Author's Note: Something I just decided to do at the spur of the moment. I started this sometime during Star Wars Celebration weekend when we had trailers for The Force Awakens and Battlefront coming out and me having an urge to pull out my Star Wars DVDs to watch. Wrote like half of this, stopped when I realized that I needed to get the next couple chapters of Reflection up before I became exceedingly busy, and today I had a couple extra hours between jobs and felt like completing this, especially since I've been seeing a couple more RWBY/Star Wars pieces popping up here. A short little piece from my favorite franchise.
Ruby felt the nudge through the Force: a sharp, attention-grabbing prod that was fitting for her instructor. She nearly leapt to her feet, almost forgetting about the instructions that had been laid out for this class, the one yesterday, and the day before. Taking the slip of cloth from her folded legs, she lifted it up to her face, placed it over her eyes, and tied the ends tight behind her head. Only then did she spring up to her feet.
It was a dimension that Master Goodwitch decided to add, the advances that Ruby's class as a whole had made justifying it. How practice duels used to go was that names would be selected by the overseeing Master and the Initiates would get up and engage in practice with their lightsabers.
It was different this time. With the selection being made through this method, the class wouldn't know who would be dueling until they witnessed two of their own take up their blindfolds and stand up. Of course, while the identities of the duelists would be known to the rest of the class, they would remain a mystery to the duelists themselves. Goodwitch had made it very clear that they were to put on their blindfolds as soon as they were told with a sharp rebuke ready to be sent to those who didn't listen.
Not that Ruby would ever do that. Already possessing a love for dueling, this latest twist made it that much more exciting.
She wasn't the least bit encumbered by her lack of sight, nearly skipping out from the lineup of her peers on her way to the center of the chamber. The high ceiling was purposely meant to amplify and echo even the most subtle sounds, the click of Ruby's boots being no exception. It was not wholly familiarity that let her walk so confidently as it was her attunement to a Jedi's most powerful ally: the Force.
The Force had always been strong in Ruby Rose, her sensitivity to it having been noted at a very young age. Once Qrow took her under his tutelage sometime after the death of her mother, her skill with it became readily apparent the moment she could levitate a small stone in the air through telekinesis. Within a day, she had a halo of pebbles circling over her head, the girl giggling at her own accomplishment.
Since being accepted into the Jedi Temple, her powers had grown exponentially with every week finding her ahead of another of her fellow students, some of whom were years older than her. Prodigy had been the label tossed around within the halls of the Temple with many of the aging Masters discussing in private of how she represented the future of the Jedi and the Galactic Republic as the years separated them both further and further away from the end of the Sith Wars and into what was already being coined as the Golden Age.
Ruby could feel the Force flowing all around her and its energy charged her along with her excitement. Her senses stretched beyond the limitations placed on her eyesight, broadening out to fill the chamber. She was aware of the line of presences that were her fellow classmates: young, excited, and ready for the show that was about to start. Ahead of her was Master Goodwitch, the older woman made up of zero humor and one-hundred percent prickly sternness.
Stopping once she took her position, Ruby directed her body and senses towards her opponent.
It was not one that she was familiar with and was the exact opposite of the Initiates watching from the sidelines. The impression that Ruby got from her opponent through the Force was highly guarded to the point where it almost seemed...hostile. Enough for Ruby to recoil slightly from her probing, like touching something so unexpectedly cold that it burned. She was more careful the second time around.
"Make ready," came Goodwitch's order.
Ruby unclipped the long hilt - longer than most - from her belt. Holding it horizontally, she suppressed a grin as she activated her lightsaber, the distinctive snap-hiss of a blade coming to life at one end of the hilt and, even with the blindfold, she could make out the silver light that lit up...which was then followed by a second.
There were very few Jedi as a whole who used the double-bladed variant, most relying on the traditional single blade. Learning to handle the dual blades took special training to not only wield them effectively but to make sure you didn't impale or cut yourself. That, and some Jedi held critical views of the double-blade. To them, all the blades did was give the user more killing power with the length having the added risk of causing unnecessary collateral damage. It was not forbidden but its use was discouraged in the wake of this new galactic age.
Ruby had the opposite line of thinking: doubling the blades meant doubling how much she could protect not only herself but others. And she was a prodigy.
She expected to detect some surprise from her opponent - the dual activation should've clearly stated the nature of her lightsaber - but found nothing, thus surprising her instead. If anything, she felt their presence sharpen in response, the block of ice forming a jagged tip to show that it was more determined. That was a new one; she couldn't remember the last time there was someone who wasn't intimidated once they realized what it was they were up against. Sure, they were blindfolded so they couldn't get a clear look at it...
