Star Wars: The Second Galactic Civil War

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

#1  Edited By shroudofsorrow

I posted this on Fanfiction.net a while back and hardly a soul paid it any attention. So I thought I'd post the chapters here too and get some feedback on them.

The idea with this story is that it is meant to be a sort of "replacement" for Episodes VIII and IX, taking place after The Force Awakens and being my own stab at a sequel to Episode VII. The catch, is that I have no compunctions about having numerous references and nods to Legends continuity, basically taking anything from Legends that I can safely transfer to Disney's continuity and including it in my story when necessary or warranted. Basically, think of this as not just a fan-made sequel to TFA, but also a "fusion" of Disney and Legends' continuities, with a few original ideas of my own to keep you all on your toes.

All that out of the way, I hope you enjoy!

Here are the first two chapters:

Chapter 1: Echoes in the Darkness

Somewhere…

They'd finally found it.

Surprisingly (at the time), the blasted thing had been on Naboo. He'd ordered his men to search Byss a thousand times, and he'd had spies and agents on Coruscant poking about and around any of the countless buildings there that had once been major seats of power for Palpatine, or places he frequented for some other reason. Everything from the Jedi Temple turned Emperor's Palace, to the old Senate building and the opera house Palpatine oversaw the construction of, and where he spoke of Darth Plagueis to Anakin Skywalker. Even his old lair on the outskirts of Coruscant where he'd schemed as Darth Sidious during the Clone Wars was located and searched. And all of them had yielded their share of treasures, trinkets, and items he could make use of at a later date. But it was on Naboo that they'd finally found the last of Palpatine's Sith Holocrons.

It's always the place you least suspect.

Then again, Sheev Palpatine was born there, and his family had been one of Naboo's rich elite before their untimely deaths, so perhaps it wasn't the last place he'd have suspected.

Kylo Ren paced back and forth unsteadily, ill at ease in spite of himself. It was all over and done with. The tedium, the searching, the thought that he might never find Palpatine's last treasure. He had. He had found it and it was his to make use of as he saw fit.

He held the holocron, inspecting it and turning it over in his black leather gloved hands. The former Emperor had not skimped on intricacy or aesthetics; the holocron was a tad larger than most others, and was of the pyramid shape that Sith Holocrons favored (Jedi holocrons, conversely, favored a cube shape). It's design could perhaps be called ostentatious, but it was well made and well-designed; mostly a bold crimson that Sith in general and Palpatine in particular were partial to, with the entire border of the thing plus all of the edges being in solid electrum gold (the same electrum that all of Palpatine's lightsabers had as a decorative feature). Each of the sides of the pyramid plus the base featured additional gold designs.

What secrets are you hiding, I wonder?

Kylo Ren held out the holocron with one hand, and with a wave of his other hand called on the Force to open and unlock the holocron. It flatly refused to open. Frowning behind the ink-colored helmet that paid homage to his grandfather's alter-ego, Kylo Ren set the holocron down on a small pedestal in his room designed for holding them. Then he sat down and looked at the holocron long and hard.

I've studied the holocrons of all the great Sith of the past; Marka Ragnos, Naga Sadow, Exar Kun, Darth Revan, even Darth Bane himself. And all opened to me. None resisted my calling. They all knew I served the Dark Side. Why will this one not open? Does it consider me unworthy somehow?

Kylo Ren knew that was a possibility. The Emperor had been in life the purest manifestation of the Dark Side known to the Galaxy, and it was quite feasible that only one as committed to the cause as him could be allowed the privilege of accessing whatever dark secrets the holocron contained. And Kylo Ren, well…

I admit...I have been...feeling it again. That damnable call of the Light. Urging me, nagging me. Beckoning me to come to it and embrace it. Never. I will not surrender to it's pull. The Supreme Leader and the holocrons of the great Dark Lords of the past have taught me what I need to know. They've shown me the strength of the Dark Side.

Kylo Ren was interrupted by the sound of a knock on the door. He rose to his feet and answered. On the other side was a well-dressed First Order officer who introduced himself with perfect suavity, as Lieutenant Usher. He had come to Kylo Ren to inform him that the last piece of the missing map to Luke Skywalker had been found. Some backwater desert planet named "Jakku" was where it had been tracked.

As Kylo Ren got up to leave, he shot a brief look over at Palpatine's holocron, still sitting on the pedestal. Almost beckoning him to come back and try again. Daring him to. Taunting him, even.

We're not finished. Kylo Ren thought darkly as he looked at the holocron before going out to handle the situation on Jakku personally. We're not finished at all. I'll come back again when I'm worthy.

Days later, following the Starkiller Base fiasco, Kylo Ren awoke to pain from the injuries he'd sustained from that blue lightsaber he'd so coveted. His first instinct was to break the neck of the medic overlooking him but he restrained himself out of a sense of pragmatism. He did however, angrily shove aside both the doctor and the medical droids that were all fussing over him. He awkwardly clambered off of the table he'd been on, landing just as awkwardly on his feet and realizing all at once that he hadn't taken the time to let his injuries heal fully. No matter. He just used his anger from the pain to fuel himself, grabbed his discarded black garments (which had been repaired along with his injured body), and stormed off down the hallway. He wouldn't put it off. Not any longer. He'd been so caught up in everything that had happened with the girl and her friend and the damned Wookie that he hadn't thought of it until now; he hadn't had the time.

He had done it.

He had gone and murdered his own father when offered the chance to go back to the Light Side. He had gone irrevocably from conflicted adept to being baptised in the Dark Side. Gone was the call to the Light Side, gone were his doubts. All of it. As though they'd never even been there.

And that meant that Palpatine's holocron would not refuse him now.

Entering his room, Kylo Ren tried again to unlock Palpatine's holocron after shutting the door. And sure enough, this time, it opened.

The ghostly blue image of Emperor Palpatine materialized, his hood covering part of his face as it so often had in life. Beneath the hood, the hideous cracks and sickening, corrosive effects of Dark Side corruption were readily apparent. Looking at them on the Palpatine hologram, it was only then that Kylo Ren realized his own flesh now felt different. Bringing his hands up to touch his skin, he realized that he too now had the cracks. Not as extreme as Palpatine's, but still present. A quick look in the room's mirror revealed that he had also taken on the pallor and disease-like appearance of a true Dark Side devotee. And while (again), not as bad as Palpatine's, it did go some lengths towards ravaging his once handsome face. His eyes were yellow now too.

I shall have to correct this with Sith Alchemy. The changes to the face may mark me for what I am, but sometimes, the deception a handsome face can provide is better.

"Ah, a Skywalker…" The holocron spoke. "I've been expecting one of you for some time…"

"How do you know who I am?" Kylo Ren asked.

"The Force has always run strong in your family. It was...easy to detect. Besides...I see much of Anakin Skywalker in you."

"Do you know what I've summoned you for?"

"Oh, yes. I sense you wish to continue your journey down the Dark Side."

"I have already proven myself committed to it. Otherwise, you would not have opened to me."

"True." The ghostly blue figure made a smile, the sort of positively unnerving smile that would make most people's skin crawl right off. But Kylo Ren was not most people.

"...but you do crave more power, don't you?" Palpatine's holocron asked with that same mocking smile upon his face.

"Yes. I just need your guidance."

"Oh, you don't need guidance. You do not yet understand this, as you are not yet the master yourself. But it is the apprentice or student's duty to learn all that they can from their master, just as it is the master's right to refrain from revealing all their secrets."

"The voice of experience?" Kylo Ren asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Indeed. My own master for instance, Darth Plagueis. He made the grave error of teaching me too much, and too quickly at that. The moment that he did, he became…'unnecessary'."

Kylo Ren didn't need the pause before the holocron said "unnecessary". He was certainly well-educated enough in Sith lore to know the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise.

"So then you have nothing to offer me?"

"I have plenty to offer you, but I shall not reveal it all. Some secrets and knowledge I forsee being quite useful to you, and to the Dark Side's cause. But other things you do not need to know of at this time."

"Then what can you teach me?" Kylo Ren demanded, rapidly losing patience.

Palpatine's holocron smiled. "Let us start with 'The Dark Side Compendium'. Beginning with the Book of Anger..."

Chapter 2: Becoming a Jedi

Ahch-To

"I'm not sure I'm doing it right." Rey confessed as she again failed to telekinetically lift the objects that her new Jedi Master had laid out in front of her.

