Way of the Blade
DM had received a message yesterday from his Master that he was to meet her on the academy grounds the next day and that he was to bring a lightsaber with him. He could go get one of the standard ones that the academy had on hand for the training of padawan's like himself, but decided instead that he would take the blade that had belonged to his late mother. After his previous training session with Master Tessa, he knew that his connection to the Force was at its strongest when he had something tangible in his hands. He knew that this was an area he would have to overcome in his training, but for now it was the most practical means of improving his skill set.
Rising early, Dash took a shower to clear his mind from the fog of dreams that tried to cling to his memory, but withheld valuable details he needed to gain any insight into them. Out of the shower, he dressed in black canvas pants and boots that rose to just above his ankle. Dashed pulled on a dark green long sleeved shirt with a hood. The material was light and thin, but remarkably warm. He packed a black leather messenger back with various items including a tablet, a water bottle, and his mother's saber. With everything he needed, Dash left his quarters well before dawn. He was supposed to meet his Master at dawn, and he intended to get some work in before she arrived.
Dash found the area he was supposed to meet Tessa and left his bag against a tree trunk. The man pulled his shirt's hood up and then set off on a morning run through the forest. DM found that physical activity provided an opportunity to quiet his mind and gain perspective that he wasn't always able to achieve when he was still. Dash reflected on his time here on Yavin VIII so far and found it to be the most at peace he'd felt in his adult years... it was a strange sensation given the fact that he was training to broaden himself into a person that he wouldn't recognize. Dash allowed himself to become lost in the process of running, not focusing on his path but allowing the Force to guide his destination. He was roused from his thoughts when he exited the trees into a clearing where a river flowed. Dash found this curious given the climate, but as he stood beside the flowing water he felt a new wave of serenity wash over him. He looked around and could see nothing beyond the tree line all around him. He listened and heard nothing... After a moment or two of standing in silence Dash tore himself away from the clearing knowing that he needed to get back for his training session. As DM ran back along the path he found his thoughts carried back to the clearing. When he reached his bag, Dash pulled the water bottle out and drank deeply from it. Replacing the bottle he took hold of his mother's saber...
Dash placed the saber on the ground in front of him before seating himself with his legs crossed in front of him. He rested his hands gently on his knees and closed his eyes. Dash began to breathe slowly and methodically as he entered a meditative state. This time he didn't focus on the coin hanging around his neck beneath his shirt, but on the hilt before him.
The Jedi Master arrived at the training grounds and approached her padawan. A box floated behind her that contained items for the session. She smiled and bowed to him.
"Greetings, Padawan Dash Malo. Wielding a lightsaber is something we only do when we need to protect someone who is unable to protect themselves.. or, if on the off chance we are attacked by someone for whatever their reason might be. A Jedi battles dually with the Force and the lightsaber. In order to achieve that, we must allow ourselves to listen to its guidance."
She gestured toward the box and the lid to the container opened to reveal several small round devices with various buttons and openings on it, as well as a helmet and training sabers. Noticing that he already had a lightsaber of his own to use, she handed the helmet to him and then continued instructing.
"This helmet when worn with the blast shield down will obstruct your eyes so that your other senses are heightened. Your reactions will be guided by the Force. The remotes are miniature droids that are used in combat training. They fire sting beams of varying intensity levels and provide an unpredictable and effective challenge."
The Jedi Master retrieved one of the remotes and flipped a small switch on before releasing the device to float toward Dash. As the training remote rotated in the air, lights blinked as its hum resonated.
"The training remote will fire a series of low level laser blasts toward you as you move the lightsaber to deflect the shots. These laser blasts are not lethal although they are not exactly comfortable to receive either. Your first task is to place the helmet on and bring down the blast shield as you ignite and ready your lightsaber. Then, meditate upon the Force and let it guide your actions and reactions. The lightsaber should be an extension of yourself. Let it glide through the air as you begin to get used to its weight and how to handle it."
