Eskol Kaartinen (/ˈɛs.koʊl kɑrˈti:.nɨn/) was a male Vuul Centurion of the Order of Keltrayu who served as a Consul and Praetor, earned the acclaim of his siblings as First Centurion, and ultimately became the second permanent Prefect of the Order. On his final mission, to Killik territory in the Utegetu Nebula, he became the Prime of the Imperium before being killed by fellow Centurion Te`net Organi. In death, he became the first Centurion to manifest as a Force ghost.
Born in 84 ABY on Yin in the capital city of Besraael, Kaartinen was the child of two prominent civil servants, Wyaan and Ebril Kaartinen, who had numerous ties to Iscali traders. Eskol himself was a studious, quiet child, very intelligent but also shy and somewhat hesitant. Hoping their son would follow in their footsteps, the Kaartinens raised him speaking both Aado, the Vuul language, and Iscali. The latter proved to be vitally important to Eskol's future, though not in the way the Kaartinens had anticipated.
In 95 ABY, the Golden Empire added both Iscandar and Tershin to its territory, and in doing so acquired Iscali navigation charts. The Empire's fleet arrived shortly thereafter and convinced Yin to join its growing cluster of member systems. While touring Yin's capital, Rin Sakaros and her apprentice, Keltrayu, came across the Kaartinens. Aware of Eskol's Force sensitivity, and newly fluent herself in Iscali, she spoke at length with both the boy's parents and Eskol himself. Rin was favorably impressed with the boy's seriousness, and the Kaartinens saw a new and even better way for their son to succeed, so they agreed to let Eskol join the budding group of disciples Rin was amassing. After some persuasion, Eskol also agreed.
As a Novice of the then-Order of the Golden Empire, Eskol studied directly under Rin, Keltrayu, and Rin's brother Tariun. He was initially uncomfortable in his new environment, living in extremely close quarters at all times with other Novices, when on Yin he had been an only child. However, he gradually developed a friendship with Melnanooin, who was an Iscali, and thus one of the few people to whom he could speak directly while still in the process of learning Sith.
While he was a quick learner and practiced his Force skills relentlessly, Kaartinen felt somewhat out of place among his fellows. While they had followed Rin for a variety of reasons, the others were united in their excitement to explore the galaxy with the queen and their desire for adventure, especially having heard stories from Tariun and Keltrayu about their various exploits. Eskol, on the other hand, had a much more measured and tactful approach to life. Even further, he lost lightsaber sparring duels routinely, as the aggressive styles of combat were a poor fit for his personality.
Rin brought the boy with her when recruiting new member worlds, which he found interesting, but neither of them thought he was cut out to be a diplomat. On a hunch, she took him into private lightsaber training in Soresu; both Tariun and Keltrayu preferred aggressive, violent styles, and neither had much knowledge about the most defensive form. After a few weeks of training, he began to feel more at home in his lightsaber skills, and the transition marked a turnaround of Eskol's career as a Novice.
Coupled with his and other students' improving skills in speaking Sith, Eskol gradually emerged from his shell and became friends with other early Novices, including Aquila Corcer and Vessyk. By 100 ABY, his siblings had drawn out (or helped to create) a dry, witty sense of humor in their Vuul brother, who was quickly becoming the Order's defensive protégé. His natural sense for his environment aided him in fending off multiple attacks from different directions and allowed him to pick up movement even his Force senses could not isolate.
When the Great Liberation began, Rin Sakaros kept her Novices close to her for their own safety, and the small band observed much of the war's strategic planning firsthand. They also accompanied Rin to the critical Battle of Tizgo V in 101 ABY, where Keltrayu died to protect Rin and her army. Though stricken at the loss of his teacher, Eskol Kaartinen nonetheless was able to exhibit his growing defensive skills at various points in the battle when shots came his way, deflecting them all and even reflecting a few back at their sources.
