“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.