“...death exists only in your mind, but the physical sense lurks around every corner and cannot be stopped. If you know that there is no death, but rather only the Force, then you will be able to put aside your fears when moving into a dangerous situation.”―Banik Kelrada during his first training session with Violet Tempest[src]
Banik Kelrada was the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order during the early days of the Alsakan Crisis of 13,000 BBY. He later became an outcast Jedi Master following the events during and after the Conclave on Ossus that sparked a schism amongst the Jedi, which created the Ospion Guardians. He was born on Coruscant and taken into the Order as an infant, and during his training he came to be seen as a skilled duelist by his masters. When he was eighteen years old, Banik was enslaved in the Outer Rim Territories by a mining company during a failed mission with his master, who was killed by the slavers. Although Banik initially attempted escape, the plot failed and Banik remained in custody, during which time he met and fell in love with a woman named Al'eal. Al'eal, however, was killed while saving Banik’s life, after which Banik was finally able to escape from the slavers and return to Coruscant. After psychological testing and a brief retraining period, Banik took his Jedi Trials and was promoted to the rank of Jedi Knight.
Many years later, Banik became a Jedi Master and was granted a seat on the Coruscant Jedi Council, the Jedi governing body in the Great Jedi Pyramid on Coruscant. He later became the Grandmaster of the Coruscant Council, giving him a seat on the Jedi High Council, and after then-Jedi Grandmaster Sarus Kappa resigned from his post, Banik was elected Grandmaster of the Jedi Order. Around this same time, Coruscant was invaded and captured by the Alsakan Union, a religious organization seeking to claim control of Coruscant, an act which started the Alsakan Crisis of 13,000 BBY between the Alsakans and the Galactic Republic.
After the conflict began, Banik attempted to negotiate peace efforts between the Galactic Republic’s Supreme Chancellor Relana Isolde Tanoor and the Alsakan Vicar Lharra in the hopes of avoiding a full-scale war, but Lharra was assassinated while meeting with Banik at the Jedi Enclave on Ossus and the Alsakans implicated Banik in the crime. One week later, Banik called and led the Conclave on Ossus. During the event, he was said to have had a psychotic breakdown and was accused of murdering Jedi Master Edo Tesu, whom Banik had claimed to be a traitor. Although Banik was arrested for the murder, he was able to escape Ossus with the help of two other Jedi Knights and travel to Onderon for safety.
Banik Kelrada was born on Coruscant in 13,045 BBY. He was taken to the Great Jedi Pyramid, the Jedi temple on Coruscant, when he was very young, so he did not have any memories of his family. Although he was kept mostly in the pyramid, he was allowed out into the city with supervision, which made him prefer the city to other Jedi worlds such as Ossus, which was the main headquarters of the Jedi Order during his life with the Jedi. When Banik was thirteen years old, he began his official training, where his instructors felt that he had strong potential as a lightsaber duelist. He studied the lightsaber forms Makashki and Soresu, as he believed that knowing the offensive and defensive forms would give him an advantage over opponents. Many felt that his skills gave him too much confidence, which Banik thought was difficult to keep in check.
After Banik turned eighteen years old, towards what he felt was the end of his training, Banik and his master were sent on a mission where they were attacked and kidnapped by a group of slavers who were looking for new pieces of sentient property. Banik and his master resisted, but his master was killed and Banik sat in the slaver's prison complex for two weeks. When the Jedi did not rescue him, despite his assuming that they would, Banik was taken to a planet in the Outer Rim Territories to be sold into slavery.
Immediately upon his arrival, Banik attempted to escape his slaveholders, though they used Force-suppressing devices on him to prevent it. He was sold to a mining company and was sent to work in their mines on another planet, where he felt that the mind blocks that he had constructed as a youth, which were used to prevent what the Jedi felt were darker emotions from taking over, were beginning to erode. He began directing these emotions, such as anger and hatred, at his slaveholders, and he felt that he was beginning to lack a soul and a heart. Around that same time, Banik and twelve other slaves came together and swore to kill their slave masters and gain freedom.
