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Un extrait en français pour le roman The Temptation of the Force !
 
Retrouvailles intimistes entre deux Jedi !
30/05/2024

Bien le bonjour tout le monde !

Un extrait vient d'être dévoilé pour le roman The Temptation of the Force, écrit par Tessa Gratton, qui paraîtra le 11 Juin aux USA.

Attention, il s'agit de la suite de la phase III de ce grand projet corss-média qu'est la Haute République, si vous n'êtes pas à jour sur The Eye of Darkness, cet extrait risque de vous spoiler le sort de certains personnages !

Une traditionnelle remise en contexte étant de mise, ce sera donc le deuxième roman adulte de la phase III de la Haute République, cet ambitieux projet qui s'étend sur différents supports (notamment littéraires, mais pas que) pour raconter une histoire se déroulant lors de l'âge d'or de la République, 200 ans avant les évènements de la Menace Fantôme ! The Eye of Darkness avait introduit la Zone d'Exclusion Nihil, responsable de la séparation entre Avar Kriss et Elzar Mann pendant plus d'un an. Désormais, l'heure est aux retrouvailles... et à la contre-attaque !

La Phase III commencera en France le 11 Juillet avec la sortie de l'Oeil des Ténèbres, la date de sortie française pour celui-ci n'est pas encore connue (on a pu néanmoins apprendre à Cusset que ce serait pour l'année prochaine), mais pour le moment, découvrez cet extrait dans une traduction réalisée par les soins de votre serviteur, après un rappel de la couverture, qui offre un magnifique portrait des deux personnages !


Avar Kriss marchait en silence le long des couloirs du Temple Jedi, une bouteille en céramique d'hydromel d'aigrepierre dans une main, une boîte de pâtisseries aux noix de keldov dans l'autre. Quand elle atteignit les quartiers d'Elzar Mann, elle s'arrêta, plaça la liqueur sous son bras, et appuya la paume contre le métal froid de la porte. 

Dans la quasi totalité du Temple, le chant de la Force s'écoulait paisiblement, sans heurt. Ce lieu n'y faisait pas exception. Elle poussa sa conscience un peu plus loin, cherchant la présence de son ami. Il était à l'intérieur. Un léger sourire se dessina sur ses lèvres, mais avant qu'elle ne puisse toquer, la porte coulissa. Elzar se grattait la barbe, et il laissa immédiatement retomber sa main quand il la vit.

- Avar. 

- Elzar. Je pars au levé du soleil, annonça-t-elle alors que son sourire se fondait en une expression douce et expectative. 

- Je sais, répondit-il simplement en la regardant. 

Avar attendit, étudiant les fines rides de stress autour de ses yeux, des yeux qui la fixaient sans ciller. Sa barbe était épaisse, mais elle restait taillée plus courte que celle de Stellan ne l'avait été. Il ne portait que la première couche de ses robes du temple, une tunique et un pantalon blancs, et il était pieds nus. Quand il remarqua que son regard s'était porté dessus, il remua les orteils contre le tapis. 

- Est-ce que je peux entrer ? demanda-t-elle. 

"La dernière fois que je suis partie, je ne l'ai pas fait proprement. Je ne veux pas partir à nouveau sans toi. Sans nous." voulut-elle ajouter. 

- Bien sûr, répondit Elzar en reculant. 

Avar le suivit en pressant la boîte de pâtisseries contre son ventre. 

- Est-ce que ça vient de chez Tal-Iree ? demanda-t-il d'un ton feutré. 

- L'échoppe est toujours au même endroit, en bas de cette ruelle dans le quartier de Jadeite, répondit-elle en souriant. 

- Je vais chercher des assiettes, souffla-t-il en se dirigeant d'un pas léger vers le meuble dans le coin de la pièce. 

- Et des verres ! ajouta-t-elle en posant l'hydromel par terre pour retirer ses bottes, sa cape et les pans dorés de ses robes. Après quelques secondes de réflexion, elle retira sa ceinture et son sabre laser également. 

Au cours des six dernières semaines, depuis son retour du du territoire occupé par les Nihil, elle ne s'était pas encore réhabituée à porter l'attirail Jedi au complet. Pourtant, elle adhérait à l'uniforme du Temple pour ce qu'il symbolisait : faire partie d'un tout, une mélodie au sein d'une symphonie plus vaste. Et elle regrettait que cette nouvelle mission nécessite de le retirer. A l'inverse, Elzar avait toujours détesté les tenues formelles, mais les portait désormais tous les jours. Ils avaient dû chacun s'adapter. 

