Sato Raltharan (/ˈsɑ:.toʊ ˈræl.θəˌrɑ:n/) was a distinguished Basca Centurion of the Order of Keltrayu. Considered one of the Order's finest swordsmen by his siblings, he was a renowned soldier and leader before becoming the last of the seven Centurions who perished at the Battle of Shest Minor.
Before the Empire
Born on Vytuia in 81 ABY, Sato was raised in a military family, the elder son of an illustrious noble and general in his country. He was brought up with the expectation that he would also become a great military leader. He was close with his younger brother Ephir; they spent little time together at school, but had similar attitudes toward life. At the age of sixteen, however, Sato deferred an appointment to a military academy to enroll in the Noble Order of the Pyriolari. Though disappointed that his son wasn't taking a direct path to the armed forces, Miyak Raltharan recognized the extreme prestige of the Order and approved his son's decision, believing that training among the master swordsmen would give him greater standing among his comrades in the long run.
Sato joined the main training temple of the Order, largely due to his father's influence, and studied under some of the finest masters of the Order. There, however, he proved himself to be more than just the scion of a famous name, moving through the ranks of the Piyriolari with atypical speed. After a single year, he was already an admitted Student, despite the fact that the rank usually took years to achieve. His instructors noted that he had an innate proficiency for the sword and an uncanny ability to react to his opponents' movements.
After four years with the Piyriolari, Raltharan had achieved the full rank of Piyriolarikos in close to record time. At that point, he could no longer put off his father's nagging, and enrolled in the military academy at Mandrak. At the age of twenty-three, he was appointed an officer in his army's forces, a year after Ephir. The brothers kept in touch though stationed apart, competing in a friendly way and sharing their thoughts on the military life. He served five years, distinguishing himself on the battlefield and rising to command rank, before returning to the Piyriolari at twenty-eight.
Having kept up his swordplay and sparred as often as possible with other blade enthusiasts he found in the army, Sato seemed destined to continue his meteoric rise up the ranks of the Piyriolari—until the Golden Empire came to Vytuia.
The old man of the Order
In 110 ABY, emissaries from the Golden Empire arrived on Vytuia and began negotiations to bring the world into the Empire. The Basca were impressed with the Empire's Armada, while the aquatic Zwushtu were indifferent, but agreed to the arrangement to prevent further strife with the Basca. Queen Rin Sakaros herself came to tour her new world with her brother Tariun and several of her Centurions.
Intrigued at the mention of the Noble Order, Rin visited the Foremost Temple with her retinue and asked to have her skills and those of her Centurions evaluated by the high masters of the Piyriolari. Though initially the masters were somewhat condescendingly amused, they were quickly humbled by the swordfighting displays of the Centurions. Though they somewhat petulantly conceded only the ranks of Swordsman and Duelist to the Centurions, they were unable to deny the level of Master to Tariun Sakaros himself (although they withheld the higher title of Grandmaster, to Tariun's annoyance). Rin, however, challenged the five most distinguished masters of the Order and beat each one in succession, then dueled them all simultaneously and again emerged victorious. Stunned, the wary masters awarded her the rarely-granted and almost mythic title of Wizard.
Sensing Sato's Force sensitivity and impressed with both his swordsmanship and military record, Rin and Tariun offered him a place in the Order of Keltrayu. Though he was much older than the average Novice and his father had hoped he would become a distinguished commander in the Armada instead, Sato was too impressed with Rin's display of power to consider any other possibility worthwhile.
In joining the Order at twenty-nine, Sato became the oldest person to become a Novice. However, he took to his studies with the same determination he displayed in the Piyriolari and the military, learning to employ the Force he had relied upon unknowingly in his early life. He quickly displayed potential to become a combat master, spending innumerable hours practicing lightsaber technique with the Sakaros siblings and his fellow Novices, as well as any Centurions who passed through, including Eskol Kaartinen and Aquila Corcer.
Despite technically being a Novice, in his later training Sato helped some younger Novices with their swordfighting. He also became a friend and mentor to the much younger Sorrik. In addition, he spent a good deal of time studying advanced spacefaring military tactics under Tariun Sakaros and various other officers of the Armada. Between these pastimes and his Force training, by the time he was commissioned a Centurion in 119 ABY, he was already a formidable presence in the Order and well-known to the military hierarchy.
Shortly after being commissioned, Sato received a host of field assignments requiring someone of commanding presence. He was often sent with "arbitration" parties when Rin expected that the quarreling groups would need to have a solution forced on them from above rather than arrived at by compromise. Tariun also sent him throughout the Empire whenever the Royal Army needed to suppress unrest or invade a new system.
Raltharan was Tariun's second-in-command during the Battle of Sanduluc and was responsible for a string of quick victories that overwhelmed the native resistance. Despite his noteworthy performance in this and other battles, his first love remained bladework, and Rin installed him as a Praetor-Instructor for the Order of Keltrayu, responsible for teaching Form V.
