Keltrayu (/kɛlˈtraɪ.ju:/) was a Human male Force-sensitive, the only traditional apprentice of Rin Sakaros and the first Centurion of the Order which later came to bear his name. He served his master as a general, spy, and warrior.
Born on Dathomir, raised as a male slave of the Misty Falls Clan, Keltrayu was bought by Rin during her study under the witches of that planet. The Sith promptly freed Keltrayu, sensing his Force potential and taking him as her apprentice and constant companion during her journeys over the next decade. Keltrayu was an integral part of Rin's early development of the Golden Empire before his untimely death in the Battle of Tizgo V in 101 ABY.
The slave boy
Keltrayu was born to a witch of the Singing Mountain Clan in 64 ABY. Like all males, he was raised as a slave, but he was only three when Nelani Kaa, a young warrior of the Misty Falls Clan, kidnapped Keltrayu's uncle. Since the boy was with his uncle at the time, just beginning to learn how to do basic chores, Nelani took him too.
At the Misty Falls, Keltrayu's life continued much as it had been, and he grew to accept Nelani as his master. As he grew and became stronger, his latent Force abilities began to manifest themselves. He developed quicker reflexes than other slaves, and had a knack for communicating with the rancors in his clan. By the age of eleven, he was better at handling the rancors than any other slave and some of the clan witches. Though she had taken Keltrayu's uncle as her mate, Nelani was dissatisfied with him, and wondered whether Keltrayu could be sold to another witch as an adult, or whether she might simply keep him.
The Sith witch
In 75 ABY, four refugees arrived from the decimated Frenzied River Clan: two young witches, a boy slave, and Rin Sakaros. Rin claimed that all four had barely survived an attack by the Nightsisters, and they were accepted into the Misty Falls Clan. Rin began to train as a sister of the clan, improving her already profound abilities. Though he was not present for the Clan Elders' decision to admit Rin, the story about the new witch spread quickly even through the slave community.
Keltrayu soon had an opportunity to meet Rin for himself. He was tending the rancors near the outskirts of the Misty Falls settlement when Rin walked by, looked at him, and froze in her tracks. She was still for a long time, and Keltrayu considered calling for help, though his instincts told him not to. When she finally came back to herself, Rin introduced herself directly, speaking to Keltrayu as an equal and seeming vitally interested in him. He was greatly surprised by this attitude, but identified himself anyway.
Over the following months, a friendship developed between the red-skinned witch and the Human slave boy. Many witches disapproved and none of them understood, but Rin found ways to visit Keltrayu while he was working alone, asking him about himself, his instincts, his thought processes, and his dreams. She also encouraged him to rely on his instincts, subtly helping him hone his Force-enhanced reflexes and learn to predict attacks and sense the presence of others. Keltrayu came to trust her, despite his master's annoyance and disapproval of the relationship. Rin began to visit Keltrayu more covertly, avoiding him whenever Nelani or the other witches were nearby. Though he had always been an obedient and docile slave, Keltrayu found he had no hesitation to lie to Nelani when she asked if Rin had spoken to him. When he turned twelve in 76 ABY, Rin gave him a necklace of voritor lizard teeth as a birthday gift, although Nelani took it away and hit him when she found out.
The Battle of the Misty Falls
Though they were not privy to war councils, the slaves eventually heard the same rumors the witches did: the Nightsisters had been ransacking clans across Dathomir. Rin told Keltrayu that the Nightsisters would eventually attack the Misty Falls Clan, and she began scavenging and trading for bits of technology she could use to build a new lightsaber. Trusting the guidance of the Force as Rin had taught him, Keltrayu snuck out of the city one evening, exploring a cave system near the waterfall. There were several crystal formations inside, but Keltrayu followed his instincts until he identified the right gold crystal. He presented it to Rin as a lightsaber crystal, and she was able to complete her weapon.
When the time for the Nightsister attack drew near, Rin struggled to perfect her ability to motivate her side and sap the willpower of the others. Since the other witches were busy practicing more martial techniques, Keltrayu collected the adult and adolescent male slaves, organizing mock battles and letting Rin test out her powers on them. Keltrayu also volunteered to help Rin practice as she slowly reawakened her skills in lightsaber combat. Though he endured many bruises from her strikes, Rin also taught her young friend some lightsaber combat in turn, giving him the basics of Shii-Cho when she knew no one was watching.
