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Thread: Shadows of the Republic: The Younglings

  1. #1
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    Shadows of the Republic Open Shadows of the Republic: The Younglings

    Deep in the jungles of Onderon, surrounded by the smokeless fires of the almost primitive Mandalorians that she commanded, Lilaena De'Ville carefully unbuckled her armour, setting each piece aside carefully. Outside her dwelling her apprentice slept on the ground, punishment for failing to obey a simple order from Granoi, one of De'Ville's bodyguards.

    She had entrusted the physical aspect of Akasha Khan's training to the fierce Mandalorians, and so far the young Orryxian was choosing to learn the hard way. She took to the sparring lessons well, but simple chores like fetching water caused her to turn up her little nose. Not for long, though. Granoi enjoyed administering Akasha's beatings.

    It seemed so long ago when Lilaena had been but a learner herself.

    So long... long ago.

    Lilaena dipped a cloth in a bucket of warm water and began to wash her skin, preparing for bed.
    Last edited by Lilaena De'Ville; Feb 18th, 2010 at 12:53:45 PM.

    oh what a tangled web I weave

  2. #2
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    Lilaena's Avatar
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    Manticore Clan was in an uproar.

    "Younglings!" Master Frr'nn clapped his hands, and abruptly the noise stopped, the children settling down on the floor and folding their hands in their laps.

    Lilaena kept her mouth closed, but stuck her tongue in the gap between her teeth where one of her front teeth was missing. She looked alertly at Master Frr'nn, admiring the Zabrak's horns not for the first time.

    "I have a very important announcement. Many Jedi are looking for new Padawans, and the Order is holding an initiate tournament." He looked over the younglings of Manticore Clan, a group of six and seven year old initiates.

    Lilaena looked around as well, wondering what a tournament was. It sounded like a cupboard, or something an adult would use in the kitchen. Perhaps it was a weapon, like a lightsaber! She forgot about her missing tooth in her exitement.

    "Manticore Clan is invited to take part, though generally you are all a little young for placement. But it will be a good time to stretch and learn, and practice with your training sabers." Master Frr'nn smiled, and clapped his hands again. "Right! Lets get up and practice with our remotes again. Lilaena, please get the training sabers with Graan."

    She ran over quickly with the little Rodian kid, opening the tournament and getting the sabers out. Hmm, that didn't sound quite right.
    Last edited by Lilaena; Mar 2nd, 2009 at 05:50:03 PM.

  3. #3
    Taman Danar
    The young woman was standing in the older one's office, and had been doing so for a while. Jocasta Nu's office was a thing of beauty to a historian like herself, its simple but numerous shelves holding all the treasures she had ever longed to have in her hands: Books. Real, take-in-your-hands-and-leaf-through-them books. Books that smelled of musty, oldfashioned paper, a substance long abandoned for the more reliable - but oh so unromantic - flimsiplast or digital media of her own times.

    Some of them were extremely old and told of fabulous tales of the beginnings of the Jedi order. It had always been a wish of hers to be allowed to take one of them down off its shelf and hold it - just hold it.

    But she knew she'd never get her wish. These books were Jedi books, and she was no Jedi. Jedi Exploration Corps, yes - but no Jedi. Most days she was content with that - had she not turned 18 recently and left the bitter realisation that she would never be a Padawan long behind her? - but sometimes some unrest, some discontent stirred within her chest, and usually it all began with the sight of these books.

    "You're doing it again, girl," a soft voice came from behind her.

    Taman turned around, flushing crimson with unsupressable guilt at her show of emotion. But Jocasta Nu, the Jedi librarian and her taskmaster whenever she was on assignment in the Temple, just smiled benevolently at her, and expelled the sudden tension with a gentle wave of her hand.

    Immediately Taman felt calmer, more relaxed. The presence of the books faded from her mind like fine mist in a breeze, and left nothing but the spark of her curiosity behind, which she'd felt initially upon her arrival. "You asked for me, Madame Nu?" she said, trying to keep it out of her voice.

