Knight of the Order is a novella by Atarumaster88. It is within the Origins of the Exiles as part of the Force Exile Series. Knight of the Order tells of the reclamation of Bespin by the Republic and the Jedi during the Clone Wars.
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.''
Four Jedi journey to Bespin at the head of a clone army to liberate it from the Separatist droid army. Yet even the Jedi are unaware of the dark secrets and trials that await them among the clouds, nor how perilously they will be tested. The dark side has pervaded Bespin and only by defeating it can the Jedi prove themselves to be true Knights of the Order.
The Kel Dor banked his fighter sharply and Selu followed suit as the formation wheeled away from the capital ships to flank the Separatist formation. The larger Separatist ships wheeled to engage in a delaying action while the Hardcells and missile frigates continued toward Bespin, no doubt intent on making their stand planetside.
Selu felt his fingers twitch as he glanced down at his cockpit displays. He had flown in simulators or training areas dozens of times with his master, but never in combat. Running through his mental checklist, he powered deflectors to double-front and charged his laser cannons. The Padawan squeezed off a test shot and was satisfied to see all of his weapons were converging properly. Plo Koon’s fighter soared ahead and Selu rammed the accelerator forward to keep up. The starfighter’s powerful engines throbbed, bringing the two Jedi closer to the Separatist fleet with each second. In their wake, two dozen V-19 starfighters flown by clone pilots followed.
“Master, enemy fighters breaking off to intercept,” Selu reported, noting the cloud of red dots on his sensor board turning toward them. “Likely Vulture droids.”
- Serra Keto, Jedi Padawan (Human female)
- Plo Koon, Jedi Master (Kel Dor male)
- Selu Kraen, Jedi Padawan (Human male)
- Theros, Dark Jedi (Human male)
In 21 BBY, Jedi Padawans Selu Kraen and Serra Keto accompany Jedi Master Plo Koon and war-weary Jedi Knight Caelis Rae at the height of the Clone Wars to Bespin. The Separatists have taken the planet and the Jedi are leading an army to recapture the strategic mining world, as well as defeat a Dark Jedi rumored to be there. Caelis expresses his misgivings about the mission to Master Plo, as well as about Master Plo’s apprentice, Selu, whom Caelis does not feel is ready. Selu himself shares these concerns but is also eager to prove himself in the war.
Selu and Master Plo spearhead the Republic offensive in space, fighting their way through a Separatist fleet to Bespin. There, they fly cover over Cloud City while Serra and Caelis lead a Republic army against the droids. Selu’s fighter is damaged and, to his disappointment, he is ordered back to the command ship. However, when an intelligence analyst makes him aware of a Separatist bomb that could potentially destroy Cloud City, he flies his damaged fighter to stop the detonation. Finding not one but two Dark Jedi, including the notorious Asajj Ventress, Selu destroys their escape craft with his fighter, which causes them to instead launch the armed bomb at the command ship. While the other Jedi pursue their dark side opponents, Selu mounts a desperate rescue of as many of the command ship’s stranded crew as he can. Master Plo pursues Ventress, leaving Caelis and Serra to chase the other Dark Jedi, a man named Theros. Theros shows Caelis visions of the future and offers him an escape from the war. His offer is enticing enough for Caelis to thwart Serra’s attack on the Dark Jedi, and refuse to fight any further. Serra, while skilled with a lightsaber, cannot defeat Theros’s barrage of Force powers.
Selu, having finally rescued as many of the crew as he could, recovers and makes his way down to where Theros and Serra are facing off. Part of him is still in love with her and that drives him to jump into the duel just as Caelis agrees to join Theros. Caelis and Serra duel, while Selu attempts to hold off Theros. He is distracted when Serra receives a minor injury and Theros defeats him easily. Selu is only able to deter the Dark Jedi by hurling a volatile Tibanna line into the path of Theros’s Force lightning, causing an explosion that tears through the lower levels of Cloud City. Serra takes advantage of the distraction to mortally wound Caelis, while facing off against Theros. The Dark Jedi hurls a series of projectiles at an unconscious Selu and she chooses to deflect them rather than kill Theros at the cost of his life. Theros escapes and takes Selu’s fighter to help Ventress escape as well. Rather than admit defeat and return to the Jedi Temple for healing, Caelis takes his own life.
The Jedi Council is nevertheless pleased with the recapture of Bespin as well as Serra’s conduct and decides she has passed her Jedi trials while Selu convalesces. Serra initially refuses on the grounds that defeating Caelis, a former ally and Jedi, is not conduct worthy of knighthood, but Selu is able to convince her by reminding her of how she defeated Caelis yet showed mercy, and withstood the temptations of the dark side. She then is knighted by the Jedi Council on Coruscant, having proved herself a Knight of the Order.
Behind the scenes
Knight of the Order was released in July 2020. At approximately 22,500 words long, it is one of the longer stories in Origins of the Exiles. Knight of the Order is also one of only a few stories to be set during the prequel movie timeframe. Knight of the Order was also previewed completely by two beta-readers before its release.
The story concept was conceived after Atarumaster88 realized that even within Legends continuity, Plo Koon took another apprentice during the Clone Wars, in 21 BBY. Atarumaster88 also was displeased with how Force Exile I: Fugitive started and jumped through several months of events that included Selu’s knighthood without connecting the character arcs coherently, or properly introducing the stories. Instead, he decided to rewrite the opening of Force Exile I, and write at least two prequel stories to bridge the gap between Second Guessed and Fugitive.
In order to write the work within proper Legends continuity, Atarumaster88 had to extensively research a number of sources documenting Bespin's history during the Clone Wars, some of which conflicted. He ended up purchasing Tethan Battle Adventures just to properly research this story. That resulted in him updating several articles on Wookieepedia to properly document what the sources specified for its history.
As is typical for Force Exile Series works, several changes were made to the work during its draft state, including the title. Several alternate titles, including "Trust Under Fire." The story at point included Selu’s Jedi trials on Coruscant and subsequent knighthood, with Serra being knighted on Bespin, but that plotline was removed after Atarumaster88 decided to focus more heavily on the conflict and tension he'd already written into the main arc on Bespin. He felt it would have been anticlimactic to add another trial, and instead he added Serra’s conflict about her own knighthood. The space battle over Bespin also saw extensive rewrites to align properly with the Legends accounts of Bespin in the Clone Wars. Atarumaster88 also revised several pieces of Caelis Rae's dialogue shortly before release based on feedback from a beta-reader to make the character more consistent and believable.
Knight of the Order references numerous works in the Legends continuity. Master Glynn-Beti and several pieces of Bespin's history were originally mentioned in Tethan Battle Adventures and Boba Fett: Crossfire. Bespin's loss to the Separatists and the Dark Reaper were both first mentioned in the Star Wars: Clone Wars video game. Plo Koon's dictum of "size matters not" and Serra's statement that "the future is in motion" are both references to Yoda's dialogue in The Empire Strikes Back. Bespin's orbital platforms were originally depicted in the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike video game. Several pieces of Theros's dialogue were directly inspired by Palpatine in both Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi.
Outside of Legends, Selu's rescue of the Republic crewmembers was somewhat inspired by a similar stunt in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Some of Caelis Rae's dialogue likewise was inspired by Denethor from The Return of the King.
Recognition and reception
Knight of the Order currently has no awards or featured work status.
Notes and references
|Force Exile Series|