Darth Maleine struggled involuntarily against the restraints for the first minutes while Lady Kalma watched her suffer. The apprentice's eyes eyes widened in fear as her master walked out of the room. I have to survive, I want to become a powerful Witch no matter what stands in my way. Those words were etched into her brain. Yes she was in great pain but her anger for Kalma was growing, how could a master expect so much of an apprentice, and aren't Sith apprentices in a necessity. If she were to die what would the Dark Lord think? All of these thoughts flooded her consciousness as she was being tortured. After realizing that Lady Kalma was using the old ways of teaching apprentices she calmed down a bit.
She kept her thoughts running as a way to distract her from the intense pain she was experiencing. The Cerean, multitasking, focused on reducing the the intensity of the shocking she was feeling. She knew that if she could keep her pain down that it wouldn't be too difficult to hold her breath for an extended amount of time. With that in mind, she tried dissociate herself from the situation, attempting to fall into a meditative state. It was not easy as her body was being shocked ruthlessly.
After the initial panic and struggle, Maleine began to focus her feelings, using her anger to fuel her will to live. Her sense of time vanished as the ordeal continued and the depth of her defensive meditations increased. Eventually she was able to restore a tentative homeostasis in regards to respiratory functions, her lowered metabolism able to subsist on the scant oxygen that remained in her system. As concerns regarding suffocation eased, more focus could be diverted to combating the intense pain. In this too the Cerean soon succeeded, bringing the agony down to a level that seemed almost pleasant by comparison. The muscular strain caused by the electric currents combined with her minimum safe oxygen levels to create something akin to a runner's high. Compounding her meditation, this reaction brought Maleine into a dream-like state. In this strange awareness she knew with certainty that she would survive this trial and could keenly feel the Dark Side sustaining her efforts. Suddenly, and to Maleine's great surprise, Trycia Bedsan appeared over her.
"You've been lied to, Chi," the Cerean's Jedi master said, "Search your feelings, you know this is the wrong path. Do not let the Dark Side claim you."
After saying this, Trycia reached down and removed the breath blocker on Maleine's face. As a surge of air filled her lungs, the meditative state ended and the figure of her former master was replaced by that of her present one. The wave of relief at an infusion of new air was soon doubled by the deactivation of the electric current; as the torture droid removed the needles Maleine's Crucitorn had reached such strength that she barely felt it.
"Excellent," Kalma commented with a slight smile, it was the first time the Witch had ever worn anything other than an aggressively indifferent expression in Maleine's experience, "You've proven your potential today. The ways of the Sith and of the Witch are the ways of survival. It is by confronting the greatest adversity that we evolve to our fullest strength. Though this training was dangerous and demanding, it means you are no longer defenseless if, say, you must fight on planets with foreign atmospheres while taking many hits or when escaping a depressurizing ship. Because you survived this, your ability to survive has greatly increased."
With the last of the probes removed, the chair reverted to its original position and the restraints disengaged. Kalma passed a hand before Maleine's face and the Sith Apprentice felt Force energies seal up the holes in her head.
The droid held forth a datapad which quickly scanned the Cerean before pronouncing, "No nerve damage detected. Quite exceptional for a Cerean."
"Of course, I had no doubt, you're made of stronger stuff, aren't you, my Apprentice? You are dismissed with my congratulations. When I next summon you again we will begin your first foray into the true work of a Witch."
(OOC: Add a Rank in Crucitorn and Breath Control.)
At the sight of Trycia, Darth Maleine's dream like state ceased and a flood of emotions began to erupt from her, all of her emotions were swiftly overwhelmed by anger and hatred. How could she be here? the Cerean pondered in amidst of her rage. She locked eyes with the image of Trycia as the figure reached down to remove the breath mask. Leave, now! She even struggled a bit to not let Trycia touch her, but she was locked in place and had no choice.
As her lungs consumed the ice cold air of the torture room and the image of her former master was replaced by Lady Kalma, Maleine's emotions calmed. She coughed a few times when the cold air touched her lungs. Lady Kalma's voice was calming but Trycia's words repeated over and over in her head like a metronome. Search your feelings, you know this is the wrong path. Do not let the Dark Side claim you. She hated the voice absolutely despised it, her distaste surely showed on her her face as she was released from the chair and proceeded to stand. She was a bit shaken on her feet but she managed to stand in very little time.'
The Witch in training, was happy to hear that Lady Kalma was proud of her in her success. "Thank you Lady Kalma," she softly replied after Kalma congratulated her , but her mind clearly elsewhere. As Maleine was walking towards the doorway, she turned to look around the room one last time. Hope to never be back here. Before she turned back to leave she spoke to Kalma as she had single question on her mind, "Are living Jedi or Sith able to project themselves as a Force Ghost? I'v never heard of it before but it just crossed my mind."
