SW: TOR: IF YOU WANT PEACE...
Part Ten of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
(Author's Note: The title of this chapter is not only half of an old proverb--the other half of which will be revealed later--but a warning for my Padawan, Per'dra...
JEDI TEMPLE, TYTHON, TRAINING ROOM, 1700 HOURS
"Why was I directed to meet you here, instead of in your quarters, by our Temple's protocol droid?" I asked Master Karos this in the Training Room. She stood at least half a head taller than I did, and on the sparring mat, she was as calm and unmoving as the twin statues that guarded the Temple entrance. Qyzen Fess also gazed at her, his body relaxed but his one eye ever-alert.
"I'll tell you why in a moment, but first: Trandoshan, why have you come?"
"My name is Qyzen Fess," replied the reptilian hunter, bowing slightly, "and I simply wish to hear your teachings. I have been keeping an eye on this Padawan, known as Yllari, because she has been tending to me as my left forearm heals. If any danger should befall her, I wish to be vigilant."
Master Karos sweetly flashed Qyzen the indulgent grin that one might give an overly-talkative Jedi Youngling. "She can more than take care of herself. Per'dra is quite skilled in lightsaber sparring, which she has proven in the unfortunate duel that you might--or might not--
have heard about." From the low and lecturing tone of her voice, it was clear that she hoped Qyzen's ears had not been privy to this information. I felt a twinge of regret. Why couldn't I mind my own business, and keep my blabbering mouth shut?
"Nevertheless," Qyzen interjected, "two who fight as one can be far stronger than one who battles alone." Falling silent, he folded his scaled hands in front of him and waited for Master Karos to respond. Her smile imperceptibly faded.
"Anyway," she continued, "the reason I called you to the Training Room instead of my own private chambers is that this is primarily where I'll be teaching you. Master Yun has entrusted you, and your Jedi training, to me while he's away on Coruscant. I have watched you, monitoring your progress as a Padawan from time to time, even though you've never been my student." Another smile, but this one seemed more subtle--and sincere. What was it about her face, so expressive and yet so featureless all at once? "I believe you are a multitalented asset to the Order, and will become a critical one in time. I wish to focus on your natural strengths, not your weaknesses."
Nodding, I hoped that she wouldn't delve into what those weaknesses were!
"The first area of training on which we'll concentrate will be combat, Yllari. Approximately seventy-five percent of our time will be exclusively focused on this. The other twenty-five percent will consist of meditation, and learning techniques in the Force that will allow you to fortify your mind against intrusion and manipulation. Is that clear?" When I nodded again, she fell silent.
Why the pause? Was I doing something wrong already? My body tensed up.
"I don't understand something," I said quickly, the words spilling out in an attempt to break the tense silence. "It seems to me that with combat techniques taking up three-quarters of our lessons, we won't have much time to devote our attention to the Force. Are you sure this is wise?"
"You are indeed perceptive," Master Karos replied, "but in this case I can assure you that you need not fear. The Force is strong, and so are you. If you listen to what I have to impart to you, everything will balance out. It must, because we are treading in the ways of the Force whether we fight or meditate. Both increase our capabilities, and yet the former shall imbue you with a purpose you have never known before. Wait and see. You'll succeed..."
"Excuse me," interjected Qyzen, clearing his throat, "but I am also curious as to this intensive focus on combat. Is there more to it that I don't see?"
Master Karos sighed. "There is no esoteric purpose here. I do not mean to turn a fledgling Jedi into the next Darth Revan, if that is what concerns you. Rather, I wish to prepare her for what we shall inevitably face. Per'dra?" she asked, turning toward me all of a sudden instead of the Trandoshan. "What is it that you seek for this galaxy and for all living creatures, whether they are sensitive to the Force or not? What is it that you want, within your heart?"
"Peace," I said softly. "The serenity that comes with knowing that one is loved, safe, valued, and in communion with the Force--even unconsciously."
"If you want peace, Padawan," she announced, "...prepare for war." Silence. "Very soon, the Sith Empire shall no longer be satisfied with the Republic's concessions and treaties, no matter what others may already be doing to appease them. I ask that you be ready for open war."
"Ask?" I raised an eyebrow. "It should be a command, Master--and one that I'll follow." Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw Qyzen Fess flinch...