|Date of Birth:||
Green double-bladed lightsaber
|Chronology & Political Information|
|[ Source ]|
- "'You can develop all the fancy stunts, tricks, and tactics you like. They won't mean a damn thing unless you have someone around to make sure that your ships fly and your guns can shoot."
Nikora Rhan is a Nautolan female serving Clan Odan-Urr. Raised by a pair of smugglers operating on the Outer Rim for much of her childhood, she was eventually recruited into the Jensaarai Order as her blossoming powers became increasingly difficult to control. This affinity with machinery led to her becoming a de facto weaponsmith within their organisation, serving to keep the Ring Defenders in operation and maintaining equipment. This emphasis on engineering and maintenance meant that she was one of several who voiced in favour of the Reclaimer experiment to seek out lost battlegrounds and recover salvage for the Jensaarai to use. This activity led to her frequently butting heads with those among the Jensaarai who believed that secrecy and isolation were needed in order to survive.
Rhan became increasingly disillusioned with the Order's leadership as they pushed for ever-greater seclusion from the galaxy. This finally led to her breaking with the group entirely following a discovery that the elder Jensaarai were hoping to avoid possible annihilation by the likes of the First Order by erasing past records. After being tasked with arresting Ka Tarvitz during his reappearance on Susevfi, Rhan instead opted to follow him into exile and sided with Clan Odan-Urr. This would later see the two of them establishing The Fang as a base of operations, and working to preserve their teachings.
- 1 Character History
- 1.1 The Nomad (6 ABY - 13 ABY)
- 1.2 The Defender (14 ABY -24 ABY)
- 1.3 The Reclaimer (25 ABY - 31 ABY)
- 1.4 The Preserver (32 ABY - 37 ABY)
- 1.5 The Warsmith (38 ABY - Present)
- 2 Physical Description
- 3 Personality
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Powers and Abilities
The Nomad (6 ABY - 13 ABY)
The Engine of Souls
Like many children born among the Outer Rim, Nikora Rhan was someone who came into existence without a home. Unlike most this was because she was bound to no single world. Born during a hyperspace jump between planets, Rhan grew up surrounded by machinery and listening to the constant thunder of ships' engines. Both of her parents were smugglers, seeking to make their fortunes by profiting from the ongoing Galactic Civil War and the infighting among Imperial warlords. With so many battlefields left behind from the Clone Wars and other conflicts littering old battlegrounds, there was no shortage of profit to be made by reclaiming everything still operational. Although it carried with it no shortage of dangers, the work at least avoided the more typical risks associated with smuggling such as dealing directly with the Hutts, or some planetary authorities. Favouring selling their supplies to small planetary governments and the New Republic, they were able to gain some degree of legitimate backing for their ventures and even direct support when needed.Force granting her an innate connection with machines. These things were subtle at first, with Rhan claiming to "hear" when the engines were complaining of constant strain or when a droid’s motivator was coming to the end of its life. Coming from a child, her parents laughed this off at first, largely accepting this as her way of comprehending the world. Yet as time drew on, her efforts in listening to equipment became more pronounced and accurate. She was able to briefly bring technology back to life simply from being in close proximity to her, and her crude repairs to simpler machines worked almost in spite of her errors. Nevertheless, they worked.
As Rhan grew older, her idiosyncrasies about the souls and emotions of machines became less tolerated. Her parents became increasingly infuriated at Rhan's refusal to abandon what they regarded as a childish misunderstanding, even as her technological aptitude expanded. She was repeatedly encouraged to abandon her ideas, and reprimanded when she was caught holding conversations with their ship's engines, or her own creations. This was the subject of ridicule more than once, among the few times that she did remain on a world long enough to hold a conversation with others, especially those of greater experience. The fact that she could break their creations with little more than a gesture, or seemingly give them minds of their own, was overlooked in the face of mockery. However, Rhan remained adamant that she could listen to the words of machines and correct them without needing access to even the most basic tools. It would be several years before she was able to definitively prove this skill.
Derelict of Ages
By 12 ABY, life was becoming increasingly difficult for Rhan's parents. With many past battlefields picked clean and the New Republic itself backing Operation Flotsam under the newly appointed Historical Battle Site Preservation Act, they were relying less upon freelancers to carry out its salvage operations. Even without that, the brief peace which had emerged with the Empire's fractured warlord states had permitted larger powers to strip old derelicts bare of goods. Driven from more profitable ventures, they were gradually pushed to pursue less likely leads in order to fund their lifestyle. After months of raiding the sites of old skirmishes and planetary crash sites, they were doing little more than maintaining their funds. Yet one yielded an unexpected reward. The aging cockpit of a Trade Federation gunship carried with it an active and up to date navicomputer. Severed from the main fuselage, exposure to vacuum had killed the pilots instantly but it had left the machinery within undamaged and unwiped; an act which had prevented its automated functions immediately wiping the machine.
The navicomputer was code-locked but, after working past its defences via older CIS codes that they had previously procured, Rhan's parents were able to examine the data within. The information was decades out of date, speaking of locations known to many scavengers and sites picked clean. One, however, proved to be of immense interest. The vessel that the gunship had been seconded to was noted to have been located within a nearby nebula, and logged communications indicated that it had suffered significant damage. More importantly its name, the Merciless, was listed as one of the few Lucrehulk-class battleships which was still listed as missing. Having never been confirmed as destroyed, integrated into the Rebellion, or even sighted flying under a pirate flag, its fate had been one of the mysteries surrounding the final days of the Clone Wars. More importantly, it was the sort of haul that no salvage hauler could afford to overlook.
No sooner did either of Rhan's parents step free of the ship than force fields locked into place behind them, blocking any avenue of escape. Tractor beams activated, holding the ship in place and armed figures emerged about the ship. Most came out firing, driving the smugglers from the warship as they sought cover. Rhan, out of curiosity, had followed them and was quickly pinned down. Instinctively reaching out in fear with the Force, she hunted for anything which might keep them alive. Boosted by her heightened emotions, a trio of red Photoreceptors burst into life amid the darkness. A Destroyer Droid, partially disassembled and long disused, dragged itself free from a pile of broken droids. With its power core sputtering and only a single active cannon, it seemed to be little more than scrap metal. However, as its shield sparked into life and blasters screamed through the air, it proved to be more than a match for the surprised pirates. By the time it halted in its rampage and shut down, not a single pirate was left standing.
This act proved without a doubt that Rhan's abilities were far more than mere childish fancy, but this only made her parents more wary of her.
Keepers of a Bygone Era
For the following months, the smugglers stripped the Merciless' complement of fighters for spare parts. Ignoring the larger warship, the far smaller and more manageable groups of Scarabs and Vultures filled their cargo holds, ferrying spare parts and raw materials back to New Republic worlds. However, Rhan found herself isolated at this time. Even after the shock of her seemingly bringing machinery to life through sheer force of will had worn in, neither of them could look at her in the same way as before. Rhan was still their daughter, the one they had loved and raised for years, but her abilities were an understandable cause for concern. Neither of them was certain that, in an outburst, that the event might be repeated with themselves or even an innocent figure being caught in the crossfire. These concerns were shared by Rhan herself. It had not been will or even concentration which had pushed her powers to new heights but raw fear tinged with rage. Yet a solution was soon to present itself.Nikto by the name of Kylun, spoke with the smugglers freely and enquired of the pirates' fate. Rather than being allies or a rival group of corsairs, the warriors had been hunting them after they had pillaged their world. In particular, a selection of crystals mistaken as precious gems had been stolen by these groups. While effectively worthless to most of the galaxy, the warriors regarded them with great value. The smugglers had found these among the pirates' belongings, hidden within a safe that Rhan had coaxed into unlocking for them. While her parents tried to avoid mentioning Rhan's role in either the pirates' deaths or her later efforts, Kylun rapidly picked up on the fact that they were hiding something. When pressed, they first tried to claim that they had accomplished Rhan's feats themselves. When this effort failed to shield her from their interest, they then tried to pass it off as a third member of their group who was not present. Neither occasion worked to dissuade Kylun, as he quickly picked up on the deception. It was only when the warriors became increasingly suspicious, to the point of near hostility, that Rhan stepped forward.
Rhan's parents first objected to this, trying to still hide her role in the hopes of sparing their daughter the warrior's attention, or even to make matters worse. Yet rather than accusing them of another falsehood, Kylun showed genuine interest in her abilities. Rhan was shy, worried that the hulking figure in plate armour might choose to simply slay her parents and take her as a slave if he deemed her abilities as useful. To her surprise, Kylun spoke of things that Rhan had always been half-aware of in her life. He asked about energies she felt but no one else could pick up on, or the imprints of lives on objects which others claimed held no life to them. Gradually, he was able to coax answers from her and gain a better picture of how her abilities were manifesting. In return, he displayed some powers of his own: Casting lightning from his fingertips and moving objects with his will. He claimed that what she was experiencing was an extremely strong connection to the Force, and that it was both a blessing and a curse.
Kylun spoke to both Rhan and her parents as the hours wore on. He outlined what the Force was, how its practitioners - near-mythical among the galaxy's outer worlds even with the steady rebuilding of the Jedi Order - could often be divided into two groups of recruits. Some only had their powers manifest in small ways, requiring training and self-discipline to gradually focus their energies in any conscious or substantial form. Others retained them in a far stronger but less controlled manner, displaying connections through either constant passive actions or sudden outbursts. While both ultimately held the same potential for control and growth, the latter group could easily find their lives ruined as their powers overwhelmed them or developed in a way that controlled their lives. Rhan was one of these people, or so it seemed to him. Without training, her ability to listen to machinery could slowly overwhelm her, or her emotions could more easily lean toward the Dark Side. Kylun offered her an opportunity to train with a group of similarly gifted individuals, to control her powers and avert this fate. As he spoke, all that Rhan could think of was her emotions when she had indirectly slaughtered the pirates, and the fear that still clung to her. To her, the choice was an easy one. The two groups left the derelict as one, traveling to the moon of Susevfi to show Rhan just what her future might hold.
The Defender (14 ABY -24 ABY)
The Domain of the Hidden Truth
Rhan remained with her parents during the long flight to Susevfi, each talking over their concerns, hopes, and problems. As the first time that any of them had been able to speak to one another about Rhan's skills without disbelieving her or fearing what it could bring, it offered a hundred possible implications. The most pressing matter was to gain further knowledge of Kylun's group and what her training would require, but also how it might change Rhan herself. Even after seeing their powers manifest first hand, the mysticism that the warriors shrouded themselves in seemed ridiculous. In the end, Rhan herself pushed to at least listen to them. She hungered to explore and develop her skills now that they were being taken seriously. Even if Kylun had lied about everything else, his own abilities made it clear that he had some understanding of the Force and how to control it. It seemed like a singular opportunity to fully explore her abilities.
After landing on the planet's sole spaceport, near to the coastal city of Yumfla, the trio were led to the former Governor's Palace. The world had only just repelled and freed itself from an Imperial splinter-group, with help from the Jedi no less. Having claimed the palace and now operating in the open, the Force users - now freely calling themselves Jensaarai - had begun moving more openly in the nearby systems. The Jensaarai themselves were typically a secretive and isolationist group, but Kylun went to great lengths to explain and detail all he could about them. If ever a question was asked, even if it was typically taboo, he made a point of answering it in full. His reasons for doing so were simple: Rhan's affinity with machinery was rare and most Force users were typically trained from near birth. He openly admitted that he wished for her to develop those skills, but not specifically for the benefit of the Jensaarai. In his eyes, allowing her abilities to wither or go unused would be to rob the galaxy of a rare skill.
