The "Brothers' War", also referred to as the Dread Fleet Civil War, was a conflict in the Firefist satellite galaxy. It began in 157 ABY when Broll and Veli Kass`l, the twin sons of the Nagai warlord Lothar Kass`l, returned to his fortress moon Belzior and assassinated their father. The conflict pitted the Kass`l twins against their half-sister Jehra and forces loyal to her, complicated by the manipulations of her younger brother Ravi.
The Terror of Firefist
Lothar Kass`l held a swath of Firefist in an iron grip for decades, waging a war of genocide against the Tofs and earning the nickname "the Terror of Firefist" even among his own people. Broll and Veli, raised under their father's tyrannical rule after the death of their mother, eventually had enough and fled Firefist in 136 ABY. An incensed Lothar married again, producing Jehra and her younger brother Ravi, whom he raised to compete with one another, hoping one would eventually succeed him.
Broll and Veli, meanwhile, became mercenaries and enforcers in Hutt Space, eventually finding employment with the Merquise Syndicate under the Sith crime boss Tak Sakaros. Veli married former Jedi Odala van Meer, and they had two children, Azalyn and Tae. The Kass`ls later settled on Belsavis for some years.
Broll was happy to have left Lothar and his perpetual wars behind, but Veli eventually felt compelled to return and settle scores, especially after Odala died and Azalyn become a Novice of the Order of Keltrayu. Convinced of the need to deliver Firefist from what he imagined were his father's continuing cruelties, Veli resolved to return and take Tae with him. Unable to convince Veli otherwise, Broll finally agreed to go with instead. Broll's long-term girlfriend, the Force-sensitive Selina Quinn, also agreed to accompany the brothers.
Broll, Veli, Selina, and Tae returned to Lothar's fortress moon, Belzior, and spent a few weeks laying low and observing the condition of the locals. Unbeknownst to them, Zhezur Tarhy became aware of their presence, but did not immediately apprehend them, hoping they had come to reconcile with their father. When the twins led a covert attack on their father's fortress, however, Zhezur and his Dread Sentinels apprehended them. But Zhezur did not identify them to Lothar, stating only that "some more dissidents" had been apprehended; Lothar sentenced them to a labor camp and did not inquire further.
Though he had served Lothar loyally his entire adult life, Zhezur had grown concerned and disquieted by his old friend's ruthlessness and mounting intolerance for even peaceful dissent. He visited Broll and Veli, pleading with them to make their father see reason, but found they were unwilling to change course. Eventually, his ancient affection for the boys he had helped raise and his recognition of Lothar's cruelty led Zhezur to release the twins and Selina, pledging that he would not help them, but he would also not stop them.
The twins infiltrated their father's chambers and, after a brief confrontation, killed their father. Veli was wounded in the fight, but Broll had the presence of mind to not only order a medic for him, but also ensure the Dread Sentinels apprehended his half-brother Ravi.
Course of the Conflict
Belzior has fallen
The murder of Lothar divided the Dread Sentinels, although Zhezur's resigned support swung the majority to Broll and Veli. The two factions fought a brief, bloody struggle for control of the fortress; when it was done, only a handful remained fit for service, but all of them desirous of reform and willing to follow the twins. As he recovered from his injury, Veli spent long hours talking with Ravi, the two half-brothers arguing over who was the legitimate heir to their father. Tae also spent time with Ravi, who was more receptive to his half-nephew.
Meanwhile, Jehra received word of Lothar's death and turned her fleet to Belzior to capture the moon. With Veli out of commission, Broll assumed command of Belzior's defenses, though it was largely nominal, as he had no experience with fleet command. He attempted to negotiate with Jehra, but Jehra saw her brothers as murderers and interlopers, while Broll quickly became convinced that Jehra was cut from the same mold as Lothar. The two sides fought briefly, but Belzior was too well-defended, and Jehra retreated.
The conflict spreads
Unable to take Belzior by force, Jehra opted to starve her half-brothers out instead, and took to solidifying her control over the other worlds subject to the Dread Fleet (Jehra named her faction "the True Dread Fleet"; in response, Veli and Broll titled their faction "the Reformed Dread Fleet"). She had made a name for herself as a ferocious and skillful commander in defense of Lothar's territory, and several worlds conceded willingly. Others saw Lothar's death as an opportunity for revolt, leading to civil unrest on multiple planets; Jehra put down the rebellions when she could, but her show of force caused more unrest.
