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chapter 27:
Han and Wedge engage in a simulation of the attack run on the Arts Center. After it’s over, Thrackan Sal-Solo approaches, forcing Han to hide behind a helmet.
On Lorrd City, Ben is awakened by Jacen who tells him there’s another situation they’re needed at.
At an aquarium, a large man has a hostage strapped to his back, explosives in between them, holding a blaster. Apparently, he and his comrades arrived earlier, some of them spilling the water and aquatic life out of the aquarium while others rounded up visitors and forced them to jump into the water while it drained. The last hostage was strapped to his back.
His name is Dr. Movac Arrister, a professor of literary syncretization at the University of Pangalactic Cultural Studies. He tells them that someone named Aayla Secura or who resembled her came to him and suggested he bring the Jedi in to talk so that he can enter the story cycle of the Jedi.
Arrister has studied some stories related to the Jedi and explains that Aayla was a Jedi Master as the end of the Old Republic, killed by her clone troopers as so many were, but she had benefited the peoples of many worlds before then and so entered the folklore of many cultures where she was merged with historical or god-like figures. Even today, some of them write fictional stories about her, some pairing her in some prurient romance.
He asks Jacen if people write fictional romantic pairings about him.
It seems that the doctor isn’t well-known and is terminally ill. When he dies, he won’t be remembered. So he decided he would beat a Jedi. Wherever Jacen Solo’s name is mentioned, it will be attached to the story of the nobody doctor who beat him.
He has a trigger for the bomb strapped to his back. Too much pressure also blows it up, along with a number of other things including keywords, long silences, a remote held by his allies and other situations.
He knows the Jedi Mind Trick won’t work on him. Eventually, he’ll throw himself in the middle of the crowd and blow himself up. Nelani reminds him how selfish that is. He points out that all decisions are selfish, including the one to become a Jedi.
Jacen offers to make him a sidekick for the last months of his life so he can become famous and die knowing he did some good. Arrister hadn’t considered that but turns him down because there are too many things that could go wrong. Jacen could be lying, Arrister could die before he could do anything or suffer the same fate as most sidekicks and disappear into obscurity.
Jacen falls silent, then asks to speak to the captive. He asks the man’s name and tells him he’s sorry. Then he, Nelani and Ben back up. Jacen reaches out with his hand, makes it a fist and both Arrister and his captive blow up.
As the emergency crews extract the other tourists as Nelani argues with Jacen again. She tells him he didn’t explore any other options after offering to let Arrister be a sidekick. Jacen maintains that there were no other options. He was going to let this drag on for hours while he used the blaster to kill hostages at random, proving how helpless the Jedi were. This way, only one hostage, who was already doomed, is dead instead of many more.
Nelani knows he has a good argument for everything he does, but her gut tells her that he’s wrong. He asks what the Force tells her. She admits it’s giving her nothing. Jacen answers that it wasn’t the wrong choice then.



  • Nice jab at fanfiction stories, particularly the ones with a more romantic bent.
  • Has Jacen been handling assignments like this for several years? Has no one reported back to Luke what he’s been doing?
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chapter 28:

Jacen decides to delay leaving Lorrd and the odd encounters continue. The daughter of a prominent businesswoman is kidnapped by a frustrated radical wanting to replace the government with legal-analyst droids. He is killed; his allies claim the girl appeared to him in a dream and recommended the kidnapping.

A man in Jedi robes with a nonfunctional ancient lightsaber stolen from a museum climbs to the top of the University’s administration building and threatens to leap to his death unless he’s admitted to the Jedi Order. Jacen climbs up to speak with him alone. The man has no Force sensitivity and won’t believe it can’t be taught. Jacen tries for an hour to convince him otherwise because he wants to prove to Nelani he is able to negotiate. Then he gets bored and tells the man to jump.

Nelani and Ben catch him in the Force and he’s carried off by security.

Ben gets a comm. from the spaceport that Brisha Syo has arrived and is in custody.

She’s a very beautiful woman around the age of Ben’s parents. In the interrogation room, she admits she’s been meddling in their affairs by influencing the guilty parties. She claims to hear people planning evil deeds in their dreams. She knows they are grounded in reality, so she uses the Force to convince them to bring in the Jedi.

