Jira Zaffrod (née Seezhli) was a Kasci Centurion and Royal Guard of the Golden Empire. Blessed with a strong soprano voice and the gift of Battle Meditation, she was widely beloved by her comrades in the Order of Keltrayu, and especially by Queen Rin Sakaros, who considered Jira like a daughter. Jira's skill saw her assigned to a number of demanding assignments, including multiple postings as a Praetor and rule as Consul of her homeworld. She was the wife of Royal Navy officer Wyro Zaffrod and the mother of two Force-sensitive girls who went on to become Centurions themselves.
The Golden Child
Born on the Kasci homeworld of Iomis, Jira, like all Kasci, was born with metallic-colored skin, an evolved defense against predators which allowed the Kasci to blend in with their surroundings, which looked similar given that Iomis's surface was over 70% mineral deposits. However, Jira was the only living Kasci at the time born with golden skin. Kasci tradition held that golden children would be bound for great and momentous things; gold Kasci before the Golden Empire had commonly risen to high position in government and business, seeming to lead charmed lives.
It was in this way that Jira came to be recruited by the Order of Keltrayu. On all systems, the Empire encouraged parents who suspected their children to be Force-sensitive to offer them for service in the Order. Due to the fact that Force sensitivity was not immediately obvious, most children were recruited around the age of seven or eight (varying for species differences), when they could more clearly exhibit extra-normal abilities. However, convinced that their golden daughter would be beyond the normal, the Seezhlis contacted a Praetor-Recruiter of the Order, who found that the girl did indeed have a connection to the Force. The Praetor brought the child to the attention of Queen Rin Sakaros and her brother Tariun; Rin immediately commanded that Jira be admitted into the Order before her brother had even opened his mouth.
As one of the very few Novices admitted in infancy, Jira grew and developed almost entirely on the Sith Star under the watchful eyes of Rin, Tariun, and the Order's instructors. From the first years of her life she came to view Rin as a mother figure, and had a deep love and adoration for Rin outstripping even the normal loyalty and devotion of other Centurions. Rin was very fond of Jira too; she taught Jira to sing, and once, when Jira was four years old and sick with the flu, Rin sang her to sleep every night for six nights in a row. Though pleasant and friendly to nearly everyone, Jira was the best friend of the Synnott Novice Atrelle Sovex and close with fellow Kasci Menina Robraso.
Like most Novices, Jira was sent on various field assignments, though in her youth this often troubled her, as she disliked being away from Rin for long periods of time. Nevertheless, Jira demonstrated a marked affinity for helping others, enjoying service and rebuilding projects more than anything else. In her Centurion training, she eventually elected to specialize in Makashi, which suited her species' grace and agility, while its precision compensated for her lack of raw physical power.
At the age of eighteen, Jira became one of the youngest full Centurions in the Order's history, passing her exams after a grueling test of Force abilities and a series of intense duels with other Centurions. She was a Centurion for less than a week before Rin Sakaros made the surprise decision to install Jira as a Royal Guard. Membership in this elite unit was usually restricted to those with field experience, and thus most Royal Guards were in their late twenties or early thirties. Though Tariun Sakaros privately protested, Rin was adamant, and Jira became the youngest Royal Guard in history, to the surprise and respect of her comrades. In light of the girl's inexperience and relative naïveté, however, Rin usually assigned Jira as a Guard to her brother, hoping Jira would pick up some of the Sith Lord's toughness and combat sense.
Along with Breek Zagrev, Tamlok, and Khoro`ly`ooho`sh`lyhoo, Jira was one of the first citizens of the Golden Empire to meet Rin's baby brother, Nagarian, on a visit to Nar Shaddaa. On a later visit, she and Breek fought in a duel against the Dark Lord Tulak Hord, who was possessing Reiko Kaytana. Hord half-amputated Jira's sword hand, though Rin Sakaros later repaired the damage with bacta and her own regenerative blood; this selfless action (Rin herself nearly bled to death trying to revitalize all her injured comrades) only bound Jira even more to her queen.
