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Weiss Zano

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-Jedi Temple-
Weiss walked the known hallways of the Jedi temple heading to one of the common areas. The reason being that he was summoned there by one of his latest friends - if he could call him that. Maxims was a Jedi Master with whom Weiss was assigned on several missions, on some occasions the two were even paired up alone and given considerably important tasks. Throughout these encounters Weiss quickly started to garner respect for the Master not just for his rank as he usually did with the others but for everything that Max was or at least what Weiss had seen in these encounters. Skilled, talented, wise yet never arrogant or one to act all high and mighty Max seemed to be a perfect picture of a Jedi Master, and more importantly - a human being in Weiss's eyes. The pairing of the two wasn't accidental however. Either the Jedi Council pushed for the notion or Max himself did after meeting Weiss for the first time in the cultist's forest on Onderon. Presumably the two were paired up thinking that Max could help the youth brush up on his flaws and open up the apparently brooding and distant Knight a bit more to the people around him.

Though Weiss was uncertain as to why Max had summoned him he was nevertheless pleased to see the man once more. He assumed it might have something to do with an assignment or a mission as he thought Max to be too much of a busy person for simple buddy time and chit chat.

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Maxims Tionson

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The Jedi Temple wasn't really a place that Max spent a lot of time but that was alright - it meant that he was busy. And he would always rather be busy than just waiting around for things to change on their own. Especially since, in his many years of experience, they tended to never get better on their own. Instead you had to go out there every day and do your best to leave the Galaxy in a better state that it was when you found it that morning.

Which probably sounded incredibly corny now that he had actually thought about it and he was glad that his mental shields were good enough that no one would have accidentally 'heard' him thinking of it. He'd never mention it again and be glad of it's absence in his life going forward too!

Sitting in one of the meditation rooms off from the main hall, he had given up on getting comfortable while he waited and was, instead, working at a table against the far wall, away from the door. The table was set up for lightsaber maintenance as often people tended to meditate before and after they fixed up their lightsabers.

He was in the middle of cleaning some of the parts when the door opened. Without looking Max waved.

"Nice to see you kid - take a seat Weiss."
he greeted the Knight, "We're still waiting on someone before we can begin. Someone I'm looking to have you meet."


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Rao Jor

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There is no emotion, there is peace.

No emotion, just peace.

Peace is all there is.

Peace?

Your life is anything but peaceful, Rao. Or have you forgotten? Are you really that naïve?

No... no. Focus on the breath. The breath, at the tip of the nose. The oxygen as it cycles through you, in through your mouth, spiraling down your windpipe, moving in conjunction with the rhythm of your twin hearts.

The presence. The peace.

Peace.

...

Peas?


The sound of the door to his dormitory entered Rao-Jor's mind like a swooping galaar. First it was distant, somewhere in the background of the calm and quiet, and the olfactory sensation of cooked peas that acted as a third wheel to their gathering. With every
swissssshhh, the door-galaar swooped closer, and closer, and closer, until the young Zabrak could no longer ignore the noise. By that point, calm and quiet had already left the meeting, unlikely to return anytime soon.

Eyes still closed, Rao-Jor sighed. "What is it, Enni?"

The swishing came to an abrupt halt. Two almost excited steps, and a single tentative one. Enni suffered from the kind of insecurity that seemed to infect most of Rao-Jor's peers. Luckily, Rao had so far been spared himself, although he doubted if he was even susceptible to the damned thing.


"Umm... food's ready in the cantina, Rao."

Rao opened his eyes and looked at his fellow Initiate. A Human girl, dark-haired, impressive physique. Of his peers, she was the best lightsaber duelist he knew. She was admirable in every way - except for this awkwardness which apparently most Humans and Near Humans had to pass through and overcome. Rao noticed the slightly blushed tone of Enni's cheeks. Again, he thanked the Force for his luck.

"Cooked peas?"

Enni, a girl, human, glanced at the steaming metal bowl in her hand and nodded. "They're not that bad this time."

Rao smiled. "It's peas. Can't be better or worse than last time."

"Maybe not,"
said Enni. "I'm sorry if I startled you, but Instructor Kansen told me to run up and let you know. She said you'd been meditating all morning."

"I have,"
Rao said. "Or trying to, anyway."

"On anything in particular?"
Peace and peas, apparently.


"Master Tionson has summoned me. For later this morning."

