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[M17 - Sullust - FF] New Jedi Order | Chapter 0.1 - Gathering of the Jedi

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Dormant after tragic losses, the Jedi Order rises once again from the ashes.
For the first time in years, the Jedi Knights of the NEW JEDI ORDER gather to hold council and commemorate the creation of two new JEDI ACADEMIES. They convene on the fiery world of Sullust, in one of the planet's sprawling subterranean cities . . . 

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Sullust
The capital city Pinyumb, under the volcanic mountain of Inyusu Tor.

 

"She's not a Jedi. Are you sure you want her teaching?"

"What are you afraid will happen, Kyle?"

"Well, obviously I'm afraid she'll teach them to be something besides Jedi. I thought it was Jedi we wanted."

"It's Jedi the galaxy needs, yes," Luke nodded. "But maybe it's time for the ways of the Jedi to change. In small ways."

Past the balcony, the huge cavern city stretched out in every direction, a tangle of twinkling lights, speeders, and lava flows. But the balcony itself was serene, a peaceful place, good for a talk.

Kyle turned an incredulous look on the Jedi beside him. "Is this about that girl? Mara--"

"No," Luke replied, too quickly. He caught himself and grinned. "No, but . . . no. This is about new perspectives, leaving behind past dogmas. There is so much she can teach them, Kyle. Teach us!"

"'Much she can teach us' . . . sure."

Luke could tell his friend wasn't convinced. He looked at him seriously. 
"Kyle, you only became a Jedi a few years ago. It wasn't much longer before that when I first met Master Yoda. The old Order fell long before it was destroyed, into arrogance and fear. We're never going to be what the Jedi once were, even if we tried. I'm not so sure we want to be. We're a new generation; we might as well act like it. And maybe the new Jedi way includes benefitting from Ma-Riki's perspective on the Force. Do you see what I'm getting at?"

Kyle frowned and scratched his beard. He had to concede that Luke had a point.

" . . . Sithspit. Yeah, yeah. I think I do."

"I'm not worried, especially not with you there."

"I guess I should be more worried about the kids themselves. Never liked kids, much."

"Have you and Jan ever talked-"

"Once or twice," he shrugged. "But between the Order and the Republic, we're plenty busy. Now isn't a great time to settle down."

"I suppose you are about to go live at the edge of the galaxy for a while."

"Yeah, from what I've heard, Ator Hollos isn't a great place to raise a kid."

A voice from behind made both of the Jedi turn from the balcony's view of the vast subterranean city. A gleaming silver protocol droid, the same that had been attending to the room since they'd arrived, stood in the doorway with its expressionless head tilted.

"Pardon my intrusion, Master Jedi," said the droid. "Your other guests have arrived. They are awaiting your presence in the gathering room."

Luke nodded graciously. "Thank you," he said, and they both followed the droid inside.


Nine Jedi sat in a circle, legs crossed, shades darkened against the lights of Pinyumb.
It was an emotional time. They had not gathered in this way for nearly 3 standard years. The last time had nearly meant the dissolution of the New Jedi Order. Nearly meant failure. Even now, members of their ranks were absent, their presence sorely missed.
There was much to catch up on. Hours of knowledge and wisdom to share between them. Luke realized now just how much he had missed the counsel of his fellow Jedi, how hard it had been to once more be alone, as he had been after Endor. He looked around at his eight compatriots and his heart surged with gratitude to the Force. Then he realized he had not been paying attention to Jedi Vestas' report on her time on Iridonia.

"The people there suffer still, even with the Triumvirate power broken. The Force has called me to be their servant. I will return and do all I can."

Master Kalanya leaned in. "What could the rest of us do to help?"

"I need allies in the Republic. Their relief supplies do not go where it is needed. If any of you could get me a way to solve the problem, whether it's to root out corruption or provide more accurate information, that would be most useful. The officials see me as little better than the Zabrak. Rumors follow me. I am used to this, it is how the galaxy treats those from Dathomir. But it is becoming an obstacle to my mission."

