Before "Echo of Darkness" (KotOR) - UPDATED re-edited, Chapters 1-5

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by gaarastar58, Aug 12, 2011.

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  1. gaarastar58 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Since I last posted I've been busy working on a much larger project, but at the moment I'm taking a break and thought I'd go back to some good old Star Wars writing for a bit,continuing the Echo of Darkness story which I started last Christmas. I't been fun looking back, editing and adding to the story although it is turning into an epic... Hopefully I'll be able to update a bit more regularly from now on.

    Twenty years after the events of KotOR II, as the Galaxy struggles to rebuild after the double impact of the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil war, Republic officers and newly re-founded Jedi hold fiercely onto the tenious control of the Republic. Rival factions compete for power in the senate and the Jedi face an uncertain future as they face the demons of thier past.

    The main characters of this story are the Jedi; Master Oran Kal Duron is a highly respected archaeologist, tasked with tracking down ancient Jedi, and Sith, secrets. Fionn Katarm is a young jedi initiate, a Mandalorian who finds life at the Jedi Temple difficult at best. Through the eyes of master and student, we see how the Jedi (Mostly OC's but quite a few familiar faces will be popping up) struggle to rebuild the Order and the Republic, as well as try to come to terms with their own actions dring the Wars.

    Advice and helpful critisism encouraged!


    Prologue

    ?All turbolaser batteries fire at will! I want that fragging frigate out of my sky now!? screamed Captain Streye. Around him, the bridge crew struggled to comply, but the noxious smoke from a damaged plasma relay made it hard to see and breathe. Another blast rocked the ship and several crew members staggered, clutching at their consoles for support.

    Lieutenant Rico Josef wasn?t so lucky and, losing his footing, fell, cracking his head sharply on the deckplates as he did. Swearing to himself he struggled to his feet, thinking back to the day he?d graduated from the Republic Academy on Coruscant. His instructors had commended him on his efficiency, and had told him that a job working at fleet HQ would be of much greater service than becoming a junior officer on a warship. After two months of dodging missiles and ion cannons aboard the Dauntless, he was starting to wish he?d taken the desk job. It might not be glamorous. But it was safe.

    ?Stop lying around Mr Josef, I need that damn comm unit back online 30 seconds ago!? spat the Captain. ?And do up your bloody tunic, what do you think this is, a garbage scow??

    ?Aye sir,? stammered Josef, hurriedly fastening the brass buttons of his uniform. His instructors had always said his lack of care would get him into trouble on board a real starship, but he never thought he would have been rebuked right in the middle of a battle. He scurried to the aft of the bridge where several crewmen were trying to extinguish the fire which had leapt up around the plasma relay. Opening a control hatch he got to work on re-routing the ships communications, which had been down since the unidentified ship had opened fire on them without warning. He held up a hand to shield himself from the heat of the flames. Sweat soaked his tunic and the bulkhead was unpleasantly warm to the touch.

    The Republic Cruiser Dauntless had been patrolling one of the core hyperspace routes when they?d received a garbled distress signal from a Mandalorian transport. The crew had been reluctant to help at first, after all, it wasn?t that long since the Manadalorians had been at war with them, but the Captain had decided to investigate. He?d fought in the wars and knew all the Mandalorian tricks.

    They?d arrived to find that the Mandalorian vessel was under attack from a larger ship, probably pirates or hyperspace raiders. They obviously hadn?t appreciated being interrupted at their work because before the Dauntless could open up a channel, they had opened fire and crippled several of the ships major systems. Half the bridge crew had been killed in the initial barrage and Josef had found himself manning the communications console. At first he was thrilled at t
  2. gaarastar58 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2010

    Mandalorian

    Fionn Katarm hated getting up. He hated it almost as much as going to bed in the first place, and he said so often. This often got him in trouble with his Jedi instructors who told him just as frequently that hatred was of the dark side. Fionn?s response to this was usually short, rude, and more often than not earned him extra time in the disciplinary wing, scrubbing floors or meditating for hours on end with decrepit Master Chin. At the end of each session the aged Jedi Master would always ask him if he had learned his lesson, and Fionn would always reply that yes, of course he had and he would never, ever do it again. A few days later he was usually back for another round of meditation.

    So the chiming of the morning temple bells did little more than annoy Fionn. He rolled over and pulled the blankets over his head. A soft knocking at his door did even less to improve his mood. He tried ignoring it but eventually the knocking became so insistent that he had to answer.