"Tionson?" repeated Enni wistfully. The names of the Jedi active in the investigation of and fight against the resurgent Sith Empire were spoken amongst the younglings with reverence, although most of them never set foot in the Temple, and if they did, it wasn't to tell stories or chit-chat with the Initiates. Rao-Jor had never met Master Tionson, and so the summons had come as quite a surprise. "What does he want? Wait, do you think he's chosen you as his-"

"Padawan?"
finished Rao. "No. I doubt that Master Tionson has the time to tutor an apprentice, or maybe he already has one - I don't know. Maybe he's spoken to Kansen. Maybe he knows about my... difficulties with the lightsaber."

"Come on, Rao,"
said Enni. "You're really not that bad."

"No?"
Rao-Jor's eyebrow shot upwards. "Then why do you always defeat me?"

"I've been longer with the Order,"
said Enni. "You'll beat me one day."

"I doubt it,"
said Rao-Jor. He smiled. "But if you say so."

Enni returned his smile. "Besides, you beat me, and most of the others, as soon as its up close and dirty."

Rao-Jor shrugged. "Kansen always says that rule number one of swordsmanship is to never lose one's lightsaber. Stick to that rule, and I won't stand a chance."


"Well, all you need to do is disarm your opponent. Then, if you'd like, you can throw away your lightsaber, and your opponent will be at your mercy."

Rao chuckled. "I wonder what Kansen would say to that move."

"'Highly irregular', is my guess."

They were silent for a moment. "Rao, how did you learn to fight like that?"

Mum and dad, who incidentally are mortal enemies of the Jedi. "My parents are very... capable in that area."

The tone in Rao-Jor's voice took on its regular deflectiveness, and Enni probably recognised it, for she let the matter drop. She ate a spoonful of the peas, staring into the white, anonymous walls behind Rao-Jor's bunk. "Getting cold," she remarked. "Anyway, my work here is done," she said in a mocked variation of Kansens usually somber cadence. "You coming or not?"

Rao shook his head. "Can't eat until I know what the meeting's about."

Enni shrugged. "Fill me in when you're back? I don't want to have to guess if another of my pals are leaving the temple."


"Of course. But again: highly doubt it."

Enni was about to leave, but before she went, Rao said: "And Enni, you don't have to fake a door entry until I notice it next time. You can shake me awake, I don't bite."

"Yeah, yeah,"
Rao heard from the leaving Enni before the door swooshed shut again.

There was still some time before the meeting with Master Tionson, but Rao-Jor knew instinctively that he would not be able to meditate any more before it. So instead, he rose from his bunk, tidied his bunk and the locker, changed into his Initiate day-robes, and practiced attaching and detaching an imagined lightsaber to the right side of his utility belt. He had not created his own lightsaber yet, but Kansen had instructed him to practice the movement nonetheless, so it could become second nature to him. Rao wondered whether the lightsaber, the Jedi Order, or the Force would ever become second nature to him. He had his doubts.

He decided to leave early and made his way through the austere halls of the temple in silence. When he reached the room where the meeting with Master TIonson was to be held - one of the meditation rooms off the main hall - Rao-Jor could already faintly hear voices inside the room. They weren't distinct, but there were at least two different voices, he was sure of it. Another attendee for the meeting. One of my classmates? Rao wasn't the only one who struggled with the lightsaber, so it was a possibility. Whatever the meeting was about, Rao was ready to find out, but he armed himself with the patience necessary to wait outside until he was eventually summoned by Master Tionson. He did not announce his arrival with a knock on the door, for as he had learned since being inducted into the Order two years ago, a Jedi rarely needed an audible sign to know when another living being was close.

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Weiss Zano

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''Master Max, it's good to see you too.'' Weiss spoke with with a smile as he slightly bowed in his usual respectful manner. He noticed Max tampering around some workbench keeping himself busy, just like Weiss assumed the man wasn't the one to sit around and do nothing, a life of hard work and going from task to task possibly playing a part in all of this.

He took a seat as Max instructed and narrowed his head slightly at the Jedi Master's words. Someone he needs to meet ? He resisted the urge to ask what the meeting was regarding considering that Max would just have to repeat himself after the newcomer arrived, instead deciding to try and be patient as the Jedi usually instructed their peers. Weiss was pretty sure that this meeting was regarding some sort of mission and the person who Weiss needs to meet is presumably gonna be paired up with him alone or him and Max together.