Once she got her answer she left and made her way back through the labyrinth of hallways and tunnels that made up the lower levels of the ruins. Some time later she made it back to her living chambers and collapsed on her bed. The Cerean cleaned herself up after a few minutes later before relaxing back in her bed.
Unfortunately she couldn't calm down, her thoughts were still racing so she grabbed her lightsaber and made her way to the field outside of her quarters. Outside in the fresh air she practiced using her custom 'saber to get her mind off of things. Using the Force she would raise a few rocks and branches and use them as targets. She would run through them with her lightsaber extended and slash trorugh the objects in two as fast as possible. She continued to do this till she hit all her marks. Then she went back to retrieve her blaster and set it some forty feet off in a pile of rocks setting it up like a sentry. Once again she used telekinesis to her advantage, pulling the trigger of the blaster that was aimed towards her she would reflect the bolts back into the ground. By the end of the hour the field had scorch marks and was covered with pieces of rocks and cut branches. She knew everything would heal back to normal. She headed back to her chambers, finally calm she fell asleep.
Troubled thoughts lead to troubled dreams for Maleine that night. Her uneasy sleep was terminated by the familiar summons to training. The Cerean was relieved to see that she would be reporting to the courtyard again instead some other, unfamiliar part of the ruins.
The Cerean returned to the green space where she'd tasted her first impressions of the ruins' interior. There her master was waiting.
"Today you will be going into the surrounding area to learn the ways of beasts," Kalma began, discarding any preamble, "The Witch's way centers on such arts. But first there is a final skill of body enhancement I would teach you. Your previous success in these matters means it shouldn't take long for you to pick up. It is called Enhance Senses, a Force technique for raising one's hearing, sight, touch, taste and/or smell to exceptional heights. Sit in the center of the courtyard, close your eyes and work on enhancing your hearing."
Darth Maleine noticed, by this time, that many of Lady Kalma's instruction didn't require her input. With that in mind, the Cerean happily walked over to the center of the coutyard. She was rather happy to discover that she didn't seem to have to do anything that had to deal with getting needles stuck in her head or embarrassing herself in front of her master. Also she liked the idea of befriending a beast or at least learn how to manipulate one.
Sitting down on the mossy, cracked stone ground, Maleine closed her eyes and let her remaining senses soar and reach out. At first she didn't even attempt to use the Force to enhance her senses, she thought it to be better to let her hearing do it's own thing for half a minute. After that time had passed she began to let the Force center around her ears and head. She then tried manipulating it to accept sounds that she would normally be unable to hear. She sat there in the middle of the courtyard in the kind of silence you only find in nature for what seemed like an eternity.
It was no challenge for Maleine to slip into her senses. Kalma had been correct that the Cerean's extensive training in the Control arts was beginning to have an exponential effect. Soon the previously undetectable sound of air in the grass fed into her ears. So too in time the acoustics of the enclosure gave her a sense of the place's proportions and the placement of items in it. At first she was uncertain but increasingly Maleine became convinced she heard something large stalking in nearby brush and that presently, it was preparing to pounce.
Darth Maleine's expression went from a happy one to more of a serious one. Of course Kalma wouldn't make today's lessons easy, that's not in her style. Her muscles tensed when she thought she heard the prowling of a predator not far off in the brush. Her hand slowly crept down to her belt where her Sith Alchemic mace lied. The Cerean also allowed the Force into her muscles to increase her reflexes to her full power in case the creature tried to pounce. She would easily be able to dodge the beast.
Maleine sprung clear quickly as the bulky yet sleek form burst out from the foliage. As the beast came into sunlight and slid to a stop after grounding, the Sith Apprentice got a good look at it. A massive feline creature, perhaps some kind of tiger but no kind she had ever seen, with fur primarily stark white in hue; this was broken by stripes and patches of jet black. Its molten red-gold eyes regarded Maleine from atop a maw with fangs so prominent as to be perhaps better described as tusks. The great beast flexed its razor claws briefly, parting furrows easily in the ground below. Its mighty jaws opened wider, wider, ever wider and then...emitted a truly prodigious yawn. Lazily, the predator sauntered over to a nearby-by hunk of masonry and, flopping himself down, began sunning in New Bethrezen's artificial daylight.
"Meet Zirnitra," Kalma explained to her flabbergasted apprentice, "As a Dark Side Witch you will need to think of animals in a tactical sense. Zirnitra is perhaps the greatest weapon at my disposal; not only does he have raw power but an animal's ability to think for themselves creates more variables with which your enemies most contend. Though, of course, first you must learn to control beasts. Before I send you out into the jungle, you will first learn to command Zirnitra. You can start by trying to get him off that rock."
Zirnitra looked up briefly at Maleine, an incredulous look on the tiger's face, before reclining his head and closing his eyes one more.
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