Even from high orbit, there was something familiar about the place. But then all desert worlds were much the same, with their stunted and limited life forms and endless seas of baking sand. Kylo Ren resented leading the First Order’s special forces to the surface of this desert world, for it meant donning his full regalia and bearing up to the oppressive heat of the northern hemisphere’s summer. But there was no other way. His oath to the Knights of Ren demanded the dress code, and he didn’t trust the troopers to successfully carry out the mission under Captain Phasma. At least the planet had finally rotated their target into the night side where the temperature was now forty degrees cooler.
He stood for a moment in his battle attire – the charcoal-grey padded jerkin and black pants tucked into black buckled boots – remembering the day he took the oath as leader of the Knights, remembering the sting.
“Kylo, Knight of Ren,” the blonde Mandalorian woman shrouded in brick-red intoned, “the truth is written in blood. Only you” – she held up one hand and then the other, mimicking the balancing arms of a scale – “Master of the Dark and the Light, are the embodiment of strength and power. Only you are worthy of rebirth.”
With a lift of her chin, she motioned him forward from the line of nine knights who stood with heads bowed before her dais. Without hesitation, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa stepped forward and knelt on one knee before her, eyes raised to meet her gaze. She reached down and cupped his face in her hands.
“Those who wield the Force are forever changed by it. True power can only come through those who are beaten upon its forge and embrace their transformation. Those who falter and slip to either Side will be dragged down by their own weakness.”
As she let him go, her sharpened fingernail drew a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth. He didn’t flinch. She help up her arms and motioned for two attendants, bearing ritual garments, to step forward and await her further command.
“The Knights of Ren,” she went on, eyeing the prospective leader before her, “the elite force of the First Order, is charged with protecting the Supreme Leader and carrying out the special and most dangerous operations of the Order. This charge may require you to lay down your life to fulfill your duty. This do you swear?”
“I swear,” Kylo answered, feeling the blood drip off his chin.
“You must walk this path of Ren alone – neither Jedi nor Sith – the path to power. This do you swear?”
She motioned him to stand and hold out his arms. He did so as an attendant drew the dark, sleeveless robe over his shoulders.
“Should you grow weak and falter,” she decreed, “you will lay down your life to the one who rises up to seize your mantle. This do you swear?”
She nodded again to the attendant, who drew a wide, black belt about Kylo’s waist and secured it firmly in place.
“No leader shall weaken himself or allow his knights to weaken their power by lying with other beings. This do you swear?”
At her motion, the second attendant stepped forward and arranged a hooded cowl about Kylo’s shoulders.
“Those who wield the Force are forever bound to serve it. You will shoulder this burden for life. This do you swear?”
He knew what was coming next, yet he was forbidden to brace for it. His total submission was required.
“And this is so you’ll remember your oath.” She slapped him so hard across the face that the impression of her hand formed in red on his pale skin.
After a moment, the buzz in his head cleared and he answered dutifully, “I shall remember.”
The last part of the ceremonial dress, she completed herself. She bent forward, kissed
the reddening welt on his cheek and placed a helmet specially forged for him over his head. With a click, she locked it into place.
“With the Mask of Ren, you are no longer a man but an icon, a shaper of history.” She drew the voluminous black hood over it. “Yet you shall never forget your place at my feet as my pupil, Kylo Ren.”
Ren inclined his head. “Yes, my master.”
Supreme Leader Amanda Snoke stepped back, admiring her charge, and smiled.
@MyKyloRen 9 August 2016