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Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol. 1 is the first trade paperback release in the manga series Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance. It was written by Shima Shinya and Justina Ireland, illustrated by Mizuki Sakakibara, and published by Viz Media on September 7, 2021. The volume also contains "The Banchiians," a bonus chapter written by Shinya and drawn by Nezu Usugumo.

Publisher's summary[]

In the aftermath of the Great Hyperspace Disaster, young Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi is assigned to help displaced civilians relocate to Banchii, a planet in the Inugg system far in the Outer Rim. While balancing the arrival of incoming settlers and teaching the Padawans on their Temple outpost, Lily must also confront an attack by the insidious Drengir and, after the events of the Republic Fair, deal with the growing threat of the Nihil. But the dangers to Lily and her Padawans are much closer than she thinks….

Plot summary[]

STAR WARS
THE HIGH REPUBLIC
The galaxy celebrates. With the dark days
of the hyperspace disaster behind them,
Chancellor Lina Soh pushes ahead with the
latest of her GREAT WORKS. The Republic
Fair will be her finest hour, a celebration
of peace, unity, and hope on the frontier
world of Valo.

But an insatiable horror appears on the
horizon. One by one, planets fall as the
carnivorous DRENGIR consume all life in
their path. As Jedi Master AVAR KRISS
leads the battle against this terror, Nihil
forces gather in secret for the next stage of
MARCHION RO's diabolical plan.

Only the noble JEDI KNIGHTS stand in Ro's
way, but even the protectors of light and life
are not prepared for the terrible darkness
that lies ahead....

The Great Disaster[]

On Ta'klah, an ordinary day is shattered by the emergence of deadly falling debris. A child caught in the chaos is nearly hit, but is saved when help arrives in the form of Jedi Vectors, Jedi Master Stellan Gios leaping out of one starfighter to deflect some of the debris with telekinesis. Telling the locals to take shelter, Gios says there has been an accident in hyperspace.

Arrival on Banchii[]

Later, Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi wakes up after hearing a voice calling for her help. She and Master Arkoff are transporting some refugees from Ta'klah to the planet Banchii, being stationed at its Jedi Temple. Lily, however, is uncertain about how to find balance while caring for the refugees, although Arkoff advises her to change her perspective, for herself and her Padawan. Heading to the back to check on the passengers, Lily tells them they'll be landing shortly, one of whom says they don't know what they'd do without the Jedi. Lily says it was the refugees' courage that made it possible, before talking with a man with a container of seeds given to him by a friend, which he hopes will grow well on Banchii.

Upon arrival on the planet, Lily and Arkoff are greeted by younglings Nima and Viv'nia, who wish they could go to the Republic Fair on Valo. Lily's Padawan Keerin Fionn interrupts the girls, telling them they're not there to gossip and they should help the new settlers, an order compounded by Lily and Arkoff. After the girls run off, Keerin asks if these are the last settlers, and Lily confirms it before introducing him to the new arrivals, letting him lead them off.

Lily says that the settlers are in good spirits and eager to be settled. Keerin replies that he is ready to help. Lily tasks Keerin with guiding the settlers around their new home on Banchii. Keerin tells the settlers that Banchii is lush and ideal for farming. He also tells them about the local Jedi Temple and Jedi efforts to expand the planet's communications infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Lily visits Doctor Silar, bringing him the medicine that he requested from Hon-Tallos. Silar regards settling on Banchii as both an opportunity and a challenge. When Lily asks if Silar would have preferred a more populated planet, the doctor replies that he is content with establishing a new settlement because he likes growing with everyone. He adds that he doesn't measure the quality of his work by how many people he helps. Lily deduces that Silar is motivated by what he is able to do rather than his location. Silar asks Lily if she likes Banchii. When Lily claims that she has been focused on her work to care, Silar presses further. She replies that the planet has become an importance place for so many and that her instinct is to protect Banchii so that future generations can thrive.

Lightsaber lessons[]

Elsewhere, Master Arkoff discovers several overturned pots on his balcony, arousing his annoyance. Later, Lily and Keerin meditate by a pond. While meditating through the Force, Lily experiences a Force vision of civilians fleeing falling debris. She hears someone calling to her for help. Keerin senses his unsettled master and asks if something is wrong. Lily replies that nothing is wrong. The two are soon joined by an apologetic Viv'nia and Nima, who apologize for damaging Master Arkoff's pots while practising with lightsabers. The two initiates explained that they just wanted to help their older Jedi brethren keep the peace.