After several days of talks - and watching training sessions - Rhan agreed to stay on the moon. Her parents could not remain on the planet, their lifestyle simply would not permit it, but it was agreed that they would visit as often and frequently as possible. From there it would be up to Rhan to decide if she continued to move up the ranks within the Jensaarai or return to the life of a scavenger. After one final night to say their goodbyes, Rhan watched her parents depart for the stars once more, and began the long process of honing her powers.
The First Step into a Larger Worldlightsaber combat and Force powers beyond simple telekinesis. She was continually set targets, trials, and goals to achieve in almost every session. No single one seemed to emphasise the more expansive and detailed explanations of the Force that she had hoped to find. Isolated from other students and seemingly being set tasks with the expectation she would fail at them, Rhan began to regret her choice in remaining among the Jensaarai. As much as she wished to speak out, she felt as if any objection might mark her down as a failure in their eyes. Rhan's mood was hardly improved when, through eavesdropping, she learned that this method of training had been devised based upon the failings of a similarly late starting apprentice: Ka Tarvitz.
Infuriated at the Defenders' methods, Rhan eventually sought out Tarvitz personally. Driven by sheer frustration, and blaming Tarvitz for her treatment, she was all but ready to pick a fight with the boy over these lessons. Undaunted by the fact that he was twice Rhan's age and substantially larger than the Nautolan, an outright fight was only averted thanks to Tarvitz's unwillingness to do more than dodge her blows. Talking Rhan down, and learning of her frustrations, Tarvitz offered to instead help her. He did not deny that his own failings were numerous and felt sympathy for Rhan, but his own experiences offered him a greater perspective on why she was being subjected to such a rigorous series of tests. The ability to utilise Force stemmed from strength of purpose, will, and determination as its foundations, and the Jensaarai favoured aggression focused through total self-discipline. The tests were to build her sense of conviction and encourage creative thinking rather than to have her directly overcome them, mimicking how his own means of catching up with other students. Tarvitz offered to help her at least gain some even footing in facing their challenges, and to overcome tests on her own terms.
Tarvitz's advice went a considerable way to improving her performance, with Rhan typically working around any challenges through outside means or loopholes to accomplish her goals. Lightsaber training duels would often turn into brawls with both weapons discarded, and she would often use her powers to enhance machines to help with certain tasks. This at once both set her as an infuriating and promising individual in the eyes of her peers, as Tarvitz had partially misunderstood their intentions, but they would not deny Rhan her successes. Even with concerns that her over-reliance upon mechanical Force powers was a flaw, Rhan was soon permitted to join broader groups of apprentices and continue with a more conventional means of tutorship.
By the Saarai-kaar's Word
Now better grounded in her understanding of their ways, Rhan dedicated herself entirely to the lessons of the Order's Defenders. Kylun, while limited in his contract with her, frequently took to personally training Rhan in lightsaber combat; a move which was made in response to one too many black eyes following training matches. The older Nikto was bemused by her antics, but nevertheless did his best to encourage a superior level of swordsmanship and appreciation of lightsaber combat, teaching her Niman so not to be limited to blunt and brutal attacks. Rhan listened to his words, but largely found herself doing so simply so she could better exploit a lightsaber's flaws in battle. For all the artistry and skill in mastering a form of combat, Rhan found that the simplest means to overcome an enemy was to deny them their chosen weapons.
Although Rhan proved to be adept in channeling the Force and the essential skills required of a Defender, she had a natural edge when it came to creative outlets. Machinery and engineering had long been a major part of her life, and Rhan's abilities to judge, manipulate and "jinx" complex mechanisms only grew with time. However, even without her connection to the Force, she was capable of forging complex designs and rebuilding items from little more than a memory. Others that she was gifted were frequently reworked and rebuilt, with upgrades or custom modifications when needed. With Kylun's backing, her duties as an Apprentice monitoring the streets of their city were scaled back, and she was instead given time to better familiarise herself with the small fleet of snubfighters that occupied their hangars. This left her in frequent contact with Tarvitz, and the two entered into an odd sort of rivalry for a time, each trying to outdo the other. The fact that few to none of their skills overlapped meant that the results of such contests were typically inconclusive.
Rhan's lessons were punctuated by infrequent visits from her parents, still finding work even after their concerns. Their presence served as a stabilizing factor during Rhan's training, anchoring herself and giving her a deadline by which to accomplish her next series of goals. While wishing to hear more of their daughter's life there than offer news of the wider galaxy, their stories nevertheless served as a reminder to Rhan of the greater galaxy beyond the Jensaarai's moon. While they lived in an era of relative peace now that a treaty had been signed between the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic, Rhan valued their tales and the greater events that they outlined. Knowing of them was more important than even participating in them, and Rhan even went so far as to construct a datapad to note down the general details that her parents passed on to her. Equally, while they were never truly friends, Rhan came to know Tarvitz's grandparents and became an infrequent visitor to their homestead.Devilsquid of Mon Calamari as the inspiration for her armour out of the simple desire for additional limbs to carry out her tasks.
Despite her newfound role, Rhan was ordered by the Saarai-kaar to still join street patrols several times per month. Even with the benefits that she offered the Order, their leader still decreed that they were an organisation of swordsmen before all else, and she did not wish for Rhan's skills to decay while trapped within the palace. Rhan did not object to this, but she quietly chafed under the more regimented schedules and objectives that this placed upon her. Her training had been similar in many regards, but that at least had been leading toward something greater. Without the freedom to choose her tasks and approach them as she desired, her duties gradually wore away at her enthusiasm. Seeking distractions or excuses to frequently disrupt the daily schedules put before her, Rhan began voluntarily taking on additional work of any form. From patching up armour plating, enhancing the palace's power generators, or even attempting to convert some wrecked fighters into combat effective uglies, Rhan attempted to distract herself through any means available to her.
Susevfi had long been a safe harbour for its populace. Largely unknown to the greater galaxy and absent from most major star maps, the moon and the Suarbi system as a whole were ultimately unremarkable in almost every regard. However, to some its relative isolation made it a far more tempting target than more prominent worlds. Viewing the moon as a potential source of slaves for Nal Hutta's auctions, a pirate band named the Confederated Suns infiltrated the system. With their cruiser disguised as a civilian freighter, the pirates were able to land just beyond the capital city's outer limits and swarm its streets en mass. The attack blindsided the Jensaarai. While they had sensed the impending attack, any premonitions led the Defenders to believe that it would originate from within Yumfla itself, and had dispersed their numbers to prevent possible riots, not to engage enemy raiders. Most Defenders were sluggish in their responses, with fights breaking out in multiple running battles rather than on any coordinated front.
Having been unable to escape her tasked duties in patrolling the streets, Rhan was among those caught up in the opening wave of pirates. Along with a few others present on the outskirts of the city, she worked to blunt the initial wave of attackers. Utilising her skills to stall the engines of the raiding vehicles favoured by the pirates, she was able to force a substantial number of them to halt and engage the Defenders before they could breach the city. Unprepared for substantial resistance, or the presence of multiple lightsaber-wielding figures, their presence was enough to force some to break. Others were determined to press their attack, threatening to overwhelm the group with sheer numbers. It was in this battle that Rhan slew her first opponents. As efforts to drive them back or render them unconscious failed thanks to their sheer numbers, she finally resorted to killing them to prevent their position from being overwhelmed. It was only sheer adrenaline and the intensity of combat that prevented her from fully absorbing the shock of her actions, or their consequences. Driven by a subconscious desire to stave off that same realization, Rhan was among the first Defenders to pursue the pirates when their assault finally broke. Claiming one of their landspeeders, she and several others set off after the raiders, ensuring that any who considered turning or rallying their comrades would see a band of Jensaarai at their backs.
Managing to drive them back to their ship, Rhan's group barely arrived in time to see it initiating lift-off. Having heard of the Invids occupation years prior, and knowing that letting them flee would see them return in greater numbers, Rhan concentrated her powers on the vessel's great engines. Reaching out with the Force, she pushed herself to the absolute limit, shorting out the vessel's reactor for a brief time, preventing it from departing the moon. The Suns responded with violence, assaulting the group again and again as Rhan denied them their escape, holding their ground as ever more corsairs beset the small group. Repeating this effort several times over the course of the following hours allowed the Jensaarai to gather in strength and board the vessel, eventually seizing the ship with few casualties on either side. While this was seen by some as a great victory, others regarded it as a failing, adding their voices to long-standing criticism of the Order's isolationist policies. For Rhan herself, it was a realisation of just what their duties required. Even with her training, knowledge and appreciating the Jensaarai ideological tenets, and dueling more students than she could count, the act of taking a life nevertheless stunned her in the aftermath of the battle. Both Kylun and the Saarai-kaar consoled her over her actions, but she was nevertheless disturbed by memories of her lightsaber carving through flesh and eyes staring at her in shock as life faded from them.
The Reclaimer (25 ABY - 31 ABY)
A Return to the Stars
The attack by the Confederated Suns had sent shockwaves throughout the Jensaarai. Most had mistakenly believed themselves safe from outside influences following the defeat of their past occupiers, and the act had given strength to a number of outliers among their number. Certain Defenders had argued for years that the Order needed to scout out the surrounding systems and keep a closer watch on nearby space, preparing to fight if not outright confronting factions which could harm those under their protection. The Saarai-kaar had previously ignored these, but with voices now swinging in favour of those individuals, she granted them some leeway to act among the wider galaxy. Rhan might have previously sided with them but, shaken by her experiences, she opted instead to return to her duties. Attempting to find some degree of certainty and control in fixing machinery, Rhan withdrew back into her engineering skills to drown out her shock at having killed others. Kylun, recognising her disturbed state, attempted to coerce Rhan into opening up and at least receiving some form of counselling for her shock, but he gained little leeway in his efforts. Yet even among machines, Rhan's previous dissatisfaction clashed with her efforts to bury past memories, rendering her unable to fully accept either her duties as a Defender or mechanic.
Contacting her parents, Rhan was able to rejoin them in their efforts to hunt down and raid lost warships with little convincing. An additional pair of hands were useful in their line of work, and both had looked forward to reconnecting with their daughter. However, Rhan remained distant for some time, unable to form any easy conversations or touch base following her experiences and time among the Jensaarai. More concerned with their work than social interactions, she was left to her own devices after several fruitless months of trying to speak with her. This continued for some time, as Rhan silently isolated herself, trying to lose herself entirely in their work. This would only change with a visit to Sullust. In an effort to barter several vital parts from a local junk dealer - each needed to succeed in a far larger haul - the trio ran afoul of a local crime lord. Efforts to escape the planet repeatedly ended in disaster, until the trio were cornered in a local hotel. With no other option, Rhan took up her lightsaber once more. Storming out of the hotel to prevent bypassers being caught in the crossfire, Rhan utilised the Force to render several of their weapons inoperable and momentarily blind the criminals. Hacking through gun barrels, swords and rendering some unconscious with bursts of lightning, Rhan rapidly drove them into retreat. The fight only ended when one, leveling a grenade launcher at the hotel, attempted to kill all within it in a petty act of revenge. Too drained to drag the weapon away or render it inoperable, Rhan hurled her lightsaber, spearing the man through the chest and killing him instantly.
