It's the morning after the big Karideph mission, and Aryn has taken the day from the hospital responsibilities to find rest aft that highly stressful event. When morning arrived, and a misty sky was there to greet them (with the threat of rain), Aryn felt validated in her choice to stay in. Breakfast was had, then it was time for morning meditation and exercise.
Aryn had not been trained from youth to fight, not like her brother Kier, at least. But Aryn was a quick learner and an eager student. Ever since her admission to the Jedi Order, she sought training for defense and soaked up what knowledge she could. Aryn was thankful for Ban. In him, she found a skilled opponent and a stoic teacher who had seen all manner of instruction on the arts of swordsmanship and dueling.
This morning, the pair of nobles circled one another with primitive weapons in hand. Aryn wore a stylish ensemble intended for dexterous movement, and she had a single glove protecting the hand that held a deadly and beautiful curved sword she used to strike at Alderaan's Green Knight.
"Your defense is a lure!" Aryn says, half amused and half tempted to take the bait. She knew better. "When I believe I find weakness, you make me realize differently!" Aryn slides to one side, her weapon rising back to a guard while laughing.
"Your eye sharpens, my lady," Ban commends with faint amusement coloring the nobleman's otherwise even tone. As she slides to one side, Ban- in similarly light attire of loose shirt, leggings, boots, and glove- takes a smooth lateral step to circle with her, durasteel saber in a low guard, only flashing up to tease at Aryn's own defense. "Yet if you avoid the lure too well, it becomes an effective shield, does it not?" he teases, urging her by word to take the bait.
Twice now Chani Tahn has found herself in situations of danger, and twice she has been ill-equipped for it. What's most important is the experience she is gaining by traveling with the Princess of Alderaan, both in the moments between the tension and danger, and especially during. The trip to Karideph had been an exercise in seeking diplomacy up to the point that it failed entirely, and when it had, the two Jedi that now circle one another were able to defend themselves and others. Both in the Droalder Mountains and on Karideph, Chani has felt like nothing but a liability. She knows it is important to see and absorb the lessons Aryn is trying to impart upon her, but she also knows that the noble woman can't protect her forever. And someone who can't defend herself is not going to be much use to others when the time comes.
That's why she watches the pair, understanding nothing of what is going on, but trying, all the same, to absorb something of what's on display. She'd started the morning off with food and then meditation. And then more meditation. And then more. It's been a difficult time attempting to focus herself. Like in the snowy mountain pass, Chani finds the visions waiting behind her closed eyes to be unpleasant. She'd been too busy trying to ensure no one was attacking her to be wholly aware of the fight that took place on Karideph, but the aftermath had been horrible, even with the knowledge that they'd saved the queen's people from horrible servitude and culling through starvation. Ban and Aryn's exercise is a welcome distraction that she watches from the side.
"Your words do what your defense do not, sir. A clever approach and perhaps the most Iskender thing about you," Aryn says, laughing more. "..Very well, then.." Aryn steps forward, attacking Ban once more in a small pair of elegant strikes. She uses just the one hand to guide her weapon, and finds ways to manipulate her stance and weight, to give it momentum to bite.
They lock blades and Aryn laughs even harder. "Alas, you have ensnared me, my Lord." She nods her head and steps back. Her weapon is raised in salute, then brought down to rest in front of her with both hands cupped over its pommel. "Miss Chani, your turn. Observation serves well, but it cannot replace experience. It is time you begin accumulating some."
Ban Iskender meets Aryn's merriment with a small, dignified laugh in the back of his throat. His own blade is brought up in matching salute, though he adds a bow from the waist to the motion in deference to his dueling partner. When Aryn's eye and words go to the newest member of the Order, Ban's follow suit. "Mistress Chani," is greeted with a small dip of his head and shoulders.
"My turn?" She glances between the pair, believing in that moment that she will have to fight one of them to gain the knowledge Aryn says she needs to begin accumulating. The gentle widening of her eyes near the corners and the panicked flicker of her dark irises back and forth spell out that sudden moment that an edge of fear mixed with the nebula of uncertainty begins to take possession of her internally. Nonetheless, the Naboo woman's footfalls tap against the duracrete that leads her over to the disengaged pair. Lord Iskender's respectful greeting is returned with one far more formal than his own, and a deferrent, "My Lord," to boot. She may be from a noble people, but she is not from a noble house.