Avar se pencha, étirant ses jambes et ses mollets, et attrapa la liqueur. 

- Il y en a trois, dit soudain Elzar. 

Elle leva les yeux, surprise. Il se tenait au comptoir, où deux petites assiettes et tasses étaient empilées sur un plateau sombre, et gardiat les yeux baissés sur la boîte à pâtisserie ouverte.

- Quand je suis entrée dans la boutique, déglutit Avar, je me suis sentie... submergée. L'odeur était identique, le menu était le même, les tabourets étaient toujours aussi ébréchés, même ce vieux tableau au dessus du comptoir était là. J'ai commandé la même chose qu'avant sans réfléchir, et quand je m'en suis rendu compte, je n'ai pas pu me résoudre à le changer.

Elzar hocha la tête et plaça les trois brioches sur le plateau. Quand il se tourna vers elle, il souriait tristement. 

- Je vois que tu fais déjà comme si tu étais chez toi, la taquina-t-il. 

- Le bazar qui règne ici est trop familier pour que je ne m'y sente pas à l'aise, le taquina-t-elle en retour. 

Les quartiers d'Elzar étaient aussi basiques que tous les autres au Temple, à l'exception d'une petite table, d'un lit bas, d'une plateforme de méditation, et chaque étagère était couverte de bric-à-brac. Beaucoup de pièces mécaniques, d'outils, de bouts d'ordinateurs, et de datapads. Des vêtemenst et des robes étaient négligeamment posés sur le dossier de la seule chaise. Avar repoussa un tas ressemblant à des morceaux de plaques de droïde loin du pied du lit et se laissa tomber sur le tapis. Elle s'appuya contre le lit et déboucha le pichet d'hydromel pendant qu'Elzar la rejoignait.

Elle s'affaira à remplir les verres.

- Tu l'as dilué ? demanda Elzar. 

- Avec du jus de rosepomme, dit-elle doucement. 

En dénicher avait été la raison première de son excursion dans le quartier de Jadeite. Ils avaient toujours dilué l'hydromel d'aigrepierre pour faire plaisir à Stellan, quand ils avaient quinze ans et qu'ils faisaient les idiots. Pas parce qu'il n'aimait pas l'alcool, mais pour en adoucir le goût.  

Une fois les coupes pleines, ils trinquèrent et burent le liquide. Ce n'était pas aussi bon que dans son souvenir - peut-être à cause de tous les évènements qui l'avaient accablée ces derniers mois. A l'époque, elle n'avait aucune idée de ce qui les attendait. Bien sûr, c'était le cas pour tout le monde, mais lorsqu'elle était adolescente, Avar pensait qu'elle serait une exception. Elle, Elzar, et Stellan, tout les trois exceptionnels. 

En un sens, elle n'avait pas tort. 

Avar prit une des brioches aux noix et rompit la croûte brune jusqu'à la mie moelleuse. Du menton, elle désigna la table en face. 

- Ca ressemble à des pièces du dispositif Sunvale.

- J'ai fait quelques expériences avec différents alliages pour les blindages, et des styles de construction plus flexibles pour rendre le dispositif plus adaptable à différents types de vaisseaux. Les circuits internes - tout ces câbles, ces lignes de code, ces systèmes informatiques - ça, je n'y touche pas. Je comprends à peine ce qu'Avon et Keven ont conçus pour le procédé de fonctionnement.  

- Je suis contente que tu les aides, murmura-t-elle avant de mordre dans la brioche et de se pencher contre l'épaule d'Elzar. 

- Je ne pouvais pas te laisser retourner au-delà du Mur-Tempête sans qu'une partie de moi ne t'accompagne.

Avar faillit s'étouffer avec un bout de brioche en entendant la sincérité qui émanait de ces quelques mots. 

