- "Jedi girl, you're not strong enough to save lives. You're not strong enough to sacrifice one to save many."
- ―Darth Vectivus
Nelani Dinn was a female Human Jedi Knight during the time of the Second Galactic Civil War. At some point during her early life, Dinn was taken for Jedi training and was taught for a time by Jacen Solo, eventually graduating to become a Jedi Knight. In 40 ABY, Dinn was stationed on Lorrd when she met up with two other Jedi—Jacen Solo, her former teacher, and his apprentice, Ben Skywalker. Solo and Skywalker were there to investigate an unusual artifact found on Toryaz Station, and after some mysterious incidents in Lorrd City, the three soon found the person who had planted the artifact, a woman named Brisha Syo. Syo took them to her home, a mining facility near Bimmiel, and revealed her true identity: Lumiya, Dark Lady of the Sith, who had been in parts unknown for many years. Dinn was separated from the group, though, and encountered the ghost of a Sith Lord named Darth Vectivus. When Vectivus could not goad Dinn into striking him down, he sent Dinn up to a higher floor, right as Lumiya attempted to turn Solo to the dark side. Dinn attempted to intervene, engaging Lumiya in a duel. The duel concluded with no clear victor, and Dinn then attempted to arrest Lumiya. However, Solo, now under Lumiya's sway, suddenly began to chase the young Knight through the mining facility, intent on killing her. Solo was eventually able to catch Dinn, and he ended her life with a thrust of his lightsaber.
Training and Jedi Knighthood
- "Glad to realize that you'd passed your trials and were fully vested as a Jedi Knight. Congratulations."
- ―Jacen Solo
Nelani Dinn was born on the Outer Rim world of Lorrd, and at some point, she was discovered by the Jedi and taken for training. In 33 ABY, Jedi Knight Jacen Solo instructed Dinn in lightsaber technique. Dinn was shy, and when she became enamored with Solo, she was too self-conscious to tell him. However, her training, which involved slicing live gundarks in half, went a long way towards overcoming her shyness problem. By 40 ABY, Dinn had passed the Jedi Trials and become a full-fledged Jedi Knight.
In 40 ABY, Dinn was stationed on her home planet of Lorrd when she was contacted by Solo, who was investigating an artifact recently found on Toryaz Station. Dinn found a contact who would examine the artifact, Dr. Heilan Rotham, and meet Solo and his apprentice, Ben Skywalker, on Lorrd. The three traveled to Dr. Rotham's office in Lorrd City, and Dr. Rotham found that the artifact contained encoded messages that Dinn considered ominous. However, their meeting was cut short, as Dinn received a message—a man in a Y-wing was threatening to fire missiles into a populous area of Lorrd City unless he was allowed to speak to a Jedi. Seeing that Dr. Rotham would need some time to decipher the artifact, Dinn was accompanied by Solo and Skywalker as she left to settle the matter.
- "The woman's story is too weird and complicated, so there have to be important lies, or at least omissions, in it. Going to where she's the master of the environment is just a bad idea."
"Nevertheless, I'm doing just that."
- ―Nelani Dinn and Jacen Solo
Dinn, Solo, and Skywalker were greeted by lieutenant Neav Samran of the Lorrd Security Force, who explained the situation to them. The man in the Y-wing was Ordith Huarr, a former fighter pilot who had flown for the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. Huarr claimed that he had been seeing the ghost of his late wife, but before Dinn was able to garner any more information from Huarr, Jacen Solo used the Force to pull the airborne Y-wing to the ground. Huarr then detonated the missiles, killing himself. Following Huarr's death, Dinn was agitated with Solo, because she thought that Solo could have used more peaceful means to end the conflict and prevent any loss of life. Afterward, the group returned to Dr. Rotham, who had translated the remaining messages on the artifact, save one.
