Rising of the Sun
A Tale of Elevation by Zoso Quinn
The silence of the early morning was further muted by the soft dew that clung to everything in sight and the dense fog that surrounded them. It was unseasonably warm at Fort Pernicar, but the two who stood in the arena above the expansive Fort paid it no mind as the two exchanged blows. The golden Agent lashed her fists and feet out in an assault against the younger, smaller Kid. The boy was spry, but the highly trained warrior paid it no heed as she roughly rammed her palm into his chest, sending the boy flying. Gui had tried to move to block the strike, but his reflexes were too slow compared to the Lieutenant Colonel who had requested to train him. His former Master, Rin, had found the Mirialan in one of the local cantinas and asked he be looked after. The boy’s father had made a similar request, but Zoso was content to watch from afar. He was surrounded by Jedi who cared for him and trained him.
Zoso was highly trained, but when it came to matters of the Force, she was only vaguely aware of the mysticism and abilities of the thing. The Kid showed high levels of promise, but he had trouble focusing, which bothered the older woman quite a bit. She looked down at the boy, who had continued to lay on the ground, gasping for breath after the blow had expelled every trace from his lungs.
“Get up,” the woman said coldly. “You will never be able to stand against others until you learn to use everything at your disposal. You have abilities that set you apart from the common soldier like me. Use them and stop being a child. Your enemies will not be so caring.”
The Kiffar struggled to his feet, his eyes glinted in the predawn light. He held his hand out and called the training saber to his palm, igniting the soft citrine blade as soon as contact was made. The taller woman grinned almost viciously as she noted the blade was in fact one of the training sabers. She darted in towards the boy impossibly fast, a movement which had forced the smaller combatant to leap backwards to narrowly avoid the kick that would have broken his jaw. He noted the small pause between her action and the recovery to face him again and surged forward on swift feet to lash out at the woman’s back.
The blade hissed through the air as the fog parted around the citrine energy, alerting the woman to the attack. She spun around quickly, feeling the training weapon draw a thin line across the middle of her back. Her decision to wear less clothing for this training session would haunt her in the morning, but the impromptu battle was far from over. Zoso lifted her hand with a single fluid motion that tied into her spun and struck the boy across the face with a devastating backhanded slap. Tears instantly flooded Gui’s vision from the blow, spinning him away from the older woman. The boy’s strike was well timed and if Quinn had not been alerted the the incoming blow, she would have more than a welt across her back in the morning. The training weapons, while dialed down to prevent untimely deaths, still hurt like hell and she was not looking forward to it if he managed to land a solid blow.
Gui looked up at the woman, blinking away the tears. “That isn’t far!” the boy huffed as he raised his blade again.
Zoso relaxed her stance only slightly and peered at him. “Do you think I should have been more fair and fell to the ground admitting defeat? Do you think that a Sith would give in so easily?”
The woman’s word echoed through the stillness and the boy shook his head. “But, you wouldn’t be so far if this was a real lightsaber,” he accused her.
The woman laughed softly and shook her head. “Perhaps no…”
Her response was cut off quickly as the boy took advantage of her clearly relaxed state. He lashed out with his blade, forcing the woman back a step before grasping the Force and sending it out in a burst at Quinn’s chest. The blow, unexpected and unseen, knocked the larger woman from her feet and onto the ground a few feet behind her. Gui moved with singular purpose and raised his blade to perform a final attack to end the match.
Quinn recovered quickly and watched the boy’s approach for a few moments before grabbing a small handful of loose dirt and threw it into the Padawan’s eyes. She rolled quickly out of the way and knocked his feet out from under him with a neat leg sweep. She maneuvered to her feet quickly as she finished her combat roll and brought her boot down harshly on the boy’s forearm, pinning it to the ground. Her other foot kicked the weapon from his grasp and looked down at him.
“You have grown quickly other the last few months, boy,” the golden giantess said softly, her voice just as soft in the fog. “You have much to learn, but that is enough for today. Go get cleaned up and meet me back up here.”
Gui nodded as he felt the pressure of her boot leave his arm. He called his training weapon to him and stood slowly, feeling the ache from a dozen blows already seeping into his bones. The older Mirialan stood there, watching him expectantly. He gave a quick salute and then ran off to follow her directions.
