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The Game of ThronesEdit

It was 2289, and it was an average day in the life of Clara Renner. She was thirteen years old, and the apprentice to a renowned, albeit old, Jedi Master. She woke up early, as always, and headed down to the lightsaber training room for her daily extra practice sessions. While she loved her Master as a father, she found he did not teach her enough about lightsaber combat. It was true that she was receiving some of the best defensive force techniques out there, she did not get trained in saber combat enough. As such, she booked the training room for extra hour long sessions at six in the morning, seven days a week.

She entered the room, and, as usual, it was empty. She had bonded with the battlemaster on the Temple's grounds, so he allowed her in every morning to train, and taught her how to run the simulators. She turned on the simulator to run attacking soldiers with blasters for half an hour, and she jumped in and drew her saber. The simulator put her at the base of the temple, where she had to bottleneck the main stairway to the main entrance. She immediately set to work, blocking laser fire to attack the advancing troops, which were Mandalorian commandos. The simulator took various military forces and used them at random.

She began deflecting blaster fire, with ease at first, but it grew in difficulty. Towards the end of the simulator, she took, a shot to the arm, and had to finish the rest of the simulator one-armed. Once it ended, she whispered "Damn it." and went over to program in a lightsaber wielding opponent. The opponent she was allowed to use was a Sith Warrior who looked to be about eighteen, five years her elder. However, age and size mattered not in this duel, as it wasn't long before she had stabbed him through the stomach and slashed out to the side, ending the simulator.

She took the rest of the time to practice a pattern of motions the battlemaster had taught her. It was similar to a Japanese Martial Art technique called a Kata. This particular pattern was all muscle memory, so her mind could wander while her body did the motions. As she jumped and slashed through the air, she thought about Her whole life. She had come to the temple at age seven, she had been at the temple for six years. Almost half her life had been dedicated to learning the way of the force.

Her master, an elderly man, was good and kind, and powerful in the force. He taught her all he knew, which was largely force powers oriented. He was renowned for having never drawn his lightsaber in battle at any point in his entire life. She only really excelled with Force Telekinesis, which he described as some of the most powerful he'd ever seen from any Jedi or Sith. She was good at everything else, but had difficulty mastering those abilities.

She was friends with just about all of the other apprentices. She didn't know why, but she just made friends easily. Only those who really hated her for always beating them during sparring sessions tried to avoid her. She didn't complain, she bode them no ill will, and simply respected their choice. She tried to help all of the other apprentices with Lightsaber training whenever she noticed them doing something wrong. It was an instinctive thing, wanting to help those she knew she was better than.

She heard the door open, but ignored it and finished her pattern before deactivating her saber and turning to face whoever entered. It was the battlemaster, Master Drallig Whie.

"Good morning, master." She said and bowed.

"Morning, Clara. How went the training?" He asked her. She knew she could be completely open with him, and didn't need to hide anything.

"I took a shot to the arm during the simulator for blaster deflection." She admitted. He nodded, slowly.

"Well, you know how to solve that issue."

"Practice." She replied, and he smiled at her.

"Good girl. Go get breakfast, I imagine your master has things to teach you today." He said. She nodded, bowed again, and headed down to the dining hall. She sat with a few other apprentices as she ate, talking about what they were doing that day. Clara wasn't sure, but everyone else was in store for either history classes or spending the day doing free training. Once she had eaten, she said goodbye and headed up to her master's room. She knocked once and the door opened.

"Good morning, master." She said and bowed. Master Tinn Bant rose from his chair, resting himself on his walking stick.

"Hello, Clara. How are you?" He asked.

"I'm alright. What do you have planned for me today?" She asked. He chuckled.

"Always straight to the point, eh? We're going to go out for the day, get you some experience in the city of Coruscant." He said. Clara could hardly believe her ears. They had hardly ever left the Temple her whole life, so she could hardly wait to go. "Help and old man walk, will you?" Tinn said and she took his arm, letting him lead her out of the temple. They walked out and through the city. Everything was so bright and vibrant, and everywhere she looked, Clara would see something new and exciting. She could get lost for years in the city.

Tinn took her through the market districts, the entertainment districts, even some of the shadier parts of the city. "What do you think, Clara?" He asked.

"It is interesting, everything seems so busy, and rushed."

"True. Very true. Come on, now we have a lesson back at the temple." She nodded and he allowed her to lead him back to the temple. "We're going to the room of a thousand fountains." He said, and she led him there. It was a massive greenhouse filled with fountains, flora, pottery, stone walkways, and meditative areas. The walked to one of these meditative areas and they sat down on a bench.

"Now, I am going to tell you of the deadliest game, the game all in power play." He said. She realized he has a philosophical lesson in store for her. Whenever he had one, she would always be thinking about it for weeks on end, and looked forward to each of them. "This game they play, is about weaving your way through the lives of your opponents, making them think you are their friend, but you really intend to stab them in the back. It is about convincing one enemy to kill another for you. To use whatever you have to twist the one of highest power to your will."

"What game is this?" Clara asked.

"It is the game of thrones, my apprentice. Those who have command over anything must play it all the time. One wrong move and you could die, or everyone you care about could die, or everyone who answers to you could die. No game puts more lives at risk. Not gladiator fights, not assassination games, nothing. This game is for the fate of the entire galaxy." He paused, and then gave her a smile. "Go and meditate on this, then take the rest of the day off." He said and picked himself up and started walking back to his room. She could hear him talk to other masters as he left, and smiled. She wondered if she would ever be a master, and recognize old friends from decades before.

She meditated for three hours, and came to no realization. She cursed and decided to go to the lightsaber training room, maybe she could find some clarity there. Instead of clarity, she found Master Whie teaching a group of blindfolded younglings. He saw her and waved for her to come over. "Care to give a presentation with the training droids?" He whispered. She nodded, smiling. A couple of times, he had used her as an example for lightsaber combat for younglings.

"Younglings, please remove your blindfolds." He called out, and they did so. "This is Clara, she's one of my older students."

