I

n the years before The Phantom Menace, the galaxy was a much different place. The looming threat of the Sith hadn’t yet begun clouding the minds of the Jedi. The peacekeepers were just that: keepers of order. Until there was chaos.

Despite delays, The High Republic is still dropping out of lightspeed fairly soon. With two books coming in January alone, we’re close enough to the start of this new era in the Expanded Universe to get a first look inside Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage, a middle-grade story that will help set the events of surrounding stories in motion.

Here’s just a segment of Ireland’s latest Star Wars adventure, featuring young Jedi-in-training Vernestra as she tries to keep a friend out of trouble.

--

“Hey, stop her!”

The sense of calm shattered and Vernestra opened her eyes to see a maintenance droid chasing a small, dark-skinned human girl riding a scoot speeder built of odds and ends. The girl’s hair framed her face in a halo of riotous curls, and she held a brightly shining power crystal in a single gloved hand. The expression of joyous triumph on her face was one that Vernestra knew all too well.

Avon Starros, daughter of Senator Ghirra Starros, was once again up to no good.

Avon had not yet seen Vernestra, and the Jedi used that to her advantage. Vernestra raised her hands, palms flat toward Avon, and pushed with the Force. The girl went flying backward off of her homemade contraption, but instead of letting her fall hard onto the deck, Vernestra kept Avon suspended in the air while the vehicle froze in the middle of the docking bay.

“Avon,” Vernestra said sweetly. “What is going on?”

Avon twisted around in midair, her happy expression souring when she spied Vernestra. “Ugh, I thought you were already on the ship.”

“No, I decided to take one last walk through the outpost before we left. I can see I am not the only one. What did you do?”

“Nothing! I didn’t do anything. By the stars, I don’t know why you always think everything is my fault, Vern.”

Vernestra gritted her teeth against the terrible nickname. Master Douglas Sunvale called her that, and while she was not about to correct a Jedi Master, she had no such qualms about correcting a girl younger than her. “Please don’t call me that.” She released her hold on the Force and let Avon fall to the ground, which was not all that far. The scoot speeder, which Avon had no doubt built from taken materials left unattended around the port, crashed into a nearby stack of shipping crates.

“You are the worst,” Avon groaned, splaying her limbs out dramatically on the ground.

“It wasn’t that far,” Vernestra said, even though it had been a bit mean to let the girl fall.

--

You can read the full excerpt on StarWars.com.

The journey of a young High Republic Jedi releases January 5. You can view our complete Book Profile for more details and pre-order your copy now.

For a complete list of recent and upcoming Star Wars book and comic releases, visit our regularly updated Release Schedule.

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