Yoda, Master of the Jedi Council

A noble order of protectors unified by their belief and observance of the Force, the Jedi hearken back to a more civilized, classical time in galactic history. Their order is ancient, spanning over a thousand generations. As the Galactic Republic throve and grew over the centuries, the Jedi came to serve it as guardians of peace and justice.

Headquartered on Coruscant, the Jedi trained, studied, and planned from the impressive Jedi Temple, a towering edifice rising high above the surrounding structures on the city-planet. They are governed by a High Council of 12 Jedi -- most of them Jedi Masters -- who contemplated the very nature of the Force.

To become a Jedi requires the deepest commitment and most serious mind. It is not a venture to be undertaken lightly. As such, Jedi instruction is rigidly structured and codified to enforce discipline and hinder transgression. Only 20 Jedi have ever voluntarily renounced their commissions. It is with great regret that the Jedi order recognizes the so-called "Lost Twenty." A Jedi who fails in his training can be a very serious threat. The dark side of the Force beckons to the impatient, and students in the past have been lured to its call with devastating consequences.

Jedi candidates are detected, identified and taken into the order as infants. One method of detection is through blood sampling -- those with great Force potential often have high midi-chlorian counts in their bloodstream. A prospective Jedi begins training in infancy. All connection to previous family life is lost. In this early stage of training, a single master instructs groups, or clans, of Jedi hopefuls.

As the Jedi mature, the apprentice is paired with a master to continue the next phase of the training. According to the Jedi Code, a Jedi Master may only have one Padawan at a time. Near the end of the Padawan's training, she must undergo trials before ascending to the rank of Knight.

The next level of rank in the Jedi order is the Jedi Master, reserved for those who have shown exceptional devotion and skill in the Force. It is from the ranks of the Jedi Masters that the High Council is chosen, which is the main interface between the Jedi and the government of the Republic.

The Jedi dress in simple robes and carry specialized field gear for their missions. Their signature weapon, the lightsaber, is both elegant and deadly when in the hands of a trained master.
600px-Duel on Coruscant
The sworn enemies of the Jedi are the Sith -- a cult-like order bent on domination through subservience to the Force's dark side. Founded by former Jedi, the Sith abandoned the precepts of knowledge and defense, and instead seek abandon and strength through the Force's hateful energies. Centuries ago, the Jedi destroyed the Sith order. A dangerous complacency set it, wherein the Jedi believed the Sith extinct. Little did they know the order would arise anew, to destroy their ranks.

At first, the signs were few. The sudden appearance of a Sith attacker during the Battle of Naboo was startling to the Council, but that threat was dispatched. Still, according to Sith lore, the dark villains always traveled in pairs -- a master, and apprentice. For a decade, there was no physical sign of the remaining Dark Lord, but evidence of his power began to appear.

The Jedi ability to use the Force inexplicably began to diminish. This, coupled with increasing violence in the galaxy sparked by a Separatist movement overburdened the valiant protectors. Their ranks were spread thin trying to maintain the peace, and many Jedi fell during the crisis. When it came to war, and the first shots of the Clone Wars were fired on Geonosis, only a scant 200 Jedi were readily available for the conflict. Most of this taskforce was killed in the battle, but reinforcements, in the form of the Republic's new military, secured a victory against the Separatists.

The Clone Wars were a trying time for the Jedi. They transformed from an order of peacekeepers to military commanders, serving as battlefield generals for the Republic's new clone army. With their perception so focused on the war and so clouded by the pall of the dark side, the Jedi failed to see the truth: that the Sith were the masterminds behind the conflict.

In truth, the Sith Master was hidden in the very heart of the Republic. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine was actually Darth Sidious. With his position of absolute authority over the galaxy, Palpatine enacted Order 66 -- a command transmitted to the fiercely loyal clone troopers that identified the Jedi as traitors to the Republic. Across the galaxy, clone troopers opened fire against their Jedi generals, killing many of them.

Luminara Unduli and her Apprentice, Barriss Offee

The Jedi were branded as enemies of the state. Palpatine's new Sith apprentice, Darth Vader, razed the Jedi Temple in a nighttime attack carried out by loyal clones. As the Empire came to power, the Jedi were all but extinct. A few survivors, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Jedi Master Yoda, were able to train the first new Jedi in a generation.

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