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The Final Prophecy
Authors:
Genre: Adventure , Fantasy , Science Fiction
Series: Book 18.0 in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series
Ratings: ★★★★☆☆
Publisher: LucasBooks
Pub Year:
ISBN: 9780099410430
   
List Price: 0.00
Download: EPUB MOBI


Summary

*As a beleaguered galaxy fights its way back from the brink of destruction, the Jedi’s most fearsome enemy plots to end the war–and claim victory–with a final act of domination. . . .

*The troubles for the embattled living planet Zonama Sekot have just begun. As Luke Skywalker and Jacen Solo negotiate its place in the galactic struggle against the Yuuzhan Vong, one of its organic ships is taken by the alien invaders. Scientist Nen Yim is ordered to use the captive to find weak spots in Zonama Sekot’s technology. But what Nen Yim discovers about the planet and its mysteries shocks her to the core. Clearly her people have gone terribly astray. For the peace-loving planet harbors not only the key to its own destruction, but the long-forgotten secrets of the Yuuzhan Vong themselves.

Meanwhile, General Wedge Antilles, commanding one fleet in a three-pronged campaign to retake the Bilbringi system, is suddenly stranded deep in Yuuzhan Vong space, cut off from all contact. Wedge and his ships must rely on trickery and brilliant battle tactics if they are to survive long enough to ensure the success of one of the deadliest and most crucial missions the Galactic Alliance forces
have ever seen. . . .

About the Author

Greg Keyes was born in Meridian, Mississippi to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of Georgia before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of The Briar King, the Age of Unreason tetrology, The Waterborn, The Blackgod, and the Star Wars New Jedi Order novels–Edge of Victory I: Conquest and Edge of Victory II: Rebirth. He lives in Savannah, Georgia.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

ONE

She was being followed.

She paused and wiped a damp wisp of yellow hair from her forehead, touching in passing the scars that marked her as a member of Domain Kwaad. Her green eyes scanned through the many-legged gnarltrees, but her stalkers weren’t yet showing themselves to the usual senses. They were waiting for something—reinforcements, probably.

She hissed a mild shaper’s curse under her breath and started off again, picking her way over moldering logs, through sluggish mists and dense brakes of hissing cane. The air was a wet fever, and the chirps and trills and bubbling gulps from canopy and marsh were oddly comforting. She kept her pace the same—there was no reason to let them know she was on to them, not yet. She did alter her path subtly—no point in going to the cave until this was dealt with.

Or I could lead them there, she mused, attack them while they deal with their inner demons . . .

No. That seemed somehow like sacrilege. Yoda had come here. Luke Skywalker had, too, and so had Anakin. Now it was her turn. Tahiri’s turn.

Anakin’s parents hadn’t very much liked the idea of her coming to Dagobah alone, but she’d managed to convince them of the necessity. She believed that the human and Yuuzhan Vong personalities that had once shared her body had become one seamless entity. It felt that way, felt right. But Anakin had seen a vision of her, a melding of Jedi and Yuuzhan Vong, and it hadn’t been a pretty vision. She’d thought at first, after the joining that had nearly driven her mad, that she had avoided that outcome. But before she moved on, before she put those she loved at risk, she had to consider the possibility that the fusion of Tahiri Veila with Riina of Domain Kwaad was a step in the fulfillment of that vision.

Anakin, after all, had known her better than anyone. And Anakin had been very strong.

If the creature he had seen was lurking in her, the time to face it was now, not later.

So she’d come here, to Dagobah, where the Force was so strong it almost seemed to sing aloud. The cycle of life and death and new birth was all around here, none of it twisted by Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology, none of it poisoned by the machines, greed, and exploitation all too native to this galaxy. She’d come to visit the cave to explore her inner self and see what she was really made of.

But she had also come to Dagobah to meditate on the alternatives. What Anakin had seen was all of the worst of Yuuzhan Vong and Jedi traits bundled into one being. Avoiding becoming that was paramount, but she had a goal beyond—to find the balance, to embody the best of her mixed heritage. Not just for herself, but because the reconciliation of her dual identity had left her with one firm belief—that the Yuuzhan Vong and the peoples of the galaxy they had invaded could learn a lot from each other, and they could live in peace. She was sure of it. The only question was how to make it happen.

The Yuuzhan Vong would never create industrial wastelands like Duro, Bonadan, or Eriadu. On the other hand, what they did to life—breaking it and twisting it until it suited their needs, wiping it out entirely when it didn’t please—was really no better. It wasn’t that they loved life, but that they hated machines.

There had to be some sort of common ground, some pivot point that could open the eyes of both sides and end the ongoing terror and destruction of the war.

The Force was key to that understanding. The Yuuzhan Vong were somehow blind to it. If they could actually feel the Force around them, if they could feel the wrongness of their creations, they might find a better path, one less bent on destruction. If the Jedi could feel the Yuuzhan Vong in the Force, they might find—not better ways to fight them—but paths to conciliation.

