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Saga - OT [DDC 2017]Teenage Rebellion--Updated 11/27/2017 (Mara/Ezra/Luke)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You made Luke mature in this chapter without too much drama, a lot of thinking and somebody trustworthy in this crucial moment. Well done, @Raissa Baiard! I am awestruck here. =D=
     
  2. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    :oops:Somehow while writing these last two entries, I managed to pinch a nerve in my shoulder. Typing is a bit difficult at the moment, but I promise to come back and do responses once this aching shoulder has sorted itself out. But I just couldn’t wait to post the final chapter of Teenage Rebellion!
     
    Findswoman likes this.
  3. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to my fabulous beta-reader @Findswoman, whose suggestions and support have been invaluable in bringing this story to life and keeping three angst, emotional, frustrating and wonderful Jedi teens (and their equal angst and emotional author :D) on track! [:D] @};-

    Ezra

    Our three-day leave on Merkesh went way too fast.

    As boring as Mara says Merkesh is, it seemed like we were always busy: touring the marketplace, listening to Sem Yarba’s band at the Café, hiking in the Bouskoura forest, staging a lightsaber tournament in the Blaynes’ basement, having a “mission debriefing” with the entire Idiot’s Array that turned out to be more like a family get-together and potluck. It was fun, and I really like spending time with Mara’s family, but it didn’t give me a lot of time to spend with Mara and even less to talk with her.

    Because being with the Blaynes made me think about what I’d told Luke on the Phantom: why would Mara ever want to leave this? Why would she want to go back to Yavin and live in a drafty old temple and eat Dex’s apple-slug stew when she could be here with the people who love her? I know the Force sent her to Yavin on a mission to help Luke, but if that mission’s over, why would she ever leave what she has here on Merkesh? Because it reminds me of the way things used to be back on Lothal, before Mom and Dad were arrested… and someday, when I have my own family… when Mara and I have a family (yeah, okay, I know, I’m too young to be thinking about this, or I haven’t known her long enough or whatever, but there it is), this is the kind of life I want for them. A real home, a family that’s all together, who love each other so much the Force almost glows with it. How could I ever ask Mara to give this up to come back to Yavin with me? But we only got brief snatches of time together—watching a holovid, dancing at the Café, stargazing in the Blaynes’ roof garden (and, yeah, kissing, too, at least until her mom *suggested* it might be time for us to come in…)—it never seemed to be right time to bring it up, until before I knew it, it was our last day on Merkesh, and I still hadn’t talked to her.

    The Ghost was due to come in late that afternoon, and the rest of the crew were going to join us at the Blaynes’ house for dinner before we left the next morning. Raissa (it’s still hard for me to think of her as “Raissa” and not “Prefect Blayne”; I guess that’s what comes of meeting her for the first time by being hauled into her office in binders.) went into a frenzy of cooking and baking, though it seemed to me that she had more on her mind than making another industrial-sized batch of Wookiee cookies. Finally, she sighed, “I’m never going to get this all done on time! Mara, can you and Ezra go to the bazaar and pick up a few things for me while I get the roast nuna started?”

    She handed Mara a list: Ithorian saffron, cinnamon, zilan’tro, daro root, pepper oil, kibla greens and meilooruns (it’s always meilooruns, isn’t it?). It seemed pretty odd that someone as organized as her would have forgotten so many things; I knew something was up when Doran kept Luke from trailing after us like a lost mooka pup, saying,“Actually, Luke, I could use your help with something.” And as if that wasn’t suspicious enough, Doran winked at me over his shoulder as he steered Luke back into the kitchen and mouthed “Take your time.”

    Okay, if her parents were going to engineer a way for Mara and I to have some time alone, I wasn’t going to complain. And I know what you’re going to say—here was the perfect opportunity for me to tell her how I felt about her staying on Merkesh, and yeah, you’re right, it would have been. But walking through the marketplace holding hands with her was so much like the day we met, minus the bounty hunters and Hutt thugs trying to kill me, that I didn’t want to spoil the moment, not after Raissa and Doran had gone through the trouble of arranging it. Kanan probably would have said I was afraid of what Mara would say, and I guess there’s something to that, too. It’s just... I love Mara so much, I couldn’t imagine going back to the way things used to be, when I only saw her every couple weeks at best— but because I love her, I knew I couldn’t be selfish and keep her away from her family. So I just kept it all to myself as we wandered through the maze of the marketplace and concentrated on all the good memories of that first day.

