Kieran Sapphire was a male Nei Centurion of the Order of Keltrayu. A combat specialist, he excelled as a warrior, but found his true home in the study of the lightsaber, eventually becoming the first Praetor-Blademaster of the Order. He was the husband of Elith Curazo and the adoptive father of Nizenya Sapphire.
Born in 102 ABY, the same year the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob fell, Kieran was reported to recruiters from the Order of Keltrayu around his sixth birthday, when he leapt fifteen feet straight into the air to grab a balloon that had gotten away from him, exceeding even the normal agility and strength of the Nei. Approved as a Novice by Tariun Sakaros, Kieran trained for sixteen years, demonstrating an early proficiency for and interest in the art of lightsaber combat. He finally became a Centurion at the age of twenty-two in 124 ABY after conducting himself notably during the Battle of Sanduluc.
Though he did well on a number of law enforcement assignments through the Empire, Kieran's true love remained lightsaber combat, and nearly all his spare time was spent studying the forms. Recognizing the Nei's obvious preference for swordplay and his demonstrated ability to apply it in the field, Tariun appointed Kieran an instructor in the Order of Keltrayu in 131 ABY. In 133 ABY, Kieran began dating a Nei woman named Elith Curazo during a visit to his parents on Irimor. Kieran and Elith dated long-distance, and he eventually proposed marriage in 137 ABY with the understanding that it would be a long engagement; his Centurion service and her frequent work travel kept them apart. The two had still not married by 156 ABY.
Able to devote nearly all his time to swordplay, and learning from the Novices in his care even as he taught them, Kieran's skill continued to grow until Tariun and Rin Sakaros installed him as the first Praetor-Blademaster of the Order, having responsibility for the lightsaber training of all Novices, in 137 ABY. Though Kieran took to the field briefly during the Conquest of the Chiss Ascendancy, when the intense but brief conflict was over he returned to his new post and took to teaching the next generation of Centurions with gusto. He was particularly fond of Maki Centurion Arcantha Syr, who also demonstrated aptitude for swordsmanship. He began training Arcantha as a quasi-apprentice, helping her refine her swordplay.
In 149 ABY Kieran fought in the Battle of the Sith Star. Initially intending to defend the hangar bay, he instead delegated that command to Selish Anteran, going instead to intercept the Dark Jedi swordmaster Vev Nar. The two fought a duel in a corridor of the flagship, and though Vev Nar dealt Sapphire a light cut, the Nei pressed the attack and bisected him.
Sapphire remained Blademaster after the war, but began experiencing the aches and limitations of age. Tillandra Moraes speculated that he might need knee replacement surgery within a few years, and he consciously began helping Arcantha hone her skills to the limits of her potential, intending for the Maki to eventually replace him as Blademaster.
Kieran participated in Operation Broken Chain in 156 ABY, alongside Arcantha and several other Centurions. He and Arcantha fought a pitched battle with Blazing Chain slavers on the landing field before Kieran leapt aboard a transport attempting to flee the planet with hostages. He found a pirate holding a blaster to Nizenya Salaam's head. Telepathically asking Arcantha to bring the ship down, Kieran dropped his lightsaber; before the pirate could shoot him, Arcantha's saber throw took out the freighter's repulsors and sent it into a nosedive. The Nei quickly snatched up his weapon and dispatched the pirate, but saw Nizenya in the middle of the hold, paralyzed with fear. Abandoning any chance to protect himself, he picked her up, shielding her body with his arms; in the crash, he was thrown against a wall and suffered a broken shoulder and several broken ribs.
Medevaced to the Sith Star, Kieran awoke to find Nizenya waiting beside his recovery bed in the Citadel. She had refused to leave his side, screaming when Royal Army troops tried to evacuate her until Luna Raquelsei and Selish Anteran intervened. Sensing her connection to him, Kieran allowed her to stay nearby, and she gradually became his ward. Aria Nikina, now Prefect, allowed the arrangement.
Though easily startled and slow to speak, Nizenya caused no trouble in the Citadel, though she rarely strayed far from Kieran's side and often followed him around, holding his tail. Kieran was protective of her in turn, and worked to nudge Nizenya out of her shell; she slowly befriended Tillandra, Rayne Turgachia, Arcantha, and Nike Sakaros. However, she remained closest to Kieran, and sat outside his recovery room when he finally consented to knee surgery. Kieran had her see psychologists aboard the Star; Rin Sakaros herself reviewed the results, and was startled to find a picture Nizenya had drawn of herself and Kieran with the Nei labeled "ashop"—the Ryl word for "daddy".