"Hello Clara." The class chimed out.

"Hello." She replied, smiling.

"Clara's going to show you what the older students do with the training droids." Whie said, and the younglings started to excitedly whisper to each other. "Come with me, so we can give Clara some room." He said, and the younglings followed him to the side of the room, where the simulator programming board was. He punched in some numbers, and a duo of droids, wielding practice lightsabers, activated and walked towards her. She drew her yellow lightsaber and fell into her Soresu stance.

The droids attacked and she ducked under an overhead strike while blocking an attack to the legs. She started backing up, blocking the droids' attacks as she went, allowing the younglings to think she was being overwhelmed. She smiled, knowing they were all likely watching in horror and anticipation. As she reached the end of the room, she caught both their sabers on her's and jumped over their heads, landing and rolling with her back facing them. Once she rolled to her feet, but was still crouching, she raised her saber and blocked an attack from above, then spun and cut off the droid's legs.

She rose to her feet and readied herself for the next droid's attack. She fell into a defensive stance, recognizing that it was going to attack in a Djem-So dominant assault. Her Soresu defense proved to be the ultimate foil against the droid's attack, and she led it around the room until she grew bored of leading it, and instead of deflecting an attack, she caught it on her saber, twisted it to the side and decapitated the droid, getting a cheer from the younglings.

Master Whie came out to thank her, and she said goodbye to each of the younglings before going to find something for dinner. As she ate, an Earthling dinner called pizza, hurried footsteps came up behind her.

"Clara." said a deep voice. She looked up and recognized one of the masters from the Jedi Council.

"Master, to what do I owe the honor?" She asked.

"It is your master, come quickly." He said. He took her to her master's room, where he lay on his bed. She could sense his life force was still strong, but there was something different.

"Clara, my dear. I am afraid I have gone blind." He said, matter-of-factly. They had a short conversation about what her training would be. She learned it would largely be philosophical teachings as well as practicing the force techniques on her own as much as possible. She agreed, and spent the next few hours with her master before going to her own room to sleep.

What is Power?Edit

A year passed. Over the course of that year, Clara did as her master wished and trained as often as she could in the ways of the force. Her master's health was also seeing a dramatic decline, and Clara knew in her heart it would not be long before he would pass away. One day, she sat in her master's room, talking with him. Not as part of a lesson, just talking. "Tell, me Clara, do you like riddles?" He asked.

"That depends, am I about to hear one?" He chuckled.

"I heard this from a young Jedi, who heard it from her father. Three men sit together in a room. A ruler, a priest, and a rich man. Between them stands a man with a gun. Each man bids the gunman to kill the other two. Who lives, who dies?" Clara shrugged, the riddle seeming advanced for her fourteen year old mind.

"Depends on the gunman, I guess." She said.

"A gunman would not have money, status, or any kind of favor with a deity." Her master pointed out.

"But he has the weapon, he has the power over life and death."

"Then why is the galaxy ruled by politicians, who have power over almost everything?" Her master said. She thought for a moment, and then grumbled.

"I don't think I like riddles much." Her master laughed out loud.

"Power, my dear apprentice, lies where the people believe it does. There is no such thing. It is simply a trick, a shadow on the wall." He paused before adding "And even the smallest of things can cast a very large shadow." She smiled.

"Your philosophy never ceases to amaze me, master." She said.

"Thank you." He paused, then said "Clara, the reason I have asked you to train independently is because you needed to learn to train on your own. You must know I have little time left." He said. She nodded. "Good. You should get some sleep, tomorrow is going to be a big day." He said. She got up to leave, and he said "Thank you, Clara. You've been my favorite student." She smiled, and nodded a silent 'you're welcome' before going to bed.

She awoke the next day and did her normal, early morning training regimen before heading down for breakfast. There was a morbid mood in the room, and people kept glancing at her. She finished breakfast as fast as she could and headed up to her master's room. Outside it stood members of the council, who she pushed past to see her master, lying on his bed, eyes closed, perfectly still, and not breathing. She could sense he was dead.

The next while was a blur of movement. The masters put him on a floating stretcher and took him to the temple morgue. The news of his death swept through the temple, and Clara continually received support and condolences from masters and knights who had known her master, as well as from the other padawans. The next day, every member of the Order gathered in the room of a thousand fountains, where his pyre had been erected.

A few speeches were made by masters who had known him, two of his former apprentices gave speeches. Lastly a master who had grown up alongside him gave a speech, as Clara had elected not to. She felt as though she would not be able to hold it together for it, and didn't want to break down in front of the entire order. That would have given a bad image of his teachings, in her mind. The master told a story about their childhood, where they had broken out of the temple during the night on numerous occasions to visit the underground races and watch them. Clara grinned at the story, as did many of the students her age. She had done that herself, once, and she knew most of the students had as well.

Once the speeches were over, she accepted the torch and lit the pyre with it, and they slowly watched him burn away. She was the last one remaining once the body had been wholly burned. She found a bench and sat down on it. Trying to think of what would happen to her next. She would undoubtedly receive a new master, who would complete her training. She didn't know who, however, and the prospect of jumping from one master to another scared her.

She couldn't just bond with someone new immediately, that took time and plenty of experiences together. She had already grown to love her master as a father, and that wasn't something replaceable. Maybe this marked the end of her career as a Jedi. Maybe some miracle would happen and she would be made a knight. She shook that last one off. There was no way she would become a knight at her age. A fourteen year old knight was unheard of and completely unrealistic.

"Clara. Are you alright?" A voice said. She turned and saw master Whie. She shook her head and he nodded, understanding.

"No one can replace him, I know. I lost a master when I was close to your age as well." He said. She hadn't known that. "I have spoken to the council, and they agree that if you wish, I can take over your tuition until you graduate into a knight." He said. She looked at him, shocked. She knew the answer immediately, and nodded. There was no one else she would choose to train her. On top of that, she would be able to work with younglings and other students more often. He smiled. "Well, in a few days, meet me in the training room, so we can begin, ok?" He said, and she nodded, and he left. Not long after, she looked at the pyre, whispered a goodbye to her old master, and went up to her room.