Mysterious occurrences similar to the plight of Ordith Huarr soon began to happen frequently on Lorrd. One man, Dr. Movac Arisster, a professor at the University of Pangalactic Cultural Studies, took hostages inside an aquarium and strapped himself to one of the hostages, with a bomb strapped to his back. Arisster claimed to have spoken to the late Jedi Master Aayla Secura, and said that Secura told him to bring the Jedi in to talk. Arisster wanted one thing—to become famous. Arisster was dying of cancer and wanted to be able to defeat a Jedi, to give some trace of immortality to himself. Arisster decided to defeat the Jedi by denying them a happy ending, meaning that he would prevent the Jedi being able to do their duty and save the hostages. Solo, realizing that Arisster had won, allowed Arisster to detonate the bomb, killing himself and his captive, Serom Haxan. Dinn became furious that Solo had just left Arisster to kill himself and Haxan without exploring any other options.
Several more Force ghost related incidents occurred, including a man named Borth Pazz, who threatened to jump off a building unless he was taken for Jedi training. Pazz stood atop the building in old Jedi robes holding a dated, non-functional lightsaber. Pazz demanded that the Jedi teach him a Jedi trick, despite his complete lack of Force-sensitivity. When his request was denied, Dinn watched as he jumped from the rooftop, his fall slowed by Solo's use of the Force. Pazz ended the day with a broken leg, and he was taken away, howling about Jedi trickery and deception. Soon after these events, a mysterious woman named Brisha Syo arrived on Lorrd. Syo was arrested immediately after she landed in the Lorrd City Spaceport, and Solo suspected her of causing the incidents involving Huarr, Arisster, and Pazz. Syo admitted that she had caused the events and revealed that she was Force-sensitive. Syo also admitted to leaving the artifact on Toryaz Station and offered to take Dinn, Solo, and Skywalker to her true home, a planetoid in a star system close to Bimmiel. Against the advice of Dinn and Skywalker, Solo accepted the offer to travel to Syo's home.
The Home and death
- "Nelani, I'm sorry. You're…a deflector that would send the future spinning into tragedy. And you're too young, too weak to understand it, to correct it."
- ―Jacen Solo, shortly before killing Nelani Dinn
Dinn, Syo, Solo, and Skywalker subsequently arrived at Syo's home, a former mining outpost on an asteroid in the MZX32905 system, in the vicinity of Bimmiel. Syo explained that the final administrator of the outpost, a Sith named Darth Vectivus, had left the place behind many years ago. Nelani felt the dark side permeating the asteroid, which Syo attributed to the original inhabitants of the outpost—a sentient species akin to mynocks. For a while, the mynock-like species was led by a caste of Force-users, who eventually became dark side adherents. Syo soon revealed the reason for her bringing the Jedi to the Home, as the mynock-species called it—a Sith Lord was down in the caverns, where the dark-side corruption was greatest, and Syo did not think that she should face him alone.
Dinn, Skywalker, Solo, and Syo took a mine car into the depths of the Home, but on their way down, Syo shoved Skywalker and Dinn out of the car. Dinn and Skywalker soon found themselves being ambushed by a large group of the indigenous creatures, but they eventually discovered that the creatures were nothing but illusions, projections of the Force. Dinn was suddenly grabbed and pulled away from Skywalker by an unseen force and whisked in front of the ghost of Darth Vectivus. Vectivus challenged Dinn to kill him, revealing that he, as well as all the illusions in the Home, were connected to a live being somewhere in the galaxy. Dinn refused to lash out at the illusion, even after Vectivus tried to goad her into killing him by taking the form of Palpatine. Vectivus then told Dinn to climb up to safety and wait for the others to join her.
Up above, Syo had revealed her true name and identity to Solo—Lumiya, Dark Lady of the Sith. Lumiya was trying to turn Solo to the dark side, suggesting that he take up the ways of the Sith. Jacen began to surmise that he would be able to save the galaxy with the new power such an allegiance would give him. Lumiya believed that since Jacen had not been twisted by the light side, he could resist the temptations of the dark, but just as Lumiya revealed this, Dinn appeared and intervened in the discussion. Dinn was concerned that Lumiya's words were having an effect on Solo, and after Lumiya suggested that Solo's former master, Vergere, had been a Sith, Dinn attacked Lumiya. With Lumiya still trying to talk Solo onto the dark path, the two dueled, with neither gaining the upper hand. Solo implored the two to stop the duel, but as soon as they had ceased fighting, Dinn arrested Lumiya in the name of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances. Lumiya consented, but Solo, who wanted to learn more from Lumiya, was not ready to allow his new mentor to be taken into Alliance custody. Having fallen under the sway of Lumiya's words, Solo was willing to defend the Sith, even against his own former student. Solo, confident that the galaxy would fall if Lumiya was arrested, chose a side and suddenly chased after Dinn, with the intention of killing her. After a chase through the Home, during which Dinn steadily lost ground to Solo, she was cornered and quickly disarmed. Dinn pleaded with Solo, not for her life but for him to reconsider his actions and retreat from the future she imagined lay before him. Nonetheless, Dinn's former mentor stabbed her in the center of the chest with his lightsaber, and the Jedi Knight died staring into the eyes of her killer.
