following material has been excerpted from the book
The Last Days
of Arhul Hextrophon, which is an analysis of a lengthy treatise Arhul
Hextrophon had written in the years prior to his mysterious death at his
home on Chandrila a short time ago.
his retirement, Hextrophon had begun spending an increasing amount of time
gathering and sorting through the extensive volumes of material he'd
collected over the decades from fellow researchers and on voyages to
mysterious sectors of the known and unknown regions of the galaxy.
Hextrophon's treatise examines several occurrences centered on the beliefs
of obscure cults and their correlation to the mythologies of ancient and
vanished peoples. The renowned historian was fascinated by certain
elements that, on the surface, appeared unrelated, but which he felt
contained bizarre and sinister strains of interconnectedness. It should be
noted that several historians of the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances
have expressed misgivings over the validity of Hextrophon's conclusions,
and though few have examined his entire body of work to collate the
evidence he put forth, many have already dismissed his post-retirement
work as "paranoid" and "conjectural," citing mental strain as the actual
explanation for what they have labeled "unsubstantiated” and “apocryphal."
archivist emeritus of the Historical Council, Voren Na'al—a protégé of
Hextrophon—has chosen not to proffer forth any opinion until he has
of his mentor's documents firsthand, while Master Historian Palob Godalhi
has cautioned against any rash repudiation of the respected man's later
extremism has always made for fascinating study, at least to one whose
mind is wont to haunt the sacrosanct halls of antiquity, cogitating over
the sociological mutation of races and peoples in the vast, inexorable
march of time.
Our galaxy has seen a myriad of singular and spellbinding examples of
cultic movements. There are the Dim-U Bantha Priests, the Nuns of
G'aav'aar'oon, the Ancient Order of Pessimists, the Fellowship of Kooroo,
and the Church of the First Frequency. More macabre examples include the
Cult of M'dweshuu, the bizarre Cult of Waru, and the Church of Infinite
Perception. Some are created by accident, such as Han Solo's Cult of Varn,
while others are designed with an agenda, such as the Cult of the One and
the All, created by the Besadii Hutts.
Despite a multiplicity of differences, most cult members share at least
this collective: they have an obsessive devotion to a person or principle,
and the object of that devotion often appears aberrant and mysterious to
the modern-day galactic inhabitant. The Followers of Quay, for instance,
center their worship on a precognitive children's toy, while the Amaran
Sisterhood devote twelve hours during the vernal equinox to fertility
rites in honor of the Hoojibs of Arbra.
Though unusual, most cults are relatively innocuous, requiring little more
than reclusive solitude or fetishistic objects of devotion in which to
practice their unorthodox beliefs. But there are other affiliations, those
spoken of only in hushed tones and the fables of childhood—though fables
they are not. There actually exist caliginous orders of the profane,
baleful dark side congregations croaking vitiated liturgies of Sith-lore
in dismal, subterrane vales and legend-haunted peaks. The Shapers of Kro
Var bear close scrutiny, as do the noxious Sorcerers of Rhand—of whom the
late Lord Cronal claimed membership—hidden as they are behind myth in the
far off stellar clusters of the Nihil Retreat. Yet even these pale into
prosaic when measured against the shadow of elder days, when wild things
roved the black recesses of space, the fiendish, insensate powers who held
dominion over the sapient Firstborn.
For now, however, let us discuss the following unusual sects, of which
certain facts have come to light. Each demonstrates seemingly unique forms
of reverence, nomenclature and practice. Yet, grotesque and
incomprehensible as they may seem, there are connections, distant strains
of commonality, echoes of repeated notes, resounding tones made more
astonishing because of their separation by vast leagues of stars and even
further distances of time.
The Guild of Vindicators
The following communiqué was recovered from an Imperial record vault
following the Liberation of Coruscant during the Galactic Civil War. New
Republic Intelligence has ascertained that is from the shadowy Imperial
agent known as Blackhole. His identity long shrouded in rumor and
speculation, Blackhole is now known to have been Lord Cronal, a mysterious
figure working behind the scenes at Imperial Intelligence, but serving his
own agenda. For a number of years prior to the Battle of Yavin, he
operated as head of that organization, where he was given a measure of
impunity and position that even Armand Isard—who formally ran Imperial
Intel until his daughter’s betrayal—did not command.
Lord Vader, I bid you dark greetings.
At your behest, I have infiltrated the accursed Guild of Vindicators in an
effort to unlock their secrets and unmask their weaknesses. They never
knew a servant of the Emperor was amongst them. With the Dark Side as my
ally, I was able to mimic their own unique powers enough to convince them
of my place in their organization. They are zealots, and like all fanatics
suffer from an unwavering belief in the righteousness of their cause. Such
rigid arrogance is their blinder, a weakness that I am certain would be
easy to exploit should the time come to do so.
The Guild of Vindicators is comprised of a relatively small cabal of
self-appointed vigilantes with unusual and mysterious Force powers unlike
those we have seen in other traditions. They believe it their duty to
impose punishment upon those they perceive as having committed great evils,
prime amongst these are individuals who have “misused the Force,” as they
say. Thus, their chief adversaries have been various dark side cults and
acolytes, against whom they have long engaged in battle. In that they have
kept would-be usurpers entangled in plots and skirmishes, they serve the
Emperor’s purpose to remain as they are. Should they later prove
too victorious, however…
The Guild was first brought to my attention while I was yet serving as a
Prophet of the Dark Side, for they had targeted the Prophets for
extermination. It amused me to note that in their dark hooded raiment and
self-righteous, judgmental hatred, they much resemble the very dark-siders
they despise, hypocrisy that as you well know existed in the Jedi of old.
The Guild is categorized into several branches, each named for the power
wielded by that branch. Their abilities are intriguing, a utilization of
the Force that seems to belong to neither the light nor dark side, but
stemming from the realm of shadow that lies at the borders of each.
Their distinguishing mark is a skull-stone pendant. Each member wears it
around the neck to signify adherence to the primary principle of the
Guild. The skull, of course, is the signifier for death—the ultimate
penalty for transgression.
Guild members are comprised of various genders from numerous races, though
human and human-related species seem to dominate the primary branches.
Abilities vary from member to member, but all utilize their powers for the
same purpose. Each member of the Guild is trained to delve deeply into the
victim’s memory to uncover acts of violence, injustice or cruelty
committed in the past. As a rule, they do not take life from those judged
adversely. There are some exceptions—the rust-furred Lepi known as Kezzin,
exiled from the Guild for bludgeoning to death a fellow member with his
bare foot. Most members, however, need never raise a fist or weapon in
battle. Their powers compel perpetrators to become their own
punishers, a distinction—they believe—that keeps them from being sullied
by the sins and crimes of their prey.
The primary branch of the Guild is occupied by those known as the Shamers—a
group headed by a man named Clat, who is the cardinal leader of the
organization. Shamers have the power to create feelings of extreme remorse
over past wrongdoings. Thoughts of suicide are introduced as the sole
means to expatiate one's conscience. So compelling are the suggestions of
guilt and self-annihilation, they override the victim's natural sense of
The Unveilers utilize similar guilt-inducing suggestions, influencing
those they've judged to publicly admit their crimes and offer no
resistance when punishment is administered—even when that punishment may
mean death. Several of these have infiltrated the law professions of
various Core World firms. The Guild are delusional enough to believe that
one day the entire galaxy’s judges will be made up of Unveilers!
Those known as the Redeemers handle the few the Guild feel are not yet
beyond rehabilitation. Their tactic: erasing their quarry's mind. This
branch is the most altruistic, and the smallest in number. They are
surprisingly secretive, and I was unable to uncover how discriminating
this power is amongst them. It is said that some can erase the memory of a
single crime, while others the entire memory, removing all knowledge of
family, friends, and the past. They deem this a mercy since it spares
their life. Redeemers are convinced that this ability to give wrongdoers a
clean slate means it should be applied to all of the galaxy’s criminals.
The official creed of the Guild places high value upon Redeemers and their
gifts, but the truth is that the leaders of the Guild have little real
patience for their ideals. In turn, there is a growing movement of
Redeemers who seek to break away from the Guild, believing its leadership
to have become cynical and bloodthirsty. It is my belief that their powers
are somehow connected to the Tsils, a sapient mineral based lifeform who
taught the force-sensitive Theran Listeners on Nam Chorios how to remove
The Reflectors are a much more vicious faction that focuses on violent
criminals and those who have perpetrated larger-scale acts of destruction.
