Admittedly, Asadra preferred Laeonas in this state. An aloof patient with the attention span of a bronzefish was easier to deal with than a raving lunatic. When he was like this, there was no risk of an explosion of emotion or violence. At the end of the day, Asadra was a Jedi; her training and built up compassion had a hand in her ability to remain composed through the more insufferable bouts of his behavior. This was one such time, and so all that escaped the twi'lek's lips was a groan and an off color comment.
Laeonas simply looked off vacantly as Asadra lamented her struggles with him, until her heard his name and title uttered by a voice that immediately became familiar. "Padawan Tannaras" evoked a mixture of feelings from him; pride in the fact that someone acknowledged his last name, and embarrassment at the utterly bizarre title he'd been given. "Hey Eph." He'd answer in a meek tone. Asadra's mouth hung open a little as she heard him utter his new teacher's name, but she'd take a long, deep breathe, and shut her lips.
"...Knight Daivand! Great to see you. Your... pupil was just struggling to... remember that you exist." She'd explain, trying her absolute best to maintain a neutral expression. "She said Ai should wear clothes." Laeonas added, prompting the twi'lek to put a hand to her mouth so as to suppress the very long, very loud groan that escaped it. "...Ai think th'at makes sense." He'd continue, before stopping. "Where are they?" He'd ask, finally prompting the woman to snap. "For the love of all things alive, they are RIGHT in FRONT of Y-"
The twi'lek stopped herself, shutting her lips. "Emotion, yet peace. Emotion, yet peace. Emotion, yet pea-"
"Ah yeah, here they are. Thanks." The human piped up, grabbing the folded brown and beige robes that had been sitting at the foot of his bed on a durasteel table. The twi'lek opened her mouth a second time, before blinking again. "...you're welcome." She'd answer, a calm tone carrying from her lips. Slowly, she'd turn to Ephiny, and without asking, would take the woman aside. "I am so sorry you had to see that, Knight Daivand, but between him and my usual workload, I just... I just don't know what to do." She'd stammer, and while she'd try to whisper, anyone paying attention could hear. Laeonas, ofcourse, wasn't, so ultimately her volume was inconsequential.
"I... understand that he's been through an unfathomable amount of suffering, and I have to remind myself of that every day. I wish you all the best in training hi-"
"Hey, can Ai get some new robes? These ones are brown and kinda dingy lookin'."
The Twi'lek's eyes widened, head slowly turning as lekku visibly twitched. When she looked back at the knight, the expression she wore was... beyond description. "...I'm going to go take my break now." She'd whisper, turning around, and walking out of the medbay.
"Bye doc!" Laeonas called after her, turning to wave goodbye. Yet as his feet turned, the man would suddenly slip, hitting the floor. "OW!" He cried, quickly standing back up. "Th'at 'urt." He'd comment, turning to Ephiny. "Ayy, Ai'm gonna go put mae clothes on." He'd say, but rather than actually move anywhere, he'd simply pull off his gown and begin getting dressed right in the medbay. some of the patients who'd only vaguely been paying attention would look away as the human, in nothing but underwear, got himself dressed up.
Evidently the man's modesty needed to be recovered as much as his ability to follow a conversation beyond two sentences.
"All done." He'd say, standing in the awkwardly fitting robes.Clearly, they'd been designed for a man with the build he'd previously had, rather than the still obviously skinny figure he was now."...so, since yer mae teacher... are we gonna learn stuff?" He'd ask, idly walking out of the medbay without instructions, almost expecting the woman to follow him. "Ai wanna... Ai actually... uh..." He'd begin, before pausing. "...Ai actually don't know what Ai wanna do." He'd concede, aloofness bubbling away, if only for a moment.
"...whaddya think we should do?" He'd ask, turning to his side, only to find a wall instead of his "master."
Ephiny didn't react to what she was seeing. Laeonas, still dressed in a hospital gown and in doubt about wearing clothes, reminded her of a baby. Poor man, the damage on his mind was really great. The Archivist wondered if he would be able to recover totally at some point. However, she doubted that, probably there would be some marks that would remain. Traumas like that never disappear. She would need to have much patience with him.
"I understand, Asadra. Thank you for your help." she smiled at the Healer. Then her attention returned to Laeonas, who was now complaining about his clothes. Ephiny nodded to the Twi'lek, who decided to leave the room. The Archivist was right, training the man would need much patience.
After seeing Laeonas slip and fall on the floor, the Archivist ran to his side. "Are you injured?" she said. The Knight was concerned with him, after so much time on the medical bay, his body was probably weak. The dark-haired man looked thin like paper. After the Brentaalan showed that he wasn't injured, Ephiny kneeled beside the man and helped him get up.
When Laeonas said that he was going to change clothes, Ephiny nodded. She expected him to walk to the bathroom and change there. This is why she could only stare astonished when the Brentaalan removed the hospital gown in front of everyone. Seeing him only in underwear made the Knight's face become red and she turned away. She wondered if it would be necessary to teach him about modesty.
After Laeonas finished, Ephiny turned her head back to him. Now with these robes he looked like a true Padawan, they were much better than the dark clothes that he used to wear. The Knight's face was still a bit red, but she gave him a smile. "Before any training, I'll show you the Temple and your room. After all, it's going to be your new home." she explained to him, before walking toward the entrance of the medical bay. "Come, my Padawan. Today is the first day of your life as part of the Jedi Order."
Thankfully, Laeonas hadn’t wandered to far from his master. The woman was a little over ten feet away from the man by the time he’d accidentally wound up speaking to a wall. As such, she’d reply to his words, and once he turned around, the man actually managed to listen. Ofcourse, he’d still pause a bit longer to respond, but the visible expression of contemplation on his face immediately showed the knight that her padawan had managed to take in her words. Ofcourse, she might have wished that he had simply allowed the words to pass over his head, as he’d immediately comment about how “Padawan still sounds funny.”
