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Kai Tsintah    52

Kai was far from sobbing, but she did feel an uncomfortable influx of tears stinging her eyes, causing vision to become slightly blurred, much to her frustration and dismay. Not that the girl gave up on fighting the urge to release the waterworks with every ounce of her willpower, but Darth Tanit's vice-like grip was simply too strong for the initiate to resist. Pain was a rite of passage for the Sith, the Korun reminded herself silently. Just do what you can, and if you must cave in at some point, then so be it - everyone had their own threshold of pain and as untrained and weak as Kai was, hers was likely of a much lower tolerance than most of the initiates' housed within. 

 

The one thing she did not want to do, was pass into unconsciousness. Though she might be spared the agony of death, Kai could very well be cast out from the Academy, for failing her first basic lesson in lightsaber combat. The shame of it alone seemed impossible for her to bear and so Kai struggled to maintain her balance (even though she was already on her knees), as not to fall backward in a posture of absolute humiliation and defeat. 

 

Remember the pain you feel now, and be gracious that you are able to feel it...

 

The Dark Lady was correct. If Kai were unable to feel any pain at this point, she would most likely be dead. 

 

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.

 

Had this been a different teacher such as Darth Verrin or Master Rohl, perhaps the consequences of this particular lesson would not have been so difficult to stomach. Then again, maybe they were even more ruthless and severe in their approaches. Kai simply had not spent enough time with each to get to know their darker sides, just yet.

 

A coughing paroxysm seized Tanit again, and the Sith expectorated more blood, vibrant blotches of it hitting the ground before her. Kai waited in silence before the seizure passed, then got to her feet slowly as her instructor had commanded. She felt drained, exhausted. There was very little energy left in her, even if Darth Tanit's warning of not holding back this time around, did raise a fresh alarm in the back of Kai's mind. Her brain was buzzing, focus drifting all over the place. The more she struggled to gather her concentration in one solid focal point, the less confident she felt. An image of her father teaching her how to fight with a staff came to mind, but then again, her father's consequences even at their worst, consisted only of being sent to bed without supper or having been told to sleep with the dogs, outside.

 

This was very, very different. And it felt like her future was on the line.

 

The Dark Lady assumed a somewhat defensive stance with which Kai was unfamiliar; although at this point the Korun seemed not to care. This was not a lesson she could win, nor could she impress the instructor with mimicking what she had managed to memorize. To top it all off, the initiate lacked the endurance and the foresight to help her stay on her feet in this artless display that was her knowledge of a barely scratched surface of Form I. Did she feel utterly defeated? Yes, physically. Her spirit however, was still undaunted and pressed her to continue, no matter what. The Sarlacc was a resilient creature, after all. Could Kai, in her limited wisdom, adopt some of its mannerisms and finish this day without failing completely?

 

Assuming the basic opening stance, Kai's dominant foot was placed back - an aggressive position hinting to an imminent forward step. Drawing her training saber, she held it in both hands at hip-height, directly in front of the navel. The blade angled 45 degrees upward just as Darth Tanit had shown her before. She would open with a basic yet fluid attack: a simple diagonal overhead slash, followed by a horizontal cut. Expecting that to be easily parried, she was already preparing for a direct block of her own, perhaps more than one - depending on the Dark Lady's intentions. If her defense was successful, she would continue on with an aggressive flurry of randomly placed vertical attacks, intended to drive back her opponent.

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Verrin continued to watch over the lesson, keeping a wary eye on other practicing students in the nearby area. Some had taken an interest, after all, seeing both the elderly Darth and the sickly one offering the instruction. No doubt some wondered what made this new girl so special, to warrant the attention of two experienced Darths.  Others saw it as a learning opportunity, to better their own skills and knowledge. Either way, Verrin didn't want any interruptions.

 

feel free to skip me in the posting order until something changes int he lesson where you want my input.  I don't want to hold the two of you up with my 'incredibly witty' observation posts

;)

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Darth Tanit    475

Tanit sidestepped the first diagonal slash, and ducked the horizontal to place her center of gravity lower. With her posture this low, she stepped inside the woman's strike zone, close, and instead of igniting her lightsaber she drew the hilt out and intended to use the weighted end as a club. The flurry of strikes caused her to move from side-to-side, taking steps back until the proper opening showed itself. She let the student work though the motions of Form I, watching what looked like desperation. Her body was weak, but to Tsintah's credit she refused to be cowed. That had earned her respect. To be a student facing an impossible task that she did not back away from was more admirable than the small population of acolytes that avoided hardship.

