The Mandalorian Wars

The Knighthood Ceremony

Under normal circumstances, the Padawan would enter a dark room, followed by their master. Then the room is lit by the lightsabers of ruling council members along with the former Padawan’s master as they circle around the anointee. The Grand Master gives a speech and then asks for the young knight to kneel in front before knighting them and cutting off their Padawan’s braid, symbolizing their time as a Padawan to be over. The new knight then stands and exits the chamber.

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Constructing a Blade

Lesson the first: The Force surrounds us.

I am not a smart kid, but a long time ago I realized that my life was never going to be normal. What do normal twelve-year-olds do with their time? I wasn’t on Gardarr long enough to know, I suppose, but Master Jakar tells me that my species develops a little faster than humans like Serena and Po. Maybe that’s why I feel so different from them. Serena’s cold and kind of bitchy – she’s mean to everyone and she never stops scowling or rolling her eyes. I’m surprised Master Jakar isn’t harder on her for all that, it’s not very Jedi, but I guess just like me and everyone else, he’s easier on her because she’s just so damn beautiful. I find myself looking more than I should. Not very Jedi of me, I know. Po’s nicer, though I think his dad might have been a rulebook. Either that or he swallowed one when he was a child and has been unable to get it out of his system. If I had a credit for every time I’ve heard him say ‘yes, sir,’ I’d be richer than the wealthiest Hutt on Nar Shaadar.

But, then, of course, I don’t think their distance from me is just because I’m biologically a little older than them. I can’t exactly blame them for that distance – no-one wants to be close to something as hideous as me, especially someone as beautiful as Serena. Gardari aren’t exactly pleasant creatures to look at the best of times – hairless, jet-white skin as coarse as sandpaper; blazing orange eyes; and grotesque octopi-like suckers across my forearms, my scalp and neck – but worse, after being abandoned in the middle of the great Frost Fields as an infant, and days of being alone out there, the frostbite got to me – my nose, one of my ears, a few of my fingers and a portion of my cheek, all ravaged and removed by the brutality of the endless cold. To add to all of my woes, Gardarr is oxygen-heavy and every other planet, including this one, feels like I’m having to gasp for air. My voice, damaged by frostbite and constantly desperate for air, comes out as a ruined whisper like a metal fork dragged across a porcelain plate. I can’t be fun to be around. Silent as a ghost – and when I finally have the courage to speak, people recoil from the sound. Of course, they keep their distance. Why wouldn’t they?

The Force surrounds us. It guides our actions, dictates them to an extent. So, is this what the Force intended for me? Pain? Loneliness? Was it always my destiny to be forgotten? The hideous, lesser padawan overshadowed by his peers fated to always be as alone as he was back in the great Frost Fields?

Lesson the second: The Force is infinite.

This lightsaber is tricky. We’re supposed to receive the crystals ourselves from a crystal cave in an ancient ritual, but the War’s made that tricky. Instead, we were given one by one of the masters here. He was handing them out and I watched his eyes almost glaze over me – I had to use all my strength to speak as loudly as I could for him to give me one. It was the last one in the group – jagged and irregular and difficult to fit within the casing.

To the left of me, Po is excelling – he is practicing with his gifts, floating parts of his partially constructed saber in front of him and plucking them out of the air to fit them together. His saber clicks together with ease – traditional in both form and structure, but solid and sturdy in its construction. He’s designing it to take hits and tolerate his great strength. Fitting. Master Jakar says a Jedi’s lightsaber is a reflection of himself… so Po’s makes sense. Strong, dependable, powerful, and traditional in its design. It looks quite like Master Jakar’s, even down to the color of the blade.

So, what will mine look like? How can I create a reflection of myself, when I don’t know who I am?

Po’s power is so elemental and clear. I’ve seen him levitate objects and absorb energy with his bare hands. His use of the Force is simple, but powerful and effective. I don’t think he feels it like I do though… I’m not sure Serena can either. I can feel it around me right now, like a curtain hanging over me, surrounding me, shrouding me. I think it’s protecting me, hiding me from prying eyes. Even now, as Serena, who is fiddling with her purple crystal to my right, looks over in my direction, as we are about to make eye contact, her eyes glaze over for half an instant and defocus and she looks right past me to congratulate Po on his completed saber.

The Force is infinite. Po can use tremendous things with it; Serena as well – I’ve seen her channel its power to move at impossible speeds. But, it has myriad forms and it is different for everyone… Perhaps this is the gift that the Force has given me – the gift to be ignored.

Lesson the third: I am one with the Force.

Serena chuckles to herself with a darkly manic grin before taking a chisel to her lightsaber crystal. She hammers down on the point at blinding speed. The crystal snaps cleanly in two… and she begins work anew, driven on by a fierce new inspiration. Within just a few short minutes, the final piece clicks into place. Two sabers! The shafts of each are raw and ragged, filled with sharp angles. They look flimsy at first, but she spins them in her hands and bashes them against the table to prove their worth. She ignites them both, and they fizz and crackle to life – not as smooth as Po’s simple, efficient blade, but still strong and bright – they fill the room with an eerie violet light.

