"What is this?" Aveyla asked, staring down at a technical schematic she had never seen before.
Saz eagerly slid next to her at the eating table and grinned. "Come on, even if you're not a Jedi, you should still know a lightsaber is," he said playfully.
The young woman stared at the schematic again and then back, not following him. Her last lightsaber had disappeared as she was picked up by Toropu, but that one had felt tainted, as it was given to her by Xerros. She had not even been that skillful with it. "I'm not sure what..."
"I'm going to build it!" Saz cheered, waiting for her reaction.
It was very mute. "What?"
"And I don't mean some run-of-the-mill lightsaber that any old boring Jedi might have. This baby is going to be special - a rare, customized Saz-saber," he continued with a gleam in his eye.
Aveyla was still lost, but did realize something about the entire subject. "This is what you've been doing for the past few months? This is what the special parts have been for?" she asked in astonishment.
"Well, yeah. I wanted it to be a surprise, but some of these components are hard to come by, even with my resources. Do you even know how hard it is to find a crystal, much less the amount I need them in? This thing is going to light up like a festival banner when I get done," he beamed, looking at the specifications again.
"Saz?" Aveyla suddenly broke in.
"Hm?" he replied absentmindedly.
"I don't need a lightsaber," she said. "I'm no Jedi."
The man looked over to her in despair, watching his efforts fade away in front of him. He had not just dug up a technical schematics from the files he took from the Maw, but had used them to design an entirely new weapon; something deliberate to support her abilities, which he had been witnessing more and more often now as he encouraged her to continue exploring her connection to the Force.
It was amazing to watch her move things around the hangar with the power of the Force. Her control had improved even in the last month, to a point where he was having her help him with repairs and maintenance. The Force was far more convenient than a grav-lift. Watching her had also given him some radical ideas for a weapon befitting her, and he thought that the vanilla blades he found in the data would be a waste of the components.
More than anything, he was beside himself with excitement at the idea of building something he had never built before.
"You may not be a Jedi, but you'll need to protect yourself someday, and I've seen you shoot a blaster. And I thought I was a bad aim," he teased.
"Utterly horrible," added N4 from across the hangar, who was obviously monitoring their conversation. It drew a dry look from Saz.
"You've obviously never seen me swing a lightsaber either," she replied under her breath. Still, she had grown to know him well enough that when he was excited about some new contraption, there was little chance she could talk him out of it. "Can you really do it?"
"You mean, can we really do it," he replied, though he could instantly tell she was lost again. "I can design it, build the power cells and stabilizers and all of the technical aspects, but everything I read about these things imply only a Force-user can assemble it. Some vague references to 'Force-welding' that didn't look anything like any welding I've ever seen."
Aveyla's eyes had lost focus and she stared forward, her memories surfacing along with an unusual sensation in her inner soul. "A Jedi's lightsaber is their life; it is the Force," she recited, remembering something that Master Xerros had told her many times. Her distant expression snared Saz's attention instantly and, noticing his concern, she shook her head and waved off the strange moment that had taken her. "Sorry, it's nothing. Something I was told when learning about the Jedi."
Saz nodded. "Okay, so you do believe it's important. I'm not asking you to run off and find the Jedi party-barge and jump right in, but their ways and things you've learned are already a part of you. You might as well look the part, too," he coaxed.
"I don't know if I can do it," she said timidly.
"Then believe that we can do it," he replied.
Looking from the schematics to his confident smile, it was impossible to not share in that confidence. She had grown to trust him. That fact alone spoke to the gravity of her time with him. Honestly, she was afraid of the idea, either because simply having a lightsaber again might drag her back to a time in her past that she had struggled to forget, or that she really would not be able to complete the weapon, as Master Xerros had told her that only when one was ready to become a Jedi would they be able and allowed to construct their lightsaber.
She had strengthened her attunement to the Force and gained newfound control over her powers through meditation and practice, but she was not sure if she was ready to become a Jedi.
She was not sure she ever would be.
"All right. Let's do it," she said with a faint smile, if only to see him clap his hands and shout in joy at the prospect.
As he bounded off to gather all of the components that he had spent weeks to collect, she sat at the table with her hands knit against her forehead, trying to push down the fear that was so evidently growing in her chest.
Saz dove into the lightsaber project almost as deeply as he had the Peripheral Muse. All of his free time between jobs was dedicated to putting together the parts of the weapon that he was able, while trying to explain it to her as well as he could in layman's terms. Even compared to other lightsabers, the design was extremely complicated and something no respectable Jedi would even allow to exist, but Aveyla was not bound by a Jedi Council or disapproving Jedi Master and Saz was going to make full use of that fact.
The design exploded on two different occasions. It took Saz a week to regain the feeling in his right hand from the second time, yet he never lost the determination to succeed. Aveyla envied the satisfaction he gained by creating something with his hands, even when that something nearly blew one of them off.
After another few days of testing the components and tweaking the design, Saz was confident it was ready for her to assemble. Despite that fact, she found a reason to avoid trying, whether to go prepare a meal or mediate and train more, but never once trying to put together his masterpiece. Master Xerros had once made her try and assemble a training lightsaber on Ruusan, but even then she did not complete it properly.
For another week, she avoided it. She focused her even more on training her powers and she was nearly to the point of moving the Peripheral Muse around the hangar bay with the Force, but she would not even be in the same room as the unassembled saber, something that was obviously ruffling Saz's feathers. He would sneak the pieces into places she would have to go, like the kitchen area or even the bath. She nearly brained him with them for the latter prank. Every time he would leave to run supplies or do an odd job, the saber would be out in the hangar, in plain sight, for her to scowl at each time she passed. He tried asking her, telling her, not telling her and even trying to do it himself with the power of the Force, though she had nearly caved in after she watched him staring intently at the pieces for an hour, red-faced and trying to get them to move with his mind.
