Knights of the Old Republic: Absolution is a fan fiction novella written by user Jedi Master 76. Absolution was the third short story written by Jedi Master 76 for the Days of Dissidence Series. The novel takes place several years after the events of the last story, Phantom Rising, involving characters introduced in the first novel, Convict's Dawn instead of those featured in stories like Knight of Alderaan or Phantom Rising. The novella was completed and released December 18, 2010 and received a minor updated in 2013.
Absolution chronicles the latest mission of the Ghoul and Arcana, two assassins who work for the organization known as the GenoHaradan. Although the assassin's guild and its leadership were splintered by Revan during the Jedi Civil War, a few members survive in the shadows and do what they can do, in their minds, aid the Galactic Republic. Their mission brings them face-to-face with Lucius Velle and his pirate companions, whom the organization has decreed a threat to the Republic. Of course, even this mission is not as simple as it appears, especially when Arcana beings to have second-thoughts about her position in the GenoHaradan itself.
In order of appearance and/or mentioning.
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Vehicles and vessels
On some distant arboreal world, Rajes Thonnel, now a captain in the Republic Army, is escorted to a hideaway house. Narcissistic and otherwise obsessed with appearances, he makes the ride hellish for his military escort and the civilian pilot. Despite this, he proves perceptive, realizing that his pilot is hiding something and noticing the heavy guards hidden around the safe house. He is quickly escorted inside and reintroduced to the now-retired Ducian Eto. The retired officer explains that he needs Rajes help in exposing the famous and widely regarded senator, Oro Malthesinores, as a traitor to the Republic. Before Rajes can give an answer either way, a firefight breaks out outside. The guards outside the compound have been dispatched, and when the guards inside go to investigate, their assailants rush inside Ducian's safe house. A cloaked figure strikes Ducian with a projectile before attacking Rajes. While a wounded Ducian and his surviving guard fight against a heavy repeater-toting enemy, Rajes grapples with the cloaked figure—and learns she is a woman. Besting her, he distracts the remaining assailant long enough for Ducian to escape out the back door. Before the surviving guard dies, he primes a grenade that wounds their enemy, allowing Rajes to escape with Ducian.
The two assailants, agents of the GenoHaradan known as Arcana and Morgue, survive the encounter and wait for transport back to their headquarters. They had infiltrated Rajes Thonnel's unit and posed as his bodyguard and driver, and once he had started his meeting with Ducian they had attacked. Though they failed, Morgue suspected that their punishment would not be particularly severe, because Arcana was valuable to the GenoHaradan.
Several years beforehand, during the battle for Alderaan, the Jedi Covenant had rescued Dynatha Aris from the Sith. However, given the extent of the torture she had endured, it did not seem that she would survive. Jram, a Jedi Master who doubted himself and the Watchcircle for their zealotry, had saved her against the wishes of Master Telerus Eston. Using the extent of his Force power, Jram manages to save her from the jaws of death, but he dies as a result. By the time Telerus arrives, Dynatha has fled and is a frenzied state, attacking anyone she encounters. While Telerus contemplates Jram's disobedience, he receives a revelation that convinces him that Dynatha is in fact an avatar of the light side of the Force, or Ashla. He believes that Dynatha will return to them when they return the Jedi to the light and allows her to flee for the time being.
Dynatha escapes the Jedi Covenant ship and reaches Nar Shaddaa. Bounty hunters eager to get credits for capturing a Jedi pursue her, but she manages to avoid them by jumping off a walkway, apparently to her death. However, the Force unnaturally saves her, as though she had an additional helper, and heals her of her wounds. While she struggles to piece together everything that had transpired since she left Alderaan, she is approached by GenoHaradan agents led by Morgue. Thinking she is far stronger than she actually is, he offers to protect her in exchange for helping them. She is hesitant at first; she has never killed anyone and could never see herself becoming an assassin. However, seeing no way off Nar Shaddaa on her own, she agrees to his proposition. Upon joining the GenoHaradan, she is given the name Arcana.