With the war's end and the Golden Empire's acquisition of the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob, Eskol and his fellow "first generation" Novices were suddenly the elder siblings to a new and large group of recruits from the Tetrarchy's worlds. Eskol was able to mentor some of his younger siblings while continuing his own training, and Tariun credited the boy with being one of the major enlightening agents for the Zyked Rajj-Yo; unable to pierce Kaartinen's defense no matter how angry or violent he got, Rajj-Yo was forced to acknowledge that there might be something to be said for control. The incident was the first of several times the two would work together, though they were as different as night and day.
In the Queen's service
Eskol Kaartinen became a full Centurion in 107 ABY at the age of twenty-three, and took several field assignments immediately, arbitrating disputes between worlds now forced to coexist peacefully—and on equal terms—under Rin's rule. He was one of the Centurions assigned to track the pirate Kilwyo Kesh, although a brave civilian killed the Nightside Raider before law enforcement could bring him in. During his Centurion service, Eskol maintained periodic contact with his family on Yin and eventually met his new twin brothers, Somin and Oyuul.
Though his service was fairly undistinguished from that of his siblings, Eskol continued to devote himself to the practice of Soresu. By 110 ABY, he was already the greatest practitioner of the style in the Empire, after Rin Sakaros herself. When he visited the Sith Star between missions, the Sakaros siblings would often have him teach defensive techniques to their Novices. It was Kaartinen who inspired the Vorsyt Tesshen Manytrek to study Soresu.
In 115 ABY, Eskol lost his old friends Melnanooin and Aquila Corcer at Synno, where they were gunned down by the Red Eclipse slaver lord Zhin-Vel. The entire Order of Keltrayu and most of the Royal Navy were mobilized to hunt Zhin-Vel down, and Kaartinen was paired with his old colleague Rajj-Yo. The two squabbled frequently about tactics, with Kaartinen preferring to subtly coax sources into revealing something while Rajj-Yo had to be held back from just beating it out of them.
Eventually, however, the unlikely pair caught word of one of the Zyked's contacts on Haerch. Investigating the lead, they found a Red Eclipse hideout, and discovered that Zhin-Vel had just departed. Pausing only for Rajj-Yo to break the man's neck, the two Centurions set off in hot pursuit. They narrowly missed Zhin-Vel at the spaceport, but pursued him into space, with Kaartinen piloting and Rajj-Yo on weapons. Rajj-Yo missed several shots, but Kaartinen urged him to be patient and trust in the Force. At the last second, Rajj-Yo shot out Zhin-Vel's hyperdrive just before his ship jumped. Further blasts disabled the craft and sent it spiraling back to Haerch. In the battle that erupted on the ground, Kaartinen single-handedly felled four of Zhin-Vel's battle droids and threw the slaver's thrown grenade back with the Force to wipe out another two, along with Zhin-Vel's ship. With the droids eliminated, Rajj-Yo was free to kill the slaver, which he did with a single decapitating blow.
The two Centurions became instant heroes for killing Zhin-Vel, famous throughout the Empire. Kaartinen played down his part in the action, crediting Rajj-Yo with the victory, though, uncharacteristically, the Zyked insisted on sharing the credit. Kaartinen went on to participate in more raids during the ensuing "Hunt for Red Eclipse", but was happy to step out of the limelight when the slaving syndicate was finally exterminated at Bolera.
Eskol: “Your Majesty, I'm deeply honored. Deeply. But I'm not—”
―Rin Sakaros names Eskol Kaartinen Consul of Ekshi
Rin: “ Silence! I put my faith in the wrong person, Eskol, and look what it cost me. Look what it cost my people! I can't make another mistake here, I need someone I can trust. Someone my people can trust. That can only be you.”
Though still somewhat uncomfortable with fame, Kaartinen's standing continued to grow in the eyes of both Rin Sakaros and his fellow Centurions. In 127 ABY, he accompanied Rin, Tariun, and several Royal Guards to Ekshi, where his old colleague Vessyk had been exploiting his position as Consul for his own benefit, and to the extreme detriment of the citizens of the planet. Outraged almost beyond words at the suffering she witnessed in the streets outside the palace Vessyk had built for himself, Rin and her entourage slaughtered his guards, and Rin personally executed Kasshralhyot on Vessyk himself. Though Rin stayed to help with some reconstruction efforts, and attached several Novices and Centurions to the project as well, she named Kaartinen the new Consul, as she felt he was the best and most reliable choice, both for her and the citizens of the world.