During her early years in the Royal Guard, Jira took to sparring often with both the Athan Malyri Porén and her "big sister" Breek. Malyri was also a Makashi stylist, and the two traded techniques often. Breek, meanwhile, was emerging as one of the finest duelists in the entire Order of Keltrayu, and since she was closer with Jira than most of her siblings, the Human Centurion sparred with Jira regularly, helping her hone her defenses against a much stronger opponent. Around this time, Jira had a short-lived relationship with a Kasci ace; her siblings were deeply distrustful of the man, and Jira herself broke off the relationship after he pressured her to go further physically than she was willing to go.
At the onset of the Vagaari War, the Royal Guard was reduced in number from twenty-four to eight to allow more Centurions to be deployed for field work. Jira was one of the eight left in the unit, and with her brother Khoro remained one of Tariun Sakaros's two Royal Guards.
In late 141 ABY, Princess Andromeda Keane and Rin both sensed that Andromeda was approaching the end of her life. Rin sent Jira to Nar Shaddaa to cover for Jarek Solios, allowing him to visit his grandmother in her final months without removing one of Nagarian's protectors. When Jira arrived, however, she discovered that the Merquise Syndicate had been drawn into a conflict between two factions of the One Sith. She offered to take Nagarian back to the relative safety of the Empire, but Reiko Kaytana was initially reluctant. Jira endured a deeply unsettling crisis of duty; she had been ordered to return immediately after Jarek got back from Queen's Garden, but leaving Nagarian in such immediate danger was unthinkable. She was struggling with the idea of intentionally defying Rin to remain and protect Nagarian when Reiko finally conceded, and a relieved Jira spirited Nagarian away from the Smuggler's Moon.
In her absence, however, the situation in the Golden Empire had become much worse. The Ssi-ruuk had attacked from the south, and Rin, Sorrik, and over half the Armada had gone south to repulse the invaders. Tariun ordered Jira to remain at his side, keeping Nagarian as safe as possible in the Citadel. Deprived of more than half his forces, Tariun was hard-pressed to keep the Vagaari at bay, and the situation only grew more desperate when the Chiss staged a rebellion. When Chindal arrived from the southern front, bringing word that Rin had received telepathic contact from Reiko and the Sith on Nar Shaddaa had been eliminated, neither Tariun nor Jira was sad to see Chindal take Nagarian back, as both had begun to fear that the war could become calamitous defeat without warning.
Forced to divert some of his dwindling fleet to suppress the Chiss, with nearly all able-bodied Centurions deployed and the Zyked warrior master Rajj-Yo missing in action, Tariun found himself in desperate straits, and his dark, gritty demeanor began to wear on Jira as well, as she was constantly at his side. Among the less-than-uplifting reports from Sorrik's front came word that Jira's friend Atrelle Sovex had been killed at the Battle of Shest Minor, along with the Makashi master Terran Saul and five other Centurions. What little free time Jira had she spent mostly with her brother Khoro; with Eskol Kaartinen, the new Prefect of the Order, seeking his guidance on keeping herself positive and focused; or fencing with Kieran Sapphire, trying to use Makashi practice to distract herself from the aura of gloom hanging over the entire Sith Star.
In a Hopeless Place
Oh, for Force's sake, Zaffrod, ask her out already! I have a war to run, I can't have you two walking on eggshells on my bridge every week!
—Tariun Sakaros to Wyro Zaffrod
Another source of much-needed distraction was the Kasci Ensign Wyro Zaffrod. An Engineering officer from elsewhere aboard the Star, Jira had met him several times, usually in the context of him bringing reports to Rin and Tariun on the bridge. It had never occurred to her how unusual it was for Engineering to regularly send reports by hand rather than simply using onboard data transfers, let alone to send the same man—an officer, no less—for every delivery.
As the Vagaari war ground on, Ensign Zaffrod still made a point to visit the bridge once a month or so, always when Jira was on duty. He usually spoke to her for a moment or two when she could spare the time, and eventually even Jira began to notice how unusual this was. She was fond of him, especially because he was another Kasci; raised as a Novice, she had never spent much time around her own people, and enjoyed hearing about her homeworld. Finally, Tariun Sakaros dryly told Zaffrod to ask Jira out, having grown impatient watching the two dancing around one another. Though both were embarrassed, Wyro rallied enough to ask Jira to dinner.
Jira and Wyro quickly became fast friends. Like Jira, Wyro was deeply devoted to his duty and an innately thoughtful person. In short order, Jira found herself very attracted to the young officer, and when he finally amassed enough courage to ask her to be his girlfriend a few weeks later, she was only too eager to accept.
