Draxion Durk - Knighting Fiction

Jedi Praxeum
Kiast
39 ABY

Draxion Durk paced his bedroom at the Jedi Praxeum anxiously, his newly constructed lightsaber dangling from his belt. The Twi’lek was ready to be a Knight already, ecstatic to finally be taking the vaunted Jedi Knight trials. His master believed he was ready and he was! Where is she already?, he thought impatiently. He checked his chrono and it already said 08:00. After about the 12th lap around the room, Drax finally felt the familiar presence of his master approaching his room. Saving herself the trouble, he jumped out of it in a rush, ready for whatever the masters had to toss at him.

“Master! I’m ready. Where are we going?” he asked.

Aura yawned and gave him a morning smile between sips of tea. “Morning, apprentice. We are going to get breakfast and then go to the testing grounds,” she replied as she led the way to the cafeteria.

“But I’m not hungry. Can we just start it now?”

“Have you eaten?”

“No. I’m too nervous.”

Aura sighed and led him to the cafe anyways, stopping at a display of crescent-shaped baked goods and grabbing a few for them. She forced her apprentice to sit down for a few minutes and passed him the plate of breakfast. “Eat and listen while I brief you on today’s trials. Then we will go there as quickly as possible.”

Draxion Durk sighed for a moment and brandished a pastry dramatically. Aura raised an eyebrow and the Twi’lek grew serious.

“Anyways, the first trials are the usual things I have been training you on. These include testing your skill, courage, spirit, flesh, and insight. You’ll have been told all about these already in classes and whether you’ve realized it or not, most of them have been tested already in our exercises.”

Drax stopped eating and whined, “Do I have to run?”

“This time there is a different test of stamina,’’ she said with a smile, “So no. Anyways, these include use of a lightsaber, use of the force, understanding the Jedi Code etc.”

“Then what?” he asked.

“A surprise. But it will be your final test and you’ll be glad I asked you to eat a little something. Are you ready to go?” said Aura.

“Yes!”

Fifteen minutes later, Draxion Durk stood near a familiar circuit, in fact the very one his master had put him through when they first met, but it looked a lot more dangerous. He was about to make a comment but then the Jedi Masters administering the test stepped forward. “Padawans, today you begin your Jedi Knight trials. Pass these and you will face your final challenge. May the Force be with you.”

For the next two hours, the padawans each took turns going through the various trials with their masters rooting for them. First, there was the martial test. The Twi’lek smiled when he saw this and easily passed with flying colors in both the use of the vaapad and the bladed weapons they had nearby. Second, there was a test of the Force. Drax was less sure of the results here but he shined in Telekinesis, Mind Trick, and Illusion. Third, there was the test of the Jedi Code itself, which had thankfully been beating into him each time he had to join his master running around the Praxeum. And they went on and on until the last one was passed and Draxion Durk was still standing.

“Congratulations padawans, you have passed the first half of the test. Now rest. After lunch is your final challenge. May the Force be with you.”

Aura smiled and hugged her apprentice. “Congratulations!”

“Thanks,” said Drax sheepishly.

“You’ve made me so proud. You’ve got this.”

“Yeah. I feel good about it. What’s next?” asked the padawan.

“The test all Jedi Knights must face. The test of fear,” she said cryptically.

“Okay, what does that mean exactly?”

“It can’t be taught through words. It can only be taught through action. Meet me at the top of the west spire at noon and we’ll begin your final test. If you pass, a Knighting ceremony awaits you.”

“I’m not afraid. Should I be?” asked Drax with mild concern.

“I think you’ll pass it,” she said. “See you at noon. Eat well and be ready for action,” she said before she went off to get ready for the next phase.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re kidding me right?” asked Drax somewhat incredulously as he looked up at the natural rock wall that led up to the summit attached to the west spire. He wasn’t sure how tall it was but the top looked very far away.

“No. This is the final test. Didn’t the other students tell you about this?” asked Aura.

“I mean…yes but I thought they were just pulling my chain,” he replied.

“Definitely not. This is a test of how you handle fear. To pass it you must rely on the Force and not let fear cloud your mind. You’ve done the obstacle courses before. You should be fine,” the Zeltron reassured him.

“This is much higher! This is crazy. You can’t—”

Aura put a hand on his shoulder and released some calming energy through the Force. “Trust in the Force. I believe you are capable of doing it. I’ll be waiting at the top for you,” she said as she walked away.

