The Darkest Dawn

Meaning

The Force flows through me, around me; swirling from one end of the galaxy to the other connecting all life as we know it in one truly indefinable entity. Countless Jedi and other Force users have tried to classify, quantify, categorize the Force; which is a daunting and ultimately futile task. The Force is not something that can be measured, instead only our individual connection with it.

Your connection with the Force determines your strength within it. Let me back that up a bit. Your connection with the Force, and your ability to open your mind TO it, determine your strength in the Force. If there ever was an individual whose mind was so open and enveloping to completely understand the entirety and complexity of the Force, he’d most likely accidentlly wipe out the galaxy we know it with a single though. At least, we’d HOPE it’d be accidental.

Jedi Mystics believe that the Force knows all. That is how some particularly gifted Jedi can glimpse the future through the Force, for the Force knows what’s going to happen before we do. I’d like to count myself among those gifted, as I’ve at the very least been blessed with the ability to see, even if its not always clear. The hardest part about that belief for me is this, in order for the Force to KNOW it has to be Conscious. If it is Conscious then it has a Will of its own and has the power to see its will be done.

Acknowledging all of this, The Forces reach, its power, and its omniscience, where does the destruction of Telos fit in? Where did the destruction of Alderaan before it fit in? Hindsight has given us the ability to look on the decimation of the Alderaan way of life as a catalyst. It was a stepping stone on the nurturing path of Luke AND Leia Skywalkers. It was something that cemented their belief that the Emperor and the Empire were truly “Evil” and thus must be vanquished. So they’re dedication to their cause took on a fervor that it may previously not have had, and in the end sealed the fate of the Empire, and gave birth to a New Jedi Order. My Jedi Order. An order that I would not be a part of if Alderaan hadn’t been destroyed.

However, it is a lot harder to view the silver lining in the destruction of Telos; But perhaps that is because I’m on the wrong side. I venture a guess that the Imperials didn’t see the Alderaan as a grand gesture to bolster their cause nor did it create many zealots dedicating their life to the Imps. My travel companion, my friend, is responsible for Billions of deaths. I capitalize Billions because the gravity of this lost may be lost in words. Capitalizing the word only gives it a small percent of its true weight. I was on station. I replay what happened in my head to see if there were some way i could have stopped it. But I was in a completely different sector, isolated by miles of city. Even if I had eliminated the threat of Ilyeanna, he still would have crashed the orbital platform to destroy the weapon. He did it without consulting his team, and with little regard for the loss of life. Those Telosians who have survived now have their catalyst. They have a reason to set them on a cause. But what cause? What role, if any will I play? What will does the Force have that would allow this?

The Telosians aren’t the only ones who will be looking for my, and my compatriots heads. The New Republic is also hunting us. And because Dax and I were present, they now hunt all the Jedi. We are once again endangered, our numbers dwindled to a few handfuls of us. The Force has allowed this. The Force has willed it.

Whatever plans the Force has, it seems it does not include a strong Jedi presence. At least not at this moment.

I am traveling as a pseudo prisoner. I am not confined to a cell, but have been asked politely by an honorable man not to make this difficult. Soon they will turn me over to my would be accusers and eventual executors. Confinement and Death are two things I cannot allow. I may not know the Will of the Force, but I do know this is not how I am meant to die. I will live on so I can try and decode the meaning of this tragedy and perhaps give our order the enlightenment is seems to be lacking.

I have made up my mind. When the time comes for the Exchange, I WILL escape.

Tripp Dunerunner Jedi Exile

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Message to Unknown address Outside Anchorhead Tatooine

Mother,

I know that news travels slowly to the Sand Dunes of Tatooine. However, I have to assume you have heard what has happened at Telos.

Know this, Circumstances are not as they appear. WE have heavy hearts for the events that transpired, and will have to come to terms for our part in it.

We are in a transitional state right now, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to write again. Know that we love you, and never meant to disappoint.

Love,

Your Sons

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Hope, Betrayal, and Redemption: A personal correspondence

Coded Message to Tatooine Sent from Kuati Shipyards

Tides turn very slowly in wars. However, when examined under the political and social microscope we use to scrutinize these events, more often than not one moment proves to be the turning point; when the pendulum of momentum reaches its peak and changes direction in favor of the other side. I believe we have come to that moment, yet only time will prove me right. Before I divulge into the recent events that have caused me to make this controversial and hopeful claim, I hope you can indulge me in a side note that has been on my mind ever since; in doing so, we will work our way to the final destination of you rejoicing in my hope and me reveling in its validity.

How does one measure success?

This is the question that has plagued me since returning to Kuat from our most recent excursion to the jungle landscape of Yavin 4. Is success measured in tangibles? Can it be weighed and scaled by comparing losses to wins, positives and negatives?