    ?Who is it? What do you want?? he moaned.

    The door swung open and Sakora crept into the room. ?It?s time to get up!? she said haughtily.

    ?Says who??

    ?The bells say it?s time to get up!? giggled the little girl, reaching over and poking Fionn hard in the back.

    ?You?d better watch out,? warned Fionn.

    ?Watch out for what??

    ?Don?t you know that bells wake up sleeping RANCORS!? roared Fionn, exploding out of his bed and grabbing the tiny youngling. He stood on the bed and held her upside down while she giggled helplessly. ?I wonder what I should do with you. Should I gobble you up for breakfast??

    ?Oh, no, please don?t eat me,? squealed Sakora.

    ?Well then, maybe I should tickle you!? he yelled, dropping her on the bed. The little girl screamed and dived off the bed, taking most of the blankets with her. Fionn tried to chase after her but slipped on a datapad, fell flat on his back, and lay still.

    Sakora, pretending now to be a puppy, snuffled up to his pone body. ?Fionn, wake up, it?s time for training!? she peeped. He didn?t stir. Tentatively she reached out and flicked his ear, something she knew would wind him up but still he made no move. ?Stop playing around, it?s time to get up. I know you?re not dead.?

    Once again she flicked his ear. Then she put her mouth right up close and shouted ?I KNOW YOU?RE NOT DEAD!?

    Fionn jumped up, rubbing his head, ?Ow! What gave me away??

    ?You always do that, that?s what gave you away,? replied the little girl, rolling her eyes. ?You?d better hurry up. Master Chin is getting everybody together for an early breakfast. He says we have to put on our best uniforms as well.?

    ?Why??

    Once more Sakora rolled her eyes, this time even more dramatically. ?Don?t be silly Fionn, I know you know. It?s the Apprentice Tournament today. You should know, you?re entered in it aren?t you??

    Fionn shrugged, trying to pretend he didn?t care. ?I guess so. Master Bullrouar said I should give it a go.?

    ?Well, what are you waiting for then? Get dressed and come and meet us down stairs for breakfast. Come on slowcoach,? trilled Sakora, dancing out the door with Fionn?s blanket still wrapped around her shoulders.

    For some minutes, Fionn surveyed his room. Master Chin, the Guardian of Young Jedi had long since given up asking him to keep it clean, judging that Fionn would do so when it suited him. The life of a Jedi was supposed to be one of passionate devotion to life and order. One of the lessons taught to initiates at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was that cleanliness and organisation was a sure path to the force. Fionn had tried this for a while and found that his connection to the force remained stubbornly slender no matter how many times he cleaned his room. The small dormitory was littered with dirty clothes, stacks of the small datapads which trainee Jedi studied from and other sundry bits and pieces. But having an untidy room wasn?t the only thing which made him different to his fellow Jedi, as a glance in the small mirror mounted on his wardrobe confirmed. Ever sinc
  3. gaarastar58 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Anger


    Much of what Fionn remembered of the Mandalorian ways was lost, viewed through the wide innocent eyes of a four year old. But he remembered the battle circle. Even as a young boy he could remember cheering for his father as he fought to maintain his combat skills, to demonstrate his skills as a warrior, finally standing over his defeated opponent, arms raised to the sky in victory.

    ?Mandálii kote, su'van ca'atrë!? he would bellow, a cry that was taken up by all the spectators. Mandalorian glory, our strength unmatched.

    So when Fionn stepped into the arena for his first match of the tournament, he felt the rushing surge of adrenaline fill his body. This was where he belonged. He was pleased to find that his first opponent was to be Roury, the Iridonian boy who had mocked him in the refectory. The rules of the tournament made it very clear that it was not a place for personal vendettas to be played out, but Fionn was looking forward to wiping the smug smile off Roury?s face.

    ?Remember the blade comes out this end,? the Iridonian mocked as they stepped forward and bowed to each other, the ancient custom if duellists.

    ?That?s the end you need to worry about,? Fionn replied. After first bowing to each other they then turned and bowed to the members of the Jedi Council, before stepping apart and taking up a fighting position. The tinkling chime of a bell was the signal to begin.

    Roury moved first, spinning his lightsaber in a series of wide arcs he came straight for Fionn, who sidestepped the swinging blade and cut low, hoping to get an early burn. The Iridonian, realising he was being over confident, leapt high and spun to face his opponent.

