Cast: Koru, Bothan Jedi Healer (me)
Finally, the time had come. Despite his many, many failings and blunders as a Padawan, Koru had somehow managed to survive long enough to see himself face-to-face with the trials which would lead him into Knighthood. Now, this was the first time our GM had ever had to work with a Jedi character who had actually survived long enough to become a Knight, so he decided to make it worth the while. He connived with other members of the party and his family members to come up with some devious trials for poor Koru. The Jedi trials are as follows:
The Trial of Skill
The Trial of Courage
The Trial of the Flesh
The Trial of the Spirit
The Trial of Insight
The time came for the first trial. Koru’s master led him into a small chamber with one door on the opposite side of the room, and the one behind him through which he had just entered. Koru’s master told him he could either meditate for one hour and then go through the door, or he could go through the door now. Koru decided to meditate for an uneventful hour. At the end of his meditations, he rose and entered the door. Before him, a dimly lit hall spanned for about thirty meters and then ended in a T intersection. Koru walked forward, picked a direction, and kept walking. Eventually, after going through numerous intersections like this, he encountered a dead end. At the end of this hallway, a droid activated and began firing on Koru. Koru dispatched it with ease, taking minor damage. He backtracked to one of the intersections, chose the other direction, and kept going on like this, running into some trap or enemy at each dead end he encountered.
This went on for over a day and a half of in-game time, which was approximately three hours of real-life time. Keep in mind, this was me, as the player, attempting to solve an intricate maze as if I were actually inside of it. And it wasn’t just any old maze; it was a deadly labyrinth with horrors at each dead end. I couldn’t just keep hitting dead ends hoping to eventually find the right path out. I had to try to find the path out before I got myself killed. However, even so, Koru managed to explore almost 90% of the maze before finally taking enough of a beating that he slumped over, unconscious. That would have been about 50 or more traps or encounters he stubbornly blundered into with only one rest/recovery period before finally keeling over.
Upon awakening hours later in the Jedi Temple’s medical facilities, I was told that despite not completing the maze, I passed the Trial of Courage simply because of my bullheaded stubbornness. The fact that I kept going despite being in a dark labyrinth with big nasties popping up every time I hit a dead end proved that I was courageous enough to pass the trial.
After having healed from his beatings in the Trial of Courage, Koru was led into a similar chamber as the first time. One door on the far end, one door behind him. This time, he was not provided time to meditate. He went through the door on the far end of the chamber, which opened up into an arena with a raised dais in the center. Upon that dais was a single chair, ringed by several Masters. Koru walked forward, and was instructed to sit in the chair.
“Are you ready for the Trial of the Flesh, Padawan Koru?”
And then they lit him on fire.
Koru, being a Bothan, had a lot of fur. So, being lit on fire was not a pleasant experience. Even so, after being lit on fire, Koru sat still and did little more than whimper. The Masters left him on fire for a full minute before dousing him, declaring that he had passed the Trial of the Flesh. As I learned later, all that Koru had to do to pass was prove that he could endure high amounts of physical pain without surrendering to said pain. Most padawans were simply shot at with blasters repeatedly or sliced with lightsabers. But Koru, being a Bothan, was uniquely vulnerable to fire. Thus, ten successful (and successively harder) will checks later, Koru had passed the Trial of the Flesh by staying on fire without crying out in pain for a full minute.
After being healed of his burns, Koru (now with significantly shorter fur) prepared himself for the next trial. Once again, Koru was led to a chamber with a door on the far end. This door led to the same arena as it had for his previous trial. This time, there was no dais in the center, but five figures on the far end of the arena. I used the force to determine the nature of these people (as I assumed that I would be fighting them), and got a sensation of seething anger and evil. Ok, cool, dark side users. Must be the Trial of Skill. I rolled again to see if I could determine a weakness before they started charging me. I rolled just high enough to note that four of the figures were force apparitions, though I did not know which of the five was the real one.
As they began fan out to surround me, I drew my lightsabers and charged the center one. (Yeah, Koru was cool and could wield two sabers at once. Legit healer.) As I charged, I made one last check to see if I could find the real one. Natural twenty. Yes. It was the one on the far left. Koru quickly changed course and charged the real one, hoping to get to him and defeat him quickly, before his apparitions could move in to save him. Suddenly, Koru felt a blow to his side, but noticed no weapon. Great, the apparitions can use the force individually, and it actually hurts. This guy must be one big nasty. Nonetheless, Koru continued his headlong charge, finally reaching the man and engaging him in combat.
