Elzar Mann Communicates With The Force In Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm – Exclusive Preview
Elzar Mann is a man devoured by a vision he cannot quite comprehend. Pain and suffering, the faces of his dearest friends and people he has yet to meet, swirl around him. But what does that mean?
In the StarWars.com exclusive excerpt from the prologue to Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm, the next Star Wars: The High Republic Cavan Scott’s novel, Elzar attempts to unravel the terrifying images that suggest the end of the Jedi. Read the preview below and grab your own copy when The Rising Storm arrives June 29.
Ashla, Tython’s Moon
The screams had never left Elzar Mann. Many months had passed since Starlight Beacon’s dedication ceremony, since he had stood with his fellow Jedi. Ever since he had stood with Avar Kriss.
The eyes of the galaxy were on them in their temple finery, that damn necklace that itched as he listened to speeches and platitudes, first from Chancellor Lina Soh, head of the Galactic Republic, then from Avar. His Avar. Hetzal’s hero.
The Beacon was their promise to the galaxy, Avar had said. It was their alliance. He could still hear her words.
Whenever you feel lonely. . . whenever darkness draws near. . . know that the Force is with you. Know that we are with you. . . For light and life.
For light and life.
But that didn’t stop the darkness from closing in later in the day. A wave of pain and suffering, a vision of the future too terrible to comprehend. He staggered, clutching at a handrail, blood spurting from his nose as the pressure in his head threatened to split his skull in two.
What he had seen had haunted him ever since. It had consumed him.
Jedi dying one by one, captured by a twisted and unfathomable cloud. Stellan. Avar. Everyone he had known in the past and everyone he would meet in the days to come. Faces both familiar and strange torn apart.
And the screams.
The screams were the worst.
He had gone through the rest of the evening in a daze, going through the movements, not quite present, the echo of what he had seen. . . what he had heard. . . burnt in his mind. There had been some mistakes, a few too many glasses of Rosé Kattadan at the reception, Avar requesting that dance she had been talking about, Elzar leaning a little too eagerly, a little too publicly.
He could still feel her hand on his chest, pushing him away.
“El. What are you doing?”
They had argued, in private, his head was still spinning.
“We are no longer Padawans.”
It had been months since he had seen her again, and when he did, the atmosphere was as freezing as dawn on Vandor. Avar had changed towards him. She was more distant. Concerned about her new role as Marshal of Starlight Beacon.
Or maybe he was the one who was concerned. Elzar had meditated on the vision day and night since the dedication. He should have gone to Avar, apologized and asked her for advice, or if not her, then Stellan Gios, his oldest friend, but Stellan had his own homework. He was now a member of the Council, responsible for guiding the Order as a whole. He wouldn’t have time. Besides, asking for help was not Elzar’s style at all. It was Elzar Mann who solved the problems, not who posed them. He found solutions. Answers. New ways of getting the job done. So Elzar did what he had always done: he tried to solve the problem on his own.
First he had consulted the Great Temple Archives, examining countless text and holocron files in the collection, even going so far as to attempt to decipher the mysteries of Codex Ga’Garen, the ancient grimoire whose text had confused. linguists for thousands of years. .
Even then, sitting in the Archives, under the watchful gaze of statues of the Lost, Elzar had heard the screams in the back of his mind, seen the faces of the slain on every reflective surface or pass Padawan.
The Codex had brought him here to Ashla, Tython’s first moon. The ancients had called this expanse of land the Island of Isolation, which was exactly what he needed if he ever wanted to fully understand what he had seen. He needed solitude; to concentrate. The last straw had been to receive a message from the old master of Stellan, esteemed Rana Kant, congratulating him on his rise to the rank of Jedi master. In addition, the Council had a post for him; he was to be marshal of the Jedi outpost on Valo on the edge of the Rseik sector.
Him? A marshal? How could they be so blind? Couldn’t they see he wasn’t ready? Couldn’t they see how confused he was?
Elzar walked towards the ocean, feeling the warm sand under his feet, throwing off his outer robes as he approached the water. Yes, it was better. It was there that he would finally see the truth. Where he would finally understand. He did not stop on the shore, but stepped deliberately into the waves. Up to his knees. Up to his size. Soon he was swimming towards the sea, only stopping when he could no longer see the land. He turned slowly, walking on the water, surrounded only by the sea and the Force itself.
It was time.
Elzar took a deep breath and pushed himself under the waves, eyes closed, water rushing into his ears, blocking all other sounds.
Give me the answers I’m looking for
There was nothing. No revelation. No answer.
He straightened up, sucking air into his lungs before descending again.
I want to learn.
I need to understand.
Nothing has changed.
Where were the answers that had been promised to him? Where was the understanding?
He repeated the ritual, breaking for air, diving down, letting the ocean swallow him whole. Again and again, and. . .
It was like hitting an air pocket. Suddenly he wasn’t sinking, he was running, his fellow Jedi by his side as nightmares crashed at their heels. They weren’t in the water, but in the fog. Thick. Acre. Impenetrable. Nothing made sense. Not chaos, not panic.
Not the fear.
He opened his mouth to cry out, sea water pouring in from afar, from a different world, from another time.
What is that?
Or is it?
Talk to me!
And the Force spoke with such force that Elzar was thrown into a vortex, images passing before his prickly eyes like purple lightning.
A Tholothian. . . Indeera Stokes? No, one of his tendrils was missing, an unfamiliar face twisted with rage.
Bones are breaking.
The eyes are veiled, no longer able to see.
And the screams. The screams were louder than ever. Harder than ever. And his cry was the loudest of all.
Elzar’s shoulders heaved, seawater gushing from his lungs. He was back on Ashla’s shore, the salt drying on his skin, baked by the scorching sun. He looked around, his eyes still blurry, trying to focus on the golden sand stretching out either side of him, the wings of the wings circling in the sky above, ready to take flesh from his bones. But he was not yet dead. None of them were.
He straightened up and stumbled over to his Vector, pulling his robes together as he went. He needed to leave Ashla. Need to leave the kernel. The Force had spoken. He had already answered her question, if only he had listened.
A name, a planet, where he would finally be able to put things in order.
Star Wars: The High Republic: The Rising Storm arrives June 29 and is available for pre-order now.
Visit the official Lucasfilm hub for everything Star Wars: The High Republic at StarWars.com/TheHighRepublic.
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