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"Anakin's Quest": Book 4 in the Junior Jedi Knights Series


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Prologue:


Aboard the Millennium Falcon, Anakin Solo seems troubled. His father tells him his mother noticed this during his visit home. Anakin can’t really put his finger on it. Han Solo tells him he doesn’t have to go back to the academy yet.


He’s still young to be going off to school a couple of months at a time. His siblings were a bit older when they started. Anakin admits he misses his parents, but he sees Jacen and Jaina. He also has friends there and Uncle Luke looks after him.


At landing, Anakin is greeted by his uncle who also seems to know that there’s something wrong. He thinks he and Anakin need to talk when Anakin is ready to do so. Anakin feels colder here than normal and decides he will when he knows what’s bothering him.

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  • The twins are a year-and-a-half older than Anakin. Anakin started at the academy when he was 11 and The Golden Globe said they were 13 at the time. So Anakin must’ve been about 11 ½ then. It’s been a few months so Anakin must be close to 12, if not already 12. As I mentioned in The Golden Globe, we have, thus far, not been given any indicators that Jacen and Jaina were attending the Jedi academy in any previous books, though they’d obviously been for a short time prior to The Golden Globe. The book mentioned that Leia didn’t want all of her children gone at once which is why they were alternating time at the school. If Anakin is returning to school and the twins are still there, are they going to be returning home soon or has Leia given up constraining her children’s Jedi training?

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chapter 1:
Though everything is in its place in Anakin’s room, something still seems wrong. He looks out at the jungle where he’s had so many adventures. Ikrit is still sticking around, though he’s not yet ready to reveal himself to any of the other Jedi. Beside Tahiri and Uncle Luke, everyone else thinks the creature is Anakin’s pet.
Perhaps, Ikrit can help determine the source of his nervousness.
That night, he dreams about the Emperor and Darth Vader. The Emperor’s clone had touched his mother’s belly when he was not yet born and had claimed Anakin for the Dark Side. He now claims Anakin for his own. Darth Vader puts his saber in Anakin’s hand and tries to lay his helmet upon the boy’s head.
Anakin tries to run but the Emperor causes a great sleepiness to come over him and tells him to take what his grandfather has to offer.
Tahiri Veila, his closest friend, wakes him up. She has been on a journey with Tionne, searching for Jedi records. They found some items in a treasure vault. When they returned, Ikrit was waiting and told Tahiri that Anakin needed her.
She came here so they could go together to Tionne and resume their training together. Anakin has a hard time shaking the dream from his mind as his friend continues her chatter.
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  • The reborn Emperor touched Leia’s belly in Dark Empire.

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chapter 2:


They meet Tionne and Ikrit out in the jungle. Tionne thinks Ikrit is glad to see Anakin again. Tahiri had begged her to teach her some things over the last three months, but Tionne had insisted that she needed a break from training.


Today, she teaches Anakin and Tahiri how to use the Force to manipulate mist. They move it up and down through the Force and create pictures in it. Buildings, ships, even dueling lightsabers. Anakin is shocked and stumbles into the mud when his mist forms the image of the Emperor’s face laughing at him.


In his uncle’s office, Artoo-Detoo waits with Anakin. Luke asks his nephew about his struggles. Anakin asks about being touched through the Force while he was still unborn. He worries that the clone of the Emperor was able to infect him with the Dark Side.


Luke explains that the Dark Side is a path that must be chosen. Anakin worries that he won’t make the right choice. He asks how one knows what’s inside of him. Luke admits that he was sent into a cave to find out. Anakin wants to go there, too, but the cave is on Dagobah and Luke cannot take the time to bring one student there when he has many more that need his attention.


He will think of something to help Anakin. In the meantime, he wishes the boy a dreamless sleep.

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  • I’m going to go ahead and mention that choosing the Dark Side isn’t always the problem. People often make choices that lead them to the Dark Side. Someone can be manipulated in a way that brings them down the dark path. The sooner Luke realizes this, the better, because it was, in part, such manipulation that caused his father to fall.

  • When Luke first began teaching, he would have thought nothing of spending time with a single student. Mara pointed out to him in Vision of the Future that she’d felt ignored when she finally turned up at the academy. Obviously, Luke has realized that he cannot focus on one student to the exclusion of the others.




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chapter 3:


Tahiri and Anakin are asked to help Old Peckhum unload supplies from the Lightning Rod. They work together, with Artoo, while the pilot goes to deliver messages to Luke.


When they are done, there is one crate left that isn’t on the list. Wondering what it is, they lift the lid and something springs out at them.

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chapter 4:


The new arrival is a teenage boy who calls himself Uldir. He stowed away because he wants to become a Jedi and insists on seeing Luke Skywalker.


