Tariun: “He's lethality embodied.”
―Tariun Sakaros and Eskol Kaartinen discuss Rajj-Yo
Eskol: “That may be so, but I fear his maker was having such fun adding lethality that he forgot to add forethought…”
Hatched on Deshad in the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob, Rajj-Yo was not the largest or strongest of his crèche-pod, but he was by far the most ferocious, willingly enduring a variety of injuries to stand up for himself and never backing down from a challenge or a fight. By the age of six, he had killed two of his crèche-siblings, and was considered a favorite to be selected for the warrior caste. However, he had a pronounced inability to pick his battles, which made elder warriors leery. By the age of ten, he was one of the few younglings not yet chosen for a caste; the warriors considered him too unpredictable, and others were afraid of him.
In 101 ABY, the Glorious Armada of the Golden Empire invaded Deshad and helped the native Zykeds throw off the already-loose yoke of the Tetrarchy. Convinced to submit to her authority, the High Elders submitted Deshad to the queen's governance. While briefly touring her new world, Rin and her brother Tariun came across young Rajj-Yo. Tariun was impressed with the Zyked's boldness, but though Rin could sense his Force-sensitivity, she was initially leery about Rajj-Yo's obvious predatory and violent instincts. Conversing with the crèche-mothers did nothing to allay her unease—they were quite clear that they would not be sorry to see the back of him—but a combination of Tariun's persistent wheedling and pity for Rajj-Yo's obviously-unloved status led Rin to finally acquiesce and allow him to join the Order of Keltrayu.
For many years, Rajj-Yo was a poor fit among his fellow Novices; he retained his aggression and competitive nature, and frequently got in fights, necessitating regular intervention and correction from Rin and Tariun, along with several Centurions. Rin insisted, sometimes with Force-ful or even physical coercion, that Rajj-Yo relinquish his earlier habits and recognize that his fellow Novices were to be siblings and friends, not competitors, while Tariun attempted to channel the young Zyked's anger and attitude into something useful.
Lightsaber combat provided the first valuable outlet for Rajj-Yo's talents and set him on the path to self-control. Finally given a forum in which he could compete with his fellow Novices, Rajj-Yo took an early and deep interest in the study of the blade, practicing whenever anyone would let him, and occasionally sneaking out of his dormitory to practice even when others wouldn't let him. He began at last to develop some patience when the Novices ran through their lengthy, daily series of drills, realizing that practice, however boring, ultimately made him a better fighter than the "trial-and-error" method which had carried him through his youngest years. In addition, when he grew angry upon being struck in a sparring drill, lost focus, and was struck again when he succumbed to rage, Rajj-Yo began to learn the benefits of discipline, if not actual patience.
Another milestone emerged on a training mission to Feldirjo. Exploring in the world's jungle, Rajj-Yo at last bit off far more than he could chew when he engaged a native predator in a grappling match. The beast succeeded in biting off the Novice's tail almost at the base, leaving him with nothing but a bloody stump. Shocked and furious, he was prevented from seeking revenge by the Centurion to whom he was assigned. When he returned to the Sith Star, neither Rin nor Tariun were sympathetic, pointing out how Rajj-Yo's bravado and arrogance had caused his injury.
Excelling at all physical and combative aspects of the Force, Rajj-Yo loathed meditation, and so it was a regular punitive sentence from all of his instructors for misbehavior. Very gradually, he began to rein in his temper and combative instinct; while they were never gone or even far from the surface, by the time he became a Centurion, they were at least under control. Though many remained leery of him, several of his fellow Novices (usually those older and more talented at fighting) eventually befriended Rajj-Yo and helped him learn to socialize.
Early in 115 ABY, after nearly fourteen years of effort at self-control and discipline, Rajj-Yo was finally allowed to take the examinations to become a Centurion. He failed the situational judgment portion of the practical exam (twice), but eventually passed and became a full officer of the Order.
