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The Jensaarai

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The Jensaarai last won the day on May 9

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  1. The sub chugged along without much issue. Apparently the craft was well overdue for it’s regularly scheduled service and several flashing alerts continued to signal that regardless of her pilot’s attempt to acknowledge and delay them. Still, the craft did not seem to suffer any catastrophic failures as it made it’s way to the Hakawa Islands. Nearing the mountain peaks that poked above the water, The Mantis slowed his craft, taking in the scans of the area. This far out to sea, there was little need for a full security contingent to be present on and about the islands. A few smaller docks extending out of caves and a single larger warehouse-line structure were all that seemed to inhabit the otherwise desolate windswept mountainsides. Idling beneath the choppy waters, the Jensaarai pondered for a moment, his face an emotionless slate as he contemplated what he was about to do. It was for the greater good. Still, that line from his order’s code, ‘Preserve life, from it flows the force’ tumbled in his mind. This seemed an ideal location. Given the Sith’s fascination with mechanized servants, The Mantis assumed that the majority of labor here would be the same. Worth a check still, he decided. Angling the sub for the surface, The Mantis turned the craft and angled it back to open sea before gracefully diving into the choppy waters. His armor was light enough; but it still tugged him downwards. The Mantis had to push himself with each stroke to pull himself upwards and forwards until he reached a point where he could stand. Pulling himself ashore, the Defender took the moment to rest, his eyes scanning the rocky hillside before him. Wrapping himself in the force, his consciousness and mind extended out across the island chain so as to render him undetectable to force user and security system alike, the rebel-aligned monk began to pick his way towards the main loading dock. This was the largest island and with it came the most activity, and the chance for a bigger distraction. Slipping through the shadows, The Mantis nodded to himself as he saw the plethora of droids mindlessly offloading crates of supplies and gingerly stacking hydrostatically sealed containers. Balo Mushroomd. Nok Morliss was running his own death stick production facility on Mon Cal! Flitting from shadow to shadow with the ease of a wraithe, the ninja-esque warrior monk made good time; clinging to overhanging pipes, swinging from catwalk to assembly line, crawling along a suspiciously well maintained ventilation duct. Soon enough he found himself in what could only be called a control room. Given it’s sparsity and single chair with a control station, that was generous. The window that looked out over the dimly lit violet lamps confirmed the man’s suspicions. It was a drug farm. Undoubtedly the other mountains had also been hollowed out to accompany the vast levels of constructed terraces and hanging gardens to maximize the growth of the mushrooms and who knew what else. Staring at the screen, The Mantis gave an effort w and see if he could gain access. A simple password was enough to dissuade that plan. There was no sense alerting security forces yet. Given the clicking and clacking of the keyboard, it was apparent the station had not been manned in quite some time. The polished socket for droid use was a testament to the automated order the ruling Sith lord commanded. The old fashioned way it was. Leaving the overlook, The Mantis snaked his way through the still air of the temperature controlled grow cavern. He had to divert a few times, avoiding the automated watering features as they kicked on in different section. He was unsure and unwilling to find out what sort of chemical concoction was being poured into these plants to make them more addictive, grow faster and larger, or anything else. Glow-in-the-dark was not a look The Mantis was keen on. Soon enough he was on the grated floor of the lowest level. Water dripped in the semi-darkness at a constant rate. The entire area smelled earthy and warm. Scanning as far as he could see with his infrared scanner the Jensaarai smiled when he saw it. Binary loaders were known for their strength and simplicity. Anti-sabotage was decidedly not their forté. There, stacked against an exterior inclined wall were the remnants of the mining explosives used to hollow out this and the other mountains. There sure was a lot of it. Waste not, want not? Being careful not to slip on the watery flooring, The Mantis scurried cautiously, a rodent in the darkness, towards the expertly stacked crates. Some of them were starting to mold already. The stacks reached to the first ceiling and spread to the left and to the right until there were enveloped in the purple darkness. It was a simple enough task to set a timer on a pair of thermal detonators and lob them amongst the crates. After that, all that was needed was to get away. The Mantis took off into the darkness making his way upwards towards his point of entry. ________________________ Thirty minutes later the entire island was shoock by an earth-shattering explosion that toppled the interior lattice-frames grow beds and sent rock and dust tumbling downwards into the grow area. Plumes of stone and fire erupted from the side of the mountain. The waters shook and frothed at the intensity of the blast. Somewhere in the chaos that ensued a single message flagged with the Jensaarai warrior’s unique coding passed by on encrypted comms upwards towards the stealther rebel craft that was monitoring the system: ‘IT IS DONE’
