Fiach’s Jedi Trials

Fiach Dubh

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“I am ready to face the Trials.”
― Obi-Wan Kenobi


The Jedi Trials were a process that Padawans of the Jedi Order took in order to achieve the rank of Jedi Knight. During the trials, Padawans must go through nine steps of assessment, namely: teamwork, isolation, fear, anger, betrayal, focus, instinct, forgiveness, and protection. Once completed to the satisfaction of the Jedi Council, the Padawan can be considered a Jedi and achieves the rank of Knight. The Jedi trials were an integral tradition within the Jedi Order since its conception. Should the apprentice be unsuccessful in completing the trials, they were permitted to take them again until they passed.

Fiach, as any Padawan, had strengths and weaknesses. Patience was definitely one of her virtues and so she was in no rush to progress to become a Knight. In fact, she saw the timing as beyond her control as her master and the Jedi Council would determine when she was ready to progress. In many ways she wondered how structured the trials would be. It would be convenient to undertake a test, but she was aware that practical application was far more valuable than a short assessment. But then, she mused, being told you were about to be tested for teamwork would negate the validity of the trial surely? So perhaps, she wondered, she’d already undertaken some trials? Or would you be told afterwards that you’d passed?

Deciding this was way too much conjecture, she dismissed the thoughts and decided to simply continue to be the best Padawan she could be and if the trials presented themselves, she would take them in her stride.
 

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JEDI TRIAL: TEAMWORK

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.”
– Yoda


Fiach had spent three days solid researching. Her master was off on a solo mission and she’d been left the brief to study campaigns and battles. Deciding a change was beneficial, she headed to the Padawan Dojo to see if she could find someone to spar with.

Fiach found only one Jedi in the training area, a Master. She watched him move with focus and concentration – and as was her habit, she stood to the side and learned from his moves.

At last Master Veiga thumbed his lightsaber off. He glanced over at Fiach and grinned. “Fiach, looking for a sparring partner?”

Fiach started briefly. “You honour me,” she said with a slight bow.

Veiga laughed. “Honour you? That means either you’re surprised I remember your name, or you’re surprised that a Jedi Master is so readily willing to spar with a Padawan he barely knows.”

Fiach was unsure what to say, and so said nothing.

“Of course I remember your name, and of course I’m happy to spar with you.” He gestured an invitation, and Fiach entered the sparring circle.

They faced each other and saluted, then took position and thumbed their lightsabers to life with a snap-hiss.

Fiach made the first move, a thrust that started high before plunging downward to dip under an anticipated high parry. The blades of the lightsabers sizzled as Veiga easily deflected the thrust, laughing when he danced aside.

“You surprise me,” Veiga said mock-seriously. “That’s such a basic move. I’d have thought you’d have some new ones that the instructors here would have given you.” He launched a flurry of thrusts and slices of his own; Fiach easily parried or deflected all of them.

“Master Veiga,” Fiach said when they stepped back, “in a fight, in my experience, the tried-and-tested movements are usually the most effective.” She reached out with her lightsaber to touch Veiga’s, then spun the tip of the blade in an unorthodox backhand that would have cut through Veiga’s left shoulder had she not stopped short - and had Veiga failed to fall back out of the way in time.

“Very good, Padawan.” Veiga nodded with approval. “That was so close I’m not sure whether or not it counts as a touch.”

Fiach nodded. “You don’t have time to invent in a fight – but sometimes you have to improvise, which is something I am beginning to learn.”

After an hour of sparring, they stopped by unspoken mutual agreement. Both gleamed with sweat.
 

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The following day, Fiach received a message to meet the Jedi Master at the dojo and presumed it was for a repeat sparring session. But when she arrived, the Master was sitting and clearly not ready to practice with his saber.

“My young sparring partner,” Veiga announced as he looked up, “I have come with news. The Jedi Council is sending us on a mission.”

“What is the mission, Master Veiga?”

“A vital communications hub has been captured by pirates.”

“When do we leave?”