"I'll speak with my sister," Luke said. "I'm sure she can get you with the people you need to see."

"Good, Master Skywalker. Perhaps Leia Organa's deserting the order has its uses after all."

No one took ire with this; it was just how Ti-San talked. 'Direct' was her way of life. Luke simply nodded, and Jedi Imani began her explanation of the refugee situation around the planet Tao. Displacement from war was as prevalent as always, and the Empire never seemed to truly disappear. 

"My husband and I did as much as we could to help those suffering there, but it was never enough. While I was able to break the power of a trafficking ring in the system, I fear singular Jedi are not the right solution for their kind of problems," she said. "What they need now is the Republic. If you could pass that along to Leia, as well, I would be grateful. Along with our love; it's been too long since we saw her." 

"I will," Luke promised. He turned to an even more unpleasant subject. "While the man himself has disappeared, there are only a few of Moff Pyerce's spies left. So far as we know, we have only lost a small number of holocrons."

"Imperials with holocrons," groaned Master Gegon. "A true opportunity to exercise the banishing of fear."

Luke nodded. "We should deal with them. It would be best to stop anything they've learned from making it back to the Remnants. I know someone who might be able to find the rest. My hope is he brings knowledge of Ossus, as well. My friend, the Unbound Scriptist, was killed there by Pyerce's forces."

"The Unbound," growled Aemos Suurm-Xachus. "They only know of the Force, they do not know the Force themselves. What they unearth is dangerous. They cannot be trusted."

"That may be true now more than ever, I'm afraid," Luke sighed. "My friend, I believe, was a moderating influence. His death and their encounter with the Pyerce Remnant seems to have driven many to vengeance. Considering the knowledge they possess, we should be aware of their movements. I will go to Ossus to see what has been left behind."

Master Gegon, an enormous klatoonian, crossed his muscled arms. "If I may speak . . . I have continued my investigations into this cult, this 'Dark Covenant'. Little have I learned, but the Force continues to warn me in my spirit. This is not like the Hand of the Eye, or the Tsarqist Circle. This is bigger," he rumbled. "I will watch the situation carefully."

Luke waited to see if anyone else had a report. There was quiet, so he said, "The mysterious child who called out to us from the seeing-stone on Tython. He is connected to Master Yoda."

Jun Jin-Wa scoffed. "No kidding."

Master Kalanya smiled from across the circle. "You knew Master Yoda as a child, is that true, Jedi Jin-Wa?"

"Yeah," Jun smiled, wolfishly. "He's hard to forget."

"The similarity is . . . distinct, that's for sure," Luke agreed. "I sense great power within the child, but like all younglings, great conflict as well. Rarely does a creature so . . . relatively young have such a combination of power and trauma. And we know little about his species, as is. It's a combination that requires care."

"Strange, indeed," intoned Master Del-Ondoo. 

"I think it would be best that he receive personal attention from one of the Masters. Master Del-Ondoo; will you take the child with you to Ithor, until I gather the rest of what I need for the Lothal temple?"

"It would be my honor," said the Ithorian slowly. "We shall learn together, he and I, of his potential."

"Many dark things," said Master Kalanyo, her expression grave. "As is always the way. We must not lose hope. A single one of us has the power to better the lives of other people. But the life of a Jedi is difficult, and doing it alone has worn on us all more than I think we realize. We must be sure to keep in closer contact in the future."

Master Gegon cleared his throat awkwardly. "Your words ring true, Master Kalanya. It is . . . warming to my heart to see my fellow Jedi once more."

Luke smiled. "I feel the same. I'm very proud of all of you, you have done credit to the Jedi Order, and I know you'll continue to do so. While there are always many sorrows in the galaxy, there are, at the same time, causes for joy. Endings one day result in beginnings. Which brings me to the bantha in the room; our gathering now is also, of course, to commemorate the creation of two new academies. I have absolute faith in the Jedi who will lead these academies. The work you do will impact the future in countless ways," he nodded to the future instructors. "Thank you for being willing to serve the Order like this.
This evening, we'll gather the Initiates. For now, join me in meditation. Let us discern the will of the Force, together."

