- "Well, my time of not taking you seriously is certainly coming to a middle."
- ―Terran Koul
Terran Koul was a Kiffar Bounty Hunter and Gray Jedi. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised amongst the Jensaarai. Though diligent in his studies, he had a pattern of disregarding authority that landed him in successive altercations throughout his youth. He earned the rank of Defender but, due to his volatile nature, was expelled from the order shortly thereafter.
After leaving the Jensaarai, he travelled to his homeworld of Kiffar. Though he made the journey to learn about his heritage and seek out family, he soon found himself embroiled in the planet's seedy underbelly. What started as a few favors for low-level information-brokers soon turned into common grifting. This led to petty theft, which in turn led to asset-recovery for the more affluent members of the criminal underworld. From there, it was a short step to Bounty Hunting. While he eventually made a name for himself amongst the Bounty Hunters of the galaxy, he chose, surprisingly, to give up the hunt to join Arcona. Though his reasons for doing so were unclear, his talents quickly proved useful to the Clan's summit. Despite that utility, there are more than a few rumors as to his true intentions in joining the Brotherhood.
Parentage and Birth
15 ABY - 19 ABY
"There was little about him that could not be summed up as nondescript
. Except for you."
- "Though you'll never hear me say it: I love you."
- ―Elaina, to her infant son, shortly before being abducted.
Little was known of Terran's birth and parentage, even to himself. His mother was abducted when he was a toddler, though even that was unknown at the time. While his father's whereabouts could not be ascertained, it is assumed that he cared for the child for a year or more before disappearing himself. Koul's exact age is unknown, but the records of the Saarai-kaar indicated that he was nearly five when a dark-eyed, hooded man appeared at the gates of the Jensaarai compound, asking that they take the boy in. Cowl pulled low against the torrential rain so common in Yumfla's summers, even the holorecordings from the enclave's security cameras could do little to identify him. Terran's first four months amongst the Hidden Followers were spent nearly catatonic, and when he finally recovered from whatever had befallen him, he had no recollection of the ordeal. Even his name was the fabrication of a Saarai-kaar overly-fond of puns.
Amongst the Jensaraai
19 ABY - 31 ABY
"No, it wasn't your imagination. Would you like me to show you how?"
- ""We hid from the Jedi and mourned and buried our dead. We had been sealed together, bound together by the deaths. We made a new memory from the tragedy.""
- ―The Saarai-kaar[src]
A Leaf Spirals Down
Koul's earliest memory was of a small, brick-encircled pond in the Jensaarai compound on Susevfi. As he sat beside the pool, a single leaf fell from the oak that had taken root at the pond's center. He reached for it, as if to catch it, but it was too far from him. For just a moment it hung, suspended but unsupported. Then it hit the water, sending ripples across the clear surface. Footsteps approached from behind him and he nearly sunk back into his mute reverie. Then the Saarai-kaar spoke and her words - and voice - defied his stupor. She offered to teach him. And to his own surprise, he agreed.
Over the next few years, Terran learned the basics of the Force from his new Jensaarai family. More than that, though, he learned the basics of being human. While he still had no memory of his parents, nor of what had occurred prior to that day beside the pond, he began to heal. Through incessant badgering and sheer tenacity, his Jensaarai brethren drew him out of his shell. Now and then he even cracked a smile.
Though studious, Jensaarai apprentices were little different from other children their age.
Like the Jedi they had once feared, the Jensaarai often took on apprentices at a young age. The apprentices were raised in a nurturing, if demanding, environment, and Terran quickly found himself welcome amongst them. In addition to the normal lessons in biology, physics, rhetoric and civics, the young apprentices spent several hours a day studying the Force. More often than not, these sessions were consumed by meditations on the connections between the life around them, or on the nature of the Force itself. For Terran, this was very nearly torture. Every so often, though, they would actually work on something useful. The lessons on tapping into the Force directly, on telekinesis and sensing the world around them, were what really mattered to the young Kiffar. Those he took to heart.
Wind-Grasped, It Is Held Aloft
While the soft-spoken Saarai-kaar was as good as her word, and Terran did eventually learn to lift objects and keep them aloft, that was only the beginning of his tutelage. Despite their initial break from the Jedi Order, the Jensaarai kept a strict adherence to the Three Pillars. The standard instruction for apprentices began with the Force and the Pillar of Knowledge. As boring as Terran found the more academic aspects of his training, he had little choice but to continue it. An orphan, and a ward of the Jensaarai, there was nowhere else for him to go. At times, when he grew too discouraged for his fellow apprentices to cheer him up, he would find himself at the same pond where he initially resolved to undergo training. On one such occasion, nearly four years after he first sat beside those waters, he found himself meditating in the lone oak's shade. Eventually, after several hours of quiet contemplation, the Saarai-kaar approached the young Kiffar. She was loathe to disturb his meditation - knowing full-well how little he enjoyed it - but she could feel the strength of the conflict within him. Hoping to help ease the tension, and perhaps to offer him some small solace, she had brought him a piece of jewelry. The Saarai-kaar explained that the piece was originally given to her care by the same man who had entrusted them with Terran's future. She had intended to wait until he was older, cautious of what feelings and memories the keepsake might drag to the surface. However, sensing his turmoil, she had decided to risk it in the hope that it might help.
