Join Date: May 2008
Current Game: KOTOR III
Chapter 5: A Tormented Padawan
It was pretty much common knowledge not to disrupt the training of another’s padawan, but I guess that I wasn’t very prudent that day. After taking Kalin back to my quarters, we had a long discussion that involved many topics ranging from our old lives to the insults we’ve received from Master Vrook over the years. Although I’ve been around much longer, she was the obvious winner. With everyone else saying that she needed to respect her master, Kalin needed to know that she did not stand out from the others.
We exchanged a number of stories that came mainly from Dantooine. Both of us trained there at the same time... or rather I was there when she first arrived and we became acquaintances. Every now and again, I checked on her to see how she was adapting to her new life after so many years of an old one she was trying to forget. She had a strong sense of morals and ethics, which was what got her through the age of acceptance restriction, but went through a rough transition filled with emotional turmoil. Despite her conflicts, the more time she spent with the jedi, the more accepting she became of the new life.
When I had came to Coruscant two months ago, Kalin had just been promoted to padawan, but had not yet been assigned to a master. I was not concerned as she seemed to adapt well under the conditions she was accepted into the Order. It was nice to see a familiar face when she arrived a few days ago, but unpleasant to find that initiate who had trouble adapting to her new conditions two years ago.
She eventually had to return to her quarters, or Vrook would reprimand her again. I wanted to keep her away from a neglectful master, but knew that I could not do anything other than extend a hand of friendship. I needed to speak to Kavar about how to handle Vrook because I was no master and couldn't know for sure that I was doing the best thing for Kalin.
I had gone by Kavar’s office half an hour before the Council’s session the next day, but before we could even exchange pleasantries, Vrook got in Kavar’s doorway. “You! In my office... now!”
Kavar looked annoyed at Vrook as if it were only a minor complaint. “What is this about now, Lamar? I have a serious issue I need to address with Alexandra.”
“As do I! It is a private matter, but I want her now. You can take her back after I’ve dealt with the matter.” Vrook exclaimed, getting more quiet as he spoke. I've noticed that when Vrook was angry, he would shout, but when he got more quiet... that meant his anger had escalated to a more extreme level. I was used to being yelled at, but when he spoke softly, that meant he had a good reason for his rage.
Kavar looked at me, apologetically and then nodded to Vrook.
I heard Vrook step out of the doorway and I stood up and walked to where I was ordered. I couldn't help but imagine this like an execution or something as Vrook followed me into the office and sealed the door behind him. I was not as afraid as most would be, but only because I knew Vrook was like thunder; loud and harmless. Although he was going to be more angry at me than he’s ever been, I knew that anything regarding Kalin could not be pinned on me. I also knew that Vrook would not strike me, so I had nothing to be afraid of. My concern was Kalin's best interests, as was his. At least we shared that much in common.
When Vrook marched in front of me, I was expecting shouting right after the door was sealed, but the sound of silence was more intimidating than his deafening roar. He turned to make eye contact with me, but I just kept my eyes fixed forward and not into his. He stared at me as if almost afraid to ask and started off in a normal voice, but with utter disgust in his tone. “What the hell is wrong with you? When you create mischief, you don’t just do it by yourself. You cause collateral damage to everyone involved with you.”
I remained silent.
“Do you know why you are here... or are you so ignorant that you don’t even know what you did?”
I sighed and then stared him in the eye. “What happened between you and Kalin?”
He frowned for a few seconds before bursting out. “You brought her into emotional turmoil! Last night, she was being openly resistant and hostile towards me during our session.” He paced in front of me and stood to the corner of my left eye. “When I tried to enforce the matter, she attacked me.” The tone of his voice was not so much of anger at me as it was of sadness for Kalin. The only thing more intimidating would have been a wail of anger for a loss, but he put his feelings aside in order to save his apprentice.
That was a side of Vrook that I have only heard of, but never actually seen until that moment. Despite his temper, Vrook was a true Jedi who cared for Kalin. However, I could not ignore the fact that I influenced her enough to become violent.
I turned my head to face him in utter surprise. “What?”
He nodded. “With her lightsaber. Had I not sensed it, she would have killed me.”
“Is she alright?”
He let out a scoffed chuckle. “I didn’t have to touch her to defend myself.” He saw I was genuinely concerned. “She’s locked in her quarters. When I spoke to her, your name came out and I knew you were the one responsible.”