Through the use of illusion, Reflectors force the criminals to suffer a
reflection of their own violence as if through the eyes of those they
slaughtered. A murderer might experience the terror of being stalked and
killed, while a ruthless military officer might be forced to witness his
homestead and family obliterated. Oftentimes, a Reflector will work with
Splinterers or Shamers to add extreme guilt to the mix (and, invariably,
suicide). I have discovered that several Imperial officials who had been
reported missing were in fact destroyed in this fashion.
The branch closest to the dark side is the Splinterers. These take a
wholly different approach to retribution. When the Guild deems death too
lenient a punishment for a criminal, they send the Splinterers. This
unique group often works in tandem with other branches, tracking and
isolating targets, then shattering their victims' mental stability until
their prey is reduced to catatonia, plagued by an unceasing succession of
nightmarish hallucinations. The psychological trauma produced by such
emotional torture is enacted as both a punishment and a means of keeping a
victim unable to ever again harm others, as it renders them unable to
function in society. The results are fascinatingly disturbing, and quite
impressive. Their actions, of course, produce a reverberating effect that
brings the Splinterers ever closer towards the dark side. Could they be
made to serve the Emperor, they would make for ideal Inquisitors.
The most potentially powerful, and the smallest in number, are the
Annihilists. Specializing in punishing dozens, potentially even hundreds
of offenders simultaneously, Annihilists are said to be able to produce
inexorable feelings of paranoia and rage so intense that entire armies
will turn on their own kind, eliminating one another without hesitation or
conscious thought. The Guild has claimed to have employed the skills of
this branch in numerous conflicts over the years. In my time amongst them,
they were spoken of only in whispers. It is my belief that such a group—if
they ever existed—are no longer extant, though I cannot verify this with
The Guild of Vindicators have proved a fascinating subject of study,
worthy of future examination—particularly their abilities with the shadow
elements of the Force. Where and from whom they obtained the key to these
powers I was not able to ascertain, for Clat holds secrets he will share
with none. But there are veiled wisps in the far reaches of the galaxy few
have conceived, dwarf galaxies yet unexplored; and beyond the voids, a
twilit domain of unnamable hordes seething in darkness, awaiting their
strange stars to align. If, as I suspect, the Vindicators managed to
penetrate these occluded realms, the secrets they brought back have proved
It goes without saying that the Guild has categorically marked both you
and the Emperor as targets for retribution and extermination. Though I
have no doubt any such plans would be doomed to failure, I nevertheless
Your Humble Servant,
Some years later, the Guild was severely crippled after setting its sights
on Palpatine's apprentice, Darth Vader. The elder Guildsman, Clat the
Shamer, conspired with Lady Dhol of Cheelit, who may have been coerced to
aid in trapping the Dark Lord. Dhol and her people are themselves a
subject of much speculation. Known publicly as the J’feh, it is my
understanding, based on the sparse records I have been able to uncover,
that this is a fiction invented by them to hide the fact that they are not
evolved descendants of the harmless extinct octopus native to Cheelit,
but are beings eerily similar to the ancient Mimban idol Pomojema. Known
in ancient times as Typhojem, this being is believed to have hailed from a
binary star known only as Zoth, an unknown realm thought to exist beyond
the galaxy, and which has an etymological connection to N’zoth (which can
be transliterated as New Xoth), itself a disturbing implication.
After destroying the Shamer, Vader hunted down the remaining Guild members
on Cheelit. The remnant left in the galaxy have since learned of their
leader's failure and gone into hiding, much like the Jedi before them.
There is no doubt Vader sent spies to infiltrate their sect in order to
better learn their secrets, but whether they were successful or the Guild
converted them to their cause is not known at this time.
The Order of the Terrible Glare
The following document appears to have been composed some time after the
dissolution of the Secret Order of the Emperor, during the early period of
the New Republic. The sender is again Lord Cronal—codename: Blackhole. The
recipient is in all likelihood the Sith apprentice Lumiya, suggested by
the moniker used in the address and their former affiliation. What they
uncovered is unflattering to the Jedi Order in the extreme. Given the
passage of time, I don’t believe it will be harmful to reveal to those
interested in ancient history, certainly not to the new Jedi Order under
Luke Skywalker, but I would rather hold back this information until he’s
had the necessary time to examine it and proffer forth his opinion.
Dark Greetings My Lady,
Having sifted through the reams of data-recordings and archives from the
fortress on Dromund Kaas, I uncovered numerous items of interest I know
you'll be pleased to obtain when next we meet. But there is one item I
think you will find of particular interest. You are the most cunning
woman I have ever known, and I have no doubt you'll find a clever way to
put it to use... No one besides us, and the now vanquished Prophets of the
Dark Side you helped eliminate have knowledge of this information, a
secret which the Jedi Council had kept hidden for millennia! How the
Prophets obtained it perhaps no one will ever know. Darth Sidious would
have tortured them for months had he discovered they'd been keeping such a
delicious scandal from him. Ahh, but what a debacle! I almost don't blame
the Jedi for keeping it secret, hypocrites though they were. Savor it, My
Data recording of Jedi Master Simikarty speaking before the assembled
Everyone knows and celebrates the fact that it was the Jedi who ended the
shameful Pius Dea rule on this historical day. What most of you may not
know is that it was the Jedi who helped start it in the first place.
(Audible gasps and whispers)
Unpleasant as it is to know that a thousand years of persecution,
bloodshed, and religious hypocrisy lie at the footsteps of our own short-sightedness and complacency, it is crucial that I inform
you of this so that we of the Jedi Council remember what has occurred and
must not be forgotten, and so that the Jedi of tomorrow may learn and
benefit by it. To all else, let these events continue to be sealed lest
our failure be exploited by those who would seek to do us harm.
The Republic was steeped in corruption, vice and gross abuses, concerned
more for the special interests of galactic mega-corporations and the funds
they received from legal but unethical donations. The Jedi found
themselves at constant odds with the senators they were tasked to work
alongside, and finally decided it was time to take more drastic measures,
and ensure that Supreme Chancellor Pers'lya was removed.
But who to replace him? The spiritual purity, uprightness and moral
clarity of a man like Aldon Contispex seemed to align with the goals of
the Jedi, and in turn he championed the Jedi as examples for the galaxy to
follow. True, he was a member of the Coruscant Merchant’s Guild, but it
was in this role that he gained renown for his ethical practices. Also, he
professed worship of the Goddess, but what of it? There were copious
religions in the galaxy. Who could imagine that this seemingly modest
faith, which decried corruption and immorality, would grow into the
xenophobic and rapacious monster it did?
But if backing him was the Order’s only mistake, it could be chalked up to
a simple matter of misplaced faith. Tragically, it was not. In secret, the
Jedi Order helped Contispex get elected, something they could not have
done without having first conspired with the Pius Dea caliphate. If the
general public could be forgiven for not knowing the deeper significance
of Goddess worship, the same could not be said for those intimately
associated with them. The Pius Dea were not just insular. They were
vengeful and delusional, deeming the Outer Rim the realm of Chaos and
those beings who lived there as outsiders and threats to peace. This was
disguised by the fact that they accepted nonhumans into the faith, but a
deeper examination would have borne out that such were never allowed top
positions of prominence. And, if they held an outward antipathy towards
the Hutts, well, that feeling was certainly not uncommon in and around the
The sacred creeds of the Pius Dea were said to have been channeled by the
Goddess to the Malikha, the name given to their first religious leader,
Queen Maeve, to whom the faith owes its very beginnings. Not just any
woman, Maeve was the ruler of Drogheda at the time the Hutts raided her
planet in the Kymoodon era. Betrayed by someone close to her, Queen Maeve
was taken into captivity by the Hutts, who proceeded to murder the
Queen-Mother and her husband. Though they could not break her, it was said
that she was debased and humiliated.