Not a full minute passed when someone entered the mediation chamber. Turning his gaze slightly to the side to meet the newcomer Weiss's eyes narrowed in visible confusion as he noticed a Zabrak padawan enter the room. His eyes turned from the Zabrak to Master Max and then back at the padawan. Out of all the outcomes he had assumed for this meeting the true nature of it completely eluded Weiss even as he saw the padawan join them, the obliviousness of the young Knight might have been rather comical if it was spoken aloud.

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Maxims Tionson

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Well well, Rao arrived after Weiss - Max hadn't needed the Force to see that outcome. Weiss was punctual to a fault, to the point that the kid was usually early to quite a lot of things purely so he could be sufficiently 'on time'. Sounded like a military thing to Max so he'd just kind of accepted it.

"You're looking slightly less pale kiddo."
he teased Weiss without looking away from his work, "Caught the sun a little bit? Remember your sun block."

He opened the door to admit Rao with a small application of the Force activating the door. Likewise he closed it behind the Padawan as he entered the room. Finishing up the basic work on his saberstaff, Max set it down now that it wasn't in danger of exploding.

That'd happened once back when he was a padawan.

"Padawan Rao Jor - meet Jedi Knight Weiss Zeno."
he gestured between the two of them, turning to face the two boys with an easy smile for the first time, "I'm Max."

He didn't like to lead with his title - everyone in the room knew it so there was no point in mentioning it aside from pride. And he'd never really put much stock in pride.

"Anyone want to take a guess about why we got three levels of Jedi all in one room?"
he opened things up with as he leaned back against the work bench, "Remember; there's no stupid questions or answers."

Usually anyway.


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Rao Jor

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Not long after Rao-Jor arrived outside the meditation chamber, the door to the room opened up. The Zabrak boy breathed deeply and hurried inside, taking great care to walk with deliberation so he wouldn't trip over his own feet. His peers did that sometimes, and he never understood how they could be so careless, or so clumsy.

Inside, the door closed behind him. The room - doubling as a meditation chamber and a room with the necessary tools for repairing or tinkering with lightsabers - was austere, and occupied by two Jedi. One of them Rao-Jor recognised instantly by the tell-tale patch covering his left eye socket: Jedi Master Max Tionson. Rao-Jor didn't recognise the other one, but it was clear both from his robes and from his physical size that he must be a Knight, not a Padawan. His skin was pale - so pale that Rao-Jor suspected he wasn't just a very pale Human, but his exact species eluded him. The Zabrak shot curious glances at both of the senior Jedi, and although he tried to hide it, the glances would be perfectly apparent to both of the Jedi.

Upon being addressed, Rao-Jor did as Master Tionson told him and turned towards Weiss Zeno, acknowledging the other Jedi's presence with a respectful bow of his head. Then, he turned and did the same to Max. "I know who you are," he blurted out, followed by: "What I mean to say is - everyone here at the Temple is familiar with your likeness, Master Tionson."

A short silence fell over the triad. Rao-Jor shuffled uneasily on his feet. He knew that with the Jedi, it was usually best to wait until spoken to, but his curiosity got the better of him. But before he could ask why he had been summoned, Master Tionson posed a question himself, to which Rao-Jor replied, almost without thinking: "Three levels of Jedi means three different levels of knowledge and understanding. Perhaps, a mission for which three different approaches are needed?" In restrospect, the answer seemed overly contemplative, but in the presence of older, higher-ranking Jedi like these two, Rao-Jor had a tendency to act the way he thought they would appreciate. In many ways, Jedi - with the aloofness and otherworldliness that at least some of them seemed to emanate - were still like unidentified aliens to him.

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Weiss Zano

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Weiss greeted the padawan with a slight bow of his head per Max's introduction of the two with one another though he was quite confused and oblivious to what Max was getting at here. Surely the thought of them being summoned for a mission was prevalent in his head and though it wasn't unheard of padawans accompanying Jedi on missions considering the importance of the tasks Max was undertaking recently Weiss couldn't help but think that there must have been a better choice for whatever the task was than a padawan. Unless... wheels finally started turning in the serious and oblivious young knight's head - Max must have summoned the two to be introduced to each other because he plans to pair them up for a mission. ''I'm gonna assume that the young padawan is to be assigned to a mission with us or either me alone ?'' Weiss's eyes went over to the padawan before coming back to Max. But why ? Surely the boy's master would be a better.... ''No.'' He thought, as his eyes slightly widened in surprise and realization to the fact of the matter that was looming above them. An expression that was sure to bring some dose of amusement to the older Jedi's face.

