Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic
“I ain’t goin’ down to the Undercity. There’s rakghouls down there! Hey, I know! Send the kid!” – Menlak Targas (Exchange thug working for Davik Kang)
Born on Taris to a poor family in the Lower City area known as Machineville, your father worked as a mechanic for Lhosan Industries, a manufacturer of swoop bikes of all sizes and configurations. Your mother became deathly ill when you were very young. It was a confusing time for you. As she grew worse and worse, your father grew more and more distant from you. One day, at her bedside, your mother held you weakly in her arms, shaking and cold, and gave you a small crystal. She said it was something she wanted to give you when you were older, but if you promised to keep it safe and hidden, until you knew in your heart the time was right, then you could have it now.
She told you that she wanted to teach you so many things, about your legacy, about your destiny. She grew quiet, lapsing in and out of consciousness, then told you that you had to promise to hold onto the kindness in your heart. She cried, saying that a long time ago, she did things she was not proud of, made poor decisions, because she lost the kindness of her youth. No matter what, she made you promise never to let life’s difficulties ruin your good heart and tear you away from the Light. In a few desperate breaths, she eked out a final message. The Dark will want you, but it can’t have you. Be a bright spark, Daken. Be what we failed to be.
Your mother went to sleep, and she didn’t wake again. She had lapsed into a coma. Your father, in desperation and lacking employment, sold you into slavery in order to finance your parents’ relocation to the Upper City, where they might get a better chance to treat your mother’s illness.
They found that treatment in a clinic owned by Dr. Zelka Forn, but it was too late to save your mother, as she had been infected with the Rakghoul Plague. Mortified and depressed that he sold his child and lost his wife anyway, your father killed himself.
You were ten years old when you came into the possession of Ratrin Vhek, owner of the Ebon Hawk and member of the Exchange. Your relationship with Vhek was short-lived however, as Vhek soon lost both you and the Ebon Hawk to the Exchange Head of Taris, Davik Kang. Kang had no use for you, only the ship. So, he kind of forgot about you, until the need arose for someone “disposable” to make a dangerous delivery in the Undercity.
You became Kang’s best Undercity runner, delivering parcels, and messages to Kang’s associates in the Undercity. You were very good at your job, though Kang never remembered your name, and barely acknowledged your existence. In fact, there were a couple of occasions when you considered just not coming back from a run one day. You wondered if he would really notice if you just disappeared. However, you never made the attempt to escape. You were fed and clothed, and you had a place to stay, sleeping aboard the Ebon Hawk whenever it was docked. Marl Karad, a duelist from the Taris Dueling Arena, was teaching you how to handle a vibroblade whenever he visited Kang. It wasn’t that bad a life. Also, there was this nagging feeling that you were meant to stick around, that you were waiting for something to happen.
After the Mandalorians attacked Taris, your wait was over. You were on a run in the Undercity when you came across a Jedi Knight, badly injured and surrounded by Rakghouls. Your instincts somehow took over, and you found yourself calling the Jedi’s lightsaber into your hand, defending him from the Rakghouls, and stumbling upon your true destiny. The Jedi you saved returned the favor, offering you an escape from your life of meaningless danger and servitude. Of course, there was a catch, from now on, the danger and servitude would have a purpose. Despite your age, the Jedi believed you would make a fine Jedi.
You were brought to Coruscant, where you met Ko’Dora Vadis, a Falleen Jedi Master who was visiting the high council regarding the recent disappearance of the Revanchist movement, including nearly half of all active Jedi in the galaxy, after the final battle of the Mandalorian War. Ko’Dora had your blood tested to determine your eligibility for training as a Jedi. You were hesitant to think they would take someone like you, as most Jedi are trained from a very young age. However, the skill you demonstrated in the Taris Undercity was reason enough to at least entertain the idea.
Ko’Dora surprised you when she informed you that your tests were so extraordinary that the Jedi High Council itself had requested your presence to discuss the results. Within, you could tell there was something they were not telling you, but it seemed that the council was evenly divided on whether to accept you for training. One of the masters, a human named Vrook Lamar, said something disturbing, that your bloodline might prove to be too potent a factor in determining what direction your destiny lies. You realized by now that they were talking about your mother’s dire warnings about repeating her mistakes.