Goddess worship was ancient on Drogheda. It is an offshoot of Vianism
which existed long before Maeve’s time as a mystery religion of which little is known. Dark rumors
claimed that Drogheda ancients practiced a bloodthirsty form of worship to
the Vain Goddess Onrai, and etymological links have been found to support
the connection. During Queen Maeve’s time, however, only a few young female adherents
kept the Vianist faith alive, and it was a mere shadow of the old cultic
rituals, little more than the games of youth who enjoyed dabbling in the
taboo. It is said that Maeve had been one of these rebellious girls in her
youth. What is known is that she resurrected the Goddess while in
captivity, gave her back her teeth and a thirst for blood and vengeance.
Queen Maeve’s writings—which she claimed were the channeled voice of the
Goddess herself—are now the cornerstone of the Pius Dea faith, and by the
time she reemerged as ruler of Drogheda, freed during the defense of her
world, she was no longer merely queen, but the Warrior-Queen Malikha,
leader of the faith. She took on husbands and had numerous sons who
helped spread the religion far and wide on Drogheda and beyond.
Sagaciously, she gave the Goddess universal appeal, as several systems
already incorporated goddess worship of one kind or another, and this
allowed a syncretic blending of traditions that spread the faith further
and faster. Speculation amongst academics continues to be debated as to
which facets were newly introduced by Malikha, which were altered into new
forms, and which draw connections to the ancient worship of the Vain
Her texts are clear on one thing: the need for a holy war to rid the
galaxy of its irredeemable elements by a purge of infidels without and
apostates within. That the Council was aware of this is evident from a
heated, if one-sided, debate that had been recorded—though little seen—in
which two Jedi Masters argued that the Pius Dea held to a literal
interpretation of their holy writ. The majority of Masters
disagreed—against prevailing evidence—claiming that it was merely symbolic
and that in either case Contispex was a moderate who held to
moral ideals, but eschewed the more controversial aspects of his faith.
The charges that his immediate circle was corrupt and in league with the
legendary Malkite poisoners, assassins who are known to have hailed from
the planet Malkii (one of the earliest worlds to have come under the sway
of the Pius Dea faith, and who even changed their name to honor the
Malikha), the Masters dismissed as conspiratorial ramblings. And so Contispex was brought into power, and for many years, as his abuses
increased and the purges began, the Jedi stood by him.
When Contispex's atrocities began to grow too large to cover up or dismiss, the Jedi Masters began to change their
views towards him, but by then it was too late. Key positions in the
government and military had become staffed by Pius Dea faithful.
his son succeeded him,
years later, the Council hoped he would be
different from his father; if anything he was even more rigid and
obsessed. For the next thirteen years, the Jedi again remained silent as
the Republic plunged into madness, given over to the fantasies of a
fanatical cult who brought horror upon the galaxy in their striving for
so-called moral purity. At last, at the end of this time, sanity took hold of the Jedi Order and they left Coruscant for Ossus, much to the
anger of the then reigning Contispex, who saw it as an affront to his
righteous crusade. He
in believing the Jedi should have stayed on Coruscant.
Master Carel Kapekos was a Sunesi born in the era of the Pius Dea; his
parents were adherents of the faith, as was he when he was accepted into
the Jedi Order. The Council did not prohibit Jedi who served the Goddess
from continuing to do so, a decision I believe was misguided.
Lest you think I am suggesting otherwise, Kapekos was a model Jedi. But he
could not escape what his culture and upbringing had hardwired into him.
He did not start off a fanatic, and he could see that the Pius Dea
Crusades had gone too far. Yet, he bore no love for the Hutts either, as
his Sunesi brain seemed to be able to recite the dates and occurrences
of each recorded Hutt atrocity over the centuries. Even if the Crusades
had gone too far, he believed that stopping the Hutts and other predatory
races was the right thing to do. Kapekos also felt that the Jedi could
rein in the worst of the Pius Dea excesses, and serve as a model for how
they ought to behave. To that end, he worked as a Knight Errant,
protecting innocents from the terrible things that awaited them aboard
the Pius Dea’s giant Cathedral Ships.
Kapekos was respected on both sides, but naïve, failing to recognize that
the Pius Dea were profiting from war with policies that rewarded Republic
colonialists who went off to convert—and in many cases conquer—alien
worlds, plundering alien treasures and artifacts that sold for high
prices in the Core Worlds (yet another hypocrisy given the official dogma
against what they deemed impure alien art). The Pius Dea made themselves
fabulously wealthy, which was, of course, their motivation for sending
marauders in the first place.
This was of lesser importance to Kapekos, who believed he could see the
"bigger picture." On one of his missions he received a series of visions
that included the rise of a tenebrous army of adversaries borne from
amongst the Jedi. As if this paranoia wasn’t bad enough, he had an even darker
vision of a nameless terror from beyond the Outer Rim. Kapekos became
obsessed with uncovering recondite secrets of the past that would help
stem the tide of the encroaching darkness, along with which a militarily strong
and vigilant Republic was needed. The Jedi were unmoved, knowing that
visions were open to interpretation and never specific enough to base
actions upon, but they allowed Kapekos to hold to whatever views he felt
In the final years of the Crusades, the Pius Dea Jedi came under
It began when the Caamasi, a people we have long respected, allied with Alsakani leaders to plead with
the Council to forsake their neutrality and
help save the galaxy from the cruel domination of the Pius Dea. The
Council agreed and began planting agents in the rank and file, as well as
within the deepest conclaves of the sect's strongholds. This meant,
however, leaving Pius Dea Jedi and their close companions in the
Not very long after, anti-Pius Dea sentiment began to spread in the
Republic, for there were many who secretly despised the harsh rules
imposed by the religious hierarchy. When the Pius Dea began scrutinizing its own worlds in order to hunt down those they
deemed were spreading heresy, or not living up to their rigid standards,
they created even more enemies. When at last the so-called “heretics”
declared themselves, the Pius Dea found itself split between the Faithful
and the Renunciates, and war emerged anew.
This time, however, they were outnumbered. The Alsakani and Caamasi had
recruited Hutts, Duros, Herglics and other victims and adversaries of the
Crusades. With the aid of the Jedi, there was a decided slant against the
formerly dominant cultists. The last nail in the coffin came when the
Bureau of Ships and Services covertly seeded Cathedral Ships with rogue navicomp codes, sending thousands of them into unknown hyperspace
coordinates. They were never seen again. The Pius Dea leadership
reemerged at Uquine, and there they were summarily destroyed. Their reign
of terror was over. But it was not the end.
Those Jedi who had been Pius Dea supporters were incensed. Foremost
amongst them was Kapekos, who, being a Jedi Master, was wounded by
the Council’s lack of trust in him. But Grand Master Biel Ductavis was
firm in his stance: abandon worship of the Goddess and remain a Jedi, or
leave the Jedi Order entirely. This only added insult to
injured pride, who argued the right to his religious freedom. Was
he, who had kept an upright record and not participated in any of the
atrocities committed, to be held accountable for their actions? Had
the Jedi forgotten that they themselves, a millennium earlier, had brought Contispex I and the Pius Dea into power? Yet, as with his earlier visions,
it fell upon deaf ears. On
he refused to abandon his faith, and grievously departed the Jedi Order.
He was not alone. 126 joined him.
These were termed “the Fallen.”
Of these, 59 went off on their own
paths. Some fell into vice, while others into hopeless campaigns to try
and reignite the faith. The other 67
remained with Kapekos, designating him their leader.
But where would they go and what would they do? If not for an odd
occurrence, they’d have likely dispersed or abandoned their misguided
beliefs and returned to the fold. But Kapekos received another vision,
this time leading him to the planet Garn, where one of the Cathedral Ships
had just made an unexpected crash landing. All that remained of
civilization on Garn were a few small towns clustered together and made up
of fading pre-fabs in a state of disrepair. Even in its prime, Garn was a
desolate relic of a world, its towns surrounded by ancient ruins of
indeterminate age and origin, beyond which sprawled a vast terrene of
dismal grey rocks, ochre swamps with lethal fungi, and atrophied fields of
The crashed ship had few Pius Dea leaders, but onboard was a
force-sensitive Pius Dea adherent, a young man named Alquist, who Kapekos
would go on to train and befriend. The 67 Jedi were hailed as saviors, but
what were they now that they were no longer Jedi? Believing the Force had
guided them there to fulfill his vision, Kapekos sought to create a new
Force tradition, one that would honor the better aspects of the Pius Dea
and maintain vigilance across the stars. They would go on to call
The Jedi Order returned to Coruscant. This was bitterly ironic for Kapekos now that he was no longer one of them, as
the return to Coruscant was something for which he had
The Order, however, was changing into something quite different. No longer content to be
mere servants of the Force, the conscience of the Republic, and guardians
of justice and peace, they were given newfound power that for centuries
they had been bereft of. Across the Core, the Jedi were hailed as heroes and
leaders. Grand Master Biel Ductavis himself replaced Contispex XIX as
Supreme Chancellor. Kapekos was aghast, and foretold that this would lead them down a path of
arrogance and corruption.
