Trust me, Morgedh. I’ve seen glimpses of your potential, and I’m sure that with the proper training, you can become one of the most powerful warriors on all of Yanibar. This is my promise to you—if you remain loyal and faithful to Yanibar and complete the training given to you, I promise that you will be on the frontlines, striking the Empire and helping free others from its oppression. Maybe even your people, one day.
—Selu Kraen to Morgedh clan Kel'nerh
Morgedh clan Kel'nerh was born on Honoghr, the devastated land of the Noghri people. Like many of his kind, he was a prodigiously talented hunted and warrior. Unlike other Noghri, though, he was Force-sensitive. This fact was lost on both him and the Imperial overseers who ran Honoghr from a distance, but it turned out to change his destiny.
In his youth, Morgedh's latent Force-usage was something inexplicable to his friends and family. He was faster, stronger, and could fight better than other trainees, sometimes too well. On one occasion, underestimating his own strength, he accidentally crippled another trainee in a sparring match after being hit by a low blow. In another altercation, Morgedh gave a sharp reply when the village maitrakh or matriarch, said his scent was off. His village's elders, unable to reconcile a string of escalating incidents where Morgedh displayed alarming power, finally exiled him in 4 ABY.
Alone in Honoghr's wilderness, Morgedh was friendless and perplexed as to why he had been forced from his home. He was resolute in his determination to redeem himself, but lived alone in the wastelands of Honoghr. His fate was about to change, though. From across the galaxy, Jedi Selusda Kraen had a vision of Morgedh possibly being turned into a powerful tool for the Empire to hunt down Force-sensitives. To forestall this occurring, Selu and his wife Milya journeyed to Honoghr to locate the Noghri warrior.
Confronting Morgedh, they persuaded him to leave Honoghr and journey to Yanibar by telling him that the master of the Noghri, Darth Vader, was a traitor and a murderer. Morgedh accompanied them to Yanibar and began his studies on how to use his Force talents. Though he longed to find a way to free his people from the tyranny of the Empire that the Kraens had revealed to him, he understood that breaking a civilization willingly bound to the Empire would be difficult. Instead, he focused on honing his skills, learning firsthand from Master Kraen and his adopted brother General Spectre Kraen. He also knew he was under constant observation, due to some lingering suspicion about his background, but endured it.
Not long after his arrival on Yanibar, the planet was attacked by the forces of the Zann Consortium. While evacuating along with the rest of the trainees, Morgedh noticed a hostile intruder advancing on the residence of the Kraens. He reached the house ahead of the intruder, the Nightsister Silri, and managed to send a message to Milya Kraen. While she raced back to her house, Morgedh and the protocol droid J7-A0 defended her daughter Rhiannon from Silri. Though Morgedh was telekinetically hurled into a tree, he survived and fended off Silri long enough for Milya to arrive and defeat the Nightsister. For his actions, Morgedh earned the loyalty and trust of the Kraens.
Over the next several years, Morgedh poured his focus into his Force-using talents, becoming a weapons master with almost unparalleled talents thanks to his prior Noghri training, hunter's instincts, and Force-training. When needed, he was sent on offworld missions, such as leading a boarding party against an Imperial bacta convoy in 7 ABY. He rapidly became one of Yanibar's most feared warriors, earning his Master's rank by 15 ABY. At the same time, he remained one of Master Kraen's most trusted warriors.
In 17 ABY, Morgedh accompanied Master Kraen and a commando squad on a retrieval mission to rescue Rhiannon after she had been caught outside the refuge by a storm. They found that she'd actually taken shelter with an Outsider named Kavlis Burke, whom Morgedh distrusted, as he did anyone unknown to him. Little did Morgedh know that Rhiannon had taken an interest in the Outsider and eventually fell in love with him. When Kavlis asked for her hand in marriage, Selu agreed under the condition that he leave her for a year to prepare a living for the two of them and to test his commitment. It was Morgedh's job to escort Kavlis from the refuge until then and discreetly monitor Rhiannon's suitor. Given his protectiveness of the Kraen's daughter, it was a job he took seriously. Kavlis did uphold his end of the bargain and earned Rhiannon's hand in marriage with the blessing of Selu, who had been apprised of Kavlis's fidelity by Morgedh.
By 18 ABY, there were few others on Yanibar who could match Morgedh in hand-to-hand combat, save for Master Kraen and his wife Milya. He went on numerous missions away from Yanibar from 18 to 19 ABY, posing a solitary bounty hunter. Outside of his duties, though, Morgedh remained reserved and solitary, preferring to pine for the loss of his home. He was withdrawn and made few public appearances save when absolutely needed.