The next day, for a change, she decided to sleep in. She needed some time to herself, so she stayed in her room all morning and meditated in the room of a thousand fountains all afternoon before going to sleep in the evening. She did this for two days before heading to see her new master in his training room. She found him alone, sipping a drink of some kind.

"Good morning, master." She said, her customary greeting.

"Hello, Clara. Would you like a drink?" He replied, offering her a glass.

"What is it?" She asked, taking it.

"Some Earth drink known as coffee. It's rather bitter, but I kind of like it." She took a sip and winced. "It is also hot." He added. She rolled her eyes and put the cup down.

"Well, shall we begin?" He said and led her into the training area. He drew his green lightsaber and fell into a Makashi ready stance. She drew her own saber and fell into a defensive Soresu stance. "Set to stun." He told her, and she did so. He attacked first, and she blocked, with ease at first, but she found herself increasingly strained to parry his attacks, and was all but denied any chance to attack back. Eventually, she took several quick strikes all across her body, and collapsed. He helped her to her feet. "What you just experienced was the problem with specialization." He said.

"Sorry?" She asked, confused.

"You specialize in Soresu and Shii-Cho fighting. I just used Makashi to work around your defenses.

"What do I do to fix that?" She asked.

"You learn more styles and mix them in with the ones you already know. Every fighter is different because every fighter mixes styles differently." He explained.

"What do you suggest I learn first?" She asked.

"That is up to you." He replied. She thought on it for a moment.

"I'd say Makashi." She said, wanting to learn the techniques he had just used on her. He nodded and pointed at the floor.

"See the design?" She nodded. It was a a large circle, with ever smaller circles inside of it, until it reached a circle that was about three feet in diameter. "Start in the area between the outermost ring and the next one." He said, and she moved into it. He pressed a button and a hologram appeared, showing a series of moves in the Makashi style. "Watch and imitate. When you think you have it down, call for me." He said and returned to his drink.

She began imitating the motions, and continued to do so for about forty minutes. It was like fencing, but more deadly. Once she believed she understood what to do, she called him over. He walked up so that there was enough room to duel between them. He drew his saber and fell into a Makashi stance, which she did as well. He struck her blade and the weapon went flying from her hands. Immediately after, he began showing her everything she had done wrong, and they spent weeks training the style into her.

Once three weeks had passed, he told her to move into the next circle, and more advanced motions were introduced. They spent a month in this ring before moving on to the next, two months in that one, and then she finally stood in the center, where she stayed for two weeks before he joined her and held his blade to hers, where they entered a Makashi based duel. It was fast, faster than any other style, when two Makashi specialists faced off and dueled. The green and yellow sabers flashed through the air, colliding in white crashes and sending sparks through the air. She led him to believe she was losing, and then lunged out quickly and slashed him across the wrist, stunning him and sending his saber through the air, which she caught deftly. She let out a triumphant cry and threw his weapon back to him.

"Again?" She suggested, falling into the ready stance. The dueled twice more, and then members of the Jedi Council entered to watch the fourth duel, which she won decisively. Her master walked over to talk to them, and they left.

"They all agree, you have mastered Makashi." He said, and a delighted grin lit up her face. "I must say, your progress is astonishing. No one else has mastered any form this quickly." He said.

"I guess that means I need to train more." She said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, if I can do it, someone else can." She explained. He nodded.

"True. Take a few days off, and then we shall repeat this process until you have mastered your next style." He said. She nodded, and went to her room to rest. The next day, before she was able to make it to the training room, a master stopped her.

"Clara, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but your father has passed away." He said simply. Clara felt as though she had received a hard punch in the gut.

"How?"

"He...didn't learn of Ianto being alive. This led to him blaming himself for his son's death, and..."

"He killed himself." Clara finished. "I'm getting on a transport for the funeral today." she said, her voice ringing with such authority that no master would dare deny her.

"We already have arranged for a transport to take you." He said and took her to the landing pad, where she jumped on, found a chair, and crumpled in it. She simply felt numbed. She swore to herself and sat there, motionless, for the three hour hyperspeed transport. When they landed on earth, she arranged for a taxi to take her to three miles outside of Saints Headquarters, which she had memorized the location of. She walked the rest of the way. When she was a half mile out, she sensed something.

"Hello, Jai." she said and turned, seeing her brother walking up behind her. "Hey, Clara." He said, and the two walked in silence to the base. They arrived together, meeting the Saints they had not seen for so long as well as their uncles Sean and Mark. The funeral was short, with only Ian really saying anything. Once the body was buried, Jai left immediately. Clara stayed to visit with her family for a few hours before returning to the spaceport.

On the flight back, they offered her a selection of drinks. "Give me the strongest thing you have." She replied, and they brought her a bottle of whiskey. "This is the strongest you've got?" She asked, surprised. The waitress shrugged and walked away. Clara sighed and popped out the cork. She started sipping at it as the transport took her back to the Temple. She stumbled up to her room and crashed on her bed, knocked out. When she awoke, she stayed in her room all day until her headache died. She went for a walk in the evening, visiting the balcony where she had dueled Ianto.

If she had gone to Earth then, maybe her father would be alive. I'm an orphan. She realized. She leaned against the rail and held her head in her hands. After a moment, she decided she needed to distract herself. The only way she really knew how was to go and train, so train she did. As she stood in the training room, looking around at the rings on the floor, she realized the rings were all she knew. They were her whole world. Unlike apprenticeship, and living her parents, they weren't something she could graduate out of.

Chaos is a LadderEdit

Another year passed. Clara had mastered Ataru and Juyo in record time, only six months for each. She was working on Djem-So, and was already in the second ring. One day, while she was training, her master interrupted her. "Clara, a word please?" He said, and she stopped and walked over to him. Would you please accompany me to a meeting myself and a few other masters have with some politicians? It would be good for you and other apprentices to witness this." He said. She nodded, and packed her things. She threw her leather jacket on over her clothes and followed him to the landing pad.

