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Saga - PT Before the Saga Saga - Legends The Tale of Noora and Seyf | Pre-TPM to RotS, OCs, drama/tragedy | Epic, Celtic Song Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The Jedi and the Naboo senator had developed a rapport through their brief encounters over the years, and Mace Windu thought that Palpatine displayed a much better understanding of the principles and purpose of the Jedi Order than most politicians.

    Having read this text bit, a song from the musical "Chicago" came to mind: "Razzle Dazzle".



    But Sheev´s last words to Seyf make me wonder if he says them to every promising young lad who is a possible Sith apprentice:

    Palpatine’s grin widened. He stepped forward and patted the boy’s shoulder. “And I am sure that you will become an excellent Jedi as well, young man. I will be watching your career with great interest.”
     
  2. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    NO NO NO, Palpy! You stay away from those two! I mean it!

    This was a really great entry... we can see where Noora and Seyf complement each other; his action, her inward calm and her art.


    And this. For all he senses it, for all his foreboding, Mace cannot see it under his nose :emperor: . It is hard that Noora is on the receiving end of his suspicions, but at least he's not punishing her or showing his doubts of her.

    Oh, this can't end well...
     
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    I love that we see so clearly in this entry how different and complementary Noora and Seyf are, with their favorite areas of study that reflect their names ( :) ); those differences somehow makes their bond all the more beautiful and remarkable. Mace's pride in their abilities is certainly encouraging, and even he is not completely immune to the happiness they radiate when they go off together with Pooly to Noora's art lesson with Master Koch. But this is Mace Windu we're talking about here, so even with those moments of pride and appreciation aren't going to stop him from being concerned about the children's bond and about the unorthodox (oh noes!1!) way Noora is using her powers. (Though he's definitely not wrong to be concerned about her visions at the Sacred Spire, especially if they keep happening again and again.)

    And who should come on the scene but the Palpster himself... I absolutely echo WarmNyota_SweetAyesha on the many ironic undertones here. First, there's the way Mace almost seems to latch on to him as someone who knows How Things Should Be in the Jedi Order. Then there's the way Palpatine seems to understand a number of things better than Mace does: the importance of artistic training (connected, no doubt, at least partly to his Naboo heritage), and the whole nature of Noora and Seyf's devotion. Mace's attempts to divert the conversation from those more fraught topics—about Seyf's ability in "more traditional" areas, about how the kids Aren't Jedi Just Yet—seem almost buffoonish and desperate in contrast. There's something a little bit defensive in Seyf's final comment, even though it's couched in politeness and duly qualified with a "sir"; it comes through in the way he's clutching her hand, too. I shouldn't wonder if he's picked up on the subtle disapproval Mace has voiced to Palpatine—and given the hotheaded side of nature, I could see things escalating later. [face_thinking]

    Nor did it escape my notice that this chapter ends with Palpatine saying the same thing to Seyf that he did to the young Anakin when they first meet in Ep. 1... and we know wherein that "interest" consisted. I'm guessing something similar (but also very distinct) may be in store here. Again, [face_thinking] !
     
  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I apologise for taking so long to update; the next chapter was giving me trouble and I spent the best part of two weeks re-writing it because I wasn't quite happy with it. I'm actually still not entirely happy with it, but I'm posting anyway because I want to move this story forward.

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you for your comments! Yes, Noora and Seyf are growing up, and they're growing up together [face_love] Mace Windu might be a great Jediand with time he's beginning to understand that people can benefit from strong bonds of friendship, but he's too set in his own ways to fully grasp what it can mean –or to even see that Palps is wrapping him around his little finger :p

    AzureAngel2 LOL for "Razzle Dazzle" [face_laugh] That's Palps for you, isn't it? Putting up a big show for everyone and testing the waters for placeholder apprentices – until Anakin comes along. Thanks for the review!

    Mistress_Renata Thank you! The good news is that Palpy will be distracted soon by the arrival of the real candidate for Sith apprentice. The bad news is that, well, he's Palpy, and we all know that Mace Windu won't see a thing until it's too late.

    Findswoman Thanks! Mace Windu will have a lot more to be concerned about soon, and once again he won't get what it means – just as he doesn't see what the Palpster is up to here. Palpatine immediately sees that the strong bond between Noora and Seyf is something he could use to his advantage; Seyf's attachment to Noora is something he can hope to manipulate and there's a promising young lad right there that could make a great apprentice for him. So he's testing the waters, so to speak, and I guess it's just lucky for Seyf that Anakin will soon come along (if you can call that luck!)

    Thanks again for all the comments, and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! Next chapter coming right up.
     
  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 5: The Gathering

    The twenty-year-old padawan completed his little lecture under the watchful gaze of his master just as the large kyber crystal hoisted near the ceiling of the Ilum Jedi Temple focused the sunlight on the frozen waterfall. The wall of ice immediately began to melt and the younglings steeled themselves for the trial to come. “Once you’ve found your crystal, don’t linger,” Obi-Wan Kenobi added as a final reminder. “Once daylight subsides, the door will freeze over and you’ll be trapped inside the Crystal Cave for one full planetary rotation. Now go, and may the Force be with you.”

    Seyf took Noora’s hand and led the way towards the mouth of the Cave, with the other initiates following reluctantly. “How will we know which crystal is ours?” a Twi’lek from Rancor Clan asked. “This place is supposed to be full of them.”

    “They say your crystal will reveal itself to you,” Seyf said. “But there’s a trial to overcome in order to be able to get hold of it.”

