fight would have been fought there instead of reality. She was calculating, strategizing, like a general of blades.
Param flipped the hilt of her saber into a reverse grip, bringing it up with her right hand so that the blade was vertically downward in a hard block of Kenji's saber attack. Her left hand stayed close to her hip, projecting a Force Barrier around her midsection as she stepped forward with her left foot, well within Kenji's guard. His claws would scrape across the shimmering blue barrier, feeling like dragging his claws against metal, and then the barrier would disappear.
Her left hand shot outward, not for Kenji's vitals, but for the hand that had just clawed at her; the same hand that had crushed the flower. She'd grab his wrist, feeding the Force through her palm as she made a twisting motion that would provide enough torque on the bones inside to break and shatter them, some most likely breaking the skin.
As he had expected, Vour had moved her lightsaber to defend herself. This way, giving an opening for him to use his claws to slash her chest. Unfortunately, he didn’t expect that his fellow Acolyte would create a Force shield to block his strike. His claws moved through the shield with a sound of something scraping against metal.
He saw that the other Acolyte was prepared to move forward and grab his unprotected arm, but by this point he was already gathering the Force on his right leg. In the end, Kenji would allow it. The pain of it being twisted and broken would be excruciating, but also sweet. He would use the it as fuel for the Dark side, moving it to his right lower limb.
This way, while Vour still held his wrist and he continued to use his lightsaber to immobilize her own in the same position from early, Kenji would move his right leg with strength and speed amplified by the Dark side of the Force. He would aim it toward her side,the collision would be with so much force that some of her ribs would be broken in the process.
Hit, get hit. It was the nature of game of combat. Param felt, heard even, the bones in Kenji's wrist shatter. For a moment, a satiated feeling washed over her, until she saw the kick coming. There would be no getting out of the way, or blocking. It was too fast, too much Force behind it. She'd have to eat it. An echani always had a plan.
The kick connected her side. She could feel some of her ribs break, the pain shooting through her. There was no yelp, no scream. Only rage, and momentum gained to the right. Kenji had offset himself, forcing them both to shift right. Param would scream later, a lesson needed to be taught. The force behind his kick pushed her saber and his, opening him up. First blood had already been drawn, it was time for second.
Param bit through the pain, twisting so that she was parallel to the outstretched leg, stomach toward it. Her blade came in a wide arc, coming down upon the leg as she rolled to the left away. If everything went as planned, Kenji would lose his right leg, and Param would probably end up getting some internal bleeding from her ribs puncturing an organ. The fight would be over, and the lesson taught, though.
Cyutadakyr stood a short distance from the two combatants for the entirety of the 'fight'. "I agree." She whispered in response to Vee, whose worried little beeps was the only sound other than the clash that could be heard. Assuming the fighting stopped at second blood, Cyu wouldn't interfere. But likewise, whether Kenji lost his leg or not, she was also prepared to put an end to it herself, if it came to it.
"Acolytes." Her voice boomed across the desert, officially terminating the duel.
Vee frantically jumped off the pureblood's shoulder to race back to Param once the fighting seemed to have ended, eliciting a small smirk from Cyu.
"Beyond that hill lies my speeder." She pointed. "We will return to the city, once you are both back to capacity to continue training you will send me word. Is that understood?" Once in the city they would be free to travel anywhere as need be, in the meantime the pureblood had some matters to attend to herself.
In the end, S’kenji movement worked. His leg collided against Vour’s side, hitting it with all his strength. He was sure that the collision had broken at least one of her ribs. However, it wasn’t enough to stop the woman from continuing the fight. At this moment, the Fiani developed an admiration for the Echani’s strength and willpower to continue the combat even after this injury.
He would think about it later, because now Vour was moving again. S’kenji quickly understood what she wanted to do and acted to avoid losing his leg. The Fiani would move his left arm fast, still using the pain from his wrist to increase the speed of his movement. Then, he would trust his lightsaber between his right leg and the arch that the Echani was using with her own blade.
With it, the Acolyte hoped that he would avoid having his leg cut off, by blocking most of the attack. Unfortunately, the strength that the woman was putting on the blade would still be enough to move his lightsaber, making it touch his pants. It would burn it, before proceeding to burn through his skin and muscle, but avoiding colliding against the bone.
Param slowly got her feet, eyes still a fiery golden. First and second blood had been achieved, even before Cyu announced a stop to the fight. She disengaged her lightsaber the moment Cyu called out, replacing it on her belt. Vee ran over, hopping up on Param's left shoulder again. A mixture of excited and worried boops and beeps spilling out of the little BD-unit. Param answered by painfully raising her right hand and rubbing the top of his head.
Her eyes were still very much fixed on Kenji. There was no need for final words or threats. Eyes beginning to return to their normal silver, Param looked to Cyu for a moment. A small frown formed on her lips, and she turned toward the speeder, holding her side. They'd both need to move fairly quickly to save themselves. Param had internal bleeding from her broken ribs, and Kenji had shattered bones whos fragments not only would have broken the skin but came dangerously close to cutting the rather large veins in his wrist.