    We found everything on Raissa’s list, even the meilooruns, and made our way back to the Blaynes’ house just as the sun was starting to set. And strangely enough, no one was in the kitchen when we got there, though the smell of roast nuna filled the air and there were several covered dishes on warming plates on the counter. “Hello?” Mara called as I started putting the greens and the meilooruns in the conservator. “Where is everyone?”

    The kitchen door swished open and Luke burst in wearing a grin that would have done a Loth-cat proud. “There you guys are! Come on, everyone’s waiting!” He took Mara’s hand and started to tug her towards the door.

    “Waiting for what?” Mara pulled her hand back with a frown. “What’s going on?”

    “You’ll see! Come on!”

    We followed Luke downstairs. Normally, the basement was just a big, empty space where the Blaynes had lightsaber practice and other Jedi training. On Life Day, they’d had their Tree of Life there and a big buffet with roast bantha and mashed topatoes, and Annina had decorated the walls with lots of tinsel and sparkly wreaths. But today it was dark; the faint light of a pair of glow lamps at the far end of the room was just enough to tell that everyone—all the Spectres as well as Mara’s family—were there, standing in a rough circle.

    “Is this a surprise party or something?” I asked. Because standing around in a dark basement seemed kind of pointless otherwise.

    Luke just kept grinning that Loth-cat grin. “You’ll see,” he repeated.

    When we reached the bottom step, things got even weirder.

    Five lightsaber blades ignited at exactly the same time: Doran and Nick’s green blades, and Raissa, Kanan and Annina’s blue. Doran stood at the apex of the circle with Raissa to his right and Kanan to his left. They were all wearing formal Jedi robes and looked unaccountably serious and solemn. While that was nothing new for Kanan and Raissa, seeing Doran looking austere and dignified that way was like seeing a rancor wearing a pink bow— it may be theoretically possible but seeing it still comes as a shock.

    At the same time, Hera’s—or rather General Syndulla’s—voice rang out, “Spectres, present ARMS!” She drew her Blurgg holdout blaster and brought it up vertically, its barrel parallel to her body. Sabine’s heels clicked together smartly as she did the same with her Westars, while Chopper snapped out his electroshock attachment, its blue arc crackling. Zeb unslung his bo-rifle and unfolded it in a complex maneuver, from locked to blaster mode and past staff mode into the ancient mode, a configuration I’d only seen him use once before, when he used it to guide the Ghost to Lira San.

    Luke, who had drawn his own saber, nudged me and Hera caught my eye. “Present arms, Spectre Six.” Her voice was lower, but no less commanding; I fumbled to unclip my lightsaber and ignite it, and took a place in the circle just as Doran called out:

    “Mara Jade Blayne, step forward.”

    *What’s going on? What is this?* Mara darted a glance at me before stepping into the circle, carefully, like a gallaze stepping from the shelter of the forest to the open plains. I couldn’t blame her for being a little apprehensive; besides the strange ceremonial presentation of weapons and the seriousness on everyone’s faces, there was kind of a heaviness in the Force itself, like...almost like it was closer somehow (yes, Kanan, I know that’s impossible, since the Force is everywhere and in everything, but that’s how it felt).

    When Mara reached the center of the circle, Doran, Raissa and Kanan stepped forward and spoke in unison, “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.”

    Doran took another half step towards her. “You have been brought here today so that we may judge your actions during your trials.”

    “My...trials?” Mara asked, and I could sense her confusion. Weren’t Jedi trials supposed to be a big, formal process, with fasting and meditation and lots of preparation? How could she have had her trials without even knowing?

    Illuminated by the green glow of his saber’s blade, I saw a smile flicker across Doran’s lips. “Indeed. Kneel Padawan Blayne.”

    He fell back into line as Mara dropped to one knee and bowed her head. Kanan stepped forward and brought his lightsaber down nearly to Mara’s left shoulder. “By your willingness to pass along what you have learned, and your ability to discern when your knowledge was unequal to a task, you have passed the Trial of Skill.”

    As he finished, Raissa advanced and repeated the gesture, her blade almost touching Mara’s right shoulder. “By your willingness to leave your home and your family to follow the will of the Force, you have passed the Trial of the Flesh.”

    Now it was Doran’s turn, and his green blade hovered over her head. “By confronting a vision of your darker self and emerging stronger through self-reflection, you have passed the Trial of the Spirit.”

    Kanan came forward again, his saber dipping once more. “By facing an enemy who had once been a friend, and handling to conflict without bloodshed or violence, you have passed the Trial of Insight.”

    “By placing your mission and protecting your friends above your own safety, you have passed the Trial of Courage.” Raissa smiled as she brought her blade down near Mara’s shoulder.