She held a small, turquoise Haali pendant, wings poised as if soaring aloft, threaded on a platinum chain. A link on the chain was torn jaggedly open, as if it had been ripped free in a struggle. Still only half-aware of the world around him, the young boy held out his hands and the Saarai-kaar handed him the necklace. Terran nodded his thanks and studied the momento, curious as to why the Saarai-kaar expected it to help. He was thankful for it, and for the link to his past, but he couldn't fathom why she expected it to do anything but further inflame his conflicting emotions. Like all orphans, the boy had often fantasized about setting off on a grand adventure to seek out his lost parents. Though he knew it was just that - a fantasy - the necklace nonetheless strengthened the desire. And it would no doubt make it even harder to stomach the slow, patient path to Defender that lay before him.
Sitting beneath the lone oak, fingers curled around the pendant, Terran had his first psychometric vision. He saw his mother's abduction from her eyes. He saw himself, still a toddler, ripped from her arms. The boy that was himself grasped instinctively, hand scrabbling for purchase as he was pulled from her and finding only the Haali stone's chain. Then it tore, falling to the floor and skittering into the shadows as a pair of burly, resolute men pulled her through the doorway and into darkness.
The vision left Terran in shock, and it was many hours before he made his way back into the compound proper to seek out the Saarai-kaar's counsel. They spoke through the night and the Saarai-kaar, gifted in psychometry herself, offered to teach him to hone his gifts if he agreed to see his training through to completion. The possibility of harnessing his gifts to track down his parents finally quieted the storm that had been brewing in him for years. For the first time in as long as he could remember, he felt sanguine. He left the meeting determined to redouble his efforts.
Though he had found a renewed sense of purpose in his training, Terran was still a child with a great many emotional scars. The Jensaarai taught caution and thoughtfulness, but there was ever an edge to the young Kiffar's words and deeds.
But All Leaves Must Fall
It's all fun and games until somebody drowns.
Jensaarai apprentices were occasionally granted free days, and it was Terran's wont on such days to explore the warrens of Yumfla or the miles of forest that lay beyond the compound. On one occasion, he found himself strolling along the river that ran past the city. A group of children were gathered under a massive oak that stretched over the river's banks, taking turns diving from one of its thicker branches. He admired their energy and envied their unfettered playfulness. Then a cry rang out from the group. One of their number had taken a bad dive. He had surfaced, but he wasn't moving on his own and the river's swift current had begun to pull him down stream. It was clear the children were agitated, but they were either too shocked or too afraid to act.
Terran dove in without hesitation, letting the river pull him along and kicking his feet wildly to catch up to the unconscious child. After several minutes of half-drowned terror, he finally caught up to the injured boy and wrapped his arms around him. It was only then that the would-be rescuer realized he had no idea what he was doing. Though he liked to watch the river and listen to the sound of it rushing along its banks, he had never once swam in it. Moreover, the Jensaarai compound, while spacious, held little in the way of recreational accommodations. There was the small, knee-deep pond, but nothing resembling a pool. In all his years, the Kiffar had never learned to swim. Using the Force to strengthen his limbs and extend his endurance, he did eventually make it to shore with the young boy in tow. Waterlogged and exhausted, he pulled the child a few feet from the bank and tried to wake him up. When that failed, he tried to probe him through the Force. It was then that he realized how futile his efforts had been. The boy was already dead. Struggling to ignore the weight of defeat that threatened to crush him, Terran lifted the boy across his shoulders and trudged back along the bank of the river to where the children were, determined to at least find the dead child's parents.
It was late into the night before he finally returned to the Jensaarai compound. His instructors, when they learned of the day's events, commiserated with his heartache. But they were quick to add that such eventualities were inevitable when a person acted without due consideration. If he had waited, they insisted, he might have been able to help one of the other children - one who knew better how to swim - overcome their shock and, in doing so, see the child rescued sooner; in time, perhaps, to save his life.
Though Terran was quick to learn to swim, no amount of time spent in the water could wash away the sound of his instructor's lecturing tones.
Winds Condemn The Leaf
In time the students began combat training. They engaged in standard practice against remotes, using lightsabers to defend themselves from stinging, underpowered blaster bolts and, in time, to redirect the fire back at their whirring, spinning assailants. As with most of their physical exercises, Terran did relatively well. While he was far from the most adept of the apprentices, his native agility and strong situational awareness led him through the majority of their training sessions relatively unscathed. What he truly enjoyed, though, was sparring. Whether due to the reactive thoughtlessness that the Jensaarai combat techniques cultivated or the sheer exhilaration of throwing each other around the lightly-padded floors of the arena, Terran seldom felt more free and at peace than in the midst of a fight. In some ways, it was an asset. His exuberance and natural acuity mixed well with his talent for improvisation, and he quickly came out at the top of his class. However, he tended to lose himself in the fights, often striking harder than intended, or failing to notice when his opponent forfeited. Though it was never malicious, a fact his instructors constantly reassured him they knew, it was nonetheless a recurring issue with the young Kiffar's training.
Terran Koul's First Lightsaber
Eventually the apprentices were tasked with building their lightsabers. Though not the same rite of passage as it was among the Jedi, the Jensaarai still spent a great deal of time and effort in construction of their blades. The individual components were provided by the quartermasters of the Jensaarai. While some were purchased through trade or bartered for, many, particularly the crystals, were sought out by Jensaarai apprentices during their trial to become Defenders. Given the dangers that often proliferated around the rare crystals, no few Jensaarai had died trying to procure the necessary components. As such, constructing a lightsaber was always a solemn occasion amongst the Jensaarai, and one undertaken with the utmost care.