The council decided, by a one-vote margin, to send you to learn at an experimental new Jedi training academy called the Broadsword. The Broadsword was like a reform school for Padawan hopefuls, a last chance to prove one’s worthiness to be trained as a Jedi. You felt unprepared for the challenge, as the other students in the school had all had at least some training in the Jedi ways, some experience with the Force. You did not feel worthy of the honor, but you had little else to do with your life, and you were energized by the idea that you may yet have a life of purpose and meaning.
There were a total of eleven students in the Freshman class of the Broadsword. You discovered early-on that this class was comprised of those thought to be least likely to succeed. You and the other students were like a stress test for the Broadsword idea: a mobile Jedi training academy that offered more hands-on education than the cloistered traditional institutions on Coruscant and Dantooine.
You were surprised to learn that the headmaster of the Broadsword Academy was none other than Master Ko’Dora Vadis, the Falleen woman who stood for you at the Jedi High Council and cast the deciding vote in favor of training you. After a particularly stressful day of training, you brought your reservations to Headmaster Vadis herself in a private meeting at the Forward Mezzanine. She demonstrated to you that your worries were needless, as you managed to levitate an object having never been trained to do so before. She said that a great deal of force users never receive any training at all, which is a shame, because all of their potential may rely on having a way to focus their abilities into a noble pursuit. She said you possess more raw potential than anyone else in the Academy, even some of the Masters themselves, and that your life experiences have molded you in ways none of the other students could fathom. In many ways, Master Vadis said, you are at an advantage over the other students, whose previous training must be unlearned before their true potential might be unleashed.
During an interesting Astrogation and Space Battle Tactics class, in the Roche Asteroids, you and several of your fellow Padawan-hopefuls encountered a strange, ancient probe droid of unknown origins. The droid attacked your ships and, when it deemed its escape to be impossible, it sent some sort of a strange transmission and self destructed. In the explosion, one of your fellow students, Bandon Dast, suffered heavy injuries.
Upon your return to the Broadsword, you discovered that two of the other students were no longer there. One had been expelled while the other had taken his leave on his own. Bandon was hospitalized and, due to your lightning-emission problems, you were even further isolated from the others. Then, it was discovered that one of the students, Ven Jagt, was a Mandalorian. He made a hasty escape and apparently was killed during the attempt, but it was revealed soon thereafter that his death was a ruse designed to give him ample time to get away.
Despite the Jedi Council’s orders to leave the investigation of the probe droid to the Republic Navy in the Roche Sector, Master Sas’k, the Astrogation and Space Combat Tactics instructor, hired a Zabrak bounty hunter by the name of Xan. Xan’s ship, the Rook, had some of the most rare and expensive sensors and tracking equipment in the galaxy. You and three other students, Carissa Onasi, Erall Diggs, and the still injured Bandon Dast, departed aboard the Rook for the Roche Asteroids, with Master Sask following in his Aurek Strikefighter.
The Rook was a dreadfully messy ship, and was in terrible disrepair, which awakened your memories of being a slave custodian of the Ebon Hawk as a young child. You formed a quirky friendship with Xan despite the rumors of him being a former Mandalorian Neo-Crusader. You followed a strange signal, which the Verpine Jedi Master Sas’k could detect with his radio-sensitive antennae, which led you to the surface of a massive asteroid and a derelict Republic Hammerhead-class Cruiser. The signal was originating from within the cruiser, the circumstances surrounding its crash and potential survivors becoming your number one priority.
Upon docking with the cruiser, you and the other students were accompanied by Xan and Sas’k through the macabre scene of a widespread massacre. The entire crew was dead, and the computer records were wiped. However, Erall had brought along his astromech droid, 5K-1P, who was able to clean up some of the wiped system files and replay several distorted, decayed logs from the ship’s captain. Apparently, a droid matching the description of the one you and the other students encountered, the one that nearly killed Bandon, was encountered by this ship and brought aboard the cruiser for examination. A short time thereafter, there was another log entry, this one harried and panicked, revealing that all the ship’s communications systems went down, all the blast doors are malfunctioning, and all the war droids suddenly went berserk, attacking the crew. The remaining records were unsalvageable, but 5K-1P did manage to determine that the strange probe droid was last located within the aft cargo bay.