Raltharan served as an Instructor from 127 ABY to 131 ABY, where he became good friends with Te`net Organi. Afterwards, he was assigned to oversee military buildup in the border regions in preparation for the Conquest of the Chiss Ascendancy. Though many expected him to lead one front, Raltharan himself spoke privately with Tariun to defer that role to Sorrik; he preferred ground combat to space combat, and all three knew that the campaign Rin envisioned would be fought primarily with capital ships, not ground forces. Despite this, Sato still commanded the ground assault force in the Battle of Naporar.
After the Chiss were conquered, Raltharan was among several Centurions tasked with putting down insurrections and resistance. He also worked with Tariun, Sorrik, and several other military leaders to draft a plan to starve the remaining CEDF forces out of The Redoubt. It was Raltharan who discovered the Force-sensitive Chiss Vos'elk'eetash on Naporar and brought her to the attention of the Sakaros siblings.
During his Centurion service, Sato kept in touch with Ephir as much as possible. He was his brother's best man when Ephir married, and introduced Ephir to some of his colleagues in the Order, including Te`net.
In 139 ABY, Raltharan was made Consul of Kinoss, charged with keeping the former CEDF staging base in line. He ruled as a firm but fair governor, intolerant of rebellion but not vindictive to his former enemies. Ephir and his family visited Kinoss at least once.
When the Vagaari War broke out with the invasion of Cormit and the death of Sato's friend and fellow Consul Tesshen Manytrek, Sato initially remained in his Consular post to shore up defenses in the Ascendancy against further Vagaari incursions. When the Ssi-ruuk attacked the Empire from the south, however, Eskol Kaartinen assigned Raltharan as one of the Centurions sent south with Sorrik to address the threat.
Again preferring to serve as a military advisor rather than overall commander, Raltharan spent much of the campaign as a right hand man to Sorrik and Rin. However, he eventually transferred to the western theater to serve as Breek Zagrev's advisor, seasoning her determination and ferocity with some of the patience of age. He was the first Centurion to volunteer for her planned assault on Shest Minor, and his presence combined with Breek's helped to assure the other six.
In the Battle of Shest Minor, Raltharan assumed overall command of six cohorts on the first day of battle, acting as an unofficial subordinate Legate to Zagrev. On the second day he spent most of his time in camp, helping Breek and her other advisors plan out their assault on key Ssi-ruuvi positions. By the end of that second day, Raltharan was the only other Centurion left alive. Seeing Breek's devastation when the body of Atrelle Sovex was brought to her and realizing Breek hadn't slept since the attack force made its landfall, Sato coaxed her into sleeping for a few hours and assumed command of the battle himself.
When matters became worse for the front lines, Raltharan took the field personally, his presence driving his beleaguered troops on. However, despite his skill and force of personality, he could not fight the weaknesses of age forever. Wounded by an explosion, he was at last cut down in a withering hail of gunfire, dying just before his sixty-first birthday.
The death of Sato Raltharan was devastating to the morale of many Centurions, who had greatly respected the Basca Centurion and his skills. Te`net Organi and Kieran Sapphire were particularly saddened by the loss. Sato was interred in Keltrayu's Tomb on Keliso, in a special memorial constructed for the Shest Minor Seven.
Sato and Ephir were the subjects of the bestselling biographical work Brothers in Arms: The Raltharan Story.
Powers and abilities
Like all Centurions, Sato Raltharan received extensive training in telekinesis and telepathy, though he was more inclined to the physical aspects of the Force. He could perform mind tricks on others and could communicate with his siblings telepathically, but was not particularly adept at reading more than surface emotions. However, he was among the most proficient Centurions at Force Choke and was capable of summoning Force lightning.
Exhibiting an early aptitude for swordplay while training with the Noble Order of the Piyriolari, Sato quickly became one of the group's most promising students. When he was recruited into the Order of Keltrayu, he continued to develop his skills, switching from a steel sword to a lightsaber. By the time he was commissioned a Centurion, he was already one of the greatest Form V masters in the Empire, and only continued to improve. He contributed to the swordsmanship training of several other luminaries, including Kieran Sapphire and Breek Zagrev, and was one of the most highly respected blade instructors in the Order.
Due to his experience in the army on Vytuia and his continued study of war tactics after joining the Order of Keltrayu, Raltharan was a capable strategist and an inspirational leader. He frequently served as advisor and mentor to up-and-coming tacticians, both in and outside the Order.
Appearance and personality
Tall for a Basca at 1.75 meters, Sato had skin the color of rust and light brown eyes which Eskol Kaartinen described as "soulful and wise." Well muscled and powerfully built, he had the same pronounced ridges of hardened skin over his flesh that all Basca shared, including one curving down over each eyebrow and coming into a single hard line to the tip of his nose. He usually dressed in the service uniform of the Order of Keltrayu, although he wore armor over it when going into battle. He carried a single, sky blue-bladed lightsaber.
Stoic and grounded, Raltharan was a patient man, but not one to be trifled with. He was fair in his dealings with subordinates and merciful to defeated enemies, but ruthless in battle. Possessing the gift of inspiration, he was able to identify with troops he led into combat, particularly given that he had never commanded more than a few hundred before joining the Order of Keltrayu. Despite his stern and serious nature, he was a helpful teacher and mentor to those seeking his wisdom. Many beings found his presence intimidating, due as much to his appearance as his reputation.