    The white-haired librarian nodded, still with that slight smile which softened the sharp edges of her face and gave it an entirely different character. It made the old Jedi, otherwise known for her robust determination and aloofness, appear almost motherly. "I have a new task for you, girl."

    Taman's expression brightened further. She'd been without an assignment since the announcement of the Geonosis debacle, and no one seemed to know what to do with her. With every conversation centering on the subject of the new war started, and clone soldiers and federation droids, and ships and weapons she'd never heard of, a member of the exploration corps sorely stood out as being in the way and useless. She'd never liked to be amongst many others, but not having anyone to talk to was even affecting her. And not having anything to do just gave her time to think and mourn her ill luck.

    "Something to do with the war?" she asked, hoping it would inspite of her own dislike of it. She longed to be able to be of at least some small use to someone.

    To her surprise and discomfort the older woman dropped the smile in favor of a sober-eyed, disapproving glare. But then the Jedi's glare softened again, and she shook her head slightly. "I forgot how young you are, my dear. And how anxious to please. But don't be so keen on this war, girl, because it won't bring us any good."

    That sounded awfully cryptic to Taman, and she would have taken exception at being called anxious to please, but one did not speak up against Master Nu. So she clung to her self-control instead, hoping that the old Jedi would come to the point soon.

    Which the older woman did. "The Council has announced that this year's tournament held for the initiates will be moved up to be held in three days' time. Seeing that we need something to take the younglings' minds off the recent news, it has been opened to the younger ones, too."

    As Madame Nu paused for a breath, Taman watched her bewilderedly, wondering what this had to do with her. Her days of tournaments were far in the past.

    "The council has asked me to find the person able to organise and lead this tournament. I suggested you."

    Still Taman wondered. Was she going to be sent off to locate some Jedi and bring him back here to manage the tournament? It sounded like the most likely thing to do. There was probably no one else around who could be expendable just now to be sent on courier duty.

    "Who is it?" she asked, then - seeing that the older woman seemed surprised at this question and wondering if she had overstepped her position somehow, she continued into the silence: "Where'll I find him?"

    Of course she'd go. Even if this seemed a little bit of a strange task if she was forbidden to know the identity of the person she was being asked to bring back to Coruscant. How could one bring back someone whom one wasn't supposed to know?

    But Jocasta Nu, after a moment's confusion, had realised the error and was now looking at her in a way that made her insides feel queasy and weird and made all the little hairs on her arms stand up.

    "Don't be stupid, girl, it doesn't become you and we both know you're not. I chose you to hold the tournament. I suggest you go and acquaint yourself with your new responsibilities."

    Just like that. Taman stared at her with her mouth open, unable to grasp the impossible becoming true. Master Nu was pointing for her to sit at the desk - at this desk, the chief librarian's desk - and use the data she was now pulling up on her computer screen. This had to be a dream.

    Taman pinched her own arm. It hurt. It wasn't a dream.

    And then, with a silent cry of joy, she rushed forward - entirely un-Jedi like - and sat down on that nice tall-backed nerf-hide seat that usually was Master Nu's. The old Jedi looked down at her from her spot behind the chair, and patted her shoulder reassuringly.

    "You'll do well, Taman."

    It was the first time Taman had ever heard Master Nu call her something other than girl. It filled her already overbursting heart with love for the frail-looking elderly woman, and a tear escaped her. She made her a silent promise not to let her down.

    "Thank you, Master Nu."

    And the old Jedi gave her another gentle nod, another pat, then left the office.

    Taman exhaled a large, long breath, trying to bleed off her excitement with it. The attempt was very nearly successful, and she felt great about this, too. Then she set to, and let her fingers fly over the keys, calling up the logistics data of the temple and anything she could think of to make this a good tournament.