    The Twi’lek didn’t seem particularly reassured. “What trial?”

    “Don’t worry,” Noora said serenely. “Just think of it as part of our training. We pass tests every day in the temple. We can do it again today.”

    “What if we fail? What if I can’t find my crystal?”

    Noora stopped to rub his shoulder. “Don’t talk like that. You know what Master Yoda says. The greatest cause of failure, fear of failure itself is, mmh?”

    Her imitation of the elderly master elicited a small chuckle from the group, and they resumed their march silently through a gallery where an ornate colonnade had been carved out of ice. They finally reached a circular room with half a dozen doors leading in different directions. “What now?” the Twi’lek asked. “How do we know where to go?”

    Seyf looked at Noora expectantly. “We should meditate,” she said. “The Force will point us in the right direction.”

    The little group of ten-year-olds sat cross-legged on the frozen ground and sought to focus, but they were tense and fidgety and their efforts were fruitless. “Don’t let stray thoughts intrude in your mind,” Noora’s dreamy voice said. “We can do this. We were chosen for this trial because we’re ready. Just think of your crystal. See it. It will tell you where it is.”

    There was a brief silence and the Twi’lek jumped to his feet. “Mine is… over there, I think.” He pointed at one of the doors. “I’ll go and find it.” He jogged away, then returned briefly. “Thanks, Noora!” And with that he was gone.

    One after the other the younglings left. Seyf was shaking with impatience while Noora completed her trance, but he waited for her. She finally opened her eyes. “Did you see yours?” he asked anxiously.

    She nodded. “Yes, this way. You?”

    He gestured towards the door opposite to the one she had indicated. “There.”

    They stood together a moment longer in the rotunda. He took her hands and squeezed them. “Let’s go then.”

    “Let’s go.”

    They took a few steps apart. “Oh, and Seyf… Don’t get too carried away, will you?” she said with an impish smile. “Take the time you need. You’ll get your crystal in the end, no matter what.”

    It made him laugh. “Sure. And you… don’t get sidetracked and remember to come out of the Cave, yeah? We’re going to be Padawans, we’re going to build our own lightsabers! That’s an appointment you don’t want to miss.”

    * * *

    The gallery along which Seyf had begun to walk evolved into a rough tunnel dug straight into the rock. At least an hour had elapsed since he’d begun his solitary quest. He was struggling hard not to give in to his natural impatience and break into a run, but the ground under his feet was uneven and slippery and the last thing he wanted was to fail this particular task because of a silly misstep. He stopped several times to focus and find his centre, he did a few breathing exercises and he went on his way. He had seen his crystal very clearly during the group meditation; it was waiting for him atop a tall boulder. He hesitated briefly when the tunnel forked. Something in the back of his mind was telling him that he was heading in the wrong direction. He backtracked a little and saw a small opening to his left – it was a shaft rather than a tunnel, and he would have to crouch to enter it, but his instincts told him that this was the way to go. He crawled through the gap on all fours and followed the burrow, and soon he arrived in a vast cavern surrounded by cliffs.

    His crystal was there! He could see it; it was shimmering softly at him from the top of one of the escarpments – the issue being, of course, that it was well out of his reach. There appeared to be another opening just behind it, presumably another tunnel or gallery that connected with the rest of the Crystal Cave. He walked up to the rocky wall and examined it. The bottom part was sheer, smooth ice. However, the upper section, while steep, was far more jagged. He should be able to get a handhold on the craggy outcroppings to pull himself up. He went back to the other side of the cavern for a better view. There was an overhanging stone halfway up the cliff that would make a good hold to begin his ascent. He took a deep breath, took a run across the open expanse and leapt with all his might.

    The Force carried him as he soared up the air, and for the briefest of moments he thought he would achieve his goal. He understood that it had been a fool’s hope as soon as he touched the stone. The rocky protuberance was rugged and uneven indeed – but ice had gathered on the top ledge over the centuries, and it was as sleek and wet as anything in the Cave. He was able to fumble only for a fraction of a second to secure his grasp before his fingers slipped off the stone. He fell to the ground with a loud thud.

    He remained there for a few minutes, inhaling and exhaling deeply to fight back against the pain. His entire body ached. He could feel that his right ankle was swelling and he let out a yelp when he tried to stand up. It was a nasty sprain, bad enough that he wouldn’t be able to climb up the cliff even if he managed to perform a rudimentary healing trance. He looked up at his crystal and sighed. There was still a way to reach it; it would take time but it was the option he should have gone for in the first place. He could imagine Noora’s disapproving grimace when he told her that he had chosen to engage in dangerous acrobatics instead of following the long and steady road. He checked his chronometer. Three hours to go before the waterfall at the entrance of the Cave froze over. He settled back on the ground as comfortably as he could. He would attempt to heal himself a little and meditate, and then he would go searching for the tunnel that led straight to his crystal on the top of the cliff.

    * * *

    Noora ambled down her tunnel with her eyes tightly shut. The vergence in the Ilum Temple was so powerful that she didn’t need to look in order to see; all she had to do was to surrender herself completely to the Force and trust it to lead her steps to the crystal that had called to her in the rotunda. She could sense thousands of the glassy gems around her as she made her way deeper into the Cave. They sang to her of younglings who would come and fetch them, or younglings who were long gone; they told her of the hopes and expectations of the initiates that began their quest in the galleries, of the excitement of those who succeeded and of the despondency of those who failed to reach their goal. She was hearing the stories of all Jedi past, present and future who had walked or would walk this path, and she caught herself several times slowing her pace to listen to their tales. It was the memory of Seyf’s voice admonishing her not to give in to distraction that pushed her forward.