Broll was willing to rally his faction and pursue Jehra to put an end to her, but both Veli and Ravi objected. Though incensed that Jehra showed more interest in taking over than in rescuing him, Ravi still hesitated to endorse her death, and Veli reminded his brother that the Dread Fleet had bigger threats than Jehra, the most pressing of which was keeping the ecumenopolis Belzior fed. Eventually the twins decided to consolidate their own loyalist worlds.
The two forces inevitably came into conflict, and Dread Fleet factions fought throughout Firefist.
Ravi was kept under guard in the Kass`l citadel and generally isolated from outside contact. Neither Broll nor Veli were willing to have their half-brother put to death, but nor did they show him much attention. Tae, by contrast, spent considerable time with his uncle, who described life in Firefist and how he had been raised. Tae was able to gain knowledge of the family history he had never known, while Ravi was amazed by Tae's description of a life without political intrigues and the constant specter of Tof attacks—as well as unchallenged emotional closenesss with family. Tae knew better than to discuss the Golden Empire, but he still spoke highly of Azalyn. Tae and Ravi bonded over looking up to—and trying to equal—their older, more successful sisters.
As time went on, Ravi asked Tae about the war, garnering little pieces of information. He began manipulating his nephew to carry information out as well, trying to establish a network of loyalists inside Belzior. Opportunities were slim; the twins had the loyalty of the Dread Sentinels and control of the home fleet, Jehra had the rest of the Dread Fleet, and few of Belzior's civilians had been particularly sorry to see Lothar Kass`l die. But a few insiders thought the Kass`l twins were either too weak to maintain Lothar's gains or simply murderers and were willing to support Ravi. They began covertly passing him information, and he worked to reassemble his spy network.
Appetite for destruction
The Kass`l twins were not the only ones plagued by internal troubles. Jehra Kass`l was not even twenty when the war started, and quickly discovered that much of the loyalty she had been counting on had been enforced by fear of her father. The crew of her own flagship, the Dying Star, was devoted to her, but grumblings and mild insubordination among her more seasoned captains, who had not served under her until the civil war began, gave her pause. Her failure to capture Belzior only cemented her need to establish her credibility as a commander.
Jehra led a string of successful sorties agains the Tofs instead, obtaining more ships and supplies and pacifying some of her dissident captains. She rewarded her most aggressive captains with commands of flotillas, which reinforced her public image as Lothar's heir but also weakened some of her support with those of her followers who had been fully loyal but more restrained in battle.
Friends and foes
Meanwhile, the Kass`l twins worked to keep Belzior and its affiliated worlds fed and protected. Veli went on a diplomatic mission to Nagi to negotiate a normalization of relations between the Dread Fleet and the mainstream Nagai society, leaving Broll and Selina to govern Belzior. He struggled between enough concessions to open trade without actually submitting the Dread Fleet to Nagi's governance, knowing that the vast majority of his people, even if they had rejected Lothar's despotic isolationism, still preferred their independence. Veli barely survived an assassination attempt on Nagi and returned to Belzior; the twins insisted that further negotiations would be carried out on the fortress moon or not at all.
Broll sought to rebuild the corps of Dread Sentinels, both to enhance the public perception of the government's strength and to guard against future attempts on his life or Veli's. He leaned on an aging Zhezur Tarhy for advice, although Zhezur had tried to withdraw from public life as much as possible in the wake of Lothar's death.
Ravi was able to make contact with a group of dissidents on Belzior and engineer his own escape, taking Tae along; he told his rescuers he meant the boy as a hostage, although Ravi himself had no intention of harming his nephew. The plan went awry almost immediately; the rebels were not interested in replacing two Kass`l overlords with a different one, and planned to hold both Ravi and Tae as leverage against the warring factions. The two were held, interrogated, and tortured over two days until Veli, Broll, Selina, and a force of Dread Sentinels rescued them. Broll had the kidnappers put to death and their corpses hanged from the citadel; the brothers disagreed about executing Ravi too, and ultimately conceded to incarcerating him in the citadel's deepest dungeons.
