We are far, far more than the sum of our experiences. We are the sum total of the impact of the experiences of our teachers, our leaders, our parents and friends, of the trails we’ve lived through and the bottomless well of emotions we all feel.
— Karinlyyn Bridger Kel-Solan, Auyn Warmistress
It was only a slightly modified version of the old gear she’d worn a decade ago as Protectress, very much like the garb Arilyn Bullian wore now as Deathdealer. A smooth silver mask, silver and black mesh-weave armor in the signature style of the Auyn. Strapped to her back was the wicked, meter-long stretch of metal with four points and three distinct bladed sections that was her signature weapon. Empty holsters for blasters rode on each hip, an empty sheath for more daggers rode on her thigh and in one boot. A pouch on her left bicep held something, though what it held was left to the imagination.
The room had weapons hung on the walls opposite the door, a vast array of weapons of various stripes, some clearly used, others perhaps for show. Racks of practice weapons—blunted, wooden, and otherwise—stood in front of them, along the edges of practice mats made of some sort of braided reed fiber spread across most of the floor.
The warrior crossed the floor and flipped a staff up from the mats below her feet, catching it in one hand and then lofting it toward les. “Fighting is as much a centering exercise as it is a means to staying alive,” she said as she kicked another staff up into her hands. If she was using the Force, there was no sign of it. “Getting angry in a fight, like getting angry while using the Force, probably has more disadvantages than advantages. If I had the choice of going up against a cold fighter and a raging one, I’d take the rage every time. There’s a reason for it.” She set her stance, light on the balls of her feet but somehow still seeming rock solid as she twirled her staff between her hands.
Tag eased inside behind Les and pulled the door closed behind them. “Tell him why, Warmistress.”
Behind her mask, Karinlyyn Bridger Kel-Solan smiled. “Angry people make mistakes. They leave exploitable openings. They don’t think.” She planted her staff between her feet and leaned against it. “Some would disagree with me on this, but understand that my knowledge comes from experience. The few fights I’ve lost in twenty years since I started combat training have come because I let my anger get the better of me.” She paused a moment, then swung the staff up against a shoulder.
“General Rendar doesn’t usually bring students to me. In part, it’s because she knows how to fight dirty, too, which is something I teach a lot of Jedi. For another part, it’s because most formal fighting techniques a Jedi uses involve the Force. The styles I teach don’t. The fact that you’re here this morning is either a very good thing or a very bad thing.” She draped both arms over the staff as she rested it across her shoulders, head cocked to one side.
“Which do you think it is? After all, your perceptions of the situation are just as important as mine, or as General Rendar’s. The sum total of our experiences will be helping shape your future experiences, your training. How we feel matters, but perhaps not as much as what you feel does.” Behind the mask she smiled again, a hollow but not blank spot in the Force. “What do you feel, Lesley Wyler? Why did she bring you here to me before the sun kisses the world? Why should you get the same second chance that no one—and I do mean no one outside of the Aurora Force would get?”