MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 5

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MOTF Book II: Ascension Chapter 5

Post by Emperordmb on Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:45 am

Shorya stared at the dark furred Wookiee in front of her, brandishing a crimson bladed training lightsaber. His name was Harvul, and he had once been the second greatest duelist in the entire Prime Academy- that is, until Dylan had defeated him in a sparing match two weeks earlier. Since then, Tormax and Fernin had both surpassed him as well, each defeating him in lightsaber combat about a week back. Now, it was Shorya’s turn to face him. She activated her own training lightsaber, staring coldly at the wookiee as her own blade ignited.

She turned her head and noticed Dylan among the crowd of Apprentices observing. She could see the hope in his eyes. He was rooting for her. She could feel his desire for her to win this duel rolling off of him through the Force. She sent a telepathic nudge back, letting him know his support was appreciated.

Her attention was snapped back to her opponent when he unleashed a booming guttural roar, lasting for about five seconds before it died down. The Wookiee glared at her, hatred in his eyes. He had gone from being the second best duelist in the Prime Academy to being the fifth best, and Shorya expected he did not wish to drop down another rank after so many recent defeats. She knew the other apprentices hated them, them being her, Dylan, Tormax and Fernin. They had risen to the top quickly, surpassing many of the Apprentices who had trained for their entire lives. The other Apprentices dismissed their success as being a result of an “unfair advantage” their Innamortan physiology gave them. Shorya wondered if it was really just denial, the other Apprentices refusing to accept that the Dark Side of the Force burned more fiercely in Shorya and her friends than it ever had in them.

Harvul flew at her in a wild fury, hacking his blade down at her in several overhanded chops. Shorya fell back, deflecting each of his blows to the side, albiet with difficulty. This wookiee was extraordinarily strong, and used Djem So to compliment that strength. Shorya herself was a practitioner of Niman, selecting it for its balanced blade work, the relative ease with which skill in it could be acquired and maintained, and for its versatility.

After the series of overhand chops, Harvul followed through with a sequence of vicious lunges and powerful slashes, driving Shorya into a retreat, blocking his blade sometimes, evading it other times. She could feel his animalistic rage boiling within him. His strikes began to pick up speed and intensity as he fueled himself with his own frustration, drawing upon his fury to feed his power. He growled as he hacked viciously away at Shorya’s defenses.

Unlike most opponents however, Shorya was an Innamortan, and while she may have not been as physically strong as Dylan, Fernin, or Tormax, she still possessed the physical strength not to crumble beneath Harvul’s devastating assault. Shorya countered with a mix of moves, some of which were tight blocks, others precise deflections of Harvul’s blade, others evasions, and others by forcing his blade aside with her own strength, depending on what the circumstances of each of his strikes called for. Shorya did not excel at fighting defensively, or utilizing precision moves, or twirling her body through the air to evade strikes, or even utilizing power blows to sweep attacks out of her way, but she knew how to apply each of these tactics when they best suited the moment, and that was how she was able, if only barely, to keep Harvul’s brutal assault at bay.

After deflecting his next sequence of power blows, Shorya countered with an offensive flurry of her own, striking back with a sequence of blows that were almost equally fast, powerful, and precise. It was not what would be described as overwhelming on any front, but it was still highly effective, forcing Harvul to resort to a few defensive maneuvers, and while he did not give any ground, now Shorya wasn’t forced to either. The two stayed relatively grounded as they exchanged blows, Shorya deflecting three powerful slashes at her chest, and Harvul deflecting a series of stabs and crosscuts aimed at various parts of his body.

Shorya jabbed the tip of her blade at Harvul’s face, but the Wookiee was quick to respond, sweeping it aside with his own a few inches in front of his left eye. Furious, Harvul roared and swung at Shorya with both his lightsaber and his left arm at the same time, closing the fingers on his left hand into a fist. Shorya was forced to toss her lightsaber from her right hand to her left, bringing it up to block Harvul’s crimson blade. As his left arm hooked towards her, Shorya bent her right elbow, and threw her arm to the side, her forearm held vertically, to catch Harvul’s furious swing before it struck her.

They stayed locked in that position for a couple of seconds before Shorya thrust her right leg out and stomp kicked the Wookiee in the stomach. For the first time in the entire duel, Harvul staggered back, frantically bringing his blade up to deflect a crosscut at his face. Harvul then responded with two more overhand blows, but these were not directed at Shorya’s body, they were aimed directly at her blade. Unused to fighting left handed, Shorya’s arm buckled under the force, her grip around the handle of her lightsaber slightly loosening. With one powerful horizontal slash, Harvul knocked Shorya’s lightsaber from her grasp, sending its hilt skittering across the floor.