Dax, Illyanna, Telekrin and I disembarked from the Nexxus Torrent outside an ancient Force User temple at the southern pole of Yavin 4. I choose to call the temple Force User instead of Jedi or Sith, as it is uncertain as to which originally built it. The four of us ventured in only to be separated by a suspicious and well timed cave in; Dax, Telekrin and I on one side and Illyanna on the other. We decided to press on as our mission was more important than any one individual. Inside we located what we were searching for, but it was being guarded by an extremely nasty assassination droid. Needless to say we were able to negotiate an understanding with the droid and uncover the artifact we were sent to find. What we found was no artifact but in fact a person; a very bright person, a very shiny awe inspiring individual. It was none other than Luke Skywalker himself. The Jedi Grand Master, who we all thought was dead, was once again in our midst bathing us in his radiant aura of self assuredness and light. It was the hope that we needed, that the Galaxy needed for us to survive.

We emerged from the temple feeling tired but renewed only to find that my apprentice and one trusted friend had betrayed us. She was fleeing toward a speeder bike as two crimson guards bore down on us. She has been working for the other side the entire time she was with us. My heart broke. I tried to chase her down through the jungle but her ability to augment machines through the force allowed her the ability to escape. Too quickly was I elevated to Jedi Knight. I knew that. I always have. Yet in the times we’re living in it seemed right, almost the only thing to do. I tried to live up to the standards of the Jedi Order, and live my life walking down the narrow righteous path. Almost simultaneously I was given a padawan, an apprentice of my own. It was too much. I was too young and she was already too powerful for me to help. I was but an apprentice myself and didn’t have the knowledge or the wisdom to sniff out her treachery. I put my trust in her and my faith in the Force and hoped that I would be able to work it all out. My trust was betrayed and my faith has been shaken. I’ve tried to get over the unnerving feeling of seeing her flee and run from those she had not two hour previous called friends. The worst part is it has made me question my other loyalties, the other people I call friend, associate, ally, brother. Who among them will betray me next?

It is no secret that my brother has been walking a darker line these past few months. Some things have happened to him that I would reserve only for the darkest of my enemies. It is not the terrible misfortunes that have befallen him that guide him on his path, but his inability to see the error of his actions. Everyone around me has already given up on him. I have stayed true because he is my brother and we are Jedi. I will not abandon him to the darkness. When Dax saw Luke Skywalker live and in person, something about him changed. His demeanor lightened, and his face seemed fuller more full of life. Not to mention that disconcerting scar on his shoulder and neck started to subside a bit. I believe the return of our Master has shaken him, and has started to open him back toward the path righteousness. I continue to have faith that he can take it the rest of the way and completely restore his honor.

So was our mission a success? We rescued Luke Skywalker, and Dax has started to turn and come back toward the light. Yet we were betrayed by a close and trusted friend, who could have helped put an end to this at any time. In a system of positives versus negatives, I guess you’d put it in the win column. However, for me, losing my apprentice not only figuratively but also literally is huge negative. It makes me sick to think if I had just been able to catch up to her, or shoot her down, this could all be over. It may have been a win for the New Republic but on a personal Tripp Dunerunner level it was a loss.

Our next mission has been laid out for us and is simple, stop darksaber. Though the mission is clear, the way in which we do it is clouded in mystery. This is something I will take time to meditate on in hopes the Force will be able to guide us in our actions.

I write this to you mother because I am not sure what will happen next. I am not fearful of my destiny I wholly embrace and welcome it. I just felt that someone else should know what was happening here. And I wanted you to know that no matter what you hear about Dax, you heard from me that he is doing the right thing. Everything’s going to be ok, and we’ll talk again soon.

Love,

Tripp

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A waking nightmare

They say that, in the end, your life flashes before your eyes. What a joke.

My life must have been too boring. Instead of my past I saw something else, something that made my blood run cold, if hadn’t been cold enough already.

Minutes Before

“Dax! Lookout!”

I had just enough time to look and see a laser blast fire through Dax’s right shoulder, dropping him to his knees. His brother desperately fighting behind the droid guardian of the tomb in which we had been trapped. Thinking quickly, I pulled my blaster cannon from around my shoulder and took aim. Just one clear shot was all I needed.

I was so focused on targeting its chest I never saw the small missile fire from its back launcher. I heard the missile fire, and lowered my blaster to look at my death. Time seemed to slow down, the missile gradually making its way towards me. I could dodge it, I knew that I could, but my body refused to move. All I could do was watch as it closed the distance.

NO! This isn’t supposed to be how it ends! Not here! All my will went into ducking just as the missile traveled past me and detonated upon the stone wall behind me. I felt the explosion more than heard it. Possibly because I was blasted across the room in mere nanoseconds, hitting the far wall with a sickening crack. I had just enough consciousness to pray that it was the stone wall cracking and not my bones.

The room was spinning, and I could hear nothing but a faint ringing. Squinting, I could still see Tripp fighting with the droid. Looking down, I saw that I was still holding my blaster, but it was covered in blood. That wasn’t there before, was it? I could feel my body starting to fall asleep, and I knew this was my last chance.

