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Ascension

the bedbound bard
Writer
~ Please note that this thread will be a continual training thread containing @Thurion Heavenshield's training. ~

Session One
Teth



Teth, Asha had decided, was the epitome of peace. In the shaded glade, hidden from the glare of the sun by the vermilion leaves of an aged tree touched by the approach of autumn, she watched Thurion. Over the past four years his prowess with a blade had increased staggeringly, yet she had always kept him on Shii-Cho based training, preferring that he showed commitment before pressing further, ensuring that this was definitely his calling. He wants to protect, to defend, to be a shield against hardship and darkness in the Galaxy - Thurion sought to become a Guardian. During his final years within the Republic Order, he had even gained the title Heavenshield from many of the other Padawans, and truthfully it had stuck. Thurion, the Shield of the Heavens. When she found him he had no recollection of a family name, but it seemed one had grown to fit him all the same, title or no.

Head, right leg, around to the back, shiak through the heart...

Focusing back in on Thurion and his swords-play the Knight crossed her arms and proceeded to rock back and forth on the balls of her feet, observing with a tender smile. Gone were the days where Thurion fought at thin air, instead he battled programmed droids, and each simulation was harder than the previous. Unrelenting, he continued. Several droids were attacking him at once, pushing him to his limits, yet if he had learnt anything over the years with regards to Shii-Cho, it was that the Form was beneficial against multiple opponents... But that didn't make the task any less difficult. The droids acted like a swarm, diving in at once to try and catch the twelve year old off guard.

Finally the simulation ended, and the droids followed their orders and began to vacate the immediate area back to their storage bay in the Temple. All, that is, save one. Asha would be requiring that particular droid in the near-future.

"Nicely handled, Thurion" she remarked, as she uncrossed her arms and stepped closer to him. "Hm..." Lowering herself down to his height, the Knight looked him directly in his blue-eyes. "I think we're ready to move on with your Form-Training, Thurion. Djem So." She stood up, and walked around him, smiling eagerly as she did so. Asha had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Thurion's strength-training still had a long way to go before he would be able to fully utilize his potential with this Form, yet she felt he was ready to begin with the basics. "What do you recall of this Form, Thurion?"
 
Beads of sweat had formed on his forehead as he'd been training rigorously for hours on end, with little to no breaks. As the droids eventually backed off at Asha's instructions, he was finally given respite. When she asked what Thurion knew about Djem So, he had this to say: "Djem So is the fifth form of the Jedi, and it's origins lie in the third form, Soresu, which focuses heavily on blocking and defense with little attack, making it efficient only as long as the practitioner has the stamina to back it up, as the fights could be drawn out considerably using this form."

He paused, taking a sip of water from a bottle nearby. "Eventually the fifth form was created to act as a more effective means of defense, with more focus put into counter-attacks and power-attacks as well as a strong defensive stance. It is very demanding physically, forcing the user to be in peak physical condition to exercise it fully." Having said what he thought sufficient to answer her question, he looked up at her with his old familiar smile. "Something like that, right?"

@[member="Asha Seren"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Listening in silence throughout the explanation she could not help but smile. It was always pleasant when a student did their homework, and this was work set years prior. "Very good, it is Soresu-based in origin, yet offensive at its heart. It is based around creating openings, rather than waiting for them, and a practitioner typically turned their opponents assault against them. It's heavily focused on dominating your opponent, and requires a lot of strength to smash through the defence of others." Beginning to nod to herself as she thought the form through; It had been years since she had practised in Djem So.

"Right then, the opening stance. Feet shoulder width apart, hold your lightsaber over your head, angled backwards. Because of the power attacks, this is the common way for a Djem So practitioner to stance themselves, but it is their Attack-Stance, and Defensive-Stance we will be working on later. You can't defend very well like that, can you? Unless the assault is aimed at your back, in which case... Hm, but I diverge. Assume the stance, Thurion, we're going to practise Falling Avalanche." And with that she gestured forth the droid she'd had remain behind.

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
 
"Feet shoulder-width apart, lightsaber over my head, angled backwards... Got it!" Eager to begin, he assumed the stance she'd described, clumsily at that, being his first time. Frankly he'd grown tired of Shii-Cho as, like his Master had pointed out several times before, it lacks variation. Still, he'd never consider himself having mastered it by any means, but some variation would suit him just fine for now. Igniting his training saber, he brought it up over his head, letting it rest in his hands, which had grown strong and sturdy in the years of rigorous training he'd undergone lately. For a twelve-year-old, his body had been shaped into the finest one could ask for at his young age.

Breathing deeply and calmly, he awaited her word to begin. He made a few practise swings, swatting at the air in front of him as the droid came into the picture. Somehow it felt natural, the way he stood and how the strike would arc down before him, spanning his entire height from top to toe. Reasuming the starting position, he nodded. "I'm ready, Master."