As he’d approach his new teacher, Laeonas would notice the red tint on her face. “Did ya burn yerself?” He’d ask, leaning down a little to get a closer look. “One taime when Ai was younger, Ai stood next t’a flame fer a few hours with mae friends. Mae face was all red tha next day and people said ai looked laike a fruit.” He’d go on, cracking his shoulders and letting out a satisfied sigh right after. "Can't tell if they meant somethin' else though." He'd add.
As the two would walk through the halls together, Laeonas appeared almost entirely calm. Occassionally he'd stop and take a look at certain things; small pedestals that carried sculptures, doorways that lead into additional rooms. He was able to figure out without much thought that the temple had to be massive, as the halls they walked through seemed to go on without end. Obviously, this was only part of a much larger complex. "Ai'm gonna 'ave ta do most of this explorin' on mae own, right?" He'd ask, expecting some clarification.
"Ai mean, this place seems... big. Laike, bigger than anythin' Ai've ever lived in." He'd comment. "Ai remember bein' on big, 'ulkin' ships 'fore Ai got maen, and this place seems waaaay bigger than th'at." The Brentaalan continued, speaking with a vocabulary that actually matched his level of education. "Laike, 'o even built this place? Jedi? And when? A long taime ago?" He'd ask again, moving off the previous tangent to find another one.
Laeonas' comment about her face made Ephiny blush even more. As if it was possible for a human, she was even more red when he leaned down. The Brentaalan was so close to her that some more they would be brushing their noses. "I-It was nothing, p-probably because I was in the sun outside." she turned away. He needed to learn the importance of personal space.
She would guide the Brentaalan through the Temple corridors. The first place where they would stop was the Library. Ephiny would enter there and start to walk around the corridors, showing the shelves full of holobooks to Laeonas. "Here is the Library of the Temple. You can come here to pick anything that you want to read. Since I'm an Archivist, sometimes I work there."
The next place that Ephiny showed to the dark-haired man was the training yard. There were some Padawans training with lightsabers the Form II. A Mon Calamari Jedi Knight was supervising it. After seeing the two, he greeted them with a nod. "Here we have the training yard. There you can do physical training and practice with a lightsaber." of course, first Laeonas would need to purify his crystal and build his own lightsaber.
The Archivist would show him other places, such as the gardens and the spaceport. "Of course you will be able to explore it. However, don’t go much deep in the jungle. There is some giant insects called klikniks there, they can be dangerous." she said to him.
While they walked toward the room that was assigned to the man, Laeonas asked Ephiny several questions. The way that he talked reminded her of a child. "This place is the Great Temple and was built by the Massassi, the extinct race that once lived on Yavin IV. The Rebel Alliance made their base there during the Galactic Civil War. After the defeat of the First Order, the Jedi Order turned it into one of their temples and modernized the place."
"The Jedi Order was always devoted to protecting life and peace on the Galaxy. All of it was made under the guidance of the Light side of the Force." she explained to Laeonas. "Of course, there is much more than that. You will learn all of that in your history classes." she said smiling at him, hopefully she would be able to go on field trips with him.
She stopped in front of a door in the hall where the rooms of the Padawans were located. "This is where you will stay in the Temple." she opened the door and walked inside it. The bedroom was simple, similar to that of all the other Jedi. "There are some Jedi robes in the wardrobe, but later you can pick your things from the ship and bring them there." she started to walk toward the exit.
"I'll let you look around the place. However, I want to see you at the gardens in twenty minutes. We will start your first training session there." Ephiny left, leaving Laeonas alone. The Archivist didn't show, but she was so excited to start it. The idea of being able to teach someone made her so happy.
Ephiny's explanation wasn't questioned by her new student. The man had a naturally pale complexion; he probably burned worse than she did. The man winced as his mind was brought back to the memories of his first trip to Tatooine. He hadn't known that sun burn was even a thing; spending most of your time indoors and in an urban center prevented serious exposure. As a result, Laeonas had left Tatooine looking like a Zeltron who'd spent to much time in a Sauna.
As Laeonas prepared to release an unfiltered stream of his thoughts, his "master" began to introduce him to the various rooms and chambers of the temple. Their first stop, the library, left Laeonas impressed. Not since the naval archive on Baranchar had he seen such a massive collection of information. He hadn't been to many such places in his life, and now more than ever he struggled to recognize the sheer volume of the collection of information before him. He'd lelarned so much from just one datapad with a gradeschool level education module inside. Reading had let him access a multitude more opportunities over his life, which had brought him wealth. A place like this, therefore, was more valuable to him than a spice mine.
"Ya work in there?" He'd ask, turning towards his master when she mentioned her profession. "Whaddya do anyway?" He'd ask, looking at the shelves. "Just... read? Th'at doesn't sound laike work." He'd speculate, though there wasn't any ill will in the last comment. He'd pay the room a final glance as they started to move past, finally asking, "What's t'stop me from just... takin' all tha books Ai want?"
He didn't wait for an answer to start moving. Regardless of whether or not Ephiny would provide one, they'd both continue down through the halls of the temple. They'd finally open up into the outside, standing in the threshold out to a yard. Laeonas would watch in amazement as several Jedi practiced with lightsabers, the different colors and the quick, precise techniques mesmerizing. Never once had he seen more than one or two sabers in the same room before. When the knight nodded at him, Laeonas would look around, seeing if there was someone else behind him. After realizing that the bow was directed at him and his "master," Laeonas would improvise a bow of his own.
As they left, Laeonas would whisper, "They're so karkin' precise." To noone in particular. Laeonas had long since overcome the learning curve between using melee weapons and using a saber, yet his technique had remained clumsy. Without much formal training, his movements were sloppy, wide, and as the only time he'd ever dueled another had proven-- not a match to any properly trained duelist. As he speculated on what he would do with his new skills, he felt a pull towards what he'd do against those who'd wronged him. He'd be able to pay the Sith back, nice an-
The "padawan" smacked himself across the face. Stunned for a moment, Laeonas blinked a few times, aquamarines rolling around a bit. What had he just done? The man shook his head, thoughts of vengeance slowly fading from his mind. Ephiny would continue her tour regardless, and so Laeonas quickly refocused.