    A vicious double kick in the ribs sent him crashing to the floor before he had completed his leap. ?You ought to keep your feet on the ground,? laughed Fionn. He cocked his lightsaber to one side and grinned. Only then did Roury feel the prickling sensation on his left shoulder where the others lightsaber had brushed him.

    ?First burn to Initiate Katarm,? Bullrouar informed the gathered Jedi.

    Flipping to his feet, Roury charged once again, hoping to catch his opponent off guard, launching a rapid succession of lunges and slashes. Fionn deflected the attacks with ease and pressed forward with a series of counter strikes, forcing Roury backwards. For some moments the two junior Jedi battled furiously, neither one gaining a significant advantage until Fionn spun around and threw a crushing roundhouse kick to the belly, knocking all the wind out of the Iridonian and catapulting him backwards, but not before a second burn blossomed across his chest.

    ?Second burn to Initiate Katarm.?

    Fionn didn?t follow up his attack immediately, allowing a moment for his opponent to get to his feet. This was a struggle for Roury, with all the wind knocked out of him; he staggered and had to throw out an arm to support himself. The burns from Fionn?s blade sent waves of agonising pain down his left side. Although the training sabers were not meant to be deadly, they still extremely painful when you got hit by one. Pain was part of a Jedis life, and even from a young age their training reminded them of that.

    Approaching more cautiously this time, Roury held his blade in a neutral position, ready to either attack or defend. Fionn spun his lightsaber around, reversing the blade before going on the offensive with a series of devastating slashes. Roury was caught off guard be the speed and ferocity of the attack and barely managed to counter.

    Swinging his blade in a high two handed arc, Fionn exposed his left side and Roury plunged forward, smashing his lightsaber into Fionn?s ribs. Too late he felt the harsh pain as Fionn?s own blade swept down and caught him in the side of the neck.

    Roury blacked out for a moment. When he came to both Master Bullrouar and Fionn were kneeling over him, their faces concerned. ?What happened?? he asked stupidly.
    ?I think I might have hit you a bit hard mate, there was a nasty crunching sound and you went down like a bantha
  4. gaarastar58 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Escape

    He?d been ordered to stay in his room and, to enforce the point, the Jedi Knight who had escorted him there had locked the door. But something as simple as a lock couldn?t keep a Jedi, even a failed Jedi, in one place for very long and Fionn didn?t fancy waiting around in his room for his inevitable punishment. He paced around the tiny room, the brutal events of the past hour finally beginning to sink in. Each time he closed his eyes he saw again the shocked and terrified expression on little Ryon?s face before his fist had smashed it beyond recognition.

    This would be his last evening in the Jedi Temple. The thought churned inside him, overwhelming his entire existence. The Order was all he had known for seven years, the temple had been his home, and he had destroyed it all in one moment of anger. The bitter taste of rage remained, the surge of power still barely tangible on the edges of his perception. He had wanted to kill Ryon, he now realised. If Master Bullrouar hadn?t stopped him, he probably would have. As soon as he had calmed down, he had asked how the boy was. The answer he got from the Knight who had brought him to his room hadn?t been encouraging.

    Recalling now every single brutal blow, Fionn thought it was a minor miracle that he hadn?t killed the boy outright. He hadn?t dared to look at the faces of his fellow Jedi as he was led away. Their shame and disgust was palpable in the air. Even with his limited force abilities, he could tell what they were all thinking; the Mandalorian had failed, this time for good. The expression on Roury's face as he passed him was one of shocked disbelief, and horror; horror that a Jedi could do such a thing.

    But you?re not only a Jedi, are you? the Mandalorian inside him whispered.

    Falling on the bed, Fionn tried to find his way through to the force, the way Master Chin had tried to show him so many times. He probably should have listened to the old Jedi a little more, because the force stubbornly left him alone. Perhaps it was angry with him too.

    Somewhere in the back of his mind he began to wonder what would happen to him when he was expelled. Would the Order simply throw him out the door? Would he be put on trial for murder? Black thoughts tumbled through his mind, insistent and urgent. Where could he go? Would he be sent to live in a government orphanage? The prospect didn?t thrill him. For a moment he thought about Duxn, the planet of his birth. He remembered very little about it, just the smell of rotting vegetation and the angry howls of the beasts in the jungle outside camp.

    Would the Mandalorians accept him? By blood he was one of them but, apart from the most basic rudiments of their language, he knew next to nothing about their culture. Then there were the circumstances in which he and his father had left Duxn under. No, there would be no welcome for him there, not for the bastard son of the Damned. Perhaps he would simply die cold and alone on Coruscants streets. He?d disobeyed the laws of the Jedi Order, used the dark side against a fellow initiate. His fate was sealed.