“Soon, very soon.”

“So, what’s our first step?”
Fiach asked.

“Our first step? Well, you and I are going to meet someone.”
 

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No society is without its underworld and it was to this underbelly that Jedi Master Veiga took Fiach.

The Golden Tusk, a run-down flophouse with a sleazy bar in the lobby, was the only spot of activity on a dead-end side street just off a main underground thoroughfare. Piles of garbage littered the gutter; one flickering sign – the other lights weren’t working – provided dim and intermittent illumination. Beyond the hotel was enveloped in pitch darkness.

“Why are we here? I thought we were going to take back the communications hub?” Fiach whispered as she carefully threaded her way through the garbage. A sudden barrage of guttural shouting and the noise of something being smashed came dully from inside the Golden Tusk, and a tall creature burst from the hotel lobby and skittered past. Fiach stiffened, involuntarily.

“All in good time, and easy does it, Fiach,” Veiga murmured, putting a restraining hand on the Padawan’s forearm.

Fiach glanced toward the end of the street where she sensed something lurking. Then she reached out into the Force to scan the hotel lobby. “Well,” she whispered, “there aren’t any Force-sensitives in there, so lead on.”

The lobby was a shambles. Most of the furniture that was still intact was unoccupied, except for something snoring loudly on one of the couches. An overhead fan stirred the stale air lazily. A bored clerk, a character with a huge set of ears and a long proboscis, glanced up at the two Jedi, squeaked an exclamation, and disappeared underneath the counter. Several patrons sat at the bar on one side of the lobby. The floor there was littered with debris, the remains of a destroyed table and chairs-and something that looked suspiciously like an arm or a leg freshly separated from its owner.

An unprepossessing figure hunched alone at one end of the bar. Three other barflies sat at the opposite end, as far from the figure as they could get, studiously ignoring its presence.
 

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“Freddo!” Veiga shouted.

The lobby went deadly silent. Even the fan slowly whirring above them seemed to stop its lazy perambulations. The bartender dropped the glass he was pretending to clean and ducked behind the bar.

The hunched figure turned slowly, stepped to its feet, and moved toward them. Fiach blinked. It had bumpy green skin and bulging, multifaceted eyes; a stubby pair of antennae protruded from its head. Numerous sheathed knives hung from two bandoliers crossing its chest, and more knives rested uneasily in scabbards on its belt. A pair of blasters sat in holsters on its belt. Fiach thought she could make out other tools of the bounty hunter’s trade poking out here and there. The dim light glinted wetly off the knives where their metal was visible, as if they had recently been used. This being was the meanest-looking Rodian Fiach had ever seen-and he headed straight toward them.
 

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As soon as he got within reach, the bounty hunter lurched forward and grabbed Veiga around the waist and danced him around in a macabre circle.

“Veiga!” he hooted. “It’s good to see you, old friend!” He stopped dancing, and the two embraced warmly.

“This is Freddo,” Veiga told Fiach as soon as he was able to disentangle himself. “Freddo, this young Jedi is Fiach Dubh. Say hello, Fiach.”

Fiach smiled, bowed slightly and said, “Hello.”

The Rodian released Veiga and stood at attention. “Jedi Fiach Dubh, Sergeant Freddo reporting,” he said in an impeccable Basic that contrasted sharply with his appearance. “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“Sergeant?”
Fiach asked, bemused by the Rodian’s clipped tones. “I didn’t know bounty hunters had ranks.”

The barflies, who had been studiously ignoring the trio, turned their heads for a quick glance, then returned their attention to their drinks. Even the bartender peeked out from hiding when Freddo hooted in raucous laughter,

“Come,” Freddo commanded, and led them to the bar; the barflies huddled inconspicuously over their drinks. “Barkeep! Come out from wherever you’re hiding – I want to buy a drink for my friends!”

The bartender edged up from his hiding place. Looking like he was ready to drop back down to safety at any moment, he poured a dirty yellow fluid out of a bottle containing some kind of root into glasses that looked none too clean. Freddo raised his glass in a toast. Veiga and Fiach followed suit.

