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Kai Tsintah    52

Elona, 3630 BBY

Sith Academy Training Pits on Dathomir (after the conclusion of Incipit)

 

 

Entering the Sith Academy training pits for the very first time, Kai was suddenly glad she was not doing so, alone. There were some initiates and acolytes already present within. Some were practicing their swordplay, others were sparring with each other while some (less confident ones, perhaps) chose to do so with large sandbags marked with targets. A few (older acolytes by the looks of them) were engaging in obscure martial arts routines. The Korun stepped inside the doorway and off to the side as not to block the entrance -- silently watching the activity, leaning against the wall -- seemingly unnoticed for the time being. One of the trainees' brilliance was immediately apparent. He disarmed one of the taller companions with whom he was sparring, lowered his wooden training sword and turned his gaze blatantly upon her, Kai, as if his will alone could move the young woman from her standing spot.

The Korun moved away from the wall and began to walk across the soft ground, her eyes leveled calmly with the stranger's. She did not know his name, but he seemed to have quite the reputation, judging by the way everyone else looked at him: there was an almost reverence and definitely fear. So, he thought himself to be better than everyone else, did he? Maybe it was time to test that theory, Kai thought, although it would have been her very first time, going up against a male combatant. Come to think of it, the Korun had not even tried sparing with a sandbag. And how could she, given that she had arrived here barely two days ago? If she were lucky, Kai would be allowed to practice with a training saber or a vibrosword, although she would use a stick if commanded to. There was no shame in using any weapon, as long as you gave it your very best shot, the initiate thought. She was moving too fast. The Korun's initial excitement was clearly getting the better of her.

 

Pausing in her tracks, Kai decided to halt her approach in case it was seen as a direct challenge. You are not ready for that yet, the young woman scolded herself silently. Dual-colored gaze flushed with dismay was quietly lifted to Darth Verrin, who had yet to give any direction as to what he would expect of her.

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Darth Verrin    2,134

"Tyro," Verrin explained, "is an ancient Sith word for a Sith trainee who has yet to find a master.

 

He went on to offer a couple more, "'Ari, is a 'Lord', and the Jen'ari refers to a Sith Lord. Darth Atrox, if you should meet him, refers to himself as the Sith'ari, or, 'Lord of the Sith'.  I suppose that technically, he is Jen'ari, but in these modern times, his self-proclaimed title seems more fitting."

 

He went on for a while, about the history of the Sith as he knew it, personally. "When I joined the organization, there were Recruits who, if accepted, became Acolytes. The acolytes worked to become Adepts, the Adepts sought the rank of Master, and Masters sought titles in the name Darth. The system at that time was driven more by a structure that bordered on religion.  We all studied at a Sith Temple, and the leader of us all was a Temple Lord, who answered only to the Emperor himself.  Though to be fair, the non-Sith had a similarly-ranked individual known simply as the General. I think the times were more romantic, in a way... there's a certain reverence when the Order is seen religiously that it doesn't bear in this day and age - especially after the fall at Dromund Kaas. At the end of the day, I suppose it doesn't matter much in how it's seen, or what ranks and titles exist - as long as SOME structure exists.

 

You see, the Sith are seen as chaotic... evil... bringers of destruction and wrath to peaceful societies.  That's simply not the case.  We want law and order to prevail, we want organization and structure. Empires are not built upon democracies, and with will of the people - they are built when someone steps up, and leads the masses - gives them direction, purpose towards larger, greater things. It's why we, the Sith, ally with the Empire and those who support it. And the free-thinking Jedi disagree, and so to maintain balance, have allied with those in the Republic, who are convinced - for what reason, I do not comprehend - that a Senate without checks and balances can lead a peoples. 

 

If you look at history - even ten... was it ten?  Maybe fifteen years ago?  The race of beings known as the Rakata tried to take over this galaxy and enslave us to their will. It was the Empire that rose up against them, and only then did the flailing Republic see the wisdom in supporting the structure that was the might of the Empire. Together - the Sith, Jedi, Empire, and Republic - we turned back the Rakata invasion and maintained our way of life.

 

Honestly... you'd think that others might see the 'big picture' more easily, but they tend to live in the moment, and not appreciate the value of history."

 

He'd prattled on for a bit, arguably offering propaganda, but in Verrin's mind it was true enough. But then they'd arrived at the Pits.

 

Verrin winced as they passed through a doorway leading to the Pits proper. The stark contrast of controlled temperature and humidity from the main facility against the oppressive heat and humidity that assailed them was potent.  Fortunately, it also served to remind others that they were passing out of 'civilization' and into dangerous territory.

 

Soon enough, they found students and Overseers sparring, instructing, and otherwise engaging in more martial activities. But upon encountering one group, Verrin noticed Kai moving away from him towards one particular student. The student in question wasn't familiar to Verrin, but Kai acted like she knew him... or wanted to devour him... it wasn't quite clear, and he couldn't see her face. But she took several steps in a trance-like state before something reminded her of the world around, and she turned back towards him looking either ashamed or embarrassed. Verrin made a mental note of her 'target' for later, but for the moment, he guided her towards an empty space where they could work.

 

Verrin wasn't blind to the looks and gazes that came from some parts of the Pits. They usually surfaced whenever he trained here alone, or when he brought an apprentice along for instruction. No doubt some of them wondered if they could find an instant where he would be distracted enough for them to pounce and claim they were Darth-killers. Others were making note of who he 'favored', with some being jealous because they wanted it to be them, and others being envious and wanting to eliminate their 'competition' before Verrin trained them too well.  But given the circumstances of the Sith - the decimation they'd been through only a year ago - most fought their instincts in favor of their society's well-being and recovery.

 

With a flick of his wrists, Verrin pulled two cylindrical objects from across the room to his waiting hands - they flew past sparring students, around them, and unerringly to him with a snap as they slapped against his palms. He offered one to Kai.

 

"This is a lightsaber.  Or more accurately, a training saber. It's power has been dampened so that it won't be so lethal, but it can still burn you if you hold the blade against exposed skin for too long. They are used by students so that they don't inadvertently lop off their own limbs during practice with fully powered ones.  Some of the other Darths believe that such tools make us 'weak', but given our numbers, I find that it's far, far easier to learn from mistakes when you don't also have to compensate for the loss of a limb. Too often, I've had students deal with such things... one of my apprentices lost both her legs... another one named Kry'zorah lost an arm. You'd think it would be as simple as training with a hand tied behind your back, but in reality, there's a weight and balance issue that has to be overcome. OR... you'd have to learn how to compensate for cybernetics, should you replace the body part. It's frustratingly unproductive, and so I utilize training weapons.