  2. The heavy-laden cleric paused as he was confronted by the droid. Beneath his faceless features, the Jensaarai frowned. Apparently finding a closer transport to ferry him towards his goal was out of the question. Undoubtedly if this droid went missing it would raise the alarm; a little too prematurely for what the rebels hoped to accomplish. In keeping with his character, The Mantis rattled the censer at the end of his staff angrily in droid’s face spewing clouds of incense into the air. He then turned and shuffled off back the way he had come. Ducking into a doorway, The Mantis leaned heavily against the wall. He closed his eyes and reached out on the tendrils of the force. He was a Jensaarai. His actions here were for the betterment of his people galaxies away. To stop the Sith here would be to drive a wedge into the onslaught of the Sith war machine and to direct them away. The rebels were a blight to the Sith. The Jedi a threat. The Jensaarai were there to lurk in the shadows, unseen and safe, protecting their own, and by it, the worlds about them. The Mantis’ head inclined towards the smog filled aky above. It was as if he could almost feel his people across the cosmos. He was bound to them by more than a mere oath. He felt the worlds between them, the stars, the dust, the very cosmos. He was a Jensaarai, all of this was a part of him, just as he was a part of it. The Mantis allowed his focus to expand, he felt the world around him intimately. It was sick, twisted and corrupt. It longed for healing. He felt every molecule and particle, the steel, the water, wood and even air. He allowed his spirit to entangle itself with them all. Their fate would be as his, for in the force, they were one and the same. Across the city, across the waters, he allowed his consciousness to spread until his persona was nothing more than a background noise drowned out by the buzz of machinations and nature. Invisible against the galaxy. The Mantis waited a minute more as his mind settled and he focused his sight on where he was. He felt the world all around him, yet saw and moved in his own body. For the inexperienced, it was a equilibrium-defying experience. Returning to his shuffle, The Defender returned to his path. He did not wander any more, his actions were pointed and direct. He needed to reach the city’s edge. Walking along, the cleric-disguised Jensaarai flitted effortlessly from shadow to shadow. He turned to avoid any gatherings of workers shambling to or from their laborious tasks. In spite of being spread so thin so as to avoid more than a passing detection in the force or a fuzz on a camera or photoceptor, he did not want to take any undue risks. As he neared a relatively desolate marina, the cleric paused, slipping between a pair of overflowing trash bins. With a slight clamor, he pulled himself up and over the fencing that barred the city from the once pristine docks of pleasure crafts. These boats now sat derelict in their moorings, the first signs of lack of care and decay manifesting all over. Through the slitted visor of his disguise, The Mantis surveyed the docks before him looking for a craft to ferry him forward. Given the lack of resistance on the subjugated world and the desertion of this usually bustling trade and pleasure post, he suspected an unauthorized departure would draw attention sooner than later. Eying a Luxsub setting low in her moorings, The Mantis hurried towards it. It was unlocked. As if the force had willed it. Clamoring aboard, the Defender was pleased to find that even in her abandoned state the craft still appeared watertight. Even better, it started with a touch. Within minutes the craft was motoring out past the protective reef that enclosed the marina bay. There was no way to avoid it and surely the craft would be detected. Still, he maintained the slow no wake speed of the marina, ignoring whatever chirping the comm might be making. When he passed the last buoy and cleared the reef, The Mantis immediately began a sharp descent beneath the waves. Pushing the craft to it’s limits, The Mantis left a whirlwind of churned water in the crafts wake, even below the waves, as they motored out to sea and more importantly towards the Hakawa Islands and the dark crops being cultivated there. The Mantis only hoped that Mythos and his men could create a scene soon enough that he could make landfall and together they could divide the security forces of the planet and open up a weak point.