“You think she attacked you... on account of me?”
“She was perfectly fine before that, but after interacting with you, she become so enraged that she was willing to kill.” He looked at me as if so concerned for Kalin that he did not express anger, but asked in desperation. “What did you do to her?”
I felt the urge to throw this in his face, but my concern was more for Kalin than turning the blame on Vrook. “I spoke to her. I comforted her, let her cry on my shoulder, and listened...”
“Shut up! This is not a joke... Kalin’s future is in jeopardy and I want to know what you did that caused her to ignore everything she’s worked for in the last few years.”
I found an interesting way to get leverage over Vrook. “How many years do you mean?”
“How many years has Kalin been with the Order?”
“That’s irrelevant! She is older than most padawans, which was why I selected her. The...”
I interrupted. “She was thirteen when she was accepted for training. And she’s only been in the Order for two years.” I got right in front of Vrook. “Thirteen years is a long time to forget your entire life before being accepted by the Jedi. She wasn’t prepared for the demands...”
He interrupted me. “Don’t talk to me about training Jedi! When you have taught your own padawan, then you can do so, but you know nothing of it!”
“And you know nothing of Kalin! Do you know why she attacked you? She has been living in a prison of fear ever since you took her for your own.”
He looked shocked at the false accusation. “Fear? Of me?”
“I was going to say of failure, but yes, also of you.”
He looked at me as if I were mad and desperate to shift blame to anyone else. Then he paced across the room and turned back to me. “I could vouch that she had reason to hate me, but to be afraid of me?”
“Of failing you! She was afraid that if she didn’t meet your standards... which were already impossible... that you would fail her and throw her out of the Order.”
“That was an open threat. Fear is a powerful motivator and it had worked very well for her. She had improved her skills much faster than when Master Zhar had been teaching her the basics. I gave her a reason to devote herself to her studies and that is exactly what she did.”
I shouted from across the room. “You drove enough fear into her that she was too scared to show weakness to you! Kalin was so fearful of you that she wanted to be as far away from you as possible when she most needed your. That’s exactly the opposite of what a padawan is supposed to do. The only reason she kept to you was because she didn’t want to fail.” I tilted my head to one side as if to show perplexity. “Don’t tell me you didn’t notice.”
“Training for the Jedi, like the military, is a soul-crushing experience. I was breaking her into the true life of a Jedi... one of sacrifice.”
I shook my head. “Do you know what I did? I reached out to her and showed kindness and friendship... something she’s been without for a long time. When I heard she was your apprentice, I admit that I said a few things to show her that she was not alone.”
“She obviously went to you because you told her what she wanted to hear. What you said was a pathetic means of appealing to her in order to turn her against my authority.”
“Lie! I even tried to comfort her by saying it was an honor to be selected by one as picky as you. I said that you were cruel and demanding because you cared so much for her. It gave no comfort to her.” I sighed and turned myself away as I spilled some insulting remarks. “When I saw how scared she was of being overwhelmed by you, I said that she was just the victim of an impossible situation and that it was all because of you... she broke down weeping.”
“You fool! You had no idea...!”
He was losing perspective, so I interrupted. “She was in panic! That same fear that drove her to reach perfection... left her feeling powerless to do anything... and she panicked.”
“I don’t believe you. If she was afraid to such an extent, I would have noticed.” He said in a dismissive tone.
“Which brings up another point I want to emphasize, but later. As you said, fear is a powerful motivator. Kalin was too afraid to show weakness or flaw to you. I just happened to be the only one she knew on Couriscant who she felt she could trust. I think that this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but I don’t know how long she had been restraining her true feelings.”
He stared at me as though I had created a perfect argument that could not be disputed. I didn’t know if it was embarrassment or anger at how I knew better than him on the issue of his apprentice. Then I saw something click in his head and he found a flaw in my logic. “That doesn’t explain why she attacked me. If she was afraid, then she wouldn’t have been resistant...”
“Panic... she’s been on the verge of panic for a long time, but ever since she spoke with me, she’s passed that point. The only way to stop it is to give her cause for calm... something to take away her fear.” I got close to Vrook to make a plea to him. “You need to let her go and she needs to know that she’s still welcome within the Order.”