 

The important thing..," He ignited his own training weapon and held it before him, allowing the red 'blade' to hum and light their faces between them. "... is to get used to the balance.  In a standard weapon, there is a balance... a point on the length of the weapon where you can rest it upon one finger and the hilt and blade will keep it level. One trains with such a weapon, and that pivot point in mind. The lightsaber's point of balance is in the hilt itself, which is why it takes special training to wield one properly.

 

Oh, sure... any pleeb with a will and a lightsaber can light it up and hack away at a rotten log.  But to incorporate the bladework into a real fighting style, into a Form, requires practice.  Observe."

 

Verrin stepped back a pace or two, and went through some very basic moves with the saber, showing how footwork, core balance, and awareness all came into play with the weapon. He even let it strike the ground in slow-motion at a point to demonstrate resistance. "See how effortlessly it moves, and how only impact with something more solid than air causes it to pause in its trajectory? You'll feel resistance, should you strike an opponent, or block their weapon.  But otherwise, the weapon moves through the air as easily as your hand does. It's like marrying a martial art to an extra-long arm. Now imagine you are advancing in your studies, and you attempt more difficult or 'fancy' maneuvers."

 

He executed a couple of twirling strikes and parries against non-existent opponents, as if deflecting blaster fire.  The weapon came dangerously close to his own armored robe several times. "Make a mistake there, and a real saber would cause... problems for you."

 

He finally ended his example with a standing 'ready' pose, with the saber pointed directly at Kai.  It stopped all movement only six inches from her, likely warming her skin, but not overly so. "Go ahead - try it out.  Get a feel for it," he offered her, ready to defend himself if she got... playful.

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Kai Tsintah    52

"Ah yes, of course," Kai replied quietly. She would strive to find one as soon as possible, if she ever came into the presence of someone of stature other than Darth Verrin or Aiden Rohl. The two of them had enough to handle without having to take on some Korun baggage. In the meantime, she continued to listen to the Zabrak explain various terms of ancient Sith terminology.

 

"In that case, I should call you Jen'ari Verrin, rather than sensei Darth," the young woman nodded to herself, committing the word to memory. "The Sith Emperor is the  Sith'ari, but why do you say self-proclaimed?" She made every effort to keep her eyebrows from lifting, but the curiosity got the better of her. "Is he not the real emperor then, but a usurper of some kind?"

 

Who are you to question the legitimacy of the Sith Emperor? Best get a hold of yourself now, Kai; these matters are none of your concern. You are here to learn and grow, not to call the status quo into doubt.

 

The self admonishment worked immediately, and she offered a meek word of contrition as soon as Darth Verrin allowed it. "Apologies, Jen'ari. Tongue runs ahead of mind, once again. I will endeavor to keep it on a much tighter leash."

 

By the time they had arrived at the pits, Kai had some strange urgency take over her momentum, because she nearly damn well challenged a stranger to a fight, without considering the fact that the bold move could have led to her early demise. Some part of her was alert, though. Better later than not at all, too. As a multitude of goosebumps erupted all over her body, Kai realized why she was so eager to engage the burly acolyte. He reminded her of one of the thugs that had taken her father's life. She could still hear his mocking laughter resounding in her ears, before its savage owner having disappeared into the shadows.

 

Having shaken off the initial impulse to act, Kai brought her body to a complete standstill and closed her eyes, taking a slow breath, and then another. Thankfully, her would-be opponent did not even notice her moving toward him. Grateful for the opportunity to back off, the Korun did just that, finding her way back to the Zabrak. No sooner had she approached him, that she saw Darth Verrin pull two cylindrical objects to his waiting palms. And he did so, all the way across the chamber!

 

Standing amazed for a few seconds, she did not take the weapon offered to her, until the Zabrak began speaking once more. Kai's palm threatened to tremble as she held the training saber in hand, but she forced it to stay immobile, teeth clenching. Every word spoken was absorbed with cool civility, even if deep inside of her it felt more like reverence. Although Darth Verrin reassured her that this version of the weapon was not nearly as lethal as a typical lightsaber used by Sith warriors, Kai was still appreciative of what it was capable of. 

 

In a standard weapon, there is a balance.....in the hilt itself, which is why it takes special training to wield one properly.

 

Nodding, Kai offered a respectful acknowledgment of all the wisdom that was being imparted to her. I need to start recording these sessions, she thought, wishing she had some type of wrist-mounted holo-recorder to use for just such a purpose. Perhaps Master Rohl could help her obtain one, sometime. Her focus once again upon Darth Verrin, she nodded, observing him demonstrate some basic movements with the activated lightsaber in hand. 

 

The twirling strikes took her by surprise, not because the Korun did not think them possible, but somehow, she did not expect a head librarian to be capable of unleashing such flagrant (and most surprising) artistry. Cheeks flushing plum, she hastened to explain her discomposure. "Jen'ari, you are a true warrior." As if that was to explain the whole deal behind her awkward discomfiture. 

 

Darth Verrin did not seem to mind, however. Instead, he brought the weapon into a 'ready' pose, its tip pointed directly at the Korun. Frozen in place, Kai waited to see if the movement would result in a strike, except it did not. In fact, it stopped only a handful of inches away from her, the glow of the weapon warm against her frozen skin. 

 

"Go ahead - try it out.  Get a feel for it" Darth Verrin said, in the earnest.

 

Surely, he must have some idea that I have never handled such a weapon before?

 

Still, the Zabrak was waiting on her to make her first move. Sliding her thumb over the activation switch of her weapon, Kai wondered just how much different it would be from her vibroblade. Yet nothing seemed to change when the training saber ignited with its bright blade. Astonished, the young woman sighed, then spun the weapon in a rapid arc with a flick of the wrist.  Dust danced in the crimson light of its afterglow as Kai placed her remaining hand on the hilt in a two-handed grip. Before she knew it, her arm swung high and then low in an abrupt downward slash intended for the Sith Lord's exposed left shoulder....

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Verrin smiled inwardly as the downward strike came. His student had twirled the weapon quickly, but he wans't sure if it was intentional or a result of the unfamiliarity. Of course, if she'd been a Jedi spy this entire time, and somehow had hidden her nature from him, then this was her chance to suddenly lash out and strike him down - while he wasn't expecting such vigorous effort.

 

The Force told him the truth though, and she'd never handled such a device before. She simply seemed to be excited - and why shouldn't she be? This was but a dream to many children of the galaxy - something out of a holobook or a fireside tale.