Eskol's six-year Consulship undid much of the damage Vessyk had done, and, along with Rin's obvious devastation and personal aid to her people, helped restore the image of the Golden Empire on Ekshi. In 133 ABY, Rin finally reassigned Kaartinen, placing him on the Sith Star as a Praetor-Instructor in charge of Force training. He came to be friends with Kieran Sapphire, one of the Order's lightsaber instructors, who would eventually go on to become its Blademaster. While a master of the first five lightsaber forms, Sapphire could not defeat Kaartinen, though nor could Kaartinen defeat him; Eskol's mastery of Soresu left them at a perpetual stalemate, which so intrigued the Nei swordmaster that he regularly asked Kaartinen to teach his Soresu lessons as well.
When Tariun Sakaros was captured in 140 ABY, his military deputy Sorrik took acting command of the Order of Keltrayu. However, at the onset of the Vagaari War, Tariun permanently stepped down as Prefect, so as to focus entirely on the war. It took very little time for both Sakaros siblings to agree on Kaartinen as the new Prefect of the Order. With his promotion, he acquired the style "Lord Kaartinen", though for a long time he both found this awkward and continued to address Tariun as "Lord Sakaros" in public.
Kaartinen inherited the Prefecture at a time of crisis, and immediately dedicated the Order to producing warriors fit for service on the front lines of the Vagaari War. When Sorrik and Rin herself went south to repulse the Ssi-ruuvi Incursion, Kaartinen dispatched hundreds of Centurions to aid them, including Sato Raltharan and Terran Saul. In order to defend the Empire against its greatest threats, Kaartinen assigned relatively few Centurions to law enforcement duty during this period.
With Rin and Sorrik gone, Kaartinen became one of Tariun Sakaros's closest advisors. He persuaded Tariun not to send Centurions to put down the Chiss Rebellion, feeling that it would be a positive public relations move and that the Empire could not afford to spare Centurions from its main wars.
Kaartinen had kept a close eye on Vos'elk'eetash, a Chiss Novice who he believed had the potential to become the most powerful Centurion in the Order's history. Tariun Sakaros intercepted her considering sending a message to her brother, Vos'yru'sadan, one of the Chiss rebels. But Selkee had ultimately decided not to betray the Empire, and Kaartinen obeyed Tariun's order to pardon the girl. When Rin returned and the issue came before her, Kaartinen endorsed Tariun's recommendation that Selkee be spared any further punishment.
When the Vagaari were defeated, Kaartinen refocused the Order on internal threats. He made a concerted effort to appoint the most talented Centurions as Praetor-Instructors, and had Breek Zagrev teach Praetoria Vonil and Praetoria Ishu, seeking to broaden the skills of his students. Following in the pattern set by Tariun, Kaartinen remained active and involved with the Order's instruction, regularly teaching Novices himself.
At the Wedding of Tariun Sakaros and Breek Zagrev in late 145 ABY, Kaartinen gave away the bride and was given a seat of honor at the subsequent reception. He took a particular interest in Rayne Turgachia, Rin's niece, though he obeyed Rin and treated the girl like any other Novice without preferential treatment. However, given Rayne's gift of Force healing, Kaartinen allowed her to spend much of her time training with Tillandra Moraes.
When Khoro`ly`ooho`sh`lyhoo was killed by Shalach Hal-Razab in 147 ABY, Kaartinen made the announcement to the Order, as well as formally commanding Vem, Aria Nikina, and Te`net Organi to complete the mission and kill Hal-Razab.
The defense of the Citadel
No enemy will set foot in our Citadel as long as I live, my lady. It has been my life's honor to serve you, Your Majesty. Know that, should we not meet again.