But not even a little bit? Ruby wondered with some disappointment. It wasn't that she took joy in intimidating her fellow students - that, as her instructors would hammer into them over and over again, was something of the dark side -, only pride in her own skills and her weapon as she saw their reactions as a compliment.
It came to her then that maybe this person wasn't one of her usual classmates. Ever since the closing of the Sith Wars, the Jedi Order had been implementing several new reforms as agreed upon with the Ruusan Reformation. While the senators of the Republic debated about the dismantling of their armed forces now that the threat of the Sith has been declared as over, the members of the Jedi Council argued over how to train and who to accept for training. The war with the Sith had led the Order to take drastic measures, taking in any who were Force-sensitive - young or old - with the fear that, if they didn't, the Sith of the Brotherhood of Darkness would. The downside was that to do so and then send those recruits into battle - some of whom who only got a month of training at most within the last year of the war -, there was the increased probability that those recruits would fall and give in to the dark side. Too many Jedi had fallen and switched sides in not only the last war but several more previously, some becoming the greatest threats to galactic peace. Jedi like Kaan, Githany, Ulic Qel-Droma, Exar Kun, Revan, Alek...
Now, the Order was looking for recruits who were younger and could be more receptive to its teachings yet the rules could still be bent to replenish its ranks. Ruby knew of several new arrivals with at least three having been added to her class. Maybe this was another?
Whatever the identity of her opponent may be, it made her more determined to show off her skills. In another attempt to rattle them, Ruby spun her lightsaber over her head, the blades blurring and humming together before bringing them to a rest. Again there was nothing from the other. Well, nothing except for a lightsaber blade snap-hissing to life.
Alright then. Ruby would just have to impress them directly.
Even with the humming lightsabers, she was able to hear and detect the slight rustling of the sleeve of Goodwitch's robe and the lifting of her hand. Within her clenched fist, Ruby knew was the Master's crop: a tool she wielded just as well and much more often than her own saber. The young Initiate focused on that. Waiting...
The crop slashed down, the sound and violent motion of it cutting through the air more than enough of a signal for the combatants to begin.
Ruby lunged forward, bringing one end of her weapon down in an overhand strike. It was parried with ease but was only meant as a feint anyway as she brought the opposite blade around to slash across her adversary.
They moved fast, faster than Ruby could've possibly expected. Having predicted her maneuver, they slid back, her senses letting her make out the trailing cloth of a tunic and strands of long hair that moved just out of reach of the bar of energy-
And then they snapped back as her opponent shot forward with that unbelievable speed, Ruby able to catch a hint of blue through her blindfold, the humming of an approaching blade-
All of which was drowned out by the searing, burning pain of a lightsaber stabbing high up at her chest.
If this had been a real battle, Ruby would've been struck down right there with a real lightsaber piercing through her and coming out her back with little resistance. As this was a practice duel with training sabers that were powered down to their lowest setting, it burned the cloth of her tunic and the skin beneath.
And it hurt.
"Yow!" Shock and pain had Ruby almost dropping her lightsaber as she jerked away, fighting an instinctive urge to hold her hand up to what would be a red welt and one that would probably take days to heal after a hit like that. Nerves on fire, the scent of singed cloth and skin at her nostrils, Ruby felt tears brimming in her eyes beneath the blindfold.
She had forgotten what it felt like. She got hit before but that had been when she was still learning the basics. Once she settled on her double-blade, chose the right form, and honed her skills with both, the times which she's been struck were few and far between enough for the sensation to become unfamiliar to her.
But she was just struck in only a few seconds!
"Point one," came Goodwitch's announcement. For one who was always so serious, Ruby could swear that she heard a trace of amusement from the Master.
It was followed by gasps and amazed 'ooohs' from her classmates. They knew well enough of Ruby's skills and how she regularly dominated on the training floor that this kind of display was rare and Ruby experienced her cheeks heating up with embarrassment. Over at where her opponent must be, she could detect their smug satisfaction and the languid way they stepped back and retook their starting position. The humming of their lightsaber shifted in time with a flourishing that Ruby got the impression was meant to taunt her.
She cooled her cheeks and willed the sting of the blow to lessen as she recovered and stepped back to her own position. Embarrassing as it was, Ruby quelled it and whatever anger that would've come with the prospect that she was not only facing someone truly unknown to her but someone who was skilled enough to give her an exciting challenge...so long as that strike didn't turn out to be nothing more than a lucky one.
She wasn't disappointed in that regard. As soon as she brought herself at the ready and detected the slashing motion of Goodwitch's crop to start the next round, they reengaged.