During a particularly harrying battle in Vagaari space, Jira and Khoro were with a grim Tariun on the Star 's bridge when Jira found herself moved to step off the bridge and into Rin Sakaros's private meditation room, which had been mostly unoccupied since the Queen had gone south with Sorrik. Feeling a shift in the currents of the Force, Jira focused, trying to send reassuring thoughts to the men, women, and others fighting for the Empire. She felt her active control over the action slipping away, and entered a trance until she found an amazed Tariun and Khoro shaking her awake two hours later.
To the amazement of everyone aboard, most of all Jira herself, she had subconsciously tapped into Battle Meditation. Though she had been around Rin when the Queen used the power in the past, for Jira it had been an entirely reflexive action. Jira's initial use of the power had been more than a little inexpert, with some pilots and spacemen reporting feeling "giddy" and "distracted", but the battle had still been won, and Tariun Sakaros, far from chastising Jira, ordered her to devote all her spare time to perfecting the skill. Jira increased her time with Kaartinen, learning what she could to discipline her mind and help focus her newfound ability. Wyro was even more in awe of her than he had been before, which Jira found embarrassing but touching.
When the Chiss Rebellion was pacified, the Armada got some breathing room, and Jira's Battle Meditation changed from the slim advantage that ensured survival to a vital element of the war effort that finally allowed Tariun to press his advantage again. The Kasci continued to hone her gift, and took to Tariun's habit of sleeping near the bridge, so she could be accessible immediately in the event of unexpected battle. Her duty as an actual bodyguard fell by the wayside; Battle Meditation was exhausting, and Tariun ordered her to rest as much as possible when they were not fighting.
In 143 ABY, Rin and Sorrik repulsed the Ssi-ruuk with the help of their new P'w'eck allies and much of the fleet rejoined Tariun. Jira expected to be relieved of her Battle Meditating duties, but a greatly impressed Rin took the young woman on as a sort of apprentice, coaching her in the use of her gift. Jira had a greater affinity for inspiring the minds and bolstering the resolve of her allies, which freed Rin to sap the morale of their enemies. This enabled Jira to focus on the positives even when Rin gave the order that the Vagaari were to be wiped out to the last being. On occasion, Rin and Tariun loaned Jira out to one of the other Legates leading the conflict, with Rin staying aboard the Star.
With Tariun at the helm of the full Armada once more and two Battle Meditators on his side, the outcome of the Vagaari War was no longer in doubt. Fleet after fleet was annihilated, and by mid-143 the Vagaari were functionally extinct.
An embarrassed Jira suddenly found herself thrust into the spotlight of the Order of Keltrayu, hailed as the savior of the Armada and a crucial key to victory. In the downtime after the final defeat of the Vagaari, while Rin, Tariun, Sorrik, and governmental leaders set to the monumental task of putting together the damaged Empire and annexing the various Vagaari and Chiss Ascendancy systems, Jira split her time among training, Breek Zagrev, and Wyro Zaffrod. She continued to hone her fencing skills with her fellow Centurions. The death of Terran Saul had created a vacancy for the informal title of "Order's Makashi master", and while Jira was not arrogant enough to think she could step into the role, the friendly competition of Makashi stylists allowed her extensive practice time with her siblings.
Breek, however, was a source of great concern to Jira. The Human woman had been deeply affected by her experiences, and was dogged by guilt from the Battle of Shest Minor. While the Empire had won the day, and both Sorrik and Tariun had stated that they believed Breek had done the best she could, the loss of fifty thousand soldiers and seven Centurions had been harrowing. Worse, Breek and Tariun had been tense with each other since the war's beginning, but now they were just short of openly hostile, and Jira was horrified to learn that the two had nearly come to blades before Tariun's Royal Guards had intervened and Tariun himself had dismissed the case. Breek's dark, bitter gloom made Jira edgy, and she wished she could help her best friend.
Wyro, on the other hand, was the bright spot in Jira's life, and quickly becoming a day-to-day feature. With the war concluded and both the Order and the military allowed to take leave, the two Kasci spent a great deal of time together, and Wyro even took her to dinner on Kinoss. Now that they could be fairly assured of living beyond the immediate future, both began to contemplate and discuss a possible future together.
