Author's Notes: This story is the third in a series. It is not necessary to read the first two, "Return to Naboo" and "The Lost Ones," but there are references to events from those stories and some of the Ocs were introduced in them.

If you don't want to read RTN and TLO, please know that Anakin Skywalker has survived RotJ, been healed and reunited with his children. The Empire and Alliance are at peace and have formed the New Republic. Anakin and Luke are ready to begin training the new generation of Jedi, but some people don't want the Jedi to re-form and are willing to resort to violence to stop them.

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: George Lucas owns Star Wars. I write for fun, not money.


Chapter One

Luke adjusted the collar of his Jedi robe and surveyed himself in the mirror, hoping that he would miraculously appear older and wiser than he had moments earlier.

But no, he still looked the same. A young man scarcely out of his teens, with sandy blond hair, blue eyes, and an expression filled with trepidation. Luke had faced monsters, enemy fighters, and the most evil being in the galaxy as he'd fought to overthrow the Empire, become a Jedi, and redeem his father, but he couldn't remember ever feeling quite as nervous and unprepared for a task as he did right now. Which was foolish.

//Come on,// he chided himself. //They're just a couple of teenage girls. There's no reason to feel like I'm going before a firing squad.//

But he was about to begin the challenge of restoring the Jedi Order and he couldn't help feeling overwhelmed. He was too young and inexperienced to be a Jedi Master. A lot of the time he still felt like he was figuring out how to be a Jedi himself. How was he supposed to teach others?

And if he failed, the results could be catastrophic.

"I thought I could be as good an instructor as Yoda. I was not. My mistake has had terrible cosequences for the galaxy." His former mentor's words floated through Luke's mind. Obi-Wan had been trying to explain to him how his father, Anakin Skywalker, had turned to the dark side and become Darth Vader then. Obi-Wan had insisted that his own lack of experience as a master had helped lead to Anakin's fall.

Anakin himself did not blame Obi-Wan in the slightest. He'd told Luke that his fall was entirely his own fault, that Kenobi had been an excellent teacher.

Luke thought that perhaps there was truth in both perspectives. His father was responsible for the decisions he'd made, but Obi-Wan's inexperience could have contributed to Anakin's frustrations and poor self-esteem. And that made him anxious about teaching their own padawans.

/Ben was older than I am now when he took on Father, and he'd been trained as a Jedi all his life, and he still wasn't ready. So why does everyone think I can do this?/

Luke took a deep breath and ran through a calming technique. /Yoda thought I was ready. He told me to pass on what I had learned./ he reminded himself. Surely Yoda, who had seen firsthand the consequences of Anakin's fall, would not have told Luke to instruct others if he'd believed there was a great risk of it happening again.

Feeling slightly reassured, Luke left his room and headed for the terrace, where Tera and Elissa were probably finishing their breakfast. They all liked to eat outside when the weather was nice. Naboo's lake country was breathtakingly beautiful.

Tera Paara was a young gungan from Otoh Gunga, and Elissa Arixil was a human teenager from the distant planet Roon. They were the first padawans Luke and Anakin would train as Jedi.

There was a third padawan as well; the young boy, Gil, that Luke and Anakin had met on Nar Shaddaa. A former slave, Gil had escaped and joined in with a group of other orphans who had lived on the streets as best they could. The other children now lived in an orphanage on Coruscant, But Gil was Force-sensitive. Although it hadn't been easy for him to leave his friends, he'd decided to come to Naboo to study with Anakin and Luke.

Gil was strong with the Force, but in some ways he was less prepared to begin training than the girls. His background as a slave meant that he'd received little formal education, and he struggled with resentment over all the losses in his life.

On the other hand, he was an intelligent child and compassionate and caring towards others. Luke had thought more than once that Gil must be something like Anakin would have been as a child. It was a little worrisome, but at least Anakin could help warn Gil of the dangers of the dark side. Luke prayed that he and his father could help this boy reach his potential without it backfiring.

He wished Anakin were there now. Luke was certain he would feel more relaxed and confident if his father were at his side this morning, but Anakin had had to go to Theed. Naboo's elected ruler, King Tripday, had requested a meeting with the Jedi. It was the third time he'd called in the past couple of weeks.

King Tripday was becoming a bit of a problem. He seemed to think that the Jedi had come to Naboo to be his elite bodyguards and personal couriers. He would have to learn otherwise, but now was not the time. Some people on Naboo were not happy about the Jedi Academy being established here. Fortunately, they seemed to be a small group. Unfortunately, they were quite vocal about their dissatisfaction. Anakin and Luke were hoping it would all die down once people realized the Academy was not going to cause drastic changes, but they'd agreed it wouldn't hurt to stay in the king's good graces for now.