For many years, the Shamans worked in secret. Freed from the Jedi’s
restrictions, they delved into new ways of utilizing the Force. The
rest of the survivors of the Cathedral Ship sought to build homes upon their
new barren world. Those who were technologically inclined were employed to
create a vast and intricate computer system from which the Shamans could
embark upon missions and attempts to trace the lost Cathedral Ships. To
that end, the Shamans were content to remain amongst themselves.
This was not the case for most of the other 59 expelled Jedi, many of whom
were using their abilities as vigilantes, though others to manipulate planetary systems,
at newly reopened gambling dens, and steal pricless antiquities from museums and temples. Some
of the Fallen had
never even passed the trials, but the senators of the Republic,
particularly those looking to see the Jedi removed from power, chose to
not see the distinction, and these exiled Jedi and Padawans became an
embarrassment to the Order and to the Republic now ruled by a Grand
One would have thought the populace wearied of domineering crusaders, but
it was as if they felt a loss in the absence of the Pius Dea, a void they
were looking to fill. In such a climate of spiritual vacuity and fear, the
newly sanctioned Jedi Vindicators arose. Akin to the Jedi Guardians of
old, but closer in spirit to the Pius Dea Crusaders we had just conquered,
the Jedi Vindicators were charged with tracking down and arresting the
Fallen, a commission that came to be extended to all unlawful Force users.
The Jedi Vindicators started off detaining any renegade Force users they
could find. In keeping with the regulations and laws of the Republic, they
would be tried and punished accordingly. Yet after months of successful
arrests, the prisoners escaped. Investigations revealed that they were
aided in this by a Force user on the outside. The Jedi Vindicators vowed
to recapture these renegades, and pressed for permission to employ harsher
methods. The Council, wanting this embarrassing escapade behind them,
conceded to any plan the Jedi Vindicators might put forth.
It is not known what involvement, if any, he had. But despite lack of
evidence, Kapekos was accused of having freed the imprisoned Fallen, and
charges were brought against him and his followers of practicing heretical
dark side powers, of attempting to create a rival Order to supplant the
Jedi, of following the banned Pius Dea faith, and of being a threat to
Republic peace. Kapekos discovered these charges and sought to address and
correct them, trusting in the Jedi’s impartiality and respect for truth.
Alquist pleaded with him not to go before the Order, but Kapekos departed,
unaware of the Vindicators’ real purpose.
The Vindicators had gained reluctant approval from the Council to use a rare
Force technique that would strip rogue Jedi of the Force so that they
could never again use it. Some of the Masters decried this action, warning
that to use the Force to damage or destroy another’s Midi-chlorians
violated the Living Force, but their voices went unheeded. To this day, we
are not certain of all the techniques the Vindicators developed. As a pale
breeze churned into an angry squall, so would grow the power and prestige
of this invisible, but effective sect. For the Vindicators, Kapekos and
his apprentices were an affront to the Force itself, heretics and
apostates deserving of the harshest recompense.
Kapekos came before them in good faith, but he was seized and arrested.
The Vindicators tortured him with their techniques, and ultimately blinded
him to the Force. When Kapekos was finally released, he was no longer the
same man. So brutalized had he been by the Vindicators that any attempt he
made to call on the Force was met with crippling and excruciating pain. He
returned to Garn, where it was said he could feel the blinding light of
the Jedi from across the galaxy, and so his existence came to be one of
Filled with rage at the Council's betrayal, a desire for
revenge followed his every thought. Some said he turned to the dark side;
others claimed that he discovered a hidden remnant of the Legions of Lettow; still others believed that the evil spirit of Xendor haunted Garn.
What can be discerned is that with the aid of Alquist and others, Kapekos
began to learn and develop arcane abilities and powers wholly different
from any Jedi or dark-sider. Ultimately, Carel Kapekos transformed
into something else and was no more.
now designated himself Rur, an ancient word for open spaces and
freedom, a tribute perhaps to his new life on Garn, a life apart from
the Jedi. Yet others say it was given to him by those who heard his loud,
deep cry of anguish and command when he addressed the crowds, for Kapekos’
voice sounded like a great roar.
With himself as High Shaman, Rur restructured the shamanic order that
would forevermore be known as the Order of the Terrible Glare. The
Terrible Glare was aptly named in mockery of the Jedi’s light that had so
wounded and betrayed him, but it was also a name given in honor of the
Goddess, who in the literature was depicted with the pinprick glow of a
shining star in each eye, a mark of terror for any who would oppose her
and her servants.
The writings of Rur became the holy texts of the Terrible Glare. They were
insane, rambling documents filled with hints and cryptic intimations,
warnings of an ancient and blasphemous portal on Garn, of a terrible god
that once ruled there, and of a gateway to another plane of existence, a
baleful realm he called the Night Realm. The Shamans had a great pyramid
built to house and control the gate, for it was there that Rur determined
he would find the power he needed to save the galaxy from itself. There
were intelligences in this realm, he said, beings of strange abilities who
sought a foothold in our dimension. His writings said that they could
never be allowed in, though whether through naiveté or accident, some came
through. The Rozzum, he coined them from an old Sunesi word. Rur
wrote that he could control the foul entities, and they in turn taught him
the power of illusion and deception. Within his own keep, a hidden
fortress on Garn, he had his own private pyramid built, a smaller replica
of the one housing the gate. Within it he could channel his thoughts to commune
with the Rozzum.
The Vindicators' triumph over Kapekos had given them great prestige and
influence in the Council, but their reputation soon turned many against
them, and those who opposed the Jedi came to Garn to join Rur at this
Word of the Terrible Glare reached our ears from Rur’s second-in-command,
Alquist. He came to Coruscant, claiming things had gotten out of control
on Garn, that… demonic entities were escaping through the gate. The
Vindicators were given permission to go to Garn to arrest Rur and his followers.
It was a trap, a deception to lure the Vindicators there. They suspected this and went anyway, anxious for a
fight. Yet, Alquist had not lied. There were, in fact, entities on Garn that no
citizen of the Republic had ever before seen. The things of children’s
stories, dismissed so readily by adults, proved to be as real and
terrifying as once imagined!
A new war had begun. United by a banner of resentment and hate, the Order
of the Terrible Glare learned to use their combined powers to create vast
Shadow Domes, great pockets of darkness blotting out the light side of the
Force for miles around. Within these vaulted canopies, defiled towers had
been erected, and into them loathsome forms had come to dwell. Rur had crossed
a line from which he could never return. Once he had warned us of nameless
beings seeking to come from beyond; now he welcomed them! Through
proscribed rites and caliginous lore, he and his followers were taught
shadow powers by shadow beings from an outside realm. The
whisperings of the Rozzum, those atavistic, abhorrent armies of pale
squirmers and unmentionable things had seduced and corrupted his mind.
Other beings were reported too, horrific winged, biting creatures
out of dark legend that roared and chanted incessantly to their obscene,
lost gods. But the Rozzum did the bidding of the Shamans, for they were
trained to hunt down, slay and devour Jedi in preparation for the greater
war to come.
The Vindicators had been too proud and arrogant to think they could be
defeated, convinced as they were that the light was on their side,
forgetting that the Force sides with life, not with armies. Into the ghoul-haunted lands of
the Shadow Domes the Vindicators were lured and there they were met with a
flood of consuming hatred emanating from the tenebrous armies of the
Order. It was then that the Shamans sprang the soul-snares, ancient
crystal prisms with the power to transfer the
mind and life-essence of a Jedi, ripping it from the destroyed body and
imprisoning it. But it was the way in which Rur procured them that froze
the Vindicators’ blood, for the soul-snares were not simply discovered or
made. They were brought through the dark threshold as gifts!