They'd continue their walk through an open air hall along the south side of the temple, the jungle landscape visible beyond the manmade structures. Ephiny’s warning about the dangers beyond caused his eyes to widen, and he’d immediately feel uncomfortable. He’d heard so many horror stories about the vast, unclaimed wilderness of outlying worlds. How they contained beasts and dangers that the early colonists of the core had long wiped off their own worlds. That his only experiences in an uncivilized wilderness had seen him nearly die a multitude of times seemed to confirm these biases. Yavin was unlike any world he’d even set foot on— willingly, at least. He shuddered at the memories of the horrors he endured on that unknown world years ago.
The woman’s explanation of the temple’s history didn’t interest Laeonas all that much. It was an impressive building; never before had he seen such a massive structure that was made entirely out of stone. It’s amenities were modern, sure, but the structure itself was ancient. All he gathered was that it was yet another extinct people, and that it had changed hands a number of times over the past hundred years. That was a description that could probably fit with most buildings that were over a few thousand years old.
Her explanation of the Jedi’s role, however, caught his attention quite a bit more. Since he apparently was one now, figuring out what he’d be spending the rest of his life doing was of at least some importance. Her explanation was basic, and it quickly lead into what he’d evidently be spending a lot of his time doing— learning. He gave her a simple nod in response.
As he was finally shown to his quarters, Laeonas gave it a quick once over. It was about as bland as one might imagine. It was roomier than most places he’d stayed in, with only his old studio on Brentaal and a few expensive motels matching it on that front. He didn’t even include his ship in that roster, as it was leagues ahead of anything he’d ever stayed in. He’d idly sit on his bed, laying back a bit. “More comfy than tha medbay.”
The reminder to arrive in 20 would get a nod from him. “Seeya than.” Was all he’d say to her, not asking any more questions.
Ephiny smiled at Laeonas question about what she did in the Library. It was the perfect opportunity for her to introduce the man to one of the paths that a Jedi could follow after they become a Knight. "As an Archivist, I do more than only read. I travel the Galaxy collecting knowledge for the Archives. An Archivist is responsible for translating, copying, and storing all new texts added to the Order's collection. We are Lore seekers too. " she explained to him, excitement was obvious in her voice. The Knight loved what she did, always seeking knowledge that would help the new generations of Jedi to learn new things.
"I have plans to do trips in the future. Would you like to come with me?" Ephiny never had company when she traveled collecting knowledge as an Archivist. She would like to have her Padawan there, and it could also be good for him to learn more. "We could turn it into a field class."
Ephiny decided to ignore what Laeonas meant by taking the books "These Holobooks have trackers. If one of them is taken from the Temple, the librarians will know. You can come here and ask for the holobooks, as many as you want. After you read, you need to give it back." Ephiny didn't say anything about how wrong it was to steal. A Jedi would never steal. She would teach the man about that. "Better return the holobook on time. You will not want a librarian furious with you."
The Archivist smiled after noticing how the man seemed excited with the Padawans training with their lightsabers. "There are four combat forms that a Jedi can use when fighting with a saber. Normally, a Jedi had a preferred form, but it's good to at least know how to do all of them."
After she left Laeonas on his new room, Ephiny went to her own. There she picked the material that she had selected for the first training session. It was obvious that the Brentalaan needed to control his destructive feelings or they would make him fall to the Darkness. While they were in the training yard, the Archivist had felt such feelings coming from him through the Force. It was brief and she decided to remain in silence. Due to that, she had decided to start teaching him how to not let these feelings control him.
She left her room and walked to the gardens. Since the padawans and younglings would be having classes for the rest of the day, the place would be calm and silent, perfect for what they were going to do. After she arrived at there, Ephiny sat on a stone bench and waited for Laeonas arrival.
Ephiny's explanation of her job, or more broadly, what an "archivist" was, garnered some attention from the man. She sounded more like a collector, always on the move, taking things and bringing them back with her. It wasn't dissimilar from how he'd lived, constantly traveling from world to world. The most important difference was, obviously, that he didn't collect knowledge, but instead, credits. He did jobs; he hurt people, sold drugs. In truth, he couldn't help but cringe at his behavior. If he were supposed to be a Jedi, than such actions were, obviously, wrong.
The offer to go with his new teacher on trips caught his attention especially. He'd nod, excitement glimmering in his eyes-- before he'd frown. He remembered what had happened the last time he'd traveled, and the man let out a groan. A hand reached up to caress his temple, but nothing more. There wasn't an outburst, and the man began to take deep breathes, drawing on the exercises that Asadra had kept trying to impress into the man. He hadn't actually done it when she'd instructed-- much to her chagrin-- but he diligently employed them now.
The man finally shook his head, a slight frown still on his lips. "Ai... don't wanna travel." He'd answer, pausing before he'd clarify, "Fer awhile." The man couldn’t imagine never leaving this world. He couldn’t imagine staying on any world… besides Brentaal. All his dreams ended there; in a palace he’d purchased for himself, his mother, and the multitude of people who’d attend to his every need.
He was distracted from his thoughts once Ephiny started speaking about the books. The placement of trackers reminded him of what happened the few times he’d tried stealing from larger department stores in the more affluent of Cormond’s commercial districts. The little plastoid trackers attached to some clothing or strung around a box would go off when he exited the store, and it wouldn’t take long for him to start being viciously beaten by either store guards, or cops called on him. The warning about a furious librarian sent a shiver down his spine, and upon the realization that they might be a jedi, he felt genuine fear. “…got it.” He’d reply, not wanting to discuss the topic any further.
