RocketBoy

[M21 - Danoor - FF] New Jedi Order | Chapter 0.0 - Prologue

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The NEW JEDI ORDER has been quiet since the attack on the Yavin IV Praxeum by the rogue Jedi Desann. A small number of surviving Jedi Knights—the first generation of the New Order—is spread across the galaxy, doing good in their own ways. LUKE SKYWALKER, unsure if he is worthy to be the sole leader of the Jedi, takes a sabbatical from teaching to travel the galaxy in search of wisdom. Uncertain of the Order's future, he looks for guidance.

Returning hopeful about the fate of the Jedi, Luke has decided to ask for the help of his former students in creating new academies, this time smaller, secret, and led by the Jedi Knights themselves. Distancing themselves from the dogma of the Order at the time of its fall, the Jedi now reach further back and into less-scoured truths, searching for humility and new perspectives that might bring the Jedi the closest to the Force they have been in centuries.

KYLE KATARN follows up on potential students, traveling to recruit the latent force sensitives who may one day become the next Jedi Knights. Meanwhile, Luke searches for a suitable place for each Enclave. With
 R2-D2 by his side, his travels take him to the farthest edge of known space, beyond the mysterious Kathol Rift, to a world shrouded in fog and danger.

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There was whispering in the desolate moors of Ator Hollos, for a lone starship had come from the clouds. Unlike all the others, it survived the storms.
It was gone as soon as it had appeared; vanished into the thick, swirling mist, leaving nothing but rumors behind. 

A great distance away from any life, the starship alighted in an outland gulley, the T-65 X-Wing fighter coming to a gentle rest on its extended landing gear. The starship vented steam while its pilot clambered out to touch Ator Hollos for the first time.
Marshy lowlands, lush grasses, and a persistent swell of fog swished around his boots. What looked like fungus clustered underfoot. He sensed its presence in the Force. To his surprise, he could feel that it seemed to sense his, too.
The air was cold: it must be nearly winter, he thought.

"Careful there, R2. It feels good to be on solid ground. If we do settle an enclave here, we can use your navigational history to make sure the others have an easier time getting through the Kathol Rift than we did."

 He smiled at the droid's chirped response, and looked up to see that which had brought him to the most distant edge of the galaxy.
A tower loomed above the mist, just one of many surrounding and jutting out from a huge, old, gray monastery sitting high upon a rocky hill, its back against the cliff face. The traveler eyed it from beneath his hood. The complex reminded him of the B'omarr Monastery back on Tatooine--the one Jabba had turned into his personal fortress. The rounded walls were similar, as were the flat, domed roofs, and the small windows set into the side. But then, other sections seemed entirely different, from a different culture, of a different make. Further unlike Jabba's palace, however, the whole of the Monastery revealed only one sign of life—a flickering firelight, high in that lone distant tower. 

"Alright, I shouldn't be too long. Stay here, R2."

The droid voiced an objection by way of shrill beeping. 

"Oh, I'll be alright! I don't want to lose the ship in all this fog. I need you to keep an eye on things until I get back."

The traveler gathered his cloak around him for warmth, and set off in its direction. After a few moments, his droid companion trundled off steadily behind him. 

The path was not easy. Even the manmade-improvements served only to make traversing the mountainside less impossible, not less treacherous.
The young traveler crossed narrow board-bridges and scaled short, rough inclines, grabbing onto tough roots to keep himself from falling. A pack of slouched, large animals took notice of him on one cliffside, baring their teeth and, he noticed, looking for an angle at which they might surround him. His ignited lightsaber scared them away.
He was thankful for his senses, sharpened by the Force. His chances of making it to the top alive without them, he felt, were slim. Nonetheless, it took him the better part of an hour to reach a path level with the tower. He knew immediately that someone must have seen him coming by the two newly-lit torches illuminating the path before the door. No shadows in which to hide.

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"That's close enough!" called a sharp, thin, reedy voice from the tower, an elderly man. The barrel of a scattergun protruded from the bulwark. "I don't get any visitors: the villagers stay away from this place. Who are you? What do you want?"

He wasn't sure what he had expected, but it wasn't this. Luke lowered his hood and raised his hands in a gesture of peace. "I come in peace. My name is Luke Skywalker."

"Are you from the village?"

"No, I'm a visitor."

"Ator Hollos doesn't get visitors. I was the last one, and that was years ago."

An interesting statement, one that Luke noted. "What's your name?"

"Pah!" spat the man. "Why would I tell you! You're just leaving, aren't you?"

There was a metallic clang from the cocked bolt of the scattergun.

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Luke's gentle demeanor held steady.

"Please, I've come a long way to find this monastery. I'm interested in its history. This planet has a strong connection to the Force."

Silence from the tower. Luke waited.

"...Who did you say you are, again?" called the man, doubt creeping into his tone.

A smile fell across Luke's face. "I'm Luke Skywalker. I am one of the Jedi."

"Pah!" spat the old man. "Jedi, indeed . . . you're no Jedi. The Jedi are gone. Killed by the Empire." 