As the Nightsisters came in sight, all the witches went to meet them, leaving only a few adult male slaves to protect Rin, along with Keltrayu, who flatly refused to leave Rin's side. Rin employed her Battle Meditation even as Seneka Yari cut her way through to the top of the Misty Falls with a lightsaber of her own. She struck down most of the slaves, but Keltrayu took up Rin's lightsaber and dueled the Nightsister, holding her at bay until she blasted him aside with Force lightning.
Rin came to his rescue, using the lightsaber to duel Seneka herself. After she killed the witch by dropping her off the waterfall to the rocks below, Rin resumed Battle Meditation, and the Nightsister army broke. At the clan celebration that night, Rin declared that Keltrayu had saved her life by holding off Seneka until Rin was prepared to fight. Nelani Kaa protested the theory, but the clan elders sided with Rin, and Keltrayu was freed from being a slave.
Initially ecstatic, Keltrayu was startled when Rin went on to confess that she had not only once been a Nightsister, but had taught them and had been part of the attack that devastated the Frenzied River Clan, though she had nothing to do with the massacre of innocents perpetrated by Seneka Yari. The clan elders agreed that Rin had made what amends she could, but were united in their desire for her to leave Dathomir. Rin approached Keltrayu, offering to take him with her and train him as her apprentice. Though her revelation had shocked him, he could sense how difficult it had been for her. He also remembered that she alone had treated him like an equal when he had been a slave, and knew innately that his greatest possible destiny would be at her side. Keltrayu accepted Rin's offer, and they left on a ship full of mercenaries Rin had mind-tricked into helping them.
Rin began training Keltrayu immediately, breaking him out of his habit of viewing the Force as "magic". As they ship-hopped from world to world, she helped him refine his senses and interpret the world around him with only his mind. They found themselves being observed by an Arcona on Ketaris, but he fled before Rin could speak to him.
The pair purchased a Delta-class JV-7 escort shuttle, which Rin named the Wanderlust, on Ord Mantell. Now independently mobile, Rin took her apprentice to Nelvaan, introducing him to her Massassi servants and the native Nelvaanians who had formed a mixed community with the Massassi. Keltrayu was impressed by the Vengeance, Rin's personal cruiser, but she opted to use the Wanderlust to continue their travels, preferring its stealth and the fact that it required only the two of them to crew.
The memory of the Arcona nagged Rin, and she took Keltrayu to try to find him. He narrowly evaded them on several worlds until Eriadu. Rin split off from her apprentice, giving him her lightsaber and telling him to trust his instincts. Following the guidance of the Force, Keltrayu took up a hiding place on the boarding ramp to a luxury liner. Pursued by Rin, the Arcona started up the ramp, but froze when Keltrayu stepped out of concealment, the golden blade active in his hand.
Surrendering himself to them, the Arcona finally explained. His name was Taz Merot, and he was a Warden of the Sky, part of a secretive Force-using order dedicated to protecting the spacelanes from pirates. He offered to take Rin and Keltrayu with him as students, and Rin agreed. She and Keltrayu left the Wanderlust on Eriadu and went with Merot on the very ship on which he had tried to escape them.
Over the following year and a half, Keltrayu learned from both his teachers. Taz taught him how to channel the Force through his body, using it for martial arts. Between Merot's Warden style and Rin's Var Shek and Teras Kasi, Keltrayu developed his own style which incorporated several elements. Rin also taught him to use telekinesis while continuing to refine his telepathy. As a slave, Keltrayu had learned to suppress his emotions. Rin drove him into himself to confront them and understand them fully. The training initially made him stressed, weary, and impatient, but over time Rin helped him harness the power of his emotions without succumbing to their control.
In their fourteen months with Taz, Keltrayu and Rin learned to move and mingle among all classes in the galaxy without drawing attention to themselves. From posing as a mechanic with Taz, Keltrayu also learned the basics of mechanics. In their time together, the three encountered only two pirate attacks, but they triumphed in all three. It was in a pirate attack that Keltrayu first took a life, surmounting his fear of the larger Gamorrean and using a vibroblade to cut its throat. Rin helped him examine his feelings about the fight, accept them, and move on.