There, three other masters and their padawans, all boys, to her annoyance, were waiting. They boarded a transport ship and flew to the Senate, where they went to the main office, where a group of politicians were debating funds of some kind. One of them, a man who looked to be about thirty, was off to the side, smiling. "What are they talking about?" One of the apprentices asked.

"One side wants to divert funds from military to helping those who are still homeless because of the war." One of the masters said. Her apprentice nodded, but said no more. Clara could immediately see both sides of the argument. The side arguing for the military to get money said it was important that the military be bolstered, seeing as how many wars had happened and the likelihood of one happening again. However, all of the people who were homeless because of said wars also needed money.

"Why is that one smiling?" Clara whispered. Another master came with the answer.

"He has agreed to invest in whatever is decided upon, as long as he gets his money back. He is also a rich man, so he will make his money back in no time as is, meaning he will simply get profit." The master explained. Clara nodded, knowing some people existed only for profit and money. After watching their debates, the masters told them to explore the senate, but not leave the building, and to meet them at the landing pad in three hours.

What Clara witnessed was a jumbled mess of running things. People were arguing left right and center, and seemed to be getting little to no progress. She saw the smiling man all over the Senate, seeming to be getting out on top in each situation. Eventually, she was walking down an empty hallway when he bumped into her.

"My apologies, Jedi." He said and bowed respectfully.

"Its ok." She said.

"No, really. I just learned something bad and it made me careless." He said, sounding exasperated.

"Oh?" She asked, curiosity getting the best of her.

"One of the senators has a reputation for rubbing his hands together and making money appear. I just found out it isn't magic."

"He stealing?" She asked.

"No, worse, he's borrowing it."

"How is that bad?"

"He owes tens of millions to certain governments." He replied. "And I'm called in to clean the Senate's financial messes." He said.

"Well, good luck." She said and started to walk away, and then had to ask "How do you seem to be on top of everything. All I see when I look around is a crazy universe." She said.

"You mean a crazy realm, ruled by crazy people." He said. "Well, my dear, I will tell you a secret. The realm is a lie. A story we keep telling ourselves."

"True, but what happens if we look at it any other way? Nothing but chaos, a dark pit of chaos." She said. He chuckled, and in his strangely charming voice, he said

"Chaos isn't a pit, Jedi. Chaos is a ladder. Many of us who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again. The fall destroys them. Some are given the chance to climb, but don't. The cling to this realm, or to gods, or to love. Illusions. Only the climb is real. This ladder is all there is." He said, almost too smoothly. The speech disturbed her, and before she knew what she was doing, she turned and ran. She found another apprentice and hung around him for the rest of their free time (Which he mistook for flirting, much to her chagrin).

Once their free time ended and they made their way back to the landing pad, her master took one look at her and immediately knew something was wrong. He kept his mouth shut until they reached the lightsaber training room back at the temple. Once they arrived, he stopped her and asked "What happened?"

"I met the one with all the financial superiority. He gave me a little speech about how Chaos is a ladder and such." She replied, shaking her head.

"Ah. I have heard that proverb. It is a strange one, but it makes sense, does it not?" He asked, surprising her. After a moment of consideration, she nodded.

"Morbidly, but yes, it does, in a way." She admitted.

"Think on that sometime. Your philosophical beliefs may come in handy when you're older." He said.

"How so?" She asked.

"Might dictate if you can talk your way out of certain situations. A lightsaber is not the only way to get out of something, Clara." She nodded, understanding. "But for now, go practice and then take the rest of the day off." He said. She nodded, drew her lightsaber, and began working on her ring again. After a solid four hours of constant training, she stopped and headed down to the dining hall for dinner. She tried another Earth dish called "chicken fingers" before going for a walk in the temple.

As she walked, she could sense a pair of masters around the next corner, as she neared the corner, she could hear their discussion, and decided to listen in.

"This new group of Sith, they're surprisingly peaceful."

"Be that as it may, they are still Sith, and led by a former terrorist, no less."

"She turned on her own kind once. Perhaps she truly wishes for peace between Jedi and Sith."

"I doubt that, myself."

"Why do you think you are not on the council? You want battle with the Sith."

"My sister was slaughtered by Alghul when she was a child."

"Alghul is dead. Slain by a Ferran, no less. Aurora Ferran, at that."

"I also find that difficult to believe."

"There are witnesses. Two other Jedi swear it to be true."

"An outcast and someone who has been missing for decades. How do we know they can be trusted?"

"Wouldn't we know if they were lying?"

"Maybe. Maybe not. I will remain doubtful." One master said and walked away, turning the corner and passing Clara. She bowed and continued walking. She bowed to the other master and decided to go to her room.

She spent the next three weeks mastering Djem-So, and once she made it to the center of the room, her master called in members of the Jedi Council to watch her duel him. She attacked first, charging with such an intense ferocity that even her master was taken by surprise. The duel was one of the shortest they had ever had, and she won, knocking the saber away from him and catching it with one hand, then falling into a stance with both sabers. He bowed to her and walked over to the masters, and then walked back.

"Well, on to your next challenge. I have nothing more to teach you in terms of saber combat, the rest you must learn on your own." He said, and handed her a long handled lightsaber. She activated it, and blades erupted from both ends. A smile lit up her face, eager to take on the new challenge. He allowed her to train on her own from then on out, sometimes calling in a knight or master to spar with her, who she always beat. In a few months, she had a good understanding of wielding a dual ended lightsaber, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind she was one of the greatest swordsmen the Order had ever seen, possibly the galaxy.

The next year went by slowly, with Clara continuing to train intensively in lightsaber and force combat, until it was clear that next to no one would be able to defeat her. Everyone knew that when she dueled two masters and won.

Then she turned sixteen, and she finally met a worthy opponent.

