Thursday, September 3, 2009

3998 BBY - 3996 BBY: The Freedon Nadd Uprising

The Freedon Nadd Uprising

The Freedon Nadd Uprising furthers the story of Nomi Sunrider, Ulic Qel-Dorma, and company.

We travel back to the city of Iziz on the planet of Onderon, and it is here that the Naddists have risen against the new government of Queen Galia (formerly Princess Galia) and her Beast Lord husband. Ulic, Cay, and Tott enlisted the help of Oss Wilum – Master Thon’s apprentice from our last episode, and together with Master Arca Jeth, battle the insurgents of Iziz.

However, the Naddists score a victory and manage to rescue the sarcophagus of Freedon Nadd, which the Jedi were trying to ship to a distant moon in order to remove the presence of the darkside from the city.

It is here that King Ommin makes his first apprentice in the story, and manages to overwhelm Master Arca with darkside sorcery, and kidnap him away from his apprentices. We learn later that King Ommin plans to twist Master Arca to the darkside of the force. Disheartened by the kidnapping, Ulic sends word to Ossus, the planet which operates as the central hub of Jedi culture and activity (Remember Master Oddan-Urr and his desire to create a library on this planet?) to recruit Jedi willing to help rescue Master Arca. Nomi Sunrider is subscripted to the cause, and it is here that the story line of Nomi Sunrider connects with Ulic Qel-Dorma.

Nomi travels with five other Jedi from Ossus to Onderon, and together with Ulic, Cay, Tott, and Oss, (9 Jedi in total) they manage to defeat King Ommin, and rescue Master Arca Jeth.

The spirit of Freedon Nadd makes many appearances in this story, echoing words of Sith prophesy and doom-and-gloom for the Jedi. Referring to Ulic Qel-Dorma, Nadd says, “a great destiny awaits him". Even though the Naddists and the darkside appear to have lost in this story, Freedon Nadd disagrees, and says “The Jedi have lost today!”

The story ends with Ulic asking his Master what Freedon Nadd meant by this. Master Arca then tells Ulic of a prophecy that the Dark Lords of the Sith will rise again, and that the Jedi must cling to the light to prevent this from happening.

This story, much like Ulic Qel-Dorma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, was very swash-buckling in nature, and why I enjoyed it: people getting kidnapped then rescued, good winning over evil – that sort of thing. And it is always the little things that I enjoy most in a story. Some aspects of this tale I want to comment on are the character Freedon Nadd, Vima – Nomi’s daughter, and the idea of Jedi having children, a Sith museum, and how the darkside of the force is always referred to as “sorcery”, while the light seems to avoid these labels.

I become increasingly more fascinated with the character of Freedon Nadd every time I come across him. What I find interesting about Freedon Nadd this time around, is how there is never any reference to who his Master was, or where he learned his ability to use the darkside of the force. Even in the narration of the tale at the beginning we are told, “ Arca knows that Freedon Nadd was a student of ancient Sith Lords…”. There is never any direct mention of a specific Master. I am curious to find out if light is shed on this in my future readings. I’m also hesitant in this circumstance to reference Wookieepedia for the answer, for fear of having some interesting detail about future events spoiled for me. I’ve been steering clear of Wookieepedia for a while for this very reason.

The idea of Jedi family life is also a subject I have been pondering lately. In The Freedon Nadd Uprising, Nomi Sunrider is forced to leave her daughter on the planet Ossus while she goes on her mission. In my last post I talked about how I am against the idea of married Jedi, and care of children is an aspect of this argument that I think supports my stance. Nomi could have very well been killed in this conflict, and where would that leave her daughter? One may argue, ‘Well, she’s safe with Master Thon on Ossus’, or ‘She’ll receive much love from the other Jedi around her’, but I dare say that the loss of a mother’s love is devastating to a child. She’s already lost her father, should her mother be put in harms way? Should Jedi be having children when they occupy such a dangerous position as peacekeeper of the galaxy? I’m not certain. I still think Jedi should remain single, and now I also think they should remain childless.

One of the side stories to the Freedon Nadd Uprising is the tale of two young aristocrats named Satal and Aleema. They are cousins, and the descendants of Empress Teta, the ruler of the Koros system from 1000 years in the past (The Koros system in now referred to as the Empress Teta system). These two cousins are beginning to dabble in darkside “sorcery”, and have found their way to the Galactic Museum on the planet Coruscant. They made their way to the Sith artifact wing, and through fate, or the will of the Force, managed to steal an ancient Sith tome.
A couple of things stand out at me in this story line. Firstly, I’ve always liked how Star Wars had an ‘old look’ to it. It always seemed like an ancient universe, where everything has a used feel. The weapons have rust, and speeders are old and break down a lot. This particular episode reminded me of this old-world feel. Here I am, reading a story that takes place nearly 4000 years prior to the Battle of Yavin, and the characters of this story are marveling about artifacts from still another 1000 years in their past. This scene gave Star Wars a more layered texture for me. I enjoyed it.

Secondly, I marveled at the arrogance and ignorance of the Galactic Republic, and quite possibly the order of the Jedi Knights of this time. What are they doing putting Sith artifacts and tomes on display for the general populace to wonder at, and possibly pocket for their own selfish use? I was a little irritated by this part of the story. Didn’t a least one Jedi Master think that having these objects out in the open was a recipe for disaster?

My last speaking point with regards to this story is how the characters in the tale reference the darkside of the force. More often than not, when referring to the powers of the darkside, or practitioners of the darkside, it is labeled as “magic”, or the practitioners are labeled as “sorcerers” and “magicians”. I wonder at this, especially when a Jedi Master says such a thing. In the story, this his how Master Arca often referred to the darkside. Is he not aware that the power of the darkside gains its strength from the same place as the light – the place where his own power comes from? Darkside powers are no more “magic” that a Jedi’s battle meditation, or levitation of objects. Or is it? Does the darkside of the Force gain its strength from some other well of power? I’m not likely to agree with this – I think the powers of dark come from the same place as the power of light.

I thought about this for a while, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Jedi are well aware that the power of the darkside originates from the same well as their own power, but that the darkside is so foreign to their teaching, so wholly different from what they know, that they are left with a lack of knowledge when trying to grapple with the reality of the darkside. When something seems strange to us, or unexplainable, we have a tendency to call it “magic”. We can’t explain a card trick, or an illusion, so we say “it was magic”. I think this is how Jedi of the light react to darksiders. The power the Sith pull from is so opposite from what the Jedi know, the Jedi are left simply calling that power “magic” or “sorcery”, and its practitioners “magicians” and “sorcerers”.
For my next post I’ll be moving back to the Tales of the Jedi Companion. Until then, may the force be with you.

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