First time at writing Sci-Fi and Star Wars at that; Juz for the record I am making no $ from this and it all belongs to George Lucas except for my OCs. I don't know how to get this format to italicize the words so I'm having to use the ' ' so forgive the confusion. Thanks for reading!!

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Excitement was evident upon the face of the newly made Padawan.

'I'm not going to have to leave! I'm a...a...I'm a Padawan Learner!' Her green eyes shimmered with the tears of joy she longed to shed but did not.

'I must keep my bearing...yes...Jedi calm.' Though hard to do and as well as hard to keep from fidgeting, the young girl kept still. Face flushed slightly, she smiled and nodded her thanks to those who congratulated herself and her Master.

'Master! I have a Master!' Her smile widen at the thought. Her mind a whirl as the memory of when Knight Lindoro D'Lockens asked the most important question a Knight could ask of an initiate.

'I never knew he was even interested...'

Flashback from yesterday

The day was proving to be one of her roughest ever. Test after test was being administered in each subject being studied. At the end of each year, all initiates were tested on how much they had learned throughout the year.

'Uggg! I'm gonna fall asleep against this wall!!!'

Menaria thought as she stifled a yawn while leaning against the wall, waiting her turn at being tested. Arms crossed, she watched one of her fellow students sparring against the kata instructor. Master Lenart was working the student hard.

'He isn't holding back at all...not good for Seriu.' She thought as she saw the boy stumble slightly after executing a near perfect flip over the Master. The boy's gruff 'hmf' could be heard as he recovered and pressed forward, striking low on the bulky instructor. Master Lenart might not be very tall, but the man made it up in his broad shoulders and chest. The Master wasn't even sweating at all. His long blond hair had been pulled back into a ponytail for the testing of the students. The hair extended well pass his shoulders and nearly even with his belt. Seriu's short- cropped hair was drenched in sweat. If one had not known the boy, they would have assumed his hair was black instead of dark brown. The sweat had caused it to darken. The boy's clothing was beginning to stick to his body due to the exertion of his work out.

At last the boy stumbled again and Master Lenart disarmed him. Seriu leaned over, trying to recover his breath as the Master used the Force to retrieve the boy's saber.

"Well done, Seriu. But you once again did not allow the Force to guide you. You must work on your focusing, young one. When a Jedi tires, the Jedi must focus even more upon the Force. The Force can re-energize you for a while. Go shower, once you are through you are released for the day like the other students were." Master Lenart smiled down at the boy while giving him back the saber. Seriu nodded his thanks and grasped the saber.

"I will try harder and practice more on my focusing." He bowed and passed Menaria. "Good luck." He whispered to her.

Being the last student to be tested, she nearly gulped.

'Well here goes nothing...' She glanced upward into the stands that were along the side of the training room. She spotted several Jedi sitting there.

'Lovely...just lovely. Definitely not what I need.' She gulped again as she took her position in front of Master Lenart. Bowing respectively, Menaria took her saber from her belt and grasped it tightly.

"We will work with several of the Form Levels and also on a few of the defensive katas." The instructor said as he drew from the Force. Menaria could feel the swirling of energies around the man and also in the room. She, as well, began to draw upon the Force. Attempting to find her center of calm.

'I will not loose my focus...I will not...' She repeated in her head as she slowed her breathing in order to lower her escalating heart rate. A few hairs from her bangs had drifted over her eyes; blowing upward they flipped back to the side.

'I can do this...will not focus on those watching only on Master Lenart and the Force.' Then it started. Master Lenart launched several quick attacks coming at the initiate from the left, then right, and the right once more. Aiming for the girl's sides then he quickly changed his swings and went lower toward her legs. Menaria had to move quickly to avoid the swings. She easily deflected the man's swings and then launched several of her own. Her breath had become erratic, but she focused her thoughts and eased her breathing to reflect each swing and thrust. Her footwork was a blur as she sped across the floor attacking and defending when necessary.

Time came to a stand still as her thoughts and actions became attune to the flow of the Force. She allowed her senses to alleviate to a higher standard than she had ever done. Her sight cleared and become brighter as she began to notice things she had never took notice in before. She could see just about every thread upon Master Lenart's blue tunic. She saw the scar upon the man's jaw shine slightly from the light of the room when he twirled to avoid a direct thrust from her saber. Her sense of smell had heightened as well. The scent of sweat filled her nostrils that came from the previous students that had been tested. Also a sweet musky scent was noticeable that came from the air refresher that circulated throughout the room. Her heighten hearing was picking up on some of the murmurings from the Jedi that were in the stands watching the test. She did not pay attention to what was being said, her whole focus being directed at the man in front of her.