“Aaarrggh! Whew!” Veiga gasped. Freddo patted him hard between the shoulder blades. “Strong stuff!” the Jedi Master wheezed, thumping his chest with a fist.

Fiach sniffed cautiously at her drink. The smell alone burned her nose and she quickly threw the contents over her shoulder and slammed the glass back down on the bar.

“Do you have a job for me, Veiga?”

“Possibly.”
He gave his drink a suspicious look and pushed the dirty glass aside, then said to Fiach, “Freddo isn’t a bounty hunter, he’s an old soldier. He’s been in more battles and on more campaigns than most regular soldiers. He’s led troops in battle his whole life. I want him to come with us. He’ll be a good addition to our team, especially when it comes to directing small-unit operations.” He turned to Freddo. “Will you come with us?”

Freddo smiled. “You’re going to need a good sergeant major. Especially the whelp here.” He flung a surprisingly strong arm across Fiach’s shoulders and she smiled, weakly.
 

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The next days passed in a whirlwind of activity. The two Jedi and their Rodian comrade soon began to work as a well-oiled team. Freddo followed Fiach everywhere, interjecting advice whenever appropriate, but otherwise not saying much.

And then she found out she was not going to enter the fray as three individuals, but instead she was expected to lead a squad of troops.

“They’re yours,” Veiga told her. “Take Freddo and get to know them.”

Surprised and unsure what to do next, Fiach turned to Freddo for advice.

“You’re their leader,” he said. “Soldiers don’t respect a commander who doesn’t know their weapons, equipment, and tactics better than they do. They work best under their own officers; they wouldn’t fight under me. Under you, yes, of course – you’re a Jedi. But although they respect you as a Jedi, now you must show them they can respect you as a soldier like them. You have to show them before we go into battle that you know what you’re doing.”

Fiach had done her best, and Freddo had been impressed with her handling of the troops. Now, as they headed into combat, she was feeling more confident.

She’d spent the night before inspecting the troopers. She found no dust, grease, or dirty weapons.

Following the review, Freddo leaned over and told Fiach, “You did a good job with that inspection. You looked at everything you should, and weren’t petty, like some might have been. The troopers appreciate that. They’ll fight well for you, I can tell.”

She reminded herself she was a Jedi, and she would do the Order proud. Taking a deep breath, she reached out to the Force, seeking serenity...
 

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Using ground-skimming navigation, Fiach expertly guided the troop landing craft, letting it roar along at a scant ten metres above the ground. Freddo sat strapped into the co-pilot’s seat, gripping the armrests as Fiach delicately shifted the steering yoke just enough to clear the top of a hill that flashed beneath them.

“Check our troopers, would you?” Fiach was delighted to be flying the transport, and perversely amused that she’d found something that made the Rodian soldier nervous.

Glad to have an excuse to take his eyes off the terrain that was whipping past too close beneath them, Freddo slid the cabin door open and glanced back at the troopers strapped in behind them. They sat there calmly, silently, as if they were riding a bus to a picnic.

“The troopers are doing well. Can you slow down a bit, or do you enjoy giving me heart failure?”

“Too late, you need to get ready. We are zero-two from touchdown.”
 

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“On my command, follow me.” Fiach led the troops as they began their assault. “All eyes on me, follow my light.” The debris of battle was reducing visibility and so Fiach drew her lightsaber, activated it, and held it straight up in the air.

Laser and blaster bolts sizzled through the air. Fiach batted them out of the way but ensured she kept her lightsaber in view. It was the only thing anyone could see at any distance in the dense dust and smoke hanging over the battlefield.

In a matter of seconds they reached their objective. The squad formed behind Fiach, taking prearranged positions. Ahead Fiach could sense the pirates, keen to retain their ill-gotten gains. “Form up on me – I lead the way!” All around them the air hummed and buzzed and cracked with the blasts from high-energy weapons. “Move fast but keep a sharp lookout,” Fiach ordered. “Be sure of your targets before you shoot. No unnecessary fire.”