    He certainly couldn?t stay here.

    Soon he would be summoned before the Council and they would pass judgement on him, exile him. He had heard that they were even capable of stripping the force away from someone. Once more he looked at the locked door. Why wait? He asked himself. Wouldn?t it be better to simply disappear? If he left now he could be gone before anybody even noticed he was missing. Running away now would mean he would not have to face the wrath of the Council, and worse still the disappointed eyes of his fellow Jedi.

    That was it then, he would run away.

    But it was easier said than done. First he had to make himself look inconspicuous, throwing aside his blue tunic and pulling on a tattered and stained jumpsuit which he wore when he was helping out the engineers in the hanger bay. He also filled a small pack with various items; first aid kit and ration capsules, and other survival equipment, although most of the Jedi?s ships would
  5. gaarastar58 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Exile

    For any initiate, waiting outside the Jedi Council chamber was nerve-racking. For somebody in Fionn?s position it was positively alarming.

    The wide windows of the council atrium offered an outstanding view of the spires and towers surrounding the temple, spreading out in all directions. The vastness of Galactic City staggered Fionn every time he saw it. It made him feel very small indeed compared with the sheer might and size of the thing.

    Beside him Master Bullrouar stirred. Fionn had been surprised when he had offered to stand by him when he faced the council, but secretly glad. On the rare occasion when a youngling was brought before the council to deal with a disciplinary matter, it was custom for the youngling to be accompanied by an older, trusted Jedi. Had Fionn been given a choice he would have chosen Bullrouar, or Master Duron, but the older Jedi was nowhere to be seen. Fionn had half expected him to be here, but he supposed Jedi Masters must have more important things to do.

    A soft chime came from within the chamber, and Bullrouar stood up, motioning for Fionn to follow him. ?You know the rules boy; bow first to the council as a group before you take the floor and to the Master of the Order as you approach. Speak when spoken to. If you don?t understand a question, don?t make things up.?

    This was the first time Fionn had visited the High Council Chamber. He knew it?s layout from hundreds of holorecordings he had studied in the archives, but this was the first time he had actually been inside. If it wasn?t for the seriousness of his situation, he would have been eager to even get a glimpse of it. The wide space was exactly as he thought it would be, softly lit by the lights of Coruscant, the twelve seats of the high council arranged in a circle around the Malachor Stone in the centre of the room. Legend said stone had been retrieved from the heart of Malachor at the re-formation of the order by Master Kel?Bra Sky, a reminder to all the Jedi of the mistakes of the past.

    Even more intimidating than the room were the faces that turned in his direction as he entered. Suddenly he found himself under the penetrating scrutiny of the most important Jedi Masters in the order. Some of them, like Master Rand and Master Kavaren Fionn knew from his studies at the temple, though of course he knew each and every face here from the adventures which every young Jedi grew up with. Most imposing of all, the four remaining Re-Founders sat together directly opposite the entrance.

    Trying to stop the chattering of his teeth, Fionn bowed low to the council before moving to the centre of the room, standing beside the Malachor Stone. Here he bowed to Master Aeon, the Master of the Order. The silver eyed man regarded him grimly.

    ?Initiate Katarm has answered the call of the council,? said Bullrouar, standing slightly behind Fionn.

    ?Thank you Jedi Bullrouar. Will you stand for initiate Katarm? Tradition states that it should be the Guardian of the Young who stands for an initiate.? The voice of Master Salazar, one of the Re-Founders, was cold. Clad in dark robs against which her steel grey hair stood out starkly, she always spoke sharply.

    ?I understand, but Master Chin has accepted my assistance in this matter, and I am well acquainted with Initiate Katarm?s studies,? replied Bullrouar evenly. Master Salazar nodded, apparently satisfied. Then she looked at Fionn.

    ?Initiate Katarm. Perhaps you would like to explain you actions to the High Council??

    Swallowing, Fionn felt the full attention of twelve Jedi Masters bearing down on him, as though they were scrutinising him inside and out. Waiting in his room after returning from the hanger, he had planned what he would say now, but all his clever words slipped away like sand running through open fingers. All he could do was lick his lips and stare at the floor.

    ?We?re waiting, initiate Katarm.?

