Sky Breach Base
Rin pinched the bridge of her nose gently, a massively unhelpful gesture to try and dull the throbbing inside her head. She knew better than to drink with both Aurora and Alethia, but she always found it such a good idea at the time and the three women always appeared to have a lot of fun. The Cathar definitely knew better especially when she had important places to be this early in the morning. Already not much of a morning person, Rin’s generally pleasant disposition was slowly being ground away by the thrum behind her eyes. The training saber hung from her waist as she stalked through the corridors to the trainee’s living area. He probably would have gotten better training staying closer to the Praxeum, but any history written down in books was expected to be flawed. Her own training had been oral since she had not yet learned to read when it was time for training. She had decided long before taking an apprentice that she would also teach the same way. Zanothi was only a few years younger than the Cathar and as such, she frequently treated him as a little brother.
She knocked lightly on the door and waited for it to open. The Mirialian opened it with a grin. He was, much to Rin’s dismay, more of a morning person than she was. He also appeared to have been waiting for her to come by for some time and stood completely prepared for the days lessons. The Cathar raised an eyebrow and shook her head, lightly patting the young man on the shoulder.
“Come on, little brother. We have a busy day ahead of us,” she said in her slight rolling accent. Even years of perfecting her mastery of Basic still left those alien traces.
Zanothi nodded quickly and exited the room as the door closed softly behind him. “Went out with the ladies again, Rin?”
Rin laughed with an almost pained sound. “You know I did. You even told me it was not the best of ideas.”
The Mirialian chuckled softly at her and shook his head. He fell in silently behind her as they headed for morning exercises. Excitement rolled off the younger Jedi in waves and Rin’s only real hope was that getting the blood pumping would ease the headache slightly. She had always been lackadaisical in training the young man, but his almost boyish enthusiasm to learn more things goaded her to be a bit more attentive than usual. In point of fact, he was part of the reason she chose to drink with Aurora most of the time. She also was never bothered very much by the Zeltron’s attempts to set her up on blind dates. Maybe after today she would have enough free time to go on some of them.
Rin stopped at the training rooms and motioned Zanothi inside. “It will be an easy day today.”
The Mirialian grinned impudently down at her. “It’s always an easy day with you. What makes today special?”
The Cathar shook her head and pointed to the center of the room. “Get stretching. Keep up the sass and it will not be so easy.”
Zanothi knew the woman well enough by now to understand it was not an idle threat, but a vicious promise. He still winced imperceptibly when he remembered the first and only time he pushed her retiring nature to the limit and she had sparred with him from sunrise to sunset for three days with books, lessons and running around the base to fill the hours in between. On the whole, he enjoyed Rin as a teacher and more often than not they sat around just talking to each other. She refused to be a hard taskmistress and preferred to lead him down avenues of insight and discovery. He had also come to enjoy the tasks that were around the farm she lived on and where most of the training took place. Rin sat on one of the benches lining the room and rested her head against the wall as he began to stretch.
“Hey, Rin?” the man asked slowly.
“What is it?” the Cathar said slowly as though she were only a few steps away from taking a nap.
“Are the other Cathar like you?” Zanothi asked in a quiet voice.
Rin focused amber eyes on the younger Jedi, her face almost sad. “I do not know. My only memories of other Cathar are from when I was just a cub myself. I was taken by slavers pretty early in my life and I have not seen any other Cathar since. I also doubt I ever will. There were not many of us in the village and it was nothing more than an abandoned ruin when I first got free.”
She shrugged as though to signal an end to that particular conversation and tilted her head slightly to the left as she listened to the message played softly through the earpiece she frequently wore. “After you are done stretching, you have been summoned by the High Councillor.”
The Mirialian missed a step moving from one stretch to the next and ended up seated on the floor. “The High Councillor? Why?”
The Cathar looked at him for a moment before closing her eyes again. “That’s her business. All I know is she wants to see you. I would suggest you shower and wear the good robes I had tailored for you. When summoned, always remember to look the best you can. Otherwise, they will not take you seriously.”