While the construction of a Jensaarai's lightsaber was far from the pivotal moment it was to the Jedi, it did mark a point in their training. Lightsabers were elegant, and they were an excellent defense against the unknown and often-dangerous galaxy beyond Susevfi, but they were also extremely dangerous. It indicated a level of faith in the pupils who were entrusted to carry such dangerous implements. It also opened the doorway to other, more brutal techniques. Unburdened by the strict mores of the Jedi, Jensaarai often made use of techniques from which more conservative Force-users shied away. While many Jensaarai apprentices practiced their command of Shock or their ability to Blind their fellow students - a common game among the trainees - Terran found an undeniable beauty in the art of ballistakinesis.
Though telekinesis was a normal part of the Jensaarai curriculum, and all apprentices learned the basics of ballistakinesis, few took the time to make a true study of it. It lacked the inherent allure that many of the darker Force abilities possessed. For Terran, though, there was a simple, brutal beauty in how forthright it was. More than that, it was fun. It challenged even his significant situational awareness and he found the effort immensely gratifying. The Saarai-kaar was an expert in the art and, between her tutelage in psychometry and his study in ballistakinesis, the two spent a great deal of time together. She recognized how concerted an effort Terran put into his training. She saw, too, the shadow that lay across his heart. And she often wondered which would win out.
Just Float, Like Your Brethren Do
The others felt...hungry
The situation came to a head shortly after his fourteenth birthday. Though his exact age was unknown, the Saarai'kaar had taken to considering the first day by the pond, when he briefly held the leaf aloft, as his fifth birthday. As was custom amongst the Jensaarai, he spent the day in Yumfla. The Jensaarai, for all that they walked a path not entirely devoted to the Light Side, considered themselves champions of the downtrodden and protectors of the people around them. They would spend the day that marked their birth among those that they would one day be called upon to protect, mingling among them and seeing their troubles - and their victories - firsthand. On that day, as he so often did, Terran made a beeline for the warrens. It was a poor, dingier side of town, filled with houses in crude repair and replete with the occasional beggar. It was also a place that seemed vibrantly, undeniably alive to the young teenager. Unlike the more somber, reserved citizens that inhabited the wealthier districts of Yamfla, the denizens of the warrens were vocal, loud and, on occasion, downright rowdy. Vendors hawked wares from street corners and a dozen different styles of music blared from the houses and garages he passed. He could feel their emotions as he passed: joy at an unexpected windfall, worry over a late mortgage, anger at a shopkeeper who was too persistent for his own good. He lost himself in the eddies of emotion, the strength and variegation of them. It was beautiful and exhilarating. Then a shrill terror cut through them and chilled him to his soles.
Terran followed the feeling, using the Force to trace it through the crowded street. It led him down a cross street, then a smaller offshoot, and another. There were fewer people with every turn, and he found himself at the mouth of an alley. The street, rundown and covered in poorly-filled potholes, was deserted in either direction, but he could feel four people in the alley, and one of them was terrified. The others felt...hungry.
He reacted as he often did, without thinking, sending a hail of loose scrabble from the sidewalk at the three men who crouched towards the back of the alleyway. He wasn't sure who they were, but they were standing above the fourth, the woman whose terror had cut through his reverie. The whirlwind of gravel hit them, taking one of the men down immediately. Then he was on the remaining pair, lightsaber lit, cutting through them. It was over in moments, the three half-clad assailants dead, and he helped the woman to her feet. Though she was grateful, she was also shocked - as was he. He had seen death just once before, and he had never been its cause. As she stumbled off - towards a police station, he thought - Terran returned his saber to his belt and walked half-conscious back to the Jensaarai compound.
"You could do worse," suggested the Saarai'kaar,"than to start with the Wookiees."
In the end, as was so often the case, it was worse than he hoped and better than he feared. His instructors were irate and unnerved by his actions. The Saarai-kaar, however, understood that he had acted from a desire to help. His actions, she said, were not wrong. Nor were they as right as they could have been. He was confined to the compound and he was instructed to contemplate the nature of force. Not the Force, but force. It was, according to the Saarai'kaar, the most important and difficult lesson for many Jensaarai. When was force required - and how much of it? How could one make the distinction? His training, she explained, would not resume until he could provide her with a satisfactory answer. She suggested he look at the traditions of other cultures to find an answer to her questions, starting with the Wookiees. Eventually, he was very glad that she did.
But Some Leaves Are Torn
Amongst the Jensaarai, the creation of one's battle armor was the pivotal moment in their apprenticeship. Analogous to a Jedi creating his own lightsaber, it marked the passage from mere apprentice to one ready to be considered a full Jensaarai, and was the precursor to undertaking the Defender trials. Though not required, it was a common custom to style the armor on an animal or otherwise bestial creature that represented certain values to the Jensaarai. They were creatures that weren't overly aggressive, but were capable of fierce protectiveness when it was warranted. The more Terran learned of the Wookiees, the more he felt he had found the perfect fit for his armor. The only problem now was earning back the privilege of constructing it.