Although Banik felt prepared, the group decided to wait for some time and test their combat skills against one another before acting against the slaveholders. Weeks later, they used what they hoped would be the element of surprise during the night and slit the throats of all high ranking mine officials, stealing their weapons and taking their command codes while attempting to escape. Banik and the others ran from the camp, and hours later he realized that only he and one other remained. Despite recognizing this, he did not know what happened to the eleven others.
Banik and the other survivor lived in the jungles of the planet for days, eating nothing and drinking only the water on the ground, which proved to be Banik’s first test of survival skills. After many more days without food, the other survivor attacked Banik in what Banik later described as a cannibalistic rage, which forced Banik to flee. After two days of being chased by the other survivor, Banik set a trap for the other man and ended up stabbing him through the heart, ending the chase between them. Banik collapsed only hours later from fatigue, and when he woke up he had been recaptured and sent back to the labor camp.
For many weeks, Banik once again continued in his life as a slave, although in addition the slavers began to torture him due to his escape attempt. During that time, he met a woman his age named Al'eal, who he felt he was able to form a deep connection with. They began to plan a life together in the event that they escaped the planet. Each morning for one week, the slavers tortured and executed a slave for their own enjoyment, and on the final morning, they chose Banik to murder. Al’eal, however, attacked them to save Banik, and she was killed in the process.
Two weeks after Al’eal’s death, after planning in secret, Banik was able to gain assistance from another group of slaves and launched a final attack to escape the facility. However, he was able to learn from his mistakes during the first attack and attempted to improve upon them, and in the end, he and most of the others were able to escape. Although he considered that he had many opportunities in the galaxy, he felt compelled to return to Coruscant and try to gain entry back into the Jedi Order.
Upon Banik’s return to Coruscant, he expected to be welcomed home with what he referred to as the “proverbial red carpet”, but he found that very few people remembered who he was. At first, he was treated like a guest in the Great Jedi Pyramid and was unable to find anyone familiar to him until he went before the Jedi High Council. After some degree of testing to determine Banik’s mental state, the Council decreed that he could return to the Jedi Order and keep his rank as a Jedi Padawan. After a few more months of recuperation and some retraining, he was permitted to take the Jedi Trials, which he passed. Although emotions were not discouraged during that time period, unlike in later days of the Jedi Order, he felt forced to hide the anger and hatred that he felt as a slave so he could function better as a Jedi Knight.
Although Banik also thought about Al’eal frequently and questioned why she had died and he was allowed to live, he was able to move on while holding on to her memory. He recounted, however, that it was not easy. He felt that the memory of her strength helped him throughout his years as a Jedi Knight. When he was in his late thirties, he was promoted to the rank of Jedi Master. Soon after, he was granted a seat on the Coruscant Jedi Council, the supervising body of the planet that reported directly to the High Council on Ossus. Years later, he was promoted to Grandmaster of the Coruscant Council after the death of his predecessor from old age, and being the Grandmaster of a planetary council granted him a seat on the High Council as well.
After having served for a few years on the High Council, the Jedi Grandmaster, Sarus Kappa, stepped aside from his post, and after a majority vote of the High Council, Banik became the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order. While he was Grandmaster, he trained Jedi Padawan Violet Tempest as a Jedi Knight, guiding her though training sessions and missions. One such mission was on Anaxes, where he showed her the slums of the planet so she could become familiarized with those less fortunate than others. Around that same time, the Alsakan Crisis of 13,000 BBY broke out, beginning with the religious organization called the Alsakan Union invading Coruscant and taking control of the planet from the Galactic Republic in the hopes of becoming the planetary superpower in the galaxy and restoring an ecosystem to the planet.
Banik learned soon thereafter that the Republic wanted to immediately retaliate against the Alsakans, however he did not wish to see an intergalactic war break out. Therefore, he traveled to Ord Mirit, where the Republic had set up a temporary base of operations, and spoke with Supreme Chancellor Relana Isolde Tanoor about the situation. During their talks, he was able to convince her to hold off a counter-offensive for the time being, as he wanted to first speak with Lharra, the Vicar of the Alsakan Union. He believed that this would be difficult, as the Jedi were seen as a group that normally took the side of the Republic in galactic conflicts.