Soon they had penetrated the complex itself. Fiach sprinted down the long corridor she had memorised from the schematics she’d studied, followed by the rest of her force. The side corridors flashed by, but all seemed empty just now.

Fiach had her lightsaber out. There was a good three metres ahead of the nearest infantryman behind her when a battle droid popped around a corner and fired its weapon. The bolt hit the trooper behind the Jedi. The trooper gasped and collapsed to the floor in a clatter. Fiach disposed of the droid with one swift sweep of her lightsaber, but other droids, six of them, emerged and took up positions directly in front of the control-room doors and immediately began firing. The troopers hit the deck and the bolts lanced harmlessly over them, caroming off the walls and ceiling.

None of them could fire back because Fiach was in the way. To the troopers, as Fiach sunk deeply into the third Form, she seemed at the centre of a cyclone of lilac light as her lightsaber whirled and slashed at the blaster bolts, which were aimed directly at her at point-blank range. They bounced off the high-energy blade and some tore into the walls and ceiling – whilst the remainder hit the droids. In seconds, the droids were smoking piles of junk.

Fiach leapt over the mess, brought her lightsaber down in one swift motion, and burst open the doors to the control room, and stepped inside. The whole scenario had taken only seconds, and to those behind her watching it seemed he had merely strolled through the droids and pushed open the doors.
 

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The troopers lay gasping and coughing on the floor behind her. The corridor was filled with the choking stench of vaporised droid metal and components. Fiach had already disappeared into the control room before one of the troopers got to his knees and shouted, “Follow her!”

There were more droids in the main control room – which explained how the pirates had managed to overcome the guards. When Fiach appeared suddenly among them, her lightsaber flashing, it took several fatal seconds for any of them to recognise her as a threat. One fired directly at her, but it was as if Fiach knew the droid’s intention even before it moved. With an almost casual sweep of her blade, she deflected the blaster bolt and cut the droid in two. To the troopers, who were now entering the room, Fiach’s movements were so fast that by comparison the droids’ defence was in slow motion. The troopers took up shooting positions, and in a couple of seconds all of the droids were eliminated.

“Secure the defence grid,” Fiach ordered. “Quickly! Quickly! Let’s make sure the droids are on our side now.”

Fiach stood in the centre of the control room surrounded by the steaming piles of debris, awaiting confirmation they had control of the station again.

What happened next would have consequences for the young Jedi. In a microsecond she saw what was coming but he was powerless to interfere. A battle droid stepped into the room from the far side and levelled its blaster at Fiach. One of the troopers deliberately stepped in front of her just as the droid fired. The bolt, fired at low power, hit the trooper squarely in the chest and slammed him back into Fiach. The trooper didn’t cry out but Fiach felt the life force drain out of him.

The droid stood there, staring at Fiach. It was as if it were waiting politely before it fired again. The control room was silent for a long moment, broken only by a repeated click, click, click as the droid impotently pulled the trigger of its weapon. A moment later, a trooper’s blaster scored a hole in the head of the droid that had killed his comrade.
 

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As they returned to the Order’s headquarters, Fiach was quieter than usual. Finally, Veiga asked her to meet him in the small canteen of the ship. When she arrived, he was already there. He smiled and pushed the seat next to him with his foot, to signify he wanted her to sit there.

“Death is never pleasant,” he said.

“Death is unavoidable. Only the date is undetermined.”

“Then what it troubling you?”


“He died because of me.”

“Would you have died for him?”


“Of course.”
There was no hesitation in her answer.

“Then why deny him the same values?”

Fiach’s mouth opened and closed. Her brow knitted. “For once,” she finally said, “logic seems to fail to provide the answer. My head understands and agrees with you, but my heart does not.”

