The sight of the Sunrider’s hangar was a familiar one to Elyon de Neverse. It was more than simple experience, having worked on the vessel before, but memories of conflicts long gone. The post-battle stench of energy discharges and explosions hovered in the air, clinging to the clothing of those that had escaped Arx. It was accompanied by the moans of the wounded, the bark of orders, and the occasional angry bellowing of someone or another. The milling crowds dominating the hangar were an eclectic mix of crewmen, marines, and civilians, each desperately trying to carry out their own goals. Most had gathered about the two makeshift field hospitals established across the area, working to ease the vessel’s already overburdened medical centre. Those running it had been left to contend with placating panicked families and healing those who could be saved.
Pausing in her work as she finished calling upon the Force to reknit a flesh wound on one man, Elyon stepped back, taking a breath, and suppressing a yawn. Memories of a hundred battlefields from across the Clone Wars had crossed through her mind, as she thought of the Outer Rim Sieges, of the aftermath of Jabiim, and the last days of the conflict on Kamino. She stood back from the medical bed, rubbing her eyes with the balls of her palms, and creating a slight gap in the thin layer of soot covering her skin.
“No one, I’m having someone else take over for the moment.”
She looked up in surprise at the interruption, and caught sight of the mismatched features of Ka Tarvitz watching her. A slight smile played upon his scarred face as he looked about the area. “I spoke to the medics, you’ve not had a chance to sit down since the fighting ended.”
Elyon bristled at the suggestion. What Tarvitz said wasn’t untrue, but it clashed against her instinctive drive to find and help others.
“But, Master, there are more people still in need of healing here, and others in need of help.”
“None of who will benefit from you collapsing from exhaustion,” Tarvitz said levelly. “Do you know how many you’ve healed since we got back?”
She didn’t answer immediately. Keeping count hadn’t been a priority in her work, just helping one case and then moving onto the next of their number the moment her work was done. In truth, most of the past several hours had devolved into a blur of activity, with faces and details merging into one another.
“Twenty?” she guessed.
“Fifty-two,” he answered. “At least according to those you worked with. Eleven of whom were in critical condition before you got to them. I can’t even count those who might have lost limbs if it weren’t for your work. Or those who might have tried something stupid if you hadn’t talked them down.”
She didn’t argue that last point. As residents of Arx, more than a few of those they had rescued had been devoted followers of the Brotherhood’s indoctrination. Most still remembered the words spread by the Inquisition, of the threat that the Jedi posed, of their decadence, and that New Tython’s fate had been a mercy killing to its populace. It had taken some effort to help accept that reality was very different from their propaganda, and to stop fighting those trying to help them. Her throat was still raw from dealing with one particularly ardent follower. One who had constantly accused her of attempting to brainwash his son as she healed a blaster wound.
“So what now, Master, do you want me to get a few hours’ sleep?”
“You certainly deserve it, but not yet,” he said, turning and gesturing for her to follow. “There’s something you need to be shown first.”
Tarvitz led his student through the Star Destroyer, leading away from the hangar and up toward its command towers. The two exchanged only a few words as they waited in the turbolift, reflecting on the battle’s end or distracted by the activity throughout the warship’s decks. On several occasions, they were forced to wait as technicians blocked off areas as they stripped away burned out electronics and hastily patched up the damage inflicted by the Collective fleet. Yet, before long, the two stood before the ship’s main briefing room.
“I wanted to do this properly,” Tarvitz said simply, thumbing the activation key to the door. “It’s long overdue and, quite frankly, I’d rather this was done right. Done as you know the Jedi. This is an end to our roles as Master and Apprentice.”
It took a moment for Tarvitz’s words to sink in, and Elyon looked up at him with a questioning look. He simply grinned in response. The large doors slid open. The room beyond was pitch black, save for what little was revealed by the light from the doorway behind them. Reaching out with the Force, Elyon sensed several minds waiting for them within. She cautiously walked forward, Tarvitz following some steps behind her. The doors slid closed once more, plunging the room into darkness. A scant few seconds passed before light returned to the area with the snap-hiss of multiple lightsabers. Their wielders stood in a circle about Elyon, banishing the darkness and illuminating the area about them, with each blade held in salute.
As Elyon’s eyes quickly adjusted to the technicolour sunburst, she quickly recognised the faces of each person surrounding her. Aura Ta’Var, V’yr Vorsa, Revak Kur, Yuki Suoh, Gui Sol, and with Tarvitz joining and finishing the circle. Heart pounding in her chest, Elyon quickly realised what this meant, and stepped towards Aura, dropping to one knee before the High Councillor.
“We are all Jedi. The Force speaks through us,” Aura began, repeating the ritualised words that Master Yoda and so many others had said across thousands of years. “Through our actions, the Force proclaims itself and what is real. Today we are here to acknowledge what the Force has proclaimed.”
She lowered her blade, the action mimicked by those around her.
“Elyon de Neverse, by the right of Clan Odan-Urr, by the will of the Force,” Her lightsaber rose and fell as she spoke, hovering above each of Elyon’s shoulders. The humming indigo blade passing around the edges of her vision. “I dub thee Jedi, Knight of Clan Odan-Urr.”
With a final flick of her wrist, Aura severed the Padawan’s braid, allowing it to fall to the floor. Elyon rose to her feet, grinning broadly. Knighthood at last. She thought of her former Master, now long dead, of the Jedi left behind, and the battlefields of the Clone Wars and this new era. That long, hard, road had come to an end. From this day forth it would be her first step on a far greater journey.