Eventually Rin decided to end their time with Taz, and the three returned to Eriadu. Taz offered to take Keltrayu as his permanent apprentice, training him to be a Warden too, but Keltrayu was not interested. The past two years had cemented his desire to learn from Rin, and he stayed with her as they retrieved the Wanderlust and set out.
Since not long after leaving Dathomir, Rin had told Keltrayu of the Zeison Sha, a reclusive sect of telekinesis masters on Yanibar. She took her apprentice there, avoiding a slaver attack by ripping apart the minds of the slaver pilots. Eventually they made their way to the far Outer Rim and discovered the planet. The Zeison Sha were not fond of outsiders, but accepted Rin and Keltrayu as members of their society provided they made themselves useful. Keltrayu's physical and Force strength, combined with his sense of responsibility and cleanliness from his time as a slave, endeared him to his new hosts.
Already resilient and physically hardy from growing up on Dathomir, Keltrayu took Yanibar's ferocious climate in stride. Since the Zeison Sha were unlikely to leave Yanibar and even less likely to tell outsiders about them, Rin finally felt comfortable training her apprentice openly. They regularly worked on lightsaber combat and various uses of the Force in the body for speed, pain control, and acrobatics. Keltrayu sparred hand-to-hand with several Zeison Sha as well as Rin, and learned to use the discblade. The Zeison Sha built on his early telekinesis training, and he spent long hours learning to move everything from pebbles to boulders, as well as controlling his discblade throws.
In 80 ABY, when they had been on Yanibar for nearly two years, Rin commissioned Keltrayu to build his own lightsaber. She sent him into the planet's unforgiving wilderness with only his Dathomiri staff and some food. He traveled, following the Force's guidance while using its power to fend off exhaustion and control hunger. Twice he was attacked by packs of voorcats, but his staff proficiency and his Force powers were enough to kill a couple and drive off the rest. Eating the ones he had slain and using their pelts as insulation against the dry winds, he finally found a deep ravine.
Crawling down hand-over-hand, nearly falling to his death when the gorge was lashed by a powerful storm. When he reached bottom, however, he found a crystal formation, and took several green crystals for himself. In the depths of the ravine, he built his lightsaber, carefully rationing the water he had left and the remaining voorcat meat. When his lightsaber was completed, Keltrayu climbed back up to the surface and returned to the Zeison Sha. Everyone other than Rin had thought him dead, but though he had returned haggard, exhausted, and noticeably thinner, Rin simply smiled proudly and congratulated him on a job well done.
Rin and Keltrayu stayed on Yanibar only a few more months before Rin felt they had learned all they could. Keltrayu's telekinesis had improved to match the skills of many fully trained Jedi Knights and Sith Lords, and he could quickly and efficiently lift almost anything in his path, including other people.
The Force and the vision
Rin decided to turn her and Keltrayu's education to Force philosophy after leaving Yanibar. They stopped on Kohlma, investigating stories of the Bando Gora until it became obvious that the long-dead sect had only maintained control over their adherents through drugs. Master and apprentice also examined the ruins of Massassi temples on Yavin 4, as well as the ruined Jedi Praxeum.
But it was a visit to Ruusan that changed Keltrayu's life. He was interested in history, and Rin took him with her to the Valley of the Jedi. At the Force nexus there, both experienced overwhelming visions. Keltrayu saw Rin, tired, wasted, and nearly beaten, facing down a gargantuan rancor with glowing blue teeth. He knew that he alone could save her, but doing so placed him squarely in the rancor's path, and it consumed him. Keltrayu could not tell whether he saw a metaphor or something more literal, but felt for certain that his was an image of the future, and he would some day hold his master's life or death in his hands. Greatly unsettled, he refused to discuss his vision with Rin when they left.