@[member="Asha Seren"]
 
the bedbound bard
Writer
Quietly watching her young Padawan, she was amazed at the fact he already grasped the concept behind the Falling Avalanche without knowing it. Allowing him to finish up what he classed as warm-ups a small smile appeared upon her lips, her head nodding eagerly. "So I can see. Your stance is almost there. Shift your right leg further to the left, or you'll fall over, you're unbalanced, turn your feet..." With a small nod she stepped towards him, taking the hands which held the lightsaber, and repositioning them upon the hilt. "Loosen up your grip" she instructed, "you'll strain your wrist if you hold it so tightly, and you'll risk breaking something. There, like that... Tight enough that it won't slip from your grasp, but loose enough that it has flexibility. Very good."

Finally she stepped back and made no instruction for him to begin. Instead she had him hold the position for a while, which would no doubt cause his arms to ache, but it would strengthen them in turn. Then she had the droid power itself back up and take its position before her Padawan. "You're aiming for the right arm, I want a perfect Cho Sun, that is for you to remove the weapon arm. We will go over Marks of Contact later." She realised that aside from Sun Djem they had yet to touch upon this topic. "Begin."

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
 
Adjusting to what @[member="Asha Seren"] had said, he raised his arms to the ceiling with his saber in hand. He felt ready; he was ready. Though his arms would start trembling at the pose he was stood in, along with the anticipation of what was to come, Thurion kept his focus on the droid in front of him, powering up with a whirring sound. When she finally gave the word to begin, he reacted instantly. No sooner had the droid powered up and gotten ready for a fight than finding his right arm lying on the floor beside him. Thurion's motion had been swift, powerful, and all he felt as he made the slash was the same sensation of a knife through warm butter, seamless and graceful. He took a few heavy breaths to compose himself, before turning to face Asha. With a slight smile on his face he said: "Like that... kinda?"

[What follows is an outcome that have been approved by @[member="Asha Seren"] herself. No power-playing is involved.]

But his smile did not last, as upon facing his master she had appearantly received a call from somebody, and she did not look happy. She rather seemed distressed, alarmed, for some reason. She was aching to leave, he could tell. She needed to do something, and something important, at that. Thurion tried to discern what had caused such sudden devastation in his master, as she had never seemed so restless before for as long as he'd known her. Without saying anything, she stepped towards the exit of the room, before turning around to face her padawan. "I'm sorry, Thurion..." she said. "I have to go." There was a finality in her voice he'd never encountered before, and it made him tremble, dropping the stance he was in. Something terrible had happened. Something that had put her on edge.

Dropping his training saber to the floor, Thurion rushed to her side, putting his hands around her waist. If she had to leave, she would not do so without the two of them embracing eachother one last time. He buried his face into her chest, unwilling to let go as he always was. But this time felt different; her embrace seemed less warm, less comforting. She was shaking slightly, the entirety of her shuddering. He would not ask her not to go, she had done so many times before. Instead he said: "I'll be here when you come back, Master Asha." He looked up at her face, and she looked down onto him, managing a small smile. She then slipped out of his loving embrace and stepped through the doorway without looking back, with a determined and hurried pace. Witnessing his master slip out of his sight, he stood alone in the room with both arms to his sides. "I love you..." could be heard mumbled by the boy, before slowly bending over to pick up the training saber and resume his practise of Djem So.
 
Session Two
Teth​
Staring out his window overwatching the dreary weather which had gone on for days now, Thurion was sat in his room, on his bed. He had not bothered eating his breakfast, and his dearest friend and roommate Daux was out with Master Jaxton. He felt a lonelyness he hadn't felt for a long time, not since Kära left Tython, declining becoming a Jedi before him and Master Syn. With Asha gone, forever this time, he could not bring himself to do anything other than taking the occasional stroll through the mostly empty temple on Teth, which the Silent Conclave had claimed as their home and base of operations. But he never ventured outside, not even when Daux would plead him to do so. His world had once again been shattered, and nothing could fix it this time, he thought.

While back in his head he knew Asha would not let him waste away in bed, missing out on life and its wonders, there was little to inspire the boy to not do exactly that. What would the world hold for him save for more death, loss and tragedy? What was the point of it all, when what he wished to fight for would eventually wither and die anyway? All he felt he could do now, was to think back to the past, and the happy times he'd shared with his dear master and guardian. His "mother" was now dead, laid to rest less than a week ago, and he could do nothing but feel the lonelyness consume his entire mind and body. But then he could hear footsteps out in the hall...