After failing to kill Ducian Eto, Dynatha and Morgue return to the GenoHaradan space station, Rebel Dawn, where Dynatha meets with the chief overseer. Morgue has already blamed Dynatha for their failure, and—given Dynatha's poor track record—the Overseer sees no reason to doubt him. He rebukes her and demands that he successfully kill Lucius Velle, a former Republic pilot who has stolen many secrets from both factions in the Jedi Civil War. When he tells her she will be working with the Ghoul, Dynatha asks for Morgue's assistance instead; the overseer strikes her and sends her away. She is put aboard a shuttle with the Ghoul and the two interact only briefly during their four day journey. The Ghoul is every bit as frightening and psychotic as his reputation suggests, and she finds herself scared for her life. Despite this, he displays some hints of compassion and seems worried for her sake, even though he tries to coat it in utilitarian terms.
Once they arrive on the planet, the two assassins head into the wasteland to look for Lucius' hiding place. During their trek, they are ambushed by Mercium the Hutt's mercenaries. Before the Ghoul can eliminate them, the Hutt himself arrives with many combat skiffs and questions them. When Dynatha explains they are going to kill Lucius, Mercium tells them that many of his slaves were freed by Lucius and the Hutt intends to repay him most violently. Although the Ghoul is hesitant at first, they eventually agree to work together to kill Lucius and his allies. After a large feast, Dynatha finds the Ghoul and wanders the beach with him, confessing to him that she intends to flee the GenoHaradan during the course of the battle. The Ghoul hints at working with them against his will, just like her, but he refuses to confirm her suspicions.
The next morning, Mercium and his lieutenants work together with the assassins to come up with a plan of attack. Lucius and his companions had hunkered down in a derelict light cruiser that floated a couple dozen meters off the edge of the shore, kept above water by the reefs it had crashed on. A host of slaves would attack their position head-on while Dynatha and the Ghoul sneak up on them and do as much damage as possible. Once they were inside, one of them would give the signal, and Mercium's Weequay lieutenant would send in a stronger host to deal with the survivors.
When the time comes to attack, the slaves do their duty and Dynatha and the Ghoul manage to sneak inside, but the duo is bested by Lucius—known to his companions as Vaerk Luus after escaping the battle around Polus—and his two comrades. The two assassins are bound and disarmed. The Vultan, Raxsus Nuli, and his Wookiee companion Syrook, presume that killing the two is safer, but Lucius only halfheartedly agrees. The Ghoul, evidently concerned for Dynatha, lies to their captors and tells them that she—as Mercium's slave—knows details about him and his battle plans. After a brief spat with the Ghoul, Dynatha convinces them that they have decided to change sides and help Lucius and the others, and the Ghoul reluctantly agrees. Although Ghoul is disappointed that Dynatha did not use her opportunity to flee, Dynatha appreciates the gesture and tells him her real name to convince him that she trusts him.
While the five of them deliberated in the derelict ship, Darth Traya confronted Mercium the Hutt. She had tasked him with killing Lucius, worried that his actions would unite multiple factions and peoples against the Sith, in exchange for a large sum. When Mercium confides in her that his new assassin allies will do what his mercenaries had failed to do, she realizes that the shatterpoints she had seen have changed; she predicts Lucius will survive, as will the assassins, and Mercium will soon die. With the future in motion, she leaves the Hutt to his business.
At the water's edge, the Hutt ordered his Nikto lieutenant to begin the next phase of their attack. Many slaves and mercenaries move in to attack, but Syrook, Raxsus, and Lucius manage to hold them back for several hours, using the reefs' natural chokepoints and the few entrances into their defensible position to their advantage. However, with so many foes and so few defenders, Lucius and his allies quickly begin to deplete their ammunition and supplies. When the Hutt sent armored skiffs to provide suppressive fire for his mercenaries, the defenders decide they have no choice but to retreat onto the top of the ship where Syrook is pinned down. Before they depart, the Ghoul convinces them to set him free so he can distract the enemy while they flee. Despite Dynatha's urging, he goes alone.
Using the invisibility he had mastered while fighting alongside Jedi Master Vash, Tserne DeLarane—having taking on the Ghoul's identity—slaughters many of the Hutt's slaves and mercenaries. The Weequay lieutenant manages to identify him despite being invisible, but he and his company are easily dispatched by the assassin. Nevertheless, there are too many foes for Tserne to challenge on his own, and he eventually succumbs to blaster fire. Just before he dies, Lucius and his allies provide cover fire for Dynatha so she can reach him. Though he is about to die, he tells Dynatha to forget about him and make a new life for herself free of the GenoHaradan. She refuses to leave him, thankful for his aid. Using all of the Force power she can muster, she heals Tserne and restores him to health just enough so that the two of them can retreat back into the derelict ship.
