Saturday, October 30, 2010

580 BBY - 232 BBY: Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force

A word of warning to would be Star Wars Chronology writers or those interested in investigating in great detail the workings of this world: this path is not for the faint of heart! All stones must be overturned along your journey! All paths, those clearly marked and those hidden from first sight must be explored and trod upon. All avenues must be investigated if one wants to encounter the full wonder of this magical realm. Heed my advice: begin your adventure with the writings of Abel Pena, for he is a shaper of this world, and his knowledge of this universe knows no bounds!

In my post today I’ll be going over some minor details of Star Wars history found in the text of Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force. The pages I’ll be covering are 192-192, page 197, and 133-134.

Pages 192-194 and 197 deal with the Teydryn holocron, and the words of Bodo Bass and his encounters with other Force schools. Meanwhile pages 133-134 deal with the planet Almas and a Sith fortress found there.

The first story from these particular pages is an interesting tale of abandonment and the development of the Zeison Sha school of the Force. In or around 2000 BBY some friends and family of the Jedi settled upon the planet of Yanibar believing a group of Jedi was close behind to assist with the settlement of the planet. However the Jedi relatives who knew of this mission were all killed and knowledge of this settlement mission was forgotten. This small band of pioneers was quickly forgotten and had to then fend for themselves. Unfortunately, the settlers believed the Jedi forgot them on purpose, and over time resentment and suspicion of the Jedi grew on this colony. In the year 580 BBY, Jedi Master Bodo Baas rediscovered this lost mission, and attempted to persuade this thriving force-sensitive colony back into the Jedi Order – to no avail. Master Baas, in the Teyndryn holocron describes this unique school of the force, commenting on their impressive telekinetic power, along with their ability to wrap themselves in the force to protect themselves from harmful incoming objects.

The Zeison Sha reaction to Bodo Baas reminded me of the millennia old suspicions between the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox churches of the east. When Baas warned the elders of Zeison Sha about the epitomizing of self reliance, Baas says to them “self-sufficiency can quickly turn into selfishness”. Wise words I agree. The ZeisonSha’s response was interesting as well. A warrior stepped from the crowd to challenge Baas’ words and said: “‘If not for our self-reliance, our ancestors would have died shortly after your ancestors left them here’. Because this warrior’s elders did not reprimand her, I could only assume they agreed with her assessment.” Baas laments the failure of his mission, and ends his report with his respect of the Zeison Sha’s wish to remain independent of the Jedi Order.

Page 197 tells the story of Baas’ second encounter with another school of the Force: The Matukai. Bodo Bass’s reaction to this particular school of the Force left me quite shocked. Upon hearing of this school and meeting with its leader, Baas says: “I believe we should be content to let the Matukai exist as an autonomous organization, provided that they continue to steer clear of the darkside”. I was taken aback by the arrogance of this statement. ‘let them exists!?!’…How kind of the Jedi! It makes Mendor Typhoons comment (the leader of the Matukai movement) to master Baas that: “…the Jedi method of teaching the Force was both elitist and ineffectual” hold some sway. Anyway, still interesting stuff.

Pages 133-134 are remarkable, because it is a story which begins with the character of Darth
Rivan, a Sith decedant of Revan, and the namesake of this particular Dark Lord. Rivan is famous for building a Sith fortress on the planet Almas – a fortress which was still standing after the Clone Wars. I’m not certain how long this fortress lasts in Star Wars history, but it’ll be something I’ll keep my eye on as I progress forward.

The small story on pages 133-134 tell of an explorer finding the planet in 232 BBY. Reidi Artom, the explorer in question, was wise enough to leave the fortress she rediscovered alone. Eventually the Jedi arrive on Almas, set up an academy, and begin to struggle with unlocking the fortress’ mysteries. Later on in the narrative, Jedi Master Lanius Qel-Bertuk tells a harrowing story of betrayal and murder, initiated; it would seem, from the evil aura of the fortress.