Ducking underneath a wild swing from the Wookiee’s left arm, Shorya maneuvered her body around him until she was directly behind him. Before he could even turn, she leapt up on his back, wrapped her left arm around his neck, and extended her right arm over Harvul’s right shoulder, calling her weapon back to her hand with the Force. When her fingers closed around the smooth metalic handle, Shorya again activated the blade and pulled it towards her body, hoping to catch her opponent in the face with it. She was not so lucky however.

Harvul raised his blade just in time to catch Shorya’s, a handbreadth away from his eyes. Harvul staggered back as Shorya kept her left arm wrapped tightly around his neck, squeezing tightly in an attempt to choke the air out of her. Suddenly, Harvul leaned forward, then threw his body backwards while concordantly snapping his head back, slamming the back of his head into Shorya’s face with great force. Shorya’s grip on his neck weakened and she started to slip off of his body. Taking advantage of her lapse, Harvul spun around and slammed his left elbow into her chest, sending Shorya sprawling backwards.

Shorya rolled backwards with the momentum, coming back up on her feet just in time to meet Harvul’s next series of brutal overhand strikes. Still crouched slightly, Shorya deflected each of his blows to the side with tight efficient movements. Harvul then slashed his blade at her left side again while bringing his left arm back for a physical strike. Again, Shorya was forced to toss her training lightsaber to her left hand to block his blow, while she held out her right hand to block his sweeping hook. The only problem was, the sweeping hook never came.

Rather than swinging his left arm in a wide arc at Shorya’s right side, Harvul instead thrust his arm forward, catching Shorya in the neck. Shorya could feel the Wookiee’s fingers wrapping around her throat and tightening. The Wookiee squeezed harder, putting the full power of his hate behind the strength in his fingers. Shorya’s vision began to blur. She could feel her strength slowly ebbing away as she was unable to draw breath. It was then that she called upon the Force, using it to rejuvenate her tired muscles and asphyxiating body. Her vision quickly returned to normal as her eyes once again focused.

In a cold fury, Harvul pulled his left arm back towards his body, drawing Shorya within very close proximity to him. Their faces were but a few inches away from each other as Shorya stared into his dark, hate filled eyes. Harvul gave her neck one last hard squeeze and thrust his arm forward with all of his might, releasing her neck, and sending her flying. Shorya felt her body slam into the wall on the far side of the room as Harvul roared and charged at her.

Shorya raced forward to meet his charge, and the two exchanged offensive flurries, their strength, speed, and reflexes fueled by the power of their hatred for each other. Harvul held his weapon in both hands, hacking away at Shorya’s guard furiously with a devastating series of power blows. Shorya on the other hand, alternated between Niman’s offensive and defensive maneuvers, responding to each of Harvul’s strikes with whatever tactic would work best before counterattacking him with whatever type of strike was best suited to penetrate his defenses.

Harvul stepped back a few feat and altered his offensive strategy, removing his left hand from the hilt of his training lightsaber. He charged at Shorya again, this time swinging his lightsaber in a deadly sequence of power blows with his right hand, while swinging and punching at Shorya with his left hand. Shorya fell back under this new assault, desperately blocking his blade with her own, and barely evading his punches or blocking them with her free arm before they struck her.

Unexpectedly, Harvul took up his weapon in both hands again and brought his blade down hard against Shorya’s in an application of the Falling Avalanche strike as it was called, placing every ounce of his rage and power behind that blow. Shorya staggered back beneath the force of Harvul’s blow, bringing her blade back up to deflect his next sequence of attacks. Harvul once again removed his left hand from his training lightsaber hilt, taking advantage of Shorya being off balance by attacking with both lightsaber and physical strikes, hammering away at Shorya’s blade with his own while trying to punch her with his free hand.

Shorya blocked all of his lightsaber strikes and his first two punches, but the third struck her right in the shoulder, sending her staggering backwards into the wall. As Shorya tried to charge at Harvul again, her stomach met with his foot as he kicked her back, slamming her back into the wall. Shorya quickly threw up her blade to block Harvul’s next strike, which was an overhanded strike with both hands holding his training lightsaber in a reverse grip, his blade angled towards Shorya’s head. She threw her head to the side and blocked Harvul’s strike with her blade, but he continued to press. Shorya felt her body sliding against the wall to the left as Harvul’s blade pressed into hers, its tip sliding along the wall, sending a shower of sparks everywhere.