@[member="Teynara Jeralyr"]
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
As beautiful and spacious as the Conclave was, it often felt empty, echoing with empty rooms and vast open areas that were devoid of more than a token amount of inhabitation. It was a simple truth: there were only truly a few who had chosen to turn their backs on the Jedi Order and create a place of quiet contemplation away from the politics, compromise and distorted principles. The Conclave was here to protect those who practiced use of the Force, to offer safe haven from persecution of those who suffered beneath it, and also to serve as a platform by which it's members could offer assistance to those who needed it, all the while secluded and protected from the galaxy at large.

Sadly, that meant their numbers remained few: the natural secrecy surrounding this place ensured that few even knew that it existed, much less knew it's location and were invited to join them there. A place that was clearly designed for perhaps hundreds of students, teachers and practitioners housed less than perhaps a couple of dozen, at the very most. And, in truth, it may even be fewer than that. It was difficult to say for sure.

Since they had created their Covenant, Teynara had not left the halls of the Temple, keeping herself occupied with re-orienting her mind away from those ancient Jedi values, coming to her own conclusions now that she was free to do so, and no longer had to toe the party line. Her sole platform of stability had been in her Healing arts: a small Enclave like this one would have medical needs that would require attending to. And we didn't exactly have anything to work with, to start with. Stowing in supplies, setting up a viable Medical Bay...all this had taken time. Boolon had been helpful, of course - he was the senior Healer here, and she knew it, so perhaps it would have been better to say that she had been assisting him.

Today's work was in similar vein, but pertained more to the fuzzier realm of Healing: that of the mind. Recent events had taken their toll on many, but this felt most apparent in a particular being who had simply become more reticent, choosing to shut the world out rather than embracing it. Hardly surprising, but not something that can continue. Nobody benefits when someone shuts themselves away, except those who will use it as an excuse to court chaos in the absence of a stable element. Teynara had thus taken it upon herself to make the first move, see what might be done.

A soft tapping on the door served as a first indicator of intent, the light rapping of knuckles against a hardwood surface. No doubt @[member="Thurion Heavenshield"] had sensed her coming down the corridor: she hadn't made any secret of her approach, and had no wish to. Her own senses were extended, waiting for an emotive flare of rejection or annoyance at the intrusion from the room's sole occupant, but she had to try and talk to him nonetheless. We can hardly leave him as he is. Grief rarely resolves itself alone.

"Thurion, may I come in?", she asked, pitching her voice at sufficient volume that he might hear here even with the door closed, though never so loudly as to be a yell. She'd always abhorred loud noises, and it would hardly be right to yell at someone who simply wanted to shut himself away and try and pick up the fragile pieces of a damaged psyche. "We're all a little worried about you. It'd be nice to reassure the others that you're not simply wasting away in there," the blonde woman added, waiting patiently outside.
 
The soft voice asking him to let her inside his darkly lit quarters caught his focus for a bit, and he managed to turn away from looking out the window and instead face the shut door. He'd never shut the door back on Tython or Coruscant, but back then he did not wish to be left alone. His consciousness told him to take action, and he decided to walk to the door, slowly pulling the door handle and open it slightly. His eyes met the woman's caring gaze, and for a moment he thought it was Asha herself. But the blonde locks of hair quickly told him otherwise, eliminating his brief hopes of ever seeing his old master again. With a hoarse voice, due to the lack of speaking, he replied: "I'm fine." He at first wished nothing more than to shut the door and return to his brooding, but the kind eyes of @[member="Teynara Jeralyr"] made him want to remain in her presence. Opening the door further, he invited her in. "Sure, you can come in..." An ounce of life had been returned to the poor boy, who upon inviting her walked to sit on his bed, keeping his gaze on the woman.

Looking around him, he couldn't help but notice the state of the unkempt room, leaving him a little bit ashamed. A beautiful creature such as her should not be witness to an unmade bed and messy floor, as was the state of his room. She had always seemed to impeccably neat and clean, making her stand out in any crowd, no doubt. At the funeral she had tried to comfort him, along with most of the others, but so far little had given him any sort of peace. Daux had made numerous attempts to cheer him up, and as she failed to do so, it seemed he in turn hurt her feelings, making him even more of shell. The one person he had, who still remained close to him, he brushed aside as well. It made him sick of himself, for he was always one to embrace friendship with any willing to do so in return, but now he had been reduced to what he cared the least for.

His attention was soon brought back to the woman in the room with him, but he could think of little to say to her. The goings-ons of the temple had passed him by entirely, and so he was not up-to-date with any current events. "How... how... a-are you...?" he asked, trying to act polite, but his words stumbled forth like he was improvising a play. This made his cheeks blush and he brought his gaze to the floor, thinking himself a moron for asking such a random question out of the blue.
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
The door opened, tentatively at first, as if the person within was not certain who to expect, then more fully, as if the young man had glimpsed the one waiting patiently beyond it and wanted to be polite. Teynara knew that Thurion would have sensed her coming - even if his Force senses were not that well developed (though she suspected they were), he would have at least heard her voice and matched it to her, when she had spoken before. There aren't enough of us here for me to be confused with another, she thought reflectively. The hesitancy was something else.