“What? This incident has shown that she is unstable and could pose a threat to the others. That and falling to the...”
“The darkside has nothing to do with it! She is probably huddled in her quarters, terrified of what is going to happen next. If she is freed from you and knows that she isn’t going to be expelled, she can get through this. Kalin has to know she is safe... even if I have to lie to her.”
He looked at me as if insulted. “You?”
“Because she has no one else. She has already taken to me and I certainly wouldn’t want you to go anywhere near her.”
He crossed his arms and stared into my eyes to read the sincerity within my soul. For a long moment, I expected to hear his objection... it never came. “I seem to have no other option. Come with me.” He went for the door.
“No, you should stay here. Kalin needs to believe she’s safe and I’m the most likely one to convince her of that.” I added to the statement my uncertainty. “I hope.”
He nodded reluctantly. “I do want someone watching you, though.” He went through the door and got in Master Kavar’s doorway. “I’ve a favor to ask. My padawan, Kalin, is... having difficulties. Ms. Tydings thinks she knows how to help, but insists that she speaks to Kalin without my presence. Could you go with her and ensure that things don’t get worse.”
Kavar looked at me as if to get affirmation that I needed him with me. I didn’t have to make any gesture because he was coming along one way or another. “Yes, of course.”
When Kavar and I arrived at Kalin’s quarters, he unlocked the door and stood ready as though to expect a violent little girl waiting to escape. The room was dimly lit, but I could see her through the darkness. I withdrew my lightsabers and handed tham to Kavar. That was to further assure Kalin that there was no need to fear me. After a nod from Kavar, I stepped in and heard the door seal behind me.
Kalin’s room was a mess. It was as though she had gone into a fit of rage and destroyed everything she could. I walked around the debris and towards the frightened teenager who’s head was buried in her hands. She breathed erratically like she were still crying. I slowly approached and sat down next to her. I had hoped she would say something, but I knew I had to start the dialog with something to assure that everything was going to be alright. “Master Vrook will not instruct you anymore.”
Her crying escalated and I realized how I made it sound that he rejected her. “I don’t want to go to Telos.”
“I just want to go home. Home... on Alderan.”
I put my arm across her back and on her opposite shoulder. “You’ve not been rejected. I convinced Master Vrook that he had been putting too much pressure upon you and that it was in your best interest to...”
“No. I want to go home. I miss my family, my friends. I just want to be where things make sense again.”
I was saddened to hear her say that the last two years no longer mattered. I understood why she missed having someone to count on. I knew that she had just been through a lot in the last few weeks with Vrook. “Kalin, right now, you’re confused and scared. After two months of living in constant fear, you don’t want to live that way again... you won’t. What went on between you and Master Vrook... wasn’t supposed to happen. A padawan is meant to trust her master and be able to turn to him without fear or judgment.”
She pulled her head up and faced me directly. “I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s just not as great a life as I expected and I know that even if it’s not Master Vrook, another master would push me and expect more than I can give.”
I pulled Kalin closer to me with the arm around her shoulder, I embraced her with that arm. “If that is your choice, you are free to leave whenever you want to. However, I don’t think that’s really what you want.’
“Please don’t do cryptic talk.”
I smiled at her. “It’s not cryptic, I really don’t think you want to leave the Jedi, just Master Vrook. You were so afraid of being rejected that you worked as hard as you possibly could and hid your true feelings so well that even Vrook didn’t know how greatly he intimidated you. He had never intended to fail you, but use the fear of failure as a form of motivation. It was that fear that showed me just how important becoming a Jedi is to you.”
Kalin leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes as if exhausted. “What about my actions? Attacking someone in anger, especially a master is unforgivable.”
“I think that Vrook holds me more accountable for that than you, so you shouldn’t have to worry about receiving forgiveness.” I paused for a moment for a reply, but didn’t get one. “When Vrook confronted me, I thought that he was going to shout at me in extreme rage. He was genuinely so concerned for you that he kept in control to learn ‘what I had done to you.’ He may not have shown it, but your well-being matters to him.”
“I’m sorry, Alexandra. I didn’t want to get you in trouble... I just...”
“I’ve clashed blades with Vrook before, so it's nothing new to me. And I think things worked out for the best, although he could have come to the realization sooner. If he thinks it’s in your best interests, he’ll step aside and let you find another master.”