    She felt herself shiver as she reached a junction, and she opened her eyes to see that a chunk of rock had been brutally gouged out of the wall. The place was awash with sinister emotions, an unwelcome reminder that some who had come before her had given in to their anger. She would not become one of them, she thought firmly; her heart had always been pure and she would rather leave the Jedi Order than turn to the dark. She took a step away from the black hole and focused again to find her centre. Her crystal called to her once more. She abandoned behind her the trace of the fallen youngling’s passage in the Cave and pressed on.

    She soon found herself in a small chamber made of pure ice. Her crystal was waiting for her atop a waist-high boulder, twinkling cheerfully in the dim light. She clapped her hands happily and stepped forward to take it, but a gleam in the wall caught her attention. She moved closer to examine it.

    There was a second crystal embedded in the ice – a crystal that was not hers, but whose story wanted to be told. She closed her eyes, willing her mind to let go of her elation and listen to its song, and she pressed her palm to the pale glow.

    She was immediately assaulted by an avalanche of emotions so violent that she nearly passed out. The youngling who would come to collect this crystal would suffer unspeakable pain – he would love and be loved so intensely that it would destroy him; he would fight in a terrible war and lose everything he held dear; he would meet his end in a blaze of fire that would leave him diminished and crippled, his soul a shadow of its former self, a cesspool of anger and agony where the light of redemption was all but snuffed out. The crystal would then go dormant for years before passing into the hands of his son, who would lose it in turn when he fell into an abyss, a victim of his father’s deeds; it would later be found again and call to a solitary girl who had to fight evil yet again –

    Noora held on to the wall as long as she could, understanding that she had been summoned there to bear witness. She called upon her usual whirl of colours and lights in a desperate attempt to fight back against the dark emotions and leave her imprint on the stone – but there came a point when she simply couldn’t take it anymore. She fell to her knees and wept.

    * * *

    Qui-Gon Jinn stood in the atrium of the temple, his eyes twinkling joyously as he listened to the initiates who had already found their crystal and returned, when he sensed that one of his wards was in great distress. A glance at his padawan told him that Obi-Wan could feel it too. “Not to worry, the youngling is nearby,” he said, placing a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “We wouldn’t be able to sense her if she were deep in the Cave.”

    Moments later, Noora staggered out of the tunnel. She was pale and drawn. As she came closer, the Jedi Master saw that her eyes were red from crying. The boy named Seyf limped to her as fast as he could; she fell in his arms with a new outburst of sobs. “Are you hurt?” he asked.

    “I’m okay,” she hiccuped. “I’m okay now. I’m…”

    Her voice trailed off. “Did something happen to you, youngling?” Qui-Gon asked gently.

    “I’m fine, Master, thank you. It’s just that I had a vision in the Cave, and… and…” – she took a deep breath – “I don’t think I want to be a Jedi anymore.”

    “What sort of vision?” Obi-Wan asked.

    “Don’t be stupid!” Seyf said at the same time. “Of course you want to be a Jedi.”

    “Let Noora speak,” the Jedi Master said. “She’s clearly been through a harrowing experience.” He rubbed the child’s back. “Calm yourself, little one. Would you like to return to the Crucible and rest? You found your crystal, didn’t you?”

    Noora gave Seyf a guilty look. “I found it, Master… but I didn’t take it.”

    The little assembly let out a collective gasp. “What?” Seyf yelped. “You have to go back! The waterfall isn’t frozen yet. You still have time!”

    Obi-Wan snorted. “Or maybe you didn’t find it but don’t want to admit it.”

    Seyf glared at him. “Noora doesn’t lie. Noora never lies!”

    “It’s okay, Seyf,” Noora whispered. “It doesn’t matter if he believes me. I know you do.”

    “The issue is, will the Jedi Council believe you,” Obi-Wan replied heatedly. “It wouldn’t be the first time that –”

    Qui-Gon rose to his feet and spoke with unusual harshness. “That’s enough, Padawan. There is no deception in this girl – something you would know if you listened to the Force instead of jumping to conclusions.”

    Seyf gave Obi-Wan a sour look before turning back to his friend. “What happened?”

    She told him haltingly of her adventure in the tunnels, the stories that the crystals were singing and her discovery in the small ice chamber. “It was awful,” she concluded. “So much darkness, so much pain, for generations to come. I don’t want to be part of that.”

    Qui-Gon Jinn rubbed her back again. “This isn’t a decision you need to take now, Noora. You’re in shock. We’ll discuss it again with your instructor, and you can choose to come back with another group. Now go and rest – and heal. Obi-Wan and Seyf will take you to the ship.”

    The padawan bowed to his master and led the two younglings back to the Crucible. “You still don’t believe her, do you?” Seyf challenged him as they walked up the boarding ramp.

    Obi-Wan shook his head. “My master believes her. I believe her too.” He paused and added slowly, “You know, sensing the song of the crystals, of a crystal that isn’t yours… it’s not unheard of, but it’s rare. It’s very rare. The Jedi of old believed it to be an omen that events are coming to change the course of history.”

    Seyf glanced at Noora. She nodded. “Yes,” she breathed. “It will happen. I’m sure of it.”

    ---------------------------

    Endnotes and Wookieepedia links

    The description of the Gathering in this chapter is borrowed primarily from TCW S05E06, in which it’s shown that a padawan (in this case Ahsoka) is tasked with coaching a group of younglings to enter the Ilum Crystal Cave and find their crystals.