They would normally not interrupt Master Skywalker in the middle of a lesson, but this is an unusual situation. Luke greets Uldir and offers to test him after the lesson. For now, he wants Anakin and Tahiri to take him to a room so he can get cleaned up and have something to eat.


Tahiri and Anakin show Uldir the academy while Tahiri chats with him about life here. He’s not particularly interested in her descriptions, as he’s been all over the place. His parents are shuttle pilots and they are constantly moving. Uldir has no plans to follow in their footsteps, which is why he came here.


He’s been on Tatooine, though, but he and Anakin chat about life on Coruscant. By the time the tour ends, they are all friends and go to get something to eat.

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chapter 5:


Anakin and Tahiri are surprised at how quickly and eagerly Uldir eats. They assure him he can slow down because there’s plenty of good food here. Besides, he must be nervous about being tested.


Uldir isn’t worried about tests; he’s taken plenty of them. He’s sure he will be a Jedi. Anakin is worried about actually being one. It’s very dangerous. Uldir knows about danger, too. He was taught to fly very young. He gets up to go see Master Skywalker and Tahiri tells him he might want to wipe off the juice mustache first.


Luke asks Uldir why he wants to become a Jedi. Uldir answers that everyone knows the Jedi are dispensers of justice. If people mess with them, they just use their lightsabers. Those who don’t become Jedi don’t have what it takes. He thinks he does.


Luke points out that those who become Jedi have the potential for using the Force within them. He probes Uldir’s mind but doesn’t even get the answering push that he gets even from his weakest students. He cannot say that Uldir will never have that ability, but the academy cannot take every student on the chance that they might become Jedi.


He asks about Uldir’s parents. The boy tries to tell him they’re dead, but Luke knows he’s lying. Uldir doesn’t think they care about him; they certainly don’t know he’s here. Luke explains that he will check with them. If they don’t mind, Uldir can stay for three months and learn what he can. If he can lift a pebble or light a flame with the Force after that amount of time, he will be accepted for full-time training.


Uldir’s parents know that he’s not interested in their line of work. They are glad to know he’s not run off to work with pirates and give their permission for him to stay.

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  • I see Luke continues to use the probing of the mind technique he learned in Jedi Search.

  • Just wondering, did Tyria Sarkin not have that answering push from the Force? Remember her? She was the member of Wraith Squadron who had a Force connection but one that wasn’t strong enough to go through training. She seemed to be able to at least anticipate moves through the Force.

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chapter 6:


Anakin sits on the top of the Great Temple and watches Master Skywalker teach lightsaber sparring to the advanced students. Ikrit approaches and talks to him. Anakin doesn’t feel like himself lately. He thinks the only way to find out who he is is to visit the cave on Dabobah where Yoda taught Luke a lesson.


Ikrit finds this an interesting revelation and wants to know more.


That evening, Ikrit vists Luke and explains that Anakin may not feel comfortable finishing his training until he can resolve these concerns over his family tree. Luke knows he’s troubled, but can’t leave the academy right now.


Ikrit volunteers to take him to Dagobah. Luke thinks he can convince Peckhum to transport him and Anakin, as well as Tahiri who will likely not want Anakin to go without her. If it helps, Ikrit will allow his identity as a Jedi Master to be revealed to Peckhum so he doesn’t feel responsible for the two children.


The only thing left to do is to convince Anakin’s parents that this is a good idea.


Leia doesn’t think the Lightning Rod is up to the job, but Han tells her he helped Peckhum and his friend, Zekk, put in a new hyperdrive motivator last week. With R2 along, there shouldn’t be a problem.


After being assured that Anakin thinks this will resolve what’s been bothering her son, Leia gives her approval.

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  • A couple of things here. One, Tahiri and Anakin are not always going to be able to go everywhere together. When the adults act as if they have no choice but to allow one to accompany the other, it implies that Luke isn’t really in control of his academy or his students. I know Jedi training is flexible (at least, under Luke, it is), but he should surely understand the problem with allowing his students’ whims to dictate decisions. Secondly, why did Anakin have to call his parents to ask permission for this? Why didn’t Luke call Han and Leia, explain the situation and make the arrangements?

  • So far as we know, Peckhum is a cargo hauler who doesn’t really work for the Academy. Yet, he’s constantly being asked to transport students all over the place. Why don’t the Jedi have a dedicated shuttle and pilot there so that Peckhum doesn’t have to delay his schedule to help them all the time?

  • Since Ikrit was living 400 years ago, he probably knew Yoda. I wonder if Luke has asked the Jedi Master about that?

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chapter 7:


After the Lightning Rod jumps to hyperspace, Tahiri and Anakin discuss how unhappy Uldir looked that they were leaving for a few days. He seemed to perk up afterwards, though.