How to Risk Your LifeEdit

Clara was out for a walk. She had taken the day off for training and was simply relaxing. She had been reading history on lightsaber combat in the library for a few hours, and decided she needed some fresh air. She looked over the city, and watched the sun set on the horizon. She smiled, enjoying the sight. Suddenly, her force sense told her someone was attacking from behind, and she stepped to the side just as a black saber came crashing down onto the rail. She rolled away and drew her double bladed saber. The yellow blades extending and readying her for battle. Her opponent was tall young man, wielding a lone, black bladed lightsaber.

"Who are you?" She asked, readying herself for battle.

"I have no name, for I am no one." He said cryptically.

"Why are you here?" She called over to him.

"I must find a worthy opponent." He replied.

"Why me?"

"I think you know why." He said. She tilted her head to the side, agreeing, and they charged each other. She immediately recognized his tactics, using Vaapad with Su Ma, and she predicted he would probably use Dun Moch later. She allowed him to attack her, blocking his attacks easily with the double ended saber. She was able to fend off his assault for a few moments before countering and attacking herself. She used a furious flurry of attacks to put him on the defensive, but he somehow was able to block each attack.

He blocked an attack and pushed on the blade with all his strength, turning her so she was facing away from him. She ducked while holding up her saber, as he stabbed, missing her head. She brought down the saber handle, twisting his arm over her shoulder. He grunted in pain and she spun, trying to take his head off with one of the blades. He raised a hand and held the blade away from his neck with the force. She deactivated the saber, causing all the force energy he was using to explode forth and hit the ground, sending both of them flying.

She tumbled off the balcony, her saberstaff falling to down to the ground, several dozens of floors down. She, however, caught the edge of the balcony and tried to haul herself up, but her assailant jumped up and stood where she was trying to go. He slashed down at her hand, but she twisted to the side and grabbed the edge elsewhere, this time with her back to him. She sensed his weapon come crashing down towards her again, and she twisted so she was facing him again. She noticed the molten metal where he had cut the balcony, and also smelled burning hair, which she guessed was her own.

She jumped up and spun in the air, kicking her attacker in the face and knocking him off his feet. She drew her single bladed saber and attacked him. He raised the weapon up and caught her attack on it, a white flash momentarily blinding both of them, as the weapons crashed together. Once both of their visions returned, she spun away and slashed at his legs, which he barely blocked and attacked in response. She blocked and jumped back, slashing at his head, which he ducked under. She landed and attacked again.

Time seemed to slow down as instinct took over. She attacked with an overhand strike, he caught it and spun to attack. She put her blade in the direction of his and spun, slamming the back of her fist into the side of his head. He stumbled a bit, and attacked with a horizontal strike, trying to cleave her in two. She put her blade down and caught it, then pushed it up and over her head while spinning to try her own attempt to cut him in half.

He force pushed her back, and she held her blade level, in a stabbing position. She attacked again, using a mix of Ataru and Djem-So in an all out assault, not giving him the chance to recover and attack. Yet for each of her furious strikes, he was able to block each of them. During one clash, their lightsabers stayed together, and she knew she wouldn't win a contest of strength, so she force pushed him backwards. She reversed her grip on her saber and they charged one another again.

She cut at his waist, which he blocked, and then she attacked at the back of his neck, but he raised his saber around behind him and blocked that too. They clashed again, in front of his face, but she ended that one quickly and pushed his saber aside and attacked with a slash to his shoulder, which he blocked, but that left his torso open, so she kicked him in the side. He stumbled and she attacked again. Their blades crashed together twice more before she spun and cut at his head, which he ducked under and fell back slightly, giving Clara more ground.

She switched her grip back to holding it normally and blocked an attack as he charged, trying to deflect it to the side. However, he took advantage of her attempt and twirled the saber around to knock hers to the side, using her own momentum against her. The blades crashed against on another four more times before he slashed at her head and she ducked, swinging at his legs. However, he hopped backwards and continued to press the advantage. He leaped over a swing at his legs, landed, and kicked her in the ribs, causing her to stumble backwards. He slammed his saber down on hers, which she raised to block only a few inches from her head. He spun and mule kicked her away, and then used the force to remove and throw a piece of a statue into her.

She hit the door leading back into the temple and pushed the statue piece off of her. He jumped and swung down at her, but she raised her blade to block it, and they were suddenly in a contest of strength. She knew she had no chance, and decided it would be better to be quick and agile, rather than use brute force. She twisted her saber, using his own strength to slash into the door behind her, twisted away from him and kicked him in the thigh. As he stumbled back, she saw another balcony above them, and jumped up to it, hoping to gain the advantage of height.

He jumped up and over her, and she attempted to use the Mou Kei maneuver to stop him, but she missed, and he landed behind her. He slashed at her waist as she turned, but she blocked the attack with apparent ease, recognizing the attempted technique. She pushed the blade aside and spun, swinging her blade at various targets on his body, which he blocked and countered, but she blocked and countered said counters, entering a deadly dance until she hopped backwards and they circled one another.

She attacked, but he sidestepped, grabbed her free hand, and twisted it around behind her back. He tried to attack with his saber arm, but she blocked each strike and slammed her elbow into his face. His head snapped backwards, but he recovered quickly and kicked her away. She felt her shoulder dislocate, and grunted in pain before sending a force push into him that blasted him off the balcony and down onto the one they had been dueling on before. She hopped onto the edge, and used the force to relocate her shoulder before jumping down, employing a falling leaf attack as she fell.

He rolled to the side and kicked her in the back, causing her to stumble towards the edge of the balcony. He sent a force push into her back and sent her flying off towards the ground. She deactivated her saber and prepared for a powerful force push into the ground. Once she was only a dozen or so meters above the ground, she released the push, slowing her momentum and allowing her to survive. Her attacker landed in front of her, unharmed by the fall. He ran at her, and she jumped over an attack at her legs, twirling horizontally as she did so, trying to slash at his neck and arms. He avoided the attack and the two started running towards the main stairway out of the temple, Clara leading him away from any of the other Jedi who may be harmed, both slashing at one another as they went.