A diverse group of people, all of them looking a bit out of their element, stood waiting awkwardly in the gathering room. 
Each of the new students for the Ator Hollos Enclave had been gathered from all over the galaxy, retrieved and escorted by the existing knights: either Luke, Kyle, Noko, Jun, or Aemos. Sullust made for the natural meeting place; one of the last civilized stops before the final journey to the edge of Wild Space, where they would find Ator Hollos. 

While each of the Initiates had already spent time with the Jedi who brought them, they were meeting the others for the first time. Following this meeting, all the Jedi and their guests would celebrate together with a feast, one many of the Initiates, intimidated as they were, were looking forward to very much.

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Standing to the far left was Jedi Knight Aemos Suurm-Xachus, a grim, imposing Hybolon. He carried himself with an air of muted regality. Everything about the tall Jedi--his words, his posture, his movements--were calculated and precise. He looked as though he had never smiled in his life. He was quiet. When he did speak, his voice was deep and commanding, and he spoke mostly to Luke, the only one in the group to whom he showed any deference. Rather than a lightsaber at his side, he had a vibro-sword from his homeworld, the hilt carved with an intricate royal seal.

Noko Imani, the Consular, was a human woman. She looked to be in her thirties. She wore simple green robes, her black hair tied up in a traditional bun, and grasped a carved staff in her robotic left hand. She was warm, calm, and sharp-minded, with a hint of ironic humor around her smile. She murmured a joke to the man beside her, and his booming laugh was infectious.
That man was her husband, Asa, the group's pilot. Asa was the only non-force sensitive in the room, but he was the first to introduce himself to nearly everyone, making a point to learn everyone's name. He quickly proved himself down-to-earth and friendly. His jokes were universally terrible, but he grinned after delivering every single one as if holding back a laugh, and it makes them much more enjoyable. 

Of course, Luke Skywalker, wearing more traditional white Jedi robes. Luke stood there cloaked, just a young man with an easy smile returning often to his face. His words were measured and thought out, and everything about him was peaceful. One saw the way the other Jedi turn to him, looked to him for answers, and they started to understand why this blonde kid from the middle of nowhere is the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order.

Master Kyle Katarn. Kyle is a bit of an outsider himself--more smuggler than what one might expect from a Jedi, by the way he talks and carries himself. But then he drops small comments, each surprisingly wise, and it's clear why he's the Master accompanying the group to Ator Hollos.

Beside Kyle stood a diminutive woman, a Lannik wearing mottled robes. She looked more like a forest sorceress than a Jedi, strange and small and impossible to read. In contrary to her mysterious nature, she was perhaps the loudest in the room, her face lit up with a mischievous smile, cackles piercing the air around any conversation she joined in.

And finally, Jun Jin-Wa. The man seemed to prefer corners. He was a Jedi from before the Purge, but he'd spent the last 20-odd years as a wandering bounty hunter. To anyone else, he might just look like cantina trash: slouching, disheveled, like a hound dog with fleas. But force-enhanced senses (or a good intuition) pick up the truth in the easy danger of his movements. He was a man well-associated with killing.
He watched the others, hands tucked way back up in his sleeves. When he spoke, it was mostly sarcasm, and often at his own expense. 

The groups' interactions made it clear that everyone felt deep respect for Noko (who even Jun was polite to), Kyle, and, of course, Luke. Aemos seemed to feel particularly deferential to the 'grandmaster'. Unlike the others, who honored Luke's preference that they call him by his first name, Aemos stubbornly refused to refer to him as anything but "Master Skywalker."

