Mestral slipped out of her clothing and into the robes for kareel-ifla
. Sandar was pacing before her; she could read the tension in his body. The news from the medical division must have been more upsetting than he'd initially let on. Of course, according to Sandar he'd been a-- she paused mind searching for the term. Ah yes, guinea pig for the last twenty years. He never had been to fond of the tests. "What is it, Sandar?"
Xander came to an abrupt halt. He tried to fall into the breathing patterns that had become second nature over the years. It wasn't working this time. This time traveling thing was so screwing up his life. The future wasn't all that bright as far as he was concerned. Space travel,and replicators were neat and all but if that was all the future had to offer he'd rather go back. Members of both the V.S.A. and the Tam'a leaders both believed it would take time to discern the temporal shift in his aura and find the rituals that would send him back home. "Healer Veran has said it's not Vulcan physiology keeping me from aging; he believes whatever happened to me when I fell through the portal has effectively made me immortal."
Mestral did not understand why that was a problem and said so.
"Immortal. Messie," said Xander. "No matter how good that sounds in theory in practice I'm pretty sure it sucks. I know I worried about dying before I could get home but this is just as bad in the opposite direction."
Mestral ignored the nickname as always; it had only taken her a year to learn it was futile to complain. "What is. Is, Sandar. Once again you must adapt as I know you can."
Xander sighed. After all these years, Mestral’s simple philosophy still irked the hell out of him. It was rare that she quoted lessons back at him though. "Let's just get on with it, Messie."
Mestral nodded falling into the first form of the ancient martial art.
Both participants ignored the growing crowd. They'd grown used to it after awhile. Most of the students at the V.D.A had gotten used to their sparing but occasionally some of the younger, newer students would drop in. Amazed at the skill the half-Vulcan showed, even after all this time he was still a curiosity.
Time seemed to slow as they moved through the rituals, an intricate dance they'd established long ago.
The names of the forms flowed through Xander's mind, much as his body flowed through the forms. K'a'sum'i, T'hy'vaj, Va'sumi.
The polite applause that followed as he and Mestral completed the Va'sumi was still gratifyingly. A particularly intricate practice between partners that even some of the more advanced students were awkward in.
Of course, eventually he was pinned. For a moment he lay on the mat trying to catch his breath, as Mestral gave the traditional bow to signal the end of their practice. He climbed to his feet with the usual grumble. "I can't believe I still can't pin you."
Mestral caught herself before she could roll her eyes. Sandar's influence was as great on her as her's was on him. "Sandar, your abilities are beyond adequate. I don't understand why you persist in disparaging them."
But then her friend had the odd tendency to downplay his abilities. While she believed in modesty, a good trait in any Vulcan, false modesty was unbecoming. Fortunately, it had become less frequent through the years. "Think back to your first practices Sandar; your improvement has surpassed many expectations."
Xander didn't answer, instead giving his own bow. He knew Mestral was right. Those first few lessons he hadn't even actually fought.~*~
Xander saw stars. Of course, that could be because there was no ceiling. But he was pretty sure it was because Mestral had knocked the living daylights out of him. He climbed to his feet with a groan and steadied himself. Mestral's eyes were still closed. "How'd you do that? I know you've got the ears and all but I didn't swing the bo staff until I was almost directly on you."
Mestral cocked her head to the side, that one brow lifted up. "It's not about knowing your enemy. It's about knowing yourself."
Xander bit back a groan. It was going to be one of those lessons.
He wasn't getting up this time, he decided. The stars as unfamiliar as they were, were still beautiful. Maybe he'd just lay here and practice his astronomy lessons. K'nal would appreciate the extra dedication to studying.
"It's not about power. It's about grace." Mestral leaned over the prostrate body of her student and friend. Sandar's technique was brutal and untrained. But there was great potential in the child. From their discussions she'd known he'd had contact with the e'shua world. It was a waste for his compatriots to have neglected his training.
Xander had no idea why he kept doing this to himself. Twenty lessons later and he was still kissing dirt. Or the training centers mat if you wanted to be technical about it.
"It's not about anger. It's about peace," Mestral enunciated slowly.
"If you want peace prepare for war," muttered Xander, taking the hand up.
"Interesting philosophy. Do you know its origins?" Mestral asked reassuming her form.
"The Punisher is where I first heard," explained Xander, falling into his own form. "But I know it's older than that. I think it's from 'The Art of War' some old Chinese proverb."
"Not far from Vulcan philosophy of old," said Mestral as she once again sent Xander flying. "But as you can see we've advanced past that."
"Yeah. Yeah," groaned Xander. "You haven't advanced that much past it, you're still kicking my ass."
"Actually, I have yet to kick anything," said Mestral, her face completely straight but in her own way teasing her friend. She knew her literal answers, still on occasion drove him 'batty'. "But I can if you wish."
"But I can if you wish," Xander snarked. With a mock growl he launched himself at her again. She spun him full circle then pinned him to the mat.
"You attack with all the wrong weapons," said Mestral releasing him,and sitting back. "You should attack with your mind. Though your body is in motion your mind must always be three steps ahead."
She settled onto the mat beside him, giving a quick pat to his hand. Knowing the contact would soothe her friend. It had been hard for him having to stifle his instinct to touch. As a compromise, she had begun training herself to allow more casual touching. "Sandar I teach you the subduing ways first. It is our philosophy now and while I understand your wish to learn the ancient ways there are no e'shua for you to battle here. You have time to learn."
Xander turned his head to her, "Time Mestral, we don't even know how long it's going to take to get me home. I might be old and grey before then."
"You exaggerate, Sandar," she said mildly. "You know the Healers believe you are ageing like a Vulcan. And you have exceeded expectations all ready, the Council had been estimating somewhere upward of seventy years before you'll reach adulthood. I believe it'll be much sooner than that. More like fifty, at most sixty."
Xander groaned, head dropping back onto the mat. Fifty years, she made it sound like a year or two. Sixty years was a human life time. "I don't care if I'm ageing like a Vulcan or a human. Fifty years is a long damn time."
Mestral nodded once. She could see his perspective. Still, "What is. Is, Sandar. Come, we begin again."
"You're right, Messie. I am good," said Xander with a grin. "Not as good as you, but I am good."
Mestral gave a brief nod, and they headed off to get ready for class.
(Translations:a martial arts technique, spirit, deadly asumi - mirror asumi - skillful asumi, demon)