Updated: Apr 21
Lara opened her eye, just briefly, to catch a quick peek. Her master sat near her, cross-legged, his own eyes shut. Lara could feel the Force that was glowing around him.
"You are not concentrating my dear..."
Lara stifled a giggle and opened her eyes fully, her previous deception caught. The corner of her master's mouth twitched upwards, very slightly. "I'm sorry Master it's... just a bit hard to concentrate knowing what's about to happen..."
"All the more reason to calm your mind child..."
"Okay..." Lara pressed her eyes shut and tried to concentrate on nothing, but every time she tried to do so, she ended up concentrating on something which led to her mind wondering again.
"Come now Lara,"
Lara's eyes opened up again. Her master... or at least, her master to be, stood in front of her. Master Canshi was an old man, his blue eyes faded, his hair greyed and his face wrinkled. He held out a wizened hand out to Lara, who took it gratefully and climbed to her feet. "They are ready for you now,"
Lara's sense of excitement suddenly drained and was replaced by unease. Canshi sensed this and took her hands in his. "Relax, my dear. This is the moment you have been waiting for,"
Lara smiled and Canshi stepped aside. Lara knew what to do. Walking through the large doors, she found herself in a grand chamber. Around her, sat a group of Jedi; some there in person, others merely holograms. She gulped.
"Initiate Lara Aruyo. After watching over your performance, we have come to an agreement about your future here," came a woman's voice. "You have been under the private tutelage of Master Hideo Canshi for the past few months, is that right?"
"Yes, Master," Lara felt herself say.
"And in that time, Master Canshi has told you that you possess a rather uncanny ability to use the Force?"
Was this a test? "He has mentioned it, Master, as well as telling me that I have yet to hone my skills. That I was about as subtle as a Hutt trying to dance..." she added. There were a few snorts of suppressed laughter.
"He did?" came the woman's reply. It was tart, certainly not impressed. "Considering your progress, we have decided that you will continue training under Master Canshi, for the time being, as per his request,"
Lara tried to hide her smile, looking down at her feet. "Not only this," the women continued, "We have decided to grant you the rank of Padawaan. Congratulations, and may the Force be with you,"
Lara could not hide her grin any longer and she looked up. "Thank you! May the Force be with you!"
The woman didn't return her smile, only nodded in acknowledgement. "You may leave. No doubt there are things your Master wishes to discuss with you,"
Lara nodded and turned, fighting the urge to run out of the room. The walk back through the doors was the longest walk she experienced, under the watchful eyes of all the Jedi Masters looking down at her. As soon as she was out of the room and the doors had slammed shut she jumped up in excitement.
"Calm, young one,"
Lara turned to see Master Canshi standing by a pillar, a small smile on his face. Lara bounded over to him and wrapped him in a hug. A second later, she came to her senses and she quickly stepped back, red. "Sorry...Master. I was... very excited..."
"One of the traits of a successful Jedi is the ability to keep one's emotions in check. You know that very well my dear..."
"Well, it cannot be helped sometimes. You are still very young..." Lara smiled shyly. "Now, my young apprentice. You must prepare. We must depart immediately,"
Lara looked at him. "Depart? Where to?"
Canshi glanced at Lara. "As my apprentice, I expect you to follow my orders without question. If I need to inform you, I will," he said. Canshi had not raised his voice but immediately Lara felt guilty for having angered her new master.
"Of course, I am sorry. I will get ready right away,"
Canshi nodded. "Do not be sorry my child, instead, go make right. We are headed for Coruscant. There is work we must do," he said before turning. "Quickly child, there is no time to spare,"
"Coruscant..." Lara whispered as she followed. "We're going...to Coruscant..." Lara wondered what work she and her master had to get up to there.
Lara stared out of the window at the skyline; the buildings scraping the sky like trees, the streaks of lights like comets, the dying hues of the sun about to disappear. "Why are we here, Master?" "We are looking for someone," Lara looked at the throng of people. In the blink of an eye, she had seen more people than she ever had in her life. Trying to find someone here would be impossible. Canshi must have noticed what she was thinking. "Have trust in the Force little one. Use it to guide you," Lara closed her eyes and concentrated. Almost instantly she felt...pain. Anger, hate, confusion; many voice talking, yelling, shouting at her. Her eyes flew open and she saw herself looking up at Canshi's blue eyes. "Careful Lara..." he said, grabbing her waist and helping her back up. "You almost fell," "So... many... voices..." Lara muttered in between breaths. She pressed her hand to her temples, willing the throbbing to go away. Canshi offered a smile. "I know, using the Force in Coruscant can be difficult, with so many untrained people here. Mastering it is a skill, and one that I hope you will learn quickly... now... maybe we should get you something for your head," "It is a wondrous sight, is it not?" Canshi said, walking up to Lara by the window. "I may dislike the planet, but I can never stop admiring the beauty of it," "It is magnificent Master. So many people...so much to do. So many lives, with so many goals... never in a million lifetimes could I ever experience them all," she paused. "Who are we looking for Master?" Canshi stared out of the window. "Someone who the Jedi Council deem very important," "Who could the Jedi Council deem so important? And why?" "Patience little one. We are not here to question the will of the Council. We are here to carry out their orders. This is something you must learn, if you are to be a good Jedi," Lara slumped. "Sorry...I just have so many questions," Canshi gently placed his hands on Lara's shoulders, before using a finger to lift her chin up to him. "There is much for you to learn my dear. But given time and experience, you will learn to be a good Jedi. Curiousness is not a crime. But if you do not take the time to stop and open your mind, you will never be able to find the answers to the questions you seek. Trust in the Force, and you will have serenity," Lara smiled and closed her eyes, feeling the Force around her. She exhaled and centred. The Force was trying to tell her something... "Something's wrong," she frowned. Canshi looked at her curiously. "I feel it, something is..." Just then, the lights flickered off. There was a deep thud and the hissing of metal burning. "Get behind me," Canshi said, flicking his hand forward. A slim device fell into his hand. The hissing stopped and there was silence. Then the door flew open, filling the room with black smoke. Red blasts came whizzing from the darkness. A green hum pierced the darkness and as the smoke cleared, there were two armoured guards on the floor, blast marks scarring their armour. A silence as the other three guards looked down at their comrades, before looking up at Canshi, his lightsaber drawn, and Lara, who was peeking from behind him. "Kill them," came the order.