One such appearance that he did make was after his appointment as the head of the Elite Guardians in 20 ABY. This promotion placed Morgedh in charge of the Yanibar refuge's largest contingent of Force-sensitive warriors and was considered one of the highest positions in the Yanibar Guard.
From 20 to 22 ABY, Morgedh was personally asked by Master Kraen to oversee the training of four young Force-sensitive athletes, including Selu's son Ryion and his nephew Zeyn, for an infiltration mission to Coruscant during the Galactic Games. As their coach, he trained them in their various events with assistance of other experts. He focused primarily on instructing Ryion Kraen in the galactic octathlon, specifically the hand-to-hand fighting and shortstaff disciplines, while also providing a leadership figure to the other young competitors.
When the time came to journey to Coruscant for the games, Morgedh accompanied the four young people and supervised them as best as he could while trying to shield them from outside influences and inquiries, particularly those of the New Jedi Order. Ryion and Morgedh had a close run-in where Jedi Master Luke Skywalker himself attempted to speak to Ryion and Morgedh, but the two sent him packing with claims of being Zeison Sha bearing a grudge against the Jedi. While the young athletes were there to compete, it was Morgedh's job to keep them safe and their cover as just Zeison Sha competitors from rustic Yanibar intact. In actuality, the elder Kraens had come along to do some spying of their own and had no intentions of revealing Yanibar's true nature.
Late in the competition, Morgedh saw one of his athletes injured when Ryion Kraen dove in front of a blaster bolt aimed at Leia Organa Solo, the New Republic Chief of State. Swiftly identifying the would-be assassin, Morgedh disabled him, then disappeared after security arrived to apprehend the assailant. He then stayed by Ryion's side, ready to defend the young Force-sensitive even as Ryion was taken for medical treatment. Ryion's selfless act earned the Yanibar refuge immunity from inquiries from the New Republic and Jedi Order towards Yanibar, a far greater achievement than the mission had hoped to obtain. Morgedh and the rest of Yanibar's entourage then returned home.
As the Yuuzhan Vong War broke out, Morgedh clan Kel'nerh oversaw numerous covert missions to undermine the alien invaders and their collaborationist Peace Brigade allies, as well as gather intelligence. Though some of his younger Elite Guardian teams chafed under the restriction, Morgedh emphasized the importance of caution in order to preserve the safety of the Yanibar refuge; the Yuuzhan Vong hated Force-users just as much if not more than the Empire.
Morgedh was called upon when one of the Elite Guardians he had trained, Ariada Cerulaen, turned renegade and broke into a data center to steal classified data on Sith weapons and poisons for use against the Yuuzhan Vong. Morgedh quickly took to the skies in his Firehawk swoop to pursue Ariada, bringing her Firehawk down when she refused to yield. After a short duel where Morgedh chased her into a weather control station, he subdued her as was his duty. Ariada's betrayal and fall to the dark side was a deep wound to the stolid Noghri and having to force her in to submission was not a pleasant experience.
Ariada was tried and sentenced to a remote prison facility equipped to deal with Force-users, while Morgedh was shortly thereafter sent to Rishi as her temporary replacement on Ryion's team as part of an intelligence-gathering mission based on a vision Ryion had received from a long-deceased Jedi Master. This order, straight from Selu Kraen, was both to keep the team on operational status and also to have Morgedh keep an eye on the other three team members in case they too had fallen to the dark side.
While on Rishi, Morgedh helped watch for Yuuzhan Vong and collaborationist spies at the spaceports, though his alien species required him to disguise himself. He later assisted Qedai in taking down a collaborationist who was spying for the Yuuzhan Vong inside the governor's staff after Ryion had found one of his transmitters. The information they gained from their prisoner allowed Ryion to defend the Chalactan viceroy's daughter from a Yuuzhan Vong ambush, though Ryion was severely injured and conveyed to the governor's mansion before the other Elite Guardians could intervene. Morgedh was on Rishi when Ariada escaped Yanibar, though Selu asked him to remain on Rishi as a Yanibar Guard Fleet was en route to extract them even as the Yuuzhan Vong planned a sizable military offensive against Rishi and its Chalactan refugees.
When the Yuuzhan Vong attacked, Morgedh helped defend the governor's palace even as Yanibar Guard forces arrived and tried to extract them to a safe area. The Noghri warrior slew dozens of Yuuzhan Vong before falling back. They were surrounded by Yuuzhan Vong and Jedi-hunting voxyn, but the arrival of three Yanibar Guard shuttles saved them, although at the cost of one of Yanibar's foremost warriors, Daara Sherum. The team and a Jedi ally, Kyle Katarn, were conveyed back to a newly-established Yanibar Guard Army base and treated for their injuries as the battle for Rishi began.
Morgedh took part in one of the skirmishes that characterized the Battle of Rishi, helping a group of Yanibar Guard Army commandos and droid walkers defend a civilian evacuation convoy. They served as the rearguard until the convoy arrived back at the YGA base safely and were then evacuated. However, the dire nature of Ariada's escape and subsequent attack on a Yanibar-controlled Force nexus led Morgedh to be sent back to deal with her. Though Selu wanted to lead the pursuit himself, he was needed on Rishi to command the fight against the Yuuzhan Vong and maintain the tenuous relationship with their local and New Republic allies.
Morgedh returned to Yanibar but before he could leave the system to chase Ariada, she returned aboard a frigate captained by Dark Jedi and using her Force powers to conceal it from view. However, the Noghri sensed her presence even through the Force camouflage and came after her. In response, the frigate attacked Yanibar, causing damage to both its orbital defenses and the surface of the planet, but Morgedh was able to board and sabotage it. He confronted Ariada and her three Dark Jedi companions. Two of them were quickly slain, but Ariada defended the last one. He accused her of betraying Yanibar and her protestations that she had been brought along ignorant and under duress went ignored. He pursued her, intending to kill her, but she threw down her weapons and refused to defend herself, hoping to goad him into succumbing to the dark side and killing her in cold blood. Morgedh refused to do so and decided to destroy the entire ship, stopping her and the other Dark Jedi at the cost of his life. However, she warned him that the Dark Jedi had betrayed her and brought a Yuuzhan Vong ship along to sabotage Yanibar with an orbit-wrecking dovin basal creature. She told him that he needed to warn Yanibar of the danger. Morgedh reluctantly did so, fleeing the ship and in doing so, allowing Ariada and the surviving Dark Jedi to escape before it exploded. While he did find and destroy the dovin basal with help from Sarth Kraen, the damage had already been done and Yanibar's moon's orbit had been dangerously altered, prompting the beginning of a mass exodus from the doomed world.
In 38 ABY, Ariada Cerulaen 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, Morgedh, and the others felt that Ariada was their responsibility.
Morgedhand 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 Milya and Morgedh waited up and pondered his whereabouts, 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.
When word reached them that the Yanibar Guard soldiers guarding the Hawk-bat had gone missing, Selu, Milya, and Morgedh, along with a group of commandos, went to investigate. They found Ariada waiting for them there along with several young female assassins. She slew the missing soldiers in front of them and then dropped a group of menacing advanced combat droids down on them. While Selu and Milya were momentarily stunned by the droids, Morgedh sprang into action, holding off the droids until Selu and Milya could recover. He then defeated one of them single-handedly, stabbing it with his lightsaber. They then returned to the Jedi Temple.
Based on information obtained from Cassi and the Galactic Alliance, 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.
Morgedh 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 which Morgedh helped hold off by conjuring illusions of Yanibar Guard starfighters to scare them off, 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. Morgedh then departed to Bespin, where Shara, Ryion's wife, was transiting through, as he believed that Shara was a possible target for Ariada.
As anticipated, Shara was attacked at Bexpress Shipping by Ariada. Ariada and her assassins slew her escorts and intended on capturing Shara, but Morgedh clan Kel'nerh intervened. Morgedh badly injured one of the assassins and wounded another, allowing he and Shara to make their escape. They fled on a speeder, but were pursued by Ariada and several of her assassins, along with menacing combat droids. They ditched their vehicle and hid in the seedier parts of Cloud City for a few hours, until Morgedh appropriated another speeder and took her to a smaller abandoned mining outpost used as a safe house by the Yanibar Guard. However, Ariada had beaten them there with Force-dampening ysalamiri. After a short struggle, she defeated Master Kel'nerh and captured Shara, taking her to her ship, the Knightfall, though Morgedh did slay one of the assassins before falling. He was toppled into a carbonite freezer along with one of Ariada's combat droids before the station's self-destruct triggered and was believed dead.
Ariada was eventually defeated and Shara rescued, but at the cost of Selu's and Milya's lives. Rhiannon took news of Morgedh's death hard as well. All three fallen heroes were memorialized at a service on the Yanibar Guard flagship Lightbearer attended by Yanibar residents, Force exiles, Jedi, and Galactic Alliance dignitaries. The Yanibar Force exiles then departed for Atlaradis.
Behind the scenes
Morgedh clan Kel'nerh was derived from a character from the precursor freeform RPG that inspired Force Exile. The original iteration of the character was a named Morged Kellner, a cyborg human bounty hunter in the vein of Boba Fett crossed with Master Chief of the Halo series. Kellner was the protagonist of many of the storylines, with Sarth Kraen serving as an important side character providing weapons and technology. One such storyline involved Sarth sending Morged to look for his long-lost Jedi brother. That character concept eventually led to Selusda Kraen.
Atarumaster88 decided to re-invent Morged when he was planning out the Force Exile series beyond book three. The character was reimagined as a Force-sensitive Noghri warrior brought into the service of the Yanibar refuge in Force Exile IV: Guardian. Atarumaster88 also intended for Morgedh to help fill the gap created by Spectre's death in terms of a reserved martial figure. In terms of sheer ability, Morgedh outclassed Spectre once his training was completed, but had less overt personality.
Originally, he was intended to have a larger role in Force Exile IV: Guardian but it was reduced due to other plot considerations. This resulted in Morgedh having less character development than planned. A short story that delved into the horror genre involving Morgedh and Selu Kraen being stuck on an Imperial Redesign ship was also canceled in favor of the Deception on R'alla story arc, leading to Morgedh's character again being neglected. He played a small role in Rogues and Paladins and Through Her Eyes, but finally received more of a role in Champion of Yanibar as the coach, instructor, and guardian for the four Yanibar competitors. Morgedh was more significant in Force Exile V, both in combat against the Yuuzhan Vong and in dealing with the rogue Dark Jedi Ariada Cerulaen. Originally, a scene where he would confront one of the major Yuuzhan Vong characters was planned, but it was altered in favor of having him pursue Ariada and defeat her Dark Jedi companions.
Atarumaster88 intentionally planned to have Morgedh fall in Force Exile VI: Prodigal, largely for dramatic purposes, and he wanted to show the development and progression of Ariada as a threat—in her fourth clash with Morgedh, she was able to defeat him, whereas the first few times had been heavily in Morgedh's favor. He did, however, intentionally leave Morgedh's ultimate fate ambiguous.
Role and development
Morgedh's role is primarily that of a solitary dedicated warrior. He is unwaveringly loyal and exceptionally skilled in combat, but reserved. He has a dry sense of humor that occasionally surfaces, but is typically serious. By and large, Morgedh's character has shifted somewhat since his introduction in Force Exile IV: Guardian. In his youth, he was more open-minded and easily swayed by emotion. Before his full integration into Yanibar, he was yearning for a place to belong. Once he was accepted, Morgedh shifted all his attention to becoming the best member of the Yanibar Guard possible. His maturing and training have taught him to be more stolid, as well as more suspicious. For most of Yanibar's residents, Morgedh remains a cryptic figure, a quiet reminder of the deadly capability that lies within the protectors of the refuge.
Morgedh continued this role in Force Exile V, his rigid adherence to the orthodoxy of the Yanibar refuge serving as a foil for Ariada's rebellion. The two were pitted against each other twice in that novel, serving to illustrate the clash between their two respective worldviews. Morgedh's personality embodies that of the Yanibar refuge in general—reserved, quiet, deadly, a silent, shadowy protector with a strict moral code.
For Force Exile VI: Prodigal, Morgedh once more appeared as a stolid warrior. He was characterized as more brooding and regretful, as this marked his third clash with Ariada. Some of his characterization was inspired by the Nolan films' portrayal of Batman, while his speeder chase scene with Shara on Bespin was drawn from the Bourne films. Ultimately, his belief in his innate superiority over her allowed Ariada's cunning to get the better of him in their fourth and final clash. This underestimating of Ariada was a repeat of several similar mistakes that had allowed Ariada to execute particularly sinister schemes. Morgedh's believed death was a major influence in Rhiannon's departure to Naos instead of accompanying the Force exiles to Atlaradis, along with the death of her parents.
Morgedh's portrayal was accomplished using a picture of a generic Noghri from the The Essential Guide to Alien Species. This source has been previously used for other Force Exile characters, notably the smuggler captain R'hask Sei'lar.
- Force Exile IV: Guardian
- Rogues and Paladins
- Through Her Eyes
- Champion of Yanibar
- Force Exile V: Warrior
- Force Exile VI: Prodigal