Knights of the Old Republic: Binding, Reclusion is a fan fiction novella written by user Jedi Master 76. Binding, Reclusion was the fourth and final short work written by Jedi Master 76 for the Days of Dissidence Series, taking place in the aftermath of the previous novel, Hands of Evening. The story was completed and released December 28, 2011.
Binding, Reclusion is a story told primarily through flashbacks; as such, there is no central conflict or defining story arc beyond the central turmoil of the narrator, Northeus Ulsan. Through his visions, he sees into the lives of his friends, allies, and former students through the Force. Traveling as far back as the Mandalorian Wars, he tries to use his newfound knowledge to answer questions he has grappled with during his tenure as a Jedi Master.
In order of appearance and/or mentioning.
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The story begins more than a decade after the events of Hands of Evening. Northeus is alone, wandering the galaxy in exile. Believing himself to be one of the last Jedi—if not the last Jedi—he records his thoughts in the digital journal he received from his beloved Lythi before she died just before the Mandalorian Wars. During the course of his journeys, he sees vision of those he had known before. Though he suspects they are meant to comfort him, they bring him no peace.
The visions are presented as stories in reverse chronological order.
Two years before, Ranval and Eliorae are in bed after sharing an intimate moment. Though Ranval is eager to stay by Eliorae's side, she convinces him that he belongs with the Jedi, who are reconvening on Telos after many years, and she ought to rededicate herself to her work. Ranval is furious, but Eliorae manages to placate him for the night. The very next day they go their separate ways.
Three years before that, Jhosua and Verita have married and relocated themselves to Dxun. Living amongst the Mandalorians, Jhosua proves an able and cunning warrior, much to the chagrin of his fellows who would rather he fight fair. Verita has abandoned her warrior past and raises their two daughters, Glacis and Fier, in the Mandalorian camp. When Jhosua proves himself just a bit too much when facing one of Mandalore's finest warriors, the leader of the Mandalorians summons him and requests his aid in political dealings with the Republic. Although he had no experience to speak of, Jhosua is quite clever and helps Mandalore so much that he receives a position in his inner circle, much to Verita's ire.
A decade ago on Telos, Ralina gives birth to a son, Thertos. Her husband, Lucius, waits with Fetcher until she is finished. Only after Lucius goes inside to meet his son do Manda and the other crewers of the Hound's Sapphire arrive and cause a commotion. When Fetcher and the others go to see the happy family, Thertos motions for Fetcher and the old spacer takes a moment to hold the infant. Seeing the newborn brings him peace after so many years of obsessing over the death of his mate.
Twenty-three years ago, Dynatha's parents, Hart and Nalone, raise their only child in Alderaan's hill country. They live a simple life: her father is a fisherman for the guild, and her mother stays at home and deals with domestic chores. Dynatha knows very few children her age, so it comes as a surprise when Hart finds out his daughter is playing with the crown prince and princess—Geryon and Eliorae Latona, respectively. They are about to dine when De'dlay suddenly barges into their front door, demanding Dynatha from them. The mildly Force-sensitive couple senses his malice and tries to distract him or remove him from their home. Although De'dlay seems ready to retreat, the sudden appearance of Dynatha triggers a fury in him, and he dispatches both Hart and Nalone with ease.
Preux arrives just after their deaths, and he is displeased with De'dlay's violent solution to the problem. He chides his rebellious pupil and sends him away. He tries to comfort Dynatha, having experienced a similar situation many years before, but she refuses to be comforted. Preux uses the dark side to erase her memory of that day and takes her to the Sith academy where she is trained as a Sith. It is not until more than a decade later when Dynatha, again on Alderaan, recovers those memories. She wakes up with a start and discovers that Tserne is not with her. While searching for him, she runs into a group of Jedi Masters who have been searching for her. Although she is hesitant at first, she decides to follow them back to Telos and join the Order.
With that, the visions stop and Northeus finds himself in a cantina at the farthest reaches of Republic space. He meets with the smuggler captain of the Lost Oath, Haphren Marhe, the son of an old friend. The young man is proud and initially unwilling to help Northeus, but a show of force convinces him to honor his father's debt. Captain Marhe is still hesitant, and Northeus successfully fools the young smuggler into gambling away his chance to say no to him. Safely on Ambria, Northeus reminisces on his failure and the rise of the dark side, and he fears neither he nor the Jedi Order will be able to stop it.
Behind the scenes
Binding, Reclusion was the last in a series of edits and drafts to be made on the final Days of Dissidence short story. The initial plot was scrapped late in the writing, mostly in response to story arcs that went unresolved in Hands of Evening. The work that would eventually be called Binding, Reclusion was initially much different. Called Fate's Gambler, the story would have centered around Dynatha Aris and Oryan Tempaar instead of Northeus alone. In the short story, Dynatha would have taken over much of Northeus's role, wandering the galaxy searching for Tserne and occasionally receiving visions about the other characters. In the climax of the story, she would have met with Oryan, who had founded a small club in the frontier, and convinced him to let her use his ship to scour the galaxy. Oryan, initially dubious and unwilling, would have been saved by Dynatha and had a change of heart; the two would leave his club and search for Tserne together.
Much of Northeus's internal dialog refers, in some way or another, to Dark Covenant, the next story to be released in the series. Much of his musings are foreshadowing to plot points in that novel, including the death of his loved one and receiving the chronicling holocron. The initial draft of Dark Covenant had Northeus playing a much larger role in the story, especially during the final act. While the main character was confronting the antagonist, Northeus would have met Srakkos and saved him and his crew, forcing the smuggler to be indebted to him as stated in this story. However, Northeus saved Srakkos during the Mandalorian Wars, and Dark Covenant was eventually shortened so as not to include the beginning of the Mandalorian Wars in its timeline, removing the scene.
The story's flashbacks were inspired by various other tales and folklore. The sequence with Ranval and Eliorae was inspired in part by the play Romeo and Juliet, and it is also a foil to the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala in the prequel trilogy. The sequence with Jhosua and Verita was primarily influenced by the scenes with Mandalore in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, but also in part by the Greek myth of Theseus. Fetcher's story was based on the character and mythos surrounding Robin Hood.
The title is unique in the series in that it primarily has only one meaning. Binding refers to the relationships that tied together the divided protagonists after the events of Hands of Evening; Reclusion refers mostly to Northeus's self-imposed exile, but it also hints at Tserne's desire for solitude as well. The story's themes include dealing with change, the importance of memory, and the tragedy of loss.