She was at Toryaz Station to observe and stayed out of sight before everythin g went wrong. She took off at that point, but left the tassels behind, knowing they would lead him to her. Since the Jedi would investigate the death of Captain Tawaler who she saw killed by a hooded figure, the airlock seemed the best place to drop it.

She tracked the shuttle to Corellia and took it from the pilot. Jacen questions her knowing the tassels would lead the Jedi to Lorrd. The woman tells him it was meant to lead him personally here.

He asks what her story is. She will tell him, but only on her home in a star system close to Bimmiel. Jacen turns her down. She reminds him he’ll get no more answers and the authorities have nothing to hold her on.

Jacen reminds her that she may be guilty of conspiracy to murder. He could kill her.

She tells him he won’t because he knows she’s not guilty, the Force is not defining her as a threat and because Nelani won’t allow him to do it.

Jacen takes them outside and tells them he’s going to visit Syo’s home. He needs to find out if she knows something about him that he doesn’t. Ben thinks she’s trying to lure him away to kill him. Jacen is sure she has had plenty of opportunities for that.

Annoyed about how Jacen is so certain, Ben reminds him that not knowing what she wants doesn’t mean it isn’t something evil. Nelani concurs that there are too many twists and complications in her story to trust her. It would be foolish to go to her arena.

Nelani insists on going with him and is sure Master Skywalker would agree.

Leia is on the Dodonna with Admiral Tarla Limpan who offers her a tour.

On Corellia, Han and Wedge launch their team and jump into hyperspace.


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chapter 29:

Jacen, Ben, Nelani and Brisha arrive on Bimmiel. Brisha assures them that all the answers they are looking for are inside the compound.

It’s an old mining complex that was abandoned and forgotten. The administrator was able to bribe and persuade people to overlook it. He was a Sith.

In a circular chamber, dark side energy surrounds them, but Jacen knows that the source f this power lays below them a long way down. He wonders why dark side power is always drawn from the depths.

Nelani asks if Brisha is a Sith. She is told that the light side exists here, as well as the dark side. Including in her. She is a student of the Force in all aspects, but has concentrated on Sith knowledge, utilizing their techniques without the greed and selfishness that has characterized them for centuries. In her own way, she thinks she accomplishes good.

Nelani thinks she’s been corrupted, but Brisha points out that all wielders of the Force face that. The Old Republic Jedi were doomed because of their adherence to rules and customs that prevented them from thinking, feeling or adapting.

Jacen agrees with much of this, but he also knows that prolonged use of the dark side can lead to corruption. Brisha argues that anyone else who mixes altruism with some elements of self-interest is just behaving according to their nature.

She tells him the original natives here invented a form of record-keeping that she’s lerned to translate. It’s one of the tassels the expert probably couldn’t read. A subsociety was created that ws eventually exiled to the caverns of this place where they slowly died until one learned how to manipulate the Force, became the leader and led his people out to conquer the others.

They didn’t last long, but they were a caste of dark-side users. A lot of that energy remains down in the caverns. When a mining operation started here, someone discovered the caverns and the weird incidents began. Much of it was hhushed up, but the director was Force-sensitive and began experimenting. When the operation shut down, he left it behind, found the Sith and became Darth Vectivus.

He is rather obscure because he did no evil. He didn’t try to conquer the galaxy or war with the Jedi. He just existed, learned and died of old age. Nelani notes that they have no evidence he ever existed or was as Brisha describes him.

Brisha explains he had developed a strong ethical code before he ever found the dark side and was a very balanced individual. The Sith who are notorious throughout history, the ones who did very bad things, were damaged individuals already. They were weak, deluded, greedy individuals, like Jacen’s grandfather.

There is, however, a Sith Lord down the caverns and she doesn’t want to face him alone.

Leia is speaking with Admiral Limpan about the Corellian nature when an alarm sounds. Incoming craft are moving in. Limpan calls for battle stations and scrambles all squadrons. Leia offers to help coordinate the starfighters, knowing she will help Han even at the expense of the GA.