Thurion's quarters were exactly what she had expected: a smaller replica of her own, insofar as she lived alone, while it was clear he was sharing, but lacking that same sense of ordered tranquility: it was clear that the person living in here hadn't been expecting company, and hadn't intended to spend much time outside, either. All the comfortable disorder that comes with being at home. In truth, she rather preferred this: Thurion was living as a person with all his eccentricities and preferences expressed, while Teynara knew that she was still Jedi at heart, at least in some ways. Reminds me that I need to think about buying a few things for myself, artistic rather than simply functional.

If a room was a reflection of one's inner state, Teynara's presented as ordered, austere and tidy, but also perhaps cold, bland, lacking in a personal touch. As chaotic as Thurion's seemed, a turbulence perhaps reflective of the severe disruption to his life that had come with his teacher's death, it had a comfortable lived-in feel, one that expressed deeper feeling. There's something raw and unguarded here. She knew to comment on it would only strike at those inner feelings: to make a joke would be to make fun of his state of mind, and to express disapproval or disgust would just be pouring salt on an open wound. And what Healer does that, without need?

"As I said before, I'm a little concerned about you," she said calmly, sweeping away all attempts to pre-amble, simply because she so often found those an attempt at distraction. Thurion was very clearly seeking to turn her attention elsewhere: whether away from himself or from the state of the room, she couldn't be sure, but she recognised misdirection when she saw it. "We can all see it when someone sets themselves apart, isolates themselves from the group," the blonde observed, narrowing pale-blue eyes as she looked at the young man. "Bad habit of living among Jedi for so long," Teynara noted, a faint smile curving her lips.

"I won't ask how you're doing, so I hope you'll forgive that social faux pas," she said, placing her hands behind her back and placing one over the other and gripping it gently with slender fingers. "It's obvious to anyone how you feel," Teynara remarked, her tone softening slightly, adopting a touch of her 'bedside manner' voice. "It's hard to lose people, but I think what we all find hardest is learning that we can continue to live our own lives without them."

She knew she was being blunt, perhaps unforgivably so. Although a tendency towards circumspection was an excellent trait in a Healer, and one she had taught herself over the years, she also felt that, sometimes, you needed to just go right ahead and cut that blister out with a hot needle, and acknowledge that the searing pain experienced immediately after would fade and knit into scar tissue, neat and well-healed. Sometimes you simply couldn't avoid the Bantha in the room.

"Is Asha the first person in your life that you've lost this way?", she asked calmly, reaching out and placing a hand softly on the young man's forearm, gripping with gentle pressure in a way intended to reassure. Always seek to promote a little Human contact, the Healer mused. Helps the other person to know that they're not really alone. "It's a good moment to teach yourself sorrow, but also to learn how to cope with it," Teynara added. "Life is death, I'm sad to say. Would you believe me if I said that the absence of death within the cycle would remove any savour?"

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
 
To most of her words, Thurion could only sit attentively and listen. He was young, still, and as such did not possess much in terms of wisdom or a lot of knowledge. Any words he would have used in this situation would not match the eloquent lady before him, nor did he wish to disrupt her meaningful chains of words. The woman inhabited much of what he cherished in Asha; the wisdom and intelligence, along with the experience to match it. This only made him open up to her more, as if it were his former master standing before her. Surprised to find a genuine interest in what she would say next, he decided to answer her question. "When I was little, very little, my parents died in a speeder crash, and my older brother had to care for me. We didn't have any money, and our home was taken from us by bad men. For a year or so my brother carried me around on his back, begging on the streets of Pelagon, until a kind elderly man took us into his care at his orphanage. We were... happy, there, along with the other orphans. But then..."

He paused, finding it difficult to remember all the details. While having come to terms with what happened next, thanks to Asha, no less, actually talking about it to a relative stranger was not something he relished. His eyes shifted to look out the window as he continued. "There was a fire, at the orphanage. Me and Thyrian - that's my brother - were out shopping for groceries for the old man, as his legs were not in shape to walk longer distances. When we came back, the whole building was on fire. There were... screaming coming out of it. The others were still inside, trapped..." His words started assuming a more rambling tone and rythm, as if he was talking to himself rather than the woman in the room. "...But we went in, both of us, to help them. The old man, he... was lying dead on the porch. The children were trapped behind a big block of wood that had fallen from the ceiling. We tried to move it out of the way, but... we couldn't. Then the roof caved in, and my brother pushed me out the window. When I got back off the ground, he was gone... as were the screams of the other orphans..."

