Kira Keldav Background – Lessons in the Force
Trayus Academy, Malachor V
Listen young apprentice and learn. The Force surrounds us, flows through us. Some of us are able to tap into this flow and direct it in various ways. I have taught you some of these already: telekinesis, projecting thoughts, and regulating your own body temperature. In the future, I will teach you more ways to manipulate the Force.
But that is not what today’s lesson is about, so you can relax. I will not beat you for failing to perform as I hope, you must merely listen – although, if you fall asleep, you will be punished severely.
The ability to wield the Force is limited. The vast majority of the galaxy may feel nothing more than the occasional tingle or bit of good luck. A rare few are born with their abilities fully manifest, if untrained. They usually will kill their mothers during childbirth with their power. Many of the Sith you have met at the Academy are like that. While they tend to have the advantage of raw talent, enough skill and training can make up for the difference in power.
A sizable number of people though have either limited talents, shut off their abilities when young, or never managed to stimulate their powers. With the correct stimulus, they can achieve a breakthrough in their abilities in times of need. You, Keldav, are one of those. Your talents required a life threatening event to properly awaken. This was supplied when the cruiser you were on began to break up during the battle.
This means you will be at a disadvantage in terms of power and skill compared to the other students here that have been practicing since early childhood. Remember this before going to pick a fight, as they will kill you in your current state.
Don’t give me that look, that is a warning, not a threat. If I thought you incapable of being useful, I wouldn’t have chosen you as my apprentice – and no Sith master needs to make indirect threats; you know the price of failure already.
While the others may have the advantage of decades of training and practice, you have not learned many of their bad habits. Knowing these habits for what they are and exploiting them successfully will allow you to triumph over a seemingly more powerful foe. You will also find that the Jedi are just as prone to the same sort of mistakes. If anything, they are often even more arrogant; they are rarely tested to the death during their training.
Your typical Force user will be a showy braggart. Even the Jedi will boldly step into the middle of a fight to make a dramatic appearance. Being showy and trying to grab attention to yourself is a sure way to make yourself vulnerable. While we can block blaster bolts with a lightsaber, enough concentrated fire will bring us down. Being out in the open will allow more people to see you and shoot at you. This can be used to your advantage though, luring your opponents into the open where allies can provide fire support can kill an opponent you would otherwise struggle with.
Another bad habit your peers have learned is over-reliance on precognition. Most Force users can only see a few seconds ahead with any reliability. This is valuable in many different tasks, ranging from blocking attacks to catching skink lizards. It also leads to a false sense of invulnerability when not used with caution. A cunning fighter can lead his opponent into a position that is not immediately disadvantageous – but will be moments later, out of his current precognitive range. With skill and luck, the opponent will only become aware of the danger after he has been trapped. Trust the warnings your sensitivity gives you, but use your eyes, ears and head to ascertain what your opponent is trying to do to you. This where you have the advantage; you have done this your whole life rather than relying on the Force.
Something else to remember is that while Mind Tricks are useful and have their place, repeated use has a price. Minds tend to become more resistant to the effect with time. Note how many of your colleages use it frequently on their subordinates rather than explaining what they want. In time those subordinates will become resentful and resistant to further tampering. This makes them ideal contacts for getting close to their Master. Sometimes paying a minor servant to place something in the Master’s drink can do more damage than all the lightsaber training in the galaxy.
Do not neglect your mind and body either. While the Force can augment your abilities to high levels, most tasks still require you to act as a catalyst or facilitator. Being able to move with blinding speed does nothing if you are exhausted physically after a few hundred meters. Do not take this to mean I am advocating the use of muscle building regimens though. Be ready to move quickly and to move for extended periods of time. Let the Force provide the quick bursts of strength you may need. Many of your peers have been using the Force for so long, that it has become a veritable crutch for them.
Your mind must be exercised as well. Yes, this means studying Keldav. Simply charging head first into a situation without heed for the circumstances will only get you killed. It is good to be aware of your surroundings, but you must also know the significance of your surroundings if you are to exploit them. It is better to study a world in advance and learn that it contains many poisonous plants and animals than it is to learn that fact painfully after landing.
Not everything is spelled out for you in a library either. For example, there is a world far from here with a primitive Force cult of rodent-like creatures. Their library entry will give great detail on their culture, history and rituals. However, no amount of reading would have told you that their symbolic totems and fetishes act as mental foci for their Force rituals, simply because the researchers who studied them were not force-sensitive. Learning that simple fact makes fighting one of them much easier as well. You learn to attack the fetishes first and disrupt their focus. Use your head and you may survive something without needing nearly as much power as your peers.
Think about the motives of those around you and how you might twist those to your advantage. A willing partner is far more valuable than a disobedient slave. Care must be taken to keep loyalty to you in their best interests though, as others may try to subvert your allies to their cause.
Cunning and ruthlessness are critical in the role of the assassin. Fighting fairly or head-on is not our way. Eliminating threats, both to ourselves and that which we hold dear, is our priority. Many of our Sith colleagues would destroy what we desire with their uncontrolled power. The Jedi would seek to deny us what we yearn for out of some misguided sense of morality. They are all enemies, but they can also be unwitting allies if properly manipulated or selectively eliminated.
But this means nothing without some goal in mind. I want you to think long and hard about what motivates you. Some seek wealth, others seek power or revenge. The occasional tragic Sith seeks the love of another, and will destroy everything that is seen as a rival for their affections. It is best to seek something simple and attainable with work.
I will let you think about that for awhile.
Now young apprentice, with these lessons in mind it is time for your first task for the week. It has come to my attention that one of your colleages is plotting to kill you. As I recall, his rationale is nothing special, and is of little consequence. I will not tell you who it is; I leave that for you to find out. How you choose to handle him is also none of my concern. I am certain you can find plenty of weapons lying around to use. I would ask that you keep the mess to a minimum if you can.
Go forth and find your prey. Do with him as you will, but return to me only when he will no longer bother you again. As an added motivation, when you succeed with this task, we shall begin constructing you a lightsaber.