    More links: Ilum Jedi Temple, Crucible
     
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful details of Seyf's and Noora's crystal hunt. Seyf's impetuousness still came through but I'm glad it didn't derail his goals. But Noora -- wow the vision she had certainly has given her second thoughts! Will she hold to them or make another decision after more considering?
     
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  7. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Just getting around to reading this now, and so far I am enjoying this a lot. I shall subscribe so I can keep up with your installments.
     
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  8. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I just loved this. That Noora was able to hear the stories the kyber crystals were telling her, and that they already knew the fates of those who would choose them. That MUST be a rare gift, even among Jedi! I'm guessing the one that was ripped out had belonged to Sidious or Maul? Poor Noora. If she doesn't want to stay with the Jedi, she will need to continue learning how to shield her mind or she runs the risk of madness, she is so empathic.
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the reviews and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read! My apologies for the delay in updating – I've had this chapter ready for a while, but then I read the latest update in divapilot 's amazing Code Breaker diary and I had to revise the timeline for this story when she agreed that I could borrow some events from her fic for a later chapter of this one [face_love]
    Thank you :) I really liked that particular episode of TCW where finding their crystal is a learning process for the younglings. They have to overcome one of their flaws in order for the crystal to reveal itself, and for Seyf it would make sense that it's his impatience. But Noora... in a sense, this is a test that she failed. Her flaw is her tendency to be easily distracted, and she let herself be distracted by the other crystal instead of focusing on the task at hand. However, she also chose to let herself be distracted, in that she sensed that there was something bigger than her at stake here. Now what will she do about it? Read on...

    Thanks and welcome to this story [:D]

    Thanks! I don't think that there's anything in canon so far about the ability to hear crystals in general; as far as I can tell the only thing that's explicitly shown in TCW is that the only crystal younglings can see is the one that's intended for them. But I thought it made sense that those with powers of empathy should be able to perceive more – that's what being an empath is about, in a way: the ability to perceive things that aren't explicitly intended for you. I didn't settle on a definitive identity for the owner of the crystal that was gouged out of the rock, because the cave has been visited by Force users for millenia, so it could be pretty much any dark sider – but we all know who will pick up the one next to Noora's :)

    Thanks again to the readers, reviewers and lurkers! Next chapter up in 5, 4, 3...
     
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Chapter 6: The Trials

    The past three years had been difficult for Seyf. It wasn’t only that the demands of his studies had grown as Briar Clan’s Initiate Trials drew closer and that his one-on-one lightsaber training sessions with Mace Windu had become exceedingly taxing – which, at the same time, was a flattering sign of the high expectations the Jedi Master had from him. It wasn’t even that Sheev Palpatine’s interest in him had reached new heights and that he felt compelled to outdo himself, even more so after hearing of the Naboo senator’s election to the position of Supreme Chancellor of the Republic a few days ago. No, what truly disturbed him and gnawed at his soul was the sense that Noora was drifting away.

    Seyf could see that Noora was spending an inordinate amount of time working on her art projects with Nazmat Koch; she neglected her formal training to the point that he had to literally beg her to return to the Ilum caves and collect her crystal after she postponed her trip for the fifth time. It was as if she didn’t care about becoming a Jedi anymore, and this was something that Seyf simply could not conceive. Life outside the Jedi Temple was unthinkable to him, and the Jedi Temple included Noora. It had included her since the very first day and she was part and parcel of his past, present and future. He had never doubted that they were meant to become Jedi Knights – together – and he had to admit to himself, when he was alone with his thoughts, that he was angry at Noora for questioning the life that had been laid out for them both.

    He took up the issue with some of the masters that Noora was close to – Yamma Ummia, Yoland Fee, Master Yoda himself – but the answer he obtained from them was invariably that each youngling in the temple had to choose his or her own path, and that while Noora’s particular skills were greatly valued by the Order, it was up to her to decide how best to serve the Force. He even considered discussing the matter with Mace Windu before opting against it. He still found the Korun’s stern manner extremely intimidating, and he could sense that he was not quite as positively inclined towards Noora as other senior Jedi among the instructors. Deep down, Seyf had spent these three years in the fear that Master Windu would notice Noora’s lack of interest in her studies and expel her from the temple, and he was under the unpleasant impression that it was only her barely acceptable results in the various tests they took that had spared her such a fate.

    * * *

    The past three years had been difficult for Noora as well. Her vision in the Crystal Cave had deeply shaken her confidence that, through the Jedi path, she would be able to do some good in the galaxy, and she felt that her attempts at exploring avenues to serve the Force through her art were constantly sidetracked by the requirements of her studies. She still greatly enjoyed the meditation class and she had considerably improved her talent to sense and nurture life, but she had lost interest in the other skills she was taught unless she could put them to use when creating her grass sculptures. She had developed a particular dislike for duelling; the very act of holding a training saber made her shiver at the memory of the pain she had experienced in the cave and she wished with all her might that she didn’t need to build her own weapon in order to remain a member of the Order. It was Seyf’s insistence and a little gentle prodding from Nazmat Koch, who advised her not to burn any bridges until she could come to a final decision about her future, that had convinced her to return to Ilum and fetch her crystal, and, while the little gem itself was warm and comforting in her hand, she always associated it with the sorrow carried by its brother that was still waiting for its owner in the ice wall.

