Exovar’s was much the same as the group had left it a few weeks ago. Exovar seemed happy to have them all back and greeted them with familiar half charged stories. When he found some time Tull took Exovar aside and asked for a personal favor.
A short time later Tull was walking aboard the Defiant in custom fitted Jedi robes. No longer would Tull be in tattered training pants and a ruined leather long coat. Now he truly looked the Jedi he was becoming, and Exovar had a genuine outfit worn by Tull Raine, Outer Rim Shock-Box Champion, to display in his museum.
Tull’s robes looked much like Wizard’s, but with a slight addition: on both sleeves was stitched a symbol, a circle with a straight line piercing through it vertically. It was the Barabel sign for loyalty.
As the group started to free the women from their carbonite prisons Tull focused on the young Barabel. She was very scared and complained of blindness. Tull did his best to introduce himself as properly as he could, but she was simply too traumatized to respond to Tull’s weak introductions.
Soon, all the women had found their way to Exovar’s care with promises of jobs for them as waitresses, cooks, and dishwashers. Tull couldn’t help but feel let down he didn’t have a chance to get to know the young female better, but Tull took it in stride.
Tull is a Jedi now, and tearing across the Galaxy is no place for a young girl.
As the Defiant found its way into hyperdrive Tull pulled Wizard into his room to convene in private.
“Do visions of the future always come true Wizard? Does the Force always show the truth?” Tull asked his Master.
“The Force is very powerful Tull. It can indeed show us our futures and destinies. But, that does not mean the future is set in stone. Visions show us what may come to be, but your actions, my actions, or anyone else’s can change the future. They are our destinies, and it is our actions that cause them to happen, not a predetermined future,” the Jedi answered, “But Tull, why are you so interested in this?”
“There was a wit…seer on Tull’s home planet when Tull was young. She had visions of the future involving Tull, and Tull simply wished to know if his destiny, and the destinies of others,” he said looking away from Wizard’s eyes, “were their own.”
“They very much are Tull, but who was this woman? Who was she to you?”
“No one Wizard. She was no one.”
As the Barabel left the room Wizard could not help but feel the deception of his padawan. A deception born of pain.
Felucia reminded Tull of his home planet. It was hot, dangerous, and filled with dense foliage. Tull felt right at home. Speeding through the jungle in search of a lost Jedi the party stopped in a small clearing to check their surroundings.
As the group took a look around it soon became clear they were not alone. Tull’s lighsaber flashed into his hand as he sat on the speeder bike behind Wizard. Tull was prepared to deal punishment to whatever was stalking them from the seat of the speeder. Then the jungle came alive. Teeth and claws erupted out of the nearby river and bushes. One monstrous creature was coming right at Wizard.
Tull simply acted. He stood up on the speeder’s seat and leapt over Wizard completing a somersault in mid air and landing with his blade slashing. The beast in front of Tull was brought down by a quick slash of Tull’s and a blaster bolt from Padawan Khalik. Then another beast fell headless at a downward stroke from Tull. The battle was over before it started.
From the underbrush came another figure, humanoid, and when Wizard saw who it was a smile brightened his face.
The native Felucians were good people and Tull found he liked them immediately. Wizard found himself chatting with old friends and tussling the hair of many younglings. As Tull stood away from the warm welcome the group was receiving a small Felucian child ran up to Tull and tugged on his robe’s sleeve.
“Are you a real Jedi Knight?” the boy asked eyes full of wonder.
“Tull is just a padawan now, but someday Tull will be a Knight. At least, Tull hopes so.”
“I thought so. Your robes are just like Mr. Tor’s. Can I see your lightsaber?”
A quick smile found Tull’s lips and he un-holstered the weapon to show the boy its designs and build.
“You will stop the bad men from hurting us right? You’ll keep us safe?” the boy said with all the hope of the Galaxy in his voice.
Tull kneeled down, still towering over the boy on his knees,“Tull will allow no one to harm you or your people youngling. Tull swears it to the Force.”
“I told all my friends the Jedi would help. Thank you Mr. Jedi!” the boy yelled running off.
Tull never felt more like a Jedi before or since.
Things were bad for the Felucians. Nearly a hundred battle hardened troopers were advancing slowly through the nearby mountain passes and they were supported by a bi-pedal machine of death and it’s larger and meaner cousin. An AT-ST and AT-AT they were called, but Tull knew only they had to be stopped.
“Twoopers are one thing, but what can we do aganst dose?” Tommy asked with a sigh of disgust.
“Tull, my padawan. Today is a test for you. One of hundreds that a Jedi must go through in order to become Knighted. Are you ready?” Wizard asked with his eyes closed in deep meditation.
“Tull is always ready Wizard,” said the Barabel Jedi.
Wizard’s eyes opened, “Good. You and I shall take care of those metal monsters.”
The firepower being rained down on the battle field was astounding. The first wave of Felucians was fighting their hardest, but they were dying just the same. Green and red blaster bolts flared across the grounds and the heavy impacts of the two walkers left a jarring ring to the whole area.
Above it all Wizard flew on his speeder with Tull behind him, lightsabers at the ready. As people died all around and the others started to meet with the enemy Wizard and Tull were slowly rising, heading straight for the shambling behemoths.
Heavy blaster fire exploded around them but Wizard kept their course. As the speeder found itself over the AT-ST Wizard looked back and gave Tull a nod. Then Tull was falling through the air. With a quick spin and flip Tull landed in a crouched position on top of the walker.
Bringing his yellow blade up to his face Tull closed his eyes and focused himself just as Wizard taught him to, “You can not control the Force Tull, but it will hear you none the less.” Tull’s eyes opened as he spun the lightsaber in a circle around his feet. Suddenly Tull was inside the walking beast.
The battle was going fine according to the readings on the sensor. In fact, Corporal Ericson thought there was no way the battle could be lost when his superior’s head exploded in the midst of a yellow blur. Ericson was able to spin and fire his blaster to no avail.
Inside the AT-ST’s cockpit stood the most horrific creature the young Imperial had ever seen. It’s face was filled with teeth. It had claws like a Rancor. It was covered in hard green scales. It was something out of a horror holo.
However, the most terrifying thing about the monster was the clothes it had on. A long brown cloak over tan shaded robes. In it’s hand a blade of pure yellow energy. It was unmistakable what the creature was. There was no hate or fear or anger in the creature’s eyes. Only purpose.
That day was the first and last time Corporal Ericson ever saw a Jedi Knight as Tull’s lightsaber cut him in half at chest level, killing him instantly and with very little pain.
As Tull slew the two pilots he could hear Wizard’s voice ring in his mind.
“Tull my friend, you must get out of there. Climb out and jump. Trust me, I will be there.”
With no hesitation Tull hoisted himself out of the hole he just cut and jumped into nothingness. He sailed through the air with nothing below him. As Tull started to fall he reached out his hand, and found Wizard’s firm grip. With a quick scramble Tull found himself on the speeder backwards and received a front row seat to the explosion. The heat and pressure came first, and then the sound. A deafening roar.
As Tull held on with everything he had he glanced over his shoulder speaking into Wizard’s ear, “Do you think everyone will believe Tull is a real Jedi now Wizard?”
“You were always a Jedi Tull, even before I put that weapon in your hand. More the fool is the man who sees a slab of marble and never dreams of the statue it can become,” said Wizard among the roar.
Thank you Wizard. Thank you for making Tull more than just a pair of fists.