  3. The civilian craft broke hyperspace, it followed standard procedure so as to begin landing on the once pleasurable world of Mon Cal. Even amongst the industrial sludge, lawless pleasures still coated the world in dark and exotic financial gains. Pleasures that any well-paying vacationer could find without risk of coming to such a world; pleasures that a low-budget cruise line would exploit for a quick credit in a moment. Back room deals just made the deal sweeter. Docking, the ship began the usual hours-long process of offloading her pleasure seeking passengers. On a lawless world like Mon Cal there was little need for security checkpoints, not when Sith-powered bots patrolled the streets and sorceries permeated the very air of the world. The passengers were allowed to disembark and move about the pleasure areas of the city, all within careful observation of the countless cameras of the planet’s automated security forces. Moving quickly with the aura of a shuffling cleric, The Mantis moved seemingly aimlessly away from the ship, his censer bearing staff clacking against the cobble-appearing durasteel streets. He wandered moving further from and back closer to the casinos, bordellos, and pleasure centers; each foray taking him on a new path a bit further. They were on the clock. The few rebels amongst the majority of ‘innocent’ sinners had to act and soon.
  4. The Mantis nodded. Sabotage, deceit, distraction, set the Sith in disarray before the main attack makes landfall allowing for a divided enemy in disarray; these were all skillsets of The Jensaarai. These were skill skills that The Mantis’ people had used in some way or another to survive for a long time. “If all goes according to plan, we will see you on the other side. If it doesn’t,” he paused considering his next words for a moment, “then there is no need to relieve us. We will die fighting or see ourselves out.” Moving towards the door, The Mantis looked towards Col. Von Howlster as he turned, fitting his hemet back over his head and obscuring his features. “Quick and quiet. Grab your best men. The rest should come with attack forces. We’ll be quick. If all goes well, we rendezvous. If not,” he shrugged, “we don’t. I’ll see you for our cruise.” The Mantis moved like a dark feline amongst the city streets. He flit from shadow to shadow with ease. Before he made the transport that would take them to the cruise ship, the Defender had changed from his signature look into one of the many disguises each Jensaarai initiate was taught to utilize, conceal, and change from and into in a moment’s time. Striding carefully from the shadows clad in robes head to toe of vermillion and carrying his aros (staff) now with a censer bellowing heavily odored plumes of qatameric incense all about. In silence, as befitting the religion of The Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenance, The Mantis made his way to the transport. From there, the pleasure cruiser. Even amongst the odd crowd that would cruise the spacelanes amongst a galactic war, and moreso one that had a scheduled docking at the lawlessly resurrected world of Mon Cal, a Brother would not be an odd sight, pilgraming from world to world by whatever means available. Mythos and his crew would have to find their own way aboard the cruiser; one that would leave them undetected by their fellow passengers. Anonymity was their greatest defense.
  5. The Mantis nodded slowly as he took in their task and watched the others. Glancing at their ragtag group, the worn Corellian turned to lock eyes with the rebel pilot. A solemn nod was his designation of agreement. A world of fish folk would be hard enough to blend into. If the Sith found out they were coming, it would only get worse. The Defender did briefly ponder how a band of space marines were going to smuggle their weapons planetside on a civilian cruise ship. He quickly let the thought slip away. It was not his concern. The two hour time gap however, was a bit of a concern. They would have to hit the ground running. Even then, chances of getting much accomplished if they hit any bumps were slim. “Two hours from touchdown to assault; what are you expecting in that time?” he pondered softly to the room.