Veiga placed a hand on the Padawan’s shoulders. “Jedi are not better than anyone else,” he held up a hand to stop her anticipated response, “and I know you don’t think that. Nor is our life any more or less valuable than any other. On this mission you became more than a Jedi. You became part of a team. A family of sorts. And because you created such a strong team, any one of the troopers would have done the same, as would you.”

He paused. “I have spoken with the Council. Not all tests have a positive ending, even if they are successful. We retook the hub and dealt with the pirates. Lives were lost but you created and led a team in a very short space of time and because of that, the Council have agreed with me. That you’ve passed the Trial of Teamwork.”
 

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JEDI TRIAL: ISOLATION

“Close your eyes. Feel it. The light…it’s always been there. It will guide you.”

– Maz Kanata

The summons was clear and straightforward. Parents on a distant planet had contacted the Jedi as they believed their child might be Force-sensitive. It was a remote planet in the Outer Rim planet, effectively cut off from the galaxy. From what Fiach had read, they did not interact with other worlds and did not welcome outsiders. This was unusual in the Padawan’s eyes but wondered if this meant they were now willing to open up relations?

She was a little surprised they had asked her to go alone. In travelling, she would automatically open relations with the planet. And any world that isolates itself can be filled with suspicion and fear. She needed to be diplomatic. So, she surmised a Master would be going, or at least a seasoned Knight.

But no, she was going alone and as she reviewed her thoughts, her ship’s controls chimed to let her know she was exiting hyperspace.
 

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The mission to identify a Force-sensitive child was fairly routine. She’d done that much before. But landing on a planet for the first time can be confusing, she knew. There was usually so much to see that it was hard to focus. Especially as, in the first few minutes, you can learn so much about the world and its culture and people – if you knew where and how to look.

Her craft slowly lowered onto the landing platform. There was a group waiting for her. Both the men and women wore tunics similar to her own.

She activated the ramp, and as she disembarked, a man and a woman stepped forward immediately to greet her.

“Welcome, Jedi,”
the woman said in a pleasant tone. She was, Fiach estimated, middle-aged, with a ruddy complexion. “We are here to introduce you to our world and make sure you’re comfortable. I am Rita.”

Her companion smiled and bowed and introduced himself as Ken. He was tall and bald.

The Padawan bowed in return, and Fiach wondered why a planet that had never received a visitor would have people designated to greet her, but she shrugged it off.

“I was called here by two of your citizens.”

A younger couple stepped forward. “We are the parents,” the man said, placing his arm around his partner.

The young woman scanned Fiach with apprehensive eyes, then looked down. She seemed nervous, as did her husband. Fiach presumed they were worried about the approaching examination of their child.

“The child is at their dwelling,” the older woman said. “We will transport you there. Please follow.”

Fiach followed her guides and the parents to a battered-looking landspeeder. Not since Klatooine had she seen such an old model in use. She wondered if it would be able to start.
 

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As they sped over the rugged ground, Fiach looked around curiously. They were traveling along one central unpaved road that curved around a low wall. Inside the wall were domed structures. The landspeeders parked outside looked as ancient and battered as the one they were riding in.

“There is only one city,” Rita shouted over the noise of the engine. “The rest of the planet is used for food.”

A shadow passed over them, and Fiach looked up. A skyhopper zoomed overhead, an old model she wasn’t familiar with.

“Do you have currency here?” Fiach asked in an interested way.

Ken shook his head. “We are a barter economy. We may give up great riches here, but we have no crime.”

“It seems a good philosophy,”
Fiach agreed. “Do you have a system of government?”

“We have wise counsellors,”
Rita said. “They guide rather than rule. We are all given a voice.”

Fiach had to admit that the system seemed to work on the surface. Perhaps because it was a tiny planet with a small population, it managed to avoid the strife of other worlds. As they sped by, people lifted their heads from their tasks to wave and smile. They all seemed busy and happy.

Still, she noticed something strange and the words came out before she had a chance to reflect on their wisdom. “I don’t see any children,” she said.

“Children are precious here,” Ken told her. “Education is very important. They are sent to school at an early age to learn and explore.”
 