 

Verrin raised his own saber in a block, catching the downward strike neatly in an effort to help her know what it felt like when the weapon met resistance. Meanwhile, he chatted, "Flattery will get you everywhere, Miss Tsintah. A warrior?  There are many who would argue with you. Heck - I would argue with you. You'll see warriors aplenty soon enough though, and know the difference between what I do and what they do. If you ever meet Darth Tanit, for example... or Master Aiden... those are true warriors."

 

Verrin didn't counter attack, instead letting Kai get a feel for her weapon as she saw fit.  He deflected some strikes, side-stepped others, but overall he was acting more like a training droid than an aggressive opponent. There was no point in showing off for her just now, and certainly not in front of any watchful eyes in the area. 

 

He kept up the chatter as she came at him, "I hadn't realized what I said earlier might be misconstrued.  When I referred to the Sith'ari as self-proclaimed, I meant the title, not the position.  Historically speaking, most leaders of the Empire or Sith refer to themselves as Emperor, or simply another Darth. I think Darth Atrox fancies the term, and so chose it for himself.

 

I think you thought I meant his taking of the 'throne'. Some Emperors hand off the throne to others, some vacate it, and let some aggressive Lord fill the void of their absence.  But as Sith struggle for power at every level - and I mean every level - so too do they struggle at the topmost. It wouldn't surprise me if Atrox took the position from Emperor Valyrian by force, even eliminating him.

 

Right now... you could lash out and strike me down, and claim you are a Darth-slayer, entitled to the rank and influence that goes along with it. You could appear before my peers, and tell them of your prowess, and my failures, and become the Kaar of Ancient Knowledge, joining them on the Council. Of course... through victory, your chains are broken.  But then... you'd inherit my chains, wouldn't you?  Is the grass really greener on the other side, Miss Tsintah?  Or is it simply greener over the septic system?"

 

Verrin chuckled lightly, and blocked another thrust, enjoying himself. He was sweating - they all were - but that was more a function of the environment than the level of activity. But finally, he brought his own weapon around - albeit at a slow speed - attempting to tag Kai on her seemingly exposed hip.  It was more playful than a real effort to cause what little harm the training weapon could. If it struck her, it would feel like getting nipped by a wet towel, or a hot pot-handle if it lingered there. The weapon wasn't even likely to get through what clothing she wore... though a real lightsaber wouldn't stop before separating her upper and lower sections.

 

 

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Darth Tanit    475

Darth Tanit often enjoyed observing the education of the students in the Dathomirian academy. In her time on the planet her health had taken a sour turn, showing more of her wear and tear than she had prior ot the Empire's collapse. She liked to think that the problem was caused by witnessing her fleet collapsing in the defense over Bastion, but she knew that it was the humid atmosphere. Jungles bred disease, and in a compromised body it was only natural that the heat and moisture would cause problems that only compounded with her previous health issues. Still, she was no slouch.

 

What most of the students had lacked, had been motive, drive, and they were naught but fodder. Though there were some flashes of brilliance, the impressions that many left had not imparted on her a lasting sense of confidence in their abilities. Of course, those more vocal students would have called her expectations unreasonable, that she was too harsh. Those students were likely the ones to die in the jungles trying to complete some menial trial that those more focused students would do without question. The silent Acolytes were the ones that more often than not festered with a hatred that was planted by the Overseers. That they were feeling such a thing was the greatest step. To harness one's own anger and rage was to harness the Dark Side. Those were the students she hoped to see ascend to service in the Order.

 

Darth Verrin was lecturing, much like he always did when in the presence of the Acolytes. The man had a knack for educating others that she seemed to have lacked. Her previous attempts at taking an apprentice had fallen by the wayside, though not entirely by her own hand. Those that she had intended to shape into warriors ended up vanishing more often than not. While the rumors might have told that she killed them for some minor disappointment, she had matured since then and had taken on a more conservative and measured response to such things. Tanit raised a handkerchief to her mouth and coughed into it. The sound rattled in her scorched lungs. Bloody spittle spattered on the bloodstained white cloth. It was more severe than it ever had been and was continuing to progress at the crawling pace of a vine growing over an abandoned building.

 

Tanit observed from the side of the pit. Heavy armor she had been known for prior was discarded for lighter Sithspawn leather. It fit well, offered the promised protection, and allowed her to blend in among the students more readily than a battered suit of heavy metal armor. She wore no cloak, and in the light her skin gave off an unsettling pallor that was only accentuated by her dark red hair. She wiped the blood from her lips and put the cloth back into the pouch on her belt. There was something refreshing about watching combat training, even just the fundamentals. Only through the basics could someone hope to become more. In that manner, she had to respect the method. Allowing one to feel even the slightest amount of pain for their failings was all the motivation needed to close up that gap. That was how she learned, and it was, to her, the best approach to getting those in their combat training to commit those lessons to memory.

 

"The chains that bind are only weaknesses if you allow them to dominate you." Tanit said, her voice sickly, wounded, as she walked down into the pit. She did not quite catch the topic of discussion, but the idea of chains binding one to weakness was the most common thread that Darth Verrin taught students he interacted with. There was truth in his words. Those who bound themselves to their weaknesses were not free, and could not know the freedom of the Dark Side without first breaking those chains. There were, of course, weaknesses that could not be overcome. She was an example of that. The Dark Side could only do so much to hold a body together. Tanit channeled her pain and anguish into the Force, turning the Dark Side toward patchwork healing her body with the power it granted. It was always temporary, the Dark Side never granted its power without taking from the user. The more she patched up her failing body the harder it had become to do just that.

 

Darth Tanit looked at the student, then to Darth Verrin, and back. "Your current instructor is wise, and you would be wise to take all of his advice to heart. He has lived through numerous regime changes and conflicts that have destroyed lesser Sith. It pleases me to see a student listen so intently to his words. Pardon my interruption, Darth Verrin..." She said, looking at the young woman while speaking to her former master. She had not introduced herself quite yet. She liked to see how someone took her current appearance more than anything. While her was definitively sickly, the power of the Dark Side was never to be underestimated. She was still a powerful Sith. "Young woman, would you be so kind as to tell me your name?" Tanit asked, curious to know the name of the student that had actually pulled her attention. Again, she coughed into the handkerchief, pain wracking her body as she did so. Blood expelled into the cloth once more, and though her expression had soured she had simply accepted that this was what her life had become.

 

Spoiler

Power Used: Force Infuse

 

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Kai Tsintah    52

The initial strike came down with no hesitation. Kai was not a timid creature, even if she were not a Sith yet. The initiate wanted Darth Verrin to see that she was prepared to do exactly what he asked of her. So she sliced through the air with a bold, precise stroke, reminding herself not to overextend by expending too much vigor at the start of any physical activity. Was she excited to be wielding a lightsaber? Yes! Was she thrilled beyond her fingertips to be sparring with a wise and seasoned Sith warrior? Yes, YES! This was the part of the training Kai had looked forward to ever since her arrival at the academy. Combat, one of her most coveted goals.

