Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: chasing CQ
Current Game: KotOR, again.
Fireworks. Such a beautiful display for a somber event. Ben thought as he stared into the sky. Beneath the glass dome, the sniffles of mourners and silent voices were punctured by soft booms emanating from the menagerie of exploding colors in the twilight. Slowly, silence stole over the room as Luke rose from his seat beside Ben and walked to the podium at the front of the chamber.
“Today, we remember one of the greatest men of our generation. He was a hero, a shrewd businessman, a dutiful husband, a good friend, and a better father.”
As Luke continued his speech, Ben glanced across the aisle at the Calrissian family. Chance was the picture of composure, his true sadness displayed only in the tear stains that ran down his cheeks, and was at odds with his teary wife Denora who was stifling her sobs in a handkerchief. Beside her was their son Baffyn, who Aren had taken to spending time with during their return to Coruscant.
Someday that will be me over there. He thought as he looked up at his father. As if she had sensed his thoughts Vestara grabbed his hand and squeezed it comfortingly.
All things come to an end eventually.
* * *
“I can’t believe you actually did it.”
“I told you Baff, its not my style.”
“But still. You actually did it.”
The conversation stopped briefly as the pair passed through a GAG security checkpoint and entered the terminal.
“I mean, I thought she had you dead to rights once you two were in the bedroom,” Baff began again, “but no. Do you know how surprised I was when I went to collect you and all I found was an open window and an unconscious twi’lek?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that. Hopefully she wasn’t too irritated when she woke up.” Aren replied apologetically.
“She woke up in a frenzy and half-dragged Arruna out the door with her. Mind you she put up a pretty good fight trying to get back to me,” He said with grin.
Aren raised a hand and hailed a taxi before turning back to his friend.
“Listen Baff, I’m going to be training with my father for a few days at the temple. I’ll be in touch if I’m going on an assignment.”
“Perfect. I was looking for an excuse to ditch you so I could try that new Casino they have on Orbital 9.” He grinned as the hovertaxi pulled up along the platform.
“Comm me if you need to escape from the hermitage.” he said as he flipped a credcoin at the driver and headed back towards the private docks.
Shaking his head and smiling, Aren hopped into the taxi.
“Jedi Temple,” he said, and the taxi sped off.
* * *
Sweat poured down Aren’s face and he bent over trying to catch his breath. They had been training for two days and the emotional strains of continual effort were beginning to show. For the last hour he had been trying to land a single blow against his father, who had yet to even activate his training saber.
“I’m trying, Dad.” he said with a hint of irritation.
“Stop and clear your mind, son.” said Ben, who had picked up on the emotion.
Aren reluctantly dropped to his knees and slowed his breathing, allowing the Force to flow through him and calm his adolescent mind. He felt a soft prickling on the back of his neck and reached out in the Force. Opening his eyes, he caught his father staring at him.
“Dad?” he said quietly, “What is it?”
“It is the dark side that you feel,” he sighed. “The moment has finally come. We must seek it out, and you must enter and be tested.”
* * *
Their journey had taken them through the labyrinth of cooling and ventilation chambers beneath the Temple and then down into the dark abyss of the Coruscant undercity. Now standing in front of the entrance to the rundown complex in front of them, Aren stared into the dark and allowed his fear to fade away. He started forward until he stood half shrouded in darkness and then turned back to his father and smiled before taking his lightsaber off his belt and tossing it to his dad. As his son turned and disappeared into the dark a slow smile began to spread over Ben’s face and his own uncertainty began to fade.
* * *
Aren slowed as he let his eyes adjust to the darkness around him. The room he had entered looked as if it had been torn apart by scavengers long ago and the long cables that dangled from the roof were slowly being disintegrated by unique fungi. As he ventured farther into the complex he felt a slight prickle of danger sense and whirled around and stared into the darkness but saw and felt nothing. When nothing loomed out of the darkness he turned back and continued on until he noticed a door that was sealed and apparently untouched. As he approached the door the power light on the control lit up and twinkled unexpectedly. Puzzled, Aren paused for a moment before activating the door. The ancient hydraulics laboriously inched the heavy metal door upwards before getting jammed just below head level. Aren ducked through the doorway and immediately felt as if he had been drenched in cold water. Shivering and watching his breath appear before his eyes he allowed his eyes to adjust once more to the darkness.
He spun around to where the voice had originated but saw no one.
He pivoted again towards the voice but was rewarded with more darkness.
This time the voice came from immediately in front of him, but still he could not see anything.
“Aren.” The voice that snarled was deep, angry and familiar.
Aren turned slowly around until he was facing a hooded figure cloaked in darkness. The figure used the force to summon the lightsaber at his belt to his hand and activated it. The dark room was suddenly illuminated by the glow of not one but three red sabers. He pivoted to keep all three of his opponents on view and noticed a slight smile on the face of the hooded figure that had appeared on his left. Except that it was not a smile, it was a scar.