Over time, it became obvious to Kieran that the Citadel was not the ideal place to raise Nizenya; as the only being present who was not Force-sensitive, she would always be second-class among the Novices. Her skittishness had not abated even as she formed tentative friendships, and so she had no interest in the Order's martial training. Some Centurions privately questioned why she was allowed to be present, and Kieran nearly came to blows with Rajj-Yo when the Zyked intentionally frightened Nizenya; only Tillandra's intervention kept the two Centurions from drawing their lightsabers.
Kieran considered sending Nizenya out for adoption through the Empire's social services, but felt depriving her of her parent figure would do irreparable harm. He had also grown to love the girl, and knew he could protect her better than most other beings. Eventually, desiring both a chance to provide Nizenya a stable and more normal home and to finally give Elith the full-time relationship he had been promising her for the better part of two decades, Kieran resigned his commission and retired from the Order of Keltrayu during the New Year Fete Week of 157 ABY. Like many retired Centurions, Kieran was allowed to continue carrying his lightsaber as a civilian. At his recommendation, Arcantha succeeded him as Praetor-Blademaster.
Kieran formally adopted Nizenya, and the two moved in with Elith on Irimor. The young Twi'lek experienced some anxiety leaving the Citadel, but Elith quickly grew fond of her, and Elith and Kieran began planning their wedding at last. In addition to helping Elith in her shop, Kieran occasionally taught armed and unarmed combat techniques to local law enforcement.
At the end of 157, Te`net Organi returned to the Empire with Chindal and the body of Eskol Kaartinen. Kieran served as one of the pallbearers at Kaartinen's funeral, and was allowed to bring Elith and Nizenya with him to the interment at Keltrayu's Tomb for moral support.
Kieran and Elith finally married in 158 ABY; Arcantha served as Kieran's principal attendant.
Powers and abilitiesThough possessed of the normal complement of skills displayed by any Centurion of the Order of Keltrayu, including especially strong telekinetic and telepathic abilities, Kieran's true love was lightsaber combat. His Nei physiology, combining grace, strength, and agility, gave him the ability to perform equally well in different styles, and due to constant practice and determination, by the age of thirty-five he had mastered Forms I, II, III, IV, and V. In addition, though the Sakaros siblings did not teach Niman to their Centurions, both believed that Kieran's mastery of the five earlier forms was so great that he had mastered the sixth by default. He knew of the existence of Juyo, but had not learned the actual details of it. By 141 ABY, he was the only Centurion who could match Tariun Sakaros in a sparring duel, even though the Sith Lord was over a century his elder. By the end of the decade, Breek Zagrev had also equaled him. Rin Sakaros believed Kieran's mastery went beyond dedication and effort, or even raw Force power, and that he was instead a natural prodigy for blade combat.
Though he had the skills at Var Shek required of any Centurion, Kieran seemed to the Sakaros siblings to be only really interested in the fighting style insofar as it could provide a melee supplement to his lightsaber fighting. He disliked blasters and other projectile weapons, viewing them as "lesser" weapons, though he trained to be able to counter them with his blade, and use telekinesis and saber throws to make up for the lack of distance.
Appearance and personality
Kieran stood 5'7" (1.70 meters), and had a lithely muscular build, though he was noted by many of his sparring opponents for being much stronger than he looked. After his retirement he put on a little weight, but was still quite fit for a man of his age and very strong. Like all Nei, his flesh was furry in some parts and straight skin in others; Kieran's fur, like the hair on his head, was russet-colored; in his fifties it began to go gray. He had bright yellow-green eyes. He filed the claws on his feet to wear boots more easily, though he kept the claws on his hands. His tail was noted for being constantly in motion, twitching at the tip even when Kieran himself was standing still.
Kieran's personality was defined by his love for the artistry and application of lightsaber combat, and he strove relentlessly to be a better swordsman, practicing with sparring droids and any fellow Centurion he could convince to fight him. He was loyal to Rin and Tariun Sakaros as well as the Golden Empire, and had great respect for the siblings and their fighting abilities. Kieran's students considered him a good teacher; though he demanded full effort and was rarely impressed, the Nei Blademaster would also go to great lengths to help his students improve their technique and personalize the lightsaber forms for their own use. Kieran had a very dry wit and a tendency toward sarcasm.
Although his technique was an eclectic mix of the many lightsaber forms he had mastered, Sapphire used a curved-hilt lightsaber, as he felt it gave him more precise control of his blade and enabled him to wield it just as well in one hand or both. He also spent extra time practicing blaster bolt deflection to compensate for the weapon's inherent weakness in that regard.
Meeting Nizenya changed Kieran's life forever, and it was his bond with her that finally convinced him to retire. He and Elith had a mutually supportive relationship; their bond had been strengthened by their multi-decade engagement, and while they were both independent people, they were comfortable relying on one another.
Behind the scenes
Kieran Sapphire's purring baritone is based on the voice of Ricardo Montalban.