Once enough of the government had been stabilized, Rin left it in Tariun's care and took a group of Centurions to Nar Shaddaa, including Jira, Breek, Tycho Rowan, Rajj-Yo, Tarzg Sav'lir, and the twin Athans Malyri and Kylaea Porén, along with Jadian Star and the Chiss Novice Selkee. Glad for the opportunity to see Nagarian, Jira enjoyed the miniature vacation. However, she also confronted Breek about her snarling demeanor, which had manifested itself as picking on Selkee. The two friends snapped at each other for a few moments before Breek finally cracked and admitted that she had tried to reconcile with Tariun, even admitting that she loved him, only to be callously rebuffed. Divided between loyalty to Breek and service to Tariun, Jira could only offer sympathy, though she did coax Breek to make amends with Selkee.
The Consul's Right Hand
When Rin's party returned to the Empire, Jira was rotated out of the Royal Guard and given a new assignment as Consular Aide to the Consul of Bolera. Bolera was a staunchly loyalist system, but still mostly undeveloped; while neither the Consul nor Jira would have to deal with insurrection or terrorism, Bolera was an administrative and economic challenge. Both Rin and Eskol Kaartinen felt it was good experience for Jira and future groundwork toward her becoming a Consul herself.
Being detached from the entirety of the Order was a strange experience, but Jira took to her new position well. Having served so long near Tariun and Rin, she had exposure to the highest levels of politics and government, and proved herself an able aide to the Consul. Agreeable and understanding by nature, she was an invaluable liaison with various development groups, especially in some of Bolera's outlying regions, and her friendship with the Porén twins gave her a better understanding of Athans than some other outsiders on the Consul's staff.
In her spare time, Jira continued to hone her Force powers and her fencing skills; Kieran Sapphire sent her a sparring droid and a pair of remotes as a present. She also remained in regular holocommunication with Wyro, now a Midshipman. The distance was little deterrent to them; they had bonded strongly during the Vagaari War, and both were used to separation from their loved ones anyway.
A Modest Proposal
In mid-144 ABY, a distinctly nervous Wyro arrived on Bolera as a surprise to Jira. Delighted, she took him to dinner in Bolera's capital, a bit confused by the apprehension and hesitance she sensed in him. On a moonlight walk that night, however, he revealed the reason for his edginess when he proposed to her with a traditional Kasci engagement clasp, gleaming platinum with a perfect diamond set in its center. It took the stunned Centurion a moment to find her voice, but when she did she accepted gleefully. Jira thought to point out that Centurions needed the permission of the Sovereign to marry, but Wyro assured her that he had already obtained it. Sensing something was being left out, Jira called her new fiance on his reticence, but she was dumbfounded when he revealed that not only had Rin approved the match, but that the diamond on her engagement clasp was the diamond of Iomis from Rin's own crown. Jira was reduced to tears when Wyro shared Rin's words: "I am already giving you the most precious jewel of my Empire, Wyro Zaffrod. What is this little thing compared to her?"
Newly engaged, Jira tried to fit wedding planning into her daily schedule, to the amusement of Bolera's Consul. She and Wyro agreed to marry on their homeworld of Iomis, and Jira asked Breek Zagrev to be her maid of honor. Though a bit apprehensive about the potential conflict, Jira also asked Tariun Sakaros to give her away; while it was traditional for the Prefect of the Order to give away Centurions, Tariun had been Prefect during Jira's entire Novitiate, and she had served close to him most of the time after that. Though Jira invited Rin, the Queen politely declined, not wanting to turn her favored Centurion's special day into the media and security circus her presence always caused. Wyro also convinced Jira to invite her biological parents to the wedding, and the Consul of Bolera gave her a week off before the wedding to get acquainted with her family. Jira found the experience a bit surreal, but her parents and younger sisters, Miella and Kyra, were intensely proud of her and very welcoming.
Jira and Wyro were married in the ninth month of 144 ABY, with several Centurions in attendance. Tariun indeed gave her away, and Rin Sakaros herself snuck out of the Sith Star with only a pair of Royal Guards, unable to resist congratulating the Kasci on her special day. The Zaffrods had been planning to honeymoon on Iomis, but the Sakaros siblings each gave them an extra week as a wedding present; Tariun gave them an all-expenses-paid luxury cruise aboard a starliner, while Rin gave them a week at her personal retreat on Queen's Garden.