—Eskol Kaartinen on a comlink to Rin Sakaros
During the Nightmare War, Kaartinen coordinated the assignments of Centurions sent to the Xoquon and Romasi Sector Fleets. When the Sith Star was boarded during the Battle of Dolomir, Kaartinen, Selkee, and Te`net Organi defended the Citadel along with its security droids and Zyffrylek and Nrrghalan, the soldiers of the Massassi Guard assigned to the door that day. The group faced a squad of Vyrak clones led by Voara Culee and Charg. While Organi, the Massassi, and the droids fought the clones, Kaartinen dueled with Culee. Sensing that reinforcements would not arrive in time if she was still alive, he sacrificed a clean victory to kill her, letting her stab him through the shoulder in order to run her through the lung. She came slightly back to the Jedi she had once been in her final seconds, begging for death, and he killed her mercifully with a stab through the heart.
After the Sith Star was purged of enemies, Kaartinen received bacta treatment for his wound, which recovered after two surgeries, although his shoulder sometimes ached in particularly cold weather. Kaartinen gave the order that Zyffrylek and Nrrghalan, the two Massassi who had died defending the Citadel, would lie in honor inside the Citadel itself, along with the eleven Centurions who had died during the Battle of Dolomir, an unprecedented honor. He also had their names inscribed on the door.
The long mission
After the 65 Reforms were passed, Eskol Kaartinen was among the beings seated in the inaugural Sovereign's Council. However, Rin also began planning a mission into Killik space, informed by the Force and Royal Intelligence that the Killiks were rearming for war. It was ultimately decided that Kaartinen, Te`net Organi, and Chindal would lead the mission, with Kaartinen as Praetor, backed by 10,000 Massassi soldiers and accompanied by a number of diplomatic support personnel. Kaartinen was relieved of duty as Prefect, passing on the responsibility to his first suggestion of successor, Aria Nikina, in 154 ABY.
Kaartinen and his group arrived at Berassam in the Utegetu Nebula to discover the planet's Alaala suffering the ravages of a recent attack by other nests. Aware of the Killik ability to Join aliens, Kaartinen met the Alaala representatives in small numbers, with Chindal and Te`net at his side, each reinforcing the others telepathically. They discovered that survivors of the Vagaari Empire had fled to the Utegetu Nebula and been absorbed into the Mollom hive, which had been warped by the presence of the Vagaari and become obsessed with enslaving their fellow Killks. The campaign spread from world to world in the Nebula, conquering some nests and allying with others.
The Killiks were willing to accept the Empire's help, and the Massassi made a hard line to oppose the Vagaari hives when they attacked. The Mollom were not expecting resistance, and their initial assault shattered. Emboldened by their victory, the Alaala agreed to coordinate with other nests to form a united front against the Vagaari hives.
Te`net expressed concerns about massing so many Killiks, worried that their enormous numbers would be sufficient to overwhelm the Massassi and involuntarily Join them. Chindal thought it unlikely, given the Massassi's fierce devotion to Rin. Kaartinen accepted the possibility, but felt it was the lesser of the two evils; if the Vagaari hives conquered all the Killiks into a single hive mind, they would either invade the Empire or attack the known galaxy. The first would strain an Empire still expanding and recovering from the Nightmare War; the second would bring the Galactic Federation Triumvirate into the Unknown Regions and possibly expose the Empire. Chindal agreed with the plan, and Te`net was persuaded to go along with it.
The Second Swarm War
Using hyperspace-capable fighters and shuttles from their cruisers, Kaartinen sent Killik representatives to the worlds of the Utegetu Nebula to secure alliances. He also sent Te`net, reasoning that while he and Chindal could reinforce one another's resistance to Joining in the Qua's absence, Te`net himself was protected by his biology. The alliance brought in numerous Killik species, many too small to effectively defend themselves and eager for protection but some, like the Meuem and Rekker hives, fully capable of battle themselves.
Initial battles in what became the Second Swarm War saw victories and defeats on both sides. Kaartinen's small group of ships—little more than a task force—was greatly outnumbered by the resources of the Vagaari hives, although the Star Destroyer Umbra helped to hold the line. The fully-Joined Vagaari hives also coordinated better, particularly in space battles. On the ground, the Empire's forces fared better; the Massassi soldiers were all experienced warriors, and they learned to work alongside the Rekker and Togot nests in battle. All three Centurions were also much better in ground combat than in space command.
