Author: John Jackson Miller
Medium: Ebook novella
Publication Date: April 2010 on StarWars.com
- Anthologized Jul 2012 in Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories
Timeline Placement: 4,975 BBY
Series: Lost Tribe of the Sith
Ten years later, the Sith have gotten used to the idea that the Omen is unsalvageable and they’re stuck on Kesh for the foreseeable future. The Sith have settled among the Keshiri permanently and used the memory of the plague from ten years earlier to quell unrest among the unfaithful. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Omen’s arrival, Yaru Korsin throws a huge party and announces to the Keshiri that his people will be staying forever! Hooray!
Meanwhile, two separate women are plotting his downfall. (Man, how many of my relationships have ended up that way?) Korsin’s wife, Seelah, still hates him for murdering his brother and her first husband, and has spent decades preparing her son, Jariad, to destroy him and take his place as Grand Lord of Kesh. We’re also helpfully told by Korsin’s inner monologue that, despite being in her fifties, Seelah doesn’t look a day over 35. Aaargh the author just wants to fuck her so bad.
Spinning her own independent conspiracy is Adari Vaal, who, while uncomfortable about how Korsin lusts after her purple flesh, doesn’t really bear a grudge against him personally but against the Sith as a whole. We find out that the reason she ultimately turned against the Sith was because, twelve years earlier (so two years before her resistance movement was revealed in Paragon), the elder of her two sons was killed in an accident while working on a Sith labor crew. She brought his broken body before Korsin immediately, and even though she knew that the Sith weren’t really gods, she still almost believed that Korsin would be able to bring her son back to life. But of course he couldn’t, and Adari can’t forgive him for that.
My favorite moment in this story comes here, at the final meeting between Korsin and Adari. He wants to bang her but knows he never will, and she has secretly soured on their friendship despite the affection he still has for her.
Adari turned back to Korsin. “I’m sorry, but I have business in town.”
“Will I see you again?”
“No, I meant, ever?” Korsin laughed again. She’s uneasy, he thought. He wondered why. “Of course, today. We’re in the same city now, aren’t we?”
Adari rolled her eyes at the colossal building behind them. “That’s a lot of effort just to have me around more.” She managed a smile.
It’s a nicely bittersweet, human moment in a franchise that rarely seems concerned with saying anything about humanity.
The day after the celebration, Korsin and his friend Gloyd go up to the mountain crash site with Seelah to oversee the transfer of the last of her medical equipment to the village. While all the head Sith are isolated at the Omen, Seelah and Adari both decide to spring their traps. Jariad Korsin is the leader of the Sabers, his stepfather/uncle’s personal bodyguards, and all of them are on his mother’s payroll. They surround Korsin, Gloyd, and their other bodyguards when they arrive. Jariad moves in to gloat while Seelah shrieks about her revenge in the background, but Korsin and Gloyd just dis him and joke about the idea of him ever leading the Sith.
Conveniently for Korsin, this is the exact moment that Adari puts her plan into motion. She has spent years maneuvering trustworthy Keshiri rebels into key positions, and at long last they are ready to act. Adari and her agents will steal all the uvak on Keshtah, relying on the species’ flocking instincts to draw them to follow the dominant males the Keshiri will be riding. Adari will then ride her dead husband’s uvak, Nink, into the thermal updraft above Keshtah’s largest volcano, which will blast them and all the hundreds of thousands of uvak following them way out over the ocean where they will never be able to find land again and eventually fall into the sea from exhaustion. With the uvak extinct, the Sith spread across Keshtah will be cut off from one another and unable to maintain control over their dominion.
As Jariad’s Sabers close in on Korsin and Gloyd, they are distracted by the sudden flight of stolen uvaks overhead. Korsin and Gloyd cut their way through the Sabers and escape, although without the uvaks they are trapped on the mountain. Eventually they are separated and Jariad forces Korsin to the edge of the precipice, the same place where Korsin killed his father. Seelah watches gleefully from the Sith’s observation post but her glee is interrupted when Gloyd, cornered in the next room, blows himself up, killing all the Sabers and collapsing the roof on her.
