A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind
It was the end beautiful spring day when Taedron said to Aarik, “Let’s take a walk on the beach.” Aarik replied,” That sounds good” The two didn’t get as much quality time together as they needed, the walk would be nice Aarik thought. They walked down the beach holding hands, there was a nice breeze blowing and the two moons were starting to come out. They found a nice spot to sit, Taedron pulled Aarik in with his arm around him. “I had also read the story on the chip I gave you Aarik”, Taedron said. “I was worried it would affect you, but I think it really affected me more. I love you so much, I cannot bare the thought of losing you, that is why I think I am so protective.” Aarik replied, “You have been doing better Taedron, you seem less uptight when we are together in public and you don’t seem as over protective as you were before.” Taedron smelled Aarik’s hair and gently held Aarik’s face, “I have tried, it has been easy lately, you have been doing better yourself Aarik.”
Taedron looked into Aarik’s eyes, they were beautiful in the moonlight. “Will you marry me?” Aarik was shocked at Taedron’s question, his heart swelled and tears filled his eyes, “Yes, I will marry you.” Taedron held Aarik and they kissed long and passionately. Aarik thought and then asked, “What will the Jedi Council think?’ Taedron said, “I have thought about this a lot and have spoken to Master Melucian, he is wise and if he didn’t like his freedoms so much, would be on the council himself.” Aarik asked, “What did he say?” Taedron answered, “He said there have been married Jedi for as long as the Order has existed, however, it is rare. The hundred years or so after the victory over Palpatine’s Empire saw the most marriages amongst Jedi. It seems only more recently in the past three hundred years that the Jedi Order has returned to the more conservative ways of the Old Republic Jedi Order. However, he didn’t think there would be too much a problem except the fact that you are still a Padawan and still have to complete the Knight Trials.” Aarik considered this, it could be a problem, he was still far behind and Taedron was his Master yes, but was also a teacher full time at the Temple.
They both knew Aarik’s Padawan training was always been more of a happenstance here on Dantooine. “Well, if I need to be a Knight before we tell the Jedi Council of our intentions what do we do about that?”, Aarik asked. “Master Melucian and I discussed it at great length. We think sending you to The Jedi Temple on Coruscant would be the only way that you can get the training you need.” Aarik was a little upset, “Coruscant?” Taedron answered, “They can prepare you for your Knight Trials Aarik, much better than we can do here. They have special classes for each of the four primary trials, the Trial of Skill, the Trial of Flesh, the Trial of Courage, and the Trial of the Spirit. You must pass all four trials to be bestowed the rank of Jedi Knight.” Aarik looked at Taedron still unsure of his readiness, but Taedron wouldn’t have approached this if he didn’t believe he was ready. Aarik said, “I will go.” Taedron leaned in and kissed Aarik again. The two went inside, Taedron had received the analysis of the force crystal Aarik had been given by the ghost of the unknown Jedi. Aarik, “I have received the report on the Crystal.” Aarik walked over, “What does it say?” Taedron read the report and repeated the less scientific parts of the analysis back to Aarik. “The scientist calls it a Star Diamond, as it is a combination of elements left when the a very small star’s life ends and the remaining gravitational effect created a diamond at its core. This can only happen inside certain classes of stars and there are only a few of the diamonds in existence. The energy source inside has a resonating effect and the diamond is no longer radioactive, the stone is dated at approximately fifteen billion years old.” Aarik said, “Taedron what was a good synopsis of that scientific analysis. So I can use the crystal?” Taedron looked up and said, “Yes, look like it. So let’s go get it and you can come home and attune it.” The two went over to the Temple and got the crystal from its stasis chamber. Aarik was still impressed with the weight of the stone, he hoped it wouldn’t be too heavy for the lightsaber.
Aarik sat in a meditative stance and began to attune to crystal to himself by imbuing it with his force energy. The crystal began to glow a little more brightly than before, they grey glow was now more Magenta glow. He finished attuning the crystal and opened his lightsaber. The crystal he removed was first, Taedron had taken him to the Crystal Cave here on Dantooine to get it, and he would treasure it forever. Then Aarik took the new crystal and placed it in his saber. He stood up and he engaged his lightsaber. The blade color was of a beautiful pale magenta, Taedron entered the room, “Very nice Aarik.” The Taedron started breathing deeper through his nose and he walked up close to Aarik. He held Aarik in his arms and laid him down on the bed, breathing in the intoxicating scent his lover had released. “What thought ran through your mind that caused you to release it? It is affecting me as always.” Aarik answered, “It was thinking about going to Coruscant, being away from you. It worried me and I guess since you were here and it happened.” Taedron had an evil grin on his face and whispered, “Do it again.”