Tserne and Dynatha return to Lucius and the others and are thanked for their assistance. Syrook reports that Mercium and his forces are fleeing despite the fact that they could have hypothetically maintained their attack and seized the day. Together with Dynatha and Tserne, Lucius and the others leave the planet on their shuttle. The five of them return to the GenoHaradan space station. Dynatha goes to the overseer and demands that he release the Ghoul from his servitude, but he intends to punish her for her newest failure. Suddenly, Lucius, Raxsus, and Syrook appear and deal with the assassins guarding the overseer—including Morgue. When the overseer lunges at Dynatha, Tserne intercepts and kills him. With the threat of the GenoHaradan gone, Dynatha and the others leave the abandoned station and hope to find work elsewhere in the galaxy.
Behind the scenes
The story that became Absolution went through several conceptual changes prior to its ultimate release. Initially, the short story would have been called Arbiter of Justice or Arbiter of Light. The earliest outlines of the short story were focused around the characters Dynatha Aris, the former Sith learner, and Telerus Eston, the leader of the Jedi Covenant. Although this version of the story was changed prior to any drafts being written, the story was planned to detail how Dynatha was saved by Jram and the rest of the Jedi Covenant and how she came to be accepted by their order. After going on a few short missions with a neophyte member of Watchcircle Dominus, she would realize that her ideals conflicted with their goals. Fleeing from them, she would have met up with Jhosua and Verita, two characters from Vanguard of the Republic, and escape with them.
Jedi Master 76 altered the story and outlined its current form after finishing the previous story. Although elements of the early story remain, the overall structure and the characters involved are quite different. The GenoHaradan plot was introduced late in Knight of Alderaan's story as a way of separating Tserne DeLarane from the smugglers after the first act of the novel. Instead of focusing on the Jedi Covenant, Absolution continued that plotline by showing more of the mysterious GenoHaradan faction, expounding upon Tserne DeLarane—known as the Ghoul for most of this story—and his character, and giving Dynatha a worthwhile reason to join an independent faction.
The introductory sequence with Rajes Thonnel and other characters in the Republic military serve as a callback to Vanguard of the Republic, where the vast majority of characters were soldiers. Further, it increases his and Colonel Eto's overall importance in the series as a whole and opens up a way for him to be introduced in the primary novels. The overall conspiracy aspect of the Republic military subplot was created to tie into the enigmatic relationship between the Galactic Republic and the GenoHaradan. Rajes Thonnel's obsession with beauty was partially inspired by the character of Duke Oliver of Tanas in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance.
Lucius Velle, and the villains who are interested in him, were recent additions to the novel. The canon character of Raxsus Nuli and his Wookiee companion, both clearly inspired by Han Solo and Chewbacca, respectively, were the first characters who were supposed to meet Dynatha and Tserne. Lucius was later added to the duo to ensure that he could reappear in Hands of Evening. However, Jedi Master 76 realized that it would make no sense if the two assassins simply met the trio and helped defend them from their opponent; therefore, the story was tweaked so they met with the Hutt first and joined the defenders later. Mercium the Grandiose himself is meant to be a villain not in the vein of the Sith, who seek power, lust, or fulfillment in their evil, but a greedy character who embodies hedonism. In this way, he shares similarities to Jabba the Hutt, but he is more directly inspired by the character Bogga from the Tales of the Jedi comics.
The story and the GenoHaradan's part in the plot was inspired by the historical sequences of the video game Assassin's Creed. Further influences include the video games Fire Emblem, the Tales of series, the Halo series, the Mass Effect series, as well as the films 300 and Predator. The inspiration for the crashed ship serving as a defensible base for Lucius and his company comes from the episode that introduced General Grievous in the original Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series.
The title refers to Tserne and his acknowledgement of and attempted atonement for his past actions, especially as an assassin for the GenoHaradan. However, it could also refer to Jedi Master Jram's attempts to make up for his past failures by saving Dynatha, Lucius's rescue of Mercium's slaves to redeem himself for serving in the Sith military, or Dynatha turning away from the dark side that she had served as a young girl. The story's overarching theme, as hinted at in the title, is the search for redemption and the acceptance of salvation.