 

One of many.

 

The dance between the two weapons continued as the young woman continued to weave a barrage of strikes, thrusts and parries at Darth Verrin, while the elder Sith talked. Nodding a brief acknowledgment of the two Sith names mentioned, as well as her understanding to the explanation of the Sith'ari title, Kai paused a moment to catch her breath. If anything, the exercise was proving that although having youth and speed on her side, the young woman's endurance could use some work.

 

As the Zabrak taunted her with the possibility of her taking his life, Kai maintained a deadpan expression, though a part of her wanted to smirk. Yeah, like that would ever happen? Attempting to avoid the part of looking a complete moron when wielding a lightsaber for the first time, was one thing. Striking down a veteran of the Force, quite another. Well, at least Darth Verrin had a sense of humor about the whole thing; he did not mock her lack of technique nor did he attempt to disarm her, to the shame of all who might have been watching their interaction. But what he did do, was try to tap her on the hip with the tip of his blade, an action that sent Kai's brain into overdrive as it sounded a silent alarm.

 

Before she realized what she was doing, the Korun switched her weapon into a reverse-held grip and thrust it diagonally back, in an effort to intercept the opponent's blade. It gave the appearance of attempting to 'sheathe' the saber if there was a scabbard that could hold it safely within. Still, the reaction came half a second too late and Kai winced, feeling a sharp sting of fiery heat nip at the side of her upper thigh and then slowly abate. Glancing to her clothing, she saw no holes, but there was a burn mark nonetheless. Darth Verrin was not trying to harm her, after all. He was trying to teach her.

 

Immediately afterwards, Kai extinguished her blade and took a knee. "Perhaps now is a good time to humbly ask for proper instruction," she murmured, voice laced with humility. To her surprise, it was not Darth Verrin that replied, but another voice, more feminine in nature if she had to guess. Her head bent, she continued to listen to Darth Tanit speak although she did not lift her head to regard the speaker. She was before her betters here; a wise student was humble before her teachers. It was not until a question was posed directly to her, that Kai 's chin rose slightly, her gaze now hovering at Darth Tanit's feet. 

 

Just then, the Sith lady coughed, and the Korun could have sworn Darth Tanit's body cringed with some secret anguish. Kai waited a few seconds afterwards, in case the coughing episode made a sudden return. To the young woman's relief it did not, so she offered a response in as firm a voice as she could muster.

 

"My Lady, this one is Tyro Kai Tsintah, honored to make your acquaintance.

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Verrin's sparring partner showed good instincts, attempting to reverse grip and block the slow, incoming blow to her side. She didn't quite have the footwork though, and Verrin managed to tag her in spite of her efforts.  She winced a little, but Verrin didn't try to push the attack - not yet. That training would come, once she had a better grasp of the basics.

 

But when Kai took a knee, Verrin's attention was momentarily distracted by  the presence of another. Darth Tanit had arrived, looking the worse for wear, and leaving Verrin to wonder how bad her health was.  He could sense that the Dark Side was outpacing her ability to endure it, but he couldn't imagine the circumstances that pushed her beyond her limits - which were formidable. He triggered the switch on the training saber when she coughed, and even managed a small smile as she tucked a stained cloth away.

 

Tanit asked after Kai's name, and Verrin felt his hearts beat faster for a moment. He let Kai respond before he spoke up, noting her self-claimed title.

 

"Miss Tsintah, please rise.  I'd like to introduce you to Darth Tanit.  Lady Tanit, the Tyro, Tsintah."

 

Unable (or unwilling) to hold back another moment, Verrin stepped over to the Darth and boldly embraced her in a warm, heartfelt hug. "Apprentice," he teased her, "it's really good to see you up and about."

 

Then, in a whisper directly into her ear, he asked, "I can feel your pain. You helped me. When are you going to ask me for help in return?"

 

He nudged her cheek with his own, and then pulled back to arm's length, still holding her broad shoulders. Before completely letting go, he ran a hand across her cheek affectionately,

 

Finally breaking contact, he elaborated for the pair, "Darth Tanit here, was once my apprentice, and is proof that despite my unorthodox methods, an apprentice of mine CAN rise to power in the Empire.

 

Tyro Tsintah is new here, but enthusiastic. I was introducing her to the lightsaber, and telling her what a real warrior was.  Now she can see for herself."

 

 

 

 

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Darth Tanit    475

Darth Tanit returned the gesture, having taken from Verrin's training that a Sith need not sever off their ability to feel emotion other than hatred or anger. True, hate and anger were often the easiest and most potent feelings that the Sith could draw upon in order to bend the Dark Side to their will, but there was certainly some merit in remaining open to the full spectrum.

 

Tanit put a hand on her former master's arm after she was released and smiled. Her skin had grown more pale than when she first started her training. A sickly luminescent tone that belied her physical state. Power though she had, her body was deteriorating beyond her capabilities. The wounds of a life of unchecked aggression and tactless battle without caution had finally caught up with her. "No rise is complete without the work required to do such a thing." She said, the rasp in her voice sounding quite painful.

 

Tanit reached out telepathically to her former master, "When my body gives up entirely. For now, the pain gives me focus to pursue the craft I neglected in my warrior training. When the time comes, I will seek the help I need." She projected, emotionless. A moment later she looked down to the woman who remained on her knees, "Rise." she motioned with a hand. "There should be more students that show such proper signs of respect and deference. Remember, though, you are being trained as a Sith. Show respect, but do not become a desperate sycophant. Respect is one thing, but such obsequious behavior is easy to read as disingenous." Tanit said, a hard rattling cough catching up with her nearly before she could cover with the handkerchief. The stains of blood had set from repeated use, and by the looks of things the previously white fabric had been used for some time now.

 

"Once you have learned the basics of simple Lightsaber use, you should give consideration to what path you will follow. To learn a form, and truly master it, takes many years of dedication and patience. It is best to take into consideration what it is you seek out of your Lightsaber. There are many paths, each of them strong in their own right. Do you wish to be an unstoppable force, or an immovable object? Do you want rigidity and strict focus on form and footwork, or would you prefer something more relaxed and open to interpretation? The choices you make as an acolyte are some of the most important ones you will make in the Academy. None of them should be taken lightly. Your success relies on your mind, just as much as it does your body." Tanit said, straining through the physical pain to deliver some nugget of wisdom she had gleaned from her experience. It was not perfect, but the point was an important one that she learned along the way.