"These will be your instructors: Jedi Knight Aemos Suurm-Xachus, a true Sentinel. Noko Imani, a true Consular. Jun Jin-Wa, a trueGuardian." Luke turned to the Lannik, who smiled. "And your stow-away."

"Stow-away!" She protested, though a grin stretched across her wrinkled face. "I'm the most useful person here! Just you wait!"

"This is Ma-Riki, a shaman from the Outer Rim. She has experience with places like Ator Hollos, and has pledged herself to help the Jedi Order. Of course, Master Katarn will travel with you and stay for the first several months to help you all get situated. He is experienced and wise, you will be happy to have him."

Kyle raised an eyebrow. "'Wise,' eh? Stop, I'll blush."

Once everyone had met, Luke addressed the initiates. 

"Each of you have already crossed the galaxy just to get here, and this is only the beginning. Ator Hollos is a planet rich with the Force, which means it is as dangerous as it is important. You'll all play an essential part in creating this academy. 
It will be difficult. Some days you'll have to make the hard choice to keep going, for the sake of yourself, each other, and those who you might one day serve with the skills you'll learn. Becoming a Jedi isn't safe, or easy. But trust in the Force, and each other, and I believe good things will come of everything you do. 
You will leave next afternoon. Tomorrow, feel free to explore the city. The Sullustan cities are said to be the most beautiful in the galaxy."

"Yeah, this is the last time you'll see civilization for a while. You might as well stretch your legs," Kyle told the initiates. "Sullust is a nice place, once you get past all the magma."

"Nicer than some other places with magma," Jun said from the corner. "Get the most out of this party tonight, before we go far, far away from everything," he continued. "From nice cities...comfortable beds...cantinas..." 

"Our leaving is not a joke, Jedi Jin-Wa. The lack of comforts is a boon to our growth," growled Aemos. "Comforts make warriors soft." 

"Maybe. I'm going to drink my fill while I can, beardy."

This earned Jun a look from Kyle, which he waved away. "Not too much, not too much," he assured him, nonchalantly.

"I don't want you throwing up once we hit the Kathol Rift," Kyle said. "Ship's too small for that, Jun."

Jun adopted a lopsided grin. "It's the Kathol Rift. From what I hear? We'll all be throwing up. Might as well have a reason. I've never partied with Jedi before, is it any good?"

Noko smiled and raised an eyebrow. "You know . . . you're a Jedi, too?"

"...Oh, I am?" Jun said, feigning surprise. 

"Is he?" echoed Aemos, barely concealing a disdainful scowl.

"He is," Luke said peaceably. "Jun is a valued member of the order. You'll all be grateful to have him with you on Ator Hollos."

Jun did not visibly react to this, though his lack of reaction said a lot. Aemos, jaw tight, turned instead to the initiates. 
"Your time tomorrow would be best spent in meditation, but as none of you have been trained in how to do that properly...be careful, younglings," he rumbled. "Do not be late."

"No one's going to get left behind, of course," Noko said, tossing Aemos a look. "But it wouldn't be a great start to your time as a Jedi to get lost in Pinyumb and make everyone come looking for you."

"They'll be fine, love!" Asa smiled, arms crossed over his chest. "Now, you all got anything else to say that can't be said tomorrow? I think it's high time for some feasting!" He stopped, as if remembering who was in charge. He grinned, a little coyly. "If . . . that's alright with Master Skywalker, that is."

Luke laughed. "I think that's enough. You're all free to go. Please, enjoy."


The gathering later that night (Jun, Asa, and Ma-Riki said it was a party, but Aemos firmly insisted on 'Gathering') was warm, bright, and joyful. Feasts and celebrations weren't common in the old Jedi Order, which felt much more strongly that austerity was key to a Jedi's life. The New Jedi Order, however, felt that 'cutting loose' now and then was a valuable expression of the gift of life. These people gave everything they had for the galaxy. It was right that they should have a few hours to enjoy each other's company. 