My arms felt like lead, the cybernetic servo implants must have been damaged in the blast. I cursed my luck for not being naturally stronger, like most of my kind. What was seconds felt like hours as I struggled to lift the blaster. I wouldn’t be able to aim, just hope that I fired true. Tripp turned in time to see me holding my cannon and dove for the ground.

A snarl formed on my lips as I pulled the trigger. The air reeked of ozone as my gun fired, the large laser blast tearing through the droid’s chest as if it were paper. I smiled as the droid sparked and started to fall to the ground, feeling myself collapse as well. Then everything went dark.

I’ve never been one to trust the Force. That much power for one person to control the minds of others never sat well with me. Power was one thing, but a person’s mind is their own, not a jedi’s plaything. I know it’s petty, but I tend to blame all my downfalls on the Force. All the lives I’ve seen snuffed out, all the mindless wars; the Force was never there to save them; to care whether or not they saw another sunrise. Yet these jedi believe in it as if it will solve all their problems, they have faith.

I have faith too. I have faith in my friends aboard the Nexus Torrent, I have faith that I will find Ova Rule someday. I have faith that I will never get a good bargain on spare parts for my ship. But the Force… it can go jump in a black hole for all I care.

Maybe that’s why the Force seems to take pleasure in torturing me. I curse it as I breathe the air around me. I knew I had closed my eyes, but images and scenes began to fly past them.

First there was the dunerunner brothers opening the sealed force chamber, revealing a cloaked figure. The galaxy’s last hope. Another of us standing outside the temple, scores of jedi writhing and limping towards us like zombies. They have fallen.

My friends from Nexus Transports, who rescued me from a life of prison and shared in my hope to reunite with Ova, piled upon one another in a bloody mess. Get up! Please don’t leave me! Looking up I see my ship flying away from me, and feel betrayal in my heart. I believed in you!

The jungle, rushing by as I am running from something, fear slowly giving way to anger as I fire my blaster into the sky in an attempt at releasing my rage. No more! A shuttle crashing through the canopy of the trees just above my head.

A fierce battle near the wreckage of the shuttle. Lines drawn as force master fights force master, brother against brother, and myself in the middle. Why me? I see a lightsaber fall next to me, and know that I can fix it. Throwing in a spare power cell, I run to him. Is that really who I think it is? I get about half-way and searing pain encompasses my body. Though my vision begins to blur, I can see the lightsaber roll to him. The light begins to fade, and I know the end has come. This is not how it was supposed to be! I WILL not let this be! Wake up, Telekrin!

“Wake up, Telekrin!”

I scream as I am shaken awake. I see Tripp above me holding my shoulder, his other hand holding his outstretched arm as I can see fresh burn marks. Looking past Tripp, I can see the fallen droid still sparking in the corner.

“I need your help, Dax has been injured badly and needs medical aid,” Tripp coughs.

I look to where Dax fell and see his face is paler than normal. I look back to Tripp and nod.

“Alright, help me over,” I say as I struggle to stand.

Trip moves his good arm behind my back and helps me rise, and we start making our way to Dax.

“Are you alright?” Tripp asks between clenched teeth. Holding up a Trandoshan, even one of my size, was still hard work.

“Yeah,” I grimace as the horrible images slowly fade from my inner eye, “I just had a bad dream.”

Force or not, I will not let what I’ve seen come to pass. I will not let those I care for die!

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Episode II: Knightfall

“Four words have crippled the New Jedi Order: Luke Skywalker is dead. In the wake of the assassination of the great Jedi Master, a false emergency beacon led over a hundred Jedi Knights to their deaths from a secret superweapon codenamed “Darksaber.”

Tripp and Dax Dunerunner, after a harrowing escape from a cloned Anakin Skywalker, rush to the nearby Bespin system to get an urgent message to the Jedi High Council in hopes of putting together some sort of plan to defend againt the Jedi’s unseen assailant.

Meanwhile, Telekrin has uncovered key connections between Ionisys and Heron Sols, Inc that link the two to the previously believed defunct organization, Black Sun. But such discovery is about to land him, and the renegade princess of Telos in dangerous waters as the Nexus Torrent enters Bespin airspace…”

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Episode 1: The Darkest Dawn
25 years after the Battle of Yavin, the New Jedi Order faces its greatest threat: extinction!

“Times are good for the New Republic, and nearly all corners of the galaxy have been brought in under its protective umbrella. However, rumors of the resurgence of a once great galactic criminal empire have begun to spread, and with it, pirate and bandit gangs have been banding together to harass New Republic shipping lanes.

Concerned about the Jedi’s role in the New Republic’s government, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker has dispatched three jedi to investigate a possible hideout of bandit activity deep in the Transitory Mists of the Hapes system. Aboard the merchant ship Endurance, the jedi, along with crew of their courier, prepare to exit hyperspace within the quadrants gravity well…”

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