You fought several groups of malfunctioning Sentinel War Droids on the way to the cargo bay. There was a particularly deadly and tense battle in the engine room, an area exposed to open space by a massive tear in the ship’s hull. Carissa and Xan were nearly ejected into space when Erall suddenly let out a surprise attack, a volley of powerful, deadly Force Lightning, which fried the circuitry of the attacking droids. During the attack, Erall’s eyes became yellow and bloodshot for a moment, but as soon as the lightning stopped, his body went slack, and he nearly floated away into space. You saved his life, and Master Sas’k told Erall that it was alright, and that they would talk about what happened later. You reached the cargo hold at last, found the probe droid, and had 5K-1P interface with it. Unfortunately, all you were able to determine was that the probe droid had sent a transmission into the Unknown Regions, relayed from the same droid that attacked your class earlier. This droid started the ship’s self destruct sequence and you were forced to make a hasty escape. Making matters worse, an enormous space worm Xan called an Exogorth plowed its way toward the cruiser and started to swallow it whole. You managed to get aboard the Rook and make your escape just in time, and as the Exogorth swallowed the cruiser, the self destruct went off, blowing the thing’s head off.
After returning to the Broadsword, Erall revealed to you that he was the son of a Sith Lord named Sazha Rand, and that Erall was born at the very same moment that his father perished. Erall was possessed by the spirit of his dead father ever since, and in times of extreme distress, the spirit manifested Force Lighting and caused Erall to do terrible things against his will, including murdering his own mother as an infant in his crib. You reciprocated, telling him much of your life story and even showing him the crystal you got from your mother. He promised to keep your secret if you would honor that request as well. The two of you were great friends ever since.
While following a lead on the ancient droid, you and three other students (Carissa Onasi, Erall Rand, and Bandon Dast) were captured by a rogue pirate, Sevanna Riis, who intended to ransom you back to the headmaster of the Broadsword. You and the others were tortured and tormented, your connection to the Force dulled via injections of a noxious narcotic by Riis’s droid crew members. Eventually, Riis heard back from the headmaster, playing Master Ko’Dora Vadis’s reply for all of you to hear. The headmaster said that the four of you had failed for the last time, that you were expelled, and not worth any sum of a bounty. When Riis emphasized her threat to kill you if the Jedi didn’t pay, pressing the barrel of a blaster to Carissa’s head, Master Vadis told her that she could do whatever she wanted with the failures, cutting off the transmission.
Riis seemed genuinely upset, but somehow satisfied with the looks on your faces nonetheless. She was about to kill Carissa, despite Bandon’s best efforts to get her to take him first, when suddenly the ship was attacked by an unknown outside force. You were rescued by an unlikely group, the Sith, led by Master Uthar Wynn. Master Uthar brought you aboard his ship, along with your fellow students, had your wounds treated, and offered you his counsel regarding your futures. He said that he was willing to drop you off on Nar Shadaa, which was en route to their next destination, if you were interested in parting company. However, he told Bandon that his former master-to-be, Malak, had felt Bandon’s presence and dispatched Uthar to collect him. Uthar explained to you, Bandon, Erall, and Carissa that the Jedi had grown to insular and ineffective as guardians of the galaxy, as evidenced by their fear of the Mandalorians. Only the Revanchists had the courage to defend the Republic and kill the Mandalore.
Uthar offered you all a place of honor as students at the Sith Academy on Korriban, where he was headmaster. He said the choice was yours, and left you to discuss your options.
You and Erall were hesitant to make any rash decisions, though you harbored no ill will toward Carissa or Bandon for making the decision to remain with Master Uthar and join the Sith. As the Sith dropped you and Erall off on Nar Shadaa, Master Wynn gave you a locator beacon that, when activated, would send him a signal noting that the two of you changed your mind and decided to join the Sith after all. Neither you nor Erall wanted to make any major decisions right away, so you decided to find a place to stay on Nar Shadaa for a few days and think things over.
Unfortunately, some of the local speederbike gangs had other ideas for the two of you, and you were forced to defend yourselves against the local street toughs. Eventually, you made your way into the workshop and gear depot of a local merchant, from whom you inquired about work and, using the Force to influence his pliability, gained a few credits and a new (relatively) droid. Then, however, the street gang bust down the doors of the shop and killed the shopkeeper. You and Erall managed to escape by breaking into the shopkeeper’s back room and hotwiring his racing swoop. There was a chase, and plenty of property damage, and the local authorities became involved.