  6. The Mantis had stood, his limbs hanging loosely at his side, staring down the weapons leveled in his direction. Concern had not been high on his list of responses. The rebel soldiers were doing their job. On a world like this one could hardly blame a fella who was wanted for his mere existence for being a bit jumpy. From behind his enclosed helm, The Mantis raised an eyebrow in interest at the arrival of the hulking canine. If he had to guess, the Jensaarai would have figured him for a bounty hunter of sorts. But still, the being had the same name as The Mantis did and he himself could be considered an odd specimen by some. Who was he to judge. Given the fact that the guardsmen obeyed the wolfman, The Mantis figured he was a rebel of sorts. So was he, he pondered for a moment. The Jensaarai had thrown their lot in with this ragtag band of upstarts and idealists. There was something about them. Clambering with ease from the speeder, The Mantis dropped to the packed earth and made his way into the prefabricated command structure, down the hall to a spare service room set up almost like a cafeteria eating area. He offered a nod of thanks to the much larger wolfish rebel. Otherwise, he was content to remain in the silence of the cramped room, his eyes scanning the walls; diagrams, a few odd maps and starcharts, nothing too exciting really. The comment about the Jensaarai from the wolfman took The Mantis by surprise. Not many usually knew who or what they were. When Lt. Andromina entered, The Mantis stood from the benched sear he had occupied, stepping forward to extend a hand to tightly and quickly grasp the pilot’s before releasing and stepping back. As the ranking rebel spoke, The Mantis fell into step as they left the hall and walked down the hallway. He walked in silence allowing Mythos a chance to speak first, which he did as they entered the official briefing room. With a hiss, the Defender removed the faceplate of his light Jensaarai armor helmet, the suit adapting to the pressure of the world about them. He tucked the faceplate beneath his armpit, his rugged Corellian features offset by his bright green eyes. With a low baritone, The Mantis spoke, after they entered the briefing room and Mythos had said his piece. A sight smile played across the Jensaarai’s face; surely the woman knew what she was asking. “I am Mantis.” he spoke by way of introduction. Any mention of the Jensaarai was left unsaid. His people’s anonymity was one of their greatest defenses, even as he wore his customized armor beneath his gray robe. That same robe he lifted to reveal a complete set of throwing knives held against his armored waist alongside his collapsible staff. “I am not a soldier or a Jedi. Espionage is my area of . . . ability. Like him,” he inclined a thumb towards Mythos, “I can just,” he circled his hand in the air, opening his fist in a trail of fingers before closing back into a fist as if signing a universal idea of disappearing. Taking the chance to redirect the conversation, he opted to pepper the lieutenant with a few queries of his own. “An interesting location to plan an invasion of such a contested world.” Shooting a glance around as if for emphasis he continued, “I am hoping there are more than us and a few marines. No offense sir,” he shot an apologetic glance to Mythos as he spoke. “I’ve heard stories about what has been going on at Mon Cal. Dark stuff. What are you thinking? Do we have any rebels planetside already? Getting there should be easy enough. Mon Cal has become the new Nar Shaddaa. What kind of defenses do they have set up?” The Mantis stepped up to a table bearing a holographic rotating display of the watery world in question. His eyes scanned the fluxing world map. Was this real time? Glimmers of ships in orbit blipped in and out of sight above the world. The Mantis was not by any means a one man army. He was a stealthy combatant. Protecting protectors, moving unnoticed amongst the shadows, aiding the Alliance, those were his tasks. By them, he was bettering the cause of his own people. The Sith Empire was too big a threat to be ignored. They were coming for them, the Alliance, the Jedi, anyone who might be a threat. Masters of camouflage and stealth, even the Jensaarai were threatened by the ever growing horde of evil.