Ruby's opening was the same as before, striking down with one end of her double-blade before switching to the other. She was careful this time around, wary of her adversary's speed and refusing to be caught unawares again. They seemed to understand the folly of attempting the same action twice as they settled into a steady stance that allowed them to parry and dodge Ruby's blows.
She fell into a rhythm of attacks, her twin blades slicing in an alternating flurry of right, left, right, and left again. When one retreated, the other came forward to strike. Her opponent wasn't going to be so easily overwhelmed though, either having their own lightsaber meeting Ruby's strikes with the contact marked by a sputtering and burning of energy or when they nimbly twisted and spun away from the attacks. Ruby heard the scraping and sliding of their boots when they backed away and she took what ground they gave.
Ruby broke the pattern with a leg sweep, hoping to catch them off guard, and was rewarded when she caught their foot when they tried to back away from it. The stumbling steps signaled her opening and Ruby lunged forward with a stab.
They - she - cried out just as Ruby had done a moment ago, the feminine quality of the sound betraying their gender.
"One-one," Goodwitch announced.
There were quieter whispers from the watching Initiates that buoyed Ruby's spirits along with her accomplishment that had clearly rectified her earlier blunder. The previous indulgences from her opponent had vanished and Ruby felt and heard little from her. All she heard was their lightsaber being held at the ready again as they set themselves up for the next round and that icy presence bristling with the breach to its defenses.
This is going to be fun, Ruby thought with excitement.
The following rounds proved to be exactly that. Unlike the previous ones, there were no sudden tricks that either side could pull off to catch the other off guard to land a hit. They had an idea of their styles and, as they dueled, it was about applying their strengths to the greatest effect in order to win.
It allowed Ruby to recognize a practitioner of the Makashi form of lightsaber combat. Out of all seven, Form II was created strictly for the purpose of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat. Seen as a fencing art, it relied heavily on precision and balanced footwork - something which her opposition demonstrated skillfully. It had been the most popular form during the Sith Wars, the abundance of lightsaber-wielding foes justifying the study of it, but Ruby herself had hardly faced it during her training here at the Temple.
With the end of the Sith threat, the style was losing popularity in favor of the other six forms and students that Ruby had sparred who pursued in it nonetheless hadn't been as adept as this one was. Other than a quick parry when it was needed, she danced within the wide, heavy sweeps of Ruby's dual blades. When she chose to attack, it came suddenly with that speed and precision that Ruby was quickly becoming accustomed to but not enough to save her arm. When she overextended, her right arm was left vulnerable and, much like the first time, her opponent came in with a twirl, the momentum of which had her blade coming up beneath her wrist and getting Ruby to nearly drop her weapon entirely when it burned across the width of it.
Ruby, on the other hand, was skilled in the acrobatic Form IV: Ataru. It was more aggressive, with the user always being on the offensive with a mix of speed, strength, and agility. Ruby found it particularly suited with her double-bladed lightsaber, the strengths of both the style and the weapon keeping her opponents on the defensive, their movements contained while she could flip and somersault around them, able to strike from anywhere and overwhelm them. This gave her another point with a jump that sent her somersaulting high over her opponent's head and thrusting down to strike her in the back.
It was two-two by then, the match tied with the next point being the one that would declare the winner. The arena was all but silent, the other Initiates watching in suspense for a winner.
And Ruby wasn't so sure that it was going to be her. Despite all her training, the long duel was beginning to tax her. She had little experience when it came to such prolonged engagements - the other students hadn't lasted this long - and this was where the greatest weakness of Ataru became apparent: it tired out the user more than the other forms. Makashi, with its efficiency and limited movements, did not possess this risk for those who partook in it.
Her clothes were drenched in sweat and muscles ached. Her breathing was becoming inadequate in getting the air that her lungs were demanding. Not even the Force was enough, its energy she could still feel flowing through her but unable to keep her fresh.
The exertions hampered her swings. They were becoming slower and heavier, Ruby unable to maintain the crisp rhythm of her attacks. Her adversary understood and capitalized on it, going on the attack and Ruby on the defense. Quick, pinpoint thrusts sought to land their last mark and it was all Ruby could do to block them all, desperately spinning her blades around to deflect them. Her opponent was patient, knowing that the match was hers.
It got Ruby to try something desperate. At sweeping aside another pair of thrusts that were aimed at her legs, Ruby attempted another flip over her opponent to get behind her.
Too late did she realize that it was exactly what she wanted. Barely had Ruby's feet touched the ground when a flash of that blue blade came through her blindfold again - an impending strike that she desperately tried to block. It was luck more than anything else that had her catching the tip with the hilt of her lightsaber and even then that didn't save her. Her weakened grip and the force behind the attack got her weapon to fly from her hands and she could hear the blades extinguishing as soon as she lost possession of it.