Syal and her squadmates head out to Rellidir.

Han and Wedge stay to the rear of the formation, which is a precarious spot to be for any pilot. He hasn’t heard from Leia either.

On Tralus, Jaina insists the shields be dropped so her squadron be let out. The control tower will not let them leave because orders are for all squadrons to defend the center.

Nelani points out that, generally, a Sith in the basement is something that a host would probably mention right away. Brisha admits he hasn’t revealed himself to her so she doesn’t know his name. The traditional Master-Apprentice Sith structure is certainly gone with the deaths of Vader and the Emperor, but the legacy remains. Those who were failed apprentices learned enough to survive. One could have continued learning.

She doesn’t think Ben should go with them. Besides, the last time she met Luke Skywalker, they did not part on pleasant terms. He’ll likely be unforgiving if she gets his child killed.

Jacen will not let him be left alone where he could be attacked.


  • Interesting philosophy about the traditional Sith being gone but not those who have had exposure to their teachings. We have seen a number of examples over the novels of those who knew of the Sith and exposed themselves to that knowledge.

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chapter 30:

Wedge and Han argue how smooth the ride is as opposed to flying in the Falcon.

On Tralus, Syal’s fighters are sent to intercept.

On Bimmiel, a rail car takes the three Jedi and Brisha down to the caverns. Something grabs Ben by the collar and yanks him out of his seat.

Han and Wedge make their break during the battle and move toward Rellidir’s downtown.

Leia feels guilty about protecting her husband while he bombs the GA’s headquarters, but it’s better than the guilt she would feel if he were hurt. She signals the two unknown bombers breaking off as being damaged and calls fighters off of them.

Luke sits up in bed with a mix of emotions and images in his head that makes it hard to think. Betrayal is first and foremost in his mind. An image of Leia faling forward with grief, Han stabbing a young woman. He tries to reach out to these images, especially Mara whose eyes are open, her body cut by a lightsaber blade.

He gets up and takes his ligthsaber to the hallway, knowing something is happening elsewhere in the galaxy that are moving toward him and his loved ones. He sinks into meditation, hoping to find some peace.

It turns out both Nelani and Ben are floating above the track. She tries to contact Jacen, but has no luck. There are hundreds of eyes all around them.

When the railcar stops, Jacen asks why she shoved the other two out of the car. She tells him it was for their own good. They are not able to face what’s in there and will probably die.

Jacen demands to know about this Sith. Brisha tells him that his knowledge comes from that of Palpatine’s, but his knowledge is broader. He was born after Palpatine died. The knowledge was passed to him through Sith trainees who were never able to achieve mastery because they rejected Palpatine’s teachings as too destructive.

Jacen thinks she’s making them sound benign which would certainly imply that he is, too.

A dark man walks into the room, but Jacen knows this is just an illusion. The Sith tells him that Jacen will have to go through his subordinates first so he can be evaluated. The first one is a twisted version of Luke Skywalker.

Nelani and Ben are attacked by projected mynocks that are deadly. Suddenly, one takes the form of Mara. Ben knows this isn’t his mother, so she tells him it’s not a crime to cut him down then.

Han and Wedge move toward the Terkury Housing Complex, pursued by Alephs. He gest a message from Leia telling him that one is piloted by Wedge’s daughter. Han has no way to warn her and doesn’t think Wedge has time.

Han offers to take care of the bulky ship while Wedge handles the tiny starfighters. He doesn’t want to fire on Syal, much less kill her, but it would be worse if she or Wedge killed each other.


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chapter 31:

Luke feels the presence of someone strong in the Force and opens his eyes to see Jacen in front of him. He knows this isn’t really his nephew. Luke ignites his lightsaber and battles the fake Jacen until he hears lightsaber noises from the bedroom.

Mara is fighting a warped version of Ben that looks a great deal like Luke as a child. She’d seen holos to know this. The boy tells her she’s not his mother. Mara answers that it won’t be a crime to cut him down, then.

She hears fighting in the other room after throwing the fake Ben through a wall where he vanishes.