Traditional Jensaarai Armor, modeled after a reek
He spent several months studying the history of the species via the holonet, reading every scholarly article he could find on the ursine sentients that made Kashyyyk's deadly wroshyr forests their home. Enslaved by the Czerka corporation thousands of years before, they spent years trying to find a peaceful resolution to the situation before finally revolting. When they did revolt, however, it was to devastating effect, overthrowing in a matter of weeks what their corporate overlords had spent years building. After joining the Republic, they gained a reputation for possessing great wisdom and were renowned for their patience and fair-dealing with other cultures. During the Clone Wars, the Wookiees initially tried to remain neutral, seeking peace between the factions of the fracturing Republic. When it became clear that no peace was to be had, they were ready to take up arms, fighting unflinchingly against the Separatists that threatened the safety and prosperity of the Republic's member-states. On a more personal level, Wookiees held dear their families, both the families of blood and those of friendship - what they termed "honor family". He became so enamored with the species that he even began studying the Wookiee language in his spare time, a soothing practice he continued throughout his adolescence.
In the end, as was so often the case, the Saarai-kaar was right. Studying the Wookiees - and when and how they resorted to force - illuminated what his heart alone could not. Violence was a last resort and, when unavoidable, should be utilized to whatever degree necessary - and not a joule more. It was one of the reasons the Jensaarai had spent so many decades remaining hidden after the fall of the Republic: to prevent the necessity of violence. He explained his reasoning to the Saarai-kaar and his other Jensaarai instructors and, in time, was allowed to continue his training. But though he understood, intellectually, that violence should be avoided, the same bloody edge still shadowed his heart.
A few Susevfi months before his fifteenth birthday, Terran began construction of his armor. With his instructors' blessings, he based it on the Wookiees that he had come to emulate. As he sought to shape his soul in their image, so too should his armor reflect them. It was an arduous task, requiring a great deal of care and fine craftsmanship. As was Jensaarai custom, he spent much of the time fasting and meditating on the values he sought to express in his armor. On the eve of his fifteenth birthday it was completed, and the following day he was set upon his trials to become a Defender.
Still They Try to Soar
Nar Shaddaa, the Vertical City
As was common practice, his trials began with a journey offworld, ostensibly to collect materials necessary for the construction of future students' lightsabers and armor. These trips, while seemingly imperative to Jensaarai apprentices, were little more than a pretense. The true purpose of the journey was to acclimate the Jensaarai, who had spent so long sheltered among their own kind, to the vagaries of the galaxy beyond Susevfi. One of the Jensaarai Defenders had been a smuggler before joining the order, and an old acquaintance of his claimed to have uncovered a cache of Durindfire crystals that would be able to power several dozen lightsabers. Terran was tasked with meeting the Rodian broker on the world city of Nar Shaddaa and retrieving the shipment of crystals. While he had a handful of encounters with thieves and muggers, few were willing to engage in a prolonged tussle with a man wielding a lightsaber. Even fewer when that man demonstrated he could wield the Force. Still, mindful of the lesson he had so recently learned, he tried to walk softly, relying on stealth and blending in rather than displays of force or Force to remain unaccosted. The exchange itself went smoothly. The Rodian, Hynder, had the crystals as was promised, and Terran had been coached in haggling down the price to something more affordable - important despite the Jensaarai's extensive coffers.
Returning to the Jensaarai compound outside Yumfla, Terran remitted the crystals to the quartermasters' care and, after giving a full accounting of the mission, was welcomed home, one step closer to the mantle of Defender.
Flying High On Reckless Gusts
The Saarai-kaar on a rare patrol of Yumfla's streets.
For several months after his trial, Terran's days and nights fell into a predictable pattern. There were no more classes on history or politics. Instead, he continued his own training and meditation during the morning. After a midday meal, the older apprentices who were on their way towards becoming Defenders would gather in a courtyard and discuss their differing viewpoints on the Force or morality, often seeking to sway or be swayed until a consensus was reached in one particular or another. Though Terran initially thought the exchanges would grow tiresome, he found that he was often an active participant in their debates. While the subjects might be boring in the abstract, when applied to real-world situations they were intriguing, and he was surprised at how passionate he grew. When evening came, the would-be Defenders took shifts patrolling the streets of Yumfla, offering a level of protection and security that no terrestrial law enforcement could provide. It was tiring, and it was often thankless. But to Terran, it felt right in a way he had never known.
The Jensaarai presence ensured that Yumfla had an unprecedentedly low rate of criminality, but nothing could completely rid a city of burglaries or crimes of passion. Terran thwarted a number of transgressions over the next half year, invariably in the Warrens. Though half a decade had passed, it was still his favorite part of the city, and when he set out on patrol, his feet invariably took him there. When dealing with lawbreakers, he was sure to err on the side of caution. Often, if no one had been hurt, he let the would-be criminals go with a stern warning and a promise. Repeat offenders were few, and always turned over to the local constables. Over time, people came to recognize the sight of his armor and, as word of his actions spread, smiles and waves and even kind words met his passing.
The elders among the Jensaarai were always watching and listening for reports on the apprentices' patrols. As word of his watches, and of his restraint, reached their ears, many that had once been his detractors, sure that his youthful indiscretions could not be mended, began to change their minds. After half a year he was summoned to their council. Though not all were convinced that he had conquered his often-troublesome temper, enough felt that he had done so. They conferred on him the rank of Defender. It was a moment of shining brilliance that lit his young life.
