The stories behind the stories

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith Part 2: Skyborn

“Do you think the village is going to fall into a hole because I talked to your children about some rocks?” — Adari Vaal

Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith Part 2: Skyborn

My second Star Wars eBook for Del Rey — in which the people of Kesh meet some unsavory visitors…
Published by Random House/Del Rey • July 21, 2009
Written by John Jackson Miller

Cover by Dave Stevenson

Edited by Shelly Shapiro

The second of a series of e-books chronicling the history of the Lost Tribe of the Sith seen in the Fate of the Jedi novel series, “Skyborn” focused on the native Keshiri and their first encounter with the Sith. It provided a good opportunity to reimagine some of the stories from the past where indigenous peoples encountered travelers from far away.

By the time of Christie Golden‘s novel Omen, out the month before this episode went live, it was known that the Sith pretty much took the place over. But I wanted the initial meeting to be something other than simply an open-arms greeting, at one extreme, and conquering invaders at the other. “Precipice” found the travelers in question at a pretty dire pass — much like the Mayflower settlers, in danger of not lasting the year — but we’re also still dealing with Sith here, so they’d never seem TOO helpless. And the act of saving them would be an opportunity for regret for whoever did it — eventually.

Enter Adari Vaal, one of the sharpest of her people and someone you might want involved in any first contact situation. Only, she’d have problems of her own — big problems — that made things more complicated, and made her vulnerable to the particular seductions of the Dark Side. Geology was an easy choice — especially as she’d have one clue as to why the Lost Tribe was stranded so long.

“Skyborn” allowed for a fun device, as the events of the story begin close to concurrently with the events of the previous chapter — intertwining and intersecting as we went along. This required notes on what happened on what days, of course.

Another enjoyable thing was writing from the perspective of a culture not too far out of the Stone Age. Little things like the appearance of their world on a map could easily be worked into the mythology — and while we wouldn’t see a map of the land in question, spattered droplets of blood from the gods paints a pretty good picture of what the geography is.

There are always challenges in writing aliens from their own point of view — and keeping things smooth. You don’t want to write, “Say, Al — your skin is looking particularly purple today!” But they’re fun. We haven’t seen the last of the Keshiri…

“We are her deliverance, and she is ours.” — Yaru Korsin

I initially had named Adari “Adair,” changing it as it was a bit too earthly. The short Keshiri names were something that had already been established in Omen.

The uvak that nearly hits the ship in “Precipice” is not Nink, but a wild beast; Nink is still safely tied up in the backyard at that point.

Readers of Omen may have noticed a different name for the mountains that include the crash site. No mistake. All will become clear…

“Gnomon” is one of those Scrabble words you just never work into polite conversation. But we found a place for it here!

There is more to be said about this batch of Sith and their lightsabers, but we learn a little something about them here…

The original eBook included a preview of Troy Denning‘s novel, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Abyss.