Hess BelCyfer was Mandalore of the Mandalorians from 897 ABY to 921 ABY. During the events of the Second Sith Uprising, his life was saved by the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Keldaris, and he pledged the Mandalorians to the service of the Sith.
The times of Korto Rek
Hess BelCyfer was born Korto Rek on Kiffu, and for the first seventeen years of his life he worked with his family on a farm. When he turned 18, Korto left his household and joined the trade ship Platonic Love as a deckhand. The young Kiffar's motive for joining was his burning desire to explore space, and within a year he was considered a valued member of the crew.
Everything changed three years later, when the Platonic Love was boarded by Togorian pirates. Korto watched his friends die around him, brutally murdered by the pirates- but he was spared. The pirates recognized that he was a Kiffar, and saw that his psychometric abilities could be useful. In one moment, he went from carefree spacer to worthless slave. The pirates kept him for seven months, his only home a small corner of the ship.
During his time as a slave, Korto was embittered. He began to believe that slavery was his ultimate fate, and that the promising future he'd dreamed about as a child was now lost. He grew pale and sickly from malnourishment, and was frequently beaten by the pirates. Korto lost his left hand three months into his slavery, the result of a vibroaxe injury from his slavers. Hatred consumed his being.
Seven months passed before Korto got his freedom. The pirate ship came too close to the planet Mandalore, and Mandalorian starfighters crippled it. The Togorians claimed surrender, but when they were boarded drew blasters and opened fire. A fatal mistake; the Mandalorians outnumbered them 10-to-1, and the outgunned pirates were cut to pieces. Korto, along with the other slaves onboard, was hauled onto the Mandalorian cruiser. He knew well the Mandalorian warriors from research and oral tradition- and he knew how the Mandalorians often accepted orphans and vagrants. The young Kiffar somehow knew he would spend the rest of his life with these people, in essence a new life. To Korto, a new life required a new identity- he gave his name as "Hess BelCyfer." The slaves were taken to Mandalore, where some of them began training to join the nomadic warriors. Korto Rek, now Hess BelCyfer, was among them.
Time with the Mandalorians
Hess found himself quickly accepted into Mandalorian society- he learned Mando'a easily, and had no problem with pledging himself to the current Mandalore. Under the tutorship of a Mandalorian warrior known as Riktor, Hess designed his own set of Mandalorian armor, learned how to use almost every weapon, and studied Mandalorian history. For the first time in his life, Hess could dedicate himself to an ideal. He felt that he now had purpose, and could finally have the bright and glorious future he once imagined. He was given a prosthetic hand and became a warrior for Mandalore.
Hess's reputation as a Kiffar helped him in the ranks, as it brought him to Mandalore's attention. Mandalore knew that all Kiffar possessed psychometry, and came to Hess with a job. The Neimoidian-run Sigma Corporation had lost a precious jewel bracelet, one of which was a prized possession to the Corporation's Viceroy. The Corporation knew the jewels were on planet Mandalore, and were considering contacting the Jedi for the jewels- and Mandalore did NOT want the Jedi wandering all over Mandalorian territory in their "treasure hunt." Mandalore correctly deduced that the bracelet had broken up, and had all the jewels in the vicinity rounded up and sent to him. He wanted Hess to identify the jewels of the bracelet, rather than let the Jedi run rampant throughout his territory.
When he was presented with the treasure, Hess sorted through it, using his psychometry to deduce each and every jewel's history. After an hour of scanning them, Hess arranged some of them in a pile and said it was the Viceroy's token. When they were presented to the Viceroy, she greedily took it. Mandalore's respect for Hess BelCyfer had greatly increased, and the Kiffar became a close confidant to Mandalore. Hess kept in touch with his teacher, Riktor, who was rightfully proud of his former student.
Hess also proved himself in battle. The criminal organization Red Sierra was becoming increasingly hostile to the Mandalorians, in particular over a property dispute on Mandalorian world Concord Dawn; Red Sierra was demanding more and more land, and tension was at an all-time high. It finally broke one day- words led to blows, blows led to blasterfire, blasterfire led to all-out warfare. Mandalore, keen on showing Red Sierra their folly, personally headed for Concord Dawn, and the Mandalorians followed. Hess BelCyfer suited up, packed his weapons, and rode into battle.
Riktor had indeed trained him well. Hess was an excellent combatant; he was a crack shot with a blaster rifle, a fine swordsman with a vibroblade, and a powerful brawler (his prosthetic hand helped him out here). In one occasion, he actually saved Mandalore's life by sniping the Trandoshan behind him, just as the alien was about to swing his vibroaxe. In a matter of months, the conflict was over, and Red Sierra pulled out of Concord Dawn with a formal surrender. But Mandalore wouldn't let them go so easily. Red Sierra was chiefly based in the Tion Hegemony, and a sudden ferocity came over the Mandalore. He went in full pursuit of Red Sierra, heading right into Tion space.
Ascendancy to Mandalore
Mandalore's pursuit of Red Sierra was a foolish gesture, and Hess knew it. But Hess couldn't talk him out of it, as Mandalore shrugged off his concerns, saying they had been planning on making an expansion sooner or later. It seemed clear the Mandalore was taking spice, and Hess was deeply concerned.
Over the years, the Tion Hegemony, a pseudo-Imperial faction, had established a deep ties to Coruscant and the Jedi Order. Once the first Mandalorian raiders arrived, the Tion called for Jedi support.