His eyes returned to meet those of @[member="Teynara Jeralyr"], giving her a saddened stare. "I wanted to die... I really did... But, then she came and found me. Master Asha..." A small tear formed in the corner of his eye. "She carried me to her ship and brought me to Tython. She gave me a purpose in life. And now she's gone, too, just like my brother and my parents." His tone had become slightly more hostile, although not directed at her. It quickly vanished, however, taking on more of a morose tone. "It's like... everyone I love, I end up losing." The tear which had formed in his eye now made its way down his cheek, followed by another one crawling down his opposite cheek. Thurion's eyes were pleading the woman to understand him, to care for him as Asha would, and had on multiple occasions. This was not something he could overcome on his own, and as such he found himself wanting, *needing* her help. Her touch was delicate and gentle, and his hand placed itself in hers for comfort and support. He would never shy away from bodily contact, as he found it soothing to feel another's touch against his skin.
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
Perhaps it was simply a Healer's empathy, but Teynara couldn't help but feel sorry for the young man, anguished and sorrowful as he was. She could feel that clear enough, almost as though they were her emotions, but she'd spent enough time with that experience to differentiate the two. I can still be moved by it, though, she thought, brushing a stray tear away with the back of her hand, inwardly irked by such an involuntary reaction. To share grief is both a balm to the soul and a burden upon the recipient. Such was the curse of being sensitive to the Force at moments.

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]'s story wasn't new to her, in some ways. It was one she'd heard repeated before: not by him, but by others within the confines of the Jedi Temple, back on Tython. The Order inherited a lot of pain and anguish, and in some ways, their methods enabled people to move on. Jedi were no strangers to death and loss: all ultimately lost someone. Our family, our Masters, our brothers and sisters among the Order's ranks. Everybody passes into the Force eventually, whether we want it or not. The Force didn't respect anything in that respect: it recognised death as merely part of the cycle of life, as the Jedi encouraged their members to do.

Teynara knew well enough that Thurion couldn't hear that now: she couldn't simply tell him that it happened to everyone, and he'd need to make his peace with it. That was the way a Jedi might handle it, and neither of them were Jedi anymore. He needs the Human touch here, not the cold insights of a Jedi perceiving death as something both saddening and yet to be celebrated. Nor would she speak of 'Detachment', and the belief that one should allow attachments to pass out of your life simply to keep your head clear and your mind free of grief and a sense of having 'lost' something. Rationality won't stand for deeper feeling here.

"Would it surprise you to learn that I had a good childhood?", she asked, stepping away from Thurion for a moment and taking a seat on a nearby chair, settling into it with the casual manner of someone practised in a bedside manner. "My parents are alive, as is my younger sister, all happy and healthy on Commenor. We all used to live on Lianna, but that's Sith territory these days, so naturally they got out when they still could," the blonde woman added. "I've lost them all the same, but I can draw comfort from the fact that they're living their lives."

She shrugged, leaning back in the chair but still keeping a carefully watchful eye on Thurion. He was in a delicate emotional state, that was obvious, but she sensed he wasn't inconsolable. His mind was still functioning fine: he hadn't collapsed into incoherence or refused to see her. That would have had her really worried. The poor boy was grieved, but she suspected some of it was also a sense of helpless directionless: he'd lost his anchor, the compass that would point him in the right direction.

"You've been incredibly unlucky so far, and nobody should have to experience what you have," she said gently, staring at him with her expression calm but sympathetic, though not pitying. Nobody needs pity at times like this, either. "But it's worth understanding that good still exists around you, and life does get better. That's an ideal that all your loved ones would agree with, I think. Bad things happen, but good ones do, too. You just have to be sure to look for them," Teynara added, a faint smile brightening her expression. "Your job now is to make sure you look for the positives, so that you embrace the life you now understand to be precious and sadly finite."
 
Teynara's comforting words made him think of those he still had in life; Daux, his most beloved friend, and Kära, who he just knew were still alive and somewhere in the Galaxy. If she wasn't, he would've felt it, as he had when Asha died; her lifeforce snuffed out as an ominous feeling creeps into you, letting you know something terrible has happened. It was the way Force-Sensitive people would recognise loss, and know when someone passed away to join the Living Force - he had heard those words be spoken by countless elders back on Tython, but only now after having actually experienced it himself did he know the meaning of them. Thurion now felt able to come to terms with her death, and that her spirit lives on in him and all those lucky enough to have known her. Never having been one to live for himself, but for the sake of others, he now felt his duty was to protect his friends above all other things, and he needed to live, learn, and grow in order to do so.

