Know Thy Enemy

“You want to take the Falcon?” Han Solo’s tone was indignant.

“We’d only need it for a month – six weeks max,” Luke Skywalker quickly put in.

Han didn’t even have to think over his brother-in-law’s request. “The answer’s no. I got a race I’m refereeing on Corellia in two weeks.

Luke wasn’t about to give up. “But you can find other transport.” He followed Han into the hangar café with padawan Ben Solo on his heels. “Leia’s got hundreds of connections and folks that owe her favors.”

“Too bad you can’t say the same thing,” Han grumbled under his breath as he grabbed a booth and squinted at the menu display. Luke and Ben piled in on either side of him.

“But the Falcon is still the fastest freighter in her class.”

Han tore his gaze away from the menu with a sigh. “Why do you need a freighter? You said you were just taking this girl to Jakku.”

Luke motioned for his brother-in-law to keep his voice down.

“Oh, right,” Han muttered with a roll of the eyes. “Sorry. I forgot. It’s classified.”

“There are some…artifacts we want to look for on the way back.” Luke absently ran a finger along the edge of the table.

Han gave a small snort. “The kind of artifacts that attract attention from station authorities and black market runners?” He shook his head. “I run a clean ship these days.” He turned back to the menu as his stomach gave a loud rumble.

“Right.” It was Luke’s turn to roll his eyes. Han ignored him. “Forget we asked. We’ll find another way to get Rey to her new home.” He slumped back into his seat, defeated.

Han selected a sandwich and drink from the screen. “So, you’re just going to leave this little girl on that kriffing desert planet?”

Luke folded his arms. “I grew up on a desert planet. We had to conserve resources, but it wasn’t all bad.”

“Dad,” Ben ventured with a hopeful gleam in his eye, “this trip would be the perfect opportunity for me to gain piloting experience.”

Solo looked across the table at his fifteen-year-old son and let out another long sigh. “You can get that on another ship. Chewie and I are taking the Falcon to Corellia. I want to retrofit….”

“I don’t want to pilot another ship.” The gleam died in Ben’s eyes. He threw up his hands. “You never let me fly the Falcon!”

“Ben,” Luke called after his nephew as the teenager launched himself out of the booth and pushed through the hangar crowd.

The tall, lanky boy didn’t slow his pace until he reached the doors that led out into the bustling spaceport. He would have run all the way to Danta Station and back, pounding his anger and frustration out on the pavement, but instead, he was brought up short by a blonde woman coming in through the doors.

“Ben!” she breathed, catching him up in her arms with a laugh. “I was just coming to find you. What are you up to?” Amanda Snoke eyed him intently as he caught his breath.

“I was going to have lunch with my dad,” he muttered, “but I changed my mind.”

“Oh? What’s wrong?” she led him over to a bench and sat, pulling him down beside her.

He looked away and swallowed back his anger, but his right hand curled into a fist. “He won’t let us borrow the Falcon.”

“I see. Well, don’t worry,” she said brightly, patting his knee. “We’ll find a ship. In the meantime, I came to give you this.” She reached into her bag and brought out an ornate box carved from an exotic dark wood. “Open it.” She placed it in his palms and let her hands linger on his for a moment.

He did so carefully and then looked up at his friend, eyes wide. “What is it?”

“I’m not sure,” she admitted, glancing down at the ancient paper book within. “But I think it may have come from the Jedi Archives. I thought you and your uncle should have it.”

Ben gently opened the leather cover and turned through the delicate leaves. His jaw dropped and he looked at her again in shock. “This is no Jedi text.”

Dr. Snoke’s face crumpled. “It’s not?” She watched the young padawan gape at the artifact.

His fingers tingled with an eerie energy, his heart pounded. “This is a Sith script!” he whispered.

She gave a small gasp. “Really? Can you read it?”Necronomicon

Ben shook his head and quickly returned the manuscript to its protective box. “My uncle would destroy this….” His pointed out, his voice trailing off with his thoughts. “Where did you get it?”

“On my recent trip to the Outer Rim, from a small-time antique dealer.” She laid a hand on his. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I was just trying to be helpful. I know you’re trying to recover lost archival material.” She paused, thinking, then said after a moment. “But perhaps the text will be useful to you after all…in helping the girl.”

“How so?”

She raised an eyebrow. “Do you know the saying ‘Know thy enemy’?”

 

@MyKyloRen   22 August 2016

Darkside Spawn

“Sir, the droid was spotted heading west with a girl.”