“Mom?” Aren whispered.
Throwing back her hood, the flawless face of Vestara Skywalker displayed nothing but hungry pride.
“Join me, my son.”
“I will never give in to the Dark Side.” he said, allowing his conviction to radiate in the Force.
From his right, the third hooded figure lifted his hand and Vestara rose into the air, choking for breath.
“No!” Aren yelled, lunging forward but meeting a wall of Force that he could not circumvent.
It was over in seconds, and the body crumpled to the floor and Aren stared into his mothers lifeless eyes.
Aren noticed movement and saw that his mothers killer had removed his hood.
“Join me, Aren, and we can cleanse this galaxy of all injustice. Join me, and we will stand side by side as father and son and restore order to our galaxy.”
Ben Skywalkers face was pale and veined with dark side corruption and his eyes glowed a murderous yellow.
“No, I would not even follow you to the Dark Side.”
The last figure stirred from behind Aren and walked towards him but Aren tensed up and waited for a blow that never came. The figure continued past him and walked up to his father and the pair locked eyes. The lightsaber plunged into his fathers chest and his face registered shock and betrayal before crumpling like his wife.
Aren fell to his knees as tears rose to his eyes. The hooded figure turned back towards Aren and stood directly in front of him. The room was silent except for the hum of the lightsaber.
Aren waited a moment before standing to face his final challenge. The hood came off and Aren stared into his own face, identical in every way to the one that stared back at him in the mirror.
“They are gone.” said the doppelgänger.
“They will never truly be gone. They live on through the Force, and in my heart.” Aren replied.
“Fear clouds your mind, but it has focused mine.”
“I have let go of my fear and trusted the Force.”
“I feel your despair, for it is also mine.”
“My despair is for you who have lost the Light.”
“Anger burns in your heart, as it burns in mine.”
“The calming flow of the Force has carried away my anger.”
“Are you prepared to die for your convictions?”
“I am.” Aren said before lowering his head.
The lightsaber hummed a melodious harmony as it rose above his head, paused for a moment and then plunged.
* * *
Aren emerged from the complex exhausted and drenched in sweat to find his father meditating.
“Dad.” he said quietly.
Ben stirred and looked up at his son.
“You look terrible.” he said with a smile.
* * *
The trip back to the Temple was uneventful and when Aren got back to his quarters he immediately jumped in the sanisteam and then went straight to bed. Three hours later he was woken by the beep of his comm. Picking up the small communicator off his bedside table he read the message from his father and quickly threw on his robe and sprinted for the door. He hurtled into the hallway and almost collided with his father who sidestepped him at the last moment.
“Come on Aren, you don’t want to be late to meet with the Council.”
Father and son traveled in silence through the passages and turbolifts until they arrived at the doors of the council chamber. The pair entered and Ben walked around the perimeter of the room until he got to his seat. Of the twelve Masters on the council only three were in attendance. Both of Aren’s parents were here as well as Master Xanth, the Fondorian Jedi Master who was the Jedi ambassador to the Galactic Alliance and the only Jedi with a permanent residence in the Jedi Temple. The other members were displayed by holograms from their various locations across the galaxy.
“Aren Skywalker,” Kyp Durron, the venerable old Jedi Master whose age had not tempered his fiery personality began, “You have been summoned before the Council today for a purpose. Your master has petitioned that we promote you to the rank of Knight now that you have completed the last and most difficult of the trials. Do you feel that you have succeeded in defeating your inner demons and triumphed over the Dark Side?”
Aren paused and looked around the room at the assembled Masters and finally locked eyes with his mother whose face was an unreadable mask.
“No. The struggle against the Dark Side is eternal. I must remain vigilant against the temptations that it offers. And that, I am ready for.”
The conviction in his words reverberated around the chamber and settled into the stillness. From his peripheral vision Aren saw one of the Masters nod slightly. The hologram of Corran Horn rose slowly and Aren turned to face him.
“Then this Council hereby recognizes you as a full Knight of the Jedi Order. May the Force be with us all.”
The holograms began to fade one by one as Aren let out the breath he hadn’t known he had been holding in. He smiled as his parents rushed towards him and he stepped into their embrace.
“We’re so proud of you, Aren.” Vestara said.
“Its a big responsibility, but I know you can handle it.” Ben said seriously before his face split into a grin. “Your grandfather is going to be pleased when he hears, but his next scheduled communication isn’t for a couple more days.”
“I think this calls for some celebration,” Vestara said, “I’ll meet you two back at our apartment in an hour for dinner.”
As she walked off down the corridor, Ben slung an arm around his sons’ shoulder and grinned.
“I really hope she isn’t thinking of cooking.”
Last edited by Kado Sunrider; 10-28-2011 at 11:42 PM.