Nelani is fighting off mynocks wondering why Ben isn’t helping her. When she lands, she finds a human man who calls himself Darth Vectivus. He isn’t alive, of course. What she’s feeling is whomever he’s connected to. Every phantom here is connected to something real, but far away. Every mynock she struck caused pain to a living being somewhere.

She thinks he’s lying. He assures her he’s not and tries to goad her into killing him. Of course, whomever he’s connected to will die, also. But doing so will save thousands and the teachings she thinks of as dark side powers will go no further.

He tells her she doesn’t have the strength to sacrifice one to save many. She couldn’t face the survivors of the innocent death she caused. He tells her to climb the nearby rails to safety while the others make their own decisions.

Of course, Syal would have to be a good pilot. Han is nearly in danger himself until he remembers his spotter droids. He sends two out and hopes she sees them and makes a run for it.

Syal and Zueb sopts something going on the underside of one of the bombers. She tries to avoid the collision before the droids hit her forward viewport. Recognizing them as spotter droids, she corrects her course and moves along the avenue.

The bombers are moving closer to the end of a newly constructed housing building. It fires missles ahead and the building erupts in smoke. The second loses altitude. She realizes the first bomber has gone into a hole in the building and is followed by the second. She follows them in, realizes what’s going on and contacts all GA forces, telling them that there are missles headed for the interior shields. She has Zueb fire their own missles to bring the building down from the base up.

The image of Jacen comes at Luke again, commenting that he’s as good as his master. Luek asks who that is, but the Jacen phantom tells him he already knows Luke thinks they should discuss all this. Jacen doesn’t negotiate with phantoms.

Ben and Mara continue to fight each other. She stops moving to search for him when she blanks out the Force. Her eyes closed, he is close enough to strike, but she is at peace. He senses no malevolence there.

She turns on him and kicks him with her foot. His breath leaves him and he flies off.


  • Mara has seen holos of Luke as a child? Were these pulled out of the Lars homestead….at some point?

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chapter 32:

Jacen tells the phantom Luke that he’s as good as his real master. The phantom asks who that is, but Jacen says he already knows. The phantom offers to talk about this with him, but Jacen doesn’t really negotiate with phantoms.

The phantom Luke sidesteps Jacen’s attack and Brisha stops the fight. The phantom vanishes and Jacen asks who that really was. She tells him it was a combination of the real Luke Skywalker and the dark side energy here. This was a test.

He thinks it’s time for her to tell him her whole story.

Han is in a good mood until he sees the Aleph again and knows Syal knows what’s going on. He also knows what she’s doing. She’s in his targeting sights now, but he just can’t kill his friend’s daughter.

He decides to fire on the duracrete underneath her fighter instead.

Her ship is kicked up in the air, she sees red and cannot reach her control yoke as the buildings spin around her.

When it flies off, Wedge chastises Han mildly for missing. Han just urges the ship to keep flying away. To his dismay, she regains control and comes back. Missles emerge from the building heading to the sky. She tries to lead a few toward him, but his ship had already been designated a nontarget by the droids.

He is alright until most of the missles reach their arcs and turn back toward the ground. They hit the dome of the shields, the punch through them, collapsing the buildingMissles continue to rain down.

Luke tells Mara he was fighting a version of Jacen. She was fighting Ben. He wonders why they didn’t both get sent Ben increasing the odds one of them would hesitate. There is a dark-side Force user of some kind or a group of them. Something is happening out there and he needs to find out what it is.

Brisha takes Jacen to a door that leads to an immense cavern in which hides a mansion built along the style of Naboo architecture. She tells him she was trained to be a Sith by Darth Vader. Despite what Jacen has been told, Vader wasn’t a galaxy-conquering psychopath, but a sad man whose love in life died and whose only connection to the living world was the galaxy-conquering Palpatine. Her name is actually Shira Brie.

Jacen recognizes her as the better known Lumiya who had tried to kill several members of his familiy. Lumiya admits this but she was young and didn’t have the same breaks that Mara Jade did. She was raised on Coruscant and joined Imperial services to discredit Luke when he became a rebel hero. She did get attached to him and hoped to draw him to her side, but he shot her down during a battle.