 

She looked the woman over once more and then back to her former master, "Since Darth Verrin praises me so highly, I feel as though it would be a missed opportunity if I did not assist him in teaching you the fundamentals. If he will allow me, I would like to go through the paces with you on what you have learned already." Tanit said, both of her hands clasped together behind at her lower back. She stood fairly formally and while she did not expect any protest from her former master, she could understand if Miss Tsintah had reservations about facing what Verrin had labeled a true warrior.

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Kai Tsintah    52
Posted (edited)

Darth Tanit.... one of the true warriors!

 

It was now Kai's heart's turn to beat faster. She was not at all surprised by the warm, sincere embrace Darth Verrin extended to the lady. The Zabrak seemed to be very different than all the others Kai came across so far. This one did not hide behind a shield of cold, calculated guile. He wore his sincerity like a badge of honor. It emanated from his every gesture. Kai thought it a clever, unexpected manner for a Sith to behave. It would likely cause even the best of Darth Verrin's peers to remain ever-vigilant in his presence, even if they did not show it.

 

The two Sith Lords exchanged some words, some of which were inaudible to the Korun. Oddly, the young woman did not feel awkward, having witnessed what could pass for a 'tender' moment among the Sith. If they did not want her to see it, they would have made it so, she thought, rising to her feet as bid. It was appropriate to show deference and respect to her elders by bowing or taking a knee, Kai believed. They had earned their place in the grand scheme of things, and as such, she would continue to do it unless advised not to.

 

She kept silent through Darth Verrin's introduction of his former apprentice, nodding acknowledgment every now and then. Once he finished, Darth Tanit addressed her personally, driving Kai's thoughts into a vortex of contemplation. In the end, the initiate had to admit that the Sith lady was right; it was one thing to show esteem for someone, and another to have it done in too frequent or ostentatious a manner. The latter would be seen as false all too easily. Achieving a perfect balance between the two would become a new goal for the Korun to master.

 

Deceit may be a legitimate tool of Sithcraft, but it must be used wisely and certainly not while attempting to generate the positive kind of attention from those that would help your elevation, Kai reminded herself silently.

 

The initiate's thoughts were interrupted by Darth Tanit's returning cough. The young woman struggled to keep a deadpan expression while eyeing drops of blood freshly appearing on the Sith lady's kerchief. In spite of not knowing this woman, Kai could not help but feel a pang of compassion. It reminded the girl of her meeting with Master Aiden Rohl and her subsequent request to study the art of Restoration in the Force. Even so, Kai thought, Darth Tanit was likely more than adequately versed in the healing arts and would have used them already to help her condition.

 

Whatever it was, the illness seemed profoundly serious and far too fierce for Sith restoration methods to handle. Waiting until the coughing subsided (as it was really the only thing she could do), Kai listened further as the dark lady embarked on an explanation of using a lightsaber form and the demands it would place on one's psyche and stamina. Every statement of insight was met with a somber nod, and each question weighed in silence for future consideration.

 

In truth, Kai did not expect Lady Tanit to stick around, save for catching up with her former master and offering her, Kai, several pointers and wise insights to consider. So it surprised the young initiate greatly when Darth Tanit's final words to her were worded as a proposition, hinting at an opportunity to learn directly from the female Sith Lord.  

 

"Since Darth Verrin praises me so highly, I feel as though it would be a missed opportunity if I did not assist him in teaching you the fundamentals. If he will allow me, I would like to go through the paces with you on what you have learned already.

 

A moment of silence ensued, as the Korun was clearly taken aback by the offer. Not wanting to come across as all too eager or otherwise too hesitant, she bowed low at the waist (foregoing her usual knee) and smiled. "My Lady, I would be honored to learn from an adept warrior such as you." And with her peripheral glance, Kai sought to catch a flicker of a reaction from Darth Verrin, hoping there was nothing improper in the way she issued her reply.

Edited by Kai Tsintah
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Darth Verrin    2,134
Posted (edited)

"The choices you make as an acolyte are some of the most important ones you will make in the Academy. None of them should be taken lightly. Your success relies on your mind, just as much as it does your body." Verrin smirked at Tanit's words.

 

He added a quip of his own, "And trust that whatever choices you make will likely change over time."

 

A look from one, or both, of them caused him to explain a little further. "Darth Tanit here used to be something of a sniper.  She was also under the belief that physical prowess could overcome mental strength.  Similarly, I believed intellectual excellence could compensate for a physical weakness. While both statements were initially true, both of us learned that having strength in both allowed us to cast of more and more chains.  Mental acuity broke the chain of relying on strength... muscle shattered the binding of relying solely on willpower. Having the right tool at ones disposal for a given situation made overcoming that ordeal so much easier."

 

Verrin felt quite confident in that series of statements, and both he and Darth Tanit had cross-trained one another for years.

 

He bowed slightly and stepped back though, when the two women agreed to train.  Verrin's style of fighting was very different from his former pupil's, and he would have time to teach Kai what he knew if she felt inclined to learn that. But given Tanit's current health, Verrin was concerned that any training from her was going to be in much shorter supply.

 

He kept one eye on the action between the pair, but his other roved around the Pits, looking for some young, healthy - and failing - individuals whom he could tap for their youth and vigor, granting them to Tanit to prolong her time.  It would be so easy - to tap the Dark Side, and then use that energy to transfer health to Tanit. It wouldn't last forever, depending on what it was that was sapping so much of the Darth's life. But it could certainly do wonders for her general well-being and complexion, for a while.

Edited by Darth Verrin

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Darth Tanit    475

Darth Tanit nodded in agreement with Verrin's words. There was a time when she was capable of relying on strength to break any of her chains, but those days were when she was merely a Master, and her peers were as one-dimensional as she had been. It was around that time though, that she realized her flaw was not being fast enough to compete with more rounded warriors. Being that she had built herself up as a defensive and immovable object, the thought had been she would simply bend but not break. The case was a lot more bending than she would have preferred to have done, and her body paid for it.

 

That the student was willing, no, eager, to face her, was refreshing. While she might not look like much now with her deathly pallor, she was not a pushover by any means. She was perhaps, at least at her peak, one of the most physically adept Sith in the Remnant. While not at her peak currently, she was more than capable still. "The first principle of learning lightsaber combat comes with at least working knowledge of Form I, called Shii-Cho. It teaches you things like striking zones, and the basics of blaster deflection and footwork. These are your fundamentals. You use all of them to build on the more advanced forms. Even though Shii-Cho is very basic, it can be a reliable option to fall back on when more advanced techniques are not working." She offered as a lecture. Her voice was ragged, but her words carried with it the knowledge she had gained over her time as a Sith. While the ability to metaphorically move mountains can have a monumental effect, sometimes the solution to a problem was as simple as a spark of electricity or crushing someone's fingers with the Dark Side.