"Don't get discouraged." Luke Skywalker said patiently. "Most don't get it right the first time."

"This isn't my first time." Rey pointed out. "It's my fourth time. And still nothing. I don't understand; I was able to summon your lightsaber to me on Starkiller Base. Why can't I do anything now?"

"Moments of crisis and moments of training are not the same thing. It's easier for an inexperienced Force-user to call on it involuntarily in a stressful situation. But, such invocations of power are at best unreliable, not to mention dangerous. The discipline and control that comes with being a Jedi is always better."

"Well, so far, I can't seem to get it."

"You're still tense. You need to learn to relax. Calm yourself and clear your mind. You can't demand the thing. A Jedi lets the Force flow through him or her. You try to fight back against a current, it doesn't go well."

"Is that what the Sith and Knights of Ren do? Fight against the current?"

Luke frowned as Rey mentioned those groups, but still gave a patient and mediated answer: "Not exactly. They don't completely resist or struggle against the current, but they do attempt to bend it to their will. Always for violent, selfish, or cruel ends. Jedi too can bend the Force to their will, but only ever in the service of a good outcome, and the relationship is far more reciprocal. Again, you must first let the Force in and trust in it, before you can expect to command it with casual ease."

As if to demonstrate this, Luke inhaled deeply, shut his eyes, and spent a split-second letting the Light Side flow into him as though it were every bit the powerful water he described it as. Even with her seemingly stunted progress, Rey could sense the power of the Light Side in Luke, feeling it like the comforting glow and warmth of the sun. Then, he opened his eyes and with a wave of his mechanical hand, effortlessly lifted every last object in front of himself and Rey off the ground, plus several large stones and boulders for good measure.

"Show-off."

"Just demonstrating what you yourself can do, if you take what I just told you seriously."

"Alright, I'll try."

Rey shut her eyes as Luke had, and inhaled deeply. She did what she could to clear her mind, let go of her annoyance at past failures, let go of her frustrations and insecurities for just a moment, and reached out…

It was an interesting experience. She felt the Light Side come roaring into her, and it was a good feeling. Like being warmed from the inside out, and also to some extent feeling the texture and surface of the objects even though she was several feet from them. But still she felt them, almost as though they were a part of her for a brief moment. The sort of thing that make comparisons between Force telekinesis and a common tractor beam ridiculous to anyone who knew what it felt like to use the former (or experience it).

Rey dared to open her eyes, and saw the first few objects in front of her lift off the ground. Only the smallest and simplest ones, but they were still lifted nonetheless, and to her happiness, they were going up, up, and up. Soon, they were all over five and a half feet off the ground. Turning to look at Luke, she could see him beaming with pride.

"There, you see? You can do it. Just let the Force flow through you, don't fight against it, and soon you will be able to call on it on a whim. But you must never forget to nurture the connection. Trying to take the quick and easy path, demanding the power and trying to bend what comes your way to your will without regard for the cost, that's the way of the Dark Side."

"Have you…" Rey paused and bit her lip awkwardly as she hesitated to finish her question. But then she did: "You...speak of the Dark Side with such knowledge...have you ever used it yourself?"

"A few times, yes. And they were bad decisions on my part. But I felt I needed to know. Needed to understand why people would ever go for such a power. Those few tastes were a few too many. I pulled myself back quickly enough and never looked back. But I was also pretty committed to the Jedi path by that point. Many others who tried what I did weren't, and they weren't able to pull away as I did. And there have been others who were just as committed as myself, and they still got corrupted. Don't make any mistake, Rey; the Dark Side can corrupt anyone. It's a strong seducer."

"Like...what happened with Darth Vader...your father."

Luke Skywalker nodded solemnly. "Walk with me, Rey. I want to show you something."

Rey obeyed, following the older Jedi as the two took what both considered "the scenic route", walking along the edge of the landmass they were on and looking out at the deep blue ocean and clear blue sky. Even the outcroppings of rock and other patches of land had their own "rough-nature" appeal to them. Mindful of what Luke had told her, Rey opened herself up and all but dared the Light Side to come into her, and let her feel it's warm embrace. And it did. Just admiring the scenery and walking along, on the planet where the first Jedi Temple was, it felt good. She could see why Luke Skywalker had chosen to come here. After all that had happened to him, what better place to go to heal?

Eventually, the walk came to a cave entrance. Luke walked in first, and beckoned for Rey to follow. She did, and stopped short upon seeing what was inside:

It was filled with natural crystal formations that came in a rainbow of colors, from bright blue to forest green to to orange-yellow. Within the cave, Rey felt the presence of the Force spike dramatically.

"This place…" Luke said. "...is one of the first Kyber Crystal caves the Jedi Order discovered. Back when the Jedi were mostly based on this planet. This is where the crystals for their lightsabers came from. I find that, as the Force is particularly strong here, it is a good place to meditate."

Luke sat down and motioned for Rey to sit next to him. She did. As Luke began to meditate, Rey did her best to follow his lead. Shutting her eyes, Rey breathed in slowly but purposefully through the nose, and out through the mouth, as Luke did. To her surprise, she found herself easing into it rather quickly. Whether that was because of where she was, or just Luke's teaching (or both), was something Rey didn't know. But in any case, the more she breathed in and out, the more her muscles relaxed, and the more Rey felt incredibly at peace as much physically as emotionally. All of the tenseness, all of the physical stress, all of the raised hairs on the back of her neck even, all of it just melted away like ice in the sun. An especially appropriate comparison, considering Rey was again feeling pleasantly warm despite being in a dark cave.

"You feel it, don't you?" Luke asked with a gentle smile.

"I do, Master Skywalker." Rey said with a smile of her own. "It feels...wonderful. Like I could just sit here all day."

Luke chuckled. "Yes, I've heard stories of some Jedi who spent nearly all of their time in meditation. I though, always felt that a good balance between meditation and activity is more ideal."

"I understand." Rey said with a nod. "The Galaxy's a rough place. Can't just shut yourself out from it."

"No, you can't." Luke agreed. "And it's good you realize that. You're already well on your way to becoming a Jedi, Rey."

"Thank you, Master Skywalker."

The two meditated in the crystal cave for some moments more, before Luke Skywalker finally got up and beckoned Rey to follow him. She did, and he led her to another part of the cave. He looked at her long and hard and said: "When we first met, you returned my first lightsaber to me."

Rey nodded. "Yes. Because it was yours, and it belonged to you."

"And I had told you to keep it. But, I do also recognize that it would do you good to construct your own lightsaber, simply to have that experience, and have a lightsaber to call your own and only your own." Stepping to one side, Luke revealed several components that Rey deduced very quickly were different pieces of lightsabers.

"The time has come, apprentice. You must construct a lightsaber from the materials here. The final piece, will of course be the crystal itself. Choose the pieces of the hilt first, and then the other interior mechanics, and finally, we can select a crystal for you."

Rey nodded. "Yes, Master Skywalker."

So Rey sat down and looked at the different hilt pieces in front of her. She decided quickly against some of the more spiky, sharp, or pointed pieces, finding them too intimidating or violent to suit her personality, instead favoring a bottom that was a small, silver sphere, overall smooth handle pieces, and the upper hilt decorative feature was an inwards facing metal "hook" with a dulled tip. Stylish and eye-catching, but not overly hostile or aggressive. Just how Rey liked it.

For all of that though, Rey had given some thought to constructing a double-bladed lightsaber, as such a long-handle weapon that was lethal on both ends did not seem to her entirely different from the metal staff she'd used up to that point. It could end up fitting her combat style better than a regular lightsaber, despite the weapon being seen as inherently aggressive and violent, and associated much more with the Sith than the Jedi. But even in spite of that, numerous Jedi throughout the history of the order had used the weapon, as Rey had learned in her studies with Luke. Such names as Bastila Shan, Satele Shan, the Barsen'thor, (all women, Rey happily noted), plus the Jedi Temple Guards and Jedi Brutes that guarded the Jedi Temple during the last centuries of the Old Republic. If all of them could use the weapon whilst maintaining a passive or serene personality, who was to say that Rey could not?

Of course, Rey's studies under Luke had also taught her that double-bladed lightsabers were traditionally harder to master. Merely being able to use one indicated, if not necessarily a master duelist, someone whose skill was not insubstantial or anything to sneeze at. But then in that case, perhaps a Lightsaber Pike? That too was long-handled and in fact built essentially like a staff...just one that had a lightsaber blade coming out of it.