Rajj-Yo's first opportunity for important field experience presented itself almost immediately, as the Golden Empire was hunting down Red Eclipse. After Aquila Corcer and Melnanooin were killed trying to apprehend Red Eclipse's leader, the Zyked Zhin-Vel, nearly all Centurions were organized into pairs and teams and given authorization to pursue and eliminate Zhin-Vel by any means necessary. Rajj-Yo was paired with the more experienced and calm Eskol Kaartinen, and the two succeeded in tracing Zhin-Vel from Synno to Haerch, where they shot him down and pursued him to the surface. A combination of Kaartinen's cautious defensive expertise and Rajj-Yo's fearlessness overwhelmed Zhin-Vel's defenses, and Rajj-Yo decapitated the slaver. Their victory gained both Centurions great praise and fame in the Empire.
Rajj-Yo continued to fight whenever the opportunity presented itself, and was frequently assigned to missions requiring brute force and little tact. War allowed him to channel his worst traits into something useful and helpful, and he was never far from the front lines, seeing action at Sanduluc and Shel Du, as well as the Conquest of the Chiss Ascendancy in 137 ABY. When he was not actively at war, he was allowed (under supervision) to teach Form I to the Novices, as well as providing a renowned and intimidating law enforcement presence in trouble spots throughout the Empire. In his free time, he often visited his homeworld for sexual trysts with female Zykeds, though he had no interest whatsoever in a permanent mate.
During the Vagaari War, Rajj-Yo was assigned to the Prime Fleet under Tariun Sakaros, remaining there when Sorrik went south to repulse the Ssi-ruuvi Incursion. He was aboard the Sith Star when Nagarian Sakaros was brought there for safekeeping, and formed another of his inexplicable-to-others attachments to the boy. They developed a game in which Rajj-Yo would toss Nagarian into the air, wait as long as possible, and then dart under him and catch him, often with only seconds to spare. Introduced to him early, Nagarian had no fear of the Zyked and came to like him.
In the war, Rajj-Yo was often charged with ship-to-ship boardings. Since Tariun had no interest in mercy for the Vagaari, Rajj-Yo was unleashed to slaughter everything in his path through whatever means occurred to him. On a boarding party in 142 ABY, however, the Zyked was trapped on a ship that retreated into hyperspace, cutting him off from reinforcements. Rather than surrender or try to escape, Rajj-Yo stayed on the ship, subtly picking off crew members, feeding some into incinerators, ejecting others out airlocks, and simply eating still others. The Vagaari were unable to catch him, as he used the Force to divert their attention, and many began to suspect the ship was haunted.
By 143 ABY, the Vagaari were beginning to lose the war. Rajj-Yo's ship was in a pitched battle with the Prime Fleet when the Zyked finally exposed himself, infiltrating the bridge and massacring the entire crew. He gleefully contacted the Sith Star to inform a stunned Tariun Sakaros of the situation and arranged for the Empire to board and take the ship. Welcomed back to the Order as a hero, Rajj-Yo boasted widely of his accomplishment while complaining about the lack of different flavors among the Vagaari.
Immediately after the war, Rajj-Yo and Vem were sent to hunt down thirteen Centurions who had deserted the Order during the Tribulation. The Zyked had neither pity or remorse toward his former siblings, and while Vem's Force tracking abilities (combined with his natural hunter's senses) allowed them to hunt the deserters down, Rajj-Yo killed nine of twelve (the thirteenth voluntarily surrendered to Rin and was allowed to commit suicide). Rajj-Yo had never enjoyed peacetime, although he was allowed to visit Nar Shaddaa shortly after the Vagaari War ended. Nagarian was delighted to see him, although his mother Reiko Kaytana was uncomfortable having the mad-looking Zyked so close to her son. Alluria Solios, on the other hand, took an immediate liking to Rajj-Yo and sparred him regularly, though he defeated her every time.
In 144 ABY, Rajj-Yo went undercover with Breek Zagrev and Tarzg Sav'lir to divert the Imperial Knights from hunting Reiko. They were posing as mercenaries who had encountered her on a completely different system. Rajj-Yo consented to have Rin chop off his forearm, knowing it would ultimately protect Nagarian to protect his mother, though he complained repeatedly until the limb grew back.
Early the next year, the One Sith threatened Nagarian's family on Nar Shaddaa, and Rajj-Yo accompanied Vem and Aria Nikina to help repel the attack. After Vem toppled off a breaking catwalk after saving Aria, an infuriated Rajj-Yo dueled and single-handedly killed two Sith Lords. Rajj-Yo later helped the Merquise Syndicate rescue a half-dead Vem from Nar Shaddaa's underlevels.