It was a series of ground battles that began the Joining process among the Empire's troops. The Massassi were absorbed into various nests, but as the Killik species worked more closely together to present a united front, they began a process of mutual Joining as well. Chindal, who was working closely with the various nests, was the first Centurion to fall under the Killiks' sway. Te`net and Eskol both recognized the fact of their brother's Joining, but divided on what to do about it; while the Qua felt they should return to the Empire before it was too late and return with reinforcements, Eskol insisted on staying, and accepted Joining as a necessary evil of the war. He also believed Rin must have known of the potential that the Centurions would be Joined and had considered it an acceptable loss.
After the loss of the Umbra, Kaartinen embraced the need for full coordination by Joining. His presence, combined with Chindal's, had a marked effect on the allied Royal-Killik forces. The sheer numbers of the Joined Massassi had already imparted both battle fervor and a religious reverence for Rin on the Killiks. With the two Centurions added to the mix, the disparate nests began to meld into a single, dominant nest, which became known as the Imperium.
By the time Eskol was fully joined, the majority of his space force was composed of captured Vagaari vessels and commandeered Killik ships. Though he and Chindal worked well as a team, Eskol emerged as the dominant will in the new Nest of Nests, and he put the Killiks to work forming an effective fighting force. The acquisition of the Wuluw nest was a major victory, as it allowed Kaartinen to communicate easily with various nests, particularly those not fully integrated into the Imperium.
Te`net was the odd man out, by now the lone member of the Royal force who had not Joined. Although willing to follow Kaartinen's commands, he became increasingly uncomfortable around both his brothers and the Killik presence he could sense in their minds. Eskol felt more sadness for Te`net than anything else; although the two could still communicate telepathically, Te`net could not share in the full mental communion that was the Joined nest.
As the Imperium directed increased troop production—and as the allied nests absorbed more respect for life from Kaartinen, Chindal, and the diplomats, and need for teamwork from the Massassi—the Imperium encountered a new problem in the form of the Fizz. The confused species memory of the Imperium left Kaartinen with the understanding that the Vagaari hives had deliberately spread the Fizz to the Imperium's worlds as an act of war. He responded both by increasing attacks on the Vagaari hives' worlds and authorizing conquests outside the Utegetu Nebula, over Te`net's objections.
The Imperium conquered worlds close by the Utegetu Nebula, overwhelming native populations and either destroying them or Joining them. Sensing Te`net's restiveness, Kaartinen kept him engaged against the Vagaari hives. He left Chindal to develop Killik production on the worlds they had captured, devoting himself to the grand plan evolving in his mind.
With resources absorbed from the captured planets outside the Utegetu, Kaartinen was able to reinforce the Imperium's beleaguered forces. The Golden Empire's anti-slavery mentality had begun to permeate the Imperium's allied nests, and the Killiks embraced Eskol's no-mercy policy toward the Vagaari hives while also seeking to assist those nests conquered by the Vagaari. The ability to differentiate between committed enemy nests and those merely being controlled proved a tactical advantage which allowed the Imperium to undermine the enemy.
To prevent the Vagaari hives from adopting his strategy, Kaartinen ordered a blockade of the Murgo Choke. Multiple battles were fought there, but the blockade held, largely due to boarding parties led by some or all of the Centurions, which captured enemy ships and turned them against the Vagaari. As the war entered its third year, the Imperium forced assaults at Sarm, Kollef, and Yowarbi.
Realizing the doom of the enemy nests was only a matter of time, the Imperium began to contemplate its next moves. Kaartinen's own memories of the Golden Empire had begun to blur, absorbing both the Massassi religious view of Rin and the Killik relentless devotion to tasks. He became convinced that the best way to serve Rin—after annihilating the Vagaari slavers once and for all—was to expand the Empire. The Imperium was already committed to the Royal cause, but worlds in the known galaxy had yet to experience what Kaartinen saw as the obvious benefits of Royal affiliation; he felt they were deprived, and that his duty to Rin was to relieve their suffering.