It was not to last.
But All Leaves Must Fall
Though he was officially a Defender, the Saarai-kaar had a final duty that she wished him to complete before she gave him her blessing. Terran learned, to his surprise, that one of the three thugs he believed that he had killed had, in fact, survived his assault. The man, a Human named Kello Thrall, claimed to have been crippled that night. He had brought a suit against the Jensaarai, claiming he was owed for lost wages and suffering as a result of Terran's actions. Though Terran initially scoffed at the suggestion, explaining to the Saarai-kaar that the trio had been attempting to rape a woman at the time, the Saarai-kaar was adamant that some form of recompense must be made. She tasked Terran with tracking down Thrall and investigating his claim. She urged him to be humble, and to keep foremost in his mind that his actions - regardless of his intent - had been wrong. Though Terran believed the man ought to consider himself lucky, given that he survived despite his heinous crime, he saw that there was compassion and wisdom in the Saarai-kaar's words.
With a heavy heart he contacted an acquaintance of his amongst the local constables and inquired as to Thrall's address. He spent days meditating on the situation, hoping for clarity or, at least, to maintain a more detached perspective when confronting the thug. When he finally made the journey to the address, he found Kello Thrall's apartment in the worst part of the Warrens. It was midday, the sun beating down overhead, and he couldn't tell whether the sweat on his brow was from the heat or from his trepidation. A young boy, no more than ten, answered the door begrudgingly. He viewed the older, unarmored Kiffar with suspicion, and Terran tried to put him at ease as he asked to speak to the boy's father. The child scurried back into the house without a word, and was replaced in short order by an older, brunette woman. She invited him in and offered him a seat and a glass of something cool to drink before inquiring as to his business. Terran graciously accepted, postponing the awkward conversation to come. Eventually, though, she returned, and there was nothing left but to broach the subject.
He asked the woman, Trellia Thrall, if her husband was in. She nodded, commenting that he was napping in the other room, and her hand brushed her cheek, unconsciously drawing her hair away from a nasty bruise that discolored the side of her face. It was at that point that Kello chose to enter the room. The man was unkempt, overweight and reeking of stale whiskey, and Terran knew without a doubt that he was the source of the woman's injury. Suddenly his perspective shifted, and he saw the child's reticence in a new light. It wasn't rudeness. It was fear. Likewise, the woman's courtesy wasn't politeness, but obsequiousness. And this man, this wife-beating, would-be rapist was the cause. He could taste the rage that welled up inside him, and struck the man down before he could open his mouth to speak. He struck him down before he could even consider the repercussions. Then, in a state of shock, he left.
It was late into the night before he returned to the Jensaarai compound, and he did so with a heavy heart. He requested an audience with the Saarai-kaar and recounted the day's events. She listened with compassion. But she listened, too, with dismay. In the end, there was only one recourse.
For the second time in as many decades, he was without a family.
Home and Homelessness
31 ABY - 33 ABY
- Saarai-kaar: "The path you're headed down only ends in one place, Terran. And that place is not here. You are no longer welcome."
- Terran Koul: "Yeah, what else is new?"
- ―The Saarai-kaar to Terran Koul, on his exile from the Jensaarai.
Though he was left without a home, he was not entirely without means. When he had been given to the Jensaarai to foster, a moderate sum of money had been given to them as well. While it was ostensibly for tending to the young child's needs, the Jensaarai - financed in part by the tax base of Yumfla's citizenry - had little need for the financial support. Instead, the sum had been invested. That amount, and the interest it had since accrued, was divested to Terran upon his excommunication. Using a portion of his newly-acquired funds, Terran was able to book passage to Kiffu on a cargo freighter.
While he had managed to gain a good deal of control over his psychometry, the emotional resonance of his mother's abduction meant that he had never been able to gain any additional visions from her pendant. He had, however, managed to glean greater detail from that one vision. Thanks to hand-written labels on several containers in the cargo hold, he had been able to ascertain the name of the ship on which his parents had been passengers - Tranquility. He also had a solid sketch of his mother and of several of her abductors. Thus armed, he began his search.
Through charm and bribes he was able to gain access to a number of public shipping records that would otherwise have been sealed. At the same time, he placed ads on the holonet requesting information on anyone who matched the sketches he had made over the years. He even looked into DNA tests, but without a sample against which to test or any criteria that could narrow down the range of the search, there was little specific information to be had from genetic profiling. Even if there had been, broad-spectrum testing would have been prohibitively expensive.
Terran spent countless hours in Kiffu's records center.
Despite extensive auditing of public (and sealed) records, Terran was unable to find any reference to the ship in his visions. His ads on the holonet produced a few leads at first, but nothing that panned out. After a few months, those dried up, as did his fast-shrinking credit account. It eventually became clear to him that his search for his family's fate would not be a mystery quickly solved. Without any new leads, he found himself forced to seek employment for the first time in his life. Though he was well-educated, he lacked any official credentials. This made acquiring a traditional job extremely difficult - a fact for which he would later be grateful.