  7. The ragged delivery freighter was not quick to offload her goods. Even if Kessel had been taken by the Rebel Alliance, there was still a lucrative and active black market retail business that bustled about the planet; it’s illicit income still grossly out earning any legal incomes the world had access to. So even as the crew carefully and methodically offloaded their cargo of food stuffs, water, and purification tablets they watched as their local contacts moved an equal number of packages into place to be loaded and transported from the world. Spice, it was as illegal as it was valued. The financial gain from the delivery paled in comparison to the payday awaiting their next cargo. None of that mattered though. Through the carefully calculated hubbub a figure swarthed in flowing gray cloaks strode silently from the hold, ducking to the side as soon as it exited the ship. Beneath the robes, the Jensaarai’s armor flowed seamlessly, barely giving away the fact that it even existed beneath the flowing robes. The force moved subtly about the man, muted and almost indiscernible against the miniscule buzzing backdrop of the world. With a jump and a twist, The Mantis twisted around the nearest building corner and fell into stride with the few shuffling locals that made their way down the otherwise desolate windswept street. Silence shrouded the man in an aura of mystery as deep as the force that was muted against the invisible wall outside of his body. He strode silently and with purpose, his head tucked low against the cold biting wind. He did not seem to pay mind to anything around him; lime the others, he looked like he was focused on getting where he was going with as little hassle as possible. Beneath his robes, The Mantis’ weapos were tucked tightly against his armor. They did not clink and clank. They did not rattle. They barely made a discernible bulge. Each tool was designed to fit into the armor, blended against detection but accessible in a moment. He strode with purpose through the newly conquered city. Things would change here, hopefully for the better. It would take time and effort. For now, chaos and darkness lingered amongst the hope. Hopes of better tomorrows and hopes of less interference in money-making schemes, good and bad. Against the backdrop, with his subconscious signature alteration within the force, The Mantis was all but invisible to anyone or thing but the naked eye. Anybody that did not focus directly on the Jensaarai Defender simply glossed over his very presence. Twisting and turning The Mantis distanced himself from the distant landing pad until he found an idling and unattended landspeeder outside a crowd-packed tavern. With nary more than a glance to see that nobody was attending the craft, The Mantis commandeered it. Soon enough, the speeder was churning up plumes of dust in the weak atmosphere as it tore across the open ground outside the small city. Racing towards Outpost Delta, The Mantis made good time. There was little here to hamper him. The outpost was barely beyond a few prefab structures and an ad hoc landing pad; but it was the start of good things on the oblong planet. Grinding to a halt as he entered the base, The Mantis slowly raised his hands in a gesture of peace in response to the laser dots trained on him by the guards outside the outpost. “The Jensaarai have sent me as a representative. Tell Lt. Andromina I am here.”
  8. The Saarai-Kaar nodded, without giving way his disappointment that the young apprentice before him had not studied their own history.“The Jedi and Sith descend from same line and tradition. The same that we ourselves come from. The differences, however, have morphed over time. I fear that as each grows further from it’s roots the deeper engrained it becomes in the siren’s call from the darkness,” he explained as he turned to reach towards Bones’ saber. He continued to speak, “The Jensaarai do not often concern themselves with the ways of the galaxy at large. It is not our place to do so. We are entrusted with one another, to hold each other accountable and to defend the truth. The dark calls and we hold fast together against it.” Once Bones handed his hilt to the Jensaarai leader, he turned it over in his hands, allowing the hilt to roll from hand to hand as he tested the weight. “Even so, the Jedi and the Sith are our brothers. Some are more misguided than others. The darkness that calls them threatens the entire universe. The siren’s call is tempting to all. Even me. To protect our community, we must not just learn, but we must stand against the darkness when it threatens our own.” Hefting the saber, the Saarai-Kaar twirled the hilt one handed, his eyes never leaving it. The force whirled about them as he prodded it mentally, scanning it inside and out. “Many Jensaarai are born into our tradition, raised in it. Your experiences with the darkness has prepared you in unique ways. You have tasted it and not succumb.” He stopped spinning the weapon and offered it hilt end back to Bones, nodding, “But you are still young. Prepare to meet with Defender Sarlacc and his elder apprentice, Svata. They should be arriving within the day.” ”Your saber appears to be functional and aptly built. I would venture you had help from our community. That is good. Each Jensaarai must find his or her place here. Hold onto that when you go forth. Let it be your emotional tether to hold you fast.” Placing a warm hand on Bones’ shoulder, the Saarai-Kaar guided him towards the door. “The Sarlacc will continue your training for now. Together the three of you must go and help our wayward brethren stand against the darkness.” Pausing at the door, the Saarai-Kaar stared deep into Bones’ eyes, the force thick and swirling between them illuminating things beyond the surface. “Though we broke from the Jedi, they are our brothers. Save them whilst the sun still shines.”