Peckhum is still processing the information that Ikrit is a Jedi Master. Ikrit has to remind him to speak to him directly instead of about him. He admits he looks small and unlikely for a Jedi, but his people thought so, too.


He is from the world of Kushibah, known for its rich tapestries. One day, a Jedi Master came to his village looking for a student to train. Ikrit offered to assist him in his search and the Master admitted it was Ikrit he was searching for.


He laughed and so did his people who teased him about wielding a lightsber. But Ikrit went away with the master. About a year later, he returned for a visit. His people still mocked him, but were then distracted by a vicious herd of xinkra beasts headed down the mountain. They were pitifully armed, but Ikrit used the Force to send the attackers a mental image of the village on fire and much food in the mountains. They went away and his people hailed him a hero.


In the hold, Uldir waits until they land to make sure Peckhum won’t turn the ship around if he’s discovered. There’s something important to happen on Dagobah and it’s better to apologize later than to ask permission first.

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chapter 8:


It’s a good thing Artoo is along because Dabobah’s atmosphere wrecks havoc on the Lightning Rod as Luke had warned Peckhum.


Fortunately, the droid is able to guide them to the best place to land, which is really not the most ideal place to land anywhere.


On the ground, he decides to check out his ship while the others explore the swamp. Tionne has sent packs for the children, one of which includes a pair of very soft boots which Tahiri refuses to wear.


There a millions of life forms here, most of them bugs and some of them willing to fly into mouths. Ikrit teaches the children how to use the Force to repel the insects instead. He begins to guide them in listening to the Force since it exists in all things when they are all distracted by a cry from the Lightning Rod.

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  • Do they not have socks in the SW universe? I’m sure they must. Can’t Tahiri wear socks underneath her shoes or boots?



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chapter 9:


They run back to the ship, Tahiri pounding on her bare feet, feeling a sharp pain in one, before they arrive to find Peckhum nowhere in sight. On the far side of the ship, however, they find the problem.


Uldir had fallen from the escape hatch and landed in swamp slime. Now, he’s facing a huge melon-headed furry creature with teeth. He’s tried throwing algae at it, to no avail. When his friends arrive, Tahiri goes to find a vine while Anakin uses the Force to bring algae to the top.


The creature follows the algae bunch and floats away. Tahiri floats a vine over to him, but Uldir can’t pull himself out. The children can’t pull hard enough to help him. It takes Old Peckhum’s strength, after he reappears, to get the boy out of the mud. By the time he’s out, he’s covered from head to toe.


Peckhum suggests he get cleaned up and they look at Tahiri’s right toe which is bleeding. She admits she’s learned a lesson about going barefoot on strange planets. Uldir thinks even he’s smart enough to understand that. However, he thanks them for saving him.


Ikrit tells him the creature was never any danger to him, only the swamp. Having thought of the small being as Anakin’s pet, Uldir is surprised to hear him talk.

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  • Size matters not, right? So why can Anakin and Tahiri levitate small objects but not have the strength to pull Uldir together from the swamp? Couldn’t they just levitate him?



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chapter 10:


Peckhum apologizes for not being around when they returned. Anakin tells him he came when they needed him. He gives the credit to their little Jedi friend, Ikrit. It’s one thing to hear Anakin’s pet talk, it’s another thing for Uldir to believe this little creature is a Jedi Master. He thinks this is trick to make fun of him for thinking he could be a Jedi.


Ikrit reminds him they can only see the truth if that is what they are seeking.


The next morning, Ikrit sits the three students down for a lesson in how every life in the Force affects it. Everything they do causes a reaction and affects someone else. They can sense those through the Force and it will help them make the right decision.


This afternoon, they will go to the cave. On the way back to their camp, he lets each of them lead while he follows. When it’s Uldir’s turn, he’s determined to get them back faster now. But, on the path, Anakin and Tahiri sense danger.


Uldir thinks they’re just trying to make leading the way harder on him. He barely listens to Ikrit, so the Jedi lifts up a marsh reed, uses it to prod the path in front of Uldir and the reed slices into two pieces. He explains that a butcher bug spins a web so sharp and thin that it can barely be seen until the prey is cut into pieces and caught there for the bug’s next meal.


Anakin thinks Ikrit should lead for now.

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chapter 11:


After their mid-day meal, Artoo, having been the only one to have been to the cave, leads the way. Ikrit keeps his eyes closed in thought while Tahiri chats non-stop about the boots that she had previously refused to wear. They are nothing like the shoes she had to wear on Tatooine.