All of her training in etiquette typically dictates these encounters, which is she naturally refers to Aryn as 'Your Highness' despite the doctor's earlier insistence otherwise. She glances between Aryn's sword and Ban's, and does nothing in the way of reaching for the stunsaber attached to her belt at her right side. "I.. don't even know where to begin." Chani's never wielded something more threatening than a hallikset before yesterday, and while she had very nearly scored a hit on the threat that had approached her, it was more out of desperation and wild stabbing than anything like finesse. She truly has no clue what she's doing. "What is that you do with your swords? I saw you do it yesterday with your lightsabers." Chani's hand lifts and gestures towards her face, not exactly mimicking but generalizing the motion well enough that she hopes they understand.
"That is quite alright," Aryn assures Chani, appearing in good spirits and smiling. "I did not either. Swordsmanship is built upon a foundation of various traits and skills. Patience, agility, awareness, and confidence. Swordsmanship does not begin with an attack, or even a stance. It begins here.." Aryn's gloved hand points a finger and taps it against her own head. "Knowing when a blade must be brandished will set the tone of what is to follow. Lord Ban will teach you the finer points of swordsmanship. He taught me."
Aryn watches the motion Chani makes and smiles, though she looks to Ban to take the lead while Aryn slides her blade back home and steps away to search for his spare dueling sword.
Ban Iskender answers Chani's latter query, "The salute? It is a motion one offers to an opponent, which.." he takes a moment to choose how best to express the sentiment, "Acknowledges them as worthy of respect. Even those foes who are reprehensible are conscious beings, and can be acknowledged as such, whether or not the duel ends with the foe deprived of that life." With a note of wry humor in his voice, the gentleman adds to Aryn's summary, "In truth, it must also be said that swordsmanship begins with a sword."
Standing in a neutral position, feet shoulder length apart, arms down by her side, Chani looks the spitting image of someone that doesn't know what to do with herself. Her chin is turned towards Aryn as the blonde woman speaks, relaying imparted wisdom regarding what swordsmanship starts with. "I'm familiar with the concept," Chani offers. All things begin in one's head, whether that's a dealing with the self, trying to learn a new skill, or attempting to learn how to defend herself. "That text I read in the archives said the best form for fighting was never having to fight at all." She sounds approving of the words she speaks, but words, as she saw on Karideph, are not always enough. The Lord Iskender begins speaking and her full attention goes to him.
"So it's a sign of respect for life?" She seeks a deeper understanding of what he explains. "Or simply a sign of respect between someone you're about to fight?" Although she says nothing of his wry remark, Chani is capable, at least, of appreciating the humor in it. There's a small smile on her face after the joke.
Aryn opens a protective case nearby and pulls out a sheathed sword with its long leather belt. She unwraps the belt and returns to Chani, offering the weapon so she might attach it to herself. Once passed off, Aryn affords Ban a /look/ and steps away quietly shaking her head, clearly amused. She arrives at a small station nearby where caf and tea were brewed. She pours tea, adding a bit of dairy, just as the green and white BB unit 'Cedar' stopped beside her, warbling. "..yes, yes.. he is so funny.." She responds to the droid, who seems amused with Ban's deployment of humor. She sighs and sips her tea, watching.
Ban Iskender inclines his head to Chani. "For myself, I suppose it is a more narrowed gesture of respect to the opponent, though whatever personal meaning a gesture carries is for each to decide." A nod and word of thanks to Aryn as she recovers the matched sword and supplies Chani with the blade. "The stun saber will be of great use to you, though for my own part I daresay learning with the palpable weight of a blade in hand greatly aids understanding of how the body must move. Have you the time and interest at present to begin, mistress?" he asks, before getting *too* long winded.
Chani turns towards Aryn, accepting the belt with both hands. She glances down to herself before beginning to wrap it around her waist, beneath the one already fastened around her. Despite how awkward it feels to wear two at once, Chani secures the belt with its scabbard around her, leaving the sword itself near her left hip with its hilt jutting up and out away from her. Once so fastened, her attention returns immediately to Ban, though her right hand wiggles its way out of the sleeve so that she can begin to bind her long, dark hair into a loose ponytail behind her. It takes a few moments of sweeping each side back, ensuring that no loose strands are left around her face to get into her eyes. "I see," Chani replies with her understanding. "I am ready."