Rey decided to ask Luke, who simply told her that she needed to decide for herself which lightsaber type would suit her the best. With this in mind, Rey decided to build a double-bladed lightsaber, but kept the hilt of her would-be single-blade intact just in case.

Next, Rey set about designing a double-bladed lightsaber hilt that was far less sleek in design than her single-blade hilt; a mix of pale and dark gray, and with a pronounced upwards-facing cup-guard over one of the ends (a wide emitter shroud, in actuality). Rey next began selecting the proper internal mechanisms: the energy modulation circuits, the blade energy channel, a crystal energy chamber, a focusing crystal activator, an energy gate, a power vortex ring, a diatium power cell, and more. Once all of this had been accomplished, all Rey needed was a crystal.

Approaching Luke, Rey showed him her selections. He looked over her work and gave a nod of approval. "Very good, Rey. I can see you've learned your lessons well. Now to the final thing that will bring it all together."

Without needing to so much as wave his hand, Luke telekinetically summoned a trio of kyber crystals, one blue, one green, one yellow.

"When Illum was discovered, the Jedi came to have that as their primary source of lightsaber crystals, and so nearly all of them were either green or blue, as all Illum kyber crystals are one of those two colors. But as you can see, on Ahch-To, yellow crystals exist as well. And in the early centuries of the Jedi Order, one's lightsaber crystal often spoke to the kind of Jedi one was."

Rey nodded, remembering more of the lessons Luke had taught her as she looked each of the crystals over. "Yes, blue is the color of the Jedi Guardian, green the Jedi Consular, and yellow the Jedi Sentinel. At least, before Illum."

"Yes, though even after Illum, the practice was not completely abandoned. Master Yoda for instance, is known to have described himself with pride as a Jedi Consular and wielded a green blade. And my own father was a Jedi Guardian before his fall to the Dark Side, as was his own master, Obi-Wan Kenobi."

"So now I am to make the choice?" Rey asked. Luke nodded. "Perhaps, some questions to make the decision easier for you?"

"Questions?"

Luke nodded. "Your answers will give me some insight, and allow me to make my own recommendation. But remember, you can take my advice or leave it in this instance."

"I understand." Rey said. "I'm ready."

"Very well. First question: a woman and her child are being accosted by a group of thugs and you see it happen. What do you do?"

Rey didn't need to think hard about this one. She had always despised bullies of any sort (having certainly been victimized by them several times herself when younger), and she wouldn't hesitate when dealing with thugs attacking unarmed women and children. "I'd intervene. I'd attack the thugs and help the mother and her child flee."

Luke nodded. "Indeed...then here is the next question: you are in combat with someone aligned to the Dark Side of the Force…"

The moment Luke mentioned this, Rey immediately thought back to her duel against Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base, and with it the traumatic memories of seeing Han Solo murdered and Finn struck down. If Luke sensed the sudden and uncontrolled spike of anger inside Rey, he said nothing. Instead, he finished his hypothetical: "...and there is a pause in the fighting. What do you do?"

Rey was all set to answer "attack him again", but caught herself at the last moment. She realized that that was that spike of anger she associated with Kylo Ren talking, not a Jedi. A true Jedi, she reasoned, wouldn't necessarily be so quick to strike if their foe was hesitating. So instead, Rey decided to go for a more peaceful answer: "I maybe try to reason with him. Convince him to stand down."

Luke nodded and smiled at this. "Restrained. That's a good quality in a Jedi, and anyone for that matter. So to continue with the third question: "How would you bypass a locked door that stands between you and your objective?"

Rey smiled at this very innocent question. She was of half a mind to jokingly respond with "knock", but she knew that even with such a benign scenario she needed to answer honestly. She thought about it, and knowing herself and how she'd handled herself on Starkiller Base, answered: "I would try to find some way around the locked door, or failing that, try to force it open in some way, either by hacking the door, or cutting it down with my lightsaber."

"That last one could attract unwanted attention." Luke noted.

"I agree. That's why I'd only try to use it as a last resort. I'd much rather pick or hack the lock, or go around the door altogether."

"Yes, I thought as much. One final question then: imagine that you are the head of an enclave on a contested world…"

Hard to imagine that. Rey thought, as she'd never had even the tiniest bit of authority in her life, let alone being the "head" of something. But even so, she still tried to envision the scenario as best she could as Luke continued: "...and the First Order have come and are causing unrest across the planet. How do you deal with the threat they pose?"

"How many of them are there?" Rey asked.

"Knowing the First Order, I'd imagine more than a few Stormtroopers." Luke said with a gentle smile. Rey nodded, and thought about it. Trying to just hunt them all down seemed like a waste of time and resources if there was so many of them and they were so widespread. But on the other hand, negotiation would never work. She considered trying to lure them into a trap...or perhaps attempting to get help. Ultimately, Rey answered with: "I would do my best to work with others to stop the First Order, or at least mitigate the damage they were causing."

"A solid answer." Luke said, before saying: "Well, based on your second and fourth answers, I would most identify you as being a Jedi Consular. And indeed, with your incredible affinity for the Force, you could potentially be a very great one."

Rey thought about it. She was willing to fight and stand up for herself and others, but all Jedi were. But Jedi Consulars tried to avoid violence even more, and focused more on their affinity for the Force. For fighting and combat if necessary, but ideally for serenity and negotiation and compromise. Rey considered her own nature: she had been filled with anger and hatred towards Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base, and towards others before that. But remembering that fight with the fallen son of Han and Leia left a bitter taste in her mouth, like an adult remembering their cruelties as a child, or someone wishing to take back harsh words or deeds they should have never indulged in. No, that sort of fury wasn't who Rey was. When she thought of who she was, she thought more of her first meeting with the droid BB-8, and her choosing not to sell him even when it would have been in her best interests to do so. She thought about how life on Jakku should have stamped out anything like warmth, or compassion, or humanity, but Rey's heart had remained kind and gentle, and been left unpoisoned. She thought about her bonding with Finn and Han before the latter's death and the former's being left close to it.

She nodded. Yes, I think a Jedi Consular suits me just fine.

"I agree, Master Skywalker." She said. "I think I'd do best as a Jedi Consular too."

"Good. Then select the green crystal."

Rey was all set to, but then she noticed something that caught her eye: crystals within the cave that were neither blue, green, nor yellow. Some of them were an amethyst purple. Intrigued by this, Rey asked: "Master Skywalker...those amethyst crystals...those weren't for a particular kind of Jedi, were they?"

"Well, yes, actually they were. But not one of the three specializations." Using telekinesis (again without having to raise an arm or flick a wrist), Luke summoned one of the amethyst crystals, the jewel floating in-between him and Rey. "These kinds of crystals are especially rare. Barring synthetic lightsaber crystals used by the Sith that are made purple on purpose, the only other kind is the Solari Crystal."

"And I take it that's a Solari Crystal?"

Luke nodded. "Yes. You almost never see these outside of Ach-To. Mace Windu's lightsaber crystal was one of the exceptions. They're attuned to the Light Side of the Force, so only one who is firmly committed to the Light Side can use them. In the hands of anyone else, the lightsaber blade will not turn on." Luke took the floating amethyst crystal in hand and held it out to Rey. "You may have this Solari Crystal, if you wish."

Rey bit her lip and looked at the crystal nervously. "I...I don't know. If what you just said is true, I'm not sure I'm worthy of it…"

"Nevertheless, you may have it if you wish. If you are not worthy of it this moment, you may become so later. And such crystals have no value to anyone but a Jedi. There's little harm in having it."

Rey had to admit that Luke's reasoning was sound. So it was that she took the Solari Crystal from him and pocketed it. Once she did, she took the green crystal to use in the meantime.

"I'm ready, Master."

Luke nodded. "Good." As Rey began using the Force to put the crystal inside it's container and then assemble the rest of the lightsaber, Luke continued: "As Master Luminara Unduli once taught: the crystal is the heart of the blade, the heart is the crystal of the Jedi, the Jedi is the crystal of the Force, and the Force is the blade of the heart. All are intertwined: the crystal, the blade, and the Jedi."