The story aside, what is most remarkable about this little tale is that we find the machinations of Abel Pena once again operating in the background of the Star Wars universe. Upon researching Darth Rivan on Wookieepedia, I came across Pena’s article titled “A Darth by any other name, Part 3”. In these blog posts from Pena explains to fans the Darth names he’s responsible for creating, and connects for us the history of the Sith Lords from Sadow to Bane. In this third installment, Pena explains how Zannah came by her name, and how she and Bane link their Sith names to the Dark Lords of the Sith before them. What I find most remarkable about Pena’s work is the depth of thought he puts into the elements of the Star Wars universe he adds to, and how very little is placed there haphazardly. This is why I began this post the way I did. Pena’s work in the Star Wars universe has had a deep and lasting impact on the mythos of this realm, and any explorer of this universe needs to familiarize themselves with his essays, thoughts, and contributions. As it is, the events after 2000 BBY to 1000 BBY are filled with history and intrigue, especially for the Sith and their ilk, most of it courtesy of the imagination of Pena and other Star Wars shapers – events which found their way, imperceptibly, into the pages of Jedi vs. Sith.

October, as it turned out, was a very busy month for me and I can’t really explain why. It seemed like I had something going on every day of the week this month, and this particular post took me over a week to complete because my energies and time were constantly being placed in other areas of my life. After this post I’m not really sure if November will be any different. But who knows, maybe I’ll find myself with a little more free time after classes in the coming weeks.
For my next post I’m going to examine the latest installment of the SWTOR timeline titled The Fall of Exar Kun. After that, I’m going to make a post on Dan Wallace’s The Jedi Path. I received my copy this week but haven’t had the chance to hide-out somewhere and read it cover to cover. After that, I’m going to rejoin my chronological journey and examine the story The Apprentice found in Star Wars Tales volume 5. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. I'm glad you like Pena's work. He and a few others (especially Dan Wallace and Jason Fry) are masters of adding fascinating lore by adding in short, almost throw-away lines in their work. And most definitely, it's all thought through in minute detail. I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Essential Atlas.
    If you're planning on doing a "Looking Back Roundup", there are a couple more items you could do as well:
    TOR Timeline Exar Kun entry
    Lost Tribe of the Sith: Purgatory (3960 BBY)
    Knight Errant: Influx ( (1032 BBY)
    The Jedi Path (about 990 BBY, I think)

  2. Yeah, Why haven't you made entries about all the information in the Essential Atlas before?

  3. I've already got the Exar Kun timeline entry completed in rough draft, so I'll probably have a good draft done sometime this week and ready to post. I forgot to mention that I'll be moving on to JJM's Purgatory after that (I've already read it and have that post mostly written in my head). Once I'm done with JJM's stuff, I'm going to go ahead and look at Dan Wallace's Jedi Path. Something I'm biting at the chomp to get at! The Knight Errant material haunts me a little bit. On the one hand I want to engage with it, but on the other hand time to work on my PhD is getting harder to come by and I want to keep consistently moving forward, and I guess I feel the Knight Errant stuff can wait. I'm still not sure if I want to deal with it as a collective, and therefore wait until its story arc has come to an end, or deal with it piece-meal as it comes out.

    With regards to the essential atlas, it's still a source text I need to get my hands on, so to be honest I haven't even looked at it. Joe hasn't mentioned it in his timeline, so I guess concerning Star Wars history it was a source I felt I could look at at the end of the project: to fill in the gaps of my Star Wars knowledge.

    I dunno - is this something I've overlooked? If it is I'll defiantly get my hands on a copy and start picking it apart.

  4. Well, the Essential Atlas is not a text written in an In-Universe perspective, I guess that's why it isn't included in Joe's timeline.
    But there is a certain part of it, called "Part III: The Atlas of Galactic History" which tells alot of interesting stuff that happened prior to the Rakatan Infinite Empire. It details the first Jedi Schism and has a great galaxy map with all of the major systems, I always use it to trace the movements of all characters in the books/games/movies I'm examining. Works quite well and just adds to the experience.

    I would LOVE to see your reactions to it, if you choose to read it that is.

  5. I think the first Jedi schism was covered in the Essential Guide to the Force, because I remember writing something about that time period, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    I think now the Essential Atlas will be on my Christmas list, and it'll only be a matter of when, not 'if', I cover its material:)

  6. I think I recall Jason Fry saying that while it isn't explicit, he considers the Atlas to be an in-universe text. It's on Joe's timeline, too, but listed during the legacy era, since it would have to have been written then if it's in-universe.

  7. Okey, but if that were the case, wouldn't all the SWTOR Timelines take place at the same time in Joe's timeline? :O
    Is not like it matters, but maybe he will place them correctly one day.

  8. Not necessarily. The Essential Guide to the Force has in-universe stories from their respective time periods. I'm not sure if this is the case with all essential guides though. As it is, Joe has included it at 41 ABY, and 137 ABY - it's the last source on Joe's list. Fitting.