On a subsequent visit to Almas, the lingering, corrupting power of the dark side in the fortress there began to pick at Keltrayu's fear for his master, taunting him with the idea that he would be unable to protect her until she used her telepathic powers to shield both their minds from the fortress' influence. Haunted by the conflict between his vision and his fears, Keltrayu was almost glad when Rin took them on a tour of several insane asylums and she sought to understand—and replicate—the process of fear in the mind. By the time Rin was satisfied with her progress, Keltrayu had gotten his own fears under better control, but he resolved that he would not fail to protect Rin if the task ever fell to him.
Rin took her student to Kashyyyk, hoping to find members of the secretive Claatuvac Guild and learn their little-known hyperspace routes. Her search led them to Rakhuuun, where they found the Wookiee Kowrrilop being attacked by Trandoshan slavers. Rin used her new power of Force insanity to paralyze the slavers with terror. A few tried to fight, but Keltrayu cut them down easily. Grateful, Kowrrilop pledged a life debt to Rin, which she accepted after some hesitation.
Kowrrilop was an expert mechanic, and substantially upgraded the capabilities of the Wanderlust. He also helped Rin and Keltrayu buy and modify a pair of YVH 1 combat droids for lightsaber sparring, allowing them to practice frequently aboard the ship. Keltrayu initially spoke little Shyriiwook, but Rin was able to translate by reading Kowrrilop's thoughts. Though at first jealous about sharing his master's attention with someone else, Keltrayu came to look on Kowrrilop as a friend over time.
Kowrrilop's knowledge of Deep Core hyperlanes enabled them to visit Empress Teta and Tython, though hyperspace distortion cancelled a planned trip to the ruins of Byss. Rin took them as close as she dared to Galactic Center, and even Keltrayu's trust in her was strained by their proximity to the supermassive black hole, although she took them out again without incident. They also visited the Imperial Remnant, and Rin taught Keltrayu Quey'tek meditation so he could remain undetected by Imperial Knights; though Rin herself had less success with the technique, Keltrayu mastered it almost immediately.
Rin, Keltrayu, and Kowrrilop also visited Ziost, exploring the ruins of the Sith Empire there.
The trio went to Alpheridies so Keltrayu and his master could learn from the Miraluka, blind masters of Force Sight. They stayed for six months, and early on Rin made Keltrayu wear a blindfold almost all day. He was uncomfortable with the sensory deprivation, especially when Rin made him work with remotes and blaster bolt deflection or even spar with her or the YVH 1s blindfolded. However, the Miraluka helped the pair learn to see through the Force, and Keltrayu's abilities slowly improved. He developed particular abilities to sense the presence of others, and could always at least feel the contours of a room around him.
Rin had a desire to visit the mythic Aing-Tii Monks in the Kathol Rift, and took Keltrayu and Kowrrilop with her. As they neared the xenophobic aliens, Keltrayu began to suffer hallucinations of fearsome monsters and phantoms in space until Rin made telepathic contact with a Sanhedrim ship and persuaded the captain to allow them aboard. Their stay with the Aing-Tii was short, and Keltrayu had only begun to explore the concept of flow-walking when Rin decided it was time for them to leave.
Rin developed an interest in the Celestials, and though her search for the Mind Walkers at the Maw was fruitless, she and Kowrrilop scoured records on several worlds for any records about them. She began to discuss her interest in the Unknown Regions with Keltrayu, and asked him about the legends of the Kwa on Dathomir, though he knew little but ancient stories. The more Rin learned, the more she wanted to know, and Keltrayu began to sense that his master was resolving a plan at the end of their wanderings.
The war masters
While Rin was still pondering, Keltrayu asked to visit Eshan and study with the Echani combat masters there. Having no better plan, Rin agreed, and they and Kowrrilop sought out an Echani mercenary group which took them on as students. Keltrayu spent much of his time learning Echani staff fighting techniques and adding them to his combat repertoire, as he still carried his Dathomiri battle staff in addition to his lightsaber.
After Eshan, Rin took her companions to Thyrsus, where they pursued legends of the Sun Guard, and Mandalore, where they researched war. Keltrayu learned everything he could about Mandalorian battle tactics; though Rin had made him fearsome in a one-on-one fight, he knew comparatively little about tactics involving armies and navies, and Rin implied that such things would become vital to their success in the near future.