Once he returned to Ossus, where he waited for the arrival of the Alsakan delegation that would carry their Vicar to a meeting with him, Banik became involved in internal Jedi affairs. The first was when a Jedi Knight approached the High Council about what she perceived to be problems with her first Jedi Padawan, although Banik and fellow High Council member Dewbecca were able to avoid any conflicts between the master and the Padawan. Shortly thereafter, Banik spoke with Jedi Master Linora Tristan Tanoor, who was the sister of the Supreme Chancellor, about a mission that fellow Jedi Master Edo Tesu undertook in an attempt to negotiate with the Alsakans, despite not having the permission of the High Council to do so. Banik agreed to look into Tanoor’s report, hoping that Tesu did not jeopardize the impending talks with the Vicar. The final situation that Banik dealt with was with Jedi Knight Corina Linar and her Jedi Padawan, who had briefly left the Jedi Order. The Padawan returned later, however, and was allowed to be reinstated in the Jedi Order.
A few days later, Banik welcomed the Alsakan Vicar Lharra to the Jedi Enclave on Ossus. They began their initial discussions on granting the Jedi Order the right to continue using the Great Jedi Pyramid on Coruscant, although the conversation then moved into Lharra’s perceptions and beliefs about the Republic and Coruscant. Banik felt that Lharra had been lied to for many years about the condition of the planet, which Banik seemed to think she believed was near-apocalyptic, although after long discussions Banik was able to convince her that what she had been told was, according to him, incorrect. This seemed to put an end to the Alsakan Union’s war efforts, but as Lharra was leaving the facility hours later she collapsed on her shuttle’s ramp and was rushed on board, the ship lifting off moments later. After the ship left, explosions were set off inside the enclave, and a message sent by the ship to the planet Alsakan, which claimed that Banik had poisoned and assassinated Lharra, was intercepted. A short time later, the vessel returned and rammed into the enclave, killing over a dozen Jedi and injuring Banik.
Banik spent nearly a week in a coma, and after he woke up he immediately called a Jedi conclave to discuss what had happened so the members of the Jedi Order could decide what course of action they would take. After the meeting began, many Jedi began voicing opinions different than Banik’s, his opinion being that the Jedi should fight to defend themselves from an impending Alsakan counter-attack, and he did not mind the different opinions at first. However, once some Jedi seemed to accuse him of assassinating Lharra, Banik began feeling what he later described as extreme paranoia, rage and hatred. He later engaged Edo Tesu in a lightsaber duel after accusing him of being a traitor due to his unauthorized mission on Alsakan, and during the duel Banik cut off Tesu’s hand. Tesu was arrested by Jedi loyal to Banik after the duel, and the conclave was put on hold. Later that night, many other Jedi had their hands cut off and Tesu was hanged from a tree in the courtyard where the conclave was held, with Banik being accused of the murder.
After remaining in custody for a few days and losing all of his memories of the conclave due to a psychotic break, Violet Tempest and another Jedi Knight launched an attempt to rescue Banik from what they felt was an unjustified arrest. Violet and the other Jedi were able to secure Banik a lightsaber and they escaped the facility, finding their way to the star port nearby. Once they were safely on board, Banik set a course for Onderon, where he hoped to find a safe haven.
Banik was remembered for many years following the Alsakan Crisis. The memory of him lasted until at least 22 BBY when the Trade Federation shipping cartel launched an invasion of the planet Utapau in retaliation for the planet’s support of the Republic Anti-Slavery Law. The Federation was outraged that the law outlawed the use of slaves by Republic corporations in non-Republic territories. During this time, Jedi Grandmaster Yoda recalled Banik while thinking about those who served in the position throughout history.
Personality and traits
Starting at least in his teenage years, Banik was thought of as someone who was easy to get along with so long as someone already knew him, although he was not thought of as easy to get to know. To those that did not know him as well as others, he appeared to be closed off from everything and everyone, and that was a trait that continued even into his older years as a Jedi Master. While most were only able to speculate on the cause, Banik himself felt that the reason was that he longed for companionship after the death of Al’eal and was never able to find it. Such thoughts also led to some believing that he had a mild form of depression, although such a belief was never officially confirmed.
