As the sun was rising on the Jedi temple of Yavin VIII, a rhythmic series of staccato sounds could be heard coming from one of the rooms of the training dojo. A lone figure clad in black canvas pants and boots occupied the room and could be seen bobbing and weaving his way around a heavy bag firing off multi punch combinations. While the movements didn't follow a predetermined pattern, it was obvious to even a casual observer that the each movement had been meticulously trained so that they came together fluidly and transitioned just as smoothly into the next combination. Dash was sweating profusely and beads of sweat had saturated the floor around him, he didn't know how long he'd been here as he was lost in the movement. As he ducked and slid to his left, Dash struck the bag with a three punch combo... two left jabs and a right cross and then he stopped abruptly to look at the knuckles on his right hand. Despite his hands being bound in heavy wraps, a thin line of blood could be seen across the his knuckles. Nothing serious, but a good indication that it was time to take a break.
Dash walked across the room to where the bag with his belongings sat on a bench. He pulled a towel from the bag and wiped the sweat from his face and dried his torso. He threw the towel over his shoulder as he proceeded to unwrap his hands. Dash left the wraps in a pile on the floor beside the bench and took a closer look at his right hand, as suspect he'd simply broken the skin across the knuckles of his middle and ring fingers. Dash pulled a bottle of water from the bag and poured some over his knuckles to rinse the blood away before taking a long drink from the bottle. Dash took his towel and applied pressure to his knuckles until the bleeding stopped, he then added the towel to the pile with his hand wraps. He pulled a light weight long sleeved gray hooded shirt from his bag, put it on and pulled the sleeves up to his elbows. He took a seat on the bench and took another long swig of water. It was only now that Dash noticed someone watching him. He wasn't sure how long she'd been here or how much she'd seen, but for some reason he wasn't unsettled by this person's unannounced arrival.
The Jedi Master sat at the desk in her quarters, crafting the latest entry in her research journal. Her recent travels had uncovered minute fragments from a set of ancient stones that were once used as a powerful meditation tool. Although their weight was a mere fraction of what it once was, the stone fragments still provided an interesting challenge during training. She smiled as she recalled the Padawans she had guided over the years. Each one walking the path of the Light and serving the best interests of the Order. Her smile slowly faded as she reflected on the lack of Jedi presence in the Temple as of late. So many had been called away due to personal matters that required their attention. It was Master Rendahl's hope that they would return as soon as they could and that there was balance once again in the galaxy.
Her thoughts were interrupted as her commpad beeped and alerted her to the newest Padawan's presence in the dojo. Jedi Master Rendahl's smile returned as she rose from the chair and donned her traditional brown Jedi robes. Holding the highest formal rank in the New Jedi Order, Jedi Master Rendahl chose to lead by example and show complete devotion, skill, and balance in the ways of the Force. Her Padawans would receive her masterful attention to detail as she guided them in the Light.
Walking the short distance from her quarters to the dojo, she saw Jedi Padawan Malo seated on the bench and approached him, giving a traditional Jedi bow in greeting.
"Hello, Jedi Padawan Dash Malo. I am Jedi Master Tessa Rendahl and will be instructing you in the ways of the Light side of the Force as well as lightsaber construction and combat. Were you able to get settled into your quarters?"
She smiled at him.
Dash watched as the woman approached, there was an ease to her gait that belied the obvious skill that came with her position. As she introduced herself, Dash stood from the bench and extended his hand in greeting.
"Pleasure to meet you Master Rendahl. Thank you, yes I feel like I've settled in nicely to the quarters. Best sleep I've had in quite some time." He said with a genuine smile.
The padawan was eager to begin his training. As a fighter, the training to prepare for each fight had provided a structure to his days which brought him a sense of peace within the chaos that made up his life over the last six months. Leaving that life had been an obvious decision that had to be made, but it had also set him adrift without a clear path before him.
Master Rendahl smiled and nodded.
"I am glad to hear that you are well rested. It is essential to be of sound mind and body as you embark upon the path of the Light. I have designed your training to cover Jedi philosophy, Force powers, and lightsaber construction. An understanding of what it means to be a Jedi provides for a strong foundation of all learning and is a crucial stepping stone to achieving true enlightenment in the path of the Light side."