After Mandalore, Rin pulled Keltrayu aside and told him of her plan. Although Kowrrilop had been invaluable to them, a good and loyal friend, he could not follow where she intended to go. Keltrayu was initially terrified that Rin planned to say goodbye to both of them, but only slightly mollified when she told him she intended to erase the Wookiee's memory of them. Rin eventually brought him around to her belief—if he came with them, he would never see his family again, and unlike Keltrayu, he had loved ones he would have to leave—and he made his peace with the plan by the time Rin actually wiped Kowrrilop's memory of them and left him where they had found him on Rakhuuun.
Rin and Keltrayu returned to Nelvaan to complete Keltrayu's training. The Massassi captain of Rin's guard had died, and a native Nelvaanian chieftain succeeded him, but the Massassi were teaching the Nelvaanians to pilot the Vengeance. Leaving them to it, Rin helped Keltrayu synergize the many things he had learned into a single, cohesive whole. Over the two years from 84 ABY to 86 ABY, Rin refined Keltrayu's lightsaber talents, perfected his ability to communicate with her from kilometers away and read the emotions and thoughts of those around him, and honed his combat abilities until he could defeat the Massassi and Nelvaanians.
During those two years, Keltrayu's feelings began to change, so subtly he himself was barely aware of them and Rin missed the change entirely. He had been with Rin for a decade, learning from her and fighting by her side, and in the process getting to know her character better than almost anyone. They were still master and apprentice, but she confided in him regularly, outlining her theories of government and the Force and accepting his thoughtful observations and critiques. He could usually sense her emotions unless she was deliberately keeping him out of her head, and telepathic communication became as easy for them as speaking. Keltrayu could not imagine his life without her, and simply being in her presence gave him peace.
A new companion
In 86 ABY, Rin declared that Keltrayu had developed the full proficiency she expected from him, and fell out of the habit of referring to him as her apprentice. He sensed his master's resolution and knew the time was at hand for action. Before they could leave, though, she was struck with a horrific vision so powerful it pained Keltrayu to sense it. Ordering the crew to raise the Vengeance, Rin set them all on course toward Junkfort.
Rin went alone to Junkfort Station, despite Keltrayu's protestations, and he spent a few days worrying for her until she returned with her brother Tariun. His wife had died and, grieving, he had fallen into alcohol and drug abuse and despondency on Junkfort. Rin helped him clean up, and when he had sobered she introduced him to Keltrayu, the Massassi, and the Nelvaanians. The Sith Lord took the Massassi-Nelvaanian community in stride, but he and Keltrayu quickly became friends. Time with Kowrrilop, as well as the past two years with the Vengeance's crew, had helped Keltrayu overcome his issues about sharing Rin's attention. The two men sparred often and shared their experiences.
The path to Empire
After Tariun had gotten settled, Rin called him and Keltrayu in to help her draft what became the Charter of the Golden Empire. They helped her refine her language and translate her political theories into words, securing the rights she wanted to protect while leaving her authority to exercise vast power as Queen. It was Keltrayu who came up with the Sovereign's Birthday as one of the official holidays in the Empire's calendar.
In order to provide the Empire with a force sufficient for its foundation—they could not conquer worlds with only the Vengeance and a trio of Force-sensitives—Rin journeyed to the Denarii Nova where her father's fleet lay hidden. She instructed Keltrayu to remain out of sight while she confronted her father, and Tariun joined him shortly thereafter, having had no success in persuading his father. He restrained Keltrayu from acting as they both sensed the confrontation become a duel. Rin emerged victorious and claimed the fleet and its Massassi army for herself.
Rin used her Force powers to help her fleet steer straight through the hyperspace distortion at Galactic West, into the Unknown Regions. Both Tariun and Keltrayu were nervous, though they hid their misgivings from the Massassi; several times they missed stars by only tens of millions of kilometers. When they finally emerged into the Unknown, they were almost immediately accosted by a Duinuogwuin. When Rin stood down the fleet from battle alert, it was Keltrayu who assured Tariun to trust her, though he was also a bit leery as the giant beast landed on the Sith Star's bridge and conducted a silent, telepathic conversation with Rin for hours. When the Dragon departed, Keltrayu asked how she felt, and smiled at her characteristic response: "Humbled".
