Baleen-class Heavy Freighter Tanduran Queen
“The crystal is the heart of the blade.”
Ryan repeated the words in his head, for the eleventh time starting the whole incantation over. He knew it was the Master’s duty to speak the words out loud, and he knew his Master would honor tradition in doing so, but he was nervous. So nervous, he memorized the whole ceremony by heart, so that he wouldn’t mess it up.
“The heart is the crystal of the Jedi.”
He paced in a circle for what seemed like an eternity, looking down at his own lightsaber, a creation her himself brought to life — the final test of his Trials. And he had seen so many trials. So many tribulations. So much loss. His own accomplishments seemed to fade in comparison to all the death and suffering his Clan had suffered all too recently.
“The Jedi is the crystal of the Force.”
His feet scrambled and he froze in place as Xantros, his Rollmaster, walked into the small antechamber and startled the Padawan. Xantros wore his Councillor robes for this occasion. It was his duty to guide all Padawans through that door into a new life — a duty he bore with pride.
“You seem nervous, young Padawan.” Ryan gave him a weak smile in reply. “Not to worry, after this it gets worse.” The Duro chuckled as he sensed Ryan’s nervousness grow even more. But he centered himself, remembered his training, and firmly rooted himself in the floor. He absorbed the surrounding calm and remembered the words once more.
“The Force is the blade of the heart.”
His heartbeat slowed, his sweat dried off, his palms stopped quivering and he took that final step, Xantros’ hand guiding him all the way. Bright lights and too many eyes fell on Ryan’s bewildered expression. He saw all his brothers and sisters in the Force beaming with pride at his presence in the chamber. Korroth, Lu’aisha, Corvus, Mar, Raiju, Lambow, Liam, everyone else as well. Even Master Kadesh nodded in approval as the Padawan passed him. One spot was ceremoniously reserved for A’lora Kituri, now far afield on other missions.
At the end of the row stood his Proconsul, Turel — a fellow, a student of the same Master — and finally Vorsa, sitting in her floating chair, covered in a traditional cloak. She smiled and beckoned him forward as Xantros took his place next to Turel.
Ryan walked over to his master and bent the knee, in what was viewed as a traditional gesture of respect in this occasion. Vorsa looked him over and her gaze passed to his lightsaber, held tightly in his left hand.
“All are intertwined. The crystal, the blade, the Jedi. You are one,” Vorsa spoke out silently, so that only Ryan could hear her. He raised his head, surprised that she knew, but it became clear that she was repeating the words as well. She was just as nervous, but also proud. Mentoring an apprentice to Knighthood was not something Vorsa took lightly.
The Neti stood up slowly, her levitating chair wobbling in place as her weight was lifted. Turel instinctively reached out to help her, though she raised her hand to stop him. She would see her apprentice rise on her feet, not sitting down. She extended her fingers towards Ryan’s lightsaber and softly tugged on it until the Padawan let go. It flew neatly into her hand and ignited with sapphire glow. On her cue all the Jedi in the room ignited their own blades, holding them upright and at the ready.
“A fine weapon,” she spoke, more to herself than anyone else, as she twirled the blade and lowered it just above Ryan’s right shoulder. “Ryan Neale. Throughout your trials you have proven again and again the fortitude of will that all Jedi must show. From adverse beginnings you have decided on the right path and have stayed true, despite the temptation.” she raised the blade above Ryan’s left shoulder, it’s humm reverberating in his ear. “You have suffered injury, pain, and trepidation, and you have won against all of them.” She lifted the lightsaber over his right shoulder again. “By the right of the Council, the will of the Force, and the pride of a very grateful Master, I dub thee Jedi Knight of Odan-Urr. Rise.”
Ryan stood and smiled at his Master as she disengaged her lightsaber and passed it to him for the last time, bowing as she did so. Cheer and clapping echoed through the observation deck and friends joined them to congratulate and applaud the newly ascended Knight. His new life was only beginning.