Seeking rest after his battles with the Sith, Rajj-Yo returned to Deshad, where he was stunned to discover Seeg, his own flesh and blood, sired on a previous visit. The boy was strong in the Force, and so Rajj-Yo took him back to the Sith Star and offered him to the Order. Seeg was accepted, but Rajj-Yo quickly came to think little of his son, who was more upbeat and much less aggressive than his father. Tillandra Moraes tried to persuade Rajj-Yo to devote time to bonding with his son, with mixed results.
Eat ALL the bugses!
—Rajj-Yo's battle cry on Daispin
The Reawakened launched the Nightmare War against the Golden Empire in 149 ABY, and Rajj-Yo regularly fought at the front lines. He was present for the inaugural Defense of Daispin, where he butchered his way through several Skavik columns, at one point riding a Skav soldier drone across the battlefield. The Zyked also fought at the Defense of Rykar and was single-handedly responsible for the death of at least two Vyrak clones. He and Vem saved Tillandra and Rayne Turgachia from an attack by the Anzat clones, with the enraged Zyked ripping off the top of one clone's head.
Rajj-Yo was assigned to the Romasi Sector Fleet under Breek Zagrev and fought in the battles of Keliso and Quadia; Selish Anteran heard him cackling over his comlink on Quadia while slaughtering Skavik. Transferred to Tarse Medrego's Xoquon Sector Fleet, Rajj-Yo missed the Battle of Dolomir and its involved boarding of the Sith Star, leading him to complain for months about missing "the good fight".
Breek brought Rajj-Yo to Baes during her term as Consul of that world to help train her apprentice, Jinyx Windrunner. Breek had Rajj-Yo attack Jinyx in her room while Jinyx was sleeping to test her apprentice's ability to awaken and respond quickly to danger. Although Jinyx managed to fight off the mad Zyked, thereafter Rajj-Yo enjoyed teasing and harassing Jinyx whenever they crossed paths. He particularly enjoyed her annoyance when he called her "Baby Jade".
In 154 ABY, Rajj-Yo and Vos'elk'eetash assisted an Emergency Response Team from the Royal Corps of Gendarmes in apprehending the Bosh-Garratt slavers. The two Centurions snuck aboard the slavers' watercraft first; Rajj-Yo silenced one of the sentries before he could raise the alarm by tearing out the other Zyked's throat with his teeth. In the aftermath of the apprehension of the slavers and the liberation of their captives, Rajj-Yo remained on Deshad briefly to, in his words, "let the creche-mothers show their gratitude."
Jinyx Windrunner: We don't eat the natives.
Rajj-Yo: Bah! Jinyx just ate them raw, that's the problem. They'd be great with hot sauce...and onions...and kubits...mmmmmm...
Jinyx Windrunner: I was wrong for what I did.
Rajj-Yo: It's okay, Baby Jade. Easy to forget to bring hot sauce into battle. Rookie mistake, but you won't do it again.
―Rajj-Yo taunts Jinyx Windrunner about eating Garjo during the Battle of Renthiv
Rajj-Yo took part in the 155 ABY Battle of Renthiv, leading a major force through the southern portion of Renthiv's main continent; he boasted to Luna Raquelsei that he would have beaten her and Selish Anteran's combined kill total, but he "stopped for a snack". He remained onworld in the following weeks to keep the native Garjo in line and spar with some of his siblings, including Selkee. He also took the opportunity to torment Jinyx, who had unintentionally bitten and eaten pieces of some Garjo under the influence of Force Rage, by musing aloud on the taste of the natives.
In 156 ABY, during Breek's reign as Princess Regent while Rin and Tariun were out of the Empire, Selkee at last defeated Rajj-Yo in a sparring match, to the Zyked's grudging admiration. Shortly after, Rajj-Yo and Kieran Sapphire nearly came to blades when Rajj-Yo intentionally frightened Kieran's ward Nizenya; the incident was one of many things that led to Kieran's resignation and retirement to Irimor some months later.
Rajj-Yo was assigned to Selkee's command during the First Stratos Contention, along with Aearbo Manitani and Hataphri Rahn Kazot, and fought in every ground engagement, earning the respect of Selkee's battle guard for his warrior skill and ferocity. He was present during the Battle of the Scouring Star, and he often praised Selkee for "her" enormously high kill count afterwards, though he also accused her of "cheating".