"As you have said, before a blade is drawn, seeking to avoid the need for it is paramount. But there comes the time to draw," Ban acknowledges to Chani. Gensutring for her do so so. "From that moment, balance becomes paramount. Grip the hilt at the very base of the blade- thumb and middle finger are strong, relax the other fingers. Do not grip too hard, or your hand will tire and the sword will grow too static." A drawn breath, giving Chani time to get the feel of the sword's balance. "Divide your weight between both feet, and be prepared to step in any direction. Place the feet as far apart as you feel comfortable for your own balance. Keep the point of your sword on target, and turn your shoulders to the side, sword arm between your foe and your core. Does this make sense, thus far?"
There's nothing graceful, fluid, or familiar about the motion. Chani's right hand crosses over towards her left hip and her delicate, slender fingers wrap about the hilt of the sword on her hip. She draws it from the scabbard with the aid of her left hand wrapped near the top, neither intuiting how to draw it naturally or using any particular force to do so. Her eyes rest on it the entire time, observing the metal and listening to the distinct sound it makes against the softer lining of the scabbard inside. She can feel the weight of it in hand, the tip naturally dipping towards the ground. As Ban instructs her on the grip, she begins to adjust, shifting her hand upwards so that it's near the top rather than the middle. Chani starts to move, too.
Her feet adjust to just a little farther than shoulder length apart, she levels the sword at some non-existent, distant target, and attempts to adjust her shoulders. She stops, however. "So.. the sword out to my side?" Her arm adjusts outward and she makes as if she's going to have her profile to this imaginary foe. "Or..?" She brings the sword in front of her, awkwardly trying to adjust her shoulders in some semblance of to the side. "I understand everything up to the feet part.."
Aryn has taken a seat and lifts one leg to cross her other. Idly, the booted tip of her foot angles up and down in idle motion as she watches the pair with renewed interest. Her free hand lays across her lap while the gloved one holds her tea, directing the cup to her mouth to sip.
Outside, the sky releases its rain, and the sound of it can be heard over the rooftop and through the partly opened door leading to the port and tarmac. It is a soothing sound, rain, and Aryn lets it ebb away the thoughts of the days past while she hones in on the budding future developing for Chani. When her tea lowers, Aryn's smile becomes perpetual.
Ban Iskender moves to stand in front of Chani, "Perhaps this will help. Consider a line on the ground from your back foot to your opponent's core. This changes when considering multiple opponents, but for now, only consider one opponent. Both your feet should begin on this line, your shoulders should follow this line, your sword hand and the line of your blade begin on this line. The free hand to your back, for balance." A drawn breath. "Do not consider thrusting or parrying, just yet.. First, a step forward, keeping your foot on the line, and then a step back. Keep the point of your sword at your eye level, and if the blade grows too heavy, bring your elbow closer to your side."
Dark irises angle up, much like her chin, to maintain eye contact with her instructor. He begins to clarify things, and when he mentions a line on the ground, she glances as if to picture it there on the duracrete. Since both her feet are meant to be on it, she turns completely to the side, so that the sword-arm side of her body is presented to him and her head turns its chin towards her shoulder. Her arm left arm curls and bends at the elbow, allowing her to place the back of her hand against the small of her back. She spends less time looking at him and more time trying to figure out if she's got the right stance, up to and including her hand being in line with her foot. "Like this? I still don't know if I'm supposed to be to the side or.."
Heat is beginning to suffuse through her cheeks out embarrassment. Having Aryn and Ban both watch her blunder around trying to decipher Ban's eloquent instruction is making her self-conscious. She ends it off with raising the tip of the sword, not so that it's angled, but extending the blade straight up and trying to adjust it to the level where it matches. It is, without a doubt, an absolute awful showing of whatever it is Ban is trying to teach.
Ban Iskender nods to the first. "Yes, just so," he affirms the correctness of her stance. "Present as little of yourself to the opponent as you can. Keep as much of your body behind the sword's protection as you are able." The vertical guard is corrected with a small smile, "Whilst some Jedi do affect such a stance with their lightsabers, let us begin with a less arcane stance," as he guides her sword forward, until it is at an angle, tip advanced toward him. "Remember: the tip always holds on your target." He will reach a gloved hand to take the tip of Chani's borrowed sword between thumb and forefinger, gripping the flat. "In general, aiming at your opponent's core is a fit mark." The sword point is drawn down until it is at an angle aimed at the taller gentleman's torso. Once in place, he voices. "That is a guarded stance. From here you can thrust and parry, but for now.. let us begin with a step forward, and then a step back. Let your feet fall on the line."