Shorya threw her body to the left and twisted out of the way of Harvul’s blade. Harvul’s left hand shot out, grabbing Shorya by the top of her head. With one powerful swing, Harvul lifted Shorya’s body into the air and hurled her over his head. Shorya felt her body strike the ground hard in the middle of the room, several meters away from where she and Harvul had been a second ago. Harvul was charging at her now his blade held in both hands as he raced towards her.

Shorya brought her blade up just in time to counter his next series of devastatingly powerful overhand chops. She could feel Harvul’s mind through the force. She could feel the hatred and fury swelling within him now more than ever as he levied blow after blow upon her defenses. Shorya once again fell back underneath the fury of his assault.

Suddenly, Harvul once again took his left hand off of his hilt and swung at Shorya with all of his fury. Shorya ducked under his blow, and realized that in his blinding rage, Harvul had overextended himself. Before Harvul could retract his arm, Shorya grabbed his left wrist with her free hand, and pressed the edge of her training lightsaber into his tricep with all of her strength. Harvul howled in fury as Shorya’s blade singed off his arm hair and burned his skin severely.

Ready to finish her opponent, Shorya pulled Harvul’s arm down, and slashed him across the neck with her training lightsaber. As Harvul fell backwards, Shorya released his wrist and extended her left palm. Calling upon her rage, she summoned the power of the Dark Side, and struck Harvul in the chest with a blast of Force energy, sending his body flying across the room as he toppled to the ground.

“Congratulations Shorya!” Darth Vashek cried out in astonishment. “Your skills with Niman are improving!”

Shorya could feel the astonishment of the other Apprentices. The momentum of the fight had been going against her for almost the entire duel, and she somehow managed to scrape a victory at the end. She caught sight of Dylan’s face in the crowd, and stared into her brown eyes. What she saw when her eyes met his was genuine happiness. He was very proud of the accomplishment she had just achieved.

“Yes… congratulations indeed,” A cold menacing voice spoke out from the far end of the room. Suddenly, an unsettling presence spread out across the entire room. An ominous chill raced down Shorya’s spine as the darkness emanating from the entrance to the room permeated every inch of her being.

Shorya and the other Apprentices turned to see Darth Odious, the Dark Lord of the Sith standing in the entrance to the room, clad in his usual midnight black robes over his dark gray armor plating. The short hair on his head was a dark gray, as if centuries of wielding the Dark Side had somehow sucked the life and color out of it. He had a short pointed beard of similar color surrounding his mouth. His eyes though, those continued to offset Shorya. One was blazing red with fury, the other glowing yellow with malice.

“My lord!” Darth Vashek said as he dropped to one knee and kneeled before the Dark Lord. The apprentices followed in suit, with Shorya herself deactivating her lightsaber, bringing her weapon arm across her chest, placing her weapon and right hand on her left shoulder, dropping to one knee, and bowing her head.

One apprentice however was too slow. An unfortunate male Twi’lek Apprentice with red skin was too slow in realizing what was going on. At an unspoken command from the Dark Lord, the Apprentice’s body was hoisted into the air by the power of the Dark Side as he screamed in terror. Darth Odious casually flicked one hand towards the Apprentice and a blast of purple lightning shot from his fingertips and struck the apprentice square in the chest. The other apprentice’s stared on in horror as the Apprentice’s screams died down, his body reduced to nothing but ash and dust.

Darth Vashek quickly turned his attention back to the Dark Lord. “What do we owe the pleasure of your visit my Lord?” he asked.

“I have… an announcement to make,” Darth Odious said coldly as he stepped into the room. At his sides were two armored figures brandishing force pikes. Shorya recognized them as members of the Dark Lord’s Guard. Based on what Shorya had heard, though these men could not touch the Force, they were more than a match for many of the Sith and Jedi Masters in the Galaxy. Whenever she or any of the other Apprentices passed by one, they made sure to pay attention to how they conducted themselves, fearful of evoking their wrath.

“Apprentices,” the Dark Lord began, his voice ominous and menacing. “You have trained long and hard, fighting and clawing your way over each other to claim prestige, identity, and above all… power!”

Shorya briefly glanced back at Harvul, seeing the Wookiee kneeling where he had fallen to Shorya’s power, clutching at the severe burn on the back of his left arm. He had indeed been an obstacle in Shorya’s way, and she had overcome him. Through her defeat of him, Shorya would indeed be regarded as the fifth best duelist at the Prime Academy. Through her victory over him, she had indeed gained prestige, status, and power.”