No sooner had Luke finished saying this did Rey finish assembling her double-bladed lightsaber. It floated for only a moment more before she nervously touched it, feeling the cool metal in her small hands. She pressed a button, and a green blade the color of a summer meadow sprang out. The second green blade followed shortly after.

"Congratulations, Rey. You've just taken one of the most important steps towards becoming a Jedi."

Avatar image for ficopedia
FicOPedia

2225

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 222

@shroudofsorrow: This is one seriously long block of text. You might think about not posting three chapters at a time. Also, if you want more eyes on it, you might put "Star Wars" in your title. It could help here.

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

@ficopedia: Well, the first couple chapters are fairly short/light on action, so I feared that if I just posted the first one or two upfront, no one would be interested.

Good call on adding Star Wars to the title. I'll do that.

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

@ficopedia: Do you know any SW Fan-Fiction fans I could tag to get their thoughts on this?

Avatar image for ficopedia
FicOPedia

2225

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 222

Avatar image for fangdanerd
FangDaNerd

1734

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Interesting.

Avatar image for bigsambino87
bigsambino87

1754

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I really enjoyed this. So often in Star Wars, we want to see battles and conflict, but here we see a serene moment between master and apprentice. Well done.

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

Interesting.

Anything about it specifically that you found interesting?

Avatar image for fangdanerd
FangDaNerd

1734

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

@fangdanerd: Well, that's nice to hear.

Now if I could only get a bigger audience for this thing. Because right now, it's being just as ignored here as it was on FF.Net.

Avatar image for michaelphelpsru
MichaelPhelpsru

33

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This writing sucks.

Avatar image for dngn4774
dngn4774

5600

Forum Posts

41

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

@cbishop Thanks for the shout out.

@shroudofsorrow This is a promising start. Here are some notes I made while reading.

First, in the paragraph where you introduce Lieutenant Usher, you missed an opportunity to build his character by deciding to narrate all his exposition for us, rather than put in the time for dialogue between him and Kylo. Such a decision may move the pacing faster but if Usher is a recurring character we should connect with him asap. Character is in the details. Even the most basic exposition can be delivered in countless ways with a consistent voice and body language.

On a similar note, the first half of the dialogue between Palpatine and Kylo Ren needs more detail. How does the spirit's voice sound? What does Kylo feel as he finally succeeds at unlocking the holocron (pride for his accomplishment, or dread for even thinking he wanted to be in the former emperor's pressence)? The back half holds together pretty nice, but always try to expand on back to back quotes whenever you do an edit.

Format tip: Whenever you are starting a new segment of a story post, use a heading or bold letters. When you leave all of the text the same size and color it camouflages things you would definitely prefer your audience to notice.

In chapter 2 your dialogue is a lot stronger but there's way to many info dumps. It's nice that you included a lot of the EU lore but because so much exposition is being jammed into this one chapter, it gets overwhelming pretty quickly. The only way I could describe it was like trying to read the character creator section of a video game as a story. There are some good character moments you have with Rey and Luke's relationship, but a lot of it is drowned out by types of crystals, jedi classes, histories, etc;. I would advise splitting this chapter into at least three different scenes and staggering them between Kylo (and other POV characters') chapters.

Overall, my biggest advise is to slow down the pacing to make all of the added lore feel more organic. The purpose of exposition is to add flavor to your story. It's a special treat for the attentive reader. However, when it's overused it can easily make things more difficult. By asking your readers to pay attention to all of these details, it becomes hard to focus on one particular thing. In other words, if everything is relevant, than nothing is relevant.

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

@dngn4774 said:

@cbishop Thanks for the shout out.

@shroudofsorrow This is a promising start. Here are some notes I made while reading.

First, in the paragraph where you introduce Lieutenant Usher, you missed an opportunity to build his character by deciding to narrate all his exposition for us, rather than put in the time for dialogue between him and Kylo. Such a decision may move the pacing faster but if Usher is a recurring character we should connect with him asap. Character is in the details. Even the most basic exposition can be delivered in countless ways with a consistent voice and body language.

Usher's just a throwaway character. I didn't go into detail on him because he's not showing up again. But then, I suppose I could be faulted for baiting a reader into thinking he'd be more major than he is. So I may wish to consider making it more explicit somehow that he's not important.

@dngn4774 said:

On a similar note, the first half of the dialogue between Palpatine and Kylo Ren needs more detail. How does the spirit's voice sound? What does Kylo feel as he finally succeeds at unlocking the holocron (pride for his accomplishment, or dread for even thinking he wanted to be in the former emperor's pressence)? The back half holds together pretty nice, but always try to expand on back to back quotes whenever you do an edit.

By "back-half", do you mean the first half of the first chapter?

@dngn4774 said:

Format tip: Whenever you are starting a new segment of a story post, use a heading or bold letters. When you leave all of the text the same size and color it camouflages things you would definitely prefer your audience to notice.

One thing that will be done in subsequent chapters is that the name of a location is in italics at the start of any given story-chunk (IE: a scene on Kamino would open with that word in italics). I should definitely put the chapter titles in bold too.

I am curious as to why you consider the dialogue in Chapter 2 to be "a lot stronger". To me, the dialogue quality seems pretty consistent from one chapter to the next. Why do you think Chapter 2's dialogue is stronger? It would be interesting to know what gives you that impression.

Avatar image for dngn4774
dngn4774

5600

Forum Posts

41

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 22

#14  Edited By dngn4774

@shroudofsorrow said:
@dngn4774 said:

@cbishop Thanks for the shout out.

@shroudofsorrow This is a promising start. Here are some notes I made while reading.

First, in the paragraph where you introduce Lieutenant Usher, you missed an opportunity to build his character by deciding to narrate all his exposition for us, rather than put in the time for dialogue between him and Kylo. Such a decision may move the pacing faster but if Usher is a recurring character we should connect with him asap. Character is in the details. Even the most basic exposition can be delivered in countless ways with a consistent voice and body language.

Usher's just a throwaway character. I didn't go into detail on him because he's not showing up again. But then, I suppose I could be faulted for baiting a reader into thinking he'd be more major than he is. So I may wish to consider making it more explicit somehow that he's not important.

Usually if they're important enough to name, they should still have some type of voice. Even if it's not necessary, it is alway good to have that work put in if you ever decide he might have some use of the character later on. Just something to think of during edits.

@shroudofsorrow said:
@dngn4774 said:

On a similar note, the first half of the dialogue between Palpatine and Kylo Ren needs more detail. How does the spirit's voice sound? What does Kylo feel as he finally succeeds at unlocking the holocron (pride for his accomplishment, or dread for even thinking he wanted to be in the former emperor's pressence)? The back half holds together pretty nice, but always try to expand on back to back quotes whenever you do an edit.

By "back-half", do you mean the first half of the first chapter?

No, I mean the second half of the second chapter. Once you break away from repeating quotes, your writing got better. I'll explain in more detail below.

@shroudofsorrow said:
@dngn4774 said:

Format tip: Whenever you are starting a new segment of a story post, use a heading or bold letters. When you leave all of the text the same size and color it camouflages things you would definitely prefer your audience to notice.

One thing that will be done in subsequent chapters is that the name of a location is in italics at the start of any given story-chunk (IE: a scene on Kamino would open with that word in italics). I should definitely put the chapter titles in bold too.

Get more familiar with comicvine's post features. You can actually add images to your story posts to help break up walls of text (images can be displayed on different locations at different sizes and captioned). Also if you look in the top right corner under the word "Paragraph" you can change normal text into different size headers. Play around with it when you have free time.

@shroudofsorrow said:
@dngn4774 said:

I am curious as to why you consider the dialogue in Chapter 2 to be "a lot stronger". To me, the dialogue quality seems pretty consistent from one chapter to the next. Why do you think Chapter 2's dialogue is stronger? It would be interesting to know what gives you that impression.

If you take another look, you'll notice that towards the end of chapter 2, you are no longer just telling us what the characters are saying to each other, you are showing us how they perceive the information and respond. Nothing is really changing in what they are saying, but in how they are saying it. A common mantra you'll hear from many writers is "show, don't tell." That also applies to basic dialogue. Instead of repeating he said, she said (or in chapter one's case: he said, then he said), mix in more body language (phsyical reactions) and inner thoughts (psychological reactions) to add subtext to your dialogue.

Hopefully, that clears some of this up!

