The orders had been quite clear. The Hive had been tended to. The appropriate measures had been taken. All things had been efficient. His work had been continuing on with little issue since he had housed the hive here. He had gained access to resources and means to grow the hive. The “master” had yet to prove a threat. His summons had brought him here.
He pressed his hand against the panel which hung beside the dark, metal door. Darkness greeted him. Unease seized the Verpine Techweaver. He had expected to be greeted by his master or his Battle Team Leader. Instead, he could hear scarcely anything over the ambient sound of a ventilation unit working.
“Enter.” The word, spoken in the back of the alien’s head, was without compromise. It was simple, direct and backed up with a sensation of gravity and authority. He paused for a moment, mind racing along the lines of possibilities, alternative lines of code based on inputs he could not see being entered. He had thought that all was as intended, yet somewhere, deep in the recesses of his mind, the fear always lived.
The door slid open slowly, exposing the brutalist interior. Minimalist to a degree, the few bits of decoration were large and severe. Anguished and bowed, the stone faces looked to have been made to suffer since their removal from…well, wherever they were from. Antennae twitched, and the scent of sands danced along his mind. It didn’t surprise him to be flanked by those antiques.
“Step forward, Hunter.” The voice was deeper in his head than it was in his tympanal organs, the miniscule delay between the two causing a disconcerting echo. He took a few steps forward, watching the man turn and face him, a saber unsheathing itself at his waist and floating to his hand. Black eyes vanished behind the smoke and sparks as the Lion’s violet violence spilled from his hand in a salute.
The form of a blue Twi’lek, the barest hint a face visible from beneath a low-hanging hood, rose from a chair off from the side of the room. Throwing back her hood and drawing the eye of the Verpine Hunter, she revealed the familiar face of the Rollmaster. Turning slightly to address the whole of the room, she spoke.
“Hilgrif, you have proven yourself worthy of your rank through the various tests and missions you have been assigned in such a short time. More than that, you have pursued your own goals, all while keeping to the expectations of your master. Your accomplishments in the various venues of the larger Brotherhood, such as in the ranks of the Grand Master’s Royal Guard, have impressed us. Such efforts should not go unsung or unrewarded. Your progress has been wonderful, but after a time, the influence of a Rollmaster must pass to another. Your Master and Clan Consul will now speak.”
Bentre stood a bit taller as he addressed the Verpine Hunter. “I have always expected nothing less than the best from my students. This has driven some from my presence, driven some to push harder, and has even sometimes drawn others closer to myself and those I claim as my own. Today, we are reminded of a very simple truth. The future of this Clan, it does not lie with Consuls and Proconsuls. It does not lie with Rollmasters. It does not even lie with Quaestors and Aediles. Though many should try, and some shall fail, our future is in our Noviates and our Journeyman. They are the foundation upon which every every one of our number have risen up. Every member of the Clan Sadow once stood where you do now. Now, my student, please kneel.”
“Many will pass after where you stand now.” The voice of Ashia Kagan echoed out as Hilgrif took a knee. “There is but one thing left for you.”
Bentre strode forward, pulling the wrapped-hilt lightsaber at his side. “The trials and expectations of a Journeyman are quite clear. The path is there for those who want to pursue it. The path to your rank is not the means to and end, but rather the start of a whole new path. New opportunities will open up to you. You will see as you soar up to join your peers, that the galaxy is a lot larger than what you had previously assumed. After deliberation and testing, you have been found satisfactory.”
The sound of an igniting lightsaber echoed in the small room. Hilgrif looked up slightly to see his Master bringing the lightsaber blade down in a sharp swing. Rather than cut into the Verpine, it stopped to hover over his shoulder. “You have been tested the fires, and have not been found wanting. This day, you join others in your rightful place in our Clan and our Brotherhood. Arise, both in rank and station, as a Knight of Clan Naga Sadow. You have earned your place among our number.”
A series of igniting lightsabers could be heard. The room was bathed in a wash of cool blue, violet, red, white, and orange lights as the assembled members of the Clan and both House Summits rose their lit weapons in salute.
“May you continue your upward path to greater heights than even the Summit can imagine. Tonight, we celebrate the promise of a new Knight. May our future be ever brighter!” The room erupted with the sounds of celebration, of congratulations, and excitement.
That evening, they would gather with the rest of the Clan in one of the fighter bays. They would drink to the newest Knight. They would drink to the Clan. The drink would flow.