 

Darth Tanit let the vertical attacks come, and by the time the fourth one was raised up, the redhead thrust a flat palm directly into the woman's chest, using enough force that she would likely be winded. The follow up was to be a leg sweep intended to knock the woman to the ground, whereupon the hilt of her lightsaber would be used to club either the left or the right leg, not to break but to bruise heavily. She was intent to drive home the lessons, even with violence. Pain was an excellent teacher. Pain was what had Tanit seeking new ways to ease her pain, to repair her failing body. Blood dripped lightly out of the right corner of her mouth as she grit her teeth. She remained wordless, knowing that the young woman, even if she did not find herself the victim of every maneuver Tanit threw at her, would likely need a moment before the lesson could progress from physical to verbal.

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Kai Tsintah    52

The  aggressive flurry of randomly placed vertical attacks intended to drive back enemies that was (usually) highly effective against most lightsaber styles, was not going to be nearly as efficient against Darth Tanit. The Dark Lady continued to be one or two steps ahead of Kai at all times, and the Korun expected as much. Still, she went about her business, executing one stroke after another, until she ran through the entire gamut of Shii-Cho's movements. Still, she was no closer to landing a strike on her instructor than she was to see the flat palm strike coming her way. By the time she did, Tanit's palm landed squarely against her chest, knocking the wind out of Kai. Struggling to retain her footing, the initiate's left leg stepped back, supporting her weight in a wobbly, albeit still upright, position. Just when she was able to catch her breath, Darth Tanit's leg came out in a sweeping force, intending to rob Kai of her footing and cause her to land on her backside. 

 

A sense of frantic urgency overcame her, as the Korun attempted to jump over the sweeping leg. Every muscle and tendon surged into action but, even so, it was all too little -  too late. Kai went down like a heap of stones, having enough foresight to avoid any future trouble by utilizing whatever leftover momentum she had, to roll away from Darth Tanit's follow-up move. Out of the corner of her eye, the initiate saw the Dark Lady's arm come down upon Kai's lower body just as the girl managed to roll away and out of the Sith weapon's intended arc. Just then, she thought to have heard something strike the ground, but did not care to look; she was too busy scrambling back to her feet in a determined effort to regain her defensive opening stance.

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Darth Tanit    475

Tanit was relentless when the initiative was hers, and so she pursued the scrambling woman with her unarmed attacks. The lesson to learn was to defend herself now, as the lesson had changed the moment she drew a blade outside the intended curriculum. Seeing that she had landed the flat palmed strike to the chest, as well as the leg sweep, the balance and center of gravity for Miss Tsintah had changed for the worse. Her pursuit angle was straight, direct, and to the point. Tanit hustled forward with a look on her face like a feral animal, one that had seen battle time and time again and came out of it alive regardless of her condition. She was one of, if not the toughest Sith left in the Remnant in terms of ability to endure pain and punishment.

 

Darth Tanit pushed forward, keeping herself in a guarded striking posture. Teras Kasi was not meant for self-defense, but for overwhelming and aggressive offense. It suited her, and so she was going to show this young woman what it was like to bite off more than she could chew. Perhaps that lesson would get her to be more measured with her ambitions. Her attack was not a strike now, but a push to grapple around the woman's leg to pick her up and slam her down on the ground after lifting her over her shoulder. From there it was only natural to pin her, and end the fight. Provided of course she did not dodge. Were that to be the case and she evaded the grapple, Tanit again would go for the leg sweep then attempt the pin.

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Kai Tsintah    52

Barely managing to regain her footing, Kai realized at long last what was happening. She is putting me on the defensive, I must stop attacking and focus on holding off her attacks, she thought; her feet shifting to form a gap approximately a shoulder-width apart, one boot slightly forward to help balance her weight. Darth Tanit was not a woman to be trifled with; as a Sith Lord, she could give many men a run for their money. Simultaneously, too - the Korun thought grimly. Though she was ravaged by some unnamed and terrible illness, the Dark Lady showed no signs of tiring. Relentless and almost savage in her demeanor, she reminded Kai of a brutal predator from her homeworld of Haruun Kal, the fearless vine cat.