  9. The door slid open with a grumbling rattle as the rough knobby hand the Order’s figurehead pushed it into a recess in the wall. With an emotionless look, the Saarai-Kaar, clad in a simple brown tinicnand breeches looked Bones up and down and then waves him to come in; stepping back out of the doorway to one side. Inside, it was spartan. The most outstanding thing about the one room hovel was the Saarai-Kaar’s armor displayed on a samurai-like display rack. In the shadows, if one was not fully aware, the armor could easily be mistaken for another being. Thebrest of the room had a table and chair, bunk, a chest and a few other small items. Practically bare and clean. The dirt-packed floor was as solid as the durasteel beneath it; having been trod until it now longer responded to being walked upon. Holding out a hand towards Bones, the Saarai-Kaar asked a simple question “My saber?” He saw the young Jensaarai’s hilt gleefully clutched between his hands, but did not acknowledge it yet, waiting until his own weapon was returned before responding further. Once Bones returned the Saarai-Kaar’s weapon, the Weequay turned and carefully set the weapon with his displayed armor before turning back to Bones. Glancing at the saber hilt Bones held, he continued, “I assume that your weapon is functional. There is no time for me to instruct you in the use of this weapon. You must prepare yourself.” Turning, the Saarai-Kaar stared out the singular window of his hut. It overlooked a slight hill down to where several children were running about and playing some makeshift game with a roughhewn leather ball. Even from here their giggles and occasional angry call of foul play could be heard. It added a sense of life to the serene surroundings. Without looking back at his guest, the leader spoke once again, “If you desire to become a Jensaarai you must become one with us. All of us. The Sun-Dragon is an able teacher. He is often relegated the more . . . difficult . . . initiates that come to us. Like you, he had to overcome a dark past. Darker than even yours I would say. In doing so, he was cleansed through both holy and unholy fire; having to forsake all that he knew and called his own. The time has come though for you to show your dedication.” Turning to face Bones again, the Saarai-Kaar’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Have you studied the histories? What do you know of the Jedi and the Sith?”
  10. The Saarai-kaar places his hand on Bones’ shoulder, gently and quietly urging him back to a standing position. ‘The Jensaarai kneel in submission to none.’ He urged silently in the force. Pulling his own duel-bladed lightsaber hilt from his belt, the Saarai-Kaar offered it to Bones. “Take this. Reach out in the force. Study it’s makeup. Then begin to craft your own. You have your pieces? Sit here by the dome. Build your weapon. Then return to me in my quarters.” The instructions were simple enough. The Saarai-Kaar knew that the twisted life of the growth within the done would present a dark edge to hedge the young Tognath’s own ambitions. The test went without speaking; either the apprentice would instinctively recoil from the light or he would pursue the darkness and be destroyed by it, drawing the purple fungus unto himself. “You will need this weapon where you will be going. Your brethren will need your skills. This blade will mark you as one of our own. Unique as all Jensaarai are. Seek the truth within the force. Follow the paths upon which we trod. Seek the truth within the weapon. Look beyond the surface. Seek the truth within yourself. Weed out the deceptions you have planted there. There, will you find the design of your weapon.” With that the Jensaarai leader offered Bones a warm smile. He knew his instructions were cryptic in some ways. Still, he had every faith the Tognath could search within the force and discern truth from falsehood. The time it would take him to build his weapon would allow for the other pieces of the holoboard to move into place. Then they would strike at the heart of darkness.