“But your time at the Prime Academy is coming to an end,” Odious continued. “You are no longer mere Apprentices. Each and every one of you is ready to become an Acolyte and join the ranks of the Sith. Over the next two days, you will construct your own lightsabers. On the third day is the Ceremony of Initiation. It is on that day that you will graduate from the Prime Academy, and become Sith Acolytes.”

Shorya couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She, Dylan, Fernin, and Tormax were going to be Acolytes!

“There is one more thing however…” Darth Odious added on. “At the Ceremony of Initiation, the two greatest, most powerful apprentices at this academy will do battle with each other, both brandishing the weapons they create within the next couple of days. And those Apprentices are… Gingus and… Dylan.”

Shorya turned to get a glimpse at Dylan’s face. It was beaming with pride and anticipation. Gingus’s face on the other hand was as cold and emotionless as ever, though she could feel his hatred through the Force.

“Good luck,” the Dark Lord said directly to Dylan and Gingus, though Shorya guessed he was not speaking sincerely. “I look forward to… enjoying your spectacle.”

With that statement, Darth Odious, Dark Lord of the Sith, turned around and exited the room, leaving several excited Apprentice’s behind him.

——————————————————————————

Arthur, Jaira, and Bado entered a rather spacious room in the Jedi Temple, to find Jaya, Setawin, and of course, Terro and Master Ilu waiting for them. The rest of their masters were there as well. The room was set up elaborately with nineteen candles spread out in a semicircle in front of Terro, who was sitting crosslegged on the floor, meditating. Atop each of the nineteen candles was a ball bearing.

“So Jaya,” Bado began as he, Arthur, and Jaira approached Jaya and Setawin. “Have you accepted the Hero of Umbara into your heart yet?”

“Oh shut up!” Jaya said, rolling her eyes.

Arthur and the other two Padawans laughed at that short little exchange before turning their attention towards Terro, who was in deep meditation in the center of the room. They were here to observe Terro attempting the first of Faalo’s cadences, a lightsaber training technique which required Terro to strike each of the 190 ball bearings without hitting any of the nineteen candles. After Terro struck down the first set of nineteen ball bearings, they would be replaced. And then again after the next nineteen were struck down. This process would be repeated ten times until all the ball bearings were used up.

Jedi Blademaster Amoye Ilu stepped towards the five Padawans and said, “We are ready to begin.”

Arthur nodded his head, confirming that he understood Master Ilu’s statement. He turned his head to Terro, who was still meditating cross legged on the floor. He knew how long Terro had been training for this day, and he hoped with all his heart that his friend would succeed. Come on Terro! You can do it! Arthur thought to himself, as he reached out to Terro through the Force. He could feel Terro’s fears, and they were a heavy burden now weighing down upon him as they weighed down upon Terro. Shrugging that aside, Arthur reached out to Terro instinctively, projecting his feelings of hope and compassion in a comforting wave. He was filled with anticipation, wondering if one of his best friends would manage to accomplish such an impressive task.

——————————————————————————

Terro sat crosslegged on the floor in the middle of a large training room, meditating in preparation for the trial he was now faced with. In this very room in a few minutes, he would be expected to perform the first of Faalo’s cadences. He was only vaguely aware of the Jedi Masters setting up the candles around him as he meditated, his mind submerged in the depths of the Force, looking to it for clarity, and guidance. Some serenity filled his mind, but it was hard to find total clarity with the task looming ahead of him being as imposing as it was.

There is no emotion, there is peace Terro repeated again and again in his head, hoping it would bring him clarity of mind. “We are ready to begin,” Terro heard from the edge of the room. He would’ve panicked on the spot had he not been in deep meditation. As it was, he was starting to get incredibly nervous, knowing his master would call him to his feet soon.

It was then that Terro felt a presence reach out to him, warm and invigorating. Come on Terro! You can do it a voice said in his mind. It was Arthur’s voice, and Terro could feel the compassion and hope Arthur had for him, just as he knew Arthur could feel the fear in his own mind. As Arthur’s compassion and hope rolled through him, all of his fears and doubts melted away. He felt a great power awaken within him and surge through him, it was the power of the Force, shining bright, surging from the very core of his being to meet the luminous Force energy Arthur was reaching to him through. As the two energies connected, Terro felt perfectly calm and perfectly serene. He could feel the power of the Light Side as he had never felt it before.

Then as suddenly as Arthur’s invigorating power had filled him, it then left, ebbing away as Arthur broke off the connection. Terro still felt something however, but it was not Arthur, it was his own power, his own strength. It was the wellspring of power Arthur had called to within him. It was beginning to wane as it receded back into the core of Terro’s being, but he would not let that happen. With a new sense of self confidence, Terro reached deep within himself, and held onto that feeling, that serenity, that confidence. He could once again feel the Force surging through him, invigorating him, empowering his body and clearing his mind. He was ready now.

“Rise,” Terro heard his master’s voice speak out. Terro took one last deep breath and opened his eyes, seeing his master, his friends, and their masters scattered across the room. Arthur stared into his eyes, and Terro stared back, meeting Arthur’s gaze with his own, expressing gratitude. He saw Jaira smile at him, so he smiled back confidently.

“Padawan Terro,” Master Ilu began. “Over the past few months, I have trained you in the art of Shii-Cho, the first form of lightsaber combat. Since then, you have increased your skill and mastery in this most basic of Forms, and you have successfully performed the sevinte cadence, your blade passing within an inch of my body, but never truly touching it. This is one final test. If you successfully perform the first of Faalo’s cadences, you will have demonstrated that you are ready for both a real lightsaber, and the more advanced forms of lightsaber combat.”

“Yes Master,” Terro said, his tone of voice calm and peaceful. “I am ready.”

“Remember,” Master Ilu added. “The Force is now and will always be your ally. Begin.”

Terro closed his eyes, took a deep breath, turned his body, and opened them, now facing a semicircle of nineteen candles, each with a silver ball bearing atop it. The Force is my ally, Terro thought to himself. Terro reached out with his senses, perceiving each of the candles and ball bearings as much in the Force as he was with his own eyes, perhaps even more so. Terro called upon the Force, feeling it fill his body, extending to him from the very ground itself. Terro called that energy to his body and mind, feeling it invigorate him.

Terro ignited the lightsaber in his hand, watching the green blade illuminate the room. This was no training lightsaber however. This was a real lightsaber, its blade at a high enough intensity to cut through most materials like a hot knife through butter. Terro stepped forward, and with a controlled horizontal sweep, he slashed his blade through the first ball bearing, incinerating it, and not leaving so much as a scratch on the candle itself.

Terro then drew another deep breath, inhaling and exhaling, before he took a step back. Turning his body to the left to face another ball bearing, he again stepped forward, and with another horizontal slash, sliced through the ball bearing on that candle too. Then, Terro slowly turned to the left, almost completely rotating his body 360 degrees, and when his eyes settled upon a ball bearing atop a candle further to the right than either of the two ball bearings he had struck already, Terro stepped forward. This time, instead of slashing the ball bearing horizontally, Terro stabbed the tip of his blade forward in a calm controlled motion, jabbing it through the center of the ball bearing, and once again, leaving the candle itself completely untouched.

Feeling increasingly confident in his own abilities, Terro turned to the right ten degrees, stepping forward and bringing his blade down horizontally upon the candle right next to the one he had just been facing. His blade cut straight through the top of the ball bearing, but slowed to a sudden stop just before it pierced the wax of the candle. Terro then turned to his left stepping towards a candle further left than any of the ones he had struck so far, and cut through its ball bearing as well in a perfect horizontal motion. If Terro had to guess, he would say it had been a little over a minute since he had begun the cadence. Five down, one hundred and eighty-five to go! Terro thought to himself.

Over the next three minutes, Terro struck down the remaining fourteen ball bearings before stepping back to what would have been the center of the arrangement of candles, had they formed a complete circle. Master Ilu stepped forward to replace each of the nineteen ball bearings that Terro had cut through. During this approximately two minute process, Terro held his lightsaber in a Shii-Cho opening stance, closed his eyes, and meditated, calling upon the Force to once again empower his body and sharpen his mind, preparing him for the next set of ball bearings. When Master Ilu had finished placing the ball bearings, Terro opened his eyes and continued the cadence, striking down ball bearing after ball bearing until, after four more minutes, they were all gone. Then, Master Ilu repeated the two minute process of replacing the ball bearings.

For the next forty-eight minutes, Terro and his master repeated this process again and again eight more times. Whenever Terro got tired, he simply called upon the Force to rejuvenate his body and mind. Whenever Terro grew doubtful, he thought back to his friends watching, hoping he would succeed. Whenever Terro was unsure of which ball bearing to strike next, he would listen to the will of the Force, letting it guide him to the next candle and ball bearing.