At last, the Jedi Grand Masters arrived. Blood and madness
exploded upon the stygian wastelands of Garn, as both sides were
decimated. It was described as the most egregious, monstrous battle the
Jedi had yet fought, a holocaust of madness, carnage and devastation that
went on for months, costing the lives of thousands of Jedi and renegades.
The Rozzum scurried back to those shuttered dens of eldritch chaos, the
atramentous lands where stalk things that should not be. We shut the
portal and sealed it for all time, glimpsing only briefly that strange and
ghastly expanse on the other side. Many of the soul-snares could not be
found, and the land was too dangerous for even the Jedi to remain searching. Garn has
been decreed a forbidden world, and we turned
our faces back to the stars we know.
Although it was a pyrrhic victory, the Order of
the Terrible Glare was no longer a threat to the galaxy. Rur’s body was
never found. It is thought he perished in battle, but it seems more likely
he followed his masters through the doorway into that other dimension.
There are Jedi who whisper that Garn yet houses remnants of the Terrible
Glare, and that it was but the first of others hidden in the far recesses of the galaxy, perhaps in the Unknown
Regions or Wild Space. But if this is so, we’ve not heard. Space is vast,
and the Jedi are fewer in number, with too much to do without having to
roam about blindly seeking phantom menaces.
When word first reached the Republic of the Jedi’s internecine struggle,
it was reported as a troubling internal affair. Undercover footage and
interviews soon leaked, but even these framed the situation as a kind of
holy war, and Supreme Chancellor Biel Ductavis was crafty enough to spin
the story in such a way as to say that Garn was the hideout of a violent
Pius Dea terrorist group.
The truth of the Jedi Vindicators was now known to the Council and they
were disbanded. Never easy is it to return to the light once one has
dwelt in the shade. What few Vindicators came back to Coruscant railed
against what they saw as the Council’s betrayal. As a
result of their defiance, they were excommunicated from the Jedi Order
It is no small irony that they went on to become the very thing they had
so vehemently fought against, a sect of Force-wielding vigilantes with
arcane powers. But we would not repeat our mistakes and attempt to pursue
them. So long as they left the Order and the innocents of the galaxy
alone, we would leave them alone. Thus did the Guild of Vindicators arise,
and in the shadows they continue to dwell, not truly dark, but neither
light—a grey cult of Force-mages blinded by their arrogance and
It remains a black mark upon us sitting on the Council today that,
wrapped up as we were in the needs of the Republic, we could not see these
tragedies unfold, could not see that this was not the Will of the Force.
Yet these errors need not forever bring reproach on us if we choose to learn from
them. The Garn Conflict could not have begun without poor judgment on all
Considering all this, is it then not the course of wisdom to eliminate the
potential in future Jedi to mishandle such conflicts? It is no secret
that for years I have counseled against taking in adult apprentices. Many
of you have argued that the Council's admonishment against married Jedi
having children and raising families was inappropriate at best, and an
affront to the Living Force at worst, contending that many of the great
Jedi of old would never have been allowed into the Order if such a measure
had been in place.
I do not disagree. Yet we must learn from the past, not live in it!
The Pius Dea Crusades demonstrated how extremism can bring about a reign
of terror. Kapekos demonstrated how one’s ties to the past can put a Jedi
in conflict with his duties in the present. The Vindicators demonstrated
how easy it would be to create a Jedi Dynasty that would rule the galaxy
with an iron fist. If we wish to assure the galaxy, and ourselves, that we
are not attempting to take over the Republic, we must change.
An Initiate should know only the Temple, the Code, their Masters and fellow
students. Ideally, for this to be the case, training should begin prior to
the age of three, before one forms strong loyalties and emotional bonds
with family, friends and home worlds. I would see this rule one day become
as inviolate as the Jedi Code itself. To avert other problems that would
arise from a sudden move in this direction, this change must occur over a
gradual period of time in order for the peoples of the Republic to grow
accustomed to the practice and necessity that we must impose. Families of
Force-sensitive children will not readily give them up, but if
a life of dedication at the Temple is deemed a great honor and a noble
sacrifice for the galaxy, they will more readily submit. The
Senate will understand that it is for the good of the Republic that we do
this, and will aid in this endeavor.
We are fortunate that the government remains largely unaware of the Jedi’s
role in having brought the Pius Dea to power, not to mention the
catastrophe that occurred on Garn. That world is far off from the heart of
the Republic, and what news reached the Core was quickly forgotten in the wake of other issues
closer to home. Thus, it's my recommendation—and the Council
agrees—that we continue to seal these records. Only those granted a seat
on the Council should ever be apprised of their secrets, and in this way
benefit from the mistakes of our past.
We of the Jedi Council rejoice in the future, and a restored Golden Age
that a new Jedi Order may yet usher in. May the Force be with us all!
Seekers of the Soulworm
Over the years since my official retirement as Master Historian, I've
traveled far and wide in search of the records of legends, mythologies and
religions of ancient and long-vanished races. I have, in recent days, begun
putting together the pieces of a cosmogenic puzzle, and in this endeavor
have been given tremendous aid from fellow archivists, historians,
adventurers and lovers of truth. I received reams of epic poems from famed
explorer and archaeologist Mungo Baobab. I inherited the master database
of millennia-old texts from Professor Oron's daughter on Delari Prime.
Among the exquisitely ancient and priceless artifacts dug up on Attahox,
R'khemas University Professor Misqa Tonique uncovered an obscure
myth cycle, which she is sharing with me as she translates it. The Mistress Mnemos supercomputer on Fusai
is likewise providing a composite picture of what appears to be a creation
myth consistent with the discoveries made by Director of the Institute for
anthropologist Mammon Hoole, and xenoarchaeologists Corellia
Antilles and Fem Nu-Ar, all of whom have delved in the circles of the ancient
and esoteric. And, of course, my faithful droid companion Cue-nyne has
aided me in
many ways to recount here.
What scant evidence I've been able to gather suggests a fragmented
commonality between certain primordial myths and forgotten legends
regarding pernicious, clandestine cults worshipping a corrupt pantheon of
chthonic forces. Little concrete data links the isolated sects within the
fringe sectors of the galaxy, but I have come to believe that Soulworm
cults, though extremely rare, are amongst the most disturbing,
and perhaps deadliest,
of any in the
known universe. The origin of belief in this
evil god and its extradimensional allies is only now being understood, but
if many of the recovered texts are to be believed, maleficent entities of
similar description and behavior were known and venerated aeons before the dawn of the Republic and the birth of the hyperdrive.
Discernable in the unfolding narrative is that at its beginnings lie a
race of beings that appear to correspond to what a number of lost
civilizations have referred to as the Celestials. So far removed from the
known elements of time and space, it might be said they were among the
first to roam the newborn galaxy in the lonely gulfs when the stars were
yet young. The legends go on to detail a terrible universe-wide cataclysm
that coincides with the rise of hideous and cyclopean entities that
correlate with those mysterious alien progenitors referred to as either
the Old Ones or the Architects or both, though there is some confusion
with the latter term, which appears to have been applied to another later
group of benevolent beings. The more ancient of
the two were generally regarded as a malignant pantheon through which came
widespread violence, war and destruction. I have a lead that, should it
prove true, will clarify matters and reveal the secrets of our
Former Chief of State Leia Organa Solo has been instrumental in providing
me with the Gung Slab needed to understand the origins of the strange
beings described in the fragmentary legends of this primeval and enigmatic
myth-cycle. In the early years following the Battle of Yavin, she, Han Solo, and the Wookiee Chewbacca ran afoul of one noxious cabal
of Soulworm cultists calling
themselves the Five, ostensibly named for its five members, each of whom
appeared human and possessed extrasensory abilities. These powers enabled
them to enter the minds of Solo and Organa, where they implanted
disturbing illusions, waking nightmares that mimicked reality with strong
Had Chewbacca not intervened in freeing a mysterious, heretofore unknown
being of awesome power that destroyed the Five, their deaths would have
been certain. While some have argued that psychopathy lay at the root of
the cruel and barbarous torture the cult employed, documents have come to
light, which indicate that the elicitation of physical and emotional pain
is implemented for supernatural, cultic purposes—namely, to feed off the
waves of suffering that emit from intense negative emotion. Once sated by
the victims' agony, derangement and eventual destruction, the cultists
will, by gaining strength, move closer to reclaiming the galactic throne
and bestowing on them the rewards of knowledge and power.