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

@dngn4774: Yes, it does, thank you! I will be uploading additional chapters soon, but I want to wait and make sure that other folks get a chance to give feedback first. I would definitely be grateful if you were up for reading more of this story and continuing to provide your own feedback.

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

Avatar image for richard96
Richard96

5956

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@shroudofsorrow:

Sorry, I haven’t read it yet. As soon as I will have the time, I’ll give you my opinion

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

#19  Edited By shroudofsorrow

Well, it's been almost two weeks, so I figured I'd upload the next two chapters already (yes, two, since they're fairly short).

Chapter 3: Many Meetings

Kamino

"I hate this weather." Poe Dameron remarked as he continued to pull his parka tighter around his person, as well as pulling down hard on his hood that was actually a bit oversized.

"Pretty sure you've said that already."

"Well, it's still true." Poe grumbled in the face of his companion's deadpan remark. Poe and Finn had been sent to the water-world to investigate reports that a new clone army was in development, this time withouta Jedi/Sith conspiracy at the heart of it...or so everyone hoped. In any case, whether or not the clone army itself was real was what needed to be verified. And so far, all Poe and Finn had encountered was rain, water, and more rain.

Records of Kamino indicated that the planet had gone dark during Palpatine's reign. Most assumed that he'd wiped the species out after they'd outlived their usefulness, but the fact that clone soldiers for the Empire persisted (if not also becoming less common), indicated that at least someKaminoan cloning facilities were kept active, and indeed, the place Finn and Poe were at currently, Tipoca City, looked as though it had never been abandoned. All of the buildings were well-maintained, the lights were on, but they'd been searching all of the platforms and exteriors in vain for any sign of a greeting or welcoming committee. And without any in sight, they had no way of getting in past the locked doors.

Finn shook his head. "I don't like this. No way this place is deserted. That means whoever's here is hiding."

"Not sure why." Poe grumbled. "I mean it's not like we're a First Order Stormtrooper amy….unless of course, these guys are working for the First Order to give them a new clone army."

"I don't think so." Finn said, remembering as he did his own Stormtrooper origins and training. "General Hux and many of the officers staked their careers on non-clone soldiers, insisting that troopers raised from infancy to fight and kill for the First Order would be better. Don't see them switching gears now all of a sudden."

Poe frowned. Finn made a good point, and as a former First Order Stormtrooper, he was in the best position to know. But that still didn't answer the question of the seemingly deserted but still clearly functional Tipoca City. Where the hell waseverybody?

The pair's wandering about almost aimlessly was interrupted by the sight of several small figures flying in. It soon became clear that they were armored men with jetpacks, and as they got closer, Finn got a better look at them, remembered one of the few lessons he'd ever paid attention to during his formative years, and shouted at Poe to hit the dirt.

Sure enough, as the Mandalorians got closer, they unleashed a payload of rockets and small missiles, but not at Finn or Poe's positions. Instead, at seemingly empty areas of space that in fact blew away armored men with cloaking devices. Yet more men uncloaked themselves, and began to return fire. At the same time, almost out of nowhere, a smaller group of Mandalorians with different colors appeared, these ones leading a very, very large number of white armored men with helmets that looked a bit like Stomtrooper helmets but with a pronounced crest and a "t" visor, as well as olive green stripes running down the arms and front of the helmet. Both these men, and their apparent Mandalorian leaders, were all equipped with jetpacks, and all of them were airborne and with weapons raised.

"Open fire!"

A withering hailstorm of blue blaster bolts were unleashed, and the Mandalorians returned fire with mostly red ones, and all hell broke loose. As the shooting rapidly intensified and shot bodies started to fall from the sky, Finn turned to Poe: "Well, it looks like that clone army was real after all."

Ach-To

Luke sat in deep and patient meditation. Rey had retired for the day, and now Luke was in isolation within the crystal cave. His solitude didn't last though.

"Luke…."

Luke opened his eyes and saw a quintet of glowing blue and silver apparitions in front of him. He recognized the three in the center as old family long gone: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and his father Anakin Skywalker. Off to one side of this trio was Jedi Master Mace Windu, whose visage remained grim and stoic even so many years after his terrible death and finding peace in the Light Side of the Force. Last of the five, to the left of his father and two late masters, was one of the most noteworthy Jedi to achieve the state of Force Ghost, and the first one to do it after the knowledge had been believed lost; Qui-Gon Jinn.

"Masters…" Luke said.

"We still sense much pain in your heart."Yoda noted.

Luke nodded solemnly. "Yes, I confess there still is. Even after Rey came to me to be trained…"

"You still blame yourself for what happened." Anakin noted, his tone managing to be even more empathetic not only for his particular connection to Luke, but also because he knew better than the others what it was like to feel guilt.

"There's nothing more you could have done, Luke." Obi-Wan pointed out, echoing what he had told Luke on Tatooine almost thirty-five years ago. "That boy made his choice."

Yoda nodded in agreement. "Right, Master Kenobi is. Influence a Jedi's decisions, the Sith and the Dark Side can. But force or make a Jedi turn, they cannot. Their own choice to turn or not, it is."

Luke sighed deeply. "I know, Master Yoda. But the pain in my heart hasn't left. It's...difficult to let go."

"Why Jedi do not form attachments, this is."Yoda's apparition pointed out sternly. Mace Windu's nodded in silent agreement, before speaking: "You're abandoning of that tenet of the Jedi Order, and allowing love and families within the Jedi's ranks once more, was a dangerous gamble on your part. You know that attachment, and clinging to people and things beyond their time, is to put your selfish needs ahead of the Force."

"Forgive me, Master Windu, but I disagree. Wishing to remember a lost loved one fondly, or keep one's memory alive, is not selfish. Much less a guarantee that one will fall to the Dark Side."

"Perhaps not."Mace Windu conceded, surprising Luke with his willingness to acknowledge an argument that dared to challenge longstanding Jedi dogma. "...but your attachmentshavecaused you much pain. This much you cannot deny."

"Though they have also brought him and his family great joy, Master Windu."Qui-Gon's spirit pointed out gently, also shooting a look over to Anakin as he did. "...and allowed the Chosen One to return to the Light Side."

"But vigilant, you must remain."Yoda cautioned. "Carry more risk, more attachments do. And turn into anger, grief can."The diminutive spirit, who glowed more brightly than any of the others, shook his head and shut his eyes as he did, like a disturbed beast trying to shake off little pests on it's fur. "Never forget, your failure at the cave."

"I won't, Master Yoda. And it is not so much anger I feel towards my nephew. It's towards myself for what's happened."

"We can all sense that anger."Anakin pointed out. "A part of you feels abandoned, even by the Force."

"The Force will always be with you."Obi-Wan reminded him. "I told you that many years ago."

"You must not use anger to bury your feelings of guilt."Qui-Gon pointed out. "And you must not despair. The forces of the Dark Side have grown strong again, and only the Jedi can return balance to the Force."

Yoda's spirit nodded vigorously. "A fully trained Jedi, your padawan must become."

"She is not yet ready to face the Jedi Trials, Master Yoda."

"Ready she must become. And soon."

"Master Yoda is right."Came a new voice that belonged to none of the five Force spirits in front of him. Looking around for the source, Luke saw a new spirit materialize. Luke recognized the ghostly blue figure as another legendary Jedi of old, one long dead before even Yoda was born; his apparition's form resembled the dark robes and armor he'd worn as both a Sith Lord and a redeemed Jedi, but sans the distinctive mask. He was Revan.

"The First Order is not the only threat to the Galaxy right now. Older evils just as fearsome are rising again. Older evils I did my best to contain or destroy in life, but remnants still remain so many centuries later. They will need to be dealt with."

"What kind of 'older evils', Master Revan?"

"Kylo Ren has been collecting the holocrons of Ancient Sith Lords. Accumulating knowledge. He has no idea what kind of power he's playing with. I regret to say that his 'collection' has long since come to include the holocronsImade during my more…'misguided' years. Simply put, if he's accessed my Sith Holocrons, he could learn about the Mass Shadow Generator."

"I know of that superweapon." Luke said grimly. "It was destroyed by Meetra Surik, but…"

"...the schematics are still in my Sith holocrons. He could build a new one. And with over a thousand years of technological advancement, he and the First Order could make it bigger, stronger, and more powerful than ever. Where once it could devastate one world, they could make one that does what Starkiller Base did: destroy several planets in one fell swoop."

