The Ronin debuted last week in Kamikaze Douga’s “The Duel”, a stunning short from the Disney + series, Star Wars: Visions. Now he’s coming out in his own book.
(Don’t worry. Her trusty droid is coming too.)
Star Wars: Ronin: A Novel of Visions by Emma Mieko Candon arrives on October 12, expanding the world of “The Duel” and our favorite unnamed new old Sith and his loyal Straw Hat Droid companion. Just like the short film that inspired him, Ronin exists in a redesigned version Star wars galaxy – one that draws great inspiration and influence from Japanese culture and storytelling. In the excerpt below, the Ronin and his droid travel to Genbara, strapped for credits and eager to reach their destination. But sometimes fate and the Force have other plans …
Read this preview then head over to RandomHouse.com and learn about the first five chapters of Ronin. For more on the book, be sure to read StarWars.com’s interview with Lucasfilm’s James Waugh and Candon.
At the edge of the galaxy, a lone wanderer wanders the Outer Rim. In defiance of the imperial edict, the RONIN dares to wear a certain blade on its belt. No one knows his name, or what he is looking for, only that death and disaster follow in his footsteps. No doubt the gods themselves have cursed his forgotten name. . . .
Two months after the Ronin arrived on the Outer Rim world of Genbara, he ran out of credits. This worried him less than B5-56, who used every opportunity to scold.
âLook at it that way,â he told his nesting mate. “No need to worry about where we’ll sleep.”
A man without a room had no reason to roam his journey in terms of outposts and inns. He couldn’t pay for a bed. Thus, he could wander to his heart’s content, and the views of the woods of Genbara rewarded the wandering. Vast expanses of pine trees were interrupted only by plots of farmland, claimed by settlers rebuilding their lives away from the scars war had left on worlds closer to the galaxy core.
The Ronin slept that night under a small lean-to that a local lumberjack had told him about the day before, when he passed the old man’s hut on his way to the mountains.
“The mountains, sir?” Are you sure? “The lumberjack had said, sucking his teeth. They sat on the veranda of the man’s hut and shared a stale pot of tea. It was the last one in the Ronin’s box, but it was offered it for free in exchange for hot water and company. “You’ll want to follow that road, past the ridge. It’ll take you to a village in the valley. If it’s still there.”
One worrying thing to say. For the Ronin, that suggested he was on the right track. B5 saw the look in his eyes. The droid’s own eye turned from red to blue under his thatched hat as he whispered a warning.
The lumberjack, who had no ease with Binary, mistook the sound of the dome-headed astromech for nervousness. He smiles. âThere were four villages up there, little droid, when I first built my modest hut. Then there was three, then two, now just one. They say they irritated a spirit. A spirit that does not like settlers.
Still, he thinks spirits don’t care? a voice whispered in the Ronin’s ear.
âMountains are different,â said the Ronin.
The lumberjack, who thought he had been spoken to, nodded quietly. B5 turned a grim eye to fixate on the Ronin in what was probably meant to be a glare. The Ronin pretended not to notice, but remembered to be careful. Occasionally, when he was in the company of other people, his voice responses were rejected. On other occasions they weren’t, and it could go very badly. If the village in the mountains was still standing, it would soon be among the new people, and it looked like a superstitious bunch.
The next morning, he spread the cold in his limbs as he got up and ate half a stick of ration from his purse, the last remaining. Chewing was slow, with pain; he rubbed the line of old metal that supported his jaw from ear to ear.
B5 grumbled at him all the time, calling him old and simple by the way. Sure, said the droid, his master remembered that he had the means to acquire enough credits to fund his silly journey until he killed him – or at least enough to buy a newer prosthesis. Yet he amassed his bounty to the point that a shamefully banal evil would undoubtedly get him first. Maybe the cold, or the infection, or worse.
“You know I’d be dumber to try to sell one,” said the Ronin, patting the treasures hidden in the folds of his robe. “Where would I say I got it?” “
So what do you plan to do with your earnings, other than collect them? the voice asked, rather bitter.
He couldn’t give her an answer. Not the one she could stand.
Moved by a guilt reflex, he glanced at the inner lining of the long hooded vest he wore as a cape. The dress weighed the same for at least a year now, when he had last added to the collection inside. The crystals sewn into the seam shone as if to greet him, letting out red sparkles that lit up his fingers, elated by the promise of his attention. They wanted him to touch them, take them and use them.
He dropped the robe closed, the crystals intact. Here’s his reason, even if she didn’t care: as long as he wore them, they couldn’t hurt her anymore.
Apart from what evil you do, she said.
âIf you want me dead,â he said, walking down the path strewn with needles between the pines, âyou only have to indicate the way.
So go to your little village.
Experience told her that she would give no further advice. After all, she would probably prefer everything he encounters in the village to be his end rather than the other way around.
The cold of the night turned to spring as the sun rose. The Ronin stopped on the ridge overlooking the last remaining village in the mountains, B5-56 beside it. In the distance, deep in a pine-covered valley, the plunging lines of a crashed ship glowed white. A gallant and gallant ship that had met its despicable end face first in the sloping mountain side. Her silvery hull shone like a star in the fierce morning light.
Poetic, wouldn’t you say? said the voice.
“I would say it’s broken,” said the Ronin.
B5 moaned, disappointed.
“What else to do?” I don’t know what you are talking about.
B5 sighed as beautifully as Binary allowed him to.
Together, they set out on the path to the last village on the mountain. Somewhere inside they would find the Ronins’ quarry – or they would find nothing. A cowardly part of him hoped for the latter. Maybe it was this part that made him slow down when they reached the last climb before the village proper, where a tea room stood next to an ancient bent pine tree. A disturbing odor wafted from the structure on the road, and despite B5’s rebuke – didn’t they have somewhere to be? – the Ronin let her pull him to the door. He found the shopkeeper – a tidy Sullustan whose round cheeks had turned gray with age – sitting on the cleanly swept floor, fiddling with the wiring of a rectangular electric droid and bemoaning his temperamental nature.
The shadow of the Ronin startled the trader, who straightened up to study the stranger. His suspicious black eyes lifted to observe the Ronin’s intimidating size, draped in a road-stained suit, and descended to the two scabbards hanging conspicuously at his waist.
Star Wars: Ronin: A Novel of Visions arrives October 12 and is available for pre-order now.
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