Though Rin desired to visit Quadia, the ancestral homeworld of her mother's people, the Empire's forces found their way to Abstalia first. Keltrayu accompanied Rin to the Meet, a quintannual meeting of the Abstalians, and tried to ease Tariun's nervousness as his sister fought the Abstalian Phoenix. Having witnessed Rin's powers in action for over a decade, Keltrayu was unsurprised when his master won the battle and the allegiance of Abstalia, and respected her decision to make the Phoenix the symbol of the Empire.
Keltrayu fought in the Liberation of Quadia, and in the aftermath he discovered a Force-sensitive Qua child, Te`net Organi. Rin and Keltrayu convinced the boy to join the government and they, along with Tariun, began training him to use the Force. Over the next several years, Keltrayu identified several other Force adepts, including Vessyk and Eskol Kaartinen. He taught them all lightsaber combat and telekinesis under Rin's overall instruction.
Keltrayu became Rin's foremost warrior and agent, and learned from Tariun and Rin how to command armies and navies, negotiate with alien species, and investigate crimes and other internal threats to the Empire. When Rin formed her collection of Force-sensitive disciplines into the Order of the Golden Empire, she set Tariun to command it as Prefect, but made Keltrayu its first field officer, the first Centurion. He accompanied her to most of her new worlds, and took a particular liking to Keliso.
In the thirteen years between the foundation of the Empire and its first major war, Keltrayu pursued a few brief romances, as did Tariun. However, as time went on, Keltrayu realized why his dalliances brought him so little satisfaction. He had put token effort into finding a woman that would completely fulfill him, but was deeply conflicted when he realized that the only woman he could ever really love was the one beside him. Frightened by his feelings and knowing Rin's total commitment to her mission, he hesitated to speak to her about his revelation, and even continued to date and flirt casually in order to hide his real feelings. As time went on, however, the charade became more tiring, and Keltrayu gave it up.
In 100 ABY, the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob fought a brief Skirmish at Quadia and provoked the Great Liberation. As the Empire shifted to war footing, Rin interrogated prisoners from the subsequent Skirmish at Yin and, after "downloading" Orhyo from their minds, Rin "uploaded" it into Keltrayu's. He was slightly disoriented, but set off into Tetrarchy territory on a reconnaissance mission. Journeying through the Xoquon sector, asking casual questions and using mind tricks to throw off pursuers, he learned about the structure of the Tetrarchy, including its two-tiered system of vassal and member worlds, as well as personal details about the Tetrarchs themselves.
Reporting back to Rin, Keltrayu helped her, Tariun, and the senior commanders devise a military strategy. He and Tariun engineered a shadowfeed into the Tetrarchy HoloNet, adding their own stories and propaganda to the official government account. He commanded the fleet at the Battle of Wemod while Tariun flew with his new Red Squadron. Keltrayu was at Rin's side when the Empire was forced to retreat after the debacle that was the Battle of Hudrel, and he and Tariun commanded the unsuccessful defense of Tershin. Keltrayu later succeeded in commanding the ground forces that rescued Bolera during the Tetrarchy invasion.
When the Empire reeled from the Battle of Irestego, Rin called her commanders together to come up with a new strategy. Tariun and Keltrayu united behind the idea of an all-out attack on a single enemy world, massing every ship and soldier in a "win or die" strike. Eventually they persuaded Rin, and the command group picked the military depot at Tizgo V for its attack.
We trust you. I trust you. And all of us would rather die fighting for you than live to see your dream die.
—Keltrayu to Rin
At the enormous Battle of Tizgo V, the Royal Navy dueled the Tetrarchy fleet while Tariun and Keltrayu accompanied Rin to the surface. Keltrayu and Aquila Corcer led a raid on a Tetrarchy defensive fortification while their troops distracted the enemy with a frontal assault. Later in the first day, Keltrayu was at the head of a Massassi Cohort that stormed the capital city, meeting Tariun's cohorts on the streets of the military district.
In the second day of battle, the Royal Army attempted to hold its gains against the massed Tetrarchy forces. As the day wore on, Keltrayu became concerned for Rin, who was exhausted after holding out Battle Meditation for two days and a night. He convinced Tariun to help him lead an attack on the Tetrarchy left flank, which distracted forces to them. They had just begun to attract major attention, however, when a disturbance in the Force compelled Keltrayu to return to his master's side.
