In this middle grade novel, hear the thrilling space tales, fables, and myths that are told in a galaxy far, far away. The book features two stories that take place on the remote Outer Rim world of Batuu, plus many other untold tales from the edge of the galaxy, lushly illustrated in a style that pays homage to real-world children’s classics.
Read an exclusive excerpt from the tale “The Knight & the Dragon” below!
There was once a tribe of nomadic people on the distant, dusty planet of Tatooine who, for many months, had been terrorized by a fearsome dragon.
These were a simple people, with simple needs, who had for generations eked out an uncomplicated existence on the harsh desert sands, trading with the other tribes for water and sustenance, salvaging the wreckage left behind by those careless few who shared their world—those others whose lives unfolded in the noisy cities and spaceports, who tried ineffectively to hold back the sand rather than embrace its gifts.
The desert folk had little cause to visit those teeming cities, however, and although they had once roamed the rolling dunes in great caravans, they had found a place to settle. They were at one with the land and knew that the desert itself would provide them with everything they might need.
So it was that these Sand People came to establish a village of their own, a place they might call home.
For many months the village flourished, and food and water proved bountiful as the desert offered up its gifts. The villagers, once so used to their endless migration across the sands, grew complacent and comfortable. Yet in their ignorance, they knew not that they had awoken the wrath of a great dragon, Krayt, that made its nest amongst the nearby dunes and called that domain its own.
Krayt was sly and knew that the people of the sand were in no way its equal in battle or cunning, so it devised a plan to rid itself of them. Just as the desert had provided for the villagers, it would provide, too, for the dragon.
The people of the sand were numerous, and the dragon ever hungry; if it rationed them carefully, the villagers would sustain it for many months to come. Soon enough, it would reclaim its domain from those interlopers—once they were all inside its belly—but dragons are long-lived and lazy, and Krayt saw no need to hurry.
Thus, it chose to begin with the villager’s plump livestock, which they held in large corrals on the outskirts of the village. Only then, when the entire herd had been consumed, would the dragon enjoy the taste of that which it so craved: people.
So began a campaign of nightly terror as the dragon—so large that the beat of its wings alone was enough to stir the sand into great storms that ravaged the villagers’ tents—descended upon the village to snatch at the mewling beasts in their pens before hurrying away, back to its sandy lair, to feast. The villagers cowered at the mere sight of such a terrible beast, and in their fear, they made no move to try to prevent the dragon’s attacks.
On the fifth day, however, the villagers were growing desperate, for they knew that if the dragon continued, soon there would be no livestock left in the pens to feed their children. That night, ten of the village’s most trusted warriors took up their arms and went to stand guard over the pens, in the belief that, together, they might prove strong enough to scare the beast into fleeing, or even to slay it.
As it had each night before, the dragon came with the setting suns—a vast and horrifying silhouette, stark against the reddening sky. On huge wings it soared, sweeping low over the heads of the villagers, wheeling above them as they raised their weapons and took aim. Yet their weapons were ineffective and did not so much as scratch the beast. Far from dissuaded, it brushed the villagers aside with a flick of its wing and once more sailed away into the night with a squealing animal for its supper.
In such a way it continued for many days, until the villagers’ livestock had all been consumed, and the Sand People themselves lived in fear of what the dragon Krayt might do when it returned to discover the pens empty.
Krayt, though, had planned for such an eventuality and had secretly willed that day to come, because to a dragon, there is no sweeter meal than a helpless villager.
That night the dragon returned to the village to find the livestock pens had been abandoned. With a cackle of malicious glee, it turned to the village and beat its wings until the tents were swept away in a blizzard of sand and the people cowering beneath were revealed. For a moment the dragon seemed to linger, and then, licking its lips, it selected a young boy, whom it plucked from his mother’s arms and carried away into the night.
The boy was not the last of his peers to be lost in such a fashion, for Krayt soon developed quite a taste for children. The villagers took to hiding their young in pits beneath the shifting sands, but the dragon was wise and had seen such tricks before. It dug up the children like wriggling worms, one to feast upon each night.
The villagers could stand for this no longer and elected a warrior from amongst their number, whom they armed with their most precious weapons, adorned with their strongest armor, and sent out into the desert to stir the dragon from its nest. This warrior carried vengeance in her heart, for she knew the dragon must pay for the lives it had stolen, and she boldly claimed that she would soon return with the beast’s head as a trophy of her victory. The villagers cheered as she strode off toward the horizon, and in their hearts, for the first time in months, they carried hope for the future….
For information on this title and all the other releases coming out this year, head on over to StarWars.com for the full story!
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