Prologue

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" For no longer was he simply a Jedi Knight, but now a general of the Republic Navy ..."

As they had been for weeks now, Obi-Wan Kenobiís nightmare that jolted him awake this night was elusive in nature.

The vision had come to him again, but with his eyes as wide open as they were now, or closed in one of the rare meditation trances he came across sparingly in the recent hectic months of the Clone Wars, he could not decipher its meaning.

In the nightmare, he saw flashes of red light tinged with the feelings of anguish of a thousand different worlds, but never could he arrange the fleeting shadows into a single image.

For no longer was he simply a Jedi Knight, but now a general of the Republic Navy, urged into service by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan, who saw in Kenobi the kind of tactical brilliance and level-headedness that could convince the Senate that the war could be fought by great minds, and not by overwhelming numbers of starships and cloned troopers that Chancellor Palpatine advocated so fervently.

Palpatine ... the man was an unreadable enigma to Obi-Wan. The Supreme Chancellor had risen to power in the wake of accusations that had beset his predecessor, Chancellor Valorum, a friend to Obi-Wanís master in those days, Qui-Gon Jinn.

At the time that Palpatine had replaced Valorum,now a dozen years ago, the changing of power on Coruscant had not so much as generated a ripple in Obi-Wanís world. It happened just after his first true mission as a Jedi, rescuing Queen Amidala from her besieged homeworld, and watching Qui-Gon match lightsabers for the first time with the Sith warrior who had tracked them to Tatooine.

It had taken Qui-Gonís death at the hands of the dark warrior in the Theed City Power Generator on Naboo to open the Jedi Councilís eyes to the fact that the Sith were not extinct. But in the 10 years that followed, the Council could find no connection between the Sith who had murdered his master and nearly claimed Obi-Wanís life as well that day.

Now the Republic battled the second Sith, former Jedi Master Count Dooku, who had renamed himself Darth Tyrannus, and whose army of clone troopers and battle droids had slaughted dozens of Jedi Knights and more than half the Jedi Council two years previous at Geonosis.

Obi-Wan noted the chronometer at his bedside and realized that his flagship, Benediction, would reach Coruscant within hours. There he would report to Palpatine, Masters Yoda and Windu and the military strategists who had been searching for weeks to strike the final blow to Tyrannusí forces, closing the bloody Clone Wars once and for all.