Elle savait à quelle point cette mission était dangereuse. La technologie expérimentale créée pour traverser le Mur-Tempête n'avait pas encore été testée. Elle devrait coordonner les efforts des Jedi et de la CDR - la Coalition de Défense de la République - pour déterminer la fiabilité de cette technologie et mener des incursions dans les deux sens. Toutes les chances que ces voyages soient sans retour demeuraient. Le Mur-Tempête restait pratiquement impénétrable. Elle devait le savoir, elle était la première à s'en être échappée après un an de tentatives. 

- Une fois que le procédé sera au point, ce ne sera plus très excitant, dit-elle. Juste des allers-retours, évacuer le plus de gens possible et livrer des provisions aux contacts de Maz Kanata dans la zone d'Occlusion. Peut-être que certains Jedi encore en vie là-bas pourront...

Elle s'interrompit en repensant à Porter Engle, qui s'était sacrifié pour distraire le général Nihil Viess pendant l'évasion d'Avar. Il était encore difficile de concevoir la mort de la grande Lame de Bardotta. Mais pas même un Jedi exemplaire ne pouvait survivre à l'explosion d'un vaisseau et au vide de l'espace. 

- Ce sera mission après mission, reprit-elle en se secouant avec une gorgé d'hydromel, chaque fois avec différentes priorités, différents objectifs. Des sauvetages, des opérations de soutient... 

- Ca me semble bien. Ca fera sans doute la différence, là-bas, souffla Elzar avec un ton chargé de sous-texte. "Ce sera toujours mieux que ce que font les politiques ici. Toujours mieux que ce que je fais."

- Du danger, des usages expérimentaux de la Force, des alliés questionnables... énuméra Avar en le regardant du coin de l'oeil. Ca ressemble surtout à une mission parfaite pour Elzar Mann. 

- Je ferais mieux de rester sur Coruscant, grimaça-t-il. 

- Mais pourquoi ? 

- Ca fait bientôt un an et demi que j'assure la liaison entre le Conseil et la Chancelière. Ce serait perturbant que je parte. La Chancelière a confiance en moi. 

- El, dit-elle doucement, avec seulement une pointe de reproche. 

C'était une réponse pour le Sénat, ou pour le public. Peut-être pour un camarade Jedi. Mais pas pour elle. 

Pendant un long moment, il resta silencieux. Avar pouvait l'entendre dans la Force. Ca avait été horrible, durant l'année écoulée, de ne pas savoir si elle pourrait l'entendre à nouveau un jour. Le confort, l'harmonie nécessaire de son chant familier. En être coupée quand elle en avait besoin lui avait appris beaucoup de choses sur ce qu'elle cherchait. Sur qui elle était. 

Avar attrapa la brioche d'Elzar et en rompit un morceau. Elle tendit un morceau vers sa bouche, il esquissa l'ombre d'un sourire et le mangea. Alors qu'il mâchait, il se fit plus introspectif. 

A différents moments de leur vie, ils avaient été aussi proches que deux être peuvent l'être. Elle le connaissait mieux que personne, et elle pouvait affirmer qu'Elzar connaissait la vraie réponse à sa question. Il cherchait une version qu'il voudrait bien lui partager. 

Il y a bien longtemps, il lui aurait tout partagé, sans retenue. 

 

Un extrait teinté de mélancolie, entre deux amis très proches marqués par le deuil et qui ne savent plus comment s'ouvrir l'un à l'autre... 

En attendant de découvrir la suite lors de la sortie du roman, rendez-vous sur le forum pour en discuter !

Parution : 30/05/2024
Source : Le site officiel
Validé par : Adanedhel
Section : Littérature > Romans
On en parle sur nos forums
 
Les 10 derniers messages (voir toutes les réponses) :
  • 08/04/2023 - 22:20
    Deuxième roman adulte de la Phase III, signé Tessa Gratton.

    Sortie prévue à l'été 2024 ! :)
  • 01/03/2024 - 22:40
  • 21/05/2024 - 11:34
    Et un extrait (en VO) pour le livre, issu du Chapitre 1 ! :)

    Attention au spoil sur le sort d'un personnage dans le précédent roman adulte ! :chut:

    Spoiler: Afficher
    Avar Kriss walked quietly down the corridor of the Jedi Temple, a ceramic bottle of sourstone mead in one hand, a box of kel­dov nut pastries in the other. When she reached Elzar Mann’s quar­ters, she paused, tucking the liquor under her arm, and flattened her palm to the cool metal door.