Uldir asks what’s so special about this cave. Anakin answers that the Jedi Master Yoda trained Luke on this planet. The cave was test to see what was inside of him. It works almost like a mirror to reflect your beliefs and attitudes. Luke learned a lot about himself that day.


Uldir doesn’t think he should have to come across the galaxy to find out what’s in himself. Tahiri reminds him that Anakin is their friend. They are here to support him. The rain starts to fall and Ikrit finds them shelter under a knobby tree. After it lets up, he tells them to stay.


A spotlight sloth shows up and brightens a light on its chest that causes nearby mushrooms to pop. The children are delighted at the sight. They are soon alarmed by the appearance of a huge spider that quickly kills the sloth. Tahiri isn’t so horrified as the boys who, growing up in cities, aren’t used to this type of violence in nature.


Ikrit has Artoo lead the way out. Uldir wriggles out first and runs. The others move out quickly as the spider destroys everything around it until Ikrit plants a thought in its mind that it’s no longer hungry.


The spider plants one of its legs in the ground and Anakin realizes that it looks just like the knobby trees around it. Ikrit explains that the spiders turn into those trees. It’s just another example of the rich web of life here.

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chapter 12:


Uldir somehow thought the mysterious cave would be more impressive. He offers to go in first. Tahiri wants to go, too. Ikrit explains each of them can go, but only one at a time. Thinking this won’t take long, Uldir takes the first try.


He walks inside and finds nothing but leaves and dirt. When he returns to the mouth, he tells the others there’s nothing there and it’s pointless for them to go any further. Ikrit tells Uldir that, for him, there really is nothing there.


For Tahiri, the cave is hot. She sees the landscape of Tatooine, the tribes of Tuskens and Banthas and the moisture farms. A man and a barefoot woman are there. She thinks they are her parents. Another man with green eyes and blond hair holds a lightsaber. The scene changes behind him. Tahiri realizes that this is her grandfather.


Stormtrooper begin to choose and shoot at him, but one of the shots hits her. When she comes out of it, there is nothing else.


Anakin feels a chill inside, but then lets a calming influence warm him. He sees a darkened figure with a black helmet at one end. A robed figure with a bearded face at the other. Blue lightning crackles in the cave and Anakin tries to stop the fight. They both turn to him and he sees that both faces are his.

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  • Tahiri’s vision very likely implies that her grandfather was a Jedi Knight killed by the Empire. Since Tahiri is nine years old and the time is 22 years ABY, this means she was born 13 ABY. It’s not impossible for her grandfather to be an Old Republic Jedi. Her father and mother could have been born in the post-Clone Wars era easily. Doubtless, one of them was born to the young Jedi who was probably killed within a few years by stormtroopers. This is one of the few examples of how a post-Jedi book written prior to the release of the prequels actually does a good job at fitting the probable time line, albeit probably unintentionally.

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chapter 13:


Uldir doesn’t seem to believe either of them saw anything. Ikrit tells Anakin and Tahiri that, though their experiences were different, their visions are not so unlike. No one is entirely good or bad. Since their learning and heritage molds who they are, it is a combination of parents, experiences and other things that are a part of that. No one’s destiny is set in stone.


For Tahiri, it doesn’t matter who her parents were or who raised her. For Anakin, the Emperor cannot touch him beyond the grave, but the people he loves cannot make his choices for him. He must choose what he becomes.


Uldir interrupts to say that he has already chosen to become a Jedi.


Anakin admits his experience wasn’t what he thought it would be, but he no longer feels afraid of his future. He thinks they can leave now. Ikrit tells them he has one final thing to show them and has the droid lead the way.


At the ruins of Yoda’s hut, Ikrit’s fur turns colors. He explains his people have that ability. This gray color is to mourn the old Jedi Master who was the one who came to Kushibah and took Ikrit to train as a Jedi.

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  • So, in fact, Ikrit not only knew Yoda, but was trained by him. How much he must have to tell Luke!


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chapter 14:


Peckhum grouses about making Uldir ride in the hold again, but eventually makes room for him inside. Tahiri is glad she made the visit and reminds herself to thank Tionne for the boots.


After they return to Yavin IV, the two Jedi Masters take the time to talk. The three students are sent to clean the mud out of Lightning Rod. Uldir asks if the other two think he will ever be a Jedi.


They aren’t really sure how it works, but it is true that even Yoda didn’t think Luke would ever be a Jedi when he left Dagobah. They promise to help him whenever they can.


He appreciates it, but decides that he has to look like a Jedi if he’s going to be one. He will start wearing Jedi robes today with a belt to hold a lightsaber.


After cleaning up the Lightning Rod, Anakin and Tahiri show off their handiwork to Luke and Tionne. They declare their mission to Dagobah a success. Luke is sure they have other adventures coming.

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End of Book 4

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