"If the situation is as grave as you say, then the Resistance must be warned...and I must finally leave my exile."

"Take your padawan with you, you must."Yoda urged. "Needed, all Jedi will be."

"Master Yoda's right, son."Anakin's apparition said. "More Jedi the merrier. And besides,Ibecame a Jedi Knight in a more unorthodox way; by suffering and triumphing during the early part of the Clone Wars. I hate to say it, but sometimes, war and conflict can be excellent teachers."

"While I am not inclined to agree with Skywalker's way of putting it, it is true that Rey's assistance in the challenges to come could prove a sufficient substitute to the formal Jedi Trials."Mace Windu said.

"She's not ready, Masters…"

"You cannot shield her forever."Obi-Wan pointed out. "She must be allowed to experience the full demands of being a Jedi, if she is to become one."

Luke nodded. "Yes, you're...right. Forgive me, Masters. I just...I just don't want to send anymore young Jedi to their deaths."

"The Jedi have long given their lives in service to the Force."Qui-Gon pointed out, himself an example of his own statement.

"True, but there's a difference between necessary sacrifice and needless waste of life. Even if Rey's fate is to die, I do not want the latter fate for her."

"Regardless, you must bring her with you."Revan urged. "And besides, if Kylo Ren builds a new Mass Shadow Generator, there is nowhere your padawan will be able to go that will be safe."

Byss

During the days of the Empire, Byss had become a favorite planet of Emperor Palpatine. In the days of the Old Republic, it was something of a "resort world", looking much like Naboo or Scariff, but having become essentially a place where the rich could go to relax and unwind, along with anyone else who had the time and the credits for a brief trip. A place of crystal blue skies and oceans, white sand-beaches, rolling green pastures, all the familiar tropes that made scenery artists across the galaxy their livelihood.

Suffice to say, after Emperor Palpatine made it hisresort, the planet…"changed". Namely, that at this particular point in time, when Kylo Ren meditated on it's barren surface, there was not a single living thing on the planet left.

Such power…Kylo Ren mused as he continued his meditations. ...to suck dry the life forces of an entire planet's population. Such a mastery of Force Drain is almost unprecedented. I must learn to have such power for myself…

"You meditate for so long, and yet you are no closer to your goals." admonished one of the Sith holocrons that had been laid out by Kylo Ren along with others in a circle in front of him. This particular holocron belonged to the Ancient Sith Lord Naga Sadow, a tall and imposing figure who dressed in very regal robes and jewel-encrusted armor and headdress. A far cry from the mostly black garments of Sith Lords of later generations.

"I bask in the power of this place." Kylo Ren said simply. "I find the surge of Dark Side energy invigorating."

"You've been growing stronger ever since Starkiller Base." noted another of the holocrons, this one being the black leather-clad and grimly masked form of Tulak Hord, a virtuoso of melee combat even in comparison to other Ancient Sith Lords.

"Yes. I am now free of weakness. My father's death has seen to that."

"Don't be foolish, boy." Admonished the holocron of another of the best lightsaber duelists in the Sith Order's history, Darth Tyranus, also known as Count Dooku of Serenno.

"...no one is without weakness. Save perhaps Darth Sidious, and evenhewas overthrown in the end. Do not let your pride doom you as it has doomed so many of us in the past."

But Kylo Ren was unmoved by the count's warnings. "I'm as strong in the darkness as I ever was. And with everything I've learned from your holocron and others, I will only become stronger still. Especially with what I've learned from Darth Revan's holocrons: the schematics for the Mass Shadow Generator."

"That superweapon is not easily built." Darth Revan's holocron cautioned, his masked face betraying no facial expression of concern or caution. "It takes time and proper resources to build, not to mention a team of trained, expert engineers who know what they're doing. It is also not a toy."

"Do not speak to me like a child!" Kylo Ren snarled, anger replacing his usual ice-cold tone of voice.

"Your impetuousness and petulance are the marks of one."Darth Tyranus' holocron noted distastefully. "And don't think we don't know about those childish temper tantrums you throw when things don't go your way. You'd never seemelower myself to behaving in such a way."

At this, Kylo Ren sprang to his feet, drawing his new crossguard lightsaber that's red blades were far more stable and less fiery, a side-effect of the new lightsaber's superior construction.

"Be mindful how you speak to me." Kylo Ren snarled. "I will not be belittled or patronized by you."

"Lords Tyranus and Revan only wish to steer you towards the correct course."Suggested the holocron of Darth Vectivus, a Sith who dressed in fairly nondescript black robes with a hood that made him look almost like a younger Darth Sidious. He was far more civil and fair-minded than Sidious though, and for that matter, most others who called themselves a Sith Lord. Truth be told, Kylo Ren often found it amazing that such a restrained, honorable, and in his mind soft-hearted man could ever be worthy of the title. And yet the other master's holocrons treated him with the respect that was due his rank anyway, which Kylo Ren never understood.

"I willmake a new Mass Shadow Generator, and I willuse it." Kylo Ren growled, still holding his activated lightsaber in hand. "Resources and engineers are nothing to the First Order. As they built Starkiller Base, so too can they build a new Mass Shadow Generator."

"Be warned, big weapons are big targets."Tulak Hord's' holocron cautioned. "Why do you think the Star Forge, the original Mass Shadow Generator, both of the Death Stars,andStarkiller Base all met explosive ends? That's why I never got into them myself. Great big waste of time, if you ask me."

"I concur."Said the holocron of Darth Vectivus. "The Sith Order ought to be treated like a business, and the Dark Side of the Force a wise investment to be treated with care. Not a hammer with which to bludgeon any who irritates you."

"Such a passive attitude would never let us triumph the Jedi."Naga Sadow's holocron hissed. "Ifor one admire the boy's boldness and determination."

"As do I."Spoke the holocron of Darth Bane, who's holographic image had been silent up to that point. "But remember, boy, if the Sith are to continue, youmustfind yourself a proper Apprentice. Always two there must be. No more, no less. A master to embody the power…"

"...and an apprentice to crave it, yes, yes I know."

"Do not mock us, boy."Darth Bane's holocron warned. "You are where you are now only because of our guidance."

"I am fully intending to get an apprentice for myself." Kylo Ren said irritably. "In fact, I already have a good idea of who I want."

"Who?"asked Darth Tyranus' holocron with a raised eyebrow.

Kylo Ren smiled simply. "That is for me to know."

Chapter 4: Board set, pieces moved

Kamino

As red and blue blaster bolts continued to streak through the rain-soaked afternoon like so many scarlet and azure lances, Finn and Poe were really just doing their best to survive; ducking, dodging, diving for cover after cover as all the while the two groups of armored men and women continued to shoot at one another. The occasional rocket impact that sent up a massive amount of fire and smoke certainly didn't do much to help matters.

"Any idea of whose side we should take?" Poe asked as he and Finn hid behind their latest piece of cover. A shot-out-of-the-sky Mandalorian landing not too far from them, gave them both an extra jolt of panic before Finn answered in an exasperated tone: "Yeah. Ours."

However, at that moment, the two were yanked from behind cover by a pair of Mandalorians, one a female in violet purple body glove and silver armor, and the other a male in mostly black with some red, including a helmet that's t-visor design was stylized to look like a skull.

"Who are you two?" The female demanded. "What are you doing here?"

"Poe Dameron and Finn of the Resistance, ma'am." Poe answered nervously. "We came here looking for a clone army."

"Well, you found it." The male Mandalorian said simply.

"What's going on here?” Finn asked. “I mean, who are you people? And why are you all shooting at each-other?"

The female Mandalorian turned to face Finn. "Now's not the time to answer questions. Zat will get you two to safety, and if we all survive this, we'll talk later."

"And what are yougoing to do!?" Finn demanded incredulously.

The female Mandalorian stopped and shot a brief look back at him. "What Mandalorians do best: fight."

And with this simple parting line, the female Mandalorian had taken off on her jetpack, unloading a steady stream of blaster bolts on the Clone Troopers that came flying in to meet her. More bodies fell from the sky along with the ever-persistent rain, and as the carnage continued, Poe turned to Finn: "So...do you think we should we help them?"

"No idea." Finn replied bluntly before adding: "But, going on my instinct, I think waiting this out is still the best way to go."

Poe shot a look back out at all the dead Clone Troopers and Mandalorians, at the still-raging shootout, and decided that Finn was probably right.