    In most of the Temple, the song of the Force flowed peacefully, easily. This place was no exception. She pushed her awareness out­ward, reaching for her friend. He was in there. A small smile played on her lips, but before she could knock, the door slid open. Elzar was scratching at his beard, but his hand fell away at the sight of her. “Avar.”

    “Elzar.” Her smile faded into something soft and expectant. “I’m leaving in the morning.”

    “I know.” That was all he said, staring at her.

    Avar waited, studying the thin lines of stress at his eyes, the way those eyes focused on her, unblinking. His beard had grown full, though he kept it trimmed shorter than Stellan’s had been. He wore only the innermost layer of his temple robes — white tunic and white pants — and his feet were bare. When he noticed her glance down, he moved his toes against the thin carpet.

    “Can I come in?” she asked. She wanted to add, The last time I left you, I did it badly. I don’t want to leave without you again. Without us.

    “Of course.” Elzar backed up and Avar followed, pushing the pastry box against his stomach.

    “Are these from Tal-Iree’s?” he said in a hushed tone.

    Avar grinned. “It’s exactly where it used to be, down that alley in the Jadeite neighborhood.”

    “I’ll get plates.” Elzar hummed a little in pleasure as he went to the corner cabinet.

    “And cups.” Avar set the mead on the floor, then removed her boots and hung up not only her cloak, but the outermost gold layer of her robes as well. After a second thought, she took off her belt and light­saber, too.

    In the six weeks she’d been back from Nihil-occupied territory, she hadn’t grown used to the layers of appropriate Jedi attire again. She embraced the Temple uniform for what it symbolized, though: being a part of a whole, a melody in a great symphony. It was unfortunate that this new mission would require her to remove it. Meanwhile Elzar had always hated the formal robes, and he wore them every day now. They’d both had to adjust.

    Avar bent, stretching her hamstrings and calves, and grabbed the liquor.

    “There are three buns,” Elzar said suddenly.

    She looked up, startled. He stood at the counter, where two small plates and cups were stacked on a dark tray, and looked down into the open pastry box.

    Avar swallowed. “When I walked into the shop, I was so over­whelmed. It smells exactly the same, the menu is the same, the eat-in stools are just as chipped, that old painting over the pickup counter is the same. I ordered what I always ordered without thinking, and when I realized, I couldn’t bring myself to make any corrections.”

    Elzar nodded and put all three buns onto the tray. When he turned to her, he was smiling sadly. “Already making yourself at home, I see,” he teased.

    “The mess in here is too familiar not to,” she teased back.

    Elzar’s quarters were as basic as any in the Temple, except the small table, low bed, meditation platform, and every built-in shelf were covered in odds and ends. Mostly machinery, tools, pieces of computers, and datapads. Some rags and robes were tossed over the back of the sole chair. Avar nudged a pile of what looked like scraps of droid plating away from the foot of the bed and plopped onto the rug. She leaned against the bed and unstoppered the jug of mead while Elzar joined her.

    She busied herself by pouring for them. “Did you water it down?” Elzar asked.

    “Pinkapple juice,” she said lightly. Locating some had been the reason she was in the Jadeite neighborhood in the first place. Cutting the sourstone mead had always been for Stellan’s sake, when they were fifteen and goofing off. Not because he opposed the alcohol, but to sweeten the flavor.

    With full cups, they saluted each other and drank. It wasn’t as good as when they were kids — probably because they weren’t getting away with anything anymore. They hadn’t had any idea what was to come back then. Of course, nobody ever did, but when she was a teen, Avar had thought she’d be an exception. She, Elzar, and Stellan: all exceptional.

    She’d been right, in a way.

    Avar picked up one of the nut buns and tore through the dark-brown crust to the rich crumb. With her chin she gestured toward the table. “That looks like parts of the Sunvale device.”

    “I’ve been experimenting with different alloy shielding and the most flexible style for the construction to make the devices more adaptable to different kinds of ships. The innards — the wiring and coding and slicing — I don’t touch. I barely understand what Avon and Keven have designed for processing.”

    “I’m glad you’re helping.” Avar bit into her bun and leaned her shoulder against his.

    “I couldn’t let you go back across that Stormwall without a piece of me along with you.”

    She nearly inhaled nut bun at the dedication in his simple words.