In the end he took a job with a private security firm, being hired out as a bodyguard or bouncer. Though he didn't advertise his Force-training, it was easy enough to prove his worth, and it was steady work. He settled into a routine, weeks and months flying by while he saved up the money to continue his search. He lived frugally, even poorly. That didn't bother him, though. His time amongst the Jensaarai had hardly been marked by an excess of material goods, and a sparse existence was the norm for the young Kiffar. No matter how tight things were, though, he made sure to always keep the holonet ads running. Eventually, he knew, someone would recognize them. He only hoped that, when they did, they would contact him.
Aim to Misbehave
33 ABY - 34 ABY
- "'Difficult' and 'impossible' are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common."
- ―Terran Koul, when told that tracking down his family would be an impossible task.
He'd take most any job, if there was a steady paycheck in it.
After nearly a year of scraping by on as few expenses as possible, stockpiling what credits he could manage for when the time came to resume his search, Terran finally received a response to his HoloAd. The message was short, the sender furtive. It said only that his parents hadn't been simply passengers aboard the Tranquility. Though he initially dismissed the message as nonsensical - after all, he had seen them aboard the ship in his vision - he soon realized that both the message and his vision could be true. If they had owned the ship in question, it would explain a great deal. Given the lack of official records and, in retrospect, the lack of any official seals on the cargo, the only logical explanation is that it was a smuggling vessel. If they had travelled under one (or more) pseudonyms, there wouldn't be any record of the Tranquility in Kiffu's public databases.
Over the year prior, Terran had served as bodyguard for a number of people - not all of them the most savory of characters. Though he initially resisted the urge to tangle himself within the Kiffu underworld, in time his need for answers won out. He began by contacting a handful of corrupt politicians, soliciting the names of people who might be willing to barter for the sort of information he needed to further his search. Most of the politicians were unwilling to speak to him, but one eventually agreed to give him the name of a reliable information broker - in exchange for a particular service to his campaign. Two days and three burglaries later, the politician had all the blackmail he needed to force his opponent to drop out of the running. And Terran had the name he sought.
Shera Karn, a Kiffar information broker in her mid-thirties, had spent over half her life in the seedy network of criminals that stretched across the Azurbani system. Terran contacted her and, while she admitted to having no information on the Tranquility or his parents, she offered to put in inquiries with her contacts if Terran would do a few favors for her. The young male tried to insist on paying for the information, but Karn made it clear that she had little interest in his credits. His services, on the other hand, would be far more useful. Finally, knowing enough of how the underworld worked to know that he would regret it, Terran agreed to work for her on a freelance basis.
His jobs started out relatively minor, mostly security-related. He would be charged with guarding a shipment of goods - with the understanding that probing into the nature of the merchandise would not be tolerated. On occasion, he might be hired to guard an individual, or to ensure that one of Karn's on-the-outs lackeys showed up when they were summoned. After a few months, aggravated at having no new leads, Terran confronted Shera. She explained that she had asked for any information on his parents or their ship, and it was hard to justify the expenditure of greater resources given how little value he provided to her organization. After all, he was being paid well for his security duties. She indicated that, had he other skills to provide, she might be able to spend more money looking for the answers he sought.
He understood Karn's not-so-subtle hints and eventually graduated to what she termed asset recovery. The jump from larceny to confidence tricks was a short one, and the former Jensaarai soon found himself embroiled in any number of illicit schemes. Though he refused to get mixed up in Karn's spice trade or protection racket, he came to enjoy the thrill of a well-orchestrated theft or scam coming off as planned. His training in the Force - both his effortless concealment and his ability to sense other people and read their intentions - gave him an unrivaled edge in the jobs he took from Karn, and his credit account ballooned.
While he enjoyed the work for its own sake, he remained focused on the end game: tracking down whatever had happened to his family so many years before. After several months of work, Terran managed to save enough money for the genetic testing that had once seemed impossibly expensive. Though it yielded no specific results, it was able to provide some more generalized information as to his heritage. Based on a variety of genetic markers, there was a high probability that he was a member of Clan Vos. Paradoxically, the same testing indicated that both of his parents had mostly likely been raised on Kiffex, Kiffu's prison colony sister-planet. While rearing on a prison colony world would explain how his parents became smugglers, it seemed incompatible with the idea that they were related - even distantly - to Kiffu's ruling family or Guardians. It was a mystery that Terran wouldn't solve for a long, long time.
Hair-Brained Schemes Pay Off
34 ABY - 36 ABY
- "There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated."
- ―Terran Koul to Isshwarr, on being asked how they could capture an Imperial Admiral.
Eventually, Terran's jobs began to take him outside the Azurbani system. With a growing confidence in both his skills and his loyalty, Shera Karn began to task Terran with asset recovery on worlds from the Inner Rim to the Corporate Sector.
On one such job to the world city of Nar Shaddaa, Terran once again encountered Hynder, the Rodian broker he had met several years before. The objective was the theft of a priceless piece of Verpine art from one of the many Hutt crime bosses who made their home on the Smuggler's Moon. The crystalline sculpture was well guarded, a fact that had seldom deterred Terran - in his experience, sentients were easy enough to bypass. What he hadn't counted on was the overly-elaborate electronic security that pervaded the Hutt's art gallery. While he had some rudimentary slicing skills, he often relied on his physical prowess or on software hacks purchased from contacts in order to bypass security systems. Unable to reach Karn - an expert in electronic intrusion - and lacking other options, Terran sought out Hynder.