As the volume of the hum increased, the training remote begain to spin rapidly as it closed the distance on Dash and fired the first series of laser blasts at him.
If Dash hadn't seen his mother utilizing this form of training in the privacy of their home when he was a child he might have been skeptical... no one in their right mind would blind fold themselves in a fire fight, but he understood that not everything could be faced down with logic.
DM stood up and took the helmet his master offered. He picked up the saber with his right and placed the helmet on his head with the left before flipping down the blast shield. With his vision obscured, Dash decided to go ahead and close his eyes. Just because he had a helmet blinding him didn't mean he couldn't feel in control of his vision. Taking the saber hilt in both hands, Dash thumbed the activation switch with his right thumb and the emerald blade snap-hissed to life. He moved the blade right then left and marveled at the weightless blade. It was going to take considerable practice to get used to the weapon as all of its mass resided in the hilt.
The volume of the training remote increased before it shot off the first blast. DM had no clue where the bolt was aimed, and found himself reacting to the sound. He clumsily moved the blade to the right as the sting beam struck him in the left bicep. He muttered a muffled curse and removed his left hand from the saber hilt trying to shake the sensation out of his arm. Shifting his feet while bending his knees DM prepared for the next shot. He didn't have to wait long and once again he found himself reacting to the remote's sound bringing the blade horizontally across his body from right to left. The man was unceremoniously dropped to one knee when the sting beam caught him in the right quad. After letting out another muffled curse, DM took a deep breath and as he blew it out he found the rhythm of his own heart beating. Focusing inward Dash felt the warmth and serenity of the Force sweep through him. While the stinging from the droids blaster bolts was still there, it dulled as he found himself reaching out around him searching for the little droid. The remote wasn't alive, so DM instead looked for a small, quick moving, void in the Force and found it relatively easily. Dash stood again to both feet and returned his left hand to the saber hilt.
DM's breathing slowed as he tracked the remote with his Force perception. This time when the remote fired the sting bolt, he knew where it was coming from... that didn't make the task easy though... Dash moved the blade to intercept the bolt and connected with it but not fast enough as the sting beam kissed off the saber's blade and grazed his shoulder. DM didn't register the pain from the graze though because he was gaining confidence. With confidence, Dash found himself relaxing to the point where he no longer focused on consciously moving the blade. He caught the next shot with his blade driving it off to his right. Another shot was fired this one sent upward. A third shot was deflected into the ground.
Master Rendahl watched as Padawan Malo engaged the training remote. She was impressed by his quick actions and ability to adjust his responses to the remote.
"You have done very well on this first round. I will now increase the frequency of the blasts and speed up the motion of the training remote. Continue to keep the blast shield down on your helmet as you allow the Force to guide your actions and reactions against the laser bolts."
Once again, the volume of the hum increased, and the training remote began to spin rapidly as it closed the distance on Dash Malo, firing another series of laser blasts at him.
Dash registered his master's words, but his mind was maintaining its focus on the training remote. When Master Rendahl initiated the second round DM was prepared. This time around the droid was firing off bolts in short bursts as opposed to single shots.
Malo moved fluidly with the grace of a fighter as the remote swirled and snapped off the first series of blasts. The blade remained close to his body allowing for the most efficient movement possible. The first shot he caught and drove off to the right of his hips. The second was sent back in the general direction of the droid. Dash was late picking up the third shot in the series but was able to step to the side as it whizzed past his left ear. The small hairs on DM's ear stood up in response.
Before Dash could process what had happened fully, the remote let out its second series of shots. The first caught him in the back of the left leg. Dropping to a knee the second shot in the series passed over his right shoulder. Dash rolled to his backside and brought his blade horizontally across his body from right to left deflecting the third shot.
He wasted no time getting back to his feet with his focus locked in on the droid... there wouldn't be another lapse in focus... the droid's third series of bolts were sent away in smooth succession with the third shot narrowly missing the droid Dash had redirected it to.