    What made her dilemma outright painful was Seyf’s attitude. Seyf was adamant that, to remain faithful to the Jedi Code and pursue her growth on the path of the light, she should overcome what he viewed as fear, and to him this entailed setting aside her misgivings and becoming a Jedi Knight. Noora understood that she needed to better handle the dark emotions that threatened at times to overwhelm her soul, but it was also obvious to her that repressing them to a deep recess of her mind was not a solution, and that there were many possible ways to address the challenge she faced. She found solace in the roof gardens of the temple, where Nazmat Koch and Yoland Fee taught her how to care for rare plants and integrate them in her art while Pooly the convor fluttered above their heads. She was hesitant to discuss her options with any of her instructors in the temple – she felt that she would be letting them down if she told them that their teachings were going to waste – and her sole interlocutor was Qui-Gon Jinn, who sought, as much as he could, to make time for her when he was on Coruscant in-between missions with his padawan.

    Master Qui-Gon listened to her attentively during their long conversations about the Living Force; he was never judgemental or condescending and, despite his commitment to the Jedi Order, he always encouraged her to seek her own path. It felt strange to have such a deep bond with someone who wasn’t Seyf, and it felt even stranger not to bring Seyf along to these meetings. But Noora believed that he wouldn’t understand, and that, in his overprotectiveness, Seyf would drive a wedge between her and the only person to whom she could pour her heart out. At the same time, she felt that she was somehow betraying her friend’s trust by not discussing with him the advice that Qui-Gon was giving her, and she had compartmentalised her life so tightly that, when the Jedi Master’s death on Naboo dealt her a devastating blow, she had no one to share her sorrow. She went to hide in the eglant thicket in the roof gardens, cradling Pooly in her arms to cry when her sense of bereavement became too overwhelming, and, when Seyf asked why she was so sad, she chalked up her despondency to the glum mood that prevailed in the temple in these days of mourning. In a sense, it was a good thing that their Initiate Trials were drawing near – Seyf was too absorbed by his studies to notice how distressed she truly was, and the need to focus on their learning was as good a way as any to keep her mind off her grief.

    Seyf agreed that they should end their daily training with a meditation session near the Sacred Spire, and she was grateful for it. She was aware that she was under scrutiny by Master Windu for her recurring vision of the burning temple every time she came to the holy shrine, and she couldn’t blame him – but there was something undefinable at the end of the vision that even she didn’t understand, and that told her that she would remain on the path to the light. Moreover, this intimate moment of shared pain followed by absolute serenity was an opportunity to genuinely experience the strength of her bond with Seyf. She could sense that a major change was going to come about in her life, and it was a comfort to think that, whatever happened, her friendship with Seyf would never be challenged.

    * * *

    He had to remember to thank Noora when this was over, Seyf thought as he took his leave from Shaak Ti and Jocasta Nu. The two masters had requested that, for his second trial, he demonstrated the strength of his connection to the Force through meditation and telekinesis in one of the chapels surrounding the Sacred Spire, and he had performed well. He had levitated the various objects that they presented to him effortlessly; he had even managed to alter the shape of a cloud of sand when prompted; and he was confident that they had been able to sense the currents of the living energy field flowing through him as he surrendered himself to it. His visualisation of the Force hadn’t evolved since his first visit to the shrine – he still perceived it as flashes and whirls of blue and green – and he worried sometimes that it could be interpreted as a failure in his personal development, but there was no doubt that it had become more intense and he was hopeful that the masters felt it too.

    He was certain that he had excelled at his first trial. He’d had no difficulty assembling his lightsaber under the watchful gaze of Cin Drallig and Saesee Tiin and he had demonstrated his duelling skills, which were quite advanced for a Jedi initiate, to the best of his ability. All that was left now was the final trial, where Mace Windu and Yoda would ask him to display his understanding of the Jedi Code. Seyf was giddy, almost excited as he headed to the chamber where he was due to meet the two masters. It was custom to take initiates outside and confront them with a real-life situation for this particular test, and he was curious to see what they had come up with to try his mettle.

    A sandy-haired boy who had recently come to the temple with Qui-Gon Jinn and was now apprenticed to Obi-Wan Kenobi gave him an encouraging smile as he reached the foot of the northwest tower. Seyf was curious to learn more about him – rumour had it that he was the fabled Chosen One of an ancient prophecy – but there would be time for that later. He smiled back and boarded the turbolift that would take him to the room at the top of the spire. He straightened his robes as he arrived on the landing, chimed the bell and stepped inside.

    It suddenly dawned on him that it was a great honour to be examined by both the Grand Master and the Master of the Order, and he maintained his deep bow until they told him to take a seat on one of the round cushions that furnished the chamber of First Knowledge. He recited the Code when prompted, then bowed his head humbly once more and waited for them to tell him his assignment. He expected his instructions to be spelled out by Master Yoda – if nothing else for reasons of seniority – but it was Mace Windu who spoke first.

    “Before we begin, youngling, there is a piece of news that we must deliver to you.” The Korun paused briefly, as if for effect, and Seyf thought he heard Master Yoda huff disapprovingly. “It appears that your friend Noora has taken a surprising and somewhat radical decision. Her future will be outside the Jedi Order. She is collecting her belongings as we speak and she will leave the temple within the hour, never to return.”