The transition to talking about the lightsaber forms was a much needed distraction for him. That there were several ways one could use a saber didn’t surprise him much. Anyone with a basic understanding of melee or hand to hand combat knew that there wasn’t just one technique you could use. Laeonas was intrigued by the movements of this one in particular; the jabs and cuts that differed so heavily from his broader slashing.
It was only after a solid minute of careful observation that Laeonas’ lips began to tug down. When he finally turned back to his teacher, he looked less than impressed. “They’re so… rigid. They’re barely movin’, and when they do, it’s flat.” He’d lament, deriding the combat style he’d just witnessed. “What if someone starts shootin’ at ‘em? Or if someone starts movin’ quicker?” He’d continue, thankfully out of earshot of the practicing Jedi. “Don’t teach me laike th’at; no fight ‘Ai’ve been in ‘ad two schmucks orderly thwackin’ blades laike ‘ow they were. Teach me so Ai can move.” He’d ask, though really, it was a demand.
He didn’t spend nearly as much time in his room as he thought he would. There was a bit of wall staring and ruffling through his cabinet, but otherwise, he didn’t do anything. The ginger walk to the garden, however, became a bit of a mess. He didn’t know exactly where he was supposed to go, and so it took not twenty, but near thirty minutes to get there. By the time he did, Laeonas would walk in through an entrance opposite from where Ephiny had come in.
“AI don’t got a razor in mae fresher.” He lamented, sitting next to the Jedi with a pout.
Laenoas was late. The man should have arrived at the gardens ten minutes ago. Ephiny was starting to become concerned, wondering if he had got lost inside the Temple. The Archivist was certain that she had explained to him how to walk through it, perhaps she should have been more careful with him. The man’s mind was still shaken due to what happened to him after Firrerre, he could have easily forgotten what she showed to him.
She was already going to search for him, when Laeonas finally arrived at the gardens. Ephiny smiled when he made the comment about the razor. His pout made him look like a small child that didn’t find his favourite candy “I’ll ask someone to get one for you.”
“Before we start your training, I think that we could have a conversation. As your Master and teacher, I don’t want you to see me as the one that will dump the knowledge for you to absorb. No, I want you to see me as someone that is there to guide you. A friend to whom you can always ask for help.” Ephiny smiled at him, she wanted to establish with him a bond through friendship and respect . The Archivist had learned that it was the best way to teach someone.
“Follow me.” the Archivist rose from the stone bench and started to walk through the garden “The Jedi Order is an order of protectors of peace and life, united in their devotion to the light side of the Force. The Force is the energy field created by all life that connected everything in the universe.” she moved her arms across the garden, showing to Laeonas all the plants that were growing there. “The Force is present in all the living beings in this garden.”
“As Force-sensitives, we are capable of consciously sensing the Force. With this conscious sense we have the ability to harness it, accessing various Force powers.” then she approached a bush that had some buds. Ephiny closed her eyes and stretched her hand toward it. She focused on the buds, pouring the Force on them. Laeonas would be able to see them slowly opening. Soon, the bush would have new flowers. The Archivist rarely used Plant surge, so she was only able to make buds open in flowers and sprouts to grow. She wasn’t on the same level as Master Voran. However, she wanted to impress her Padawan.
After she finished her demonstration, Ephiny turned to Laeonas. “Before I teach such techniques, we need to work on your hatred. While we were in the training yard, I briefly felt a shadow coming from you through the Force. What did you think back there?”
The topic of his razor ended as quickly as it had been brought up, with his teacher politely accommodating his request. The man opened his mouth to reply, but he paused on the words. "...thank ya." He'd finally answered, forcing his lips up into a smile that approximated a look of gratitude. The gardens were empty, but if any saw them, they'd capture the distinct image of two humans, with one smiling like a moron, and the other-- a head shorter-- addressing him like a child. An image that would undoubtedly stick.
Laeonas' reaction to what the woman said next was, in every sense of the word, the opposite of how he'd responded to the last thing she'd said. Whereas Laeonas hadn't felt any gratitude, yet tried to make himself look grateful out of obligation, the man now felt surprised, but didn't make any effort to display it. He maintained the same, painfully fake smile as he listened to her. In his own mind, however, the man had been put in a figurative tail spin. He was still trying to grasp why she wanted to teach him; how could he comprehend wanting to be his friend?
"Why a friend?" He'd ask, finally breaking the fake expression as his teacher stood up and told him to follow. "Yer teachin' me... cause ya think Ai... need ta be taught..." He'd say aloud, trying to recall the exact reasoning she'd explained to him before. "...and cause ya think Ai need ta not turn t'tha dark side..." He'd continue on, before pausing. "But... what does th'at 'ave ta do with bein' mae friend?" The man would ask again, wracking his brain. "We've never drank t'gether! Ai've never drove ya 'ome when yer out'f it, Ai've never shared spice with ya, Ai aven't covered fer ya so ya could see someone ya wanted t'kri--" He'd drone on, listing all the many, many things that, in his experience, made someone his friend.
"...Ai didn't even think ya laiked me!" He'd finish, taking in a long, drawn out breathe of fresh air. All she'd said about the force, about the Jedi and their purpose-- it had come in the seconds before he'd started talking, when he was lost in thought about why she might want his friendship. His actual words had coincided with her work in the force, and it had been a momentary glance at the flowers beside them that stopped his current train of thought in it's tracks. His mouth, which had opened to speak, now hung slack as he watched the flowers quite literally bloom to life.
As the flowers finished their growth spurt, Laeonas remained silent for a few seconds. Any response to his questionings about friendship-- or her request for him to open up about his hate-- went to the wayside. He could respond to that when he was no longer transfixed. The man had seen so many different, varied uses of the force over the years. He'd seen the full extent of power that the technique his teacher had just demonstrated. Yet there'd been something about the simple creation of life that had left him utterly captivated.