The stunning realisation that he might just be okay despite all that's happened hit him, and he sought comfort in the woman beside him by nuzzling his head into her shoulder and wrapping his arms around her waist. "Thank you, Master, for showing me the way." A smile had made its way back to his lips after having deserted him for so long, and a sigh of relief left him. Wiping the remnants of his tears away, he sat back up and with a much more carefree tone he asked the woman: "So what do we do now, Master Tey?", feeling comfortable enought with her to give her a nickname, although should she disapprove of it he would cease calling her by it, of course. Life was not so bad, after all - you just have to make the most of the time you have been given to make sure it's worth living.

@[member="Teynara Jeralyr"]
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
A little surprised at the sudden turnaround, Teynara could at least recognise that Thurion was going through a few things within his own head that would enable him to deal with the torrent of emotions that were assailing his system. She often referred to it as having a little headspace: that psychological room within your own mind that you could compartmentalise your thoughts and feelings and process them without necessarily having to express them openly. Grief was a potent example of this: the outward expressions served only to drain off the vast majority of that emotional energy, leaving the thoughts behind them to be processed and accepted.

It was a cold appraisal, but she'd always felt that the Jedi way had it wrong sometimes: Jedi were all taught to be rational and objective, yet to use their feelings to touch the Force by accepting them and not letting them truly influence their actions. Trouble is that this can lead to a lot of pent-up feeling. Anger felt but never expressed; grief experienced without tears being shed; love touching but never finding any realisation. It was dangerous, and their departure from the Jedi gave them an opportunity to change that. Thurion had needed this: to feel what came naturally and to just let it all out, so he could move on. That would come with time, but at least he wasn't hiding from himself now. Just everyone else, she mused wryly.

"We'll just stick with 'Tey', shall we?", the blonde woman said shortly. "Never did like the whole 'Master' thing, because I'm not one. And we're not Jedi now, Thurion. We can't be having with these absurd ranks that put us all in little boxes and focus our energies on the ceremonial or the formal," she added, a hint of annoyance in her voice. Not that it was directed at Thurion, but rather simply a recognition offered to past frustrations. "This is part of what you have to adapt to now: we're not Jedi, but simply ourselves. You're not training to be a Jedi Knight, but a person capable of acting in the world in your own way, bound only by our covenant to each other and your sense of what is right."

That was the key difficulty, in truth. Teynara had recognised it from the moment that Jaxton had pitched the idea of forming their Conclave: they were departing from Jedi, becoming something more and something less. The rules by which they would live would be simpler but key to that mindset. They all have that same compassion and the sense that the Force wanted them to spend their lives in it's service, but focused upon lives rather than allegiance to some great political power. Our mistake was to believe that serving the greater good meant serving the greatest number of people, and doing so within the boundaries designated by those that rule them. That wasn't how things could work anymore: you couldn't achieve much of anything if the rules prevented you from acting.

"So, here's my question: what do you want? You can't serve others unless you're in a stable position, psychologically-speaking. You have to serve yourself first. So what is it you want to be? What do you want to do?", she asked earnestly, fully believing that this was the way forward. If Thurion didn't want to live his life that way, how could they ask it of him? Service by directive was the Jedi's way, pushed into acting one way or another by the wishes and needs of the Republic, and it wouldn't do now. He had to decide for himself. "Any ideas?"

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
 
What he wanted to do? That was something the youngling had never even considered before. Usually it was the initiative of Master Asha or the duties of a Jedi Padawan that had steered his actions, but never had he acted on his own. Even when he first met Daux he was on his way back to the Tython temple having been sent on an errand for Asha. The only time the boy could come to think of that had him actually acting on his own initiative was when befriending the Umbaran girl, Kära. What he himself wanted seemed so little in the grand scheme of things, what with the galaxy being at war and politics and organisations and, and... It all made his head spin just thinking of it. "What do I want...?" he asked himself.

He then got quiet for a moment, thinking of an answer. The only sound heard in the room was the rain against the window - occasionally a stray voice or noise was heard in the distant corridors or large halls of the temple. There were others living inside the temple, after all. Thurion then came to a conclusion; what he always wanted to do in the first place, the reason he joined the Jedi Order over four years ago - he wanted to help people. People who had lost loved ones just as he had, as well as make it so that people wouldn't have to lose their loved ones. He turned to look up at his master. "I want to help the innocent, Tey. All of them."

A memory sprung up out of nowhere: the first time he met Asha. She had taken him to her ship, and as they left Pelagon behind, she performed healing arts on him; cleansing his lungs from the smoke he had inhaled, as well as the many cuts littering his tiny body. Though he did tell her to save a lot of them as a reminder, she did stop the bleeding and closed up the major ones. Some of them had waned with time, but some yet remained with him even now and would do so for many years to come, no doubt. "Master Asha, she... she healed me, after she found me. I-I would like to be able to do the same, if possible, to others."