Despite Terran's excommunication, the Roadian remembered him fondly and was amenable to a meeting. When Terran conveyed the situation, however, Hynder informed the Kiffar that he had little interest in security systems. He offered to introduce Terran to a few merchants that might be willing to sell the Kiffar the sort of software he needed to bypass the Hutt's security, or even to introduce him to a few local security experts that were available for hire. Terran took him up on the latter offer and, a few local hours after that, first met Isshwarr and Kolot.
Okay, they weren't Jedi. But imagine how awesome it would be if they were!
The two were an odd pair to say the least. Isshwarr was a Wookiee, skilled in combat and an electro-mechanical virtuoso. She was also a mother to an entire den of children and, in Kolot, seemed to have adopted one more. Kolot was an Ewok, a subject of genetic manipulation that had graced the furred mammalian with an intellect that surpassed Human norm. It had also given him a vicious, sometimes-bloodthirsty temperament. He was an expert pilot and had a knack for planning. The two were partners in crime and well-known among Nar Shaddaa's smuggler community.
Terran hired the pair to assist him, despite it costing half of what he was due to make on the job. Though Kolot was reluctant to trust him, or anyone, Isshwarr was willing to take the risk - at least partially due to the novelty of meeting a Human who was fluent in Shyriiwook. Isshwarr made short work of the gallery's electronic counter-measures and Kolot shuttled the trio - and their precious cargo - to safety despite being chased by enough Headhunters to take down a small Star Destroyer. It was the first time Terran worked with the pair, but it wouldn't be the last.
They even pulled a job on Endor. Isshwarr didn't fit in as well as Kolot.
The trio crossed paths several times over the next two years, on Nar Shaddaa, Correllia and Coruscant. Kolot warmed to Terran, coming to respect his fiery temper even as he remained disdainful of the Kiffar's meager piloting skills. As for Isshwarr, she seemed to treat both like children in need of a parent to watch over them. Eventually they decided to make their intermittent associations permanent. Though they settled on Nar Shaddaa, their home was aboard the Indecorous Arrangement, wherever their cargo or recovery jobs took them.
Though the trio continued running confidence jobs and handling asset recovery for the highest bidder, including freelance work for Shera Karn, they branched off into Bounty Hunting as well. The work appealed to both Isshwarr's and Kolot's hunter natures, and it paid better, which was enough incentive for Terran; and if Kolot occasionally ruffled under the alive-only stipulation that the Wookiee and Kiffar insisted on, he enjoyed the work enough to let it slide. As their metaphorical star rose, and the group began being offered more lucrative contracts, they were even able to upgrade their aging YT-2400 light freighter for a Horizon-class Star Yacht - heavily modified, of course.
Through it all, Terran kept his eyes open for any clues as to his parents' fates. He put in inquiries with every information broker he met. He hired private investigators and even other Bounty Hunters, hoping that some avenue would finally bring in fresh intelligence. All he heard was silence.
After Bigger Game
36 ABY - Present
- "You can't help being young, but it's past time that you stopped being stupid."
- ―Isshwarr to Terran, on hearing his plan to join Arcona.
After nearly a year of successful Hunting, the trio seemed to disappear. They stopped replying to job offers, and even their known associates ceased to hear from them. Then, several months after his last Hunt, Terran showed up on Selen, requesting to join the Brotherhood. Though he declined to explain the impetus for his enlistment, his Jensaarai training and unique skillset quickly positioned him at the forefront of Arcona's Shadesworn. He even earned a pair of Fades - coincidentally, a Wookiee and an Ewok.
Though several members of Arcona's upper Summit immediately questioned the Kiffar's motives, his service to the Clan was, at least at first, without fault.
Terran Koul was a tall, Kiffar male in his mid-twenties. He had a medium build and brown, tousled hair. Dark blue eyes and high cheekbones - sharp enough to cut stone - often caused him to stand out in a crowd, despite the hint of a goatee that softened his strong jawline. His pink lips looked more accustomed to frowning than otherwise, at odds with the glimmer in his eyes. With his coloring and bone structure, he could pass for a Hapan were it not for his litany of aftermarket imperfections. His aquiline nose had been broken repeatedly, and poorly reset on more than one occasion. Along with the scars on his face - a long, curved scar on his left cheek and a smaller, triangular one on his right - it was clear he had been in more than a few brawls in his life. Though he lacked the typical Kiffar tattoos, he had a series of blue glyphs the same shade as his eyes inked along his outer biceps.
Terran's clothing was often rough-spun and utilitarian, with only the barest of concessions to fashion. A plain white shirt, tight through the chest, suggested a muscle-tone born of hard labor or years swimming rather than a gym. He wore a single holster slung low on the waist of his tan pants and fastened across his right thigh, with a second at the small of his back. In addition to the pair of blasters, a spring-loaded sheath rode his right wrist, keeping his lightsaber in easy reach. His brown gloves appeared padded with armor or machinery of some sort. They were custom made for his hands and the patterning on their exterior almost seemed to suggest fur, despite their smooth surface. The gloves and sheath were the only remaining pieces of his Jensaarai armor that he wore regularly. Koul's reinforced black leather boots were cracked with age, but lovingly maintained with obvious care. Covering it all, he often wore a chestnut coat, loose in the sleeves and open to keep his movements free and easy. Numerous pockets in the cloak's interior held grenades, blades, candy, datapads, lock-pits, rocks, stuncuffs, and, on occasion, vegetables or yarn.