  11. A dull klaxon, worn and aged, beeped a low foghorn-like warning as dim red lights flashed around the doors in lopsided circles. With a slow grating squeak and the hiss of negative pressure into Dome #8, the elder Saarai-kaar stepped out of the prohibited zone. The force swirled in shadowy wraithe-y waves of light and dark, gnawing at any would be hangers on of the poisonous purple growth; ensuring it did not escape the massive metal tomb that contained it aboard Rakaw Nwul. Even in full armor, the man that led the Jensaarai did not look all that intimidating. Unassuming and lethal, the Saarai-Kaar carried himsef in an aura of force-bound mystery. Seeing Bones chanting softly, the Saarai-Kaar let his presence in the force branch out and fill the room searching for the apprentice’s aura. Upon finding it, he urged it upwards and outwards, guiding it deeper into the ethereal tendrils that were the force. Without a word, he hoped to help the young Tognath expand his horizons. As their auras swirled together, a great darkness loomed ever closer. Together, they swirled along the edge of dawn and sunset, darkness to their left and seering brightness to their right. They swirled forward perched on the molecular razor’s edge that sepersted the two. “Shadow” the voice echoed softly through the force. In the force, time had no meaning. It stood still and reached for eons into the future and the past. Gently, the two came back to the room outside of Dome #8 and deposited their consciousnesses back from where they had never left. With a gentle hiss, the Saarai-Kaar removed his helmet, revealing an aged and worn face with deep set eyes that seemed to speak of having seen things that no being ought to have witnessed. His eight braids that sprouted from atop his head tumbled back over his shoulders as he offered a hand to Bones to help him to his feet. “Greetings young apprentice. The Jensaarai have need of your skills and abilities abroad. Are you ready to strike for your community, to protect those who have embraced you?” ”Have you completed your lightsaber yet?”
  12. “Think, feel, be, allow the force to touch your innermost being and reflect it out through the prism that is you. This is why every Jensaarai undergoes such rigors. To mold and form them. You have great potential young Bones. You must embrace this new life and learn it until you become one with it.” An armor-clad Defender materialized silently behind Bones at the side of the bare earth. With a nod to the warrior, The Sun-Dragon cut himself short. “Excuse me little brother. It would appear I am being called elsewhere. Return to your quarters, commune with the community, seek out the verpine and do what they request to obtain parts with which to begin constructing your lightsaber. When I return, I will instruct you in how to begin construction.” Brushing past Bones, the scantily-clad Defender walked to meet his fellow. After conversing in low tones for several minutes, Sun-Dragon turned and returned to Bones. “To be a Jensaarai means to seek knowledge. Those who seek acknowledge they do not know all that there is to know or worth knowing. The force can be unfathomable. Ashla and Bogan are but one way that people cast that which they carry within onto something they cannot understand. They label it to understand it. The force cannot be known. Light and dark can be found within. Thus we reflect what is in our own hearts. Purge the darkness from your soul brother. Contemplate on these mysteries and when we meet again, we can speak further. For now, the Saarai-Kaar has requested that you go to the sealed doors of Dome #8. Await instructions there. Go with the knowledge that whatever task you are given, you carry the community on your shoulders” With that, the Sun-Dragon turned and made his way down the road, disappearing around the corner.