Half of her body had to be replaced with cybernetic replacements. That’s when Vader took an interest in her. He trained her on Ziost, ut she never got to be the Mistress of the Sith. Interacting with the Force involves a living body. A replacement mechanical part is fine, but you must be mostly organic, which she is not. The greatest powers are closed to her as they were to Vader because of his mechanical parts. He probably never understood that.

This mansion is colorful and full of busts of people who were not Sith but were the joys of Vectivus’s life. Jacen perceives that he’s not here to be killed but to be lured to the Dark Side. She thinks that all the portents flowing into the future say that he’s the one since he’s already gotten a lot of Sith training.

She’s not trying to turn him into Palpatine who was twisted by the Dark Side. Jacen can resist those temptations because he, unlike his uncle, hasn’t been twisted by the light. Nelani appears and has heard enough. She tells Jacen that she and Ben were separated.

Lumiya explains that Ben is unhurt, but he is unconscious. Jacen reminds her that, whatever she is now, there are still charges against her she will have to face. She considers this, but thinks it’s sad that Jacen’s fear is what is motivating him.

He’s afraid that what she’s saying is true, that he’s destined to be the first Sith Lord in decades, the first one in centuries to use the Sith techniques to help others. Choosing this will make his comfortable life less so and he will continue to lack purpose.

Jacen knows it’s true. Since the end of the Yuuzhan Vong war, he has felt his life as a Jedi hasn’t given him the purpose he needs. Nelani is concerned. She can sense Jacen wavering, warning him that the Dark Side often mixes truth with lies.

Jacen reminds Lumiya that just because a man can build a nice-looking house doesn’t make him a good person. Even Palpatine was a patron of the arts. She hasn’t offered any proof that he ever existed, much less was a good man. The Sith are inevitably drawn to evil.

Lumiya can give him a name of one who wasn’t, but she shouldn’t bother with Nelani standing there wasting her lightsber battery. After all, surely Jacen knows that everything she’s telling him is a lie. Didn’t Vergere tell him that while she was training him as a Sith?

Jacen argues that he was trained to survive. Lumiya contends that survival is a Sith trait unlike the Jedi who train themselves for self-sacrifice. Jacen thinks she’s just making things up now. He tells Nelani to go get Ben.

Lumiya urges him not to. Death is in the air here. Someone will die and it could be any of them. If Ben comes here, it could be him. Jacen tries to look at the future but the pathways lead everywhere. In each one, however, one of them dies.

Lumiya goes to to tell him how Vergere resented the traditional ways of the Jedi Council. She began learning techniques that were not all part of the Jedi. She began to study Count Dooku which led her to Darth Sidious who had just taken Dooku as an apprentice. Sidious accepted her as a student because there can be many of those, though only one apprentice.

But Vergere saw Palpatine’s weaknesses and decided she should kill him. She strikes too soon and Palpatine sent killers after her. She quickly accepts a mission to find Zonama Sekot and chose to leave from there with the Yuuzhan Vong.

Jacen points out that it doesn’t make her a Sith. Lumiya reminds him that she cared for him, gave Mara the treatment that allowed to her have a child. Yet, Vergere could also be ruthless. She used it to improve her surroundings and to improve Jacen.

Nelani decides that’s enough and strikes at Lumiya.


  • According to Darth Plagueis, which takes place well before this, but was written long after, Sidious did not approach Dooku about apprenticeship until after the events of TPM. This was many years after Vergere disappeared into the Unknown Regions during the events of Rogue Planet.

  • Lumiya, as explained here, was someone Luke encountered before during Marvel Comics “Star Wars” run. Her story, as described here, is essentially accurate. She was just one of many of Vader’s students that he apparently packed into his 23-year apprenticeship with the Sith.

  • Where did Vergere get the idea that learning from a Sith was not going to include controlling, ruling and destroying? Did she just think that she was learning from an alternate point of view? Did she think the Jedi were exaggerating?