Master Jakar moves to congratulate his other students. He smiles and claps them on the back, pride fills his eyes. I look at the pile of parts in front of me and sigh deeply. The Force clings closer to me – hiding me from view. I can feel its electric presence tugging at the suckers on my skin; they harden and close at its presence. Po looks back at me for a second, but that now-familiar faded look appears and he quickly turns back to the others, having looked directly at me, but with no acknowledgment or realization dawning across his face.

Silently, unnoticed by the others, I reach for the pile of parts, quickly stacking them together in a way that seems natural and fluid. The jagged irregular crystal is crumbling already – it requires no chisel to break apart, just a slight tug from both ends. The grips, the buttons, the sliders, all of the other features that other Jedi use I leave to one side… and I construct a simple, undecorated tube of pale metal – easily mistaken for a spare part or simple steel rod… and inside, I place my crystals, the lens, the other parts that make a lightsaber spring to life. Guided by the Force, its construction does not take long. Every move I make seems natural, pre-determined – like destiny.

My creation is finished. I push back the curtain with my will and, in my ruined voice, say “finished.” All eyes in the room turn to me – my Force cloak is gone and now I am suddenly noticed. My peers just stare, but Master Jakar walks over to me, examining the simple metal tube I am holding out to him.

“Show me the blade, padawan,” he says.

My movements are practiced and graceful, despite this being the first time I have performed them. I swing it around, snap it apart through an invisible seam in its center, and point both halves upwards. A push of the button ignites the blades – a burning, blazing orange; an inferno forced into the shape of a blade; the exact color of my eyes. I see their flawless light reflecting in Master Jakar’s proud eyes. He smiles at me.

I am one with the Force. The saber proves it – understated, easily dismissed, but hiding a fierce flame inside. My gift is not to be ignored – it is to be underestimated. I have been doing it to myself for far too long – questioning whether I belong here, but I do. I may be so often passed over in favor of my peers, but that is the observer’s loss – I stand equal with them, shoulder to shoulder. I may be so often forced into silence, but one day my voice will ring clear across the galaxy.

I am one with the Force. The Force is one with me. I swear I will never doubt that again.

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Training days 000

“In lightsaber fighting, the attack should always be a feint for the attack sinister.” – Master Dreksis

Master Teran Jakar waited patiently in one of the training rooms. While not normally his style of training exercise when he’d talked about this exercise with Master Dreksis he’d decided it would be good for his students. So, he’d placed each in a separate starting area with orders to get by the droid defenders and traps, and then fight him here.