    Doran held his saber high, then brought it down to her left shoulder, her right and then her bowed head. “By the right of the Council—such as it is”—and here Doran’s lips quirked into his familiar wry grin, while Kanan shot him the same look he gets when he complains that Jedi Action holovids aren’t historically accurate—“by the will of the Force, Mara Jade Blayne, Jedi Knight, you may rise."

    I’m guessing that knighting used to be a really solemn ceremony, with lots of serious Jedi masters offering serious Jedi platitudes and performing serious Jedi chants and all that kind of of stuff. I’m guessing that you weren’t supposed to cheer for the newly knighted Jedi, but I couldn’t help it and once I started, Zeb joined in with his deep baritone “yeah!”, Chopper whooped, Annina squealed her little girl squeal, and pretty soon everyone was clapping and cheering, even Kanan. And no matter what Jedi etiquette was for cheering at a knighting ceremony, I’m really sure it would have been the height of bad form for one of the Jedi in the circle to put down his saber, rush into the center and kiss the newly made knight...but, yeah, I couldn’t help myself on that one either.

    Mara’s eyes were full of wonder and tears when I let go. “I’m a Jedi,” she whispered.

    “I know, Ace!” I laughed and kissed her again. “And no one deserves it more!”

    I don’t know if the Jedi used to get some sort of fancy dinner after being knighted, but if not, they should have. Food makes everything better, in my opinion. After a round of hugs and congratulations and celebratory shoulder punches (from Zeb, of course), we all trooped upstairs for the congratulatory feast that Raissa had been working on all day...and as I suspected, not all of the items we’d been sent to get from the market were strictly necessary, though Raissa did toss the kibla greens and daro root into a salad and drizzle sliced meiloorun with mint syrup for dessert.

    We all ate way too much, especially Zeb—that roast nuna was meant for everyone, buddy—and while the “grown-ups” were relaxing and chatting over caf and cookies, Mara and I slipped upstairs to the roof garden, just like we had the first night I came to her house. Just like that night, the sweet, spicy scent of herbs drifted on the night breeze, and white flowers like stars blossomed along the trellises. Just like she had that night, Mara guided me to the bench in the middle of the garden and sat down. And I realized that if I was going to talk to her, this was my last chance.

    Mara sensed the change in me and frowned. “What’s wrong?”

    “Nothing’s wrong.” I said it automatically; it’s like a reflex when a girl asks you that.

    She gave me that look all women seem to have perfected, the one they give us when they think we’re being willfully stupid. “Even if I weren’t a Jedi, I’m still your girlfriend. I can tell when you’ve got something on your mind. So what is it?”

    I sighed; no more putting it off, as hard as it was I had to tell her. I took her hands in mine and hoped somehow I could say the right thing. “I just want you to know… I … I understand if you want to stay here on Merkesh. I know how important your family is to you and how much you love them, so… I won’t hold you back. We made it work before, keeping in touch by comlink, we could do it again. I understand, really.”

    Mara was quiet for a moment, taking in my words, and when her eyes met mine, I steeled myself for what she was going to say next. “Ezra, I’m going back to Yavin with you tomorrow.” She smiled at my surprise. “Yes, I love my family and it’s going to be hard leaving them again, but the Force is telling me there’s more for me to do with the Rebellion.” She leaned in closer, reaching up to push back that one piece of hair over my right eye that will never stay in place, and her fingers traced down the line of my face. “And my heart is telling me it wants to be with you. I love you, Six of Sabers; don’t ever forget that.” And just to make sure I got the point, she kissed me, a kiss that made the stars shine brighter and the Force hum as if everything was right in the Galaxy.

    And there in the starlight, with Mara’s arms around me, it was.

    Mara

    Yesterday, I became a Jedi.

    It still feels surreal to think of that, and it’s weird to think that I was knighted in my basement. That’s definitely not the way I’d pictured it! And yet having it at home, with my family and friends all there was perfect in a way some big elaborate ceremony at a temple could never have been. Since my parents and Kanan never had real knighting ceremonies, it’s like we’re creating new traditions for a new Jedi order, and that’s pretty incredible to think about, too.

    Today, I’m leaving home again to return to Yavin. It seems so long ago and yet like just yesterday since the Force sent me off to babysit some hotshot flyboy named Skywalker…

    Except I finally understand—finding Luke and guiding toward the Jedi path was important, but the bigger reason I needed to go to Yavin was to learn all the lessons that helped me pass my trials: how to be a good instructor and when to step back and let someone else take charge; the importance of knowing what needed to be overlooked and what needed to be talked about before it blew up in your face; that seeing each other as individuals is the first step in building a good team; that there might be a darker self inside me, but I am stronger than she is; that the people who love me will build me up, but first I have to let them past my shields. I’d learned about being a good Jedi and a good friend. I’d become a part of something bigger when I joined the Rebellion and made a difference in ways I never could have expected.

