The months that followed were, interesting to say the least.
Rii’A remembered that for the most part, the man who called himself ‘Tobias’ did virtually nothing, he couldn’t be convinced to get out of bed, he rarely ate, he would simply either lay in bed all day, or occasionally leave to wander the lands around the knight barracks.
Eventually, after hearing noises in the training grounds, Rii’A saw Tobias, with a training sword, and a sea of destroyed training droids.
Tobias was injured, gravely injured, and mentally unsound, he was not taking the right steps to recovery, and everything he did only seemed to worsen his conditions.
“Tobias stop!” Rii’A yelled as Tobias struck his sword against the remaining training droid.
The droid fell to pieces, and then so did Tobias’ sword arm. The brace inside of him had either been broken, or dislodged, either way, Tobias’ arm began to literally fall apart and hang distended in several areas. He growled in pain, dropping the sword and clutching his arm.
Rii’A rushed over, putting her arms around him and pulling him away from the crumbling droid. The woman, clad in her shining armor then pushed Tobias against the wall.”What are you doing!?” She yelled in his face, Rii’A was furious.”I thought you were a Jedi! I thought you had more sense than to push your limits like that! Your body can only handle so much punishment before you fall apart!”
“Leave me alone!” Tobias attempted to fight back, but he was weak, he was tired, and Rii’A kept him pinned to the wall.”I’m not a Jedi! Stop calling me that!”
Rii’A grit her teeth, her emerald eyes glaring into his brown eyes. He seemed so devoid of life, of purpose, he was wallowing in a pit of despair that she thought impossible for a Jedi. Could the tales of them have been wrong? The sight of the man in such a state only further angered Rii’A.
“It doesn’t matter anymore…” Tobias droned on, a listless look on his brow.”The Gamallians are extinct… Lyon is dead… The power of the force is slowly killing me… thousands of people died because of me… I’m a failure…my life has no meaning… maybe I deserve to die…”
Her hand encased in her gauntlet, she wound her right hand back, and slapped Tobias across his face. His false eye short circuited.
Tobias fell to the ground and tried to pick himself up, placing a hand on his cheek, a bit of blood trickling down his lip as he looked up at Rii’A.”How dare you!” Rii’A growled.”How dare you say your life has no meaning! How dare you give up and die! You’re a man! A Jedi! A proud warrior! A hero!”
“Heroes only wind up in hospital beds or six feet underground, Lady Knight!” Tobias barked back.
“Would you forsake all the people who fell in battle! Or would you carry on to try and give their death’s meaning!” Rii’A countered.” What would Lyon say if he saw you now!”
Tobias stopped, he looked at her, looked down at himself, then gripped at his broken arm, grunting from the shear pain of the bone falling apart all over again.
Rii’A bent down, and once again, much like at the medical center, embraced him.”Live Tobias, live, live for Lyon, for the Gamallians, for those who fell on the battlefield… You have so much to live for.”
“I’m sorry…” Tobias mumbled, groaning in pain.
It wouldn’t be until another month later that Rii’A would soon discover Tobias once again in the training grounds. His mind and health hadn’t changed, as far as she could tell, though his coloring was wrong, but somehow, he seemed, better, than when she had seen him here last. “Tobias…?” Rii’A tried to get his attention.
Tobias turned around, looked at her. His arm brace had been repaired, and so had his eye.”Lady knight?”
“Rii’A, please, call me Rii’A.” She insisted.
“Rii’A.” Tobias repeated.”What can I do for you?”
Rii’A walked in, her armor clattering with each step. She soon noticed the handle at his hip, the Lightsaber, a weapon of the Jedi.”That handle on your belt? Does it still work?”
“No.” Tobias said, after a long pause.”It is broken, like me, it no longer functions…”
“I see…” Rii’A looked down, she then eyed the crystal, tied around his neck.”And that jewel?”
“It was part of the ignition mechanism…” Tobias replied.”It broke, a long time ago…”
“Can you… can you still use a sword?” Rii’A asked.
“Why?” Tobias asked, his voice wrought with suspicion.
“Please, I don’t mean to put you on edge.” Rii’A raised her hands as she slowly approached the former Jedi.”I did not come to ask you to fight, I know you are through with fighting.”
“Then what do you want?” Tobias glared at her.
“I am fairly proficient with a blade, all the lady knights are trained in sword play, but I can always improve… I thought you might be able to teach me some of your techniques?” She asked.
“You want me?” Tobias asked, his angry and suspicious demeanor changing to a more calm one.”You want me to train you?”
“Yes, please.” Rii’A said.