Drax tried to call her back to no avail. He swore loudly, his voice reverberating off the rock. Fear was already starting to flood his mind. He had no climbing gear or a safety net. He only had the Force and that didn’t seem like enough right now. Looking back he wasn’t sure how long he paced but eventually he quieted down enough to meditate, hoping for some insight or vision. None came but he felt calmer at least. Taking a deep breath he finally approached the rock face for the first time. Examining the wall in front of him, he sighed a small breath of relief at the sight of drilled handholds. Maybe I won’t die, he thought to himself. He silently thanked his master for all the endurance she had put him through if it meant he got to live today.

The Twi’lek slowly climbed up to the summit, the handholds comfortably placed enough that the first half of the climb was starting to become tiring but not too scary. Don’t look down, he told himself over and over again. He breathed in and out, willing the Force to keep him calm. He started to notice on the second part of the climb that the handholds were getting further and further apart until eventually they were too far apart to reach by natural means. Drax looked upward and swore.

“How the frak am I supposed to get up there?” he asked himself.

His arms and legs were burning and he knew there was no good way down anymore. The Twi’lek accidentally took a look downward as his lekku moved with the breeze, distracting him. It was very far down indeed.

“OH SHIT,” he cried out. “I can’t do this,” he said as he started to cry. Images of promises made to his long gone dear friend replayed in his mind. He thought for a moment of just letting go but couldn’t. How long he stayed there unmoving on the rock he wasn’t sure but slowly a rage started to build. He was afraid and angry at himself for failing his friend and himself. His breathing slowed and he focused on the summit above him, a fierce determination in his eyes. I won’t fail no matter what. The padawan reached to the Force in anger, a singular will to conquer the summit. Drax tensed for a moment and then leapt upwards to the next hand hold and then the next, barely stopping to catch his breath. Finally he saw the ledge and pulled himself upwards one final time, landing on top of the plateau for a moment before his legs gave out and he collapsed and fell unceremoniously to the ground beneath him. I’m alive, he thought to himself in wonderment.

As the Twi’lek laid on the rock, his chest heaving from the climb and his use of rage, he finally realized that people were clapping for him. Some were even encouraging him onwards. Drax opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. His master was at the other end of the plateau, dressed in her usual jedi robes. On either side of her was a line of Jedi, dressed in their full Jedi attire. They included his fellow Jedi friends, the Jedi Masters, the Headmaster Gui Sol, and other fellow Odanites that were specially invited for this special day. Shocked that he had so many people rooting for him, Drax, still heaving, very slowly dragged himself back to his feet, the shock on his face visibly apparent. Aurora Ta’var smiled slightly, relieved he was still alive, and nodded her head. Come, apprentice. It’s time. The Twi’lek dragged one foot in front of the other, trying to ignore the stars in front of his vision that preceded fainting. After what felt like a thousand years, he was in front of his master. Everyone went silent.

“Apprentice, kneel and present your saber,” she said.

Drax, still heaving, gratefully fell into kneel and bowed his head in exhaustion, offering her his custom-made saber. It was lovingly crafted with wroshyr tree wood and a bit of krayt dragon bone. Aura took the saber and examined it, igniting its green blade for a moment and then shutting it off. Satisfied with its workmanship, she returned it to his side with the Force and then addressed him personally.

“When I first met you, I wondered what kind of Jedi you would become. The Force works in mysterious ways after all. Then as master and student we both found out together, whether it be through missions or the many many laps around the Praxeum.” A few soft chuckles escaped some of the students. “You never quit and worked hard. You had my back and I had yours, even if it meant a little extra snark. Always remember to fight your fear, the constant foe of all Jedi. Trust in the Force as an ally not just a tool. My friend, it is now my honor to recognize you as a fully trained Jedi Knight.”

Activating her blue lightsaber, she hovered it over his right shoulder.

“By the right of the Council,”

Aura moved her saber over to his left shoulder.

“By the will of the Force,”

The Zeltron moved the blue blade back over to his right.

“I dub thee Jedi, Knight of Odan-Urr.”

She flicked away her saber ceremoniously and turned it off.

“You may rise.”

Draxion Druk, now Jedi Knight, clipped his lightsaber to his belt and sat there for a bit, beaming with happiness despite his weariness. Aura smiled and helped her newly Knighted apprentice up to his feet. No more words were said but none were needed. They had the Force and each other.