 

Taming an inward sigh, the Initiate watched Darth Tanit push forward, her posture cautious yet ready to strike. It was definitely unlike anything the Sith showed Kai before, so not a Shii-Cho technique. Doubtful Kai would be learning that any time soon, the Korun thought grimly, bringing down the hilt-end of her lightsaber to the level of her navel as she readied for an incoming blow. Moments ago, she was picking herself up off the floor physically but now, her mind was scrambling mentally, attempting to read the Dark Lady for signs of what she would do next. The Sith was not giving anything away, and why would she? Kai was the learner and she, the master. Resolving to simply do her best and not worrying about failing, Kai darted to the left, spinning away from her opponent's reach.

 

Narrowly missing tactile contact the first time, the young woman barely got a breath in before Darth Tanit re-attempted the move - this time, lashing out with a swift leg sweep, knocking Kai's next breath out of her. The Korun landed flat on her back, her weapon tumbling out of her palm with a dull clang. Her head turned, gaze darting after the escaped training saber. Thrusting out her right arm, Kai reached out for the tool Darth Verrin gave her, her eyes closing tightly as she visualized the weapon, its weight and its exact position in her mind.

 

Once she felt the perfect picture in her mind, she beckoned to it with her thoughts firmly centered in the Force*, as if willing it to return to her by the sheer virtue of her will.

 

The effort, as valiant as it was, seemed to no avail. The lightsaber did not move. And Kai was on her back, hurting, disarmed, and clenching her teeth in exasperation. This lesson was soon to be over; perhaps it was over before it even began. Darth Tanit would undoubtedly not waste this chance and have her either pinned physically or wrenching under the anguishing strain of her Force powers.

 

With one final, frantic move, Kai threw out her left arm with her palm out flat as if signaling the oncoming opponent to stop. This time, she felt the Force surging through her body and mind, as if something finally 'clicked' into place. Her body and mind were one. She could sense the potential energy surrounding and binding her shift into a kinetic impetus; a brief wave that left her palm and surged toward the oncoming Sith.

 

Not that she expected the Dark Lady to cease her momentum or abandon whatever intent she had in mind for the Initiate. It was far too late for that now, the Korun knew. But she would not abandon the fight until she either lay unconscious or Tanit herself ordered a stop to it. It was not the Sith way to give up. 

 

Spoiler

Attempting Telekinesis* and then Force Push (Novice) to keep Darth Tanit from coming closer/pinning Kai.

 

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Darth Tanit    475

Darth Tanit allowed the moment to pass, standing amidst the kicked up dust and debris from the sudden push that slid her back several feet. The stumble it caused was due in part to the fact that she had not expected the young woman to do such a thing. She stood upright, out of her attack stance and looked at the woman from where she stood, then to her former master and current peer, Darth Verrin. "My friend, it is my judgment that this young woman has potential among the flock. She stood against me without backing down, and gave me her best. To me it means she has some ability to manage her fear. If she can do that now, I imagine that she may yet become a great Sith." Tanit said, praising the woman's efforts and clearly ending her assault. She had seen quite enough and had been satisfied with what she had witnessed. Even with the flaws and mistakes in her stance and approach she chose to press on and do her very best. That in and of itself was enough to the ailing redhead to give her a good mark in her favor.

 

Tanit looked at Miss Tsintah after speaking with Verrin, "You should be proud of how you stood against a superior opponent. One of the most important lessons any aspiring Sith must learn is to control and manage their fear. Fear is the one thing among the Sith that truly causes the most self-imposed chains. Through the power you seek, and with a dauntless approach, those chains will not bind you. Learn that lesson and hold onto it, and you will have a bright future." She offered her hand to the prone figure to help her rise to her feet, "Do not expect the same charity that I have shown you from others though. Be cautious, but remember to work on being in control of your fears and doubts."