His first student arrived barely after he’d sat down. Serena Gaunt was a beautiful girl, and he took a moment to admire her while she caught her breath. She’d probably avoided most of the defenders in her part of the complex by simply running through with an acrobatic display. Her violet lightsabers certainly added an air of exotic to her looks. They were finely built, long and vibrant, perfect for stabs, lunges, and wide arc attacks. She barely paused a second to make sure her peers hadn’t arrived then dashed at him with the raw speed only the users of Ataru and Juyo could muster.
Her style wasn’t pure Juyo but it was closer to that anarchic art than to any of the other classical forms. Master Jakar rapidly retreated under her onslaught. He didn’t bother attacking, just parrying her twin sabers. She was no blademaster… but she certainty qualified as good. On offense she was capable, creative, able to use the learned katas by rote but gifted enough to improvise when the tactical situation permitted. Between her natural grace and force enhanced speed she should have been truly terrifying to stop. But something was missing. It probably wasn’t even noticeable by those who weren’t trained in lightsaber combat but she simply lacked the raw strength required elevate her attack from good to top tier. Even one handing his saber he could easily parry her dervish attacks hard enough to stumble her footing. And her defense was probably the worst of any of his students. Her wide swings and violent lunges often left her unprotected from hard counterattacks.
Perhaps it was time for a pointed lesson in that regard. Two handing his blade Jakar halted his retreat and countered Serena’s double swing so hard that she was forced to twirl around to redirect the strength of his parry. He force kicked her back, sending her bouncing across the training area floor. Gathering his energy he force leapt after her, intending to stab the training saber down on her. He stifled a grimace. This attack would be painful, would be devastating even with just a training saber. Perhaps even requiring a stay in the medic wing. But now was the time for harsh lessons before she was out in the wider galaxy.
Or not. Saloman broke his obfuscate, emerging from nowhere to stand defiantly over his downed teammate. Jakar grinned. He’d been wondering where the Breen (I have no idea what your race is called seb.) had been hiding. Jakar crashed into Sal, who only barely held his ground against his master’s charge.
“You put a whole new meaning on the phrase ‘never turn your back on a Breen’.” Jakar joked as he flipped over Sal almost catching the quiet padawan by surprise. Jakar’s sapphire saber met Sal’s blazing orange in an almost painfully desperate parry by his student, who was clearly unprepared to be flanked at the start of an engagement.
“You can do better than that.” Jakar encouraged as he began an offense that quickly pushed his Breen student away from his downed compatriot. It would be unfair to call Sal a poor combatant… but he’d never particularly taken to the art of lightsaber combat, and graveyards were made to be filled by mediocre swordsmen. The boy was workmanlike, capable enough with basic katas, but he struggled against heavy offenses or unorthodox maneuvers and often seemed hesitant and uncertain when attacking a prepared defender. Even now it was clear that Saloman was using the force to increase his speed and strength but he simply wasn’t used to fighting at this pace, his brain lagging behind his body and his footwork just wasn’t keeping up with the rapid dance of the lightsabers.
Still. There was no need for a harsh lesson here. Sal knew his weaknesses, and had even built his twin sabers to help cover them. They were noticeably shorter than Serena’s blades and far better suited to twirls and other wrist maneuvers for close range defense work and parrying blaster bolts. Gathering the force Jakar halted his attack and fell back. A probing sweep of Sal’s blade gave Jakar the opening he needed, he did a lazy flip over the half-hearted attack, and flung his training saber into his student’s face.
“Crap!” Sal wheezed in surprise before stepping forward into the strike, the hilt knocked his head, cracking his faceplate and leaving him momentarily blinded. Jakar gave a nod. That had been surprisingly clever, while probably painful by stepping into the hilt Sal had prevented himself from taking a hit from the training blade which would have hurt like sodomy from a hutt and taken him out of the exercise.
Jakar summoned his blade back to his hand. Serena was just getting to her feet and Sal was desperately trying to rip his helmet off one handed while waving a lightsaber to fend him off with the other.
Po Ard dashed into the room. His robes dirty and damaged from the training robots in the first part of the room. Jakar smiled. “One student avoids the robot, one sneaks by it, and one fights his way through.”
“Am I late?” the boy asked, probably stalling for time for his teammates to get back in the fight.
Jakar laughed. “A true Jedi Master never deducts points for a last minute rescue, though your team probably wishes you were here a few moments earlier.” Jakar glanced around, his students were ready. Serena was on her feet and looking murderous. Her twin blades held point toward him, ready to lunge in an instant. Sal’s monstrous breen face was on full display, his eyes nearly as orange as his blades which he held downward, ready to raise in defense or lightly slash at his master’s legs. Po held his own sword in a guard across his body, ready to swing or parry in a moment.
They charged. Well, Po and Serena charged. Sal disappeared while he wasn’t looking. He probably shouldn’t let them surround him, but something about this spar made him nostalgic and he let them come. Po was technically the best of the three. He had powerful attacks and with his near mastery of fortitude he had the ability to absorb any lesser attack. His defense was workmanlike, but he over relied on his ability to simply shrug off anything less than an attack sinister.
Jakar weaved through the attacks of his apprentices. It was a good spar and showed all of their talents to the fullest. But all good things must come to an end. Jakar maneuvered rapidly using his celerity to twist around Po. For all his skills Po had one glaring weakness. A lack of true awareness on the battlefield. Po whirled, swinging a blind attack where he thought his master was, only to catch Serena. Had his blade been a true lightsaber he’d have cut her clean through. As it was she simply got a horrifying jolt and fell to the ground unconscious.
“Crap! Sorry Serena.” Po apologized. Jakar grinned.
“You gotta say it.” The master joked.
“Don’t you dare master.” Po snarled, “I hate that joke.”
“Hate is of the dark side.” Jakar said, “but it doesn’t matter, cause you-“
“Don’t say it!”
“Poked her hard!” Jakar said with a thrust of his hips.
“NNNNNOOOOO!” Po screamed, years of frustration at the endless childhood teasing he’d endured boiled over and his technique disappeared as the young man screamed madly. Jakar sidestepped his sloppy swing and gave him a gentle tap with the training saber, sending Po sprawling to the floor in electrical agony.
Of course his jest had a secondary effect. Saloman broke his obfuscate with a hacking laugh. His lightsabers shaking in mirth. Jakar easily pierced Saloman’s now shaking guard sending his last student down to the ground in an electric spasm of pain.
“Ah. I’m going to miss you guys when you all become knights.”

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Welcome, Knights of the Old Republic

Prelude to the Mandalorian Wars

The year is 3976 BBY. The Galactic Republic is a state of recovery following the Great Sith War that left many Outer Rim planets decimated and in desperate need of aid. The defeat of the ancient enemy of the Jedi has left their Order in a state of prosperity. Many Jedi take to the ravaged worlds to promote the good will of the Republic, unaware of the coming carnage.

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