At Master Arkoff's prompting, Lily and Keerin demonstrate with their lightsabers. Witnessing the training session, Viv'nia observes that the two older Jedi are not just attacking each other but are also tracking their opponent's moves. Following the exercise, Viv'nia asks Master Arkoff why the Jedi would train to use a weapon that can easily take a life. Nima responds that they train with lightsabers so that they can use it to defend life. Arkoff growls with approval before asking Lily for her opinion.

Lily replies that both opinions are correct, likening them to the duality of fire, water, and wood which can both help and hurt. She says that the Jedi need to learn the balance between helping and hurting. At Lily's prompting, she and Keerin resume their training exercise. Lily manages to seize Keerin's lightsaber, winning the match. She explains that reading one's opponent's moves and anticipating their actions is a form of expression. She surmises that dueling is not just about wielding a weapon but also trusting one's intention to win.

Having observed Lily and Keerin, Viv'nia surmises that she lost control of her lightsaber because she was unsure why they would use them. Arkoff roars in affirmation, pleasing Viv'nia. Nima and Viv'nia begin sparring with the lightsabers. When Keerin remarks that they are taking their lightsaber training seriously, Lily replies not until they stop bothering the archivist and Deedee-Wunay, who is already preoccupied with her temple and research duties. Arkoff growls before waving his finger in a agreement. Lily reluctantly accepts Arkoff's view that Banchii is a place for younglings.

The forest expedition[]

Later at the village, the archivist Ru-Ru assists a villager who has fallen off a ladder. Satisfied that Ru-Ru is contributing to the village, Lily believes that the Jedi have reached balance with everyone. While she and Keerin are walking through the fields, Mr. Zaret informs the Jedi that Mr. Kooba is unwell. Visiting Mr Kooba's hut, they find him standing immobile and unresponsive to stimuli. They request the assistance of Doctor Silar and Master Arkoff.

Doctor Silar inspects Mr Kooba, who appears to have recovered. Kooba claims that he is fine and better than before. However, Lily and Silar are not so certain and make arrangements to have him transferred to Hon-Tallos for a thorough examination if his condition worsens. Silar surmises that Kooba must be suffering from exhaustion settling in an unfamiliar place. He asks Lily to keep an eye on Kooba.

Shortly later, several of the colonists gather outside the Jedi temple, reporting that areas of their farm have been uprooted. Lily also reports hearing unusual noises in the Jedi temple. Lily offers to lead an investigation in the forest. Master Arkoff convinces Lily to bring the younglings so that they can broaden her perspective.

As they approach the forest, Viv'nia and Keerin grumble that they would rather be at the Republic Fair on Valo. Lily asserts her authority and reminds them of their mission. She tells the droid Deedee-Wunay that they need an updated map for this area of the forest. Keerin notices that they are entering an uncharted part of the forest. Lily explains that Ru-Ru did not want them to disturb the natural environment. Viv'nia touches a flower but Lily warns her not to touch it unless Deedee can ascertain it is safe.

When Keerin asks his master if younglings make her uncomfortable, Lily replies that she would not have picked him as her Padawan if this was the case. She reminds Keerin that Nima and Viv'nia are initiates who don't have a master yet and that they look to him as a role model. Lily explains that she values the youngling's enthusiasm while acknowledging that they lack focus, are unpredictable, and full of contradictory questions.

When Keerin asks Lily what she was like as a Padawan, Lily admits that she needs to be more broad-minded but struggles with letting go of her principles and adapting to change. Keerin is surprised that his master struggles with self doubt. Lily warns her Padawan that having too much self-confidence can prevent introspection and lead to arrogance and mistakes.

The Drengir threat[]

The Jedi soon discover a clearing that has not been previously cleared by them or the colonists. Deedee discovers some tracks laced with plant-based residue heading towards the settlement. Lilly sends Nima and Viv'nia with Deedee back to the Temple to update Master Arkoff while she and Keerin investigate. As they approach the settlement, Lily and Keerin encounter Mr. Kooba, who has been turned into a wooden statute. They also find the mangled corpse of a colonist nearby and some buildings in flames.

The two Jedi find a Drengir rampaging through the village, devouring villages. Others have been turned into wood. While Ru-Ru and Master Arkoff usher the colonists inside the Jedi Temple, Nima and Viv'nia arrive and inform the older Jedi of the new threat rampaging through the forests and farms. When Viv'nia and Nima volunteer to help, Arkoff assigns them with shepherding the injured to the infirmary. They offer their services to Doctor Silar, who accepts their help.

