Categories > Movies > Star Wars > Growing Up in the Jedi Temple

Interlude: Eleventh Nameday

by Izzy 0 reviews

At the age of eleven, all Jedi trainees undergo an exercise where they are cut off from the Force.

Category: Star Wars - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Horror - Characters: Amidala, Anakin - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2006-02-05 - Updated: 2006-02-05 - 1497 words

Padme was calm as they strapped the metal contraption to her wrist, but she was sure the old Master could hear her heart hammering. There is no emotion, there is peace, she repeated to herself mentally. It didn't make her feel much better. They'd done this to Sara a month or so ago, when she had turned eleven, and Padme had sat with her during that terrible hour, watching helplessly as she turned into a mindless wreck. She'd heard all the stories, of Initiates and Padawans alike breaking under this exercise.

"Release your fear," the Master commanded. "I'm going to inject you now; you must release your fear into the Force before the drug takes effect."

She tried to concentrate on the Force, release her fear as she'd been taught, but there was too much of it. The hypospray pressed against her neck, and the Master said, "You are free during this hour to go anywhere within this part of the Temple you like, but we will monitor your movements, for your own benefit."

She nodded, bowed, and left the room. What should she do? Her clanmates were eating lastmeal, and she didn't feel very hungry.

Then the answer came to her in a flash: Anakin's dormitory. She had finished tutoring him recently, and they still kept each other company very often. They always felt more cheerful when in each other's company. He had to still be in the refectory at the moment, but she was sure he would be there by the time the hour was up.

Then the world around her emptied.

She'd been prepared for not being able to sense things around her the way she always had. But she hadn't expected not to be able to sense /herself/.

Nothing. There was nothing. Her world had abandoned her. She was cold, she was lost, everything was gone, she wasn't even sure she still existed, or if she was trapped in some horrible state-

"No!" She yelled desperately. Then she heard footsteps, and she nearly fell over from the contradiction. Her ears were telling her someone was coming, but they couldn't be, because her brain was screaming at her that they were gone, all gone...

And now there was an image in front of her of a man, but he had no presence. And she could hear him asking her, so concerned, if she was all right, and as he knelt down he saw the contraption, and touched her hand.

She could feel the hand, and it even felt a little warm, but everything was still so cold. It felt so wrong she jerked away, and frantically ran her hands along her body, but even that felt wrong-

"Keep moving about," the man advised her. "The body has the ability to sense itself even without the Force. No, don't try touching yourself if it makes you feel worse. Just walk. Walk anywhere."

She walked. She was aware of herself walking, of her legs moving, but her legs still didn't seem /there/, and it didn't make sense, and she was still so /empty/.

By the time she got to Anakin's dormitory she wasn't sure if she wanted him to be there or she didn't want him to be there when she couldn't feel him. She tried to calculate how much of the hour was left, but even time didn't seem to exist anymore. She was going to be like this forever...

The dorm was empty. She walked in, and looked around. But she couldn't tell which bed was Anakin's, because she couldn't sense his having been there from any of them.

Through her growing agony, a shocking thought cut across, Did I rely on the Force even for that? But she had gotten here...

"Think! Rely on memory." Surely at some point she had paid attention to the location of the bed in the room. Perhaps her body might know which way to go without any senses. But her body was just so out of her control...

Finally she forced herself to recall an image of the room, which bed they had gone to, and sat down on a bed, but it was hard to believe it was Anakin's, it just felt so empty. And then she finally broke down, sobbing into alien blankets, in surroundings she didn't know at all...

"Padme?? Padme, what's wrong?"

She hadn't heard Anakin come in. Only the utter certainty of whose voice it was she heard made her believe it was him.

But when he tried to touch her, she couldn't stand it. He was supposed to have so much of the Force in him that nothing in her life had ever felt so /wrong/. She pulled away violently.

"I'm sorry, Padme, I'm sorry! I'll go get a Master!"

"No!" She didn't want adult-or even anyone besides Anakin, seeing her like this. "It's okay, this will be over in...I don't know, but it has to be less than an hour."

She knew her voice lacked any kind of confidence, but Anakin could still sense her emotions-her shields were non-existent-and somehow they convinced him. Yet still he protested, "But we gotta do something!"

"No, we don't. Please Ani, just let it be."

"But can't I do anything?" he pleaded.

"Yes. Talk to me. Just talk. About anything."

She focused on his voice as he talked, not even hearing what he was saying, as her sobbing quietened. They nearly emerged again at one point, at the thought that in less than six years, they would do this horrible thing to Anakin, but she didn't want to upset him so she supressed them.

She heard another voice she didn't recognize at one point, heard Anakin say "Go away!" and footsteps die off. She was surprised by how she was getting used to the idea of the presence of people without sensing them there.

And then, what seemed an eternity later, suddenly the world flared back up, everything came rushing back, she was back, she knew where she was, and Anakin was with her and he was so /bright/, and she interrupted him in the middle of a sentence to leap down from the bed and throw her arms around him, basking in the Force in him, in her, all around them, in every creature on Coruscant, in that moment aware of each and every one of them in a way she never had consciously been in all her life. Tears of relief streamed down her face.

"Are you okay now?" he asked nervously.

"Yes," she whispered back. "I'm fine now. It's over."

They stayed like that for a minute or so more, before the door opened and Padme heard someone call, "Initiate Naberrie?"

They looked up to see the old Master standing at the door. Padme drew herself up and both Initiates bowed. She knew the speech coming up; she had been there when Sara had heard it.

He took her arm and removed the supression device. "I would advise you not to feel ashamed," he said gently, sensing her thoughts, "your reaction was not dissimilar to the reactions of most Initiates when they are first cut off from the Force. The purpose of this exercise is twofold: first, that you learn not to take your ability to feel the Force for granted, and secondly, that should the worst happen on a mission and you be cut off from the Force while in the field, you will, at the very least, avoid reacting as badly as you did tonight."

Padme blushed at this last bit, but knew that the first objective of the exercise had certainly been achieved. She'd never take the Force and her ability to access it for granted again.

"As you know, all trainees go through the Force-supression exercise at least once, when they turn eleven, for an hour's time, as to put them through it for any longer, any earlier in their lives, or any more often at this age would not be justifiable with any ends. However, I feel I should warn you that once you are 15, your Master may choose to use the exercise as he or she sees fit."

Padme knew Anakin was paying as close attention as she was, and could feel his distress. At what she had gone through? At the thought she might have to go through it again? At the realization that he would go through with it? She would have to talk with him later.

"Though you should not feel shame, you should give your behavior considerable thought, and, as in all things, attempt to improve. As you do not yet have a specific Master, you are free to seek out any Master in the Temple you know and trust, if you need advice on this matter." Then he smiled at her. "Now I think you should get something to eat, and join your clanmates at their evening studies when you are ready. Initiate Skywalker, I believe you are late."
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