@[member="Teynara Jeralyr"]
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
"That's a dangerous choice," Teynara said reflectively, pale blue eyes watching Thurion carefully. She could appreciate his reasons, and his own ambitions very much reflected her own: after all, had she not made the same choice when the time had come to decide what her path was to be? "There's not a lot of physical risk, but it's a tempestuous profession. There are always more people who need your help, and often more than you can help. It takes a lot to cope with that."

Not that this was the only risk in the profession: Teynara had seen a lot of different things in her medical career, and that even at a relatively young age. Patients suffering from psychotic breaks suddenly becoming violent or prone to outburst when a few moments ago they had been placid and relaxed; suffering directed at the young and vulnerable when they should have felt safe and protected; large numbers dying in epidemics simply because there weren't the resources nor the manpower to effectively treat them... Healing wasn't nearly as placid a profession as people tended to believe.

"It's not a straightforward thing, either, becoming a Healer. We deal in death and misery, giving relief where we can but knowing we'll ultimately fail: there will always be those who will need a Healer's touch, and even when they receive it, there's no guarantee that they'll be fine afterwards," she remarked, the blonde's tone softer and a little more solemn now. "You'll kill people because you make mistakes, and sometimes they'll die even when you don't. It's a hard thing to accept and to live with, but you have to, because otherwise you'll let even more people die."

This was a hard truth, but one she felt he needed to understand before she could teach him. A Healer had to be both pragmatic and yet idealistic all in the same moment. Teynara had to be sure that Thurion had that in him. There was plenty of blood and gore, lies and deceit, accidents and mistakes in medicine, and it took a strong stomach to get through most of it. Not to mention a steady hand and a clear head, she thought reflectively. If you go getting all shaken by the sight of blood, or freak out when you have to perform a surgical procedure, you've got no chance of being effective.

"And it's not just about learning to heal with the Force, either," she said sternly, waving a finger in the young man's direction. "Healing requires knowledge of anatomy, physiology, xenobiology, plus psychology for those moments when you need to treat a patient's mind as well as their body. Are you prepared to do that, or did you just want to skip to the interesting part?", the blonde asked, raising an eyebrow inquiringly.
 
The boy could only blink in response to the Knight's ellaborate answer. Never had he imagined it to be so much involved with the art of healing. He figured, in his naiveté, it was just as simple as laying your hands upon the person and they would be healed. "Erm..." He did not know what to say; was this a test to have him show how invested he was in the idea of healing, or just an earnest question whether he wished to skip the theory and go right ahead to the practical parts or not? All he knew was that Asha was a fully educated healer and combat medic. But his strengths lay elsewhere, he believed, in the ways of the lightsaber. He only wished to learn basics so that he could ease the pain of innocent people happening to be caught in the crossfire, should he not be able to keep them out of harm's way.

Thinking about his answer for a bit while biting his lower-lip, he finally gave it. "I'll be honest, I only wish to know the basics, Tey. I do not wish to dedicate myself to a life of healing injured people; my spirit would be torn apart in mere days should I have to treat wounds at a triage center. I wish to be out there stopping the ones injuring them to begin with. That being said, I wish to learn how to treat basic wounds and injuries so that I may stop people from suffering should I fail to protect them." Thurion hung his head in shame. "I'm sorry if that is not enough an answer, Mast-- Tey." The ways of the Jedi were hard to shake off, it seemed, for all of them.

@[member="Teynara Jeralyr"]
 

Teynara Jeralyr

Resident Sig Lord
Writer
Provided anyone had a basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology, the basics of Healing with the Force were remarkably simple, at least as far as Teynara was concerned. Certainly it wasn't an easy art to practice, and even less so to master, but it was simple enough. After all, the processes of healing are just a matter of directing the flow of energy to where it might be needed, she thought reflectively. Our bodies do this all the time, the living energy flowing through us being spent to repair damage, reverse imperfections and soothe trauma. It was a basic truth that the Jedi had taught her: the Force was an energy so closely tied to the functions of life that it could be manipulated to assist those very same functions.

"There are a lot of different techniques that we use when Healing," Teynara noted, moving fluidly to take a seat on the floor of the room, crossing her legs beneath her and resting her hands lightly upon her knees, keeping her eyes fixed upon Thurion as she spoke again. "Most people will learn a small handful, the ones that they can use on themselves to help treat injury or disease, or simply to help keep them refreshed by temporarily pushing away fatigue." The blonde shrugged slightly at this point, perhaps a little more flippant than usual. "The actual art of Healing another is one that requires a lot of practice, and I've seen more than a few Jedi push it to the level of exhaustion, so they end up unconscious for a few days while their bodies recover from the strain," she added.