Suddenly, a Jedi transport came to your aid, piloted by Headmaster Ko’Dora Vadis herself, whom you thought to have deserted you upon your capture by the pirate Sevanna Riis. It was at this time when the Sith plot to turn you and Erall to the Dark Side was revealed in full. The Riis was working for the Sith. Your capture, the “ransom” demand, the message from the headmaster, all faked so that the Sith could swoop in and rescue you. Upon examining the locator beacon given to you by Uthar Wynn, Master Vadis discovers that the device is actually a low-yield thermal detonator, just powerful enough to destroy the user and anyone else within ten meters of them.
Vadis was concerned for Master Sas’k, who had been apparently killed during your capture by Riis. In earnest, you, Erall, and Vadis flanked by Repubic soldiers and the rest of the Jedi instructors from the Broadsword, stormed Riis’s ship. You discovered the truth of Master Vadis’s words. Riis, who was plainly killed by Uthar Wynn when he “rescued” you, was alive, well, and counting her credit chips as you stormed into her ship and laid waste to her droid crew. Sask’ it turns out, was alive after all. His head was severed from his body, but he had already grown a new one, recovering his lightsaber and joining you in the fight.
Riis was captured, and you returned to the Broadsword victorious. It was a bittersweet victory, however. Of the original eleven Students of the Force at the Broadsword Academy, only two successfully graduated. Erall was taken as a Padawan learner of Master Sas’k while you became Headmaster Ko’Dora Vadis’s Padawan.
At this time, your new master revealed what it was that the Jedi Council learned about you from your blood test a few months ago. The test revealed a genetic link between you and two powerful Jedi. The fact that the father you knew was not your real father was somehow already known to you, even though you were unable to figure out how you knew. In truth, your father was the legendary fallen Jedi, Exar Kun. It was important to allow you to come to this knowledge organically so that you could prove, as much to yourself as to anyone, that you were not merely your father’s son. You were more. You would be better. Where he, and your mother, failed, you would succeed. You would be a bright spark as your mother longed for you to be.
You built your first lightsaber with Master Vadis’s guidance, fitting your mother’s unique Achaerys Crystal into the hilt. The result was a brilliant orange blade with a faintly bluish corona. You revealed your identity to Erall, realizing why the two of you seemed to have such a common bond with one another. You were both children of powerful Sith Lords. You were the illegitimate son of Exar Kun, and Erall was the son of Sazha Rand.
So it was that you, Daken Rao-Kun, and your friend, Erall Rand, became the freshman graduating class of the Broadsword. The headmaster revealed that the academy would now be turned over to Master Atris, and that you and Erall would remain as Upper Classmen, guiding the new students through their studies while taking Jedi Order missions as they come, under the watchful tutelage of Master Sas’k and Master Vadis.
You were en route to meet the first arrivals, a class of 47 new students from all over the galaxy, when suddenly a massive fleet of Sith warships came out of hyperspace and opened fire on the Broadsword. In the initial volley of laser cannon fire, a hypermatter containment canister a meter away from Erall ruptured and exploded, sending him hurtling through the corridor and scorching his body from head to toe. He was barely conscious during the next few hours, but due to the valiant efforts of you and Master Vadis, many lives, including Erall’s, were saved.
It has been a month since the start of the Jedi Civil War. You have spent a majority of that time in training with Master Ko’Dora Vadis, spending what free time you have had aiding the repair crews in refitting the battle-damaged Broadsword. Some of your training has involved aiding Master Atris in her duties as the new Headmaster of the Broadsword Academy. Unfortunately seven of the new students died in the first shots of the Jedi Civil War, and over a dozen have been expelled or otherwise left their training by the time a month had passed.
Today, the Broadsword arrived in orbit around Kamino, where Erall Rand had undergone the majority of his recovery under the watchful eye of Master Sas’k. You have spoken to Erall via holovid and through the ‘net, but this will be your first opportunity to see him in nearly a month. You are being dropped off here with Master Sas’k while the Broadsword heads to Dantooine for some sort of massive meeting of the Jedi Order there. With luck and time, you, Erall, and Sas’k will join her there and learn what role you may play in helping to end the threat of the Sith Armada.