Ch 3: Saber Audition

As they were practicing their forms in the large battle hall, awaiting the start of class, Siri said, "There's another Master, Oafy One."

Obi-Wan glanced over. Master Yoda, and a tall human male with long hair and a thick brown beard with strands of gray. Obi-Wan looked away and returned to his warm up.

"This one's for you," said Siri.

"You've said about the last three."

"I'm bound to be right some time."
"He might be here for you. In which case, you should be focusing on your warm up, not speculating about Jedi Masters."

Siri rolled her eyes. "Unlike you, I can walk and chew gum at the same time."

Obi-Wan sighed, reigning in a lecture about paying attention to the present moment, knowing she was just trying to get a rise out of him and would snap to the moment exercises began.

He'd turned 12 just over a month ago and was thinking more and more about gaining a master. Several Masters and Knights had come, watched them work out, spoken to Obi-Wan, and then chosen another Initiate as Padawan. He assured himself that he still had plenty of time, that it was important to find the right match, and that it was okay if he wasn't chosen. Whether he was a Jedi Knight or in the service corps, he should focus on living his life well just the same.

Sometimes, he believed that, but mostly he wanted to be a Jedi, and he kept close watch on the calendar, the countdown to his 13th birthday, when he would be sent to the Jedi Service Corps if he was not first selected as a Padawan.

Siri helped. He'd been happy when Siri had been promoted to the Advanced Lightsaber class, at an even younger age than he'd been. The others had found her conversation a bit of a trial, and she'd ended up sticking tightly to Obi-Wan, who didn't mind. The steady stream of humorous barbs comforted him.

Siri said, "You don't suppose he really is here for me? Do you think I need to, you know, become a little less myself to be chosen?"

"Obviously, you should grow as a person, but I'd be sad if you became a different one." He'd also be sad if she wasn't chosen as a Padawan. "But as much as I enjoy your conversational style, It'd be good if you had another one. For different situations.

Instructor Kali called them to order and explained the first task-another group fight against practice droids. The 12 Initiates turned their lightsabers to low power, so wild strikes wouldn't kill anyone, and 36 droids stomped into the hall.

The droids broke into two groups, most along one wall in a long line, 8 in a small square across from that line.

Instructor Kali directed them to their starting spot (a circle in the middle of the hall.) Obi-Wan gathered the Force to himself, sensing the droids, sensing his fellow Initiates, and... sensing that the unknown Jedi observer was not happy to be watching the Initiates. If felt as if Yoda had dragged him over.

Obi-Wan put that aside and focused on the task. Speaking wasn't allowed, so with nods, hand signals, eye contact and impulses of the Force, the Initiates came to an agreement.

Instructor Kali called start, and the droids fired as the Initiates exploded into movement.

They used their Force granted mobility to leap through the air and come down near the edge on the long line that was main group of droids, the Initiates forming a wedge, some protecting against the fire-team across the hall, Obi-Wan spearheading the attack on the long line, sweeping his lightsaber into a droid.

With the lightsaber at low power, the droid wasn't damaged, but registered the hit and fell.

The line of droids against the wall swung out, clustering as it did so, stealing the fire-team's angle. Obi-Wan called out rotations, noticing that his group felt short of numbers, but not thinking about it.

Obi-Wan stepped into the fray, Siri at his side. He deflected a bolt that would've hit the Initiate next to him, turned sideways to let another bolt fly into the wall, and struck another droid.

Siri took out another and swung at a third, Obi-Wan deflecting back a bolt that would've struck her. They slid in, getting their backs to the wall, and Obi-Wan registered that the fire-team had joined the main group, which was massed entirely in front of them.

Obi-Wan and Siri gathered the Force and leapt over the crowd of droids, landing on the opposite side, and taking the droids from the back, their broad strikes curtailed by the fact that they couldn't actually cut through the droids.

But in moments, all the droids were down and Instructor Kali was announcing the exercise's end. The droids stood back up and marched to their holding room, where they'd be checked over for damage.

"Three down," said Instructor Kali, gesturing to the three Initiates who stood to the side. Janie, who Obi-Wan had seen miss a block, and Bruck and Aalto, who he couldn't recall seeing in the fight at all.

Bruck said, "Obi-Wan mis-explained the plan. We thought we and two others were attacking the fire-team while the rest turtled to protect from fire from the main group."
Siri said, "Really? Everyone else understood just fine."

Bruck said, "I'm less used than you to finding meaning in Kenobi's every glance, Tachi."

Instructor Kali said, "That's enough. More than enough. Bruck, Aalto, it's your responsibility to understand what the rest are up to. However, the rest of you." He looked longest at Obi-Wan. "It's your responsibility to ensure that everyone understands the plan, and to notice and adjust if the plan is not carried out properly. Individual excellence is valuable, but teamwork is vital."

As Instructor Kali critiqued the fight, Obi-Wan came to understand that Bruck and Aalto, had leapt at the fire-team, which wasn't a bad strategy except they needed more than two, and they needed Initiates defending their backs. Both had been struck by practice bolts and called out of the fight by Instructor Kali.

They had, at least, distracted the droids from the main group and reduced the fire-team from 8 to 5.

Obi-Wan would've rather had two more Initiates.

Instructor Kali said, "You will break into groups of four and fight two on two. Not two separate fights of one on one, but two on two."