Kaartinen and Te`net argued again when the Vuul shared his vision for the Imperium. Kaartinen was unmoved by Te`net's insistence that any campaign should be authorized by Rin herself, but he conceded that no war was possible until the Vagaari were extinguished. Though Te`net had bought a temporary reprieve, Kaartinen led the Imperium in increased attacks, ultimately culminating in the Battle of Roq. Kaartinen fought alongside a strike team of Massassi, Killiks, and his brother Centurions to slay the last Vagaari leading the nests and put an end to the Second Swarm War in mid-157 ABY.
If you die in a dream…
With the Vagaari hives annihilated, Kaartinen directed the Killiks to take their captives offworld, knowing the Fizz would respond if they became too numerous. Exposed to massed Imperium nests, the former Vagaari Killiks began to be absorbed into the Imperium as well. Killiks large and small went to work assembling ships for war, both in the Utegetu Nebula and in the planets the Imperium had conquered outside it.
Overseeing the final construction of the cruiser flagship he had named for Rin, the Unseen Queen, Kaartinen was confronted by Te`net, who demanded in no uncertain terms that Kaartinen return the Killiks to the Utegetu Nebula and return himself to Rin. Kaartinen refused, and the two Centurions engaged in a duel. Though they were well-matched, in the end Te`net hesitated to kill his own brother, and Kaartinen cut off both Te`net's hands. Despite having the Qua at his mercy, Kaartinen did not kill him; Killiks in the Imperium, having absorbed some of his memories, reminded him that only the Prefect or the Queen could execute a Centurion. Kaartinen had the maimed Qua incarcerated aboard the Unseen Queen instead.
Kaartinen experimented with the fleet while his cruisers were still being finished, picking off small planets and moons before assaulting and capturing Rago. By late 157, however, he felt a full attack on the Galactic Federation Triumvirate was justified. The fleet was massing for battle when Te`net, having escaped his cell after months, emerged to confront his brothers on the bridge of the Unseen Queen.
Having forgotten that Qua could regenerate lost limbs, Eskol was briefly surprised to see Te`net whole, and the Qua had a chance to recover his lightsaber. He engaged both Kaartinen and Chindal in a duel. In his months of healing and imprisonment, he had steeled himself to what had to be done, and he removed Chindal from the fight quickly, cutting off his right leg and right arm in a single sweeping blow. Kaartinen was left to battle him alone.
While the Vuul was the better swordsman, Te`net had also planned his strategy, and he used his lightsaber on both Killik crewers and the bridge's control panels to force Kaartinen onto the attack. Eskol obliged, desperate to protect the ship and the Killiks; he could feel the minds dying around him as Te`net struck them down. Eventually he overcommitted to a strike, and Te`net slipped inside his guard with a trakata. Before the Vuul could recover, Te`net reactivated the blade under Eskol's armpit, running him through both lungs and the heart and killing him.
Funeral and legacy
We're warriors first, all of us, and we hope to live bravely and die well. No one here can deny that of our brother Eskol, but beyond that, he died bravely and lived well. He remembered that it isn't just the glorious end, but every day between now and then that counts.
—from Tarzg Sav'lir's eulogy for Kaartinen
Te`net orchestrated the Massacre at Murgo as the Imperium reeled from the loss of Kaartinen's mind, escaping the Utegetu Nebula with Chindal and Kaartinen's body. He returned his siblings to the Sith Star, but was so devastated by what he had done and watched his brothers become that he resigned his Centurion's commission.
The grief was far from contained to Organi; many Centurions were crushed by the news, the stoic Vos'elk'eetash cried after escorting Kaartinen's body back to the Citadel, and Jinyx Windrunner had to avoid the Citadel in the days immediately after the announcement because the emotional atmosphere in the Force was almost toxic. Rin initially kept the details of Kaartinen's death confidential, but as the Order's grief became overwhelming and rumors began to spread that Te`net had murdered Eskol, she bowed to the counsel of her brothers, Breek, and Aria and disclosed much of the truth to the Order.