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They soon reached the parent’s home and Fiach found herself in a small apartment. It was furnished simply but comfortably.

Fiach turned to Ken and Rita. “Thank you for bringing me here. I would like to examine the child alone with the parents.”

“Oh, of course, we understand your procedures,”
Ken said.

“But we cannot follow them,” Rita added. “The girl’s parents have asked us to stay. They are nervous with outsiders.”

Fiach looked at the parents kindly. “There is nothing to be nervous about. I will simply tell you if your child is Force-sensitive. If so, I will explain what that means and what can be done, should you wish it.”

The parents exchanged glances and the mother swallowed. “We wish for the guides to stay.”

Rita and Ken smiled, but to Fiach, what was inside did not match their friendliness. A small trickle of warning snaked through her. She had learned to trust that feeling.

Something was wrong here. Things were not what they appeared to be. Fiach had a feeling the guides were not happy the Jedi were here. Not at all.

Plus, again the concept of guides on a planet that allowed no visitors surfaced in Fiach’s mind.

“Of course you may remain if the parents wish it,” she said. “There are exceptions to every rule.”
 

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The mother left the apartment and returned in a few moments with a baby in her arms. The child must have been close to a year old. She looked up at Fiach with a bright, inquisitive gaze. The Padawan held out a finger. The baby grabbed it, then pulled it to her mouth and gnawed on it gently.

“Ah,” Fiach said. “I see.” She gave a short nod.

“You’ve reached your conclusion so soon?” Rita asked, her smile a little tight.

“Yes, I have,” Fiach answered. “She is definitely hungry.”

In truth, Fiach had already sensed the baby was Force-sensitive but felt reluctant to share the information straight away.

“Let us sit down,”
Fiach suggested. “While the child is being fed, I can explain more about why I have come so far to see her.”

“If your baby is strong in the Force, her powers will become more apparent as she grows,”
Fiach began. “These powers should be nurtured and directed. When they are not, the child can become confused and frightened.”

“No one is frightened here,”
Rita said firmly.

“The Jedi can teach a Force-sensitive child not only how to control her gift, but how to let it guide her and connect her to all things.”

“Ah, here I must interrupt you,”
Rita said, her smile beaming gracious friendship. “This baby is special, yes - but all babies are special. No one is any better than another.”

“I am not saying that this baby is better,”
Fiach said. She did her utmost to keep impatience out of her tone. “But I am saying that the Force will set her apart. The Jedi path will show her how to make sense of that difference.”

Ken beamed. “Ah, now I see! A wise and just path, I’m sure. But she will have no need of this. Here she will be raised as an equal. It would be wrong for her to be raised to believe she was special. This is against the counsel of the wise.”

Ken and Rita nodded and smiled.

Slowly, the parents nodded, too.
 

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Fiach sensed that the parents seemed to be listening intently, but they were not given a chance to react. Instead, the guides were doing all the reacting and talking for them. This was precisely why she was instructed to do the first interview to be with the parents only.

She realised that Ken and Rita had not truly listened to a word she had said. They had asked no questions about the Jedi path, or about the baby’s abilities. If it were up to them, this child would never leave the planet – that much was clear.

Fiach focused on the parents. “If your baby is strong in the Force, you need to fully understand what that means. She might be able to move objects or see things before they happen. Such things can frighten a young child.”

“Not here,”
Rita said cheerily.

Fiach supressed a sigh. She had to get the parents away from the guides. That was clear. But she also had to be mindful of the Council’s wish to be diplomatic. She must respect their way of doing things.
 
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The guides suddenly stood. “That was an excellent meeting,” Ken said. “I’m so glad to hear of the wonderful Jedi way.”

“And we are sure you are tired from your journey,”
Rita added. “We will show you to the quarters we have for you. There will be plenty of time for more discussion.”

“Unless you must go straight away,”
Ken said. “We know how important the Jedi are.”

“I can stay as long as the baby’s parents want me to,”
Fiach said firmly. “And I have one request. I would like to walk to our destination. I did have a long journey, it’s true. I’d like to stretch my legs.”