    And with these few words, Seyf’s entire world collapsed. Noora was leaving, maybe she was already gone; and he suddenly understood that his fear hadn’t been that she would leave or be expelled from the Jedi Order. It was that she would leave him, abandon him to pursue an entirely different life that he would have no part in; that, given a choice between a future at his side among the ranks of the Jedi and a future without him in the wide world, she would choose to spend the rest of her existence on her own, thus wiping away the thirteen years during which they had grown, played, learned and laughed together, when they had cared for each other, supported each other and loved each other so deeply that he had come to think of them as a single soul in two bodies. Dread welled up in his chest at the thought that she wouldn’t be there when he woke up tomorrow, followed by fury, hatred and unspeakable pain. This could not be, this was impossible, and the two masters couldn’t let it happen. He looked up angrily and opened his mouth to protest, to lash out at his instructors for allowing Noora to take such a selfish decision, to –

    It was the deep compassion he could see in Master Yoda’s gaze that brought him to his senses. The elderly, diminutive Jedi was staring at him impassively, but the sense of kindness and sympathy that emanated from him was unmistakable. It reminded Seyf that the Jedi Order was his family, that the Jedi path was bound to be fraught with difficulties and challenges, and that comfort, solace and relief could always be found in the Jedi Code. He took a deep, calming breath and closed his eyes, trying to find his centre.

    There is no emotion, there is peace.

    He had always been prone to letting his impetuous nature get the better of him. His first reaction upon hearing that Noora was leaving – he silenced the nagging voice that said, leaving him – was proof of it, if any proof was needed, and he had almost surrendered to the sentiments that would lead him to the dark side. He could not allow that to happen. With or without Noora, he was a Jedi. He summoned the mental image of her peaceful smile and focused on it. He would not fail his third trial before it even began.

    There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

    Noora always wanted to learn more, whether under the guidance of her instructors or by exploring new possibilities on her own. He, on the other hand, had never opened his mind to life outside the temple. While he could not grasp the reasons for her decision, he chided himself that he had to accept it – and, with it, to accept that she knew something he did not. He had been willfully ignorant until now, and this was his punishment. He would have to work on improving himself to understand her, even if she was not there.

    There is no passion, there is serenity.

    He had allowed his bond with Noora to grow unchecked, and it had taken over his life to the point that, when the opportunity presented itself in a moment of grief, it expressed itself as a flare of all-consuming, angry ardour. This was not the Jedi way and Noora would despise him for it. She was always calm, composed and even-tempered, and even though she was choosing to leave the Order, she was a better Jedi than him.

    There is no chaos, there is harmony.

    He struggled hard to regain control over the turmoil of contradictory feelings in his heart and mind. He could not be at once angry and caring, agitated and placid, collected and resentful. He inhaled deeply again and set aside the dark thoughts that threatened to overwhelm him. Noora had brought balance to his life for all these years, and even in her departing act she could bring balance too. As agonising as it was, it was time for him to let go of his attachment to a single individual and dedicate himself to the greater good.

    There is no death, there is the Force.

    He would mourn Noora’s final departure from the Jedi Temple as if she had left this life – for all practical purposes, she was leaving his life – but Noora, like all living beings, was still an entity in the Force. Perhaps he would never see her again, but he could still reach out to her reassuring presence and listen to her unspoken advice. She was not truly gone, because she was still part of him, and when the day came they would fade in the Force together.

    * * *

    He didn’t know for how long he had remained silent as he sought to tame his first, impulsive reaction to the news that Mace Windu had delivered to him, and he realised that tears were running down his cheeks when he finally opened his eyes. The two masters were still staring at him quietly, waiting for his response. He remembered that he he had not been summoned to this room to talk about Noora, but to take his third trial and become a Jedi padawan. He composed himself as best he could, pushed back against the pain that was still tearing into his heart and spoke clearly and calmly.

    “Thank you for informing me, Master. It is with the deepest regret that I will see Noora go, but I am certain that she received the best advice on this matter and that she chose her path wisely.”

    Yoda blinked slowly, as he was wont to do when he was satisfied with a learner’s reply, and Mace Windu nodded once. Both stood up and walked to the door without another word.

    “Masters?” Seyf said tentatively when he understood that they were leaving. “What about… what about my assignment? For my trial?”

    Yoda rapped his gimer stick on the floor. “Your assignment, to deal with this news was. Successful, you have been.” Seyf’s eyes widened, and the elderly master looked away. “Your friend... still taking her trials she is. She has reached no decision yet.”

    He took a few more steps and exited the chamber of First Knowledge before Seyf could register what he had just heard. “A test?” the boy finally managed to splutter with an angry undertone. “This was not real? It was just a test?”

    Mace Windu turned to face him from the doorway. “Yes, Padawan, it was only a test, if this is how you think of your Initiate Trials. You still have much to learn.”

    And with that, he spun on his heel and left. Seyf remained alone in the chamber, feeling so bitter, pained and confused that he didn’t even notice that the Korun had called him ‘padawan’.

    ------------------------------------

    Notes and Wookieepedia links

    The composition of the Jedi Initiate Trials (knowledge of the Jedi Code, lightsaber construction and strength of one’s connection to the Force) is borrowed from Legends.
    Cin Drallig
    Saesee Tiin
    Shaak Ti
    Jocasta Nu
    Tower of First Knowledge
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  11. Nehru_Amidala

    Nehru_Amidala Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Geez, the angst is there. How much more can the poor girl take, particularly now that Anakin has shown up?
     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Amazing!! =D=
    First you see the disconnect between Seyf and Noora because she is trying to detach from training and the Jedi Path while he is still committed.
    Yikes, that Palpatine is taking an interest in Seyf. :eek:
    I am glad there are aspects Noora still enjoys and that she finds confidantes to share her feelings and doubts with.
    I am not surprised that Qui-Gon was her chief and unfailing source of acceptance and sympathy.