Rin ordered that Kaartinen would receive the Empire's first state funeral. His funeral was conducted on Yin shortly before the 158 ABY New Year Fete. Te`net did not attend, but several Centurions, as well as Niximot Grundo, Tariun Sakaros, and Eskol's father Wyaan, eulogized the late Prefect, both on Yin and at Keltrayu's Tomb.
Among the many tributes offered in recognition of Kaartinen's life included:
- At the Pentuyi Memorial Gardens, where Kaartinen's funeral was held, his name was inscribed on the Memorial Colonnade, making him only the twelfth Vuul so honored in over 1,100 years.
- The Government Administrative Center on Ekshi was renamed for Kaartinen.
- An entirely new section was added to Keltrayu's Tomb for former Prefects, and Kaartinen was the first being entombed there.
Te`net Organi: Do you want us to...to tell anyone anything...?
Eskol Kaartinen: Those I loved in life knew it, and those I trusted have already shown themselves worthy of that faith. And the Queen knows I lived and died her good servant.
Te`net Organi: Peace and strength, brother.
Eskol Kaartinen: Peace and strength.
―The ghost of Eskol Kaartinen bids farewell to Te`net Organi
Through means unknown, Kaartinen managed to retain his identity for a brief period after his death, purged of the Killik influence and restored to his true self. In late 158 ABY, Rayne Turgachia brought Te`net to Keltrayu's Tomb, hoping it would bring him some sense of closure. Observing Te`net sobbing before his sarcophagus, Kaartinen channeled enough Force power to manifest as a Force ghost. He reassured Te`net that he bore the Qua no ill will, and indeed thanked him for his support on the Utegetu mission and for freeing him from the shackles of Joining when the time came.
Eskol also encouraged Te`net to return to the Order, compelling Te`net to finally view Rayne's memories of Eskol's own funeral and see for himself that Rin had truly been devastated by his death. As Rayne and Te`net left to return to the Sith Star, Eskol bade them farewell and faded from the visible world.
Powers and abilities
Like all Centurions, Eskol Kaartinen was trained extensively in the use of telekinesis and telepathy. He had a deep and strong connection to the Force, which enabled him to react quickly to danger, as he did when catching Zhin-Vel's grenade in midair and hurling it back at the slaver with the Force. In addition, his Vuul physiology gave him an added grasp of his surroundings to supplement his Force perceptions.
Having dedicated himself to the study of Soresu, by 141 ABY Kaartinen was its greatest living master in the Golden Empire. Though he could not often prevail over those considered the greatest bladesbeings in the Empire, such as Tariun Sakaros, Kieran Sapphire, and Rajj-Yo, eventually none of them could touch him either. Only Rin Sakaros herself could routinely defeat him in a sparring match. Kaartinen was proficient in the use of the infinity shield, and employed it against Zhin-Vel's battle droids on Haerch. As Te`net Organi correctly intuited, the only weakness in Eskol's swordfighting technique was slightly less confidence and precision when pursuing a sustained attack; the Qua used this slight shortcoming to give himself the edge to strike his brother down.
Though he had no known connection to the Ancient Order of the Whills, Eskol demonstrated the ability to manifest as a Force ghost after his death.
Appearance and personality
Like all Vuuls, Eskol Kaartinen had four eyes, two in the location common to Humans and other humanoids, with two slightly higher and toward the sides of his head. Also like all Vuuls, he was bald, with subdermal tissue growths on the top of his skull which gave him an added spatial awareness and sense of vibration, apart from what the Force provided. He had hazel facial eyes and blue forehead eyes, and a fit build, with long, thin fingers.
A quiet, unassuming man, Kaartinen preferred to remain out of the limelight. Paradoxically, however, this very humility led Rin Sakaros to place great confidence in him, as she was convinced that his only desire was to serve. Publicly, and with his students, he was usually very formal, though always polite; his subordinates after he became Prefect found him gentle and reassuring. Among his friends and close colleagues, Kaartinen was a bit more relaxed, and had a dry and witty sense of humor.