Still, she hesitated. There were a myriad of reasons why, but there was one lingering fear that kept her away. Taking that final step meant coming that much closer to her memories of Master Xerros, and Lord Malgus. The more she embraced the Force, the more she heard them; the more she saw them just beyond the shadows.
Then there was Sheon. One of her first memories of the Jedi was her figure standing tall in that cell on Nar Shadaa, her lightsaber blazing powerfully in her hand. The calmness from the memory made her linger a few times as she eyed the lightsaber, wondering just how much closer she would be to her savior if she could complete it. Perhaps one day she would be able to fight at her side, both of them wielding the weapon of the Jedi and defeating any who came for them. It was a warm dream.
She liked it very much.
Finally, after securing the Muse after his latest trip, Saz found her in the common area, sitting in her standard meditation posture with her brow furrowed in concentration. The many pieces of the lightsaber were floating before her, awkwardly trying to find their fit and become the weapon she wanted them to be.
"All right!" he cheered loudly upon seeing her, but the lapse in her concentration made the pieces scatter around the like bullets and break several of his random tinkering projects littered about.
Aveyla was panting and glared at him, almost too furious to speak. "What...!?"
"Sorry! Sorry," he pleaded and backed out of the room, his hands raised in defense and his face burning. His zeal obviously was a bit too much for the mood and he berated himself, but still enjoyed the fact that she was trying after all of this time.
Aveyla's attempts to assemble the lightsaber took over a week of intense concentration. She barely ate and her body was showing signs of the fatigue. No matter how hard she concentrated her powers, the blade would not come together, which began to frustrate her and reaffirm her doubts that she could not do it. Voices were whispering to her from the darkness, telling her of her weakness and her failure. Strange, dark mists crept into her mind when she tried to push even harder, and everything began to rouse her temper. She snapped as Saz as he tried to bring her something to eat.
She did not even feel bad about it.
It seemed the more tried, the harder it became, to the point where tears were streaming down her cheeks as she began pressing the pieces together forcefully in frustration.
Then, while angrily trying to cram the lightsaber together, a light began to bathe her mind. "Peace, child," a voice said, breaking the dark mists that swirled in her mind. "You must feel the Force flowing through you. It is a part of you, not a simple tool you crush in your hand."
Aveyla could almost see a form to the light; an ethereal being of great beauty and wisdom. The figure was extremely familiar, and she instantly shifted her mind. "Sheon," she whispered. The figure did not respond, but continued to envelop her with the light until she felt embraced, naked and unafraid.
Opening her eyes, she did not see Sheon, but her own face staring back at her.
In the common area, the air was lucid. The pieces of the lightsaber were no longer straining and floated calmly, moving about like planets around their life-giving star. Aveyla's face was no longer contorted with frustration, but reflecting the calm of the air, as if she had broken some barrier that had been keeping her from knowing what she had to do. Her eyes opened, and were clear and peaceful.
The pieces of the lightsaber began to fit into one another, naturally and without resistance. The perfection of Saz's design was realized as metal slipped against metal, power cell against conductor, crystal against mount. The first of the pieces to complete locked together and began to circle her, a small, proportionate hub with two open ends cradled by stabilizing rings. As if realizing its own birth, the hub burst into life as a blade erupted from both ends, in colors of green and blue. The second piece, a mirror of the first, also completed and burst into life, but with a blade of blue on one end and a red blade on the other. The final piece most resembled a standard lightsaber, but was smaller, much like a shoto. Upon completion, the blade burst out in a dazzling red color, longer and more powerful than the others.
The three pieces together slowly orbited Aveyla, her eyes looking forward as if she could not even see them. The air was still calm and quiet, until Saz came around the corner with a growling in his stomach.
"Hey Aveyla, when is lun..." he began, but was cut short as he saw the beautiful scene before him.
Circled by the multi-colored blades and their powerful hum, Aveyla no longer resembled the tattered slave girl she once was, but pulsed with the presence of the Force, and seemed to glow under its influence.
As if reacting to Saz's intrusion, the blades of the weapon simultaneously disappeared and Aveyla broke her trance, almost as surprised to see the completed pieces as he was. The lightsaber, as if holding a life of its own, slowly came together into a single, traditional shape and fell into Aveyla's lap, as if presenting itself to her. She was almost afraid to pick it up, but did, slowly looking it over.
"You did it! It really works!" Saz cheered, amazed that such a complex design actually worked.
Aveyla did not even see him. She stared at the weapon in her hand and turned it slowly, as if wondering how it actually came together. Most of it was fuzzy to her, but she did remember the glowing figure speaking to her.
"The Force," she whispered.
"Impressed, right? The two smaller ones are dual emitters, designed so you can use them with your telekinesis. Those two modules can zip around you, cutting stuff or blocking blasters, while you still have the base module in hand to...you know, do whatever Jedi do with those things," he explained excitedly, though she was barely listening.
In the end, he was simply happy she had completed it, despite her hesitation. What that mean for her as a Jedi, he had no idea. All he knew was that she had achieved something big that day, and that the weapon she held in her hands was a representation of just how far she had come from the jittery slave he had rescued from that ship.
"And when you put it all together and turn it on, something awesome happens," he added, which made her look up at him.
She was still waking from her daze, but understood that he wanted her to see the final element of his gift to her. She held the lightsaber in front of her, where the blade would erupt before her eyes, and activated the weapon. Power once again filled the cylindrical mass and sped through the crystals, their polarities aligned and their direction unified. The energy burst from the end of the lightsaber, filling the room with a soft glow that took her breath away.
The blade of the lightsaber, when passed through the crystals of both Jedi and Sith, was a golden color.