- Jason Dietzel
Force Organizations: Je'Daii Order
By Jason Dietzel
A predecessor to the Jedi Order, the Je’daii Order got its start when mysterious spaceships discovered on planets across the galaxy started calling out in the Force to Force-sensitive individuals. Drawing from various primitive Force-based groups, these Tho Yor pyramid ships beckoned the early followers of the Force to board them. Once aboard, the pyramid ships took to the stars, gathering a plethora of species from other planets, before settling on the planet Tython.
It became evident to these new denizens that the planet had a uniquely strong connection to the Force and that they had been called to this place to study the Force and learn how to master its abilities. At least 36,400 years before the movies, these new arrivals would create the Je’daii Order.
At the core of the Je’daii Order was balance. Practitioners strived to balance their lives between the light side and dark side of the Force. Inspired by Tython’s two moons, the bright satellite – representing the light side – became known as Ashla, while the darker satellite – representing the dark side – became known as Bogan. If a practitioner became too unbalanced in either the light side or the dark side, the order would temporarily exile the person to the opposite alignment moon in order to restore balance.
The reason the Je’daii placed such an important emphasis on balance was because they noticed the planet itself was affected by any imbalance in the Force, causing intense reactions to overuse of the light or dark sides. As a result, balance was central to not only personal harmony, but also environmental. Without it, it was reckoned such imbalance could cause catastrophic chaos. As a result, the Je’daii viewed living on Tython as being a constant learning experience studying and meditating in the Force.
To symbolize the eight Tho Yor ships bringing them to Tython, where the ninth Tho Yor structure rested, the Je’daii built schools of study at each site the ships came to occupy. At the pinnacle of the Je’daii hierarchy was the Masters’ Council. The council consisted of at least nine Temple Masters, one from each of the nine Tho Yor temples. There could be more than nine, if a temple had co-headmasters dvying up the duties of running the facility.
New initiates would train at Temple Kesh until they were taken on as apprentices by a Je’daii Master. When they completed their training with their master, generally happening in their teens, the padawans were made Je’daii Journeyers and sent on a rite of passage odyssey across Tython – usually by foot- to visit all of the Temples. Known as the Great Journey, Journeyers would spend years traveling and stopping at each temple to learn the basics at each location.
Upon completing the great Journey, Journeyers were graduated to the rank of Ranger and choose which Temple to further their training in its skills. They were also given a ship so they could go on missions assigned to them by the Masters’ Council. As their wisdom, knowledge and skills in the Force increased, Rangers could be recommended by the Council to become Masters, the second highest rank behind Temple Masters. Once Rangers attained masterhood, they could impart their wisdom onto new initiates at the temples and take on a padawan.
As the Tythans increased in number, they began spreading to the other planets in the Tython system. Naturally, as generations passed, not all Tythans were Force-sensitive. In order to protect those who could not wield the Force from the harsh forces on Tython, they were forced to resettle on these other inhabited planets. However, over the millennia, the Je’daii became a thing of legend, despite their aid to the “Settled Worlds” of the Tython system.
Almost twelve thousand years after the arrival of the Tho Yor ships – circa 25,805 BBY – a leader of the Settled Worlds started a conflict with the Je’daii. Ending an era of peace, Queen Hadiya threw Tython into great unbalance and it took the Je’daii’s combined power to ward off her advances and return the planet to balance. Though the conflict reunited the Je’daii and non-Force users, the system wouldn’t know peace again.
Shortly thereafter, Force Hounds of the Rakatan’s Infinite Empire infiltrated the system, throwing Tython into imbalance once again, and resulting in the Infinite Empire invading the system. The Je’daii and the rest of the Settled Worlds were able to repel the Rakatan’s assault by reverse engineering their signature weapon, the forcesaber.
Unfortunately, the balance the Je’daii had sought would forever be shattered. Following the departure of the Infinite Empire, the Je’daii broke into two factions, one focusing on studying Ashla – the light side of the Force – and the other focusing on the dark side of the Force (Bogan). In what would be called the Force Wars, these two factions would wage a brutal war that would devastate Tython.
Though victorious over the followers of the dark side, the forces loyal to Ashla were forced to leave the ruined planet of Tython, traveling to the distance planet of Ossus. There, the Je’daii Order was reorganized into the Jedi Order, forsaking their philosophy of balance and focused on adherence to the light side, remembering the destruction the dark side wrought if not properly contained.
On a side note, those amongst the Settled Worlds not Force-sensitive would continue on developing their own civilization, once again coming to view the Je’daii Order as a thing of legend.
The Je’daii Order made their debut in the Dawn of the Jedi series by John Ostrander. Before the discontinuation of the Expanded Universe, the idea was that the Dawn of the Jedi arc would focus on a variety of content set before the rise of the Galactic Republic, primarily the Je’daii Order, creation of the Jedi Order, the Infinite Empire, and other “ancient” conflicts.