Menaria flipped over Lenart as the man nearly dove at her with a direct thrust for her chest. Landing lightly upon the balls of her feet, she swung up her saber to deflect yet another thrust that came at her from the right. Lenart was starting to use Form IV style that dealt with acrobatics.

'Ack! I hate that form... it's hard to contend with... defense only until I can catch my footing again.' She thought as she struggled to keep her guard up as the man twirled and somersaulted several times trying to distract her. The man's ponytail whipped about as he executed yet another twirl and nearly scored a hit upon the initiate's arm.

'Damnit! That was too close!' She slipped slightly as her focus dropped at the spur of anger.

'Focus! Must focus!' She berated herself as she regained her breathing and her calm. The Force swirled around her as she continued to fight defensively.

'At this rate I'm going to tire myself out like Seriu...need to do something quick.' She struggled through a couple of more swings and thrusts from the instructor. Taking a deep breath and drawing upon the Force, she launched her own attack.

'This will definitely tire me out...but I need to end this soon either in defeat or winning. Yeah right... me win? As if...' She came at Lenart's left several times as she thrust and slashed at his leg, arm, then chest. Sliding her feet as she swung, she twirled as a warning from the Force informed her of Lenart's attempt to come back with a thrust of his own. Feeling her fatigue slip away and being replaced with a calm and warming sensation, she nearly stumbled at the revelation.

'I've done it! I did what Lenart told Seriu about!!!' Her heart sung with joy as she delved deeper into the sensation. Feeling a new burst of adrenaline course through her veins, she launched a more faster and strategic attack.

'Left, right, left, left, and thrust... ack! Twirl left! He's sliding right!'

In the stands

"She's doing remarkably well. Definitely showing improvement from last year's testing." The tallest of the Jedi present commented. Rubbing his goatee thoughtfully.

"Yes, a pity her time is almost up. I'm surprised she has not been chosen. I figured she would have by now." A Mon Calamari, sitting next to the dark haired man, mumbled as he shook his head sadly.

"Well, believe it or not, I've been monitoring her and been considering choosing her. I've never had a Padawan before. With my missions these last 10 years...they have been too deadly to even consider taken on a Learner." The taller Jedi remarked. "But now...I have some down time and the Council is wanting me to brush up on my mediation techniques. So I'll have a few years of not so strenuous missions, so to speak." His dark blue eyes twinkled with mirth as he glanced as his aquatic friend.

"Lindoro, you mean they are going to allow you to actually be a representative instead of a spy?" The Calamari's silver eyes matched the twinkling of the human's.

Lindoro placed his left hand over his heart with a mocking gasp. "Me? Delak, me a spy? Come now! Have you been at my stash of ale again?" The man's chuckle rumbled in his chest. "I'm not a spy but an investigator!" The two Jedi chuckled together. A 'shhhing' sound was heard from two other Jedi that were several seats below the chuckling duo.

"Now look what you've gone and done, Lindoro. Master Windu just got on to us!" The Mon Calamari rasped as he motioned his webbed fingers at the bald headed Councilor. Lindoro snorted quietly as he returned his focus upon the testing on the floor below. Without even concentrating, the man could feel the swirling of the Force between the two; one with full control while the other struggling with maintaining control.

Training floor

Menaria was totally oblivious of the discussions that were being held in the stands. Her focus was beginning to wan as fatigue started to set back into her body. Her muscles were starting to burn slightly due to the exertion of use.

'Can't hold out much longer...' As if her body had realized the same thing, she stumbled which allowed Lenart an opening. The man easily disarmed the girl and twirled slightly to the side in order to avoid the flying saber. It landed a few feet away and abruptly turned off upon hitting the ground.

Menaria fell to her knees gasping for air.

'Ohhhh man...I don't think I'll be able to get up...' Her head held down causing her now wet hair to flop into her face. Unconsciously she weakly pushed the strands aside. Noticing her hands trembling, she quickly wiped the sweat from her face and placed her hands upon her thighs.

'Great...just great. I over did it. Must catch my breath and refocus...' She began to slow her breathing down by taking deeper breaths as her heart slowly responded. Her blood running hot and the constant 'thump, thump, thump' of her heartbeat in her ears, were nearly drowning out what Master Lenart was saying.