The next morning, Mrs. Hairon, Cook and COO-2180 were not happy about Aarik’s going to Coruscant. “You said he would not have to go to Coruscant for his Jedi training. Didn’t he Hambas?”, Mrs. Hairon asked, very perturbed. “Taedron you did say he wouldn’t have to go and now your saying he will be gone for how long?” Taedron sighed, running his finger through his hair frustrated with the whole situation, “I do not know, weeks maybe, months maybe. He is behind, it is my fault, for not being harder on him, for not keeping him up late when I was finished at the temple, for not working him harder. Now we all have to pay that price, he has to go and we have to let him.” Aarik walked into the kitchen. “Good morning all.” They all greeted him in unison. “Your up early this morning Aarik”, Cook said. Aarik replied, “I did not sleep well last night.” Mrs. Hairon said, “You were probably awake all night worrying about going to Coruscant. You will do fine Aarik, you will learn what you need to know, pass the trials and be back home just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “Yes, he is going to do great, a fine Padawan like that, they should be so lucky to have such bright and handsome young men in the Jedi Temple more often”, Cook said smiling at Aarik. Everyone helped carry the breakfast over to the temple. Aarik asked, “When do you think I will be going Taedron?” Taedron replied, “I sent an inquiry last night to the Jedi Council, I should hear back something today.”
Aarik and Taedron ate a table full of Knights as always, they rarely spoke to the Padawan. Whether it was because he was a mere Padawan at close to their age or because he was Taedron’s Padawan and they were scared they may say something to offend Taedron, who knows. But, today they were all about Aarik and his new lightsaber crystal. Finally Aarik was asked to light it up, he stood and the lightsaber blade glowed like it had at home. “I have to get me one of those!”, one of the Knights said. “You know it!”, another added.
After breakfast Aarik was laying on his bed thinking about the trip he was actually sick to his stomach now, he shouldn’t have eaten. His Master walked into the room and sat on the bed. “I got an answer from the Council. They need you there in two days.” Aarik sat up and began to cry. Taedron held his Padawan and lover, “Come now Aarik, you are far more than you think, yes you are a little behind, but I have faith in you and your abilities.” Since they had to be on Coruscant in two days, it required them to leave that very day. The two took Cook’s ship the Evasion, Aarik had never been to Coruscant, though he had seen holoimages of it and it was on the news every evening, it was far greater than they could portray. The Coruscant of 1000 ABY looked similar to the Coruscant of the past, although much greener. Tall skyscrapers still dominated the skyline, but huge sections of the city that had been destroyed in the Yuuzhen Vong war had been removed, especially the sections over the ancient sea beds, exposing the actual surface of the planet. The ancient seas had been filled with water and ecosystems created. Forests grew under the skywalks. Farm skyscrapers were built to provide food and clean the air. Aarik thought Coruscant was spectacular. There was a blue sky over Coruscant in the year 1000 ABY.
As the ship approached the Jedi Temple, Aarik thought the site unbelievable. The Jedi Temple was an imposing structure, an exact replica of the Old Republic Jedi Temple, however this Jedi temple was surrounded by large meditation gardens, smaller temples and monuments to the fallen Jedi from history. Taedron landed the ship and the two headed into the Temple. The two looked to be the perfect Master and Padawan as they walked through the temple. Many that saw them, thought what a good looking duo they were. Aarik was trying not to gawk at the sheer size of the temple. While Taedron was dreading bringing Aarik here more and more with each step. “Master Hairon, it is good to see you again”, A Jedi said to Taedron as the two came to a stop. “Master Hillik, this is my Padawan Aarik Kernis. Aarik this is Jedi Master Hillik.” The Padawan and the Jedi Master bowed to each other. “Its been a while since you have been to the temple hasn’t it Master Hairon?, Master Hillik asked. “Yes, quite a few years actually”, Taedron answered. “And how are things on Dantooine?” Taedron replied, “They are still going very well, the latest group of Knights are about to enter the last steps of their Guardian Training.” Master Hillik said, “Excellent.” Master Hillik then said, “Well, Kernis, this is the dormitory you will be staying in, your instructor will be meeting with you later on today. Now, if you will excuse me I have to get back to the council for a meeting.” Master Hillik left the dormitory room. “Great, I get to sleep in a room full people”, Aarik said. “Like I said, it will be over before you know it, you may actually not want to return home to me after being here a while. The temple may be to your liking”, Taedron said, trying to get Aarik to smile. There was nowhere to go for Taedron and Aarik to say their proper goodbyes. So they said their farewells the proper Jedi way with a bow. Aarik watched his Master leave, not knowing what was going to happen next.
Aarik was waiting in the dormitory when some of the other Padawans returned. “Hi, I am Jhori” said one, another said, “I am Variy” as they introduced themselves to Aarik. “I am Aarik”, he answered. “What are you here for Aarik?”, Variy asked, she was a blue Twi’lek. “I am here for the Knight Trial classes”, Aarik answered. “Congrats, you are about to become a Knight!”, Jhori exclaimed. “If everything goes well Aarik said to the two younger Padawans.” Aarik thought to himself, these are kids, I am too old to be here. Aarik met with his instructor Jedi Master Davn Husan, who explained to him that his age was not an issue and that the holocourses he would be taking should catch him up quickly. “You will find the training you will receive to be just as effective as if it were training in real life situations”, the Jedi Master said as he turned on the program and left the room. The courses were detailed interactions with hologram combatants, teachers and story tellers, they included riddle sessions, lightsaber combat, meditation, counseling and concentrated history focusing on ways to avoid the Dark Side. Over the course of weeks Aarik made friends and completed the entire four course program. It was time for his Knight Trials.
His Master had returned to Coruscant. “Master! Aarik yelled down the hall at Taedron as he approached” Taedron replied whispering, “Aarik, you look good, how has it been for you?” Aarik answered, “It has been good, I think I did well.” Taedron said, “So I hear. They sent word that you were a gifted Padawan and ready for the trials. But tell me, when they learned about your crystal, what did they say to you?” Aarik laughed, “Master Husan and one of the Jedi Council members dropped in on my lightsaber training and were impressed with the color of the blade. And when I told them the story of how I got the crystal, you would have thought them to be Padawans the way they acted , I had to tell the story twice. Then, I had to repeat it and show the lightsaber to the Jedi Council.” Aarik “They told me they scanned you while your lightsaber was off and then again when it was active. The Force was amplified by a factor of four when your saber was active. And after it was off, your base Force power was elevated above what is was before. They believe whatever the Star Diamond is, it’s the Crystal of choice for the future and they will be looking for more.” Taedron then started to smell Aarik, taking the pheromone in, “You have done it again and there is no where for me to hold you and breathe it in.” Aarik smiled, “Sorry.”
That day Aarik started his Knight trials, the first trial was the Trial of Skill, Aarik was pitted against a hologram of a Sith Lord named Darth Nihilus, the Sith was in a hooded black robe with a evil mask of red and white. Aarik took the Shii-Cho stance as the fight began, but quickly switched to a more refined Makashi Form, as Taedron watched he was very proud. The Sith attacked mercilessly, using forms that the Jedi do not teach, swipe after swipe Aarik parried, the went on the offensive. The magenta glow of the lightsaber sparked as it clashed against the bright red of the Sith’s. The Sith force threw Aarik around the room a few times, but the Padawan was able to recover and continued defending. Aarik channeled all the force within himself and for the first time held up his own hand and attempted a force throw. The Sith form flew across the room and was smashed against the wall, it did not get up. Aarik was surprised with himself and Taedron was shocked. The other Jedi observers were very pleased with Aarik’s trial, which he of course, passed.
The second trial would have been the Trial of the Flesh . The Jedi council considered that Aarik had passed the trial already while on Wayland a month earlier by surviving his wounds. The third trial would have been the Trial of Courage. The Jedi Council determined that Aarik’s return of the Heart of Dantooine to the Janta by entering the temple ruins and facing the ghost of the unnamed Jedi would count for the trial. The fourth and last trial was the Trial of the Spirit. Aarik had to confront his past that he did not remember. He was successful, he passed the trial. But the trial opened doors to things he would have come to grips with, his regained memories.
Aarik passed his Knight Trials and the Jedi Council bestowed upon him the title of Jedi Knight. The Council granted Taedron’s request for Aarik to be stationed back at the Jedi Temple on Dantooine. Taedron had been there for all four of the trials and was worried about him. Aarik was quiet most of the trip home, he now knew the name of the planet he was from, he remembers his family and the circumstances of his abduction. There were many things that he would have to deal with over time. It was a profound discovery, it seemed surreal to him. Taedron did not push the issue. He knew Aarik would be ready to talk about it soon. He would be there for him, they would go and rediscover who Aarik was together.