 

Tanit pulled out her old and battered looking Lightsaber, the first she had claimed from a victory and had used ever since. It was functional, even though the form was nothing to look at. It had seen plenty of action, but the internal mechanisms were in perfect order. The red blade snapped to life. "I will not be using my weapon when we spar, but follow my motions. Take your dominant foot and place it behind you. The reason for this is so that you are free to step forward, to follow through with aggression like Form I asks of the practitioner. Shii-cho is meant to be a constant barrage of aggressive steps and horizontal or vertical attacks. Very basic, simple, and to the point." She offered a demonstration of the footwork, "The weapon should be held with both hands at hip height, directly in front of your navel and at a forty-five degree angle. From there you have the option to slash horizontally..." which she demonstrated while stepping forward and bringing a very quick slash across before stepping back into her basic stance, "Or you could come down vertically..." Which was also demonstrated.

 

The redhead deactivated her weapon and put it away, "Go through those motions and once you are comfortable with that you can come at me while I teach you the zones of control and attack."

 

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Kai Tsintah    52

A sniper, Tanit? I have a very hard time picturing that, and yet.... There is something about this woman that speaks deadly calculation and impenetrable guile. 

 

Kai's gaze broke away from Verrin sharply, as soon as the Zabrak ceased speaking. All attention now focused on Darth Tanit, as she spoke of the most fundamental form of lightsaber combat: Form I, also known as Shii-Cho. The Korun surmised that this most basic of saber techniques was the foundation for all the others that followed, although she kept that thought to herself not wanting to interrupt the ailing Sith Lord. 

 

She watched with undisguised awe as Tanit pulled out her weapon which was far from what the initiate expected to see. It was old and battered, as if she had put it together using scrap parts from some disreputable junkyard. Fortunately, the Korun knew better than to judge a weapon by its outer shell, alone. Inside Darth Tanit's lightsaber beat a vibrant, crimson blade. Its emergence snap-hissed a deadly warning to all enemies who had the misfortune to lay their eyes upon it.

 

Watching in silence, her body upright in taut attention, Kai listened as the Sith Lady explained what she expected of the initiate. Tanit moved on to display some Form I footwork after which she showed the girl how to hold the weapon in proper position in order to execute a horizontal slice. Following this up with a demonstration of a vertical slash, Darth Tanit encouraged Kai to mimic her previous movements. Once Kai had attained a sufficient level of comfort with the basics, she was invited to come at the Sith. At that point, Tanit would teach Kai about various target zones of control and attack.

 

All of this is logical and encouraging, Kai thought.  Now onto putting theory into practice.

 

Kai's feet came shoulder width apart as she activated the training saber given to her by Darth Verrin and held it firmly in both hands, resting the lower end of the hilt at the level of her navel, tilted at a forty-five degree angle. Beginning at rest position, she stepped with her right foot, bringing her weapon up in an overhead strike. Right foot moved to step behind, as if facing an invisible attacker in the direction opposite to that which she started from. Another step forward brought the lightsaber up again in an overhead strike, repeating the same basic motion from before. Left foot stepped out to mid-line, an invisible shoulder strike sweeping left as she moved forward and then repeated the motion but with a sweeping shoulder strike to the right. The two shoulder strikes were repeated, first to the right and then to the left, before Kai swung her left leg around counterclockwise, bringing her lightsaber down for an imaginary block.

 

Here we go. Coming at you, just as you asked. Let's hope I do not suffer for it.

 

Just then, the Korun's weapon swung upward in a swift, jerking motion as the initiate took a sudden step toward Darth Tanit, aiming to lower the shimmering crimson blade onto the woman's unprotected head. 

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Verrin nodded and paced several feet away from the training duo, eyes still half-roving over the masses, but not seeing what he was looking for yet.  He heard Tanit explain basics, and then witnessed Kai go through the steps.  All was well.  He appreciated Tanit's reserve - a hard-won reserve that his own apprentice, Holle, did not yet possess. Had it been Holle training Kai, Verrin wouldn't have been surprised if Kai's sudden strike - even with a training saber - wouldn't have been met with derision and outright aggression. Holle had anger aplenty, but not the control of it that Tanit had developed over time.

 

Verrin considered an exhibition - where he and Tanit would spar to show the younger generation how advanced techniques were applied. But the only time he and she sparred was in the closed confines of a more private space. It was too easy to let anger rise just a little bit more, to keep up with the other, and with an audience, who knew if either of them would have the self control to keep themselves ratcheted back. No... the lesson was going well as it was.  No need to interfere.

 

Verrin awaited Tanit's lesson on the strike zones.  He wanted to sharpen her education of Kai, not blunt it. It wouldn't do for him to not pay attention, and then give Kai contradictory advice. Besides...

 

... Verrin knew all too well that he was never too old to learn, himself.

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Darth Tanit    475

Tanit sidestepped the attack with, for how she had been in the past, rather startling speed. In doing so, she pushed herself beneath the blade and the arms swinging downward and instead of hitting with her full strength she left the back of her fist against the woman's face in a gesture of attack but not an actual attack. Her other hand went up and intercepted the clutched weapon, holding it with frightening strength for a woman of her stature and apparent health. "Body zone one, the head, and by extension the neck. Clearly, this is the most vitally protected zone of attack. To lose your head is obviously the end of your life. While the fundamental tenets of Shii-Cho are meant to be used non-lethally, as it was created by the Jedi, it still teaches each area of the body as a position to attack. The reason behind this was that the very first form was created at a time when the Jedi were transitioning from traditional swords to the earliest protosabers which had their powerpacks strapped to belts." Tanit was educating not only in the manner of Shii-Cho's use, but in the basic history of the form. To understand one's self as a warrior was to understand their methods. Should this woman pursue the path of the warrior, then it was up to Tanit to offer her a head start to make sure that she carried the Sith on strong independent shoulders.

 

"When you raised your weapon to attack you telegraphed your motions with your eyes. While I do not expect perfection from a new student, one of your best allies will be your mind. Battles can be won by simply outmaneuvering your opponents rather than overpowering them. Try to focus your mind on the goal and not the process. You raise your weapon, but you raise it and it seems as though you are not fully confident in your ability to learn it. Feel the blade. Your eyes will betray you, but the Force will not. Center your mind on the lightsaber. If you attack without using your eyes, then you will be that much harder to read. Now, return to the base stance and try again." She said, putting herself back in a neutral stance in order to resume the lesson in the hands-on approach she had started with.