"You're mistaken, friend. A lot has happened since you came to this planet. The Empire has fallen, and the Jedi have returned."

The man stepped forward and Luke caught a distant glimpse of a long, wrinkled face. Pale, wrinkled eyes, wide and staring. 

"The Jedi have...?" stammered the man. 

He looked Luke over with fresh sight, taking in the metal cylinder hanging from his belt, the cloak around his shoulders, and the good-humored smile on his face. 

"Can it be?" he rasped, his scattergun limp and forgotten by his side. He disappeared, and a minute later staggered out of the tower's door, peering at his strange visitor. He was thin, dressed in farmer's overalls, his hair neat and combed to the side, but fraying at the edges. 
"You say you're a...a Jedi?" He asked. 

"Yes," Luke replied simply. "And I'm not the only one, but our numbers are still few. I came to this planet looking for a place more might be trained."

"Ator Hollos has a way of making its visitors permanent guests. How was it you made it down here in the first place, eh?"

"I didn't have any problems, once I'd got through the storms."

Luke didn't mention the presence he'd felt once he'd entered orbit, as though he was being searched, evaluated. The clouds in the atmosphere seemed tense with energy, violence, but none of it came down on him.

"You said you were marooned. Do you need transport off-world?" Luke offered. 

"No, no, Hollos is home, now. Maybe I'm delusional, but...this Monastery is my life. I've been trying to...to preserve it for years." 

"By all appearances, you've done a good job. As I said before, I wondered if this place might house a new academy for young Jedi. Would you be willing to discuss it?"

The man said nothing, but his cragged face was a mixture of stony-stoicism and, Luke sensed, shame at his initial reaction.

The gatekeeper wiped his face. A certain warmth found its way out of the recesses of his long-lost manners. "Please, come inside, Master Skywalker. I'd be, uh, honored to have you as a guest."

Luke smiled, and followed him inside the old tower.


 

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They spoke for long hours, sipping warm tea and looking out on the misty moors. Luke asked questions about the planet and its past. The keeper gave him warnings about the dark woods and the things that live within, hostile rovers that preyed on travelers, and the superstitious local village. And then there were the lighting storms, electromagnetic maelstroms that whipped up without warning. At the same time, the planet was rife with old ruins from a variety of cultures. Even the architectural marks of the Monastery revealed the craftsmanship of dozens of cultures. The old keeper, it seemed, was not the first to be marooned on Ator Hollos. Nor was he likely to be the last.

Luke learned that it was not only the elderly human who inhabited the old complex, but also a handful of B'omarr monks, and a small clan of offworlder Jawas. The old man also had a droid with him, who R2 later told Luke had gotten on his nerves. Luke was allowed to explore the building, to sense out its connections to the force, and to meditate in its chambers. He imagined Jedi students roaming the halls, learning from one another as much as their instructors, running lightsaber drills in the courtyard, farming in the fields. They would be as far away from civilization as possible. External threats would never find this place, though Ator Hollos had threats enough of its own. He was confident in the circle of Knights he and the other Masters had chosen for this enclave. They would complement each other with their strengths and weaknesses. He expected they would learn just as much as the students. He sensed there Ator Hollos held many vast mysteries to uncover, many wrongs to be re-balanced. Yes; if they could endure its harshness, and put aside their own needs for the needs of others, this planet would shape excellent Jedi.
 After a full day, he had made up his mind: he had not yet seen a better location for a new Jedi Enclave. Nor a more dangerous one, though. 
The young Jedi Master secured permissions from all of the Monastery's inhabitants, with the promise that the academy would only occupy a portion of the complex, and would not infringe on their space. Luke had a way of convincing people to trust him. He told the truth, and they could tell. 

Finally he said his farewells to the old man. 

"The Jedi will arrive within a month, if everything goes well."

The keeper grumbled his acknowledgement. "I hope I'm still alive when they get here. Watch your step on the way down, Master Jedi."

"Thank you. May the Force be with you," nodded the young man. He drew up his hood, waved to his droid, and walked off into the mist. The old keeper watched him go, and then, fighting a shiver, shut the door hard against the chill of the day.

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A few hours later, the keeper sat working on his scaffolding, making minor repairs to the exterior walls of his tower, his calloused hands wiping away excess spackle with a slight tremor. Hearing a sound, he turned to watch a distant starship soar towards the highest level of the clouds. His eyes tracked the fighter until he could see it no more, and he turned again to his work. Thoughts and worries drifted in to trouble him. Not much had changed on Ator Hollos since he had first arrived. He had quite forgotten what it was like, and he had not yet decided whether it agreed with him. It remained to be seen how Ator Hollos itself would receive these new Jedi.
He hoped, for their sake, that the planet would show them mercy.

 

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Next Chapter: Gathering of the Jedi


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Edited by RocketBoy

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The colors of the tower are just so well balanced. I like the waterfall/rocks too and just wish you had had the pieces to bring it into an even larger and complete view.

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