First Impressions is a novella by Atarumaster88. It is within the Origins of the Exiles as part of the Force Exile Series. First Impressions tells of the experiences of young Jedi Padawan Selu Kraen in 24 BBY.
Welcome, my friend, to a galaxy far, far away. Enter the realm of Jedi and bounty hunters, soldiers and droids, rulers and beggars, aliens and humans. From Stackpole’s Corellians to Traviss's Mandalorians, immerse yourself in a universe with the exotica of Zahn, the wit of Allston, the grimness of Stover, the daring of Ostrander, the imagery of Luceno, the detail of Wallace, and most importantly, the vision of George Lucas, to whom we owe it all. And if you listen close enough, you’ll hear the sweet sounds of John Williams’ score in the background. Welcome to Star Wars.
Before the dark times and before the Empire, the Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. Their presence sustained the Republic for centuries, but even they could not stop or foresee their own downfall. In the waning years of the Republic, Jedi, soldiers, and explorers strove to find their path, fought for causes dearly held, and discover themselves. Little did they know that these experiences would shape and try them to face the coming storm of exile—or worse. These are the origins of the exiles.
Before the devastating Clone Wars, before the purge that wiped out the Jedi Order, the Jedi were the galactic guardians of peace and galaxy. To perpetuate this role, Jedi Masters took apprentices, called Padawans, to pass on the Jedi way. This story tells of a Padawan named Selusda Kraen and his struggle to earn recognition and become a Jedi. Even at the relative sanctity of the Jedi Temple, Selu must overcome external obstacles and emotional conflicts to stay on the Jedi path, and he can only succeed with the help of those around him.
The cup rattled just a bit, sliding almost imperceptibly across the table. The water inside sloshed around as it was moved by invisible hands, the meniscus bobbing frantically with the motion. A few meters away from the table, a lanky teenage boy of fifteen years stood, his eyes closed, right hand outstretched and trembling with exertion. His name was Selusda Kraen—Selu to his friends. Though he was in no way touching the cup of water, it continued to vibrate and then lifted off the table to float twenty centimeters above the hard, gray ceramic surface, joining two other cups that were floating there, suspended in thin air by the power of the Force.
The young man stood there silently, gritting his teeth as his brow furrowed with exertion. He had been standing that way for the past couple of minutes and both his tan tunic and his black hair, close-cropped save for a long braid marking him as a Padawan, were damp with sweat. There were three cups in the air now, all hovering perfectly still, and three more that remained on the table. The teenager’s right index finger twitched, and the base of the fourth cup started subtly shifting as he sought to extend his mind’s reach around it and lift it, too, off the surface of the table. He had once lifted five into the air, and now, today, he would strive to hoist six telekinetically. If the Force was with him.
- Cin Drallig, Jedi Master
- Ylenic It'kla, Jedi Master
- Bairdon Jace, Jedi Padawan
- Plo Koon, Jedi Master
- Selusda Kraen, Jedi Padawan
- Serra Keto, Jedi Padawan
- Skip, Jedi Padawan
- Aubrie Wyn, Jedi Padawan
- Located at First Impressions
In 24 BBY, Jedi Padawan Selusda Kraen is training to become a Jedi Knight when his master, Plo Koon, informs him that they will be going to Ando soon, along with Jedi Master Ylenic It’kla and his Padawan Skip, a good friend of Selu’s. The two masters give the Padawans time to prepare for the mission. However, their studying is interrupted by a lightsaber training class. Selu is far from an adept combatant with the weapon and leaves practice with numerous burns from a training lightsaber inflicted by Serra Keto. His failure and general clumsiness leave him depressed and irritated.
Selu returns to his quarters to rest after a meal. While asleep, he experiences a nightmare and follows out of bed. His cry of surprise draws the attention of a Jedi Padawan named Aubrie Wyn, who chides him for not treating his burns after making sure he is unharmed and then helps him do so, using her healing skills and training. Feeling better, Selu heads over to the training rings and challenges another Padawan named Bairdon Jace to an unarmed sparring match. After three grueling rounds, Selu defeats Bairdon. Unbeknownst to him, Selu is overheard by lightsaber instructor Cin Drallig, who noticed Selu’s aptitude for unarmed combat and helps him understand lightsaber forms in that arena. The victory and tutelage both help restore Selu’s confidence.
Meeting up with Skip for swimming practice in anticipation of watery Ando, Selu is approached by Serra Keto, who apologizes for being too overzealous in lightsaber training earlier. Selu accepts her apology and offer of friendship. Though Selu finds her attractive, he is aware of Jedi prohibitions on attachment that prohibit any relationship between them and leaves their status as just friends.
Behind the scenes
First Impressions was released in March 2009 as the sixth entry in the Yanibar Tales. At approximately 14,000 words long, it is about average length for short stories in the Force Exile Seriess. First Impressions is also one of only three Yanibar Tales to be set during the prequel movie timeframe. It, along with the other prequel movie-era stories, was moved to Origins of the Exiles in July 2020. First Impressions was also the first Force Exile work to be previewed completely by two beta-readers before its release.
Atarumaster88 had long wanted to write a prequel Force Exile story, and used First Impressions as a way of telling about Selu's Jedi training, and his earlier interactions with Serra Keto, Skip, and Bairdon Jace, which he felt were glossed over in Fugitive. It also allowed him to explore the character of Selusda Kraen "before he picked up things like decent Force powers or a girlfriend. Or even how to use a lightsaber correctly." The title of First Impressions was not finalized until after most of the story was written. A possible conflict arose when a canonical work was discovered to have the same name, but since Atarumaster88 had already created another work, Crossroads, before realizing a canonical work of the same name had been written, he decided that having the duplicate names was not a problem.
As is typical for Force Exile Series works, several changes were made to the work during its draft state. The story was originally intended to cover the actual mission to Ando as well, but that plotline was removed after Atarumaster88 decided to focus more heavily on the conflict and tension he'd already written into the Jedi Temple. This allowed him to keep the tone of the story lighter. Also, Selu's dream sequence was originally longer. Atarumaster88 cut it down shortly after writing, feeling that the scene conflicted itself and served no purpose to the plot. Aubrie Wyn and Bairdon Jace were also not in the dramatis personae of the story at its inception. Aubrie was added during the writing process, while Bairdon Jace was added after a beta reader commented that it lacked continuity with Force Exile I: Fugitive. Selu's original partner in the sparring session was Corellian Padawan Jax Pavan. In 2020, the story saw minor adjustments to the timeline as part of a larger reorganization of the early parts of the series and was moved to Origins of the Exiles.
Recognition and reception
First Impressions was chosen as a featured work on 12 May 2009 after a 3-month nomination process. The successful nomination of First Impressions marked author Atarumaster88's third featured work. It was featured on the Main Page from July through August 2009.
Notes and references
|Force Exile Series|