The Battle of Tizgo V was a major battle of the Great Liberation and the turning point of the war. It saw the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob suffer defeat and the loss of its Xoquon sector military depot at the hands of the Golden Empire, but also cost the Empire its general and Centurion Keltrayu, who sacrificed himself to save Rin Sakaros.
All or nothing
The Empire had been in retreat since its defeat at the Battle of Hudrel, losing all the systems it had previously gained in the Xoquon sector and several in its home Romasi sector, including Tershin and Irestego. Many ships of the Prime Fleet were so badly damaged that Tariun Sakaros had ordered them to run with lights dimmed to save power, and he remarked to Zogryth, captain of the Sith Star, that the fleet had fewer parts left than ships in need of them.
The Tetrarchy, meanwhile, continued its drive to beat the Empire into submission. Launching strikes from Tizgo V, it had achieved initial bases in several of the Empire's systems. The need to retake the rebellious Xoquon sector and put down revolts among populations which had tasted (relative) freedom under the Empire had delayed a major, concerted attack on the Romasi sector. However, shortly after the Battle of Irestego, the Tetrarchy secured at least nominal control over all its former worlds and began assembling an invasion force for the campaign.
Sensing that continued reliance on a defensive strategy would only result in the Empire being slowly ground into dust, Rin Sakaros called her advisors and commanders together and proposed the notion of a single, all-out attack on the Tetrarchy. Several, including Tariun, were distinctly uneasy with the idea, remembering the disaster at Hudrel. Rin, however, told them she would not hold ships in reserve as she had at Hudrel; the Empire would be entirely emptied of all defenses, with the entire Armada thrown into battle. In a private discussion, Rin, Tariun, and Keltrayu spoke frankly about the fact that they might all die in the coming battle, and the fourteen-year-old Empire with them, but Rin was willing to risk it, and Tariun and Keltrayu both reiterated their willingness to follow her to death.
Massing all eighty-one capital ships of the Armada, all loaded to capacity with ground forces, the Empire went on the attack at Tizgo V. Though caught by surprise, the Tetrarchy fleet quickly reorganized itself. Under cover of turbolaser fire and the Tetrarchy's initial disorientation, the ground forces went down the well with Rin, Tariun, and Keltrayu leading them.
Captain Zogryth assumed command of the space battle, dueling with the Tetrarchy fleet. His first targets were the system's communication arrays, preventing Tizgo V from calling for reinforcements. Having been prepared for the possibility of the entire Empire dying at the battle, he used his ships aggressively, determined to drag the beings who might kill his queen down into death with him.
As it turned out, the Tetrarchy forces had grown used to the Empire's more traditional combat strategies and were unprepared for a brazen assault. The presence of the Empire's four surviving Star Destroyers in support of the Sith Star also brought the fight to the Tetrarchy more ferociously than expected; the Tetrarchy had never had to deal with all four Star Destroyers and the Sith Star in one place.
The battle for control of Tizgo V's near space raged for fourteen hours. Though the majority of the Royal Army had headed to the surface, Zogryth was allowed to keep some Royal Marines in reserve, and he organized boardings of ionized Tetrarchy ships. This not only took the ships out of the fight, but even drew fire from other Tetrarchy craft desperate to keep the ships from falling into the hands of the Empire. With two dozen ships destroyed and more than that number boarded and capture by the Empire, the remnants of the Tetrarchy fleet fled to hyperspace.
As the space battle erupted, the Royal Army landed in force on Tizgo V's surface. Rin accompanied them, using Battle Meditation to enhance both the fleet and her ground forces' concentration while making it harder for her enemies to focus. While her abilities had no effect on battle droids, they could and did make it harder for enemy commanders to focus and coordinate effectively.
The Royal Army landed in multiple locations, seizing some outposts and communication stations and fighting for others, but the main mass of troops attacked the fortified Tetrarchy military district of the capital. Fighting in both the outskirts of the city and street-by-street inside consumed the better part of the first day of battle. The fortress was finally captured by dusk on the first day, with thousands of casualties on both sides. Rin had taken all of the Novices of the Order of the Golden Empire with her, arming them with rapidly-constructed lightsabers, and several fought in mopping-up fights.
Tetrarchy forces banded together with reinforcements from the departing space fleet, preparing an assault to clear out and retake the city. While engagements continued overnight, most soldiers and all the Force users remained awake and in battle. When the Tetrarchy ships departed, Rin was able to focus her Battle Meditation on the ground fight.