Enemy of my enemy
In 159 ABY, the war changed. Zongar, King of the Tofs, had spent two years carefully massing his forces to take advantage of the infighting within the Dread Fleet. He initially authorized raids against Nagi, then directed his Supremes to take the fight to the Dread Fleet factions.
Jehra controlled a larger force, but was spread thin trying to defend it. Broll and Veli successfully protected their homeworld in the Second Battle of Belzior, but their fleet was not strong enough to disperse and counter Tof raids on their other worlds, which suffered heavy casualties. When Zhezur Tarhy died in 159, Broll offered Jehra safe conduct to and from Belzior to attend his funeral, hoping they could negotiate while she was present, but she refused the offer.
By 160 ABY, however, the situation had become drastic. Jehra had to put down a mutiny of captains convinced she was unfit to lead; she managed to survive, but morale in her fleet wore thin. Pushed to desperation to protect their own worlds, Broll and Veli at last agreed to Tae's suggestion to put Ravi and what remained of his spy network to good use. Weakened by imprisonment and hollowed by the betrayal he had endured, Ravi initially had no resistance left, but also no desire for intrigues. Eventually, however, seeing the suffering that had begun to reappear on a formerly hopeful Belzior, he gathered what contacts he had left.
Veli Kass`l: “After everything she's done? All the devastation she's wreaked? And for what?! She deserves—”
―The Kass`l twins debate rescuing their sister
Broll Kass`l: “Death? Yeah, maybe. I'm not saying she's suddenly the good guy. But she's our sister. If a Kass`l's going to be judged, it'll be by Nagai, not Tofs. Not ever. We lost Mom to those animals, Veli. Never again.”
The Kass`l twins were able to use some information to keep abreast of the Tofs, though they could never get a step ahead. When Ravi's spies discovered that Tof Supreme Onduroch was planning an all-out assault on Jehra's capital, Konzertha, he warned his half-brothers. The three, Tae, and Selina debated their course extensively; the twins were initially inclined to let Jehra die, assuming whatever was left of her fleet would defect to them. In the end, however, Tae and Ravi convinced Broll (and Broll convinced Veli) that they owed a duty of honor to their sister.
Jehra staged a last stand at Konzertha with the remains of her fleet, enduring a withering onslaught at the Battle of Konzertha. As matters became desperate, however, the three Kass`l brothers decanted from hyperspace at the head of their entire force, trapping Onduroch's fleet between them. The two fleets slaughtered the Tofs, checking their retreat and taking no prisoners.
Agreeing to an uneasy truce, the four Kass`l siblings led their combined fleets on a punitive expedition against the Tofs. They sacked the shipyards at Morfut, making off with a handful of Tof battleships to augment the Dread Fleet, and won a narrow but tactically critical victory at Helpoon, cutting off Tof raiders harassing Nagi from the rest of the Tof Kingdom. A Tof counterattack in force led the Dread Fleet to retreat, but when the Tofs pursued them, they unexpectedly encountered a joint Nagi-Dread Fleet alliance at Gerletha'ap. In the subsequent battle, Broll and Jehra led a raid on the Buccaneer, the flagship of Tof Prince Nuwarg. They captured Nuwarg and escaped with him back to the Dread Fleet, taking him as a hostage to Belzior. Confronted with this situation, King Zongar conceded to a cessation of hostilities.
The four Kass`l siblings, along with Tae, Selina, the senior Dread Fleet commanders, and representatives of their various worlds, met on Belzior to decide the fate of the miniature kingdom. Lothar's decades of rule had created a fiercely independent and militant culture too at odds with Nagi for full reunification. Ultimately the siblings decided to rule jointly, reforming Lothar's kingdom into the Kass`l Protectorate.
The name "Brothers' War" originated on Belzior; the fortress moon's citizens gave it that name as they saw Broll and Veli prosecuting the war against Jehra and the Tofs. Jehra, whose faction never gave the conflict a name, was annoyed by the reference, which she felt was misogynistic; she preferred to call it "the Dread Fleet civil war".