In addition to this cult’s mental abilities, there are questions regarding
the bizarre colossal ship the Five dwelt in, as well as the wand
they wielded, called the Black Fireclaw, which shot obsidian rays that
devoured its victims in seconds. The origin of such artifacts remains unknown,
though cultist lore offers cryptic hints involving a distant plane of
existence, an inverted galaxy said to be the dwelling place of their
obscene divinities. Various ancient legends speak of this Other dimension
as a realm bordering our own, a realm of dark stars and black holes, where
the gods writhe in their sepulchral worlds awaiting the day of their
It must be said that were it not for the Skywalker and Solo families
reporting on such extraordinary encounters, the connections between such
fantastic and hoary legends would be decidedly suspect. But the integrity
of their testimony is beyond doubt.
Based on noxious lore and various legends from
antiquity, the beings the soulworm cultists worship can be grouped into
greater and lesser deities, two trinities. The lesser are
designated as such due to their abilities, as well as their arrival later
in the cosmic narrative, and are regarded as possible offspring of the
greater deities—of which four are paramount, though only three are
revered. The fourth appears to have been written off as a betrayer, which
would explain why his name has been expunged from the manuscripts with
mention of it being punishable by death.
Beyond these, there are three of which I have scant information, though
what little I’ve uncovered I will catalogue here.
"The Left-Handed God" is a reference identifiable with Typhojem, the
primary deity of the pure-blooded Sith race, who was said to have killed a
god with his left hand. Unburied relics, sarcophagi lids, temple walls and
statuaries extant on Almas, Korriban, Khar Shian and Gap Nine confirm the
appearance of Typhojem as a tentacled, blood-soaked abomination, squat
with clawed wings. Due to disturbingly striking similarities to the Mimban
demon Pomojema, as well as to an entity found depicted on age-old stone
carvings on Kabus-Dabeh, it is believed that the so-called "Left-Handed
God," Typhojem and Pomojema—translated from Archaic Mimban as The Great
Priest—are but epithets for a pelagic grotesquerie, ichthyoid in
semblance and considered so malevolent by those who worshipped it, the god
is seldom referred to even in legend. This superstition likely accounts
for the creature's various appellations, and it may have been unholy (or
impossible) to pronounce its original name.
One of the primordial gods of the Killik Dark Nest is "Gorog the Night
Herald," a name that can be traced to the myth cycle of the Soulworm
cultists as Tharagorrogaraht, the Night Queen. This being is
associated with the proselytization of galactic inhabitants to the dark
side and is also the procurer of slaves. Gorog is usually depicted as an
enormous winged, violet-blue scarab that
commands vast hives of insect servants and is guarded by a host of winged
sorcerers. In her appellation as the “The Night Spirit” on the Endor moon,
she is worshipped by the native Dulok tribes and reviled by the Ewoks.
Stories tell of her creation of the Shadowstone and her battle against
Hexprak, who controlled the movements of the sun. Hexprak is known and
feared as Orla by the Duloks. The Night Spirit was said to have
disappeared into the void, where it scurried away to avoid the wrath of Orla, but other accounts indicate that Gorog was destroyed. So as to
provide her a beacon, the Wizards of the Night Spirit incessantly buzz and
roar in prayer to their lost goddess.
Little could be found to corroborate “Ooru,” the third of the lesser
deities in the cosmogony of the Architects, until the remains of the
Charon Death Cult ship Desolate were explored and its treasures
examined. Descendents of the Charr Ontee who had been flipped into
Otherspace during the Rift Disaster in the Kathol sector, the Charon had
found a new home in that strange dimension. But, as their new world was
slowly ravaged by the proximity of a black hole, the race began to
suffer deleterious mental effects. The first to succumb was their
commander, who transformed into the delusional “Prophet of Death.” He
decreed that because life was an abomination, death must be spread to all
living creatures. With only sublight engines the Charr Ontee were
confined to their star system. As evil fate would have it, their
planet lay on the fringes of a cluster of inhabited planets in that star
system (which, in their derangement, they believed to be the entire
galaxy). Over the course of centuries, war raged across that system.
The Charon saw fit to pillage valuables from the civilizations they
conquered, included among which were the historic records of some of those
races. Philologists and linguists attempting to crack the codes of these
unknown writings managed to translate engraved pictorializations
pertaining to a debased civilization who worshipped a bloodthirsty
divinity transliterated as Ooradryl. I believe it is this being
that corresponds to Ooru, the third of the lesser deities of the Architect
pantheon, but there is yet another possibility.
Ooradryl is a cunning, leech-like monstrosity of indeterminate substance,
clothed in iridescent scales that form a colossal geometric cube. He is a
god of healing and devouring. The engravings depict a vast populace bowing
before Ooradryl as he bestows blessings in exchange for the sacrifice of
chosen individuals whom he feeds upon as a delicacy. Descriptively and
etymologically, Ooradryl bears an uncanny resemblance to the
transdimensional being known as Waru, who Luke Skywalker encountered on
Crseih Station, and given the similarity in appearance, behavior and
nomenclature, it is very likely the same creature or an entity related to
it. The implications of this will be discussed in a later publication.
It is surprising that far less is known of the so-called greater deities,
but there appears to be several reasons for this, not least of which is
their antiquity. Nevertheless, evidence exists for widespread worship of
The most well-known of these is Kopa Khan. Although appearing in various
forms, this god can be found on several ancient pyramidal structures
throughout the galaxy, such as the dark side Pyramids of Zabba II, the
hieroglyphs of Alashan, and inscriptions on the Kwa Star Temples. Despite
its variant sobriquets (Kol D’da Shan, Co Pana Cine) the translation is
the same, referring to a dying star or black hole. Thus, Kopa Khan is the
god of death and dying. Originally said to have come from foreign stars (along
with the two others that accompany him), Kopa Khan later vanished and is
said to have either moved on to other worlds or to have died himself. The
prophetic language used in the legends declares he will return again one
day. The genocidal Lortan Fanatics, who ravaged the Yushan sector in the
Reslian Purge, were Kopa Khan cultists who believed their god would
manifest as a hybrid human-Hutt.
The Inscrutable One
The second deity of the greater trinity is interconnected with the other
two, but is not worshipped, and acts more as a principle or symbolic
elemental. “Ab’aci” (alternately spelled Ibon’aci, Ap’aci or simply Ap) is
“The Inscrutable One” and the master of time, geometrics and numbers. He
was said to be the first to bring the knowledge of technology and weaponry
to the universe. Ruins of an incalculably ancient Star Temple on Dathomir
bear markings of dedication to him. Derivations of this deity’s name can
be found in the words “time,” “infinity,” “aggregation,” and “portal” in
various ancient languages.
The primary deity in this linked trinity is the Soulworm. Also translated
as "Eternal Burrower," it has been seen in cuneiform inscriptions from worlds
as remote as Leritor, Ch'hodos, Alashan, Dathomir, Seoul 5, and others. Referencing a deity sometimes called El’Shuddem or “the charnel god,” a
loathsome carrion worm of cyclopean proportions, the Soulworm is depicted
in various forms, at times with single or multiple heads, anterior
tentacles, and terrible faces feeding off the entrails of its sacrifices
piled in a great heap around it. The Soulworm was a creature of such
jealousy and evil that it was transformed and banished to a life of
torment at the center of the galaxy, where it devoured itself for all
time. Legend depicts it as a sensory vampire feeding off negative emotions
and the suffering of others. It is said to have birthed the various
creatures called pale squirmers and numerous giant annelids and aschelminths
that populate the planets of this galaxy.
Few come as close to matching this latter description as the prodigious Leviathans
of Corbos, the Kdak and the Silan (and a case may be made for the
Exogorths). The Leviathans, once thought to be the bio-engineered
constructs of Sith magic created during the Hundred-Year Darkness, were more
likely summoned and reengineered remnant of a long vanished
progenitor. Jedi archives recovered from Ossus mention beings like these
so steeped in the dark side they may have been its receptacles. Though
rare, they were said to have been formidable hunters of Jedi.