Before long, the apparitions arrived and joined in the battle. Koru was quickly worn down, nearly collapsing from the constant pummeling. He just barely managed to land a critical hit that brought the real guy down (not killing him, mind you, just rendering him unconscious). This caused the apparitions to all fade away, as their creator no longer could consciously control them. Koru succeeded with just one meager hitpoint to spare. The Masters came out and proclaimed that Koru had passed the Trial of Insight. By detecting and attacking the real figure, he had demonstrated his prowess in using the Force to determine reality. Even if he hadn’t succeeded in combat, he had passed his trial the instant he diverted course to attack the real figure.
With three out of five trials down, Koru was feeling pretty good about himself. He prepared himself quickly for the next trial. When he was ready, his master led him to a meditation chamber and told him to relax and meditate (what else do you use meditation chambers for?). Koru obliged, and began his meditations. After several hours in the chamber, several figures manifested in front of Koru. Koru looked up and saw The Gammorean and several half-Bothan, half-Gammorean kids running around. (Quick backstory, also explained in another submitted story, The Love Doctor: Koru had very nearly been raped by a large Gammorean woman not so long ago after a prank of his went very awry. This event scarred him very deeply.)
Koru flipped out and left his trance, promptly failing the Trial of the Spirit. Fortunately, he was allowed another chance at it. After a few days of recovering from the horror, he entered the meditation chamber again and prepared himself for what he knew was coming. Once again, after a few hours, several figures manifested themselves in front of him, and once again, they were The Gammorean and several ugly kids running around. Koru quickly pulled out his lightsabers and decapitated The Gammorean. Somehow, this was considered a success (likely because he faced up to his fears and defeated them, much like Luke Skywalker did when he defeated Darth Vader on Dagobah), and he passed his Trial of the Spirit.
Shaken, Koru went to prepare himself for the final trial. Only one trial remained, so it had to be the Trial of Skill. Typically, this would be a demonstration of a Jedi’s ability to remain focused and not be distracted in the middle of high-intensity combat, as well as their skills in saber combat or force techniques. Koru, however, is apparently quite the special guy. He was led once more to the arena he had been in before for his Trial of the Flesh and Trial of Insight. As he entered the arena, he was greeted by none other than the Jedi Battlemaster himself, Master Cin Drallig. (Not a widely-known name, I know, but this guy is essentially the best saber fighter in the galaxy.)
“Are you prepared for the Trial of Skill, Padawan Koru?”
“Excellent. You simply must survive for one minute to pass this trial. And to be fair, I won’t use any offensive force abilities. I will only attack you with my lightsaber.”
With that, he turned and walked to the far end of the arena. We both prepared ourselves, and the trial began. He won initiative, and used all of his movement as well as a master ability called Knight Speed to cross the sixty or so meters across the arena in one round. Koru, having had a few seconds to think, decided that the best way to survive for one minute against the best lightsaber fighter in the galaxy (who, remember, would not use any force abilities against him), was to simply not be in range of the lightsaber at any time. So, Koru turned tail and ran as fast as he could away from the Battlemaster.
Koru ran his full twenty meters, and it was Cin Drallig’s turn again. He covered the distance in one movement action and had an attempt to attack me. Somehow, he failed horribly and instead tripped and fell face first into the dirt. Koru, being the wise Jedi he was, took the opportunity to continue running. He couldn’t hope to defeat the guy in one-on-one combat, or even to really survive for that long, so he simply put as much distance between himself and the fallen Master as possible. He had been running long enough now that he could be considered sprinting, so he was now able to maintain distance between himself and the now-infuriated Battlemaster (who, by the way, had begun using the force to sling pebbles at Koru while shouting “You punk! Get back here!”). This somehow managed to work for a whole minute, at the end of which Koru was escorted out of the arena by several rather livid masters. He was immediately informed that he had failed the Trial of Skill, as he had not endured and survived the attacks of the Battlemaster as he was supposed to.
Somehow, Koru managed to convince them that he had indeed succeeded at his Trial of Skill, as the Battlemaster had said that all that was required to pass was to survive for a whole minute, which he most certainly had. (This in and of itself was astounding, as Koru had a whopping four Charisma. Sweet talking anyone into agreeing with him was nothing short of a Christmas Miracle.) They grudgingly conceded that I had passed the Trial of Skill within the boundaries as they had been presented to me. They also stated, as if to save face, that the primary reason they considered that trial passed was because I essentially passed it during my Trial of Courage, during which I did so much fighting that I had demonstrated saber skills thoroughly enough then to be considered successful.
And thus, Padawan Koru somehow managed to blunder his way into being a Jedi Knight. And the galaxy knew true fear.