Perhaps it was partially because of his mind still suffering from both trauma, and the methods by which he was healed. It made no difference to his response;
Ephiny heard Laeonas list what in his opinion made someone a friend. The Archivist waited patiently for the man to finish what he was saying, before she spoke. “If I don't like you, do you think that I would have asked Master Voran to allow me to be your Master? I want to be your friend because trust will be important for your training and I don’t want you to feel alone at the Jedi Temple. I don't expect a friendship to start that fast, we need to know each other more before it happens.” she explained to him.
“As I said to you before, my name is Ephiny Daivand. I was born on the planet of Uyter and I lived on my family’s farm with my parents, my older brother, my younger sister and my grandmother. I was fourteen years old when I joined the Jedi Order. I love writing and studying Galactic History and Jedi Lore.” Ephiny was revealing her past to him, hoping that it could be the first steps toward the creation of a friendship between them. “Would you like to introduce yourself properly?” the Archivist would ask him. If he didn't want to answer, she would say nothing. The Knight would not pressure him.
She smiled with Laeonas’ reaction to her demonstration of Plant surge. Again he looked like a child. But differently from early, when he was pouting because he didn’t find a razor on his refresh, now he looked like a child that was traveling through hyperspace for the first time. “It’s an example of what you can do with the Light side of the Force. This is a basic version of what Master Voran did to you on Jabiim.” she explained to him. The Archivist would watch how the Brentaalan would react to the memories of this moment.
“With the Light side, you can do many wonderful things. I’ll teach you some of these abilities, but first we need to work in your anger.” Ephiny would walk toward the center of the garden and sit cross-legged on the grass. She would gesture to her Padawan to sit in front of her.
“I felt a shadow coming from you through the Force, when we were at the training yards. Tell me, what did you think back there?” she said in a maternal voice, full of patience and not judgmental. Trying to comfort him at this moment, she would let understanding and peace flow through the Force, coming from her and going toward him. If Laeonas wanted to become a Jedi, he would need to learn how to deal with these emotions.
The seconds ticked by, with Laeonas' attention slowly fading on the odd technique that his teacher had just performed. The words that had escaped Ephiny's lips had gone in one ear, and surprisingly, had stuck. Slowly, he'd turn back to her, recall her words, and respond, "Ai never met anyone who started out wantin' ta be mae friend." as if he hadn't just spent a minute staring at flowers. "It's... odd. Never done it laike 'ow yer suggestin' before." He'd add, not knowing what else to say on the matter.
The things she listed; about her life, about her family, they were in many ways unfamiliar to the man. That she described living with two parents, multiple siblings, and even a grandparent? He couldn't imagine living with more than him and his mother in his apartment. When she asked him to explain himself in a similar fashion, the man opened his mouth, shut it, than opened it again. "Ai..." He'd begin, another pause coming in to play.
"...Mae Name's Laeonas... Tannaras. Ai was born on Brentaal in an apartment in Dejaal. Ai lived with mae ma fer all mae years there. She worked jobs, Ai stole from people. Than we both worked jobs, and than Ai joined gangs. We moved a lot. Ai was 18 when Ai left 'ome ta go out and get rich. Ai got rich after Ai went ta Mataou and stole beskar from 'an 'utt, than Ai sold it t'a real pissed mando. He paid me a lot. Than Ai spent some of it on mae ship. Skimped cash on pit droids. Than Ai wound up on some shitey planet with an evil witch. Dunno 'ow Ai escaped th'at." He'd explain, planning to go on, but losing track of his own words.
"...uh... anger?" He'd suddenly asked, picking up where he could remember. "Ai... got angry, yeah." He'd admit, frowning a little. "...Ai... Ai thought'f what Ai could do when Ai learned 'ow ta fight with a saber properly." The man confessed. "What Ai'd do t'tha Sith. T'tha scum'f tha galaxy." Laeonas clarified, frown only deepening as he spoke. "Ai thought'f 'ow Ai could punish 'em. 'Ow nobody's been able t'stop 'em. Th'at nobody was able t'stop..." The Brentaalan went on, before cutting off.
The human groaned as he brought a hand up to his temple, the throbbing returning in force. Laeonas took long, deep breathes, trying his best to work past the pain. "...Ai stopped maeself from goin' down that route. Always makes me angry, 'ateful. It always 'urts." He'd whisper, shame coloring his expression. But as quickly as it dawned on him, it was replaced by something else. "But... it doesn't feel wrong." He'd whisper, before looking up at his teacher with what could only be described as righteous indignation. "Ain't it normal t'wanna 'urt those that'v 'urt ya? Ain't th'at just?" Laeonas asked, even though he knew that he wouldn't get the answer that he thought he wanted.
"Whenever Ai took from people, it was cus Ai needed it. Ai was never cruel fer it's own sake. When Ai was beaten though, Ai'd beat people. When people tried killin' me, Ai'd try ta kill 'em back. What's wrong with th'at?" He'd ask, even as he could still recognize the futility in the question. "People've... done me wrong. Ai got this name, but Ai've got nothin' ta show fer it. Th'at ain't right; a parent's supposed ta care a'bout their kid. They ain't supposed ta leave 'em with nothin'. People ain't supposed ta... people ain't supposed ta burn cities and kill everyone on a world either. Why's it wrong fer me ta 'ate 'em? Ai... ai know it feeds tha't dark side ya tell me about, but... why? Why's somethin' th'at feels so just so... so karkin' evil?"
While Laeonas spoke about his life, Ephiny would smile, encouraging him to continue. Her smile would not falter, not even when the man started to talk about what he used to do to survive. The Archivist noticed that saying all of it was difficult for him, she could even notice how he seemed troubled by these memories.
Laeonas was even more troubled when he explained to Ephiny what he felt and his struggles with the Dark side. The Archivist would not reprimand him or scream with him that he was a lost case, even when the Brentaalan said how he didn’t see as wrong when he killed someone that wronged him. The woman would continue looking at him, now in a maternal way.
