Solstice Knight

Birth of a Legacy

A single drop of sweat rolled down the bridge of his nose stopping at the tip and hanging there as he leaned forward against his knees his breathing shallow and heavy. In front of him half a dozen training droids all armed with training lightsabers their programming set to the highest level, a Master's training level and the pieces of at least a dozen other droids littering the floor around them. Dozens of burn marks of varying degrees covered his body his favorite sleeveless jacket folded on the floor in the corner along with his silver crystal necklace his knee length black leggings almost soaked through with sweat. He closed his eyes and tried to inhale an escaping breath and as he exhaled the sweat drip on the tip of his nose dropped to the floor and his eyes shot open.

Kicking the floor behind him he propelled himself forward his first step down another kick sending him forward even further. Reaching the first droid he ducked down and pivoted to the right grabbing the droid's weapon arm and pulling it forward as he continued to spin planting his foot at the back of the droid's knee joint and pushing forward as he pulled on its arm ripping it from its shoulder. Dropping the removed arm he stepped forward ducking again and firing his open hand out in front of him a heavy rumbling ripping through the air as the line of droids in front of him were knocked back, staying crouched he spun again turning back to the one-armed droid behind him grabbing it by its neck and sweeping its legs out slamming it to the ground.

Leaping to the side he avoided an attack from behind and he spun around as he landed on a single foot landing a high spin kick to the attacking droid's head. Landing his foot he shifted his weight bracing himself for another hit as a second droid charged toward him its weapon raised high and at last second as it was brought down he stepped to the inside of its swing pushing the attacking arm away and slamming his open palm into the droid's chest a heavy pulse of force power behind the hit sending the droid flying back. He dropped down and turned on his knee sweeping the legs of another droid behind him knocking it down and immediately jumping back up he lunged forward his arm extended to the side meeting the neck of another droid and hooking around as he caught it he jumped forward again letting his body weight carry the droid to the floor.

Scrambling back to his feet he reached out with the Force grabbing the legs of the droid and pulling them causing it to trip and fall back into the other two droids behind it knocking them down. Another came at him from the side and the one armed droid he downed first approached from the other side trapped between the two he waited for them to make the first move. The one armed droid attacked first having retrieved its weapon, a side slash that grazed the hair on his head as he ducked once again one, two, three rushed crouched steps forward and he was in the face of the other droid ready to fight back. Raising a stiffened arm he blocked its vertical swing, pushing the blocked arm away he shuffled forward slamming his open palm into the deflected arm's shoulder joint before stepping to the outside and getting behind it.

A loud grunt through clenched teeth accompanied a force push sending the droid into its ally knocking the one armed droid down before the force attack was reversed into a pull. He pulled the droid and lifted it into the air turning around and hurling it at the three behind him bowling them over again. The one armed droid was on its feet again by the time he turned back around the two charged at each other, the droid's attack came from the inside this time held tight across its body and then swung outward an attempt to force him back, but he wasn't going to allow it. He slid and dropped to his knees falling under the swing the scent of singed hair mixed with salty sweat as the training saber brushed the top of his head and he balled his hand into a tight straining fist before using his planted foot to launch himself upward delivering a violent uppercut empowered with a force push at the same time. The force enhanced hit sent the droid high into the air briefly eliminating it as a factor so he turned on his heel again and used the force to empower his jump as he kicked the ground behind him to propel himself forward, a single kick carried him several yards forward toward his the cluster of droids waiting for him.

The second before he landed in front of the four droids he targeted the feet of the first one just above its ankle joints and pushed them back with the Force causing it to fall landing on his knees. Landing in front of the fallen droid just as it stood up he yelled as he slammed his hands together against the droid's chest causing it to stumble back, following up with his attack he stepped forward punching the droid in its shoulder then kicking at its knee grabbing its head and ramming his knee into what served as the droid's face. Thanks to their advanced programming the droid's behaved as if they were actually injured by the blows to their steel bodies of course when steel meets skin and bone steel usually comes away the winner.

He reeled for a moment his knee clearly bruised from the vicious hit, but he had no time to check the extent of the injury. From behind and his right he was being boxed in and in front of him the droid he just attacked was already back to its feet. The sweat that gathered in his brows had run down into his eyes blurring his vision and his screaming muscles and various burns were all cumulating bringing him to his limit he couldn't hold on any longer this was the best he could give.

"Dammit!" his mind yelled, "Six hours and this is all I can do? No I won't allow this to be my limit I've got to keep going I've got to become stronger, faster I have to get better otherwise Edge would have died for nothing".