The fall of Keltrayu
By dawn on the second day, the fighting had moved back to the plains outside the base, where the Royal troops fought the Tetrarchy reinforcements. Artillery set up in the captured district fired on the Tetrarchy lines, but was itself fired on by Tetrarchy cannons. Much of the city's walls was destroyed, and the lines of battle comprised hundreds of thousands of beings and stretched over three kilometers wide and several columns deep.
While Rin and the Novices remained in a hardened bunker among two Massassi Cohorts at the center of the line, Tariun and Keltrayu personally led an attack on the Tetrarchy left flank, allowing their own right flank to surge forward. The maneuver was designed to draw reinforcements toward the flanks (Aquila Corcer was busy attacking the Tetrarchy right flank), pulling troops away from the middle and allowing Rin and her troops to make a concerted attack that would split the enemy lines in half. Not long after forces started to shift their way, however, Keltrayu began to worry for Rin. Sensing her exhaustion for a straight day of Battle Meditation, he convinced Tariun to return to her.
Shortly after they arrived, the two observed a shock tank making its way forward and warming up its discharge plates. Both leapt in among the Massassi and tried to lead their troops forward, but Tetrarchy troops laid down cover fire to make a surge impossible. Knowing there were only seconds left, Keltrayu leapt onto Rin's bunker, then jumped to the shock tank. Shot several times in midair, he nevertheless clung to life enough to land and impale his lightsaber into the shock tank's energy relay. The interruption caused a massive feedback that send a blast of energy out, scorching through Keltrayu's chest and killing him instantly. Before his body even hit the ground, the shock tank exploded.
Consumed with rage and grief at the death of her apprentice and best friend, Rin let out a devastating Force scream that paralyzed everyone in a kilometer radius with terror. The effect was worse for the Tetrarchy soldiers, and hundreds of those closest to Rin committed suicide by shooting themselves or cutting their own throats rather than endure what she was forcing them to see. Struggling to remain focused through the indiscriminate onslaughter, Tariun forced his way to his sister's side and brought her back to reason.
Though devastated, Rin managed to focus her anguish into renewed power, and she poured on Battle Meditation to spur her troops on and crush the morale of her enemies. While most were still recovering, the 11th Massassi Cohort got back into the fight, leading the first charge into the Tetrarchy lines that killed hundreds before the Tetrarchy soldiers could begin to muster a defense. Tariun and Aquila Corcer joined them, and the rest of the Royal Army gradually followed suit.
With the shock tank destroyed and the center of the line shattered, the Tetrarchy eventually broke into retreat. A vengeful Rin ordered her troops to take no prisoners, and several battalions which attempted to surrender were mowed down. When some elements of the line got far enough away, Tariun had the fleet in orbit bombard them with turbolaser fire.
By the end of the second day, every Tetrarchy soldier on Tizgo V was dead and every battle droid destroyed. The Gruhhzes of Tizgo V surrendered to Rin, wanting nothing more to do with her style of warfare.
Immediate reactions to the Battle of Tizgo V were mixed. The Tetrarchy tried not to report it at all until Tariun broadcast it on his shadowfeed of their HoloNet; afterward, the Tetrarchs stressed the death of Keltrayu as a major morale blow and characterized Tizgo V as a second doomed incursion into the Xoquon sector, a last gasp of a dying Empire. The Empire, meanwhile, made the victory out to be a game-changing reversal of fortune.
The latter would prove true. Seizing Tetrarchy weapons and quickly converting enemy ships, the Armada rearmed itself and led a re-capture of the Xoquon sector while the ships most heavily damaged were repaired at Tizgo V's spacedocks. After the capture of Xoquon itself, the resources of the Xoquon sector gave the Empire sufficient resources to begin its assault on the Vall`to sector.
After the Great Liberation concluded and the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob was conquered, historians viewed the Battle of Tizgo V as the turning point in the war. Some called it a "second turning point", the first being the Battle of Hudrel.
Keltrayu's death stung many of his friends deeply, including Tariun Sakaros, but it affected no one worse than Rin. Following the Battle of Tizgo V, she ordered that Tetrarchy forces (and, in later years, any enemies) were to be given only a single opportunity to surrender, after which a battle would proceed with no quarter given and no surrender accepted. The new reputation for ruthlessness spread quickly and led to several surrenders during the remainder of the war, including the Battle of Mezlagob.
Some decades after the battle, it became a practice among Centurions to make a pilgrimage to the site where Keltrayu had died. Osibom of Wemod, who had himself fought in the battle, wrote "The Fall of Keltrayu" to honor him, and the native Gruhhzes eventually erected a statue on the spot of Keltrayu's death.