  13. The Sun-Dragon laughed aloud, a loud belly laugh of pleasure as he felt the force behind the tognath’s blows. Setting one foot behind him at an angle, he swung his own staff to brace against the blows. “Good! Let the force flow through you. It is a river and you, but a branch in the current. Let the river guide you.” Twirling his own staff to parry the incoming flurry blows, loud cracks filled the makeshift arena as the dance continued, the Sun-Dragon circling back slowly as he deflected the onslaught of strikes and blows directed at him. “Flow with the river, but remember, you are not a leaf to be pushed without influence. Do not block the river and seek to divert it. Roll yourself in the river, allowing the uniqueness that is you to be buffeted by the force and pushed in ways that are unique to you. Every branch is different, but they spring from the same tree. Do not resist; do not hold fast; but like a rudder, let who you are speak in the force. Together, a path will become apparent.” And with a final block of an incoming blow, the Sun-Dragon pushed back against Bones’ weapons arcing his own staff in the air in an attempt to smash the wooden rod across the tognath’s head. “The force, your past, your future; you, the Jensaarai.” Should the Defender knock his apprentice into the dust, he would stop to help him up, the lesson concluded. Should young Bones continue the fight, the lesson would continue.
  14. Accepting her drink with a warm smile, The Malia took a deep swig. Smiling as she lowered the mug, “I think it is the other way around. How can I help you? You see, Serenity Vowler, there is more to you than appears. Just like,” the woman rolled her lightsaber hilt onto the aged wooden table with clatter, “there is more to me too.” Glancing out the window, the mysterious warrioress smiled. The smile dis not reach the woman’s eyes Which were etched with sadness. “Corellia is besieged by the forces of evil. The light falters across the galaxy. It always needs more to reflect the light from their hearts it into the crevices of darkness. Lets go for a walk. The shadows grow long.” Standing, The Malia left her half-finished drink on the table and scooped her weapon up back into the folds of her cloak in one smooth motion. Pulling her fur robe more tightly about her she gestured to the door. Outside, the warrioress fell into step with Serenity as they strode seemingly aimlessly through the city towards the dark side of the planet. “It is honorable to earn a pure living; but something tells me that you were made for more than serving drinks and jaunting back and forth from Ryloth to Corellia until darkness falls across the expanse. What stirs deep in your soul little sister? What is it you desire? I have watched you from afar; but tell me who you truly are.” The shadows continued to grow longer as the sun set in the distance and the temperatures began to rapidly descend and still, they walked.
  15. Twirling to his left, The Sun-Dragon whirled backwards away from the driving blow. His own staff spinning around in his hands as he, in one continuous sweep, brought his own wooded weapon towards Bones’ exposed back. In the same sweeping forward motion, he planted his foot atop Bones’ weapon as it struck empty earth. Using his momentum, the Sun-Dragon did not stop moving, whirling to a clear distance behind his apprentice. Staff in hand, he continued to spin it, the momentum of the aros ready to be directed into its next strike. Looking down at his apprentice he spoke. “Focus not on your weapon. Focus on yourself. A Jensaarai is always seeking truth and is always ready to act. Your mind, body, and soul bonded together as one. The weapon should become nothing but an extension of your will and of your person. When you are centered, unhampered by the distractions about you, you will become one with your weapon.” The Jensaarai master slowly circles keeping his eyes on Bones. The force continued to swirl around him and on it, he reached out. He felt the traces of pride that had distracted his apprentice. The blurred staff hazing before his eyes, he continued, his intense gaze never leaving the young Bones who now held a position within reaching distance of his discarded weapons. “The skills of combat can be learned. To be a Jensaarai you must become master of the most difficult aspects of the galaxy, yourself. A Jensaarai feels emotions. He uses them. He controls them and makes them work for him. Otherwise they are as dangerous a distraction as an undefended plasma shot, a distracting onlooker, or the soft dark side whisper that promises the ease of victory but does not tell you the price.” ”Again! Let the force flow through you and bind to you as one.”
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