 

 

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Kai Tsintah    52

Seeing Darth Tanit's fist coming toward her face was as alarming as it was frightening. The Sith Lady may have not looked like much, especially in the light of her current debilitating state, but Kai would not put anything past her. Instead of delivering a blow, Tanit merely held it there as a sort of 'marker' as she went on to explain the most vital of attack zones, the head. Her other hand wasted little time, moving to intercept her training saber and holding onto it with surprising physical stamina. Not reacting to the move, Kai simply listened, appreciative of being given a glimpse into history alongside a lesson in Shii-Cho technique. In her mind, Kai attempted to envision the first lightsabers as Tanit briefly hinted at their appearance. External power packs. They must have connected to the lightsaber hilt by some type of cable so that the weapon could emit blade. How far the Force users had come, since then! Or had they? Perhaps the improvements were simple; superficial, even. Little things added here and there to improve upon the practical use of the weapon. She would have to read up on the origins and the development of the lightsaber whenever the opportunity next presented itself. The thought filled the Korun with renewed excitement.

 

Oh, Kai.... How much you have yet to learn!

 

In the meantime, Darth Tanit continued to speak; this time, pointing out the weaknesses in the initiate's earlier 'attack'. It was true, the girl gave too much away. Her momentum and agility were not nearly enough to fool a seasoned warrior. Darth Tanit expected the move; it was bold, big, and aggressive. It was also one of Shii-Cho's most basic and often used attacks. The Sith Lady was reading Kai like a book; the Korun did indeed execute all her movements as if practicing with an invisible mirror. They were all textbook, typical, common and ordinary. 

 

Everything that a Sith should NOT be.

 

Inwardly, Kai frowned. She was giving the victory away before the combat had the chance to get off the ground. But how did one attack without using their eyes? Tanit's last words resounded deep in her mind as she readied herself to give the challenge another try. 

 

.... Your eyes will betray you, but the Force will not.
.... Focus your mind on the goal and not the process. 
.... Center your mind on the lightsaber.
.... Feel the blade. 

 

Returning to the base stance with her feet shoulder width apart, Kai held her training weapon in both hands as Tanit first showed her in the beginning of their session. Taking a few paces back to give them both some room to maneuver, she ignited the lightsaber blade and began to execute a series of basic velocities: blade overhead, up at a diagonal angle, slash across, then down, taking a knee before swinging up and down in a rapid slash. Rising, then pivoting on her heel away from the Sith Lady, she continued to repeat the movements, her gaze focused on the blade and seemingly having lost focus on either Tanit or Verrin for the time being. As she came nearer her instructor, Kai drew her vibroknife in a blurring flash of speed; she stabbed low at Tanit's left thigh and exposed hip with her dagger, then high at the woman's upper torso with a powerful thrust of the training saber.

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Verrin winced as Darth Tanit's fist approached Kai's face. He'd felt that fist a time or two during his training with her, and she hit like a charging bantha when she wanted to. But to his relief - and likely Kai's too - the fist stopped short of impact, merely marking its place so Tanit could make a point about targets. That gesture made Verrin comfortable enough that he didn't wince again when Tanit's other hand caught the saber strike.

 

Kai seemed to be observing, listening, learning. She was certainly an attentive student, and Verrin was glad that she'd found her way to the Academy. If he was actively seeking apprentices, then this one would stand out in his eyes.

 

He smirked to himself. He would take half the Academy as apprentices if he could.  But he'd be doing them a disservice as his attention would be so diverted among so many. Even now, that thought left him wondering where Holle was. And for that matter, where Vanessa had gone. Vanessa hadn't left her position as one of his two apprentices - but she'd needed to pursue some matters on her own, and there was no telling when she'd return, or if she'd return. Perhaps he had time for one more apprentice after all? Time would tell.

 

For the moment though, Verrin was left listening to Tanit.  The Darth was explaining how combat between Sith was further enhanced by tapping into the Force.  That was an more advanced technique in his mind!  Was she trying to ascertain Kai's talents, or merely place the bug in her ear that her future as a combatant - like most things - would be affected by the Force?  Verrin turned more of his attention back to the dueling pair.

 

They had squared off once m ore, and this time, Kai went through a series of strikes and parries, but without targeting anyone.  It was as if she was fighting invisible or imaginary foes as she slashed once twice, again.  She then took a knee, and slashed twice more. She rose, pivoting, executing some kind of dance that only she could hear the music to, and her eyes appeared to glaze as she lost focus on the world around her.

 

Suddenly, she drew a dagger from somewhere on her person, and then executed an attack on Tanit - low with the dagger, high with the training saber. Verrin had little doubt that Tanit could stop the attack if she wanted, but the effort was something impressive to him from a student who had never held a lightsaber before.

 

Or supposedly had never held one before.

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Darth Tanit    475
Posted (edited)

There was a sensory twinge, an irritation that Tanit could feel watching the woman go through the motions. She did not break contact with her, having been given that same feeling before in the Force. It was not difficult to place, and while she was watching her caution and alertness was rewarded. The flash of a metal blade and the swing of the lightsaber. Both of them from different directions but both of them blunted by the precognitive warnings that those attuned to the Force were granted. Now her irritation had elevated to pure anger. She had granted this woman the instructives all students should have with her own time, and chose to attempt to break form.

 

Darth Tanit dashed backwards and glowered like a scorned professor. The student had some nerve, and she was not going to stand by and watch this overly ambitious attempt get someone killed because they felt they could impress someone with creativity. Now was the time to teach another lesson to Kai, and that was to teach that nobody was beyond reproach. Tanit grasped at the Dark Side, drawing its power into her body and channeled its power directly into Tyro Tsintah's shoulder and forearm on the same limb that held the knife. She held her hands out, squeezing firmly to cause maximum pain to her victim, "You are here to learn velocities and proper technique for Form I, not to draw a secondary weapon and make a fool of yourself." She admonished firmly.

 

Tanit began to twist the grip she had on the arm, slowly, not attempting to break it rather trying to instill into her that her arm was in peril, "If you consider yourself so adept that you can draw a second blade, then what use is my instruction? You choose to ignore the basics. Maybe you would be better suited to learning the simple fundamentals of lightsaber combat if you had only one arm. Adversity breeds strength, or culls the weak. Tell me, Miss Tsintah, who does this arm belong to? Do you want to be strong or do you want to be culled from the flock for your ignorance?" She asked, wrenching lightly in order to cause more pain, "Choose your answer wisely." her voice and glare was full of venom as she continued her use of the Force.