In late 157 ABY, Te`net Organi returned to the Empire, having maimed Chindal and killed Eskol Kaartinen in a duel to prevent their Killik-Joined Imperium from exposing the Empire to the rest of the galaxy. Rajj-Yo was devastated by the death of his best friend and murderously enraged at Te`net, who had resigned from the Order. Rajj-Yo loudly and frequently accused Te`net of murdering Kaartinen over the following days, until Rin finally intervened and told the Order the circumstances of Kaartinen's death. Rajj-Yo remained resentful of the Qua.
The Zyked acted as one of Kaartinen's pallbearers at the funeral, utterly devoid of his usual animation. He attempted to deliver a eulogy for Kaartinen during the interment ceremony at Keltrayu's Tomb, but began crying partway through and gave up. His overt emotional reaction was deeply jarring to many watching Centurions, pushing several on the brink to start crying themselves.
Powers and abilities
Like all Centurions, Rajj-Yo had strong skills in telekinesis; his telepathy was not as strong as that of most of his siblings, though he could communicate with both Rin and Tariun Sakaros in that way. Despite his straightforward and relatively simple mind, many telepaths actually found his mind very difficult to manipulate; Rin quipped that his mind only had room for one thought at a time, leaving no space left over for others' intrusions. He made regular use of the most physical of Force powers, especially leaps, pushes, and Force speed, in combat. Kieran Sapphire and Elrabin Ralvik both noted that Rajj-Yo was adept at battlemind and Force valor, as he could fight almost indefinitely without growing weary.
Rajj-Yo was universally regarded by his siblings as the greatest master of Shii-Cho in the Order of Keltrayu, equal to Blademaster Kieran Sapphire, and before the Vagaari War was considered by Sapphire to be the fourth best bladebeing in the entire Empire, after Rin and Tariun Sakaros and Sapphire himself; after the war, he had been bumped down a slot after Breek Zagrev. Straightforward and single-minded by nature, Rajj-Yo worked well with both Shii-Cho's simplicity and determination and its emotionally charged nature. He also excelled at Var Shek due to his early experiences in grappling in his crèche-pod, and was a crack shot with a blaster. He had an affinity for grenades, and would sometimes wear a bandolier of them into battle.
Appearance and personality
At 5'11" (1.80 meters), Rajj-Yo was slightly short for a Zyked, but he was very strong and quick. His hide was mottled green and black, and he tended to smile, baring his sharp teeth, in a way that other Novices described as "manic" and "unsettling". He wore the uniform of the Order of Keltrayu without boots, due to his physiology, and almost always wore at least some armor (such as bracers or a chest guard) even when not in or even near combat. Actually in combat, he tended to wear a customized set of blood red, full body armor, minus a helmet. At some point during the Vagaari War, Rajj-Yo had the skulls of two Vagaari cast in plasteel and mounted to the shoulder guards of his armor; he named them Ilkaryalith and Bob.
I'll give you a hundred credits if he can even name all nine marks of contact. He doesn't care about winning gracefully or elegantly or with proper form. He cares about winning, by any means necessary. And in a life-or-death fight, that's what matters.
—Kieran Sapphire describes Rajj-Yo's style to Rayne Turgachia
Ferocious and aggressive, Rajj-Yo had a violent temper, though with training in the Order of Keltrayu he learned to focus it on proper outlets rather than unleashing on anyone who had slighted him. He loved combat and enjoyed both actual and simulated fighting, and would often challenge his siblings to sparring matches. Many avoided this whenever possible, and Rajj-Yo consequently fought often with the tougher Kieran Sapphire and Tariun Sakaros, as well as burly fighters like the Fyaar Vem and Rin's Massassi warriors. On the other hand, some Novices or Centurions looking to become better warriors would actually seek him out to test their skills against his; Breek Zagrev in particular enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Rajj-Yo.
Rajj-Yo had many personality characteristics which were repellent to others; aside from his violent nature and combat mania, he had an alarming habit of threatening to eat other sentients, and even occasionally did so, though always enemies. He would also bite his enemies in battle, which most of his fellow soldiers found deeply disturbing, and occasionally even rip limbs off his attackers.