The Drengir grabs Keerin with one of its appendages but Lily uses the Force to free him. The two are aided by Master Arkoff, who uses his lightsaber to hack at its appendages. Lily tells Arkoff that they followed the Drengir from the forest but believed that it is not native to Banchii. She also senses a Dark side presence in the Drengir. The Drengir is also capable of regenerating itself.

Meanwhile, a second Drengir attacks the Jedi Temple, bursting through the ceilings and starling Viv'nia, Nima and the colonists. While the older Jedi fight the first Drengir, Lily and Keerin hear the screams from the Jedi Temple and head back to defend the occupants. Back at the Temple, Nima and Viv'nia attempt to fight off the Drengir. However, Doctor Silar attempts to protect the younglings and confronts the Drengir. As Viv'nia calls master Lily for help through the Force, the Jedi Knight intervenes and slices off the second Drengir's appendages; saving Silar and the younglings.

With the Drengir able to regenerate quickly, Lily instructs Viv'nia and Nima to bring the civilians to the back of the Temple while she and Keerin try to lure the creature out. Lily uses herself as bait to draw the Drengir out of the Temple. They soon join Arkoff and Ru-Ru, who are locked in combat against their Drengir. Though the two managed to cut their Drengir in half, the pieces regenerate into more Drengir. Unable to wound or reason with the creatures, Lily decides that they must be destroyed in order to protect the civilians.

She convinces the other Arkoff and Ru-Ru to drive the Drengir to the space in front of the lake while she and Keerin prepare several oil canisters. Once the Drengir arrive, Lily uses the Force to splash oil onto the creatures. At her signal, Keerin sets them alight with a torch. The Drengir are soon engulfed in flames. After Arkoff and Ru-Ru arrive, the four Jedi combined their Force powers to generate a fiery whirlwind around the Drengir, destroying the creatures. Lily senses a disturbance in the Force on Valo but decides that she needs to attend to the civilians, Viv'nia, and Nima.

Master Stellan's visit[]

A week later, Lily watches as Dr Silar examines the fossilized bodies of victims of the Drengir who had been turned into wood. Shortly later, Lily and Arkoff are visited by Master Stellan Gios, who had been visiting the sector's Jedi temples in the wake of the Nihil attack on Valo. Arkoff had briefed Master Stellan about Lily's quick thinking during the fight against the Drengir. Stellan also explains that the Nihil had used the Drengir during the attack on Valo.

Though Lily wishes she had been more alert, Master Stellan reassures her that she is an exceptional Jedi Knight and credits her for saving the Jedi Temple on Banchii. Master Stellan believes that the Drengir were being controlled by a being called the Great Progenitor since the Drengir scattered when it was defeated. When Lily says that she and her Jedi team defeated the Drengir on Banchii, Stellan expresses uncertainty.

Stellan says that the Jedi do not know why the Nihil are attacking the innocent but vows to take the fight to them. He vows not to let the Nihil disrupt galactic peace. Stellan then informs the other Jedi that the Jedi Council has summoned Master Arkoff to assist him. Lily initially disagrees, pointing out that Banchii is still recovering from the Drengir attack and fears that they cannot survive a second attack without Master Arkoff. When Arkoff replies that the Drengir have been defeated, Lily expresses concern about the Nihil.

Arkoff advises his former apprentice Lily to changer her perspective. Lily realizes that she is not on her own since she will have Keerin, Nima, Viv'nia, Ru-Ru, and Dr Silar with her. She reasons that the Temple represents all of them working together to protect peace in the galaxy. Lily accepts Master Arkoff's reasoning, say that she promises to surpass him and to protect Banchii in her absence. Lily also promises to water his gardens before leaving to attend to the farmers' concerns. Stellan adds that Banchii is in good hands with Lily around.

In private, Masters Stellan and Arkoff discuss Lily. Stellan observes that Arkoff is strict with her but conceds that she might be the type of Jedi to thrive under criticism. Stellan adds that they are all learning in these times. Prior to their departure, he tells Arkoff to ask Doctor Silar to conduct an autopsy on the Drengir's victims in order to investigate why Banchii's victims were turned into wood. Following the events on Valo, Stellan doesn't want to leave anything to chance. He adds that all Jedi need to be on alert due to the events on Valo. When Arkoff remarks that Stellan is being optimistic, Stellan replies that he did not expect the Wookiee master to also be strict with him. Within a hut in the settlement, an ominous helmet lies hidden behind a wooden panel.