To those who did not seek clarification, Banik came across as someone who supported all laws based solely on the fact that they were laws. He felt that if someone is sworn to uphold the law, then their personal feelings on particular matters regarding it should not get in the way. One example of this was a series of discussions he had with Violet Tempest regarding the death penalty, which he appeared to support. Banik brought Violet to Anaxes to show her the so-called degenerate parts of the society, using it to help aid his argument in favor of the death penalty, which Violet was against. However, Banik did reveal that he had also once been opposed to it, and it was believed that his change of opinion came after his experiences with the Outer Rim slavers.
At the end of his time as Jedi Grandmaster, most people were unable to decide what type of personality he had. The Jedi Order became split on whether or not Banik had murdered anyone, that split causing the schism that resulted in the creation of the Ospion Guardians, and some believed that Banik had fallen to the dark side of the Force. However, Banik maintained that he did not, although he did not know whether or not he murdered Edo Tesu due to the fact that he lost all memories because of the event. Whether or not Banik was responsible for the murder was not confirmed by the Jedi Order or the Ospion Guardians, as the two groups instead offered their own versions; the Jedi maintained that Banik was innocent, while the Ospion maintained that he was guilty.
Powers and abilities
When he first began training with a lightsaber, Banik’s teachers recognized that he had potential to be what they felt was an exceptional duelist. While he mostly dueled with the offensive form of Makashi, he was also versed in the methods of Soresu, which Banik felt would give him an advantage over an opponent that was strong only in offense or defense. He also had an attunement to and understanding of the Force that was deemed to be normal for a Jedi Master and a member of the Jedi Council, making him a source of wisdom and guidance for students and outsiders before he left the Jedi Order after the Conclave on Ossus. Even with this attunement, however, there were times when he was unable to push aside his basic Human emotions in times of crisis and tension, which many felt clouded his ability to perform in certain situations.
Behind the scenes
Banik Kelrada is one of two current role-playing characters utilized by author Brandon Rhea on TheStarWarsRP.Com, the other character being Alderaanian Senator Alcor Bac. Rhea was originally hesitant to create Banik, as he had not enjoyed role-playing Jedi characters in the past, save for his first character Ussej Padric Bac. He decided, however, to make the character anyway, and the character was immediately put onto the Jedi Council. Being placed onto the Jedi Council was due to the need for additional leadership in the faction and Rhea’s veteran and staff member status on the website. One source of information in the development of the character was the Biblical passage Romans 12:19, which says "avenge not yourself, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, thus saith the Lord". In the role-play, Banik will be tracking down the Ospion Guardians in an attempt to discover what happened to him during the Conclave on Ossus. This in turn will become a quest for revenge, reflecting the Biblical quote.
Approximately one month after the creation of the character, role-player and former Global Moderator Laurent Bastine retired his character Sarus Kappa as the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order, although the character remained on the Jedi Council. With a lack of a Grandmaster, it was decided that Banik would become the Grandmaster, making Rhea the leader of the faction. At this time, it was decided that Banik would be a catalyst in the creation of the Ospion Guardians, which was a faction promised at the creation of the timeline in the winter of 2008, as it had been previously decided that the soon-to-be dark side faction would be created as a result of a schism in the Jedi Order during a conclave on Ossus.
Rhea has received a generally positive response to the character. In a poll Rhea conducted for Alternative Star Wars Saga research purposes, Banik ranked first in a list of Rhea’s most popular characters, where comments left by members of TheStarWarsRP.Com also indicated that the character had been received positively. The character gained five out of nineteen total votes, or 26.32%. Behind him was Ussej Padric Bac and Ussej Padric Bac III, who were tied with four votes each, or 21.05%. Alcor Bac received three votes (15.79%), Carden Mannux received two votes (10.53%) and Supreme Chancellor Cos Jonathan Dashin received one vote (5.26%). Receiving zero votes were Josiah Rendar and Jonas Matchek. Rhea has attributed Kelrada’s success in the poll to his current popularity, as the vote was conducted shortly after the conclave on Ossus was role-played.
- Star Wars: Episode I - The Chosen One (First mentioned)