Chani's resistance to the correction is stiff at first, then relaxed once she realizes he's making a correction and not trying to test the tension of her ability to keep it in place. She holds it at the new angle, hand a little higher, sword tip point in line with where she's looking towards him. Even that gets adjusted, so that it's aimed towards hsi core. "I thought to keep the point at eye level?" In fairness, there's not a significant difference between her eye level and his core. The Alderaanian Lord is nearly a foot taller than she is. She's simply asking for clarification regarding his earlier instruction and the one that he is presenting now. Despite asking the question, she does as he bids, attempting to step forward to keep everything on that invisible line.
"Eye level for defense, as it permits you to guard your own head from an opponent's thrust more cleanly, at your mark when advancing," Ban responds. "If one feels more natural than the other, linger there." A nod. Releasing the point of her sword, he recovers his own blade and remains in front of Chani, at a distance where only the tips of their swords cross. "Do not thrust yet, or worry on parrying. Whichever side of your sword bmy blade takes, keep yours on the center line between us. Now, advance a step," he bids, backing up when she steps forward, his feet keeping the same imaginary line. "Advance another. Now back. And back another." His own steps will mirror hers, occasionally shifting the tip of his sword from one side of her to the other, but making no pushes or aggressive motions.
The clarification brings with it understanding. Eye level for defense, opponent's core for an attack. It should have made sense from the start, but Chani is assessing everything he says with intense focus, and in that way, she's overthinking it. Rather than ask any further questions, she advances a second step when he commands it, then retreats, though the retreat is far more awkward and she gains not nearly as much distance in moving. In trying to keep everything going at once in her head, Chani finds at one point she's gripping too hard, at another her hand has slacked from her lower back. The tip of her sword changes elevations, and she can already start to feel her arm beginning to fatigue from holding the sword up and angled as it is. This... is not going to be an easy thing to study or to learn. She also keeps her eyes on her sword, and where his adjusts from one side to the other.
"Relax your arm, bring the elbow nearer to your side if the blade grows heavy," Ban reminds the student. "Hold your stand there.. We will rest soon, but first you ought learn a parry and thrust." Ban steps closer to once again grip the tip of Chani's sword. "To parry, whichever side of your blade the opponent attacks from, keeping the point fixed and your elbow near your side... move your hand to that side to turn the thrust aside. A thurst is the longest reaching attack, and it is the first threat a skilled opponent will send at you. Move your hand left.. back to the center line.. and right." Only once she has grasped the basic motion without moving the point of the sword will he release it, and step back to let her try a slow parry to his own slow thrust.
Contending with both understand the words coming from his lips and not grasping the concept behind them at all, Chani sets a determined look on her face and adjusts her elbow as he's bidden, tucking it in closer to her side and allowing gravity less of a chance to act on it with more solid a foundation behind the way that it's angled. There's a lot of mention of side, but as she considers it, she thinks she understands. The physical guidance of the weapon helps, with Chani not resisting the efforts of his hand like she did the last time. When it actually comes time for the slow thrust delivered forward, the blade of Chani's sword, attempting to keep its point fixed at an angle, sweeps to the side, intent on diverting it off the line meant for her.
"Good," Ban notes to the first parry. "Set aside the opponent's point, and keep yours nearer the center line." He draws back his own point with a small half-step backward, demonstrating the footwork, and weaves the tip of his saber from side to side beneath Chani's, tapping the sides of her blade, to keep her guessing before slowly taking a small step forward and making a slow thrust to the other side of her guard. "Once you set aside the opponent's point, with yours still on the mark, you can take a small step forward, and extend your arm to counterattack. This is called a riposte, but not worry overmuch of the names. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Control the line, and you'll be faster to strike than your foe."