While her lightsaber clattered to the floor elsewhere, Ruby stumbled and fell awkwardly onto her butt. Her opponent took advantage of it, stepping forward and extending her blade, but not yet striking. With the humming so close, feeling a slight charge in the air, and how much the blue hue pierced the blindfold, Ruby knew that the lightsaber had to be less than a foot from her face.
Even if she hadn't struck the final blow, it was clear who the winner was and Master Goodwitch made it official. "Match, set. The winner: Weiss Schnee."
The unfamiliarity of the name had Ruby lifting her chin up in an attempt to see the face of the victor which was futile given the blindfold. This had to be a new Initiate then, and one who had managed to best her in lightsaber combat. Having been scrabbling at clues throughout the duel as who this person could be, Ruby hastily tore off her blindfold to finally uncover the mystery. What she saw took her breath away.
If Ruby had been standing up, the girl would probably be about her height even if she appeared to be a couple years older than her. As it was, with her on her feet with blade pointed down at Ruby, height wasn't a detracting issue from the image that Ruby was gifted.
Her cheeks were slightly flushed from the duel but no matter how tired she may be, it did little to affect her composure. Despite the color and the droplets of sweat, her breathing was controlled, her sword arm remained unwavering, and her form was straight and perfect. Other than the redness, her skin was otherwise pale and startling smooth, the flesh stretching over high cheekbones. White hair that would've framed her noble features was bound to the side in a ponytail held up by a glittering gemmed tiara and it hardly appeared that disheveled from the duel, hanging delicately behind her one shoulder and showing off her thin, swan-like neck. A pair of thin earrings hung from her lobes.
At first glance, she wouldn't seem like an Initiate to the Jedi Order. She was just too...delicate. Short and petite, that umblemished skin, and her dress. The earrings, the tiara, and Ruby could now see that, rather than a plain tunic, she wore a more finely-sewn one of expensive shimmersilk that somehow didn't match the luster of her hair even with the fine embroidery. But those dainty fingers were clutching tight to that lightsaber hilt - those of the other hand were holding onto her own blindfold which she had shed - and the blue highlighting of the weapon gave her features an added fierceness - and those eyes. As icy as her presence in the Force and narrowed severely despite being surrounded by that flawless skin which only made them stand out more. Though the victor, her lips were in a thin line.
Ruby continued to sit where she was, apparently paralyzed by this...this... "A princess."
It was when those delicate brows lowered threateningly that Ruby realized she said that out loud. Before she could think of what to do - apologize, introduce herself, something - this Jedi princess extended her arm and her blade crossed that last needed distance for the tip to tap against Ruby's forehead.
"Ow!" Ruby slapped a hand over the searing pain that was the result. "Why'd you do that!?"
Weiss didn't answer. A corner of her lip curving to adopt an expression that Ruby would swear was a bit more Sith-like, the girl tapped her lightsaber against her defeated foe again.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Author's Note: Star Wars is definitely my favorite sci-fi franchise and I'm soooo stoked for the new trilogy now that I saw the potential for its awesomeness. A lot of my work in RWBY has a lot of influence from Star Wars I'm not ashamed that I was able to remember so much of Star Wars lore - such as the lightsaber forms - from memory. I was one of those geeks who really got into the Expanded Universe novels when growing up and spent hours on wookieepedia learning about the universe for years.
Brain: Until the Fate of the Jedi series.
The meaningless side plots of side characters who amounted to nothing, the crappy romance, the various Force shenanigans, bullcrap politics, destroying of characters...FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE! Yep, finally gave up on the EU after that and am not sorry that Disney is throwing it all in the fire. Well, except for the X-Wing series.
So for those who do or do not know much of Star Wars lore, this little oneshot takes place after the New Sith Wars; about three thousand years after the popular games like Knights of the Old Republic and the MMO The Old Republic and one thousand years before the movies. This is where the Sith are considered as extinct and the Jedi Order and the Republic are transitioning to what they would become as we know them in the movies - dismantling their armies, only taking children to train as Jedi who will become the guardians of galactic peace, etc. Unknown to them, Darth Bane and his Rule of Two has just begun and will culminate to Palpatine/Darth Sidious who will go on to turn the Republic into the Empire and wipe out the Jedi Order.
It was only a matter of time that this would happen so I figured why not have a Jedi-in-training Ruby meeting the 'Jedi princess' Weiss Schnee? I did have a bigger idea for it - such as a plot, one that involves why Weiss doesn't have her scar in this, what the other RWBY characters would be doing in this universe, eventual White Rose Jedi romance - but I probably won't make a full big AU out of it. But, you never know, I may decide to. Hope you enjoyed this little piece!