AN: This fic is the first in a series of four-five that I'm planning to be the sequel to the New Jedi Order that Dark Nest and Legacy of the Force to my mind failed to be. This is an AU that disregards everything that takes place post-Unifying Force (including the Legacy comics, though I am a fan of those). This is the same continuity as my previous story I, Warrior, although it's not a direct sequel- that was a solo Tahiri adventure, while this is intended to be much more comprehensive. I would recommend reading it if you want to see some of what else has been going on in this AU, and its events and characters will become more important down the road. This story picks up about three years after TUF, and the galaxy is beginning to pull itself back together following the Vong War. When a mysterious attack against the Chiss provokes them to declare war on the Galactic Alliance, the Jedi must investigate the truth- only to find that the true enemy may be far more dangerous than anything they've faced before. Jacen, Jaina, Tahiri, and Jag will be the most important characters, though the Big Three and other characters from their generation will get stuff to do as well. As always, feedback is appreciated. Star Wars The Shadow of the Ancients, Volume I Acts of War Dramatis Personae The Jedi Kyp Durron: Jedi Master (Male Human) Corran Horn: Jedi Master (Male Human) Saba Sebatyne: Jedi Master (Female Barabel) Luke Skywalker: Jedi Master (Male Human) Mara Jade Skywalker: Jedi Master (Female Human) Jacen Solo: Jedi Knight (Male Human) Jaina Solo: Jedi Knight and Starfighter Pilot (Female Human) Tahiri Veila: Jedi Knight (Female Human) The Chiss Ascendancy Jagged Fel: Pilot (Male Human) Soontir Fel: Syndic (Male Human) Rei'han'inronkini (Ihani): Explorer (Female Chiss) Mitth'res'kirnan (Thresk): Admiral (Male Chiss) Hess'irolia'nuruodo (Irolia): Commander (Female Chiss) Nal'irna'nuruodo (Lirnan): Aristocra (Male Chiss) The Galactic Alliance Wedge Antilles: General (Male Human) Gavin Darklighter: Commander, Rogue Squadron (Male Human) Traest Kre'fey: Admiral (Male Bothan) Cal Omas: Chief of State (Male Human) Fesyr Brei'lar: Pilot, Rogue Squadron (Female Bothan) Sien Sovv: Admiral (Male Sullustan) Other C-3P0: Protocol droid Han Solo: Captain, Millenium Falcon (Male Human) Leia Organa Solo: Diplomat (Female Human) R2-D2:Astromech Droid Tal'kantar: Power broker (Unknown Alien) Prologue: Assault The people of the Galactic Alliance called it the Unknown Regions, a vast swath of the galaxy that remains largely unexplored and shrouded in mystery. Few dared to venture there, and fewer managed to return. To many of the galaxy's inhabitants, the Unknown Regions were a dangerous enigma, and best ignored. Yet they were also home to civilizations of their own, some of them nearly as ancient and storied as the Old Republic. The Chiss Ascendancy was one such civilization. Best known for producing the famous- or infamous- Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn, many in the larger galaxy knew of the Chiss, but few knew much about the nature of their culture or government, for they were a stoic and closemouthed people, and Chiss seen outside their territory were renegades more often than official representatives. When the galaxy was rocked by the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, the Chiss sent small squadrons of pilots, provided scientific aid, but if the Ascendancy as a whole played a part, it was a well-hidden one. Yet the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force was formidable, a well-oiled, disciplined machine overseen by the Ruling Family Nuruodo, drawn from the populace of more than twenty colony worlds, and though it never struck first, when attacked it pursued war both ruthlessly and efficiently. None made enemies of the Chiss and did not regret it. Above a nameless world on the edge of Ascendancy territory a shipyard hung, its berths filled with capital warships in varying stages of construction, for while the Ascendancy did not seek out war, it made a point to always be prepared for it, and the sheer scope of the devastation wrought by the Yuuzhan Vong disturbed the leaders of the Four Families more than they would ever admit. What else, they thought, might be lurking in the void, threats besides which the Yuuzhan Vong themselves might pale? Another warship hung above the shipyard, this one complete and heavily armed, for the leading Aristocra of House Nuruodo himself had come to inspect the facility- one of several established since the end of the war- and gauge its progress. The Ruling Families looked beyond the Rim for their next enemies. They were looking in the wrong place all along. The sky rippled near the shipyard, just outside the planet's gravity well, and ships emerged from hyperspace. They were not Yuuzhan Vong coralcraft or something even more strange, but two sleep Star Destroyers and an organic-looking Mon Calamari cruiser, vessels of the Galactic Alliance. They bore down on the Chiss shipyard, and without warning they opened fire. One-on-one, in a pitched battle, the completed warship could have taken any of these vessels, but three-against-one, taken by surprise, it did not stand a chance. Though it fought, it soon perished under a barrage of turbolasers, lighting the sky with its fiery death. The invaders turned their attention to the shipyards themselves, which had only a few squadrons of clawcraft and several weapons emplacements for defense- its strength lay in secrecy, not firepower. The attackers made short work of them and then unleashed their weapons on the shipyards. Less than a standard hour later, their work done, they departed from the system and leaped back into hyperspace. The shipyards were destroyed, the Aristocra dead, and only a handful of survivors remained to send a distress call to Csilla. There is one cardinal doctrine which governed the Chiss military- the Chiss did not start wars, ever, but they fought mercilessly against aggressors. Now it was time for the Galactic Alliance to learn this lesson. The unprovoked attack would be avenged in blood.