Jedi Master Rendahl walked over to a small pile of stones located at the side of the training area and then turned back to face him.
"Becoming a Jedi requires time and commitment. There are ideal traits and qualities that a Jedi inherently possesses."
As she extended her hand to gesture toward the stones, he noticed that each stone had writing on it. As the Jedi Master began to speak, one by one, the stones were levitated into the air and began to form a small brick wall to the side of her with each brick and its writing being displayed for the Padawan to see.
"Your first task is before you. Choose five terms from the stones that you feel best describes what it means to be a guardian of peace in the galaxy and explain each of your choices in detail. Please make note, not all of the words you are shown will depict the qualities found in a Jedi. Some are warning signs of Dark Side tendencies and it is up to you to look to the wisdom of the Light side of the Force to choose your answers wisely. Please begin when you are ready."
As she finished speaking, the last of the stones floated into place. The following terms were displayed as the letters of each stone shimmered iridescently for a brief moment as the light of the day continued to fill the room (impulse, compassion, character, defend, aggression, respect, harmony, discipline, knowledge, control, fear, warrior, noble, attack, protect, anger, hunt, strength, kill, honor).
Dash watched as the Jedi master moved stones into place forming a word wall before him. He listened intently to the instructions and once he'd be given the go ahead, he began reading though the terms before him. As he read through the words, he found his thoughts drawn to him late mother. DM knew that his mother had been a Jedi before the empire and as he was reading the words, certain ones that described her jumped out to him. He wasn't sure if this was the wisdom of the light side of the Force that Master Rendahl was talking about, but if there was anyone who embodied the characteristics of a guardian of the peace then it was his mother.
"Respect, harmony, discipline, honor and compassion." Dash began. "The first four dictate what you should while compassion dictates the why which may ultimately be more important. Respect is a foundational characteristic, without it people tend to act rashly in their own best interests, and not in ways that will benefit the most people the most. Harmony speaks to a level of peace... not of mind but of soul... which allows one to have a steady base from which to act. Discipline governs a person's daily life and allows them to do what they are supposed to do and uphold their commitments long after the emotion that drove a decision has passed. Honor is less tangible, but without it our Order will have no grounds for support throughout the galaxy. But compassion... it is the heart of all things without it people are no better than droids, it sparks faith and hope in those that we serve. In a world of right and wrong... light and dark... if we cannot perform right and light with compassion, then why are we doing it?" The final words were not his own... he'd heard that rhetorical question often as a child.
"Forgive me Master Rendahl. I feel I may have misspoken, I do not intend to say that doing the right thing should be governed solely on compassion... more that if we cannot look at a problem with compassion for those involved, how are we to accurately weigh the consequences of our choices."
The Jedi Master listened closely as he spoke and then nodded in approval.
"Indeed. Compassion is the beacon that guides our actions and those actions do have consequences. You have chosen terms befitting of an honorable Jedi. Well done. Let us continue at this time with meditation. This is a critical component as it provides additional understanding of the general beliefs and concepts of the Jedi way of life, as well as enlightenment on one's inner peace. Conditioning ourselves to allow the Force to flow through us like a conduit requires mental balance, and our mental state is the key to opening the uses of the Force. Establishing a meditative technique and practicing meditation daily strengthens one's mind and attunement to the Light Side."
The Jedi Master walked over to the tall window and gazed outside at the picturesque mountainside.
"For some, meditation comes from standing outside in a remote location where one can be alone with their thoughts. For others, sitting in a quiet room with their eyes closed is the best method to achieve complete inner peace and tranquility. The most important part in establishing a meditative technique that works best for you is to cleanse the immediate environment of negative influences. Some prefer to enter a trance-like state where they focus on their own heartbeat and breathing. Others choose to focus on a mental or physical object to achieve the optimum state of attunement with the Force."
She turned and walked back toward him before speaking once more.
"At this time, I would like for you to try both methods of meditation. First, relax and feel the energy flow through you. Next, try and focus your energy on a mental or physical object to feel the connection through this object. The objective of this exercise is for you to realize the purpose and importance of meditation as well as find the best way for you to meditate. And finally, to demonstrate the importance of practicing your meditation daily to become more in tune with the wisdom of the Force. You may begin when you are ready."