Matron of Honor
After her honeymoon, Jira returned to her duties on Bolera, though she kept in regular contact with her husband via holocom. A few months after her wedding, Jira received an unexpected call from Breek, who told a pleasantly surprised and slightly smug Jira that Tariun had confessed his love for her, and the two were officially together. Jira was ecstatic for her friend and convinced that all was finally right with the galaxy.
Tariun and Breek were married in late 145 ABY, and it was Jira's turn to serve as Breek's Matron of Honor. Given her closeness to Breek, Jira was allowed to invite Wyro even to the exclusive celebration at the end of the night, where she introduced him to Alluria and Jarek Solios and Nagarian.
The Brief Peace
Jira left Bolera in 146 ABY, and served in a number of duties throughout the Empire. Rin and Kaartinen both tested her skills in various contexts, from law enforcement to diplomacy and mediation. She worked hard to improve whatever skills she was lacking, pairing with other Centurions to round out her abilities and learn from their greater experience.
Continuing to train in Makashi, Jira began to close the gap between her own skills and Malyri Porén's. Whenever she was aboard the Sith Star, she made a point to fence with whichever of her siblings were available. Jira and Wyro saw each other as often as possible, trying to coordinate their vacation time to be with one another.
Toward the end of 146, Jira became pregnant with her first child. Terra Zaffrod was born in 147 ABY; she had inherited her father's silver skin and hair, but unlike most Kasci, she had inherited her mother's golden eyes. Terra was often with Jira unless Jira was going into danger, and the two developed an intensely close bond. Jira sometimes struggled with the best course for Terra; a Centurion herself, Jira knew it was selfish to keep Terra close by when she could be a Novice, but the idea of parting from her daughter made her uncomfortable. Wyro, who adored his daughter, promised to support Jira either way, knowing how much respect and love Jira had for Rin Sakaros and her siblings in the Order.
In 149 ABY, the Empire was attacked by a group of Dark Jedi at the forefront of a Skavik army. Knowing she would likely have to go to the front lines, Jira took a brief vacation with Wyro and Terra on Irestego. Unbeknownst to her, the Dark Jedi had tortured and interrogated a Royal Navy officer for the access codes to the Navy's personnel tracking system. Knowing Jira's Battle Meditation capabilities, Ador Hentral found Wyro on Irestego and sent a team of Veracht to kill her entire family. Jira, alerted to the danger, managed to hold them off with Wyro's help, clutching Terra in one hand and fencing with the other. Zahyr arrived in time to help them, and the assassins were slain. It was the first time Jira had taken a sentient being's life, and though she was deeply shaken, she was relieved to have saved Terra and very grateful to Zahyr.
For their own safety, the Zaffrods were transferred to the Sith Star. Terra was kept safe in the Citadel, but Wyro was allowed to serve aboard the ship. Jira was assigned to assist Breek and the Romasi Sector Fleet using her Battle Meditation. She fought the clones of Sacco Vyrak during the Duel on Mandos, assisting Kylaea Porén in killing one of them. Jira had brief opportunities to use her special gift at the battles of Keliso and Quadia.
When Rin baited the Dark Jedi into the Battle of Dolomir, she transferred Jira back to the Sith Star to assist her own Battle Meditation. When the Star was boarded, Jira initially remained with Rin, but when Voara Culee and Charg led a party of Anzati clones to attack the Citadel, Jira begged to go protect her daughter, which Rin allowed. Tariun Sakaros himself accompanied her, and the two helped Eskol Kaartinen, Te`net Organi, and Vos'elk'eetash slay the remaining attackers.
Thank you. Thank you for my daughter's life. I can never—never—repay you enough, but anything I can ever do for you, you have only to ask. We're already sisters, but you will always have a friend in me.
—Jira Zaffrod to Azalyn Kass`l
Since those guarding the Citadel had saved Terra from a horrible death at the hands of the Anzati, Jira sought them out to thank them, and was told by Selkee that Azalyn Kass`l was the one who had foreseen the attack. Jira found the little girl and, kneeling at her feet, thanked her profusely for saving Terra and pledged her lifelong friendship. Jira and Azalyn later made cookies for the Novices with "help" from Terra.