Instructor Kali divided them into three groups of 4, breaking up Obi-Wan and Siri, which was happening more and more lately.

Obi-Wan was paired with Janie Crauser against Frederick and Boller. Obi-Wan indicated he'd take Frederick.

The fight started, and Obi-Wan lunged toward Frederick, and quickly got the boy turning,

putting him back to back with Boller. He advanced into Frederick's space, blade turning aside Frederick's strikes. The boy stepped back and stumbled into Boller.

Both Initiates kept their balance, but Boller had to jump away to do so, creating a small moment of two on one.

Janie struck Frederick in the back with her lightsaber. He bowed out, and Janie and Obi-Wan went at Boller from quarters, ending it in a moment.

They waited, and after a minute, Instructor Kali called a halt despite that fact that Bruck's group was still going.

In Obi-Wan's opinion, it was two separate one on ones.

"Bruck, Aalto, Amy. The three of you versus Obi-Wan and Siri. The rest of you, watch."

Siri and Obi-Wan looked at each other in surprise, but stepped inside the center ring. Siri was excited, bouncing on the balls of her feet, and Obi-Wan was plotting. Bruck and Aalto would attack from the front while Amy tried to get behind them. If they let that happen, it would be over quickly.

They bowed, Instructor Kali called start, and their three opponents rushed in.

Obi-Wan and Siri danced to the side, but the others closed, three lightsabers to two, Siri and Obi-Wan parrying for each other nearly as often as themselves, constantly moving to keep Amy from getting behind them, Obi-Wan positioning himself so he was in the one in danger of being pincered.

Obi-Wan thought he could do it. Step up, challenge Bruck and Amy at once, and keep them both occupied for long enough for Siri to defeat Aalto.

But individual brilliance wasn't the point of the exercise.

When they'd made two revolutions around the ring, Siri flipped over Obi-Wan and Amy both, aiming to create a moment where Amy would be between her and Obi-Wan.

Amy had stepped back before Siri had landed. But Bruck and Aalto had reacted slowly, and Bruck had to go around Aalto to get to Obi-Wan or Siri, creating a brief moment of two on two.

Aalto moved closer to Amy to give Bruck a shorter path, and Obi-Wan parried Aalto's blade into Amy's. Amy stepped back to dodge Siri's thrust, Obi-Wan blocked Aalto's blade high, and Siri side-kicked Aalto in the stomach, bumping him into Bruck.

Creating a moment of two lightsabers against one.

Obi-Wan sealed Amy's blade while Siri poked her in chest.

The girl hissed at the pain but jumped out of the ring with a resigned sigh.

Siri and Obi-Wan touched each other with the Force and knew what was next.

Obi-Wan engaged Bruck, Siri, Aalto.

Obi-Wan could've ended it, but he chose to crouch deep into defense and wait for Siri.

She jumped over Aalto, the move poorly timed, poorly conceived. Aalto would be on her before while she was still on the air.

Obi-Wan stuck out his right arm. Siri caught it, they both tugged, and Siri whipped through the air, tracing a semi-circle. Aalto's lunge took him through empty space, and Obi-Wan and Siri had a moment of two on one against Bruck.

Siri was casually smacked Bruck's exposed back.

"Chun, you're out," shouted Instructor Kali when Bruck took another swing.

Bruck stalked out of the circle as Aalto furiously attacked Siri, hoping to overwhelm her before Obi-Wan could help.

Siri kicked him in the shin and tagged him on the arm as he lost his balance. Obi-Wan finished it with a slash to Aalto's opposite side.

Siri punched Obi-Wan's arm to celebrate their victory, and they bowed to those they'd defeated.

The losers bowed back, Aalto and Bruck grimacing.

Instructor Kali said, "Siri and Obi-Wan's individuals skills were important, but they won because of superior teamwork. Teamwork is more than basic tactics. It's mutually reading and responding to each others' intentions."

Instructor Kali set them to doing blaster deflection drills, and went over to speak with Yoda and the unknown Jedi.

Obi-Wan forced his attention onto the exercise.

When the class ended, the unknown Jedi followed Obi-Wan to his Force Healing class, which was mainly attended by Padawans. Obi-Wan had been entered into it after surpassing the highest level general Force Techniques class for Initiates.

When it ended, Obi-Wan exited with Bant, his only age-mate in the class, and the older Jedi approached.

Bant smiled and waved goodbye to Obi-Wan, who bowed to the Jedi and waited to be addressed.

The Jedi said, "Are you hungry?"

Obi-Wan had had lunch with a couple prospective masters, and nodded, ready to head for the cantina.

"Then come." Obi-Wan followed, and the Jedi turned left, not right, and without saying a word, led Obi-Wan out of the Jedi Temple.

:::

Who is this mystery Jedi? I've thought about different options, about Count Dooku, Mace Windu or an OC. I've thought about Obi-Wan not being chosen at all. But in the end, I'm afraid, I was conventional.

Disambiguation: In this fic, Master has two meanings. It's a rank, above Knight, and it's how Padawans address their teachers. All Masters are Knights, but not all Knights are Masters. Knights can take Padawans, and are addressed as "Master" by their Padawans.

I'm kind of confused as to why so much of Star Wars fanfic land is time travelers struggling with their PTSD. Harry Potter fanfic land is much happier.