    Fionn wanted to explain the whole thing, wanted to tell them how sorry he was, how the Jedi meant everything to him, how he would never do it agai
  6. gaarastar58 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Mission

    The repulsor lifts whined, jolting Fionn?s stomach, and for the first time in seven years he was leaving Coruscant. He stood by the viewport of the cargo ship Shade with Oran Kal Duron by his side and together they watched the glittering planet grow smaller beneath them while the blackness of space widened around the tiny vessel. The lights of the city that had been Fionn?s home for so long grew fainter and fainter as the ship made its way towards the Coruscant outer markers. He decided he wouldn?t miss them.

    ?All crew, prepare for hyperspace jump. Repeat, all crew prepare for hyperspace jump,? the captains voice crackled over the ships comm. Master Duron laid a gentle hand on Fionn?s shoulder and guided him away.

    He was a little disappointed to leave the view. Growing up in the Halls of youth beneath the dull smoggy clouds, he had never seen the stars except in vids or on the rare nights when Galactic City?s sky was clear enough to see them, and they had always seemed far off, unreachable. He would have begged the Jedi Master to let him stay and watch the jump to lightspeed; to watch the stars warp and twist and finally give way to the mottled sky of hyperspace. He had heard the mechanics and pilots talking about jumps during his visits to the hanger and he longed to see one.

    Master Duron had come to him early. Fionn had packed his few belongings and they had left the Jedi Temple through the grand entrance in the grey pre-dawn twilight, stealing a glance up at the towering structure as they passed beneath it, thinking about the friends he was leaving behind; Sakora and Roury and Master Bullrouar. He hadn?t been able to say goodbye to any of them. Master Chin had met them as they left the halls of youth on his way to the meditation chambers. The old man had congratulated Fionn on his promotion and wished him luck. The decrepit Jedi had even given him a hug and told him to keep safe. Fionn hadn?t been able to find any words. Master Chin had looked after him since he arrived at the temple and despite all the constant lectures and scolding?s Fionn had received, the old man was as close to family as anything Fionn had known since coming to Coruscant.

    His father had once told him that Mandalorians didn?t cry, and Fionn tried hard not to, but couldn?t help the hot tears which prickled behind his eyes when he said goodbye to Master Chin and left the halls of youth forever.

    All his tears had been forgotten when he saw the spaceport. Even early in the morning the docks had swarmed with activity. Traders shouted at one another and dockworkers yelled instructions to ships crews. Industrial droids lumbered through the crowd carrying heavy cargo containers, grunting to each other in tinny booming voices. It was quite a change from the dignified halls of the Jedi and Fionn had to remind himself to follow Master Duron and not go darting off into the melee in search of adventure.

    The ship they had booked passage on, the Shade, was a little disappointing. It was an old deep space trawler converted to carry cargo and a few passengers. The captain, a portly Corellian had demanded their credits up front. Master Duron told him that he would be paid half now and half when they reached their destination and the captain had grumbled something about fuel prices, but eventually agreed.

    The interior of the cramped vessel was as grey and unassuming as its outer hull, a far cry from the republic warships that Fionn had studied at the temple. Pipes and ducts snaked along the walls and the deckplates were rusted and stained with years of use. The Jedi and were shown to the habitat area, a small room with a holoprojector in the centre, a gaming table and a number of squishy reclining chairs. Sliding screens led to the equally cramped sleeping bays. The only object of interest had been the viewport, and as the Shade lifted off the planet and Galactic City had grown smaller beneath them Fionn felt a surge of excitement leap through him. He was a Jedi Padawan, off on his first mission.

    ?Two minutes to jump.
  7. LaForzaViva Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2008
    star 1
    Excellent work and I definitely enjoyed the addition of the new chapter with Fionn's first mission; seems dangerous for such a neophyte! The editing has lengthened and sharpened it up, great job! Hopefully more to come; and there's never anything wrong with epics, as though I should be one to talk!
  8. Shillani Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2011
    star 1
    Sorry for the lateness (I know that's an understatement[face_whistling] ) of my reply. I went a number of months without visiting these forums at all, and I've been enjoying reading the update and re-reading the earlier chapters of this story lately as I catch up on things here. It's shaping up quite well; I think all of the detail and description in your writing helps the story to flow nicely--exciting, but not too fast. The descriptions of places and objects helped me feel as if I was there with the characters. Your original characters have distinct personalities which I look forward to getting to know even better in future chapters.

    It looked like the word "current" was spelled "currant" a couple times, but that's about the only nitpicking I have.
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