Jedi Trials of Knighthood

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  • The following text is taken from Star Wars – The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of The Force, by Daniel Wallace

    1. The Trial of Skill

    Demonstrates a Jedi's competence with a lightsaber and the Force principles of Control.

    Don't be fooled into thinking of the Trial of Skill as a physical challenge. Master Vaunk and the Council members will judge your performance based on a series of lightsaber tests, but in truth, this Trial hinges on a Jedi's ability to maintain self-discipline in the face of distraction.

    Lightsaber combat is attached to the Trial of Skill as a matter of modern convenience, for every Jedi must demonstrate the ability to wield a blade. Yet lightsaber combat springs from the discipline of Control. Early in the history of the Order, the Trial of Skill took many forms, including acrobatics while balanced on the tip of a wooden staff and keeping a single pebble suspended while standing in the vortex of a howling Typhonese hailstorm.

    3.68 The Trial of Skill is not a test of athleticism, but of Control.
    Do not bother to anticipate what type of lightsaber challenge you will encounter during the Trial of Skill or which opponent you will face. The popular rumor among Padawans is that you must outlast the Jedi Battlemaster in a session that may span hours. This could be true, for aching fatigue provides exactly the kind of challenge to a Jedi's focus that the Trial of Skill is meant to evaluate. Yet you may face multiple opponents at once; a succession of fresh opponents while you become increasingly exhausted; a duel with one Jedi while another manipulates your perceptions or shifts the floor tiles beneath your feet; or perhaps even a duel with a member of the Council, including our venerable Grand Master – a rare privilege indeed.

    3.69 Through tangible holoprojections, Padawans might test their skills against a Sith Lord.
    Such challenges are not meant to be unfair. All are designed to mimic challenges you may one day face if you are to serve the Order and the Republic as a Jedi Knight.

    The latest feature in the Jedi trials Chamber is a holographic projector, introduced after the victory at Ruusan and capable of creating enemies from the air itself. With this tool, you might face Darth Ruin, Lord Kaan, or any of the worst monsters to ever rise from the dark side.

    Exceptions: Padawans who have bested a Battlemaster during sparring, or who have demonstrated blindfolded mastery of the saber training exercise Faalo's Cadences, may be judged sufficiently advanced in this area that standard testing is redundant.

    2. The Trial of Courage

    Establishes a Jedi's skill and fortitude in the face of danger and overwhelming odds.

    Even if your talents lean more toward diplomacy than war, courage is an intrinsic part of being a Jedi. Though The Force is with us, we are small in number when compared to the people of the galaxy. We have numerous enemies, and must also contend with those who do not understand our Order and therefore misinterpret our motives. As Jedi, we can never relax our discipline – nor can we fail to confront evil. A Jedi who is afraid to confront injustice is no Jedi at all, which makes the Trial of Courage a revelatory test.

    I cannot tell you what you will face in your Trial of Courage. Its purpose is for a Padawan to persist in the face of fear. If you know what the trial will consist of, then the true measure of your courage will not be tested.

    3.70 The Trial of Courage measures a Padawan's willingness to fight evil despite the fear it may instill.
    In previous eras, a Padawan was considered to have passed the Trial of Courage if he or she demonstrated battlefield heroics such as standing up to a vastly powerful Sith Lord. Similar dispensations were handed out by the Council during the last war. But in such situations it was times difficult to sort out courage from recklessness. Overconfidence is a flaw, and rushing in unprepared can often make things worse. Courage must be aligned with the fourth precept of the Jedi Code: There is no chaos, there is harmony.

    The war is over, but the Council may still assign special missions to Padawans who wish to pass the Trial of Courage. The mission could simply be a creation of the Council to test your reactions within the Jedi trials Chamber, or it could be deadly dangerous. Regardless of the nature of your challenge, it is important you do not share the details of your experience with your fellow Padawans. All must experience this Trial untainted.

    Exceptions: A variety of special dispensations can be given for this trial, encompassing Padawans who have succeeded in a difficult mission or who have saved the lives of their Masters.

    3. The Trial of the Flesh

    Determines a Jedi's capacity to overcome great pain.

    For many Padawans, the Trial of the Flesh is the most difficult of the Knighthood trials. This ordeal will test your ability to overcome great pain, and it may be quite literal.

    As a historian, I have studied the Trial of the Flesh in its incarnations throughout the millennia. During the Pius Dea era, the Jedi Order subjected Padawans to torments of cold, cuts, sonic shocks, and the application of sustained, low-powered blaster fire in the technique that the smugglers call "the Burning." Now condemned as barbarism, this practice is best understood as a product of its time. It did, however, crystallize the Trial of the Flesh's most fundamental principle: divorcing the self from the spirit.