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Even for those who didn't love eating and joking, the party was even a fun event to spectate. The Jedi were from all over the galaxy, each with their own traditions and mannerisms and norms. To see them try to celebrate in the way in which they were accustomed was like watching two people try to dance together while dancing in two different styles. For instance, Dathomiri celebrations involved chanting that sounded ominous to untrained ears (and clearly frightened a few initiates), whereas it was apparently Klatoonian tradition to spend a ceremonial hour watching *other people* eat. But what was clear was that, for all their time apart, these Jedi had deep, lasting bonds of trust and friendship. 
Eventually, Ma-Riki took a break from doing wild improvisational jigs to test her 'magic' against Jun's use of the force in several small games while surrounded by cheering spectators. Though most of the people in the room were either Jedi or initiates, it was clear the Lannik shaman was not the only non-Jedi there. The games and celebrations were just as enjoyed by a few friends of the Jedi, including a young explorer named Lor San Tekka, and an eccentric old man, Admiral Yima. 

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As the hours went on and the night settled in, the feasters sat around a dimly glowing glass-encased magma-pool, where the ambience was best. Taking turns, they each regaled the others with stories of their time apart, unbelievable tales of adventures around the galaxy. And as the hours drifted towards their each going their separate ways, Master Kalanya brought out her hallikset, a beautifully carved instrument on which she played ancient songs, their meanings and names lost to time. They all sat basking in the haunting melodies of the music. The eyes of the Jedi flickered in the light of the magma. A few stared into space, their minds far away from here, the weight of their individual burdens impossible to imagine. 

By afternoon the following rotation, it was time to leave for Ator Hollos. One by one the initiates and Jedi arrived at the docking bay, where a large freighter sat waiting. Kyle and Asa helped everyone move their things on board, and stocked away supplies for the week-long journey. One of the initiates did, in fact, have to be tracked down. 

"Did you have to use your bounty hunting skills?" asked the excited initiate.

The look Jun gave him spoke volumes. 

"Is that it, then?" Noko asked, wiping her forehead and hands. She'd been helping Asa with an engine tune-up. "We're all ready to go?"

Kyle took a deep breath. "Ready as we'll ever be."

Luke had come to see them off. The ship's engines began to thrum as they powered up, and each of the refueling lines was detached by a droid dockhand.

"Next stop, the very edge of known space! Nobody fight for bunks, each one has a nametag," Asa called as he vanished into the cockpit.
An initiate stopped, holding up the line as they looked up into the ship. 

"Hey, why'd you stop?" protested a fellow student.

The first looked back at him. "This is it, you know? There's no going back."

Noko appeared beside them, a calm smile on her face. "It will be difficult, but do you feel this is what the Force has called you to do?"

The girl heaved a breath. "Yeah."

"Then you will never be alone."

 As each of the Jedi and Jedi-to-be climbed the ship's ramp and disappeared inside, the last thing they saw was the Grandmaster standing and smiling. And as the ship slowly lifted off the ground and set its course for parts unknown, carrying the next generation of Jedi Knights, the students crammed into the windows to watch Master Skywalker lift a hand in peaceful farewell.

"May the Force be with you, always." 

 

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Next Chapter: The Storms of Ator Hollos

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Sullust is described as having beautiful cities, but most of what we've seen in canon, like Battlefront (2015), is the more industrial side of things. So I extrapolated a window design off the side of the Lady Luck, a SoroSuub luxury yacht. The white just felt right for a classy Star Wars interior. I would have loved to just use white hinges for each pillar, but alas! I only had one. It's a small build just to serve the story, but I'm glad I finally did it.


Thanks for looking!

Edited by RocketBoy

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This is cool! Simple build, but you really make the most of it, with the lights and the edit... Love the seating arrangement - maybe imo the best use of a 2x2 tile I've seen in a while! I'd maybe add some vertical pins (maybe droid arms) to the handrail - it does seem kinda floaty... :pir-tongue:

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