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chapter 33:

Lumiya evades the blow and retreats, pulling out a whip. Jacen tells her to let Lumiya talk. Nelani insists that Jacen is being influenced by her.

Lumiya insists that the Jedi and the Sith both gravitate towad rule, but the Jedi think it’s contrary to their nature so they create rules to govern their actions. This works well until a secular government falls short of the ideals of the Jedi to the point where they feel they have to impose their rules on others in order to save them. This is what happened at the end of the Old Republic .

The problem is that Jedi rules are not designed for ordinary people and cannot sustain a government. The Sith already know they can impose their rule or not on people. They don’t have to if the society in question functions well. If not, a Sith can design a government that is fair and orderly.

The galaxy, as it is now, because the leadership consists of leftovers of the same failed government that collapsed during the Yuuzhan Vong war. The Jedi can’t fix anything because of the way they think. She challenges them to think of any tactic of Luke Skywalker’s that has fixed any of the Galactic Alliance’s problems.

She challenges Jacen to accept the Sith mantle that Vergere sacrificed her life for, to learn from Lumiya and use that knowledge to restore order, giving his cousin and the future generations of his family the chance to grow up in a galaxy without war.

Jacen knows she’s not telling the whole truth. She did kill the security guard on Toryaz Station. She admits that she caught up with him before she could prevent the attack on him. She was able to force him to confess he was working for Thrackan Sal-Solo. She was also responsible for the incidents on Lorrd, but she used them as a test for him. Sith and Jedi have to determine the fates of others, but only the Sith are willing to sacrifice a few to save many. She found that Jacen understands that concept.

The vision Luke Skywalker keeps seeing is Jacen. The Sith that he will become. He cannot see the face because he cannot accept what the Force is telling him. Nelani is determined to bring her in. Though she acknowledges there is no Force energy moving between the two of them, she is certain that Lumiya is turning Jacen somehow.

He decides that he will stay here and learn what she has to teach him. Nelani insists she be arrested to which Lumiya is willing to consent. Jacen can’t sense any treachery on her part, but he knows her arrest and conviction is likely to result in her death and everything she knows will die with her.

If that happens, the Galactic Alliance will crumble, this place will be destroyed and he will strike down his uncle.

He stops Nelani from taking Lumiya, but knows she will go back and report all of this to his superiors and to Luke. In any future where she survives, his uncle dies.

Lumiya tells him that the Sith strengthen themselves through sacrifice.

Knowing what is coming, Nelani takes off, Jacen after her.

The spotter droids on Tralus send the missles to the GA starfighters. Han is determined to get close enough to his daughter’s ship to distract the missles chasing her. He soon realizes that he can’t catch up with her and that she doesn’t need him.

Wedge tells him they aren’t in fighters and that they need to get out of here. Besides, he thinks that’s Han’s daughter in a nearby X-Wing and it would be a shame to be shot down by her.

Meanwhile, the battle moves farther from downtown. Syal and Zueb’s ship is in bad shape so they move away from the combat zones.

Nelani runs but Jacen catches up with her. She tells him not to do this. If he does, he’ll become something destructive, killing without needing to, joining sides with evil because of a well-reasoned argument.

Jacen can glimpse the good things about Nelani, including her possible futures. It makes him sad, but also reassures him because he is able to possess the emotions connected with human values. He tells her he’s sorry, but she is too young to understand how she can send the future spinning. He kills her.


  • Let’s look at this, shall we? Vergere knew that Jacen was a controversial figure who questioned the Jedi way of doing things. She introduced him to the concept of accepting alternate philosophies, doing what needed to be done, regardless of morality. This led Jacen into learning more and more about other ways of doing things, opening himself up to be drawn into seemingly logical arguments that contradicted the Jedi. Along comes Lumiya, who somehow knows all about Vergere (how she knows this is a big mystery, unless Vader knew and told her), and plays on this aspect of Jacen’s personality. She plants the tassel with all kinds of descriptions that could possibly apply to him. She gives him enough of the truth to make her lures to the Dark Side reasonable and, since he’s already open to compromising what he’s been taught, she doesn’t need to use the Force to influence his mind. As she said when she met him, he’s already had a lot of Sith training. In a way, what has been done to Jacen by Vergere and Lumiya reminds me greatly of the grooming Palpatine gave Anakin over so many years. By the time Anakin turned to the Dark Side, he’d already accepted much of Palaptine’s philosophy. It also didn’t help that Palpatine allegedly had knowledge Anakin felt he needed to save those he loved. Now, Jacen makes the same choice based on his need to save his loved ones by protecting the knowledge Lumiya allegedly has.