In the aftermath of the event, Rhan was given a better perspective on her actions. She had taken most alive, while the remainder had been captured by the local law enforcers. A few more were so terrified of the red armoured figure that they had turned themselves in. All but one had been claimed without bloodshed, and even that had been to save more lives when there was no other option. Though thoughts of her past would continue to plague her for some time, this at least allowed her to look back on them with greater clarity and make peace with those she had killed. In similar events that followed, Rhan would continue trying to take her opponents alive and render them unconscious first, only slaying them if the alternative was to allow innocents to die because of her pacifism or they could not be forced to surrender. It was a lesson that would ensure both her survival and many others over the following several years.
The Path of the Outlander
Over the following years, Rhan would largely remain with her parents and other groups, switching between them as her skills were required. Dividing her time between tenures working within the palace and traveling among salvage teams on the distant fringes of the Outer Rim, Rhan was able to strike a far healthier compromise between her varied tasks. Coming to terms with her duties and appreciating the freedom she had been offered, she was able to find a degree of satisfaction in her twin roles. Yet, even with the Saarai-kaar's explicit orders not to draw attention to the Order, Rhan frequently found excuses to enforce justice where it was required. Minor fights against pirate groups, raiders, or even petty criminals were far from uncommon, especially on planets with no official law enforcement. Even when she was required to hide her involvement, Rhan would use her powers to undermine their efforts, breaking equipment or rendering some members unconscious when needed.
Yet Rhan could not wholly escape larger conflicts. Wars would always rage across the galaxy, constantly shifting the tides of war in favour of the New Republic or allowing more hostile governments to emerge where its influence was limited. Attempting to remain neutral in such battles, Rhan would nevertheless find some excuse to always be present to help repair refugee ships, hold off attackers, or to help others escape from dying worlds. Perhaps the most infamous of these would be one of the bloody conflicts which would become known as the Unsung Wars. Fought against a force of aggressive outsiders who sought to sacrifice or subjugate all in their path, Rhan was unable to escape the conflict or entirely ignore the widespread strife created by their onslaught. It would become one of the few times in which she deemed an entire culture exempt from her personal law regarding death as a final option in combat, an exemption which extended to all of their creations. Rhan concentrated her efforts on minor second fronts, but even then she saw cities burned and worlds stripped bare.
The conflicts which Rhan found herself dragged into served to reinforce her appreciation for the Jensaarai creed, and the role of Force users as guardians. Although she did not oppose the more isolationist groups among the Jensaarai, it was more out of a desire to spare her Order's home from conflict than true agreement with their arguments. Individuals who pushed for a far more offensive mindset, with the Order spreading out among the stars, were those who seemed set to ignore the mistakes of past Force sects or how easily they could fall to the Dark Side. Because of this, Rhan ultimately remained outside of any such arguments upon her return visits to Susevfi, only taking occasional sides when she deemed it most needed. Because of this she found herself frequently at odds with some individuals within the Jensaarai - even Kylun on rare occasions - but remained loyal to their values far more than any individual. Some would butt heads with her, even argue against her perception of their creed, but rarely contested her dedication to their ideology.
The Dregs of Old Night
By late 31 ABY, Rhan had become tired of wider galactic events. Having dedicated herself far more to the greater wars than she ever intended, Rhan found herself desiring to focus far more upon simpler quests. The renewed Jedi Order could be left to protect the New Republic, or the Alliance as it had become known, along with the greater militaries of the galaxy. Having seen what often became of so many caught in the crossfire, it was evident that someone needed to concern themselves more with the smaller crimes over constantly looking at the big picture. Yet, by this point, even pursuing that single general objective risked being reprimanded. The Saarai-kaar had granted Rhan considerable leeway in her actions, turning a blind eye to some actions which could easily be lost among larger battles. However, this had come to an end. Upon her return to the Palace, the Saarai-kaar explained that under no uncertain terms was she to continue drawing attention to them. When working among the wider galaxy, she was to remain in the shadows and avoid any risk of detection by others. Rhan understood this to some degree, but the urgency behind the Saarai-kaar's words was surprising to her. For the first time that Rhan could remember, her superior seemed unnerved if not outright scared.
By this era, most battlefields had been picked clean by scavengers. Rhan's parents had continued to find work but their sales had been dedicated more to private collectors of rare vessels than shipments to large governmental bodies. Nevertheless, they were able to offer her a few promising leads which suggested a substantial wealth of buried technology. The planet of Corbos had been recently colonized by a large mining consortium, which was seeking to claim much of the vast mineral wealth hidden beneath its surface. The planet was a rocky and unappetizing home, almost uninhabitable and with whole continents subjected to torrential rainfall for months at a time. Yet in spite of this, the new colonists had found a number of past ruins, dating back from the Clone Wars to the very foundation of the Republic itself. Yet, any records of the planet had been mysteriously erased along with details of past encounters. The only detail which could be confirmed was that a number of Jedi had visited the world some decades ago, but for what reason was unclear. Intrigued, Rhan opted to visit the planet to inspect this, driven as much by personal curiosity as her hopes of finding a new shipment of metal for the Jensaarai.
Attempting to convince the colonists to leave proved fruitless. Unable to express her concerns without revealing her connection to the Force, those in charge of the new colony remained convinced that the past findings were the results of natural disasters rather than attacks. Worse still, a large coven of pilgrims belonging to the Church of the Force had joined them, adamantly convinced that the world was of some importance to their religion and disrupted Rhan's efforts. For three days she fruitlessly attempted to have them leave before the rain seasons became too heavy to initiate an effective evacuation, and then preparing for the worst. When it arrived, it came in the form of gargantuan monstrosities, spawned by Sith alchemy: Leviathans. The creatures had hibernated, waking only upon sensing souls to consume. Two of them smashed through the colony's outer defenses with ease, rampaging throughout the compound within. As blasters proved to be inefficient, Rhan resorted to every means at her disposal to defend the populace. In a thirteen-hour battle, the beasts were slain by Rhan - the first by lightning and the second by sheer attrition - but at the cost of almost all colonists.
When word of this conflict reached the Saarai-kaar - that Rhan had not only revealed herself but failed in her objective to secure new materials - Rhan was recalled to Susevfi for judgment.
The Preserver (32 ABY - 37 ABY)
Ghosts of Iron
Rhan's arrival was far from auspicious. While she was not arrested on sight, a small guard of defenders were assembled at the single spaceport, tasked with escorting her directly to the Saarai-kaar's chamber. Apparently believing that Rhan might flee rather than confront her personally, or even approach her in some roundabout way, the leader of the Jensaarai was leaving nothing to risk. Yet whatever her concerns, Rhan neither attempted to flee or avoid the meeting, marching directly to the palace and into her chambers, barely waiting for her escorts to keep pace. Already knowing that she had broken her word but unwilling to meekly accept punishment for saving the lives of others, Rhan cited her case against the Saarai-kaar. She brought up their duty to others, how she had given every means to avoid the fight, and that the only alternative would have been to lie down and accept death at the hands of the sithspawn. Surprisingly, the Saarai-kaar accepted much of this, but found fault in how close she had come to death and a lack of request for support. With their numbers limited and few specialists among their Order, the loss of any pilot, medic or mechanically minded individual was a blow that they could ill afford. Because of this, Rhan's punishment was to serve as a teacher to any new Apprentices, passing on knowledge of her skills and encounters to the next generation of Defenders.
Rhan was surprised at her new duty, and certainly pleased to not be reprimanded over her actions, but she was once more left her permanently stationed on their moon. The loss of freedom that she valued was infuriating, but this at least granted a focus that she had craved many years ago. For a time, Rhan believed that her role was a potential blessing in disguise, until oddities began to emerge in her surroundings. Many of the Defenders who were now stationed in the palace were those who had once been on long-term assignments to retrieve salvage or observe the wider galaxy, each recalled without warning and even the rank of Reclaimer - an informal nickname for their subset of the Ring Defenders - had been removed from records. Equally, many icons, images, and displays that had been present in Rhan's past visit were absent from its walls. Initially, Rhan believed that both had legitimate reasons - With fewer battlefields to scavenge there was less of a need for such a duty, and many still regarded the Invids' dictatorship with bitterness. Yet more oddities continued to emerge within their records. Worlds were being erased from documents, ship classes were treated as if they never existed, whole sects of Force users were omitted from existence. Even more recent events, wars, and species were treated as if they had never existed, while many ancient eras had been reduced to fleeting mentions of vague events.
Rhan finally snapped when she was handed specific guidelines, advising her to avoid teaching her students a broad range of subjects, many of which related to either the Force or their ideologies. Confronting the Saarai-kaar on this turn of events, Rhan learned of why these sweeping changes were being implemented. The First Order, a mysterious group that had abruptly replaced the Imperial Remnant, was hunting down and annihilating those they believed to be a threat. The Saarai-kaar and other elders had opted to return to secrecy and isolation to avoid possible destruction, discouraging new Apprentices from possibly leaving their home and erasing any reason for the Knights of Ren to annihilate them. Rhan attempted to argue against this, vocally opposing this decision, but the motion had been passed during her absence. To oppose this new decree was to court exile from the Order and be left friendless in the galaxy. It was an option that Rhan almost took, but she opted instead to remain among the Order and undermine this action by any means open to her. If the leaders of the Jensaarai were betraying their very history and name, she would at least remain true to their ideals.
The Age that Never Was
Taking on small groups of Apprentices at a time in her personal workshop, Rhan began training them to handle machinery, repair systems, and bypass missing components. Most of her work emphasized pragmatic workarounds above all else, and how to ensure that a machine could work without the right components or even conflicting parts. On the surface this was used to indicate a need to overcome possible resource shortages and creative thinking. While that detail was certainly true, Rhan utilised loopholes in her orders to teach Apprentices more of the outside galaxy and those there. Machine parts from the Corporate Sector Authority, Hapes Consortium, and far more outlandish groups frequently became the subject of teachings, along with components taken from the more modern New Republic ships now abandoned by the government. This hooked in the Apprentices with the ideas of what lay beyond their home, and Rhan was even able to use reverse psychology to leak information of her travels, or distant planets, in her lessons. Whenever she was confronted on this point, Rhan would only cite that she gave the students enough information to understand what they were working with when it came to conflicting design ethoses.
During this time, Rhan found that the Jensaarai were taking ever more stringent efforts to isolate themselves entirely. Banning speech was not enough in of itself, and entire passages, tomes, and records were found missing from their libraries. Information was "updated" to match the propaganda of the New Republic and the First Order, resulting in the erasure of entire revolutions, wars, and even people. Tens of thousands of years of history could disappear in the blink of an eye, only to be reintroduced at a later date in a so-called corrected format. These were self-contradictory and bare-bones variations of what had come before, defined more by propaganda than anything else. Rhan was forced to try and contradict these however she could, avoiding outright decrying them to her Apprentices, but encouraging them to remain open-minded enough to consider that their records might not be wholly accurate. Yet she was left contending with other Defenders, those who supported the Saarai-kaar's decision, who preached the version of their history the Order was supposed to now follow. Unable to openly deny their version of history, she found herself fighting a losing battle.