When he finished, the Archivist would turn to the bush that she had made bloom. The Knight was thinking what she could say for the man, while at the same time digesting all of this information. His questions were difficult to find proper answers, but Ephiny would give him the best answer that she could find.
After some time thinking, she would finally talk. “It’s wrong because you would be killing them to satisfy your revenge. Revenge is one of the feelings that act as fuel to the Dark Side. Yes, we Jedi sometimes kill our foes, but it’s only as a last resort. Most of the time, try to capture them alive, so they can face justice.” she explained, hoping for him to understand what she was trying to say. “Laeonas, you will never destroy the Darkness by doing the same things that they do. It’ll corrupt and destroy you. Only through the Light can we defeat it.”
“You had a difficult life and made some terrible things to survive through it. However, all of it is in the past. There is a saying by an ancient Jedi master from the time of the High Republic. He used to say that yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present. In the past you killed, stole and hurt other people, all of that is horrible. But now, in the present, you have the chance to change. Are you going to repeat what you did in the past or use this gift to change?” now she would be looking directly at his eyes, Ephiny wanted to know what he would want.
“I know that in face of all the injustice and evil in the Galaxy, it’s impossible to not have hate. We Jedi are also affected this way, but we don’t allow these dark feelings to dominate us. I’ll teach you how to do that.” she said, smiling at him. “Did you use the holodiscs that I gave to you in Jabiim? Always that these feelings come to you, I want you to meditate. Feel the living Force around you, connect with the creatures that are around you, animals and plants. Then, release this Darkness. Never allow it to dominate you.”
Through most of his life, Laeonas had had to learn much on his own. His teachers were never leaving, but were instead holorecordings, or text on a datapad. But beyond any techniques in the force, beyond near every combat techniques, there were things that only a person could teach him. They were small things; how to use a fork and knife, how to wash his hands, or earlier, how to walk. Over the years, the lessons he'd taught himself had blended together in his memories-- but he could still remember the time his mother smacked him upside the head when he reached for some cereal with his fingers instead of a spoon.
So, as the Jedi Knight spoke to her padawan, the man listened. Her words stuck in that mind that had been hollowed out by madness and pain. Holes and empty spaces tried their best to hold onto everything the redheaded farmgirl told the man. For the first time in months, the naturally analytical mind that Laeonas possessed got to work, digesting information as it was fed to him. For the first time in years, he was being taught by a teacher.
Even if what she told him was simple-- the basics of Jedi philosophy-- it was more than he'd ever received. It was a code that an order of people had dedicated their lives to over thousands of years. It was more than a self taught code of ethics manufactured by a criminal. It wasn't based on debts of retribution or gratitude, unlimited and unenforceable. It was a code of principles, of established rights and wrongs that didn't bend to context.
To him, it was religion.
But ever questioning and ever thinking, the man began to actually go through what she'd said. For a minute, he'd sit there, processing. She'd claimed that attempting to satisfy revenge was a path to the dark side. So he went back, and he ran through his memories. The fight he'd had with the Sith on Bespin came to mind-- the cracking of lightsaber blades as he furiously tried to cut down the monster before him, only for his anger to lead him to near death. It had only been focus, and reprioritizing escape, that had allowed him to get out of there.
Anger had always been a short term boon. It brought him temporary strength at the expense of his most valuable skills-- his quick wits, and his cunning. It impaired his judgement, made him act rashly, more aggressive than when he should, sloppier in all the ways that mattered. It wasn't just that wielding his hate as he did pulled him closer to the dark side-- it made him weaker. How could he ever hope to beat the Sith when he acquiesced to weakness? How could he ever hope to beat anyone?
"...Ai did use tha discs." He'd finally answer, looking over at his teacher after the very, very long pause. "Focused more on tha practical shite; breathin' techniques, methods fer emptyin' tha mind, ways ta expand yer reach. Not tha spiritual stuff." Laeonas explained, before glancing around the garden. "Is th'at why ya brought me 'ere? Ta learn 'ow ta connect with tha livin' force better?" He'd ask, looking the woman straight in the eye.
"...once, Ai went out inta tha deserts on tatooine. Ai spent days livin' off tha force, meditatin', lettin' maeself bake. Ai... realized just 'ow empty it was. Realized 'ow everythin' crumbles in tha end." The man went on, frowning a little, before a smile slipped onto his face. "But Ai realized th'at it ain't terrible. Surroundin' maeself with nothin' alive taught me a lot; Ai'm glad yer tryna teach me with life... 'teach." He finished, giving her a full, genuine grin.
Ephiny watched Laeonas reflect about what she had said. The Archivist hoped that what she had said would not be much confusing for the Brentalaan. It was her first time explaining the Jedi philosophy to someone that was still new to the Order. Some things that she had said could be complex, needing some time to understand.
If he wanted to be a Jedi, Laeonas would need to understand and accept it. The philosophy of the Order couldn’t be ignored. When they met at Jabiim, Ephiny thought that the Brentalaan were the type of person that would not believe in this. She was prepared to face his skepticism, with all of her patience.
Due to that, she wasn’t surprised when Laeonas said that he didn't use the holodiscs to study the spirituality of the Force. "Yes. Today I'll teach you how to connect with the living Force." this would be part of her mission as the Brentaalan's master, teach him how the Force exists in the world around him.
Ephiny paid close attention to what he said about using the Force on Tatooine. "Now you will see how it's to be surrounded by life." when Laeonas called her teacher, the Archivist couldn’t stop the smile from appearing at her lips. It made her notice that his future as a Jedi would depend on her abilities to teach him. She would not disappoint him.
"Since you already practiced some of the meditation, the beginning of today's exercise will be easier for you." she explained. "I want you to close your eyes and meditate. Empty your mind and feel the life around you and the Force that comes from it. When you finish, I want you to describe what you felt."