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chapter 34:

The starfighters are recalled. Han sends notification that he, Wedge, Jaina and Syal are fine. Admiral Limpan admits she was surprised by Leia’s conservative tactics. Leia explains she’s gotten older and less willing to risk lives.

She’s going to Corellia in the hopes she can argue for peace. She turns down an escort. After all, both sides are them, correct? Limpan points out it never takes long for us to become them.

She flies back full of a sorrow she doesn’t understand. Her family had survived, but at the cost of her lying and deceiving. Anyone who discovers this could use it against her.

She wonders if there was anything she wouldn’t have done to keep them safe. Leia is not the same person she was before and understands why the Jedi of old avoided attachments. Sacrificing lives that were not hers in order to preserve her own happiness was not the right answer. She vows never to do that again.

She cannot keep her loved ones alive forever. It pains her but it’s the right choice. That’s why she’s at peace, but not necessarily happy when she reaches Corellia.

Lumiya assures Jacen Nelani was a noble warrior and will get appropriate rites. An unconscious Ben is aboard the shuttle. She explains that this was painful for him but it will strengthen him.

The Jedi find balance by avoiding attachments. The Sith celebrate those attachments, but find balance in the painful sacrifice of some of the things they love most. That’s how they appreciate loss and mortality.

Sith like Palpatine followed philosophies of gain without loss and that had doomed everyone around him. She thinks that Jacen will be the man Anakin Skywalker couldn’t be. He will go home and stop the war so he can have time to study. He will find an apprentice. It could be Ben, but the boy is probably too steeped in the Jedi way to be of use. Jacen will have to open up his mind to aspects of the Force he’s been taught to despise.

He will achieve his greatest knowledge and power at the time of his most significant sacrifice.

In her quarters, the mystery man Jacen will become must now return to nothingness. She assures him he will be back, shaped by what Jacen will become. He warns her that Jacen will learn that she was responsible for the attack on the station and the phantom fights, and that the war could have been prevented if not for her.

She knows this. For now, he’ll direct his anger at Thrackan Sal-Solo who is more to blame because of his self-serving motivations. By the time he learns the truth, Jacen will understand how important it was that he becomes who he is. He will forgive her.

The false Jacen warns her he will hate her, too. She accepts this. It’s the balance of the Sith.

When Ben comes to, he asks where Nelani is. Jacen tells him she’s dead. There was a person in the caverns who called himself a Sith, but wasn’t. He sent deadly illusions at them using the Dark Side energy in the rocks.

Ben remembers fighting his mother. Jacen tells him Nelani fought her own inadequacy which he’d thought he’d helped her deal with as an apprentice. She was too weak and it killed her.

Brisha died, too, of her energies. He’s ordered explosives to blow up the asteroid. In reality, he’s altered the coordinates in the shuttle to an uninhabited star system with an asteroid field.

Luke tells Mara that the phantom enemy exists for real. That must be why they were attacked tonight. The images of Jacen and Ben distracted them from the creation of this person, whoever he is. Mara assures him they will beat him. In other news, Jacen and Ben are coming home.


  • Interesting how Leia accepts that she cannot protect her family forever and chooses never to sacrifice someone else to save one of them again. This is not the choice that Anakin Skywalker or Jacen made. Neither seem able to accept the natural loss of life that occurs.

  • The mention of how Jacen will eventually figure out how else Lumiya deceived him reminds me also of how Anakin eventually figured out how Palpatine had played him for years. He had to have known that Palpatine helped engineer the war that had cost so many lives and that Anakin was determined to finish. He put that aside after becoming Darth Vader, despite what those lies had cost him.

End of Book 1

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