Rin's columns of Massassi, backed by the Novices of the Order, were confronted with a shock tank. Tariun and Keltrayu attempted to clear a way to the tank, but their Massassi soldiers were unable to break the Tetrarchy lines and the tank was nearly fully charged. Suddenly, Keltrayu intuited that this was the moment he had foreseen; Rin's life hung in the balance, and only he could save her. Without hesitation, he leapt onto her command bunker, then used the Force to catapult himself toward the tank. He managed to deflect several blaster bolts in midair, though others caught him in the stomach and thigh. But he survived long enough to jam his blade through the energy relays beneath the tank's armor, disrupting the flow of power to its discharge plates.
Keltrayu had only an instant to realize the tank was doomed and he had succeeded in saving Rin. Then the power conduit exploded and a tendril of energy blasted out, scorching through his chest and killing him instantly. As he began to fall, the shock tank exploded, vaporizing his body.
I foresee generations of heroes who will follow the example of this great man, in whom the Empire will be justly proud. But there will never be another Keltrayu.
Shattered by the grief of her best friend's death, Rin let out a Force Scream that broke the morale of the Tetrarchy army. Even when she cut it off and switched back to Battle Meditation, the enemy never recovered, and the Royal Army massacred them. In the aftermath of the Battle of Tizgo V, Rin declared that enemies would have only a single chance to surrender, after which there would be no mercy—she would not risk such a horrific loss again. Tariun led a Raid on Ommol to destroy the shock tank factory and swore on the shadowfeed that any army found using such a weapon would be executed to the last being.
When the war ended, the Sev'layas of Keliso built Keltrayu's Tomb, a monument to honor him. Aquila Corcer gave Rin the suggestion to rename the Order of the Golden Empire for her fallen apprentice, and at the dedication of the Tomb, she announced the newly minted Order of Keltrayu. Keltrayu was held up as the eternal model for all Centurions, the embodiment of not only skill and dedication, but loyalty and self-sacrifice. In every list of Centurions (even those which were otherwise alphabetical), his name always appeared first. His death deeply affected many of those who knew him well, especially Te`net Organi and Aquila Corcer. Tarzg Sav'lir, who later became Rin's first permanent Royal Guard and one of her most adamantly loyal servants, considered Keltrayu his personal hero and the best man he had ever known. Facing the deadly Saarai decades later, the Chiss Novice Vos'elk'eetash staunchly refused to surrender, calling herself an "heir of Keltrayu" as a member of the Order and refusing to sully his memory by giving up.
The Qua know better than most the idea of eternity, but the life or death of the body pales next to the greatness or smallness of the soul. We are only so great as we help others, and by that standard, Keltrayu the Liberator, ever the friend of Qua, will live forever.
—A Qua elder
Numerous other groups honored Keltrayu after his death. The poet Osibom of Wemod composed "The Fall of Keltrayu", an epic about Keltrayu's death that moved Rin to tears when she heard it. The native Gruhhzes of Tizgo V eventually built a memorial on the site of Keltrayu's death, which became a pilgrimage place for Centurions and others who admired Keltrayu. A heavy cruiser class and a Star Destroyer of the Royal Navy were named in his honor.
Losing Keltrayu broke Rin Sakaros's heart, and Tariun speculated decades later that, while she could control her emotions, she had never really gotten over it. She was reluctant to discuss her late apprentice and often tense when she did so, although she encouraged the Order to honor his memory. While attending Nairasho's promotion to Centurion status in 146 ABY, Rin mused privately that Keltrayu's death had been the worst day of her life.
Powers and abilities
As Rin Sakaros's apprentice, Keltrayu was trained extensively in a number of Force powers. He was a capable telepath, able to read and influence the thoughts and emotions of those around him. His training with the Zeison Sha gave him both minute control of telekinesis and the ability to lift tanks and starfighters with only brief concentration. He could Force choke others, and could even do so while engaged in a fight or deflecting blaster bolts. He had a natural affinity for living things from his time on Dathomir and could calm predators. Due to his time as a slave and the need to be subservient and quiet, he had a natural affinity for Quey'tek meditation, and could vanish entirely from the perceptions of other Force users.