Lips parted, Chani's breathing reflects the difficulty of the task she's undertaking. The metallic, melodious clangs of Ban tapping one side of the sword and then the next earns little jerking motions from Chani's blade clearly anticipating it to come from one direction or the other, as if she expects he'll go far faster on the next thrust than the one prior. He telegraphs it, though, and she's perhaps a little too eager to parry this next one, for there is a hangar echoing clang of one sword against the other in response to the force she uses. It's enough to surprise her, flinching as the ringing sound sings into the air. "Sorry," Chani apologizes for the vigorous effort of the contact, hoping that it wasn't too hard a moment of contact.
Ban Iskender allows a brief smile. "It is well, but keep your movements smooth- the sharper and more reflexive your movements, the move predictable you become and the further off the mark your tip will go.. Move like flowing water, rather than a rat trap which can be baited and sprung." A fresh breath drawn and he voices, "Now this time, parry and then move into a thrust against me. Are you prepared?" he asks, before beginning the next step.
Is she prepared? Chani doesn't think she'll be prepared to do anything like this for awhile. She is, however, prepared to attempt what he's asked of her, and with the same look of concentration writ on her face and responsible for the way her brows are knitted together, Chani nods. The Alderaanian Lord's thrust forward is pushed to the side with a sweep, not a jerk, of her blade, moving it offline and this away from the center and its intended target of her core. In doing so, she half-steps forward blade angling down from its defense point to aim towards his own core. It's her turn to thrust, aiding the motion of her arm forward with the weight of her body completing the half-step that widens her feet from one another but maintains a solid foundation.
"Good," Ban commends the party and riposte, mirroring Chani's advance with. retreating step of his own, drawing his own hand back across the center line to parry her own counterattack. "Now recover back to your own guard- never remain extended longer than you must. A fair first effort, mistress. A salute can look however you wish it to, so do not feel compelled to mimic mine," as he draws a step back, stands upright and draws his sword vertical, before turning downward.
He says step back, she steps back, again proving she has much work to do on the retreat. She's not used to maneuvering backwards, especially not in such a stance, trying to remember all the things to remember, while attempting to pay attention to what her opponent is doing at the same time. He salutes and explains it can look however she wants it to. A moment of indecision reveals she's not sure what that should be. Instead, simply angles her sword near her leg and bows as she did the first time, incling both head and shoulders in his direction with a bend at the waist. "Thank you for sharing your knowledge, my Lord." Rising into a straightened position, her left-hand grasp the scabbard and she pays very careful attention to sheathing it with the right, sword tip wavering erringly to either side before she finally manages it. "Everyone made it look so easy before. I can see I have a lot of work to do."
Ban Iskender sheaths his sword and offers to Amelie, "As in any other art, competence will come before long, with practice. Expertise must be pursued a longer while. Knowledge exists to be shared, mistress, you are welcome to mind when you wish it." His eye returns to Aryn. "Have you further advice for our Order's newest student, my Lady?"
Aryn sets her cup aside, uncrosses her legs, and rises up from her seat to clap. Her clap is awkward sounding with a bare hand slapping a gloved one. "Well done," She commends and smiles. "We can practice each morning and evening. That way it is among the first activities of the morning and the final of the evening. Before long, it may feel like muscle memory. Then imagine your awareness increased when you tap into the arcane perception of the Force.." Aryn comes to stand beside Ban, glancing up at him briefly with a crooked smile.
With the sword sheathed, Chani unfastens the belt from around her waist. Her arms are sore, and from past experience, she knows they'll feel heavy and even more sore tomorrow. Folding the belt up and around on itself, Chani closes the brief distance to Aryn and offers it back to the woman who allowed her to borrow it. "Thank you, Your Highness. I look forward to practicing and to learning more." The mere thought of how much more there is to learn is intimidating, for of the few times that she's seen Aryn fight, she is certain it consisted of far more than a few thrusts and parries and ripostes. She takes a deep breath and lets it out, hoping that will help clear her mind of the daunting journey that is ahead of her. She welcomes the chance to learn.
"Thank /you/," She replies, taking hold of the offered sword. "..for being willing to learn." She brings her other hand up to carry the borrowed weapon with both her hands. She walks back to the nearby open case and places it back inside. When the case shuts, the locks seal automatically and Aryn turns back. "I believe I will shower now. The notion of reading a book to the sound of rain appeals to me.-- My Lord -- Miss Chani..be well." Aryn's boots make a soft noise as she pivots and walks toward the stairwell to the apartment above.