“Oh goody.” She said with little enthusiasm.
“Someone who you can turn to... someone who doesn’t intimidate you.” I stood up and turned back to face her. “Master Kavar is outside and I think you should talk to him. Would it be alright if he came in?”
She looked away and nodded.
“We’re friends. You can trust him.” I nodded and went to and knocked on the door. After the lock was unlatched, it slid open and Kavar gave me a look of uncertainty. I smiled and nodded to show things were under control. When he smiled back, I got closer and spoke softly, but not to whisper. “Are you two acquainted?”
“We’ve met, but I don’t know much about Kalin or what’s troubling her.” He replied just soft enough so she couldn’t hear.
“I think she’ll be alright, but is going to need a new master.”
“That’s not your decision to make. Master Vrook has to make that call.”
“Well she can’t remain with him. I think that he will agree with that, but if not, I’ll need your support to convince him.”
He stepped back, objectively. “I don’t even know what has happened. I can’t just...”
“Trust me. She needs to be relieved of all her responsibilities and allowed the freedom to do what she needs to heal. She has to be allowed to choose if and when Vrook can come here.”
“Hold on. You can’t just make all these decisions for... Master Vrook has to be a part of this, but we have a session in less than ten minutes. Vrook could be allowed an absence, but I have to be there for this debate. I need to leave you now and you need to get Vrook involved. Otherwise, you must wait for a later time to deal with the matter.” He reached into his pockets and handed back my lightsabers. “You should use a comlink to contact him and let him know the situation. I’m not the one to deal with this.” He bowed. "Alexandra, Kalin." Then he left the room, but didn’t reset the lock.
I looked at Kalin for a moment before I went to the desk to use the comlink, which was damaged, but still worked. “I’m just updating Master Vrook. He won’t come if you don’t want him to.”
I nodded and called Vrook, but got no visual feedback. “Master Vrook.” I heard.
“This is Alexandra. I’ve spoken to Kalin and I think she’ll be alright.”
“I want to talk to her.”
I turned to face her and she just stared, but didn’t give a response of any kind. “She’s just staring at me. What should I tell her?”
“I want to hear it from her directly.”
I looked back to Kalin, but again got no response. “One moment.”
“I don’t have a moment to spare. The Council is in session in a matter of minutes.”
“Master Kavar is on his way. He’ll let them know that you might be late.” I went over to Kalin and kneeled in front of her to get at eye level. “He just wants to know that you’re alright. I think you should...”
She shouted to ensure he could hear. “What does it matter to him anyway! He never seemed to give a damn about me before!”
“Kalin!” I held her shoulders and tried to calm that rage within her. “Please try to be pleasant about this. He is concerned and wants to know that you are alright.”
“Why does he suddenly have an interest about my feelings? Why can’t he just go to his meeting like he always does!”
“Please!” I held my hand in front of her mouth, but not to do what Alek did to me before. I just wanted her to remain as calm as she was before. I got near her ear and spoke softly, but not a whisper. “You’ve taken this for two months. I just ask that you put up with it for a little while longer and then you’ll be free of it forever. You have every right to be angry, but it will only hurt you unless you show him that you’re at peace.” She was facing away, but slowly got back in eye contact with me. “Just for a little while longer.”
She started blinking back tears and inhaled deeply before nodding and standing to reach the desk. She then spoke into the comlink, “Alexandra had nothing to do with this. Please don’t blame her.” Then she terminated the signal.
“Kalin?!” I pulled her away from the desk and attempted to reestablish the comlink with Vrook, but Kalin had forced me to go through the entire procedure again, which took almost a minute. “Why are you doing this?”
“I just tried to kill him. Do you think this is easy for me?”
I sighed and then turned my attention to her. “You’ll have to speak to him again at some point. If you’re worried about what he’ll say, remember that I’m the one he blamed... not you.” When I got the comm. system connected, I got no reply on the other end. Vrook must have left his office.
I just stepped away and looked at the tormented teenager as if to figure out what to do with her. If I left her behind, I had to lock her in again because Vrook had to approve her release. That wasn’t what I wanted to do because she was feeling restrained and leaving her alone with no escape would only have made things worse. And I didn’t want to remain there with her, so I just invited her to come with me. I had obligations to deal with and could tolerate watching her for a little while longer.
Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 10-19-2008 at 10:26 AM.