Korsin has been grievously injured and Jariad is about to finish him off when the one variable Seelah’s master plan didn’t account for shows up to save the day: Korsin and Seelah’s daughter, Nida, leading a flight of uvak-mounted Sith. It turns out that Adari’s remaining son, Tona, was in on his mother’s scheme, but he also had a thing for Korsin’s daughter. He spilled his guts to her about the Keshiri’s plan to steal the uvaks, and as soon as Nida had foiled it in the capital city, she went to save her father.
Seelah had tried to delegitimize Nida’s claim to the Sith throne by having her shipped around to different Keshiri towns throughout her childhood, ostensibly to show goodwill to the locals but really to prevent her from being trained as a Sith, while Jariad was molded into his stepfather’s heir. But Korsin had faked the deaths of several of his most loyal followers and entrusted them with his daughter’s tutelage, keeping her true abilities a secret from his murderous wife and holding her in reserve as his trump card.
Adari, meanwhile, realizes that the rest of the uvak aren’t coming and her plan has been effectively ruined. One of her agents arrives to confirm her fears and reveals her son’s role in their betrayal. Adari laments her poor dumb son’s stupidity and likely cruel fate, but, knowing she is out of options, she and Nink lead the uvak into the updraft anyway. They are blasted out over the sea and fall to their deaths one by one. Adari passes out and awakens to find that Nink has led the remaining uvaks and their riders to an inhospitable little piece of land with no vegetation in the middle of the ocean. Now stranded there, they have no choice but to attempt to settle it.
Back on the mountaintop, Seelah awakens in her own medical ward to find herself a paraplegic, having lost the use of her legs in Gloyd’s explosion. After taking such care to preserve her beauty, she has been scarred and marked by the falling debris, which is not an example of irony. Her daughter comes to her and explains that Korsin died of his wounds while attempting to telekinetically throw Jariad off the side of the mountain. After he failed, she did the job for him. Nida is now the Grand Lord of the Sith and ruler of Keshtah.
In accordance with her father’s wishes, the Sith will forever withdraw from the mountaintop, but Seelah will be left behind. Uvaks will fly overhead every so often to drop supplies, but the path down the mountain and up to the Omen will be blocked, leaving Seelah imprisoned in the Sith temple until the day she dies. Seelah pleads with Nida, reminding her that she is her daughter. Nida consoles her with the knowledge that she turned out to be the mother of the new Grand Lord after all, just not the one she wanted. Then she leaves.
These first four Lost Tribe of the Sith entries form basically a complete story arc in and of themselves; the next one jumps forward 1,000 years and features an all-new cast of characters. Precipice, Skyborn, Paragon, and Savior could easily have been reworked and fleshed out into a full-length novel and I think they would have been stronger this way. As standalone novellas, they boast two strong characters in Adari and Seelah, but the rest of the cast, including Korsin himself, are only fractionally as interesting as they had the potential to be. Writing this story as a novel would have allowed more time for character development and let us see the Sith society develop on Kesh firsthand instead of playing catch-up after every time jump.
Because there is a lot of telling rather than showing in Savior. We’re told through narrative exposition how Seelah had tried to negate her daughter as an heir, how Korsin had seen through her ploy and secretly trained Nida in the Sith ways, how Adari came to distrust and dislike the Sith after the death of her son, how the Keshiri came to resent those they’d once worshipped as gods when their uvaks were taken away from them to serve the Sith. We don’t actually get to see any of this, and it’s a shame; the conclusion of this first arc feels artificially abbreviated because of it.
Still, it’s unfair to judge Savior as a finale since it was neither intended nor written as such and the series continues afterward. In that light, it reads more like a transitional chapter, wrapping up conflicts and character arcs from the first three stories and setting up the status quo going forward. Due to how this impairs its narrative integrity, I can give it only 3/5 Death Stars.
(Check out the Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha Archive for more meditations on obscure Star Wars lore.)
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