Over the course of the next several years, Rhan would maintain her constant approach of carefully encouraging more open-minded trends among Apprentices and pushing for an ideological shift within the next generation. A sudden upheaval would only see a schism among the Jensaarai or, in worst-case scenarios, outright civil war. Even if it took decades to accomplish, Rhan favoured a quieter and more gradual shift which might allow the Jensaarai to become open to the galaxy once more. Yet even in this regard she found herself limited. The galaxy was moving on without them, and Rhan only learned of greater events through the slightest scraps of information. These were contradictory tales, many of which had been clearly embellished many times over by other voices. Some proclaimed that the Empire had established itself and was sweeping forth from another galaxy. Others declared that the Emperor had emerged alive once more, and was leading a hidden fleet into battle. Some even went so far as to voice the concept that Luke Skywalker's renewed Jedi Order had been destroyed, and their survivors butchered decades ago. Rhan was left to sift through the falsehoods, finding the few consistencies which existed among the myriad of tales and use them to her advantage.old relics began to disappear from the palace. Ornamental and culturally vital images were torn down, never to be seen again. Rhan feared that most were destroyed, but she was never able to confirm this for herself. As such, she worked to quietly remove a number of them whenever given the opportunity. Having remained in contact with the Tarvitz homestead, Rhan was able to convince those living there to hide the relics until the madness possessing their leaders eventually passed. Whatever risks that she incurred by being discovered were worth it in her eyes. There would be no point in gradually turning the Order back from its self-destructive path if there was nothing left to save by the end. Much of what she was able to recover were typically small items, from texts to tomes, with a small handful of more prominent pieces. Yet for every one that Rhan was able to quietly remove, five would disappear without a trace, and all records of their existence denied.
As the first few of the Apprentices that she helped to train ascended to the rank of Defender, Rhan quietly began approaching them to expand her efforts. However, she found that most had been too heavily brow-beaten into actively pushing for change. Rhan's lessons had given them ideas to be sure, and impressed upon them the greater nature of the galaxy, but the others had conveyed its dangers all too well. They had attempted to rectify this compromise by believing that survival was required above all else when greater threats stood out in the galaxy, and that they could only carry out their duties once the greater danger had passed. Rhan would continue pushing for change over the following months, but this had signaled to Rhan that her efforts were likely to fail even in the long-run. Even pushing to have Kylun and several others seemingly refusing to openly support the Saarai-kaar act in support of a quiet revolution met with little to no success. The elder members had ensured that any will to resist them had gradually been sapped by constantly reminding them of the past mistakes while conveniently removing any mention of their victories. Now they only recognised how many times the Order had verged upon destruction from outsiders, and how easily such threats could emerge once again.
Fragments of a Lost Truth
Even after finding that her efforts would likely lead to no long-term victory, Rhan remained with the Jensaarai. Loyal to their ideals if not their leaders, and with nowhere else to go, she opted to continue training the younger generations in engineering skills. For a time she even considered mimicking their approach to new threats, guarding the knowledge that she had gathered, and keeping it hidden from those who might destroy it. She was constantly provoked to act against what she knew was wrong, reminded at almost every turn of the mistakes that their leaders were making, but she did not openly move against them. To do so would have been to risk exile, and whatever little she could accomplish here was far more than she would achieve after being banished.
Yet one thing above all others served to highlight how great a mistake the Saarai-kaar had made in their purges. In a moment of curiosity, she delved into the history behind Corbos listed in their archives, as it had been one of the few yet to be erased or corrected to fit propaganda. Within it, Rhan uncovered information from recent events, some of which took place a scant decade prior to her arrival on the desolate planet. In an action similar to her own experiences, Rhan found that a New Republic colony had settled on the world only to awaken the Leviathans lurking beneath its surface. They had slaughtered the populace en mass and Skywalker's Jedi had initiated a rescue mission, who had found that similar events had taken place again and again throughout history. They failed to save the colonists but learning of the Leviathans and the threat present on the world. A warning had been left to avoid this mistake being repeated, only for it to be removed a scant few years prior to Rhan's arrival. Searching the Holonet for comparisons, Rhan found that this had been committed by the New Republic in its efforts to bolster their propaganda, deleting any mention of the Jedi, their activities or any information stemming from their presence. Countless innocents had died due to the arrogance of the galaxy's leaders, thanks to little more than a blind need to erase any concept which did not fit with their narrow view of history. A scant few days after she discovered it, Rhan eventually found that others within the Jensaarai altered the records to match the official version.
Tired and increasingly bitter over the willing blindness displayed by her comrades, Rhan came close to leaving entirely. Only one thing prevented her from doing so. Ka Tarvitz had arrived back on the world after months of being absent only to quickly disappear once more. Arguing loudly against the Saarai-kaar in her chambers, he had eventually stormed out of the palace, seemingly departing for good. A scant few days later, this self-exile was officially altered to complete banishment from the Order. What had taken place in this exchange, the information or even the subjects discussed, were a closely guarded secret. However, it was clear that the Saarai-kaar had been shaken by the experience, and something Tarvitz had passed on had cracked her iron resolve. Out of a mixture of curiosity and hope to perhaps exploit this for the better of the Order, Rhan remained with the Jensaarai to seek answers.
The Exile's Duty
Over the following months, Rhan attempted to gain information from the Saarai-kaar by various means. She was able to glean some details, that it related to Tarvitz's travels and that he had desired help in some venture. Anything else was far too closely guarded for her to learn, even the fine details of what Tarvitz had been doing in his absence from the Order. For several months she continued her efforts, delving into details surrounding this event and acquiring anything that she could liberate from the palace before it was mysteriously removed. Matters eventually came to a head when, on a visit to the bodies of Tarvitz's grandparents, she found the pair dead. There had been no foul play or poisoning that she could tell and, even after medical examination, it seemed that old age had done its work. With no other relatives alive or that she could contact, Rhan opted to deal with matters herself. Carrying out their wishes to be buried in their family shrine, in a pair of sarcophagi next to their children, Rhan carried out a small funeral after several days of attempting to contact their other relatives.
Tarvitz's absence had seen him joining a group called Clan Odan-Urr, a faction of Jedi, smugglers, and others who had been at war with a group known as the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. The Brotherhood's deranged leader had glassed their world in an effort to exterminate those he deemed ideologically impure, and had then even extended this to wholesale genocide of multiple species. Matters had only become worse with the emergence of the Collective, a group of zealots bent upon slaughtering any who showed even a slight degree of potential in the Force. Tarvitz had warned them of the threat initially and updated her of what would play out if the Jensaarai were found by the group. His return now was somewhat linked to this, as he felt that small groups of Force users in the right place could do far more good than a large army isolated to a single area. They could turn the tide of wars by either undermining larger governments in small actions, or decapitating them before they began.
Rhan listened, but could see that Tarvitz's plan to recruit Defenders from the Order was doomed to failure. She explained how many were siding with the Saarai-kaar even over repeated criticisms, and he would likely find no allies among them. She had even been ready to draw her weapon against him after what he described sounded like an attempt to inspire a civil war among the Order, and had only relented when he voiced opposition over direct conflict. Eventually seeing some parallels between their goals, and understanding the scale of his efforts, Rhan opted to join Tarvitz over returning to the Order. If she remained she was likely to still meet with limited success but, in founding a new chapter of the Jensaarai, they might succeed in a new start where pushes to change philosophies had failed. After agreeing on a number of basic terms - a specific one being that Tarvitz would not be their leader given his reckless nature - the two gathered up a number of relics and documents hidden on Susevfi before departing the moon to begin a grander project.
Before departing for Brotherhood space, Rhan left behind a single holorecording explaining her decision to Kylun and wishing him good fortune in the future. While their relationship had been a strained one, his frequent help and guidance over the years left her feeling that he deserved some form of explanation for her actions.
After taking the coordinates for Clan Odan-Urr's base of operations from his navicomputer, Rhan was able to quickly make her way to Pharos station, one of the two guarding platforms on the edge of the Vatali Empire. The Jedi had served as peacekeepers among its people for a time, and a recent political change had allowed the Clan to become a recognised house within its nobility. This offered few obstacles for Rhan as, with Tarvitz vouching for her skills and intent, she was able to quickly pass the few tests put before her.An underclass of people on the planet of Kiast had been oddly quiet despite a constant flow of communications between their city-states and nomadic fleets. With some voicing the possibility that they might rebel, Odan-Urr's members were tasked with uncovering the truth. This was deemed a trial by fire for Rhan, both to prove her skills and loyalty to Odan-Urr, and as such she was quickly elected to join the team dedicated to spying on the Vatali. Tarvitz was also a member of this unit, alongside Essik Lyccane, a Gand and former Admiral within the New Republic military, and Tarvitz's Apprentice, Sirra. Traveling to the Quorahi settlement of Foothold, they were able to gradually pick out enough information to confirm that a meeting between community leaders was to take place that night, and identify its exact location.
After speaking with them for some time, Rhan ended up with very different opinions of each individual. Essik was polite to a fault but utterly ruthless when the situation required it. Having been dishonourably discharged for continuing to fight long after the New Republic had declared its surrender, he had joined Odan-Urr as a means to serve the Jedi until he finally met his end. The two were able to speak at length of ships, galactic events, and social upheavals in their free time, debating one another over differing accounts or historical changes. By comparison, Sirra proved to be a far more difficult individual to connect with. Due to her feral upbringing and extremely powerful telepathic skills, she had no innate language of her own save for emotions, images, and memories. The two were immediately at odds with one another thanks to his language barrier and willingness to kill; failings that Tarvitz was supposedly trying to lessen over time. While each did their best to stay apart from the other, conflicts nevertheless frequently arose between them. This made the operation particularly troubling, as the eventual solution to spying on the meeting undetected involved maintaining a telepathic link between the two.
Sirra was able to infiltrate the warehouse where the meeting was taking place with relative ease. During this time, Rhan maintained a series of records through the link, noting down everything that Sirra detected through the Force and her own senses. Through this she was able to note down the bulk of the information taken in the meeting, and the internal thoughts of each individual. The Quorahi were forming a new government, seeking to unify their disparate groups into a single federation and using control of resources to put pressure on the Vatali nobility, thus disrupting the societies of the Empire. Some were opposed to it, others sought to push for unity via more peaceful methods, while a few all favoured all but outright declaring open war on those above them. The revelation proved severe enough that, once Sirra had withdrawn, the group hid in a more remote building on the outskirts of the township before departing with this news at first light.
Ties of Blood and Water
Following their initial mission, Rhan was given time to better familiarise herself with Clan Odan-Urr's status. As the current crisis was a delicate matter best left to those familiar with the Quorahi - or at least the clan - she took the opportunity to study the Jedi and their history. Spending hours combing through their archives, she found that their own recollection of events suffered from inner biases, fallacies, and skewed-visions, but far less so than many other archives. Most misrepresentations were seemingly born of scattered fragments of information rather than a propaganda-driven alteration to established history. Yet what was infinitely more disturbing to her was their relation with the so-called Dark Jedi Brotherhood. The Brotherhood had committed numerous sins comparable with those of the ancient Sith and the Empire. Mass genocide based upon a twisted concept of eugenics, extermination of peoples whose ideologies did not wholly fit in with the Sith, slavery, massed poisoning of cities, even the total destruction of a peaceful world. The Collective had been born of these crimes, and were it not for their fanaticism Rhan might have opted to side with them. She was disgusted that the Jedi had abruptly forgotten the crimes committed against them and willingly sided with the Brotherhood, even if their greater actions still indicated benevolence.
It was only upon Tarvitz's return that she learned of the events of Cainstead and Volstrad. Sirra had been badly wounded and put into a coma while he had been drawn into a rage-fuelled brawl against pirates. Tarvitz blamed himself for Sirra's fate, and her wounding had affected him far more than he was willing to admit. It was enough for him to even consider retirement from his duties. In spite of his efforts to emotionally distance himself from Sirra and remain as a mere tutor, it was clear that their relationship was far more familial than he would admit. Seeing one means to correct this, Rhan pushed to let her take over as Sirra's master. Jensaarai were intended to change teachers every several years, and it was a chance to both correct any mistakes Tarvitz had made, and remove him of any further responsibilities which might push him over the edge. Tarvitz accepted this, and even went a step further by allowing Sirra to be adopted into Celevon Edraven's household, hoping it would offer her far more stability. Of this Rhan said little, but she trusted Tarvitz's judgment given his prior experience with the Mandalorian.