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Darth Verrin    2,134

Verrin watched the match with moderate interest. The contest's outcome was never in question - Darth Tanit had far too much experience and training to be bested by a novice. But how they arrived at the inevitable conclusion was what focused his attention.  The back and fort, Kai's refusal to roll over and give up, Tanit's measured advance.  There came a moment when Kai tried in vain to call her lost weapon to her hand, but that failed. Verrin could sense the Force trying to reach out, but apparently, the young woman couldn't focus it enough to grab the object she desired. At least, not while under the duress of combat.  Perhaps in a less violent setting, she would be able to perform such a feat.

 

But then she did the opposite, pushing outwards with the Force.  Here, control was less of a factor, and the Force burst out from her and caught Tanit in its wake. It was actually enough to push the diminutive Darth back a few feet, and while Verrin suspected she could have pushed back and past the wave of energy, she did not.  Instead, she concluded the battle, and spoke to him, weighing in on her opinion of the student's promise.  Notably, she commented on Kai's ability to overcome fear - something he'd struggled with for a very long time as an Acolyte. Then she offered Kai a hand up - a gesture that not many Sith would duplicate.

 

The event caused Verrin to smile a little. His former apprentice was lifting a hand to a potentially future one, and the lessons he tried to teach Tanit were being showcased to Kai in person. Nothing in the Sith code ever said Sith had to be mean, or impolite. That was something that power-hungry stereotypes did, and cited the Code to back them. Tanit explained the matter plainly, explaining how through power, ones chains would be broken.

 

Without any real effort or focus, Verrin called Kai's lost training saber to his own hand, and then presented it to her.  "Hold onto this until you acquire a real one.  It won't save you in a life and death struggle, but it will grant you some protection if an overambitious peer tries something. I think we need to consider accepting you fully into the fold, and naming you... Acolyte Tsintah.

 

That is... assuming you really want to pursue the path of the Sith."

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Kai Tsintah    52

Kai's eyes were closing as she expected one final, 'end game' blow. It would not take much, given her current state, to knock her unconscious for a good several hours or more. She could feel the last shreds of energy ebbing away from her, with none left to brace for whatever Darth Tanit was about to unleash. But to her great astonishment, the Dark Lady was not in her immediate vicinity any longer. The Force push had worked, albeit marginally, but her opponent did not fight it. Not that Darth Tanit could not overcome such a feeble attempt all too easily; she simply chose to acknowledge the initiate's attempt and 'go with the flow'. Her breath stilled, as Kai listened to the Sith Lord impart words of judgment her fellow peer. Dual-colored gaze lifted to regard Darth Tanit with muted gratitude. She had not given into her fear. This was a success, she realized - and the heart of the lesson that the Dark Lady was attempting to show her. The combat encounter was merely a vehicle for it, a journey onto a no longer cryptic destination.

 

Still, Kai had only shown signs of it. It was a decent first step, but she had a long way to go yet.

 

Concluding her remarks to Darth Verrin, the Dark Lady now looked straight at Kai, who began slowly gathering herself from the floor. Nodding in acknowledgment at the elder woman's words she could only beam with pride, but found that did not have the ability to voice it properly. Just as well, the Korun thought. Best not to risk inserting foot in the mouth right after words of praise. An even greater sense of bewilderment swept over her when the girl saw Darth Tanit's outstretched hand reach out to hep her up. She accepted it without question, bowing in gratitude as she drew to her feet. 

 

"My Lady, your words honor me. I will heed them with all due diligence. From this day forward, I shall focus on all that I have learned here today - from both you, and Darth Verrin."

 

Turning slightly, she offered the male Sith Lord a bow as well. In his typical effortless fashion which Kai had managed to observe since the day she had first encountered the Darth Verrin, he beckoned her lost weapon to his hand and then offered it back to her. His mention of Kai acquiring a real lightsaber one day, made her heart skip a beat. With such a weapon at her side, no thug on Nar Shadda would be able to stand against her.... Banishing distracting thoughts, she dipped her chin in acknowledgment of Darth Verrin's words and clipped the training weapon to her belt. Yet it was his final comment that caught her off-guard. These last few minutes were nothing but surprises, and most welcome ones, for a change. Looking down to her boots for a moment, Kai appeared to study the dust that had freshly settled upon them while pondering a reply to the Zabrak's suggestion.

 

"My Lord, I am as ever, resolved to pursue the path of the Sith. If this Academy finds me worthy of consideration, then I will do whatever it takes, to succeed in this endeavor."

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