    Avar knew how dangerous this mission was. The newly invented technology for crossing the Stormwall was untested. She would be co­ordinating Jedi and Republic Defense Coalition — RDC — efforts to determine the feasibility of the tech and leading forays back and forth. There was every chance it was a one-way trip. The Stormwall remained practically impenetrable. She should know: She’d been the first person to escape after a year of trying.

    She said, “Once we get the process down, it won’t be very exciting. Just making jumps back and forth, evacuating people and delivering goods to Maz Kanata’s contacts inside the Occlusion Zone. Maybe some of the Jedi still alive over there, who . . .” She trailed off, thinking of Porter Engle, who had sacrificed himself to distract the Nihil’s Gen­eral Viess from Avar’s escape. It was difficult to imagine the great Blade of Bardotta dead. But not even an exemplary Jedi could survive an exploding ship or the vacuum of space.

    Shaking herself out of it with a sip of sweetened mead, Avar said, “It will be mission after mission, each time with different priorities, different goals. Rescues and relief work.”

    “Sounds good. Sounds like making a difference out there.” Elzar’s tone was rife with the subtext, Better than the politics here. Better than any­thing I’m doing.

    “Danger, experimental use of the Force, questionable allies. Sounds like,” Avar said, glancing at him from the corners of her eyes, “a mis­sion perfect for Elzar Mann.”

    He grimaced. “It’s better for me to stay on Coruscant.”

    “Why?”

    “I’ve been here, liaising between the Council and the chancellor, for nearly a year and a half. It would be disruptive for me to leave. The chancellor trusts me.”

    “El,” she said gently, with only a slight censure. His answer was a line for the Senate or the public. Maybe fellow Jedi. But not her.

    For a long time, he was quiet. Avar could hear him in the Force. It had been awful last year, not knowing if she’d hear him again — the comforting, necessary harmony of his familiar song. Not having it when she reached for it had taught her a lot about what she needed. Who she was.

    Avar grabbed Elzar’s bun and tore it apart. She held a chunk up to his mouth, and he smiled a little, eating it. As he chewed his attention drew inward.

    At different times in their lives, they’d been as close as two beings could be. She knew him better than anybody, and she could tell Elzar was aware of the real answer to her question. He was searching for the version he wanted to share. What he was willing to tell her.

    A long time ago, he’d have told her anything.
  • 30/05/2024 - 16:19
    Et ce même extrait en français ! :)
  • 05/06/2024 - 9:53
    Allez hop, un autre extrait en VO !

    Spoiler: Afficher
    Burryaga and Bell had been on Oanne for three days, alongside a preliminary evacuation team with the Republic Defense Coalition. Oanne was the only inhabited world in its system, mostly left alone to exist and provide certain Republic interests with a particular fungus that grew on the roots of the planet’s geriatric nativity trees and could be used as a very efficient electroconductor that didn’t leave a traceable signature. A few generations ago, the Republic had made a trade deal with the Elia-An colonies, welcoming them into the Republic. In return the Elia-An had asked for scientists to help them understand the symbiotic gestation they shared with their nativity trees and attempt to form alternative arrangements for offworld travel. There were files and files of information Burry had scanned on his way to Oanne, gathered especially by a Ho’Din specialist. But nobody had successfully created an artificial or even temporary natal chamber for the Elia-An that mimicked their nativity trees well enough for the people to reproduce.

    Therein lay the problem facing the RDC and Jedi: Oanne was extremely near to the Stormwall’s current border, and there was every likelihood of Marchion Ro expanding the border again soon—in the haphazard, unpredictable way he’d taken to doing since Master Avar Kriss’s escape. Oanne would be consumed. The Elia-An faced a choice: remain and be occupied or massacred by the Nihil, or leave their homeworld.

    Bell was determined to convince them they must leave, and he was sure that it would only be temporary. Burry was less certain.

    “The Nihil might set fire to your forests, that’s true,” Bell said with a frown. “But if you’re here, you’ll die, too. If you evacuate with us, you have a chance.”

    “Doesn’t the Republic want us for our—” The translator droid stumbled over the name of the fungus.

    Burry didn’t need to hear it. “No,” he said sharply in An-An, startling everyone.

    Bell slid him a surprised look, but the medicine artist tilted her head to look up and up at Burry.