In nature, annelids are shy and retiring and not known for having
aggressive, violent tendencies. If these creatures are, in fact,
descendent from a terrible avatar of the dark side, might this account for
the numerous encounters
with predatory giant annelids
that have been
reported by Jedi such as Luke Skywalker? Is it possible that Skywalker awakened the
dormant nature of these creatures, or that perhaps his Force powers drew
up the offspring of those ancient enemies of the light from underground?
Kashi Mer Connection
Of these greater and lesser deities, it is not without significance that
direct parallels can be made with a double-trinity of evil gods
known as the Niman, worshipped by the extinct Kashi. Prior to the
cataclysm that saw their sun go supernova, the Kashi Mystics known as the
Guardians of the Breath—who served as priests of the Kashi Mer Dynasty—had
received precognitive visions warning them of a terrible vengeance that
would be visited upon them if they persisted in abandoning their
long-standing worship of the Niman, whom they had condemned as the
maleficent root of the galaxy’s ills.
So committed to the cleansing of Niman idolaters among them, the Guardians
had begun exiling any who would not abandon the old ways. Included among
those was a Guardian named Xendor, who had continued to practice the black
rites in secret. He was head of the Royale Macheteros, warriors dedicated
to protecting the monarchy, and the last of the Kashi Mer to be exiled.
Xendor would go on in later years to raise an army of dark-siders known as
the Legions of Lettow, to destroy the Jedi in the terrible war of the First
Unlike Xendor, the great majority of the Kashi Mer would not return to the
dark sacrifices and carnal practices that characterized worship under the
double-trinity, taking hope from the ancient prophecy of a galaxy
restored. As they had come to love their world, they refused to abandon it
in the face of fear. In truth, they did not know in which generation the
calamity would come or in what form, just that it would. But it is said
that even if they had known, they would not have left. The end of their
world came as foretold, but it is their courage that became their epitaph,
for songs are still sung today—over 25,000 years later—of the Kashi Mer
and their courageous march against the coming doom.
Lady with the Locust
There is an older, forgotten deity also referenced by the Cult of the
Five, called the "Lady with the Locust Heart," though who she might
correlate to, if anyone, remains uncertain. If my mission proves
successful, I hope to be able to identify her, with further support from
various obscure sources, to determine if veneration of this feminine
divinity can be traced back to the aphotic rings of historic record. Is
she the inspiration for the Trandoshan Scorekeeper, the Godoan Dancing
Goddess, and the galactically ubiquitous Vain Goddess, Onrai? Although
there are hints that point to this, it is too early to speculate.
The Shunned Deity
There is a divinity listed among several species that corresponds to the
amorphous-shaped fourth deity that is shunned by cultists. Since this
being goes by different names, it is not always an obvious identification,
though certain personality attributes and duties are common in all of
them. Amongst the avian races, for example, the Mrissi pay homage to
Har-meneb-ti, Lord of the Sky; the Tarong revere Ora, Lord of Light; the
Tikiarri’s great messianic figure is Armihet, Avatar of the Sun; the
Qom Qae and the Qom Jha attribute their gifts of flight and breath to
Rahoris, Hunter of the Dawn; and the S’kytri have numerous legends of the
Great Hormaket, Prince of the Sky, who battles ever against the Lords of
Darkness. It’s worthy of note that when Kharys, the Sith-trained Majestrix
of Skye came to power she forbade the ancient legends, particularly the
annual reciting of the Epic of Hormaket.
Father of Shadows
The least known deity referenced by the Cult of Five is one called “The
Father of Shadows.” To my knowledge, this entity does not correspond to
any of the greater or lesser known gods. From what little I have gathered,
he is the most ancient of all the evil gods, and possibly their progenitor
in some way, shape or form. The cult had claimed to have left the “normal
dimension” for another, and it is possible that they had acquired a
tremendous store of ancient knowledge from this other dimension. Who or
whatever this “Father of Shadows” is, I am grateful his cult is not
widespread in our galaxy.
Datapad Found in a Deserted Ship
the Bureau of Scouting and Exploration Services sent me a copy of a
recording that I now transcribe here, a recording that has circulated
among the scout services for over fifty years. As a matter of
course, I must warn the reader that it is not for the faint of heart.
This transmission was purportedly intercepted by a starship pilot
identifying himself as Rohb Lakh. It should be noted that while scientists
have dismissed it entirely, claiming it was either a
forgery, a joke, or the ravings of a madman, Admiral Jayme Makkadin
(formerly of the New Republic Scout Service and Imperial Survey Corps)
disagrees with that assessment, as do I. The pilot's encounter bears a
striking resemblance to that horrific event described by the Solos.
For now, the original has been forwarded to the Antiquities Museum of
R'khemas and continues to be studied.
Lieutenant Jayme Makkadin
Bureau of Scouting and Exploration Services
As per our recent communication, I am sending you the disputed datapad
entry recovered from derelict ship #JL100-719-97. This is the document
found in the deserted vessel discovered adrift in the Degan Gas Cloud of
the Elrood Sector in the Metharian Nebula Territories over fifty years
ago. If this is not a hoax, then the
author had clearly lost all touch with reality near the end, the poor man.
All that awful screaming is difficult to sit through. Of course, it is not
unheard of for pilots lost in space to suffer derangement. It must be a
terrible thing when the mind turns against itself. Despite its content and
rather disturbing nature, perhaps you'll find something worth following
New Republic Scout Service
Department of Information
Datapad Found in a Deserted Ship
These are likely my last remaining moments alive, and my final chance to get
something right. My name is Captain Rohb Lakh, and at this moment, my
scanners are picking up a nebulous object approaching. I see nothing out
the viewport. But it's coming and time is running out.
It might be said that I've been on a troubled path since the time I was
young enough to fly my own ship: the lure of new worlds, hidden riches,
high-stakes adventure and all the accolades and admiration that come with
that. Dissolute, profligate and irredeemable they called me, and all that
from those who liked me!
Several weeks ago, I began the expedition that would culminate in my final
journey, a necessarily solo one to the distant and largely unexplored
Elrood system on the hunt for a legend. What I discovered was horror, and
the realization that comes at the finale of a life spent in vain and empty
pursuits. Just maybe you’ll learn what I didn’t. Probably not, but at
least I can say I tried.
Know this, fellow adventurers: there is nothing to be found in the antique
maps of grizzled pirates and star charts of weary smugglers; no joy in the
trophy heads staring back at you from long-vanquished beasts; no reward
for the endless hours of loneliness cruising the void between the stars.
I entered the Degan Gas Clouds, long rumored to be the hiding place of
lost treasure and space dragons. These were what I'd come to seek, and why
I had to come alone. It was illegal to hunt Duinuogwuin, not that I cared,
but spending years chopping up bricks on an icy prison world was not my
idea of a good time.
Star Dragons are considered the ultimate prize—something no one has ever
killed or caught (not that a few haven’t claimed to). I wasn’t the first
to go after them, and I wouldn’t be the last. It didn't matter to me that
they were sapient creatures. If I’d wanted to, I could’ve come up with
long list of justifications to shut up the self-righteous, alien-hugging
types, and soothe my conscience at the same time. You’ll probably say I
didn’t have much of a conscience, but hey, I never hurt humans, not even
that harpy of an ex-wife after she stole everything I owned.
So it was that my obsession would end here. One final mistake to a life of
mistakes. Once I was within the midst of the roiling, gaseous environs, my
instruments began to sputter and fail. Before long, I spotted a large
drifting asteroid, and at that instant my scanners came back to life and
revealed that something alive existed there…
The ship was suddenly struck, by what I couldn't tell. Another, much
stronger jolt knocked me unconscious. Later, I dreamt. And in my dreams, I
saw things, disquieting faces floating in a grey aether with black
holes in the place of stars; there were ships with odd angles; colossal
cities rising up in basalt and stone; and worse, loathsome, pale,
undulating shapes, squirming and writhing atop mounds of flesh and bone...
I awoke in an unknown place, a keep within the asteroid, I later learned.