    ***

    The third trial -- Seyf came through it excellently! @};- But to find out it was not a true disclosure which I thought it was, I was absolutely floored! From Yoda's demeanor, I have no doubt it was Mace's idea. Of course he could not and would not be able to override Yoda's objections but still -- I hope that does not backfire.
    I.e., perhaps drive a wedge/alienate Seyf. [face_thinking]
     
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  13. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Oh, this was a harsh test! It almost seemed calculated to push Seyf to anger and the Dark Side. And yet, it is important for him to realize that he needs to loosen up his attachment to her. Glad he passed it, but good grief, is MACE WINDU to be his new master?!! [face_hypnotized] This has ominous written all over it.

    And Noora... I hate to say it, but it almost seems as if she'd be happier in the AgriCorps. She could grow things and nurture life without the pressures and responsibilites of being a Jedi Knight. It seems as if she is hanging in there for Seyf's sake.

    No clue how this will work out. :(
     
  14. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    As I expected, Noora and Seyf's bond has continued and grown ever deeper along with them—despite Mace Windu’s also expected attempts to guide them away from each other. It isn’t a surprise that he finds their relationship to be concerning, given that it must be unusual amongst Jedi. Mace Windu has many admirable qualities, but he is foremost a dedicated “company man”: he doesn’t know how to think outside the box of the Jedi Code. He has the ability to sense the looming darkness that we (having the advantage of seeing the movie version) know is coming for the galaxy—but he cannot recognize the cause even when it’s right in front of him, for the sequins thrown in his eyes.

    But while Noora and Seyf continue to complement each other—and working together, they showed a gift for leadership with the other initiates at the Ilum Jedi Temple—they are quite different, in talent and temperament, and those differences could lead to a more natural separation as they head down different paths.

    Seyf-For-Sword is well on his way to being the master swordsman I suspected (and no, it isn’t just because of his name) he would become. He has skills that Master Windu appreciates, so it isn’t that much of a surprise that Windu would choose him as padawan—even if the circumstances were less than ideal, but I’ll address that later. Unfortunately, Palpatine has noticed both his skills, and his attachment to Noora, both of which would be useful to him in an apprentice. Seyf doesn’t ever seem to have been as vulnerable to the sort of flattery Palpatine uses as Anakin will be, and perhaps that is in large part because he has his bond with Noora to fill his emotional needs. Still and all, it was lucky for him that Anakin came along. Seyf isn’t ever going to compare to the prize of The Chosen One.

    As for Noora—this is probably nigh unto blasphemy, but well, Mistress_Renata has already said as much, so: I think, and have for some time, that Noora would do better, and fit better, in the Agricorps, or one of the other service corps, or somewhere other than the traditional master-and-padawan pair traveling the galaxy on missions. She has her talents, but they are not the sort that have much worth in the Jedi worldview—and she does not excel at the flashier skills the Jedi do value. She not only doesn’t have the aptitude, she also lacks the interest—and I think this is the first time I have seen a Jedi character like this.

    While she hasn’t taken the step of leaving the Jedi Order—and to be honest, based in part on the location of that recurring vision of hers, I do not think she will--she can see outside the box. She can know that path as a possibility. She has found a good, and much needed, confidant in Qui-Gon Jinn, who may well have considered that path himself at one point in his life. Despite their bond, Seyf can’t fill that role for her.

    Then there’s that trial where Seyf’s deep connection of Noora is used, rather unfairly, against him—and while the Jedi way has muted his impetuous feelings somewhat, Seyf was pushed to his very limits; I think it was only that glimpse of compassion in Yoda’s eyes that stayed his outburst of very un-Jedi like feelings.

    It’s interesting: oftentimes, Jedi children are portrayed as years ahead in maturity, emotional and otherwise, than children generally are, but in this scene, Seyf takes in the news he believes to be true in the most extreme manner. Noora is leaving the Temple forever. She can never come back. She will be all alone in that galaxy Seyf can’t even quite imagine. He will never see her again. She might as well be dead! It doesn’t seem to occur to him that they could, conceivably, you know, remain in contact—they do have comms/space mobiles/etc. But oh no, it doesn’t even occur to him--everything he knows has taught him it's not possible. So while his thought process may be due somewhat to adolescent strum un drang, I think it is also part of the limitations of the Jedi teachings.

    (And that’s not even touching the part where they would allow a thirteen-year-old girl to go out into the galaxy without so much as lunch money—this is the same order, after all, who would send girls that age into battle as generals.)

    Well, this reply has turned into an essay (775 words according to Microsoft, for which I can but apologize), so I will end here. I can see where these characters are now, but I’m looking forward to seeing where they shall go.
     
  15. BookExogorth

    BookExogorth Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 4, 2017
    Overall

    Wow, this is great! I love the atmosphere, you do a very good job depicting the jedi temple. The characters, canon or original, are alive. Noora is my favorite character. It’s also just a vivid and beautiful story so far.

    Chapter 1

    Interesting way to show their path before they’ve taken it. Yamma is very kind, and is good for her role. Noora is sweet.

    Chapter 2

    Good job with the teaching of the children. The scene here is very vivid. I checked the grass painting link on the Wook out, and it’s an interesting concept. You use it here beautifully. Of course Noora immediately senses the hurt and wants to help. And what Seyf says is endearing… endearing… definitely not at all troubling… endearing… Changing the subject, I like how tangible the force is to Noora. I’ve always thought that jedi artists should be a thing, the force leading them to see the beauty in things.

