Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi, Into the Voi

CHAPTER ONE

DARK MATTERS

Even at the beginning of our journey I feel like a rock in the river of the Force. Lanoree is a fish carried by that river, feeding from it, living within it, relying on the waters for her well-being. But I am unmoving. An inconvenience to the water as long as I remain. And slowly, slowly, I am being eroded to nothing.

—Dalien Brock, diaries, 10,661 TYA

She is a little girl, the sky seems wide and endless, and Lanoree Brock breathes in the wonders of Tython as she runs to find her brother.

Dalien is down by the estuary again. He likes being alone, away from all the other children at Bodhi, the Je’daii Temple of the Arts. Her parents have sent her to find him, and though they still have some teaching to do that afternoon, they’ve promised that they will walk up to the boundary of the Edge Forest that evening. Lanoree loves it up there. And it scares her a little, as well. Close to the temple, near the sea, she can feel the Force ebbing and flowing through everything—the air she breathes, the sights she sees, and all that makes up the beautiful scenery. Up at the Edge Forest, there’s a primal wildness to the Force that sets her blood pumping.

Her mother will smile and say that she will learn about it all, given time. Her father will look silently into the forest, as if he silently yearns to explore that way. And her little brother, only nine years old, will start to cry.

Always at the Edge Forest, he cries.

“Dal!” She swishes through the long grasses close to the riverbank, hands held out by her sides so that the grass caresses her palms. She won’t tell him about the walk planned for that evening. If she does he’ll get moody, and he might not agree to come home with her. He can be like that sometimes, and their father says it’s the sign of someone finding his own way.

Dal doesn’t seem to have heard her, and as she closes on him she slows from a run to a walk and thinks, If that was me I’d have sensed me approaching ages ago.

Dal’s head remains dipped. By his side he has created a perfect circle using the stones of chewed mepples, his favorite fruit. He does that when he’s thinking.

The river flows by, fast and full from the recent rains. There’s a power to it that is intimidating, and, closing her eyes, Lanoree feels the Force and senses the myriad life-forms that call the river home. Some are as small as her finger, others that swim upriver from the ocean almost half the size of a Cloud Chaser ship. She knows from her studies that many of them have teeth.

She bites her lip, hesitant. Then she probes out with her mind and—

“I told you to never do that to me!”

“Dal …”

He stands and turns around, and he looks furious. Just for a moment there’s a fire in his eyes that she doesn’t like. She has seen those flames before, and carries the knotted scar tissue in her lower lip to prove it. Then his anger slips and he smiles.

“Sorry. You startled me, that’s all.”

“You’re drawing?” she asks, seeing the sketchbook.

Dal closes the book. “It’s rubbish.”

“I don’t believe that,” Lanoree says. “You’re really good. Temple Master Fenn himself says so.”

“Temple Master Fenn is a friend of Father’s.”

Lanoree ignores the insinuation and walks closer to her brother. She can already see that he has chosen a fine place from which to draw the surroundings. The river curves here, and a