It had been two weeks since that dreadful day, the day that would always haunt him as a nightmare and he was still unable to accept why Edge did what he did. After he had calmed down from the initial shock it occurred to him that Edge would never have survived his injuries he would have bled out before they returned to the Resolute if not definitely before he received proper treatment, that he had come to accept what he could not…what he refused to believe was that Edge didn't just sacrifice himself to destroy the goliath he did it after saving him.

He fell to one knee and the droids continued advancing on him, "I'm supposed to be the one protecting everyone" he hunched over and coughed his throat feeling like it was being ripped apart as he did and he punched the floor as he tried to control himself.

"No! I'm not the one who's supposed to be protected no one should have to save or protect me if I'm so weak that my best friend needs to die just to save me from a few droids then I don't deserve to live…I don't deserve this life if that's how weak I am…"

Normally during a training exercise the droids would stand down if their opponent appeared unable to continue, but Leon had disabled that failsafe along with many others he made sure that they would come at him with the intention to kill him or as much as they were capable of. It had been two weeks since Edge died to save him and destroy the goliath two weeks and for nine of those fourteen days he had waited until most of the temple was asleep before sneaking into the training arena and activating the highest level of training the facility could offer. At first he managed to go for two hours, then three then four and finally made his way to six, but for the past three days he was unable to last any longer than that. This level of training was intended for the most skilled on Jedi Masters such as Masters Windu or Yoda, but it was the kind of training he needed to grow stronger to become better so no one would ever have to save him again.

He punched the ground again and for the first time willed his coughing to stop despite the seizing of his lungs he wasn't going to let it end like this not anymore. Ever since he first contracted this virus or whatever it was by saving Padme he needed to be helped every time it hit him not this time, no he was going to help himself he was going to save himself. Both of his fists rose up and then slammed back to the ground at once and he forced his coughing to stop entirely just as one of the training droids struck him across the back with its training saber. His body lurched upward his teeth gritted and his jaw locked in pain as his back arched and then he was struck again this time on the side causing him to fall over and he raised his arms on instinct just as a third strike hit him.

He left his lightsabers in the corner of the room refusing to use them as it would make the training easier he wanted to put himself at as much of a disadvantage as he could and right now part of him was regretting it. He seethed from the burns left by the weapons, a training saber was still an actual lightsaber just a severely underpowered one, but still more than capable of leaving horrible marks and inflicting great pain. One droid destroyed out of six and another's head removed rendering it useless leaving four left one missing an arm, but still a threat, if six hours and only two kills was all he could manage then he had no business being a Jedi he had no business ever leaving Dantooine in the first place.

"So just give up" the distant voice in the back of his mind told him, "If this pathetic performance is all I can muster then what's the point I should just leave the Order and home".

"No!" he yelled as loud as his injured body allowed him, "If I give up then it was all for nothing, everything I've ever done and everything anyone has done for me all of it will be for nothing" he punched the ground again this time drawing blood from his knuckles, "I will not…" he paused to choke back another coughing fit, "Allow this to be all I'm capable of".

Again he punched the ground and the bones in his hand cracked, but his anger and determination had mixed to the point he was no longer able to notice. The droids had formed up around him all four of them one to each side leaving him no room to slip away again and he felt it again. Something deep in his mind snapped a burning nerve twisted around and snapped sending a white hot fury through him and by the time the droid in front of him raised its weapon for what would surely be the final strike he jumped up and grabbed its arm.

Grabbing the droid's arm by its wrist he pushed it away at the same time placing his other hand on its shoulder joint hooking his fingers and willing the Force to his hand he closed it around the droid's shoulder crushing it as he pulled it away from its socket. Ducking down he whipped around in a ninety degree turn his foot meeting the mid section of the droid behind him knocking it back. As his foot returned to the ground and he began standing again he raised his arm and twisted it around pointing his straightened hand out as the droid to his left swung at him, he weaved his arm around its attack and pushed it away and used the Force to push the droid in front of him away.

The second the front droid was pushed away he ducked again dodging the right droid's swing getting to the outside of its weapon arm standing a few inches behind it he grabbed its neck and planted his foot against its back. Once again focusing the Force into the palm of his hand and into his hooked fingers he pulled his hand forward while pushing with his foot and with the Force aiding him he ripped the droid's head from its shoulders. Keeping hold of the droid's head he spun around in a second and threw the removed head at the droid to his right the one that was used to be behind him before he turned around to reface the left droid.