    Burry met her vivid-green gaze. The bristles along her neck rippled, shimmering green-blue to blue-green.

    Gently, Bell said, “Maybe it’s true the Republic wants your mushrooms, but not me and Burryaga. We want to keep you safe.”

    “Our forest can’t leave,” the medicine artist said to Burry, her trill and growls both soft and pretty.

    Softening his Shyriiwook to better reflect the An-An vocalizations, Burry told her that the forest couldn’t be saved at all if the world fell to the Nihil.

    The medicine artist looked sad. It wasn’t only the color of her bristles that said so: Burry could feel it radiating off her through the Force.

    He glanced at Bell to see the slight pout of Bell’s lower lip that the human got whenever he almost understood a more complicated sentence of Burry’s. Bell didn’t like how much he still relied on interpreters sometimes. Bell’s reliance didn’t bother Burry, but his determination to learn filled Burry with warmth. The first time he’d realized Bell was studying Shyriiwook, Burry had burst into Bell’s little quarters and picked him up off the stool. There hadn’t been room in the bunk to twirl him around, but that didn’t stop Burry from trying. His master, Nib Assek, had made the effort for Burry so she could communicate with her Wookiee Padawan, but Bell didn’t have the same kind of impetus. Bell was just a good friend and strong Jedi who knew it showed respect and that there would always be nuances an interpreter would miss. Bell wanted to understand his friend.

    The medicine artist reached out with her seven-fingered forehand—the Elia-An had an extra set of arms that were shorter with smaller claw-tipped fingers they used to hook into their nativity trees—and patted Burry’s stomach as high as she could reach. It was right above his belt, where the brown of his robes crossed. Then the medicine artist touched her own stomach over the interwoven strips of sashes that served as her clothing. She said something the interpreter droid couldn’t translate. It sounded like the Shyriiwook word for “chiming bells”: Arryssslesh.

    Her name. Burry touched his stomach where she had. He answered her with his name in his native language.

    “Come,” she said, waving over her shoulder as she trotted deeper into the forest.

    Burry glanced down at Bell, then grabbed his friend’s elbow and hauled him up. They followed the medicine artist. The interpreter droid tromped after.

    The forest thickened. This was a grove of nativity trees, which had smooth green-black bark that developed a single furrow up the center as they aged. Most here were older, parents to generations of Elia-An. Their branches spiked upward like wine flutes made of bright-blue filament, and their leaves, with the same downy feathering that covered the Elia-An, shifted in the planet’s breeze. Between the nativity trees, smaller flowering saplings grew, spreading toward one another into a lacework of milky-white branches just low enough that Burry had to duck and walk in a crouch. He tried to avoid crushing the grasses along the narrow Elia-An path, but his feet were too large. When the blades bent and broke, they smelled like spice and their nectar glimmered like star algae. It lit the forest from below, and Burry thought it was beautiful.

    Beside him, Bell said, “It’s beautiful.”

    Burry roared a soft agreement.

    It was easy to understand why the Elia-An didn’t want to abandon their forest, even for a little while. If the Nihil came here, they’d turn it into ashes and smeared nectar.

    Burry tried to let go of the anger he felt when thinking of the destructive determination of the Nihil. Better to rest in this lush forest teeming with the Force. It felt strong and connected, in the way of a healthy ecosystem. Burry, empathic as he was, sensed the emotions of the nativity trees. They were more like their sentient Elia-An counterparts than most trees Burry had encountered. He wondered if any Force users had tried to transplant the nativity trees into a starship’s arboretum. If the Force could communicate to the trees the necessity of letting go their roots here, to survive, that might be a solution.

    The medicine artist brought them into a meadow filled with bright-yellow insects floating around—no, they were seeds. Or insects. Burry found himself purring slightly in amusement. It didn’t matter. Everything here was connected on more than just the level of the Force.

    “Ah, um,” Bell said.

    Burry glanced back. Several of the insect seeds had settled in Bell’s hair like a string of jewels. Burry laughed softly and told Bell he looked very pretty. Bell grinned. It was good to have moments like this, reminded of these pockets of peace and beauty out here next to the Stormwall. They’d spent so much time chasing and fighting, nearly dying again and again. The people here on the edges of Republic space were desperate, and Burry had let himself feel that, too. He was hyperaware of sudden changes, of the potential for everything to explode or fall apart at a moment’s notice. When he went to sleep, he always expected to be woken up with emergency alarms blaring.

