Tull’s hands slammed into the durasteel flooring, pulling half the area in front of him up into a supplementary shield as blaster fire pounded around him and his friends. Wizard sat on the floor cross legged with his eyes closed, building energy. Tull put his own body in front of Wizard and the rest of his friends as blaster fire was traded back and forth. Tull’s body was repeatedly hammered by concussive force, burning his scales and body. He took wounds that would have felled lesser men, and kept standing, protecting his friends. Then Wizard’s eyes opened, and the enemy was gone.
- – -
The mountains of Alderaan were a place of peace and beauty. Never in Tull’s life had he been in such a place as the small mountain retreat the senator had lent to Wizard for training. From Barab I, to the slave pits, to the countless battles in space, Tull’s whole life had been pain, fear, and death. Finally, he had found what it meant to be at peace. To be safe.
The air was always crisp and cool with that smell of leaves, sun, and soil. Tull sat on the open ground covered by a canopy of great trees and meditated. Tull could not touch the force as Wizard could, but Wizard had taught him much of the Jedi and the force. All things in the Galaxy were connected by the force. Tull, Wizard, the trees, the stars, the earth, people, plants, creatures, friends, enemies, the good, the bad, all were surrounded, bonded, and pierced by the force. All were one among the force, so though Tull could not reach out and touch the force, he knew it reached out and touched him. Peace and serenity. These six months would become one of Tull’s fondest memories.
“Tull my dear friend, I believe it is time we practiced our blade work,” Wizard smiled as he stood over the meditating Barabel.
“You have more to show Tull?” he said opening his eyes and finding even siting down he did not have to look up far to see the standing Caamasi’s face.
“I believe you have more to show me my friend.”
- – -
Wizard had been sitting before the small fire pit for more than three days now in a state of meditation, focusing his will into what he called his Holocron. He did not eat, he did not sleep, he did not relieve himself, he did nothing but sit and meditate.
In the mornings Tull would run. He figured around the mountain was about 4 miles and usually did three revolutions before returning to the retreat. After, he would build his muscles, keep them strong, by pulling smaller trees from root and then replanting them elsewhere. He would hand stand and push his body up repeatedly with just his arms, focusing on remaining upright as he pushed his heavy form up and down in the air. Sometimes he would move the large boulders around the area, but often it would bring memories of his slavery in Dool Arena and he could not continue the exercise.
Tull would train with his lightsaber and saber claws as well, and always he would meditate throughout the day. Through it all – as the Barabel fortified his mind, body, and skills – Wizard sat and did not move. At night Tull would build a fire before the Jedi Master and make dinner enough for two, so that Wizard could eat if he were to awaken suddenly. More often than not Tull would eat both meals and still be hungry. That too was part of his training.
The night of the fifth day as Tull was just finishing the cooking Wizard opened his eyes, smiled, and said, “It is ready Tull, my Holocron can now be made.”
- – -
About two months after they had first come to the retreat a small speeder had arrived bearing four people, two men and two girls. Carson Man with Kelyn Captain and his daughters had come to train in the ways of the force, to find truth in questions only Wizard could answer.
Wizard would spend much time talking with them all over the next several weeks, teaching them to reach and touch the living force, to move small things at first and to feel the world around them. In this Tull was useless to help and in these moments of training Tull would often feel envy at his lack of force sensitivity. At these times Tull would meditate the hardest to push these thoughts away. Envy could lead to anger, which would lead to hate, which would take him into the arms of the Dark Side he had been trying to escape since meeting Wizard those many months ago. Tull would meditate and Wizard would teach.
The girls had been in the hands of Sith Inquisitors for a long time and their minds were a jumble of confusion and misbelief in the force. In this Tull could assist Wizard in leading the girls on the right path. The philosophy of the Jedi was something Tull knew and believed with all his heart, in this he could help the young humans just as well as Wizard.
However, Lightsaber training was where Tull really shown. Kelyn Captain was an adept blade already so he picked the lessons up quickly. Carson Man was a pacifist, so he learned only as much as he needed to not kill himself while using a lightsaber. The girls were a whole different animal. Willing to learn and already with a working knowledge of lightsaber forms. The girls fought with anger and passion, and Tull needed to teach them serenity in the middle of battle, no easy feat.
The girls would attack Tull with their training sabers, screaming passion, and as calm as anything Tull would sweep them off their feet or into one another. He didn’t need to use his size and strength, his speed and calm were enough to offset the redeemed girls trying at a higher calling. Over time they would calm themselves and fight with something close to peace.
As the group of force sensitives and Tull practiced dueling, patience, and the ways of the force Tull could see Wizard with an ever slight smile on his face, one Tull shared. This new Jedi Order would be nothing like the last, but they would be Jedi none the less.