Dramatis Personae

Hassk- mercenary (male Trandoshan)

Corran Horn- Jedi Master (male human)

Keenah- Priestess (female Yuuzhan Vong)

Akhi Lian- Commander (male Yuuzhan Vong)

The Master- Dark Side Adept (male unknown)

Kizin Qel- Master Shaper (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Jaina Solo- Jedi Knight and starfighter pilot (female human)

Tahiri Veila- Jedi Knight (female human)

Ziil- former Shamed One (male Yuuzhan Vong)

Prologue: Dreams in Darkness

She stands upon the surface of a dead world. It is not truly a desert- she was born and raised in a desert, and knows that even in the empty wastes of Tatooine there is life if you know how to find it. Nor is it like Coruscant, a world covered in technology with little in the way of nature. This world is simply dead, from its barren flats to its grey, cloudy sky, as though something has drained it dry and departed in search of other sustenance. To all of her soul- Tusken Raider, Jedi, Yuuzhan Vong- it is abominable.

She takes a step forward, and the ground before her opens up. A vast chasm stands where once was featureless barrens, and from it rise the spires of ancient buildings. Temples, tombs, palaces- she doesn't know what they are, exactly, but they are terrible, clawing the sky as if they would drag it down and soar into infinity. Somehow, it feels as if the buildings are watching her… waiting…

A figure stands in front of the nearest temple, wrapped head to foot in a filthy black cloak. It turns towards her, and she can see nothing beneath its hood except for the outline of a chin and two piercing yellow eyes. Its feeling in the Force is familiar, but somehow off, like a familiar face distorted by twisted mirror. The figure sees her, and it smiles- and then it looks up to the heavens and raises its arms.

A vessel descends from the sky. It is not made from durasteel or any other material familiar to the galaxy, but seems carved from coral. She knows that this is an accurate statement- part of her remembers childhood spent on a similar, far larger ship. It hovers over the valley, and then from it descend warriors encased in fearsome spiked armor, their faces tattooed with the symbols of their domain and caste, as well as their own personal glories. They come to stand among the tombs and the cloaked figure welcomes them, and deep within the ground she can feel something rejoicing.

The cloaked figure turns back to her and beckons, and she takes a step forward almost against her will. And as she does so the ground opens up beneath her feet and she is falling into a vast darkness….

Tahiri Veila came awake with a start, sitting up in her bed and breathing deeply to calm herself. She hadn't had a dream that bad in more than a year- not since before in end of the war, in fact, when her warring personalities had merged into a single being. But she knew at once that this was something entirely different. Her integration had been personal, a battle fought within her own mind. This dream had been her mind reaching out and touching the Force, and being told something in return.

It hadn't, in fact, been a dream at all, but a vision in the Force. And although Tahiri didn't know what it had meant, she was certain of one thing- it must never come to pass.