Kylo Ren whipped around and marched towards the forest. Under the dark leafy canopy, he paused for a moment. It had been a long time since he’d been among trees, and he found himself longing to strip of his helmet so he could smell the green, hear the rustle, feel the cool upon his skin. But now was not the time for foolish indulgence. He had a job to do. Yet, the last time he was in a forest, it was because of…a girl.

The Little One.

His fifteen-year-old self had taken her hand and led her into the cottage perched on a wooded slope overlooking a clearing. Inside the Jedi retreat, he’d taken her to a play area for younglings and settled her amongst an array of toys and entertaining holo games.

“No levitation,” Ben Solo told the five-year-old, holding up a finger, “without supervision.”

He made sure she gave him her promise before joining his uncle and the other occupant of the house in the great room.

“Well, here we are,” Dr. Amanda Snoke said, flashing them a bright smile as she set a tray of drinks and small refreshments on a low table before them. “Now that she’s comfortable, tell me how I can help you with this little one.”

Luke Skywalker absently reached for a glass and let out a heavy sigh. “I don’t know how much Ben has told you about Rey, but we need to find a secure home for her.”

“You do not wish to train this Force-sensitive? As I understand it, she’s advanced for her age and has some remarkable abilities.” She took a bite of the honeyed seedcake and chewed thoughtfully, watching the Jedi master’s expression with great interest.

“She can already levitate objects five times her weight and she’s Force-shoved me flat on my ass,” Ben enthusiastically put in after a swallow of tart berry juice.

The woman gave him a good-natured smirk. “Really? What’s become of her parents?” She turned back to Luke.

“Dead,” Ben blurted before his uncle could get a more guarded word in edgewise.

Luke sighed again, giving his padawan a stern look. “Thank you, Ben. I’ll take it from here.” It was a moment before he went on. “Yes, they were both killed in a skirmish, and we….”

“By you?” Dr. Snoke guessed.

Luke looked up sharply. His eyes flicked briefly to his nephew.

“I didn’t say anything, I swear,” the teen protested.

Skywalker’s eyes narrowed at the woman. “What have you heard?”

She raised an eyebrow and met his gaze. “Nothing, but since you don’t want the girl to reside or train at the academy, I assume she comes from undesirable circumstances.” She shrugged. “Perhaps her parents are criminals – members of an organized crime syndicate or enemies of the New Republic? So, the Jedi took them out?”

Luke set down his mug. “I’m not sure I care for your directness, but yes, it was under such circumstances that she lost her parents.”

Ben could hardly contain himself. “They were….”

The Jedi master held up a black robotic hand. The gesture swiftly silenced his padawan. “They were Sith,” he revealed in an undertone.

Almost as one, the three turned to look in the direction of the playroom.

“She’s not listening,” Ben quietly assured them. “She’s playing dejarik. I can feel her thoughts through the Force.”

“But surely with the death of Palpatine – Darth Sidious – the Sith are no more,” Amanda Snoke ventured.

Skywalker kept his voice low. “As long as Sith knowledge exists, there will always be Sith lords. Her father was one and her mother was his apprentice. We’re on a mission to track down and destroy any remaining Sith holocrons.”

The woman gave a small gasp. “Then this little one was truly born of the Dark side.”

Luke reached for a decanter and poured himself something a little stronger. “You understand our dilemma.”

“But why come to me?” Dr. Snoke held out her hands. “I counsel at-risk and abused children. Surely as a Jedi, you’re better equipped to counsel her and see to her special needs.”

“You were able to help Ben when nobody else could.” He gave his nephew a sad smile. “It was his idea to come to you. He’s established a special bond with Rey and has been able to comfort and control her, but we don’t know for how long. She’s growing so fast.”

Ben looked at Amanda hopefully. “You said you had friends in a remote corner of the galaxy who take in orphans with special abilities.”

“Yes, that’s true. She’d be quite safe there – safe from herself and her past.” She hesitated. “But are you sure that’s what you want? You’d have to wipe her memories.”

“No!” Ben looked horrified.

Luke shot him a fierce look then quickly turned back to Dr. Snoke. “Yes.” The look on his face was frozen with determination…and something else.

Fear.

Just as the girl’s was now….The girl he’d heard so much about.KyloParalyzesRey

“Sir, Resistance fighters,” said one of the stormtroopers who’d located the Co-Commander in the forest. “We need more troops.”