Dodging its swing again he clenched his hands into fists and landed the first punch into the droid's shoulder causing the steel and iron enemy its injury reaction program making it reel to the side as if the blow actually harmed it. While his punch was retreating back he raised his leg and kicked out the droid's knee and landed his other fist into the droid's opposite shoulder immediately following up with a flurry on punches before leaning far to one side to avoid the droid's saber being swung back at him. Grabbing the droids arm he twisted it upward and across the droid's chest and hooked one of his arms around it restraining it. Opening his palm he slapped it against the side of the droid's head at the moment of impact sending a focused pulse of Force power into the droid's head similar to a force push only smaller and localized a technique he developed on his own one he referred to as Force Tap.

In reality it was a basic force push only focused to a pinpoint and directed against a single target. While not original it was much more versatile than the traditional use of the basic technique, with this variation of the ability he could silently disable a computer or similar system with a quick strike or dismantle a lock on a door electronical or not and then there was the non practical uses he found for it. A technique like this could be focused to the tip of one's finger and with enough directed force a single touch could break someone's bones or rupture an organ just by tapping them. When he first thought of using force push like this he was surprised to find no record of a similar technique in the archives and so far the only people who knew of his unique move were Luminara and the members of Titan squadron. It wouldn't be that hard for a Jedi Master to learn it after all if he could do it with the just above average control of the Force he had anyone could and for reasons he still couldn't determine he decided to keep this move to himself and it appeared that Luminara had never mentioned it to the Council.

He slapped his hand against the droid's head a second then a third time and finally the steel casing that made up the droid's head caved in. Normally a single tap from his finger would have worked and been much quicker, but in his exhausted state he couldn't focus that much instead going with broader trauma. When the droid's head caved and snapped back he unhooked his arm from around it's and turned as it fell to the ground just in time to avoid the droid behind him. The droid's training saber passed so close to him he could feel the weapon's heat, using a real force push the droid was sent backward then stopped as he grabbed it and lifting it into the air and slamming it down twice before pulling it to him. Grabbing the droid's wrist he wrenched it to the side disarming it as he used its falling weight to sling it to the side.

The droid that once stood in front of him, the one armed droid he pushed away less than twenty second ago had returned bringing its weapon down in an overhead swing that he blocked with the training saber he took. Letting the droid push him down to one knee he carefully slid his other foot back and pushed upward breaking off the droid's vertical dominance as he sprang up and he raised his own weapon and brought it down square on the surprised droid's head crushing it with brutal force. Taking its training saber in his other hand he turned to the last droid blocking its strike and retaliating by slamming his saber against what would be its neck then quickly turning around and with all the strength he could manage he drove his other saber through the droid's back letting go of the handle he held the other saber with both hands as spun on his heel and back to the droid's front and brought the saber down across its chest the tip of the weakened blade actually ripping into the droid's armor a bit.

The last droid was down and for a moment he stood there so exhausted and injured and strained that a single movement would cause him to collapse instead he stood there the training saber still in his hand and his breathing heavy and frantic. He closed his eyes wanting to relish in his victory he had finally done it after nine days of training he finally worked his way up to and defeated a training level meant for Jedi Masters, but it wasn't enough he couldn't let it be enough. He had to do it again he had to prove it wasn't a fluke he had to do it again and again until there was no doubt that even a slight factor of luck or interference of any kind could have played a part in his victory and yet even that thought felt like it still wouldn't be enough.

"I have to be the best, no matter what I have to do to get there I have to become the absolute best only then can I become the kind of person I want to be. Then no one else will die I'll be able to protect everyone".

He raised his head to the ceiling of the training room and spoke to no one in particular mostly just an out loud declaration to himself, "No one else will die so long as I still draw breath and I will not hesitate I will not stop and I will not die until everyone is safe from harm".

He was long past his limits part of him was amazed that he was still alive after all he had put himself through, but as he turned around to walk to the exit door his first step never reached the floor as he fell forward and collapsed his eyes completely closed before he landed and the burning screams of his muscles crying for rest finally ceased as he slipped into complete darkness and unconsciousness.

He had no dreams too exhausted for even that, but he was faintly aware of someone or something carrying him. Perhaps he was even too exhausted to be completely asleep or maybe he was so injured that part of his mind stayed awake in case something happened whatever the reason rest was rest at this point and he dared not bring himself out of it. He felt arms slide under him and lift him up two sets maybe three and only for a short distance and then he was lying on something and mere seconds after he was set down he was moving again faster this time, but whatever he was on was staying still enough to not disturb him in fact the rocking of whatever he was resting on managed to lull him back to sleep as if he were an infant and again warm darkness embraced him as his mind went blank.

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