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Maxims Tionson

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Looked like Weiss got it - either that or the Jedi Knight had some really bad form of either indigestion or something equally as bad bowel-related. Max found the expression rather amusing, but he still managed to wander over and poke Rao in the centre of his forehead with his index finger.

"I introduced myself as Max, kid."
he teased the padawan slightly, "In most social situations outside the Temple, when a person introduces themselves in a way, it's because they're fine with you addressing them that way. And I might be Master Tionson but right now? I'm just Max."

He chuckled a little bit as he idly thought about the best way to break it to the two of them. Because this was both a step forward for Rao and both a step forward and a step backward for Weiss.

So he stopped smiling and turned his attention to Weiss.

"Weiss - you are going to be more directly under my oversight from now on. Onderon was eye-opening and showcased a series of failings in how you have been taught."
he told the younger man, his sole eye fixed on him firmly, "It has been decided that you shall report to me directly; you are a good man, Weiss, and a good soldier. During our time together we shall make you a good Jedi and an even better man, I promise you this."

He placed a hand on Weiss' shoulder.

"And one way you shall grow is by taking the next step on the journey of the Jedi - say hello to Rao Jor, your new padawan."
he gestured between the two of them, "The two of you shall report to me, ultimately, but Rao you shall be instructed by Weiss on a day to day basis. Together you will grow and I shall nurture you both to make sure you grow in the right ways."

Max grinned.

"Any initial thoughts, kids? Remember - no such thing as a dumb question."



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Rao Jor

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Rao-Jor's cheeks flushed red, as if the Jedi Master's finger poking at his forehead had activated a built-in coloration protocol in his face. He simply couldn't help it; half, the boy realised, out of the quiet offense he took at such an obviously juvenile treatment; half (and this was even more disquieting to the Zabrak) because he actually enjoyed it. Among Mandalorians, and certainly among the Jedi, he wasn't used to being spoken to with playful cheekiness, adult to youth. It was something he found he had missed out on - perhaps even craved.

"Okay, Max," he said, grinning. "Watch the horns!"

The Jedi Master then turned his attention on the other Jedi, the one named Weiss. According to Max's words, the other Jedi had - for reasons entirely unknown to Rao-Jor - not lived up to his position as a Jedi, at least, not in certain aspects. Rao-Jor made a point of looking away. Whatever this part of the meeting was about, it didn't concern him. The Jedi Master didn't sound mad, not even disappointed, but the Zabrak boy couldn't foresee whether an argument between the two Jedi would ensue. They might be Jedi, but they were also adult beings, and in Rao-Jor's experience it was best to make yourself scarce when one started berating another. Nothing was more awkward than to be a fly on the wall of an argument between two adults, and when it concerned Mandalorians, few things were more dangerous. Of course, these men were Jedi - but being careful never hurt.

However, an argument never came.

Head turned away, Rao-Jor's attention followed Max's words as closely as he could. For the longest time, he did not know where the Jedi Master was going with all of this, or how any of it had anything to do with him. Afterwards, he would have liked to tell his friends that he eventually put two and two together, but truth be told he didn't. Not until Max voiced his intention as blatantly as it could be voiced. Rao-Jor looked up just in time to see the Jedi Master gesturing between him and the other Jedi, letting them both know that they were to be each other's master and apprentice.

The Zabrak boy stared at Weiss, eyes flickering with uncertainty, even as Max continued to explain the fine print of the arrangement. Conflicting emotions coursed through his mind and body. This man, who seemed on the surface quite cold and aloof, was to be his master. But he finally had a master! But he hadn't built his lightsaber yet. And what would Weiss think when he found out? The pale man definitely looked surprised by the entire situation, but was it a good surprise? Or a bad? And would that mean he had to leave the Temple now? Would he have time to say goodbye to Enni and the others?

Realising that he had probably stared for longer than what was appropriate, Rao-Jor cupped his hands in front of his hearts and, bowing slightly, he said, encouraged by Max's casual decorum: "I look forward to learn from you, Weiss. I promise to do my best as your Padawan."

He then turned back to Max. "Sorry, Mast- Max," he said. "What does that mean exactly, that I ultimately report to you? I thought a Padawan reported solely to their Master?"

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