Personality and Traits
Terran is a smart-ass, wise-cracking, egotistical Bounty Hunter with a heart of tarnished...well, something. Definitely not gold. He's sarcastic, sardonic and not overly fond of the truth. He’s a bit of an anti-hero. He recently joined Arcona for reasons unknown (he was quite successful as a Bounty Hunter). He often comes up with crazy schemes that shouldn’t possibly work - but do. He has a tendency to pick up on very subtle details (due to his Force Abilities, his perception skill, and his psychometry). He is seldom malicious - but there’s not much room for mercy in his universe either.
A few decent fictional comparisons would be:
- Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards)
- Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)
- Han Solo (pre-Leia)
Powers and Abilities
A Jedi Using Ballistakinesis
Terran has extensive training in Ballistakinesis, a telekinetic technique employed by the Jensaarai. As a result, Terran tends to use his telekinesis to attack with multiple smaller objects at lethal velocities rather than a few large objects at slower speeds. This scattergun-like technique is less accurate and more susceptible to collateral damage, but is also more difficult to evade - especially in enclosed areas.
Psychometry, also known as Postcognition or telemetry, is a Force-powered mental technique of picking up impressions and traces of information about the object touched and the events that have surrounded it.
This power allows the user to view events as if they were there, including the sights, sounds, and feelings, both emotional and physical, that the wielder of the object experienced. This power is easier to use on personal objects that are used frequently. Objects that were used once or by several people often make the use of this power difficult, though it is still possible. This skill is useful for tracking though it is not useful in open battle and can fail to render useful information at times.
-class Star Yacht Gentleman Bastard
Though Terran still retains his Wookiee-patterned Jensaarai armor, he seldom dons it since his excommunication. It is a highly flexible suit of light armor, covered in spun fibers capable of deflecting light blaster fire or other low-powered impacts. The custom-molded gloves, which he does continue to wear, are lightly armored and possess miniature servomotors that increase the wearer's strength. The underside of the right gauntlet contains a spring-loaded sheath designed to keep his lightsaber within easy reach. The entire suit is tan with subtle patterning on the exterior designed to suggest the texture of fur despite its smoothness.
Terran never leaves his ship without a bare minimum of weaponry. His rust-colored lightsaber and paired WESTAR-35 pistols are always with him, as are a pair of glop grenades. When possible, he also carries thermal detonators, ion grenades, and a WESTAR-M5 rifle.
The Gentleman Bastard is a heavily modified Horizon-class Star Yacht. The equipment pods in the yacht's wings have been outfitted to conceal a pair of concussion missile launchers. It possesses a retractable ventral AG-2G quad laser cannon and a pair of ion cannons positioned just behind and to either side of the cockpit viewport. The interior has been fitted with several smuggling compartments, as well as a confinement cell for "guests".
- Main article: [[Isshwarr|Isshwarr]]
Isshwarr was a female Wookiee from Kashyyyk. She possessed a keen hunting instinct and extensive training in electronics and mechanical engineering. Her mate and several of her children were killed during the Clone Wars. Though she stayed on Kashyyyk for several decades after that, a victim of Imperial slavery, she eventually left her home, searching for a new life that would distract her from the people she had lost.
Isshwarr was known for her keen wit and her love of surprises. In spite of the hardships she had faced in her life, she seldom grew angry and never lost her temper. As with many members of her species, she was quite adept at mechanical repairs and improvisation. She was also well-versed in computer systems, particularly electronic security systems.
Isshwarr is a Mandalorian Soldier in the Fade Initiative.
- Main article: [[Kolot|Kolot]]
Genetically modified to increase his intelligence, Kolot was the result of an Imperial experiment. With intelligence higher than Human norm and extensive simulator training, as well as a set of prosthesis, the Ewok was capable of piloting fighters and other starships. After escaping from Imperial captivity, he spent time as a pilot for an import-export business on Corellia. He eventually grew bored of the slow-paced lifestyle and, upon meeting Isshwarr, gladly joined her semi-legitimate enterprises.
Though intelligent and capable of intricate planning, Kolot was more bloodthirsty and prone to anger than traditional Ewoks. Despite that, he had a wry sense of humor and enjoyed playing pranks. He could speak Ewokese, Yuzzum and Shyriiwook, and could fluently understand a half dozen other languages, including Basic (though his vocal chords made it impossible to speak the latter).
Kolot is a Wilderness Scout in the Fade Initiative.
Ktah is a Cythraul, one of the Hapan Hellhounds awarded to members of Arcona for outstanding service. Standing a full meter at the withers, he is over waist-high on Terran. With fur so blue it is almost black and eyes of crimson like his former master, he has a distinct advantage in dark environments, a fact he has learned to use to his advantage when skulking silently in Terran's wake.
Initially bonded to Invictus, Ktah a became an outcast amongst his litter when his bondmate betrayed the Clan and murdered Kira. Kolot, noticing the way his littermates shunned the Cythraul, insisted on taking him in. In time Terran agreed, and grew close to the mischievous, fickle creature. Though initially standoffish, the pair eventually formed a strong Force-bond. While he tends to keep Isshwarr at a distant, the Cythraul sees eye-to-eye with Kolot in more ways than one.
Behind the Scenes