Chapter 11

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Over the following weeks, Venar trained heavily under the guidance of Bastila, Master Zhar, and Master Dorak. Altogether the training was difficult and strenuous, yet he learned at an increasingly rapid pace. Bastila's combat training was especially unforgiving, yet she always offered kind advice and encouragement. He saw a different side to her during his training with her and Zhar. She seemed at home with the Jedi, at ease.

The worst part for him wasn't the rigorous combat training or the meditation. It was the endless studying. The Jedi have a long history, one he isn't especially interested in. He does better in his studies of the different aspects of the Force, for that he's genuinely interested in. Who wouldn't be? To find out he's able to tap into a power beyond his imagination is eye opening to be sure. He found himself pouring himself over the texts of ancient Jedi that outlined various Force techniques and abilities. He did find it odd that in all of his studies there was no mention of a 'Force Bond'. Then he realized how vast the archives here at the enclave were. They were only a fraction of the archives on Coruscant, yet there was still a wealth of information in them.

He had also heard of sealed texts. Writings and holocrons that had been locked away in the temple on Coruscant that were deemed too dangerous to be kept available. The more he read about the Jedi's history, the more he didn't trust them. According to his research, the Sith were a faction of Jedi that broke away from the Order and settled on Korriban. There, those Jedi met powerful Dark Side aliens that were native to the planet called Sith. The rebel Jedi set themselves up as gods and rulers to these aliens, intermixing with their culture and eventually adopting the name of the species.

Venar wondered if the Sith were really 'seduced' by the Dark Side as the Jedi proclaim. He found it difficult to reconcile that the Jedi and the Sith channel their power from the same source. Perhaps there was no such thing as the Dark Side of the Force but rather could it be that the Dark Side was simply a fiction created by the Jedi to cover their mistakes. Perhaps if the Jedi didn't take such extreme views on emotions and attachments maybe fewer Jedi would leave the Order. He found it ironic that the Jedi exist to protect others and keep the peace, yet teach that emotions are a path to darkness. The way he saw it, without emotions, why would anyone seek to protect anyone?

Venar was beginning to think the Jedi were more of outlandish cult than the peacekeeping guardians they were made out to be. Still, he did feel as if this was something he was meant to do. If not become a Jedi himself, then at least learn the Force from them. Perhaps in time, the Jedi could be reshaped into a more reasonable and balanced Order. For now, he just had to get through the training.

He walked into the training circle, Bastila waiting on the opposite end brandishing her staff. Master Zhar observed from off to the side. He had done this many times before over the previous weeks. Several times a day, in fact. He ran a hand through his combed-back hair, his fingers brushing the single braid that ran down the left side of his head. Sweat dripped down the sides of his head that had been shaved down.

He took a deep breath and tightened his grip on the pair of training sabers he held. He refocused himself, drawing his thoughts inward, closing his eyes and then sensing Bastila across the room. He could feel her heart beating even from here, felt her breathing. He reached out with his mind and probed her defenses in the Force, searching for weaknesses he could exploit.

His eyes shot open and he ran across the room in a blur, using the Force to augment his speed. His opponent brought her staff up to block but he leapt through the air, soaring over her head. He landed against the wall behind her, kicking off with his feet propelling himself further upward in a high arc. He came down on her with both weapons. She spun a kick straight into his chest, which sent him flying backwards into the wall. He slammed against it, but maintained his focus singularly on her.

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