Ren turned away from his victim. “Pull the division out. Forget the droid. We have what we need.”

 

@MyKyloRen    15 August 2016

In the Dark of the Knight

Jakku.

Even from high orbit, there was something familiar about the place. But then all desert worlds were much the same, with their stunted and limited life forms and endless seas of baking sand. Kylo Ren resented leading the First Order’s special forces to the surface of this desert world, for it meant donning his full regalia and bearing up to the oppressive heat of the northern hemisphere’s summer. But there was no other way. His oath to the Knights of Ren demanded the dress code, and he didn’t trust the troopers to successfully carry out the mission under Captain Phasma. At least the planet had finally rotated their target into the night side where the temperature was now forty degrees cooler.

He stood for a moment in his battle attire – the charcoal-grey padded jerkin and black pants tucked into black buckled boots – remembering the day he took the oath as leader of the Knights, remembering the sting.

“Kylo, Knight of Ren,” the blonde Mandalorian woman shrouded in brick-red intoned, “the truth is written in blood. Only you” – she held up one hand and then the other, mimicking the balancing arms of a scale – “Master of the Dark and the Light, are the embodiment of strength and power. Only you are worthy of rebirth.”

With a lift of her chin, she motioned him forward from the line of nine knights who stood with heads bowed before her dais. Without hesitation, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa stepped forward and knelt on one knee before her, eyes raised to meet her gaze. She reached down and cupped his face in her hands.

“Those who wield the Force are forever changed by it. True power can only come through those who are beaten upon its forge and embrace their transformation. Those who falter and slip to either Side will be dragged down by their own weakness.”

As she let him go, her sharpened fingernail drew a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth. He didn’t flinch. She help up her arms and motioned for two attendants, bearing ritual garments, to step forward and await her further command.

“The Knights of Ren,” she went on, eyeing the prospective leader before her, “the elite force of the First Order, is charged with protecting the Supreme Leader and carrying out the special and most dangerous operations of the Order. This charge may require you to lay down your life to fulfill your duty. This do you swear?”

“I swear,” Kylo answered, feeling the blood drip off his chin.

“You must walk this path of Ren alone – neither Jedi nor Sith – the path to power. This do you swear?”

“I swear.”

She motioned him to stand and hold out his arms. He did so as an attendant drew the dark, sleeveless robe over his shoulders.

“Should you grow weak and falter,” she decreed, “you will lay down your life to the one who rises up to seize your mantle. This do you swear?”

“I swear.”

She nodded again to the attendant, who drew a wide, black belt about Kylo’s waist and secured it firmly in place.

“No leader shall weaken himself or allow his knights to weaken their power by lying with other beings. This do you swear?”

“I swear.”

At her motion, the second attendant stepped forward and arranged a hooded cowl about Kylo’s shoulders.

“Those who wield the Force are forever bound to serve it. You will shoulder this burden for life. This do you swear?”

“I swear.”

He knew what was coming next, yet he was forbidden to brace for it. His total submission was required.

“And this is so you’ll remember your oath.” She slapped him so hard across the face that the impression of her hand formed in red on his pale skin.

After a moment, the buzz in his head cleared and he answered dutifully, “I shall remember.”

The last part of the ceremonial dress, she completed herself. She bent forward, kissed

“Villain” by Jakub Cervenka
“Villain” by Jakub Cervenka

the reddening welt on his cheek and placed a helmet specially forged for him over his head. With a click, she locked it into place.

“With the Mask of Ren, you are no longer a man but an icon, a shaper of history.” She drew the voluminous black hood over it. “Yet you shall never forget your place at my feet as my pupil, Kylo Ren.”

Ren inclined his head. “Yes, my master.”

Supreme Leader Amanda Snoke stepped back, admiring her charge, and smiled.

 

 

 

@MyKyloRen    9 August 2016

Character Analysis

To me, life is about exploring the human condition and the emotions that make us uniquely human. Despite all he’s done, and all that’s happened to him, Kylo Ren is not a monster. He’s a character who’s uniquely human.

Here are some other writers you may enjoy who have spent a great deal of time working up a psychological and literary profile of him.

