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In the Order of Keltrayu, Novice was the rank of initiates and trainees who were studying to become Centurions. It was analogous to the ranks of Jedi Initiate and Jedi Padawan.

Recruitment

Queen Rin Sakaros and the Order of Keltrayu as a whole encouraged citizens of the Golden Empire who believed their children to be Force-sensitive to contact the Order to enlist their children in training, if they so chose. When contacted, the Order would dispatch a Praetor-Recruiter to examine the child in question. If the child was found to be sufficiently Force-sensitive, the Praetor-Recruiter would recommend him, her, or it to the Prefect of the Order, who had the final say on admitting a potential to the Order, subject only to the Sovereign.

Given that clear evidence of Force sensitivity was not immediately evident upon birth to those who were not Force-sensitive themselves, many parents did not discover their childrens' talents for years. As a result, the normal age for admittance to the Order was seven or eight, with some variation based on maturation rates of species. Exceptions did occur; if Centurions encountered Force-sensitive infants in the field, they could recommend the parents to the Order. On the other hand, some Force-sensitives from planets newly admitted to the Empire were recruited as Novices in their teens or even twenties.

After the passage of the Midi-chlorian Registration Law, the Order had access to information on many Force-sensitives shortly after birth, although surrendering children remained optional.

In-house training

Novices of the Order were trained inside a facility inside the Sith Star called "the Citadel". Novice training combined academics and professional training. Novices were given instruction, usually by educator droids, in mathematics, science, physics, history, diplomacy, economics, and astrogation. They were also taught Orhyo and Sith; fluency in both languages was required for promotion to Centurion status. Most Novices also learned to speak at least some Basic.

On the professional side, Novices were given varied and in-depth combat training. Central to the entire program was a strict regimen of physical fitness and lightsaber combat. All Novices received basic training in Forms I, II, III, IV, and V. After receiving a sufficient grounding in these five forms (usually in the early to mid-teens), Novices were allowed to select a style in which they would specialize. A very few Novices, such as the Fyaar Vem, were trained by Rin Sakaros in Juyo. Building a lightsaber was an important exercise for Novices.

Experienced Novices were also taught to use a variety of other weapons, such as blasters and explosives. Both Sakaros siblings and later Praetor-Instructors taught Novices elements of the Sith martial art Var Shek.

Force training for the Novices was heavily physical and mental. The former focused on telekinesis and Force-power movement skills, while the latter was more oriented toward combat reflexes and telepathy. As a result of these foci, most full Centurions could hold their own even against heavily stacked odds in combat, and could perform mind tricks on the weak-minded, detect lies, and guard their own minds from being read.

Novices had many training exercises geared toward combat, utilizing holographic simulations or mental illusions cast by Rin Sakaros. These included training to deflect blasterfire from multiple angles, sensing ambient dangers, and hundreds of hours of lightsaber sparring with one another. Novices would also train against various environmental dangers and simulated monsters many times their size. Throughout all this, a lack of fear was carefully developed through both positive and negative correction, to ensure that Centurions would be focused only on victory without counting personal cost in battle.

Field training

Young Novices were kept isolated inside the Citadel for their first years of training, but those with some experience were often sent on short-term field assignments. These assignments were of great variety, but common examples included:

  • Relief missions: Mercy missions or recovery efforts on devastated member worlds.
  • Military duty: Older Novices with an interest in the armed forces could volunteer for short-term apprenticeships in the Royal Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Starfighter Corps.
  • Educational trips: "Field trips" to locations such as the Royal Observatory for scientific education, or to a Royal mint to observe the process of making currency.
  • Diplomacy: Accompanying diplomats and ambassadors from the Ministry of Diplomacy to new potential member worlds, or agents of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Integration to arbitrate intersystem disputes in the Empire itself.
  • Law enforcement: Especially after 154 ABY, senior Novices often served alongside Centurions as investigators and occasionally as bodyguards.

In the field, all Novices were accompanied by full Centurions, who acted as mentors and guides, as well as protectors in the event of danger. Any Novice sent to the field carried a lightsaber and was authorized to use force to defend himself if attacked.

Early in her Prefecture, Prefect Aria Nikina ordered that no Novice could be commissioned without at least a year of field training under the supervision of at least three different Centurions.

Culture

Novices had an intensely close bond with Rin Sakaros, who personally oversaw a great deal of their training and made a point to visit her Novices almost every day. Sometimes she trained them with weapons or the Force, others she taught them subjects and topics of interest to her, and still others she simply visited with them or read stories to the youngest of them. Rin also used her telepathic powers to guide the development of her Novices' minds, which further instilled the values of loyalty and service in them. Rin viewed this not as brainwashing, but as simply "delivering the truth without diluting it through words".

Though training was a priority, Novices were also given free time each day to engage in individual pursuits. They developed such diverse interests as art, history, linguistics, piloting, and mechanics.

Rin and all her Prefects encouraged a close bond not only among Novices, but also between Novices and full Centurions. Centurions aboard the Sith Star usually visited the Citadel to meet their "younger siblings", and many served as guest instructors and sparring partners. Beginning in 155 ABY, each Remembrance Day, Novices of sufficient age presented reports on the lives of fallen Centurions; Centurions aboard the Star on the holiday usually attended.

Promotion

After years of training, Novices could take the examinations to become Centurions. This was both academic and practical. Novices needed to pass a demanding battery of standardized tests to ensure their knowledge of basic science, mathematics, history, and politics, as well as their fluency in Sith and Orhyo. They also faced a number of physical tests, including their ability to deflect blasterfire and use the Force to overcome obstacles and subdue simulated enemies. In addition, the practical portion contained situational judgment tests, making sure Centurions knew when to use their blades, when to use the Force, and when to use discretion. The Zyked Centurion Rajj-Yo failed this section twice.

Throughout the test, the Novices fought a number of sparring duels, both against their peers and full Centurions. The final test was a sparring duel against the Prefect of the Order. Tested Novices usually received their results within a standard week of being examined; those who failed a portion could usually attempt it again after a discussion with instructors of what they had done wrong and additional training sessions.

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