Tobias paused, letting out a heavy sigh and scratching his head.
After a moment, Tobias tore a piece of cloth from his sleeve, and tied his hair back, his long brown hair had grown some since he had awakened, it was at least down to his mid-back. His bangs still covered the sides of his head.”Not here.” Tobias said.
“But, why not?” Rii’A asked.”Is the training area not suitable to you?”
“No, I just want to train elsewhere.” Tobias said, picking up two training swords and starting towards the exit.
For a while, the two walked, their path illuminated by the two moons that hung over this world. Their walk was silent, save for the clattering of Rii’A’s armor, and the sound of Tobias whistling an unfamiliar tune. Whether it was one he had heard in his travels, or something he had been taught, Rii’A didn’t like it, the tune was awful and confusing, almost as if Tobias were making it up as he went along.
Their silent walk soon gained some noise, Tobias had brought them to a river.
“We’ll train here.” He turned, and tossed her a training sword.
Rii’A caught it, examined it, making sure there were no imperfections in the blade or the mechanism.
These training swords were designed to feel as heavy and strong as their actual electro swords, the blades themselves were blunt and possessed a stun feature that delivered a minor shock with each hit.
Rii’A undid her belt, casting it aside with her actual sword and utility packs.”What would you have me do?” She asked.
Tobias turned to her, and held his own training blade up, and pointed it at her.”Attack me. Show me what a Lady knight is capable of.”
“Excuse me?” Rii’a said confused.
“Too slow!” Tobias rushed at her.
He swung the sword at her, Rii’A’s reflexes were fast enough to block most of his hits, but she felt the sharp sting of the electricity touch against her as he tapped her biceps, the only part of her arms not covered in armor. Tobias and Rii’A continued to trade blows, little fizzles of electricity sparking with each hit, each clash of blades, each touch against the other person’s body.
“Tell me! Why become a knight!” Tobias asked, swinging at her again.
Rii’A blocked, countering his strike and attempting to strike his leg.” To fight! To protect the weak! To serve and protect the people and my home! I believe in all the tenets of knighthood, in honor and chivalry!”
“How naïve!” Tobias responded, blocking her strike and shoving her back.”Those are the beliefs of a child caught in some fantasy!”
“And how would you know!” Rii’A argued, moving to strike him again, shaking off the push.
“Because I believed in them too once!” Tobias yelled.
“I believed in knighthood once! I believed in heroes! I wanted to save people! For people to forget the person I used to be and look on me and think of me as a Jedi hero! I dedicated my life to serving the people! But Jedi were only convenient when we served the politicians! When it was convenient for the people, they sold us out, they purged us, sold us to the enemy, executed us! To the people who we thought looked to us for guidance and protectiong, we were expendable!” Tobias pointed his sword at her.”Christophsis taught me that lesson the hard way!”
Rii’A prepared herself, Tobias charged at her.
“There are no heroes! Only dead people who thought they were doing the right thing! Such delusions only lead to suffering! The sad reality is is that no matter how hard you try, no matter how strong you get, you can never save everyone! And in my case! I failed to save anyone!”
As Tobias swung at her, Rii’A began to spy his movements, she knew how he was going to move and where he was going to strike before he would land his hit. She had been studying on Jedi sword techniques, and knew just what he was doing.
Rushing in, Rii’A caught his arms, they were locked now. A tie, both swords pointed at each other.”Tobias… I am so sorry you had your dreams crushed so cruely. But you’re wrong.” She looked him in the eyes.”Heroes are real, they accept the burdens no one can bear, they press on in the face of adversity, and they are willing to make sacrifices of themselves for the good of those they are sworn to protect.”
Rii’A took hold of his hands, causing him to let go of his stun saber. She dropped hers to. She lowered his hands down, she cupped them in both her gauntlet covered hands and continued to stare at him. It was almost as if through his stories, Rii’A had met the real Tobias Flynn. She realized her words had struck a chord with him, that he truly believed the same things she believed. “You see Tobias, you already were a hero, you just never realized it.”
Despite who he was, or who he still was, the fact remained, the man Tobias used to be was hurt, he wasn’t gone thought, he was still there, in the depths of Tobias’ fractured psyche. Tobias blinked, his face growing read as he felt her hold his hands.”… you’re so beautiful.” He said, almost astonished.
Rii’A blinked, then let go of his hands, stepping back.”Excuse me?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, I…” Tobias stammered, scratching his head again and looking away, embarrassed.
“No one has ever called me that before.” Rii’A interrupted him, a blush on her face, but at the same time, her lips had curled in a smile.
She rubbed the side of her head.”Thank you Tobias…”