Ach-To

Rey was awoken from sleep by her master's thoughts in her head, his own little way of urging her to come to him. A little miffed by his so freely intruding on her mind but also reasoning that a teacher had the right to summon his student (and also that his telepathic intrusions were far more pleasant than Kylo Ren's torture), Rey got up, dressed herself in the Jedi robes Luke had given her that were a blue tunic, black belt, gloves, and boots, and gray leggings, and went out to meet him, stopping only to take her weapons and gear with her. Meeting Luke outside, he turned to her and said simply: "It is good that you came, Rey. I'm afraid that your formal training may be cut short."

"What? Why?"

"Circumstances have forced my hand. I have...communicated, with some of the Jedi Masters of the past, including my father's spirit. They tell me that Kylo Ren has been collecting Sith holocrons. The ones of Darth Revan in particular could be used to build a superweapon of terrible power. He must be stopped before he can construct it."

"A superweapon? Like another Starkiller Base?"

"Something like that." Luke said grimly. "It's called 'The Mass Shadow Generator'. It ravaged an entire planet and everything near it. That was over a thousand years ago. With the advances in technology since then, the First Order could make it powerful enough to wipe out several planets, just as Starkiller Base could."

"So we're leaving to stop them…" Rey said, catching on. Luke nodded. "We are, yes. But, there is one last order of business before we go: I cannot expect you to last without training you in how to properly wield a lightsaber." Pulling back part of his robe, Luke revealed on his belt the lightsaber he had built on Tatooine after losing his father's on Bespin (that lightsaber was on the opposite side of his belt and still hidden by his robe). Drawing the hilt, Luke activated the lightsaber, and a fountain of green light shot out.

"Double-bladed lightsabers are even harder to fight with effectively, so that means extra training will be required. But for now, I can at least teach you how to fight with a single blade."

Rey nodded her understanding. She might have built a double-bladed lightsaber, but that didn't mean she had to always fight with both blades activated.

"There are seven forms of lightsaber combat…" Luke began. "...and each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. For now, I will instruct you in Forms I and VI, Shii-Cho and Niman."

"Shii-Cho deals with the basics of lightsaber combat…" Rey noted, remembering the lessons Luke had already taught her. Recognizing this, he smiled and nodded. "Yes, that's correct. It's greatest strength lies in it's simplicity. Especially effective against multiple lightsaber blades and multiple opponents too."

"...and Niman is the 'diplomat's form'…” Rey said “…the one Jedi choose when they wish to focus less on lightsaber combat, and more on other aspects of being a Jedi." Rey made a bemused smile. "Perfect for a Jedi Consular like me, I guess."

"Yes, and for a teacher pressed for time as far as training his student goes. But that does not mean that Niman is either ineffective as a combat form, or effortless to master. So be sure to study both myself, and the holocrons I've found on saber combat, closely."

Rey nodded respectfully, and then drew her double-saber and activated one of it's blades. "I'm ready, Master Skywalker."

Nodding, Luke gave her a traditional salute with the lightsaber that many professional duelists in older times gave before a battle. "Then the first lessons begin now."

Kamino

Finally, the battle had ended with the Clone Troopers and the Mandalorians leading them going into full retreat. Watching them go, Zat and his purple companion turned to face Poe and Finn.

"So...you're Resistance huh? What brings you out here to Kamino?"

"That clone army you people were shooting at, actually." Finn answered honestly, still a bit shaken from having been caught in the crossfire of an intense shoot-out. He was still amazed that he wasn't used to it by now.

Poe elaborated: "We had heard rumors that a new clone army was being grown on Kamino. We were sent to verify those rumors, and also determine if the clone army was friend or foe."

"Neither, at the moment." The female Mandalorian said. "That clone army was made by a splinter group of Mandalorians who broke away from us, the True Mandalorians. They believe that an army of clones of the greatest Mandalorian will be better than individuals. His own nature notwithstanding, our Mandalore disagrees with that."

"So...you're shooting at and killing each-other over a disagreement?" Finn asked.

"More than that. The renegades covet the Darksaber. A weapon that, if found by them, will cement their status as the rightful leaders of the Mandalorian people. As you can imagine, our Mandalore wishes to find it first, to maintain his authority. And thatis something he willkill for. We were content to let the traitors play with the DNA of Jango Fett and build as many clones as they wanted, so long as they didn't force it on us or try to take over. But a challenge to lead, that we will not permit."

"And...what is this 'Darksaber', exactly?" Finn asked. "Is it like a lightsaber?"

"Yes. It's a one-of-a-kind lightsaber with a different-shaped hilt and blade, the latter of which is black with a white glow. That's what gives it it's name."

"Yeah, I kind of guessed that much." Finn said in a deadpan before asking: "So...if you or your 'Mandalore' finds the Darksaber first, what will happen to the renegades?"

The purple Mandalorian shrugged. "That depends on them. They can either recognize Mandalore's claim of legitimacy and bend knee, or they can be stubborn. But that would be a very unwise decision on their part. And our Mandalore is not the sentimental sort; once the renegades are wiped out, there will be no one to protect the clones of Jango Fett from him."

"And if they dodecide to bend knee, what happens then? You guys get a whole clone army to add to your forces?"

"Difficult to say. Of course, all of this presumes that we are the ones who find the Darksaber, and not them."

"Well, that's all fascinating, really…" Poe said before turning to Finn. "Can we talk?"

Ushering Finn along into a corner away from the Mandalorians, he whispered to him: "We've stepped into something ugly here, but I have an idea…"

"I'm listening…"

"...if we help these Mandalorians get their 'Darksaber', we might be able to get them on our side. And after Starkiller Base destroyed almost all of the New Republic fleet, we're going to need all the manpower we can get."

"You want people like themon our side?" Finn whispered harshly, also very nearly pointing at the Mandalorians to emphasize his point before catching himself. "They're killing each-other over the right to lead. When I was with the First Order, they admiredand praised societies like them. I don't trust these people."

"I know a bit about Mandalorians. They're dangerous, yeah, but they're supposed to have some honor. If we help them, I don't think they'll shoot us in the face."

"Well, 'supposed to' isn't good enough for me." Finn said with a frown. "Besides, what if we tried finding the Darksaber for the othergroup? They've got an entire clone army on their side. If we're going to help either of these groups, maybe it should be them."

"Maybe…" Poe said before looking out at all the bodies that still littered the platforms of Tipoca City's exterior. "...but from where I'm standing, these Mandalorians killed way more of them than the other way around. They may not have the numbers, but they also don't seem to need them. One of these Mandalorians looks like he's worth about ten Clone Troopers. Five at the least."

"Well, either way, how would we even know where to look for this 'Darksaber'? We don't know where it is! And, I still don't trust them."

"What's so private that you two insist on such a lengthy conversation?" The female Mandalorian asked as she walked up to them. Finn looked at Poe, and he answered: "The Resistance may be willing to assist you in your search for the Darksaber…"

"...if we agree to help you against the First Order." The Mandalorian finished, catching on. "How predictable. You realize, that that will be Mandalore's decision? I cannot make choices for him. Having said that, I can try to put in a good word for you if you help us, and I will also gladly assist you against the First Order, and so will the warriors under my direct command. You don't even need to ask."

"That's...good to know." Finn said.

"Don't sound so surprised…" The Mandalorian said before taking her helmet off to reveal an attractive face of fair skin and dark brown hair and eyes. In fact, eyes and a face that almost reminded Poe Dameron of…

"...I ammy mother's daughter, after all." She held out a hand. "Jaina Solo. Pleased to meet you."

Ach-To

Because they were, as Luke had pointed out, pressed for time, he would spare only three days of lightsaber training on Ach-To. The rest would have to be taught along the way. For that reason, Luke compensated by ensuring that as much practice could be done as possible in those three days. Rey was trained vigorously in Shii-Cho and Niman, and in the process forced to concede in full that her master had not been lying or exaggerating, when he said that Forms I and VI's relative simplicity and ease of mastery compared to other forms did notmake them effortless to learn. That Luke was clearly determined to ensure that Rey would be more skilled than a rank-and-file Jedi probably contributed to this also.

