Continuing a sequence of reminiscences about the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics series, which ends Wednesday with #50...
When I opened the virtual floor for questions, there was one question I knew I'd get — and we got it. In Daze of Hate, Lord Adasca mentions that Lucien had spirited away his niece, Aurora, into the Jedi Order. And then we never hear about Aurora again. "Just curious if that would've ever been important," one questioner asks, "given how important Arkanians turned out to be in this series."
I'm not sure why I hear this question so often — maybe it's because we've had relatively few non sequiturs. What's on the page in #19 is reasonably simple: Adasca's old friend Lucien brought a child of wealth into the Order — something similar to what Haazen accused his father of, we later see — and Adasca hasn't seen her since. The only later mention is in the text page of #22, where the only remaining Adasca heir is described as missing in action after Serroco. And that's that.
So what's Aurora's story? Did she exist to show how Lucien was willing to use his Jedi position to work with the business world, and to show how Adasca was interested in getting rid of potential successor? Or was she planted as a plot thread we intended to follow later?
The answer is both, in a way — although the answer is more complicated than that.
When Vector was first taking shape, a number of things were in the story from near the beginning. The Rakghoul plague, originating from Taris; Karness Muur and his artifact; and the idea of a young female Jedi who would venture into future times. John Ostrander, writer of Star Wars: Legacy, first created the broad outline that described that Jedi — she who would eventually become Celeste Morne. Her name, in those early days: Aurora.
Her species, in John's earliest concept, was Arkanian — and in this, I saw a chance to tie her into the storyline we had going on already. I wanted to foreshadow a little bit of what would be going on in Vector in Knights of the Old Republic, and if Aurora was Arkanian, we had a ready-made place to plug her into the storyline we already had going. Thus it was that, in my early drafts, Aurora became the Jedi that Lucien spirited away into the Jedi order — and now she was either one of his former Padawans-turned-knight or a Covenant member. I felt certain enough about the character's eventual appearance in Vector that I went ahead and inserted the line about her in #19.
That was premature — because stories have a way of evolving. Since the whole point of Vector was introducing new readers to the Star Wars comics titles, it became clear that the less baggage our characters brought into it, the better. Each of my successive drafts shed characters from the KOTOR section, until we were down to our two main existing protagonists (Zayne and Gryph) and Lucien. Since their drama would be the centerpiece of 2008, there wasn't much reason to put anyone else on the stage. We also wanted to tell a story that was forward-looking, focusing squarely on the main conflicts in our series — and that wouldn't have been possible with our new character tied to our storylines just completed. Our newcomer didn't need a family grudge to create conflict with Zayne; she'd already have that, being caught between Lucien and doing the right thing.
So our Vector protagonist became fully human, and with no ties to the past beyond her having been part of Lucien's organization. Unfortunately, by this point I had already dropped the Aurora name into #19 — meaning the Vector protagonist would have to be someone else. So I suggested we use another similarly astronomical name: Celeste, along with John's original last name for her. All agreed — and Aurora was history. A character, certainly — but completely unrelated to Celeste.
I'm glad we made the change, for all the reasons stated above; Celeste was motivated enough as it was, and as I continued working with the Shadows, I realized they became more interesting the less we knew about where they came from. What hit the page was for the best, by far.
In the meantime, there was Aurora to attend to — and that's where the article in The Admiral's List in #22 came in. The initial scene in #19 suggested that the Order was large enough that people can disappear into it without seeing their loved ones — or unloved ones —which jibes with what we later know about the Shadows. And Adasca seemed indifferent to Aurora's fate, which suggests he didn't care much about her whereabouts — he may even have encouraged her going off with Lucien, to get a potential successor out of the way. And, as of #22's note, she is.
Some have asked if Aurora could be the The Exile. No — as the Defense Ministry Brief in #24 tells us, there were other Jedi there both officially and unofficially, including one who did report back, and another who potentially went to Taris. We'd been careful to have Carth speak of multiple Jedi snooping around — and later several ships escaping — to make sure there were rides for everyone. But we never learned of any ride off-world for Aurora — and there was absolutely nothing in the Exile's known story that would connect her to a wealthy Arkanian family. (Not to mention, all the characters in the game had pupils and human hands!)
So what happened to her? The note about the "only heir" still being lost after Serroco, right at the time Lucien's Draay Trust makes its bid to control Adascorp, suggests a fun little possibility. If Aurora was a Covenant adherent who did survive Serroco, it's not hard to imagine Lucien taking that opportunity to make her a full-fledged presumed-dead Shadow — conveniently getting a potential rival for control of Adascorp out of the way. Perhaps she's even on Lucien's world that we see later. All just speculation, of course — but fun!
Dead or Shadow, Aurora, we hardly knew you...
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