Its interiors were lavish but antiquated, dating back centuries, perhaps
longer. I had little time to explore, for I was soon met by my hosts:
three women who identified themselves as the Sisters.
The eldest was thin and matronly, her dark hair pulled back tight. No name
was offered, and since the way she looked at me made me think of a
maze-fly caught in an Eberon web, I dared not ask. The other two called
themselves Jirell and Cairon, and were easier to gaze upon, but something
in their bearing irritated me.
I asked of my present circumstances, and received only vague responses and
suggestive smiles. After a few pleasantries, I was offered a tour of the
extravagant manse, though certain rooms were passed by without explanation
and I decided that I’d examine them at a later date on my own. The
ostentation of the manor did not fail to leave an impression, nor did the
valuable works of art and sculptures that adorned it. As you can guess, I
wasn’t above stealing, but throughout the walkabout in various stately
rooms, I couldn't shake the feeling that someone else was there, out of
sight, watching. I asked if they lived by themselves, and the matron said
yes, but the others just looked at each other and laughed.
During the rather unpleasant meal that followed, I learned that the three
were part of an insular religious sect dedicated to serving several
obscure ancient gods. Jirell explained that their deities had been
deceived by a fallen demon, who murdered them or banished them to a shadow
realm, where they were held back from their destiny as the rightful rulers
of the galaxy. But when the stars were right and sufficient sacrifices
made, the gods would return to reclaim the universe they first shaped. And
when that happened, the Sisters would rule as queens upon worlds of their
I didn’t need or ask for further explanation, as it was obvious these
women were not in their right minds, and a fervent desire to get out of
there overcame me. I thanked them and expressed my regrets that I could
stay no longer, as pressing demands lay ahead, but Jirell and Cairon only
laughed and insisted I spend the evening. The matron added plainly that my
hunt for Duinuogwuin was in vain anyway, as such creatures did not reside
here, though one or two were known to have gotten lost passing through. I
didn’t recall having informed any of them of my pursuit, but the crone
seemed to know this, and smiled viciously, adding that she would love to
catch one herself.
Cairon and Jirell rose to show me my quarters, after which they intoned
that if I should seek solace I might visit them in their rooms later that
evening. I thanked them and closed the door behind me, checking for a lock
or bolt, and cursing the fact that there was none. No matter. I wasn’t
staying. By cover of darkness I’d grab a few things they wouldn’t notice,
and get back to my ship.
I allowed a few hours to pass, and after I felt assured they were asleep,
I escaped the confines of my room for the prizes hiding behind the sealed
doors I’d passed earlier in the day. I carried a small torch with me
at all times, which I made use of now, but met with nothing
through the long corridors
but my own trepidation. At last I approached a particularly ornate, carven door that
depicted unusual and decadent designs that had been expertly rendered.
Seizing the opportunity, I entered the room and shut the door behind me.
The room was circular and disappointingly small, with another on the far
side. Only one adornment decorated the room, a pedestal
in its center. Chained to it was a tome of clearly ancient manufacture. It was no wonder they kept it from the peering eyes of strangers. I
shone my torch on the book, trying to ascertain its value. The book was
open and clearly scribed in an alien tongue, but the illustrations… I am
no priest, but the pictures that adorned the pages, I cannot describe—they could only be derived from the most vile and repugnant of
minds—grotesque visions of misshapen monsters flaying and satiating
themselves on still-living beings. Complex and complicated formulae
accompanied these, clearly for magical purposes, several of which I could see
were meant to summon grotesque things from wherever such things lived.
I moved away from the book to search for less provocative baubles, when I
remembered the other door. It too was unlocked and I walked through… only to
find a scene of madness. The husks of several mummified beings of various
races were arrayed along the walls before me. There was the mummy of a
once-beautiful Zeltron, another of a Mandallian Giant, and still others; the
body of a strange, small monkey-like creature with a skull instead of a
face stood in one corner, while a rare Spiner was propped up in another.
The looks of terror on their faces is something I will never be able to
erase from my mind, for it was clear these poor souls had been murdered in
the throes of extreme fear.
I turned to depart, and there the Sisters stood gazing upon me. Startled,
I attempted a lame excuse for my presence, but the crone lifted up an
amulet she wore, out of which an inky ray was emitted, enveloping me. With
that, everything turned to black.
An unknown period of time later, I woke up in bed on my own ship, which was again
operational and drifting far from the terrible asteroid and noxious gas
clouds of Elrood. I figured I must have dreamt the whole encounter and was
grateful for that. My wife lay beside me, smiling warmly and caressing my
hair. It seemed natural and right that she should be there, and so I
didn't think to question it. We spoke of past times, friends and places
Hours seemed to pass in this manner, and I closed my eyes to feel her
lips, only to press upon the face of the grinning dry husk of a mummy. In
horror, I saw that my wife had transformed into a mouldering corpse!
I instantly awoke from the illusion and realized I was still aboard the
craft of the Sisters. The harridan lay in the place where my wife had just
been, and the younger two were cackling again with that damned, deranged
laugh! I knew then that I’d been fooled by a hallucinatory trick
perpetrated by these mad, awful creatures that could not be called women.
It was but the first of many such awful phantasms to come. I was told I
would not survive—that none ever did—and I didn’t doubt it; I was never
questioned, nor informed of the reasons behind the horrific things they
did to me.
I hear it outside the ship now. It's close.
The Sisters are long gone. They had been alive for centuries—or so they
claimed—secluded in their immoral den of horror, luring unsuspecting and
unwary travelers. But in that time, they'd grown arrogant and careless. In
one of my fits of hallucinatory delusion, I pulled out an old vibro-shiv I keep concealed on my person at all times. I stabbed at the
grotesque neck and face of what I thought was my wife's mocking corpse,
cackling and glaring down at me. Again and again, I stabbed and cut, yet
it was the evil hag whose body fell carved up and raw upon me. And in my
rage, consumed by a madness I'd never before known, I leapt upon the other
two as they entered the room. I felt and feel no remorse for this act,
for they were truly evil, and I'm thankful they're dead and gone.
But in my nightmares they still appear to me and are still laughing.
My one mistake was in going back for the book. It is surely a thing of
evil, but at the time, I thought only that I deserved some kind of payment
for the ordeal I’d endured, and I estimated the book’s value to be in the
hundreds of thousands. It was stupid. I should have just run, especially
when I discovered I could now read the words when I turned the pages; in
fact, I had to read them!
In it was a tale of the ancient gods who usurped the indolent Celestials,
and gave the first races power and weapons. In exchange, the gods demanded
their help to rid the galaxy of the Celestials, for which they
would be made kings. The races battled one another, and the gods were
pleased. But they were betrayed by a demon who cast them into the Outer
Places. Soon, they will return.
Without wanting to, I recited the blasphemous incantations for summoning
the avatar of the void-horrors, the pestilence that walks in gloom, the
Soulworm. Blood was required; and more, the ebullition of pain.
And there was my picture in the book, my face screaming in terror! The
creatures, the hideous grinning horrors, were feeding upon me!
Scanners indicate that nebulous forms are approaching the ship. A thing
moved past the viewport, a winged creature with a wide-mouthed face of
sharp teeth… Oh no! They're inside now! They’ve come for me, the
emissaries of El’Shuddem!
A carrion stench permeates even the hidden recesses of this hold. I
hear shuffling in the corridors outside.
Gah! It calls to me from beyond! I can see it in my waking eyes now as in
the nightmare vision, beckoning me to come forth, to fulfill my role.
There is no escape. It knows where I hide. It calls and I must obey!
Immense, twisting coils pulsating in deepest space. The void-horror has
come! Laughter in the dark portal! The Soulworm!
There's scratching at the door. I beg you, all who listen to this… Keep
away! Beware the dark places of the galaxy... It has found me and I must
answer its call! It's coming through... The door is bursting o—
The small pieces of evidence, such as the recording just presented,
coupled with others, begin to form a tapestry that allow me to peel back
the curtains of the mist-shrouded past. I have yet only begun to unearth
the aggregation of fathomless intervals and piece together its resounding
rubric cipher, but I feel as though I have already cracked the vault and
peered within its murky depths.
The time is not yet right to unfurl so prodigious and onerous an account,
for I have one final journey to make and there is much yet to sift