The Shroud nebula is a treacherous and unsettling area of deep space surrounding the ancient Antei system. Allegedly formed through unnatural means, the nebula permeates with Dark Side power. Known to be a deadly region of uncharted space, the nebula is far removed from any official trade routes and has, in recent history, become a haven from scum and criminals alike.
The Antei system is not only an anomaly by its binary configuration and bizarre history: perhaps the biggest abnormality is The Shroud that cloaks and protects the system. The Shroud is a nebulous cloud of ionized particles that limits hyperspace travel in and out of Antei. Legends labeled the Shroud as a source of evil from which no ship ever returned.
The source of the Shroud is unknown. Over the years, scholars have formed a variety of disparate arguments over its construction. Those that are partial to the Antei system’s dominance and believe Antei pulled the Antares System into its grasp also believe that the Shroud is an anomaly of the Dark Side. This theory begets that the Shroud existed even into the times when Okemi discovered Antei. However, as the entire basis for that theory, that Antei is dominant over Antares, is now disproved, the latter prognosis is just as questionable.
More likely is the theory that the nebulous cloud was formed around the binary system over the three millennia in which the system was formed. As Antares pulled Antei and her planets into orbit, there were collisions of various magnitudes. Some scientists believe that both the Antei and Antares systems may have had up to ten more planets with numerous moons, but during the merger, some of these planets collided. The remains of those planets make up what we today refer to as the Shroud. The particles, rocks and other debris found orbit around the perimeter of the Antei system, serving as a strong barrier against entry.
The Shroud is nearly impenetrable without the assistance of the Force. History shows that accidental travel through the Shroud can happen, but most non-Force users find it challenging, at best, to navigate the thick cloud. No one is sure how many non-Force users have actually made it through, but documentation from an earlier era speculates that the initial re-colonization of Antei after the merger may have been by stranded colonists who managed to traverse the system’s barrier.
The use of the Force to get through the Shroud is often necessary because even modern computers have found difficulty in tracking the intense movements of the cloud. With Antei and Antares pulling at the cloud particles simultaneously, the Shroud is always random and chaotic. However, the inability to travel by hyperspace through the Shroud requires all travelers to stop prior to attempting entry.
In years gone by, Clan Tarentum manned a single space station at the entry point to the Shroud, as it's guardians, but with Tarentum's destruction and the purge of the Antei system the station is left in disrepair and is slowly being consumed by the nebula.
In the year 34 ABY, with the founding of the Shroud Syndicate, the Godless Matron found its berth in the dense cloud, only ever exiting to raid the surrounding sectors and trade routes. A veritable legend has formed around the ghost ship whose unpredictable movements through the nebula leave its pursuers flatfooted and, more often than not, reeling from ambushes and raids.
Clan Tarentum's Role as Guardian of The Shroud
Clan Tarentum has long been known as the “Guardians of the Shroud.” This honor and title came about both by luck and necessity. After the Exodus, Tarentum was the only Brotherhood clan that remained in its system, Yridia. Yridia was well known as a Brotherhood system, and, as such, was the only known location of the Brotherhood after the Exodus. Entities that wished to find and travel to Antei found themselves in Tarentum space. As a result, the clan found themselves guiding visitors along the quick-path of the Hydian Way and through the Shroud.
Not long after the Exodus, the Dark Council and the leaders of Tarentum reached an agreement by which Tarentum became the official gatekeepers to Dark Council space. Tarentum was granted administration over the newly erected Brotherhood station outside of the Shroud and charged with controlling entrance to the Antei system. When the Dark Council commissioned the Antei Defense Group, one battlegroup was placed at the entrance to the Shroud under the command, but not ownership, of the Tarentum administrators.
With the destruction of the Clan and the Antei system, nothing now remains of the proud legacy of the guardians of the Shroud.
A haven for criminals
It is well known among the Brotherhood and beyond that, the Shroud is a deadly place to travel alone. More often than not, ships have been lost in the dense particle clouds and asteroid fields, never to be seen again or surfacing as ghost ships devoid of life. Many superstitious individuals attribute this to the Shroud's supernatural powers and steer clear so as not to waken its malevolence. More level-headed individuals understand that many of these attacks are, in fact, the product of pirate raids, though Force Users understand that both are true as they can sense and overbearing presence within the Force once in the nebula itself. The Force ebbs and flows with the swirling clouds of dust like the beats of a heart. Many who fear the Shroud do so with reason.