The Warsmith (38 ABY - Present)
Following the initial actions against the Quorahi, Nikora opted to withdraw from the conflict. Along with Tarvitz, she realised that the war was better suited to those with more clandestine skills over engineers or soldiers. Opting instead to focus on their original goal of founding a new chapter, her initial plan was to establish a base of operations. From there they could hide the wealth of knowledge that they had been able to preserve and expand their efforts. Solyiat was eventually considered to be the perfect location due to its remote nature, the protective nebula surrounding the Kiast system, and its lack of inhabitants. After briefly considering Strokera as a potential site, Rhan eventually pushed to instead utilise the continent of Trepus. Isolated, frozen, and with its few settlements located on the coast, it meant that their efforts were unlikely to draw any unwanted attention. Furthermore, the numerous heat spots meant that geothermal generators could be used to give them total self-sufficiency.
Despite a promising beginning, it was not long before the two of them were met with difficulties. Trepus Mine Base had benefited from decades of artificial tunneling, but few natural caverns were large enough to suit their needs. More importantly, they were home to the winged apex predators which dominated the continent's innermost territories: The Varritul. Those in the lowlands soon proved to be equally unsuitable, either risking being overrun by wildlife, buried in the infrequent avalanches, or too far from heat sources to be of any use. After withdrawing to the town of Steepmouth to further investigate the creatures for possible weaknesses or further sites that might suit their needs. While most of the local knowledge was limited largely to mythology and legends, they soon encountered the town's Mayor. Having been attacked by one of the creatures days before, the Mayor's life had been threatened multiple times in the nights that followed. The same Varritul kept returning, seemingly determined to claim the life of its escaped prey. Offering them an aging castle in his possession as a reward, he tasked the two Jensaarai with slaying the Varritul and ending its threat.
Utilising Tarvitz's N-1 starfighter as a means of tracking the creatures, Rhan and Tarvitz prepared for that night by weakening the surrounding grounds. Establishing dug-outs and crude fortifications, they waited until nightfall. As the sun sunk below the horizon, the Varritul attacked. Seeking to approach out of the dimming light, it initiated its attack in a high altitude dive toward the town. The N-1 fighter, piloted by Tarvitz's astromech droid, disrupted the creature's initial attack. As it attempted to land, Rhan was able to wound the creature with a missile launcher and ground it permanently. Leaving nothing to chance, the two Jensaarai kept it on the backfoot, driving it toward unstable ground and weakening it through repeated attacks. After a lengthy engagement, they were able to bring the beast down and claim its head. Bringing it before the Mayor at sunrise, he granted the two rights to the castle that he had spoken of: The Fang.
The Unbroken Redoubt
It took the pair a day to locate the castle. Even with a definitive location and map, the isolated fortification was easy to miss among the broader mountain ranges. The pair repeatedly were drawn away from its location, with Nikora even noting difficulty in simply focusing upon traveling to the area listed on the map. Yet, at length, they stumbled upon the Fang and utilised the N-1 to land in the castle's main courtyard. The structure was in both a far better and far worse state than either Jensaarai had expected. Carved into the very face of a small mountain, much of the interior was hidden underground. The main exterior walls were wholly intact, much of the keep showed no sign of decay, while the outlying towers were largely still standing. Yet most of the tunnels leading deeper into the castle had been buried in rock falls or various collapses, allowing them to only access the uppermost levels. With only a few droids to assist them, Rhan opted to establish an initial starting point in the keep's main hall. Clearing it of debris and the remains of creatures who had lived among them, the two began establishing recharge points for the droids along with storage areas. After then linking it to a small portable generator, the two began to sweep the castle for threats.pit droids to begin moving the rubble blocking off the lower reaches of the castle, Rhan focused on better understanding the architecture. While certain elements made a degree of sense, other defensive networks seemed counterintuitive to holding back a besieging foe. Combined with a lack of information on the ruins, Rhan soon found herself pouring over old documents trying to find records of similar structures in other cultures. Unfortunately, she met with little success.
Tied to his duties with Clan Odan-Urr, Tarvitz was left frequently traveling back and forth between the Fang and their stronghold on Trepus Mine Base. Rhan was left to govern the overall effort, tasking Tarvitz with securing supplies and deciding which areas to concentrate upon recovering. Utilizing sensor recordings and thermal scans, she was able to eventually pinpoint the most easily reachable geothermal heat source and quickly install a generator. From there, her efforts continued to branch out working to best establish a basis for the years-long task of returning the castle to life.
Surprisingly, one of her greatest sources of help during these early stages was Essik Lyccane. The elderly Gand had shown little knowledge or even true interest in Rhan's goals, but he contacted her with an offer of help. An KX-series security droid had been recovered during one peacekeeping operation, damaged but in a recoverable condition. With signs that it had been one of a number of infiltration units reprogrammed by the Rebellion to fight the Empire, he offered it as a possible asset to her ongoing challenges. Rhan was able to quickly pin down its internal faults, as the droid had been disabled by several stray blaster bolts that had severed several crucial power cables. After confirming that there were no unusual surprises within its casing - and having a team of freelance slicers examine its wider programming for signs of hostile subroutines - Rhan reactivated the droid.
Having been held under a restraining bolt by a group of slavers, K-0RN, or "Orion" as the droid favoured, outlined his history as an intelligence operative and spy. With the Rebellion's task ended, he had little reason to withhold information from Rhan and had been left without direction. His sale to the slavers and mistreatment had left him with a mistrustful disposition, but Rhan was able to win the droid over through a mixture of promises and the offer of a role as the Fang's librarian. Seemingly happy to have a purpose, Orion took to this task and left Rhan to handle reconstruction efforts throughout the castle. Although she did not fully trust the droid, Orion continually ignored multiple opportunities to betray her.
The Legend Grows
For some weeks, Rhan was permitted to carry out her duties without interruption. Tarvitz's infrequent presence and limited contact with the outside world besides her droids left Rhan yearning for company, but she accepted this as a necessary evil. Tarvitz's work for Odan-Urr served as a buffer between Rhan and the wider clan, preventing her from being entangled within their conflicts. She served them, helped them, and even carried out missions when required, but the restoration of the Fang was her ultimate objective above all else. After Sirra fully awoke and had recovered from her injuries, Rhan took to training the girl in direct combat. She specifically emphasised areas in which the Kiffar was at a noted disadvantage, or pushed to always make sure that Rhan was in a superior position. Sirra was undoubtedly skilled for her age, and Tarvitz had trained her well in both combatting enemies of a greater physical stature and the basic tenets of their Order. Yet he had offered little to truly force Sirra to confront various scenarios in which her skills were ill-suited, or where she would need to adapt existing tactics to counter evolving methods.
Because of the harsh nature of Rhan's lessons, this did little to engender positivity from Sirra. Rhan repeatedly tried to make it clear just why she was forcing the two to spar in such a manner, but the two never truly saw eye to eye. Nevertheless, Rhan made a point of drawing the line between forcing Sirra into challenging battles and presenting her with unwinnable situations. Holding back just enough to prevent Sirra from being overwhelmed, she watched as the Kiffar's skills steadily improved as the months drew on. Rhan was certain that the girl would never become a full Jensaarai, but that was not enough of a reason to completely overlook her abilities. Dividing her duties between rebuilding the castle and training Sirra, Rhan was able to more easily progress in both duties without compromising either one. As their droids continued to excavate and restore segments of the Fang, Rhan was able to repurpose them into new roles.
However, their isolation was not to last. Even as Rhan, Tarvitz, and Sirra each carried out their individual tasks, word had been spreading about Trepus of their actions. Their act of slaying the Varritul hunting Steepmouth's leader had spread about the land, growing with an increasing number of embellishments. Equally, other acts had been exaggerated, taking the Jensaarai depiction as questing knights and turning them into heroes of legend operating from a lost fortress. It was for this reason that, much to their surprise, the pair were met by a small crowd of figures awaiting at the castle's gates. A number of students had been able to find the castle despite its natural defences, seeking to be trained in their ways. Due to the great distances between Trepus and the Jedi Praxeum on Kiast, some viewed the Jensaarai hold as their only viable means for training. Others had seen their views of the Jedi warped by propaganda, regarding them only as child-stealing elitists who desired all Force users to become emotionally stunted unquestioning drones, and that the Jensaarai were a better alternative.
Recovering from their surprise - and quickly realizing that rejection was no viable option - the two worked to pacify the mob. Having hoped to train the first group of Apprentices from near birth in emulation of Jedi and Jensaarai traditions, Rhan was hesitant to accept their presence. Arriving with too much emotional baggage, or even motivated by the wrong emotions, was a risk that could lead to students easily falling to the Dark Side. However, Tarvitz was able to broker an agreement to at least hear them out, and to deal with the remaining members. Arranging for a transport to more frequently travel between the Fang and the Praxeum, the castle could serve as a stopping point for new recruits while also serving as a testing ground to judge their connection to the Force. Convincing them that the Jedi were hardly the monsters that more recent records depicted them as being, they began testing each of them and examining their temperament. Most were given over to the Jedi, to be trained and tested as was required. The relative few who displayed the right balance of aggression and self-control, who showed some understanding of the basic Jensaarai ideology, were retained for training.
Rhan was still hesitant to accept this, both due to Tarvitz's infrequent presence and the belief that this was too soon to accept trainees. The castle was still in a largely ruined state, and the few that stayed were torn between permanently remaining at the Fang or returning to their homes. Because of this, Rhan did not believe that most would remain for full training. Yet she soon came to accept that they could at least be taught to control their powers and focus them in a meaningful way, and to avoid falling to the Dark Side's influence.
Fourteenth Great Jedi War
- ―Nikora's deadpanned response to another priceless Sith relic being caught in a crossfire
Some way into 38 ABY, word reached Kiast that the Collective had renewed its assault against the Brotherhood. Against all logic and probability, they had once again shrugged off defeats that would have crippled any other power and bounced back stronger. More incredulously, it had somehow bypassed every defense in Brotherhood space and was overwhelming the defenses of Arx itself. Sensing an opportunity in the conflict and unwilling to let innocents be killed in the crossfire between madmen, Rhan was the first among those there to argue that they should go to the world's defence. Tarvitz needed little persuading, his mind already caught up in thoughts of Alderaan. The Collective would face them both.
Rhan approached Sirra and, in a move she hoped would display a degree of trust, made it clear that her task was to safeguard and guide the students until their return. She could still feel her Apprentice's resentment and Sirra proved to be largely unresponsive, but the Kiffar nevertheless begrudgingly accepted the duty. However, due to Sirra's obvious immaturity and behaviour, Rhan left Orion in overall control of the Fang and asked that he keep watch on events. With one guarding their trainees and the other the castle itself, she hoped that they would return to find the base intact.
Upon arrival, the Clan targeted and engaged targets about the Nesolat platform. Following the Odanites' directives, Rhan focused her technical skills on breaching the exterior doors to Arx's orbital facilities and overcoming its mechanical locks. Steadily working to cover non-combatants as they withdrew from the fighting, she worked to mitigate fatalities on both sides while also using her skill with explosives to break the nerves of less-skilled Collective combatants. Those who could be encouraged to flee were ignored, those who fanaticism drove them into continuing their attacks were cut down without mercy. In other situations, Rhan might have been encouraged to take further steps to limit casualties. Yet, with the sheer number of zealots among the Collective's ranks and so many lives at risk, she was unwilling to offer more than a single chance to walk away. Throughout the fighting, Rhan kept her eyes open for potential threats throughout the facility, both from the Brotherhood and the Collective. Even as she cut down their attackers, Rhan made sure that certain areas were lost in the fighting. A number of artifacts were destroyed by exchanges of explosives, or lost in friendly fire. Others she made sure were used as cover by their troops during the fighting, and shredded by exchanges of blaster bolts. Others simply went missing. While she was unable to simply destroy the facility and its relics, Rhan nevertheless seized any chance to deny the Sith a means to enhance their power.
Remaining close to Essik Lyccane during much of the fighting, she served as his bodyguard in all but name. While the Gand directed troops in battle and advised the clan's leaders, she worked to keep him alive against any and all threats. Although she chided his decision to join them on the front lines, Rhan nevertheless could not deny his effectiveness in rapidly formulating strategies to overcome their foes. Her skills were soon utilised to both help overcome a Collective swarm in Eos City below them, and to free a number of trapped prisoners that had been herded into a burning building. Keeping Essik and those they rescued alive quickly pulled her away from the fighting, but she was still able to find use in keeping order among those they rescued. The minds of many had been poisoned by lies about the Jedi, or half-truths warped to present them as the worst kind of monsters. Though her forte lay in machines rather than people, Rhan was nevertheless able to placate a number and prevent them from acts that would have seen them killed. This, unfortunately, kept her tied up until the battle's end and the Collective was driven from the system.
Forward the Foundation
With the end of the fighting on Arx, Odan-Urr's members returned to their homes. For most this was a chance to recover from the war, but for the Jensaarai it was to be greeted with a new horror. The Fang's halls had been witness to a series of violent killings, the blood of which had not been fully removed from its stonework. Twenty bodies had been piled up about the sea of blades, stripped of their equipment. Greeting them as they arrived, Sirra was the one to offer an explanation when pressed. Shortly after they had departed, twenty figures had broken into the Fang. She had glimpsed details from their minds, showing a talent for killing Force users, and that they had been hired to slaughter the students while their teachers were gone. They had become lost within the Fang's confines, and Sirra had hunted each down in turn, broadcasting their last moments in order to inspire greater terror among them.hydroponics facilities and bolster its self-sufficiency, she pushed to fully reconstruct the castle and sought new sources of credits to accomplish this goal.
Rhan was surprised when Essik Lyccane directly approached her to offer his services. While the Gand had previously helped them, he had only just been made aware of the grander nature of their ambitions, and offered his own resources for them to utilise. Furthermore, he also offered a number of suggestions and his own experiences in training the students to succeed and survive in the roles that Tarvitz had suggested. Rhan soon accepted, especially when it became clear that his personal views and desires were closely aligned with their own efforts. Through guidelines and training documents he penned, she hoped that Essik might help to offset the lack of direct experience the Jensaarai doctrines lacked in patrolling wider regions and operating far from the territories they governed. His documents covered everything from psychological warfare, to group tactics and special forces doctrines, often picking and choosing areas from various military regimes.
While Essik added his works to their archives Rhan joined with Tarvitz in a speech. Approaching the students directly, she spoke of the attack and what it would mean for the castle. They would not halt in their efforts nor would their training end due to the threat posed. However, Rhan made it clear that those that wished to leave would not be barred from doing so. The life of a Jedi was dangerous but offered other opportunities besides battle, and their own homes still awaited them. A number of students - mostly those that had joined simply to control their abilities - opted to leave the group. With the castle's location already pinpointed by their unknown enemy, Rhan viewed this as a worthwhile loss. Those that returned home would help to dispel the falsehoods of child-stealing that plagued the Jedi and foster stronger ties with the local towns rather than risking enmity. If they were targeted by their foe, that would only serve to further strengthen their relationship and help to identify who had attacked the Fang. The remaining were left were organised into groups following Essik's suggestions, and began to train in varied lessons between the two Defenders.
The Abyssal Graveyard
Giving Essik leeway to guide and rework their intended training schemes as he desired, Rhan sought to test their students each in turn. As Essik focused upon the broader group nature they had established and researched a means to balance his ruthless military means with the restraint a Force user required, she directly tested their wisdom and skills. Emulating the lessons she had taught as a member of the original Jensaarai Order, she pushed to rework and emulate the same basic elements that had been imparted onto her first generation of Apprentices. She spoke at length of the history of the galaxy, put each on trial to see their willingness to consider the unbelievable, and sought to make each think outside the box. Most sessions focused upon the subject of pragmatism, the subjectivity of established fact set down by superiors, and the willingness to seek out the truth. This was quickly tempered with sessions on attention to detail, learning from personal errors along with the mistakes of others, and the distinction between open-mindedness and simple denial of reality. Some more practical lessons required students to work as a group to repair or overcome possible obstacles, while others gave them a direct challenge that needed to be confronted on an individual level but could only be overcome as a group.
Happily reworking her personal ethos and plans to whatever Essik dreamed up, Rhan allowed Essik to build upon the framework that the Jensaarai had established and utilise what he felt was the best choice. Although given the option to interject and oppose additions at any time, there were extremely few occasions where she needed to outright veto a teaching. As each was trained both as an individual and unit, Rhan could not help but notice the rift that remained between herself and Sirra. Even with the bonds she had formed, the girl remained an outsider both to Rhan and most other students. She would fight to the death in order to protect their lives, and would work with them as a singular unit when required. Yet she still lacked the same unity the others benefitted from, and showed no sign of even considering less extreme forms of pacifying threats. Given Sirra's connection to her surroundings, Rhan opted to remove her Apprentice from them while also hunting for further resources to further build upon the Fang's foundations. Brokering the use of a heavy freighter with a merchant that had benefited from their initial lessons - and sweetening the deal with credits - Rhan plotted a course to the vast derelict graveyard on the edge of the galaxy.
An effort to push Sirra into considering the wider universe and taking advantage of the skills Rhan new backfired spectacularly. Sirra lashed out with the Force, resulting in a violent telepathic brawl between the Master and Apprentice. Taken by surprise and underestimating Sirra's sheer strength, Rhan was pushed back at first and quickly forced to defend herself. This had been the exact situation Rhan had been hoping to avoid, but it proved to be a far more beneficial experience than any passive lesson between the two. Sirra fought with emotions, thoughts, and images of the past, while breaching into Sirra's mind. Every blow exhausted the two, but each gradually revealed how the other had misunderstood and badly misinterpreted the attitudes of the other. Rhan, in turn, responded with her own visions to weaken Sirra's resolve. The conflict stretched on for hours, but gradually Rhan's experience and skill won out over Sirra's raw talent, pushing her Apprentice into a narrow defeat. Yet rather than animosity, the two gained a better understanding of how the long months of training had been seen by their opposite, and of the mistakes each had made. While neither would ever truly become friends, it was enough for Sirra to open up at long last and take account of what Rhan was offering in her teachings. When the two returned to Solyiat, it was with a wealth of new equipment and a newfound sense of unity.
From The Bones of Giants
The return of the two was not met with fanfare despite their success. Although an undeniable victory on both an organisational and personal level, she was soon called aside by Essik and asked to participate in a private meeting. With Tarvitz joining them a short while afterward, she soon learned that he had disappeared in an effort to chase something that might prove vital to their future. Essik understood this, and he kept a polite face as he spoke, but he also made it clear that such abrupt or lengthy departures could cause harm in the long run. If either of them were to die during such an operation, that would be a loss of life that they would likely not recover from. Essik could teach their students many things, but he had no ability to train them in the ways of the Force. Furthermore, the abrupt departure of both Defenders had caused a notable disruption to any scheduled lessons, causing various problems in keeping their students active.
Rhan was quick to agree with Essik on this front, realising both her own error and quietly frustrated at Tarvitz's departure. It was the sort of act she never would have committed to as a teacher, and her efforts had been made with thoughts of focusing upon improving a single student and gaining vital supplies over training an entire group. Agreeing that a new rota would need to be established to keep more of them present at any one time, and permitting individuals the right to come and go on missions as needed, the discussion moved to the subject of giving students greater individual freedom. More assets on site and facilities to train them in the absence of a Defender would prevent further disruptions, and the subject of using Rhan's salvage to improve the Practice Halls soon came up. While Essik and Rhan were in favour of this, Tarvitz argued otherwise for some time. The costs associated with upgrades and installations would consume much of what had been set aside for purchasing new ships, leaving them unable to easily move people from their existing location. Although arguments between the three continued for some time, Tarvitz eventually relented upon seeing the logic the others put toward. To prove that there was no ill will over this, he even volunteered much of his personal armory to be used in the Fang's Halls.
With the discussion done, Rhan set to work on the new upgrades. Giving Sirra the time she needed to readjust to the world after being away from it for so long, Rhan took command of the castle's maintenance droid contingent. Buying up the supplies needed to support their holdings, she worked with them to install and upgrade a number of new parts vital to several areas and fully renovate the Practice Halls. Those that could not be immediately put to use were placed in storage, until the components and locations could be utilised to fully put each to use. This period served as much as a test of their competence and ability to work as a unit as it did a vital improvement of the castle.
Toward the tail end of this effort, Nikora worked to reprogram and then reactivate a MagnaGuard taken from the derelicts, before putting it to work as a new duelling tutor. As her work was finished and Tarvitz took over in testing its capabilities, she was asked by Ratchet to examine his systems. The other Defender's astromech had become concerned about a series of abrupt malfunctions and oddities in recent months. A detailed examination soon showed that the extensive modifications to the droid's design were resulting in potential corruption and long-term damage. Short of removing them entirely, he was bound to eventually see his programming completely corrupt. To counteract this effect, Rhan offered to move Ratchet's consciousness to a heavily modified R2 unit shell taken from the salvage operations, but a series of disruptions led to the droid's consciousness being cloned instead. After being forced to strip the original Ratchet of several upgrades to ensure his survival, much to the droid's chagrin, this had left them with a clone and the original. To avoid fighting between the two, a deal was eventually settled: Ratchet would remain the primary support pilot on the Spitfire while the clone, now calling itself R3-M2 or "Clanker", would serve as an asset within the Fang.
The Shambler from the Stars
The Fang was given some weeks of relative peace before the next crisis emerged. Rhan worked primarily to improve upon what they already had, while also allowing Sirra to make the best use of her abilities. Their improved relationship and better understanding meant that she was happy to let her apprentice explore the castle, and made it clear that she was frustrated with the state of the rooms she found rather than her efforts. Whole sections were still in disrepair, and even their growing compliment of droids was struggling to keep up with demands. While uneventful, the relative peace allowed her to bring the fortress to a much more stable state and rectify a number of flaws that had undermined efforts to further expand upon their facilities. It was only late into one evening that she learned of a message from Essik, and this changed dramatically.
Essik had been absent from the Fang for some time, travelling across Kiast in an effort to better strengthen various connections. Thanks to having an already positive reputation among the Quorahi and various smaller towns, he was well suited to the role, but he was also long overdue. Apparently stopping at every single turn to resolve any and all crimes he found, Essik's progress had slowed to a crawl. When Essik attempted to request support in one such venture, and that all of the Fang's staff meet him, Rhan dismissed it out of hand. While she passed on the details to Tarvitz, however, the reaction was very different. The man fell silent for some time, eventually secluding himself for a period, before returning to her with an odd look of concern and excitement.
Tarvitz revealed that he had established a vault beneath the archives and had stored a number of dangerous texts there. He had been spending time examining them, destroying some when given no choice while confirming the worth of others. Rhan was furious at this news and the fact it had been taken without even basic consultation, but her frustrations were set aside when Tarvitz said one text might relate to Essik's situation. He produced a book detailing the techniques and later the fall of the Silver Jedi, and an abomination they created known as a Force Vampire. Upon reading it and realising the magnitude of the threat that might be lurking on Kiast, Rhan agreed to meet with Essik. The creature was a terrifying threat to anyone with a strong connection to the Force, but it was also so powerful that few besides trained Force users could hope to defeat it.
Upon arriving at Shindlegeist, the township that Essik had visited, the Jensaarai kept the Gand in the dark initially. They wanted to detail the matter in full, but only once they had confirmed that the vampire was present in the town and they were not chasing ghosts. With Sirra hunting for the monster and Essik's investigations helping them to pinpoint its location, they soon uncovered the vampire's bolthole - a rusting escape pod retrieved by a salvage team. After taking a portion of it to examine and judge before destroying the pod, Rhan and the others withdrew to the mayor's chambers to inform the others of the vampire's nature and the threat it posed.
The group opted to use a combination of Sirra and Rhan's abilities to see into the vampire's past via the fragment of the pod they had retrieved. Using the Force to look decades back into its history, they realised how the vampire had survived its apparent death when facing a Jedi-led strike team, and that it had mutated after engorging itself upon hundreds of souls. This knowledge came at a price, as they emerged to find Tarvitz locked in combat with the creature. Having stood guard over them during this time, Tarvitz had held it at bay and would have killed it in any other situation. Yet even when mortally wounded time and time again, the vampire would keep rising to its feet once more. After grievously wounding Tarvitz, Rhan and Sirra were able to drive the creature into retreat. Essik, however, soon realised that it would likely attempt far more dangerous and drastic means of feeding now it was challenged. He believed that it would attempt to destroy the city itself, a detail soon supported by news from the maintenance tunnels.
With Tarvitz placed in a bacta tank and Sirra standing guard over him, Rhan and Essik led a contingent of troops into the tunnels to find and kill it. They soon discovered a number of dismembered corpses and damaged equipment, and came to the conclusion that it was seeking to overload the main generator. Rhan was able to partially repair it, allowing them to offset any meltdowns via safety measures if it made its move. Considering this, Essik offered several plans to draw it out and counter it. Rhan refused all but one, that would drive it into facing them on an unfavourable front. This, however, proved to be a deception. Tired of watching younger people die under his orders, Essik engaged the vampire personally. In what would otherwise have been a suicidal engagement, Essik was able to use his wits and experience to overcome the creature, but almost at the cost of his own life.
Rhan only learned of the fight as the trapped souls that the vampire consumed raced to freedom, and when Sirra issued a telepathic call for help. Drawn to the Gand she had fought to stabilize him, and Rhan was able to move him back to the township's medical facilities. Furious at this betrayal of trust, now from both her supposed comrades, a dark mood dominated her thoughts for days afterward. Although she somewhat forgave Essik due to his guilt driven actions, this nevertheless severely damaged their friendship.
The Ties that Bind
The group was soon drawn away as Odan-Urr issued a general recall of all current and former members, and began assembling its fleet for a battle. Although the group had separated themselves from the Clan, the decision was made to rejoin them given the nature of the crisis in question. Utilising the Bug to join the fleet, they soon learned of just why they were rushing to be made battle ready: The various archaeological digs the clan had been bankrolling and directly protecting had unveiled suggestions of an aged and powerful relic dating back to the origins of the Jedi. Situated on Myrkr, the relic was a potential source of information and a weapon should it fall into the wrong hands. Given the disruption that the clan had faced while recovering these items, they were sneaking to liberate and secure it before it could be taken by others.
As with previous ventures, it was decided that the Fang could not be left unguarded. Through a random lot the group decided who would move to support Odan-Urr of the four, only for Essik and Tarvitz to win the lot. Rhan was incensed at this, given that both had been wounded in the previous battle, and argued that she should go in their place. While they were healing quickly, it would be more sensible for each to be given the role of holding in reserve and allowing the other two to go ahead. Essik argued around this by other logic: He pointed out that he would likely be placed far from the frontlines, while Tarvitz could far more rapidly heal between battles than anyone else. While Rhan was potentially suitable, she lacked the skill with vehicles needed to get them down onto the surface, and a place with bubbles absent of the Force would be a nightmare for Sirra.
Rhan begrudgingly accepted the argument after a number of requirements were made for the two to stay alive and keep out of the worst of the fight; one of which was to leave the bulk of the piloting to Ratchet. Yet even with this apparent acceptance, she was already considering how best to turn the situation in her favour. Eventually returning to the Fang via one of the clan's transports, Rhan was considering a number of long-term flaws and problems that could be rectified by expanding upon their pool of resources. Materiel was a major problem even with the salvage operations, and it would only become a greater issue once they attempted to expand upon their vehicles and stockpiles. As such, Rhan opted to try and spark up contact with older figures from her past life - Salvage experts and operators.
Leaving the Fang and even the system for a time in order to not be detected, she began by personally visiting her parents in order to better outline a number of ideas without being overheard. While the group had been in contact multiple times since Rhan had joined the Brotherhood, they were surprised by a number of developments she stated. After eventually coming to understand all that happened, they soon offered her more information in turn: Even though salvage had been drying up when they had last met, the chaotic state of the galaxy and fall of the First Order had led to a wealth of opportunities. Abandoned bases, forgotten New Republic holdings, and crashed Star Destroyers had all granted them more credits than ever before. They were willing to outline a number of potential sites that could be used in their favour, and would even offer intelligence if needed. Equally, they cited a number of other operators they were on good terms with; each likely willing to help in exchange for credits, information, and even direct protection if needed.
Although dubious of having her students used as muscle, Rhan accepted the offer and was willing to see how events played out. As proof that they could deliver on any promises, and to help them, Rhan's parents arranged to have an aging ship arrive at a previous site they had raided; a ship that could give her the freedom that the Bug lacked and a heavier payload that the Spitfire could not support. After returning to the Fang, Rhan was able to call upon the freighter that she and Sirra had previously used and uncovered the ship for herself: A YC-123B transport hauler bereft of an IFF but in a status where it could easily be repaired and made flight-worthy. Using the freighter to return it to the Kiast system, Rhan was able to use the Fang's droids to make a number of temporary fixes, fly it back, and then continue working on it once it had been landed.
After taking time to check on how the students had been progressing in her brief absence, and offer a number of lessons and pointers, Rhan utilised more of their credits to further expand upon their number of droids; giving the fortress a broader number of guards and a pair of medics at long last. While this would take up a significant amount of time, it was the sort of structure that they needed in order to more freely expand upon training lessons, and actively sustain a constant cycle of tutorials and tests. Although Rhan was tempted to examine the vault that Tarvitz had revealed in order to prepare an argument against him, she was disrupted when Sirra returned bearing a blade of clear Sith origin. Although at first believing that this had been found in the vault itself, Sirra made it clear that it had been taken from an undiscovered area within the castle.
Rhan worked for some time to expand upon their assets, gaining further droids to support their stronghold. Although still few in number and lacking the specialists vital for the future, the PIT Droids had proven to be versatile and easy to manage, while a newly added pair of power droids helped to lessen their reliance upon the generational systems. Rhan predicted that within the next few years the castle would have the essential labour force it needed to begin full rennovations and expansions to its inhabited areas, allowing them to put credits toward better funding their facilities and defences. With most of their smuggler contacts being paid off with information over direct support, Rhan took the time to better examine the sword Sirra had found. Keeping it safely under guard at all times and limiting her own exposure to the weapon, Rhan attempted to study its nature with limited success. While the weapon's design was intended for the use of basic humanoids and the curved structure was akin to the Force-imbued blades that the early cults had utilised, giving rise to the more broadly slashing styles of most forms. The scripture about its edge was archaic even by the standard of ancient Sith, and while it radiated with Alchemical energies, they lacked the same taint expected of most creations. If anything, Rhan's attempts to peer through into its core brought about nothing; a total abyss of energies that lacked the substance of other creations.
Celevon's alternative was for them to subject Sirra to a ritual that he knew of, one that would reshape her body and rectify the remaining damage. Yet its origins lay in the teachings of Dark Side aligned clans he had been part of, and elements reminded Rhan far too much of Sith Alchemy when subjected to living creatures. This was exactly what she had feared might happen upon learning of the hidden vault, in that some of their numbers would push them into crossling lines that they had long since avoided. She was all the more worried when Tarvitz saw some wisdom in this move, and seemed to seriously consider its benefits rather than truly opposing them. Rhan was further outvoted when Sirra herself supported it, and while Celevon cited a number of differences between it and Sith teachings, it was only enough for Rhan to offer the bare-minimal support to their efforts.
Taking Sirra to an area of the Fang that was suitable to their needs, Celevon conducted the ritual by summoning upon powerful forces in order to control and rework Sirra's form. The means that he employed set Rhan on edge, until she was left fighting the constant urge to object and attack him over his efforts. Yet she was able to retain control until the last moments, as Sirra lost consciousness after broadcasting single image with a feeling of immense danger. A towering figure in rachidian armour plating inlaid with machinery of no known design. The image was unknown to all of them, and what little they saw of its background meant it clearly had not taken place in Sirra's past. While the others displayed concern toward just where it had originated or what it meant, Rhan could not help but believe that Celevon's ritual had been linked to it somehow.
Typically clad in armour plating during her duties, even in travels to distant worlds, Nikora typically keeps the finer details of her attire hidden beneath a ragged cape. When not in full armour, she prefers robust, simple and easily replaced clothing for much of her work, especially those which allow her to pass as a common mechanic. This quality is only further enhanced by her preference to near-constantly carry a variety of tools, spare parts, and secondary equipment.
Blunt, direct, and with an unyielding emphasis upon practicality, Nikora Rhan is someone who speaks through actions more often than she does words. A highly compassionate pragmatist by her nature, she holds a deep concern for the welfare of others while placing an extreme emphasis on practical results over everything else. This seeming contradiction is a mindset that she has developed over decades of combat. Rhan is willing to lie, cheat, and injure people if it is necessary to save a life, but will openly show contempt for outbursts of hysteria as such displays offer no means to resolve a crisis. With a near-pathological requirement for action and a directed goal, this has manifested in her talent as both a creator and destroyer through her mechanical and explosives skills. Each of these has been shaped in part by her upbringing, but they are nevertheless a reflection of how she will hunger to resolve a problem while also carefully considering the exact tool to complete her task. Because of this, Rhan neither bothers with or respects empty gestures made to soothe an individual's conscience out of a belief that caring alone will make a difference. This need to continually fix things or help people stems from her travels on the Outer Rim, and the harsh life that most face on such worlds.
Nomadic by both nature and personality, Rhan has been required to uproot herself and start over more times than she can count. In a physical sense, this was her habit of rarely staying on a single world or station for longer than a few days at a time, sometimes without even a ship to call home. Far more concerned with the need to see what lay beyond the next horizon than setting down in a single safe space, Rhan required a singular goal or idea to explore above all others. In the few times that she was left couped up in a single location, Rhan required an objective or constant task to keep herself busy; such as experimenting with her own skills or even repairing the outdated systems within the Jensaarai holdings. In a far more personal sense, her willingness to change stemmed from a requirement by life to frequently start over and re-learn ideas from scratch. This first stemmed from her abandonment of a life as a scavenger to become a Jensaarai, then returning to the stars as a Reclaimer, only to rejoin the Order as a teacher, and then abandoning it in the name of a greater goal. Whereas some have a direct or obvious path upon which their skills are built, Rhan's existence can be divided up into segments or even chapters. Because of this quality, Rhan is far more willing to reshape herself entirely to suit a new lifestyle and rarely holds any nostalgic value for the past.
