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Chapter 2: The Story of Apprentice Sitor
The violet blade of Jolee’s lightsaber hummed perilously close to my right ear. I barely ducked out of the way as we battled through our fourth practice run. We both had shields on, but that didn’t alter the realism of the duel one bit. Jolee whirled the blade around to try to hit my left arm while I was still slightly off balance. I stepped out to regain a more stable stance and parried his lightsaber just in time, but he anticipated that move, and in the blink of an eye, was moving to strike my right leg. I dropped the blade down quickly to catch his. My turquoise blade hummed as I circled it up to gain control of his blade, nearly succeeding in making the saber slip out of his hands. He deftly slid his blade over the top of mine to escape that catch, and drove the blade straight in toward my chest. I brought my blade to center quickly to deflect the attack, barely in time, and our blades crackled as they struck each other. I kept my blade pressed against his, hearing the electric hiss as the blades touched, trying to find a weakness in his stance.
Suddenly, my saber gave way as he quickly pulled his blade down under mine while stepping left. With my blade too far over to my left, I realized my right side was wide open, and he slashed my right leg as quickly as that thought crossed my mind. Even with the shield on, the impact still smarted. I stepped back out of the practice ring, frustrated and breathing heavily. I found a towel to wipe the sweat out of my eyes and off my face. Jolee, with just a sheen of moisture on his forehead, looked like he hadn’t been doing anything difficult. I was drenched with the perspiration from all the fighting.
Jolee went over to the bench to take a drink of water, “Diluvian water,” he told me, “it’s the best kind in the galaxy. Of course, it means visiting an ice cold planet to get it, but some things are worth the sacrifice.”
I smiled weakly at that. He then walked back over to where I was sitting on the ground trying to stretch out my legs so they wouldn’t stiffen up from all the practice and the strikes where Jolee got through my defense. He sat down on the bench next to me.
“You’re getting better. At least I’m not nailing you in one shot without you so much as even starting a block anymore,” he noted, approval in his voice.
I thought I had learned some decent lightsaber skills at the Jedi Academy. That was until I sparred with Jolee the first time and got repeatedly tagged on the very first shot. Sometimes, to my chagrin, I got hit before I even was able to get out of the ready position.
He continued, “You still aren’t allowing the Force to guide some of your strikes, though, and you’re on the defensive too much of the time. If you let the Force flow through more, you’ll be able to anticipate my moves better. Of course, that just means I’ll have to get sneakier in my attacks, you know.” He patted my shoulder and got up off the bench. “Come on, let’s take a break from this and work on those shooting and lightsaber throwing skills.”
We went to the shooting range, and I picked up a blaster pistol, as did Jolee.
“I can understand being familiar with a ranged weapon, but why do you want me to develop an expertise?” I asked.
“My master told me when I was a Padawan, ‘Your lightsaber is your life, and without it you are defenseless.’ I think he was right. But you never know when you might need a backup,” he answered with a mischievous grin, as he hefted the blaster.
“Has anyone told you that you’re just ornery sometimes?” I replied, smiling.
“I was born ornery. I never gave my mother a moment’s rest, I’m sure. Probably one of the reasons she sent me to the Jedi,” he retorted, “You need to get on with that shooting. You think you’re so young that you can waste all day doing nothing? Go on now!”
I sighted on the target and started the practice.
Once Jolee was satisfied that my marksman skills were, as he called them, sufficient for that day, we worked on throwing lightsabers. I tossed out my saber, guided the blue-green blade around the target, and directed it neatly back to my hand. I was pleased that my throw equalled Jolee’s in length.
“Nice throw, good control. Always keep your eye on that saber, Jae. The moment you take your eyes off of it is the moment it’ll fly back and cut your head off.”
He nodded for me to keep going, and then proceeded to do just about anything to distract me while I continued throwing my lightsaber. At one point, he actually jumped in front of my line of sight. It took all my Force ability to deflect the lightsaber and then will it back into my hand before it sliced both of us.
I felt a flash of anger at what appeared to me to be an incredibly stupid maneuver. I tried to calm that burst of rage, silently repeating to myself the words of the Jedi code before I said to him, “Jolee, jumping in front of a flying lightsaber is not exactly what I’d call an intelligent maneuver.”
Jolee looked amused. “You have to be prepared for the unexpected in combat. And, if you really believe I was in any danger from that, you have a lot to learn, missy. I’m a master, remember? While that doesn’t make me invincible, it does mean that I’ve learned a few tricks. I was dodging weapon attacks long before someone ever put the first diaper on you.”
He went on, “Battles are very unpredictable things. They’re noisy and full of distractions, and nothing is going to be static long enough for you to study it in detail like a dejarik game. Sometimes you’re just going to have to trust your instincts and feelings and review the details later. Do you know anyone who’s going to say to themselves, ‘hey, there’s a Jedi throwing a lightsaber my way. I think I’ll stand still to make it easier for her to hit me!’? Well, OK, maybe Gamorreans might be dumb enough to do that, but everyone else is going to scatter, create mass chaos, and get in your way. Jedi or no, when the battle ends, you’ll be standing there recovering from the adrenaline rush and marveling that you survived the fray. Now throw that blade a few more times before we find some dinner.”
As I tossed my lightsaber out and then caught it on its return, Jolee commented, “You know, all this saber-tossing reminds me of this apprentice named, what was it--Sirot? No, that’s not it. Sotor? No, no…Sitor, that’s it, that’s the one. Well, here we were on Coruscant, and I got saddled with teaching this green apprentice Sirot some lightsaber skills. He grew up on T’lon, where they all cut their teeth on blasters, and he just thought his souped-up Baragwin disruptor pistol was the greatest thing since sliced tsookie worms. We’d been practicing the throw lightsaber technique, and he decided after one lesson that he was now an expert. Do you think he listened to me about always watching for the returning lightsaber? Well, we ended up over in the Eloni cantina--great food, better Juma juice, they need a new Bith accordian player--and we walked in on just the biggest cantina fight I've seen in a decade. Blaster bolts flying, bartender ducking, people getting tossed over tables, heh-heh, good Juma getting wasted--good challenge for an apprentice Jedi to deal with. Well, about 4, maybe 5 Rodians saw us and decided we were going to ruin their fun and they started shooting. Junior Jedi threw his saber--beautiful distance, nice arc, got about 3 of those Rodians, not bad for an apprentice. But then the blaster-brain thinks he's got enough time to shoot the other 2 with that crazy disruptor while he’s waiting for his darn lightsaber to return. He got a few rounds off, and forgot about the saber for a moment. Suddenly, it was flying around crazy, and I had to duck and roll to get out of the way. He didn’t see it return til it was in his face. He ducked, but not quite fast enough, and managed to cut off the tip of his nose. Vandar, of all the Jedi, chewed me out for letting that happen. Actually, I think it improved Sitor’s appearance. Made him more distinguished looking. He never shot off a blaster while carrying his lightsaber again, I guarantee it.”
“You must be joking,” I said incredulously.
“Do I look like a comedien? Sometimes there’s more humor in the truth. I don’t plan on giving you made-up stories for that little task of yours, you know. Now, it’s time for something to eat. I know a fine cantina around the corner. It’s a hole in the wall place, but it has some of the finest food this side of the planet. Let’s go.”
I smiled as I hooked the lightsaber to my belt and put on my robe. I left the pistol on the gun rack.
Last edited by Jae Onasi; 03-16-2006 at 01:29 PM.