The result was that Anakin had traveled to Theed yesterday, leaving Luke to begin training the padawans alone. Luke had considered waiting for his father's return, but he wasn't sure how long Anakin would be gone. With all the padawans settled in and ready to begin, it seemed pointless not to go ahead.

Tera and Elissa looked up with bright smiles as Luke approached. It was just the two of them right now. Gil attended the school in the local village in the mornings. He wasn't happy about it, but Anakin had pointed out that Jedi were supposed to be wise and knowledgeable.

"It doesn't matter how high your midi-chlorian count is, if you don't know as much as the people you're working with, you're going to be in trouble," he'd advised. "Besides, you'll enjoy school once you get used to it. You'll make some more friends your own age," he'd grinned at Gil. "We don't want you to get bored around here with all us old folks."

"But I want to begin training with Tera and Elissa," the boy had protested.

"There'll still be plenty of time for training in the afternoons," Anakin had said firmly.

Gil hadn't looked happy, but he'd agreed. As Luke joined them on the terrace, Elissa asked eagerly, "Master Luke, are we ready to begin?"

Luke almost said, "It's just Luke," when he caught himself. He might not be comfortable with the title, but he needed to get used to it. He was a master now.

"Yes, Elissa. If you and Tera are finished eating, I thought we'd start by taking a walk."

The girls looked a little surprised. Obviously they had not expected Jedi training to begin with a walk, but they stood up and followed him as Threepio came to clear away the breakfast dishes.

On one side of the terrace, steps led down to the lake. On the other, a ramp opened onto a field of flowers with the woods beyond. Luke, Tera, and Elissa followed a path towards the trees. For a little while they walked in silence, looking about at the wildflowers, the butterflies and other insects. Birds sang from the treetops and several times they glimpsed small woodland creatures. After a time, Luke spoke up.

"Tera, you've lived here all your life, but you've spent most of your time in Otoh Gunga, right?"

The young gungan nodded. "Yes, Master Luke. Wesa sometimes went to the swamps and mesa visited Theed once with my father, but usually wesa stayed at home."

Luke gestured to the forest around them. "What do you think about all this?"

"It's beautiful," she hesitated, then added. "It's so alive."

Luke looked pleased. "Yes, the Force is all around us. It's in all living things-the animals, the trees, us. Close your eyes and feel the Force surround you. You too, Elissa."

They closed their eyes. Luke watched as their expressions grew relaxed and peaceful, almost dreamy. They were beginning to grow attuned to the Force.

"That's amazing," Elissa whispered, opening her eyes.

Luke nodded. "Yes, the Force is beautiful. It can strengthen and calm you if you remain attuned with it. It's easier to sense the Force here, where it's so peaceful and quiet, but the Force is everywhere. Tera, you mentioned the abundance of life here, but it's just as abundant in the waters surrounding Otoh Gunga. It's there in the plains and caves of Roon, Elissa. And it's in the crowds of Coruscant, too. Life is everywhere. The Force is everywhere. As you become more skilled, you will be able to sense the Force around you wherever you go. And you will learn to channel it."

He indicated a small rock near the path. "Watch, I'm going to concentrate on the Force surrounding that rock."

As the padawans stared open-mouthed, Luke levitated the rock above their heads and made it slowly spin in circles. When he finally lowered it, they both shook their heads.

"I could never do that," Elissa remarked.

"Sure you can," Luke told her reassuringly. "You just have to think positively."

Tera wrinkled her brow. "But Master Luke, that's really something and I mean, I can see you could have fun entertaining people with stuff like that, but is making something spin in circles really useful?"

The image of Threepio sitting on a throne of twigs spinning majestically above the Ewok village came to Luke's mind. He grinned. "Oh, you'd be surprised how useful it can be, Tera. Okay, now it's your turn. Close your eyes and feel the Force. See the rock rising into the air."

They spent the better part of the morning working on levitating the rock. By the time they headed back to the retreat for lunch, both padawans had had some success. They were very uncontrolled. They couldn't lift the rock more than a few centimeters off the ground, and they couldn't lift it on every try, but they both had levitated the rock slightly several times. Elissa and Tera were thrilled, and Luke was feeling more encouraged than he'd felt that morning. Maybe he could do this after all.

But their smiles and happy chatter died when they climbed the steps to the terrace and saw the sight that awaited them there.

A message in bright red paint was scrawled across the glass door leading inside. Meter high letters screamed: