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You have a tender heart, and it will serve you well in trials to come. Compassion can often be a hidden strength.
—The Force ghost of Mical to Cassi Trealus[src]

Cassi Trealus Kraen was born in 42 BBY[1] on the remote Outer Rim world of Bakura to a family of farmers.[2] She was the third of five children in her family, and the second daughter. Growing up, she was a somewhat quiet child, but very bright and adept at bargaining. As she grew older, she watched and eventually began helping her father, Larik Trealus, bargain with merchants over crop prices at the spaceport in Bakura’s capital, Salis D’aar. Cassi soon proved herself as a hard bargainer and her father let her do the talking by the time she was sixteen. However, for much of her youth, while the rest of her siblings largely desired to stay on their peaceful homeworld, she dreamed of wandering the stars, or at least visiting other worlds. Her chance came when she turned eighteen, as her father had become wealthy enough to afford to send her off to distant Coruscant for a university education. Cassi hoped to spend a few years simply exploring the galaxy and then return home to Bakura and become a teacher.[1]

At the university, Cassi soon discovered she had a knack for linguistics, with the Bakuran disdain for droids contributing somewhat to that, as most Bakurans interested in offworld trading had to at least be able to understand a few other languages. However, two years after she started her schooling, the Clone Wars broke out. Cassi’s parents’ home on Bakura was devastated by the war, though they managed to avoid being caught by the Force Harvester employed by the Separatists. The loss was enough to set back the Trealuses financially and her parents implored her to return home, but Cassi refused.[1] Persevering by taking up odd jobs at a local spaceport, Cassi continued to meet and mingle with other spacers and other species, honing her language skills and supervising the transactions of dozens of cargos. She finished her degree in Zabraki two years later after scoring at least “proficient” on several other languages and was prepared to accept a job as a teacher’s assistant at her university. This job would have prepared her for a full-time career as a professor of linguistics, but General Grievous’ attack on Coruscant in 19 BBY changed all that. Cassi wasn’t at the university during the attack, which was fortunate for her, since a crashing Venator-class Star Destroyer obliterated most of it. With the university system in chaos, she quietly departed, returning to the spaceport she knew well, hoping to find another permanent job, or at least a way back to Bakura. The deaths of so many of her colleagues and students had soured her against Coruscant and she desired to be off the galactic capital.[2]

It was during this time that she met R’hask Sei’lar, the Bothan captain of the light freighter Hawk-bat, and his first mate, Jorgesoll Knrr. Cassi helped them out of a tight spot and the Bothan repaid her by offering her a job as cargo master for the ship.[2] She agreed readily and soon had her few belongings packed and loaded on the freighter by the time Sei’lar returned with the ship’s engineer, Sarth Kraen, and the new pilot, Micor Kraen. On their first cargo run, Cassi and Sei’lar had arranged to take a cargo of textiles to Bespin. As one of the first cargo ships from Coruscant to reach the mining world after the war’s end, the crew of the Hawk-bat made a windfall profit. Sei’lar took his crew to a fancy restaurant to celebrate and after dinner, Cassi found herself dancing first with Jorge, and then with Micor. What she didn’t know was that Micor was actually Sarth’s brother, and Sarth had confided to him that he was attracted to Cassi. Micor deftly arranged for Cassi to wind up dancing with Sarth on the next song and although the engineer was less skillful in dancing than his brother, they both enjoyed themselves.[3]

The next trip the crew took was to the Corellian system, loaded with a cargo of Tibanna gas from Bespin to sell. However, in the outskirts of the Corellian system, the Hawk-bat was attacked by pirates; it was Cassi’s first time in combat. Slow to reach her battle station, she fell and sustained a small head wound during violent maneuvering, but otherwise the ship emerged from the encounter unscathed, courtesy of Micor’s piloting skill and some hidden weaponry on the Hawk-bat.[3]

Cassi2

Cassi Trealus circa 19 BBY

Cassi spent the next several months on board the Hawk-bat, serving as cargomaster and beginning to casually date Sarth. Although the ship’s crew wasn’t always prosperous, they made enough on their shipments to get by. On one occasion, a cargo of nerf-meat had spoiled due to faulty refrigeration storage units, costing the crew thousands of credits. However, they were able to overcome that debacle and pick up a cargo of metal from Duro. Captain Sei’lar took the ship to Commenor, where he planned on selling it, but he deliberately kept Cassi busy during this time in order to prevent her from investigating the cargo-Sei’lar was actually smuggling weapons to an anti-Imperial resistance group.[4]

Arriving on Commenor, Cassi remained with the ship with the captain and Jorge while Sarth and Micor went to visit Sarth’s parents, who lived on Commenor. They hadn’t been on Commenor for a day when the Hawk-bat received an urgent message from Sarth. Cassi answered the call and learned that the Kraen residence had been attacked. Upon informing the captain, the Hawk-bat immediately journeyed over to the house, where Micor had been badly injured, but both attackers had been slain. Cassi tried to comfort the distraught Sarth, but he was initially closed to her. Pressuring him further, she got him to reveal the nature and motive of their attackers. Sarth told her that he had been involved in weapons research for the Republic during the Clone Wars, but now the Mistryl Shadow Guard, a group of expansionistic warriors, were out to capture him for his knowledge. Though Cassi was shocked by the revelation, she resolved to stay with Sarth and help him as best as she could. Captain Sei’lar ordered him to remain on Commenor while the investigation was carried out; the Bothan was taking Jorge and Micor to New Holstice, and Cassi volunteered to stay behind with Sarth. However, for their own security, Sei’lar arranged for a local company, Durashield Securities, to provide protection for the Kraens and Cassi. However, friction began developing between her and Sarth when he began spending time with a member of the Commenor law enforcement, Annita Daowot, that he had known in his childhood. Cassi found herself growing more than a little jealous and fearful that Sarth was abandoning her for his old friend, who clearly had designs on him. When the Kraen family was moved to a remote safehouse, Annita tried to have Cassi sent to New Holstice to be with her crew, but Cassi refused, insisting that she stay with the Kraens. Annita reluctantly acquiesced and Cassi spent the next several weeks in a remote safehouse along with the Kraen family.[4]

Though the quarters were cramped, she did get to spend some time with Sarth, who took her out for a picnic. The conversation nearly degenerated into an argument over Annita, but Sarth managed to avoid the topic and instead told Cassi that he loved her. However, not three days later, a Mistryl team located and made a night assault on the safe house. Cassi, no warrior, was of little use in the defense and was easily disarmed by one of the Mistryl. However, the Durashield Security employees, specifically two former ARC troopers named Spectre and Twone, came to the rescue and slew the Mistryl, though Twone was fatally injured in the process. Cassi was relieved to find the Kraens were largely unharmed, and the entire group was evacuated back to the city of Munto for medical treatment.[4]

While there, another Mistryl called them, indicating that she had taken Annita Daowot as a hostage and would only let her go if Sarth surrendered. Cassi tried to talk him out of the idea, but Sarth would not be dissuaded, even after talking to Micor, who was returning to Commenor with the Hawk-bat. Micor informed them that R’hask Sei’lar was dead, though, slain by the Empire, and Cassi was grief-stricken to hear of the captain’s death. That event also cost her much of her loyalty to the Empire; having never really been part of the Republic, she didn’t care for the Empire at all in the first place. However, before Sarth could turn himself over to the Mistryl, Micor arrived and took his place, surrendering to the Mistryl in exchange for Annita’s life. Cassi watched as Spectre and Sarth went to retrieve Annita, but the concern Sarth showed for Annita’s welfare caused her jealousy to flare up again. Her emotions burst on Sarth and he tried to assure her that Annita was merely an old friend. The argument turned south, but in the end, Cassi accepted Sarth’s explanation, though she did ask him who a “Selu” that he had been mentioning was. Shocked by his lapse, Sarth swore her to secrecy and explained that Micor Kraen was actually his brother, Selu Kraen, and a fugitive Jedi Knight. Cassi also was called into an interview with Annita, and both women apologized to each other for their mutual misjudging.[4]

They returned to be with the others, including Jorge and Milya, a stowaway who had helped Selu on New Holstice, at the medcenter in Munto, unsure of what to do next. Milya managed to persuade Sarth, Cassi, Jorge, and Spectre to take the Hawk-bat to the Mistryl homeworld of Emberlene in an attempt to rescue Selu, chiding them for their lack of loyalty, and they agreed, knowing it was a foolhardy attempt at best.[4]

Arriving over Emberlene, the Hawk-bat attempted to disguise themselves as a pirate ship seeking to join the Mistryl, but were unsuccessful. They were pursued by fighters, but managed to lose the hostile craft when a sizable mercenary fleet reverted from hyperspace, bound for Emberlene. In the confusion of the Mistryl forces scrambling to engage the fleet, the Hawk-bat was able to slip down to the surface and find Selu. After sweeping a nearby docking bay clear of Mistryl defenders, Sarth, Spectre, and Milya charged out to go rescue Selu, but Cassi was ordered by Sarth to remain in the ship. The three managed to find him and bring him back to the Hawk-bat in time to escape the blast of a nuclear weapon which had been activated, somewhat unknowingly, by Selu. In the confusion of the battle, the Hawk-bat escaped and returned to Commenor. A week later, after Selu recovered from his injuries, the crew chose him to be the next captain of the Hawk-bat and added Spectre and Milya to their number, as Sei’lar had died and Jorge had decided to leave the spacer’s life.[4] Under their new captain, Cassi was soon wandering the stars again. She hadn’t heard from her parents for some time, and while she wrote them occasionally, she was careful not to tell them too much, lest they become worried. Her family had become somewhat distant to her since her decision to stay offworld and she drifted apart from them as well, even as she grew closer to Sarth and the rest of the crew.[1]

Over the next year, Cassi continued to serve on board the Hawk-bat, participating in any number of illegal ventures. She had lost all allegiance to the Empire and simply didn’t care. She also continued to develop her relationship with Sarth. On a routine cargo run to Zhar, the Hawk-bat was boarded by an Imperial Star Destroyer. Cassi was told to remain onboard by Selu and wait for his signal to jettison an escape pod loaded with explosives as a drastic last-ditch effort. When an Imperial Inquisitor began savagely beating Selu and threatened Milya, Selu signaled her to launch the pod. The ensuing explosion bought time for the ship to escape and flee, but Selu was forced to make a blind jump into hyperspace to escape the Star Destroyer.[5]

The damaged freighter set down on a desolate world to make repairs, but they discovered a strange glowing emanating from a fissure in the ground. Cassi and Sarth fell in and Selu jumped after them, rescuing them both. The full crew of the Hawk-bat descended into the rocks of the airless crevice to help get the three of them out. Selu sensed a disturbance in the Force, but having rejected his Jedi heritage was intent on leaving. However, dislodged boulders nearly proved disastrous for the crew, as they just barely managed to tuck into a previously-hidden side passage. Now cut off from the Hawk-bat, they were forced to head down the tunnel. The crew followed the subterranean passages, which led them to a sizable tower constructed on the floor of a previously concealed crater. As they approached, the spirits of eleven Jedi appeared and bade them enter the tower. Cassi was at first apprehensive, but the spirits explained that destiny had brought the five of them there to fulfill a prophecy.[5]

The Jedi spirits told them that the prophecy had spoken of five who would unite Force-users, and that they had been waiting for them for years. Cassi was initially skeptical, but soon realized that the prophecy was most likely true. Selu needed additional persuasion, but eventually came around. The spirits showed them how to unlock Force potential that had been stored inside of an ancient artifact, and told Cassi that she would take on the role of a healer with her new power.[5]

Bestowed with new Force potential, Cassi began training under some of the ancient Jedi spirits and Selu as she began working towards becoming the healer she believed the prophecy destined her to be. Having taken lives on the Star Destroyer for the first time, she talked with Milya about how to cope with that knowledge, and the other woman was able to help her. Cassi exhibited a natural talent towards diplomacy and healing, and often trained with Sarth, as neither of them were skilled in combat like Milya or Spectre. Sarth also proposed to her during their training, and she accepted. Cassi and the rest of the crew spent several months on the remote planet, learning the ways of the Force. Eventually, she had a vision that the Jedi would need lightsabers and began scavenging parts from the Hawk-bat to help provide the material to do so, with Sarth’s help. When the time came, she constructed a brilliant blue lightsaber, the same color as Sarth’s.[5]

However, their remote refuge was threatened by the arrival of an Imperial scout ship. Cassi joined with the others in taking the Hawk-bat and boarding the scout ship and they quickly captured the crew. Upon learning of instructions from the Jedi ghosts and combining that information with the ship’s itinerary, they soon learned that the Empire was on the hunt for three other groups of Force-users. The crew decided to split up and journey to each of the groups, in hopes of persuading them to unify, as the Jedi spirits had claimed that was their only chance for survival. Sarth and Cassi took the Hawk-bat to the chilly world of Tokmia, where the Jal Shey, a meditative and philosophical group of Force adepts were located.[5]

Arriving on Tokmia, Sarth and Cassi made their way to the remote Jal Shey refuge and were welcomed. After a few days, they addressed the entire adult Jal Shey populace and presented their warning of impending Imperial attack, as well as the danger. The Jal Shey were somewhat distrustful of them and were unpersuaded, frustrating Sarth. Cassi's dejected fiance headed back to the Hawk-bat to inform Selu. Upon his return, Cassi was deliberately kept from him while the Jal Shey tested his sincerity, though she was unaware of the nature of the test. Sarth passed their test and, combined with the news from Selu that they had found a refuge world, was able to persuade the Jal Shey to unite with them.[5]

Delivering the answer to the Jal Shey, they succeeded in their mission as the Jal Shey then agreed to journey with them to the new refuge of Force users that Selu was planning on establishing. They met with Selu, Spectre, and Milya in the Mataou remote system, where the others had seized an Imperial ship and brought two more groups of Force-users, the Matukai and Zeison Sha, into the fold. Cassi had a chance to talk with one of the Imperial prisoners, Doctor Rothery, and, touched by the woman's compassion, was able to help persuade her to join the Force exiles.[5]

The combined group headed to Yanibar, home of their new refuge. After destroying an Imperial garrison there, the refuge was established. However, Sarth soon realized that the Hawk-bat had received a message reminding them of the impending marriage of Annita Daowot and Jorgesoll Knrr back on Commenor. The five members of the Hawk-bat’s crew returned to Commenor for the celebration, but learned from Annita and Jorge that the Empire had been quietly observing them.[5]

As suspected, the Empire disrupted the wedding, but Cassi and her fellow crewmembers were ready for them. Igniting her lightsaber, she sprang to the defense of the wedding party as the guests fled. Holding off the Imperials for long enough, the crew, Annita, Jorge, and Selu’s parents then boarded the Hawk-bat, which Sarth had flown over to their location, and left Commenor permanently. Realizing that she would be equally outcast on Bakura, which long-held a stigma towards Jedi, Sarth and Cassi were married on Yanibar shortly afterward in a double wedding with Annita and Jorge.[5]

About a year later, Cassi and Sarth had their first child,[6] fulfilling the vision she had been given by the Jedi apparitions, and they named their son Akleyn. While Sarth had become the head of a defense company, Kraechar Arms, Cassi was content to have no official role in the Yanibar refuge, simply content with being a housewife, though she was called upon to serve as both teacher and healer.[1] She also served as matron of honor for her friend and former crewmember Milya Tayrce during her wedding to Selu Kraen.[6]

Sarth and Cassi continued their lives on Yanibar, and Cassi worked part-time at the Yanibar University as a linguistics teacher as well as part of the board of directors. However, she spent most of her time at home, tending a garden she'd established and raising Akleyn. Sarth also worked on some projects for himself and his family, building a droid for Selu and Milya and customizing a small yacht for himself and Cassi, the Silent Surprise.[1]

In 0 BBY, Sarth undertook a rare offworld mission alongside Selu, Milya, Spectre, and the elite commandos of Cresh Squad, but Cassi remained behind.[7] She rarely ventured offworld, content to stay at home and work on her own domestic projects. She was rarely in the spotlight, preferring to live a simple, quiet life.[1]

Shortly thereafter, Sarth and Cassi bid Akleyn farewell as their son headed off to university. Though Yanibar's educational system had improved drastically, it was not of the elite caliber that Sarth and Cassi felt would be best for Akleyn, who was academically gifted and had an interest in becoming a doctor.[1] However, even while Akleyn was away at school, the galaxy became increasingly engulfed in the Galactic Civil War. For the most part, Yanibar stayed out of the conflict, participating in minor raids against the Empire and its allies, as well as funneling small amounts of supplies to the Rebel Alliance.[8]

In late 3 ABY, Sarth learned from Spectre that the ex-ARC's ability to use the Force had been inexplicably diminishing at certain crucial times. Concerned for their friend, Sarth and Cassi resolved to look up Sarth's old mentor, Nasdra Magrody, who had conducted research into understanding how the Force worked years earlier. Sarth attempted to contact him, but was unable to reach the scientist. Though Cassi was less than interested at first, she was persuaded by Sarth to assist him in his search. Sarth and Cassi journeyed to Corulag, where Magrody worked at a university there, to try and locate him in person.[8]

At the Magrody Institute, Sarth and Cassi met a student named Alris, as well as his professor, an Alderaanian, Dr. Benzep-Naes. Both of them seemed to have information about Magrody, leading to Sarth and Cassi meeting them in Benzep-Naes's office. The student and professor were leery of Sarth and Cassi at first, particularly after Sarth deduced they were agents for the Rebel Alliance. However, the two were able to convince the doctor of their sincerity in wanting to help Nasdra Magrody, so Benzep-Naes gave them Magrody's address. Sarth and Cassi journeyed to the residence, but found it empty. They did find evidence of a kidnapping, though, and they took the few clues that were left there with them.[8]

Though Cassi's patience was beginning to wear thin, she agreed to stop by Bespin to visit Jorge and Annita Knrr. They arrived in the middle of a Rebel attack on the Imperial-held Cloud City, but an undercover Yanibar Guard agent named Hasla Almani helped shoot off some Imperial pursuit. They landed safely and Annita was able to help them with their search by tracing the piece of evidence to Mandalore. Before they left, though, Sarth and Cassi met with Hasla, who'd been shot down and had made her way to Jorge's business. Hasla was insistent that she should return to the Rebellion, that the Force was telling her to do so against her orders, and Sarth and Cassi helped convince Jorge and Annita to let Hasla follow her heart. Jorge and Annita were reluctant, but acceded. However, this suborning of their authority, as well as certain business deals with the underworld Zann Consortium, displeased Selu considerably, who made sure to voice his disapproval to Sarth.[8]

On Mandalore, Sarth and Cassi made quiet inquiries about the location of the Magrody's, whom they'd learned had been kidnapped by Imperial Intelligence and were probably being held on Mandalore. They were met by a Dug named Zloskiba and several thugs in the employ of the Zann Consortium, who offered their assistance. Sarth and Cassi reluctantly accepted their aid, but Zloskiba and his crew soon passed on the location of the Imperial safehouse. Sarth and Cassi assaulted it in a daring raid and found that Shenna and Elizie Magrody, the wife and daughter of Nasdra, were being held there. They freed them, but were pursued. Sarth and Cassi sent the two freed prisoners to meet up with their ship, Silent Surprise, while they drew off pursuit. They were surrounded by the Imperials, but the quick intervention of Zloskiba's crew turned the tables. The Imperials were all slain and the two Magrody's made an escape thanks to the sophisticated automation on the Silent Surprise. However, the Zannists betrayed and captured them shortly thereafter, as they'd learned Sarth's and Cassi's true identities.[8]

At first, the Zannists intended to extort them into giving up control of Kraechar Arms and Zloskiba tortured both of them in an attempt to make them capitulate. They resisted, though, and thanks to Cassi's Force healing, were able to endure it. At one point, Cassi made an attempt to blast free, using the Force to seize a weapon and inflict considerable damage, but they were halted and restrained. Furthermore, word was sent from Tyber Zann, the head of the Zann Consortium, to bring Sarth and Cassi to his flagship, the Merciless. Zann had learned that the Yanibar Guard had been sabotaging his facilities and arms, as well as luring his fleet into a trap at Kuat. He intended to use Sarth and Cassi as hostages, as well as extract any information he could from them.[8]

Sarth attempted to stall Zann, but the crime lord's use of Force-blocking ysalamiri rendered many of their advantages useless. When Zann ran out of patience and angrily threatened to molest Cassi, Sarth capitulated and gave the crime lord information about Yanibar and its defenses. Cassi urged him to not give in, but Sarth's willpower was broken.[8]

As Zann's war fleet arrived over Yanibar, against Zann's promises, Cassi was attacked by Zloskiba, whom she'd injured on Mandalore. Though the Dug and his thugs were beaten off, she was burned by the Dug. Sarth was angered by this, but he had at least managed to steal a comlink and send a message to Yanibar. Both parts of his message were put to use, as the Yanibar Guard was able to repulse Zann's forces in ground and in space using his information, while Spectre led Cresh Squad on a risky boarding maneuver to rescue Sarth and Cassi. While the commandos sabotaged the Merciless, Spectre, his step-son Nate, and the Cresh Squad medic, Jabri C'esta rescued Sarth and Cassi. En route to the Hawk-bat for exfiltration, they were attacked by Tyber Zann and his hulking henchman, Urai Fen. Spectre and the others defeated them, but a last-second grenade by Zann mortally wounded Spectre and Nate. Sarth and Cassi were semi-conscious from the blast, so Jabri carried both of them back to the Hawk-bat. They escaped just in time before the Merciless exploded, taking most of Zann's fleet, as well as Spectre, Nate, and Zann himself with it. Sarth and Cassi awoke in a Yanibar medcenter, where Milya soon informed them of Spectre's and Nate's sacrifice, which both shocked and saddened them.[8]

The next year was one of rebuilding. Cassi aided with the rebuilding efforts, but spent a lot of her time with Sheeka Tull Kraen and Ana Vondar Kraen, Spectre's and Nate's widows, helping them cope with the loss of their husbands.[1] In 5 ABY, though, Cassi and the other Kraens, as well as Jorge, Annita, and their son Bryndar, took a break and journeyed to the neutral Corporate Sector world of R'alla for a much-needed vacation. They were able to relax at a comfortable beach house—until a dead, tortured alien washed up in the middle of the storm. A fake patrol confirmed their fears that something suspicious was occurring on R'alla. Tracing his path, Selu, Milya, Jorge, and Annita soon located an Imperial lab, while Sarth, Cassi, and Nate's widow, Ana Vondar Kraen, enlisted the aid of a Corporate Sector Authority official named Fiolla of Lorrd. Together, and with some unexpected aid from Akleyn, Bryndar, and Spectre's daughter Jasika, they were able to clear the Imperial lab, where experiments had been performed on a group of Wroonians. The younger Kraens and Knrrs were endangered by a group of stormtroopers, but Sarth, Cassi, and Selu were able to save them. Once the lab's personnel were defeated and the Wroonians freed, the ersatz vacationers returned to their beach house and prepared to leave. While the Wroonians were evacuated back to Yanibar, their intervention meant that Fiolla had cut their vacation short. Before they left, though, the true legacy of the older Kraens and Knrrs was revealed to the younger generation for the first time.[9]

In 10 ABY, Cassi accompanied Sarth to a technical convention on Hosk Station. Though Sarth was preoccupied with the technical aspects of the material and seminars, he promised to spend time with her. They shared a pleasant dinner and evening in the station's hotel lounge, although the following day, Sarth spent most of the day attending meetings and engrossed in reading presentations. Cassi eventually coaxed him into taking a walk with her along the hotel's artificial seaside.[10]

They also used the trip as an opportunity to practice their Force skills, and while they were meditating inside a Force camouflage bubble, their hotel room was broken into by a group of New Republic intelligence agents who were assisting the defection of an Imperial scientist, Dmelte Volyken. Suspecting that they were witnessing a kidnapping, Sarth and Cassi retrieved their lightsabers while still invisible and then emerged to confront them. Once the New Republic agents, all members of Wraith Squadron, explained their mission, Sarth and Cassi agreed to help them by guiding one of their members, a Force-sensitive named Tyria, who had been separated back to the apartment, as well as keeping quiet about the Wraiths' presence. In return, they asked for a copy of Volyken's research and an unspecified favor to be repaid later. Before they parted ways, Sarth and Cassi gave Tyria a token that would help her find her way to Yanibar where she could be trained as a Jedi.[10]

In 14 ABY, Cassi, Sarth, and their adult son Akleyn went to visit her parents Larik and Astara on Bakura. While there, they were invited to a gala in the city of Salis D'aar. During the event, a group of ruffians intruded on the grounds and disrupted the party. Akleyn became caught up with a young woman named Callie who saw him use the Force to heal an injured man—she asked him if he would help treat an injured refugee. Akleyn agreed to follow her, leaving only a note which Cassi was able to retrieve. Both Sarth and Cassi were worried about their son, but that evening Akleyn contacted them, asking for their help in treating a sick Sephi child who was living incognito in a refugee camp. Sarth and Cassi agreed to help and brought the Silent Surprise over to assist. They treated the child and then invited the Sephi, who were not popular on Bakura, to live on Yanibar. Callie accompanied them, revealing that her name was actually Callista Ming, a former Jedi Knight who had lost her connection to the Force.[11]

When Selu and Milya's daughter, Rhiannon, fell in love with an Outsider, Sarth and Cassi were invited to weigh in on the matter, and were apprised of the situation by J7-A0, the droid who had been programmed to look after Rhiannon by Sarth. Ultimately, Selu and Milya agreed to bless the relationship,[12] and Cassi happily attended her niece's wedding in 18 ABY.[1] During this time, Cassi also had the opportunity to help train Tyria Sarkin Tainer, who had made her way to Yanibar.[1] Sadly for Cassi, though, Callista left Akleyn after he and several other of Yanibar's best healers were able to restore her connection to the Force. Her inexplicable and sudden departure crushed Akleyn emotionally, and he became a surly performance-driven alcoholic, despite the best efforts of his family to console him. He became a bitter man, an acerbic surgeon, and wanted nothing to do with people, leaving him isolated from his family.[13]

In 22 ABY, Cassi accompanied Sarth, Selu, and Milya to Coruscant incognito to observe the newly re-established Galactic Games. Cassi's nephews Ryion and Zeyn, along with two other young Force-sensitive Elite Guardians, Qedai and Ariada, were competing on behalf of Yanibar.[14] While Sarth and Cassi were largely there to watch the events, Selu and Milya also appropriated Sarth's help in some of their intelligence-gathering missions on Coruscant.[1] One of the events they made sure to attend was Zeyn's turbo-skiing competition, as they wanted to encourage him[14] since his mother had been estranged from him after he joined the Elite Guardians[1] and his father had died years ago saving their lives.[14] Cassi also helped supervise Ryion's treatment when he was injured in one of the events. Ryion ended up thwarting an assassination attempt on Leia Organa Solo, the New Republic's chief of state, but was injured in the process. Sarth and Cassi made their way to the infirmary where he was being treated and unsuccessfully arguing to leave before security locked down the premises. They were surprised as anyone when Leia Organa Solo and her entourage appeared to thank him. Selu was able to negotiate the Yanibar party's immediate departure from Coruscant, as well as a non-interference agreement from a grateful Organa Solo, and they returned home. Cassi helped treat Ryion's injuries en route, though he ended up losing two fingers on his left hand from a blaster wound.[14]

With the end of the Galactic Civil War in 19 ABY, Cassi grew increasingly concerned about the plight of the thousands of refugees displaced by war years later. In 22 ABY, she proposed setting up a charitable organization called Open Hands, which would set up refugee camps on worlds with large refugee populations. When she approached the Council about this matter, they agreed to her suggestion, but her refusal to allow YGI to station agents inside the camps denied her access to their resources such as construction equipment and teams. When the Yuuzhan Vong War broke out in 25 ABY, Open Hands' already taxed resources were severely strained by the new influx of refugees. Cassi spent much of her time offworld, accompanied by the loyal J7, whom Rhiannon had given back, trying to coordinate the camps as best as she could.[13]

In 28 ABY, while on Ord Pardron overseeing a refugee camp there, she began having visions of the destruction of Yanibar, in which an older man was always present. Not long afterward, she was approached by the man from her visions, who introduced himself as Mithunir, a member of the Shapers of Kro Var, a Force-using sect. He asked for her help in searching for a legendary planet called Atlaradis, but Cassi answered that while he was welcome to stay at the camp, she had too many obligations and had no reason to venture out on such a quest with him.[13]

A few days later, the Yuuzhan Vong found and attacked the largely defenseless refugee camp. Though wounded, Cassi fought off a Yuuzhan Vong warrior named Yiu Shac with J7's help, but more soon arrived. She was saved by Mithunir's intervention, and the Shaper helped her and J7 escape to his small ship parked outside the refugee camp. They stayed there until a Yanibar Guard relief force arrived and rescued them, though for the occupants of the refugee camp, it was too late, as they had largely been slaughtered. Only a few prisoners were retrieved from the Yuuzhan Vong ship, and the wanton suffering and loss grieved Cassi deeply, particularly of the volunteers who were only there to serve.[13]

Cassi was able to recover from her wounds, and with the Open Hands camp destroyed and her life owed to Mithunir, she considered joining him to search for Atlaradis. When Milya, along with Jorge and Annita, offered to accompany her in the Silent Surprise, Cassi's decision was made, once she had talked the matter over with Sarth. Out of gratitude and concerned about the portents of her visions, Cassi embarked with Mithunir, Milya, Jorge, and Annita for Atlaradis.[13]

Their first stop was Socorro, where they found a clue in the desert while investigating the mysterious min-min lights. The lights led to a series of underground chambers that each held a Force-imbued crystal that revealed part of a map when touched. Mithunir, Cassi, and Milya made their way through the hazardous tunnels until they had collected all the clues and could be retrieved by Jorge and Annita. The clues led them to the remote Jebuan system, where a single hyperroute led out of the system to a world deep in the Unknown Regions.[13]

Upon reversion from hyperspace, they found a large space station orbiting a planet, the only way through an extensive asteroid field. They received signals to dock and did so, with Mithunir suggesting that the station was crewed by caretakers that the ancient legends had spoken of. They found the station inhabited by Rakatans, who had built the station after the light-sided faction of their people had been driven into exile 38,000 years ago. While they were learning about the station and Atlaradis from the Rakatans, a small party of Yuuzhan Vong that had been following them attacked. In the ensuing struggle, Mithunir was fatally wounded by Yiu Shac, who had been pursuing them. Though Cassi was also injured, she and Milya managed to defeat Yiu Shac and her war party. However, the struggle left Milya, Mithunir, Jorge, and Annita badly wounded, and Cassi spent as much time and effort as she physically could trying to heal them. Despite her best efforts, Mithunir perished on the veritable doorstep of the world he had sought for so many years after eliciting a promise from Cassi to bring both her people and his to the paradise world. Cassi agreed and made sure to visit the surface of Atlaradis before she left, receiving a vision of Mithunir while she was on the Force-strong planet. She and Milya also saw a vision of Spectre on Atlaradis, and he warned them that the planet was not always easily accessible and the hyperroute leading to the planet would soon close the next ten years. With Jorge and Annita in no condition to travel, Cassi was prepared to stay behind with them, but Jorge told her to go, that the Rakatans would take care of them, but that she would be needed on Yanibar to tell them about Atlaradis. Cassi tearfully acquiesced to his wishes and returned to Yanibar.[13]

In her absence, the planet had been attacked by a group of Dark Jedi and Yuuzhan Vong, the latter of whom had planted a gravity-manipulating dovin basal on Yanibar to alter the orbit of one of its moons, Yorbinal. Though the dovin basal was destroyed before Yorbinal's orbit became terminal, the damage was enough to wreak havoc on Yanibar's already tenacious climate. Facing planetary devastation within a decade, Cassi suggested that they instead evacuate to Atlaradis when the hyperroute opened again.[13] She persuaded the Council and Yanibar's refuge began preparing a massive evacuation effort over the next ten years while trying to stave off the worst of Yanibar's destabilized weather and seismic activity.[1]

In 38 ABY, the fallen Elite Guardian Ariada Cerulaen, whose betrayal had led to the Dark Jedi and Yuuzhan Vong attack on Atlaradis, resurfaced and began a campaign of galactic terror. In response, Selu, Milya, Cassi, Morgedh, Ryion, Zeyn, and Qedai left Yanibar against the wishes of the Council to stop her. The Council wanted all of Yanibar's resources focused on the evacuation effort, which had encountered numerous difficulties. However, Selu, Cassi, and the others felt that Ariada was their responsibility. Word reached Cassi that Ariada had possibly been behind the death of Dr. Dmelte Volyken, whom she had met years earlier on Hosk Station, so she accompanied the mission.[15]

Cassi and the others arrived on Coruscant incognito after learning that Ariada had launched a biological attack there. While they investigated, Selu went to the Jedi Temple alone to warn the New Jedi Order of the danger. That night, he did not return, and while Cassi was sleeping, a group of Yanibar Guard commandos that had been ordered after them stormed the hotel room where Milya, Cassi, and Morgedh were staying and took them prisoner. The commandos had been sent by the Council, who wanted them apprehended and Yanibar's secrecy preserved. They were held in a run-down warehouse, separated from each other. Eventually, Selu followed their captors with help from the Jedi and launched a raid to free them, not knowing who their captors were. He was also captured, but was able to communicate to the Council about the danger Ariada posed, as well as reassert his authority. Taking command, he was able to bring the Yanibar Guard assets in the Coruscant system in on the pursuit.[15]

Shortly after Cassi was freed, she made an appointment to meet with Garik Loran, who was still in the intelligence business years after their meeting on Hosk Station. Loran gave her what information Galactic Alliance Intelligence had on the Volyken murder. Based on that information, they were able to conclude that Ariada had two types of targets: defensive targets that she hit to protect herself from potential threats, and impact targets designed to sow fear and chaos. The Force exiles, along with the Yanibar Guard commandos and a few Jedi, headed to the Yanibar Guard ship in orbit, the cruiser Daara'sherum. Selu wanted to send Cassi and Qedai back to Yanibar to protect it while he and the others searched for Ariada, but they were first delayed by an urgent mission to Belsavis, where Ryion and the Jedi Knight Jaina Solo had been shot down.[15]

Cassi accompanied the shuttle down to the icy surface of Belsavis, where they found Ryion and the Jedi alive, but Solo was badly injured. Fleeing from an attack by Ariada's fighters, they returned to the Daara'sherum, which was then attacked by Ariada's cruiser, the Knightfall. Only the arrival of a Galactic Alliance task force saved them. Cassi then took it upon herself to help treat Solo's injuries, both the ones she had recently sustained as well as lingering unhealed wounds from prior conflicts. Solo was initially reluctant and impatient, but Cassi's compassion and vulnerability eventually swayed her, and the young Jedi Knight thanked her warmly for her ministrations. Once Solo had recovered, Cassi and Qedai returned to Yanibar.[15]

However, while Sarth was heading to a Council meeting to report on the status of the evacuation, he found the Council being held hostage by one of Ariada's assassins. He intervened, but was severely wounded. Qedai, Akleyn, and Cassi arrived in time to stop the assassin and save his life, but just barely. Unfortunately, the Council perished due to a biological attack unleashed by the assassin.[15]

Akleyn helped supervise Sarth's convalescence even as Sarth was pressured to do more to assist in the troubled evacuation effort, though Cassi urged him to receover. When Rhiannon and her son Tavin arrived for a visit, Cassi welcomed them in and offered to host them while Selu and Milya were gone. Akleyn helped his parents in that duty, showing them around. Although the replacement Council wanted to appoint Sarth as the new chairman until the exodus was complete, Cassi instead volunteered, based on her experience running a refugee movement. She felt that Sarth was already overworked and could not handle the additional burden as well as she could. Sarth supported her, knowing that she would be good at the job, and would also relieve him from the additional tasking.[15]

However, despite Sarth's best efforts, the evacuation ships were still underpowered and unable to lift off from Yanibar when fully loaded. Help arrived from an unexpected direction when Zeyn returned from a mission to Zonama Sekot accompanied by a prominent scientist named Danni Quee as well as a group of Yuuzhan Vong, who offered to use the same dovin basal technology that had doomed Yanibar to help lift their ships as a goodwill gesture. Sarth and Cassi were initially skeptical, but Zeyn and Danni were able to persuade him of the Yuuzhan Vong's sincerity. After a prolonged Council debate, the Yanibar refuge agreed to accept the Yuuzhan Vong's work, and Sarth asked Danni to supervise their efforts. Working together, they were able to modify the evacuation ships such that they were able to lift off fully-loaded.[15]

Elsewhere, casualties began to mount as the search for Ariada continued. Morgedh clan Kel'nerh fell on Bespin, while Ryion and aina Solo were captured. Akleyn and Qedai left to join the final mission to stop Ariada, but while they were successful and freed Jaina Solo and Ryion, Selu and Milya sacrificed themselves to stop Ariada from killing millions on Coruscant and Bespin. They were memorialized at a ceremony on the Yanibar Guard flagship over Yanibar, which was attended not only by Cassi and the rest of the Kraen family, but also by Jedi and Galactic Alliance dignitaries with whom Selu had reconciled.[15]

Following the ceremony, the Yanibar refuge prepared to leave for Atlaradis. The Yuuzhan Vong departed in peace, while Rhiannon and her family opted to go with the rest of the Outsiders to a different world. As for Cassi and the rest of the Force exiles, they departed for Atlaradis.[15]


Behind the scenes

Origins

Cassi Trealus did not appear until the third draft of the Force Exile Saga when Spectre's planned reunion with Selusda was pushed back until the second book in the series. The character arose out of a need to have another female lead character—up until that point, Serra Keto had been the only female character in the novel and her death left the novel devoid of major female roles. The name "Cassi" was inspired by Cassandra from Greek mythology, though the character was not intended to bear many similarities to her namesake. Cassandra had actually been considered for the name of an antagonist in a later Force Exile book, but the author eventually decided to use it for the female member of the Hawk-bat's crew.

When conceptualizing the character, the author wanted her to have short, blonde hair and gave her a linguistics specialty. Her later appearances and characterization were influenced by the fictional character Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia. She was always intended to be the most innocent and idealistic of the Hawk-bat's crew, possessing a gentle spirit.

Role and development

In Fugitive, Cassi had a rather small part. Her role was confined to scenes with several other characters, and her perspective was rarely explored. The author was not at that point confident in writing female characters and wished to explore her character further in the second book anyway. Her main purpose in Fugitive was to establish her as a trusted member of the crew, as well as acquaint her with Sarth.

Cassi was written as a possible love interest for Sarth Kraen, but the author left the relationship unresolved as of the end of Force Exile I. The author felt that the constraints of the first book prohibited him from starting that relationship, as there was insufficient time to develop any sort of relationship properly in the final third of the book. To compensate for that, he planted the seeds of attraction between Sarth and Cassi in Fugitive and devoted a significant portion of Force Exile II: Smuggler to the burgeoning relationship between the two.

Smuggler expanded the character of Cassi more, providing her with many more scenes, as well formally introducing her relationship with Sarth. It also introduced a personal conflict with her, as the character of Annita Daowot was jealous of her relationship with Sarth. At one point, Atarumaster88 had planned to have a fight between Annita and Cassi, but he dropped this idea after feeling it would interrupt the pacing of the novel. After reviews, though, he decided to resolve the conflict between the two women more cleanly and added a scene between Annita and Cassi. Since he felt somewhat uncomfortable writing the dialogue for the scene, he had it beta-read by a consultant, who provided several suggestions.

When writing Cassi in Smuggler, Atarumaster88 wanted to show off more aspects of her nature, while reinforcing previous ones. He had always thought of her as naturally sympathetic and compassionate, but also wanted to show Cassi experiencing other emotions such as fear, jealousy, and anger, in order to portray a more vulnerable individual than how Cassi had been characterized in Force Exile I. In addition to that, it was important for the overarching story that Cassi demonstrate somewhat rebellious traits and exhibit no steadfast allegiance to the Galactic Empire. However, her acceptance of Selu's true identity was more a product of her willingness to trust Sarth, her distrust of government, and her loyalty to her friends. Her Bakuran heritage influenced her distrust of the Empire—in the time period that Smuggler was written, Bakura was still an independent world.

Though Cassi did not undergo as significant a character change as some of the other principal characters did in Force Exile III: Liberator, her experiences on Revan's tower were still significant. Cassi alone out of the five crew-members was willing to openly accept the gift that was freely offered to the crew by the eleven Jedi spirits. This, as part of the Christian imagery and symbolism used in Chapters 5 and 6, was analogous to the childlike faith required of a follower of Christ, accepting the veracity of their claims without needing a sign. This was yet another tie-in between Cassi and Lucy Pevensie. The author describes Cassi as someone who steadfastly believes in an ultimately happy ending.

Liberator also saw the deepening of Cassi's relationship with Sarth, to the point where Sarth asked for her hand in marriage. Their relationship and engagement was written by the author to be in direct opposition to many of the relationships shown in popular culture. The way they communicated and understood each other while respecting the other's boundaries was part of his concept to have their relationship ultimately grounded in trust and mutual respect. The addition of the Force to their lives was only an enhancement of the transparency they already enjoyed. The author also chose not to show them engaged in any physical contact other than a prolonged kiss, feeling that it would soil the purity of the relationship that he had shown thus far.

The rewrite of Force Exile III: Liberator sought to retain some of Cassi's ready acceptance of the prophecy, while also tempering some of her child-like tendencies. Her story arc with Sarth and the Jal Shey was modified to be more of a diplomatic and mental encounter, as Atarumaster88 took a dim retrospective view of the puzzle they had previously solved to persuade them in the first draft. Another change was adding a scene where Cassi and Milya discussed killing and coping with the psychological effects entailed.

The relationships between Selusda Kraen and Milya Tayrce versus that of Sarth Kraen and Cassi Trealus are intentionally contrasted. In the case of Sarth and Cassi, it was Sarth who first attracted to Cassi and initiated the relationship, whereas Milya was the first to voice her attraction to Selu. It is implied that Sarth and Cassi had their first kiss on Commenor in Force Exile II after a few months of dating, starting in Force Exile I. Though their relationship had been developing, it became more serious at that point. In contrast, Milya kisses Selu within ten minutes of meeting him. Even the physical characteristics of Milya and Cassi are different- Cassi is short, blond, pale, and blue-eyed, while Milya is taller, darker, and has dark auburn hair. The author would describe Sarth and Cassi’s relationship as more of a courtship, while Selu and Milya have a more fast-paced, informal relationship. This is caused by their respectively much rougher backgrounds—Sarth and Cassi are the only two members of the crew to have grown up in stable, nuclear families. Whereas Cassi appears externally weaker than Milya—and Milya is certainly more physically capable, Cassi possesses an internal, emotional strength not necessarily found in Milya. In a moment of weakness, Milya is prone to acts that are out of character for her, things that Cassi would ever not contemplate.

Out of all the Hawk-bat crew, Cassi is probably the least physically capable, being small and relatively weak. She is also the most sheltered from harm and danger compared to the other characters throughout the books. Her largest combat role was in the climatic battle of Force Exile III: Liberator, but the author has not generally written her large parts in battle scenes, as her nature is peaceful and not prone towards conflict.

Cassi only had one small direct appearance in the five Yanibar Tales set between Liberator and Force Exile IV: Guardian, though she was mentioned in Crossroads and Hard Code. The reason for this is that those stories, aside from appearance in Hand in Hand, were largely set offworld and involved missions related to the Yanibar Guard. In the author's mind, Cassi would have focused on settling down on Yanibar, raising her son, Akleyn, and helping around the community rather than venturing offworld on dangerous missions. This reluctance to expose herself from danger arose from her commitment to being there for her son and being a caring mother; she would only journey away from him if she was urgently needed.

Sarth and Cassi were given deliberately different roles in Force Exile IV: Guardian. Atarumaster88 incorporated a number of role reversals in the fourth novel for the main characters, and that included placing Sarth and Cassi in more dangerous scenarios, culminating in their imprisonment by Tyber Zann. He also wanted to give them more page time, as he felt they were marginalized in Force Exile III: Liberator and many of the Yanibar Tales that followed it.

Their characters were largely unchanged from their portrayal in Liberator, with the exception of the "Skart and Cassi Kraest" persona for Sarth and Cassi. Cassi was made somewhat more forward and her more aggressive side was highlighted during the search for the Magrody's; previously, she was not often portrayed in direct combat. Atarumaster88 sought to explore Cassi's character more by revealing more of her weaknesses and insecurities, and so incorporated numerous scenarios intended to do that into Guardian. Sarth and Cassi's capture was also used to set up the climactic final scene on the Merciless, which led to the death of Spectre.

Cassi retained largely the same characterization in the Yanibar Tales that occupied the interregnum between Guardian and Warrior, in which she only played minor roles. She grew more willful as she aged, as depicted in Cloak and Datapad and Redemption's Call, showing some of her own headstrong nature. By Warrior, Cassi was comfortable operating without Sarth for prolonged periods of time, as she did while running Open Hands. Atarumaster88 sought to make her more independent because he wanted to expand her character beyond the constraints of her relationship with Sarth.

Ultimately, Atarumaster88 wrote the story arc where Cassi was one of the leading participants in the search for Atlaradis to mirror her earlier seeking of the Force exiles in Liberator. As a character, Cassi, as the most pure-hearted of the Hawk-bat crew, is the one most readily-able to discern and seek the next major life event for the Force exiles. She is the most willing of the Force exiles to seek Atlaradis, although her initial responsibilities to Open Hands serve as a distraction that first must be stripped away. While Milya's foresight allows her to see into the future, her need to live in the present keeps her from realizing the possibilities of the future beyond what she needs for the moment. Cassi, unencumbered by as much responsibility and written with a freer, purer spirit that retains more idealism than the others, can see wondrous possibilities that are initially closed to the others.

For Force Exile VI: Prodigal, Atarumaster88 brought Cassi along to Coruscant for the search for Ariada, but her role was peripheral, and she had little to no interaction with Ariada. This was due to Atarumaster88's desire to keep her unstained by the conflict. Her interaction with Garik Loran was a planned tie-in since the writing of Cloak and Datapad, while Tyria's reappearance was added during the drafting stages of Prodigal.

However, Cassi ultimately spent much of the novel on Yanibar, looking toward Atlaradis. Her time as the head of Open Hands prepared her to take up a leadership role, and Atarumaster88 had long planned that Cassi, not Selu, would eventually become the head of the Council, doing so in a selfless manner. At one point in Prodigal's drafting stage, Atarumaster88 considered killing off Sarth and Cassi along with Selu and Milya at the very end of the novel, but decided that was too anticlimactic. Instead, he ended the novel with Sarth and Cassi reaching Atlaradis while Selu and Milya perished in the fight against Ariada.

Portrayal

Cassi Trealus was depicted on the cover of Force Exile II: Smuggler. For her portrayal, the author chose a picture of Reese Witherspoon from the film Just Like Heaven. In this case, the author had seen the film previously and thought that Witherspoon's character matched his visualization of Cassi's appearance. That image choice marked the first time that Atarumaster88 had selected an image of an individual for use in the Force Exile Series that had no ties at all to Star Wars.

Appearances

References

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