For her part, Rey now had multiple burns from training sabers all over her body. Luke would use Force Heal to get rid of the burns as though they'd never even been there, allow her some time to rest, and then would send her right back into the fray again. But even with the training saber injuries healed, Rey's muscles were sore, she was perpetually gasping for breath, and both the blue Jedi robes she'd been given by Luke, and the clothes she had worn when she'd first come to Ach-To, were now soaked from sweat all the way through.

"How…" Rey gasped and tried to suck in more air, which stung her lungs like a sword stab. She promptly exhaled and gasped out spittle and breath. "...how much more must I do, Master?"

"Relax, Rey. I won't push you until you drop dead. I think you've done enough for today. You can rest on the journey tomorrow. Then, I start training you more in how to hone your Force power."

Rey nodded. "Yes, Master Skywalker. And thank you."

Rey deactivated her double-saber and promptly collapsed, looking out at the training droid she'd finally managed to leave in pieces. Luke didn't exactly have such training droids growing on trees, something he'd even told her verbatim. So therefore only some of her training had involved the droid. Much of the rest had been either Rey watching and doing her best to follow the instructions of the holocrons of such Jedi as Cin Drallig, Kit Fisto, and Revan (the latter two experts in Forms I and VI respectively), or sparring with Luke himself. The Jedi Master went as easy on her as he could and still disarmed her in just a few moves so many times Rey had lost count.

"Was it this hard for youwhen you learned how to fight with a lightsaber?" Rey asked.

"Absolutely." Luke answered. The utter lack of hesitation told Rey he was again not exaggerating. "Master Obi-Wan was only able to teach me very briefly the basics of lightsaber deflection, and it took me more than a few tries to get eventhat right. When I studied under Master Yoda, he taught me Ataru mostly, but I also picked up knowledge in Djem So. I've since made my own personal variant of the latter. It's unique to me. And thatwas something I did on my own, which took an entire year."

"You told me that Vader beat you the first time, and then you bested him the second time...you grew so much in just one year…"

"I had already had weeks of training by then, and nurtured my connection to the Force, which helped immensely. Don't get discouraged, Rey. You've only been practicing for three days...and, you did manage to decapitate the training droid."

"After six attempts." Rey said, before adding off-handedly and sourly: "...I kept track."

"It's taken some Jedi sixteenattempts. Or more." Luke pointed out with a gentle smile.

"Good to know." Rey said somewhat sarcastically before finally she willed herself to get back up. If nothing else, she wanted to get out of her clothes, wash herself clean, and get into something more comfortable for a hopefully verylong rest.

"All I know is, if we see any Knights of Ren, I'm letting youduel them. I'll just stick to Force power."

"A proper Jedi shouldn't ever neglect one in favor of the other." Luke reminded her. "Too many Jedi over the years did, and it often cost them. The greatest Jedi usually balanced skill and power, whether they were Jedi Sentinels or not. You may have chosen the path of a Jedi Consular, Rey, but no student of mine is going to come out a shoddy or sub-par duelist. Not a chance." He smiled despite the firmness in his words. "Don't worry, Rey. When I'm done training you, lightsaber dueling will be all but second nature to you...and, hopefully, you'll never have to use it."

The Imperialist

Kylo Ren paced back and forth unsteadily. He resented the fact that he could feel so intimidated, especially when he knew every last one of Solomonanta Ren's acolytes and glorified slaves, would gleefully drink up every last drop of the insecurity he radiated like it was fine Tarisian Ale. To say nothing for the man himself.

Solomonanta Ren was one of the oldest, and greatest, of all the Knights of Ren. He was actually not the highest ranked member of the organization (that was Kylo Ren himself), but because he was well-known as the most powerful, he was often respected as though he weresecond-in-command. What few Knights of Ren surpassed him in rank often didn't have the nerve to try and enforce their desires on him (Kylo Ren included), especially when he had already clawed his way to the top over the bodies of numerous other Knights of Ren, a practice taken from the Sith that Supreme Leader Snoke held in high esteem, when it yielded strong Knights instead of just pointless infighting. Even when the latter happened, Snoke was often still willing to live with it, if he got Knights of Ren like Solomonanta out of the deal.

And he wasthe most powerful. Not the most skilled in dueling, not the physically strongest, and not even necessarily the most knowledgeable. But he wasthe most powerful. As he was so often fond of reminding his fellows: "Rank is meaningless. It is one's power and skill that count."

So it was that Kylo Ren knew better than to trifle with Solomonanta. A true Sith might not have any fear, and Kylo Ren was determined to be the same, but he was no fool. Practical caution and not picking pointless, hopeless fights were virtues in any man, whether aligned with the Dark Side or not. Though, privately, he did resent that any lower-ranked Knight of Ren had any influence over him.

After a few moments more of waiting, Solomonanta Ren finally saw fit to reveal himself. He strode down the ramp to confront Kylo Ren directly. Like all Knights of Ren (and most devotees of the Dark Side in general), he dressed in chiefly black garments, though his tunic was actually chiefly crimson, and his shoulder pauldrons a silver-steel color. The helmet he held under one arm was the same as the pauldrons, all of them made from rare Mandalorian Beskar'gam. As he walked closer, Kylo Ren paid special attention to how the man's shoulders were not perfectly parallel to one another, a side-effect of his back bone being shaped like a small hill turned on it's side. Such a condition didn't actually do anything to hinder his combat prowess in the slightest, except perhaps when wearing armor over his robes, and even then he could still walk away from battles a winner. If fighting in armor with his body put a serious strain on his heart, Kylo Ren had not witnessed it firsthand.

"Kylo Ren." Solomonanta greeted coldly. Kylo Ren's own tone was the same. "Solomonanta Ren."

"Do you know why you've been summoned here?"

"I assume it has to do with the Supreme Leader?"

"That is correct. You may remember that Snoke wished for you to return to him to complete your training. You neglected to do so."

"I was otherwise engaged with important matters." Kylo Ren answered, which actually wasn't a lie. He just neglected to mention what those "important matters" were. Luckily for him, Solomonanta didn't seem inclined to press that topic. He did, however, needle him over his excuse: "You should know by now, Kylo Ren, that our needs come second to the Supreme Leader's."

"A policy you hold yourself to as well, I'm sure."

Solomonanta's pale lips stretched into a cold smile, and his paler face was clearly struggling to maintain it's composure. But he didn't snap, as Kylo Ren assuredly would have if the roles had been reversed. Instead, he put his clawed gauntlet hand onto Kylo Ren's shoulder, ostensibly as a sign of empathy or to relax him (as putting a hand on one's shoulder so often did). But Kylo Ren could feel the razor-sharp claws threatening to puncture his clothes and dig into his skin.

"You know, Kylo Ren, I was once much as you are now; impetuous, impatient, eager to prove myself to be the best. But I learned the hard way to pick my battles carefully. I was not always as powerful as I am now. Some of my enemies I could not defeat immediately. I had to be patient. I had to wait until I had grown strong enough to conquer them."

"And then you did."

"Yes, I did." Solomonanta removed the claw gauntlet from Kylo Ren's shoulder. The gauntlet was a creation of Sith Alchemy, used to cover up Solomonanta's supposed "withered arm" that he had in addition to his misshapen back. Whether or not he really did have such a withered arm, or was merely creating a legend around his own weapon, was unclear.

"My point, Kylo Ren, is that defiance doesn't suit you. You should heed the Supreme Leader's commands, whether you have your own private agenda or not. There is a better time for calling a challenge."

Kylo Ren raised an eyebrow behind his helmet. "Are you encouraging me to overthrow the Supreme Leader at a later date?"

"Your words, not mine." Solomonanta said coyly, keeping up his thin smile. "I simply urge you to know the right time and place to be defiant or pick a fight. In any case, I was ordered to bring you to the Supreme Leader, and I intend to do exactly that. I suggest you make yourself comfortable."

The hunchback turned around at that moment and began to walk back to the bridge. Kylo Ren called out to him: "So...if I were to turn on the Supreme Leader...could I trust you to back me? Perhaps we could form an allia-"

Kylo Ren stopped suddenly when he realized he was short of breath. In fact, he found himself unable to get any breath in at all. Soon, he was on his knees coughing, gagging, and desperately struggling to breath. Then all of at once, the invisible strangulation ceased and Kylo Ren hungrily took in air.

"Be careful not to...chokeon those ambitions of yours, Ben Organa Solo."

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76

Avatar image for shroudofsorrow
shroudofsorrow

6250

Forum Posts

1773

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 76