Despite his earlier... mishap, Param helped Kenji into the speeder and then struggled her own way into it. "Take us to the med unit, Vee," Param said flatly. Vee hopped up onto the dash, plugged his little plugger-thing into the speeder and drove them to a hospital.
Like Vour, S’kenji deactivated his lightsaber when he heard Cyutadakyr finish the fight. With the adrenaline of the battle coming to an end, the pain of his wounds started to increase. However, the Acolyte didn’t scream or cry because of it. He still used this pain to give him strength to limp toward the speeder.
Although the help that Vour offered for him to get into the vehicle ended making it less painful. “I’m sorry for damaging your garden, Ma’am. I got carried away and made an error.” S’kenji said, while he passed in front of the Pureblood Sith. He wasn’t the type to genuinely apologize, but he would do it with pleasure to individuals that were far stronger than him. In these cases, they have his total respect. “To compensate, I want to work for you in the garden until it’s more beautiful than it already is.”
Then he turned to the Echani. “I’m also sorry that my actions have left you mad. Now I understand that these flowers are also important to you.” if someone could muster so much rage and strength from their personal admiration of plants, then the Fiani would review his ideas about weakness. Power could come from even the smallest source, it seemed.
Without anything else to say, the Acolyte would sit in a corner of the speeder and wait for it to move. The pain was increasing, and while he could deal with it for now, S’kenji could really use some bacta.
Three days and several bacta packs later, the Champion led her flock of Acolytes back into the desert to complete the lesson that she had set out to teach in the first place. A flicker of wind caught the trail of sand left behind their steps from the speeder.
The terrain would be new to these outsiders, but quite familiar to the native herself. In all but one direction, the dunes stretched into the horizon, blurring the line between where the sand ended and the sky above began. To the North lay a tall hill with a small rocky cave barely visible at its peak. Below, lay stones and boulders, as if collecting in a pool.
Cyutadakyr walked quietly ahead of them, until arriving just past where the stones collected, and turning to watch the Acolytes arrive shortly after.
"Acolyte Vour." She began, watching the Echani with a smile. "Well done on your victory, are you recovered?" Next, she turned her attention to Kenji, the smile fading just slightly. "Acolyte Kenji." She paused. "Your recklessness almost cost you a limb, are you recovered?"
After they answered, the pureblood would hold out both hands, palms down, and close her eyes. Around her, the small rocks began to shift in the sand, one by one budging and coming loose. In turn, the larger likewise moved in a sporadic pattern that made little sense at first, that was until they began constructing themselves into piles.
Param stretched upwards, then side to side. The medical unit had patched up and repaired her ribs. She would still favor them for a while, the soreness being the biggest complaint she had about it. The feeling of anger and hatred had all but disappeared, and once again she was her normally cheery self. Vee was perched contentedly on her left shoulder, taking in the sights, and enjoying the general vibe of Param not wanting to murder a misguided fox boy.
"I could do with some extra stretching," Param said, finishing her stretch and placing her hands on her hips. "But I'm okay." She wore a warm grin, hiding the never ending urge to fill Korriban with plants. She watched the piles of rocks begin to form, her smile fading, though a look of wonder remained. Param's mind was trying to figure out if Cyu was just bored, or if this was a part of the lesson.
”Yes, ma’am.” S’kenji said, feeling that Cyutadakyr was still mad at him. He had offered to help her in the garden as penance, but they still needed to discuss it. After the last time that they met, the Fiani ended up needing to spend a long time recovering from his wounds. Only recently his arm had completely healed.
Now that he was completely healed, the Acolyte was back to Korriban to continue his training. Next to him was Vour, who he was sure still hated him because of the crushed flower. He desperately wanted to change it and already had an idea of what he could do. However, it would need to be done after the training ended.
He watched Cyutadakyr use the Force to move the rocks around, but he didn’t understand what its purpose was. Even when the Pureblood started to reunite them in piles, the Fiani remained in confusion. Then, he waited to see if the Pureblood Sith would give some explanation.
Cyutadakyr licked her lips, basking in the warm morning sunlight smiling.
"I want you both to close your eyes, and begin by recreating your strongest memory." She started to step further from the stones, off to their side.
"Don't just remember, live it, draw upon its energy, its emotion. Feel it with every fibre of your being."
The champion watched their faces with interest, their bodies and responses. The pureblood paid particular attention to one, drawing slow, deliberate circles with her eyes as time elapsed until she was satisfied they had completed the task.
Without missing a beat, her voice broke the quiet desert peace that held in the meantime. "Now attempt to use force lightning on these stone piles." Pausing to watch them do so, or at least attempt the act. How they did entirely depend on the memory and its ties to their emotional state. If the memory was of a loving moment, devoid of hate and cruelty, then they would struggle.
But if the memory was one of triumph and subjugation, the vanquishing of one's fears and chains, an extension of one's hatred of the target - then it would be easy.
She would sense their emotions, their success or failure, but that wasn't the lesson. She wanted them to articulate and explain. "What is your conclusion and why?" She inquired with curiosity.