After the war, Jira was one of the Centurions assigned to supervise the work of the Skavik as they rebuilt Klee`shlyoo`hshee. She was tasked not only with defending the native Wooshlyhee from the Skavik, but also protecting the Skavik from any vengeful Wooshlyhee. She initially left Terra with her family and Wyro's on Iomis, but took the girl with her to Klee`shlyoo`hshee once she was sure the planet would be safe.
In 151 ABY, Wyro and Jira finally decided to submit their daughter as a Novice to the Order. Though Terra was tearful, she was pleased to see her friend Delliak Sakaros, whom she had met during the Nightmare War and who was also a new Novice. Jira had only a few days to acclimate herself to the idea of being parted from her daughter before the final parting was postponed; Eskol Kaartinen installed her as a Praetor-Instructor for the Order, teaching Makashi in the Citadel. Jira was careful not to spend too much time with Terra, but did take time out with her daughter nearly every day.
In 153 ABY, the Samayus Palace of Opera approached Jira about performing. Though confident in her abilities, Jira was initially reluctant to accept, as such a public performance not only had nothing to do with her Centurion duties but also might be taken as a sign of vanity. She changed her mind when encouraged by both Eskol Kaartinen and Rin, and performed on Tyras around the middle of the year. In addition to a variety of popular songs from musicals and pop charts, she also sang "Flame Eternal", "Lament for Nairasho", "The Centurion Song", "The Cannons Roared on Shest Minor", and an original composition she entitled "A Mother's Eyes". Jira's performance was very well-received; she was approached by a number of recording executives, one of whom offered her a five hundred-location tour over three years for sixty million credits, but turned them all down.
Jira became close with Jinyx Windrunner during her time as a Praetor; Jinyx was apprenticed to Breek, and Jira became concerned about the Drakonus's monofocus on duty and training while making no time for herself. The Kasci slowly convinced Jinyx to adopt a hobby, and introduced her to a love of playing music. Jinyx was one of the attendees at Jira's concert in 153, and Jira occasionally counseled Jinyx about her relationship with Raynar Tarq; being married to a non-Force-sensitive member of the Royal Navy herself, Jira could empathize with many of Jinyx's concerns.
Staying on Tyras a few days after her concert with Wyro and Terra, Jira became pregnant. Toward the end of her term she delegated her Makashi instruction duties to Souv Tanake. Jira's second daughter, Siobhan, was born in 154 ABY. She was allowed to stay in the Order's nursery despite not yet being a Novice herself when Jira returned to teaching duties.
At the end of 155 ABY, Jira rotated out of her instructional duties and returned to fieldwork; Siobhan officially became a Novice at the same time. Her fame and distinctive gold coloring made undercover work impractical, so she served instead as a Praetor-Recruiter, traveling the Empire to recruit new Force-sensitives for the Order. She was assigned to use the Sairochelle as her base of operations; the ship had been chosen by Rin and Prefect Aria Nikina deliberately, because Wyro was stationed aboard.
In late 156 ABY, members of the Tynblade Clan contracted assassins to kill Jadian Star. After their failure, Rin sent Jira, Luna Raquelsei, Ghess, and Zeth Kezzerek to protect the comatose Jade, reinstating them to the status of Royal Guards to show to all observers how seriously she took Jade's safety. Jira thus became the first married Royal Guard in history. She remained on Rykar to protect Jade until the Drakonus was transferred to the Sith Star in 157 ABY.
Jira was heartsick at Eskol Kaartinen's death in late 157. She attended his funeral, at which she led the singing of "The Centurion Song", singing a special final verse she composed to honor Kaartinen. While both Terra and Siobhan were already Novices, Wyro was allowed to be present for both the funeral and the interment in Keltrayu's Tomb as emotional support for his wife and daughters.
Midway through 158 ABY, Wyro was rotated off the Sairochelle to take a staff post with the Royal Navy Training Command. Jira continued recruitment work until the end of the year, when she briefly returned to the Sith Star to prepare for her next role—serving as the Consul of Iomis. Rin felt her experiences had toughened her up enough to do what was right rather than what made people happy, and her time in recruitment had exposed her to a wide variety of cultures and daily realities of life. She spent the remainder of the year studying Iomis's economics and political parties.