Due to his questionable sanity and inherently strange personality, even for a Zyked, Rajj-Yo was substantially less reverent around his queen than any of his fellow Centurions. Though never actually disrespectful, he was the only person in the Empire apart from Tariun Sakaros who felt comfortable teasing Rin on a regular basis. Despite this unusual familiarity, he did have a genuine loyalty to Rin.
For her part, Rin was initially uncertain about Rajj-Yo's fitness as a Centurion, but eventually came to accept his personality quirks, and even tolerated his teasing in moderation. She considered him an "acquired taste".
Unlike his sister, Tariun was very fond of Rajj-Yo from the onset, and found the Zyked's instability and unsettling personality amusing and endearing. He sparred with Rajj-Yo often and, as Prime Legate of the Armada, ensured that Rajj-Yo saw as much field action as possible.
I've been from one side of the galaxy to the other, seen a thousand cultures on ten thousand worlds, and I don't think I've ever seen anything this bizarre.
—Rin Sakaros, on the friendship between Rajj-Yo and Eskol Kaartinen
Rajj-Yo and Eskol Kaartinen were good friends, which was confusing to most observers, as they had almost nothing in common; Kaartinen was measured, deliberative, calm, and gentle, about as far from Rajj-Yo as could be. However, the two forged a bond during Rajj-Yo's training, which was strengthened immensely when they hunted down Zhin-Vel together. Though rarely assigned together over the years, they remained friends throughout their lives.
Tillandra Moraes was the only Centurion to whom Rajj-Yo ever showed deference. Some attributed this to her revered status as a healer, while others believed her kind, mild-mannered personality touched something in the Zyked's heart. Whatever the cause, he was unfailingly polite to her and ferociously protective of her. In an early incident on the Sith Star, a Royal Navy crewman mocked Tillandra within earshot of Rajj-Yo, and the Zyked beat the man half to death before Tariun pulled him off. At the Defense of Rykar, his gleeful combat mania turned into bloodthirsty, psychopathic rage when Tillandra was threatened by the Vyrak Legions, and after maiming his opponent, Rajj-Yo ripped the man's face in half to punish him for trying to harm Tillandra.
Brothers and sisters always complaining! "Clean up, Rajj-yo!" "Stop tormenting Novices, Rajj-Yo!" "Spit out the Garjo's fingers, Rajj-Yo!" Bitch bitch bitch.
—Rajj-Yo complaining about his fellow Centurions while making a mess
Most Centurions found Rajj-Yo disturbing, and some were actually afraid of him. Rin would sometimes use him, like his brother-in-arms Vem, to teach Novices to overcome their fear of frightening things. Despite this, a good number of Centurions remained leery of their twisted brother.
Notable exceptions were Breek Zagrev, Kylaea Porén, Vem, and Vos'elk'eetash, who all sought out Rajj-Yo due to his reputation for warrior skill and ferocity, hoping to learn from him. Though a brutal, relentless, and painful teacher, he nonetheless eventually taught all four a number of tricks and tactics for lightsaber dueling and battle in general.
A few Centurions openly disliked Rajj-Yo, most notably the Royal Guard Tarzg Sav'lir. Tarzg found Rajj-Yo's impulsiveness and twisted nature repulsive, and was offended and horrified by the Zyked's overfamiliarity with Rin, and especially his habit of joking with her. He kept his peace only because Rin herself tolerated Rajj-Yo's eccentricities. Evelyan Sovex disliked him for similar reasons. Noelle was also not fond of Rajj-Yo, whom she found undignified, though her issues did not extend as far as active dislike.
Like most Zykeds, Rajj-Yo mated whenever the desire struck him, although his duties limited this to when he could return to Deshad. His couplings were always purely physical, with no lasting emotional attachment, and as such he avoided the requirement for the Sovereign to approve any Centurion marriages. Though Zyked children were raised in communal crèche-pods and thus tracing parentage was difficult, many Centurions wondered (some with more than a little apprehension) whether Deshad would be yielding up more Force-sensitive Zykeds for the Order in the years after each of Rajj-Yo's trips home. Their fears were realized when Seeg-Til came home, although the boy himself got along much better with the Order than his father.
Behind the scenes
Many aspects of Rajj-Yo's appearance, and especially his wide, unsettling smile, were based on the aptly-named satanic leaf-tailed gecko.