Due largely to Rin's training and his own tall, well-muscled stature, Keltrayu was a master of Djem So, though he also incorporated elements of Juyo into his swordplay when the opportunity arose. He also had training in a variety of martial arts, notably Var Shek and the Echani style, and was nearly as talented with a staff as he was with a lightsaber. Until the rise of Kieran Sapphire decades later, only Keltrayu could match Tariun Sakaros in combat.
Keltrayu was widely respected by Massassi for his leadership abilities in combat. He was also an effective teacher and imparted his knowledge of lightsaber combat and telekinesis to the first generation of Novices.
After they were together for years, Keltrayu developed the ability to sense Rin's emotions unless she intentionally used her powers to block him out, and vice versa. They were deeply in tune with one another's moods and able to communicate a great deal without speaking.
Appearance and personality
At roughly 1.8 meters (6'2"), Keltrayu was tall for a Human, and muscular despite his lean frame. He had sandy hair and sea-green eyes, and a perpetual tan to his skin that did not dissipate despite months on end aboard spacecraft. In Tariun Sakaros's words, "If that kid spends a day in the sun, he'll be bronze for a month". He carried a single lightsaber with a hunter green blade, as well as a Dathomiri battle staff wrapped with leather around the grips and repeatedly hardened and tipped with metal. Atypically, Keltrayu wore his lightsaber on his right side, despite being right-handed; he felt it allowed him to bring the weapon into a Djem So opening stance faster. A handful of Centurions (primarily Form V stylists) adopted the same practice, and wearing a lightsaber on one's dominant side became known as a "Keltrayu draw". Keltrayu himself preferred to wear animal hides, including a rancor-skin vest, though he wore a variety of more subtle clothing during his travels with Rin and when operating undercover. Despite shaving most days, he maintained an almost permanent five o'clock shadow along his strong jawline.
Having known the life of a slave on Dathomir, Keltrayu was intensely loyal to Rin Sakaros for giving him freedom and training him to use the Force. However, he also retained the ability to become demure and unassuming on command, which made him an excellent spy, as they translated well into the abilities to blend into a crowd and become almost invisible even in company. Though initially his time as a slave made Keltrayu an overly shy and hesitant apprentice to Rin (especially because, even though he was free, as her student he still called her "Master"), Rin's constant insistence on developing confidence and subjecting him to every trial imaginable made him stronger and more self-assured, forging an attitude of cool confidence without going so far as arrogance. He was very brave, especially in defense of his master. Keltrayu also developed a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor, which only increased after he and Rin united with Tariun Sakaros.
Keltrayu's relationship with Rin Sakaros was complex. She had delivered him from a life of slavery and armed him with the power of the Force, and as such his loyalty to her was unshakeable. Though Rin was over forty when the two met, her inordinately great longevity gave her the appearance of being only in her mid-twenties, and so Keltrayu came to view her as some combination of mother and older sister. In return, Rin was closer to Keltrayu than anyone else in the Golden Empire save her own brother Tariun. Over time, Keltrayu's affection for his master turned into genuine and deep love, though he never told her his feelings and she never suspected them. It was this overwhelming loyalty and love for Rin that compelled Keltrayu to sacrifice his life to protect her in 101 ABY.
Ten says she falls.
—Keltrayu, to Tariun, while Rin was fighting the Abstalian Phoenix in midair a thousand meters up
Aside from his absolute bond with Rin, Keltrayu was also a close friend of Tariun as well. The fact that the three were at first the only Force-users in the Golden Empire, and later the only masters, created an even tighter bond among them. Keltrayu and Tariun developed a habit of betting on nearly anything, including the results of fights and kill counts in battle, to Rin's mild annoyance. They usually bet small amounts (five or ten credits), often going back and forth with wins, though at one point Tariun was down 235 credits to Keltrayu.
As a teacher, Keltrayu was patient and encouraging, holding his students to high standards but helping them identify and capitalize on their strengths. He was well-liked by the Novices of the Order that ultimately bore his name, and his death hit several of them deeply.