Most of Rhan's teaching methods stem from her own upbringing and means to adapt to situations. When training a student she will encourage them to constantly think outside of the box, driving them to create their own means to resolve tasks. While Rhan will always make the point of giving students the tools that they need to understand a subject, she always ensures that they make the final step themselves. Believing that each individual needs to overcome their own limitations in a final self-driven push rather than relying on hand-holding, any lesson can easily veer into more unfair challenges if she believes a student is ready to face them. These are typically designed to be just beyond a student's existing skillset, or even seemingly impossible when confronted by means that they currently rely upon. In doing so, she tries to coax a desire to constantly test their own limits.
In close combat, Rhan favours a green twin-bladed lightsaber which suits her strength and stature. This has served as a means to rapidly counter most opponents, typically in coordination with a variety of grenades. With her experience in creating and utilising explosives, she deployed everything from stun weapons to thermal detonators in order to disorientate and overwhelm enemies in the opening moments of a fight. When required, she further backs this up with missile launchers at long-range, typically as a means of quickly disabling vehicles or crowd control.
Thanks to a number of engagements against Collective cyborgs, Rhan has taken it upon herself to examine and then use their own weapons against their troops. Chief among these is the MK-6 explosive lure - An anti-personnel weapon built for multiple uses and triggered by proximity sensors. Having discovered and disabled a number of these in skirmishes, Rhan took to building her own variants due to their undeniable effectiveness, and the impact turning the Collective's own weapons upon their troops has on enemy morale.
Armoured in the manner of all Jensaarai, Rhan's plating matches the same basic designs of all suits from the Order. Rhan's particular version has been tweaked and tailored over the years to fit her specific skills, with a strengthened chest and abdomen plating suitable for absorbing concussive blasts, but a flexible black-toned mesh plating across points of her limbs. These allow for easy mobility, even when combined with the more solid pauldrons, greaves, and hardened points intended to absorb heavier impacts. In a personal tweak added at a later date, the vambraces are slightly broader than would typically be expected of medium armour, in order to assist with movement underwater.
The armour's aesthetics were built with the inspiration of a specific animal above all others, as is typical of Jensaarai traditions. Trace visual elements reflect the Mon Calamari devilsquid as its overall icon, displayed through contrasting patterns and textures which reflect a cephalopod's skin. A far more obvious influence lies in the helmet piece, which has been built to incorporate her head-tails as a means to emulate the squid's overall appearance.
Rhan's sympathy and innate kinship with droids has seen her gathering a growing army of automatons emerging about her workshop. Although the vast majority of these were ultimately purchased in order to best maintain and slowly renovate the Fang, more often than not they were picked for their simple versatility. Overly specialized or limited designs are more often overlooked in favour of those which can be adapted for a variety of roles, or even simply display inherent reliability and lack of flaws.
More curiously still, Rhan's disposition has left her with a different viewpoint to most owners. Few to none of her droids are fitted with restraining bolts, and she often picks those which lack mindwipes. This has led to an odd mix of personality quirks, dispositions, and views, but she argues that their benefit of experience and freedom of creativity makes up for this. Moreso even than this unusual stance, Rhan even tries to establish work shifts, time off, and generally treats them more like a workforce rather than an extension of her toolkit. Besides Orion, the KX-series security droid, Rhan's current group consists of a mix of Pit droids purchased from former podracing groups, and ASP droids from salvage units.
In the wake of the attack on the Fang during the Fourteenth Great Jedi War, Rhan began devoting funds to purchasing a wider security force. Due to the Fang's environment and surrounding grounds, she made the unusual choice of utilising BT-16 perimeter droids. While unpopular under most environments, Rhan soon found benefit due to their unique build, sensor capabilities, and more substantial firepower for their price.
- Main article: The Fang
Situated on the larger mountain slopes of Trepus, Solyiat, the Fang lies far further inland than most existing townships. The name itself is a colloquial abbreviation of its original Sephi-given designation, the direct translation of which is One Fang of the World Consuming Serpent Which Will Herald The Universe's Oblivion. The shortened Basic translation has become more commonly accepted even among Trepus' residents. With stonework which was laid down in the earliest days of the Galactic Republic, the castle predates the first colonies of the Vatali Empire. Its exact origins or even the names of its builders have been lost to history, with only a small handful of theories offering any answers as to who this might have been.
Since claiming the aging castle as their home, Rhan has served as Castellan in all but name. Even in their joint venture, Tarvitz recognises that her work and experiences gives her more authority over its development, and claims to any ownership. Over the past several months, it has slowly been reforged into a more habitable environment, and a number of areas have been reclaimed for training, storage of relics, and simple habitation. Nevertheless, it will likely take decades of work and thousands of credits to fully restore the castle to its former glory.
Powers and Abilities
Rhan is an experienced practitioner of Niman. Due to its more moderate aspects and balanced nature, Nikora found that it easily fitted to her even temperament emphasizing both heightened attack and defence. Its lack of prominent advantages, when compared with other forms, was something that she found could be more easily overcome when used in combination with other weaponry. What's more, the simple elegance of its movements both allowed her to more easily carry out her duties as an engineer while also using trickery and intimidation to rapidly end conflicts. The use of this fighting style was pressed upon her by Kylun, after the older Defender felt that she was limiting herself to blunt and brutal attacks, thus encouraging diversity in her combat style. Rhan adapted some of its more basic elements to better emphasize offensive pushes and integrating its more defensive elements into counter-slashes and parries, both of which can easily follow up primary strikes.
When required, Rhan substituted the more controlled slashes and sweeps with moves from Mandalorian Core, as its emphasis upon counters, grapples, and emphasis on improvisation provided an excellent contrast with her swordsmanship. Even though the two differed heavily in contrasting ideologies, Rhan finds that the controlled outbursts of abrupt violence can catch foes unawares after seeing the motions of Niman, ending a fight with opponents via something so simple as a quick kick between the legs while their blades were locked.
Surrounded by machinery for much of her life, Rhan has an inherent understanding with machinery that no amount of training can fully match. Linked in part through the Force and in part through sheer experience, she has continually experimented and examined various forms of machinery throughout much of her life. While typically working on various vehicles and salvaged parts throughout her early years, Rhan developed a skill to quickly pick out and identify important qualities and familiar traits within varied designs. No matter the components or advancement in technology, machinery would always retain a few familiar components above all others. Rhan came to find that, in identifying them and the linking connections, she could find shortcuts and outline means to improve the inherent builds. She frequently employed this knowledge to cover for shortcomings or absent parts, especially in her service to the resource-starved Jensaarai.
Even in combat, Rhan can utilise her knowledge to overcome various foes. By picking out inherent flaws, design faults, and ill-chosen materials in weapons, Rhan has learned to turn the very weapons of her enemies against their wielders. Even a basic knife had its own failings due to its crafting, just as how armour plating might have key blind spots to limit movement, both of which can be exploited in battle. Yet what is most remarkable is how Rhan can apply this skill on almost any scale, extending it to buildings and fortifications. Even with her lack of experience in commanding troops, Rhan's eye for structural weaknesses and failings means that she has served as an advisor in sieges on more than one occasion.
When a lightsaber or even the Force proves to be insufficient to carry out her task, Rhan will fall back on explosives as a volatile problem solver. Rhan has found that the simplest, most direct and blunt means to a problem is typically the least easy to avoid, and explosives themselves have frequently proven to be a reliable means to accomplish this. As a momentary display of overwhelming force in the right place can be enough to encourage a retreat, or even an abrupt surrender when required, Rhan has come to favour them almost as readily as her lightsaber. Yet even with this approach, a significant portion of her arsenal consists of weapons intended to disable or incapacitate enemies over killing them through explosive force. A number of grenades, particularly ion and gas variants, serve as a means of excellent crowd control and an effective opening strike.
Along with their employment, Rhan has devoted time to better understanding the weapons through their limitations and basic elements. Studying and experimenting with various builds, Rhan has developed an understanding of any basic explosive device's limitations in terms of range, placement, and effectiveness against other materials. Equally, frequent studies of chemical combinations and compounds have led her to build custom variants of more common bombs, often with enhanced yields or altered roles in battle. This knowledge has even bled into her efforts as an artificer, as Rhan's designs for fortifications tend to place a heavy emphasis upon guarding against explosive weapons.
In all things involving the Force, Rhan's talents lie in a mixture of extremely bold and surprisingly subtle areas. Noted primarily for her ability to interfere and interact with machinery, she has used her powers to both undermine enemy equipment and even turn it upon its masters in battle. Capable of jamming complex mechanisms and hijacking droids with little more than a thought, she has continually devised means to turn the technological strengths of her foes upon themselves. Yet even without this quality, Rhan has proven herself an extremely talented telekinetic, capable of disassembling items with minute gestures and even unlocking mechanisms purely through her powers. These have made her a deadly opponent when facing the likes of the Collective, as she is capable of both literally disassembling her opponent's enhancements in the midst of a battle and throwing multi-ton objects about with little to no effort. When this fails, Rhan is more than capable of summoning lightning from her hands to directly attack her foes with a series of powerful strikes, or transform her telekinetic strength into a battering ram attack.
While the likes of Telekinesis, Force lightning, and Mechu-deru have served as trademark skills of sorts, Rhan is by no means limited to more physical displays of power. With some noted skill in both telepathy and casting illusions, Rhan's ability to pick out surface thoughts and then warp her opponent's senses has served to create various openings against far superior opponents. Even the most martially skilled enemy can be brought down thanks to a brief opening if they cannot wholly trust their senses, or even the privacy of their thoughts. Such deceptions are a stark contrast to her typically bold personality, and Rhan favours keeping these powers secret until the moment is needed to turn the tables upon an enemy. This is to say nothing of their benefit in infiltration or cut-throat negotiations, problems that she frequently encountered during her travels across the galaxy.
Even with the wide arsenal of powers at her array, Rhan's ace in the hole is her ability to disrupt the physical movements of her opponents. By concentrating through the Force, she has found that she can slow and disrupt the agility of her enemies, hindering their capacity to dodge explosions or avoid her blade mid-battle. When required, she can even push this much further to lock a target into a form of stasis, rendering them comatose for a time and extremely vulnerable to her attacks. This requires total concentration to achieve, however, and Rhan has made a point of rarely relying upon it as a means to dispatch her opponents.
In the face of battle or possible obstacles, Rhan will utilise these abilities along with a multitude of other lesser powers to weigh the odds in her favour. However, she makes the constant point of utilising them in synchronized efforts with more mundane skills or as a means to bolster her natural capabilities. Rhan's innate mechanical knowledge and crafting skills are used as a means to enhance the impact her abilities have upon machinery, while the likes of Illusion is used to disrupt the perspective of enemies rather than entirely overwhelm it. Rhan does this out of a desire to avoid an asset like the Force becoming a crutch, and entirely replacing skills or covering for her lack of them in other areas. She constantly views the source as a tool and a means to benefit herself, but will draw the line at having them outright replace an ability entirely. Because of this, Rhan frequently holds back on exploiting their full potential in some key areas, but attempts to make up for it via ingenuity and experimentation in how they are utilised.