The two guides exchanged glances at this unexpected request.

“Of course,”
Rita said, her ruddy cheeks now a deeper shade of red. “If you would like that…”

“I would,”
Fiach said emphatically.
 

Fiach Dubh

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Her plan was simple – to wander off and use the time to gather information about the planet. AS she walked, she passed a marketplace. It was the oddest marketplace she had ever seen. Although she had just passed fruit orchards and had seen trees with boughs bent with ripe fruit, there was not a fresh fruit or vegetable to be seen. Strips of dried fruit and vegetables hung from hooks, and large bins contained grains. There were cobblers for boots and tailors who sold tunics and work gear. Shoppers went about their business with smiles and nods. They did not linger with pleasure at a display or stop to be tempted by a treat. There was plenty to see in the market, but nothing enticing to buy.

Walking on, Fiach simply wandered and soon became lost. Finally, she emerged from some bushy overgrowth and found herself alongside a field of tall grass. A dirt path ran along the edge of the field.

Suddenly, the noise of an engine split the air. A landspeeder was approaching. It was too late to retreat into the shrubbery. The landspeeder drew up alongside her. A burly middle-aged man smiled at them in a friendly way.

“What are you doing out here?”

“Just out walking,”
Fiach said.

“No school today?” the man asked in a pleasant tone.

Here was a trap. Fiach didn’t want to say she was a visitor. That would surely send Rita and Ken on her trail.

“I have permission to be out,” Fiach said. “But I’d better head home.”

“Suit yourself.”
The man waved her on.

She began to walk past him. But something was wrong. The Force surged, warning Fiach a moment before an electro-jabber swiped at her knees, then her shoulder. They were both glancing blows, but enough to send Fiach crashing to the ground.

The man picked her up and dumped her like cargo on the rear floor of the landspeeder.
 

Fiach Dubh

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Jedi Padawan
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Corbeau
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Fiach still couldn’t feel her legs. She knew it would wear off, but it could take a few hours.

She had been traveling for some time. The city had been left behind. From her position on the floor of the speeder, Fiach could see a glimpse of sky. She had not seen nor heard any other speeders around them for kilometres now, just the top branches of the trees, dancing in a brisk breeze. The temperature was dropping and she surmised they may be heading to a higher altitude.

At last the engines thrummed to a lower speed and the speeder stopped. The door next to Fiach opened and she was dragged out roughly. Her legs were too unsteady to hold her and she was dumped on the ground.

“I thought children were revered on this planet,” Fiach said, her cheek in the dirt.

A boot was suddenly placed on her head. Her face was pushed farther into the dirt. “No back talk. You know very well that truancy is a criminal act. You’re old enough to be punished for it.”

“But I’m not from this planet!”
Fiach protested.

“I’ve heard all the excuses. Shut your mouth.”

“I’m from another world. I’m a visitor,”
she insisted. She struggled to rise, but the electro-jabber had done its work. She knew she wouldn’t regain full use of her arms and legs for several more hours. It would be impossible to use her lightsaber effectively until then. Besides, she’d been instructed to be diplomatic. A show of force would not paint the Order in a good light.

“Zane” A voice boomed from behind them. Instantly, Zane instantly took his boot off Fiach’s face.

Fiach saw another man approach, wearing the same tunic as Zane.

“Why is this student on the ground?” the second man demanded.

“Resisting capture,”
Zane responded.

“No need to use physical force,” the other man said. “We’ve discussed this before. Teaching works with love, not fear. Take them to class.”

Fiach was hauled to her feet and she locked her knees so that she would not fall.

“But I’m not from this planet,” Fiach pleaded to the second guard, who seemed more friendly. “I’m a visitor.”

The second guard’s dark gaze flicked over Fiach. “No one visits our planet. Three marks for lying.” He turned away. “Take her to class.”

Zane nudged her with the handle end of his electro-jabber. “Get moving.”
 
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