Once they were a reasonable distance from the temple, she attacked again, hacking and slashing with increasing desperation. At one opportunity, she stabbed downward, missing him, but the blade stabbing into the ground between his legs. He hopped back as she slashed up towards his groin. She took the chance to jump up onto a rooftop, where he followed her up, close behind her. Close enough to slash at her back as he went. She felt the intense heat of the saber as it cut through her clothes and burned her skin, but not cutting her. She also felt a distinct amount of searing heat as she realized her shirt was on fire.

She blasted a force push at him, sending him flying away onto several other rooftops. She tore her shirt off, leaving her in the sports bra she normally wore for training. She held a hand out and called her double ended saber to her, knowing she would need it in addition to her normal one. She closed her eyes and could sense him advancing towards her from behind. At the last possible second, she raised her saber up and caught his attack, then, her saberstaff came to her, she caught it and unleashed one of the blades, stabbing him through the thigh. She kicked him away and fell into a stance, activating the second end, her saberstaff in her left hand, normal blade in her right.

He stumbled, giving her a burning look that would have torn through the soul of anyone else. She recognized those eyes. Her jaw slackened momentarily. "Ianto?" She asked, recalling her lost brother.

"That name means nothing to me!" He snarled.

"Ianto, its me, Clara!" She exclaimed.

"I know no one by that name." He shot back.

"I'm your little sister!" She yelled, horror enveloping her.

"I have no siblings." He insisted.

"Yes, you do! There's me, Jai, and Ash." She insisted, suddenly remembering the faces of the siblings she had not seen since she was seven.

"I do not know them." He snarled and attacked again, becoming enraged with her. With no choice, Clara started twirling the dual ended saber while slashing with the single bladed one. She advanced, slowly but surely, with such an onslaught no swordsman, even those with a hundred hands, would be incapable of blocking it. Ianto received a slash across the chest, burning his chest badly, but not cutting through him, and she stabbed forward, taking advantage of his pain, and stabbed him through the right shoulder. She deactivated her saber and took his away from him.

"Kill me...I am weak..." He said, almost sounding honest in his request.

"No, I will not become a kinslayer." She said, not wanting to kill her brother.

"Fool." He snarled and released a force push at her. She sidestepped and grabbed him with force telekinesis, her most powerful ability, lifted him up into the air, and threw him with all her power, away from the temple. She saw him soar through the sky and fly for miles before he vanished from her sight. She sighed, strapped her double bladed saber across her back, strapped her normal saber to her waist, and decided to take her brother's back to the temple.

As she walked, she sensed him, coming for her again. She turned and saw him flying toward her, and extended his saber, stabbing him through the stomach. Instinctively, she kicked him, causing him to fall off the building to the streets below. A tear fell down her face and she hailed a speeder to take her to the temple. As she took the speeder back to the temple, she realized she had left the saber in Ianto, and shrugged it off, not really needing it anyway.

She returned and explained the situation to her master, who in turn, took her to explain it to the council. Once they had thoroughly questioned her, they told her to get some rest, which she gladly did. Her sleep was dreamless, which she was grateful for, and the next day, she started training intensively. More intensely than she had before. She hadn't been able to easily defeat Ianto, that mean she needed more training. She spent two hours training in the early morning, went to eat breakfast, and then went to work out for three hours, trained in lightsaber combat for another two hours before going to lunch. She spent four hours training in lightsaber combat, trying to learn new styles as fast and as well as she could.

She repeated this schedule for three years. The sixteen year old Clara paled in comparison to the nineteen year old Clara. At nineteen, Clara was widely known as the greatest swordsman in the universe, and many questioned whether or not warriors who had been around for centuries would be able to defeat her. She also would sometimes be called in to teach saber classes to older padawans, and even gave a lone philosophical lesson to one that was especially gifted, a young man about her age who showed a lot of talent with a blade.

"You should know, that whatever you do, you risk your life. Step outside your door and you risk your life. Take a drink of water and you risk your life. There is nothing in this life that is without risking your life somehow. You don't have a choice in the matter. All you get to choose is what you get to risk it for." She told him, and sent him off to train some more. She went through her own drills in Vaapad training before going to sleep herself.

GraduationEdit

Another two years blew by. With each year, Clara's skill grew. She could fight a quartet of Masters and win, and fight six of them to a stalemate. One day, she was asked to meet her master by the elevator, where they would need to discuss something with the Council. She was excited, expecting a mission. They rode the elevator up, but when the door opened, it was an empty room that stood before them. "Sit in the middle of the room. Meditate, look within yourself." Her master said and she walked into the room, sat down, watched the door closed, and began to meditate.

After several minutes, she found herself looking into a bowl filled with water. She looked into the water and saw it rippling. It showed her a vision of herself, standing at the head of an army of black clad warriors, all of which wielding red sabers. She led them attack an army base, cutting through UNSC forces, vehicles, SPARTANS. She watched herself duel a grey clad Jedi with a green saber and cut his head off with ease. She fought a girl wielding a dual blue saber and a lone saber and cleave her in two before fighting through three more Jedi before dueling one who wielded a pair of red sabers. After a short, minute long fight, she cleaved him down the middle, the two halves falling to the side. They conquered the base, and her army of Sith cheered her name as she stood above them, executing the survivors.

Clara jumped away form the bowl, horrified. She heard a set of footsteps walking near her. She looked up and saw herself walk up to her. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Her other self whispered.

"Who are you?" Clara said, shocked.

"I am what you could become, Clara. Learn the ways of the dark side, and you would be the most powerful being in the universe. There would be nothing from any form of existence that could stop you. You would be indestructible."

"No." Clara said, shaking her head.

"You could see your brother again, make him understand."

"No." Clara refused. The other her held a hand out. "Join me, Clara. We can rule this galaxy, and all those that surround it."

"No." Clara said, looking into her own, yellow eyes.

"Join me!" Her other self insisted. This time, Clara shook her head, and she saw anger in the other her's eyes. "Join me!" Her evil self screamed and drew a red saber before lunging at her.