    At the far end of the meadow was a nativity tree so large around that six Wookiees with joined hands couldn’t quite encircle it. It had multiple seams, and around it several Elia-An sat in tiny nests of downy filaments with their eyes closed, their extra limbs raised to hook into tendrils from the tree.

    “This is a Grandfather tree,” the medicine artist said via the droid. “This one no longer nurtures our fruit but helps those who wish to be parents pair with a younger tree. The memory in this Grandfather helps us locate our seed-heart.”

    Burry nodded, though he didn’t understand the terms perfectly.

    According to the Ho’Din scientist, the most accurate description of the relationship between the nativity trees and the Elia-An was that the people were the seeds to be cross-pollinated. The Elia-An moved from grove to grove, drifting with their communities to new trees.

    “Come,” the medicine artist said again. Burry went to her, and to his surprise, she took his hand and placed it on the warm, smooth trunk of the Grandfather tree.

    “We cannot leave them,” she said. The droid’s translation was emotionless, but Burry could feel the grief and certainty in Arryssslesh’s trill. He closed his eyes and leaned into the tree. The Grandfather tree was sad, too. It knew. It longed, it . . . Burry felt the pang of pride and sorrow along with something less easily definable, but Burry thought it was like a promise of letting go. As if the Grandfather wanted these Elia-An to go, to save themselves.

    He knew if he said that, Arryssslesh would be even less inclined to evacuate.

    She put her small seven-fingered hand over the back of Burry’s, sandwiching him between her and the tree. Burry breathed deeply, and the Force thrummed throughout him—throughout the whole forest. It felt like home to him. The Force was a galactic forest, leaves and branches and pillars and roots, the complex array of animals and vines and lichen, fungi and viruses and worms that made up the variety of the living Force. This forest, in particular, had grown in a balance. Take one part away and the others would be bereft.

    The Nihil had cut off part of the galaxy from the rest with their Stormwall. If they cut through the Oanne system, Burry was not sure the Elia-An could ever recover.

    They shouldn’t have to leave.

    Bell stepped nearer and, asking permission with his eyes, put his own brown palm to the bark of the Grandfather tree.

    Burry could feel his friend join the connection more directly.

    “Is it better,” Bell asked gently, “to die together, or to live apart with the hope of regrowing?”

    Tiny spots on the Grandfather tree began to glow. They lit up in sequence, one after the other, a trail of light rushing up the lines of bark like shooting stars aiming high. Burry gasped. Bell laughed.

    Arryssslesh’s bristles tipped with the same light.

    Burry understood. They were one. There was no such thing as apart. Not right now.

    He really wanted to hug the whole tree, and so he did. He fell into the Force, into the rootwork and interlocking lace of the branches. He let himself have a moment, this moment, invited to connect with an intricate web of Force.

    Something—something not too far from here—drew his attention through the layers of Force and emotion. A pull. A . . . hunger. It could be a dying nativity tree or a body of water, something slightly diseased maybe. He’d ask Arryssslesh—she would know.

    But first Burryaga pushed his awareness toward it.

    A harsh electronic bleep cut through his thoughts.

    Burry jerked back, and Bell flailed for his comlink. “Sorry,” Bell gasped. “Sorry.” He thumbed the alert off and stepped back from the tree. “This is Bell Zettifar. What’s going—”

    “Jedi!” came the tinny voice through the comlink. “You’re needed back on the Tractate. There’s a distress call from the neighboring system and we—” The comlink distorted. They were deep in the trees, after all.

    In his softened Shyriiwook, Burry promised Arryssslesh that they would return, then he followed Bell’s trot away from the Grandfather tree.

    “I’m sorry, can you say that again?” Bell insisted.

    “It’s Drengir!”

    Burry stopped in his tracks. Drengir—sentient, vicious, meat-eating plant monsters. Here. On the Stormwall border.

    “Burry, come on,” Bell said, shock echoing in his voice.

    They ran.


    Attention amis lecteurs VF : cet extrait vous dévoilera le sort d'un personnage disparu présumé mort lors de la destruction du Flambeau Stellaire à la fin de la Phase 1 ! :wink:
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