I am, all things considered, not much of a duellist. I know the basics, I know what's dumb. That's about it. Forms? I've never bothered much. I stick things with the pointy end. It works - mostly. I prefer fire. Nyssa, on the other hand, revels in it. Blade on blade, she is fury, strength and vigour. I suppose it also helps that one of her hands is not missig fingers. And that one of her hands is made of Phrik. I struggle to keep up in melee. "Blade up, Elpsis. Keep it high. Move, don't just wait for me. Slide my attacks weak. You don't have the strength to block them front on, so don't try." Easy for her to say. She sends a storm of blows my way. One almost knocks the lightsabre out of my grasp, another I duck under.

I am soon being pushed back. She comes at me, and her lightsabre kisses my forearm. The zap stings, but after Tephrike I do not really feel it. I could use the Force to smite her, blind her or toss her across the room or do any number of things I am better, but today is not about that. It is about dealing with weakness that got me locked in a cell, beaten and brainwashed. Our dance continues. Our blades clash. Backed into a corner, I hold my ground. I am sweating, and pour more of the Force into my good arm. Our blades lock. She puts pressure on me, using her greater strength. Then suddenly switches off her blade. It unbalances me a bit, and she rams her foot into my bad knee. The one that has yet to steal from the slug that pierced it on Tephrike. Pain shoots through my leg and she hits me in the face with her hilt.
I tumble and fall. I should not be angry. Nyssa is rough in sparring practices - because that's the way she is. The way I want it to be. No sense coddling. But when she hits me hard, my head spins. I see something else. Tephrike. The camp. Jedi. I lash out. A savage scream comes from my throat and an onslaught to match it. Before I know what I'm doing, telekinetic fire sweeps from me and propels her across the room, slamming her into the wall. By the time I come back, she is on the other side, bruised and rolling on the ground to put out a small fire.
I hasten to her. "Nyssa!"
"We said no magic. That's cheating," she grunts, tearing off her ashen robe. "Maybe I'll make a proper Sith Lady out of you, after all." I do not appreciate her jokes.
"You alright?"
"No drama. You hit harder when you blew up my hand."
"I didn't mean..." Sorry, for a moment I had a bad flashback to being in the camps because I'm too weak? Because that's the truth.
"Don't apologise," she cuts me off. "Work on your technique. You can kick my arse with the Force, that's fact. Get better with the blade and you won't need it all the time."
"I could look at your wounds."
"Elpsis, it's fine. Drop it. Call it quits for today."
"Yeah, ok."
"You did better than last time. Give it time and you could be decent at Soresu."

"I will be a lot more than passable." Failure is not an option. A different thought pops into my head. "Nyssa, there's something I'd like to ask you."
There is a gleam in her aura. "How to punish that Jedi who tortured you and stood by while you suffered and who you have not killed yet for some reason?"
"No," my tone brokers no contradiction.
"Because I have some ideas. Back where I come from we had this execution method that involves ash.."
"We've been over this. My decision is final. Diona's fate is mine alone to decide."
"Fine, whatever. Do your it's too merciful to let her die thing. What do you want then?"

"Way back, after we first met, you said I might have the gift for Sith magic."
She pauses. "Yes, I did. I recall you getting angry and saying you wanted nothing to do with the dark arts."
"I didn't. That was before a bunch of Jedi put me through hell. I've realised one thing: the piece of chit who calls himself my father was a monster because of the choices he made. He was evil. I am not. Light, Dark, I don't believe it. I believe in the Force and the Lifeweb. And I want to be ready - for anything that comes." Including him, if his spirit ever gets out of hell.
"Well, I know the basics of it. Ghanima was the Sith sorceress of the family...and she probably hates my guts, if she's even still alive." For a moment there is a flicker in her aura. It feels like...regret, but then it is gone within the blink of an eye. "You know, your mother's Xio fan club can probably teach you more. Not as well as a Pureblood, of course, but still."
"I don't trust mother's fan club. I trust you."
"I will teach you everything I know then. Under one condition: get some frakking rest."
"I'm fine."
"The hell you are. You look like chit."
"I am the judge of that. And I don't want or need anyone to coddle me." My voice gets sharp. "Same time tomorrow. We'll start with sabres, then move to sorcery."