It was one of the things that many Force Users, particularly those among the Jedi, preferred to ignore: the physical cost of channeling energy outside oneself and serving as a conduit to send that energy into another. First you have to be able to cope with large quantities of energy moving through you, beyond your body's normal capacity, she mused. And that will always take a toll. Every Force ability did, ultimately: even those that strengthened, regenerated or augmented the body would ultimately require that to be paid for later.

Healing was also a slow process - some Jedi claimed to be able to heal serious injuries within moments, but Teynara had never witnessed that, and she'd always thought it an absurd assertion, ego speaking rather than reflecting reality. Every time she'd healed another, the process had taken the utmost concentration, and tended to last hours rather than mere minutes. Envision the healing process going on in the other person, gather the energy and channel it forward. The Healer is both architect and power conduit. Exhaustion was the only natural response to such strain.

"I'm going to teach you those initial skills first, Thurion," the Healer said softly. "We have to be able to manage our own body's healing before we can handle those of another. You need to get to know how it all works: how the blood flows through your veins, how the brain channels electricity along neural pathways, firing your synapses to create stimuli-response chains," she added. If you can't envision it, you can't heal it efficiently, Teynara thought. You'd just be adding energy blindly, lacking any true direction. It's equivalent of blowing up a wall instead of simply opening a door. Both let you into the building, but the precise effort is the one that causes the least effort and causes the least consequence. "We'll start with dealing with fatigue. You can feel that, can't you?"

The blonde paused for a moment, her lips sealing themselves briefly as she inhaled a deep breath, her eyes closing and concealing her bright blue irises from view. A short breath through the nose, bringing oxygen and trace gases flooding into her lungs, a partial vacuum diffusing the air outside into her body. A short moment later, the exhale, her lips parting softly and releasing a little oxygen, a few minor trace gases and the carbon dioxide that her body needed to expel, a simple byproduct of cellular respiration. One breath, then another, feeling her tension drain away as she sought for that calm clarity that a slow breathing exercise provided. Just as the Jedi taught us, she noted wryly.

"I want you to close your eyes now, Thurion," she said, speaking again once she felt the clarity she sought for, her thoughts gathered. "You need to focus your mind on the inside, not on what's going around you. Feel your breathing, the warm air moving into your airways and filling your lungs. Feel the pulse of your heartbeat, pumping blood to every cell in the body, exchanging vital nutrients needed to keep them alive and ensure the health of your entire self." Not many ever developed the introspection needed to achieve proper internal awareness, but Teynara had hope that Thurion would be one of them.

"Fatigue is all about your work rate: the body being overstimulated or pushed at a consistent rate for too long," the blonde woman added, her eyes opening so she could look at Thurion once more. "Over time, your muscles become weaker, lacking the same strength as before, and your cognitive focus lapses. We normally heal this by sleeping: periods of inactivity that enable the muscles to rest, and our energies to return to pre-fatigue levels." That much seemed obvious: it was the sort of thing that Thurion ought to have picked up in basic biology levels.

"We can use the Force to achieve a similar effect: regenerating tissues and cells, revitalising muscles and sharpening cognitive functions, pushing fatigue aside for a while," she continued, knowing that she was talking rather excessively, but knowing that the lesson was needed anyway, if he was ever going to get beyond the basics. "You can gather the Force to you: you use it to move objects, sense energies outside of yourself, and so on. But that requires you to pull it in and then expel it, channelled outwards. For this, you must simply diffuse that energy within your own cells. Gather it up and then let it slowly bleed out into your body."

If only it were that simple.

"Last point: as with everything we do, this skill requires intent. Draw energy and hold it within, but not within a tight ball, as though ready to be fired forth," she added, her gaze sharpening slightly. "Relax your hold, let it trickle like water through your fingers. Then focus upon this fatigue, and try to imagine pushing it away from you. Remember how you feel when awake: energetic, alert, alive. You have to give the Force energy it's template. Know how your body feels when you're at full alertness and it'll have something to respond to. Understand?"

@[member="Thurion Heavenshield"]
 
With a slow nod Thurion closed his eyes, drawing upon the Force as she had told him to. The symbolism with water made things much easier; he had come from Pelagon, a planet made up entirely of water, after all, and as such he knew much about the ebb and flow, as well as the nature of water - the shape and feel of it. The Force had now taken on a new meaning to the boy, as it and water shared many traits, and so he could feel it take on another form within him as well. Instead of a tight ball ready to be thrown at someone or something, it now flowed through his hands in a slow and steady manner, seeping through his fingertips. With eyes still closed, a smile made its way to his lips. "I think I feel it, Master Tey. It's like a river through my hands, splitting into five lesser ones into my fingers."

OOC: Sorry for the delay, been busy during the Holidays.

@[member="Teynara Jeralyr"]
 
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