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"No more, Luke Skywalker! I've thoroughly tested you...Made you perform in a hostile environment...Probed your emotions by placing your friends in jeopardy. I now know your limits...And your limitations."
Darth Vader, to Luke Skywalker[src]

The Mission to Monastery was a mission carried out by Luke Skywalker in an effort to convince the isolationist Order of the Sacred Circle to join the Rebel Alliance. However, It was soon discovered that the mission was a trap set up by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader to test Skywalker's skills. The mission began when the leader of the Order, Domina Tagge, under orders from Darth Vader, asked the Rebellion to send one of its heroes, Luke Skywalker, to Monastery as an envoy. General Jan Dodonna agreed and also sent princess Leia Organa, who was later captured by Imperial forces but managed to escape. Meanwhile, Skywalker met Vader and was forced to accept a duel with him. However, Organa had brought Domina's brother and former baron of the House of Tagge, Orman Tagge with her, whom Vader used to test Luke's mastery of the Force. Skywalker killed Orman, who was disguised as Vader, and escaped on the Millenium Falcon.

Background

"A Galactic war, such as you have begun, could well sunder the circle of life...With our many followers in many systems, our influence might tip the balance to end such a war swiftly. The order wished to hear from both sides before making a decision."
―Domina Tagge[src]

After learning that the pilot who destroyed the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin was his own son Luke Skywalker, a Rebel hero, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader planned to set a trap for him. Vader forced Domina Tagge, a member of the Order of the Sacred Circle located on Monastery, into cooperating with him, promising power and prestige, as well as revenge on Skywalker, for Domina believed her brother, Orman, was killed by him, but he was in fact saved by Vader and has been since kept in hibernation. Not long after, Skywalker saved a civilian vessel from an Imperial attack and escorted it to the Rebel base on Yavin IV. Aboard that vessel was Domina, who informed the Rebels that her homeworld of Monastery—which had stayed neutral throughout the course of the war—was willing to join someone. To decide between the Alliance and the Empire, she requested that both sides should send an envoy to Monastery and asked Skywalker to go there. The Alliance agreed, but to make sure that everything would proceed smoothly, General Jan Dodonna—commander of the Yavin Base—also sent princess Leia Organa, former smuggler-turned-Rebel Han Solo, and Solo's co-pilot Chewbacca, on the Millennium Falcon.[1]

Mission

"What was this thing, sister Domina...?
A Nightshrike
[...]I can't imagine why it was out during the day...The sunlight must have driven it mad, made it attack.
Perhaps it is an omen...A hint of how disruptive to the natural order even one Rebel can be.
"
―Luke, Domina and Vader[src]

As soon as Skywalker landed, he was attacked by a Nightshrike, a native beast on Monastery. After defeating it, he met Darth Vader, who was acting as the representative of the Empire. Skywalker wanted to attack him, but remembering his promise to keep the mission peaceful, promised Vader to meet another time after the mission. Meanwhile Organa and Solo established a laserwave link with Skywalker's droid R2-D2 to monitor his activities.[1]

However, they were soon captured by an Imperial Star Destroyer under the command of Captain Mulchive Wermis, who was informed by Vader that the Alliance would also send Princess Organa on the mission. Wermis ordered a search of the Falcon but didn't find the princess. Nonetheless, he imprisoned Solo and Chewbacca, but Organa, who was hiding in the ship's smuggling compartments decided to rescue them and warn Skywalker. She contacted him via R2, and tried to inform him that the mission was a trap. However, Skywalker interrupted the transmission when Domina appeared and told him that the Order was ready to make a decision. She then escorted him to the main chambers and said that the Order decided to join the Empire in an effort to eliminate the Rebel Alliance. Skywalker tried to attack Vader, whom he suspected of using the Force to cloud Domina's mind, but she said that this was not a time to fight and proposed a place to settle their dispute.[4]

Meanwhile, aboard the Imperial ship, Princess Organa, using her proton grenades to set a distraction, managed to free Solo and Chewbacca. However, after they escaped from the ship, they discovered that their long-time enemy and former baron of the House of Tagge, Orman Tagge—who tried to destroy the Rebel Alliance before to win the favor of the Emperor—managed to break free from his hibernation cell. He sneaked aboard the Falcon and was willing to rescue Domina, because he believed that she was in danger. By threatening Solo and Organa with a blaster, he ordered them to pilot the ship to the surface of Monastery.[4]

Skirmish in the Crystal Valley

As Vader was approaching the ceremonial Crystal Valley to fight Skywalker, he noticed the Falcon, aboard which Organa and Solo were at last able to free themselves, but distracted by the pursuing TIE fighters to notice that Orman escaped and ran into the valley. The valley itself was exceptionally dangerous territory—in a constant state of eruption, people attempting to traverse it could either be crushed by falling pillars of crystal or skewered by new pillars coming up through the ground. One such pillar nearly fell on Tagge, but the former baron was saved by Vader. The Dark Lord explained that killing Tagge would be far too easy and unimaginative, and proceeded to inform the man that his sister was no longer sweet and incorruptible. Distraught, Tagge begged Vader to kill him there and then, but the towering Sith Lord had one final purpose for him.[3]

Ormanpwned

Tagge lays dying on the surface of Monastery.

Soon enough Skywalker fought Vader in the valley, but when he delivered a final blow, he realized that it was in fact an illusion and he had killed Orman. When the real Vader appeared and told his son that the whole mission was meant to test Skywalker's abilities, the young Rebel decided to run, because he felt that the only way to win that battle was to stop playing Vader's game. While above the valley, Solo and Organa informed Domina that Vader was lying to her and all that time Orman had been kept in hibernation. However, when Skywalker appeared without the Baron and tried to explain what happened, Domina didn't listen and said that despite the fact that the Order would not join the Empire, her wrath would always be against Skywalker.[3] Skywalker and Vader departed Monastery, each in their own direction and they would not encounter each other for almost two years until their meeting on Mimban.[5]

Behind the scenes

This mission first appeared in the Marvel comic book Star Wars 35: Dark Lord's Gambit and was continued throughout the two subsequent issues, ending in #37. It featured the death of Orman Tagge, a major Marvel Star Wars character introduced in issue #25. It was also notable for being one of the last Marvel stories prior to the adaptation of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back with issue #38 scheduled to be the first part of the adaptation as stated by the teaser on the final page of issue #37. However, a change in a distribution system forced Marvel to push the debut up to issue #39.

Appearances

Notes and references

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