  4. #4
    Once the old librarian was well and truly out of sight, Barton slid out of his chair at one of the archives many study booths. He tucked a datapad under his arm the card almost lost in the sea of fabric that was his robes, which were undoubtedly hand-me-downs from a much older boy. He wandered to and lingered in the doorway of the office in which Taman sat, feeling the faintest awareness of the giddy excitement that bubbled beneath the surface of her calm exterior. She barely even noticed as he poked his head into the threshold, a hopeful little smile on his face.

    Did Madame Nu say there's going to be.. a tournament?

  5. #5
    Taman Danar
    "Hmmm... what?"

    She glanced up, not really having listened to what had been said. The kid at the doorstep wasn't known to her, but she guessed by his age and the eagerness on his face that he'd asked about the tournament.

    Well it wouldn't hurt to let them know. The masters in the training halls had probably already announced it to everyone else.

    "What's your name?"

    She was going to make certain she'd do this the way it should be done. Sure, the event had been opened to the smaller younglings even, and this kid didn't look like he belonged to them anymore, but if Madame Nu had decided to trust her with the organisation of this whole thing, she was going to do it right.

    She couldn't keep her own excitement all the way to herself, though, and after a second she added, with an almost wink at the boy: "You know, I've got to make sure I'm not telling the wrong people about this. I'm pretty sure you'll be in it..."

  6. #6
    Taking her answer as an invite, the boy edged further into Madame Nu's office, his dark eyes wandering irresistibly across all the contents of the room. After years of living within the temple compound, there were scarce few places within its grounds that he and the other young Jedi had not explored, so it was a real treat to see somewhere new.

    I'm Barton Henning, he answered, recalling some chastising comment about the dangers of misplaced curiosity. Instead he looked directly at the young woman occupying Jocasta Nu's seat. She didn't look like any of the Jedi Knight's or Master's, but there were a great many of them, and some had been away from Coruscant for so long... perhaps she had only just returned, from an assignment far into the Outer Rim Territories. With this idea putting light in his eyes and a small smile on his face, Barton paced closer to the librarian's desk.

    Who're you? Then, seconds later: Are you the tournament co-ordinator?

  7. #7
    Taman Danar
    Upon hearing the name, she eagerly returned her attention back to the viewscreen in front of her, and scrolled through the list of names on it. Such was her excitement that she didn't notice the tip of her tongue sneaking out to wet the left side of her upper lip again and again as her eyes skimmed the names - an unconscious habit she'd kept on since early childhood.

    Without heeding his question, she didn't answer until she'd found the name. Only then she looked up, a triumphant spark in her eyes.

    "Henning, Barton - there you are!"

    And to emphasize, she pointed her finger at exactly the spot the name had appeared in the list.

    "You're one of the older ones, it says - in line to be chosen as Padawan."

    She'd skimmed across the few lines of text attached to the name. For a moment, the nature of the words put a stop to her unnatural exuberance. A shadow fell over her face, threatening to quell her excitement.

    "You're lucky, you know..." she began, hesitating, then remembering her own luck, and the faith Jocasta Nu had shown in her, and the shadow passed.

    "I'm Taman Danar, Barton."

    She held out her hand past the viewscreen, in order to shake his.

    "I am in charge of the tournament." And just as the words left her mouth, she realised she knew that that had been his question. The Force was guiding her in this!

    With a giddy chuckle, she gave him a wink and added, "Better get on my good side then!"

  8. #8
    All around the temple, Jedi bowed in greeting to one another, but to use a handshake as a greeting seemed to be something of a rarity. The novelty of it made Barton smile as he squeezed Tamar's hand and decided that he liked her already, if only because she didn't talk or act with the formality that some of the temple's residence displayed. He also decided that Tamar didn't seem like someone who would object to his edging around Madame Nu's desk to get a better look at the computer screen.

    “What kind of stuff is going to happen in the tournament?”