Jira began her Consulate in 159 ABY after the New Year Fete. She invited her parents and sisters to visit whenever possible, including once when Aearbo Manitani was sent to her to bear her a message from Rin. Selkee contacted her in advance, asking Jira to invite Aearbo to spend a few days, including dinner with Jira's own family, in order to help break her out of her shell. Jira, who was aware of Aearbo's isolation and closed-offedness since the Nightmare War, was only too happy to oblige, though she was surprised and intrigued by the hints of chemistry between Aearbo and her sister Kyra.
At the 159 ABY Consular Assembly, Jira finally pestered Rin into telling her the information she had sought for a decade—the identity of the Centurion who had saved her family on Irestego. When Rin told her of Zahyr's existence and Selkee provided directions to Zahyr's home on Mandos, Jira eventually deduced Zahyr's role as Rin's assassin, but it did not change her opinion of either of them. She journeyed to Mandos and, as she had for Azalyn, knelt at his feet to thank him for her family's lives. Pledging friendship between their families, she invited Zahyr, his wife Tahlia, and their children to visit Iomis under her protection. She also gave Zahyr a gift she had made—a Kasci suncatcher with gold, silver, and bronze metals to represent her family.
Powers and abilities
Like all Centurions, Jira had strong skills in telepathy and telekinesis, along with other Force powers. Her training as a Royal Guard helped refine her danger sense, enabling her to sense threats around her. During the Vagaari War, she unearthed an innate gift for Battle Meditation, born of natural talent but catalyzed by exposure to Rin Sakaros using the same power and the desperate need of the Armada. At least initially, she had substantially greater success inspiring her allies than sapping the willpower of her enemies.
Though her inherent kindness initially limited her ferocity in lightsaber combat, Jira was nonetheless a sufficiently talented fencer to hold her own against the majority of her brothers and sisters, even those older and more experienced. Both Tariun Sakaros and Kieran Sapphire believed that Jira would eventually become a master of Makashi. During the Nightmare War, Jira's skill with a lightsaber increased dramatically. She had become sufficiently talented by 151 ABY that she was tapped to teach Makashi in the Citadel, and by the time she left her role as Praetor-Instructor four years later, she was universally regarded as the Order's greatest living Makashi duelist and among its best lightsaber combatants. On the other hand, Jira was noted for having weak skills with other weapons, and was a famously inaccurate shot with a blaster at any range more than ten meters.
Like all Centurions, Jira spoke Orhyo and Sith fluently, although many beings thought the harsh Sith tongue sounded odd in Jira's lyrical voice. She was conversational in Basic, but in her early life she was not nearly as talented as with her other languages; her inability to use contractions gave her Basic a very formal air, and most idioms escaped her entirely. When she was constantly near Tariun Sakaros during the Vagaari War, he put deliberate effort into making her Basic more natural, rarely speaking to her in Orhyo and ordering her to use only Basic; by the end of the war, her command of the language was much stronger and more relaxed. She picked up some of the Kasci language over time after she became close with Wyro, and became conversational during her time as Consul of Iomis.
Due to Rin's influence and regular practice, Jira became widely regarded by her siblings and the public as the finest singer in the Order of Keltrayu and one of the best in the entire Golden Empire, with a powerful soprano voice which could dip into the mezzo-soprano range as well. She could carry music ranging from light pop songs to soaring operatic arias with equal ease.
Appearance and personality
With a petite build and standing only 1.60 meters (5'3"), Jira often seemed tiny, especially in comparison to Tariun Sakaros (who was nine inches taller), let alone Rin's Massassi servants or her brother-in-arms Vem, who towered over her. Her skin was golden, and described as "radiant" by many who met her. Her eyes and hair were a darker shade of gold as well. Most humanoids considered her to be breathtakingly beautiful. While she could be composed and formal in public, in private she smiled often, which only heightened her natural beauty. Her voice was described as "musical". She carried a curved-hilt lightsaber with an emerald green blade, painstakingly forged to be the exact shade of Rin Sakaros's eyes.
Jira was described by nearly everyone who encountered her as being unusually kind and polite. In her spare time, she enjoyed singing, especially with the younger Novices of the Order of Keltrayu. Despite her lithe build, grace, and sure-footed agility, she disliked dancing, as Kasci dancing girls had become a feature of cantinas and brothels across the Golden Empire by the time she was born and Jira wanted to distance herself as much as possible from that stereotype. A notable exception occurred at both her wedding and Breek Zagrev's, when she danced with her husband.