Laeonas observed Ephiny's reaction to all he said, and he couldn't help but smirk at her reaction to his address of her as his teacher. As much as she tried to be professional, the more human moments still managed to bleed through. Friendship was seeming like less and less of a foreign possibility for the two of them as the lesson went on. He'd still have to adjust to the new dynamic though; it wasn't exactly conventional for him. Still, it wouldn't be fair to the woman if he didn't at least attempt to be friendly. She'd put so much effort into helping him-- he owed her for that.
The instructions on his current exercise prompted a nod from the man. "Close mae eyes, meditate, empty mae mind. Standard procedure, got it." He'd answer. The man would quickly stretch his muscles, take a few deep breathes-- just a quick warm up-- and than close his eyes. Slowly, he'd allow his thoughts to drift off, letting his mind slip out onto a blank canvas. There were disturbances, ofcourse, but with how his mind was still needing to recover, emptiness wasn't to difficult to achieve.
Gradually, the man began to reach out with the force. Very rarely had he consciously reached out with the force over the past few months. When he had, it had nearly always been when he was having an episode. This was probably the first serious use of the force he'd done since Firrerre. As such, it took a heavy amount of concentration on his part. Even with how familiar he was with meditation, it wasn't easy.
Yet even still, he'd begin to feel something. The force wasn't closed off to him-- it wasn't closed off from anything alive. Even after all he'd suffered, Laeonas was one of the few in the galaxy who could feel it's presence. It's ebbs and flows, the currents of life itself. As he'd open up, the familiar feeling of it's omnipresence radiated through him. When the man opened his eyes again, he couldn't help but smile.
"It was... familiar." He'd answer, turning to Ephiny with a more reserved expression. "Ai... well, it was kinda laike when yer not really able ta see when ya wake up, but as time passes, shite comes int'a focus, y'know?" He'd explain, trying his best to describe it to her. "Laike... it wasn't anythin' new, but it felt refreshin'.Comfortable." He'd elaborate further, trying his best to make sense of how he felt.
Ephiny watched Laeonas close his eyes. Focus was important for this first exercise. It was also essential to several Force abilities that a Jedi can learn. The Archivist hoped that after Laeonas learned how to focus and open himself to the Force, she could teach him how to use these abilities.
However, he seemed to not have problems with focus. Giving the Holodiscs to him was really a good idea. At the time she had thought that they would be useful for him to control his rage. Now it's also going to help him open to the Force around.
Ephiny could feel him reaching out with the Force, touching everything around him, including her. The Knight always liked the sensation of doing it, feeling how there was so much life around her. Knowing that all the things around her were alive, made the Archivist not feel alone.
She smiled after Laeonas opened his eyes and said what he felt while reaching out with the Force. "I understand this sensation of familiarity. I also felt this way too. Knowing that everything around us is full with the Force makes me not feel alone." she explained to him.
"Laeonas, always when you start to feel rage I want you to reach out and feel the living Force. Then you need to focus on this feeling of familiarity." this would be a good way for him to calm himself, at least while he was still a Padawan.
Before Ephiny could talk more to Laeonas, she heard voices. Soon several Padawans arrived at the gardens. They would need silence for what she wanted to teach to Laeonas. "I'll give you the rest of the day free. Tomorrow I want you to find me here againThen we'll go walk a bit in the forest. "
The approval of his teacher was evident in her smile, and Laeonas couldn't help but grin back. He'd expected that she'd be unsatisfied with his explanation, but as it turned out the exact opposite was true. She went beyond clarifying if he'd done it right or not; she explained how she related to what he'd done. Most interactions he'd had with any teacher had been very loud, very colorful language about how wrong he was. Needless to say, he preferred the way she taught far, far better.
However, the reminder of how all life was connected dampened any sense of pride or accomplishment that he felt. More than most living, he was intimately familiar with how all life was connected. How the force bound and connected all things, and how deep those connections ran. How one could feel a persons thoughts, their emotions. Their final moments, the terror and pain of a murder. Of millions burning under the fire of turbolasers, bodies crushed beneath collapsing duracrete.
The man tried to focus on her lesson, but it began to fade as memories forced their way back into his mind. Of Firrerre, of his recovery-- of the man who he'd been, and of the man he was now. Laeonas would remember this lesson-- probably for the rest of his life-- but as he wandered back into the haze, it wouldn't exactly be on his mind. At least, it wouldn't be until he returned here tomorrow.
Her instructions were clear enough, though the man didn't acknowledge them. He'd instead wind up staring at a particular bush, and closely observe their petals. They were royal purple, with trails of a golden yellow up each one, and along the edges. The edges themselves ended in sharp points, in a shade of inky black. Leaning away from Ephiny, he'd look, mesmerized for a few seconds.
"They're pretty, aren't they?" He'd ask her, immediately following up her instructions on tomorrow's lesson. Reaching out with one hand, he'd pluck a flower from it's stem, before letting out a yelp. The flower and it's stem had begun to burn in his fingers, and it suddenly became obvious that this specific flower was either poisonous, or it's internals were very acidic. Laeonas immediately brought his fingers to his mouth to stop the burning, but that only caused the burns to reach his tongue.
"AAH!" He'd yelp, panicking as he sat there, unable to do something. The burning quickly stopped however, as while the flower had burned him, it didn't burn much of him. Sitting there, the man looked at the flowers with momentary frustration, but it would subside as he was once again charmed by it’s beauty. “…Ai’m gonna leave.” He’d state, immediately heading towards the entryway he’d come through. He’d stop before crossing the threshold, however, adding a quick “thanks.”
It hadn’t taken long for Laeonas to find his way back to the garden when the next day hit. While his mind wasn’t clear yet, yesterday’s lesson, combined with a day of stilted social interactions, had left him with a less heavy haze. The man wandered back into the garden, but he was surprised that he hadn’t immediately found the woman. The man looked around in confusion. Was he not on time? Had she already decided to ditch him?
Even if Ephiny was literally just deeper in the garden, the man was obviously confused. “Eph?” He’d call, looking around in further confusion— and mounting distress. “Teach?”
