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Advance on the Citadel

Posted on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 @ 8:27pm by Apprentice Illiana Duran

Episode: Episode I: Rise of the Sith
Location: Forests of Saleucami
Timeline: Day 4 at 1035

Many years had passed since the first time a young, green-skinned Mirialan had set foot on the sacred world of the Jedi, the ice planet of Ilum. It had been ten years since she had forged a new path for herself following her trial in the icy caves of the isolated world. She had not escaped her trial unscathed, with nightmares for many rotations but eventually, and under the guidance of her Master, the dreams had subsided. She could recall the time after 'The Gathering' as if it was yesterday.

Upon returning to their ship, the young Mirialan had spent some time with Jedi Master Rimi Urdila, talking about the fears she had faced and how, despite almost letting her feelings overwhelm her, she had managed to come through the other side and find the coveted kyber crystal. When not talking with the Master, she spent most of the journey back to Coruscant resting, mentally exhausted from her trial, but not too exhausted to complete the task of assembling her lightsaber. Urdila guided her in the process, teaching her how to silence the world around her and focus on assembling her Jedi weapon in the correct manner. Upon completion, she held the hilt of the weapon in her hand and activated it for the first time, the blade that appeared was a brilliant cyan colour that mesmerised her for several moments. Lighter in colour than the 'sabers she had trained with in the Temple, the entire device also felt lighter in weight, moving in her hands as if it weighed no more than a feather. She remembered that when she had eventually deactivated it and attached the shining hilt to her belt for the first time, she had felt such a feeling of accomplishment.

Then, of course, there were the memories of 'The Choosing', a period where she had felt very lost, and alone. She had watched as youngling after youngling was chosen to become the Padawan of Knight and Master alike, the young Mirialan beginning to lose hope. Even now she could feel the disappointment. As with most Mirialans, she had always assumed that a Mirialan Master would come and claim her, as was tradition with her people, but the truth was different and something that, in hindsight, she should have expected. The memory of what came to pass never failed to make her smile as, despite pride being frowned upon, she had felt great pride and relief. She recalled being summoned to the gardens of the Jedi Temple where she was greeted by the familiar face of Master Urdila, only he was without his Padawan this time, accompanied by only his droid, a BD-Unit called BD-7.

"I see something in you, little one; a potential in you that tells me you will make a magnificent Jedi." The words of the older, white-skinned Jedi had stuck with her to this day. He had explained that he had always intended to take her as his apprentice from the very first time they had met, but that he had had to wait for his first Padawan to take his own trials. He also told how he had explained to the other Jedi who were waiting to select their Padawans how he was certain that he was the one to take Illiana’s training to the next level, and how he had seen their meeting as a premonition in the Force. It was a story that made Illiana feel special even now and had made her feel like she could achieve anything under the Jedi Master’s guidance.

Since then, she had been through so much. Her training had taken an unusual turn some years later when she was finally drafted into the Mandalorian conflict alongside her Master. Fighting a war on many fronts had proven to be quite the education for the Padawan, specifically helping her to hone her mastery of the lightsaber form of Soresu. But it was the war that had brought her back to Ilum nearly ten years after her first visit.

Master Urdila and Illiana in the Battle of Yerbana but Illiana was injured in battle for the first time, and her lightsaber damaged beyond repair in an explosion caused by Mandalorian bombs. In the aftermath, and with the Padawan healed, Master Urdila had given his apprentice permission to travel to Ilum to begin the process of constructing her new lightsaber, while he returned to the Temple to aid the Council in seeing out the rest of the war. And here she was; on the surface of the ice planet, accompanied on her journey by BD-7.

Faced with yet more trials in the search for her second kyber crystal, the Padawan had performed admirably compared with the challenges she faced a decade earlier, taking ownership of her crystal with relative ease this time. Unlike before, she had opted to remain on the planet's surface whilst constructing her new lightsaber. Now, she was sat cross-legged on the floor of the ice temple where she worked, a single piece of cloth on the floor in front of her with all of the parts laid out. Most of the parts were of chrome material, with some of them black in colour. The main body of her new saber had been supplied by her master, a gift, with the symbol of the Jedi Order carved into it. It was a reminder of her commitment to the Jedi way, even now after years of war. The emitter at the top of her weapon was bigger than the previous one which had been quite flat. This time, the emitter she had chosen was the same width as the rest of her weapon and added a couple of inches in length to her weapon. Then, of course, there was the main component; the kyber crystal. Smaller than her original crystal, the new one was probably as small as it could possibly be to power the new lightsaber. It was also the finishing touch. Placing it on the cloth, she was ready to begin the assembly of her Jedi weapon.

Sitting there, with her Droid companion beside her, the Jedi Padawan placed her hands on her knees and slowly closed her eyes. As she slowed her breathing and blocked out the cold and the noise of the blizzard outside, the Mirialan drew her focus to the parts before her. One by one, they began to levitate in front of her, the parts freely moving around until they were in the correct order to put together. BD-7 watched with great interest, his large eye reticule rotating back and forth as he observed the process until, finally, the parts glided together as one and the completed weapon slowly fell into the Padawan's grasp.

As her eyes opened and she regarded her new weapon with great reverence, a smile crept over her face. She pushed herself to her feet and, when comfortable enough, she held the weapon out and ignited the blade. She was as mesmerised as she had been when she first activated her original saber, only this time the weapon had a brilliant emerald coloured blade compared to the cyan colour of before - the fact it was identical in colour to that of her Master was not lost on her, it was just another merging of Master and Padawan. She twirled the weapon through the air, the sound of the blades hum very therapeutic as she closed her eyes and listened to the blades movement.

When she opened her eyes again, she was back in the present day, her droid companion beside her as the clunk of the crafts landing feet drew her back to the present. She had bartered transport off Nar Shaddaa with some rather… questionable… figures, only to have her transponder beacon picked up by a Republic Dropship full of heavily armed troopers who had been diverted to Saleucami, just as she had been. Despite being only an Apprentice, the green-skinned young one had instantly assumed command of the troopers. Apprentice Duran had been replaced by Commander Duran. Now, as she stood at the exit of the craft, she took a deep breath. Dozens of Republic troopers stood at heel, waiting to disembark behind the Jedi.

As the ramp began to lower, plumes of pressurised smoke shot up either side and the Jedi, flanked by her troopers, descended the ramp. With her black, leather jacket covering her more traditional Jedi garments, a black WESTAR-55 Heavy Blaster holstered but hanging loosely on her hip, the Commander held the hilt of her lightsaber tightly in her right hand. She observed the chaos that surrounded the drop zone, Republic troopers clad in white armour all over the place.

Soon enough, the commander of her troopers, a Captain Tyus Corsai sidled up next to her, his right hand pinned to the side of his helmet. He was clearly listening to something on the open comm channel. “Commander,” he addressed the Jedi, “Sith forces are advancing on the Citadel. Several Jedi have sought refuge there, but are outnumbered.”

“Then get me to the Citadel, Captain,” the Mirialan ordered sternly, her body drawn in the direction of the Jedi stronghold, “…before it’s too late.”

 

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