  9. #9
    Taman Danar
    Noticing the boy's interest in her notes, she quickly blanked out the screen. With a laugh that was far too giddy to hide her own excitement, Taman waved him off.

    "Don't be such a nosy boy! You'll find out soon enough!"

    But a moment later, she sobered up. The boy's question had been a good one. It was up to her now to determine how to go about planning this. And the one thing - besides greater strength in the Force - that she lacked was experience. What she remembered from the - disastrous - one that she had attended herself was dreadfully limited to her own humiliation and failure - that had overshadowed the whole experience and made any further interest in it impossible. She'd not lasted more than 10 minutes in any test.

    Looking up at Barton for a moment, she pushed the memory back into the past where it belonged. Maybe there was something to be gained from his interest.

    "Tell me, Barton - what are you doing here in the library?"

  10. #10
    Hawkbat Clan had dispersed for their afternoon recess, and Serena was sitting in her tiny office, grading their reports on the ancient Sith War. As she read through another page of halting prose, she rubbed her eyes, then put down the datapad.

    Master Dremmel had told her she was ready. For the Trials. She would be summoned tomorrow. The Trials of Skill, Flesh, Courage, and of Spirit. She was so nervous and distracted that her thoughts were becoming disjointed.

    Closing her eyes Serena took a deep breath, held it, and then blew it out slowly. The papers could wait. The younglings were to be part of a tournament in a few days, and if she passed the Jedi Trials then she might well be choosing her first padawan. For now, she needed to meditate and clear her mind.

    Closing her eyes again, Serena folded her hands in her lap and slowly relaxed her shoulders and then her back. Breathe in... breathe out... She was the leaf on the river. The sap in the tree.

    The grass in the breeze.

    The loud knocking on the door.

    Serena frowned, and then relaxed her face and opened her eyes. "Come in," she said calmly.

  11. #11
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    A'na practically bounced into Serena's office. "I just heard. The Trials!" She tried to look solemn, and failed. "They must be hard up for Jedi in the war effort."

    Serena's face twisted wryly. "Ha, ha. And you, getting a padawan. At the Tournament?"

    "Yes, yes." A'na smiled. "The next generation needs to be trained. After Geonosis -" her voice cracked, and her red-haired friend looked concerned. A'na swallowed, taking a moment to hide her anger at the outcome of that first battle. "We need all the help we can get. Our numbers are much fewer."

    history will remember us for our action, or for our inaction

  12. #12
    The boy looked back at her, and blinked. He pulled the data-card from under his arm and held it up in both hands, so that the screen – now dim and idle – was facing Taman.


    Barton sat the pad down on Madame Nu's desk, though kept one hand on it at all times. His forehead wrinkled with a frown.

    “ you think the library has any files about tournament's from the past?”

  13. #13
    Taman Danar

    What was with the datapad? She wasn't going to snatch it away from him yet his behaviour suggested he was afraid of just that.

    His question made her grin, however, and forget his curious mannerism. Yes - Barton Henning was exactly the sort of youngling she could use now: fast thinking and asking all the right questions.

    "Tell me Barton - how would you like to help me find out?"

  14. #14
    “Yes!” Barton answered, without a second thought on the matter.

    Whilst the mystical whims of the Force were said to dictate a great deal of the changes in their lives, the Masters of the temple had always been keen to emphasise how very important preparation was. To be prepared – and by extension informed or educated – was what separated a good student from an excellent student, and perhaps even life from death. How better to prepare for the on-coming tournament than by studying the competitions of the past, and in-doing so perhaps even help the current co-ordinator - Taman herself - choose what the Padawans would be facing?