After Nelani Dinn's death, Lumiya promised Jacen Solo to give her body the proper rites due to a noble warrior. Solo also distorted Ben Skywalker's memory of the events on the asteroid. In the next few months, Skywalker, after witnessing Solo's killing of bounty hunter Ailyn Vel, decided to investigate further into how Dinn had truly died. After the Jedi Masters Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade Skywalker searched Lumiya's apartment, they came to believe that Brisha Syo was Lumiya's daughter and that Syo killed Dinn.
Personality and traits
- "She's a very good girl. A sweet, doctrinal Jedi."
"This sweet, doctrinal Jedi is about to kick your teeth in."
- ―Lumiya and Nelani Dinn
Dinn described herself as having a "shyness problem" when she began training with Jacen Solo, and when she developed feelings for the Jedi Knight, she was too self-conscious to tell him. However, when the two met again in 40 ABY, Dinn, having gained better self-confidence from her Jedi training, openly expressed her feelings for Solo. Dinn was very excited when Solo and Dinn met again, but was disappointed when Solo did not return her feelings. She was idealistic and opposed the methods used by Jacen Solo in the cases of Ordith Huarr and Movac Arisster. She believed that Solo could have explored other, more peaceful, alternatives in those situations, which ended in the deaths of both Huarr and Arisster. Since she was so firmly committed to the light, she did not hesitate to attack Lumiya when the Sith tried to turn Jacen Solo to the dark side of the Force, and kept trying to bring Solo back to the light, up until the point of her death. Before Solo killed Dinn, he saw a glimpse of her possible future, which included love, and a family.
Powers and abilities
- "You're definitely not the late-blooming Force-sensitive I taught lightsaber technique to."
- ―Jacen Solo
Nelani Dinn was attuned to the emotional states of other beings, as evidenced when she sensed the anxiety of lieutenant Neav Samran. Dinn was skilled with telekinesis, which she used to maneuver herself while in low-gravity sections of the Home. She was able to sense the host to whom the phantom of Darth Vectivus was connected, initially believing that being's dark side aura to be Vectivus' own. She also felt the Sith Lord's Force-exertion when he used it to illuminate the exit from the caverns for her. Dinn possessed a yellow-white bladed lightsaber, and was trained in its use while still a Padawan by Jedi Knight Jacen Solo. She moved with blinding speed while dueling, but was not fast enough to contend with Lumiya, who repeatedly evaded Dinn's attacks before retaliating with her own. Despite her own skill, Dinn had no experience against lightwhip-wielding opponents, and was overwhelmed by Lumiya's exotic weapon. Her dueling prowess was also inferior to that of Jacen Solo, who defeated Dinn in combat and killed her with minimal effort.
Behind the scenes
Dinn says that Solo taught her lightsaber technique "seven years" before the events of Betrayal, set in 40 ABY. This would place their first meeting, and the time in which she was his pupil, during the five years which Solo spent away from the Jedi Order between The New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force and Dark Nest I: The Joiner King.
However, the date of "seven years ago" may have originated as a holdover from earlier drafts: as Aaron Allston has revealed in his blog, the novel was originally set in 37 ABY, and later revised. At least one other trace of the revision of the dating survives in the published novel, when Zekk, who should be 32, is said at one point to be 29.
- Legacy of the Force: Betrayal (First appearance)
- Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines (Mentioned only)
- Legacy of the Force: Exile (Mentioned only)
- Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice (Mentioned only)