Outside the Jedi Temple, Lily informs the leaders of the farmers about the threat posed by the Nihil and their actions during the Great Disaster and the attack on the Republic Fair on Valo. She reassures them that the Jedi are hunting them down for their crimes. The farmers ask why the Nihil are attacking them and what if they are attacked again. Lily reassures them that the Jedi and their Temple will protect them even though they are in the Outer Rim. The farmers reluctantly agree to trust the Jedi to protect them.

Before leaving, Master Stellan speaks with Lily in private. Since people fear the unknown, he counsels her to be a bridge between the Jedi and the people. He also advises that difficulties can help people grow since all Jedi learn from their experiences, including himself. Before departing with Master Arkoff, he wishes that the Force will be with her.

Taking the lead[]

Lily watches as Padawan Keerin and younglings Nima and Viv'nia train with their lightsabers besides a river. Since they can't rely on Master Arkoff's wisdom anymore, Lily says that they must remember what he taught them. When Viv'nia asks how long Master Arkoff will be away, Lily replies that she doesn't know but that they will have to make sure he has somewhere safe to return to. The younglings agree.

Lily gets Keerin to spar with Nima while Viv'nia practices her control of the Force. As the younger Jedi train, Lily reflects quietly. She thinks that the pendulum of peace is swinging towards something dangerous and resolves that they should all strengthen the Jedi Temple. She vows she must make sure that her younger charges are not persuaded into darkness. As Nima gains the upper hand with Keerin, Lily tells them to stop.

When Viv'nia complements Nima, Lily counsels her not to get distracted and to be alert for any disturbances in the Force. When Nima asks how she will know what a disturbance is, Lily realizes that is too advance for her and instead gets Viv'nia to practise with strengthening her telekinesis. As Lily resolves to prepare the younger Jedi, it begins raining and the Jedi head back to the Temple.

The hidden enemy[]

Later, Lily experiences a nightmare about being ensnared by Drengir appendages and seeing an armored helmet. After awakening in the morning, Lily senses a disturbance in the Force and something dark. While she and Keerin survey the perimeter of the settlement, they encounter Mr. Zaret, who tells her that he has been organizing the later Mr. Kooba's stockroom. Zaret claims that the farmers want to honor Kooba's memory by planting something in his honor. Recalling that Mr. Kooba was handling a container prior to his infection and death, Lily returns to the Jedi Temple with Keerin.

At the Jedi Temple, Dr Silar observes that the Drengir on Banchii appear to have mutated based on the planet's resources and adds that they are not native to the planet. Having done an autopsy on the Drengirs' victims who were turned to wood, he found unusual spores. Ru-Ru says this is an effective way to disable their victims unseen. Silar is unsure whether the spores are for consumption or reproductive purposes but surmises that the Great Progenitor's defeat seems to have stopped the progression.

Lily believes that the Drengir were introduced to Banchii recently due to the recent Ta'klah resettling. She wonders if Mr Kooba could have brought them in that container. Silar agrees and thinks that he transformed earlier due t his exposure to the spores. Silar recalls that Kooba said that he had received the container from someone before. Lily speculates that the person was using Mr. Kooba to plant the Drengir on Banchii.

Given the recent alliance between the Nihil and the Drengir on Valo, Lily wonders if the Nihil are already present on Banchii. While Kerrin and Lily want to alert the Hon-Tallos Temple, Ru-Ru counsels her fellow Jedi to get all the facts before acting. While Ru-Ru suggests alerting Master Arkoff, Lily suggests alerting Starlight Beacon and says they must be ready.

The Nihil infiltrator is revealed to be Mr. Zaret, whose Nihil helmet is hidden behind a wooden compartment in his hut. Zaret contacts his Nihil comrades, telling them that nobody has noticed his activities yet since the Jedi have been distracted with repairs. He says that they might need to step things up on Banchii. His contact thinks its too soon since Master Arkoff left. Zaret replies that the other Jedi were starting to take an interest in his activities. When his contact says they will need time to contact the Eye of the Nihil, Zaret tells them to hurry up since the Jedi might be catching on.

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Sources[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 SWYTlogo.png Star Wars: The High Republic | Live Stream Launch Event on the official Star Wars YouTube channel (backup link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Amazon favicon.png Star Wars: The High Republic: Edge of Balance on Amazon.com (backup link)
  3. The Star Wars Book dates the launch of the Starlight Beacon, which is depicted as part of the events of The High Republic: Light of the Jedi, to 232 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which corresponds to 232 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas. The novel The High Republic: The Rising Storm takes place almost a year after the events of Light of the Jedi, so the events of The Rising Storm must take place around 231 BBY. The first volume of Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance is set prior to, concurrently, and after The Rising Storm, meaning the events of this volume must occur around that year.

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