  15. #15
    There was a rule in the Jedi Order. They said that if a Youngling wasn't accepted as a Padawan by the time they reached thirteen, that was it. Like, totally it. They killed you, or something. Or maybe they just sent you to the Exploration Corps, or the Agri Corps, or something lame and boring like that. To be honest, Lka couldn't remember, but it sounded bad. And sure, it was still a few years before he reached the big one-three, but damn it -

    His hand clapped to his mouth in panic, frightened that one of the powerful Jedi Masters might suddenly appear to yell at him for even so much as thinking such a naughty word. He looked around him frantically, checking just in case there were any grown ups in earshot, or mindshot, or whatever word you were supposed to use to describe psychic spying range. There wasn't. He risked a sigh of relief. Then more panic ensued, as he slowly, cautiously crouched to peer underneath the caf table that graced the centre of the room. Fortunately, Master Yoda wasn't lurking there. His pounding heart slowed a few Hertz.

    He wasn't sure why he looked at the clock at that moment. He wasn't sure either why his eyes grew wide at the realisation of the time. It wasn't like he had to be anywhere. He didn't have classes, or anything like that. But if there was one thing that Lka was - aside from astoundingly cool, and pretty much awesome at everything - he was organised, to the point of obsession. Grown ups were organised like that: they had appointments, and schedules, and diaries and things. Lka knew that in order to impress a Knight or a Master enough to have them pick him as their Padawan, he'd have to demonstrate to them that he was capable of being mature and grown up like that. So he'd made himself a schedule.

    And if he didn't do something fast, he was going to be late for the library.

    His mind ran through his options. He knew he could walk to the library in about ten minutes; but he needed to be there in five. That meant going at least twice as fast, and he doubted they'd let him take a speeder down the hall. They wouldn't even let him drive a speeder around one of the open court yards because he was too young even though he'd make a totally awesome pilot and it was stupid that they wouldn't let him and that Anakin Skywalker Padawan guy had got to fly a starfighter and no one told him that he was too young and it wasn't fair.

    He took a deep breath. Fair or not, the speeder garage was too far away. That meant one thing. There were rules against running in the Temple; well, for the Younglings there were unfair rules like that. Which meant that Lka wouldn't just have to be fast. He'd have to be super-fast. So fast they couldn't catch him.

    * * *

    Hurtling down the corridor, boots tucked under his arm, Lka fought the urge to giggle with glee at the sensation of air rushing into his face, and the way his slightly too big robes wafted about his skinny frame. He reached a junction, but instead of the panic he'd felt earlier, this time he merely experienced elation.

    Jamming a mental spanner into the fast-pumping workings of his legs, his running came to a rapid halt, cotton-socked feet sliding out of control across the polished stone floor. He leaned, feet slipping sideways as he swerved around the corner. The wall came up on him fast: No problem! he thought, pushing out with the Force and slowing his collision velocity.

    He came to a halt just as his fingertips made contact with the wall; his lean turned into a crouch, another set of fingertips balancing him gently via contact with the floor. He grinned and, spying the open entranceway to the library in the difference, pounced into one final charge.

    It was about twenty seconds later when he comprehended the floor in his plan: an instant after he passed through those entrance doors themselves. The stone floor in the library was different; even more slick than out in the corridor. And unfortunately, the nearest wall was quite some distance away. Immediately before it was a long bank of workstations that dominated the central space: a bank of workstations at least partly occupied by Jedi, who he was about to plough headlong into. His legs ground to a halt but he continued to slide. back-pedalling furiously, he lost his balance. Pain errupted through him, but at least he slowed; by the time he reached the workstations, his collision was more of a bump than a crash.

    He looked up into the face of the person he would have otherwise bowled over, and flashed a sheepish smile. "Hi there?" he offered, bracing himself for a reprimand.

  16. #16
    Taman Danar
    His eagerness was endearing. She gave him a warm smile, then leaned over to scribble a short letter sequence onto a scrap of flimsi. This she handed to Barton, saying with a whisper that she was hoping would lend a bit of mystery to this whole thing: "You'll need my passcode to access the files. I know I can trust you, young Barton - find out what you can and report back to me at noon."


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