    So even though it’s still hard for me to leave my family, it’s easier this time around because I know I’ll be back. Yavin’s drafty temples and the barracks that smell like mildew and feet will never be home, but right now, it’s where I’m supposed to be. And this time, I have my friends with me—the Spectres, Luke, and most of all, Ezra, my Six of Sabers, my journey’s end.

    And as I sit with him in the Ghost’s cockpit, holding hands as we watch Merkesh dwindle to an orange-gold speck, I know…

    Our journey’s just beginning.
     
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    What a delicious and wonderful wrap-up! Mara does deserve every accolade she received, and she truly passed every trial with her customary strength and openness.

    Ezra's willingness and almost-expectation that she would want to stay with that WONDERFUL family of hers [face_love] (who wouldn't) was totally selfless. :)

    Mara's right: Yavin is not "home" but it is where she needs to be.

    I'm STOKED their journey is just beginning.

    Congratulations on finishing the DDC and for giving me a Mara that only Zahn was able to provide. ^:)^
     
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  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman The Tol Fanfic Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Moderator

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    BRAVISSIMA!! =D= =D= =D=

    Wow, who could ask for a more satisfying, life-affirming, and all around PERFECT wrap-up to this amazing chronicle of three Jedi teens! This is just spot on for all three of your protagonists, Mara, Ezra, and Luke

    So, where to begin… I absolutely LOVE the knighting ceremony. It’s so perfect for Mara, for the other characters, for the setting, for the central themes of the story, for the universe you’ve crafted, all of it. And it’s such a wonderful, spot on mix of tradition and innovation. The ancient, accepted ceremonial forms, words, and gestures are there, and beautifully executed in combination with glowing smiles from Mara’s parents and mentors—that’s always the best. But there are also so many other wonderful things here that differ from the traditional, and that go the extra mile in making this celebration truly Mara’s own. Her trials were not just staged, choreographed ones to be prepared for as one does for graduate oral exams—they were real struggles in real life that contributed to real character growth beyond the immediate moment. (I know it wasn’t equally easy coming up with the experiences from Mara’s life corresponding to each trial; the ones you chose are perfect matches, and for some reason the way you’ve divided them up among the three speakers—Doran, Raissa, and Kanan—fit very well too.)

    I also just adore that it’s not just the Jedi who take part in the ceremony—all of the Spectres, Mara’s brand new extended family, get to play a role too (and you know I melted into a puddle of goo when Zeb’s bo-rifle came out in ancient mode [face_love] ) There’s the cheering and hugging (and shoulder-punching); there’s the big celebratory family meal afterward (of course there is, with a roast and Wookiee cookiees and mint-drizzled meiloorun and all); and of course there’s THE KISS. [face_love] Oh, how could Ezra not? What an amazing image, the two of them enjoying that magical little moment together in each others’ arms, within the circle of their friends, with the Force humming its vibrant hum brighter than ever all around them. Just such a crowning moment for this story, and for the Marzra romance. (Did I say “[face_love]”? :p )

    What better follow-up to these bustling, life-affirming festivities than a tranquil, romantic rooftop chat? @};- Ezra finally has the chance to ask Mara question that’s been on his heart this whole time (and no, not that question just yet, though I know from another recent story of yours that that one is not too far off :p ). It’s such a natural question for Ezra, given that he has learned about the importance and beauty of family the hard way: how could a reunion with family not be a much-desired journey’s end? Mara’s response shows us that this journey’s end is also a journey’s beginning for these two and for their love, and what better way is there to seal that than with another beautiful KISS? [face_love] (You’re very good at writing these romantic moments, by the way! ;) )

    I love that you weave the “journey’s end”/“journey’s beginning” theme back in Mara’s beautiful little postscript, particularly in the way you recall the story’s very first sentence: “Today, I joined the Rebellion”/“Yesterday I became a Jedi.” Yes, things have definitely come full circle, but there has been so much growth too: for our three teenage Rebels, for the Rebellion and the Jedi Order, and for Mara and Ezra’s love. I know you have great things in store for all of those, and I know the journey will continue—but BIG CONGRATULATIONS and MUCH KUDOS on finishing this leg of it! =D= =D= =D=