    During the most recent war against the Sith, the Council viewed battle as a living expression of the Trial of the Flesh. All Padawans who survived a war injury passed this Trial on the evidence of their scars. Padawans who had defeated a Sith Lord sometimes passed the Trials of the Flesh, Skill, and Courage simultaneously. Far from being a matter of political expediency, these battlefield trials have a long precedent in the Jedi Order. Padawans who lost a limb to cho mok or another Mark of Contact surrendered their flesh to demonstrate their commitment to the Jedi Order.

    3.71 Physical pain is one type of test a Padawan may face in the Trial of the Flesh.
    It is now a different time, and we do not expect Padawans to prove their worth through wounds. The Trials of the Flesh, in fact, is about more than physical agony. The pain of loss is part of your passage from Padawan to Knight, for you are giving up the closest bond you have ever known. As the partnership with your Master is formally dissolved, you may be overwhelmed by feelings of sadness or regret. This is part of your Trial of the Flesh. Think well on the first precept of the Jedi Code: There is no emotion, there is peace.

    3.72 Emotional pain is another type of test one may face in the Trial of the Flesh.
    Exceptions: Significant pain and loss is considered a worthy demonstration, such as Initiates who were recruited later in life and have experienced the pain and loss and quieted their feelings for the family of their birth.

    4.The Trial of the Spirit

    Tests a Jedi's ability to vanquish inner battles and emerge unscathed.

    Outsiders think that the Jedi exist to crusade against enemies – that we are mere counterbalances to the threat of the Sith. Only among our own ranks do we recognize that being a Jedi is an emotional commitment to a higher spirituality. This is the challenge represented by the Trial of Spirit, known among some as Facing the Mirror.

    Jedi possess great power, and those who have fallen to the dark side have unleashed their power in waves of misery. The Trial of Spirit measures your temptations and whether you can put them aside in the service of a greater cause. Although this is just as much a battle as the Trial of Skill, during this challenge you might not flex a single muscle. The battlescape is in your mind, and victory is marked by a profound sense of peace.

    It is impossible to describe the Trial of Spirit. I do not know the fears coiled in your heart. Not even Grand Master Fae would presume to dictate your challenges. The Trial of Spirit is to be carried out under deep meditation, with a Master who will nudge you onto the path that you least wish to tread.

    Under meditation you may feel that you've been transported off Coruscant entirely. You may see the faces of colleagues who have long since passed into The Force. You will undoubtedly see things that disturb you, from enemies you have faced to the most horrific cacodemons in the Core's nightmarish mythology.

    Remember the third precept of the Jedi Code: There is no passion, there is serenity. Stay true to the discipline of self-control, and keep in mind that you are but an agent of the Force. Once you accept that grief, shame, revenge, and all other emotions that center on the self have no hold on you, you will emerge victorious. If you do not, you will merge broken and screaming. You should hope you do not fail the Trial of Spirit.

    3.73 During the Trial of Spirit, Jedi must mentally face their deepest fears.
    Exceptions: Padawans shown to have mastered their own dark side may be judged to have passed this trial. (During the war, this included followers of the Sith army who turned to the light.)

    5. The Trial of Insight

    Reveals a Jedi's aptitude for distinguishing reality from illusion through deceptive challenges.

    Can Jedi be deceived? Of course, but only if we ignore the will of the Force or the information in our Archives. A Jedi who is deceived is no longer working for the cause of the light side. In extreme cases, a Jedi operating under delusions may become a danger to innocents.

    The Trial of Insight guards against this threat. It was the last test to be formalized as part of the Trials of Knighthood and rose to prominence after it became clear that the Trials were producing Jedi who were brave, competent, and could overcome temptation – but who could not see through the patter of a simple con artist.

    Deception and misdirection are threats to the Jedi, and our enemies frequently use them against us. The Hutts have been the ruin of countless Jedi campaigns throughout history, not due to their martial prowess but through their trickery. The Trial of Insight tests a Padawan's ability to see through illusion and judge the person beneath, and to filter out distractions in search of the truth.

    3.74 In order to gain insight, the Jedi must be able to find the truth amidst deceit and trickery.
    Over the centuries many challenges have been employed to assess this ability in the Trial of Insight. These include locating a single grain of sand within a field of stones, determining the content and meaning of a fragmentary text from scattered pieces, and solving any of the High Riddles of Dwartii – and no, researching the riddles in the Archives beforehand is not permitted.

    The Trial of Insight may occur at a moment when you are not prepared for it, and may in fact be part of an unrelated challenge. I am reminded of three Padawans undergoing the eighth hour of the Trial of Skill. Through a perceptual trick, all were made to believe they faced a horde of angry warriors. One battled on in the face of certain defeat and passed her Trial of Courage. The second perceived the illusory nature of the combatants and passed his Trial of Insight. The third bowed out of the trial, citing exhaustion, and failed to become a Knight.

    3.75 Insight may also be gained by seeing beyond what is physically in front of you, to what is real.
    Exceptions: If a Padawan has demonstrated wisdom beyond his or her years and training, this may count as a pass – particularly if he or she divined a solution that avoided violence.