"Great work, Menaria. You have definitely improved this year. And to let you know, you are now at the top of the list." That drew the girl's attention. Lifting her head up, she eyed the Master. The man's brown eyes shone with pride.

'He's serious! I can't believe it! Top? Why last year I was at the bottom...' She couldn't help but smile in return.

Lenart drew upon the Force to retrieve Menaria's saber and handed it to her. "Shower up and return here. I'll do up the paper work so you can have a copy." He said as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.

'He sweated! I actually caused him to sweat!' A silly look crossed her face as she quickly got up and bowed to Lenart.

"Thank you, Master Lenart, I'll be right back!" She took her saber and ran from the training room. Lenart chuckled as he watched the fleeing girl.

In the stands

"Well she outlasted them all." He checked his chrono. "Yep, lasted nearly an hour. Amazing..." Lindoro's face reflected the awe that he felt.

"Are you serious about taking her?" Delak's voice had taken on a solemn note as he eyed his companion. Having trained one Padawan so far himself, the Mon Calamari knew that taking on a learner was not an easy task.

Lindoro watched the girl bow and leave the training room.

"Yeah...yes I am." The man's serene face expressed deep thought. Closing his eyes momentarily, he felt the all-familiar tug coming from the Force. "I think I'll mention it to Councilor Windu since he's here. I'm going to ask her today. Yeah..." Without even looking at Delak, he got up from the stand and walked down to where the dark skinned Councilor was sitting.

"Master Windu, might I have a moment of your time?" Lindoro asked as he came to stand next to the councilor. Master Windu glanced up at the tall Jedi and nodded. Looking back at his companion, who was also another member of the council, Master Gallia. She smiled up at Lindoro, who in turn bowed slightly.

"Go ahead Master Windu, I've got a few things I have to do before evening meal. Good seeing you again Knight D'Lockens. And welcome back." She smiled once more as she took her leave of the two. She nodded a greeting to Delak as he came to stand a few feet from to his friend.

"Yes, Knight D'Lockens, can I help you?" The councilor's voice was neutral as he stood and faced the taller Knight.

"I am planning on asking Initiate Darce to be my Padawan."

'There I said it...Force! Why was it so hard?' The man thought as relief coursed through him, but kept his serene outlook.

Master Windu did not however, and allowed his eyebrows to rise.

"You are going to request the Council of this?" He smiled, something that was uncommon of the councilor. At the taller Knight's nod, Windu nodded in return. "Then I will set a time for you in the morning. And let me be the first to congratulate you on this matter." He offered his hand.

Lindoro sighed internally as he took the man's hand.

"Thank you, Master Windu. I will ensure that the two of us are there on time." The councilor nodded again and then left the stands heading across the floor. The dark skinned man waved at Lenart as he passed the instructor while walking out of the room.

Lindoro sighed once more, but this time audibly.

"Well that went better than I thought it would." He mumbled under his breath.

"Well what did you expect him to say? No?" Delak chuckled as he patted his taller companion on the back. "Well I'm going to evening meal. I guess I'll leave you so you can ask her. Good luck." The Mon Calamari left as he continued to chuckle. Lindoro was not known for doing speeches of any kind.

'It is well that the council is going to refresh him on negotiations. His diplomacy never was that great. During our classes together as initiates I had to help him. Good luck my friend.' The Mon Calamari glanced over his shoulder one last time at his friend before walking out through the doors.

Master Lenart walked over to Lindoro.

"Well, what do you think of the Welan Clan so far? I must admit that they are doing great. Only a couple left to be chosen." The blond Jedi asked as he put back on his robe and took the tie out of his hair. The long, blond hair flowed across his shoulders and back as he shook his head slightly.

Lindoro nodded, still thinking on how to ask the girl.

"I think they are doing great. Especially the last one." Rubbing his goatee on his chin thoughtfully. "I'm going to ask her to be my Padawan." He looked at Lenart, attempting to judge the man's reactions. The man's dark brown eyes sparkled.

"I am glad that you have taken interest in her. I was hoping someone would. A great talent would have been wasted if she were to leave. I take it then congrats are in order?" He offered his hand, which Lindoro took and shook it. "She'll be back in around 15 minutes. We have paperwork to sign together. She made it to the top of the list this year." The man beamed as he excused himself to start the paperwork. Taking a seat, Lindoro awaited the girl's return.