"NO!" Clara shouted and sidestepped, drawing her saber and swinging it up, chopping off the face of her alternate self. The body collapsed, the brain falling out in front of the body. Clara panted heavily for a moment, and then she woke up.

She awoke from meditating and found herself in the council chamber, lightsabers of all colors illuminating the room. She saw her master among them, smiling. She also saw, for the first time, Luke Skywalker, grand master of the order.

"Step forward, padawan." He said, and she walked toward him and knelt in front of him. He raised his saber, and the other masters lowered their's. She removed her padawan braid from the ponytail she wore, and he put his saber near her head, and then the other. "Clara Renner, you have shown you have the courage, skill, and insight to be a Jedi Knight. You have undergone much pain, at the hand of your brother, no less. And now, you have shown you have the spirit." He put his saber near her braid. "I name you Jedi Knight, and welcome you to the ranks of our Order." He finished and cut the braid, which landed on the floor, smoking. She rose, imagining triumphant trumpets playing inside her head.

For the next three years, she worked as a Jedi, going on missions, training classes of padawans, helping around the temple, whatever she was bid to do. She ceased aging, to her astonishment, at age twenty-three. One day, as she was training a class, she was interrupted by two masters. One took over the class while the other took her out of the room to talk to her.

"Clara, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but your father has passed away." He said simply. Clara felt as though she had received a hard punch in the gut.

"How?"

"He...didn't learn of Ianto being alive. This led to him blaming himself for his son's death, and..."

"He killed himself." Clara finished. "I'm getting on a transport for the funeral today." she said, her voice ringing with such authority that no master would dare deny her.

"We already have arranged for a transport to take you." He said and took her to the landing pad, where she jumped on, found a chair, and crumpled in it. She simply felt numbed. She swore to herself and sat there, motionless, for the three hour hyperspeed transport. When they landed on earth, she arranged for a taxi to take her to three miles outside of Saints Headquarters, which she had memorized the location of. She walked the rest of the way. When she was a half mile out, she sensed something.

"Hello, Jai." she said and turned, seeing her brother walking up behind her. "Hey, Clara." He said, and the two walked in silence to the base. They arrived together, meeting the Saints they had not seen for so long as well as their uncles Sean and Mark. The funeral was short, with only Ian really saying anything. Once the body was buried, Jai left immediately. Clara stayed to visit with her family for a few hours before returning to the spaceport.

On the flight back, they offered her a selection of drinks. "Give me the strongest thing you have." She replied, and they brought her a bottle of whiskey. "This is the strongest you've got?" She asked, surprised. The waitress shrugged and walked away. Clara sighed and popped out the cork. She started sipping at it as the transport took her back to the Temple. She stumbled up to her room and crashed on her bed, knocked out. When she awoke, she stayed in her room all day until her headache died. She went for a walk in the evening, visiting the balcony where she had dueled Ianto.

If she had gone to Earth then, maybe her father would be alive. I'm an orphan. She realized. She leaned against the rail and held her head in her hands. After a moment, she decided she needed to distract herself. The only way she really knew how was to go and train, so train she did. As she stood in the training room, looking around at the rings on the floor, she realized the rings were all she knew. They were her whole world. Unlike apprenticeship, and living her parents, they weren't something she could graduate out of.

So she entered the outermost ring and started practicing.

NymeriaEdit

The year was twenty-two-ninety-eight. Eight years since her father had taken his own life. In that time, Clara's skill had only grown, due to her intensive training and dedication to the art of lightsaber combat. She had also been made a lightsaber instructor for senior apprentices, ages sixteen and up. Most of them only used one or two fighting styles. For those that relied solely on one style, she made them choose another and forced them into the rings, making them learn to master their new style. She would never duel them once they reached the middle, however. She always called in her old master for that. If they dueled her, they would never master their craft.

She walked in laps around the lightsaber training room, where a group of two dozen older apprentices were practicing their styles with partners, blocking and attacking, slowly at first, then building up speed. None of them progressed anywhere near as fast as her (Which, she calculated, was about fifteen times faster than most students), but she was pleased with their progress. All of them possessed the fire and drive to excel, and she had no doubt that each of them would be strong warriors, given enough time and training.

There was also talk among the elder Jedi that they would need to start searching for a new battlemaster, soon. Most Jedi believed her to be the perfect choice. However, Clara expressed that she was not interested in the title. "That honor should go to a master. I've not been a knight for very long, so give it to someone more experienced than me." She said once to a member of the council, when he had visited her while she was teaching a class. She found out one day that the apprentice she had given the philosophy lesson to, all those years ago, had become a knight and taken a padawan. It was strange, living in an immortal body while people you knew turned old.

Once the class was over, she decided to practice a mix of Juyo movements, almost entirely out of boredom. After half an hour, a knight poked his head in. "Clara, come quickly, you need to see this!" He said and she deactivated her saber and followed him to the main hall, where they saw the Jedi Council facing a young woman, clad in a long, bejeweled, form-fitting black dress. The bottom of the dress seemed more like wisps of black mist than fabric. Clara looked around and saw that many other knights, apprentices, even a few masters had come to watch. She leaned in closer to try and get a better view.

"Master Skywalker, rest assured I am not blind to your beliefs in what Sith are. However, such as you have many a style of Jedi, the Sith vary in nature. My order does not desire death and destruction and control of the galaxy. We simply want to study our craft in peace, where we will not be destroyed by Jedi or stronger things." The Dark Lady said. She said things so smoothly and calmly it was almost as though the conversation had been rehearsed.

"Clara, can you hear them?" The Jedi said.

"Yeah, clearly." She replied, confused. Master Skywalker said something, and the Sith Lady spoke again.

"Our base is secretly located more to avoid the attention of the Sith you fear." Skywalker said something again, and she replied.

"I am here because I may need a certain member of your Order's help." There was a silence, and Skywalker said something again.

"Of course." She said and bowed. She vanished into a black mist and Jedi began to disperse from the Main Hall. Clara found herself drawn to the balcony where she dueled her brother, all those years ago. There, she found the Dark Lady standing there, looking over the horizon. "Beautiful view, is it not?" She said taking Clara by surprise.

"Yes. I've never really noticed it before, but yes." Clara replied. The Dark Lady turned to face her.

"I am Nymeria. Darth Nymeria, if you're feeling formal, but I've been thinking of dropping the title of Darth." She said absently.

"Clara Renner." Clara replied.

"I know. You're the reason I am here, young Jedi."

"Why me?" Clara asked. "Why do you need my help?" She added.

"There is a dark force coming. A force user many times more powerful than myself. He is raising an army and I need certain people to help me stop them."

"Why me, though?"

"I saw you in a vision, killing said enemy." Nymeria responded. Clara nodded slowly.

"When do we start?"

"I will return in a few days time, alongside a group of people who we will need to help us. Then I will take you back to my base and we will begin out training to defeat him there."

"Why not here?"

"Let us simply say that I offer a slightly more advanced training regimen." Nymeria said with a slight smile. Clara nodded slowly.

"Alright. Just know that if I think you will betray me, I will leave. If you follow me, I will kill you." Clara said. Nymeria smiled.

"I expected no less, Clara." Nymeria began to fade away into a black mist once again and vanished. Clara shook her head, not totally sure what she had just gotten herself into. She sighed and headed back to the training room. If she was going to be going out to combat some new, incredibly powerful force user, she would have to be ready for it.

BattlemasterEdit

Clara spent the next day practicing with a large group of Jedi Knights. In total, there were ten of them, the largest number she had ever attempted. They stood around her as she stood in the center of the rings. She announced she would not focus on any one style, and would rather fight with varied styles at once. They all nodded and drew their sabers. She counted them off. Four with traditional sabers, two with double ended sabers, one with a lightsaber-pike, a long-handled lightsaber, one with guard shotos, and one with a pair of lightsaber daggers. Clara drew her single bladed saber and saluted them with the traditional Makashi salute, and then they attacked.

To most fighters, they would have been upon her too fast for her to react. To Clara, however, they moved in slow-motion. The one closest to her was the one with the guard shotos, so she sidestepped that attack, ducked under a swing from the pike, and finally blocked an attack from one of the traditional sabers. She countered the attack, jabbing her saber into the thigh of the one with the traditional saber. Their weapons were set to stun, so she didn't stab through him, but he cried out in pain at the shock her received.

Clara moved to another, blocking three strikes before grabbing the arm of one of her attackers and flinging her around and into two other knights. Clara ducked under a strike aimed at her head and slashed at the attacker's waist. If she had been using a kill-saber, he would have been cleaved it two. As he tumbled to the ground, she raised herself up and kicked forward, striking the advancing pike-wielder in the chest and knocking the wind out of him. Before she could bring her saber down to finish him, she had to block a strike from a traditional saber user while the long handled-saber user attacked from behind.

She ducked under the traditional saber and pushed it into the blade of the long-handled saber. She attacked them both and soon both were on the ground, nursing shocked necks. Five of them charged her at once, and she drew her doubled bladed saber while sheathing her traditional saber to fend them off. She twirled like a dervish, deflecting all of their attacks away from her. Pike wielder grabbed her from behind, pinning her arms to her sides. She pivoted so quickly it tore him off his feet and threw him into the line of fire. Their lightsabers came crashing down on his back, and he let her go, unconscious.

She quickly defeated the one with lightsaber daggers and then two of the traditional fighters hit the ground soon after. The remaining four attacked, and she countered each of their strikes systematically until each was defeated.

Once they all woke up, they said goodbye with a certain level of awe in their voices and left. She trained alone for a while before heading down to the library to find a book about saber masters of the Sith. She read on certain Sith Lords before going to find dinner and going to bed.

The next day she spent in the library, studying all known tactics of Sith and Dark Jedi. She survived the day on a cup of some Earth Drink called called Root Beer, which was apparently fermented sugar cane and caramel. When the day was done, at about eleven at night, she went to bed again. In the morning, she went to the dining hall and gorged herself on food before returning to the training room. She trained there for three hours before twenty Jedi Knights walked in, followed by master Skywalker.

"Clara, forgive me, but would you indulge my curiosity?" He said. A grin crossed her face.

"If you're saying what I think you're saying, master, hell yes."

"Thank you. Let's go somewhere more open." They went to the stairway outside the temple's main entrance, and the fight began. Clara decided to challenge herself by using only her traditional saber against the knights' varied arsenal. She charged into their number, swinging her saber in Juyo and Djem-So heavy attacks. As three of them fell, she ducked under a saber strike and used four quick Makashi jabs into the chests of two other knights. She swept the sword in a long, hard strike, knocking sabers away before attacking with Ataru's strategy, throwing in the occasional kick to the gut.

They finally mustered their strength and attacked. She fell into a Niman-Soresu defense, easily able to block their strikes. She waited for an opening, then sprang forward and slashed in a circle, using a spinning Ataru strike. She felled four while the others sprang back. As she prepared to fend off the rest, she noticed a small shuttle was landing nearby. She paid it no mind and kept fighting. She countered and cut away one more Jedi before they swarmed her. They attacked from all directions, but she was still able to keep from being cut down.

As a lull in their assault came about, she dove into one and tackled him. She rolled to her feet and cut downwards, shocking him in the groin. She winced, realizing where she had hit him, then jumped to her feet and slashed through two more Jedi. The remaining seven attacked all at once, this time with a much more furious and desperate assault. Eventually, she realized they were all attacking with above-waist attacks. So she ducked once and slashed once, cutting them all across the waist. They dropped, nursing their wounded areas.

She deactivated her saber and looked up. There stood Nymeria, as well as a group of people. She recognized them from her vision, and gulped. One of them in particular seemed a little uncomfortable, but all looked shocked and impressed. She focused on the uncomfortable one and ran up to them, thinking Hello, handsome.

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