Ben Solo’s Reactive Attachment Disorder

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-heroes-and-villains/201602/star-wars-psychology-the-problems-diagnosing-kylo-ren

https://heardingchickens.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/does-kylo-wren-have-reactive-attachment-disorder-rad-and-the-new-star-wars-movie/

Kylo Ren’s Myers-Briggs Assessment

https://marissabaker.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/thoughts-on-kylo-ren-the-force-and-mind-reading/

The Redemption of Kylo Ren

Here are a few literary devices that foreshadow Kylo Ren’s redemption arc:

 

Solo On

Inside the massive assembly chamber of Starkiller Base, the giant holo of Supreme Leader Snoke flickered to life and peered down at the tiny figure shrouded in black before him.

“Kylo Ren,” he said in a voice smoldering with dark authority, “another act of terrorism has been committed in First Order space. Have you seen the holovids?”

Ren lifted his helmeted head to meet his master’s gaze. “Yes.”

“The New Republic supports the supplier of these crime lords who unleash their monsters on our citizens. More than 500 have perished in the massacre on Trillia. It is time we cut off the hand of the wrangler who holds the leash on these monsters. You know of whom I speak,” Snoke added in a voice low and dangerous.

“Han Solo,” Ren dutifully answered, his tone betraying no emotion through the voice-changer.

The Supreme Leader regarded his protégée through narrowed eyes. “Never before have we needed such an operative to infiltrate the network of traitors, murderers, and spies that is the New Republic.” Snoke leaned forward in his great chair. “Only you have the knowledge of Solo’s suppliers and the technical specifications of the Millennium Falcon. It will be a simple matter for you to take out that ship and its pilot, but” – Snoke held up one long, bony finger – “not before you destroy the terrorist cells.”

Ren inclined his head. “It shall be done, my master.”

Snoke inhaled a raspy breath, drawing himself up straight. “Kylo Ren, you must not fail in this mission,” he warned, sensing hesitancy in the dark warrior before him. “Han Solo may have sired you, but it is I who nurtured you and brought you to your full potential.”

“By the grace of your training, I shall not fail.”

“See that you do not. The order of the galaxy depends upon you.” Snoke sat back in his chair. “Man is but a rope stretched over an abyss. Some men sag in their resolve and fall in, but you, my student, I have made you taught, and if need be, I shall stretch you tighter.”

Inwardly, Ren flinched, feeling the hair stand up on the back of his neck. He bowed again. “Understood, my master.”

“Go. Make your preparations and leave at once.”

Ren remained rooted in place as the holo faded and went out. Then after a moment, he turned on his heel and made his way to his private quarters. When the door had hissed shut behind him, he sat down before a low table that served as an altar in a dimly lit alcove. He removed his smothering helmet and set it aside, shaking out his hair, glad to be rid of the confining instrument of intimidation. He turned his focus on the object of reverence before him and addressed it.

“Show me, Grandfather, the power of the Darkness.” At his side his fingers curled into a fist of frustration. “Give me its strength to do what I must do.”

He sat staring at the artifact of his devotion, praying for an answer, praying for the courage he needed to track down and kill his own father, praying for the possibility of deliverance from the snare that had entrapped him.

KyloVaderHelmetRegret
Art by Injured Dreams

When Darth Vader’s deformed helmet offered no encouragement or sympathy, Ren’s lip began to tremble. “Why?” he choked, swallowing hard before he could go on. “Why me? Why has this atrocity that is my life befallen me? I have done nothing to deserve this!” A tear trickled down his cheek as he lifted the helmet and pressed it to his forehead. “All I ever wanted was to be able to defend myself and to control this” – he held out his hands in front of him and looked at his gloved fingers in disgust – “this power I have. I didn’t’ ask for it!” he wailed.

“That is the Skywalker legacy, my grandson,” a deep voice intoned from the helmet.

Ren lifted his head and drew breath, wide-eyed and silent. It wasn’t often that the helmet spoke to him, and when it did, he listened, enraptured.

“Your only choice is to bare it well and to bring balance to the Force by bringing order to the galaxy,” the voice went on. “I need you to be strong, Grandson, so that you can finish what I started. The New Republic in its divisive and corrupt ways cannot continue. It divides the Dark from the Light and tears the galaxy apart. Only one as strong as I was can pull the galaxy together.”

Ren wiped his face. “Yes, Grandfather.”

“The Supreme Leader is wise. Go, Lord Ren. Do what must be done and end the ties that bind you to your past and to chaos.”

From somewhere else in the galaxy, Snoke watched his pathetic apprentice through the interactive surveillance device installed within the artifact. He smiled to himself, gratified that the years of studying the mannerisms of Darth Vader were starting to pay off.

 

@MyKyloRen   2 August 2016