Ephiny had thought that Laeonas would be happy and calm for having felt the living Force around him. It recomforting presence would help the Brentaalan in his efforts to not let his rage dominate him. However, rather than feeling the man relaxing, the Archivist noticed how he seemed to become nervous.
Before she could try to comfort him, Laeonas seemed to be trying to focus again. This made Ephiny smile, for her it showed that at least he was learning how to not be overcome by these feelings. It was very different from what happened when he was at the Medical bay. She felt a bit proud of her padawan.
“Yes, they are.” she said when Laeonas commented about the flowers. If she remembers correctly, they were a Ithorian flower famous due to its pollen that had numbing properties. Since she was distracted saying what they were going to do tomorrow, Ephiny didn’t notice that the Brentaalan was going to touch one of them.
Only when he screamed, was that the Archivist finally noticed what had happened. Staring wide eyed, Ephiny held Laeonas’ hand and looked at his finger. Then she held his face and looked at his mouth. Whoever saw them doing it, would think that they looked like a mother trying to see if her son was fine after ingesting something that he shouldn’t have. “Don’t do it! The pollen of these flowers can make a bantha faint!” she explained to him. Since the Knight didn’t know how much the Brentaalan had ingested, she would need to watch him the rest of the day. “I’ll go with you.” she said, before getting up and following him.
Thankfully, Laeonas didn’t ingest enough pollen to pass out, but he had scared Ephiny. The man seemed to be like a child, worse than a youngling. She would need to watch him, or in the next moment he would be picking a poisonous mushroom and stuffing it in his mouth.
The man would arrive at the gardens while the Archivist was distracted, reflecting about how she would need to watch him more closely to avoid him ingesting things. However, when she heard Laeonas calling for her, Ephiny ran toward him. For some reason, his distressed voice made her concerned. What if he had eaten a poisonous plant?
When she approached him, Ephiny noticed that he was fine. It made her calm down. “I’m here, Padawan.Today we are going to walk in the forest that grows around the Temple. I want to teach you some Force abilities there.” she explained to him. The Archivist walked to where she was before and picked a backpack and passed it to Laeonas.
After she left him at his room yesterday, the Knight had prepared two backpacks for them, with everything that they would need for their day out. Picking her own, Ephiny started to walk toward the exit of the Temple. “Follow me, Laeonas. It’s time for you to know more about the living Force.”
The woman had made it sound like she’d wanted to leave him alone yesterday, yet today she’d insisted on following him around. Laeonas didn’t mind; having someone to talk to or eat with (that wasn’t a nurse) was pleasant. Asadra had stayed with him for a long portion of his recovery. She'd always seemed a little disengaged however, except when she had to close her eyes and start reciting the Jedi code. He still couldn't figure out why she did that, especially when he asked her why plants were green.
He looked around for a bit, clearly distressed, but he calmed as he heard the calls of his teacher. "Ayy." He'd call, walking over to her. "It's kinda 'ot in this robes." He said, pulling up the top layer of the still ill fitting robes he wore. "Can Ai laike, leave this top bit 'ere?" He'd ask, pulling off the outer cloak of his robe. "Ai don't even laike it. Kinda makes me look laike some monk or cultist or priest or wizard." He went on, letting it fall on the bench, having not waited for Ephiny's answer.
"...Ai guess Ai kinda am, aren't Ai?" He'd ask her, before shrugging it off. She'd mentioned going outside into the forests, but the man remembered the dangers she'd mentioned before. "...ain't there big bugs out there?" he asked, memory actually doing it's proper job. "...should Ai go t'mae ship and get a blaster?" He'd ask her, obviously a bit concerned.
When he saw the backpack, he was a bit relieved. Of course Ephiny didn't expect them both to go off in the woods unprotected. There was probably a knife in here, or a baton, or a blaster pistol. The man grabbed the pack, opening it up. There were snacks, a couple glow rods, basic supplies like those he'd scavenged from his pod on Dantooine eight years ago; and just like on Dantooine, there were no weapons.
Ephiny commanded him to follow, but the man didn't move. He looked down at the bag, than at her, than down at the bag again. "We've got nothin' ta protect ourselves with!" He'd shriek, panic in his eyes. "It's a jungle! There's all sortsa dangers out there, laike ya said! What if there are cannibals and monsters laike rancors and nexu?!" He panicked, inadvertently throwing the back up in the air with the force.
"...oh. Prolly th'at." He'd mutter, reaching up and summoning the bag to his hand. The man just remembered that he was capable of wielding the greatest power in the known universe.
Laeonas' comments about his robes made Ephiny smile. She remembers what he had said about the Jedi clothes in Jabiim, that he didn't want to use it. It seems that even after what he suffered on Firrerre, the man still maintained this part of his personality. "We are, sort of." she answered his question.
Then, the Archivist tried to explain the meaning of these clothes. "The robes show that you are now part of the Jedi Order. Part of a tradition that has existed for millennia. Also, I think that they fit you." in her opinion, the robes made him look far more sympathetic than the dark clothes that he was wearing when they met for the first time. After all, he really looked like a Sith with all the black.
"Yes, the forest is full of predators. But none of them are cannibals, rancors or nexu." she wondered why he had mentioned cannibals. "There lives the klikniks, a species of giant insectoid creature that spills acid and eats meat. However, we don’t need a blaster. We are going there to connect with the living Force, not to hunt."
Ephiny was surprised when Laeonas accidentally used the Force to throw the backpack. She would really need to teach him how to stay calm. Perhaps the peace of the forest would also be good for that. "We can use the Force to defend ourselves from the creatures of the forest. Hopefully, it would not be necessary." as she had said to him, the Archivist didn't want to cause damage to the fauna of the planet.
Then, she guided him to the exit of the Jedi Temple and toward a trail that would go deep into the forest. While they walked, Ephiny decided to continue talking with the man. She wanted to know more about her Padawan. "Tell me, Laeonas. Have you ever walked through a forest like that before?"