Jira loved Rin Sakaros devoutly and was totally devoted to her mistress, looking on her as a combination of teacher and mother. By extension, she also loved Rin's family, including both Tariun and Nagarian Sakaros. While initially disliking being so very far from Rin, she came to relish and even look forward to her visits to the Merquise Syndicate on Nar Shaddaa, when she could visit the young Nagarian. She also had a sincere affection for Nagarian's mother, Reiko Kaytana; when she first met Reiko (who was sporting a black eye and bruised face after a hand-to-hand combat training with Alluria Quinn), Jira offered, with her siblings, to kill every living being in the ziggurat to protect Reiko if she had been betrayed.
Rin, in turn, loved Jira back, and was closer to her than any other member of the Order aside from Azalyn Kass`l. Rin struggled to maintain a lack of favoritism toward Jira, though it was obvious to Tariun and even other Centurions that Jira was her favorite Centurion. When Jasmine Auroras gave Rin a painting of herself and Jira for her birthday, and teasingly offered to paint her future children if she ever got around to having them, Rin replied seriously, "In every way that matters, you have painted my child for me."
Tariun was very fond of Jira, who endured him calling Wyro "Weirdo" with relatively good grace. Nagarian adored Jira; she was among his earliest memories aside from family.
Wyro and the girls
Jira and Wyro Zaffrod met not long after Jira broke off a relationship with a Kasci pilot in the Royal Starfighter Corps. Where the pilot had been full of himself, Wyro struck Jira as very humble, talented and devoted to his duty without talking himself up. Their personalities meshed well, and their relationship fell very easily into place. Though duty often kept them apart for long stretches of time, Jira and Wyro worked to spend as much time together as possible and regularly kept in touch when they were apart. Jira often spoke proudly of her husband and his military career, while Wyro had similar experiences extolling Jira to his comrades.
Although she was proud to be a Centurion and always intended her daughters to join the Order, Jira and Wyro initially kept both Terra and Siobhan out of the Order to have some time with them. Jira adored both her daughters and made sure they kept in touch with their father; she was occasionally embarrassed by Terra's blunt honesty, and was unafraid to discipline her as a Praetor when Terra acted out of turn as a Novice.
Jira was on good terms with nearly every Centurion in the Order. Breek Zagrev was her best friend, and each rubbed off on the other; Breek toughened a young Jira up, while Jira brought out some of Breek's softer side. Their families became close as well, Terra and Siobhan often playing with the Sakaros children. The two were very close with Tamlok and Khoro`ly`ooho`sh`lyhoo, and Jira was devastated when Khoro was killed in 147 ABY. Jira and Vem had great respect and affection for one another.
Like most Centurions, Jira was intrigued by Azalyn Kass`l, who possessed unrivaled prophetic abilities. However, after Azalyn employed those skills to protect the Citadel (and Terra, who had taken refuge inside) during the Battle of the Sith Star, Jira became almost worshipfully grateful to Azalyn and counted herself among the girl's friends and protectors.
Having a husband who served during war, Jira developed a great respect for military servicebeings, and most servicebeings she encountered picked up on her attitude and thought well of her in turn. Those who had survived because of her Battle Meditation during the Vagaari War were often especially fond of her, and Torin Saedrin in particular never hesitated to speak well of her.
Along with Zeth Kezzerek and Benzeel Rikos, Jira was one of Jinyx Windrunner's few friends in the Order of Keltrayu. Though she understood her siblings' distrust of a Force user outside the Order, Jira did not let it influence her own impressions, and she actually reminded Breek from time to time to ensure that Jinyx developed as a whole person, not just a weapon.
While Jira considered the Order her family and Rin her mother, she got to know her biological family during her engagement to Wyro, and kept up occasional contact with them thereafter. Her biological parents and sisters attended her concert on Tyras and visited her at the Consul's house on Iomis.
Behind the scenes
Both American singer Mariah Carey and Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø are ongoing influences on and models for Jira's singing voice and musical ability, as is Mary Costa, the voice of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.
While Sakaros has commissioned art of many of his characters, every commissioned artist to accept the challenge has failed the test of capturing both Jira's breathtaking beauty and her unusual eyes.