Finally, after an hour of performing the sequence, all 190 of the ball bearings had been used up. Terro watched as Amoye Ilu stepped forward to inspect each of the candles. The tops of all of them were slightly melted from being in such close proximity to a lightsaber blade that many times, but the wax had remained untouched by the blade itself. Not one of Terro’s strikes had pierced the waxy surface of the candle.

“It is done!” Amoye Ilu, blademaster of the Jedi announced as Terro deactivated his lightsaber blade. “You, Padawan Terro, have successfully performed the first of Faalo’s cadences.”

Terro could hardly believe what he was hearing. He had dreamed of and hoped for this moment for the past few months, visualizing it again and again in his mind. Now that he had actually done it, the moment felt unreal to him. Maybe now he could learn some of the other forms, such as Ataru, or Djem So, or maybe even-

Suddenly, Terro felt a pair of arms thrown around his body. As his mind snapped back into reality, he saw Jaira’s exceedingly happy face in front of him. She was beaming from ear to ear in happiness. “I knew you could do it!” she said as she tightened her embrace. Terro wrapped his own arms around her, returning her embrace as tears of joy rolled down his cheeks.

“Yeah, great job buddy!” he heard Arthur’s voice speak out. When Terro turned to face him, he realized that Arthur too was smiling brightly at him, his piercing emerald eyes twinkling with joy at Terro’s most recent accomplishment.

“Yeah!” Setawin squealed, delighted. “You’re just like the Hero of Umbara!”

“The Hero of Umbara?” Terro heard Master Ilu ask in an extremely stern tone of voice.

“Yeah,” Bado replied. “Haven’t you heard of him.”

Terro turned to face his master, and saw a look on his master’s face that he recognized all too well from months of training with him. It was the expression that crossed his face whenever he was displeased or irritated.

“As a mater of fact, I have Padawan Bado,” Master Ilu replied.

“You have?!” Bado replied in astonishment, his face turning to Jaya with a smug grin of self satisfaction on his face.

“Yes,” Master Ilu responded. “Every year, some group of Padawans comes up to me and asks me about the legendary, the fabled, the amazing Hero of Umbara! And every year, I have to tell those Padawans the cold hard truth. The Hero of Umbara… DOES NOT EXIST. He was some story made up by some of the older Padawans from back when I was a Padawan, and since then, it has been passed down from each generation of Padawans and Initiates to the next, each deceiving each other with this myth, this false legend. Does that answer your question Padawan Bado?”

Terro had absolutely no idea what was going on, but he saw that it was now Jaya who smirked at Bado, as the human boy turned his head away timidly. He also saw Arthur and Jaira laughing, and an almost deflated look on Setatwin’s face.

“Well, now that that’s been taken care of…” Grand Master Mongooku said stepping forwards. “I have some exciting news to share with all of you.”

Terro turned to the venerable Jedi and stared into his eyes, curious as to what he was going to say next. Terro had always appreciated the Grand Master’s wisdom and presence. It had been Master Mongooku who had welcomed him into the Jedi Order when he had nowhere else to go. When his brother had departed him to become a Sith, when the Sith tried desperately to induct him into their corrupt order. One of the Grand Master’s eyes was a peaceful blue, and the other a brilliant green. When he had first seen them, he found them to be a bit odd, but now he found them soothing and comforting, as almost all Jedi in the Order did.

“Throughout the course of your training, all six of you have demonstrated a fierce commitment to the Jedi Order, to peace, and to the will of the Force, and you have demonstrated remarkable devotion to your training, and the expansion of your knowledge,” the venerable Grand Master began. “I have talked it over with each of your masters, and, in light of all of your recent accomplishments, we all agree that it is time… for each of you to construct your first lightsaber.”

Terro could hardly believe what he was hearing, and as he glanced around the room, he saw looks of astonishment on each of the other Padawans. He then realized that his jaw had completely dropped, and immediately shut his mouth. He stared into the eyes of his master, and saw a smile cross the Echani Jedi’s face. Terro smiled back, happy beyond measure at how proud his master was of him.

“All twelve of us will be journeying to Ilum three days from now,” Master Mongooku continued. “So be sure to pack some warm clothing.”

Terro suddenly turned towards his friends and raced towards them, grinning widely as they all embraced in a group hug, joy and fulfillment crossing each of their faces. They were going to Ilum! They were going to construct their first lightsabers!

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