As the boy left the arena and entered the upper entrance to the fort, a soft chuckle came ghosting through the fog. “You are so hard on the boy, Quinn.”
The Mirialan turned and looked at the old man who approached her on steady, soft feet. The Sergeant and former Commander of the Knights of Allusis, Liam Torun, stood there before her with a smile on his old, weather-worn features. Zoso shrugged at him and shook her head.
“It is my job to test him, Master Torun. He shows great promise, but he holds himself back. He does not seem to want what it takes to defend those around him. When the enemy gives the final examination, I fear that we will lose the boy.” the woman replied sadly.
The old man laughed softly and shrugged himself. “Only time will tell, Colonel. I think before long, he will surprise all of us. Do you think he is ready, Zoso?”
Zoso nodded once, looking into the blind eyes of her friend. “I do, Liam. I think he is ready to put away the toys and finally join his brothers in arms.”
Several hours later, Quinn was cleaned and attired in her dress uniform. The deep colors of her outfit were broken only by the silver insignia that established her rank among the soldiers of the Kotahitanga-Unity Defense Force. She stood near the center of the arena and waited for her student to arrive. She was flanked by Tistito Kingang, the Knight-Commander of Allusis, and Liam Torun. They stood somberly to either side of the aureate woman, clad in traditional Jedi robes. The arena was full and only one person was missing.
“Do you think I’ll have to retrieve him, Tisto?” the woman remarked with a certain amount of bemusement. “Only Gui would be late to his own ceremony.”
The Knight-Commander laughed softly and shook his head. “Did anyone tell him a time to be here?”
Quinn blinked and looked over her shoulder at the man and sighed. “No, I don’t think we did.”
As though the words summoned him, Padawan Gui Sol stepped through the entrance to the arena, his eyes wide as he saw the gathered members of the House and Clan surrounding the amphitheater. As one, the three older Knights turned and led the boy to the dias on the far side where five individuals sat pensively. Nathan Decarius, the youthful Warden and Quaestor of Hoth, Edgar Drachen, the mystical Aedile, sat to one side while A’lora Kituri was seated in the center with Turel Sorenn, grinning quite broadly, and the Vanguard Xantros to her other side.
A’lora scanned the audience for a moment and satisfied the participants were in place, called the assembly to order. “The council is assembled, Councilor Torun you may proceed.” The lavender-skinned Torgruta gestured toward the elderly Jedi.
The gray haired male stepped forward to address the Councilors seated at the dias. “My fellow Councilors, I submit Padawan Gui Sol for Knighthood. He has completed all his trials and stands ready to defend New Tython as a Knight.”
Gui’s heart swelled with pride as each of the Councilors in turn gave A’lora a nod of approval. The young Kiffar had yearned for this day for so long and that it was finally here felt nearly surreal. Reaching through the Force, he could sense the elation of Quinn, his normally reserved mentor. The young man’s thoughts were interrupted by the High Councilor addressing him.
“Padawan Sol, step forward.” The Kiffar compiled and A’lora continued. “This council finds you fit for elevation to the rank of Knight.”
The Councilors at the dias spoke the ancient words of the rite of Knighthood seamlessly as one through a combination of prior rehearsal and a bit of telepathy, “We are all Jedi. The Force speaks through us. Through our actions the Force proclaims itself and what is real. Today we are here to acknowledge what the Force has proclaimed.” A’lora concluded the rite by gesturing toward Liam.
The older man’s face beamed like a proud grandfather. “Kneel.” Once Gui had taken one knee he ignited his emerald blade. Liam methodically motioned the blazing saber down to Gui’s right shoulder without making contact. “By the right of the council,” He moved his saber to the Kiffar’s left shoulder. “By the will of the Force,” Liam moved the saber back to Gui’s right shoulder. “I dub you Jedi, Knight of Clan Odan-Urr.” The old Consular punctuated the last part of the rite by raising his saber. “Stand and be recognized, Jedi Knight Gui Sol.”
The entire arena erupted into a hearty applause as the Clan’s newest Knight rose to receive recognition from his peers. Quinn approached her ward and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Your father would have been proud.” Overcome with emotion, Gui threw his arms around the Mirialan officer in a very public display of affection. She awkwardly patted him on the back with a pleading look of desperation on her face. Quinn offered no real resistance, the kid had earned this moment.