    Chapter 3

    Fantastic job with presenting two equally jedi-ish views on (young) attachments! Good description of friendship, too. Just as iron sharpens iron, and such. The vision! I don’t even know what to say about it; I’m sure you know what it means, but I only have vague ideas. I don’t think it was actually of the dark side, though I fear what it says about Noora, if it represents her sacrificing herself for someone. Noora is so serene. Interesting look into how beings perceive the force.

    Chapter 4

    So often, those padawans eager for sabers have already lost the right mindset, the one that can push the darkness out after pulling it in. During Pal’s visit, you illustrate their friendship beautifully in the way that each takes more satisfaction in the others’ praise. Palpatine is just a touch suspicious here, the perfect Senator Palpatine level.

    Chapter 5

    I love how you can show their characters in just about everything they do, especially when Noora, knowing where her crystal is, reaches out to the hurting one, wanting to let it be heard. (Side note: something about the way that was presented makes me think that that was her personal trial of spirit, especially when she fails. I know this is harsh, but perhaps Noora doesn’t have the strength to be a jedi, she instead has the strength to not be a jedi, but follow the force, but I digress.) I also wonder if she’ll sense the crystal in Anakin’s saber…

    Chapter 6

    Poor Noora! :_|

    Honestly, Seyf’s trial seems very jedi-like. If the only reason he’s a jedi is another person, that’s not a strong enough commitment. He dealt with it so well, too (how much he’s grown), but then he hears that it was a test… I don’t know about him. Perhaps it was too soon for him to understand the reasoning for it.

    You're a great writer! =D=
    (I hope that all made sense.)
     
  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Time to get caught up again! Here goes...

    5: Just as in the description of their preferred areas of study in chapter 4, Noora and Seyf's respective crystal quests show such a beautiful contrast between the two younglings, their personalities, and their guiding ethoses (ethoi?). Seyf forges ahead as quickly as he can to get to his, and when he comes across it his first reaction is to jump up and retrieve it immediately with the aid of some Force-assisted acrobatics—in defiance of Noora's advice (and it's to his credit, of course, that he realizes that, even if he does get a bit scraped up in the process). In Noora's quest, we see her empathic gift take on a whole new dimension: by way of the crystals, she seems able to bond empathically not only with beings around her in the here and now but also with beings of the future, whom she has never met. That of course takes on a decidedly prophetic character here as she comes across what we readers know to be Anakin's crystal—an awesome moment that feels like the culmination of all of Noora's abilities so far. You mentioned earlier on that Noora started out as an early version of Ayesha, and of course Ayesha too developed a close and unique empathic bond with Anakin/Vader; a similar kind of bond seems to be at work here with Noora, the future Anakin, and their "brother" crystals (cf. Harry's and Voldemort's "brother" wands).

    Of course, this chapter also highlights an important thing that these two padawans do have in common: a deep desire to help and encourage their fellow students. I love the way they do just that at the beginning, answering their peers' questions, allaying their fears, and leading them in meditation.

    When Noora returns and tells Qui-Gon what she experienced, my first reaction was like Seyf's: "Aw, Noora, don't give up—what a silly thing to do!" But knowing that Order 66 and generations of darkness and pain really are in the offing, leaving the Jedi Order might be a smarter thing for Noora to do than anyone thinks. [face_thinking] I will be curious to see which decision she will end up making.

    6: One of the most intense chapters yet! Such a whirl of emotions here on both younglings' parts: Seyf's creeping fear that he and Noora might be drifting apart and going separate ways; Noora's discomfort at the overprotective vibe she's getting from Seyf; and her unease about developing a close bond with someone other than him (which in its way reveals her own fear about drifting apart). And this is more than just brand-X pre-adolescent friendship ups and downs, given the way these two have so far spent their whole lives so far as "one soul in two bodies." The stress of preparing for initiate trials on top of it all certainly doesn't help, but it's encouraging that they still have their shared meditation sessions at the Sacred Spire. I wonder if Noora's recurring vision, besides foretelling future events, is also kind of emblematic of what's to come for her friendship with Seyf: fire and hardship are ahead for them (in that they are going to have to work out their fears about separating from each other), but once those are past they will have nothing but peace (even if that peace comes in death, as it does in the "Barbriallen" song).

    And Seyf's final trials... wow, what an absolute gutpunch. I can totally see where he would feel totally punched in the stomach after all that emotional buildup—and especially after all the effort he puts in to discipline his emotional reaction to the "fake news" (!) about Noora's departure. We see him come soooooo close to making the ultimate Jedi emotional breakthrough—really and truly rising above his irrational fears, setting aside his own feelings for the greater good, which of course is no easy thing for an impetuous soul like himself. But then, the moment he hears that it was all "just a test," we see it start crumbling down, and the old, hotheaded Seyf reemerges.Of course, I had an inkling at the start that this would all be "just a test," seeing as that kind of thing is par for the course for the Jedi Order of this period—and you hint as much when you write that "it was custom to take initiates outside and confront them with a real-life situation for this particular test." But there were good things that came out of Seyf's effort to discipline his feelings, and some true character growth—particularly the way he realizes the selfishness and possessiveness that have been underlying so many of his feelings about Noora—and I am now concerned that those things are going to be lost. As well as afraid of what Seyf might try to do now—keep your cool, Seyf, and remember: "no chaos, only harmony"! [face_nail_biting]