The minutes stretched out before the young man as he continued to stretch. Rin had taught him to face everything head on and on his feet. He could not quite emulate the Cathar’s tireless desire to face everything the universe could throw at her, but Zanothi could do worse than try. Apprehension and curiosity floated along the edge of his mind but was easily ignored as he finished the last stretches.
“Good. Now get cleaned up and meet me in the main hall. We are expected on Kiast.” Rin said slowly as she stood up and walked to the door. “If I beat you to the hall, I will have to inform Alethia that we will be late because you will be running around the base a few times.”
The Cathar stepped out of the training room and motioned to Zanothi who looked at her apprehensively for a moment and bolted down the hallways back to his quarters. Rin laughed and began a leisurely stride back to the office and quarters they had given her when she was promoted to Executor. Perhaps a nice hot shower would help with the headache.
Several hours later
Zanothi stood before the gathered people, each one a member of substance. Len Iode, Training Master of Odan-urr, stood at the foot of the dais in his crisp black uniform. The gathered Councillors of Urr stood upon the steps, Haran flanked by Rin to one side, Jael and Creon stood opposite of them. Other Councillors Zanothi knew also stood before him with solemn faces. Several of them stood off to the side as projections. Turel and Vorsa appeared beside each other, A’lora flickered in and out as though the connection was not particularly strong. Alethia and Aurora stood above the others at the highest part of the dais and after several long moments had passed, the High Councillor took a single step forward.
“We are here to witness the raising of this Padawan to the ranks of the Jedi Knights. Who here will stand as witness to his teachings?”
Rin turned her head toward Alethia and grinned impudently up at her. “I do, High Councillor.”
A heartbeat after, Len turned and looked up at the silver haired woman. “I too speak for this Padawan, High Councillor.”
Rin turned back to Zanothi and pointed a finger at him. “This man has completed every trial set before him with the character befitting of a Knight. He has shown his worth and fortitude to House and Clan and I welcome him as a brother. As his Master, I declare Zanothi Nightblade worthy of becoming a Jedi Knight.”
The Cathar was known for having a flair for the dramatic and Alethia sighed inwardly as Aura stood beside her trying not to grin. The whole affair WAS, after all, already decided, but Rin was never to leave things half done behind a closed door. The High Councillor looked gravely from Rin to the Apprentice before them. One heartbeat. Two. The cold, calculated voice of the High Councillor was not loud as she spoke, but the entire room could hear it.
“Is there any here who would gainsay the word of Councillor Kurai?”
The silence was almost deafening as each figure regarded the man before the platform. One by one, each member in attendance gave a nod of approval to the man. Alethia glided down the steps to stand before Zanothi. “Kneel, Padawan Nightblade.”
The Mirialian stared at the gathered Council before him for a moment and sank to one knee. Alethia looked back at Rin, who stepped forward and stood beside the High Councillor. The accented voice of the Cathar echoed in the chamber as she spoke.
“Padawan, do you take oath to uphold the values of the Jedi, to protect those in need and defend those who cannot defend themselves?”
“I so swear, Master.”
Rin looked around at the others for a moment before producing the lightsaber he had constructed and given to her before they left Daleem. She held it out to Alethia, “Here is a weapon fitting of a Jedi Knight, High Councillor. It is no longer fitting that he does not carry it.”
Alethia took a step to the side and glanced at the Cathar with a brief nod. Rin took the silver-haired woman’s place in front of Zanothi and unclipped one of the lightsabers from the belt around her waist. The unstable crimson blade sprang to life just over the Mirialian’s right shoulder.
“By the right of this Council,”
The blade arced over his head to rest just above his other shoulder.
“By the Will of the Force,”
The Cathar moved the blade back to his right shoulder.
“I name you Jedi, a Knight of Odan-Urr.”
The blade snapped back inside itself and was replaced on her belt as the Cathar grinned down at the man.
“Rise, Zanothi Nightblade, as a Knight of Clan Odan-Urr.”