She needed more than that, though. It wasn’t enough to know what was wrong—she also had to know how to make things right.

Tahiri had no delusions of grandeur. She was no savior, no prophet, no super-Jedi. She was the result of a Yuuzhan Vong experiment gone wrong. But she did understand both sides of the problem, and if there was any chance she could help Master Skywalker find the solution her galaxy so desperately needed—well, she had to take it. It was a role she accepted with humility and great caution. Those trying to do good often committed the most atrocious crimes.

They were gaining on her, getting clumsier. Soon she would have to do something.

They must have followed her to Dagobah. How?

Or maybe they had known where she was going before she left. Maybe she had been betrayed. But that meant Han and Leia—

No. There was another answer. Paranoid reflexes were a survival trait growing up in a crèche, but even deeper instincts told her that her friends—adopted parents, almost—could never do such a thing. Someone had been watching her, someone she hadn’t noticed. Peace Brigade maybe. Probably. They would imagine they could curry a lot of favor by turning her over to Shimrra.

She twisted her way through a maze of gnarltrees and then clambered quickly and silently up their cablelike roots. They had once been legs, those roots, as she’d learned when she came here less than a decade and more than a lifetime ago. The immature form of the tree was a sort of spider that lost its mobility in adulthood.

She’d been with Anakin, here to face his trial, to discover if having the name of his grandfather would bring him the same fate.

I miss you Anakin, she thought. More now than ever.

About four meters off the ground, she secreted herself in a hollow and waited. If she could simply avoid them, she would. At one level her instincts cried out for battle, but at a deeper level she knew that her Yuuzhan Vong fighting reflexes had inevitable connections with fury, and she was here to avoid becoming Anakin’s vision, not embrace it. There was a part of her plan that she hadn’t told Han and Leia about—the part where, if the cave confirmed her worst fears, she would cripple her X-wing beyond repair and spend the rest of her life on the jungle planet.

Perhaps, like the spiders, she would sink her limbs into the swamp and become a tree.

She reached out with the Force, to better assess her pursuit.

They weren’t there. And she suddenly realized that she hadn’t felt them in the Force, but with her Vongsense. It had come so naturally she hadn’t even questioned it.

That could only mean her pursuers were Yuuzhan Vong, maybe six of them, give or take one or two. Vongsense wasn’t as precise as the Force.

She reached for her lightsaber, but didn’t unhook it, and continued to wait.

Soon she actually heard them. Whoever they were, they weren’t hunters—they moved through the jungle clumsily, and though they pitched their voices low enough that she couldn’t actually understand what they were saying, they seemed to be gabbling almost constantly. They must be very confident of their success.

A dark shadow glided soundlessly through the undergrowth, and she snapped her gaze up in time to see something very large blot the fragments of sky not occluded by the distant canopy.

Native life, or a Yuuzhan Vong flier?

Pursing her lips, she waited. Soon the distant muttering became coherent. As she’d thought, the language was that of her crèche.

“Are you certain she came this way?” a raspy voice asked.

“She did. See? The impression in the moss?”

“She is Jeedai. Perhaps she left these signs to confuse us.”

“Perhaps.”

“But you think she is near?”

“Yes.”

“And knows we are following her?”

“Yes.”

“Then why not simply call out to her?”

And hope I answer the battle challenge? Tahiri thought, grimly. So they did have a tracker with them. Could she slip around them, back to her X-wing? Or must she fight them?

Moving very slowly, Tahiri shifted in the direction of the voices. She could make out several figures through the understory, but not distinctly.

“At some point we must, I suppose,” the tracker said. “Else she will think we wish her harm.”

What? Tahiri frowned, trying to fit that into her presuppositions. She couldn’t.

“Jeedai!” the tracker called. “I think you can hear us. We humbly request an audience.”

No warrior would do that, Tahiri thought. No warrior would use such honorless trickery. But a shaper . . .

Yes, a shaper or a priest might, a member of the deception sect. Still—

She leaned out for a better view, and found herself staring straight into the yellow eyes of a Yuuzhan Vong.

He was perhaps six meters away. She gasped at the sight of him, and revulsion jolted through her. His face was like an open wound.

A Shamed One, despised by the gods. He dared—her hand went to her lightsaber.

Then the shadow was back, and suddenly something sleeted through the branches, shredding the leaves and vines around her. She snarled a war cry and ignited her weapon, swirling it up to send two thud bugs burning off through the jungle.

Above her, through the now open canopy, she saw a Yuuzhan Vong tsik vai, an atmospheric flier, huge and ray-shaped, and from it snaked long cables. To each cable clung a Yuuzhan Vong warrior. One passed less than two meters from her, and she braced for the fight, but he went on past, oblivious to her presence, striking the jungle floor and uncoiling his amphistaff in the same motion.

A terrible wail went up from her pursuers. She could see them now, all horribly disfigured, all Shamed Ones. They raised their short clubs and faced the warriors.

They didn’t...