The two opponents circled each other warily, lightsabers ignited. Cirsee was exhausted, but she wouldn't give in. She couldn't let Jaina win this duel. The girl was proud as it was, she didn't need an additional ego boost.
Maybe Jaina didn't even need to win to get the ego boost. Already she was smiling smugly in triumph. She knows she's winning and is gloating in my face. thought Cirsee.
Cirsee glanced at the spectators. Anakin Solo and Tahiri sat next to each other on a large rock. Leaning against a tree was Jacen Solo. Zekk and Tenel Ka stood on either side of him. Fortunately Natalya wasn't there. The Jedi Master would not be pleased to see her pupil involved in such a heated battle.
Yes. This is a battle. Not simply a little practice match anymore. Cirsee wanted so badly to wipe that haughty grin off Jaina's face. She had to realize she wasn't the greatest creature in the galaxy. She needed some serious humbling. And Cirsee was the girl to give it to her.
Cirsee's strength returned with a sudden surge of anger and she quickly sprang at Jaina, launching a flurry of attacks. Both fought fiercely, but Jaina swiftly blocked all of Cirsee's attacks. Then Jaina began to counter- attack with swift, fluid motions. Cirsee wouldn't let her get the advantage so easily. She struck down her blade, then when Jaine moved to parry, Cirsee feinted and cut low. But Jaina easily blocked the stroke and moved to strike herself. Cirsee counterparried, letting the impact direct her blade towards Jaina's throat. A spark of triumph crossed Cirsee's face as she saw the surprise on Jaina's face. The move had been agressive and unexpected. But that small spark of triumph quickly disappeared as her concentration split into two. One part of her was still battling, the other was registering the shocked feelings she was getting from the spectators. She noticed the disappointment on Tahiri's face, and immediately felt guilty.
By the time she felt the rock at her heel it was too late. She tumbled to the ground, off balance. Jaina came forwards and stared down at Cirsee. Then she extinguished her blade and offered a hand to Cirsee.
"Nice try." Jaina said. "But next time try to be aware of your surroundings, okay?"
Cirsee scowled. "I don't need tips from you."
Jaina frowned. "Alright. Sorry kid."
"Don't call me kid." Cirsee muttered indignantly. Just because she was only ten years old... I'm quite mature for my age. And she knows that.
Jaina acted puzzled at this hostility, but Cirsee knew better. It was all just an act. Cirsee hated it when Jaina played innocent. Jaina fooled everyone into thinking she was the ideal Jedi, but really, all Jaina cared about was Jaina. Cirsee knew it.
But hate was the dark side of the Force. And Cirsee tried to pull away, but it was becoming increasingly harder. Taking a deep breath Cirsee looked up at Jaina repentantly. "I'm sorry. I just got caught in the heat of battle. I'll never do it again." Her excuse sounded weak and Cirsee caught Tahiri's frown.
But Jaina accepted it with a sickening smile. The tension melted. Jacen was all smiles and jokes. Zekk and Tenel chatted with Anakin. But Cirsee was still trying to stifle her simmering anger.
It's a blessing that my one strength is masking my thoughts, feelings and general presence in the Force.Cirsee thought. Without it the other Jedi apprentices would have surely noticed the darkness within her long ago. There was only one person who knew, her Jedi Master. Cirsee wanted nothing more in the world than to make Master Natalya proud. There had been few chances for her to make anyone proud so far in her short life. The slums of Corellia were no place for sentimental bonding moments. As an orphan you had to be street wise and tough or else you would be eaten alive. The whole galaxy was pretty much like that anyways. You could never take anyone at face value. If you did, you would be either betrayed, used or abused.
"Come on Cirsee. Let's head back for dinner." called Tahiri, shaking Cirsee out of her reverie. Everyone was already a few yards ahead of her and Tahiri had stayed behind to get her.
"Oh. Yeah. Okay." Cirsee mumbled, and ran faster to catch up with the girl and the rest of the Jedi apprentices.
"You wished to speak to me, Master?"
"Indeed I did. Come, take a seat."
Madoka Natalya sat down and faced Luke Skywalker. She knew what he wanted to talk to her about.
"This is about Cirsee, isn't it?" she asked, letting the sadness creep into her voice.
Luke's eyes mirrored her sadness. "I'm afraid so. She told you about the lightsaber practice today?"
"Yes." Madoka's became suddenly upset. "I'm so sorry Master. I should have told you earlier. I thought I could handle her myself. I'm not strong or wise enough to train her properly. Maybe someone with more experience should take over."
"I will have no self-deprecation from you Madoka. You're better than that." Luke replied calmly. "You and Cirsee have bonded in a way that cannot be broken. I can see that now. Separating her from you would only cause more problems. But I am sad that you didn't come to me for guidance when your pupil was so difficult for you to train. If my students didn't come to me for guidance, I'd be out of a job."
Madoka smiled slightly at the small joke, despite its inaccuracy.
"Remember, even Obi-Wan Kenobi believed he could train Anakin Skywalker. He was a wise and good Jedi, but even he was headstrong in his determination to be a good Master." Luke explained. "You have nothing to be ashamed of by asking for help."
"I realize that now Master Skywalker." Madoka said bravely. "I hope you forgive me for this error in judgement. Then we can discuss how to go about the training of my pupil"
Luke was pleased at her response. "Of course I forgive you. Now," Luke sat back in his chair, "we must discuss Cirsee. Jaina is beside herself with worry. She nor her friends cannot make sense of Cirsee's behaviour."
Madoka almost said she was sorry again, but felt that it was not what Master Skywalker wanted to hear. So she took a deep breath and told him all she knew. Cirsee's upbringing (or lack thereof), her life as an orphan, how she adjusted to the Academy, her training (rife with sporadic bursts of anger), her inclination to hang around older students, her abrasive attitude towards Jaina since the Solos had arrived for a visit on Yavin 4 a few days ago, her complete trust in her Master.
Most of this Luke had already deduced himself. But it was good to get Madoka's perspective on things. She was a very competant young woman who's only failing was her tendency to sell herself short. Luke nodded and listened attentively as Madoka went on.
"It's been getting worse over the last few weeks." Madoka mused. "I don't understand why she's fixated on Jaina like this. She was always a little too quick when judging a person's character but this is something beyond simple annoyance. There's one thing she hasn't told me yet about her past on Corellia and I'm sure that's the answer."
"I've tried to get her to talk to me about why exactly she ha- doesn't like Jaina. But her view of Jaina is so warped it's beyond me. Lately it seems as if she views the world through some kind of..."
Luke leaned forwards curiously. "Some kind of what?"
Madoka was pensive. "As is she views the world through some kind of twisted dark side looking glass." she whispered.
"I don't like the sound of that." Luke replied after a moment.
"Neither do I Master Skywalker."
"Whatever the case, we must face this head on." Luke made a decision. "She may be young, but I must have a serious conversation before she hurts Jaina, or anyone else."
So, whaddya think? Am I bad or what?? Did I get the personalities right??? Anyways, R/R!