Star Wars: The Old Republic Novel Excerpt and Media

LucasArts and BioWare's official Star Wars: The Old Republic website has been updated with a selection of new content today, including an excerpt from the newly available Star Wars: The Old Republic - Fatal Alliance novel, a screenshot of the Cathar, a handful of wallpapers, ten forum avatars, and an updated fansite kit. From the novel's first chapter:
SHIGAR KONSHI FOLLOWED the sound of blasterfire through Coruscant's old districts. He never stumbled, never slipped, never lost his way, even through lanes that were narrow and crowded with years of detritus that had settled slowly from the levels above. Cables and signs swayed overhead, hanging so low in places that Shigar was forced to duck beneath them. Tall and slender, with one blue chevron on each cheek, the Jedi apprentice moved with grace and surety surprising for his eighteen years.

At the core of his being, however, he seethed. Master Nikil Nobil's decision had cut no less deeply for being delivered by hologram from the other side of the galaxy.

(The High Council finds Shigar Konshi unready for Jedi trials.)

The decision had shocked him, but Shigar knew better than to speak. The last thing he wanted to do was convey the shame and resentment he felt in front of the Council.

(Tell him why,) said Grand Master Satele Shan, standing at his side with hands folded firmly before her. She was a full head shorter than Shigar but radiated an indomitable sense of self. Even via holoprojector, she made Master Nobil, an immense Thisspiasian with full ceremonial beard, shift uncomfortably on his tail.

(We that is, the Council regard your Padawan's training as incomplete.)

Shigar flushed. (In what way, Master Nobil?)

His Master silenced him with a gentle but irresistible telepathic nudge. (He is close to attaining full mastery,) she assured the Council.

(I am certain that it is only a matter of time.)

(A Jedi Knight is a Jedi Knight in all respects,) said the distant Master.

(There are no exceptions, even for you.)

Master Satele nodded her acceptance of the decision. Shigar bit his tongue. She said she believed in him, so why did she not overrule the decision? She didn't have to submit to the Council. If he weren't her Padawan, would she have spoken up for him then?