 

Spoiler

Send me a PM if this use of Force Grip isn't okay with you Kai and I'll change it :) Just trying to instill some discipline.

 

Edited by Darth Tanit

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Kai Tsintah    52

Maybe it was the Korun's innate ability to learn quickly by mimicking other's movements; maybe it was sheer misreading of what Darth Tanit was actually asking for? Either way, this was clearly NOT going well. Kai had done as instructed, twice now. Over and over, she had demonstrated the footwork and the attack motions that were shown to her before. When asked to attack, the initiate believed that thinking 'outside of the box' would at least gain Darth Tanit's curiosity. Instead, it was met with something akin to anger and disappointment, as if Kai had chosen the worst possible path to attack the venerable warrior - by insulting the woman's vast intelligence and experience.

 

Urrrgh....! So guile clearly would not work to impress the Dark Lady. Nope! And....YEOWWWW!!

 

Now Kai was wincing in pain, her teeth clenching as Darth Tanit's Force Grip bit venomously into her left shoulder and forearm. As hard as she tried to stand, the Korun felt her knees buckle from the strain of the darkside energy seeping deep into her tendons, zapping at the intricate framework of her nervous system. She was on the floor before she knew it, kneeling before her instructor, emitting seething breaths through spasms of anguish. Somewhere in her peripheral vision she registered the dark silhouette of Darth Verrin; motionless and silent in his contemplation of the scene unfolding before him, no doubt. In the back of her mind, she heard a slowed (and slurred) speech as unleashed by her instructor. What was she saying?? Her mind was turning to mush as anger and humiliation swarmed into the center of the young woman; then both suddenly began to ebb away, replaced by a new and much more welcome feeling.

 

Perseverance.

 

In spite of the pain, in spite of the disgrace and confusion that Kai found herself sinking in still, the girl knew that this could not be the point where she would allow herself to drown. In addition to every ounce of stamina being expended toward her willpower, there was also a question stirring in the back of Kai's head, laced with spiteful overtones.

 

I must answer it. Sink or swim. Let's hope I at least float....

 

"Apologies.... my lady!" Kai breathed out, doing her very best not to moan out loud. Her arm was being twisted now, whilst the Force-induced pain continued. "I was clearly mistaken as to what was expected of me. Form I does not allow or encourage embellishment. It was a fool's errand; but one designed only to challenge myself, rather than offend you. My arm is the extension of the Sith'ari's will.... Aah....!" Kai clenched her teeth again for a moment, abhorrent pools of moisture gathering in her eyes. She batted the unwelcome liquid away with a rapid, furious flutter of the eyelids; then bowed her head, breathing heavily.

 

"There is no wisdom absent your instruction and the path of the Sith."

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Even Verrin winced when Tanit put the pressure into Kai's shoulder. He knew that feeling well, and the pain that went with it.  Kai, if she was unfamiliar, might be learning about pain for the first time.  Or if she was no stranger to it, then she was likely new to the sensation coming from the Dark Side, itself.

 

But pain was also a right of passage among the Sith - a necessary thing that one accepted, took in, and built up calluses to.  Pain was a driving force - something the Dark Side would demand again and again as it offered its power. In Verrin's time at the Academy, when he was new, the place was even broken into three chambers to break in students.  The second chamber was simply known as that: Chamber Pain, and he'd learned those lessons quickly and well... and repeatedly. Even entry into Chamber Pain required one to place their hand in a box, and have it impaled by a large, spike-like needle.  It assured that any being who wanted to be Sith learned about pain, accepted it, and even desired it.

 

Many Sith became masochists, others developed sadist tendencies.  Inflicting, or receiving, pain was a regular theme. Had pain been driven out of the Academy's structure in the past?  Had it been eliminated since those early days of his own training? Or had it simply become so commonplace that it didn't require a separate focus, and a devoted 'chamber'? As Kai writhed, and tears formed in her eyes, Verrin wondered whether he needed to re-institute the old ways.

 

But before she passed out from Tanit's ministrations, Kai found her inner fortitude. She gritted her teeth through the tears, through the pain, and answered the instructing Darth coherently and in Verrin's opinion, pretty well for a fledgling Sith. His eyes glanced over to Tanit. She loved inflicting pain, but she was also wise to the current state of the Sith. She wouldn't take it too far. 

 

At least, Verrin was fairly sure she wouldn't.

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Darth Tanit    475

Darth Tanit wrenched lightly again and released the woman's arm from her command, "Remember the pain you feel now, and be gracious that you are able to feel it. You retain both the ownership and use of it, though I could just as easily remove it from your body and remove the temptation to go beyond the parameters of instruction." She continued on. Her tone was still ripe with irritation as she looked at the writhing sobbing figure. This was something that would be conditioned out of the woman if she was going to be able to carry herself forward as a Sith. To show weakness was to invite destruction. At least she was able to answer the question, though she had still disappointed the redhead.

 

She paced for a few moments, letting the training pit calm as she seethed to keep herself from lashing out more aggressively should disappointment be the order for the rest of the day. "You are to learn the basics. Embellishment comes with skill and understanding. As with learning how to harness the Dark Side, attempting too much with the Lightsaber can just as easily destroy you. There have been many students in your position that have maimed themselves pushing too hard. Learn your lessons with measured ambition, Tsintah, or you will see yourself undone." Tanit finished her admonishing lesson. It was an important one to learn, one she learned harshly herself. Pain and the fear of pain were often the best motivators and the keys to success for acolytes and those hopefuls that wished to become acolytes. Darth Tanit now swam deeply in pain on a constant basis, and with it she tapped the Dark Side to try and knit some of the easier internal wounds together.

 

A hard bloody cough followed her anger fueled lecture. The cloth had not been lifted in time, and blood splattered onto the ground. Tanit spat the rest and wiped her mouth with the cloth, "Stand up, stop your sobbing, and show me how much you want to learn. This time I will not be holding back on you. It was a mistake to teach you without consequence. Come at me." She was firm with her direction. Tanit assumed a stance with which Darth Verrin was quite familiar. It was the defensive posture for Teras Kasi, the martial art which Tanit had elected to specialize in during her formative Sith years. The danger of the form was that it had been carefully constructed to keep one's mind as a blank slate to those attuned to the Force. This was to keep the practitioner from telegraphing their attack vectors and defensive maneuvers to those with precognitive abilities. The secondary danger though, was Tanit's bone-crushing physical power. She stood in wait, ready to counter and attack against the simplicities of Form I. Now she was intent on driving home the lesson in the attack zones on the body with anguish rather than a loose leash. 

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